by Steve Dupree
I remember a time long ago and in a place far away where there was a group of people who claimed to believe in the free market. Market forces knew more than any individual.
No matter how bad or good a product or service or function looked, how the market received it was really the only test of note. And that vaunted market? Well, it was actually made up of individuals: individual companies, individual corporations, individual churches, individual stock purchasing clubs, individual day traders, individual stock analysts, individual fund managers, and just plain individuals. To hear those folks tell it, the market was the know all, end all, and be all.
Perhaps they were correct. We'll never know, because the market never really go a chance to show its stuff.
From as early on as I have ever read about it, the market has been manipulated and misused by those with the capability to do such things. They do that so that they and their insider friends can make money. No product or service is ever allowed to compete in a fair arena. Inferior products or services are marketed more aggressively than superior ones.
Pressure is placed on politicians to legislate or regulate into submission entities not supported by those who support the politicians. Societally negative stories, true or false, are circulated about people affiliated with a product or service, even though the facts of the story (if they really are) would have little to no effect on the product or service. It has always been thus, and I really don't see it changing in the near future.
However, the greatest abuse of the free market is occurring right now. Remember that the crux of the concept of the free market is simply that the many are smarter than the few. So here we have a situation wherein there is a plethora of recently retiredâ"many forced to retireâ"professional military personal of the flag rank who express serious doubts about the usefulness of the approximately 15 percent troop surge (escalation) in Iraq.
Most military historians who publicize an opinion doubt the lasting value of such a surge. Professional intelligence officers are skeptical that the surge is having the desired effect. Elected officials at the federal level show a clear majority who did not want, or believe in the efficacy of, the surge.
The general public was overwhelmingly disapproving of the idea of providing more of America's finest for the apparent purpose of target practice for insurgents. Rather than accept this market decision, somebody is deciding that he knows better and will just ignore the market.
The fact that this man has and does claim unnatural faith in the free market does not seem to bother his supporters any more than it bothers him.
An amazing number of people are not bothered by his (in)actions, and those of his second in command, during the time when they were of age to take the fight to the enemy.
In a few days, we will get the report that's being ostensibly prepared by the ambassador to Iraq and the general in charge of our military there. That report will doubtless say whatever Bush wants it to say.
The report will say that in areas where the additional troops were brought in and worked like dogs, violence decreased and some semblance of normalcy returned to the appreciative Iraqis. What the report will not say is that the insurgents relocated temporarily to areas where they could be more effective. It will not say that individual Sunnis and Shias and Kurds are biding their time until they can exact revenge on each other for real and imagined atrocities. It will not say that herding cats would be a cakewalk compared to convincing these disparate groups, who have been having physical disputes with each other for two or three times as long as we have been a nation, to embrace each other as brothers in citizenry. It will not say that a government of the clueless surrounded by yes men is a guaranteed mistake.
But, we know all that is true anyway, don't we?
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