The U.S. Military as a Bull

It’s not going well for the bull

W.J. Astore

About 15 years ago, I was talking to a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who’d served with the 101st Airborne as a battalion commander in Iraq.  He told me his troops were well trained and packed a tremendous punch.  An American platoon, given its superiority in firepower, communications, and the artillery and air support it can call on, could take on enemy units three times its size and win (easily).  Yet this tremendous advantage in firepower proved politically indecisive in Iraq as well as places like Afghanistan and Vietnam.

The typical U.S. military response is to argue for even more firepower – and to blame the rules of engagement (ROE) for not allowing them to use it indiscriminately.

The U.S. military has optimized and always seeks to optimize its hitting power at the sharp end of war.  It takes pride in its “hardness” and its “warriors.” But the skirmishes and battles it “wins” never add up to anything.  If anything, the more the U.S. military used its superior firepower in Iraq as well as places like Vietnam and Afghanistan, the more collateral damage it spread, the more people it alienated, the more the results became retrograde.

Even as U.S. leaders cited impressive (and false) metrics to show “progress” about districts “pacified,” or how many Vietnamese or Afghan or Iraqi troops were “trained” and ready to assume the roles of U.S. troops, the truth was that U.S. military units were sinking ever deeper into quagmires of their own making.  Meanwhile, elements within Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq, enabled by America’s own military-industrial complex, worked cleverly to extract more wealth and resources from a U.S. government that was only fooling itself and the American people with its lies about “progress.”

Let’s take a closer look at the Afghan War as an example.  The military historian Dennis Showalter put it memorably to me.  He talked of Taliban units offering “symmetry,” or fighting as American units are trained to do, only under exceptional circumstances, and typically to the Taliban’s advantage (e.g. small-unit ambushes using IEDs that drove U.S. troops to respond with massive firepower).  Since U.S. troops are adept at reacting quickly and deploying massive firepower, they believe that this is war’s cutting edge.  Find ‘em, fix ‘em, kill ‘em, is often the start and end of U.S. military strategy.

As Showalter put it: Like a bull the U.S. military rushes the Taliban cape as the sword goes into its shoulders.  If you’re the enemy, wave that cape – just be sure to sidestep the bull’s rush.

Yes, the U.S. military has impressive firepower. Yes, no one projects force like the U.S. military. Yes, the U.S. military can charge and hit with bullish impact. But for what purpose, and to what end? The bull in a bullfight, after all, doesn’t often win.

And when you move the bull from the fighting ring to a delicate situation, a more political one, one that requires subtlety and care, things go very poorly indeed, as they do when bulls find themselves in china shops.

35 thoughts on “The U.S. Military as a Bull

  1. Heh. Talk about the just about Perfect symbol, metaphor, analogy, and description; the U.S. Military as a Bull is at the top of the charts: As in a Bull Ring, as in a China Shop, and, ultimately, as in Bull Shit.

    Not only does “the bull in a bullfight, after all, not often win,” as You put it, Bill. This particular Bull hasn’t won a war in 77 years.

    And, since the end of the Soviet Empire and Cold War I 30 years ago, it has been given ~ or taken ~ free range in the China Shop of the World to turn it into its own personal playpen, and leave its Shit everywhere.

    But two points need to be made.

    First, the U.S. Military ~ by itself ~ is not the sole determinant of what American Foreign Policy is attempting to accomplish. In theory, at least, it merely executes the martial aspects of that Policy within the constraints set by the politicians, bureaucrats, and appointees, and their owners and operators within the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex, the folks who actually establish that Policy.

    Second, particularly since the end of Cold War I, the purpose and objective of all of America’s military adventures has been and still is not so much to “win” those wars, but simply to have them so as to keep the Gravy Train going and the Monkey fed. And to do whatever is necessary and possible to stir up more conflicts elsewhere, all over the Planet, that require America’s involvement to then resolve.

    All this while waiting for Russia to recover from the demise of the USSR and European Communism to get back into the Super Power business ~ and even more for China to get totally over Mao and into it for the first time ~ so that Cold War II could finally get started.

    As stated elsewhere: “The Forever War” launched after 9/11 was, is, and ever will be nothing but a halftime show between Cold Wars I and II to keep the troops occupied, the MICC profitable, and the American people comfortably numb to protracted conflicts in places most of them can’t find on a map of the world.

