A few months back, I took Center for American Progress blogger Matt Yglesias to task for arguing that, because the U.S. economy was in recession, it was better to spend money blowing up poor Afghan civilians than not — you know, Keynesianism and the multiplier effect and all that economic jazz. After he surprisingly responded to be on Twitter, I apologized for calling him a “truly awful human being.”
I was much too kind.
In a post this morning, my favorite liberal foil provides definitive proof that he is either 1) an idiot, or 2) evil — though I suspect he may be both.
[W]ars undertaken for perfectly good reasons of collective self-defense can swiftly turn into situations that require post-conflict stabilization. North Korea might attack South Korea in a way that demands response, and the response could well lead to the collapse of the DPRK state requiring the victorious allies to administer former DPRK territory. So it’s not smart to just say “COIN is bad, so let’s make sure we can’t do it and then hope for the best.”
What we need, I think, is some form of American gendarmerie—a quasi-military federal organization specialized in police/security functions rather than finding and killing bad guys per se. Such a force would, unlike today’s military, have a valuable peacetime domestic role to play as a flexible auxiliary police force that could assist high-crime jurisdictions with the kind of temporary infusion of extra personnel that can help push crime rates down to a lower equilibrium.** A “surge” if you will. But it would also be prepared to deploy abroad in the case of contingencies. The regular military would be big enough to beat an adversary (i.e., a lot smaller than the regular one) but it would need to call on the gendarmes (who naturally would need a less French name) to conduct an occupation. This means we wouldn’t be caught lacking capacity in a real emergency, but since the gendarmes would be performing a useful peacetime domestic service politicians would (appropriately) feel that initiating situations that require their mobilization is high cost situation that ought to be avoided if possible.
I could go on at length at what is wrong with this suggestion — first, allow me to speculate that Mr. Matt, as a pasty white employee at an establishment liberal think tank (full disclosure: I’m pasty white too), hasn’t had much interaction with the quasi-military forces that already occupy American cities — but seriously, do I really need to? If you’re reading this blog, you probably don’t need a remedial class on progressive dumbfuckery.
Anyway, I think IOZ would (and, fingers crossed, will) do a better job.