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02 August 2012


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Between Cambone and the WP story today about Andy Marshall, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-model-for-a-future-war-fans-tensions-with-china-and-inside-pentagon/2012/08/01/gJQAC6F8PX_story.html?hpid=z4, I believe you had a typo the other day. I'm sure what you meant to write was "ship of tools."

Even a blunt object can be used as a tool.


The Cambone/Aspen affair is of cardinal importance. Not because his views on the march of Middle East history following an American drummer have value or prompt serious thinking. They don't. Rather, it is the intellectual hold of the Bush era neo-conservatives and ultra-nationalists (e.g. Cambone) on thinking about American interests and national strategy. Why is Cambome invited to Aspen to dominate an entire session with a free form, self serving discourse on the brilliance of actions whose profoundly damaging effects on all parties (including major American interests) are manifest and tangible? And to do so with a string of non sequiturs and ad hominum declarations? All this from a man whose knowledge of the region is thin to non-existent. Indeed, the United States has serious issues of analysis, interpretation and decision to examine in the light of the Arab Spring and its aftermath. They require the concentrated effort of knowledgeable people whose minds are not wrapped in crude dogma.

The Cambones, Boltons and Feiths of the world can only serve this purpose as exhibits or specimens. Instead, we allow them to skew the discourse in ways and to a degree that go well beyond being a mere distraction. I guess some will fall back on the half-baked argument that we must hear out this people in the name of pluralism, openness, diversity or Heaven only knows what puerile notion. The stakes are too high for this kind of indulgence. Let them write and speak as they wish. Why, though, are they honored with high positions at major universities and prestigious institutes and are ubiquitous on prime time television? Why should the rest of us have to waste our time proving to them that the earth isn't flat and the moon is not made of green cheese.
Barack Obama bears much of the blame for the perpetuation in honored places of shameful persons and of disgraced ideas by his refusal to pronounce on the duplicity, the destruction, the ethical corruption and sheer obtuseness of what was done. "Let's all be nice together" and forget about yesterday's muggings in the schoolyard has been his attitude. In my view, that is highly irresponsible - as witness the continuation of pointless wars, national policy driven by hubris and an addiction to virtual realities, denying the public either an accounting of the past or an explanation of present actions - including the courting of war with Iran on similarly duplicitous grounds.


Mr Cambone: I didn't know that a close alignment of Iraq toward Iran was in America's interests?


Col: Mr. Cambone's thinking problems are contagious. See http://warincontext.org/2012/08/02/syrian-paradox-the-regime-gets-stronger-even-as-it-loses-its-grip/

Could it be that in the real world of Syria, the Syrians realize they have two choices: Bad (Assad) and Possibly Much Worse (Rebels).

Considering that Syrian Christians in areas under rebel control are fleeing to Lebanon, the post-Assad Syria probably will be much worse. See http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/christians-flee-from-radical-rebels-in-syria-a-846180.html

We really have learned nothing from Iraq.

Babak Makkinejad

Likewise for Russia:


Power has been evolving to peripheral states since the end of the Cold War.

I think that means that diplomacy will become even more important than raw fire power.

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