Our pundits are blindly seeking a cause for the manifold ills that are plaguing America like the running sores on a syphilitic whore. Everything is being blamed except for the actual cause of our ills—habit.
Habit is one of the most destructive forces in nature. Habit is what brings down empires and destroys dynasties. It curdles success into failure and makes fools of geniuses.
Last summer, Condi personified the insidious nature of habit when she said, “[I]t is America’s job to change the world, and in its own image.”
And by all accounts, this beat will go on when your successor takes office. Already, current and designate SecDef Gates has updated our “National Defense Strategy” to reflect this noble mission. And he is waving that reliable red herring, terrorism, to justify his madness. The strategy presents, “a list of requirements meant to compel removal of military, political and international legal obstacles to American attacks on terrorist targets, and to American intervention to replace regimes.
Once again, habit sings its dirge.
The beauty of habit is that failure feeds it. Failures in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan haven’t caused our policymakers to pause and rethink our policy. On the contrary, it deludes them into thinking they actually learned something from their failures. So they tweak the policy and expect it to succeed the “next time”, which it never does, so on they go, tweaking it some more as they prepare it for its next failure.
The only thing failure teaches us is that we never learn from it.
However, it is wrong to call this stupidity. It is not stupidity; it is addiction. We have an economy addicted to defense contracts, convinced that its health depends upon the very thing that is destroying it.
Communism is dead, so we need terrorism to maintain our false glow of prosperity. In order to fight terrorism, we must produce terrorists, and the best way to produce terrorists is to trash a county so we can remake it in our image. Thus do we feed your Eternal War of the Empty Policy and guarantee that it will go on and on and on.
Habit not only deadens, it makes the air sweet with its stench of death.