Foreign Policy

Rachel Maddow Abbreviates History

An MSNBC host's book on foreign policy leaves out too much of the story of how this mess began.

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Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, by Rachel Maddow, Crown Publishing Group, 275 pages, $25.

The hardest part of a policy book has to be the last chapter. Having diagnosed an important problem and traced its evolution, the author is expected to sketch out a solution at the end. Books about important, tough problems frequently end with weak closing chapters. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow's Drift is no exception.

Maddow promises a lot but unfortunately can't deliver. In the introduction, she puts her thesis starkly: American military policy "isn't much related to its stated justifications anymore….We're not directing that policy anymore; it just follows its own course." Fortunately, though, it "is fixable."

Don't get your hopes up on that last part.

Maddow opens by sneering—rightly—at the absurd militarization of her western Massachussetts town in the Homeland Security era. (In her tiny town, only seven houses were on public water, but just to be safe, after 9/11 the government paid to wrap the pump house in chain-link fence and barbed wire. But they neglected to cut the grass there, turning it into an overgrown—but Homeland Secure!—eyesore.) From there on, the chapters are stapled-together polemics about the foibles and screwups in American defense policy. They are decent polemics, readably written. They are not, unfortunately, a coherent explanation for why America has drifted away from small-R republicanism and toward empire, much less an explanation for how to turn the tide.

The opening chapter zips too rapidly from Jeffersonian ideology to the Vietnam War, missing a great deal of the drift. Many crucial way stations on the path to our present condition predated Vietnam: Washington developed an ideology to justify occupying the Philippines, embraced a standing army and a department of "defense, " and accepted an income tax and other extractive instruments of war. Don't those developments warrant mention in a book describing the unmooring of American military policy? Instead, by the second chapter, we're reading about Ronald Reagan, apparently the true father of America's zany national security politics.

The first half of the book (no kidding: pages 29 to 156) center on some of the low points of Reagan and Bush the Elder's foreign policies: Team B, Iran-Contra, Reagan's executive power claims—the usual. But Maddow does nothing to explain how Reagan's shortcomings constitute the wellspring of America's messianic and destructive defense policies. She definitely does not justify the decision to devote an entire chapter in a book of 252 pages to the invasion of Grenada.

Unfortunately, the genuine insights sprinkled throughout the book are not nearly as well developed as the case for Reagan's daffiness and Cheney's sociopathy. It is an interesting observation, for example, that the "Think Tanks and Very Important Committees of the permanent national security peanut gallery are now so mature and entrenched that almost no one thinks they're creepy anymore, and national security liberals have simply decided it's best to add their own voices to them rather than criticize them." But that's one of several well-crafted sentences that tantalize the reader only to be cast aside.

And should we really lay so much of the blame for American militarism on the grave of the Gipper? Part of it, yes. Reagan enabled the transformation of the Republican foreign policy establishment from the patrician WASPs who ran things through the 1980s to the more diverse but substantively worse cadre running things today. But Reagan's foreign policy itself was far more restrained than Maddow would have us believe. Was the (admittedly crazy) Grenada campaign really more of a watershed than, say, Teddy Roosevelt's bigoted Progressive imperialism? Or than Woodrow Wilson throwing Eugene Debs in the hoosegow for opposing the Great War? Was it worse than FDR's internment of over 100,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans on the basis of their ethnicity?

This reviewer would have been open to the argument, had it been made. But it was not. The Roosevelt, Wilson, Roosevelt, and Truman presidencies make only fleeting appearances in the book. Rather than straightforwardly asking why America is so militaristic and what we can do to change that, Maddow presents a gallery of ready-made villains for liberal readers to heckle. This is not scholarship.

Clinton and Gore's constitutional and strategic indiscretions are mostly glossed over. When they are cited, the principals appear as victims of Republican perfidy who find themselves chain-ganged into betraying their own better angels. Clinton's flamboyantly unconstitutional war in Kosovo goes unmentioned, and the circumstances of his war over Bosnia are sourced entirely to Clinton's biography and the accounts of three Democratic government officials. Not exactly fair and balanced.

