David Salzer Broder, the highly respected, Pulitzer Prize, Pundit on the OpEd board of the Washington Post has decided to ring in Halloween with a sorcerer’s call for “confrontation” against Iran. The witches’ brew of Broder’s argument goes like this:
1. To get reelected in 2012, Obama must get the economy moving again (i.e., “harness the forces that might spur new growth”).
2. No human being can do anything to accelerate the immutable “tidal force” of the “business cycle” (i.e., the invisible hand of that “market magic” that governs our lives like some remote and impersonal god).
3. But there is one other thing that “might affect the economy” and that thing is “war”. After all, it was World War II, that “finally resolved” the Great Depression.
4. Therefore, if he wants to get reelected, Obama should prepare for war against Iran because “as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.”
If Broder truly swallows his own bubbling concoction of sophistries, he needs to locked up in a sanatorium as a demented, dangerous psycopath.
In fact even if Broder does not swallow his own fetid brew he needs to be locked up as a demented, dangerous psycopath for once again doing Israel’s dirty work of poisoning the public well.
The Washington Post has long provided pulp for Washington’s coven of think-tank experts and press pundits agitating on Israel’s behalf. What David Broder is stirring up is simply more of the same ol’ tired Zionist swill for war against an Iran whom Broder labels --- without an iota of explanation or argument -- as “the greatest threat to the world”... The one which now replaces that former greatest threat to the world which replaced the one before that came after the one that came before.... But we digress.
Let us deconstruct Broder’s Brew
“I am not suggesting,” Broder intones piously, “that the president incite a war to get elected.” Oh nooooo. Far be it from Broder to do such an “awful and frightening” thing. Noooo. Noooo. BUT
“[C]hallenging Iran’s ambition” and “orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs” will:
a. “help” Obama “politically” because the GOP will have to support him.
b. “And, as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.”
Anyone can see that being helped “politically” has nothing to do with the stated issue of reviving the economy. Item “a” is thrown into the stew as a polemical “extra benefit” to Obama. More importantly, this irrelevant extra goodie occupies the space where the middle premise normally appears and thus conveniently obscures the fact that Broder’s economic “argument” boils down to: “Orchestrating a showdown” will improve the economy because “as tensions rise” the economy will improve.
Such a logical tour de force is truly awesome! A more exquisite petitio principii can hardly be imagined! A tethered ox could not trod a more perfect circle!
To wrap it all up, Broder concludes with the marvelous non sequitur of :
“The nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world ... [and] ... if he can confront this threat... he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.”
In other words, the Q.E.D. of it all has nothing to do with economics but is all a question of “rallying” the nation and being hailed as a hero in the saecula saeculorum of history.
The sum and substance? David S. Broder is incapable of anything resembling an argument and simply throws anything into the bubbling pot in order to urge a confrontation with Iran.
But let it be granted that, being a paid political cackler, Broder isn't very good at a passably cogent sequence of thought; and, Broder's inarticulateness aside, let us analyze the claim on its merits that "accelarating preparations for war" will improve the economy. No sane or decent person would make such an “argument”. Ever.
Saying that war resolved the Great Depression is a highly dubious proposition. That global catastrophe left only two nations in the entire world standing: the United States and Argentina. Argentina held maybe 3% of the world gold reserves (there were so many bars that they were stacked in the Ministry’s corridors); the United States held the remainder. In addition, the United States had the only factories, railways, roads and vessels that weren’t bombed, blasted, sunk or otherwise destroyed. (Argentina had the cows.) In this sense, and at the cost of a mere 60 million lives around the world, the U.S.A. was left economically triumphant and could dictate terms to everyone else to its own benefit -- which is what we did.
That situation did not improve the economy so much a it destroyed the competition and left the victor with a huge hoard of plunder. Serious historians (and this excludes cackling harpies like Broder) understand that the underlying issue of the World War was economic hegemony: who would amass control of what regions’ gold and resources to the detriment and loss of whom else. If Broder is arguing for this type of “economic growth” a warrant for his arrest needs to be issued forthwith so that he may be arraigned before the International Court in the Hague and tried on counts of inciting genocide, crimes against humanity and war. Yes.... Broder’s little brew is a crime under European law.
If Broder means that the process of manufacturing tanks and bombs and boots and tons of tins of spam is what “got the economy going again” -- that too is a dubious proposition because while it certainly made capitalist cash registers jingle, it did so by running up a stratospheric public debt... a public debt that was only balanced by the fact that we could get the rest of the world to pay off huge junks of it because, as just stated, we were left as the sole standing top dog.
But let us indulge further and let it be supposed that a “war economy” gets things booming by creating jobs in munitions, shoe and spam factories and by running up orders for the slaughter of millions of pigs to be hashed up into tins. Every economist who has studied this issue knows that this process is a “junk recovery” much like the spam is the junk food the process produces. This type of recovery benefits what used to be called “war profiteers” but it benefits no one else. Instead of creating anything that can be further capitalized, it creates a mountain of destructibles -- stuff that gets blown up, sunk to the bottom of the sea, pulverized. Just as spam or fast food don’t produce anything resembling real nutrition, this type of “economic growth” in fact only leads to further impoverishment.
Has Broder truly forgotten that the "preparations for war" in Vietnam far from making the United States more prosperous bankrupted the prospects for the Great Society?
A simple but basically true observation will illustrate the point. “To he who hath, more shall be given...” and “It takes money to make money” are two proverbs that focus on the same thing: capital creates more capital. But capital is not just money profits. Resources and materials that are put into production are capital, as is the machinery used to process those materials, as are the roads and railroads that are used to transports the goods, as are the schools and books that are used to produce an intelligent work force. An economy that produces serviceable things that can be used to create more serviceable things is an economy that truly grows because it is always producing more useable forms of capital. An economy that produces bombs that get blown up, basically wastes capital in order to produce a mere monetary profit for a few.
Thus, even on its own terms Broder’s argument is economically obscene. What he is palavering for is to “stimulate” the economy by throwing more money at the military industrial complex and the excuse for doing so is saber rattling against Iran.
The “defense budget” of the United States already exceeds the defense budgets of all other nations in the world combined. A HUGE amount of public treasure is already spent on defense procurement, research and development. And still the economy is in the tank. How is throwing yet more money at this devouring gargantuan monster going to “create good paying jobs” for the 20 million unemployed. It isn’t. Nor will it solve the problems of liquidity and what is now being called “foreclosuregate”.
Broder’s argument is unworthy of an imbecile.
But let us boldly go where no imbecile has gone before. Let it be supposed that we could “revive” the economy by making war-like noises and preparations all “without suggesting of course that the president incite a war to get reelected.”
Noooo! Noooo! Perish the thought. David Salzer Broder is simply recommending a form of economic and diplomatic masturbation that will stop short of actually shooting.
To which one may reply: good luck.
We suggest that Broder, even if it is late in life, engage in some penis practice and when he is finished, come back and re-write the article.