William Lind explains our mad wars – and how we can win

Summary: This is one of William Lind’s most important posts, and one of the most important of the 4500  hundred on the FM website. Please read it carefully. Our apathy and passivity are our foe’s greatest asset.

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ID 44668727 © Pavel Sytsko | Dreamstime.

Numbers are the ultimate measure of the results from the first 17 years of our Long War. They give us bad news about our Long War.

The Evolution of the Salafi-Jihadist Threat

By Seth G. Jones, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 20 November 2018.
“Current and Future Challenges from the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, and Other Groups.”

“Despite nearly two decades of U.S.-led counterterrorism operations, there are nearly four times as many Sunni Islamic militants today as there were on September 11, 2001. …Attack data indicates that there are still high lev­els of violence in Syria and Iraq from Salafi-jihad­ist groups, along with significant violence in such countries and regions as Yemen, the Sahel, Nigeria, Afghan­istan, and So­malia.”

The $5.6 Trillion Price Tag of the Post-9/11 Wars

Brown University’s Costs of War Project, 14 November 2018.

“The United States has appropriated and is obligated to spend an estimated $5.9 trillion (in current dollars) on the war on terror through Fiscal Year 2019, including direct war and war-related spending and obligations for future spending on post 9/11 war veterans.”

William Lind explains how these reports show the long-predicted failure of our Long War. He reminds us there is a better strategy, if we had the wit to use it.

Our Failing Strategy

By William S. Lind at Traditional Right.
16 December 2018.
Posted with his generous permission.

“How many more years and trillions of dollars will we waste doing more of what does not work?”

…So, the war of attrition waged largely from the air that is our chosen 4GW strategy has, in seventeen years, cost us almost $6 trillion (not billion) while multiplying our Islamic enemies fourfold. Can we see this as anything other than strategic failure on a grand scale?

This is how much of the world sees us.

Flying Terminator

The failure was easy to predict. If we consider strategy not only at the physical level but at Col. John Boyd’s mental and moral levels, a war of attrition in which we remain largely untouchable, high above the clouds, could only work to rally young men everywhere to join whomever we are fighting. Of course the number of our enemies has grown; we have spent nearly $6 trillion recruiting them. Every time an American drone hovers ahead, every time we launch an airstrike, every time we flaunt our wealth and power as we bomb people who are poor and weak, we recruit more 4GW enemies. We nourish and feed the hydra, then wring our hands as it grows more heads.

What might we do instead? What alternative strategies should we consider? {The CSIS study mentions} one alternative …

“An important – perhaps the most important – component of Western policy should be helping regimes that are facing terrorism improve governance and deal more effectively with economic, sectarian, and other grievances that have been manipulated by Salafi-jihadist groups.”

That won’t work either. Just as our military fights wars of attrition because that is all it knows how to do, so our foreign policy establishment remains trapped in the ruins of Wilsonianism, the wholly unrealistic belief that we can instruct other people on how to run their countries and cultures. We can tell them, but they are not going to listen, in part for the good reason that we are likely to be wrong. Our policy elites’ understanding of how other societies work is both shallow and warped by ‘Globalist’ ideology. Outside Washington, almost everybody has figured that out, so no one listens to them.

There is an alternative strategy I think might work, or at least work better than recruiting more enemies. It has two components. The first is tight border security, far tighter than anything President Trump is planning, tight enough to keep all varieties of 4GW fighters from entering (we will still face the home-grown variety, who in the long run will be more dangerous).

The second component is invisibility. Since what we are doing now feeds hydra, stop it. Stop all overt actions around the world. Bring the troops, planes, drones, and ships home. Disappear, and thus take away our enemies’ main recruiting tool. No longer will Somalis or Yemenis or Libyans or Syrians live with the constant hum of American drones overhead, waiting for the Hellfire missile in the night. There may still be drones, but they will not be American drones. They will have to fight someone else.

