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 17, 2003
--- War Opposition Matters Now More Than Ever ---The world at large will necessarily react to Plan Iraq ... and not in a good way. (See immediate preceding post.) Those abroad who stand with Bush will not stand long in office, and even while they stand they must task defense theorists to game out contingencies in which history finds them standing against us.
If all this plays out badly, the American Era is over ... and that may not be the worst of it.
Vocal, visible, vigorous war opposition is terribly important. We'll be booed off the world stage unless the world sees our role in Plan Iraq as an aberration -- not typical US behavior. Most hope for reconciliation and recovery lies in leading the global audience to view the action as psychodrama, not melodrama. In other words, we have to construct a temporary insanity defense:
It's not the real USA ... it's reaction to the trauma of 9/11. We're hurt, we're scared, we lash out. Understandable, and understandably temporary.The more clearly we express home-grown opposition ... the more bravely and proudly we stand up for the OTHER America ... the more quickly and decisively we dump the people who got us into this fix ... the better a case we can make for clemency and probationary re-entry to the community of nations.
Stop the War. Now More Than Ever.
--- Choice of Evils ---Plan Iraq had been pressed to the extent that there is no benign alternative. On every side there is the prospect of manifest harm to US principles and interests. What are we up against?
Suppose US refrains from invading Iraq at this point.
Emboldened, Saddam may resist inspection. Saddam may underestimate US/allied resolve, with serious consequences in future encounters. Other international actors may miscalculate likewise, with dire consequences.Suppose we invade Iraq, against the express or implied will of the Security Council.
US maintains on the order of 100,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely, taking sporadic casualties ... sometimes in triple digits. The burden is aggravated by developments outside the dotted lines -- downstream regional conflicts (whether incidental or deliberate), loss of allies, demise of peacekeeping institutions, opportunistic thrusts by unrelated actors out-of-region. As a result the familiar all-volunteer, reserve-heavy US force structure becomes unsustainable.Either way, Plan Iraq was destined to estrange Americans from each other, bitterly, perhaps violently, in ways that will persist after all of us are gone.
Either way, a large fraction of US citizens -- maybe an overwhelming majority, maybe a permanently embattled minority -- will eventually learn they've been driven warward (in Tom Friedman's words) "on the wings of a lie".
Suppose we had waited.
The situation would have changed markedly when and if a single US "solid intelligence" lead had ever panned out on the ground.The war now cranks on of its own momentum ... as large projects are wont to when interim findings separate The Plan from its reasons for being.