The Obama Girls

March 16, 2014

                                           

Where are the angry American women? – Leymah Gbowee

Bimbos are drawn to powerful men like moths to the proverbial flame. Like courtesans, some women will humiliate themselves for power or personal loyalty. Politics is better than sex because power may get ugly but, unlike sex, power never gets old. All the same, sex and politics are literally joined at the hip.

Indeed, intern programs in Washington, DC provide an endless supply of young girls (and boys). Political predators may age but the prey is forever young – and predictably naive. Politicians, like professors, frequently see sex with youngsters as a perk of office or tenure. New talent every year is the fountain of youth for aging politicos.

Naomi Wolf’s brilliant essay, The Silent Treatment, described her predator experience at Yale University as “a soft spot of (female) complicity.” The G-spot of collaboration might have been a better metaphor.

Wolf is no bimbo. Maybe she’s just a satin suit of contradictions. Reading a fashionista on the superficiality of beauty or fashion is a little like hearing from Warren Buffet on the perils of capitalism. Wolf served as one of William J. Clinton’s female “advisors.”

The tone of political culture is set at the top. Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton are the modern standard bearers for exploitation. The irony here is that so-called “feminists” and predators come from the same political stable. Surely, the political Right is no model of probity, but no politician a droit comes close to the iconic stature of Kennedy and Clinton – or their abuses. Indeed, Clinton freely admits that John F. Kennedy was an idol, a role model.

Such icons are pregnant with contradictions. If wife and children can’t trust a man, why should a voter – or the nation for that matter?  American feminists claim that the personal is political, yet seldom apply that axiom to their idols.

Liberal cynics might point to La belle France where ministers flaunt their liaisons. Such chauvinism is not without consequence or cost. The first casualty of modern French history was loyalty. When confronted with the Nazi menace, “liberte, egalite, and fraternite” were jettisoned.  The Jewish population of Paris was the burnt offering that sealed the affair with Berlin. Collaboration is a dear price to pay for personal or national virtue.

Withal, the average hussy and the political bimbo are different doxies. The everyday tart is willing to give up the goods just to be close to power. The political bimbo is more ambitious. Her virtue has a higher price. A political bimbo might be defined as any women willing to sacrifice her personal or feminist integrity on the altar of expediency or venal ambition. Collaboration captures the thought.

Here we shouldn’t confuse floozies with professionals. Unlike political bimbos, sex workers provide a real service and honest economic incentive in the best tradition of capitalism; a gross national product indeed.

Without hookers; ugly, fat or liberal men might have to make do with the Internet, other men, or the Irish clergy. Compared to modern feminist politics, prostitution is a higher calling – and a freer market. With ‘working’ girls and boys, unlike political bimbos; talent, performance, and accomplishment are real job requirements. Hard to believe that recreational marijuana is now legal while selling commercial shag is still a crime.

So much for bimbo theory. Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Huma Weiner, and Samantha Powers, just to name a few, provide the evidence.

Hillary

Everyone knows Hillary’s back story; loyal wife to a governor and president. Once serial betrayal became too public, Mrs. Clinton assumed the defensive crouch of victim and stood by her man. By any feminist logic she could, or should, have kicked Bill to the curb but, instead he gave her an IOU. Feminist virtue is pricey indeed!

Payback came on two coattails; an open senate seat followed by an appointed cabinet post. Obama was no fool. Keeping the Clinton circus on a short leash was prudent. Hillary did little or nothing as senator or Secretary of State save maintain her political viability. She did nothing so well that Bill’s wife is now poised to have the 2016 Democrat nomination for the asking. Say what you will about Hillary, she got more out of Bill’s bimbos than did her husband.

Susan

National security advisor Susan Rice is a Hillary doppelganger, hewing to the party line at all costs. The Benghazi stonewall is vintage Clinton; deny, deny and apologize only if you have to. Throw a political appointee, like Jim Clapper, or the Intelligence Community under the bus if necessary. Alas, Susan’s mendacity is not as profitable as Hillary’s. Rice will never see a confirmation hearing. Catherine Sebelius is the domestic edition of Susan Rice, a party apparatchik who defends any program failure with ideological relish.

