American Decline!


J.L. Wall

J.L. Wall is a native Kentuckian in self-imposed exile to the Midwest, where he teaches writing to college students and over-analyzes Leonard Cohen lyrics.

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38 Responses

  1. Avatar Jonathan says:

    He forgot the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, the War on Obesity, the War on Child Poverty, and the War on Childhood Obesity.

    Did I miss any?Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      Perhaps we should have a War on the Ridiculous use of the word “War” for everything damn thing by Americans. Boot’s use of war to define our actions against pirates and terrorists is weak at best but that is the tenor of our times.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        An “Intervention”.

        Backed by the UN Security Council, with a host of other nations acting as our allies, and we are far from being the prime provider of forces, logistics, strategy, or tactics in said Intervention.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Did I miss any?

      All the applications running in Tomcat.Report

  2. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Max Boot is completely deluded. The US military has continuously locked horns with its enemies throughout history: to say we are now involved in three active wars is to forget our military’s almost completely forgotten involvement in Colombia.

    We are not hard-pressed to stave off China’s aggressive designs: if anything, we are pressing the Chinese to become more involved in peacekeeping. China is not a particularly serious threat to American interests and we have extensive contacts within the Chinese military and intelligence services: the Chinese have their own problems with the Uighur Islamic insurgency, with many Uighur fighters currently present in the Taliban muster. The Uighurs moved into northern Pakistan in a big way, teaching technology and collective dry-land farming techniques to the tribes of Northern Pakistan, to the consternation of the goat-herding oldsters. China has a long border with Pakistan and a huge set of roads and tunnels are under construction near Gilgit.

    Of course we’re going to cut defense spending. This morning I had breakfast with a newly married couple. I took their wedding pictures. He’s in the US Army, been there for six years, stop-lossed in his last Iraq tour. He’s making E5 pay: they’re looking for on-base housing for them and her child. He won’t get a promotion for years to come: the military is already downsizing from its Iraq War high. She’ll have to work: she manages a trailer park.

    When I’m doing defense contract work, I make more than a two-star general and get better perks. There are tens of thousands just like me, parasites on the side of the military-industrial complex and the industry is booming. This soldier tells me civilian contractors moved the ordnance around, a job his unit should have been doing. When they actually deployed, the military barely knew how to do its own job. What’s wrong with this picture?

    As for the M1 Abrams tank, we do not need another main battle tank. Every Abrams in the inventory has been stripped down, sandblasted, overhauled and retrofitted top to bottom to the most modern of standards. Max Boot again demonstrates his ignorance of military procurement: where the rubber and tank treads meet the road, the military properly drives the retrofits. There are weapons systems which ought to be shitcanned: our current crop of fighter jets has reached the limits of its airframe, skin and power plant.

    Just cutting parasites like me out of the picture could reduce the DoD budget by a third. You could go on cutting for years before you’d get past the corporate fat and into anything which remotely resembled military muscle. That’s just a fact.Report

  3. Avatar Barry says:

    Max Boot is somebody who’s every writing should be replied to by the words ‘f*ck you, you lying POS’, following by cutting off another finger.

    All neocons are scum, pure and simple, unrepentant liars and frauds.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      All neocons are scum, pure and simple, unrepentant liars and frauds.

      I will never be able to really parody stuff like this because when I write it down, it withers on the page. I can hear people saying “that’s a little over the top, don’t you think?”

      And I backspace.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Barry, dude, just because the League has its resident over the top rightist in the person of the gleefully unrepentant Bob Cheeks does not mean us leftists are pining for a mirror image one on the other wing to make us feel bad about ourselves. I’d note also they you really need to bring some interesting philosophy or theological know-how in order to fill that seat on the left as he does on the right.

      I say this as a left winger and presumably an ally: dude, you’re making us look bad and you’re not adding anything to the conversation. But on the plus side the hyperbole was excellent, add some concrete complaints and objections to go with the invective and we may have a workable comment here! Good luck, we lefties are bright, I’m sure you can pull it off.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

        North, this is why I love ya man…you get it, and you’re a leftist who can take it and give it out. If everyone on the Left had your brains, compassion, and understanding my work would be finished.
        BTW, the Mrs. sends along her greetings and best wishes for a holy and happy Easter.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          Robert, I refuse to be baited as much out of spite as from good humor to be honest. I know how much amusement you get out of prodding some into a frenzy of indignation. I can be a petty man.
          My best as always to the Mrs. I trust her days are filled with profound thoughts and charitable prayer during this commemoration of the death and resurrection of her savior.Report

      • Avatar Barry says:

        North, the thing is that Max’s record is public knowledge; search his writings for the past decade. That’s what I harp on again and again: these guys have records, they’re very bad, very dishonest, very evil, with no repentance.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Dude. Did you just move from a “this one guy did such-and-such” to “everybody who falls into the broad category that this guy falls in is bad”?