    And here we are with Ukraine in the West and Taiwan in the East, the best of all possible world for the MICC [and of course, its supporting News, Views, and Infotainment Matrix]: a two-front War.

    From the Bull Ring to the China Shop…. . Gotta love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i’m not sure if this video is directly relevant to the symbol, metaphor, analogy, and description of the U.S. Military as a Bull, Bill.

      But at least indirectly, it can offer an object lesson on what happens to People when Bulls are let loose outside of the Rings or China Shops, and into the Streets: .


      1. i especially like the very last scene, when the Bulls are greeted with a standing ovation by the folks at The Ring, who’ve been watching the whole thing from the beginning on giant live-tv screens.

        And now, of course, the Bulls have to fight.


      2. Great video. Thanks, Jeff.

        Well, it sure looked like the bulls “won” — at least in the run to the ring. What comes next — well …


        1. The truly incredible thing about that was that apparently nobody got killed. THAT is absolutely amazing, eh?


  2. What does this tell anybody who is paying attention where the whole matter of Taiwan is going? How soon will the “Real Men and Women” in Washington want to “go to Beijing” like others currently want to “go to Tehran”?


    WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would significantly enhance U.S. military support for Taiwan, including provisions for billions of dollars in additional security assistance, as China increases military pressure on the democratically governed island.

    The Senate Foreign Relations Committee backed the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022 by 17-5, despite concerns about the bill in U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration and anger about the measure from Beijing.

    Continued at


    1. There’s a form of madness in the air. Perhaps this is what happens when empires begin to fail. Failures bring on flailing that can be very dangerous for those in the path of the empire in decline.

      We’re witnessing our decline now — hopefully, it’ll be a shallow glide path to a soft landing and not a corkscrewing spin to a hard crash.


      1. Based on what i understand about History and Empires, Bill, this is EXACTLY what happens when Empires begin their descent.

        The wings haven’t fallen off as yet, but rivets are popping loose and hydraulic fluid is streaming back across the wing tops. And if it develops into a corkscrewing spin, it’s going to be a lot worse than merely a “hard crash.”

        Makes You wonder who’s at the controls up in the cockpit, eh?


  3. How did Franklin put it? “We’ve given You a Republic; if you can keep it… .”


    Americans’ understanding of basic facts about the U.S. government declined for the first time in six years, as fewer than half in a new survey could name all three branches of government.

    The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s annual Constitution Day Civics Survey found a significant drop in the percentage of Americans who could name all three branches of government — executive, legislative, and judicial — falling by 9 percentage points from a year earlier.

    About a quarter of Americans surveyed could not name a single branch.

    The survey also found a decline in the number of respondents who could name any of the five freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment.

    Continued at


    1. We used to teach civics; also U.S. history. But those subjects have been replaced or supplanted by trendier ones in some schools.

      Diversity, tolerance, and the like are important, but you need basic knowledge of government, the Bill of Rights, and so on. Too many students aren’t learning. I’m sure the subjects are taught, or at least touched on, but they’re not stressed enough, and of course education isn’t valued enough in the USA, unless we’re talking STEM as a passport to high-paying jobs.

      As Trump famously quipped, “I love the poorly educated.”


      1. Heh. First i ever heard of that.

        Even at that early stage of the Dawn of “The Age of Trump” back in the Spring of 2016, he was speaking of and for America’s Ruling Political Class and its Elites.

        It is only because of the “poorly educated” that the RPC is so easily able to maintain its stranglehold on this nation’s system of government and governance, and the “governors” they own and operate thru America’s $ 1 = 1 Vote system of politics.

        A “poorly educated Citizenry” is just exactly what those folks needed, what they set out to bring about, and what they have succeeded in making happen. Not only in the realm of formal Education, but ~ even more critically in the Age of the Internet and Social Media ~ in the realm of Information, as well.

        That’s what we have a News, Views, and Infotainment Matrix for, isn’t it? To ensure that the Mis-, Dis-, and Mal-Information flows freely, and that Real Information is carefully controlled so as to advance The Agenda.



    Have you ever noticed how those who shriek the loudest about tyranny in foreign countries are always the same people calling for the censorship and deplatforming of anyone who criticizes the western empire?