After Clinton, Maddow moves on to chapters on Bush the Younger and nuclear weapons before wending to a shaky and abrupt close. Her solutions are delivered in Pentagon-friendly bullet-point format: institute a war tax; get the CIA out of the military business; get the executive branch out of the war-starting business; get military officers out of politics and politics back into the use of the military; stop treating the National Guard and Reserves as if they're active duty; stop using contractors; concede to the establishment that "the world is a threatening place" but don't support their wars; and shrink our nuclear arsenal.

Most of these suggestions are sound, but achieving them would require identifying the pressures and political phenomena that created these pathologies, and using that understanding to determine just how to undo them. For example, wars for Americans are cheap and low-risk. Our wars rarely are fueled by serious threats, but by a particular sort of ideology that tells us we need to use our military to change the world. So if you want to make American defense policy better, you should probably try to figure out how to raise the costs of dumb wars to Americans, or else how to popularize a new ideology that says good Americans resent and oppose the national security bureaucracy. But Maddow doesn't do that. Instead we get a lively but limited guide to American militarism without a program for fixing the problem.

NEXT: Press Credibility Plunges ... Again

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  1. Rachel Maddow’s book Drift has some sound recommendations about American foreign policy

    Nope, couldn’t get past that sentence. Even if that stopped clock is right twice a day, it is purely coincidence. If she holds any good positions they will almost certainly be for the wrong reasons.

    1. OT (apologies Marshall): Oh for fuck’s sake.

      I can’t believe that no apparatchik hasn’t already done a self-portrait of giving the prez a good ol hummer, or at least a righteous reach around. It would be more honest.

  2. Rather than straightforwardly asking why America is so militaristic and what we can do to change that, Maddow presents a gallery of ready-made villains for liberal readers to heckle.

    I’m guessing Maddow sat down at the typewriter with the question in her head What can I use s a pretext for bashing Republicans? and went from there.

    And with the current occupant of the White House, the “get the executive branch out of the war-starting business” suggestion had to have been difficult to make.

    1. If you look the other way, the democrats and the current administration don’t cause any problems.

  3. I do like the word proglodyte, which I first stumbled upon here at Reason. (Who invented it?)

    Anyway, a proglodyte like Maddow, trying to analyze critically a foreign policy that has evolved over the years from what is at core a mix of old-time thug-state bullying and a Progressive political agenda, will thrash around for a while but end up with an incoherent muddle. And that conclusion is obvious even assuming that Maddow is acting in good faith. A fortiori, if she might be a puffed-up, snarky hack for her political faction.

    1. Hadn’t heard the term proglodyte before, but I’ll be using it now 🙂 What a great word!

      1. The progressive form of troglodyte. I love it

  4. Based on this review, Maddow looks like the hackiest of the hacks. I peg Maddow to be… around my age– maybe a hair younger (looked it up, yes, a ‘hair’ younger).

    Sounds like she wrote the kind of policy book that… I would write if I sat down over a few weeks and wrote a stream-of-consciousness diatribe that I didn’t bother to research but was based on a handful of strong opinions I held on the matter.

    History started with Ronald Reagan. Obviously! Being a liberal, she was asleep during the Cinton years so, no need to mention anything there, and anything worth mentioning was probably the Republicans’ fault, and as for the modern era? Too in-the-middle-of-it to really comment strongly about, and he’s our guy anyway so, he’s a product of his environment, not someone who’s blazing any new military policy trails anyway.

    1. Again… you need to look the other way and make excuses for the democrats. If she blamed the democrats for anything she would be out of her 1%er job at MSNBC.

    2. My only question is why Reason is running a picture of Justin Bieber with this story on the front page.

      1. You’re right, he does look like Justin Bieber. I wonder why his parents named him Rachel? I always thought that was a girl’s name.

  5. Let me guess, if we just got rid of all those nasty Republicans, this country would be soooooooooooooooooo wonderful. Just thinking about it makes my twat wet.

    1. EDIT:

      Just thinking about it makes my twat wet [dick hard].

  6. How do you end the no-fly zone and sanctions of Iraq without getting rid of Saddam Hussein?

    How do you bring Osama bin Laden to justice without running the Taliban into the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan?

    Why do you let the Taliban take over Afghanistan again?