And that will be just what we want them to do. It’s the old strategy of ‘use barbarians to fight barbarians.’  Sunni jihadis have a lot of enemies besides us: Shiites, Alawites, Hindus, other Sunnis, other tribes, etc. ad infinitum. Removing our overt presence will remove a unifying factor and encourage them to fight each other. Covertly, there will be ways for us to ramp up that fighting – and we should.  In some cases, we may even be able to make money doing it. Have we no Sir Basil Zaharoff?

Chosen as a strategy, inaction can be a form of action, one with far less blowback that our current failing strategy has generated – and far less expensive. How many more years and trillions will we waste doing more of what does not work?

————————————-

Victory Is The Goal

Editor’s afterword

See an explanation of what we’re doing now: What is America’s geopolitical strategy? Spoiler: it’s quite mad.

Lind advocates a defensive strategy for America, much as Fabius Maximus did for Rome during its war with Carthage. See his “Strategic Defense Initiative”! I have done the same. See my most recent version: Let’s try a defensive strategy in America’s wars, and win.

Our current policy works for our elites, at the cost of America’s wealth and the blood of our most patriotic young men. We change course and win. Our apathy and passivity are our greatest foes. See these posts about using a defensive strategy to win.

  1. Why the West loses so many wars, and how we can learn to win — about the two kinds of insurgencies (we’re fighting the kind we can’t win).
  2. The Cult of the offense returns: why we’re losing the long war, & how to win.
  3. Darwin explains the futility of killing insurgents. It makes them more effective.
  4. Will we repeat our mistakes in the Middle East & lose, or play defense & win? — Ignore the book. This tells you how to eat soup with a knife. That’s how to win playing defense.
  5. How I learned to stop worrying and love Fourth Generation War. We can win at this game. — Contrasting offense and defensive strategies.
  6. The key to playing defense: Militia is the ultimate defense against 4GW.
  7. Handicapping the clash of civilizations: bet on the West to win big.

About the author

William S. Lind is director of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation. He has a Master’s Degree in History from Princeton University in 1971. He worked as a legislative aide for armed services for Senator Robert Taft, Jr., of Ohio from 1973 to 1976 and held a similar position with Senator Gary Hart of Colorado from 1977 to 1986. See his bio at Wikipedia.

William Lind

Mr. Lind is author of the Maneuver Warfare Handbook (1985), co-author with Gary Hart of America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform (1986), and co-author with William H. Marshner of Cultural Conservatism: Toward a New National Agenda (1987).

He’s perhaps best known for his articles about the long war, now published as On War: The Collected Columns of William S. Lind 2003-2009. See his other articles about a broad range of subjects…

  1. His posts at TraditionalRight.
  2. His articles about geopolitics at The American Conservative.
  3. His articles about transportation at The American Conservative.

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about military strategy in theory & practice, about William Lind’s workabout our long war, about military strategy, about our incompetent senior generals, and especially these…

  1. Our generals reveal why we lost in Afghanistan, and will continue to lose.
  2. Why does the US field the best soldiers but lose so often?
  3. Why the US military keeps losing wars.
  4. Why America Loses Every War It Starts.
  5. William Lind: why America’s foreign policy fails so often.

Essential reading to understand modern war

The Transformation of War: The Most Radical Reinterpretation of Armed Conflict Since Clausewitz by Martin van Creveld.

The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World by General Rupert Smith. One of the great books about modern warfare.

Anatomy of Failure: Why America Loses Every War It Starts.

By Harlan Ullman (Naval Institute Press (2017).

“This book should be read by all practitioners and serious students of national security as the guide for avoiding failures and miscalculations in using American military power.”
— General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-1993) and 65th Secretary of State.

Anatomy of Failure is part Von Clausewitz, part Tom Clancy, with personal insights by Harlan K. Ullman that brilliantly translate why the United States, the most powerful nation on earth, has so often fallen short of its objectives.”
— Michael Lord Dobbs, creator of the series “House of Cards.”

"Anatomy Of Failure" by Harlan Ullman.
Available at Amazon.

