Technology Substitutes for Strategy in U.S. Military Operations

Agm-158_JASSM
Yet more weapons: The JASSM

W.J. Astore

Once again, the U.S. military has launched Tomahawk cruise missiles against Syria, as well as a new weapon called the JASSM-ER, described as “a stealthy long-range air-fired cruise missile.”  According to FP: Foreign Policy, the latter weapon is “likely being closely watched in Tokyo, where military officials are considering purchasing the missile to give the country’s military a long-range strike capability against North Korean targets, Japan Times reports.”  In short, the U.S. military demonstrated a new weapon for an ally and potential client while striking a country (Syria) that has no way of striking back directly at the U.S.

Here’s a report from Defense Industry Daily on the weapons used:

April 16/18: JASSM-ER makes its combat debut The USAF has fired Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missile in combat for the first time. 19 such missiles were launched from two B-1B Lancer bombers during last weekend’s sortie against Syrian chemical weapon research and storage facilities, and were joined by 57 Tomahawk missiles launched from US naval assets, as well as Storm Shadow and SCALP missiles from British and French warplanes. While Russian sources in Syria claim that Russian and Syrian air defenses managed to down 71 or the total 105 cruise missiles launched during the Friday night operation—claims Washington refutes—a report on the mission by the Aviationist reckon the newer missiles—in particular the JASSM-ER, SCALP and Storm Shadow—would have been highly effective against their targets. 

One thing is certain: business is booming yet again for Lockheed Martin.

Technology shapes thought even as it becomes a substitute for it.  It amazes me, for example, how the U.S. military threw technology at the “problem” of Vietnam in an attempt to “win” that war.  Everything short of nuclear weapons was unleashed on Southeast Asia, yet those brave people refused to surrender.  U.S. Presidents from Kennedy to Nixon were always sending messages through airpower and other forms of destructive technology, but the Vietnamese couldn’t have cared less about those “messages.”  They had one goal: expel the invader, unify the country, and they stuck to it despite all the high explosive, napalm, defoliants, electronic fences, and everything else inflicted upon them.

Americans tend to see technology as a panacea.  Even deadly technology.  So, for example, what’s the proposed solution to gun violence in the USA?  According to the NRA and our president, it’s more guns.  What’s the solution to violence in Syria?  According to the military and our president, it’s more bombs and missiles.  One clear winner emerges here: those who produce the guns, bombs, and missiles.

Tomahawks and drones and similar weapons are all about action at a distance. They incur no risk of harm to U.S. troops.  As a result, America’s leaders use them liberally to send “signals” and to add to the body count.  They strike because they can and because it’s relatively easy.  Action serves as a substitute for thought.  The only strategy is to keep blowing things up.

The U.S. strategy, such as it is, is defined and driven by Tomahawks and drones and related weaponry.  These weapons make possible “global reach, global power,” but they do not facilitate global thinking.  Promising decision or at least quick results, they lead only to more bodies and deeper quagmires.

The U.S. keeps getting bogged down in wars in part because of the faith the government places in technology.  So much is invested in military weaponry that it becomes a substitute for thought.

But there are no missions accomplished: there is only more destruction.

16 thoughts on “Technology Substitutes for Strategy in U.S. Military Operations

  1. One thing is certain: business is booming yet again for Lockheed Martin.

    Let’s look on the bright side. Lockheed Martin’s principal breadbasket is the F-35 “stealth fighter” aircraft, the most expensive military acquisition ever, supposedly needed to conduct deep strikes, and these stand-off missiles make an expensive manned aircraft look as obsolete as my old Commodore VIC-20 computer, with twenty kilobytes of computing power.

    What we need (and probably won’t get, unfortunately) is someone in the military-congressional-industrial-media complex to stand up and say this simple truth, that the manned deep-strike fighter has been obsoleted by smart missiles, and dumping the F-35 would provide billions of dollars for more worthy projects.

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      1. Oh the F-35…really most Pentagon procurement these days, but especially the damn F-35. I can’t wait to see the leaked reports the first time it goes head to head with almost any gen 4.5 combat aircraft in a competitive evaluation.