          Because, if you did, I think that that is funny.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

            Eh, most of the people like Boot who have been cheering every dead brown person since 9/12/01 and want to bomb the rest of the Middle East and the first available moment are pretty horrible people.

            Here’s the thing. Libertarians I get, even social conservatives I can understand, hell, even people who want a much smaller welfare state but like all the goodies to the corporate world and high earners are all understandable people I think are incredibly wrong and/or misinformed.

            On the other hand, the group of people like Boot and other members of the 101st Keyboard Legion, who see the Middle East as a giant bullseye, are people who I would be truly happy if they found themselves unable to have any place in public discourse tomorrow.Report

          • Avatar Barry says:

            Has Max Boot repented for his earlier writing?

            How many neocons have?Report

        • Avatar North says:

          Barry, I agree with your assessment of the quality of Max’s thoughts on this matter more than I disagree with them. I don’t know if I’d characterize them as evil as much as stupid. But I do believe that mockery and concrete counterargument is more effective against the speech and ideology of these clowns than righteous indignation. Max’s ilk are like mold; they flourish on the outraged spittle of the indignant.Report

    • Avatar J.L. Wall says:

      Eh. “Neocons” is on my list of words we ought to retire because they no longer mean anything. Unfortunately, that also includes about 75% of words commonly used in political discourse.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Daniel Bell once said something like, “When they talk about the neoconservatives, I think they’re just talking about Irving”.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          When I talk about neocons, I mean Norman and Richard and Paul.

          When I talk about men who should have drowned their children at birth, I mean Irving.Report

  4. Avatar J.L. Wall says:

    Also, I should make clear that my inspiration was that I read the title of Boot’s post, the first several sentences, and started to wonder — “Wait. Wait. I’m reading Commentary, not The American Conservative, right?” And then, boom, the Max Boot we know and love came through and saved me from looking for more signs of the apocalypse.Report

    • Avatar tom van dyke says:

      Mentioning Max Boot only made the lefties go apespit. Gates is saying the same thing, and a cooler discussion—if possible—could have used Gates as the jumpoff.

      Boot links:

      Gates is right to warn that “further significant defense cuts cannot be accomplished without reducing force structure and military capability.”

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Nice post, Mr. Wall. I concur.

      And of course Mr. Gates is right that we would have to reduce force structure and military capability, but that does not equal American decline except in the minds of militarists. Many of us see reducing forces and capability as crucial to American revival–at least if America is actually something more meaningful than the world’s policeman.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    I find foreign policy statements at Commentary patently wrong

    In fact patentedly wrong. Part of John Podhoretz’s inheritance is the ten dollars he earns whenever any other pundit exhibits that kind and degree of wrongness. (Which is why you see Victor Davis Hanson hanging out on street corners asking for spare change.)Report

  6. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    “North Korea’s barely nuclear “nuclear” test and rockets that can barely make it off the peninsula are an existential threat…”

    Remember how, a few years ago, Everybody Knew that North Korea had no nuclear program at all, and it wouldn’t work even if they did, and they weren’t developing ballistic missiles either?Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Nuclear bomb or no the little fruitcake had a bajillion tons of ordinance aimed at Seoul in armored bunkers on a hair trigger. That he now has a few crude nukes hasn’t changed the calculus much.

      On the other hand the last time conservatives hallucinated that Saddam was hiding a bomb under his moustache we ended up in another ‘Nam quagmire and blew both our international credibility and a trillion dollars all at once.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

      Obviously they have the economic wherewithal to take it to the next level, too!Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Hmm… what’s a few years ago? 1956? 1994?

      I don’t recall a time when no one thought that North Korea had a nuclear program. The U.S. has known about that program, and publicly stated so, since the mid-90s (and before that, even, if you consider some of their other actions to be part of a nulear program), and actively tried to put an end to it through negotiation and the promise of aid. What’s more, no one doubted, and it was well publicized at the time, that when that aid didn’t come, the nuclear program was resumed.Report

  7. Avatar Mark says:

    Mr. Wall,

    I read John P. Normanson’s site strictly for laughs. One can neither take Mr. Normanson nor his band of merry lackeys for Avigdor Lieberman with any seriousness. Not in message. Not in track record. Not in depth or analysis of matters of global politics, national defense, or mankind in general.

    Why do you give any serious credence to the (ahem) efforts of Mr. Normanson’s gaggle?

    When a polemicist’s world view comes straight through Judea, Samaria, and loyalty oaths, you see every military budget alteration as a nail.

    Countdown to AS and SHJ was initiated when I hit the “Submit” button on your blog.Report