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Andrew Marshall, head of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA), has been working at the Defense Department for more than three decades and has never met a threat to national security he didn’t like. During the Cold War, the ONA was charged with assessing the Soviet threat to national security and it always described said threat in the most alarming terms. During the Reagan years Marshall helped write a secret document that called for the United States to have the ability to fight and win a nuclear war with Russia and in late-1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and with the Soviet Union on its last legs, Marshall was still calling for big increases in military spending.
Since them, Marshall’s office has produced studies pointing to major threats from countries such as North Korea and China, and supported a host of new weapons systems, including variants of Star Wars “Andy’s one of those defense intellectuals who’re always there to come up with the stuff that backs the needs of industry,” an ex-Pentagon staffer once told me.
So it’s interesting that Laura Rozen has discovered that Alexis Debat, the disgraced “terrorism expert” and former ABC News consultant, has been working on a study contracted by the ONA. According to Rozen, Debat was doing work on a report produced by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think tank and was funded by Marshall’s shop.
The Center’s Andrew Krepinevich told Rozen that “he had hired Debat as a consultant in April 2007 to provide analytical support overseeing a contract from the Pentagon Office of Net Assessment.” He wouldn’t say what the study was about, but two sources told Rozen that the topic was radical Islam.
Krepinevich has terminated Debat’s relationship with the Center, but the work on the report for ONA apparently will continue. The United States does face a real threat from radical Islam, but my guess is that any study for Marshall’s shop will hype it far out of proportions and call for a military answer to what is largely a political problem.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”