Admirals in Wonderland

  • by LTC Anthony Shaffer
  • 11-02-2020

by Anthony Shaffer and Peter O'Brien

What is it about those who once held positions of authority? Do they simply want

power again? Will they say anything to curry favor with those who might restore that lost


Consider the 4 star admiral who recently wrote an editorial announcing that he‘d

be voting for Vice President Biden for President. Like many in the foreign policy arena,

he makes a point of talking about how things are so dire after more than 3 years of

President Trump and that America’s reputation around the world is about to go forever

into the basement if Trump is re-elected.

Perhaps that’s so. But it’s worth noting that the “good ole days” to which the

Admiral wishes to return weren’t exactly everything they’re now being cracked up to be.

After all, it was the leadership of the last 30 years (and particularly of the previous

administration), that:

  • Put China in the driver’s seat in East Asia and potentially the world
  • Funded China’s economic growth with American economic atrophy
  • Was going to let Iran build nuclear weapons and missiles
  • Had done nothing at all to stop North Korean missile tests
  • Had done nothing but subsidize Palestinian violence for 3 decades
  • Was quite content to let the “forever war” go on in Afghanistan without asking the
  • Pentagon "What the Heck?”
  • Continued to let Western Europe pay 1% of their GDP for national security and let the
  • US carry the rest
  • Said that a nation without borders is fine
  • Let millions of jobs flow out of the US

Or what about the former “leaders” of the Intelligence Community that banded

together and announced that they suspected the hard drive in the news this past week was

part of a Russian disinformation effort? They note that they have no evidence, but they

still “suspect” that it is.

Hmmm… Why would they say that, particularly given the fraudulent nature of

the previous accusations of Russian meddling?

This is one of those situations where it’s either A, or not A. Remember the Knight,

in Alice in Wonderland, telling Alice that he’d written a song and that:

“Either it brings tears to your eyes or else,”

“Or else what,” asked Alice.

“Or it doesn’t.”

Just so. Either the hard drive is part of a Russian Disinformation Campaign, or it

isn’t. But to the uninitiated the “suspicions” of senior intelligence officers lend credibility

where there is none, as if they actually have inside information. Yet, they state they don’t.

And if they don’t actually know that the hard-drive is a Russian disinformation

effort, and are simply talking through their hats, spewing “suspicions” so as to sow

confusion, then what we have here is a gaggle of squawking former intelligence officers

who are willing to say anything to pay court to the possible next administration.

But aren’t intelligence officers supposed to speak the truth, no matter what? So,

aren’t they really demonstrating that they’ll say anything to curry favor and gain power?

Haven’t they actually shown that none of them is fit for any position of responsibility in

any administration?

And returning to the Admiral.

The Admiral made an interesting statement; he commented that he was “pro-life”

but was going to vote for Vice President Biden anyway.

Now, the reason anyone makes a series of statements like that is to make a

rhetorical point. “I strongly oppose A. This man, Mr. X, is for A. But things are so bad

that I will support Mr. X, despite his support for A, because we need Mr. X.” One fact is

placed in juxtaposition to the second to show just how important is this action.

But, to make that sort of statement work you need to demonstrate that things are

so bad that the thing you oppose is worth suffering through.

In this case the Admiral makes the point that he is pro-life. Mr. Biden and Miss

Harris are both strongly pro-abortion. To make that particular unbalanced justification a

valid statement the Admiral would need to show that the tradeoff is worth it, that the

strengthened US support to abortion would provide an overall increase in moral good

around the world and a strategic benefit to the US, one that outweighs the lives lost (he is

Pro Life, you see) by the election of this Pro-Abortion administration.

The Admiral also notes that Black lives matter, yet he wants to return to policies

of the past - which left Black unemployment at roughly twice the national average. Does

he want those policies as well?

Not only does the Admiral not make any case for these actions, but by espousing

support for a return to policies that for 8 years turned a blind eye to the strikingly

immoral behavior of Beijing and “Emperor” Xi, the Admiral engages in a truly outlandish

degree of moral equivocation.

In fact, he’s about as far out on the limb of moral equivocation as you can get.

Someone who can make that sort of moral calculus “work” is in the same league as the

former leaders of the Intelligence Community. One imagines that, if prodded, he and they

could justify just about anything.

Hurrah for equal rights - except for Chinese minorities.

Hurrah for freedom of religion - unless it conflicts with academic elites.

Hurrah for free speech - unless it offends Tehran or Beijing.

Hurrah for free enterprise - unless it challenges the tech and data monopolies of

Silicon Valley.

For the last several years there’s been a constant drumbeat among the foreign

policy “elites” that, as the US changes direction away from the policies (listed above) that

have weakened the US, away from polices that weakened several of our key allies, and

strengthened China, and away from policies that left us mired down in forever wars, that

the US needs to come back to that old course, and “show leadership.” In the last few

months this has even been expanded to include warnings that the world now sees the US

electoral system and our Constitution as dangerous and weak and needing change.

Over the past few years the nation finally started to recoil from the web that the

Washington DC elites, and the doyens of academia, had sought to wrap around the nation.

Yet, the Admiral and the Intelligence Community leaders to want to turn back the clock,

and more firmly wrap themselves up in that old web. We can only wonder why