Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dennis Dale comes out for the Truth

Blogger Dennis Dale has a piece at his Untethered that I wish I had written as it expresses my thoughts better than I could have. Okay, maybe he is not channeling me, but there is nothing he has written in his article Support the Truth that I disagree with.

"Support the troops", with its seductive appeal to the romance of martial heroism, the obsequious and pointless genuflection it compels of all, constricting discourse, is a death spiral. It is the nuclear option of debate, the napalming of one's own position, the burning of the village in order to save it. It would not be deployed if not for the hopeless logical and factual position of those who use it.

People do not propose entering into a war in order to support the brave men and women who fight it (though the appeal to glory is always implied); but they can always be counted on to insist on continuing a war, no matter how pointless or unjust it is revealed to be, for this very reason.

I could quote and highlight all of the article, but it is his. Go and read it. Read it to the end.

It's time to become conscientious objectors refusing the call of "support the troops." No one is "against the troops"; this phrase is a content-less redundancy, obscuring more than revealing. It's time for a discharge. Call it a reduction in forces. These words have lost all meaning, one more casualty of our new culture of war. They have been left on the front lines of a meaningless war, sacrificed for the goals of the corrupt and cowardly, just like their real world counteparts.

Here's one more heresy for you: our greater obligation is to the truth, not the troops. They, and the rest of us, will be just fine if we can only honor this.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Rhetorician

Okay, so y'all have written off the pres. His sellout of the border has caused Republican talk show creatures to start condemming him to beat the band. Well, I don't sell the man short at all. I admire him. Indeed, he has given me another reason to keep him in high regard.

I was driving home this morning from the not so big city. The radio was playing George Bush's answering of questions. I was vaguely listening when one fellow asked the president in effect, if Osama is so bad in Iraq now, isn't that because we invaded as he was not there before. I'm not too clear, but that is the sense I got.

Now the true answer to that question is, Hell, yeah. George did the only thing he could. He didn't answer the question. His reply, as best I remember it was, "So what you're saying is, the option would have been to let Saddam stay there." He then went on to cite the litany of all the works of evil of the late President.

It was a tour de force of what in another language they call being glich francach caca laca, or, cute as a shithouse rat.

Alright, I grant it is a low sort of cunning, but no matter. He was not talking to the people on the White House lawn or rose garden or wherever. He was talking to the people who hate the guy who asked the question. I am not sure even they are listening anymore, but it was the people he needed to talk to.

It's too bad he can't talk to them about immigration.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Darn that Fred Reed

Hey, I'm supposed to be the Neutralist and Fred Reed goes and writes one of the best neutralist articles ever. Heck, I don't even know if he is actually a neutralist.

Anyway, well worth reading.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Al Fin on war

I enjoy reading the blog Al Fin as I have an interest in science even though I have no real scientific knowledge or ability. Sometimes, though, he goes on to other subjects and there we disagree. Below are a couple of places.


On May 11, 2007 he quoted approvingly from another blog,

The U.S. military currently possesses command of the global commons. Command of the commons is analogous to command of the sea, or in Paul Kennedy’s words, it is analogous to “naval mastery.” The “commons,” in the case of the sea and space, are areas that belong to no one state and that provide access to much of the globe. Airspace does technically belong to the countries below it, but there are few countries that can deny their airspace above 15,000 feet to U.S. warplanes. Command does not mean that other states cannot use the commons in peacetime. Nor does it mean that others cannot acquire military assets that can move through or even exploit them when unhindered by the United States. Command means that the United States gets vastly more military use out of the sea, space, and air than do others; that it can credibly threaten to deny their use to others; and that others would lose a military contest for the commons if they attempted to deny them to the United States. Having lost such a contest, they could not mount another effort for a very long time, and the United States would preserve, restore, and consolidate its hold after such a fight. ...

The United States enjoys the same command of the sea that Britain once did, and it can also move large and heavy forces around the globe. But command of space allows the United States to see across the surface of the world’s landmasses and to gather vast amounts of information. At least on the matter of medium-to-large-scale military developments, the United States can locate and identify military targets with considerable fidelity and communicate this information to offensive forces in a timely fashion. Air power, ashore and afloat, can reach targets deep inland; and with modern precision-guided weaponry, it can often hit and destroy those targets.

He then writes,

"Most people who comment on the state of the world lack even a basic understanding of the firmer layers of reality beneath the media facade."

Yeah, so what. The last part of the last paragraph tells us

“At least on the matter of medium-to-large-scale military developments, the United States can locate and identify military targets with considerable fidelity and communicate this information to offensive forces in a timely fashion. Air power, ashore and afloat, can reach targets deep inland; and with modern precision-guided weaponry, it can often hit and destroy those targets.”

