Friday, July 15, 2011

Untruth or Consequences

Insanity - a perfectly rational adjustment
to an insane world

--R. D. Laing

We are here to awaken from

our illusion of separateness

--Thich Nhat Hanh

Insanity is the only sane reaction

to an insane society

--Thomas Szasz


How to maintain sanity in a insane world? Can we maintain sanity only by accepting insanity as our
daily ration of reality?

An example is the current brinksmanship over a few trillion dollars and the debt ceiling, as though our existence hinged upon this amount. We languish while a recent Brown University study estimates the final bill for the Iraq and Afghanistan adventures at $3.7 to 4,4 trillion (and the fat lady is not gonna sing anytime soon.)

Buried in yesterday's Wall Street Journal was a comment that NATO will continue bombing Libya because Muammer Qadaffi has no legitimacy. Did Qadaffi ever have legitimacy in this or any other arena? If then, why not know?

Page Two explains that Afghan President Karzai quickly appointed another half-brother, Shah Wali, to replace the government post vacated by his now dead half-brother Ahmed Wali (
Karzai Appoints Brother in Kandahar). It seems the endless supply of Wallys will secure the Karzai's control of the Kandahar region. Now that is democracy in action; thank you, America!

So, we are bombing the hell out of Libya because its leader lacks legitimacy, while concomitantly supporting the illegitimacy of one of the most corrupt governments on the face of the earth. In one scenario we kill to oppose illegitimacy; in another, we kill to support it.

Why do Americans grind their teeth over the debt cap while having no difficulty throwing away $trillions in foreign shit holes?

Where is the sanity? After taking my meds and settling into my Ikea Poang chair,
the idea hit Ranger like a ton of bricks: "What's the big deal?" It was not exactly a Thich Nanh Hanh moment, but it was clarity nonetheless. So some drug-dealing, nepotistic person is getting one over on all of us taxpaying U.S. citizens paying for a hypocritical, insane war. What do I care, except that we are back to $trillions spent and a whole lot of people fucked up in the process, which in my book is a good approximation of national insanity.

Didn't we do a similar tango here in Florida in the 2000 Presidential lotto? In our version, Governor Jeb Bush handed the presidency to his brother George W. Bush. Again, what is the big deal? A lot of sound and fury, but the result is a foregone conclusion. How can we criticize the Karzai cabal (
Kabul) when the U.S. uses the same playbook?

Even here amongst my esteemed fellows, we discuss strategy, logic and leadership as though they are present for duty in the National Command Authority. Perhaps those are not logical assumptions.

Insanity may be a coping strategy in America today.

[cross-posted @ RangerAgainstWar]


  1. p.s. -- thank you for slipping me the heavy lager, Chief, while the rest tipple the Coors light :)

  2. There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

  3. WOO,
    Would Catch 44 be twice as good?
    In Catch 22 the double bind was palpable and reality based. Chaplains and Doctors had 1 goal - to keep a troop in troopieland. This was clear, but the disconnects that this essay covers are so friggin' subtle that it all just becomes part of a huge free floating national anxiety that has obviously now found a place of honor amongst the Nato crowd.
    Major Major

  4. I'm going to make the mistake of directly answering Ranger's potentially complex and indirect question.

    The reason we are perfectly willing to spend trillions on Iraq and Afghanistan while getting totally freaked out over a smaller amount spent here in the US is the fact that the US population has completely lost track of these wars and considers that to be a good thing.

    Let us consider the US and its neighbors. Canada to the north is a quiet and valuable neighbor. Mexico is even more valuable if not nearly so quiet, but we can ignore the bad parts of Mexico for the moment. In essence, the US population considers the US to be an island and the rest of the world is a fantasy.

    From the perspective of the average American, things that happen outside of the US are unimportant to us and can be ignored if we spend enough cash. And the goal of ignoring the rest of the world is far more important than the cost.

    Meanwhile things that happen here in the US are vitally important to us and need our full freaked-out attention. We also know in our heart of hearts that the rest of the world admires us and we don't want to let them down by behaving badly here in the US. Never mind what happens in the rest of the world because it doesn't count.

    Citizens of Hawaii have similar difficulties relating to the rest of the US. It just seems so distant and unimportant, until something happens that shakes their complacency.

  5. Pluto,
    If i understand your reply you are saying that we'll throw money down a shithole as long as we can also ignore that shithole?? Did i get it? It's hard to pick up sarcasm on the net.
    Using the Brown study the figures that we are tying ourselves in knots over roughly equate to the costs of the phony wars. Roughly.
    It's my belief that we must pull in our perimeter and become more self focused.
    I'd revert back to the Monroe Doctrine in a Canadian or Mexican minute.
    Thanks for writing. I always feel like the lone ranger here at the pub. Maybe i should quit going to the AA and start drinking myself into oblivion.

  6. "It's my belief that we must pull in our perimeter and become more self focused."

    Isolationism! I like it, jim, let's go back to that concept.

    Don't drop AA unless Lisa can keep you off the oblivion stuff. I suspect that my one-a-day shot of cherry brandy would n-tuple up to a fifth-a-day without my bride to keep me in line.

  7. mike-

    "without my bride to keep me in line"

    Amen brother, the women keep us from going to close to the edge . . .

  8. "If i understand your reply you are saying that we'll throw money down a shithole as long as we can also ignore that shithole?? Did i get it? It's hard to pick up sarcasm on the net."

    You've got the concept. If I understand Washington, throwing the money down the shithole is the cost of staying in the game of nations. It also makes the military industrial complex very happy which makes certain members of the government happy. So from the government's perspective there's no downside to this strategy.

  9. mike,
    I usually avoid hard liquor and drink micro IPA's where ever i can find them.My pre- bed time drink is Becherovka from the Czech repub.A herbal liquor.
    This year for the 1st time were gonna try to turn my pear out put into liquor. That should be fun. My name means little pear in Slovak.
    This info is provided for the bar keeps.

  10. jim -

    I've done cherries into brandy, but sometimes very badly. First year I tried I got it too sweet, the next year it tasted stronger than 151 rum. I did a lot of blending. Then one year I tried to make a brandy from my daughter's quince tree - bad mistake as it came out much too acidic. I tried blending it with off-the-shelf peach liqueur but that just made it worse. I recouped my loss by bottling it as Christmas presents. My in-laws said they loved it with a straight face but I knew they were lying through their teeth.

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