Loose Canons

Where Are the Grownups?

An SGO roundup, inspired by the weirdness pervading not only our domestic scene but the entire world.

By 10.17.11

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You don't need a crystal ball to forecast that next year we'll see the nastiest, most expensive and exhausting presidential campaign ever. We can take the low comedy and the irrationality. We can even understand why the angry liberal narrative labels those conservatives who are supporting Herman Cain racists.

We should welcome the Occupy Wall Streeters' invention of the Teat Party. They want wealth to be redistributed, from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs. Which has a familiar ring to it and explains why President Obama and Noo Yawk Mayor Mikey Bloomberg are siding with them and against sanitation.

We can handle it all because we love full-contact politics. But what we can't handle is the sense of weirdness that pervades not only our domestic scene, but seemingly grips the whole world. There's a lot of really strange SGO out there, stretching from the inner sanctums of Tehran to Shenzhen, China.

(For those just joining us, "SGO" is the comprehensively useful acronym for "s*** goin' on" coined by my pal and former SEAL Al "The Heckler" Clark.)

According to a report in the UK Daily Telegraph, workers at the Gucci outlet in Shenzhen, China -- the Worker's Paradise -- are being oppressed by their managers. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the word "irony" back to 1388 but until we have an Oxford Mandarin Dictionary, we can't describe adequately the facts that Gucci has an outlet in a communist country, and that some of its workers are being oppressed on the job. That would require a modern-day Kipling. Kipling's talents -- and his understanding of Afghanistan and Islam -- could also have done better than any modern writer to describe the foiled Iranian plot to kill a Saudi ambassador in a ritzy Washington, D.C. restaurant.

The plot, by the supposedly elite Qods Force of the IRGC, was interdicted when the Qods goons were detected transferring money to an Iranian in Texas who plotted with some Mexican drug cartel guys to mount the assassination. It was a comic book plot, unworthy of Ian Fleming. Which is both comforting -- because it shows that the Qods Force can be as inept as an underwear bomber -- and troubling because we are doing nothing about Iran's escalation of its war against us.

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.) told Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace yesterday that though she first doubted its plausibility, the case against the Qods Force is "dead bang." And, she said, we shouldn't be going to war over it. The Saudis apparently agree with DiFi. They plan to take the matter to the UN. And may they have as good luck there as we have had with Iran's nuclear program.

What Senator Feinstein -- and our political leaders on both sides of the aisle -- won't admit is that Iran has been at war with us since 1979. And no one -- not us, not the Europeans, nor anyone else -- has ever negotiated a change in the Tehran kakistocracy's behavior in the 32 years it has been in power. (We've tried to keep the peace engagement with Iran, and we've been rewarded with a one-sided war. Now it's time for a grownup -- if such a person there be in American politics -- to suggest an alternative.) The Occupy Wall Streeters will, if a television camera is offered, chant "give peace a chance." We've tried that for more than three decades, and now it's time for something else.

The Saudis are quite scared of Iran, and they'd like nothing more than for the gringos -- or the Israelis -- to destroy the Iranian regime for them. The Saudi government has launched warnings against Iranian disruptions to the hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca scheduled to reach its peak in the first week of November.

Their fear is well-founded. Iran, if it can, will launch everything from protests to suicide bombers in the midst of the religious rite. And if they succeed, the Saudi regime would be weakened enormously. They are the "keepers" of Islam's holiest sites and if they can't protect them their standing in the Muslim world will be threatened.

The Saudis will act ruthlessly to suppress an eruption of an "Iranian Spring" in Mecca, but their ability to do so is doubtful. In past hajj's, they've failed to prevent riots by Iranian pilgrims and stampedes in which pilgrims trampled each other to death. However inept the IRGC may have been in the planned Washington attack, there's no way to guarantee it won't succeed in Mecca.

President Obama shouldn't help the Saudis, and won't because he's too busy with his campaign and random military adventures. It's been almost eight months since he committed U.S. forces to the French-British war in Libya, promising our involvement would be for "weeks, not months." Having succeeded in needlessly tying up U.S. forces in one war in which there is no American interest whatever, our warrior president has now sent US forces to Uganda. Uganda?

The last time Uganda deserved our attention to was on July 4, 1976, when the Israelis conducted a textbook antiterrorist raid at the Entebbe airport that rescued the passengers on a hijacked airliner that Idi Amin's Ugandan government had given safe harbor. Just as in Obama's Libya adventure, there is no U.S. interest at stake in Uganda. Nevertheless, Obama has sent about 100 U.S. "advisors" there -- probably a few Army Special Forces A-teams -- to help train Ugandan forces to defeat something called the "Lord's Resistance Army."

The Lord's Resistance Army, a militia commanded by one Joseph Kony, is a terrorist force that has taken many lives in central Africa. Which makes it as unique as a stick of chewing gum. U.S. forces are engaged in Libya, Somalia and Yemen. And Afghanistan and -- for the moment -- Iraq. If we are to take on every murderous militia in Africa, we'll need a lot more troops than we're going to have after Obama's cuts to defense spending. Those cuts are about to be increased massively by the "super committee" created by the August budget ceiling deal.

The "super committee" will deadlock because the Democrats are insisting that Republicans agree to massive tax hikes before they even discuss spending cuts. And when the deadlock happens, it will be up to some grownups among congressional Republicans to prevent destruction of our military if they can. They probably can't because they agreed to the trigger mechanism already, and Obama is standing by to veto any restoration of essential military and intelligence spending.

Our defense cuts haven't yet reached the stage that Britain's have, but they may soon. The British reallocation of military spending to other priorities -- such as control of global warming -- has reached the stage of low comedy.

Britain's Secretary of State for Defense Liam Fox resigned last week over allegations that one of his associates was implicitly acting as if he were a staffer with government status. Fox, a brilliant Scot, shouldn't have resigned because of this micro-scandal. But he should have resigned before his boss -- PM David Cameron -- cut the Brit forces to the level they have now sunk. British airmen, operating over Libya, can't launch from a Royal Navy carrier because there isn't one. While Brit forces, as skilled and brave as almost any of ours, were fighting in Afghanistan and Libya on a bare-cupboard budget, Ministry of Defence funds were spent on buying carbon allowances in the EUnuchs' entirely ridiculous "cap and trade" scheme.

According to a UK Daily Mail report, "In February 2010, Gordon Brown's cash-strapped Government spent £60million on 'carbon credits' for Whitehall and other Government offices in the UK, as well as British NATO bases in Europe. Thus while troops were going short of kit in Afghanistan, the defense budget was being raided to buy carbon certificates." Brit PM David Cameron can blame that on the Gordon Brown's Labour Party government, which will carry as much weight as Obama's never-ending campaign against the economic crisis that began under George W. Bush.

There are no grownups in British politics, and if there are some here they have yet to reveal themselves as people who can actually stop the devolution of our economy and our military. One of these people was lost to cancer about a week ago.

Steve Jobs knew how to get things done. He reportedly left four years' of planned product innovations as part of his legacy at Apple. One wag I know said that the newest "app" for the iPhone would be "iHaunt." Was it a coincidence that the world of BlackBerry fell apart for three days shortly after Jobs's untimely death? Perhaps.

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About the Author
Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including Inside the Asylum and In the Words of Our Enemies. You can follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin.