The Virtual Department of the MISCellaneous and the End of Multicultural States

Great review of Paul Bremer’s book,” by Thomas Barnettt, Thomas P.M Barnett :: Weblog, 14 January 2006,

L. Paul Bremer’s new book on Iraq has an important lesson:


Want to avoid another Iraq? Embrace our weaknesses and the failure of states. Build a Military-Industrial-SysAdmin-Complex.

Looking at a Wall Street Journal review of the new book, Dr. Barnett writes:

In short, Bremer didn’t understand his role then and still doesn’t today. We lack this kind of postwar talent on the civilian side, and it cost us dearly in Iraq.

This is why I call for a Department of Everything Else, not just some tiny office tacked on to State.

My one gripe with Pollack is the notion that the quick disbanding of the Iraqi army was necessary to get buy-in from Shiites and Kurds. But this is a highly debatable point. Me, I would assume an insurgency of loyalists is always in the cards, so be prepared to beat back that danger first and risk the civil war-like split with other groups in the meantime(and there are always persecuted minority/majority groups like this in this pretend colonial states created by the Europeans decades ago–that the was the entire design purpose!) because, as we learned here, if the insurgency grows big enough, they can trigger that civil war on their own anyway by forcing your counter-insurgency toward solution sets that raise that danger.

Dr. Barnett shows the need for a Virtual Department of the MISCellaneous. The MISC will include free companies and also loyalty militias.

We need a Virtual Department of the MISCellaneous. I have already described the requirement for a Military-Industrial-SysAdmin-Complex (MISC). Later, I synthesized this with Dr. Barnett’s desire for a Virtual Department of Everything Else

In practice, this means that we must realize that nation-building is hard. We need to leverage everything we can to create new states. Private military companies and ethnic militias are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

In Iraq, we went in without a functioning Military-Industrial-SysAdmin-Complex. We didn’t have the private military companies with flux capacity to pacify areas without out big-war troops being put on the line. We didn’t have the ethnic militias which new that if they went along with us, we would dismember the false imperialistic state of Iraq and allow them to build the nation-states of their dreams. We didn’t have this Virtual Department of the MISCelleaneous — this Visual Department of Everything Else — and the ongoing inability to pacify Iraq is a direct result of this.

At least the Kurds have had enough. And the Shia, too. Iraq will fall apart anyway. If we would have embraced this fact, instead of fighting it, the Global War on Terrorism would be going much better.

Mini Reviews of The Weather Underground, The Good Earth movie, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Rob and Biz of Trumpy Productions have been having fun reviewing books and movies, so I decided to defend the honor of tdaxp and do both. To begin

The Weather Underground


The 70s were sick. Sick. I had to look up many of the claims of this documentary because they seemed so improbable. I’m a pretty knowledgeable guy, but the America of the 1970s is hardly the America I know.

For instance, from the documentary I learned this (verified from Wikipedia)

For a fee paid by The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the Weathermen smuggled Leary and his wife Rosemary Woodruff Leary out of the United States and into Algeria. The couple’s plan to take refuge with the Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver failed after Cleaver attempted to hold Leary hostage.

Me: *stupified disgust*

The Weather Underground is an excellent documentary of the terrorist successor to Students for a Democratic Society. It is an impeccable documentary of a great nation in crisis.

The Good Earth


Pearl S. Buck’s trilogy on the House of Wang – The Good Earth, Sons, and A House Divided – are some of the best books I have ever read. Coming in, I knew The Good Earth movie covered basically the first half of the first book, or the story of the marriage of Lung and O-Lan.

Movies rarely can capture the spirit of a movie. Contact did. The Fountainhead did. But could The Good Earth, a movie adaption of a book that still brings tears to my eyes?

Yes. While some characters have bee shifted — Lung’s sons are now The Tiger from Sons and Yuan from A House Divided — the relationship structure has been carefully maintained. Scenes which modern Hollywood might shy away from, such as the fate of Lung’s second daughter, are directly adapted from the book. O-Lan’s absolute loves, Lung’s touching simplicity, the conniving uncle, and all the rest are there.

When my father and I watch The Godfather together, he will always point out some minor scene and explain how much more meaningful it is in the book. Because of time, the same thing happens in The Good Earth. Off-hand comments and actions remain, largely divorced from their contexts.

Still, in spite of production troubles, The Good Earth succeeds at what no other movie I have watched has not: it does not overwhelm the book. My memories of the novels Contact and The Fountainhead are permanently colored by the movie adaptions. The Good Earthmovie allows me to remember the book as it always is.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader


I still have The Silver Chair and The Last Battle to go, but so far The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the best Narnia book ever written.

Everything previous Narnia books do well, Voyage does better.

  • The Magician’s Nephew is funny? Voyage is hilarious.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is fantastic? Voyage is amazing.
  • A House and His Boy is a journey? Voyage is an Odyssey.
  • Prince Caspian is serious? Voyage is adult.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a meditation on death, told through a naval voyage by Caspian & Co to discover the fate of seven exiled Lords. Government corruption, cannibalism, horror, and the end of the world are all touched on. No stronger Narnia book has been written.

All three works – The Weather Underground, The Good Earth, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – get perfect scores from tdaxp