From the publisher …

“Why, since the end of World War II, has the United States either lost every war it started or failed in every military intervention it prosecuted? Harlan Ullman’s new book answers this most disturbing question, a question Americans would never think of even asking because this record of failure has been largely hidden in plain sight or forgotten with the passage of time.

“The most straightforward answer is that presidents and administrations have consistently failed to use sound strategic thinking and lacked sufficient knowledge or understanding of the circumstances prior to deciding whether or not to employ force.

“Making this case is an in-depth analysis of the records of presidents from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama and Donald Trump in using force or starting wars. His recommended solutions begin with a ‘brains-based’ approach to sound strategic thinking to address one of the major causes of failure: the inexperience of too many of the nation’s commanders-in-chief. Ullman reinforces his argument through the use of autobiographical vignettes that provide a human dimension and insight into the reasons for failure, in some cases making public previously unknown history.

“The clarion call of Anatomy of Failure is that both a sound strategic framework and sufficient knowledge and understanding of the circumstance that may lead to using force are vital. Without them, failure is virtually guaranteed.”

 

30 thoughts on “William Lind explains our mad wars – and how we can win

  1. Very thought provoking indeed. The argument from recruitment particularly.

    Its an extreme version of the ‘containment’ strategy advocated by Kennan in dealing with the former Soviet Union, where the containment being practised is only to safeguard one’s own territory. In the case of the Soviet Union, before its collapse there were lots of proxy wars on the periphery. The strategy advocated here would presumably not have any of those. Simple withdrawal and border defence.

    I guess the issue with it that requires thinking through is that the movement will in such a case gain territory and overcome at least some allied regimes before it eventually collapses. Isis unopposed would have taken over Iraq, for instance. The collateral damage could be very high.

    The collateral damage of the present strategy is also very high though, as Lindt points out. Probably higher. But that is what you have to balance, and be sure you are ready to accept.

    Very thought provoking.

  2. LK: Our apathy and passivity are our foe’s greatest asset.

    These are great assets. But I think it is erroneous to leave out that the American psyche is that we go in and kick butt. As someone who opposes foreign entaglements, I have found that those who are not passive and apathetic, support the conduct and policies we keep repeating for failure.

    Some ancient military wisdom:

    An adversary is more hurt by desertion than by slaughter. – Vegetius

    A good general not only sees the way to victory, he also knows when victory is impossible. – Polybius

    It is right to learn, even from the enemy. – Ovid

    If a man does not know to what port he is sailing, no wind is favourable. – Seneca

    Ah! The generals! They are numerous but not good for much! – Aristophanes

    1. John,

      “But I think it is erroneous to leave out that the American psyche is that we go in and kick butt.”

      No, “we” don’t. That’s done by the tiny fraction of Americans who are in the combat branches of the Armed Services. Let’s not borrow their valor. The “we” refers to the American citizenry. Many can’t be bothered to vote. Few are willing to do more than vote, because they see citizenship as dining at a restaurant. One orders, then complains if the food and service is not up to the high standards our awesomeness deserves.

    2. I understand your point; I was not specific enough. The persons I was referring to are general members of the American citizenry. These persons, IMO, not only borrow the valor, but go about defining it as well. It may be that being in the South where there is typically support for overseas engagements has colored my perspective. This may be because I have opposed these undeclared wars, even declared ones, and have had many negative comments directed my way.

      I am a strong believer in avoiding foreign entanglements.

    1. The suggestion is, get rid of the presence of a common enemy, and they would start fighting each other. And you would spend the money on security. Don’t know, its a big if. In some ways it approaches the argument that the cause of anti-US jihadism is US policy.

      If you advocate it, you have to answer the question: what about Israel and the US committment to it?

      Still and all the argument that the main recruiting sergeant is the US conduct of these numerous and endless wars, and that its not working, its making things worse, that is worth taking very seriously.

  3. I agree with the article but I do have one minor issue in the end.

    ” Have we no Sir Basil Zaharoff?” Having America associate someone that was a professional arsonist, an embezzler, a merchant of death, and selling faulty equipment to both sides to say the least.

