Saturday, November 26, 2005


The Automatons And The Raw Meat

I have a friend who's back from two tours and about to do a third. His term for the PNAC civilian yes-men Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz have used to replace actual experienced, war-tested Pentagon brass: "The Automatons". Barring a bloodletting by whoever replaces Bush in office, the Automatons are the ones who will guide Pentagon policy for decades. Even as the rest of our armed forces are downsized as per Rumsfeld's policy (he believes that high-tech gizmos can do all our fighting for us, plus they don't need to be paid salaries, much less pensions), they will remain unless they are actually sent into combat (and Heaven help the troops they are sent to command). You see, my friend sees Rumsfeld's current policy as designed to ensure that nobody -- aside from the well-bred, monied, PNAC-vetted, and/or lickspittlish drones destined to be new Automatons -- stays in the armed services long enough to draw a pension. That's why the VA is being gutted. That's why soldiers' pay is so low that many military families need to go onto food stamps or other kinds of public assistance. It's the Wal-Mart-ing of the US military, and it's destroying it from within. Time was when the military tried to keep people on for as long as they could. They valued the concept of institutional memory. Rumsfeld, in his quest to remake the armed forces, is actively and deliberately destroying this institutional memory, just so it's easier for him to install his Automatons. Everyone else is just so much raw meat as far as Rummy's concerned. Which is why he has no problem with them getting used up in Iraq's meat grinder.

It took me a while for the penny to drop, but it did.

After Reagan-Bush, there was a conscious attempt to "burrow in" to the civil service, so that they could influence policy even during a Democratic Administration. While this happened at high levels, people like Gary Aldrich and Linda Tripp were movement people who had maneuvered into or been maneuvered into sensitive positions where they could do damage. Junius Caesar has been assiduously replacing everyone who know what to do with loyal incompetents, as well.

This is why undoing the harm of the so-called "conservative" movement requires so much more than winning power and passing laws. The fundamentally authoritarian and tyrannical nature of the movement has to be exposed. Real participatory democracy, in which the citizenry is actually the boss and the media corporations and the political establishment merely at-will employees, has to be revived.

At that point, the rest of the civil service will wall off the cancer. And who knows? A few movement soldiers, if show what they were fighting for, might want to defect?
Oh, yes. There are a number of movement cons who are having Goldwater-like "road to Damascus" conversions. (Bush's insistence on tax cuts during wartime was the last straw for a number of them.)
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