    It’s a ubiquitous mind virus throughout western society. Anyone — and I do mean anyone — who aggressively and consistently criticizes the foreign policy of the US and its allies in front of a sizeable audience gets branded a Russian agent by empire apologists, and this consensus is accompanied by the steadily growing opinion that Russia’s operatives and useful idiots should be banned from western platforms.

    The trouble with “western values” is that westerners don’t value them. They think they value them, but all that reverence for free expression and holding power to account with the light of truth goes right out the window the second they see someone saying something that sharply differs from what their rulers and their propagandists have told them to think. Then they want that person silenced and shut down.

    It’s obvious with a look around that the “western values” we’re all told about are not actually terribly common in the west. Look at the west’s major media platforms and they virtually never platform anyone who is meaningfully critical of the real centers of power in western civilization. Look at western governments and they continually dance to the beat of oligarchy and empire regardless of how people vote in their supposedly free democratic elections. Look at the internet and it’s actually very difficult to find authentic criticisms of imperial power unless you already know where to look.

    Full article at


  5. While I can’t afford any more subscriptions, I do subscribe to the free email newsletter of Elijah J. Magnier and the latest teaser is so incisive, describing such dire possibilities in our Common Futures, the people wearing rose tinted glasses don’t want to see the ‘Writing on the Wall’ implied in it.

    ‘How Russia lost the battle of Kharkiv, and what are the lessons to be drawn?’

    [This attack strongly indicates a significant Russian intelligence failure. The General Staff in Moscow may have considered they were facing weak and highly damaged Ukrainian forces, discounting the influence of dozens of Western intelligence services gathered at the Ramstein base in Germany in a single operations room.
    Western intelligence and military services enjoy unlimited support and obedience from the Ukrainian army, an overview through satellites, human intelligence, and equipment on the battlefield. The western military headquarters worked to look for Russian loopholes and directed the Ukrainian army to record a minor tactical Russian defeat, but significant since the start of the war in February 2022]………………

    How will Russia behave Militarily to spare the total destruction of Ukraine, once it removes it’s rose tinted glasses, and start operating within the Reality this is ALREADY a World WAR with the US and it’s 30 European Vassals adding so much fuel to the fire, after blocking the 2015 Minsk Peace Agreement from taking root?

    It’s only a matter of Time since the World is still on the escalation path!



    1. I just read about President Putin’s Press Conference now, 8 hours after posting the comment above. It would appear we’re on the same wavelength, this being an excerpt,

      So far, Moscow has demonstrated a very reserved reaction to such actions by the Ukrainian authorities as attempts to target vital infrastructure on Russian soil or stage “terror attacks,” Putin said.

      “The special military operation is not a warning of some sort, but a special military operation. We’re witnessing attempts to stage terror attacks, attempts to damage our civilian infrastructure. We respond to this with restraint, but only for the time being,” Putin stated, warning that the approach may change in the future.
      “Quite recently, the Russian armed forces delivered a couple of sensitive strikes, let’s say they were a warning. If the situation continues to develop in such fashion, the response will be more serious,” he added.

      ‘Ukraine conflict, energy crisis and ‘colonial’ West: Putin’s latest press conference
      Vladimir Putin reiterated the goals of Russia’s military operation and blasted the Western elite’s attitude’


  6. Wars are now about people, not stuff. The Vietnamese won with people power using minimal stuff like bicycles, AK47’s, traps concealing stakes smeared with feces, etc. and they were up against the US with stuff in the air and on the ground everywhere…helicopters, artillery, fighter/bombers even mighty battleships shelling offshore. We are obsessed with and fascinated by technology. Browse YouTube for countless in-depth reports by just another American guy taking considerable time of his own free will and without compensation to do quite high quality work on the details of weapons and cars, past and present. The awe of power is never far from the surface. The “likes” on these videos are typically in the tens of thousands.

    I had the fever. As a kid I used to watch Navy training films that went behind the scenes on aircraft carriers. CooI! I made a list of all the US made car engines, by horsepower, that I put up on my bedroom wall. I built a fleet of aircraft and ship models, keeping the boxes for the cool fighting scenes they depicted. Then, inexplicably, I grew up.

