Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Rumor of War"

Maybe the days of armies, navies and air forces are over.

Don't believe it. The purposes of Intelligence work and of covert operations are to support the Diplomatic policy and military operations of a nation. They do not substitute for them. The lawyers and bureaucrats love the secret services because they think in their conceit that these are brother Black Arts, with more effective sanctions. The lack of pressure to get a legal doctrine published could come from an administration of lawyers with a cynical contempt for the law. It matters that Bush spent time and effort seeing that his Is were dotted and Ts crossed in getting opinions issued regarding GITMO and other issues. All that earned was the threat of prosecution for the lawyers who had the temerity to work for a Republican. One day, if the system fails, an old fashioned army of twelve divisions will cross from China through the Dzungarian gates and head south. Another army will come down the Brahmaputra to flank India from the East and the Chinese Navy will contest control of the Indian Ocean. If all that the US and India and Japan and Australia have are drones and "Smart Power" then it will be game over. The "Looking Glass War" was fought to keep the BAOR and the US Black Horse Regiment aware of what the Bear was doing. The spooks did not plug the Fulda Gap.

The apotheosis of the Drone is appropriate for those who consistently look for the cheap way, in both financial and moral commitment costs, to fight a war. Drones are great and have their purpose but they become emblematic of an excuse to cut infrastructure, and to downgrade industrial assets and vast other sectors of intelligence work. Nukes also were originally desired as a cheaper alternative to large standing armies, and with reduced social costs that militarization entailed. We do not want to be a nation permanently mobilized in arms. The answer is to have a real effective military and the will to use it so as to forestall small threats getting out of hand. Bush understood this and he would have built a more peaceful world, without Chavez and others testing for weakness. The sedition of the Congress and the Democrats emboldened our enemies and made the world more dangerous. Now there is more of a need for old fashioned steel and boots militaries, not less.

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