02.08.15

The National Security Pro

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle at 2:33 pm by George Smith

Being one of this country’s national security professionals isn’t much of an accomplishment. It means you exist as a convenience to any of the vast machines — the intelligence community, the arms manufacturers, the Pentagon. Your only purpose is to serve in the furtherance of them.

And it doesn’t matter how disastrous the outcome. It’s obvious being wrong or failure are words which no longer hold any meaning.

Here’s Kenneth M. Pollack in the New York Times this week:

The good news right now is largely on the military front. Iraqi, Kurdish and American forces appear to be turning the tide against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

American air operations have inflicted heavy losses on the group — killing its fighters, destroying its equipment, disrupting its command and impeding its movements …

American military officials in Iraq tell me they are confident that a smaller, revamped Iraqi Army will be ready to begin big operations to retake Iraq from the Islamic State in the next four to eight months. Kurdish and Iraqi forces have largely secured Baghdad and its environs, made gains in the cities of Baiji and Samarra, cut off the road by which the Islamic State was supporting its garrison in Mosul from its base in Syria, and are encroaching on Mosul itself. In six to 18 months, the Islamic State may be driven out of Iraq altogether.

Sound familiar? It should. Six to eighteen months equals one to three “Friedman units.”

“Kenneth M. Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is the author, most recently, of ‘Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy,’ ” reads the Times’ description of the column’s author.

Publishers have done very well by Kenneth M. Pollack of Brookings. Even though he’s been one of the most spectacularly wrong “experts” on the necessity of war with Iraq and on everything else, he suits the needs of the American war machine so nicely, whatever he writes tends to get a lot of publicity.

And it has never mattered that it has little relationship with reality.

The US government, under the Bush administration, made him a best-selling author for “The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq,” a book that can accurately be described as an elaborate rationale for war crimes.

Its existence, and continuing books, are also an indicator that the Brookings Institution, once alleged to be a think tank of some repute, is nothing more than a retirement home for circus clowns who, on occasion, are dragged out to be of use to the country’s war-making apparatus.

Here’s Ezra Klein, alleged to be another person of considerable intellect, trotting out ol’ Evergreen Ken as late as 2013:

Pollack comes off much as he did in his original book: curious and questioning. He worries openly about what he got wrong and what he could have done better.

And here’s my take, one that noted The Threatening Storm was then worth a penny a copy on Amazon. Which seemed and seems high.

I said Ken Pollack is a symbol for our time. I wasn’t fulsome enough. He’s a terrific symbol, the best money can buy.

If you ever read The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam’s famous chronicle of the Vietnam War and the Johnson administration, toward the end he frequently writes about the superciliousness and mocking laughter that came out of the press corps when faced with prognostications and estimates on the enemy and how the war would turn the corner in another few months, or a year, or something.

Pollack writes of the “revamped Iraqi army.” It reads just like numerous claims about the ARVN in the mid-Sixties.

Without a spectacular bombing campaign against the usual enemy with no anti-air capability, it would be just as good.

There are big differences between now and then. Vietnam effectively destroyed the Johnson administration. The Democratic Party was taken down by collateral damage.

In the intervening period the US military learned that to conduct “partial war” at any time, it had to remove itself from oversight and make the number of people who would actually wage war only a fraction of the populace.

It was successful in this. It can wage measures of partial war anywhere it wants around the globe with little or no risk of domestic unrest.

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