    1. Why does any of that concern the United States?

      1. ditto

      2. Because they declared war and attacked us? I know, I know. It’s our fault. Yawn.

      3. The US was the country who removed Saddam Hussein from Kuwait and the country that was enforcing the no-fly zone and economic sanctions.

        Osama bin Laden was not a concern of the United States?

        The Taliban controlling Afghanistan again is not a concern of the United States?

        1. 99.99999999% of the Taliban can’t even point out America on a map.

          1. Irrelevant.

        2. Both Iraq and Afghanistan are thousands of miles away from the nearest shore of the United States. I’m sure the citizenry and the leadership of both countries could care less about the US, except for the fact that the US is the one dropping bombs on their loved ones every day.

          1. Of course, Afghanistan was harboring the mastermind of that little 9/11 flap, but shit, that wasn’t a real threat. Certainly not an existential threat. And besides, that was like, over 10 years ago.

            In Iraq your point stands.

            1. Yeah, two things about that though.

              One, OBL probably wouldn’t have been as much of a threat if the US hadn’t trained and equipped him back in the 80s, or if the US wasn’t meddling in the Middle East in the first place. Whatever, fine, we can’t change that, but we can learn from it.

              And if you really wanted to stop OBL, Zaytsev’s suggestion below is much more elegant and economical than the zillion dollar nation building quagmire (giggity) that the US has been embroiled in for the last decade.

              Two, 97% of the existential threat to the US from 9/11 comes from the US government’s response to 9/11. al Qaeda has managed to pull off, what, five attacks against US targets since the 90s? Not so many since 2001, but I have a hard time believing that that is due to the diligent efforts of the TSA. The fact is that the terrorists really don’t have their shit together as much as the scaremongers would have us believe. So no, terrorism doesn’t represent an existential threat to the US any more than the random shooting rampages of disturbed individuals do. But giving the government unlimited power to try and stop these unpredictable and low-risk events does.

              1. One, OBL probably wouldn’t have been as much of a threat if the US hadn’t trained and equipped him back in the 80s

                Cite?

                I’d suggest looking for an unsubstantiated, undocumented, un-sourced claim by some leftist who was all butthurt over the collapse of the Soviet Union.

              2. OBL probably wouldn’t have been as much of a threat if the US hadn’t trained and equipped him back in the 80s

                False. America did not equip him he was not that involved. The idea that the Mujahadeen America supported became the Taliban is horseshit. They actually became the Northern Alliance for the most part.

                al Qaeda has managed to pull off, what, five attacks against US targets since the 90s? Not so many since 2001, but I have a hard time believing that that is due to the diligent efforts of the TSA.

                No it’s thanks to our great and wonderful policy of killing them. The drones are beautiful.

            2. Western Europe harbored more 9/11 terrorists then Afghanistan did.

              Perhaps we should drop bombs from drones on them.

              1. And Europe refused to do something about these terrorists like the Taliban in Afghanistan did?

                Are you stupid?

              2. I think your suggestion is more appealing than you intended it to be.

          2. So what if they’re far away? We live in a globalized world. America’s interest are literally the world over.

            It’s also pretty disingenuous to say the US was dropping bombs on their loved ones every day. Al Qaeda is not exactly the party of the people. Not even the Taliban is totally that.

            1. It’s the Taliban that bombs and kills their loved ones everyday and it’s noninterventionists that lie and mislead about America killing and bombing loved ones everyday.

              You’re right. Noninterventionism was always snake oil but even more so now that the world is so small. We are permanently entangled with each other get over it.

              1. Yep, this is the truth.

            2. It’s also pretty disingenuous to say the US was dropping bombs on their loved ones every day. Al Qaeda is not exactly the party of the people. Not even the Taliban is totally that.

              That would be a super great point if the people controlling the flying deathbots made any kind of distinction between actual terrorists and people standing in the same neighborhood as a guy who has the same hat as a suspected terrorist.

              1. It’s more like “He died in the blast, so he was a terrorist. We know this is true because we don’t kill innocents.”

                1. Actually we admit to killing innocents. Like the people killed with Alawi in Yemen, and the teenage wife of al-Zarqawi and there septuagenarian imam in that bombing.

