Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Heart of Derpness

Paul Krugman defines "derp" as: "...always saying the same thing, regardless of circumstances, and regardless of past errors."

I'm going to add that it can also include doing the same thing, et cetera. It's a version of Einstein's supposed definition of insanity; repeating the same mistake and expecting a different result.

Hence the title of this post regarding the latest let's-toss-some-more-soldier-bodies-at-the-Middle-East-what-bad-thing-could-happen? "plan" to "solve" the civil war in Iraq.
Mind you, this is the "least worst" version of derp. If you want to go full-on, bull-goose, so-fucked-up-it-disappears-up-its-own-fucking-asshole looney derp you have to go to the likes of Bob Kaplan's fever-dream demand for more imperialism on the Middle East:
"Imperialism bestowed order, however retrograde it may have been. The challenge now is less to establish democracy than to reestablish order. For without order, there is no freedom for anyone."
Bobby, being too young to have ever enjoyed the attentions of a pukka sahib on his nether regions and too purblind to imagine the infuriating nature of such attentions, clearly sees himself as the retrograde-er rather than the retrograde-ee. But he is simply the most honest of these would-be Kiplings taking up the White Man's Burden. Joni Ernst, now free of her responsibility of doing to male hogs what the Belgians used to do to their old colonial subjects, is manned-up in her confidence that Iraq, The Sequel will have a happier ending:
"...having served in the Middle East, I see a need at some point. If we don’t get this situation under control, ISIS will continue to spread. And I think most of our service members understand that, and I think many of them are ready to go back,” she continued. “If that call comes up, they are going to answer that call."
Important safety tip, Joni, (in case they didn't cover this in your last deployment brief, ma'am) if they don't "answer that call" they get the blocks put to them by the UCMJ.

Just sayin'...

What I find immensely frustrating and infuriating about this big-gonzo form of derp is that it is, frankly, not JUST derp but ignorant, uninformed derp. Profoundly, ahistorically stupid derp. A massive abyss of derp that completely misunderstands both the history and the current condition of imperialism as well as the history, ethnography, and geopolitics of the Middle East.

I've gone over this before, but the simple, bloody, inescapable fact that these fucking moron-grade Caesars like Kaplan and Ernst are missing is that:
"Back when it was us having the Maxim gun and they had not it was pretty simple to run an empire on the cheap. But now every dimestore Westbumfuckian Liberation Front can lay their hands on a couple of shiploads of AKs and a bunch of PMD shoebox mines (or just some Semtex and a Palestinian- or Iraqi-for-hire to show them how to wire the things for sound) and all of a sudden the White Man's Burden becomes hard for low-population-growth, expensive Western volunteer armies to bear."
It's Just. That. Fucking. Simple.
It's not a question of "resolve". It's not a question of military hardware, or geopolitical cunning, or strategic "vision". Iraq (and Syria) are now in the grip of a vicious civil war; Sunni vs Shia and Kurds in Iraq, Sunni vs Shia vs other Sunni vs Kurds in Syria.

For the Sunni to lose this game of thrones is to die, or, worse, to be ground under the shoe of the Alawite Shia in Syria or the Twelver Shia in Iraq forever. It will require a bloody generations-long occupation - or a savage, genocidal-level Sri-Lankan-type military defeat and political ratissage in the next couple of years or so - to crush this rebellion.

In today's modern cellphone-video, 24-hour-newschannel world no occupier can apply the level of pure savagery needed to crush such a rebellion quickly and completely. The U.S. does not have the sort of Army that can fight and win that horrible occupation war. Not except at the cost of our national soul, as crushing the Palestinian rebellion has sucked the life out of the soul of the nation of Israel. The 2003-2008 occupation of Iraq was not such war, and anyone who believes it was is kidding themselves. The U.S. Army no more "crushed" the Sunni rebellion than it ever really "ruled" places like Ramadi or Fallujah. To pretend that it ever could short of genocidal savagery is worse than a mistake. It is a crime.
To say or imply that, or to say or imply that somehow that American soldiers could change that history if they were to once again be sent into the maelstrom, is to reveal yourself as either simply an utter fool, as is Ernst, or a cynically amoral monster, which, I suspect, is Kaplan.

I have no doubt that such foolish monstrosity, or monstrous foolishness, will be neither reviled nor rejected by the American public, insulated as it is from the consequences. I have little doubt that more of this stupidity will be poured into the public mind, and that there is little I can do to ameliorate that.

I can only sit here on the ground and tell sad stories of the derp of king-sized idiots.

5 comments:

Ael said...

It is a mistake to think that there is any semantic content to the words uttered by Ms Ernst or Mr. Kaplan. Rather, they should be regarded simply as emotional tones designed to elicit a sympathetic emotional response in their fellow herd members.

Any possible side effects that may be caused by emitting these noises are unimportant. Herd stability and coherence must be maintained.

Syrbal/Labrys said...

King sized idiots with itsy bitsy barely there polka-dot brains.

Podunk Paul said...

Interesting comment, Chief, about “sucking the life out a nation’s soul.” That seems to happen, especially if the nation sees itself as fulfilling an idealistic goal, such as providing refuge for Jews or equality for the proletariat. The elites then try to substitute something else – security, guilt-free shopping, military pornography for that which they have betrayed. But cheap substitutes do not work. Social ties weaken and the population turns inward in a kind of internal migration.

brtrain said...

What happened to Bob Kaplan's brain? I read his "The Coming Anarchy" when it appeared in The Atlantic back in the day (1994) and it was OK, then I read Imperial Grunts, still all right but getting dodgy, a couple of months ago I read "Hog Pilots and Blue Water Grunts" and it's getting a bit too rah-rah... and now, this.

I do not he is associated with Stratfor, an organization that spreads itself around in the media a lot, making lots of noise but when you stop to listen, it's pretty derpy noise.

Ael said...

Chief,

How is your neighborhood set up for the really big one?

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one