Sunday, October 10, 2004

My Secret Understanding of Left's "Tantalus Field" Delusion on Military Matters

I used to get mad at otherwise smart liberal friends, over their dissonance in applying simple game theory to military situations. For 30 years, I suffered through countless new excuses as to why the US is morally repugnant on any military issue.

Then, I had a lightbulb moment with one very liberal friend pre-Iraq invasion, so I drilled in with others.

Bottom line: In their better moments, most Left friends claimed to be in favor of "special operations" or "black ops" to take out Saddam. I pressed them on it. They all were somewhat enthusiastic in their newfound, patriotic warmonger mode. To send in an Apache, that is.

You see, to the Left, war is justified only when it is a silver bullet. As in a Hollywood movie. When there are no civilian casualties. Only a couple of real bad guys die. There are no US casualties. Costs are low. And no third world grumbling will be heard over the military event.

They are deluded. The reason it is called, "War," is because.....well, you get it. It's hell. Innocents die; things are ruined; and one side imposes its will on another.

Liberals think that a just "war" can be none of those things. A liberal war is Day of the Jackal.

I know where that Liberal delusion comes from, in middle-aged lefties. They watched too much Star Trek. In particular, their minds were abducted by the Mirror Mirror episode.

That's the episode where Kirk and Co. find themselves in an alternate, warlike universe. Kirk has a concubine who shows him a secret device in his quarters, from the plundered laboratory of an alien scientist. It's called the "Tantalus Field". It has two powers -- a monitoring capability so one can keep an eye on one's enemies; and a white button which, if pressed, disappears the chosen enemy. He just magically disappears. Poof.

That perfectly encapsulates the military view of the Left. Only the Tantalus Field is acceptable.

Bush should have just adjourned to his quarters, and pushed the white button to make Saddam disappear.

Bush 1 should have done the same thing, to get Iraq out of Kuwait.

Johnson should have done it to Ho Chi Min.

Eisenhower should have done it to Hitler.


Of course, the Tantalus Field is make believe. It's an adult adaptation of the childhood wish to be God.

But the Left cannot make that connection. Their cognitive dissonance prevents them from seeing that their being in favor of "black ops" is really just a childhood wish for the Tantalus Field.

The Left never really gets itself out of this box, and more importantly, cannot even recognize that the box exists.


Witness Kerry's plan to get Eurupe to step up in Iraq. Typical left wishful thinking.