                  1. Yes, when presented with overwhelming evidence of innocence, we admit to mistakes. The default adjudication is as I described it.

              2. And you actually think they don’t do this or are trying to do this?

                Come on man.

      4. Because Sadaam was an established enemy of America and the Taliban are violent Jihadists who have and will continue to kill Americans or aide those who do.

    2. How do you end the no-fly zone and sanctions of Iraq without getting rid of Saddam Hussein?

      You end them, is that so difficult?

      How do you bring Osama bin Laden to justice without running the Taliban into the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan?

      Offer a billion dollar bounty to anyone that brings his head to you. Someone will eventually do it, either a pissed off associate, or a warlord that’s down on his luck, or a modern day privateer.

      Why do you let the Taliban take over Afghanistan again?

      Because who runs Afghanistan is none of our business

      1. Of course then you still will have to deal with all the whining about “blowback” from the bounty.

        1. They’ll whine about ‘blowback’ the same way statist whine about how the free-market we had under Bush caused all of our problems.

          1. Free market under Bush? What? Were you sleeping the entire time?

      2. Because who runs Afghanistan is none of our business

        Yes it is. We cannot allow avowed fanatical violent enemies of America to run any country.

        1. I guess that’s the nice thing about being the country with the flying killer robots. You don’t have to think about why other countries hate you so much. You just keep dropping bombs until there’s nobody left to disagree with you.

          1. This is happening where exactly?

        2. DERKA DER!

        3. Yes it is. We cannot allow avowed fanatical violent enemies of America to run any country.

          Except our own, apparently.

      3. How do you end a no-fly zone if Saddam is still in charge and a threat to Iraqis in the no-fly zones? That makes no sense whatsoever man.

        Actually, who runs Afghanistan is our business because it was the Taliban who allowed bin Laden and al Qaeda to make Afghanistan a base of operations.

        We’ve also been supporting the Afghanis the Taliban would like to replace. Think the Taliban will go about that in a non-violent manner?

    3. How do you end the no-fly zone and sanctions of Iraq without getting rid of Saddam Hussein?

      With an order to stand down the no-fly zone, and a request that Congress repeal the sanctions?

      How do you bring Osama bin Laden to justice without running the Taliban into the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan?

      First, of course, there was no “bringing to justice”. Nobody (serious) wanted to capture and try him.

      As to running him down and killing him, well, we did have an AUMF to do that, and we did it. Taking it as the equivalent of a declaration of war (tricky, I know), it looks reasonably legal to me. We went to war in Afghanistan, we “hot pursuited” him (close enough for government lawyer work) into Pakistan. Done and dusted. Not sure what your question is, really.

      Why do you let the Taliban take over Afghanistan again?

      If the Afghans can’t be bothered to stop them (and if there’s one thing the Afghans can apparently do, its kill folks they don’t like running their country), I don’t see why its up to us to not “let” them do anything.

  7. So, Maddow hired some third-rate ghost?

    -jcr

  8. “Reagan enabled the transformation of the Republican foreign policy establishment from the patrician WASPs who ran things through the 1980s to the more diverse but substantively worse cadre running things today”

    By bringing about the end of the USSR. Reagan was the last of the cold war presidents. He picked back up the war on communinism after the very brief period of Kissingers Detente. It was Bush the Elder who instituted the currunt New World Order/World police policy not Reagan. W then promised to reverse at least the World Police part of that running for president his first term but of course that did not happen. Bush the Elders policy continued through Clinton, W’s, and the current administration. Also, $Military$Industrial$Complex$.

  9. Take her MSNBC average nightly viewership, divide by 20. That’s the number of people that will buy the book. Divide that by three. That’s the number that will read it. Add one…that’s Logan.

  10. Once again, who the fuck cares? Did anyone actually expect something intelligent to pass forth from Maddow? It’s like the reason attention devoted to Ezra Klein or one of the crazy Naomis – just, why?