Huma

Huma Abedin Weiner makes the list here because she and husband Anthony (aka Carlos Danger) are living proof that sexual predators and political bimbos are generational phenomena; Kennedy to Clinton to Weiner, an unbroken line of protégés and predators. And we haven’t heard the last from Mr. and Mrs. Weiner. They are sure to be rehabilitated in Clinton III.

Samantha

Samantha Powers is the most dangerous of the Obama girls; dangerous for many reasons. The most worrisome of which is her world view, the ambition to subordinate American national interests to some vague, select, if not warped, notion of global humanitarianism. She laments the fate of Bosnian Muslims, yet seldom speaks to 1400 years of backwardness and brutal social pathology, including lethal misogyny, in the larger Arab and Muslim worlds.

She has little to say about clerical child abuse in Ireland or America either. Nonetheless, Ms. Powers has the ideological chops to make policy. Indeed, historians may come to know Ms Power’s theories as “humanitarian imperialism.” The Obama/Clinton apology tours in the Muslim world are examples. Samantha’s affection for Jane Fonda’s politics also speaks volumes. Indeed, you could do worse than think of Powers as a politicized Barbarella.

Powers’ Islamic tilt comes with burkas, aggressive zealotry and outspoken anti-Judaism; the kind of anti-Semitism that invests contemporary Irish and French politics. Both countries have histories of sympathy with, first political and now religious fascism.

Powers has suggested that Israel should be occupied and coerced to sign what would be a death warrant with unstable Arab neighbors. Ironically, the American Judenrat supported her appointment to the UN. Powers’ more recent comments about Daniel Pearl resurrect the ancient slander that Jews deserve what they get. Samantha Powers’ ambition and world view are echoes of the Internationale, Orientalism, and all self-anointed prophets for globalism, chaps like Harry Dexter White.

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Bimbo activists are joined by several threads: weaponized mendacity; selective if not contradictory feminist or humanitarian values; rhetoric or writing that trumps achievement; and a willingness to jettison virtue in a heartbeat at the first whiff of political aftershave. In doing so, distaff chippies make men like Kennedy, Clinton, Obama and the post-Communist social patriarchy possible.   

Alas, the political bimbo phenomenon in America may also explain why the feminist Left in America has yet to produce an Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Margaret Thatcher, or Angela Merkel.

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Images:

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Christie in the Crosshairs

February 15, 2014

“My father was a statesman, I’m a political woman. My father was a saint. I’m not.”  – Indira Gandhi

The 2016 US Presidential Campaign is underway. Not underway officially of course, but interest groups and pundits are already taking sides and stirring the political pot. Presumptive front runners seem to be former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and New Jersey governor Chris Christie for the Republicans. There are no third party spoilers on the horizon for the moment.

Two Media themes are evident to date; the lionizing of Hillary as a seasoned statesman and the demonization of Christy as a loud, rude, thug from New Jersey. Mitt Romney was portrayed as the insensitive, rich, business mogul in the 2012 campaign with effect. Seems Romney was way too genteel to win a Chicago street fight.

Hillary has few significant policy or program accomplishments to her credit. Her time at the Senate and the State Department seem to have been a kind of resume burnishing. “What does it matter?” might well be her campaign theme song.

Still, early opinion sees her as heir apparent; window dressing wife to a flawed ex-president and faithful handmaid to a weak sitting president. Never mind two unsuccessful wars, economic malaise, the healthcare fiasco, the PRISM meltdown, and the Benghazi blunders. None of the Obama bumbling has tarnished Hillary’s prospects on the Left – or the iconic status she enjoys with major Media outlets.

A Press corps which failed to hold the “first black” president accountable is unlikely to queer the chances for the first woman to hold the country’s highest office. Hillary’s genitals, like Obama’s African father, are likely to play a major role in the run-up to 2016. Sex, race, and social pandering are the threads from which a progressive campaign is woven these days.

Facts and accomplishments seldom matter as much as spin in any election. Hillary is clearly the front runner in the more crucial emotional contest. “First woman” cuts a wider emotional and demographic swath than “first African” American by any reckoning. The sensitivity sweet spot for 2016 will be the quest for another cultural milestone; a woman in the Oval Office. Hillary is the woman of the Left at the right moment. Her time is now – or never.

