Damon Linker isn’t particularly special today, he’s just an illustration of an immutable law: the more time you spend in the Acela Corridor, the more you see the Outside World through a glass, darkly. This makes most Washington and New York pundits entertaining to read on the subject of war: they can always be counted on to reverse cause and effect, creating what the late Michael Crichton called “‘Wet streets cause rain’ stories”; and they often miss very large beams that are clouded by the motes of partisanship and self-regard that multiply in their eyes, like some sort of virus, lofted in the foul air of their coastal enclaves.
See if you can guess what very large beam is missing from this emphatic statement by Linker (the elisions are for brevity and do not alter his argument, as you can see at the link):
Both … nominees, [and] journalists …avoid talking about the fact that the United States is waging war in at least five countries simultaneously: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia.
Anything missing there? We have a hint, and we still have ineradicable 15-year-old dust from the place on some of our gear: Afghanistan. The word does not exist in his essay. And that’s only one. Despite the current tensions the gormless incumbents of both Presidencies have produced, US Forces have been working intimately with Filipino forces in tamping down the Abu Sayyaf insurgency there, a process that occasionally goes to Bulletsville and more occasionally racks up a US casualty, who used to be, at least, counted as an OEF casualty alongside his Afghan brothers.
So it’s seven wars. Not counting the ones we’re not counting, and believe me, they’re there: Damon Linker doesn’t know about them because the Times and the Post don’t know about them, because most of their international bureaux are closed or are staffed by host nation stringers with their own agendas. And because one of the markers of the speciation of Homo acelaicus is his distance from and revulsion by Homo combativus.
It’s a safe bet that nobody in the Linker bloodline has suited up for combat in the 45 years since Nixon ended the draft (or in the years before that, where an array of deferments spawned for the convenience of the children of Homo acelaicus kept them out of harm’s way). The whole point of having an aristocracy is hereditary rule, dissociated from standards or merit, for the benefit of the aristocrats.
Linker is critical of the press in his article, but only because they’re not dumbing things down enough for the real retards, the American people. You see, wars are complicated, and journalists, well:
…journalists have no faith … in the American people to process and evaluate that information in a responsible way.
Well, when the public doesn’t trust the press, and when Damon Freakin’ Linker is the guy who’s going to heal this rift, maybe he’s got the arrow of causation characteristically ass-backwards. Who is it that mistrusts whom, here?
…the press actively contributes to making our politics stupider. Instead of enlightening members of the general public, it entertains them.
Of course, his idea of “enlightening” involves socializing them to Acela Corridor values, so he’s doomed to failure outside of his coastal Echoplex. And then he whines that, this election year:
…the media has come in for unprecedented hostility and abuse….
Perhaps it deserves it? When a guy pontificating about all the wars we’re in elides the fact that his boy and his girl are responsible for many of the new theaters of war in which this one conflict is being conducted, by abandoning Iraq and Afghanistan initially, and then fomenting new wars in Libya, Syria, and even Egypt? When a guy pontificating about the wars forgets about Afghanistan?
Almost everyone I know has been to Afghanistan. To fight. Only to return to the dripping contempt of the Damon Linkers of the world, the sunken, shriveled, fans in the press box, to whom everything that is good and holy emanates from their beloved political sports-teams.
We’re not ready to lynch reporters here, not even Damon Linker, but we would vote “not guilty” if put on the jury of someone who did.