Government and the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal

April 26th, 2012

By Dan Miller

Douglas Adams’ Ravenous Bugblatter Beast is a beacon lighting the way for government.

dont_panicThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy clarifies much that would otherwise remain puzzling to sentient beings. With the explanations it provides, even carbon-based, bipedal ape-descended life forms on Earth — who are “so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea” — can understand. [Disclosure: I have long had and happily used my digital watch.]

The Guide explains, for example, the nature of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal and how best to deal with one that wants you for its mid-afternoon snack.

Known for its never-ending hunger and its mind boggling stupidity, the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal is such a stupid animal that it thinks if you can’t see it, it can’t see you.

Bugblatter BeastThe Bugblatter Beast may (but may not) also assume that if you can’t see it then it can’t see you.  It might easily be confused with our government because they are much the same. Both are always ravenous regardless of what or how much they may have eaten and their principal defense upon spotting a scary problem is to become blind to its presence as quickly as possible, to remain so and to take no further action.

The United States Government and the governments of some but not all states are famously ravenous when it comes to tax revenues and borrowed funds. Might fear induced blindness coupled with a ravenous appetite explain why our Federal Government can’t see its way clear to reduce spending, taxes and the deficit?  The Social Security third rail? Treading on it ever so lightly might be shocking, and besides everything unpleasant is the fault of nasty rich people who, unlike President Obama, won’t play fair.

Wrapping one’s head in a towel to avoid seeing the Bugblatter Beast is the means of defense suggested in Hitchhikers’ Guide.

This creature’s previously noted stupidity can make it relatively easy to deal with, given a good enough sense of direction. Draping a towel over your head, if the Guide is to be believed, will confuse the beast for long enough for one to make a quick getaway.

While the Bugblatter Beast may think that the towel defense works when it uses it, it is not entirely clear that hoping for change reciprocity is effective against the Bugblatter Beast. We use it nonetheless in dealing with the Beast government, arguably because we think we have the government a majority wants and therefore don’t much resist being eaten by it.

President Obama’s bows and apologies

Obama BowsAlthough President Obama did not appear with a towel wrapped around his head when bowing to potentates and apologizing to Islamic herds groups in Arabian lands, he must have had not only his eyes but also all current events and history texts shut.  The full text of his June 3, 2009 Cairo address is available here.  It was magnificent, with such flowing, enlightened and generous sentiments as

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. …

I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. …

The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.

President Obama was then three years younger than now and had had little experience (other than as a child) with other countries. He has continued to boldly go down the only paths familiar to him. It is comforting to learn that because he has trod those paths relentlessly, the war on terror is now over. That’s an incredible accomplishment!

“Now that we have killed most of al Qaida,” the source said, “now that people have come to see legitimate means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaida see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism.”

The [linked National Journal] article itself describes the Obama administration’s new vision of foreign policy, which admits no enemies. Everyone, in this view, is a friend. Islamism, says the Obama administration, is just fine, so long as it does not openly support terrorism.

This, of course, is utter foolishness. Islamism is a religious ideological movement that brooks no real alternatives – so while the State Department proclaims “a legitimate Islamism,” it fails to acknowledge that Islamism, “legitimate” or not, is deeply intolerant of any other modes of expression. Not only that, but Islamism works hand-in-glove with terror groups around the world. Simply because a regime does not openly house al Qaida does not mean that the regime doesn’t support al Qaida; just because a regime pretends at democracy doesn’t mean that it has real democratic values.

Obama has created the brave new Middle East – a Middle East that assumes that every human heart has the desire to vote, but not to be truly free; a Middle East that oppresses women and gays and minorities, but pretends at liberalism; a Middle East that despises America but hides that hate behind a façade of multiculturalism, even as it disposes of its internal dissenters. (Emphasis added.)

Only while blinded could President Obama have failed to notice those things. His Islamic audiences, although ravenous, seem to have kept their eyes and ears wide open; they are probably among the few.

As observed here,

The war on Christianity and its adherents in the Muslim world rages on. In March alone, Saudi Arabia’s highest Islamic legal authority decreed that churches in the region must be destroyed; jihadis [holy warriors] in Nigeria said they “are going to put into action new efforts to strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women”; American teachers in the Middle East were murdered for being Christian or talking about Christianity; churches were banned or bombed, and nuns terrorized by knife-wielding Muslim mobs. Christians continue to be attacked, arrested, imprisoned, and killed for allegedly “blaspheming” Islam’s prophet Muhammad; former Muslims continue to be attacked, arrested, imprisoned, and killed for converting to Christianity.

The extent of this persecution is virtually unknown in the West, due to the mainstream media’s well-documented biases: the mainstream media knows that if they do not ignore or at best whitewash the nonstop persecution of Christians under Islam, their narrative of Islam as the “religion of peace” would be quickly undermined. (Emphasis added.)

It seems that Libruls fantasize that everyone on Earth has the same open, liberal views as they themselves claim to have. They don’t.

Training materials offensive to Islam are now prohibited.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey has ordered a review of all military training materials after his subordinates discovered that material in an officer’s training course states that ‘Islam has already declared war on the West‘ (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).The extraordinary order by General Martin Dempsey, the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. armed forces, was prompted by content in a course titled “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” that was presented as an elective at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. The course instructed captains, commanders, lieutenant colonels and colonels from across all four armed services that “Islam had already declared war on the West,” said Lt. Gen. George Flynn, Dempsey’s deputy for training and education.

“It was inflammatory,” Flynn told Danger Room on Tuesday. “We said, ‘Wait a second, that’s really not what we’re talking about.’ That is not how we view this problem or the challenges we have in the world today.” (Emphasis added.)