Surely, Mrs. Clinton has ridden Bill’s coat tails to the Senate and Cabinet. Nonetheless, if she goes for the brass ring, her opponent will not be running against Hilary; her opposite number will be running against a cultural “first,” a formidable challenge for any potential candidate. The only way Republicans might neutralize the gender edge would be to put a woman at the top on their ticket or nominate a stellar female second chair. Some gal without a pants suit or priapic spouse might offer a telling contrast.
The smartest Clinton move to date was to put Foggy Bottom in the rearview mirror. Hillary has three years now to burnish her image, cultivate the like-minded, and let any previous missteps fade from public memory. Any mess that Obama leaves will be difficult to pin on Hillary.

In contrast, Christie’s every public move and spoken word as governor will be sifted for ammunition for the next three years. The pot shots have already begun.

Traffic jams in Fort Lee are now national news. What’s Fort Lee you might ask? Fort Lee is the Jersey end of the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River. Traffic there is now big news, as is pork barrel arm twisting in any New Jersey borough populated by Democrats.

How does any of this compare with the Benghazi fiasco? Every New York bound commuter knows the crawl through Fort Lee. That same demographic probably couldn’t find Benghazi or Fallujah with a compass, a map, and GPS. American national security fiascos are background noise, sponsored traffic jams are real traumas in places like New Jersey and New York.

In many ways, Christie seems to be the perfect foil for Mrs. Clinton, caught as he is on the horns of the gender dilemma. If Christy swaggers at the national level as he does in Jersey, he will look like a bully. If he reinvents himself to look like a Romney clone, Hillary will ‘bravo’ slap him like a wimp. If performances before the Select Committees on Intelligence provide any evidence, male politicians have to change their knickers after any encounter with Hillary.

Sex in modern politics, like race, has advantages and immunities. Hillary should be better at dealing from the bottom of the gender deck than Obama plays race cards. Just as criticism of Obama is now dismissed as racism, surely any criticism of Mrs. Clinton will be portrayed as sexism or misogyny – by team Hillary and the Media.

If democrats are allowed to define the next presidential election as a “war on women,” instead of a “war of women,” a third term for the Clintons becomes a sure thing.

Facts never matter as much as emotions. In a world of girly men and manly women, Mrs. Clinton has a pant leg up. The black and minority vote was near unanimous for Barak Obama and he captured the lion’s share of ladies. When you add these groups to the overlapping dependent demographic, Hillary almost seems inevitable. Like 2012, Mrs. Clinton may emerge as the better of two poor choices.

And Republicans seem to have learned nothing from the last presidential election. They seem to be using the same playbook that led to the Romney defeat. Take the Robert Gates book tour as an example. Robert Gates, moderate Republican and former Secretary of Defense, is doing for Mrs. Clinton what Chris Christie did for Mister Obama just before the 2012 voting.

When Christie embraced Obama between hurricane Sandy and the 2012 election, that iconic moment allowed Obama to look bipartisan and presidential. Real world Obama might be the most divisive president of the 21st Century. Christie could have taken a federal hand-out and avoided that very public fawning, a moment that was sure to be more fungible for Obama than Romney – or Christie.

Now we see Bob Gates doing a similar favor for Hillary. Not just in the book, Duty, where Hillary is celebrated as a strong and effective on national security, but high praise is repeated for television audiences on the various chat shows whenever the Hillary presidential prospect is predictably discussed. Gates, like Christie, is too savvy not to know that such televised moments will be replayed like endorsements in the voting season. If we assume that Christie and Gates act from conviction, we might also assume that they believe that Democrats are putting up better candidates.

Democrats and other liberals should be celebrating conservative affection for the Second Amendment. Republican leaders, like no other political party, seem to have a generational propensity for self-inflicted wounds, shooting themselves in the foot.

Liberals and Democrats seem to understand modern politics better than Republicans and conservatives anyway. Truth for the Left is whatever advances the ball towards nirvana. Logic and morality, if they matter, are the servants of promises that cannot be kept. Alas, the average voter probably couldn’t spell syllogism or recognize a moral argument in any case. Political emotions talk while tedious facts just squawk. If an argument doesn’t touch an emotional G-Spot, the political message is likely to be lost.

