November 12, 2009
Afghanistan: The Failure to Plan Is "The Plan"
Now you swear and kick and beg us
That you're not a gamblin' man.
Then you find you're back in Vegas
With a handle in your hand.
Your black cards can make you money,
So you hide them when you're able.
In the land of milk and honey
You must put them on the table.
You go back Jack do it again,
(Wheel turnin' 'round and 'round)
You go back Jack do it again....
-- Steely Dan
From where I sit I see many people underestimating President Obama because they cannot get their heads around who and what this man actually is and what he portends. Instead, historical or metaphoric analysis prevails making Obama like “Lincoln” or “Stalin,” like an "angel" or a "devil." Regardless of the comparisons evoked they all fail because Obama is none of these. He is "None of the above." He is not "That what came before." He is all of "What shall come after."
Politically and personally, Obama is a genetic sport, a Chimera; a now not-so-mythical being composed of multiple parts but functioning a a whole. Neither America nor the world has seen his like before. Attempts to analyze him that appeal to history fail because there is no historical precedent. That was, you will recall, part of his mystic allure. As a result many ascribe motives to the president that cannot be accurate; motives that run counter to the blunt evidence of the senses, to the maxim: “Watch what he does, not what he says.”
Interpretations of Obama, either in worship or in condemnation, will always be wistfully Prufrockian and up for "decisions and revisions which a minute can reverse" to the extent they fail to look at man's actions. Everything else is "blue smoke and mirrors."
Case in point: Afghanistan.
In the months long soap-opera of 'deciding' about Afghanistan, it was yesterday revealed that Obama abruptly rejected all the previous Afghan war options. The “reason” given was because, wait for it, "The President seeks clarity on turnover to Afghan government." Reaction to this cold reboot of the “Afghanistan Decision Process” was as swift as it was muddled. From the right or the left or the center the reaction could be headlined in all the newspapers and Drudgesque websites of the world in one modern acronym, “WTF!?”
In somewhat softer tones Legal Insurrection on "Eikenberry An Excuse For Obama's Dawdling" sums up the two poles of the response to the Afghan-Oval-Office-Quagmire saying:
Of course, Obama and Eikenberry are being hailed in the left-wing blogosphere as supremely rational and thoughtful beings. The right-wing blogosphere (including me) and even much of the mainstream media are seeing Obama's dawdling as a sign, 10 months into his term, that Obama doesn't have a clue what to do and cannot make a hard decision. [Emphasis added]
In somewhat more detail the always astute neo-neocon in "Hamlet-in-Chief: Obama loses the name of action" explains the Commander-in-Chief's active inaction as:
Either Obama is (a) constitutionally incapable of making a decision (or perhaps even understanding that this is what presidents have to do); or he is (b) incapable of making a decision that will offend a large group of people either way it goes. In the meantime, he is causing the demoralization of our troops in Afghanistan by showing an abysmal lack of leadership on the war there, after cynically and disingenuously making it one of the centerpieces of his campaign. [Emphasis added]
Much as I admire these two commentators on the passing political scene, I’d suggest that they and many others have it precisely wrong because they are not looking at the blunt fact of the matter. That fact is that Obama’s Afghanistan decision was made, in the privacy of his own chimeric mind, long ago. Obama’s decision was and is,
“I WILL DECIDE NOTHING ABOUT AFGHANISTAN FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE AND THEN FIND WAYS TO DEFER THE DECISION LONGER STILL. MY ACTION WILL BE INACTION.”
Many of Obama’s supporters continue to believe, in spite of constantly mounting evidence to the contrary, that his motives and desires are to better the lot of America, humanity, and Mother Earth. Many of Obama’s detractors continue to believe, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, that Obama is, although malign, a “rational actor;” that his decisions, even though they disagree with them, are arrived at through known and understood political and diplomatic processes.
I submit that neither of these are the case with this particular Chimera and that we have not begun to understand a President for whom there is no precedent. I submit that Obama is proceeding according to a plan, but that is is his plan and his alone; a plan so personal that even his wife may not be a party to it. I submit that the plan is the one that the poet Yeats understood as “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”
And for playing with “mere anarchy” you can’t find a better Petri dish than Afghanistan / Pakistan.
