Warfare Kings and the Tea Party

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published today, Heritage Foundation founder Ed Fuelner, American Enterprise Institute boss-man Arthur Brooks, and The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol caution limited government activists to keep the military free of their waste-slashing scythes. Because when it comes to waging peace through war, our two ongoing conflicts and troop presence in 156 countries apparently isn't enough. More robust, please.

(Elsewhere in think tank land, Cato recently put out a study calling for significant cuts to the military, including bringing both current wars to an end, while Brookings star defense scholar Michael O'Hanlon takes the Brookings-esque position that proposals to cut the defense budget "deserve some thought," then adds—in case that came off too decisive—that "[i]t is too soon to make decisions on these issues, perhaps, but not too soon to start considering them.")

Blogging at the Economist, Will Wilkinson issues a pretty devastating critique of the Fuelner/Brooks/Kristol piece, as well as a challenge to the tea party movement:

Messrs Brooks, Feulner, and Kristol have offered the tea-party movement an excellent opportunity to show what it's really made of. Will it allow itself to be captured by Washington's establishment conservative elite? Will it follow the example of the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Weekly Standard and fight, fight, fight for big government, just as long as it's big government bristling with the tools of conquest and mass death? Or will it recognise that war is the health of the state, the enemy of liberty, and the bane of humanity and stand up to the big-government Washington war machine?

I'm putting my money on capture. Never bet against Bill Kristol.

Amen to that. I'm still trying to figure out why any serious person would still give Kristol a platform from which to dispense military strategy. The guy is the Matt Millen of the foreign policy world. Only Millen at least had a pretty distinguished playing career before wreaking devastation from the front office.

But Wilkinson's right. If the tea party is serious about cutting government, there's plenty of fat to be trimmed at the Pentagon, not to mention reforming the dishonest and misleading way war spending isn't counted in the federal budget.

If they want to disprove the sentiment that they're just fronts for the GOP, this would be a darned good place for tea party leaders to distinguish themselves.

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  • SIV||

    tea party leaders

    You don't get it do you?

  • SIV||

    Wilkinson's right

    About as often as a stopped clock and Bill Kristol.

  • ||

    Amen.

    Both too-clever-by-half at best, morons.

  • Trespassers W||

    I never understood the hate for Will Wilkinson.

    Which isn't to say it isn't warranted--I just missed the memo on this one.

  • Ron L||

    "in case that came off too decisive—that "[i]t is too soon to make decisions on these issues, perhaps, but not too soon to start considering them."

    And maybe we should call a meeting to consider a meeting that might convene a meeting to consider....

  • mr simple||

    Whoa, better take that to committee first.

  • ||

    I predict they will go all in on preserving the military. If I'm wrong, I'll be delighted, but I doubt I'll be wrong.

  • ||

    I think it will just remain a not-talked-about issue as it is now.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    The tea party is constitutional in nature, not libertarian, and half of the enumerated powers have to do with military, war, and defense. It simply isn't going to turn into an anti-military, anti-war movement.

    On the other hand, there would probably be support for the idea that "there's plenty of fat to be trimmed at the Pentagon, not to mention reforming the dishonest and misleading way war spending isn't counted in the federal budget." Getting rid of military earmarks should be an easy sell, for example.

  • ||

    If it's constitutional in nature, where is the outcry against undeclared wars?

  • ||

    OMG! I replied to someone named "Fatty Bolger"! Boy do I feel like a bombadil...

  • cynical||

    For some reason, conservatives get that spending more on money on "education" doesn't necessarily mean that we're actually making anyone smarter, but don't get that spending more on "defense" doesn't actually mean we're getting any safer from attack.

    To be fair, I don't think progressives get either one, they just have a cultural dislike of the military, probably due to the fact that we spent so much time fighting socialist revolutionaries whose ideals they shared. If we spent the last few decades fighting aggressive theocratic Christian states, the right may not be so gung ho about the military either.

