Not so much brains as ear wax

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 3:17 pm by George Smith


J at Armchair Generalist points out a monograph authored by two military men — Captain Wayne Porter of the USN and Colonel Mark “Puck” Myckleby of the Marine Corps, under the pseudonym, Mr. Y.

It is claimed that as an essay on what might be a framework for a new national security strategy, it is generating buzz.

If so, this only proves once again how a jumble of slogans, assertions about American exceptionalism and values, and unremarkable filler — fifteen electronic pages worth — thrills people who are not constitutionally disposed to speak frankly.

In other words, it must seem like great stuff for those who love writings by those who simply can’t.

The monograph, invitingly entitled “A National Strategic Narrative,” is here.

As said, it’s guaranteed to cause your eyes to cross in much less than its fifteen pages. Part of the thing calls for what the authors dub a National Prosperity and Security Act.

Including the preamble, the word “prosperity” is used 32 times in the piece. Yet nobody even vaguely gets around to explaining what this means to them precisely or how some facsimile of it might be restored in this country.

The best the two military men come up with is a recommendation to invest in education for young people. It reads like a line from a knee-jerk political speech on winning the future.

“By investing energy, talent and dollars now in the training and education of young Americans — the scientists, statesmen, industrialists, farmers, inventors, educators, clergy, artists, service members and parents, of tomorrow — we are truly investing in our ability to successfully compete in, and influence, the strategic environment of the future,” they write.

Effin’ Ay! That manages to shoehorn almost everyone into one run-on sentence.

Yes, soldiers, I think we can agree it is wise to invest in education.

“The National Prosperity and Security Act would: integrate policy across agencies and departments of the federal government and provide for more effective public/private partnerships; increase the capacity of appropriate government departments and agencies; align federal policies, taxation, research and development expenditures and regulations to coincide with the goals of sustainability; and, converge domestic and foreign policies toward a common purpose,” it reads toward the end.

Aside from the fact that this is another deadening run-on sentence of boilerplate — you gotta be kidding me!

This is what passes for scholarship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center?

A sentence that reads:

“Above all, this act would provide for policy changes that foster and support the innovation and entrepreneurialism of America that are essential to sustain our qualitative growth as a people and a nation.”


Boy, things are even worse than I thought.

If this were some graduate school essay tendered by students who put their names to it without the preamble of some allegedly important person, you’d be hard pressed to give it more than a C.

I’d give it a D. Which in the grad school environment is sub-failure.

This thing was actually featured on The Ed Show on MSNBC tonight.

Lawrence Wilkerson fronted for it.

Wilkerson was Colin Powell’s assistant, the water-bearer who helped Powell somehow include all the pretend rubbish into the famous UN Security Council speech on Iraq, the one that ruined the latter’s career and image.

Wilkerson astonishingly compared this to Eisenhower’s famous 1961 speech on the danger of an uncontrolled military industrial complex.

That would only be true, of course, if Eisenhower were someone who, instead of speaking bluntly, delivered his cautionary message in boilerplate and run-on sentences seasoned by liberal use of the semi-colon.

It’s a progressive call to arms, yowled Ed. Well, if it’s progressive it’s pretty weak tea.

As said, it recommends investing in education!

This is the brain trust of Admiral Mike Mullen, said Wilkerson.

That explains two things. First, the reason why it has publicity with everyone rushing to polish the apple. Secondly, and this is more minor, why intellectual scholarship just ain’t there in this domain.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for this to take its place in national history.


  1. J. said,

    April 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Yeah I actually agree with you. I was trying to be nice because it seemed like so many people thought there was something there. I thought I was just not grokking it. But I don’t grok it at all. It was too general for me and not associated with real terms of reference.

  2. George Smith said,

    April 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    You weren’t “grokking” it because there wasn’t anything to grok. How can one bandy around “prosperity” as a magic word, part of some portentous imagined national restoration act without once getting down to the brass tacks of actually discussing it?

  3. Chuck said,

    April 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Many years ago, when my job involved writing responses to government RFPs, I used to write tripe like that for filler. Lots of words, meaning nothing in particular, which greatly added to the bulk of the document. Hell, we would have stapled the Chicago Yellow Pages to the proposal if it’d helped.

    Fifteen pages is really too short for a piece of verbal effluvia like this thing. They should have added a few hundred pages of lorem ipsum to give the thing “weight”.