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I am retired from government, law enforcement, politics and all other pointless endeavors. I eat when I am hungry and sleep when I am tired.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


C-SPAN featured the finely made up presence of one Kimberly Kagan this morning. She is the president of some new think tank devoted to "The Study of War." She is the wife of Fredrick Kagan, chubby faced keyboard warrior of AEI and father of the surge, sister in law of Robert Kagan historian and another neocon war monger who's wife is Victoria Nuland, Ambassador to Nato. So the war business is turning out well for the Kagans, Podhortizes and Kristols. And why shouldn't it, so long as they personally avoid the sound of the guns? Very wise. Kimbley herself has been fighting hard from the offices of the Weekly Standard.

This brings a question to mind, what happened to the days when intellectuals actually went to war; Orwell in Spain, Hemingway in Italy, etc: Is there some way for those of us who understand the folly of the current war to share in some of the pain, or even just some of the stink?

Perhaps journalism is a way. Sebastian Junger was as impressive as Kagan was preposterous this morning on the same channel. Junger told me more about the situation in Afghanistan than all the networks combined. He lives on and off with troopers in an isolated base in an obscure Afghan valley. He reports insurgents attacking as often as three times a day. The detail he commands about his small corner of the war has the weight of truth. So the Taliban in his valley came to power in part due to conflict between the Karzi Government and the local "Timber Mafia." The local Taliban commander is a leftover Egyptian Mujahadeen who married a local woman. Junger knows the Taliban are run from safe havens in Pakistan because he he knows their phone numbers and talks to them. His experience of counter insurgency comes from sleeping on the ground, getting shot at from 50 yards or less and patrolling with soldiers for months at a time. Kimberly on the other hand, taught undergraduate History at West Point and has visited Iraq, twice. She sees her role as "Educating civilians in military affairs."

So we live in a world where praxis and power have diverged to the point where wars are planned and instigated by nepotistic political salonistas while the best intelligence available comes from Junger over at Harpers. The neocons have us fighting a war, pinned down amid hostile populations against enemies sallying from safe havens at will. The war intellectuals didn't even learn from Vietnam. It's good they started an institute.

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