Thank you for raising the curtain on the biggest and most prolific lie told to the American people by our government throughout our nation's history and continuing to the present day with the current shit show in Ukrain.

Expand full comment

One of the best essays I have seen on this subject in a long time. Thank you for writing something that may have painful to think about.

Expand full comment

In the past, leftists managed to convince a lot of Americans that war was a capitalist enterprise and good for business. Until it was shown that rumors of war always caused the stock market to crash, not go up.

If no national government on earth had the power to go to war, there would be no wars. Government is the cause of war. Greatly limiting the power of government is probably the only way to end wars.

Expand full comment

People still believe that. I bet Paul Krugman has written an article about how regime change in Russia can make us all rich. I know Pinker argues that modernity has reduced conflict and indicates government played a role in this. I disagree. I think capitalism has reduced conflict and like always government tries to take credit. I think with the right social technologies government doesn't have any redeeming qualities, but we don't have those technologies right now. I'm content with a federal government that follows the rules outlined in the constitution. That would make the federal government a lot smaller and less capable of instigating conflicts contrary to the interests of the American people. The main justification for a strong federal government in the constitutional context is defense from foreign governments. In this 5th generation warfare I'm concerned that most of our bloated federal apparatus is more interested in controlling and subjugating Americans who would prefer constitutional limits on their exercise of power be adhered to than conserving national sovereignty. In fact, I think most are loyal to the GAE, which is essentially transnational.

Expand full comment

That's the suicide bomber.

To BN CDR; "can we shoot?"

Battalion Commander; " I don't know."

This is the price of ROE and it's the price of obedience. Both kill us for nothing.

This story is so familiar it's dreary to listen to, the only reason to keep listening is 13 dead Military.

This part ^^ that part ^^ is over. It's over, things that can't go on don't go on, our Chain of Indecision can't go on. The military as we know it is finished, it's just standing there like the Iraqi forces waiting for actual men and leaders to step forward, in the meantime they'll NOT SHOOT....and under pressure they will run.

ROE are Laws, mind you that change with the mood and changed more than once a day in Iraq and I quite read Afghanistan. JAG doesn't care, they are the ultimate 'self interested' and in reality they're paralegals usually and lawyers who didn't go into Law to make decisions. Your sufferings are irrelevant to them, they're clerks imitating sociopaths.

The Battalion Commander should write a apology and eat his gun.

The price of laws, the rent for legality rather to be accurate is too damn high.

I quite pointedly said the price of obedience after decades of service, I quite know what I said.

Now DO.

In real life you DO, the I Don't Know crowd just got out of the way.

Just DO and keep DOING until it's Done.

That's your reform.

Expand full comment

If war is a racket, and that racket is worse than the alternative, my AI says we should neuter the violence out of human hearts.

I think the proper adjustment for this conspiracy is to first watch about 7 hours of street fights and figure out exactly how well you might fare. The sewers in the worst neighborhoods are connected to the ones in the best neighborhoods. But since capitalism has given all of us dirty humans in the USA enough disposable tax dollars to fund a military industrial complex, maybe the racket has everything to do with convincing dainty citizens that they are incapable of violently defending their own lives. This makes for a (ha!) virtuous circle of "Don't try this at home" and so we leave it to the experts and the Navy SEALS.

It's always profitable to protect people. Calling it profiteering really depends upon how much special regard you give to the people being protected. Maybe the Constitution overreached two steps too far. Maybe we only need our lives; liberty and the pursuit of happiness be damned, right?

But quite honestly the thing that ruffles me into a kerfuffle is the demonization of intent gone wrong. If that's our first principle, then a lot of parents need jailing. Where do we start?

Governments lie. That's why you keep them away from the capitalist's money. Capitalists lie. That's why you keep them out of the government chain of command. Citizens lie. That's why you only let them vote occasionally. Shit happens. That's why sane people don't go looking for it.

Expand full comment

You say it's always profitable to protect people. I agree 100%. Then you use the term profiteering in a way that seems to suggest that profiteering and racketeering are synonymous. My position is that they're essentially opposites. It is the difference between voluntary and coercive transactions. All government transactions are coercive. What follows from this is that the government isn't profitable. To circle back, you acknowledge that protecting people is profitable, but then advocate for a system that makes it impossible for anyone to profit from protecting people.

It's funny you bring up the 'pursuit of happiness' because I do happen to believe that this should have always been 'property' instead. Applying property rights universally is the only way you can really envision what wide scale market protection services would look like. You don't have a right to food, nor healthcare, nor security. You have a right to life, liberty, and property. Of course capitalists lie, but you get to decide whether or not you pay them. This is the fundamental difference. It also explains why government wars haven't benefited the American people. This is more obvious recently, but I argue that it has always been true for this fundamental reason. They don't have to benefit the American people in order for the government to keep collecting taxes/inflating the currency.

Expand full comment

"If veterans want to retain the fruits of the promises made to them at the expense of beneficiaries of other entitlement programs then they might need to do a little more to serve the American people. I believe the best way that they can do that is to take on a challenges they are uniquely suited for. One of these challenges is advancing the cause of political populism."

FEAR. The word you're looking for is FEAR.

They may not FEAR the people, but they can Fear Us.

Expand full comment

Fear and hatred go hand in hand. I think that hatred is what will ultimately motivate increased scrutiny on veterans benefits going forward. I think it corresponds to politicians being comfortable with a VA system that externalizes locus of control and fails to provide high quality and effective care.

Expand full comment

The Hill at last! THAT HILL!

Long live the King of the Hill!

Expand full comment

We must be feared.

It’s not about money.

It’s about the country.

Expand full comment

You could take SGT Vargas testimony and cut and paste it at Uvalde PD, 400 cops froze.

Truth is they were afraid of going to jail.

You can't confuse fighters with legal ambiguities- I've had too many JAG briefings - and expect them to shoot. I've been watching this happen since Bosnia in 96, I've seen it happen - freezing - and someone died in Iraq, it's happening all over including elite forces.

It's over.

Now we still have the people.

Yes - this is the Hill to die on, because it's going to be our hill.

The TOC is dead, Long Live the King of the Hill.

Expand full comment

Most finally gave it up in the wake of the botched Afghanistan withdrawal.

This is interesting. From what you see, would the military even have the morale to fight WWIII if it broke out?

Expand full comment

Aside- Speaking of Hills to die on, any leader who says that “this isn’t the Hill to die on” is an idiot.

Your Troops see you take a beating for them especially if you punch back, that you have their back even if you lose...your job is done. By them. All the things that need doing get done and you don’t have to chase anyone- it’s done. Magic. You can ROAD (Retire On Active Duty).

Sincerely, Moltke’s Lazy Fool

(We have our uses).

Expand full comment