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GOV/MIL The Costs of Threat Inflation
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Happy on the mountain

    The Costs of Threat Inflation

    The View From Olympus: The Costs of Threat Inflation

    In the 1980s I used to give the slide-show briefing of the Congressional Military Reform Caucus to each class at the Air Force’s Squadron Officers’ School. After one of the briefs, an Air Force captain, an intelligence officer, came up to me and asked, “Does military reform mean I can stop inflating the threat?”

    Threat inflation has been one of Washington’s most successful growth industries for a long time. The purpose of inflating the threat is to inflate the military budget. The obvious cost is wasting the taxpayers’ money on capabilities we do not need. But that is not the only cost. As the current tensions with Iran illustrate, threat inflation can lead to counter-productive military planning and, sometimes, to war.

    For weeks, the Defense Department has been warning that Iran is planning to use allied Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria to attack U.S. forces in those countries. It has cited intelligence intercepts of communications between Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the militias as evidence. I’m sure the intercepts are real. But the interpretation suggests classic threat inflation.
    If the U.S. attacks Iran, the obvious Iranian response will be to seize as many U.S. troops in the region as it can to serve as hostages. The Iranians have stated this response openly, saying, “Last time (in 1979), we had hundreds of American hostages. This time, we’ll have thousands.” It is a promising response for the obvious reason that we have no ready countermove. In 1979, we were largely left helpless, especially after we botched a rescue attempt. One would hope President Trump would ask the Pentagon, “Okay, if they do that, what’s our next move?” I doubt he will get a reassuring answer.
    So what are the communications we have intercepted about? Preparing that response. We have interpreted them as preparing an attack instead. Why? Because DOD always inflates the threat.

    We have also accused Iran of launching small attacks against four oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, attacks that damaged the ships but did not sink them. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a carefully weasel-worded statement said, “It seems like it’s quite possible that Iran was behind them.” That is true. It’s also quite possible other countries in the region that want a war between the U.S. and Iran, including Israel, were behind them. Pointing only to Iran inflates the threat.

    Threat inflation in a crisis can easily transmute itself into an escalatory ladder. That may be happening here. Iran signaled de-escalation by removing some “missiles” (probably just rockets) from some small fast boats used by the Revolutionary Guard. The Pentagon did not reciprocate by dialing back our actions. On the contrary, it asked President Trump to send 20,000 more U.S. troops to the region. Wisely, the president chopped that number back to 900.

    Here we see how threat inflation can lead to actions that are militarily just plain dumb. Iran threatens to take U.S. troops in the region hostage. How do we counter that? By sending more U.S. troops to the region, giving Iran more chances to take hostages. Who in the Pentagon is coming up with this, General Braxton Bragg or General Ben Butler?

    Most of the Washington threat inflation industry is focused on inflating the Russian and Chinese “threats”–puffing the dragon is especially fashionable these days–which in turn feeds the bad strategy of turning two countries that should be allies into opponents. That is a failure on the grand strategic level, which is a high price indeed for threat inflation. But threat inflation is so deeply built into our whole system that it warps everything we do. Does military reform mean we can stop inflating the threat? Yes. But until the money runs out, the chance of reform is small.

    Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.

    William S. Lind
    Posted on
    June 8, 2019
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto

  2. #2
    Another good article from Lind. I must say that the Venezuelan bust and now Iran gives me "deer in the headlights" feeling. I keep hoping that someone will put Bolton and Pompeo on a choke chain and tell the MIC to give it a rest.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    SE Okieland
    Iran, China, NK, Russia, Pakistan, India, the Cartels, which will start WW3????

    The world is winding tighter and with potential famine scouring the earth, just how long will it take????


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Happy on the mountain
    which will start WW3??

    Bolton ...
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto

  5. #5
    It has been on the go for years now, meaning WWIII. It is just low key at this stage. I am talking about Syria. It is something like 80% destroyed at this point in time.

    Take at this current time. Just to name a few that are dropping bombs at the moment. There is Israel, U.S., Russia, And Iran. Turkey probably has troops there somewhere. Then they are troops from many Arab countries acting as mercenaries. France has its figure in the pie also. China is there too but very low key.