  • ¢||

    If Wilkinson issued a challenge to Snuggles the fabric softener bear, it would laugh itself into a coma, then beat his ass.

    Intellectually, also.

    But hey. TEAM BLUE!

  • Ron Stringfield||

    Warfare Kings... good one.

  • JoshINHB||

    The neocons can fuck themselves then go back to the socialist party from whence they came.

    Worst mistake Reagan ever made was bringing those assholes into the republican party.

  • MarmaladeINFP||

    Reagan began his political career as a Democratic union leader. Reagan is the very definition of a neocon. Reagan brought those assholes in when he switched to being a Republican. Reagan was the neocon takeover. With Reagan, there was growth of govt & military using deficit spending. Starve the Beast. The Two Santa Claus theory. Voodo Economics. Bush jr was the inevitable result of what Reagan started.

  • ||

    Will's a useless leftist like Brink. Feds should only be spending 10% of GDP - 7% on DoD/nukes, 1.5% on espionage, 1.5% on prisons and police. End the drug war and the welfare state and there's more than enough money to kill everyone who needs killing.

    Security is the only legitimate government expenditure. I'd be fine with being isolationist if the world wasn't full of communists, islamists, and the French. Given that it is, there are lots of people who need killing or at least a credible threat.

  • nj||

    And you are just another useless republican

  • ||

    ...and the French

    ...and those bugeyed Belgian bastards.

  • German fraulein||

    Big American soldier, do not leave me, I need you, my country is incapable of war.

  • Tman||

    "If they want to disprove the sentiment that they're just fronts for the GOP"

    See that's the thing, "they" are comprised of people who couldn't give a flying fuck whether or not Balko thinks they are a "GOP front" or not.

    PJ O'Rourke recently had an insightful piece on the sheer lack of foreign policy that exists within the Tea Party-Innocence Abroad: The Tea Party's Search for Foreign Policy.

    It's funny, because even O'Rourke realized why Americans aren't fond of foreign policy -period.
    Why Americans hate foreign policy

    Americans hate foreign policy. Americans hate foreign policy because Americans hate foreigners. Americans hate foreigners because Americans are foreigners. We all come from foreign lands, even if we came 10,000 years ago on a land bridge across the Bering Strait.

    America is not "globally conscious" or "multi-cultural." Americans didn't come to America to be Limey Poofters, Frog-Eaters, Bucket Heads, Micks, Spicks, Sheenies or Wogs. If we'd wanted foreign entanglements, we would have stayed home. Or - in the case of those of us who were shipped to America against our will - as slaves, exiles, or transported prisoners - we would have gone back.

    Being foreigners ourselves, we Americans know what foreigners are up to with their foreign policy - their venomous convents, lying alliances, greedy agreements and trick-or-treaties. America is not a wily, sneaky nation. We don't think that way.

    We don't think much at all, thank God. Start thinking and pretty soon you get ideas, and then you get idealism, and the next thing you know you've got ideology, with millions dead in concentration camps and gulags. A fundamental American question is: "What's the big idea?"
  • PJ is smart||

    When I hear them say "Anglo Go Home!", I go to my house in Cali Land.

  • Remember this?||

    Hey, hey, ObamaBJ, how many Pocky-Stahny babies did you kill today?

  • As useless now...||

    ...as it was back then: War run by Politician Generals.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks Obama's funny pronunciation of Pakistan indicates he is a Muslim terrorist.

  • Remember this?||

    Maybe Obama has nuclear-bomb-possessing Pakistan confused with some other place, the Osama Bin Laden-hiding Pocky-Stahn. Kinda like the 57-state thing.

  • rho||

    Tea Party: We hate Big Government! Except that which we agree with!

    Republicans: We hate anything that keeps us out of power!

    Democrats: Yeah! Us too, but, like, more!

    Libertarians: Thank Christ you can grow weed between the begonia beds.

  • ||

    Hope you are not holding your breath on this one, Radley.

