Son Of “Dumbest Fucking Guy On The Planet” Shills For More War In Afghanistan And Elsewhere

Old craven chickenhawks don’t die, they just breed chickenshit progeny. And so it is with Douglas Feith, famously, and arguably correctly at the time, labeled “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet” by no less than real military man General Tommy Franks. A dilettante son of a “Revisionist Zionist”, Doug Feith went to Harvard and Georgetown Law instead of war when his country actually was at war. Now, granted, I didn’t fight in Vietnam either, thankfully; however, unlike Doug Feith, I did not carve out a career of belligerently advocating for wars of aggression for the sons and daughters of my generation to kill and die in. Feith’s record on hawking the Iraq war, and other neo-con aggressive military action, is legend, and it is exactly what earned him his enduring moniker from Gen. Tommy Franks.

Which brings us to the chickenhawk’s chickenshit progeny. That would be David Feith, the “assistant editorial features editor” at the Wall Street Journal. Feith the younger took today to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to shill for once and future hawkish US warmaking and the proposition that “victory” can be had in Afghanistan if we just keep on killing and dying. David Feith’s vehicle for this attempt is surgemeister Gen. H.R. McMaster:

The political and psychological dimensions of warfare have long fascinated the general, who first became famous in the Army when he led his vastly outnumbered tank regiment to victory at the Battle of 73 Easting in the first Gulf War. Six years later, he published “Dereliction of Duty,” based on his Ph.D. thesis indicting the Vietnam-era military leadership for failing to push back against a commander in chief, Lyndon Johnson, who was more interested in securing his Great Society domestic agenda than in doing what was necessary—militarily and politically—to prevail in Southeast Asia. For 15 years it’s been considered must-reading at the Pentagon.

But Gen. McMaster really earned his renown applying the tenets of counterinsurgency strategy, or COIN, during the war in Iraq. As a colonel in 2005, he took responsibility for a place called Tal Afar. In that city of 200,000 people, the insurgents’ “savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young,” wrote Tal Afar’s mayor in 2006. “This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment.”

What is most interesting about David Feith’s interview with the once and future hawk H.R. McMaster is that it seems to be Feith, not McMaster, that longs for the US to keep going for “the win” in Afghanistan and parlay into future war. McMaster talks in terms of the Afghanis curing their corrupt society, and of the US additions to the inherent problems in the Afghan culture:

“We did exacerbate the problem with lack of transparency and accountability built into the large influx of international assistance that came into a government that lacked mature institutions.”

McMaster also talks of the desires and powers growing in the Afghan nation to right their own ship. In fact, if you separate McMaster out from Feith, you actually get some semi-intelligent perspective.

But not from Feith. Oh no. Instead, Feith tries to lead McMaster by the bit right back to more US warmaking:

Near the end of our interview, we turn to the future of American warfare. U.S. troops are scheduled to end combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014, perhaps sooner. Focus is turning from the Middle East to East Asia, and to the air and sea power required in the Pacific.

McMaster refuses to bite on Feith’s apple, in spite of Feith’s determination to hold it out. Neo-con apples fall not far from the tree, and David Feith dropped particularly close to “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet”.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
18 replies
  1. orionATL says:

    feith pere was always part of a plot, PNAC, to manipulate – cia style -american public opinion into supporting an invasion of iraq for israel’s (supposed) benefit.

    from wikipedia:

    “…Feith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was one of three siblings born to Rose and Dalck Feith. His father, Dalck, was a member of the Betar, a Revisionist Zionist youth organization, in Poland, and a Holocaust survivor who lost his parents and seven siblings in the Nazi concentration camps. Dalck came to the United States during World War II, and became a businessman, a philanthropist, and a donor to the Republican party.[3]…}”

    this is a perfect example of what i mean when i speak of contemporary u.s national politics and foreign policy being severely damaged by old world religious and cultural feuds.

    as for the son, i’d guess he is being casual about other american’s lives (and its national debt) in order to improve his career prospects with a potential rommey administration as well as within murdoch’s listing empire.

  2. matt carmody says:

    Interesting that McMaster thinks the military should have pushed against a commander-in-chief who was more concerned with making things better here at home than he was about killing and destroying a third world country halfway around the world.

    That’s the mentality that decided once Dr. King came out for whites and blacks uniting to fight against the war in order to make things better here (Riverside Church speech, April, 1967), he was a threat to the MIC and had to be eliminated.

  3. orionATL says:

    nice writing, bmaz – in terms of both articulation of a general thesis and specific word choices.

  4. orionATL says:

    @P J Evans:

    speaking for myself, p.j.,

    you are not alone with respect to needing eye – and maybe ganglion and synapses – recalibration;

    not to mention some time shoveling shit on a farm for the obama-liberal variant of “reeducation” for the benefit of the party.