Doing “something” in Afghanistan has no possible benefit for either anarchy or Obama. Anything that is “done” – be it sending in more troops or bringing troops out – only increases order and reduces entropy. Decisions, one way or another, direct management solutions. In Afghanistan as it is in America these days increased and directed management of problems decreases chaos and uncertainty. It is not an accident that all of Obama's domestic agenda involves replacing private sector management with government czars and bureaucracies.
If your inner goal is the destruction of established systems of governance you will seek in increase chaos and uncertainty at every turn. This is exactly what we see in Obama’s personal style of what passes for “governance.” We do not have to intuit this. We need only observe and not deny the evidence of our senses.
Veterans of dysfunctional corporations will recognize the Obama style as the one in which upper management is fond of giving middle management “All the responsibility, none of the authority, and zero resources.” It’s a time-tested recipe for failure and demoralization while maintaining an aloof, "concerned," and above the fray posture on the part of the CEO. It is what is being done to the US military, day in and day out, in Afghanistan and, as such, works to Obama’s favor as long as it can be done slowly and without alarm.
There are two benefits to Obama’s decision not to decide in Afghanistan:
1) It increases the instability of Pakistan and makes the likelihood of a radical Muslim coup in that country greater. This would, in one day, bring the control of nuclear weapons into radical Muslim hands. No waiting for Iran to get its act together. It also means that a vast sector of the world, from India to England falls under the spectre of a nuclear holocaust on a hair trigger. If you believe that great creation arises from great destruction, this is to your benefit.
2) It lowers the morale and effectiveness of the US military from the Joint Chiefs of Staff down to Private Grunt on patrol in Kandahar. Since the ultimate check to a politician’s power is always found in the military, anything that decreases that element is always to the politician’s benefit. If you can reduce the budget for the military at the same time you increase its responsibilities, so much the better.
None of this makes much sense if your goal is the improvement of the nation you are sworn to protect and defend. If, however, your goal is to enter history at the level of an Alexander or a Caesar deciding not to decide is a decision you will implement for as long as possible. In this entropy is your friend especially if you know that "for destruction ice / Is also great." You will be given a lot of time to decide not to decide as long as people on all sides of the poltical world continue to see you not as the political mutation you are but as the president you are not.
Until they do you can just "go back Jack do it again, (Wheel turnin' 'round and 'round....)"
Update: Also see Jules Crittenden's Advance To The Rear! on advanced dithering.
Posted by Vanderleun at November 12, 2009 12:43 PM
Historical evidence is available if you review his accomplishments and leadership in Illinois, President Obama is not as unique as you think.
Good Lord, you paint a frightening picture. Shudder!
One of President Bush's purposes in Iraq was to overturn the middle east game board by doing something. Perhaps Obama will overturn it again by doing nothing.
Was it Robert Heinlein? Calvin Coolidge? Well, somewhere long ago I read an article or two extolling the virtues of doing nothing -- the result being that 90% of problems would eventually vanish without fuss, muss, bother, etc.
Unfortunately for all of us, matters of war, peace and survival usually fall into that other 10 percent.
Nice, scary and plausible post you wrote.
How does he handle the tiger he is about to release?
Can he really control the chaos you say he is creating?
Wow pegged it. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.....Many Americans, about 46% have known this all along. As a great man once said, "welcome to the party pal".
Obama's plan is long term and he is but the harbinger of things to come. In order to enslave the white man he has to destroy their strength which is the free market. The free market is the engine that drives American power. Destroy that and over the long term you grind it down and open it up to takeover. Draw down our defenses, reduce our nuke signature, allow the crazy mullahs to obtain nukes and America is forced to surrender or be vaporized. This won't happen in the short term, rather, in about 10-20 years when the demographics of this country are dramatically different from what they are today. Massive inner city population, massive immigration from mexico and islamic nations all clamoring for the throat of whitey who has oppressed them for so long. Their goal is nearly realized with this nationalization of healthcare which is nothing but a funnel of money from the private sector(our strength)to d.c. Once that is in place, it will never be repealed. Force people into your extortion scheme, which continues to fund your oligarchy, or jail them(removal of influence). Felons can't buy guns or vote.
Find a fresh water source my fellow Americans and defend it with your life because when the shit hitz the fan, all the gold in the world won't matter.
I would tend to disagree. I don't think people are underestimating Obama. I think they are overestimating him. What people can't get their heads around is his lack of direction.
