Saturday, September 03, 2005


I was talking to my sister-in-law last night, and she was appalled that the National Guard had been called into New Orleans with orders to shoot to kill.

"Good!" I answered. "They should have been there three days ago. If you don't send in the people in the uniforms in a situation like this, what happens is the guys start forming little militias and they start going to war with the little militias on the next block. That's what happened in Iraq."

Then this morning I read The Mighty Middle, who stated:

I recognize that this is a very un-Democratic (capital 'D') thing to say, but first comes order.

One of the key military lessons of Iraq was that once weakness is shown in the face of the forces of anarchy, anarchy feeds and grows stronger. We ignored the looting of Baghdad in the immediate aftermath of the US liberation, and broadcast in big, screaming, marquee-sized letters that we could be taken. It was the military equivalent of dressing our soldiers and Marines in feather boas and hot pants. Once you show weakness, and send your fool of a Secretary of defense out to giggle about it, it is a hell of a thing trying to unring that particular liberty bell.

Now, in New Orleans. The city of New Orleans failed, the state of Louisiana failed, and the federal government failed to make it unmistakably clear that someone -- someone with uniforms -- was in charge.

Looting, Round Two. And again, we Americans blow it.
And Letter From Gotham:

New Orleans is a spectacular success of anarchy. It is anarchy taken to its logical conclusion: coalitions of armed males aggressing against other coalitions of armed males while women and children cower in abject terror.

I just think...that we have laws to protect the weak...because we are all weak with respect to someone or something, and after a certain age, we are all limping along on one limb (literally or figuratively). Laws are just a form of intelligent altruism.
So two things have occurred to me:

1. Some of us kids who grew up reading "Steal This Book" have grown to appreciate the proper application of official guys with heavy weaponry,

2. Apparently, we appreciate them a lot more than the conservative guys in charge of running this country.

Please tell me that this is mere incompetence and not, to channel Pat Moynihan, "benign neglect." Although right now, I'm not sure which is the worse possibility.

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