    Russia can't do what it wants to do while the U.S. is still around. So they have to flatten the United States before they can attack Israel. So watch Syria closely as is the center to where things will explode from.

  6. #6
    While considering threats - and ranking them by danger of starting WWIII - it might be wise to include all of Africa, where fighting at a low level (right now) is fairly constant and China has made significant "investments" and S. America. With Venezuelan refugees flooding neighboring countries and Maduro desperate to hang onto his power... some of the larger militaries there very well could decide to "intervene"... pulling in the larger powers as allies.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Happy on the mountain

    Meet William S. Lind, the Extremist Author Who Might Have Influenced Donald Trump
    On November 25, 2016 By Eyes on the RightIn Alt-Right, Anti-Semitism, Donald Trump, Islamophobia, Racism, VDARE, William S. Lind, Xenophobia

    Photo- William S. Lind and Donald Trump

    It is no secret by now that president-elect Donald Trump has surrounded himself with a cast of reprehensible characters, and is still being supported by people who are demonstrably worse. One such person, William S. Lind, made few if any headlines when he met with Trump informally earlier this year and gifted him with a copy of his 2009 book The Next Conservatism.

    Co-written by religious right leader and Heritage Foundation co-founder Paul Weyrich (1942-2008), the book posits, among other things, that the “decay” of American culture didn’t “just happen,” but was “deliberate, the work of the poisonous ideology of cultural Marxism, AKA ‘Political Correctness.’”

    Political correctness, you will recall, is a favorite punching bag of the president-elect, having denounced “this politically correct crap” in front of a group of South Carolina business leaders last year. It was his go-to defense when grilled by Megyn Kelly on his history of misogynist remarks in the first primary debate. He even invoked it when all but calling Kelly a “bimbo” in a subsequent interview.

    A 2007 article written by Weyrich and Lind for The American Conservative could have served as a blueprint for their book. The article, entitled “The Next Conservatism,” called for “rejecting ideology” and “embracing ‘retroculture.’” Of conservatism circa 2007, Weyrich and Lind wrote:
    Conservatism has become so weak in ideas that during the presidency of George W. Bush, the word “conservative” could be and was applied with scant objection to policies that were starkly anti-conservative. Americans witnessed “conservative” Wilsonianism, if not Jacobinism, in foreign policy and an unnecessary foreign war; record “conservative” trade and federal budget deficits; major “conservative” expansions of the power of the federal government at the expense of traditional liberties; and nonchalant “conservative” de-industrialization and dispossession of the middle class in the name of Ricardian free trade and Benthamite utilitarianism.

    Here one begins to see some of the underpinnings of Trump’s presidential campaign: the criticism of unnecessary wars, the condemnation of “free trade” policies (As the authors put it, “When everything for sale is labeled ‘Made in China,’ Heaven decrees fair trade instead of free trade.”), and concern for the “dispossess[ed]” white middle class.

    The pair explicitly advocated “lead[ing] growing numbers of Americans to secede from the rotten pop culture of materialism, consumerism, hyper-sexualization, and political correctness and return to the old ways of living.” This “retroculture,” as Weyrich and Lind dubbed this desire for a bygone era, could just as easily be summed up with the slogan “Make America Great Again.”

    “What sort of specifics might the next conservative agenda include?” they asked. The “next conservatism” would still include opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, and would certainly still advocate tax and spending cuts. However, it would also demand “effective control of our borders, elimination of illegal immigration, a reduction in legal immigration, and effective acculturation of recent immigrants.”

    In addition to cultural and political issues, the “next conservatism” must also tackle “aesthetics.” Weyrich and Lind noted that America “may be the richest nation in history” but this does not necessarily make it “the most beautiful.” After all, our country is full of “[s]trip malls, suburban sprawl, and hollowed-out cities.” Or, put a different way, one could fly to Qatar or China and “see these incredible airports,” while ours “are like from a third world country.”