To take your dysfunctional corporation comparison a bit farther; not only is he forcing the decision on the employees, he's waiting for them to tell him how to do his job.
Jake asks "Can he really control the chaos you say he is creating?"
He doesn't have to control the chaos. He only has to survive it and control what comes after.
As ye olde President Bartlet once said on "The West Wing," "See the whole board."
FormerTusconan says "I don't think people are underestimating Obama. I think they are overestimating him."
I don't think it's an over or under thing. What I'm saying is that people, for various reasons, cannot see the real person they are dealing with.
This is not accidental. Never before have we seen a president who has been so ruthless and successful at obfuscating his origins.
About the only personal and internal clues we have are two poems written in late adolescence that survived because they were too obscure to be remembered.
The Peter Principle incarnate. Someone at every level who has been kicked upstairs despite his lack of accomplishments. Everything is delegated, limited direction given so that when things blow up there is always a scapegoat.
What he is good at is getting his radical friends in the seats of power to screw things up for generations.
Thanks for that pointer ahem. I think Mark Hyman is picking up on some important signals.
In addition, he's got no one to toss under the bus if things don't work out. He could sack his generals, but that's not enough. Presidents have fired generals before to no avail. Can't blame it on the troops, that wouldn't go over well with most of the public. Can't blame the public (although he'll try), because they won't put up with it.
He's not used to operating without a scapegoat handy.
Point taken, Vanderleun. I guess he is the man who's not there.
He may or may not know what he's doing, but his handlers sure know what they want. And yes, nihilism and anarchy are tools of destruction, not creation.
It's often been said that the Devil's lament is that he can create nothing, he can only distort what has been created.
I note more and more that if the Media were not his attendants and enablers, we would stand a fair chance of Reason's triumph over the madness.
My focus points toward the kingmakers as the loci of this phenomena known as Obama. The fix has been in as early as January 2007. Soros, Pinch, and others have the real plans.
He's "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
But always to his own ends, whatever they may be.
We will never hear this President refer with respect and deference to "the judgment of commanders on the ground".
There is another possibility: Obama does not give a hoot in Hades about Afghanistan or Pakistan. Never did.
If Obama does anything that even smacks of pursuing victory in Afghanistan, the genocidal maniacs of the anti-war Left will eat him alive. He knows this, since he was one of the ones trying to help al Qaeda to victory in Iraq. He saw what they did to Bush, and knows it will be much worse for him.
Obama does not mind Pakistan and Afghanistan falling into chaos and perhaps into Islamist hands. That's not the focus of his administration. If there is any negative fallout from losing those two countries Obama will dive out his usual escape hatch - blame Bush. That particular dog don't hunt as well as it did in 2008, but mebbie it can do the job one more time.
What gets Obama's heart athumpin' is the prospect of turning the US into a socialist workers' "paradise". This is what he and other isolated ivory-tower intellectuals dream about. Government takeover of health care, politicization of the Justice Department, the explosion of government spending aimed to reward faithful supporters, the takeover of GM and Chrysler, cap & trade. All of these are designed to concentrate power into as few hand as possible - preferably his. That's where he is investing his time and efforts - not Afghanistan, where all of his choices are lose-lose (from his point of view).
Your analysis is disturbing, but in a way consistent with his crew’s mishandling of the economy in that the existing order will collapse, providing greater opportunities for fashioning a new one.
The implications are dire for the republic. In the case of Afghanistan and the environs it means that we will be forced to beat feet a la Saigon -- get ready for the picture of the helo taking off from the embassy rooftop -- leaving behind a mess that will soon come to haunt us and our former allies.
Yet for the Obami to survive electorally, they must know that they will have to take extraordinary and extra-constitutional actions to survive. Unless, of course, they are idiots who don’t understand the implications of their actions.
It may well be that Obama himself is in fact the man-child who won’t listen to others when they bring bad news.
Thank you for this post, even though I will probably wake up in the middle of the night from it.
Besides whatever he truly is, Obama also seems to me like a sort of reagent. The way we react to him is showing us who we are.
All Barack Obama cares about is spoils. Dividing up the loot. He took office and immediately launched a looting spree on the treasury in the form of the stimulus bill. Then he looted the domestic auto industry and handed over the spoils to the auto unions. Then he looted the banking system and handed over the spoils to his friends. Now he's focused like a laser beam on looting the health care system. And once he is finished with that he will turn his attention to looting the energy sector. Then who knows what is next on the agenda. Maybe he hasn't decided yet.
