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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Jeff Huber


Jeff Huber is the author of a great book, Bathtub Admirals, drawn from his career in the US Navy. A very funny book, that could be even funnier except that he insists on listing the human cost of the immense folly practiced by the Defense Department.

I’d heard of this book, but was spurred to find it after I heard Huber on Dr. Helen Caldicott’s radio show “If You Love This Planet” on Pacifica. Huber sure didn’t sound like some retired Navy Commander when he started talking about the phony surge and quagmire in “Bananastan.” Huber is an iconoclast, along the lines of Smedley Butler. Like Andrew Bacevich, when he takes issue with US foreign policy he does so in the language of the military, ‘cause that’s where he’s comin’ from.

Here’s a sample from his blog Pen and Sword..

“If we’re serious about rehabilitating ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, the pipeline flowing through Afghanistan has no bearing on our national interest. The notion of evil ones getting their hands on Pakistan’s "fissile material" gets one’s attention at first blush, but on examination it suffers from what George Costanza called "shrinkage." The "suitcase nuke" is an urban myth from the Cold War. Terrorists will develop a suitcase nuke capable of destroying an American city about the time they invent time travel. The thing terrorists are most likely to do if they get their unholy mitts on Pakistan’s nuclear warheads is die of radiation poisoning.
If we really want to eliminate risks presented by Pakistan’s nukes, we can have our worthless $2 billion stealth B-2 bombers fly over there, evade Pakistan’s non-existent air defenses, and blow them all up.”

-Here he responds to talk comparing General David Petraeus to Eisenhower..

“Petraeus’s three tours in Iraq were noteworthy for their short-term theatrical successes and their dismal strategic failures.

“He came to prominence when his hagiographer Thomas E. Ricks singled him out as the only two-star general who had done things right after the fall of Baghdad as commander of the Mosul area. What Petraeus actually did in Mosul was hand out a lot of bribes. When he left, Mosul slid to scheiss in a sleigh, and it continues to be a major trouble spot. During his next tour, in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, Petraeus lost track of 190,000 AK-47 rifles and pistols that trickled their way into the hands of Shiite militants. As honcho of the surge, Petraeus handed guns out to Sunni militants and bribed them not to use the weapons on anybody but al Qaeda in Iraq, the all but non-existent group that at its zenith contained fewer than 1,000 full time fighters and whose only real connection with the al Qaeda that gave us 9/11 amounted to stealing its name. Al Qaeda in Iraq is the equivalent of a Cleveland garage band calling itself The Beatles in Ohio (“We’ve pledged allegiance to Paul and Ringo,” says lead vocalist.)

“As Ricks artlessly admits, Petraeus duped the American people and Congress into thinking he was paving a way out of Iraq when he was in fact laying a yellow brick road to the “long war,” an amorphous conflict with no imaginable end state or any purpose other than to justify America’s seam bursting defense budget.”

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