Sunday, June 13, 2010

Read and reflect

Great and important to read from the powerful blog "Of Two Minds," a vital reminder as our mindless war machine keeps grinding away in the background while, in the foreground, the elites continue pretending that the dead machine of "growth" just needs a little adjustment in order to spring back to life, purring like a kitten. If you recognize the importance of all this, you might also want to read Walter Karp's painfully good book "The Politics of War."

The transcripts and audio recordings revealed a truth which I had never encountered in all my 40 years of reading about Asia, Japan, and the Pacific War: the entire war was essentially ad hoc, as much the result of the Navy's fear of domination by the Imperial Army as it was about the U.S. embargo on oil exports to Japan which had been imposed after Japan invaded Indochina in 1941.

Bureaucratic infighting between the services, the influence of a key Admiral over the Emperor, jousting between the Naval General Staff and the leaders of the Combined Fleet, and ultimately, fear of losing domestic power led the Navy's General Staff to recommend war against the U.S. as the "only possible response" to the oil embargo.

The "official reasons" given for the war--a "greater East Asia co-prosperity sphere", even the U.S. embargo on oil--played no part in the actual decisions to wage war on the U.S., or in planning to win such a war.

One would think the Naval General Staff or the Imperial General Headquarters would have formulated a rigorous, well-conceived plan to actually win the war before launching it; one would be wrong. . . .

In effect, the decision to wage war on the U.S. was the outcome of domestic politics and pride, not strategic considerations. The consequences of war were not thought through, and accountability was poor. The entire chain of command was riddled with ad hoc thinking and decisions based on domestic political rivalries, glossed-over realities, fear of losing face, and misplaced deference to forces within the Imperial family.

There are hundreds of websites on the Imperial Navy and the Pacific Theater of World War II, and the Imperial Japanese Navy Page is remarkably thorough. I especially recommend its economic analysis of Japan and the U.S., which contains this telling conclusion:

In the end, however, the Tojo government chose the path of aggression, compelled by internal political dynamics which made the prospect of a general Japanese disengagement in China (which was the only means by which the American economic embargo would have been lifted) too humiliating a course to be taken. . . .

The Japanese were incapable of admitting that their war was impossible to win. . . .

Does this story of ad hoc waging of war remind you of the Iraq war? It should . . .

Sycophants and yes-men were rewarded, voices of experience and skepticism were ignored or sent packing; rather than admit the "official reasons" were mere propaganda to mask domestic political machinations, hubris and misplaced fear of losing "face," the ad hoc policies were simply ratcheted up to higher levels of sacrifice. The anger of the mid-ranking Imperial Navy officers who saw their men sacrificed for an ignoble ad hoc war to cover up the sins and stupidities of their leaders is now rising in the U.S. officer corps as well, though just as in Imperial Japan, the internal restraints of loyalty to the service and the nation stifle many voices.

Even now, there is no strategy for "winning," and the word itself has been lost from the official vocabulary. It's not a "war," so there's no "winning." The sacrifice of the troops is not a consideration to the U.S. leadership, anymore than it was in the Imperial leadership. The trillions of dollars of national treasure squandered on an ad hoc war is also no consideration; every sacrifice will be demanded of the Military and civilians to avoid admitting the war was a tragic mistake, the result of hubris, heedless dogmatism, and a preference for domestically attractive fantasies rather than strategic imperatives and rigorous planning. . . .

The "recovery" engineered by Bernanke and his cronies is just as ad hoc as the Japanese policies of the past 21 years. The same disastrous reliance on endless borrowing and Keynesian "stimulus" to prop up a failed status quo which is no longer aligned with global or domestic realities is now the "policy" of the U.S. leadership. . . .

It is human nature to want to believe in a cause and in future victory, even when the war or policy is totally ad hoc. Once the nation and Empire is committed, even when the decisions to commit were poor and based on fantasy, those in service to the nation and Empire obediently support the doomed policies, even as they see that victory is impossible and the nation is careening into inevitable ruin. . . .

Vancouver BC OKs 4 backyard hens, no roosters/ducks/turkeys -- and no charge

Santa brought a backyard chicken coop for Chri...Image by Chris Breikss via Flickr

Salem officials would think they had died and gone to heaven if Salem was considered anywhere near as desirable as Vancouver, B.C.

So it's worth noting that this world-class cosmopolitan city has legalized four backyard hens for residents, at no charge.
A maximum of four hens, which should at least be four months old, are permitted per coop. Other poultry — roosters, ducks, turkeys or pheasants — remain banned, and the hens will not allowed in front yards or highrise apartment balconies.

Under the guidelines, the backyard enclosure must be roofed and cannot exceed nine square metres in area and three metres in height.

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