One thing for sure though, the military has no place in his plans. Yet. He has no interest or desire in making military decisions. So long as there are profitable industries in the United States that have not been taken over by the government and handed over to his friends, he simply does not have time for Afghanistan.
Winston Churchill's voice thunders from the tomb:
"Obama, you had a choice between dithering and war. You chose dithering...and you shall have war."
Three words: Cloward-Piven Strategy
I think the other line in Donald Fagan's
cynical song "Do It Again" is telling:
"Then you love a little wild one
And she brings you only sorrow
All the time you know she's smiling
You'll be on your own tomorrow"
The lament of at least some of the dopes who voted for the Water Walker.
What can we do to stop him? What can I do to fight the hordes of people who agree with Obama? Whatever are we to do????
I cannot take much more jawboning. We all know the score. What good do we do by talking to one another night after night, day after day, lamenting the truth that we see?
The invaders are taking over and we are just chewing the fat?
You've articulated precisely what I've been sensing. I've taken to calling him the affirmative action president. I mean this in the sense that he has no need of accomplishment or merit. He is the monster created by being the lifelong recipient of unconditional love. He is where he is because he has successfully projected his awesomeness and that is enough. After all, he has become the most powerful man in the world making his awesomeness Self-evident. /shudder
But, the still darker side to this is as you have suggested... he is the destroyer. His political ambitions have been summarized by his adviser... "never let a crisis go to waste." And if crises are so valuable to such a man - make more of them. When is it acceptable to start using the term anti-Christ without being labeled a nutter?
I learned much of what I really need to know about BHO when he casually explained that; "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket". Whether this be the product of collective insanity, incompetence, or purposeful malice hardly makes a difference.
Watch the video:
Think on that. Think upon the casual dismissal with which he consigns millions of families and businesses to "necessarily" fail. Ponder the futures of the 15 million Americans who have already been put out of work before he and his party have even implemented this insane destructive bill designed to force us to bend to their Enviro-redistributionist will. It's right there in the video. Already there are 15 million dependent souls. 15 million broken men and women. 30+ years of the cadres actively suppressing energy independence. 60+ years of marching through our institutions honing their deceit to an acceptable edge.
As dire as the implications of this one gargantuan policy are, they are only a complementary facet of his/their other big showcase policy that's set to go to the Senate; Wherein another 1/6 of our economy and freedoms are set to be gobbled up for our own good and without a second thought for we the peons who have to survive this next fundamental transformation.
Alas if it were only as easy as disarming and binding this one man but it's not. 0bama is just the sharp tip of their spear. The eloquent and cleanly untouchable "historic" figurehead with the sanitized slate that the democrat elites chose with the express purpose of providing a win win bit of entropic cover. He is the vanguard through whom the final normalization of their will to power is to be realized. He is their Shiva.
We just watched one of the manifestations of the PC infection metastasize his way through the very heart of our defense system to gun down our soldiers on their own base, on our own soil. We watch still more strands of the entropic infection as they have rendered the bulk of our news-readers mute and compliant. We experience it in the thoughts that aren't allowed to become words, much less actions, unless they are twisted into acceptable form by the ideologically pure.
Mr. Vanderleun you are right.There is no precedent for this president. This transnational citizen of the world means our Republic harm. He has not and is not hiding his intentions...Our shocked incredulity at the enormity of this collective attack are.
Dear Mr. Vanderleun: Nope, I disagree. I don't doubt the malevolence and detestation for this nation that The Once has. But I think his behavior is explained just as well by a combination of:
a) laziness. In the Senate, despite being chair of the subcommittee on foreign relations in Europe, he only called one meeting of the subcom in sixteen months, only stepping up the pace once this lack was noticed during the campaign.
b) lack of experience in top bossing.
c) Knowing many things that aren't so, and resolutely refusing to learn things that are so. But the Presidency won't allow this in these times. The economic situation is grim, and looking to get worse. Foreign affairs are far more turbulent than they were during, say, Jimmy Bumpkin's reign of error.