    If war is about the mental and moral levels, why is Lind bringing up about making money off the misery of others?

    1. Der Maiden,

      I’ll ask Lind about that. I assumed that his comment was humor. Sarcasm or irony (I’m not good at distinguishing between them).

      As you note, it does not make sense as a straight comment. This does show the peril of using humor (so often missed or misinterpreted). That’s why I seldom use (well – also because I don’t have much of a sense of humor).

  4. Larry,

    I read that comment and I still could not tell if it was tongue-in-cheek or not myself.

    Everything about the article was insightful but when Lind put in” In some cases, we may even be able to make money doing it. Have we no Sir Basil Zaharoff?” I took a double-take.

    Yes, this is America regarding markets and contracts and free enterprise but to advocate making money off murder is an unchristian to do. Also, it lends the moral to the enemy and things are already bad enough in America as it is.

    Also, Google has quite a few links that state he was the wickedest man in the world.

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-mysterious-mr-zedzed-the-wickedest-man-in-the-world-97435790/

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/a-scandal-of-international-proportions-comes-out-of-the-vaults/

    I’m in agreement with you over the perils of using humor, especially in writing. I have to remind myself that what I might find hilarious, another person might not see it in the same light.

    1. Der Maiden,

      I know Lind pretty well as an acquaintance, from years of talking and correspondence. I’m pretty sure he was kidding.

  5. Larry,

    Really? I always wanted to write to him to ask him some things but a friend told me that he detests women so I didn’t bother.

    Since you know him and you are a trustworthy source, I will go with kidding.

    Tell him from a fan and he wants me to write an actual letter telling him I like his stuff, I will. I even have his recommended book list and a few of his books and some he wrote with John Poole like Poole: The Last Hundred Yards – The NCO’s Contribution to Warfare!

    1. Der Maiden,

      “a friend told me that he detests women so I didn’t bother.”

      Certainly true for those ideologues who believe “opposes modern feminism” means “misogynist.” For normal people, not so true.

  6. As much as one must agree with the points raised by Mr. Lind, the creation of more enemies and, especially, spending astronomical sums in doing so, the question remains — who benefits? How could any administration impose the changes described while not affecting the profits made by the Military-Industrial-Security-Information-Complex (MISIC). Wasn’t the “Yes, we can!” and lately “MAGA” the primary platforms winning those particular elections, yet turned up-side down during the courses of these presidencies?
    The “average citizen’s” apathy may not be an expression of their frivolity, it may well be the hard earned experience — futility.

  7. We are not the cause of jihadism; it has roots that go back centuries. Our actions may have contributed to their recruiting success, but that is not certain.

    If we were to withdraw from the mideast, we would still be a target for terrorism. The objective of Sept. 11 was to draw us in. Having fallen for it, it is hard to get out. If we simply run away (as Lind’s strategy will be seen by the jihadis), they will just redouble efforts to come after us here.

    As henrik points out, the jihadis would likely gain territory and perhaps bring down governments. Such success would be a massive recruiting tool for the jihadis, both in the mideast and among immigrants in the west. jihadi expansion would likely have serious consequences outside the mideast, especially if they can disrupt the flow of oil.

    henrik also asks the critically important question: What about Israel? The initial motivation for jihadi attacks on the U.S. was, at least in part, our support for Israel.

    Given the mess we have waded into, Lind’s strategy is certainly attractive. But will it really work? The trick is to get out without making things worse. To get out completely would be to abandon Israel and to turn over the Persian Gulf oil fields to the Iranians and jihadis.

    Would Lind’s strategy work if we still provided support and weapons to the Saudis, Israelis, and Iraqis? I think not. Withdrawing our military is certainly worth considering. But I am always suspicious of simple solutions to complex problems.

    1. Mike,

      “they will just redouble efforts to come after us here.”

      Why do you say that? In the 17 years since 9/11, what have been their “efforts to come after us here”?

  8. “Why do you say that? In the 17 years since 9/11, what have been their ‘efforts to come after us here’?”