        The Navy needs a new long-range interceptor to protect the carriers and Super Hornets, a la the old F-14. The Marines (and Army) need a rugged close support aircraft. But instead, we’re all supposed to pretend that ‘stealth’ is magic, that complex software is at the heart of an effective combat platform, and that Russia and China haven’t spent the past decade figuring out how to beat the thing. Helps that they build stuff with 80% of the capabilities at 50% of the cost, meaning you can usually fly a pair of Flankers against every F-35. Probably more, given the poor reliability of the F-35s already delivered (like, 50%-60% mission availability.

        But, you know, Industry and Pentagon experts always choose the best equipment for the personnel who need it to work to survive. And a decade of $600 billion Pentagon budgets have made sure that, you know, Navy officers have enough training to keep their ships from running into other ships, and the Army has modern equipment capable of surviving newer ATGMs, RPGs, and IEDs.

        Though since we’re mostly doing ineffectual stage-managed missile strikes as if it were the 90’s again, when we’re not drone-killing ‘militants’ or ‘fighters’ who are as often as not child soldiers pressed into service or just civilians caught in the crossfire, (naturally the media doesn’t even bother to try and verify) maybe it doesn’t matter. But in that case, can I stop giving 50% of my federal income taxes to the Pentagon, please?

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  2. An interesting article from FP: Foreign Policy

    America’s First Reality TV War
    The Trump administration’s latest missile strikes in Syria were never going to accomplish anything. But the show must go on.
    BY MICAH ZENKO | APRIL 16, 2018, 3:52 PM

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Micah Zenko is Whitehead Senior Fellow at Chatham House and is the author of Red Team: How to Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy

    One year after launching a limited strike against the Syrian government to deter future chemical weapons attacks, U.S. President Donald Trump did the same thing again Friday night. Within 12 hours, the Pentagon judged the operation as being “very successful,” which was a given since the three above-ground facilities were assuredly monitored for years and situated in a relatively low-threat air defense environment. The ability of a $700 billion military to destroy static targets is unremarkable.

    What was sensational about the missile strikes was the public spectacle of it all. From Trump’s initial pledge that the Syrian government’s suspected chemical attack “will be met, and it will be met forcefully,” to the Pentagon videos showing individual missiles being launched, this was a military operation telegraphed, scripted, and executed for a 24-hour information era.

    Trump’s Twitter feed provided its typical denunciation, bluff, and guidance. He assigned his latest enemy, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the artless nickname “Gas Killing Animal,” indicated that the promised operation could commence “very soon or not so soon at all!,” and then warned Russia that the missiles “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’” The latter tweet was an accurate prophecy, as the operation featured the combat debut of the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range. Over the coming week, all of these tweets framed the news coverage and pundit debates, and the always scrambling-to-catch-up statements by administration officials.

    Next were the leaks of debates between White House officials ranging from those pressing for a more expansive attack, including against Iranian forces operating inside Syria, to military officials attempting to limit the strikes to only to a few facilities directly connected to the chemical weapons program, thereby avoiding direct confrontation with Iran or Russia. Trump and his new national security advisor, John Bolton, got to appear tough vis-a-vis Iran, while Secretary of Defense James Mattis and senior uniformed officials came off as level-headed and realistic.

    There was also a well-publicized campaign of presidential calls and diplomatic visits to incorporate allies to better legitimize a military operation that most legal scholars would deem a violation of international law. French and British leaders Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May would strongly condemn Assad’s actions, but then only provide limited support — 17 missiles combined, to the United States’ 88 — and then only to curtail one illegal type of Syria’s lethality.

    Syria and its patron, Russia, also performed their expected roles. The Syrian official news agency declared that “allegations of using chemical weapons have become an unconvincing stereotype,” despite this being repeatedly documented by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism. Soon after the missiles struck, the Russian Foreign Ministry — without any self-awareness of Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine — condemned the attack as “an absolutely groundless assault on the sovereignty of a country which is a full member of the United Nations.” The Russian Ministry of Defense then claimed that air defense systems it supplied to Syria shot down 71 of the incoming missiles. Pentagon officials pointed out that those air defense systems did not even fire until after every U.S., French, and UK missile had struck.

    The Pentagon provided the necessary imagery to be instantly and continually retransmitted and circulate via news organizations and social media. These include arresting still and video footage of bombers taking off and receiving fuel en route to Syria, naval surface ships and submarines launching cruise missiles in darkness, and before-and-after damage assessment satellite photos of all three bombed sites. Two Pentagon press conferences then featured military jargon and granular details — such as the exact number and names of missiles directed at each site — filling up much of the print and cable news coverage. Joint Staff director Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie proclaimed that the Syrian government would “think long and hard about” using chemical weapons again in light of the missile strike, echoing Mattis’s proclamation a year earlier that the “the Syrian regime should think long and hard before it again acts so recklessly.”