Politics is also a zero-sum game, winners and losers. If you don’t win in modern democratic elections; facts, reason, and moralizing become so much posturing. Being right or ethical may be necessary, but it’s never sufficient. Only winners get to change or retool the rules.

A Clinton/Christie contest in 2016 is by no means a certainty; but, if such a match does occur, there’s a lot to be said for good political theater. Overstating the potential entertainment values in three face-to-face Clinton/Christie national debates is impossible – even this far out.
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Images: Clinton and Christie

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Dividing the Pie

November 9, 2013

In politics there is no honour!” – Benjamin Disraeli

The fact that incompetence has a second act in the Oval Office is more a function of inertia on the Right than any achievement on the Left. Indeed, the Democrats didn’t win the last presidential race, the Republicans lost it. And liberals didn’t win the budget or health care fights either, the conservatives lost those too.

Mitt Romney never managed to separate himself from the president, especially on domestic issues like debt and health care. On foreign policy, the candidates were indistinguishable. The “what’s the difference?” vote stayed home. As a result, Jeremiah Wright’s protégé is still at the wheel.

Obama was probably a bad bet to begin with, but America loves an underdog, especially a chap who talks like a victim and looks like reparations. All original misgivings about immaturity, lack of experience, and pernicious ideology were validated by first term fits, false starts, and neo-socialist demagoguery. The Democrats even lost control of the House and the national purse strings in the first term – or so we thought

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, throw in the dice!

People vote with hearts not heads. Statistics might make sense; yet, if your pitch has no emotional appeal, it’s a dead letter. Budweiser doesn’t sell adult beverages, beer companies sell tradition, babes, and parties. If your message doesn’t touch an emotional “g” spot, the product will not sell.

Republicans just don’t get that! They are trying to teach arithmetic to the apathetic; a growing core constituency that is barely literate or numerate — yet very needy. Pundits call the new majority “a low information” demographic. Rush Limbaugh is an optimist. “Low” is an extravagant adjective for Youtubers, tweeters, and twerkers.

The recent government “shutdown” / debt ceiling Kabuki dance is just another gaggle of missed opportunities. Never mind that the end game turned out to be a paid holiday for an already pampered federal work force. If those furloughed public ‘servants’ are not essential, why not fire them permanently and save a pile of Benjamins?

Alas, the issue here isn’t logic. We are talking about emotions. The recent missed emotional opportunities here are four; veterans, the mentally ill, children, and those race baiters.

The GI Care Deficit

The history of federal health care management for active military and veterans is a vale of tears that includes mismanagement, sub-standard care, and outright abuse. And institutionally, no one thinks of a Veterans Administration (VA) hospital as an American national standard for medical staff or patient care. The VA and the military health care system do not host the cream of the crop from any management or medical school either.

Dare we mention Major (doctor) Nidal Hasan, US Army, better at taking life than caring for it? Do we need to review the bidding at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where rehab included rats and roaches? Or recall that the US Army couldn’t even keep track of cadavers or ashes at Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington is in the Pentagon’s back yard. Who believes that apathetic apparatchiks who can’t manage the honored dead should be trusted to manage nationalized care for the living?

The Cuckoo Nest Deficit

Remember also those huge20th Century mental hospitals in almost every state that used to care for patients that could not realistically fend for themselves? Recall also all those institutional scandals about abuses that included lobotomy, shock therapy, strait jackets, isolation, and ice bath therapy. Even one of the Kennedy kids was lobotomized. Remember also the Jack Nicholson film and those lurid Media exposés. Hat tip to Geraldo Rivera.

You could characterize government response to that catastrophic health care failure in a word: “punt.” Institutions like Rockland State Hospital in New York were shuttered and the patients were flushed back onto the street and into the general population where they remain today. “Homeless” is the new psychotic. Some of the mentally ill now pay it forward on occasion when they visit public schools with semi-automatic weapons.

Government did not “manage” mental institutions well nor does government manage the tragic consequences of closing those facilities.