Well, the rest of the world knows that and there are precious few who are interested in taking us on in that realm. That does not mean no one wishes to take us on. A heck of a lot do. They are just more subtle about it. Those planes and ships don't do us much good against the suicide bombers. Anyway, the great beneficiaries of our world service are the Chinese*, who get to safely send all the exports to us and the oil producers who can ship non Texas Texas Tea here without fear of any piratical mishaps. What are we sending out of the country. The jobs don't travel by tanker.

Some may argue that this trade is win win. I am a free trader, but I think there is an analogy with the US auto industry here. The car makers made deals with the workers that insured future costs would be a drag in competing with foreign competition. As we are the only nation seriously paying for the security of the commons, this is a competitive cost we impose on ourselves that leaves us at a disadvantage. Of course there are many other ways we shoot ourselves in the foot. Will our excessive spending across the board lead us to disaster. That is for another day and for the black magicians of the occult craft of economics to discuss.
*I believe Al is on firmer ground as regards China here.


In the second Al Fin post he presents a youtube video of Uncle Jimbo. Uncle Jimbo is presenting a rant wherein he explains the difference between a peacetime army and the army in time of war. Now, I know I disagree with Uncle Jimbo on the war. I do feel some sympathy with the lad, though. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin and gets to hang out in a la la land. I know what that is like as I get to spend a good deal of time in the Five Colleges area in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts. I believe our adventure in Iraq is stupid. Still, spend enough time in a university town and even though one can't justify the war, you would almost want to support it in the same way that the moralizing about smoking makes me want to take up cigarettes so I can blow smoke in someones face. Of course, he continues to live there, so he must in some way enjoy it.

UJ's little talk is not bad. It reminds me of de Tocqueville's commentary, Causes Which Render Democratic Armies Weaker than Other Armies at the Outset of a Campaign and More Formidable in Protracted Warfare. He is right, the less adept are replaced by those more competent. People move up to where they belong.

Where he is wrong is that de Tocqueville wrote about how, when the peacetime army goes to war, it is at a disadvantage with all the time servers. As the battle rages and the homeland is threatened and other avenues of advancement in the nation are cut off, the military becomes the only outlet for ambitious people to rise. This is not happening here. The bright lad will not forego the position at the hedge fund to serve in Iraq. Yes, we have good men fighting, but one must doubt that there are going to be a lot more gushing out of the pipeline. In fact, we have even increased the number of cat IVs* we are enlisting.

If anything, time in this respect is on the side of the enemy. Poor, uneducated and with few prospects, there is no dearth of lads who do not see a glorious death as that horrible compared to their current meager existence. Amongst that pool of recruits, there are probably many who are officer material and will rise in their society in the way de Tocqueville outlines for a democratic army facing a foe with the potential to dominate its homeland. These unlucky ones will miss out on Jihadi suicide and will have to make do with all the mundane aspects of gathering intelligence, planning strategy and keeping up the level of mayhem. With us there, they have no reason to ever give up.

All wars are different and doing too much Vietnam analogizing is probably unhelpful. Still, if these guys think that a twenty year field exercise in a desert country is going to be in any way a victory, then they have no right to call anyone else a moonbat. That is simply the truth.

*Low scorers on the qualification exam.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

UPDATE-How the boys got to New Jersey

It appears the Jersey Jihadis, or, if you would, the Jerseyhadis did not all come through the airport. Three of them came across the Mexican border.

I know my president, hearing this has ordered the building of the fence post haste.

I thought this wasn't supposed to happen

By now, almost all the arguments for the Iraq adventure have turned to dust. WMD, never were. Democracy, yeah, that's going to happen. One that is still in play is the we are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here schtick.

Except it is kind of gone now. The Jersey Boys destroyed that. Actually, they are not really from Jersey, but they reside there now. These fellows never understood that according to the rules of the game, they were required to attack us in Iraq. If they attended New Jersey schools, then the heavens cry out for reform. Or, maybe they are just kinda garden variety dumb. What is it that people feel the need to video themselves.

Except for that little Faux Pas, they did seem on their way to producing some mayhem. Now, for there to be any truth to the we must fight them there so we don't have to here, then Fort Dix has to be defined as part of Iraq. Here, I am on fairly solid ground in disagreeing. Fort Dix is my alma mater. I spent eight happy weeks there. Well, I spent eight weeks there preparing to fight all the battles of the Viet Nam war that took place in the continental US.* Not once did I see a sign, either in English or Arabic, stating that the facility was the property of the Iraqi govenment.

So I am guessing that a reasonably intelligent person would say, if you don't want Jihadis here, you don't let people from Jihadi breeding areas into the country. These lads did not come ashore as frogmen. They probably landed at an airport, went through immigration after some documents were presented and disappeared. Obviously, your government does not really care.

So there is no reason to think our troops are going to do any good over there. Come home boys.

*I was particularly stalwart in the campaign against boredom.