    The strikes and their aftermath resembled a staged play, where the primary goal was less to destroy targets than to assure that cast members played out their respective roles. That this latest attack will have no operational impact on combatants involved in the Syrian civil war is beside the point. They all successfully memorized their lines, delivered them convincingly, and received glowing reviews from their intended audiences. Bravo. Let’s give Trump the closing line: “Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”

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    1. And don’t forget the ubiquitous photos of the kiddos with foaming mouths, brought to us by our friendly US/UK sponsors, which so impressed Trump and inspired him to order tons of explosives delivered to harmless facilities in a war the US has already lost.
      Why was there no chemical gas dispersal? Because we checked the wind direction and used a lot of explosives — 76,000 pounds of explosives on Barzah alone — according to the Air Force. No matter that the OPCW had just visited there and was prepared to remove it from the chemical weapons list.

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  3. I follow commercial news more than military, and Leeham News & Comment published a frightful report April 14, the day of “Mission Accomplished!” (Sounds like a 70% failure rate is good!) I do not consider this “technology” advances.
    Seems 30, maybe 50, new Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliners’ are grounded. The FAA has restricted their fly time from airports from 330 minutes to 140, and maybe down to 60! The blame is Rolls-Royce engines, but the whole project has been plagued by (ex)CEO McNerney’s greed for money, which has, ironically, cost Boeing dearly. By ‘outsourcing’ engineering, the air conditioning contractor doesn’t understand what the hydraulics guy is doing! Of course he hates unions; especially engineering ($) ones. I’d guess ditto for RR – thanks May/Thatcher for ‘downsizing’ a once fine company.
    These worthless bums could now ruin our COMMERICIAL business! Which feeds the MIC.
    Wouldn’t that be the ultimate historic irony of our fall? Commercialism, which our military was paid a fortune in US tax dollars to protect, failed to feed the MIC!

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    1. A lot of the civilian stuff we buy is poorly designed and engineered, and doesn’t last long, so we shouldn’t be surprised at Boeing and Lockheed with performance and quality control problems. F-35s are holding at 50% availability after several years, etc. How many young Americans get into engineering? China has more engineering graduates than the U.S., Japan and Germany combined.
      Then (I’m familiar with the F-35) there was the move to commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS). I wrote a paper on it four years ago –“Lots of COTS.” . .extract…
      The F-35 besides being the largest acquisition program in history is also the most complex system in history. It seems contradictory, given that fact, that this most complex system — called a flying computer — depends largely for its control and the pilot’s operations upon commercial off-the-shelf hardware (COTS). The F-35 has lots of COTS items which are expected to do great things, helping to crunch data at 40.8 billion operations per second with approximately 9.5 million lines of code (currently six years behind schedule) aboard the aircraft.
      F-35 designers sought to design the plane’s avionics to bring the new aircraft’s electronic and electro-optic systems integration to a level never seen before using high-speed fiber-optic databuses and powerful commercial off-the-shelf microprocessors. Electronic controls have taken over many functions, like fuel and weapons systems, that were never considered to be a part of avionics and they were coupled to new advances in radar and weapons.//

      Okay, it doesn’t work very well. Too complex, poor quality control, many reasons. Bottom line — too complex. But profitable for Lockheed.

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      1. Reminds me of a scene early in the movie, The Untouchables (1987), when one of Al Capone’s goons tries to sell some bad beer to a local shopkeeper. When the shopkeeper refuses, saying “your beer’s no good,” the goon answers: “It’s not supposed to be good. It’s supposed to be bought.” Then the goon walks out of the shop, leaving behind a briefcase with a bomb inside which explodes a moment later killing the shopkeeper and a little girl who had come in to get something for her mother.

        Or the scene in Robocop (also 1987) where the older executive Dick Jones confronts the younger yuppie executive Bob Morton in the corporation’s Executive Lounge (bathroom): “I had a guaranteed military sale with [Enforcement Droid] ED-209. Renovation Program. Spare Parts for 25 years. Who cares if it worked or not?” Shortly afterwards, Dick Jones sends a local hired goon to the young yuppie’s home with a DVD of the older executive gloating while a live hand grenade rolls around on a table top before blowing up the yuppie’s home with him in it.

