ONE BY ONE, THE LIGHTS GO OUT…(Michael Hastings, R.I.P.)

Anymore I only follow sports intensely for a few weeks out of the year.

Most of those weeks take place between the last week of May and the first week of July when the French Open, the NBA finals, the U.S. Open (golf version) and Wimbledon follow along in rapid succession.

During that stretch–even when every single professional athlete/team I have anything invested in isn’t coming up short in the most painful ways imaginable (that’s Maria Sharapova, Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs, Phil Mickelson, Sabine Lisicki if you’re counting at home)–I’m likely to miss things and this year, what I missed was the death of Michael Hastings.

Hastings was the reporter who, among many other admirable things, caught Stanley McChrystal being the kind of general a society tends to put in charge when its political leadership retains a strong, security-state-maintenance-only interest in waging wars but is utterly contemptuous of anyone who might suggest they should also therefore take on the hellish task of winning them (or even, when it comes to that, in defining victory and accepting the possible consequences of coming short).

Hastings did much more important work than proving McChrystal was the particular breed of horse’s ass who airs his dirty laundry in front of a Rolling Stone reporter and then is shocked–shocked I say!–to find that dirty laundry in print somewhere. But it was that story that broke him from the pack and made him one of the very few “big league” reporters who might some day make the new security state nervous.

Of course, there is no evidence whatsoever that Hastings’ automobile “accident” was anything more than an automobile accident. Nor will there ever be such evidence. We know this because the FBI–not to mention the ever-reliable LAPD!–has already issued an assurance of such. And what more proof could we possibly ask for?

Granted, establishment journalists never seem to go out this way. But I’m sure that’s just coincidence.

All we really know is that when the sun came up on a particular day in the middle of June, 2013, there were a tiny handful of national reporters with both the will and the pedigree to rattle the system’s cage.

When the same sun came up a day later, there were  a tiny handful minus one and a convenient lack of witnesses.

Goodbye us.

 

 

WHY I NEED ROCK AND ROLL (Session #5)

“Likewise it is hard to imagine the War on Terror having been waged without four-star commanders such as David Petraeus, Stanley McChrystal, John Allen, and James Mattis. They are among the most illustrious generals produced by the last decade of fighting. They are the stars of their generation. From Iraq to Afghanistan and beyond, they emerged from anonymity to orchestrate campaigns that, after initial setbacks, have given the United States a chance to salvage a decent outcome from protracted counterinsurgencies; they have also literally rewritten the book on how to wage modern war successfully.”

(Source: Max Boot, “How America Lost Its Four Great Generals” Commentary, April 2013)

Sometimes it’s worth remembering that the crit-illuminati do not confine themselves to putting cross-generational choke holds on the meaning of art. They also speak of other things and lick other boots.

And, as I think I’ve mentioned before, they are nothing if not thorough.

I’m sure nothing, after all, strikes fear into the enemy–or comforts the soldiers who have made the most terrible sacrifices–like knowing that we have “a chance to salvage a decent outcome from protracted counterinsurgencies.” That we have, in short, figured out how to “wage modern war successfully.”

So, with the nuanced language of Pravda now warmly embraced, perfectly emulated and safely embedded among the “hawks”–sufficiently invested in pretending their heroes can do no wrong that they are willing to change the definitions of words like “war” or “success” or “decent” or “outcome” with little more effort or thought than most of us put into breathing–I find myself yearning for a past when LBJ’s Viet Nam-era advisors were telling him to declare victory and get the hell out of there and at least some people had an idea that–even then–it was already too late.

That we were, in effect, headed for now…Sorry to say that the sound is a bit muddied in this (visually tremendous) live version, but, then again, I didn’t have any trouble making out “waters of oblivion.” And that’s probably all you really need to hear:

Peter, Paul and Mary “Too Much of Nothing” (Live Television Performance)

[NOTE: Just for the record, I have no opinion on the military expertise or performance of the generals Boot is lauding. In the context of his own language concepts like expertise and performance have no value or meaning.]