Day of mourning for military Development

afghan warNews sources say that President Obama will choose “escalate” with additional troops for Afghanistan in his speech at West Point tonight. I and many like-minded individuals find this disastrous. “Like-minded” means that critics of top-down state plans for economic development are also not fans of top-down state plans for military development. If the Left likes the first, and the Right likes the second, that just shows you how incoherent Left and Right are.

Will Wilkinson has a great column mocking the anti-PC Conservatives for mindless Conservative PC on militarism:

The public praise of martial virtue encourages a martial culture in which war is seen not as a gruesome tragedy but as a stage for the performance of righteous valor. … applause only reinforces a deeply ingrained American habit of easy patriotism so mindless and self-satisfied that we cannot see the brazen moral relativism of it. This is our war, so it is just.

And when you military claim the sanction of some development economists for armed intervention, I think other development economists have a right to fight back. If you military are going to do development, then we will do military. If you think you can impose conditions on Karzai for military aid, why don’t you read some of our articles on the failure of conditions for economic aid.

The somewhat clumsy words of George Kennan during the Vietnam War have seemed eerily appropriate to many reviewers recently:

If we can find nothing better to do than embark upon a further open-ended increase in the level of our commitment simply because the alternatives seem humiliating and frustrating, one will have to ask whether we have not become enslaved to the dynamics of a single unmanageable situation - to the point where we have lost much of the power of initiative and control over our own policy, not just locally but on a world scale.

And lastly the masterful essay by Garry Wills in a recent New York Review of Books:

We sink deeper into blood, with no foreseeable end in sight…Some leader has to break the spell before costs mount further while our wars are passed from President to President…Barack Obama said he would rather be a one-term president than give up on his goals. Here is a goal no other president we can imagine would have a possibility of reaching. Presidents who just kick the can down the road are easy to come by. Lost lives and limbs are not.