    Clearly the ideas of Weyrich and Lind overlap with those of Donald Trump in several respects, even if Trump is quite inarticulate in discussing them. What makes this all the more sinister is the fact that Lind and Trump have met on at least one occasion, as noted above. In an April, 2016 post on his personal blog, traditionalRIGHT, Lind shared a photo of himself standing next to Trump – who grinned and gave his usual thumbs up pose – and wrote:
    At the beginning of this column you will find a photograph of me giving a copy of The Next Conservatism to presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump’s views on avoidable foreign wars, free trade, political correctness and a number of other subjects have much in common with The Next Conservatism. If he reads it, our book might be helpful to him in fleshing out his agenda. And no one can say Paul Weyrich was not a conservative.

    For years, Lind has trumpeted the often anti-Semitic idea that “cultural Marxists” are working to degrade white, Western culture by promoting feminism, abortion, homosexuality, non-Christian religions, etc. As noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the theory of “cultural Marxism” “posits that a tiny group of Jewish philosophers who fled Germany in the 1930s and set up shop at Columbia University in New York City devised an unorthodox form of ‘Marxism’ that took aim at American society’s culture, rather than its economic system.”

    The SPLC made special mention of Lind and Weyrich in their article addressing the spread of the “cultural Marxist” theory, crediting the pair with having “done the most to define the enemies who make up the so-called ‘cultural Marxists.’” These enemies naturally include “a whole host of Lind’s bête noires — feminists, LGBT people, secular humanists, multiculturalists, sex educators, environmentalists, immigrants, black nationalists, the ACLU and the hated Frankfurt School philosophers.”

    Lest one get the wrong impression – that Lind and Weyrich’s conception of “cultural Marxism” is not an anti-Semitic one – in 2002, Lind informed a crowd at a Holocaust denial conference hosted by the Barnes Review that, “These guys were all Jewish.” As for Weyrich, in 2001 he wrote matter-of-factly that “Christ was cruficied by the Jews,” and, according to Salon columnist Joe Conason, had a “habit of flirting with racists and anti-Semites” that dated “back to his early involvement with George Wallace’s American Independent Party.”

    In addition to his remarks on Jews, Lind also published a novel, under the pseudonym “Thomas Hobbes,” that depicted the dissolution of the United States as well as the near-expulsion of blacks by the book’s protagonists – a group of Christian militiamen.

    In a 2015 review of the novel (Victoria: A Novel of 4th Generation War) on the anti-immigrant website VDARE, far-right author Paul Gottfried – the man who coined the term “alternative right” – wrote glowingly that Lind “never misses his target when he describes his particular enemies, who are exactly what you would expect: Jewish liberals, brain-dead WASP patricians, loud-mouthed feminists, homosexual activists, the Open Borders lobby, and anti-White racial minorities.” Most of these “enemies” “get their comeuppance” at the hands of “the novel’s hero, Captain John Rumford, formerly of the USMC.”

    In fact, one of Gottfried’s favorite scenes, he wrote, was when “all the participants at a gathering of Leftist professors at Dartmouth have been summarily shot dead.”
    While Victoria is certainly no Turner Diaries, it may still be a close second considering the copious amounts of gore and grotesquely racist dialogue. In one chapter, the protagonists of the “Northern Confederation” are in the midst of defeating an army of “Islamics” who invaded Boston – crucifying white Christians and selling black Christians into slavery in the process – when Rumford found a group of black Muslim Americans, and informed them that they had been “conned”:
    “Captain Ross, I’ve got two things to say to you and your men,” I said. “First, you’ve been had. You’ve been conned, you’ve been swindled. This “Islam” stuff is crap. You’re not Muslims. And the whole Black Muslim bit itself is just Father Divine and the Reverend Ike and the Kingfish all over again – a few folks who get rich by selling you their shit.”

    “Most of you, maybe all of you, became Black Muslims not because you believed it as a religion, but as one more way to ‘get Whitey.’ Well, it’s been a long time since Whitey sold you as slaves, as your Islamic ‘friends’ have done with your real friends and family members. In your hearts you know that what your mother or grandmother taught you is true; Jesus Christ is Lord. He’s the One sitting up there, the One we’ll all meet some day. It’s not some damn camel-driver who sits at the right hand of God.”

