The Muck Starts Here: The Bobbsey twins seek a new ‘surge’

by Barry Hastings

Re-emergence of the Bobbsey Twins Muckraker(Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham) as leading military affairs spokesmen for the GOP (Goofy Old Party) most likely means more taxing (in every sense of the word) times for Americans. These are the two men who, alongside (disgraced and facing felony charges) General David Petraeous, and Joe Lieberman, pushed hard for the Iraq “surge” some few years back.

We need only look at collapse of the Iraqi military in the face of ISIL to know how well that idea flew. They ran faster (shedding uniforms and equipment as they ran) than when confronted by the chubby cleric al Sadr’s militia before the surge began — and that told me how much we could count on ’em. (I guess Petraeous knew best.)

These two still maintain the “surge” worked, and the fault was Obama’s for pulling out “too soon.” I’m reminded of a visit the two of them (plus Joe Lieberman and some senate staffers) made to Baghdad’s “Green Zone” just before the Obama Presidency began. McCain, Graham, and Lieberman were caught on camera emerging from a building there, in body armor and helmets, surrounded by armed security men.

Lieberman and McCain each appeared comfortable, but aware of their surroundings. Graham (former military lawyer, in no sense a soldier) appeared scared (shall I say) witless — neck shrunken into his armored vest, eyes darting around like those of a traLarry Hamppped rat. The only thing visible of his face was his nose and those constantly darting eyes.

This is the guy who hopes to become the Senate’s GOP spokesman on military matters. Of course, being protected by Blackwater security types would be enough to make most people (including me) nervous as a whore in church. Those people seemed to have as motto, “if it moves, kill it.”

(When serving aboard my first ship, Coast Guard Cutter Westwind, we were carrying out gunnery exercises outside North Atlantic shipping lanes. Our executive officer {XO}, the former Seventh CG District (Fla.) legal officer, was a full commander getting his sea duty for promotion to captain. He was one deck below me on the port (left) bridge-wing, watching as gunners fired our five-inch, 38-caliber foredeck gun.

As the five-incher went off with a tremendous crack! he began jumping up and down, pointing in the direction of the shot, and shouting, “I saw that bullet, captain, I saw that bullet!” Captain Peter Smenton was an old salt; an experienced arctic, antarctic seaman who’d served in several of Admiral Byrd’s expeditions. He turned, and condescendingly growled, “It’s a projectile, Ayers.” Those of us serving the twin twenty-mm AA guns on the flying bridge just above, turned our backs and had a good laugh.)

As a young officer, McCain seemed to be following in the footsteps of his admiral ancestors (father and grandfather) along the path to alcoholism. (Both were notorious drunks.) Likely the only thing that saved him was incarceration for five years in the Hanoi Hilton.

While running for office against Obama, McCain was asked how many homes he owned and answered, “I don’t know.” Turned out it was half-a-dozen. Some days he seems pretty sharp. On others, like a senile old man. A youth and young manhood of boozing and tail-hooking, plus five years of getting the crap beaten out of you daily, can have such effect on a person. (Ask any black man in a South Carolina jail.)

Well, it’s always been my contention the decline of Rome began when they started using hirelings from conquered lands to fight Rome’s battles. We really can’t trust any of our non-European allies (and few enough Europeans). They live in fear of Russians cutting natural gas supplies; mid-Easterners live in fear of trusting us, or their neighbors.

As with our Vietnamese adventure, we’re tied into an alliance with flakey governments. As in ‘Nam, we’ve turned out a government, to set up another, which was (in turn) turned out for another, which, from appearances, isn’t any more likely to succeed than their predecessors. For some reason, only mid-East bad guys seem to know about organization. The rest can’t get things together -even though they clearly see (daily) the political, social, and (worst of all) religious horrors awaiting them if they fail.

We live in a world where we’re (barely) afloat in a sea of deadly poisonous reptiles, attacked from every direction. After 14 years of growing war, our enemies increase in numbers, and territory controlled. ISIL has been reported to be recruiting in Afghanistan, and, likely, will soon be in that hotbed of democracy, Pakistan.

A few days ago the leader of Hamas in Sinai, told news reporters, “I don’t want war with Israel, but do not fear it.” (How stupid is he?) One of these days Israel will tire of constant indiscriminate rocketry by Hamas, and flatten the entire place. Western nations pressure Israel to bear the burden, but one wonders how long we’d put up with daily random explosions killing and maiming folks across the countryside?

Recently the President told the nation we need to put more cash and effort into counter-terrorism, less of each into ground combat forces. The U.S. Military is shrinking as I write. Very little of the shrinkage occurs in the ranks of generals and admirals — we have far more of them than we can put to worthwhile work. The top military pay grades are full to overflowing. The fighting ranks are shrinking.

So do we really want to make CIA, NSA, FBI, NSC, MIC, NIC, NGIA, NCC, and DIA (and many more intel organizations) our front line of defense? Think about the world you see on the evening news, every (stinking) day, and tell me we don’t need a bigger Army and Marine Corps, and every bit of Navy we can afford. Jesus! These people are out of touch with reality. We’re in a global war of huge proportions with three enemies – the Russians pushing the West’s buttons, China pushing the East’s, and a loose, but imaginative collective of terror organizations filling in the holes and cracks.

Believe me, there’s no feeling quite like needing a military and having none. The spooks are overconfident, bumble-fingered, stumble-bums with murderous authority they use every time they have a chance. No thank you – give me an honest soldier or marine, every time.

We tried the other way several times before, and it never paid dividends.

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