Damon Linker, No Deep Thinker

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.

14 thoughts on “Damon Linker, No Deep Thinker

  1. Boat Guy

    The only reason “we” are not ready to hang reporters here is that they are too far down the list – and barely worthy of the effort except in a few particularly horrendous cases.

  2. Usexpat

    I wonder if the ones we’ll have with Russia and china will be too large to ignore.
    Listened it another NPR program the other day, for about a minute. The 2 guest media types both stated firmly that there was no bias in the media and they were at the top of their game in reporting accuracy.
    I suppose it’s easier if you stay focused on important things like Trump’s sex life.
    I’ve never been to DC. Do they still have lamp posts? Are there enough?

    1. Hognose Post author

      The Iranians and Afghans are low on trees, so they use construction and utility cranes. It figures; everyone who isn’t mohammedan uses them for building stuff.

      1. robroysimmons

        In “Argo” if remotely accurate the Mullahs used crane hangings almost as modern art pieces.

    2. Tom Stone

      Yes, DC still has lamp posts, and no, not nearly enough.
      I’m amazed when I look at those in the ACELA corridor, I had no idea that the Habsburgs had produced so many descendants.

  3. John M.

    “The whole point of having an aristocracy is hereditary rule, dissociated from standards or merit, for the benefit of the aristocrats.”

    Hognose, this is completely unfair to hereditary aristocrats. Aristocrats have duties toward the people they rule, and many of them discharge those duties admirably. It’s notable that hereditary aristocracies excel at putting themselves and their children into battle.

    It takes a democracy, unmoored from values of duty or accountability, to create an elite that refuses to fight the wars it creates for the commoners. I mean, go down the list: Obamas, Clintons, Bidens, Kerries. Beau Biden served, but he was a lawyer. Kerry’s military “service” requires no repetition here. George W. Bush’s service clearly wasn’t intended to put him on the front lines of battle. McCain is the last combat vet to make a major-party nomination, and George H.W. Bush was the last combat vet to be President. Can you imagine a baron or a count with as many sons as Romney and zero of them serving in the military? And what combat vets wait in the wings for 2020 and 2024, from either party?

    Shoot, even in a dissipated monarchy like England’s, there is still a tradition of military service in the royal family. Prince Harry saw action in Afghanistan and Prince Andrew flew helicopters in the Falkland war. Prince William served and asked to see action, but was overruled by his superiors.

    -John M.

    1. Tom Stone

      John M, about the only politician I’m aware of with a national presence who is also a veteran would be Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. I think anyone aspiring to the presidency who is not a combat vet should be required to work as an orderly in an Ortho or burn ward at a Veteran’s hospital for 6 months.

      1. Inventive

        You’re forgetting Tom Cotton.

        I definitely agree with the spirit of your suggestion… With such a low percentage of people serving in the military, the consequences of military action are pretty easy to miss.

      2. John M.

        I’ve actually never heard of Tulsi Gabbard. She has an interesting biography. But between her and Tammi Duckworth, James IV of Scotland, would come kick all of our butts one by one if he knew what this had turned into.

        -John M.

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