  5. Petronius Arbiter says:

    @matt carmody: I’m a little puzzled. I read the book, and I thought it was about the failure of the military leadership to frankly tell LBJ that he was asking for the impossible. That the whole foreign policy directing apparatus was misdirecting the nation’s efforts because of delusional misunderstanding of the real political situation in the Far East. In other words, the failure was not LBJ’s, it was the generals’. Maybe I misunderstood the book? Or maybe David Feith did? Or maybe the neocons are totally misrepresenting it, because their strategic vision still calls for permanent occupation of SOME Mideastern country in order to control the oil.

  6. matt carmody says:

    @P J Evans: I forgot that quote when I read the headline and I thought the reference was to Bush Sr. I cannot picture anyone stupider than W.

  7. lefty665 says:

    @Petronius Arbiter: I’m a little puzzled.

    Me too. Thank you for your take on the book for those of us who have not read it, but lived through the time. It seems consistent with Bmaz’s take on the Feiths (It’s a Forrest Gump moment – “Stupid is as stupid does” makes ‘dumb fuck’ a diagnostic causality statement as well as a behavioral observation – DSM 5 fodder?), and that Gen. McMaster is not quite as looney as Feith would have him be.

    Unsurprisingly, during the Vietnam era there was a mix of huge political aspirations, politican/DoD push/pull, career polishing, knee jerk anti-communism (now morphed into anti-terrorism), and our ever present military industrial complex. As with the Feiths, today’s apple does not fall too far from that tree.

    From all appearances people like Gen. Westmoreland were not candid with Johnson. Many in the officer corps, like Colin Powell, were getting their tickets punched for future advancement. He did things like help in the cover up of My Lai. As a group they tended to be professionally gung ho, can do, you’ve given us our marching orders and we’re kicking the shit out of the little yellow commie bastards.

    The guys who were running things, politicians, military/DoD, Industry (and they were almost all guys) had their world views formed in WWII and the cold war. That left them with hubris from having saved the world from fascism, and having spent their subsequent careers “winning” the cold war.

    In that environment many of the more thoughtful folks, civilian and military, tended to keep their traps shut and their reservations discreet. There was plenty of culpability to go around, and everyone, the whole damned country, military, civilian and politician, needed to do a thorough “lessons learned” exercise. We owe gratitude to those few institutions and individuals that did.

    Instead, we mostly went back to sleep. Some of us having finally prevailed by assembling and petitioning gov’t to help it see the error of its ways, retired from the field to work and raise families. Some, like the neocons, nurtured their resentments, the wounds festered, and helped give us the policies we have today. 90% of the country settled into a decades long nightmare of stagnating wages and two earner families struggling to keep their noses above water.

    Long ago it was clear that change had to come from us on the outside. Once in government service, dissent from policy meant loss of contracts for suppliers, loss of jobs for civilian employees, and the brig or stockade for those in the services.

    Today those threats, and more, apply to us all. Many of the restraints on government have been eroded. Today it takes as much courage to stand up on the outside as it did on the inside in the Vietnam era. Today on the inside it is even tougher. Obama would have Daniel Ellsberg up on Espionage Act charges, redacted and disappeared as a state secret.

    Daily I appreciate the honesty, wittingness and courage that it takes to make Emptywheel. Keep the feith baby (What’s a vowel between friends?) Thank you.

  8. orionATL says:

    “…Today those threats, and more, apply to us all. Many of the restraints on government have been eroded. Today it takes as much courage to stand up on the outside as it did on the inside in the Vietnam era.”

    indeed it does.

    and the future looks likely to become even grimmer for those who dare speak out.

  9. joberly says:

    Hello, Bmaz: Steve Coll’s new book on Exxon-Mobil, *Private Empire,* has a chapter that recounts Douglas Feith’s importance in the Bush Administration as an energy strategist, and not just as the man who stove-piped the faulty intelligence from Chalabi. Feith’s view of world oil markets, a view that was shaped by his work in the Reagan Administration, was that controlling individual reserves was not as important as maximizing production and breaking down barriers to free trade in oil. In Coll’s telling, Feith and others such as Cheney and Stephen Hadley sought war with Iraq not so much to steal Iraq’s oil, but rather as a means to break OPEC as a cartel. If they could replace Saddam’s state-owned oil company with a privatized entity that pumped Iraqi oil to the maximum, 6 million barrels a day, the price of world oil could once again be driven down, perhaps as low as the $15/barrel that Cheney forecast.

  10. orionATL says:

    @orionATL:

    if you have any interest in seeing how the feith scion sounds or looks, or in appreciating just how young this young lion is,he is you could watch this:

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