This may explain why turban towel-wrapped eyes are mandatory for The Commander in Chief’s military leaders when attempting blindly to interpret the rules of engagement (ROE) as set forth by the Obama Administration and while directing that they be followed precisely in order to win the hearts and minds of gentle adherents to the Religion of Peace as perceived by President Obama. It is hardly surprising that many in foreign lands consider us stupid.

Unfortunately, the tactic of covered eyes does not seem to protect our troops from being slaughtered by foreign enemies or from being punished by their superiors when found, in retrospect, to have failed fully to comply with the ROE.  As noted here,

Afghanistan is one of the most primitive and impoverished countries on Earth. It is the graveyard of empires. Imperial Britain, Soviet Russia – they suffered major defeats due to fierce indigenous resistance. Afghanistan’s history is plagued by ceaseless warfare and violent ethnic conflict. To think that this cursed land can be transformed into the Switzerland of South Asia – and to do it sacrificing precious American blood and treasure – is the height of imperial arrogance.

Moreover, Afghanistan has revealed another lesson: Liberalism has made America unable to win a challenging war. Policymakers are obsessed with international opinion and appeasing local sensitivities. The goal of victory has been trumped by multiculturalism. U.S. soldiers have been fighting under strict rules of engagement, enabling the Taliban to hide in civilian-populated areas with impunity. American military leaders regularly apologize – almost grovel – for behavior common in every major war. Four U.S. troops urinated on dead Taliban bodies. Copies of the Koran were inadvertently burned at a U.S. base. The latest scandal involves U.S. soldiers posing for pictures with the body parts of dead suicide bombers. Our leaders do all they can to immediately placate the enemy.

“This is not who we are, and it’s certainly not who we represent when it comes to the great majority of men and women in uniform who are serving there,” said Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta.

Really? Tell that to the “Greatest Generation,” which crushed Nazi Germany and fascist Japan. American forces used flame throwers to smoke out Japanese kamikaze fighters hiding in caves. Many were burned alive; others were severely disfigured. As retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters has pointed out, many GIs sent Japanese skulls as war gifts to their girlfriends or wives back home. Also, America carpet-bombed Dresden, killing thousands of German civilians. Had we applied today’s rules of engagement to World War II, Hitler and Tojo would never have been defeated. (Emphasis added.)

It is doubtless quite satisfying to sit comfortably and in safety while tut-tutting about vile uniformed jerks who, in retrospect, failed adequately to adhere to ROE and thereby managed to alienate locals instead of winning their hearts and minds.

Here is a story about a young Marine lieutenant disciplined in Afghanistan.

First Lt. Joshua Waddell’s … unit had taken casualties as a result of bombs planted by a Taliban sympathizer. Waddell’s snipers targeted the bomb maker and mortally wounded him. He then ordered the snipers to disable a tractor he believed was being used by insurgents to evacuate the bomb maker.

No civilians were wounded in the engagement, according to a military review. But Waddell, 25, was still reprimanded by his company commander, who charged that shooting and damaging the tractor violated strict rules of engagement his battalion was operating under. That finding was partly based on the fact that teenage boys were in the area. Waddell argued that it was impossible to distinguish “teenage boys” from insurgents fighting for the Taliban. And none was hit by the sniper fire. Still, the Bronze Star recipient on his second combat tour in Afghanistan was demoted from his job as company executive officer and given an unsatisfactory fitness report that military experts said effectively ended his chance for career advancement.

Ways are being explored to grant “soldiers and Marines … a second chance to make their case when charged with violating what some consider counterproductive rules of engagement.”

The legislation proposes the creation of a military ROE review board in the battlefield,” said Addicott, who is representing Waddell. “Once the board is established it will provide soldiers with the peace and knowledge that there is an impartial review outside their chain of command. It will provide a layer of oversight that currently does not exist for soldiers facing this type of administrative action.

The administrative oversight board would be established and convened in the theater of combat operations, and the number of boards would be determined by the Department of Defense based on troop strength.

That is at least a small step for KidMankind but seems unlikely to help troops killed or wounded while trying to adhere punctiliously to cumbersome, difficult to understand and sometimes inconsistent ROE. Perhaps a few might in the future be able to shield themselves from harm by wrapping towels around their heads and running away at the first sign of an enemy. Success in their principal assigned mission, winning hearts and minds, probably would not be much diminished.

peace_doveThe proper function of the military is and has long been to kill people and to break things. The Peace Corpse is different. Possibly a full division of unarmed Peace Corpse volunteers, led by General and Former President Obama bearing doves upon his shoulders instead of old fashioned military epaulets, could do a far better job of winning hearts and minds. President Obama wants to lead and he should; at the front.

And now for my obligatory ObamaSnark.

One of the principal characters in Hitchhikers’ Guide was Zaphod Beeblebrox.

He is a “semi-cousin” of Ford Prefect, with whom he “shares three of the same mothers”. Due to “an accident with a contraceptive and a time machine”, his direct ancestors from his father are also his direct descendants.

Did Zaphod dream of his father?

Zaphod has two heads, three arms and is “clever, imaginative, irresponsible, untrustworthy, extrovert, nothing you couldn’t have guessed”. He was also briefly President of the Galaxy.

As to his character,

Zaphod is hedonistic and irresponsible, narcissistic almost to the point of solipsism, and often extremely insensitive to the feelings of those around him. In the books and radio series, he is nevertheless quite charismatic which causes many characters to ignore his other flaws.. . . .

Throughout the book and radio versions of the story, Zaphod is busy carrying out some grand scheme, has no clue as to what it is and is unable to do anything but follow the path that he laid out for himself.

President Obama has only one head and only two arms. Sometimes I suspect that those are the only characteristics that distinguish him from President Beeblebrox.

Pride and Sloth

(This article was also posted at Dan Miller’s Blog.)

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