    There have been a number of lesser attacks both in the U.S. and Europe and a few unsuccessful attempts aimed at airliners. So the desire is their, but less ability to pull off a large attack. Perhaps because they no longer have a safe haven from which to operate.

    What would have happened over the last 17 years if we had turned the other cheek? We can only speculate. But I see no reason to believe there would have been less effort from Al Qaida than there was prior to 9/11.

    1. Mike,

      “There have been a number of lesser attacks both in the U.S.”

      Nope. The FBI and local police have created many “attacks” – recruiting and supplying terrorists, then “busting them.” There have been a few locals, mostly not very bright, staging mostly ineffective attacks. No attacks since 9/11 staged by al Qaeda or other jihadist organizations.

      Here is a list of AQ attacks, and list of Islamic terrorism.

      The US incidents are dots in the usual levels of violence in the US, done by the usual wide range of motives (personal, ideological, insanity).

  9. At the risk of upsetting the Boy Scouts the Object of all the wars since Korea has not been to win. The Army much like the boy scouts is a social works program for burning off the testosterone of young men, ‘gainfully employing’ and educating them while instilling some social skills and respect for authority.
    If America wanted to win they could and would. Distasteful as it may be, take a look at Sri Lanka, China and the Caucuses for starters. They bring in vast overwhelming asymmetric force and overwhelm the enemy. Then the population is herded into camps. There they quickly identify the ringleaders. These are executed. The rest are given a lesson… ‘let me tell you, let me teach you’ in reeducation camps. After a number of years they emerge changed. No more Tamil Tigers, No more Kak.
    This is the pattern that Kitchener used during the Boer War. It works.
    War is not pretty if you want to win.

    1. 7zander,

      “the Object of all the wars since Korea has not been to win”

      What’s your evidence for this odd theory? We have a wealth of documentary evidence for all of our wars, including memos and tapes from the highest levels of govt. they provide zero support for your theory.

      “At the risk of upsetting the Boy Scouts “

      What? That makes no sense whatsoever.

    2. 7zander,

      Re your theory of modern war.

      It is quite nuts, and shows a remarkable ignorance of history. I think I have explained this to you before, so it’s a waste of time to do so again.

    1. Henrik,

      Such articles are a staple of western lit since WWI. To be sensitive and educated doesn’t guarantee understanding of war, even after experiencing it. The author sees the world thru political goggles, required at the Guardian just as much as at the Weekly Standard. These accounts thrill the faithful.

  10. I have a distant cousin, a very intelligent and public-spirited South African farmer and business man, who spent a great deal of his own money promoting a scheme aimed at fostering better agriculture in Africa by networking with South African farmers, who are acknowledged experts in the field, particularly regarding dry-land farming.

    It didn’t catch on, in spite of being a very logical, very do-able process. The great light dawned when a wise man told him what the mistake was: he was using Westernised logic and not African logic, which was a different thing altogether. Note that the wise man was not denigrating African logic, but simply pointing out that a specific brand of logic can be shaped by a specific set of historical and related circumstances. To my mind this is exactly what has gone wrong all these years. One does not, as Nietsche cautioned, have to become a monster when fighting monsters. One must, however, get inside the other fellow’s head and cut one’s cloth accordingly.

    But one needs to be smart about this. “Arab logic”, or “jihadist logic” if you prefer, has many sub-divisions, and this means that every action one takes must be fine-tuned to a particular situation or group of situations. So on the one hand, the tighter tighter border control and invisibility .Lind advocates is a sound strategy, but in some cases it might be necessary to take stronger and more visible action. The trick here is use the utmost discretion in deciding which is which, and when it is necessary to step out of the box: God is not always with the big battalions. And by all means stop trying to foist Westminster-style democracy on non-Western countries to which it is entirely foreign.

    One other thing: always remember the law of unintended consequences. Kitchener’s “scorched earth” policy, which crushed the Boers’ little South African Republic in 1902, led to untold suffering and the deaths from starvation and disease (unintended, let me add) of at least 30 000 Boer aged,,women and children in the British concentration camps (and at least the same number of blacks). It succeeded in its primary aim, which was to end nearly three years of embarrassingly stubborn resistance against he world\s greatest em[ire. But it left such a legacy of economic destruction and bitterness that it distorted the development of South Africa for most of the next century. So keep your budding Kitcheners in check, whatever you do.

