Liberty & Power: Group Blog
That's from a proposal by the Selective Service System. See this.
Thanks to Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek.
David T. Beito
Charles W. Nuckolls
The two professors agreed to accept two years' salary in return for never setting foot on campus again. A gag order was also imposed, specifiying that the professors could not reveal or discuss the nature of the charges against them or the negotiations that resulted in settlement. We will never know, then, what happened, since the parties to the disupte have been bought off.
I say, bad show! Scholars around the country rallied to the defense of colleagues whose academic freedom was violated. We said then, and we say now, that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. But we all know from bitter experience how these issues typically end. Money changes hands, silence is purchased like a commodity on the market place, and the principle of academic freedom is sold off to the highest bidder -- just another token in a complex exchange whose ultimate common denominator is cash.
Thames should be hounded from office, certainly. He is a cad and a bounder. But the two professors bear some responsibility here, too. They didn't just sell themselves out, they sold the rest of us. And I, for one, don't like it.
Robert L. Campbell
Last night, Roy Klumb, a member of the Mississippi College Board and a notorious partisan of USM President Shelby Thames, appeared on in a TV talk show on WLOX out of Biloxi. Questioned by a skeptical talk show host, Klumb insisted that Frank Glamser and Gary Stringer, the professors who were fired by Thames on March 5, and reinstated for 2 years in a settlement arrived at on April 28, had broken the law. He referred on three occasions to their having committed" crimes." As for the prospect of Thames being fired or pushed to resign, Klumb declared,"It's not gonna happen."
A little background from the hearing last Wednesday, April 28, in which Glamser and Stringer appealed their dismissals: While investigating the claim of Angie Dvorak, Thames' Vice-President for Research, to have been an Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky, Stringer included her Social Security Number in a request for information about her credentials that he sent to an employee of the Kentucky community college system. Since Dvorak's Social Security Number has been included in a version of her vita that Thames' own public relations office provided to the media, it is hardly secret information. Moreover, Stringer represented himself, correctly, as a Professor of English at USM when he made the query.
On the talk show, Klumb declared that Glamser and Stringer had obtained the Social Security Number illegally and used it illegally--neither of which is true. Actually, he insisted that the two professors had used USM computers to" commit a crime." (And for what it's worth, Glamser seems to have had nothing to do with obtaining or using the SSN at all.) Klumb went on to assert that if the USM faculty had known about this purported illegal use of the Social Security Number, there would never have been a faculty vote of 430-32 on a resolution of no confidence in Shelby Thames.
Klumb also repeated the inflated student enrollment figure for which the Thames administration got into trouble last fall (16, 000) instead of the true figure (15, 000), and insisted that all of USM's problems would promptly cease, if only tenure were abolished.
Klumb was seeking to nullify the settlement arrived at just last Wednesday (in which the hearing testimony did not support the charge and there was no finding of wrongdoing by the two professors), while exploiting the fact that Glamser and Stringer agreed in the settlement not to publicly criticize Shelby Thames and his administration. Klumb pointedly refused to attend the College Board meeting on Friday at which the settlement was announced. It is clear that the prospects of facing a College Board chaired by Klumb (who becomes Board President on May 8) helped to induce Glamser and Stringer to accept the settlement, for Klumb would have insisted on upholding Thames' decision to fire them.
Klumb's performance almost certainly violated the code of ethics of the Mississippi College Board, which states that
Board members will exercise professional judgment and respect confidentiality in personnel matters, legal matters, executive session matters, and other items of a clearly sensitive nature.
While Shelby Thames' allies drive to obliterate a settlement that conceded far too much to the Thames regime in the first place, the true nature of his administration can be seen from an email that went out recently to the deans of the 5 academic colleges and the library. In it, Thames' Chief Hatchet Man, Jack Hanbury, orders the deans to violate the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to provide information that the Faculty Senate had requested, concerning the process by which recent, highly controversial merit raises were awarded to faculty and administrators. (The email was not obtained the Thames way--with Spyware or from confiscated hard drives. It was provided to the Fire Shelby message board by a person who was given a copy by one of the recipients.)
From: Jack Hanbury
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004
I have been advised that a couple of you have consulted personal counsel and decided to give the FS [Faculty Senate] the requested information regardless of my legal opinion and Dr. Thames’ instructions. The last I heard, Dr. Thames was your boss, not some nebulous “outside counsel.” Quite simply, regardless of what you or your misguided personal counsel think, the law means you take your orders from Dr. Thames and it is not up to you to decide to do otherwise. You are insulated from personal liability for doing so.
I have informed Dr. Thames of your grossly insubordinate action.
Needless to say, if the USM administration got into trouble for non-compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, knowledgeable insiders are convinced that Thames would blame the deans--and fire them for refusing to comply with FOIA. So much for insulation from personal liability! And it is a virtual certainty that the outside lawyers the deans consulted know the law better than Hanbury does.
Also needless to say,"a couple" of the deans at USM could be fired at any moment.
Shelby Thames and his henchcrew are on a rapid course down the road to self-destruction. The real question is how much of the University of Southern Mississippi will still be standing, by the time their self-destruction is complete.
Frankly, I'm more than a little dismayed that otherwise respectable lefties like Max Sawicky and Matthew Yglesias would climb on board with this, particulary given the very slim likelihood that if Congress were to approve a draft, it would come with the"rich kids are gonna' die too" stipulations that have motivated Charlie Rangel and company to start agitating for it in the first place.
The more likely outcome? We get a draft. Congress creates the holes for privileged kids to crawl through we've always allowed. We get more soldiers. Extra soldiers are to presidents what budget suprluses are to Congress. More men means future presidents find more wars to fight, without ever really needing to quit the old ones.
It doesn't surprise me that a McCain or a Kristol or a Hagel is on board with conscription. What's striking to me that alleged leftist, peace-loving, rights-loving people would think it's okay to send young men and women unwillingly to their deaths as pretext to a national debate on foreign policy.
I wrote a bit of satire on the topic called"Affirmative Casualties" back when Rangel first broached the idea in 2002. As with much of satire these days, it really doesn't seem so farfetched anymore.
Robert L. Campbell
Since I can't edit my previous article on the crisis at the University of Southern Mississippi (I get error messages each time I try), I will put three quick updates here:
- Here is an excellent analysis of the track record of"Director of Risk Management" Jack Hanbury, a laywer better known as President Thames' Chief Hatchet Man.
- Hanbury's memo of April 30th, ordering deans to violate the state Freedom of Information Act, has now received TV coverage.
- On Friday, USM's Faculty Senate will vote on resolutions asking Thames to retire and demanding an end to administrative surveillance of email from campus computers.
Robert L. Campbell
When commenting on breaking news, it's easy to speak too soon. I certainly did yesterday afternoon, when I wrote about the hearing for Professors Frank Glamser and Gary Stringer at the University of Southern Mississippi. Glamser and Sringer were fired by President Shelby Thames on March 5, for investigating the credentials of Angelina Dvorak, the Vice President for Research.
It looked then as though the hearing officer, retired judge Reuben Anderson, had halted the proceedings after lunch on the first day of the hearing, after only Thames had testified, because Thames didn't have a case against Glamser and Stringer. Indeed, Thames seemed to be embarrassing himself and the university by making obviously false statements, delving through stacks of intercepted emails, even boasting of his authority to read students' email.
Thames' case doen't look any better today than it did on Wednesday. Indeed, his ham-handed efforts to discredit Rachel Quinlivan, an editor at USM's student newspaper, by reading from intercepted email correspondence between her and Frank Glamser, have eroded away any remaining sympathies that Mississippi newspaper editors and reporters may have harbored for him. But the settlement that Anderson negotiated, working closely with the Mississippi College Board, was a narrowly tailored compromise. It keeps Glamser and Stringer on the payroll for two more years and protects them from piling up further legal bills. But it also saves face for Shelby Thames, and does virtually nothing little to address the gross autocracy and pervasive mismanagement that have characterized his administration.
It also seemed that the decision to have the Board meet today to consider the settlement, instead of delaying until the next regularly scheduled event on May 19, would have to be a positive sign, since it meant that the Board would take up the settlement before Roy Klumb, a notorious Thames supporter, took over as Board President on May 8. In fact, Klumb skipped today's meeting entirely.
As announced this afternoon, the key provisions of the settlement are:
- "The University will recommend to Dr. Angeline Dvorak that she not pursue litigation against the Professors."
- "The University withdraws the termination proceedings and agrees that the Professors will be compensated at their current nine-month academic-year salaries for a period of two years beginning with academic year 2004-2005. At the end of academic year 2005-2006, any obligation of employment from the University to the Professors shall have been satisfied."
- "The Professors agree the University will not provide any office facilities, office supplies, or otherwise facilitate their physical presence on campus or their research projects."
- "The Professors agree to refrain from offering public criticism or commentary about the University’s internal administrative operations during the term of this agreement."
Angeline Dvorak is obviously being ordered not to sue Glamser and Stringer for defamation on account of their questioning her credentials (she was not a party to the dispute, and didn't sign the settlement, hence the word"recommend"). But no acknowledgment is being made, either that she lied on her vita, or that it was appropriate for faculty members at USM to check out the statements she made on her vita.
Glamser and Stringer are not being fired, but they are also not being fully reinstated. It appears that they are being compelled to retire in two years. Opinions among knowledgeable people at USM are mixed as to whether either of them really planned to retire that soon (each is old enough, and has enough years of service to do so, but both have been extremely active teachers and researchers). What's more, they will not be allowed to maintain offices on campus (not that they may mind this too much, since Thames would no doubt read every one of their emails if they were foolish enough to ever send another one from a campus computer) but this is also being taken to mean that they will teach no classes and have no contact with students. Pushing faculty members who challenge abuses of administrative power into sinecures or restricted roles, when they can't be safely gotten rid of, is becoming a standard tactic, and Thames will now conclude that he has the green light to isolate or marginalize other critics in this fashion.
What's more, G and S are being muzzled. And they are not just being asked to stop criticizing Dvorak (which might be defended as a quid pro quo for her not suing them, albeit under defamation laws that ought to be stricken from the books), but to refrain from criticizing anyone and everyone in the administration. That feature of the settlement must have Thames and his cronies salivating.
I do not blame Glamser and Stringer for accepting the deal. They have undergone tremendous stress, been prevented from continuing their research, and are faced with $40,000 in legal bills (only $30,000 of them paid off so far from donations to their legal defense fund), while Thames and his cronies can piss away Mississippi taxpayers' money to defend their reckless administration against lawsuits (it is currently embroiled in 6 of them). In the past I have advised colleagues who were beaten up on by out-of-control administrators to take sweetened retirement details rather than stick around for further punishment. But... the abuses are never going to stop if the best that a principled opponent on the faculty can hope for is a sweetened retirement deal.
Adding gross insult is State Attorney General Jim Hood's decision, announced early this evening, to help Thames out by retroactively correcting one of his false statements. In his testimony, Thames kept ignoring the university's chief legal counsel and referring to his"Director of Risk Management" Jack Hanbury was the University Attorney. So Hood has helpfully redefined Hanbury's position so that he reports directly to the AG's office, which is what university lawyers do in the Missisippi State system. Not only does this get Thames off one of his hooks, also means that if Thames retires or resigns, his successor cannot fire Thames' Chief Hatchet Man or abolish his position; only the Attorney General will be able to do that. Talk about an action that fails the smell test...
Now, Thames and his sponsor Klumb do appear displeased by the results. Thames, after all, has been served notice that he cannot just hale tenured professors into his office and fire them. But Thames should have been hit a lot harder than he was. His ability to throw his weight around has been reduced a little (a loss much magnified for Thames, because he is loath to recognize any limits on his power); his testimony embarrassed him in front of the faculty, the students, the media, and portions of the general public; but an academic administrator who behaves as he has done deserves to face much more serious consequences. He remains in office, his henchmen and hatchetwomen also remain in place, and the pervasive troubles that his administration has brought on USM are just as severe as they were before the hearing.
Even for a political body, the Mississippi College Board is operating with incredibly narrow time horizons. To take the most pressing issue, the stand-off between Vice President Dvorak and the USM faculty continues. What kinds of measures will Thames now take against the 31 Faculty Senators who voted for the resolution stating that she has never been tenured at a four-year institution? Against all 14 members of the Graduate Council, who declared that under the USM Faculty Handbook she is not qualified to evaluate any faculty member for tenure or promotion? And needless to say, the events of the last three days are not going to convince the Faculty Senate or the General Faculty of USM to rescind their votes of no confidence against him (40-0 in the Faculty Senate; 430-32 out of approximately 540 real faculty). Interestingly, now that Glamser and Stringer have been semi-reinstated, newspaper stories are finally appearing on Thames' plan, not yet implemented, to dissolve the Faculty Senate, with which he has essentially not communicated since its vote of no confidence.