The Orphanage Deficit

Back in the asylum heyday, disadvantaged children were also institutionalized. Abandoned, abused, or neglected kids became “wards of the state” and they were consigned to places like the Lt. Joseph Kennedy Jr. School and Home for Children in the north Bronx or the Cardinal McCloskey School and Home in White Plains, New York. These institutions were often run and staffed by religious orders. Today, like mental hospitals, few urban orphanages survive. Father Ed Flanagan’s Boys Town is an exception, a beneficiary of good press, philanthropy, and Hollywood.

The government response to the closure of most indigent child care facilities could be captured in two words; “foster care.” Under city and state funded foster care, children are now farmed out to willing families for a fee. The problem with foster care is that surrogate parents, unlike orphanages, do not have to worry about too much adult supervision — or keeping the difficult kids.
Too many children get bounced from pillar-to-post or to the street like mental patients. The ugly truth here is that it’s cheaper for a state to give a check to surrogates than it is to fund competent institutions like Boys Town. Management of most foster care programs is pretty much an honor system where effectiveness is an assumption, not a measure.

Veterans, mental illness, and disadvantaged children are all emotional issues. These are also historic examples of government failures with relatively modest care programs. If government cannot manage small vulnerable groups, history suggests that a national health care system managed by the same drones should be dead on arrival. Alas, none of these arguments surfaced in the run up to default. If Republicans had the stones, they might have bludgeoned Obamacare into oblivion years ago with the lurid, graphic, albeit insensitive, history of incompetent government “caring.”

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Only four constituencies have a guaranteed return from the Affordable Care Act; lobbyists, government employees, government contractors, and the existing entitlements community. The return for ideologues is immediate too, a giant step towards socialization. Quality health care delivery might be an afterthought.

When Obamacare fails to be a value added proposition as promised, it should be seen for what it is; another special interest rent-seeking scheme. Victors get to divide the pie.

Burden shifting is part of the hidden agenda too, a replay of earlier mental health and foster care tactics. Obamacare seeks to shift the cost burden from the unproductive to the productive, from the aged and sick to the young and healthy. Indeed, the Supreme Court rebranded Obamacare for what it is; a massive if not regressive tax increase on the young.

The Obama goal is clearly a single payer system (nee socialized medicine). Single payer efficiencies are attractive in theory, but in practice any system that captures up to a quarter of the economy and is managed by a federal politburo is sure to be inefficient, unaccountable, and unaffordable.

Race Baiting

While conservatives talk numbers, liberals shout race. The Democrats are winning that emotional contest too. Individuals or groups that oppose the Obama rent seekers are labeled racist. Indeed, racial slurs are flung, ironically, with the quiet approval of our first racially ambiguous, if not affirmative action president. Race is at once the most emotional of issues and the velvet stiletto of modern progressive politics.

Being called a racist is like being called a rapist. If the lie is repeated often enough, truth doesn’t matter. Foot soldiers in this slander campaign are reliable Democratic Party flacks like Chris Mathews who uses two NBC network platforms for partisan race baiting.
Washington is no place for sissies. Politics is not just a contact sport: it’s a blood sport. If a punk from Chicago fattens your lip, you need to bloody his nose. If the mayhem escalates, you don’t “bring a knife to the gun fight.” Politics isn’t about comity: it’s about winning or losing. Losers don’t make policy.

If we can extend the Obama fight metaphor, the Republican Party is off the ropes and on the canvas. If alternative leadership doesn’t reach deep for a gut check, the price to be paid is not debt, deficits, or dialysis. The cost will be political monoculture, one-party rule.

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The author is an alumnus of the now defunct Lt. Joseph School and Home for Children, one of those institutions that used to care for the detritus of broken families.


Checkmate in Baghdad and Geneva

October 4, 2013

“Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.” – JFK

War is a messy business. Serial wars get even more untidy over time. Often, it’s hard to know where one begins and another ends. Such is the case today as the Arab spring looks like another Muslim winter. America and Europe stumble from one conflict venue to another wondering what happened to all those rosy assertions about jasmine, justice, moderation, and modernity. The Islamic world is a mess and no one has a clue as to where or how the sequential mayhem ends. In Syria, the nanny states of the West are again perched on the brink of another sectarian and/or tribal abyss.