  11. The issue with Lind is he has no actual plan or strategy for stopping US imperialism. It’s one thing to write anti-war articles advising the US to give up its aggressive foreign policy, it’s quite another to actually organize opposition or elect politicians who will push back against the deep state.

    When we step out of fantasy op-ed land and into the real world, what has Lind actually accomplished? Basically nothing. He reflexively supports the Trump administration as it escalates interventions abroad and maintains his naivete about Trump’s anti-war campaign rhetoric, a naivete that is completely absurd since we’ve all watched Trump’s FP for the past two years.

    Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is basically the only one articulating a different American FP ideal, sometimes achieving real successes like the recent senate vote on Yemen. It’s increasingly clear that the populist left with bipartisan support from dovish liberals and conservatives is where the real opposition to US aggression will come from.

    1. Daniel,

      “The issue with Lind is he has no actual plan or strategy for stopping US imperialism.”

      He is a military analyst. So that’s what he does. Political strategy isn’t his gig. Everybody does what he can.

      “it’s quite another to actually organize opposition”

      Quite so. But that is true even for most people writing about politics. As seen in most popular political websites, Left and Right. People want “information”. Calls to action, even small (not risking “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor”) ruin the party and clear the room. Here’s my explanation of why:

      https://fabiusmaximus.com/2017/01/03/america-today-path-to-reform/

      I’ve written 121 posts about how to start people political reform, from organizational theory through use of music and protests. They get lower than average traffic. We want to boo and cheer, not work.

      https://fabiusmaximus.com/america/political-reform-67124-2/

      “He reflexively supports the Trump”

      Do you say “reflexively” based on your deep conversations with Lind, or using your psychic powers?

      “a naivete that is completely absurd”

      If you’re looking for realistic politics from Lind, you haven’t read much of his work, or didn’t pay attention to what it. You might as well ask a cab driver for tips about treating your son’s cancer.

      “the populist left with bipartisan support from dovish liberals and conservatives is where the real opposition to US aggression will come from.”

      That doesn’t make much sense, as expressed. “Populism” is a real thing, not a buzzword. It is a right-wing phenom. It is historically opposed to foreign military adventures.

      Perhaps you are saying that the current broad coalition supporting our wars can be defeated by a new coalition. I’ve written much about that possibility. The only way, IMO, to defeat the plutocrat alliance now (again) running America is (again) an alliance of progressives and populists.

      It won’t be easy to build. Perhaps the biggest task will be to shake a big fraction of the public out of its apathy and passivity. I’ve written about many possible ways to do so, but not look convincing.

    2. He’s spent his entire career in conservative think tanks, writing political op-eds, and being a congressional staffer? How is political strategy not his gig? Lmao, the bio you wrote for him in this article even talks about his work as a political strategist.

      Lind writes publicly so it doesn’t take psychic powers to understand his opinions. You just have to read him. It’s not magic.

      Populism is certainly a real thing. The term was literally first used to refer to left-wing agrarian movements in the Midwest. There’s left populist parties throughout Europe and South America. New-Deal-style liberals in the US have often been labeled ‘populist’ from FDR to Sanders.

      It kinda just shows how much words like ‘populism’ have been abused by American right-wingers that you think of it only as a synonym for ‘nativist’ and can’t comprehend when the term is used in a way that doesn’t conform to ahistorical right-wing American discourse.

      1. Daniel,

        (1) Seriously, you must be kidding. Lind’s politics are beyond fringe. His military analysis has given him his reputation.

        (2) “He reflexively supports the Trump …Lind writes publicly so it doesn’t take psychic powers to understand his opinions.”

        That’s a reading FAIL. Let’s try again. How do you know Lind “reflexively” supports Trump? That means “without conscious thought.” Where in his writings does he tell you that about his thought process?

