What with this, that and the other today, I haven't had the time to craft one of my usual, elegant and penetrating essays - did someone say something? - and even as I tap away here I am conscious of the fact that I must get out and water the grounds of our little community because that bloody-bloody sun is still burning everything to death!
However, courtesy of the invaluable Zero Hedge, I was nudged in the direction of a fascinating article in The American Conservative by Tom Streithorst who seems to me to be a more penetrating thinker than the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff on both sides of the Atlantic. He spells out what I have been groping towards for some time. Please read the article and later on I will return to comment on it in more detail.
ADDITIONAL: Dammit! I went out to do my watering duty and one of the elderly ladies had already started. Anyway, that gives me a chance to extend my thoughts on Mr. Streithorst's essay. His opening paragraphs sum up his disillusionment:
America spends more on its military than all its enemies put together yet it still can’t win wars. Failed adventures in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have drained America’s power and diminished its prestige. The bloated Pentagon budget actually makes us weaker.
Here’s the weird bit: nobody seems to care. If any other government department spent as much and accomplished as little, the populace would be in arms, complaining about wasteful government spending. Instead we mumble “Thank you for your service” and increase defense appropriations.
I know the feeling because I still remember the ignominy of our Suez invasion of 1956 which turned the faces of our Generals as red as the braid that surrounded their caps although none of them seemed to have learned the lesson. It has been more or less downhill since then! Likewise for our American allies whose Generals appear to have turned the practice of running full tilt into a brick wall into an art form! Of course, they are applauded and encouraged by their politicians who understand the vote-garnering power of wrapping themselves in the flag and indulging in 'yuuuuuuuge' spending on 'defence'.
You will have noticed the inverted commas round the word 'defence' because, of course, it is not 'defence' spending, it is 'offence' spending. No serious enemy has attempted to attack the USA in its homeland since they had the impertinence to throw us Brits out in the 18th century. However, in the post WWII era, America seems to have attacked anyone and everyone! Not, I hasten to add, that the rascals didn't deserve a smack but the cost in blood and treasure to ordinary Americans has been immense, and the returns appear to have been minimal.
Time for a rethink, methinks, but alas, thinking is mostly beyond your average General, and is usually totally absent from any politician!