    1. Maddow’s guide to success:

      1. Find a Republican politician or pundit who said something stupid.

      2. Mock that Republican for saying something stupid.

      3. Act like you’ve just refuted all ideologies and beliefs that aren’t statist or liberal.

      4. Profit

      This is especially evident in that Real Time debate with Gillispie where she got all pissy and defensive when Nick pointed out her hypocrisy for giving Obama and Holder a pass on gross negligence and incompetence regarding Fast and Furiou because the GOP was being hypocritical.

      1. Preaching endlessly to a choir steeped in left-wing assumptions hasn’t done anything to keep Maddow intellectually sharp. It’s all decayed into snark and innuendo.

        1. Sounds like Ann Coulter.

          1. That would be a fun cat fight.

            1. Only if they fought to the death, and both lost.

            2. Two men enter….

            3. I thought a cat fight was between two women?

              Confused.

              1. ^ bad!

                Heh, heh, heh

      2. I hadn’t heard about this Real Time debate before, so I just tried to watch it and couldn’t make it through more than a few minutes. Those people are insufferable. And by “those people”, I mean Mahr and Maddow.

        1. Oh, you missed the brilliance of Mark Ruffalo, then.

      3. She was on one of the Sunday morning shows last week and had her ass kicked by Rich Lowry from NRO.

        She’s a really pathetic hack that won’t or can’t defend her own bullshit when called on it.

        1. I googled that and watched it. Damn, that was pathetic. “I don’t have to give an opinion.” Well then what the fuck are you doing on an opinion show?

          Lowry mentioned that, but he should have thrown in, “You’re a voter, aren’t you? How, as an informed voter, does that make you feel?”

        2. Yeah, I don’t quite get her position. She’s bitching that Ryan will keep the cuts Obama made for Medicare in place?

          Wow. What a clown. Rhodes Scholars give diplomas to clowns now. Does Krusty have one?

          And yes Rachel, answer the damn question.

      4. I say bravo – she has found a market niche and is exploiting it to the fullest. Bravisimo! That is capitalism at its finest. But that doesn’t mean that anyone with at least half a brain should even notice her existence.

    2. I agree. Try reviewing something that actually might have some sort political influence or might be of interest to libertarians.

      Why on earth would I bother reading rachel Maddow’s book, even to laugh at it?

  11. So you’re saying Maddow’s arrogance and ego is as off-putting in print as it is on TV? What a shock.

    1. I’m just shocked to find out she’s a partisan hack. Who knew?

      1. I’m just shocked to find out he she’s a woman. Who knew?

    2. The way she was waving her hand at Lowry reminded me of those stupid people who have no reason in them but are so convinced of themselves.

      She was refusing to answer the question and was pining to ask Lowry one of her own. I thought, ok, here’s another chance for me to take her seriously, and then she asked something insipid.

      Like I said, we’ve all had to deal with people like this.

  12. BTW, Kalashnikov is still alive.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Kalashnikov

    ‘Ending military contractors’ is only mentioned in passing. Does she mean weapons makes and mercs? I can’t say what I object to this line of thinking without knowing the context. Without drastic budget cuts, it’s inevitable mercs will be the mainstay of our fighting force in a generation whether or not Maddow believes in it. Bank on it.

    1. Slide that ‘r’ between the ‘e’ and ‘s’ above, thank you kindly.

    2. I imagine it’s mercenaries – what we call “security consultants” or something nowadays.

  13. She still thinks Woodrow Wilson was a God, right?

  14. I wanted to read this book. I really did. Some of her book-related radio spots gave me hope for it. But I couldn’t get through the first couple chapters. The liberal snark was overwhelming – I concluded that I could probably get the same facts here in an easier to read package.

  15. When you’ve lost Newsweek
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/n…..to-go.html

    1. That pic is a holy shit moment in itself.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/c…..cached.jpg

  16. Good review

  17. Poor Maddow, her mind is full of holes and it sorely shows.

  18. I must have missed a memo – Grenada is now a bad campaign? But Clinton’s incompetent adventures in Somalia, Haiti and the collapsing Yugoslavia were in our national interest?

    1. We threw commies out in Grenada. Lefties don’t like that.

      1. Lefties (and some conservatives!) didn’t like what George Orwell had to say about Stalin in Animal Farm.

        Something about the horror and failure of that miserable philosophy makes them very defensive.

