Monday, September 28, 2009

Sweden? Togo? Madagascar?

The more I debate folks about the health care thing, I keep running into this wall of resistance about the military budget. And I finally found a quote that I love. I don't know if you've seen the movie Wag The Dog (most liberals have - I think most conservatives would spend a lot of time going "what did he mean by that?"), but it essentially involves damage control in an election cycle. The pres has been caught with his hands on a girl scout, and the opposition is about to run an ad with a picture of the White House with the music from Gigi, sung by Maurice Chevalier, "Thank Heaven For Little Girls." eeeeew

So, the Pres' handlers begin a fake war against fake Albanian nuclear terrorists, produced by a Hollywood producer, just in time to scare everyone into keeping the Pres in office. The CIA doesn't like the "fake war" and steps in to stop the fixer, Conrad Brean (played by Robert deNiro). The CIA is played by the always fun to watch William H. Macy.

Conrad 'Connie' Brean: Would you go to war to do that?

CIA Agent Mr. Young: I have.

Conrad 'Connie' Brean: Well, I have, too. Would you do it again...? Isn't that why you're here? I guess so. And if you go to war again, who is it going to be against? Your "ability to fight a Two-ocean War" against who? Sweden and Togo? Who you sitting here to Go To War Against? That time has passed. It's passed. It's over. The war of the future is nuclear terrorism. It is and it will be against a small group of dissidents who, unbeknownst, perhaps, to their own governments, have blah blah blah. And to go to that war, you've got to be prepared. You have to be alert, and the public has to be alert. Cause that is the war of the future, and if you're not gearing up, to fight that war, eventually the axe will fall. And you're gonna be out in the street. And you can call this a "drill," or you can call it "job security," or you can call it anything you like. But I got one for you: you said, "Go to war to protect your Way of Life," well, Chuck, this is your way of life. Isn't it? And if there ain't no war, then you, my friend, can go home and prematurely take up golf. Because there ain't no war but ours.

That's verbatim from the script, including the "blah, blah, blah," which I think is a terrific way to simplify all the usual particulars of any conversation between rival factions. If all you have to say to explain your position is "blah, blah, blah" - and they get it - you could win every argument. I also love the "Sweden and Togo" stab. Do we need so much military power in order to defeat essentially a small bunch of people who dislike us for blah, blah, blah reason? Or could we do what we need to do in the current military system with a small force of SpecOps guys along with a bunch of high-tech satellite systems to spot developing threats?

Or, following the current model, do we need to continuously develop new and more powerful weapons systems to defeat enemies that do not exist?

We're pulling out of Iraq (excruciatingly slowly - has no one heard the Band Aid theory of combat extraction?), and we're adding troops to Afghanistan. Or not. But we are. Then we're not. I'm sure the troops would like to know. And their families. This kind of pushmi-pullyu sort of behavior can bring on pre-deployment PTSD.

And once we're out, what does the military need all that money for. I mean, we've been paying for both these wars off the books for so long, it's like working for the Jimmy Hoffa, Sr. teamsters' accounting department. You could dye Iraq in the red ink we're creating.

I know, it would be ugly, but way better than the blood we've been using up to now.

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