Nonetheless, the optimism of intervention still prevails. Today you hear argument after argument about the responsibilities of power and success – or preaching about very selective humanitarian concerns.  If you read enough foreign policy analysis you might come to believe that someone has the answer, or that somehow Europe and America have the “responsibility” to make the Third World well. Never mind that the very words “developing” and “emerging” have become geo-political oxymorons, triumphs of hope over experience.

Ironically, the grand strategy, if there is one, when you strip away the boilerplate, can be summarized with a single word – that word is “more.” More is the mantra of imprudent expectations; bailouts at home and flailouts abroad. If one “investment” doesn’t work, surely the original sacrifice wasn’t big enough. No thought seems to be given to developing a new game plan. More aid, more pandering, more troops, more drones, or more missile strikes; but never more common sense. It’s always more, and more is never enough.

And now ‘more’ is accompanied by “red line” moralizing, the color coded version of chicken. Alas, the no-fault/default cultures of Europe and America are unlikely enforcers of any kind of norms and standards in the less civilized world. The West insists, ironically, on measures of accountability and restraint that have been abandoned in Europe and America. Political decay, especially in the First World, has consequences.

All the rhetoric about global responsibility is a rehash of the “white man’s burden” trope. Worse still, the hand-wringing and preaching seems to validate “orientalism,” guilt driven theories that excuse and forgive Muslim pathology because the chaos is thought to be the results of European racism, colonialism, or exploitation.

Ironically, much of the confused strategic rhetoric originates with senior military officers and the Intelligence Community.

Since Vietnam, the Pentagon has sought to redefine most wars as either guerilla, insurgent, or conventional conflicts. Conventional conflict is a distant third in most deliberations. Real wars might have to be declared and put to a vote. Unfortunately, the accepted taxonomy ignores ground truth and the worldview of likely opponents.

Most wars in the troublesome Muslim world are in fact religious wars, conflicts where the nexus is a clash between religious and secular values. The most obvious evidence of religious war, external to the Muslim world, occurs at the tectonic plates of religion, those borders where Muslim and non-Muslim polities meet. South Asia, North Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus region, Thailand, and the Philippines are obvious examples. Even China has pockets of Muslim irredentism.

When ayatollahs and imams rant about “jihad,” or holy war, they have few illusions about the nature of contemporary conflict. Indeed, most Muslim clerics seem to grasp global strategic reality better than American generals who insist on parsing various Muslim wars into local insurgencies with local motives. Religion has become the invisible camel in the infidel tent.

The most celebrated version of the official US military view in these matters is contained in Army Field Manual 3-24; Counterinsurgency, the doctrinal bible that David Patraeus helped write and subsequently rode to four star notoriety. Unfortunately, like too many of his over-schooled peers, General Patraeus is more likely to be remembered for his social life than his military insights or battlefield achievements. Equally misguided was the US Marine Corps decision to adopt the Army manual in the interests of tactical ecumenism.

Religious war is now a global phenomenon, thanks in part to the failure of flag officers to acknowledge that threat. The Pentagon doesn’t have any official guidance for religious war beyond political correctness.

Within the Ummah, modern wars are of two types; civil and proxy. Contemporary revolutions in Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the Sudan, Somalia, Mali, and Egypt are religious civil wars. These in turn are of two classes; sectarian (i.e. Shia vs Sunni) or secular/sectarian. Secular military dictatorships, Egypt today for example, have been in the clerical crosshairs since Mohammed’s time. Libya and Syria are examples of secular oligarchies where tribal rivalries created opportunities for Islamists.

Syria is a prominent example of modern proxy war, where principals (Russia and the US or Iran and Israel), once removed, are attempting to settle old scores or exploit a regional opportunity. Any notion of moral “red lines” or WMD thresholds in Syria is just another flight from reality, a veil for political egos and hidden agendas.

The American Ranch Hand campaign (1962-71), which poisoned Southeast Asia for nearly a decade, was the most egregious, sustained modern use of chemical warfare. Granted, the putative aim of the Agent Orange campaign was defoliation; still, the net effect was to poison civilians and water sources under the canopy. No American administration is well-positioned to point fingers at Syria when the US Air Force, the Pentagon, and the White House have yet to acknowledge or accept responsibility for the mutilation of a generation of American GIs and several generations of Vietnamese children.