You say he has only to "survive" the chaos he creates. At most, he has only seven years and two months more. Unless you are saying he's going to seize power and abolish elections. I hope not; millions of lefty wackos bawled these mass-produced paranoias during Geo. W's time. Today, these howlings of doom have become embarrassing. Let's not repeat this idiocy.
But the situation is grim, and will get far worse, domestically and abroad. It's hard to keep steady at such a time, particularly when there is a hard, appalling base to the fears. There's nothing for it. Some things have to be lived through. In our culture, the culture of the permanent campaign, this is hard. There's a possibility good may come of this living. Already, the Nobel Peace Prize has been devalued. The UN and affirmative action are likely candidates for deflation.
No. I reject your nation that The Once has a vision. He's just a lazy fool, in well over his head, looking for victims to blame. That won't work well. The nation is going to pay a ferocious price for his tuition. We will prevail. I say this from faith. This is not the worst time this nation has gone through. At some future date, we or our children will look back and wonder how we ever thought we would fail. The price will be high. It is well worth paying. To that end, I will work for his defeat in 2012, and to check him in 2010.
There's much to be done.
"mishandling of the economy"
It's not mishandling; it's on purpose.
I figured that out a couple of days ago. O's administration would have to be hopelessly stupid and illiterate to see the terrible example Europe has set and yet make the exact mistakes in hopes of achieving a different result.
No, his administration is following Europe's lead because it is a _template_, and it works. Replicating all of Europe's mistakes is a sure-fire way to subjugate a population and create a modern socialist state with a permanent political majority.
When Vaclav Klaus signed the Lisbon Treaty last week, the individual countries of the old Europe ceased to exist as independent entities. It was only a formality, as they had ceased to be free already, worn down by years of arrogance, double-talk, illegal subterfuges, fraud, backroom deals, and flagrant mendacity.
I keep telling you, it's a coup. I'll be profoundly surprised if we ever have a fair election again. It will be a miracle.
BGR: There is much that you can do. Let your elected leaders at every level know you will not be a passive observer of the dismantling of the Constitution. They need to hear from every single person or they will believe what Obama and CNN tell them - that we all WANT big government nannies to run our lives! Learn who is a friend of freedom and who an enemy, party lines or economic status regardless.
Define for yourself which other countries treasure liberty and justice, and let congress and anyone who will listen to you know that we should support and defend them, and only them.
Make a personal/family/community survival plan. Guns, ammo and the skills to use them. An understanding of basic nutrition and first aid. The food, water and supplies to meet those needs. Warmth and shelter that isn't dependent on the power company or on uninterrupted paychecks.
Friends, neighbors, family who will hang together no matter what. A tough and resilient attitude. Copies of the Bible and the Consitution. Become more self-sufficient and more focused on the eternal truths of life. Downsize and decentralize. Stay away from people who depend on government for jobs or handouts. Stay far away from places where most people are government serfs.
Move away from where the trouble will be and towards where the food is grown and the Patriots are. Stop using credit, pay down debts. Learn to cook, sew, mend, do leatherwork, raise food, keep chickens, make simple shoes, knit, can, do carpentry, fix your own vehicles. Learn self-defense and go to the local shooting range often. You will meet a few crazy people and dozens, hundreds of Patriots.
Trade the sports car for a truck, the vacation home in a fancy place for a working farm in a plainspoken unfashionable spot or a cabin and acreage out back of the beyond. Cash out your big-city lifestyle and become a craftsman in a small burg. Learn to track and hunt and fish. Run for local office. When you lose, run again, and again. Give interviews freely and always talk about the Constitution, freedom, personal responsibility and small government. Become part of the water board, school board, neighborhood watch, volunteer firefighters or lodge brothers. Work with the police, firefighters, and other public security groups to be sure your area has a plan for crisis management. Get bikes, dogs and cats. Join or start a local barter group.
Join up with Tea Partiers, Independents, Libertarians, Republicans, ANYONE in your area that works and votes for freedom, responsibility, small government. Document and publicize the power-grabbing, tax-wasting activities of everyone else. Do everything possible to support local military bases, personnel, activities. Make friends and look for common ground with everyone who loves freedom. Figure out at least one conversational "hook" that can help a misguided Obama believer at least start to see a tiny bit of light.
And don't spend too much time online. Hit a few decent blogs for the news and the latest Patriot chat, then back to work. There is plenty to do.
