Category Archives: War Commentary

Mike Griffin

For Secretary of Defense?

I agree that we need someone who understands the technology threat at the helm of the Pentagon. But I wonder how familiar Goldman is with Griffin’s actual record when I read “praise” like this:

The overriding strategic risk to the United States is the loss of our technological edge, and the Defense Department needs a leader with the vision and expertise to restore it. Michael Griffin would be an excellent choice. A first-rate physicist, Dr. Griffin headed NASA under the Bush 41 administration.

First, Mike knows physics, but I wouldn’t call him a “physicist.” He’s first and foremost an aerospace engineer (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The problem is that, during his tenure at NASA, he devastated the space R&D budgets and promoted Constellation, an attempt not to develop needed new technology, but to repeat Apollo (except this time “on steroids”) with decades-old technology based on Saturn and the Space Shuttle.

At the time he left the agency (unwillingly) in 2009, all that was being developed to get back to the moon was a rocket designed to carry a capsule into low earth orbit, with no serious plans for things like a lunar lander, and those items were far over budget, and slipping more than a year per year (one of the reasons that, almost a decade later, we remain dependent on the Russians for access to our own space station). Even if they’d succeeded, the planned flight rate would be very low, at ridiculously high cost.

Now, in theory, he could argue that he is now older and wiser, and learned his lesson from that, but that’s negated by the fact that he continues to support their successors, the SLS and Orion. So, if we need someone to restore our technological edge, it’s hard to make the case that he’s the right guy for the job.

[Update a while later]

OK, if Mike Griffin were SecDef, just what would he do, going on past performance? Would he propose a giant expendable combat aircraft, based on parts from F-15s and F-16s, that would fly once a year, and each service could take a turn?

Carter Page

Ten pieces of evidence he’s the most diabolical Russian spy evar:

As of now, Carter Page hasn’t been charged with so much as lying to the FBI or filing a faulty tax return, let alone Russian spying. He endured the most intrusive, intimidating methods the government has at its disposal. He was the subject of media leaks. His reputation was destroyed. If he’s never charged with being a Russian spy, he’s either that slippery … or it would suggest that the top intelligence officials who targeted him were either incompetent or corrupt. It would seem to border on criminal.

I don’t think it “borders” on criminal.

[Update a few minutes later]

The results of the second interview of the corrupt James Comey. I’ve never seen such a disgusting display of arrogant sanctimony. And no, “Republicans” did not pay for the dossier. They initially hired Fusion GPS, but it was the Clinton campaign who paid for the dossier itself. I wonder if Comey really doesn’t know that?

[Noon update]

More thoughts from Neo-Neocon:

Here Comey is repeating MSM and Democratic talking points about Fusion which have been shown to be untrue. Republicans had zero to do with the funding of the dossier, as Comey either knows or should know if he’s at all competent. What he probably does know, however, is that Republican involvement is the fiction the MSM was pushing and that many many Americans probably believe that to be the case, so Comey’s answer will appear to make some sense to those people even though it is based on a falsity.

Comey’s lack of specific interest in who funded the dossier (if he really didn’t know and didn’t ask, which may or may not be the case) would have come from his need to get that investigation going and to use the dossier to jumpstart it no matter what. Why question its provenance if you’re already dedicated to using it despite the fact that Trump’s enemies paid for it, which should have made it highly suspect as a source?

Of course, it turns out that Trump’s oppponent’s campaign funded it, which if anything would make it even more suspect than if other Trump enemies had funded it. But to Comey, all of that was irrelevant (or at least he’d like us to think it was irrelevant). In his previous career, had he really lacked curiosity to that degree? I doubt it very much. But he’s a clever enough lawyer to use it as an excuse now. He’d prefer that we think him a fool rather than a knave, if he has the choice of shaping our opinion.

I say “knave.” The man is no fool, not by a longshot.

Knave indeed.

Seventy-Seven Years

I just noticed the date; it is one that, in Roosevelt’s words, “will live in infamy.” Seventy-seven years ago we abruptly entered the second world war when the Japanese attacked our fleet at Pearl Harbor. The passing of George H. W. Bush a week ago is a reminder that that event, along with the war itself, is passing from living memory.

Brokaw called them “The Greatest Generation.” I don’t know about that, but mine has not covered itself in glory. However I remain simultaneously hopeful for and fearful of the future. We do, for now, live in the best of times in human history.

But if you’re pessimistic, I guess you can take the Trump approach. After all, as Marx* once said, “What has posterity ever done for me?”

