Here, retired military intelligence officer Ralph Peters tells it like it is: Lazy journalism requires scandal. It is much easier to generate a story from what is not known than what is known. Thus, media types can turn what-ifs into headlines. The scandal that is Snowden is really only worth a few headlines. He did it, it’s a crime, he admits he did it. If the media wants to really milk this, they must talk about unknowns, possibilities, technicalities, and avoid the fact that recent court decisions have labeled NSA activities legal. Disconnected, out of context arguments can be melded into unified theorems in which black helicopters no one ever sees are hovering outside our windows hoping to catch us surfing porn.
Members of the Congressional Intelligence committee have known the details of NSA programs for years. The fake outrage they present in hearings broadcast on CSPAN is populism of the most despicable sort.
A collapsing World Trade Center rings hollow to some, as does the fact that NSA employees have bosses to answer to everyday, and those bosses want dead terrorists on their list of achievements, not the URLs of gay porn sites visited by congressmen. To people, in America, both Left and Right, there is a pervading mythology that society, security, culture and good government are held together by mysterious, invisible forces, akin to luck. That’s false. Things work because of a concerted effort to make them work. Al-Qaeda has been kept in check not because jihadists are tired, had a change of heart, or because America apologized for its “rapacious” behavior abroad. They’ve been kept in check because almost every country in the Western world seized their bank accounts, jailed its operatives, killed its zealots, increased security at airports and other vulnerable nodes, and invaded its sanctuaries.
“Because Freedom”, is not an argument. Success is rarely a mistake.
We won in Iraq, against every wish of those who voted for Obama. But America’s military still faces a huge problem.
I picked up the book, Jarhead, from my post’s library. The author, Anthony Swofford, is a veteran of the first Gulf war where he fought with the Marines.
Swofford is a talented writer. However, by his own admission, he was never meant to be a Marine. He says he knew it was a mistake from the get-go. I’m betting though, it made him a better and stronger person, despite the fact that he hated it. Hey, everyone hates Boot Camp. I despised it, and curse the existance of all Drill Instructors. But once your done, the rest of the Army can seem pretty easy by comparison. I guess there’s one good thing about it…
So Swafford’s book does what good art should: conveys emotion, making the reader feel like the author does. Unfortunately, Swafford is depressed and dislikes the Marines. Which of course makes the reader depressed and dislike the Marines. So I put the book down, and went on to reading Ralph Peters’ newest novel: The War After Armegeddon.
Some feelings are better left surpressed. Others should be cultivated. Being a depressed Soldier is even worse than being a depressed civilian. Read the Illiad and take a look at Achilles.
Initial reports on captured US Soldier, Bowe Bergdahl, suggested he “lagged behind his patrol”. I thought about this and wondered what that could possibly mean. In all the training I’ve had, no one–I mean no one–was allowed to lag. And this guy’s an infantryman.
More recent reports are saying Bergdahl simply abandoned his post, violating the First General Order, and then has proceeded to violate the Code of Conduct, by making statements against his own country. The Taliban knows that America’s weakness is its own media’s portrayal of the American military.
Here’s Ralph Peters on Bergdahl: