DADT has been repealed; “gays and lesbians”, as today’s official mantra seems to run, can now serve openly in the military. (I didn’t get the most recent Memo: I had been under the strong impression that it was not Correct to draw attention to the “lesbian” bit, for whatever reasons.)
There are two major points that need to be made.
First, this continues a sequence of (pick one or several: reforms, major policy changes, victories, administrative adjustments) that represent more than anything else the achievement of objectives embraced by this or that Identity over the past 30 or 40 years. Political indenture to Identity Politics has continued throughout this period, curiously intensifying as politicians increasingly desperate to cobble together various fractals of the population into reliable electoral demographics have sought to distract public attention from far larger and more vital national issues critical to sustaining the common-weal.
Indeed it must be seen – and will be seen as such by future historians – that throughout this 40 or so years’ trek the country’s political representatives lost effective control of the economy and the most profound question of the decency and morality of US policy toward most of the rest of the world.
Such that – at this point – the ‘victory’ of the long-standing objectives of this or that Identity takes place in a time or Moment in the country’s history that is hugely changed from the now-distant era when the agenda initially took shape.
Thus, for example, the election of ‘women’ (simply because they were female) to political office and of a black male to the Presidency (simply because he was ‘black’ – and maybe also ‘young’, like JFK) were taken as substantive and ‘historic’ victories. As if such events had any relevance to the intensifying short-comings and short-falls in American policy and the utterly indispensable national economy.
Identity politics leads to symbolic politics leads to spin politics leads to celebrity politics.
And only guts and competence and gravitas can save Us now. And I use gravitas in the most profound and serious and maturationally and characterologically freighted sense of the term.
The phantasmagoria, the queasily fantastical tenor of American politics, was becoming increasingly clear as American elites seemed thoroughly pleased, satisfied, and content with such ‘successes’ even as the tectonic forces deranging and undermining American competence and capability on the world scene continued to erode the foundations of the American position in the world and even the foundations of the working integrity of the American polity as a democratic and constitutional republic.
It reminded me of nothing so much as the now-pathetic satisfaction of the commanders of the French Army and the British Expeditionary Force as they moved north smartly – according to the dictates of a strategy deployed in 1940 based on the experiences of a First World War then decades in the past – while a lethal German armored mobile thrust, ignored in the Allies’ general cocky jubilation, had already burst out of the Ardennes, crossed the Meuse, and was making its way mostly unhindered to the Atlantic coast of France, where it quickly cut off from the south all of those gloriously enthusiastic Allied forces now taking up positions, facing north, in Belgium.
And it kept getting replayed – this fantastical happy-time of ‘success’ – as more and more ‘successes’ of old strategies were celebrated by elites while the vital challenges posed by the current and present national situation were kicked like so many cans down the Road of History.
Until those cans have now accumulated to such a depth and breadth that the Road can no longer be traveled at speed.
Thus today's victory arrives in the midst of a national Situation which is not only hugely diminished but is also far more dangerously fragile and unstable than that Situation was when the victory was first envisioned, decades ago.
It can hardly be a surprise. The Democrats, gearing up for an election for which they have not only little success of their own to show but also a frighteningly large collection of initiatives that merely continue the frakkulent policies and assumptions of the Bush 2 years, were clearly going to be in the market for some ‘success’ – any ‘success’ – that they could in any way, shape, or form spin as indication of their overall competence to govern and steer the country through the awful rocks and shoals against which it is now trapped. (Nor am I here subtly touting the Republicans.)
But the national Situation – and the military – have so profoundly changed (and not for the better) that this new ‘victory’ shrinks and even pales into irrelevance when viewed in comparison to the awe-full challenges and dangers facing the nation as it struggles to retain its position on the world stage.
As the economy fundamentally fails (We produce nothing of sufficient value to competitively trade among the nations in order to sustain a population of 300 million people); and as the value of the Dollar fades on the world scene; and as the government continues to run Reagan’s old game-plan (now 30 years old) of counting on the rest of the world to continue accepting America’s ‘primacy’ as the Great Victor of 1945 and as the Leader of the Free World and thus to continue accepting the flood of dollars now gushing out of the printing presses like confetti ; … as all of that happens and intensifies, there is going to be less and less purchasing power to fund a vast military.
It is only a little bit of an exaggeration to suggest that today’s ‘victory’ has simply led the ‘victors’ to the position of those hapless Commonwealth reinforcements who landed in Singapore in early 1942, now gleefully stretching their legs on solid land after the bumpy confinement on the ships, only to arrive just in time to be surrendered to the much smaller Japanese force that had out-fought and out-thought the bumbling British command.
The American military of today will be tasked now with more and more GOAG missions (Go Out And Grab), at the end of which they will have to Stay And Keep what they have Grabbed. (So, if you like spiffy military acronyms: GOAG-SAK).
It will be done – wherever possible and for as long as the pretense and pretext can be kept up – under the aegis of ‘humanitarian intervention’ and with the ‘international cooperation’ of the UK and France, two other Associate Victors of 1945 who find themselves now in the same boat as the Great Victor of 1945.
But the ‘natives’ of the world are not fools (if they ever were) and have now been empowered in a way that their forebears in earlier centuries were not. They will resist.
And since the US will be increasingly desperate, then it will become increasingly impatient with any resistance or objection by the natives (much as the German philosophy in World War 1 was that the German Army had so much to do so quickly in order to win that ‘the harshest immediate measures of repression ’ against the locals were “authorized” in order to minimize interference with the overall plan).
Nowadays, of course, the American pretext will be based on the simplistic and unexamined assertion that if you resist America then you are resisting Democracy and must therefore be Evil so you will get what you deserve. This monstrous birth is by Bush out of Israel, but will now be brayed by the New Left elites who will provide the ‘humanitarian liberation’ pretext: if you don’t have the same idea of (pick one or several: women’s, gay and lesbian, minority, other) rights then you must be Evil or at least Ignorant and must thus be either suppressed or educated.
Either way the armed forces will be the solution.
They will ‘liberate’ and just happen to Grab while they are in town.
It is into this world – changed even more lethally and insidiously than the world of the Vietnam War era – that today’s success will deliver its giddy beneficiaries.
The US military ground forces are suffering from malaise of spirit (and probably also spiritual deficiency) as well as maturational challenges that have proven so intractable that the government has taken to dosing them with untold amounts of officially-prescribed drugs (to say nothing of whatever illicit drugs are also being consumed; see, for example, my Posts here, here, and here).
Nor can it be ruled out that the troops on some level realize what they have really been sent to do and are not only frightened by the awfulness and complexity of invasion and occupation, but morally disturbed by what they have to do and what they are really there for.
The Greeks, if memory serves, have for quite some time had a Navy (and perhaps Army) that allows gays (not sure about the lesbians) to serve openly; they are also in danger of economic collapse. I am not at all saying the “gays and lesbians” caused the economic collapse (not sure about the military efficiency of the Greek armed forces) but simply that the ‘success’ of same-sex orientation or bigender or transgender or what-have-you initiatives really counts for little in relation to a country’s essential stability and economic viability.
The Rainbow is not going to be able to ward off the cataclysmic storms that are coming. And if the Rainbow comes back after the storms have passed, it will rise over a much changed and much diminished national landscape, if not also a now-failed Republic.
Labels: DADT, GOAG, military morale and well-being