    There is no understanding of war fighting in the world as it is. Going toe to toe with China over Taiwan, an island of Chinese people located in the China Sea just off of mainland China is fantastic because nuclear war, the ultimate use of stuff to extinguish civilization is a door that can’t be opened. The Chinese, knowing we had nuclear weapons, did not hesitate to intervene in Korea. Now they can reply in kind and make carrier battle groups inoperative literally in a flash.

    But the fascination with stuff and the fact that building it is very profitable will keep the absurdity of the US military “budget” going. I’d like to think that the brass hats really know the score and would never get us into a fight with the Chinese, but I look at what they have done in Iraq and Afghanistan and realize the refusal to see war as being about people instead of things is going strong unimpeded by failure. A country that claims to be highly advanced, we look backward longing for the warfare of WW2 with lots of stuff, our unequalled ability to produce it and the satisfying wrap-up of unconditional surrender.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was just working on a piece today on this subject. Well put, Clif. I had that same fever as a kid. I built models, studied technical specs, and wanted to know everything I could about America’s latest planes and tanks. Then, inexplicably, I grew up.

      Or maybe the inexplicable part is that some guys never grow up?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Cliff: You make an excellent point about the “Man vs Machine” focus on American war making; but there are a number of other factors besides “people” and “stuff” [as in weapons technology] that determine how wars turn out.

      They include tactics and strategy, information, and logistics.

      The best “people” or “stuff” ~ or some combination of the two ~ are of little use if the Way they are used [tactics] and the Why they are used [strategy] are not consistent with what is required to successfully deal with the situation at hand, and accomplish the mission.

      And knowledge of the situation requires accurate and timely information; as in knowing where the enemy is, what he is doing, and what his intentions, capabilities, and strengths and weaknesses are. And equally important is knowing what one’s own actual intentions and real capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses are.

      But the best “people” [ie, boots-on-the-ground combatants] with the best “stuff” and information, using the best tactics and strategy, will be unable to do anything at all unless somebody figures out how: 1] to get all those people where they need to be to execute those tactics and strategies, and 2] to get all that stuff from where it is manufactured to where it is needed on the battlefield; ie, “logistics,”

      The Vietnamese beat first the French and then the Americans because they had a better strategy, employed better tactics, had better information about the enemy than the enemy had about them, and a logistics system that worked by providing them with all the stuff they needed to get the job done, particularly from the USSR and China. Those bicycles, AK-47s, and all the other stuff the Vietnamese had and used didn’t grow like Bamboo out in the jungle.

      But there is also a far more significant factor that is at play than tactics, strategy, information, and logistics.

      And that is, quite simply: Which side is RIGHT about what they are fighting for, and which side is WRONG.

      America lost its war in Vietnam because what we were attempting to accomplish there was not merely WRONG; it was EVIL. It was Wrong and Evil when we tried to help the French re-establish their colonial empire in Indochina; and it was ever Wronger and Eviler when we tried to then establish our own neocolonial empire on the ashes of the French.

      And that is also why we lost in Iraq and Afghanistan; because what we were attempting to accomplish there is, was, and ever will be WRONG and EVIL.

      And that is also exactly why America has lost its place as the Planet’s sole, unipolar hegemon; and Cold War II has begun. Just like Orwell predicted it would with his Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes JG. Cold War II has begun and is at the precipice of becoming a Hot War, the War to end all Wars if a Century late.

        I interjected this Declaration during the National Commemoration after the Moment of Silence, and the prayers by the Christian, Jewish and Islamic Establishment Religions to God, there should be no more War. on Remembrance Day, November 11, 1985.
        This was in the hearing of the Governor-General, Prime Minister, Military Brass, Ambassadors of the Nations, and the Public.
        Obviously those prayers were uttered in vain looking at the Realities of Today’s World.

        “Hear O people and Nations, even to the ends of the Earth, the Word of the LORD God, who is, and was, and is to come, The Almighty. The LORD has a controversy with the people. Do you do well to honour the dead, and yet, deny the God of the Living?

        Why do you follow the vain traditions of men, and make of no effect, the Principles of God?
        You come here for one hour, one day a year, in a great show of Public Patriotism, and then forgetting, go back to work and make the same careless mistakes made by the generations prior to the 1st and 2nd World Wars.

        Hitler is dead, but it’s his legacy that remains. A Soviet-American military-industrial complex consuming $trillions of dollars every year, holding the entire World hostage………………”

        “Hostage” was the last word said perched on a bus shelter roof, as police got up and grabbed the megaphone. I was arrested for shouting, causing a disturbance, convicted and fined. I appealed without a lawyer to The Supreme Court of Canada.



