Thursday, June 2, 2005

Wreck It and Run - by William S. Lind

Wreck It and Run - by William S. Lind: "When Rumsfeld leaves office, what will his successor inherit?


"A volunteer military without volunteers. . .

"The world's largest pile of wrecked and worn-out military equipment (maybe second-largest if we remember the old Soviet Navy). I'm talking about basic stuff here: trucks, Humvees, personnel carriers, crew-served weapons, etc. This is gear the Rumsfeld Pentagon hates to spend money on, because it does not represent "transformation" to the hi-tech, video-game warfare it wrongly sees as the future. . .

"A military tied down in a strategically meaningless backwater, Iraq, to the point where it can't do much else. . .

"Commitments to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of future weapons programs that are militarily as useful as Zeppelins but less fun to watch. . .

"A world wary of U.S. intentions and skeptical of any American claims about anything. . .

"We will be lucky if we can get out of Iraq with anything less than a total loss."

Will these failures be blamed on Democrats or Republicans? Politics is dramatic manipulation of events to create meaning.

We are heading toward one of two political futures. In one, things finally spin completely out of control, well before the 2008 election, and the moderate middle loses its misplaced faith in the Republicans. In the other, the Republicans manage to hand off the country to Democrats in 2008, and the Democrats start acting responsibly -- they pull out of Iraq (who lost Iraq? the Dems, of course, it was all going so swimmingly under Bush); they raise taxes, they watch helplessly as the Chinese stop loaning us money to buy their stuff at Wal-Mart, etc. The Democrats are thoroughly hooverized, and the Republicans dominate the country politically to the end of time.

The "Coming Perfect Storm" -- coming by 2006 or so -- is the Democrat's best semblance of "hope". The Republicans are forced by the Iraqis out of Iraq; the housing bubble bursts, taking the economy with it; the Chinese let the dollar crater.

The hard core of the Republican Party will not be the least swayed by any of these events. Nothing penetrates their double-digit intelligence. But, the moderate middle is results-oriented. Stupid, but results-oriented. If the Democrats, say, withdraw from Iraq and raise taxes -- no matter how necessary and responsible those policy choices may be -- the Democrats will get blamed. If the country gets thrown out of Iraq and experiences a major recession before the Republicans can flee the scene, the Republicans may get blamed. I say, "may" because, let's fact it, Republicans own the corporate right-wing media, quite literally. Katherine Graham and Otis Chandler are long gone.

Democrats need to be in a position to say, "I told you so." And, Democrats -- well, it seems unlikely, but I really wish Democrats could be in a position to push radical change in the form of a repeal of the Republican revolution.

Change the media ownership rules to destroy the corporate right-wing media.

Unionize Wal-Mart.

Enact progressive income taxation and bring back inheritance taxes.

Stop oil drilling in wilderness areas; restore the Clean Air Act, etc.

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