There is very little that the professors and students at USM can do, except leave as soon as they are able, or carry on the fight aginst the Thames autocracy. The only alternative, under a continued Thames administration, will be to accept life in a hellhole. Since the impasse over Dvorak's misrepresentations has not been resolved, it is heartening to see that Anne Wallace, an English professor, has reviewed Dvorak's extremely meager publications, and pointed out that they would never be enough for Dvorak to earn tenure as an English professor at USM.
Another creative suggestion, put forward by angry students at USM who learned that Thames considers himself entitled to read any email they send or receive on a university computer, is for everyone who has to use a USM computer for email to abandon any pretense that the communication is private, and cc: it to President Thames. I actually think it would be appropriate to also copy Angeline Dvorak, Jack Hanbury, and several other prominent hatchetpeople in the Thames administration on every email sent from or to a campus computer--and continue to do so until the present computer use policy at USM is revoked, and replaced with rules that a civilized community could live by.
I need more time to collect my thoughts about the implications for tenure and for communciations privacy, until the dust settles a little from today's events. But on the whole they do not appear to be good. Meanwhile, anyone who thought that what goes on at USM needn't concern academics at other institutions had better think again.
As always, for the latest information consult the message board at the Fire Shelby Web site. And if you are so inclined, lend some encouragement to the regular contributors at FS. They might need it just now.
It is typical of Limbaugh's loose thinking that he was probably bastardizing Jefferson's observation about a"Revolution" every 20 years; that the Tree of Liberty must be Watered by the Blood of Patriots.
There is a great difference between a Revolution to advance Liberty and a War to keep the Status Quo, or even, in some cases, to move back toward a thoroughly Reactionary society.
Our move in Iraq to now put in place Saddam's old commanders and troops, tells you exactly the thoughts of American leadership on the subject. We helped put Saddam in power, and he proceeded to destroy virtually every vestige of Civil Society in Iraq.
It is a great tribute to the Iraqi people that they have withstood this onslaught to the extent that they have.
"There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern," Bush said.There are only a few folks I know of, Mr. President, who think that olive skin tones and Muslim faith are incompatible with freedom, and they tend to be rather bloodlusty and pro-war.
"I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren't necessarily -- are a different color than white can self-govern."
The argument is not that Iraqis aren't capable of a free society because they're Arab or Muslim. The argument is:
Given that there's no recent history in the region of the kinds of sustainable institutions necessary to preserve and support a free society, it's foolish and arrogant to think we can force American-style democracy on Iraq or Iran or Syria at the point of a gun, and it's ever more foolish and arrogant to think our military and civilian planners can construct a liberal democracy from little more than piles of rubble, oil revenue, and volatile ethnic strife.
It has nothing to do with race. It's history.
Remember this when the Repubicans accuse the Democrats (most likely accurately, by the way) of demagoguing race in the coming November election.
Here's Jackie-O speaking Spanish in what seems to be an appeal to hispanic voters in New York. And here's the famous little-girl-nuked ad that Johnson used to beat Goldwater in 1964. I've never understood why that ad was supposed to be so unfair. Goldwater did call for the use of tactical nukes in Vietnam. However, hearing an amoral wretch like Johnson piously intone,"We mus' luv eech other, oar we mus' die" is enough to turn your stomach.
Hat tip: Neat New Stuff.
Robert L. Campbell
Friday afternoon the Mississippi College Board announced the settlement between Shelby Thames, the President of the University of Southern Mississippi, and the two professors he fired on March 5, Frank Glamser and Gary Stringer.
In return for 2 more years at USM, during which they will not be allowed to teach classes or have offices on campus, after which they will have to retire, Glamser and Stringer had to promise to refrain from further public criticism of the Thames administration.
They have kept their promise.
Fewer constraints were applied to Thames' post-settlement behavior, but he was required to refrain from derogatory comments about the two professors he had tried to fire. The following provision is numbered as it appears in the full text of the settlement:
"8. The parties agree to refrain from making public comments about this agreement until final approval by the Board. The parties agree not to make any public comments about this agreement designed to reflect negatively on the opposing party. The parties acknowledge and agree that the Hearing Officer will make certain detailed statements to the media regarding this agreement."