We might also recall those gassed Kurds and Persians (1988) of recent memory who perished from indifference if not complicity. Or we could mention the million or so Rwandans (1994) who fell to tribal clubs and cutlery. Such events barely make the evening news in the West. With these and Vietnam, ‘moral’ superiority about chemical warfare or genocide, if it ever existed, is a void not a high ground.

The recent gas attack in Syria is not an exception, nor is it a rule. Identifying culprits is probably irrelevant.  Nations adhere to international conventions or “norms” as it suits their interests. Credible force is the only reliable sheriff or deterrent. And a false flag prologue is often the pretense for the use of force.

Clearly there is more than a little overlap in any conflict taxonomy. Nonetheless, the need for a new vocabulary for the age of intervention is underwritten by two indisputable facts: religion underwrites much of the typology and too many conflicts are misrepresented as insurgencies when they are in fact civil wars. If Libya or Syria were true insurgencies, America should have sent guns to Gaddafi and Assad.

The ‘insurgent’ paradigm suits the politics, not the reality, of modern war. Terms like Islamic, religious, or “civil” war are avoided because the US military has no charter, doctrine, or legal authority for intervention in overseas internal disputes; and surely no moral authority for taking sides in religious rivalries. The Sunni tilt in American foreign policy since 1979 speaks for itself, a grim litany of blowback and failure.

At a minimum, you could argue that American intervention has made Shia fanatics, Hezb’allah, the Taliban, and now a global al Qaeda possible. Recall that America helped create a vacuum in southern Lebanon for Hezb’allah to fill. Recall also that clandestine support to the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the Soviet era made the Taliban possible. Imprudent signals to Islamists made the recent Muslim Brotherhood electoral success possible in Egypt too. In the geo-political arena, unqualified support for Saudi and Emirate oil oligarchs makes Salifism and related religious fascism possible worldwide.

The incompetence of intervention has more than a little to do with the caliber of American generals since Korea. Surely, David Patraeus was no guerilla fighter like Joe Stillwell and Martin Dempsey is no cavalry officer the equal of George Patton. At Benghazi, American military honor was compromised by timidity, if not bureaucratic cowardice. General Dempsey claims that he did not act because Mrs. Clinton didn’t give him a green light. Under Dempsey, the military ethos changed from “no man left behind” to “cover your behind.” Victory is no longer a staple of any flag officer’s resume or vocabulary.

The Intelligence Community is also part of the rhetorical decay. While at the White House, John Brennan literally scrubbed any reference to Islam, Islamists, jihad, or holy war from public and administration conversations about national security. He actually convinced most government departments, contractors, and the Press to delete any language that might suggest linkage between terror, religious war, and Islam. The Director of National Intelligence now refers to Islamic terrorists as “nefarious characters.” At CIA, Brennan is now well placed to police the language and analysis of National Intelligence Estimates.

And the chickens of strategic decline are home to roost as America again sides with the Sunni in Syria. Dithering in the West for two years has allowed Bashar al-Assad to regain the tactical advantage on the battlefield. And strategically, the Alawite regime now has a clear victory.  American gun sights have been lowered from regime change to “let’s make a deal.” Never mind that time is as good a gift to Assad as any aid from the Persians and Russians.

And the proxy war is a disaster. Vladimir Putin throws a ‘Hail Mary’ in Syria, and Foggy Bottom and the White House morph into cheer leaders. Worse still, the American administration embarrasses itself by trying to take credit for the Russian initiative. Say what you will about Putin, he is a better friend to Syria than Obama is to Israel. When the next “red line” is in the works, it might have to be drawn around Israel.

The Russian strategy may look a little like a deus ex machina, but compared to the Obama amateurs, Putin plays the great game like Winston Churchill. And putting John Kerry in  a diplomatic cage match with Sergei Lavrov is like watching  a bear  toy with a cocker spaniel. Checkmate in Baghdad and Geneva!

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The author provided intelligence support to Ranch Hand at Tan Son Nhut AB in 1968 and 1971. He writes occasionally about the politics of national security.