      2. I don’t see anything to disagree with in your comment, Jeff. My point is that if nukes will be used, nothing that is done leading up to their use – strategy, tactics, equipment, etc. makes any difference. All of these things could be employed brilliantly, the more so the more likely that the losing side in the conventional way would push the button and end the contest with all civilization going down to defeat from use of the great equalizer.

        Conventional war is no longer possible with two nuclear powers directly in conflict. That’s why Ukraine has been such a gift to the US, it lets us put the conventional stuff we’ve got into play by painting yellow and blue over red, white and blue and crossing our fingers that Putin plays along and keeps his finger off the button.


        1. Don’t forget it was the US that introduced NUKES into this World and was the only NATION to use them killing over 200,000 Civilians.

          Putin already exercised ‘the Nuclear Option’ by stopping the flow of gas through Nordstream I that will collapse Western Europe’s Economies. The rest is all US hype to scare People.

          The Nuclear incineration of Kansas City from the 1983 TV movie ‘THE DAY AFTER.
          The Day After will be TOO LATE!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. i agree 100% that Putin is playing the Better-Than-Nuclear Option with the gas shutdown. It promises to be a very interesting Winter on the Continent.


        2. No argument from me on Strategic Nukes ~ if used ~ making concern about conventional warfare capacity and execution irrelevant, Cliff.

          But i’m not sure what the effect of Tactical Nukes would be. That’s why this would be a good time for Everybody to keep their fingers off ALL of their buttons, including US, the U.S..

          And Ukraine is a MASSIVE gift to the U.S.’s National Security State. Almost like it was planned that way or something, eh?

          With The Forever War winding down, the NSS desperately needed a new “threat,” a new potential “enemy” to keep those appropriations at the levels it had grown quite accustomed to during the GWOT. So it set about to create one in Eastern Europe back in 2014; and has succeeded marvelously.

          And it also seems to be intent on creating another “threat” and a new so-called “peer-enemy” in China over the question of Taiwan. Even more ways to keep the Gravy Train rolling and to keep The Monkey fed.


  7. Bill, and CLIF aren’t there corporations in the US who specialize in playing War Games? Is it the Rand Corporation? Don’t these guys “games” take into account the ratio of people:stuff in the “Games” they play? I’m sure that in these days of computer modelling and simulations it’s pretty easy to inform the brass hats into really knowing the score of what ratio of people versus stuff works best in any future predicted war.
    Do you have knowledge of this Bill? From little I read it seems that these “games” have not been working out too well for the American side?


  8. “The RAND Corporation with Pentagon support has carried out a war game simulation in which the United States loses to both Russia and China. The US and NATO are unable to stop an attack in the Balkans by the Russians, and the United States and its allies are unable to prevent the takeover of Taiwan by China.

    These are the claims made by RAND. But is RAND right?

    The RAND war game effort was led by David Ochmanek, a senior international and defense researcher at the RAND Corporation. From 2009 until 2014 he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development.

    Ochmanek previously authored, with others, the 2015 study “America’s Security Deficit.” The war game is an operationalized and slightly updated version of that document, and to understand the outcomes of the war game one needs to refer to the thinking underlying it found in the “Deficit” paper.

    Ochmanek told The Daily Mail: “We lose a lot of people. We lose a lot of equipment. We usually fail to achieve our objective of preventing aggression by the adversary.”

    Fundamentally, the study claims that US international policy and the threat profiles faced by US leaders have reached an “inflection point” where five developments are now creating a strategic imbalance.”


    1. Dennis, you can call me Clif. I only use the 9710 ’cause there are so many other Clif’s running around. : )

      I read the article and this drew my attention: “War games, of course, do not presume to assess the impact of political processes, but only analyze the military components of a clash on the battlefield.”

      That in itself makes war games almost useless as war is rarely a simple matching of equipment and politics is always involved. The only exception I can think of is 1991 Iraq where Saddam’s equipment was hopelessly outmatched by that of the US and it was a slaughter of massed forces in a terrain, desert, where there was no cover. Saddam had zero political power while Bush Sr. had lined up partners, so it did indeed come down to equipment.