  • KingTaco||

    I enjoy this whole 'We, really, really hope for the best with this Tea Part thing BUT..' concern troll gambit certain 'libertarian' sources are throwing down. Cause' if Will Wilkinson is involved, it must be runnin' on 100% good faith....

    Why not, I don't know, try to get the domestic spending scene moving in a positive direction, and then worry about foreign policy? Not saying foreign policy/military spending aren't very legit issues, but positing 'This movement is only worthwhile if it meets every criteria and goal 100% of the time RIGHT NOW!!!!' has a certain 'Angry Freshman' vibe to it.

    Gosh....it's almost like some commentators go digging for any negative spin/splinter issue on the Tea Parties they can. Why would that be?

    Nah... Hey, I look forward to the next set of articles on how the Tea Party movement is a sham, how Matthew Yglesias mumbling something about barber regulations being too cumbersome is a sign the the Democrats finally get it, and how some obscure poltico getting wiped out by 90% of the vote signal 'Liberaltarianism' is right around the corner!!

  • Tman||

    "I enjoy this whole 'We, really, really hope for the best with this Tea Part thing BUT..' concern troll gambit certain 'libertarian' sources are throwing down.

    The Juice Box Mafia have very high standards.

    You can be logically correct quoting Friedman, but stray off the "War!!! Unh..What is it good for!!!" plantation and suddenly you're drinking crappy Martini's alone at some dive in Dupont Circle.

    It's a living, I suppose...

  • ||

    I have strong conservative (with quite a few liberatarian) views. I agree with the fact that the DOD needs to be audited (performance audits) and found where waste, abuse (financial), duplicate programs, and bad businesses practices are ... but with referencing Will Wilkerson's article and the quote, "bristling with the tools of conquest and mass death". I, as a 19yr Navy veteran and w/a son going to Army bootcamp in weeks, find that to be offensive and deplorable to our men and women in uniform who risk their lives daily for you to have the right to insult their service and bravery. You may be just as bad as the progressives and conservative elites you write about ... maybe there is no difference in any of you.

  • KingTaco||

    "...but with referencing Will Wilkerson's article and the quote, "bristling with the tools of conquest and mass death".

    1. Will Wilkinson is a minnow in the lake in which bigger fish like David Frum, David Brooks, Daily Caller, Andrew Sullivan, etc. swim. The stock-in-trade is peddling comfortable stealth-cocooning to the sizable opinion market for elites looking to feel 'well-rounded' without actually facing anything that threatens their worldview. Like how Reason regularly shits on the Tea Party, but has articles praising obscure Democrats who can't crack 25% of the vote with headlines heralding 'Ayn Rand's Revenge!!!' Don't get mad at the stuff, just realize that's the game.

    2. Yes, the DOD deserves a good auditing. And the military can stand a good down-sizing in a lot of areas. But wonking away in the D.C. corridor means never having to grow up, so we get things like "bristling with the tools of conquest and mass death", sans the irony. Again, don't get mad at the stuff, just realize that's the game.

  • nonan||

    Submarine or 'floating target'? And on a non-troll note, testify to your 19 years. I've been reading the War Nerd at exiled.com since the previous two minutes of W. Wilkinson hate & need some sanity. Maybe.

  • IceTrey||

    Your sons a sucker. He's not making me safer he's making the world a worse place. He's going to some far off land to die so some rich fat Jew can make a couple of bucks.

  • M. Simon||

    Could you tell me which one? I'm a MOT and would like to hit him up for a donation.

  • jester||

    Needless wars are even more offensive and deplorable. It is the Department of Defense, after all. Not the Department of Offense.

    No one is calling you out on your patriotism, so you don't need to call someone out on theirs just because they believe, I would say correctly, that too often our wars are blatant exercises of jingoism.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    You do realize that it was called the Department of War for the first 150 years or so? "Department of Defense" is just a politically correct euphemism.

  • James Madison||

    I, as a 19yr Navy veteran and w/a son going to Army bootcamp in weeks, find that to be offensive and deplorable to our men and women in uniform who risk their lives daily for you to have the right to insult their service and bravery.