        (3) Populism

        Good luck when you go to Leftist meetings and advocate the racist, nativist, anti-modernist, fundamentalist Christian populism of those “19th C leftist” populists. Tell them about William Jennings Bryan, the “leftist” hero famous for opposing evolution in the Scopes “monkey trial.”

        Unlike progressives, who are the true standard-bearers of leftist thinking, both socially and politically, in America.

        There has, of course, been both cross-fertilization across the political spectrum and evolution in views during the past century. And there is substantial overlap in views (and some common foes), which made the New Deal possible. But their distinct themes remain clear.

        Populism has its roots in Andrew Jackson, running thru the New Deal coalition (in which it played a large role), to Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, George Wallace in the 1960s, and (in rhetoric) Trump today.

        None of those are Leftist heroes, another indicator of the placement of populism on the political spectrum.

        These labels do have different meanings in other cultures. Political labels don’t travel well.

  12. No, his ‘cultural Marxism’ theory – a purely political theory – is what has given him a reputation (not a great one either, to put it mildly). His political novel ‘Victoria’ published by alt-right political publisher Vox Day is in the top 120k kindle books. His collection of writings ‘On War’ doesn’t even break the top 500k. It’s obvious what Lind is read for and it’s definitely not military analysis. Once you realize who Lind’s audience is, it’s obvious why he is incapable of criticizing Trump’s FP.

    You’re completely out of your element when you try to talk about populism, it’s pretty funny. No one ever said there aren’t right-wing populists like George Wallace. I pointed out that left-wing populism is an actual thing that is found across the world and goes back in the US nearly 150 years just to refute you batty claim that populism is only a ‘right-wing phenom’. You seem to struggle with the idea that populism can have both left and right wing strains and that they can exist simultaneously.

    The term ‘populism’ literally comes out of left-wing agrarian movements in the US after the civil war. Not the Andrew Jackson presidency. There’s a ton of great scholarship like “The Populist Moment” that discuss the history. Probably worth taking a peak at. It was basically farmers organizing against exploitation by large corporate interests like railroad trusts that dominated peoples lives. There were populists who successfully organized workers across race lines in the deep south and there were racists too. History is complicated. No one except the leftists who attend meetings in your head would disagree. And actual leftists still talk about populists like Eugene Debs and Upton Sinclair with reverence so I’m not sure where you got the idea that the contemporary left want to disown populism.

    1. Daniel,

      “No, his ‘cultural Marxism’ theory – a purely political theory – is what has given him a reputation (not a great one either, to put it mildly).”

      That’s not even remotely correct. Lind became well-known because of his military writing, which gained attention in the highest levels of the USMC. His early writings about our mad wars after 9/11 read like prophecy. As Karl Popper said about science, successful predictions are the “gold standard.” They’re quite rare.

      “Cultural Marxism” became well known on the right wing fringe from advocacy in the 1990s by giants (in that community) such as Pat Buchanan and Paul Weyrich (co-founder of the Heritage Foundation). Few knew of Lind back then.

      “it’s pretty funny.”

      Since you have no idea what you’re talking about (most of what you’ve said is factually wrong), your opinion is irrelevant. If you wish to see some of the literature about populism, see these posts reviewing it. You’ve won’t, of course.

  13. So I should ignore what actual historians and political scientists say about the origins of populism and instead read a blog posted by a guy who didn’t know “left-wing populism” existed until today? Sounds legit.

    I’ve read Lind’s fabled articles on Iraq and found them extremely disappointing. If you could point out an article where he was prophetic I’d honestly be very interested. All I ever came across were vague predictions about escalating sectarian violence which you didn’t have to be Nostradamus to see. Other times he was embarrassingly wrong like when he predicted Baghdad would fall to ISIS. He may have been better than the MSM but that’s a ridiculously low bar to pass and many in alternative media had much better predictions.

    Also, how does the fact that right-wing political operators like Buchanan and Weyrich promoted Lind’s writing support the claim that Lind is just a pure military analyst?

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