Sunday, March 09, 2008
  Polistra takes a cold Scheuer

Polistra has started reading Michael Scheuer's new book, Marching Toward Hell.

Scheuer, the man who calls everyone Sir, has been making some of these points publicly, and the book ties it all together neatly with heapin helpins of documented information and unbreakable logic.

Just in the last six months without even knowing, Polistra has written 35 entries that conform with Scheuer's viewpoint and disagree with standard brand-R and brand-D parrots.

These seven are the best of the lot.

So the new book is splendid validation .... with one overwhelming exception.

Strictly speaking Sir doesn't have a viewpoint, which is exactly why his book is so compelling. He simply takes history and current facts, including some facts not generally discussed in public, and uses strict logic to reach conclusions. In short, he is an intelligence analyst as his job description says.

In most ways Scheuer ends up in the position typically described as Isolationist. He says we should stop trying to make the world safe for democracy; people who can handle democracy will find it on their own, and the attempt to impose it on those who can't handle it is wasteful and counterproductive.

So far so good; Polistra has been saying this.

Sir says that Osama's main goal is to bleed America into bankruptcy, just as Reagan bled Russia into bankruptcy. Bush is happily helping Osama to reach this goal, which leads us to seriously doubt which side Bush is on.

So far so good; Polistra has been saying this.

Sir says we should recognize and understand our enemies, and stop funding both sides of the war; we should take actual steps toward energy independence so we won't be blackmailed by Saudi oil, which directly funds al-Qaeda.

So far so good; Polistra is enthusiastically running with Sir up to here.

Sir also says we should stop funding both Israel and Palestine.




Clang clang clang clang! The Unthinkable Alarm is sounding internally!!!

SCREECH! Pop! Snap! Zzzzztttt! Those are the sounds of Polistra's neurons being fried by Cognitive Dissonance.

Cold hard fact collides with sentiment.

Here's how Sir reaches this discomfiting conclusion:

To win a non-state war, you convince the enemy that his efforts are futile, and you also convince the enemy's potential recruits that his goals are absurd. The first action is shared with a conventional war between nations. Fierce and shocking response to every enemy move, unimaginably harsh attacks on civilian targets. Indiscriminate rage, unstoppable slaughter. We did that in WW2, especially in the last year, and it worked perfectly. We haven't even approached it in this war. The second goal, peculiar to non-state wars, requires changes in our policy to drop the enemy's recruitment potential. (We did some of that before WW2, and it helped to avoid internal sabotage, but it wasn't a critical element then.)

Before we can even think of either goal, we need to know strictly and accurately WHO IS THE ENEMY? Which states and organizations genuinely menace the survival of America, which states and organizations are threats-in-waiting, and which entities are only threats to our friends or threats to our sentimental images?

And when you answer the last question coldly and dispassionately, you must shorten the list of threats to eliminate the states that only threaten Israel. This means that Ahmadinejad and Saddam don't belong on the list of top-level threats; both of them are/were threats to Israel but not to the people of America.

This is a difficult pill to swallow, but it must be swallowed if the rest of the treatment is going to work.

Toward the end of the book, Scheuer sums up like this:

U.S foreign policies are not addenda to the Ten Commandments; changing our policies is a sign of common sense, not weakness; and protecting America is infinitely more important than seeking to avoid driving Europeans and Arab royals into a snit. Foreign policy success can be measured only by the extent to which it preserves and expands freedom and liberty domestically. ... Nonintervention is not isolationism; the former is a policy, the latter is a slur used by America's governing elite to quiet any voice that asks, for example, why are you dropping thousands of tons of bombs on Serbs who never attacked or even threatened the United States? To ask such a commonplace question is to be labeled by the elite and the media, right and left, as a Luddite isolationist, who thinks America can hide behind its oceanic frontiers and have no truck with the outside world. ... To respond by saying "Be gone, you ignorant isolationist" is not an answer, it is an arrogance that says "We know so much more than you about the complexity of world affairs and - here it is again - the ballet of international politics, and in this case the nuances of Balkan politics, that you must accept our analysis." ... ... This [pat answer] ought not to wash with Americans, but it does far too frequently, and our elites are today running a foreign policy in the Muslim world that has left the United States with no options in the ongoing war and that, if left as is, will ultimately destroy America. US foreign policy neither protects Americans at home nor brings much benefit, let alone democracy to anyone abroad.

 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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