the COGENT PROVOCATEUR
free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ... taking an imposing analytic toolkit out of the box, over the wall and into the street ... with callous disregard for accepted wisdom and standard English
reading tea leaves from original angles, we've led with uncannily prescient takes on the federal surplus, the dotcom crash, the "Energy Crisis", the Afghan campaign, the federal deficit.
More where those came from ... stay tuned.
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All "major" articles of older material have now been imported, some with updates worth perusing. We'll keep it all on the main page for a while, will add a few loose pieces of history, will trim the main page and index the archives for convenience later.
the COGENT PROVOCATEUR:
free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ...
... gateway to the next Progressive Era?
Some say it's nothing but a train wreck ... roll in the big cranes, clear the track, see what the crew was smoking. If I thought so, I'd not be writing this ... and if they thought so, they'd not be drumming so hard.
OTHER GOOD STUFF:
Many thanks to Tony Adragna and Will Vehrs, still shouting 'cross the Potomac at QuasiPundit. Early Camp Enron material can be found in QP's Dispatches department.
Monday, March 11, 2002
--- 2001-12-05 Flashback: Three Wars on Terrorism ---In a series of posts on The Fray, 2001-12-05, I distinguished Three Wars on Terrorism -- the War on Osama, the World Series, and the War Without End, and offered assessments of each. On this semi-anniverserary of 9/11, I offer them for review ... with the note that my armchair generalship of the Afghan campaign is (so far as I am aware) unsurpassed in the blogosphere, and with the caveat that my views on the extended outlook are not especially comforting.
Excerpts below, though readers are encouraged to review the originals in full.
From "Three Wars":
FOX and MSNBC caption it "America at War". On CNN it's "America's New War". ["NEW! Improved!! Now with Chlorine Dioxide!!!] Not too far back, a rising chorus sang "quagmire". Turn a page, and we heard "triumph". Turn the page again, and a discordant chorus is groping for the key, wavering between boredom and chaos. Each swing of the perceptual pendulum inspires its own waves of hindsight, chirping and chiding. How goes the war, now, really?
From "War on Osama"
It's hard to find any military conflict in history where the aftermath worked out the way the winners had it figured. Even in a winning campaign there's risk of unintended consequences ranging from annoying through catastrophic:
From "World Series"
Single-threading is harder than it looks. Finishing what we start may take longer than we calculated. Starting what we start may take longer. Sometimes an adversary -- or even an ally -- can seize initiative by starting early. If we simply smash states and leave, the aftermath may be worse ... so each "spike" operation creates a long "tail" of draws on US resource and management bandwidth, and (as in War #1) the inevitable unintended consequences ...
From "War Without End"
We got massacred on the PR front ... burned/bombed bridges with the most vital intelligence sources ... compromised intelligence integrity by dallying with less salient sources ... blew gaping holes in the traditional counterterrorism pipeline ... emphasized the incomparable reach of our long sword, confirming to any alert future foe's the advisablility of attacking inside its arc ... and inside our armor if possible ... advertised vulnerabilities ... declared arrogant indifference to conditions that foment global unrest, tarring all such concerns with the broad brush of "moral equivalence" ... attacked our own traditions of liberal democracy and republican construction of law ... spun on old allies ... disclaimed nation-building ... while acquiring an increased stake in the local outcome, whether we stay or go ... ruled out "appeasement" -- historically the most effective boundary discipline for an imperial hegemon surrounded by barbarians -- on principle (in a principle-depleted battlefield) ... conducted a global interactive virtual workshop in "How to Break the United States".