      Regarding equipment, the Asia Times article does not mention nuclear weapons except in reference to a “nuclear armed Korea”, not a word about US or Chinese nukes when we all know they are armed and ready to go on both sides. War games without nukes? In a way it makes sense since nukes are an automatic game over that makes guns/planes/ships irrelevant, so don’t include them. Nukes are a spoiler reducing a war game to the number of nukes that make it from one continent to the other literally over the head of the incredible American investment in conventional equipment and deployments. But nobody likes the kid who calls out the emperor with no clothes, or in this case the country that proclaims “we’re #1!”

      It’s worth remembering that wisdom was shown by America in withdrawing from Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, but definitely not in getting involved in those places. And the wisdom certainly took a long time to take hold even in the face of repeated failure to make progress. This says to me that in America there is far too much pressure to use force driven by self-righteousness. Congress seems almost eager to be free of the war making responsibility, quickly giving the president carte blanche after 9/11 and now, two decades later, in no rush to take back what was given. The public seems unconcerned. I don’t recall it being a topic mentioned in the last two, make that three presidential contests.

      We were ready to start WW3 over Cuba when the Russians wisely backed down. I understand the Russians should not be given credit for anything, but I’d hope the US would follow their Cuban example in a China showdown.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep Clif , I like your description of WW3…..”a war game to the number of nukes that make it from one continent to the other literally over the head of the incredible American investment in conventional equipment and deployments”

        Doesn’t take much “gaming” and modelling and computer simulation to predict the outcome, eh? those 2,400 F35’s and 11-aircraft carriers will be irrelevant. And you Yanks will be the lucky ones. Turned in radioactive ash in the first 10-minutes. We Kiwi’s down here will die slow horrible deaths over 6-months of radiation poisoning!


      2. Dennis: Some rich folk have built fancy bomb shelters in NZ. Feel free to take possession of them in the name of King Charles III. Or, better yet, your own name.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes. With respect to the USA “losing” to Russia and China, that’s even more incentive to spend spend spend to close all those “gaps” that we may have so we can “win” in the real “game.”


  9. And BTW CLIF9710 I don’t think the fascination with war stuff is uniquely an American trait. While you American kids had the fever building your models of P51 Mustangs, P38 Lightnings and B17 Bombers, we kid’s in the Commonwealth proudly built our Spitfires, Hurricanes, and Mosquito bomber models. And I guess the German kids built their Messerschmitt Bf 10’s and Focke-Wulf Fw 190’s as well.
    And the fascination with warships and tanks is huge worldwide.


  10. On Constitution Day 2022… :

    by: Mike Maharrey

    On this date in 1787, James Wilson delivered a speech written by Benjamin Franklin on the last day of the Philadelphia Convention. The speech urged the adoption of the Constitution despite Franklin’s reservations.

    In the opening words of the speech, Franklin laments that “there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve.” But he left himself some wiggle room to change his mind, adding, “I am not sure I shall never approve them.”

    Franklin didn’t talk – at that point – about any structural problems he had with the Constitution. Delegates were already well-aware of his areas of concern, such as his warning on June 4th that “THE EXECUTIVE WILL BE ALWAYS INCREASING HERE, AS ELSEWHERE, TILL IT ENDS IN A MONARCHY.”

    But he did express HIS CHIEF WORRY — THAT THE PEOPLE WOULDN’T DO THEIR PART TO SUPPORT IT. His words were eerily prophetic.

    “In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that THIS IS LIKELY TO BE WELL ADMINISTERED FOR A COURSE OF YEARS, AND CAN ONLY END IN DESPOTISM, AS OTHER FORMS HAVE DONE BEFORE IT, WHEN THE PEOPLE SHALL BECOME SO CORRUPTED AS TO NEED DESPOTIC GOVERNMENT, BEING INCAPABLE OF ANY OTHER.”

    Franklin understood human nature. He suspected the government created by the Constitution would eventually fail. But not because of any specific structural defect that may exist in the document itself. He said that the Constitution would be “well administered for a course of years.”

    But HE PREDICTED IT WOULD GO OFF THE RAILS IF THE PEOPLE DID NOT DO THEIR JOB IN KEEPING THAT GOVERNMENT WITHIN ITS LIMITS. At that point, it would become incapable of operating under anything other than despotism.

    Continued at


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