        Moral of these cinema stories: Buy our no-good junk or we will blow up your place of business and/or home — along with you and your family, your friends, your neighbors, and fellow citizens generally. [See the Iraqi cities of Fallujah, Ramadi, and Mosul, along with the Syrian city of Raqqa, circa 2003-2018]

        Some Americans [by no means all of us] become easily “outraged” whenever they hear unsubstantiated rumors of Kuwaiti babies thrown from incubators, aspirin factories making “precursor chemicals” in the Sudan, and, of course, gaseous Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq that look like either mushroom clouds or smoking guns. Just the thought of those gaseous smoking mushroom guns makes some Americans want to kill a “brutal dictator’s own people” before he has chance to do that himself. How dare those brutal dictators like Abraham Lincoln get 650,000 of their own people killed when over half of them didn’t consider themselves “his” people but their own. When the foreign liberating armies come to rescue Americans from their own brutal dictators, I can imagine those visiting Visigoths wrapping a chain around Old Abe’s neck and using a tank to topple him from his monumental seat, like a pathetic and toothless Saddam Hussein in a future, real life episode of Planet of the Apes.

        The American government keeps making the world a Godfather-like “offer you can’t refuse,” but I sure hope that the world refuses it — and lives to tell the younger ape-children why their hairless cousins became suddenly extinct due to their own crass greed and stupidity.

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      2. Norman R. Augustine, ironically former CEO of Lockheed Martin, wrote a great book in 1986, “Augustine’s Laws.” It’s especially strong in critiquing and lampooning the aerospace industry. With respect to software, Augustine coined his Law Number XVII, “the Law of the Piranha,” where he writes “many contractors are devotees of the ‘Big Bang’ Theory of Software Development, a policy which eats money by the bushel.” He then explains, “Software is like entropy. It is difficult to grasp, weighs nothing, and obeys the second law of thermodynamics, i.e., it always increases.”

        There’s nothing like software, Augustine says, to add cost to a project, and adds “that if you automate a mess, you get an automated mess.” Another cost driver is when software errors are discovered in the development process: “The cost of repair is a factor of five greater when not discovered until the acceptance test phase and a factor of fifteen greater when uncovered in the operational phase.”

        The F-35 is being rushed into its “operational phase” with lots of software glitches. These are difficult to find and fix and also consume enormous sums of money. But the “automated mess” sure is a money-maker for Lockheed Martin. Doubtless there will be software upgrades for the F-35 until the year 2050. Or maybe the year 2525.

        We may yet spend so much on the F-35 that the U.S. military disarms itself. Or bankrupts the country. Or both.

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  4. Years ago pre Y-2K, I had a neighbor who was a computer geek. He had his own company but contracted out to perform various jobs. Y-2K was being treated in the McMega-Media like the Last Judgement Day. The Multi-National Conglomerate I worked for would send us reassuring E-Mails about everything was under control prior to Y-2K.

    When I asked my computer geek neighbor what was going to happen on that Computer Day of Armageddon – January 1st, 2000 – he laughed it off. He said it was the best thing that ever happened to him financially – fixing a problem that did not exist and being paid for it.

    Another friend of mine who worked as a foreman in a distribution center used a primitive but effective computer program to track inventory. The management of the center was sold on some new system to replace the old. My friend told me that they had to use old system until the new system could take over- they could not “talk” to each other. Problem was new system had “bugs” so the new company had to constantly try to make corrections, but they charged for this service.

    When computers started to make their presence felt in the multi-national company I worked for, there were always “bugs”. Who do you trust to design a system that works??? It was probably a simple decision at some level prior to computers to determine which typewriter worked best, or which photocopy machine worked best. You could see the result in real time. The computer gurus in my company said they wanted to be on the cutting edge of computer technology, but they did not want to bleed to death either. Defense contractors do not have this worry it is cost plus.

    The Defense Contractors have every financial reason to design new weapon systems of ever evolving complexity even if they are not needed.

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  5. I thought of trying to put this attack in perspective. It appears 105 missiles were fired on Syria. The warhead is 1,000 pounds. So some quick math 105 x 1,000 = 105,000 pounds or 52.5 tons. A World War 2 B-17 operating against a long range target could carry 2.5 tons of bombs per plane.