        1. Their cognitive dissonance knobs go to eleven you know.

          1. It’s one more, one louder than 10.

    1. I don’t think I know enough about the subject to have an opinion on the merits of the bill, so I’d probably vote no. Most of these practitioners strike me as quacks and it wouldn’t surprise me if parents were doing their kids serious harm by sending them to this sort of counseling, but it seems like there will be a lot of overlap into free exercise rights.

    2. I would also need to learn more about this before forming an opinion, but this part jumped out at me.

      Pickup said that although he’s had thousands of sexual interactions with men, he never identified himself as being gay.

      Really?

      1. What do you really need to know? The words ‘California’ and ‘law’ that close together will always form a conjoined monstrosity no matter what the subject of the law may be.

        Just a cursory glance at the article, it wont stand judicial scrutiny on first amendment grounds. Most ‘convertive therapy’ involves a pastor exercising demon lust. You can’t ban exorcisms. That’s just inhuman. Circuses, exorcisms, and donkey shows, those are the things I came down from the aether to see.

        1. Today, the bill only bans SOCE treatments for minors, regardless of their parents’ desires. Initially, the bill’s sponsors had wanted a total ban on SOCE in the state.

          When I read that part, it was pretty clear to me that I’d oppose the original version of the bill. Even if conversion therapy is pure bullshit, I’d respect an adult’s choice to undergo it just as I’d respect his right to undergo Scientology auditing.

          Banning the practice for minors is a much trickier issue. I think there’s a scale that has “plain old shitty parenting” on one end, and “basically child abuse” on the other.

          So where does conversion therapy fall? I don’t know. Maybe it’s somewhere near being a psycho sports dad who yells at his son for going 0 for 4 in a Little League game. I knew parents like that when I was a kid, and while I find that behavior obnoxious I wouldn’t want the government to ban it.

          On the other hand, if the therapy really is turning gay kids into suicide time bombs, you could make the case it’s effectively child abuse and the state has the right to step in.

          1. Mint Berry Crunch| 8.19.12 @ 9:19PM |#
            …”On the other hand, if the therapy really is turning gay kids into suicide time bombs, you could make the case it’s effectively child abuse and the state has the right to step in.”

            The presumption here, and I’m pretty sure it’s never been shown, is that ‘therapy’ has a measurable effect.
            If it did, I’d tend to agree, but given that it’s so much snake-oil, any real harm is pretty doubtful.

            1. While as best as I can tell most psychologists and therapists view conversion therapy as unproven, at best, the political/ethical aspect of it has prevented any real research into the subject.

              At any rate, I can believe that forcing a minor with homosexual tendencies to undergo such treatment can be damaging to his/her self-esteem and mental health in general, so I can see where the argument is coming from. It should be totally up to adults, however, if they want to subject themselves to that treatment. After all, there’s nothing neccessarily wrong with not wanting to be gay.

              1. I was clear; apologies.
                My point is that *therapy* has never been shown to have a measurable effect, regardless of the supposed intent of that effort.

                1. I wasn’t clear; apologies.
                  My point is that *therapy* has never been shown to have a measurable effect, regardless of the supposed intent of that effort.
                  (corrected)

                  1. both these comments also need apologies

                    1. mnarayan| 8.19.12 @ 11:39PM |#
                      “both these comments also need apologies”

                      If you’re suggesting I apologize for calling therapy snake-oil, *you* need to apologize.
                      Quack, quack, quack. Walks like a duck…

    3. I don’t know much about it, but my first thought was why is government, any government, involved in this?

      1. Forget about it Jake, it’s California.

    4. Totally opposed. What’s next? Banning sending your children to a church that doesn’t actively support gay marriage “equality”?.

  19. The problem with policy books is definitely the last chapter, not because they tend to be so weak but because they try to present a policy solution. It’s the form itself that is the problem. Implicit in the form is the assumption that a problem once established has a state policy solution. No matter what you end up furthering statism. Interestingly, Murray got hammered about his recent book because he didn’t really present a solution in the last chapter. Well what the hell is an avowed libertarian supposed to present as a policy solution that doesn’t go against pretty much everything they believe?

    1. “Knock it off” is generally a pretty libertarian policy suggestion.

