Jim Henley explains counterinsurgency in terms even a U.S. senator can understand:
In a counterinsurgency strategy, America hangs around a foreign country for years and years, occasionally killing people who live there, while pretending it’s for their own good. This takes a lot of people because the military, and the civilian parts of the government that control the military, are very specialized. You need people to do the hanging around, people to do the occasional killing of people that live there, and even more people to do the pretending. As you might imagine, pretending to foreigners that killing them is for their own good is hard! Not just anyone can pull that off with a straight face, and you need a lot of people who can.
This is part of Jim’s entry in the Washington Post’s “America’s Next Great Pundit” contest — a sort of reality-show-in-print where ten promising entrants get chosen and are then kicked off one by one as they compete with each other over the course of three weeks1. Think Project Runway for the opinionated but poorly dressed. It’s an idea so mind-blowingly dimwitted that it could only have come from the same people who brought us Mouthpiece Theater.
Still, every cloud has its silver lining, and mocking the Posties by writing amusing entries for their contest is one of them. Get cracking, bloggers. Jim has set the bar high. I expect great things.
1To make this gruesome spectacle even worse, the winner gets to write 13 op-ed pieces but isn’t even guaranteed that the Post will run them. In fact, the winner isn’t even guaranteed that the columns will be run online. What the hell kind of contest is this?2
2Though I admit it might have possibilities if the Post made their current writers compete, with the loser getting a final 13 columns before being booted off the op-ed page for good. I’d certainly pay to watch the championship round, where Richard Cohen and Robert Samuelson battle each other desperately to avoid the title of America’s Next Laid Off Journalist.