* Not that Marx. This one.

The War Within Jewry

Troubled observations from David Bernstein:

Mainstream Jews of moderate liberal to moderate political proclivities, a majority of American Jews, are going to have to choose between the modern-day Hellenizers whose actual religion is a pastiche of left-wing cliches, and those who are loyal to something akin to traditional Judaism. I don’t doubt the traditionalists will win in the end, if only because they are producing far more Jewish progeny per capita than are left-wing secularists. Unfortunately, in the meantime the leftists are proceeding to destroy formerly mainstream American Jewish institutions. The small denomination known as Reconstructionism, once the most intellectual branch of American Judaism, has devolved into a theological joke, much larger Reform Judaism is on the brink, and the once-respected (albeit liberal-leaning) Anti-Defamation League has become a center of partisan progressive hackery. I’ve been sounding apocalyptic about this lately, but let me repeat: a Neo-Nazi murdered eleven Jews, and the immediate and continuing reaction of a very vocal segment of American Jewry has been to use the occasion to attack fellow Jews.

They are Jewish in ancestry only.

One Century On

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Flanders Fields

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a hundred years since the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 that saw an end to the Great War. Sadly, too few are taught the impact that it had on our history because, due to the abysmal state of both lower and higher education, few are taught any meaningful history, other than how America invented slavery and what a terrible country it is. But it set the stage for the continued bloodshed and genocide in the twentieth century, and its affect on nations and borders continues to reverberate, particularly in the Middle East.

[Late-afternoon update]

The baccarat online bịpguns of November:

In sum, the war to end all war itself has not yet ended, and perhaps never will. That it was the wrong war to fight, and fought at the wrong time, is in retrospect clear. A strong Europe consisting of loosely allied but independent nation-states — the original, professed ideal of the European Union, but since drastically perverted — would have been vastly preferable to the destruction and chaos that followed. Instead, it fell to America to tilt the balance of power in 1918, then refight the war in 1941, and finally administer the nearest thing to a global peace the Western world had seen since the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.

How long that peace will last is anybody’s guess. For the sad truth of human history is that peace is the aberration and war the natural state of mankind.

Sadly, yes. The biggest flaw of the leftist philosophy is its denial of human nature and the crooked timber from which humanity is hewn. Like liberty, peace requires eternal vigilance. And the notion that we will be able to prevent war off the planet is also hopelessly naive.

[Monday-morning update]

How WW I baccarat online bịpcreated big government in America:

…the most profound transformation wrought in America by the Great War was in the nature of government itself. Woodrow Wilson came to the presidency in 1913 as the prince of the Progressives, and he at once began to assemble the scaffolding of a new administrative state through the Federal Reserve Act. His efforts were aided by constitutional amendments to secure the levy of a national income tax, to institute the popular election of U.S. senators, and to impose a national prohibition on alcohol. Entrance into the Great War widened the scope of administrative control, justifying the creation of a Fuel Administration, a Food Administration, a War Labor Policies Board, a War Industries Board, and a Shipping Board, which created an Emergency Fleet Corporation to build dry docks and piers, commandeer privately owned vessels, and even seize enemy ships. That control reached even into the schools: In Philadelphia, the School Mobilization Committee organized 1,300 public and parochial schoolboys as farm workers. The war, complained Randolph Bourne, licensed the Progressive state to become “what in peacetime it has vainly struggled to become — the inexorable arbiter and determinant of men’s businesses and attitudes and opinions.”

The armistice and the debacle of the League of Nations stemmed the onrush of Wilsonian Progressivism but only until a new crisis loomed in the Great Depression, when the Wilsonian banner was taken up again by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR had served in Wilson’s cabinet during the Great War, and his response to the crisis of the Depression was to treat “the task as we would treat the emergency of war.” The administrative state has marched to that beat ever since.

Woodrow Wilson was one of the worst presidents we had — a racist tyrant who hated the Constitution. And emblematic of his political historically terrible party, which continues to be terrible.

[Update a while later]

Lileks reviews an old movie:

The good news: he reduces unemployment, lifts the country out of the Depression, battles gangsters and Congress, and brings about world peace. The bad news: he’s Mussolini.

Unsurprising, given that Mussolini was held in quite high regard by the American Left (including Roosevelt) in the thirties.

[Late-morning update on the official, but not actual Veterans’ Day]

Occasional commenter, and editor and designer of my book Bill Simon reminds me that the photo of the poppies is one that he took over a decade ago. Which means that it’s not the red poppies in Europe described by the poem, but California golden poppies.