    Todd, lets be clear about one thing. Soldiers do not give us the right to free speech etc... the Constitution those soldiers are sworn to protect from foreign and domestic enemies, does.

    Last time I checked Saddam nor even the Taliban attacked our Constitution but the federal government has. So, in essence we have a situation here where the federal government is basically saying in order to protect the Constitution they have to attack our freedoms contained in it, in order to save the freedoms provided by it.

    Saddam is dead and the Taliban is just a shell of its former self, it is time to bring our troops home. Perhaps the military should start focusing on protecting the Constitution from our domestic enemies(DC) before its too late?

  • ||

    "our men and women in uniform who risk their lives daily for you to have the right to insult their service and bravery."

    That is one of the biggest myths around. These wars have nothing to do with defending our freedoms. Afghanistan and Iraq are no threats to us. These wars do however uneccessarily wreck our economy and are a threat to our security in that they're promoting more hatred against us.

  • ||

    I don't get the fetish associated with being a veteran either.

  • ||

    I, as a 19yr Navy veteran and w/a son going to Army bootcamp in weeks, find that to be offensive and deplorable to our men and women in uniform who risk their lives daily for you to have the right to insult their service and bravery.

    Looks like someone has exercised that right so unless you are feeling particularly hypocritical or are just having difficulty with the logic involved thanks for the 19 years we'll keep talking now if you don't mind.

  • ||

    Unlikely. The Tea Party is strained enough over social issues like gay marriage, abortion, and immigration.

    While going anti-war would definitely turn some Democrat heads, it would also alienate a core constituency.

  • Yonemoto||

    I'm really sore that a huge pro-america faction hasn't rallied around a brash, jackass who gets up and says that Islamic fundamentalists are like mosquitoes and that we don't need to be bothered by them (on account that we can glass Tehran - and Mecca while we're at it - if they hand over a nuke to terrorists).

    Wayne Allen Root could have pulled something like that off, but alas, it wasn't in the initials.

  • IceTrey||

    Over a million people a year are killed by mosquitoes.

  • ||

    don't insult matt millen by associating him with Kristol.

  • Bob||

    Millen had a career at least, Kristol is a fucking trust fund baby. Thanks daddy

  • M. Simon||

    As I recall in the 1920s and 1930s America waged peace through peace. How did that work out for ya?

    It appears that waging peace through war is cheaper.

    But it has been 70 years now. People forget. Time to try it again and see what happens?

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    As I recall in the 1920s and 1930s America waged peace through peace. How did that work out for ya?

    So you want the govt to lie us into a war like FDR did w/ that whole "let them attack Pearl Harbor" thing?

  • ||

    Ok, the Kochs are the money behind CATO, not that there is anything wrong with that. It is refreshing for the source of funding for CATO to be so open and well known.

    Where is the money coming from for:

    The Brookings Institute
    American Enterprise Institute
    The Heritage Foundation

    All the "think tanks" have impressive titles and some may actually have some value to people other than their employees. But, I also always wonder if the fancy titles are not a cover for an operation like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC, which is really little more than one guy working in his basement with a flair for getting headlines.

  • Ryanxxx||

    But, but, we need those troops all over the world to protect our freedoms! And imagine what would happen to all those jobs if we cut the military-industrial complex!

    BTW, this is all moot. The empire won't end by electoral or grassroots politics: a truly antiwar candidate who achieved the presidency would just be killed. Period. Too many powerful people rely on the constant war system.

    What will bring the moire down is fiscal reality. The money will just run out at some point

  • Bob||

    Kristol is wrong about everything. Republicans haven't gotten elected back into office and John Boner is saying we can't cut spending and Kristol is saying the same. I'm shocked, shocked, that R's won't cut spending.

  • Mike Laursen||

    We all know that Wilkinson is the Koch Brothers water boy, so there's only one thing this all can mean -- The Koch Brothers have a nefarious plan:

    1. Cut military spending.
    2. Withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan.
    3. ???
    4. Pollute with impunity!

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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