      1. And that’s generally not considered a serious policy solution. I mean, look at the WOD. If you offer up just ending it, you’ll get laughed out of the room. No, no, you have to propose a policy with medical commissions and treatment plans and all sorts of bullshit in order to stop putting people in jail for ingesting a chemical.

        1. Fighting the WoD(tm) is a $15 billion/year enterprise that employs thousands of good little workers. We simply cannot end that without something else to occupy that “investment money” now can we? Simply not spending money on something is NEVER the answer, dontcha know.

    2. Well what the hell is an avowed libertarian supposed to present as a policy solution that doesn’t go against pretty much everything they believe?

      You could say that the solution is for the government to do nothing. Why is doing nothing, NEVER an option?

      1. it frequently is.

        sometimes you get a chris kime or a kosi victim, but it is frequently chosen as an option

        heck, everytime i get into a pursuit, my first option is TERMINATE. iow, do nothing

        and in fact, there are only two choices i can make as a police officer where i CANNOT be disciplined at all

        1) choosing NOT to pursue a vehicle (iow let it go without pursuing or stop a pursuit)

        2) choosing NOT to shoot somebody

        those are literally the only two choices i can make … which are both doing nothing… where it is written in policy, i cannot be censured, disciplined, nor can any adverse action be taken against me

        literally the only two within a wide circle of decisions that are made

        when SPD lt gave a standing order “DO NOT ENGAGE THE CROWD” during mardi gras, that was also doing nothing. and of course kris kime died at the hands of race rioting gang bangers.

        during the kosi standoff, a lt also made the command – stand down. and kosi proceeded to literally saw off the head of another victim

        not to say that doing nothing isn’t often the best decision. it’s the essence of conservatism, according to buckley- standing aside history and yelling “stop” so to speak

      2. Indeed, few options ever, when given a serious look, rise to the level of nothing.

      3. Why is doing nothing not an option? Because that would mean admitting that the world doesn’t depend on you – won’t you please fucking think of the children?

  20. “Is that a ‘Texas’ Johnson, or are you just happy to see me?”

    Rachel Maddow couldn’t say that.

    1. Shit, I’d watch her show just to hear her say that.

  21. What was so crazy about the Grenada intervention?

    1. The embarrassment to congressional democrats was just obscene. So rude of Reagan to expose their Communist sympathies.

      http://www.linda-goodman.com/u…..04929.html

      Congress’s Red Army

      At the moment, naturally, the congressional Left devotes its attention to Central America. While exclaiming against “private foreign policy,’ several Democrats have formed their own personal alliances with the Left in Central America and the Caribbean. After the U.S. invasion of Grenada, U.S. forces retrieved a letter from Dellums aide Carlottia Scott. It was addressed in the chummiest terms (“My Dearest,’ it began) to the Communist strongman Maurice Bishop, and it had a lot to say about Dellums. For instance: “Ron, as a political thinker, is the best around and Fidel will verify that in no uncertain terms. When matched against the best of them, Ron always comes out ahead (even with Fidel).’ (Two of Dellums’s aides have also had their remarks broadcast on Radio Havana.) Ron “is really hooked on you and Grenada and doesn’t want anything to happen to building the Revo[lution] and making it strong. He really admires you as a person and even more so as a leader with courage and foresight, principle and integrity. Believe me, he doesn’t make that kind of statement often about anyone. The only other person that I know of that he expresses such admiration for is Fidel.’ (As for her own feelings, “I still love you madly.’)

      1. Wow that’s disturbing. I’d only like to add that invading Grenada was a great decision hail America.

        1. A friend of mine was a student on Granada when the invasion occured. He said it was pretty scary and very cool to be rescued by the U.S. military.

  22. “The hardest part of a policy book has to be the last chapter. Having diagnosed an important problem and traced its evolution, the author is expected to sketch out a solution at the end. Books about important, tough problems frequently end with weak closing chapters.”

    This is the most damning indictment of anarcho-capitalists I’ve ever read.

    1. The Derider| 8.19.12 @ 9:35PM |#
      “This is the most damning indictment of anarcho-capitalists I’ve ever read.”

      Which is an admission you probably shouldn’t make; it says ‘way more about your stupidity than any political position.
      But then, since you are one of the dullest knives in the drawer, it’s not surprising.

