Election Day



An old guy in the barbershop summed up this election best. Choosing between Bush and Kerry, he said, “is like being asked which of the Menendez brothers you like better.” As Paul Craig Roberts wrote, it is “the worst election ever.”

If we look at both candidates from the standpoint of national security, what do we see? Both talk about the subject endlessly, but neither has anything to say. On Iraq, Kerry, like Bush, refuses to recognize the war is lost. Kerry refuses even to say what Ike said in 1952: “I will bring the boys home.” Like Bush, he pretends that the key to victory is training more Iraqi forces, as if training, not loyalty, were the problem.

The landscape is equally bleak if we look beyond the Iraqi debacle ­ America’s Syracuse Expedition. If a voter were trying to determine which candidate would do better at defending the country against Fourth Generation enemies, the checklist might look something like this:

To be able to confront Fourth Generation opponents, our own armed forces must first move from the Second Generation (French-style attrition warfare) to the Third (German-style maneuver warfare, which includes a decentralized, initiative-oriented military culture). Bush has done nothing to make this happen, instead pushing us further up the blind canyon of the “Revolution in Military Affairs,” where future enemies are all Second Generation state armed forces whom we defeat through superior (meaning more complex) technology. Kerry has said nothing to suggest he knows the Second Generation from Second Grade.

Adopting a defensive rather than an offensive grand strategy. So long as we are on the grand strategic offensive, threatening to impose our ways on every one else through military force, we will be defeated regardless of how many battles we win. Like Germany in both World Wars, we will generate new enemies faster than we can defeat old ones. Bush promises in every other sentence that “America will stay on the offensive,” while Kerry’s foreign policy utterances sound as Wilsonian as any neo-con. Can we be sure Kerry isn’t in fact a neo-con? No.

Developing a “counter-terrorism” capability that, instead of pretending the whole thing is a law-enforcement problem, mimics the way Fourth Generation entities fight and turns it on them. Our armed services can’t do this because it requires a non-hierarchical organization free of the First Generation culture of order. Bush and Kerry both seem as clueless on this as Bart Simpson.

Developing contingency plans for what we do when a Fourth Generation force such as al Qaeda nukes an American city, which is going to happen. Both Presidential candidates suggest their response will be a headless chicken act; in Bush’s case, the chicken never had a head.

Finally, if we are to be able to fight Fourth Generation war we need to figure out what it is. The Pentagon is willfully ignorant, because Fourth Generation war doesn’t justify hi-tech “systems” and vast budgets. Which candidate will undertake the serious military reform we need to re-focus our military on war instead of on money? Bush obviously won’t, because he hasn’t. Kerry hasn’t said a word about it.

So what is a voter who cares about national security to do? Bush has already failed (spectacularly). Kerry seems to be an empty vessel. Hope would suggest a vote for Kerry. Unfortunately, hope is a fool.

What voters need to do is realize we are facing systemic failure. Our vaunted two-party system offers us two choices, neither of whom is fit to be dog-catcher of Podunk, much less President of the United States. It was the same in 2000, in 1996 and in 1992. Reagan looked good, as an actor should, but the last President we had who actually understood things like grand strategy was Richard Nixon. Oh for a happy monarchy, where Nixon would have been foreign minister for 50 years.

As for this monarchist, the political landscape seems so barren to me that it doesn’t matter much who we vote for. What we will get is more of the same. It is not just time for a new king; it is time for a new dynasty.

WILLIAM S. LIND, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation


WILLIAM S. LIND, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.

Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria
Jennifer Loewenstein
Heading Toward a Collision: Syria, Saudi Arabia and Regional Proxy Wars
John Pilger
Wikileaks vs. the Empire: the Revolutionary Act of Telling the Truth
Gary Leupp
A Useful Prep-Sheet on Syria for Media Propagandists
Jeffrey St. Clair
Pesticides, Neoliberalism and the Politics of Acceptable Death
Lawrence Ware – Paul Buhle
Insurrectional Black Power: CLR James on Race and Class
Joshua Frank
The Need to Oppose All Foreign Intervention in Syria
Oliver Tickell
Jeremy Corbyn’s Heroic Refusal to be a Nuclear Mass Murderer
Helen Yaffe
Che’s Economist: Remembering Jorge Risquet
Mark Hand
‘Rape Rooms’: How West Virginia Women Paid Off Coal Company Debts
Yves Engler
War Crimes in the Dark: Inside Canada’s Special Forces
Arno J. Mayer
Israel: the Wages of Hubris and Violence
W. T. Whitney
Cuban Government Describes Devastating Effects of U. S. Economic Blockade
Brian Cloughley
The US-NATO Alliance Destroyed Libya, Where Next?
Barry Lando
Syria: Obama’s Bay of Pigs?
Karl Grossman
The Politics of Lyme Disease
Andre Vltchek
Southeast Asia “Forgets” About Western Terror
Jose Martinez
American Violence: Umpqua is “Routine”?
Vijay Prashad
Russian Gambit, Syrian Dilemma
Sam Smith
Why the Democrats are in Such a Mess
Uri Avnery
Nasser and Me
Andrew Levine
The Saints March In: The Donald and the Pope
Arun Gupta
The Refugee Crisis in America
Michael Welton
Junior Partner of Empire: Why Canada’s Foreign Policy Isn’t What You Think
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Elections and Verbal Vomit
Dan Glazebrook
Refugees Don’t Cause Fascism, Mr. Timmermann – You Do
Victor Grossman
Blood Moon Over Germany
Patrick Bond
Can World’s Worst Case of Inequality be Fixed by Pikettian Posturing?
Pete Dolack
Earning a Profit from Global Warming
B. R. Gowani
Was Gandhi Averse to Climax? A Psycho-Sexual Assessment of the Mahatma
Tom H. Hastings
Another Mass Murder
Anne Petermann
Activists Arrested at ArborGen GE Trees World Headquarters
Ben Debney
Zombies on a Runaway Train
Franklin Lamb
Confronting ‘Looting to Order’ and ‘Cultural Racketeering’ in Syria
Carl Finamore
Coming to San Francisco? Cra$h at My Pad
Ron Jacobs
Standing Naked: Bob Dylan and Jesus
Missy Comley Beattie
What Might Does To Right
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi Jayanti, Gandhi’s Dream
Raouf Halaby
A Week of Juxtapositions
Louis Proyect
Scenes from the Class Struggle in Iran
Christopher Washburn
Skeptik’s Lexicon
Charles R. Larson
Indonesia: Robbed, Raped, Abused
David Yearsley
Death Songs
Jon Hochschartner
Does Word Policing Actually Help the Left?