Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The California mystery missile (update)

The WP quotes a source who pretty much admits that the Navy launched that missile in that time and place in order to impress an adversary. Is that why China conducted a similar test over an airport five years ago? Why are the major military forces of the world choosing this moment to drop their britches in public in order to show off what they have?

PS. I was just told that one of my readers made a donation, but I can't find the message in my old email inbox. I'll keep looking, because I'd like to respond with a personal thank you note. But just in case I don't find it...well, thanks. You have our deepest gratitude.

UPDATE: This writer believes that the very purpose of the test was to scare the populace...
The unnerving spectacle made its biggest impression on the Americans who saw it first-hand. And they were probably its chief intended audience. “Getting people really concerned in L.A.” is exactly what the regime wanted.

Why else would the government clear the skies to paint them with nuclear war games precisely when and where it would have the biggest audience with the best visibility: near a basin full of people in the most densely populated region in the country, at a time (around 6:00 pm) when it is nice and dark, yet millions would be out and about, returning from work, or heading out to dinner?

This was “Shock and Awe” for domestic consumption: an exercise in missile test terrorism. A spooked herd is an easily steered and stampeded herd. And what better way to spook the American herd than by giving it nuclear nightmares?
I can't go along with this. The best way (and cheapest) to give Americans nuclear nightmares is for administration officials to say scary things. Remember the first Reagan administration? Remember when General Thomas Enders -- sublime name, that -- said "With enough shovels, we'll get through it"? (He was trying to reassure the populace that we could avoid nuclear radiation by burying ourselves in the ground.)

You want scary? That's scary.

On a related note: I wonder if Obama approved the California test?
Joseph, American presidential candidates are already saying scary things - terrifying things - such that the missile test almost appears as an omen of things to come. All the major Republican hopefuls, except Trump (bless him, in this one instance) and Paul, support a no-fly zone in Syria. Hillary favors one, too, though she's made noises about coordinating it with the Russians - a fantasy, but better than the prevailing GOP position, which is as absurd as being, like, pro-Cuban Missile Crisis.

And the craziest thing is that nobody's talking about it. The media isn't flagging it. And when Rand Paul tried to call out the madness at the debate tonight, he was mild and grossly inept, confusing Syria with Iraq (three times he said they were proposing a no fly zone in Iraq!) and telling the audience: if we go down the no-fly-zone road, get ready to have your "sons and daughters" coming back in body bags because "we'll be involved in another war in Iraq." So he flunked geography and ended on a nonsense understatement. That's the pushback against WWIII.

To his credit, Trump has registered the appropriate disbelief and outrage - outright calling it "crazy" to risk "WWIII" over Syria. The best Bernie or O'Malley managed against Hillary was a "that would be dangerous." It's like the truth has become literally unspeakable: that a no fly zone, illegal to begin with, would be challenged by Russia; that we'd likely end up shooting down a Russian jet (Rubio, Christie and, tonight, Kasich explicitly promised to do this); and that the resulting confrontation would almost certainly escalate to nuclear war. Or, rather, "de-escalate" - that's the Russian military's official term for use of tactical nukes against NATO. (I shit you not.)

I'm feeling more and more like the guy in the action movie who warns of impending doom and is dismissed as a crank. Except what I'm pointing out isn't remotely unusual or hard to believe. It's plain as day. But we're in the kind of world where the darkness is the light.

-Dexter Filkins
Dexter, I thank you for your very thoughtful comment. What to do, what to do? We have entered a world in which Donald Trump is the only political candidate who ever says anything sensible about our foreign policy.

I'm not going to endorse or vote for that loathsome vulgarian. But where are the alternatives?
I'm asking the same question, and I don't have an answer.

As far as the candidates go, I support Trump for the Republican nomination. (I'm not a Republican.) I want Frankenstein to kill its creator, and moreover I admire Trump in the same way many Americans admire the mafia. I fully support Bernie Sanders on principle, and Hillary as a practical matter.

But you're right: we're in an environment where on foreign policy, the carnival barker is the index of reason. Talk about a "low, dishonest decade." There's just nothing to be done except to repeat the suppressed truths, and hope they catch on, and to find a kind of enjoyment and thrill in being one of the few seeing through the giant charade (the alternative is impotent anger or hopelessness).
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