      1. Derider is more of a spoon than a knife.

        1. Sharp as a rubber jar opener.

        2. “There is no spoon.”

      2. Knives are the tall end of the kitchen drawer. joe is short. He’s more of a broken toothpick.

  23. OT: there seems to be a lot of melting in Greenland. The first theme is about it occurring over a very large area, which has occurred before and can be expected to have occurred a little more frequently due to particulate pollution. But the second theme is one of a large amount of melt as seen in the story below. This is more in line with the AGW hypothesis. That is all.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/…..casts.html

    1. The United Nations estimates the Greenland ice sheet contains enough water to raise global sea levels by about seven meters (23 feet), though melting would take thousands of years.

      We’re in luck, construction of the California bullet train is on about the same schedule.

    1. By the way, I’m comfortable with saying that True Romance is the best ever Tarantino flick. And it was directed by Tony Scott.

      1. You’re a cantaloupe!

        Shit, I haven’t seen that movie in years. Maybe it’s time for another viewing – possibly a True Romance / Last Boy Scout double feature.

    2. It’s never Michael Bay.

  24. If Seinfeld’s Kramer interviewed Maddow, it might go something like this:

    “Look, I’m not judging you. In fact, we here at PBS, we have many programs celebrating your lifestyle. Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, Gender Bending and Swinging in San Francisco. Before Stonewall about those dark ages when you couldn’t come out of the closet, lest you be persecuted because of your, you know.”

  25. Anyone who thinks we’re in Iraq (and Iran soon) for anything but oil needs to put in some serious critical thinking time. It’s a national security imperative to control/obtain as much of the remaining oil as possible. The last country with oil wins.

    1. Which explains why we have say by while American companies lose out on most of the Iraqi oil contracts.

  26. A book whose contents we should care even less about than whatever it was that was reviewed the other day. I’ve already forgotten the title.

    Oh yes … the “Teavangelicals”.

    I doubt that anyone will remember this book a year from now, even rachel Maddow will have forgotten that she wrote it.

  27. “…Maddow does nothing to explain how Reagan’s shortcomings constitute the wellspring of America’s messianic and destructive defense policies.”

    Hardly. The wellspring was our victory in World War II and the Marshall Plan.

    Abbreviation is needed for the typical progressive’s attention span.

  28. Maddow is one handsome dude.

  29. One small comment nothing to do with the review but a line in it.

    Why is it that every time someone speaks of the internment of the Japanese in North America, no one ever mentions the Italians?

    I did quite a bit of research for an article years ago about this. I know that it’s something the community chose not to speak about thus affecting scholarly records and archives, but it’s well known now they had been interned. Maybe not in the numbers of the Japanese but it was sufficient enough to be mentioned.

    After all, families and businesses were ruined and ruptured thanks to the internments and strict curfews imposed on them.

    1. One does not question Saint FDR, it was a war, and a Depression, and he SAVED AMERICA! Oh, and fuck you, that’s why.

    2. International Law (FWIW) recognizes the right right of belligerent countries to intern the nationals of their enemies.

      On the outset of WWII the nationals of the enemy countries of he USA were identified and interned for the duration of the war. This amounted to tens of thousands of Germans, Italians, Hungarians and Japanese and other enemy nationals being detained. All of this was in keeping with accepted practice.

      What was not in accordance with accepted legal principle was the detention and relocation of native born citizens of the USA of Japanese descent who were rounded up and “relocated” away from the west coast.

      The wrongdoing of the treatment of the Nisei is not the internment of enemy nationals – something which is completely legal – it was the mistreatment of American citizens who happened to be the descendants of people who had come from a country with which we were now at war.

    3. Since FDR “interned” (relocated?) Japanese, Germans, Italians and others it meets the Leftoid diversity test, thus no criticism of FDR is warranted and it need not be mentioned.

  30. “Rather than straightforwardly asking why America is so militaristic and what we can do to change that, Maddow presents a gallery of ready-made villains for liberal readers to heckle. This is not scholarship.”

    I think that about sums up the Left Wing, actually.

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