Forty years ago I wondered how the Moonies knew what individual to pick out from all the kids on the street, but know they did. Once it was someone I knew, and I'd no clue.
Obama has been prepared for this throughout most of his life-he sees our weakness, but that is all he knows or excels in. And a man who doesn't know what he doesn't know is in for nasty surprises, even as it is on our dime.
At this pace the man who spoke of his second term before he began his first is not a lock to finish the first. His strategy and message to the world is that to attack or undermine America will be counterproductive to his plan to do it himself, which it is. But it is foolish to expect so many bad actors to follow one script spoken in wink and code. Narcissistic even.
James Wilson, I think what you've written rings true. At the same time, the narcissist-in-chief may discover too late that he's been too clever by half - not too late for his precious self but for the 300 million American selves who are certain to pay a terrible price for the consequences of having empowered the precious one.
I know America's CEO scares me nearly to death.
Great essay, Gerard. Good comments, too, everybody. There isn't much I can add.
Posted by: Donald Pittenger at November 12, 2009 4:20 PM
That would be Silent Cal.
I am certain that Obama and his Obots are perplexed at what to do with the military in general. Men of honor stand in the way of men without honor, and are also armed and dangerous. It may be that the Obots are feeling their way through this, and sense that leaving men to rot without purpose or support will gradually weaken this vexing obstacle. It doesn't hurt to find men like general Casey to advance their case.
If it comes to an over throw in Pakistan, I think India will be quick to react to it. They cannot tolerate such a hostile religious nation on their immediate border, one which they have an ongoing dispute with. Perhaps that is why India was quick to invite President Bush over and snubed the Muslim in Chief recently.
I think Obama has watched too much TV and is modeling himself after President Bartlett in the West Wing. But his writers aren't nearly as good.
Nothing is more important than remaking America into a socialist state. Ergo, the thundering cries to pass socialist laws NOW.
Afghanistan doesn't matter, therefore no action is to be taken beyond trying to pin the mess on someone else.
Comment by ahem about the European 'template' may very well be correct. I warned Mr. Klaus ten years ago about the dangers of the Czech Republic's involvement with the EU. His reply was to the effect that, if it came to a situation like that brought about by the Lisbon Treaty, there would be another 'velvet revolution'. We'll see. The USA is now where Europe was ten years ago.
He's a real nowhere man, living in his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody...or perhaps for everybody.
You describe Obama like he is the tyrant from Book IX of Plato's Republic: a cauldron of desires that can find no satisfaction, that can abide no reason or order, and will seek first to level and then enslave all. Combine Plato's analysis with the postmodern mindset- the worship of self after the acceptance of nihilism- and I think you got BHO. What an awful mixture of anarchy, confusion, and chaos.
True. When does it leak, and how often, that Obama is withholding reinforcements and/or supplies to our troops for bipartisan yes votes on health care, cap'n tax, immigration, etc.?
Every time I see the Obama Joker pic, I am reminded of the "artist's" other work. Clearly, he would detonate into the radical is mainstream Islam. Most striking for me was Napoleon Bonaparte on jihadi motorcycle transport. The world will follow Obama for ribbons of union cards dispensed through SEIU International. Our military is his enemy.
When the cancer exceeds the Petri dish, will our troops relive the devastating French retreat from Russia in winter? How cold it must feel on a FOB in A-stan tonight.
"Krauthammer's razor (with apologies to Occam): In explaining any puzzling Washington phenomenon, always choose stupidity over conspiracy, incompetence over cunning. Anything else gives them too much credit."
Do not misunderestimate him.
It is doing, or not doing, as needed, to let the things he wants to happen, happen.
Does he need to investigate the previous administration? No, he brings KSM to NY, and lets the judiciary discovery do exactly what he wants. He is focused, devious and brilliant... We are DEEP in it.
No, Nica. He's not focused, devious and brilliant. He's too clever by half. So supposedly super smart that he's stupid.
Breathtakingly audacious? Yeah, I'll give him that. As baldilocks commented," The Joker, indeed." Krauthammer's Razor works for me but I am troubled by the sense that Gerard is correct in some way that I can't quite express in words. But I refuse to give this cherry-picked proxy too much credit. Were he not a cherry-picked proxy I would be more inclined to give him more credit.
But he is, and I won't.
Wrong guy, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. Unless you want to live in a decline of western civilization.