    So it would have taken 21 B-17s to do the same job. I suspect 1000 pounds of today’s munitions has more explosive power than WW 2 era munitions. Of course with missiles there is no worry of aircraft being shot down over the target.

    There is a good article about the cost @ https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/16/syria-airstrikes-cost-to-us-taxpayers.html

    It is more than cost in dollars, it is the runaway unchecked militarism on display. There is link on the above Web Page where Wesley Clark says Syria airstrikes were ‘masterfully done.’ Here’s how to finish the job. Of course General Clark does not mention how the US and it’s puppets have contributed to the destruction of humanity in Syria and Iraq.

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    1. Speaking of perspective, I did a little quick research on my Internet monitoring device and came up with this “blast from the past,” so to speak: ‘Decapitation strike’ was aimed at Saddam, CNN International, Thursday, March 20, 2003 Posted: 0851 GMT ( 4:51 PM HKT). As the introductory paragraph informed us at the time:

      WASHINGTON (CNN) — The decision to launch a “decapitation strike” aimed at Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was made by President Bush during an urgently called meeting Wednesday evening in which the CIA director voiced concern that a prime opportunity could be lost, U.S. officials said.

      Yes, fellow Crimestoppers, the U.S. government ran this same, dreary cruise missile “decapitation” thing fifteen years ago and set the Middle East on fire, a conflagration that has not burned itself out even today. But it now requires a former Reagan administration budget director to bring us up to date on just how little learning has occurred in the U.S. capital, or, Center of Empire, as its demented denizens would have us believe. Check it out: David Stockman Says Syria Gassing is a Deep State Hoax and a Lie, Russia Insider (4/19/2018). The article’s bottom line:

      …there is a whole infrastructure of policy apparatchiks, think tankers and beltway operatives who have now spent upwards of three decades absorbing and extending the “sole superpower”narrative that sprung into being when Soviet Union disappeared in a flash and China lurched onto the Red Capitalist route to save itself from disaster.

      These people are so imbued with the sense that Washington is the seat of Empire that they are fully capable of fashioning the Big Lie out of mere dust, as our Douma Deposed exposé so starkly reveals.

      Two operators typical of this breed took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to egg the Donald on – urging him to extend Friday’s one-off bombing raids to an all-out assault on Assad and then on to Tehran.

      Said former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O’Hanlon:

      Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits” [emphasis added].

      Undoubtedly, they mean assassinating the Ayatollah Khamenei by the latter phrase, and it should not be shocking because that’s what Empires do when faced by resistance in the provinces.

      As the penultimate paragraph cited and emphasized above ought to remind us (in immediate juxtaposition with the CNN article from 2003), the stupendously stupid concept of “decapitation” — i.e., attempting the murder of foreign heads of state with dozens of badly aimed cruise missiles — rarely, if ever, works; yet its lurid appeal continues to compel America’s credulous cretins in the White House, Pentagram, and Can’t-Identify-Anything “intelligence community” to keep advocating — and launching — repetition after repetition as the years-stretching-into-decades roll by.

      The self-celebrating Emperor Donald now appears naked on the world stage, crowing about his “nice, new, and smart” cruise-missile clothes that no one but his corrupt courtiers can see.

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      1. Expressed in a somewhat different format, my take on this “shock and awe,” cruise-missiles-from-ships-and-planes, “decapitation,” and “sending messages” thing from thirteen years ago. How little has changed except the name of the moron president who authorized the latest rendition of:

        Deputy Dubya’s Droopy Diaper Rap

        You fell asleep on watch and let some bad guys blow us up,
        And when you woke you swore to pay them back.
        You then attacked a country that had never done us harm
        Which seems to indicate it’s brains you lack.

        You needed made-up reasons that you thought the rubes would buy.
        You swore Saddam Hussein had done the crime.
        You had Ms. Rice warn darkly of some sprouting mushroom clouds
        In little less than forty minutes’ time.

        Dick Cheney spoke of spies who may have met one night in Prague
        Discussing who-knows-what? or when? or how?
        He claimed that all this nothing added up to something big
        That justified attacking Iraq now.

        Don Rumsfeld claimed to know just where to find those awful bombs.
        He said he knew exactly where they were.
        That none had ever come to light disturbed him not at all;
        For dreams, not facts, made better sales allure.