Scarcely was this settlement announced when Thames' personal spokesflack, Lisa Mader issued the following press release (courtesy of a contributor to the Fire Shelby message board):
Friday, April 30, 2004
For Immediate Release
Statement by President Shelby Thames
Regarding the Settlement Agreement with Drs. Glamser and Stringer
I appreciate the thoughtful consideration given to this difficult decision by Justice Anderson and the IHL Board. I wish this matter could have been resolved without going through this process, but the agreement reached Wednesday is in the best interest of Southern Miss.
I said from the beginning, that it was never my intention to cause financial harm to Drs. Glamser and Stringer, but the evidence provided to me warranted my initiating dismissal proceedings. This matter could not have been taken lightly because the issues in this case were very serious, as the settlement agreement confirms.
In the coming weeks and months, a debate need not occur to determine who"won" this matter. This was never about anyone"winning," but rather what was in the best interest of Southern Miss. We must keep in mind that Southern Miss is stronger than any one situation. We have the best students, the brightest faculty and staff, supportive alumni and the unlimited potential to make Southern Miss a world-class institution.
Cutting past the first and third paragraphs, which merely show that with staff assistance even Shelby Thames can work up some presidential blather, the second is obviously in violation of the settlement.
Thames further misrepresented the settlement to one newspaper:
"Under the terms of the agreement, the professors will not be reinstated or allowed to return to campus."
"I said from the beginning that it was never my intention to cause financial harm to Drs. Glamser and Stringer, but that it is in the best interest of the university that they be removed... Under the terms of the agreement, the professors will not be reinstated or allowed to return to campus."
Now it is up to the Mississippi College Board to notice the violations and penalize Thames for them. If the Board pretends nothing happened, everyone will know that the fix is in.
The majority of the College Board seems to have a time horizon measurable in nanoseconds. The Clintonesque speeches some of the Board members have made about"healing" at USM, while Thames and his henchcrew remain in power, and unresolved impasses abound, are ample proof of that. (The impasses are so deep that Thames will not even provide the USM Faculty Senate with an organizational chart of his own administration, or explain what money is being used to pay his Chief Hatchet Man, Jack Hanbury, who until his elevation to University Counsel last Friday was not listed as a state employee.) But even politicians who don't care a hoot whether an administrator is manifestly unable to manage, antagonizes nearly the entire faculty and large numbers of students, and routinely hires administrators with doubtful to no qualifications, still have some expectations:
At a minimum, the College Board must expect that Thames will not keep making them look bad. They must also expect not to have to keep intervening in USM affairs. The Board does not want to manage the day-to-day operations of USM; it sorely lacks the capability to do so, even if its other responsibilities didn't preclude taking that one on.
The problem for Thames and his supporters is that he cannot be expected to fulfill the Board's (woefully limited) expectations of him. He cannot bear to be seen as less than omnipotent. He will not refrain from shooting off his mouth, in front of reporters and editors who have stopped granting him the automatic deference that university presidents normally enjoy.
Thames has two years remaining on his contract. To people who are disappointed by the settlement, he may look bulletproof. But there is a way to stop him from putting every aspect of the university under the control of his cronies, from crushing the faculty, or from further alienating the students. The way to do it is to apply relentless pressure. For Thames will predictably respond to that pressure with ever more arbitrary actions and ever more foolish public statements. As the heat intensifies on Thames, conditions will get ugly. But if USM faculty, students, and sympathizers can keep Thames under pressure, he will become too great a load for the College Board to bear. The day will come when they give forth a great collective sigh and drop him.
And the prospects for both academic freedom and civilized standards of privacy on campus will be greatly enhanced if they do.
However, the piece does show the Times characteristic bias in favor of government because it does not mention, even once, the enormous potential for tax revenue that is involved. Unless they are going to weigh people at the Giant Supermarket checkout counter everyone, including the emaciated, will pay the Twinkie Taxes. Also, think of the bad science, graft and corruption that will go into deciding which foods are bad and taxable versus which foods are good and non-taxable.
The anti-fat movement is just one more nail in the coffin of personal responsibility.
David T. Beito
David T. Beito
It was revealed this week, that on top of the indiscriminate bombardment of civilians in Iraqi urban areas, both US and British soldiers have become involved in torture as well. At the same time, comparing the three overall interventions, some writers have drawn attention to parallels with Vietnam a generation ago, and the Philippines a century earlier.