    “We all get conned on occasion. I got conned by a car company once. I bought a Saab, which is what you do when you own one. You got conned by Mr. Farrakhan and a bunch of rug merchants, and you bought a false religion. Once you realize that and dump this Black Muslim garbage, we have no quarrel with you, nor you with us.”
    In the very next chapter, Rumford describes a meeting with Gunny Matthews, a black Christian Marine who assisted in liberating the victims of Islamic slavery in Boston. Matthews opined that the “biggest problem I see facing the black community is bad blacks.” Matthews went on, claiming “It’s the bad blacks. It’s gang leaders and drug dealers and drug users. It’s muggers and car-jackers and burglars. It’s pimps and prostitutes, beggars and plain-ol’ bums. It’s people who just won’t work for an honest living.”

    Matthews said that the Northern Confederation “won’t tolerate having little pieces of Africa all over the place” before declaring, “I’m thankful for that slave ship that brought my ancestors over here, cause otherwise I’d be livin’ in Africa, and I don’t think there’s a worse place on earth.”

    So, to prevent the violent expulsion of “every black” from the Confederation’s territory, the “Council Of Responsible Negroes” or “CORN” was formed. The governors of the Northern Confederation states met with CORN’s leaders to go over their proposal to end “black crime,” and this is where Lind’s lack of knowledge of the black community – does he even know a single black person on a first-name basis? – really shows.

    Gunny Matthews, as it turned out, had become the organization’s president, and addressed the governors personally. Here’s Matthews’ opening remarks:
    “Gentlemen, thank you for this opportunity to speak,” the Gunny said. “As the leader of the Council Of Responsible Negroes, I do not dispute anything the governor of New York has said, because it is true. As a whole, the black community did become a burden on and a threat to the rest of society, starting sometime in the 1960s.”
    Matthews pined for the 1950s, when “any of you could have walked safely, alone, through the black neighborhoods in your cities,” and when white people would have found “intact families, with married fathers and mothers, who supported themselves and contributed by their work to society” and whose “hearts were as white as yours.” Then, Matthews reveals his proposal to stop the scourge of “black crime”:
    “Here is our proposal: First, we will put an end to black crime. Any negro who commits a crime involving violence or threat of violence, or breaks into a home or business, or steals a car, will hang. Any negro accused of such a crime will be tried within 48 hours, the jurors will be picked from the residents, black or white, of the street where the crime was committed, the trial will be over in 24 hours, and the sentence will be carried out within three days. We’ll build gallows in every park. We’ll gibbet the hanged corpses on every street corner. And negroes will do the hanging.”
    “Not only will we hang every drug dealer, we’ll hang every hard drug user. Anyone, black or white, on the street in black neighborhoods will be subject to random drug testing. Anyone who fails the test will be dragged to the nearest gallows and hanged. The drug test itself will count as the trial.”

    Then, the “negroes” who wanted to work would be put to work, often being “resettled on a farm.” He knew that blacks were capable of farming for a living because “most negroes used to farm.” You know, in the good old days. And if they weren’t capable of straightening themselves out in 90 days, Matthews would “lead our people back to Africa.” And, as Rumford put it, Matthews’ proposal was “serious,” and “meant no more shuckin’ and jivin’.” Just as a reminder, these are Lind’s protagonists. Rumford is Lind’s narrator, the character who channels the author’s voice.

    That these ideas and this dialogue are so repugnant and fraught with racial stereotypes reveals much about Lind’s state of mind. When he writes dialogue for black characters, he believes black Americans refer to themselves and one another as “negroes.” He believes the “responsible” ones are ones who are thankful for the slave ships that brought their ancestors to America, and who want to work as modern-day sharecroppers.

    His main protagonist believes, as does the author, in “retroculture,” and finds it acceptable to berate Muslims into converting to Christianity. And, more than anything else, he wants the president-elect’s ear.
    The wonder of our time isn’t how angry we are at politics and politicians; it’s how little we’ve done about it. - Fran Porretto


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