        And Colin Powell played along and told the world untruths
        In service to a man who oft betrays;
        And now no thinking person who resides on Planet Earth
        Believes a single word that this man says.

        Your CIA did what it does, whatever that might be;
        And spent more billions finding zilch to fear;
        But undeterred you pressed ahead until the spooks agreed
        To tell you everything you longed to hear.

        The Pet Press pundit sycophants fell quickly into line;
        For “access” they had sold their souls for free.
        You gave each one a nickname in return for which they swore
        To overlook your rank stupidity.

        The Congress went along and did precisely not one thing
        To cure us of our doubts about their worth.
        They swarmed aboard the lemming liner, “Gulf of Tonkin II,”
        And led us once again to rue their birth.

        So came the night of green-hued TV pictures from “The Front”
        With breathless claims of “Shock and Awe” profound
        That really only lulled and bored the viewers back at home
        Impressing no Iraqis on the ground.

        You and your team, of course, converged to watch the main event;
        To stomp and cheer each way-cool boom and bang.
        You had photographers snap pictures of you gettin’ down
        And doin’ that studly Texas hamster thang.

        With manhood issues unresolved, you pranced and leaped about
        With every adolescent urge fulfilled,
        You launched three dozen missiles at a Baghdad neighborhood
        Yet never cared to wonder whom you’d killed.

        And don’t you think that forty missiles seem a little much
        To cut the heads off three Iraqi men
        Who, anyway, were somewhere else when all the bombs arrived
        And not where you supposed them to have been?

        That word “decapitation” sounded swell not long ago
        But now only reminds us of your lies.
        Some folks have lost their heads, all right, just not the ones you planned;
        Just those who drive your trucks and cook your fries.

        So things have gone from only-bad to worse-than-that and more
        As GI coffins come home late at night;
        And billions run into the hundred-billions off the books
        Which makes those foreign lenders quake with fright.

        You started spouting Jesus jive because you think it sells
        Among religious folks who live in dread
        Of terrorist hijackers crashing into Red State barns
        And working people organized and led.

        To you, the Middle Ages sound like just the place to reign
        With hopeless people waiting for their doom
        Who every thousand years or so take off their clothes and climb
        Up on their roofs to wait for what? and whom?

        You learned to watch the NBA and do that high-five dance.
        You’ve learned your three-word mantras through and through.
        George Tenet taught you how to ‘slam-and-dunk’ and jockstrap-sniff
        But still you’ve never grown to more than you.

        Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2005

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  6. Good points ML, and let’s not forget the great Warlord Churchill was sacked as PM in 1945. According to historian Antony Beever, he got this dreadful news from the Brit General in Burma: “My boys are in hell & won’t be voting for you!” Translation: They want a decent National Health Service, and fair pensions. And PEACE!
    Beever, an elitist in his own way, gives Churchill a break, writing “Churchill’s flaw was he couldn’t change..”. Nicely put for a racist Imperialist!
    We know the rest: The British Empire quickly collapsed, in fact it was gone by his death in 1965. So maybe there is a God! Churchill lived long enough to face loss after loss.
    The irony to me is USA is more in step with UK than realizing Empires have short shelf life. Today at least. Eisenhower blew his stack with their invasion of Egypt in 1956 over the Suez Canal. “Get out IMMEDIATELY or ALL your war debts to US are immediately payable – in GOLD!” No ‘snowflake’!
    Wesley Clark sounds reasonable – like Churchill – but he misses the big picture: It is the destruction of sovereign nations that they both refuse to admit. He’s great on talk shows, but so was Churchill writing books.
    I believe the Age of Empire is over. The world is now in that cusp.

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    1. Speaking of retired General Wesley Clark, I can remember the “quick and surgical” Clinton bombing of Serbia dragging on for days stretching into months, when Clark, as commander of NATO forces in Europe, kept trying to publicly force the U.S. adminstration to commit ground forces, since the Serbian Army had not surrendered or even suffered much in the way of damage from all the bombing, unlike the civilian infrastructure in Belgrade, which included the Chinese Embassy [Oops!]. Secretary of Defense William Cohen got truly annoyed with general Clark’s public posturing and told him straight out: “Get your fucking face off TV!” Unfortunately, it appears that the former general Clark has still not learned to stop publicly humiliating himself by commenting about “bombing successes” that he truly seems to believe — despite a lack of convincing evidence — actually happened.

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