Massive civilian deaths and torture are characteristic of all three Imperial Interventions.
Our Philippine adventure resulted in the creation of The Anti-Imperialist League, in which a number of noted Americans, ranging from former General/Senator Carl Schurz to Mark Twain sought to draw attention to what the Army was doing in the Islands.
By 1902, the Senate, controlled by imperialists such as Henry Cabot Lodge, had initiated another of its often feckless investigations into the conduct of a war. The “antis,” developed a parallel investigation culminating in the publication of a small book, “Marked Severities”: Secretary [of War Elihu] Root’s Record in the Philippines. As it became clear the “antis” would focus on atrocities, some like Andrew Carnegie, withdrew the $5,000 he had promised to help with the investigation.
Calling attention to atrocities always causes the imperialists to drape themselves in the flag and denounce all such criticism as “unpatriotic.”
The estimates of civilians killed in the Philippines range from 200,000 to a high of perhaps 600,000 -- no one really knows. This writer has seen pictures smuggled out by American soldiers of pits filled with the bodies of dozens of Filipinos. One soldier wrote of troops killing a village of about a 1,000 after someone had fired upon them from there.
The “water cure” was the approved torture of the day. With the mouth held open by a knife, a water hose was thrust down the victim’s throat. Whether he talked or not, most often death came later from the infection of the stomach lesions caused by the water pressure. “Civilize ‘em with a Krag” [rifle] was our great battle cry of the era.
The massive burning and killing of Vietnamese -- including the whole village of My Lai -- was much more publicized, of course, in the counterinsurgency in Vietnam. Again, total deaths are hard to estimate, but were certainly well over a million Asians.
Less so was the torture. One of my former students, in American intelligence, refused to participate in it. The Koreans for centuries have been employed for torture by the Chinese, and the US often used them in that capacity in Vietnam. A common method was to jamb wire through the hands and wire them together. The person was then taken up in a helicopter, and pushed out the open door if he refused to talk. Of course, as with the"tiger cages," we often let our South Vietnamese ally do much of the nastier interrogation work.
Now, of course, in Iraq, we are repeating the"shock and awe," kill civilians-torture the enemy tactics of our earlier imperial interventions. It is unclear to me how this will ever result in “winning the hearts and minds” of the Iraqi people. I recall an interview in Vietnam where an American officer admitted our tactics had lost the present generation of Vietnamese, but we would win over the next one. I wondered who he thought would father this new generation? Even General William E. Odum acknowledges we have lost legitimacy in Iraq, and a number of our military professionals warned against the adventure in the first place.
Sy Hersh has an expose of our massive prison complex at AbuGhraib in the forthcomg issue of The New Yorker. It appears the worst Torture abuses were under the direction of the CIA, and other"private contractor" intelligence people. No wonder the people in Fallujah hated these contractors so.
One item that I have not seen discussed is that some contractors also use bullets outlawed under the Geneva Convention, which will literally cut you in half. Who will stand responsible for those kinds of atrocities?
One thing is certain, just as Elihu Root could concoct these policies for the Philippines, and good ‘ol “fog of war,” Robert MacNamara could do so for Vietnam, they would never personally be involved in such killings and torture -- leave that to the soldiers in the field! The same goes for Bush and Cheney today, both of whom appear in “plausible denial," and will blame it all on underlings.
What a century of this Imperialism has done to Americans is not apt to be mentioned by those who glorify Empire such as Niall Ferguson or William Kristol. Perhaps these are the people who ought to be trained to do the torturing for the greater glories of the Empire!
To talk about the Philippines as a “great aberration,” as once did the historian Samuel Flagg Bemis, is errant nonsense. Our Imperial policies, and especially the “national security” bureaucracies and military forces to carry them out, have been developing for at least a century now. They were not disbanded after Vietnam, and the frustrations of Iraq are not likely to cause them to be dismantled into the future.
Remember that the Dictator Julius Caesar was heavily backed by what one might today call the military-industrial complex of Ancient Rome. They used"private contractors," too, and the missile weapon of mass destruction was the catapult, as one sees in the opening scene of"The Gladiator." Someone had the contracts to supply all of that!
It will be interesting to see how this develops given George Bush’s fundamentalist fanaticism. Recall the definition of a fanatic, as someone who redoubles his effort when he has lost sight of his goal.