Friday, November 26, 2010


--Marshall Arisman

What are we fighting for,
We fellows who go to war?
Fighting for "hearth and home,"
Who haven't an inch of loam?
--Enemy Conscript, Robert Service

The things that are done in the name
of the shareholder are, to me,
as terrifying as the things that are done
dare I say it—in the name of God
--John le Carré, novelist and former MI6

Old time muzzle loading riflemen carried a bag for their rifle paraphernalia called a possibles bag. The bag carried everything one would possibly need to operate his rifle.

What is in the possibles bag for a politician? First let's define politics -- the art of the possible -- before deciding upon the tools of the trade. All politics must be realistically achievable. If it is not realistic or achievable then it is not possible, and should not be the concern of political effort.

Since war is the extension of politics by other, more violent, means, war would probably be in the bag. But war goals, too, must be achievable. Fighting a war with unachievable objectives is either callow or insane, yet the history of politics is filled with examples of wars of idiocy.

The Phony War on Terror (
PWOT ©)) is just such an example. In his essay, Worse than Vietnam, Richard Wright labeled that failed intervention only a medium-sized blunder compared to the PWOT, which is "creating [jihadists] faster than we’re killing them". The U.S. did not envision or even desire a political solution before deciding to launch into war in two countries simultaneously.

The military cannot fight a strategic or even tactical level war that lacks political sanity, without it devolving into a barroom brawl devoid of any military objectives or meaning.

Whatever else is in the possibles bag cannot correct a wrongly embarked upon belligerence.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you ever read Johnny got his Gun by Trumbo? It was also made into a movie in the 1970s.

Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 11:38:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Peter of Lone Tree said...

"Johnny Got His Gun" is a masterpiece.

Monday, November 29, 2010 at 9:39:00 PM GMT-5  

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