Monday, May 10, 2010

Loren Thompson: if you thought he was douchey for his position on shipbuilding, wait 'til you see THIS! (UPDATED)

We already knew Loren Thompson was a shill for the defense industry, but who knew that he's also apparently an unfunny a-hole [meh, edited to excise original, more vitriolic commentary/epithets]?
The only people celebrating at the Pentagon last week were the Mexicans working on renovating the building. Wednesday was Cinco de Mayo, a holiday for honoring Mexican history and culture.
Uh... are you serious?

That's the lead-in to an otherwise tired and uninsightful slap at the SECDEF for his anti-waste speeches last week, the kind of speeches that send shivers down the spine of people who make their living off of fear and unrestrained defense spending. Here's Gates on Saturday:
Given America’s difficult economic circumstances and parlous fiscal condition, military spending on things large and small can and should expect closer, harsher scrutiny. The gusher has been turned off, and will stay off for a good period of time.
Wait wait wait... "things large AND small"?? You can cancel the DDG-1000, but how will we get along if you can't pay for MEXICANS TO RENOVATE THE PENTAGON?!?!

UPDATE: Nathan Hodge at Danger Room charitably gives Thompson a chance to clarify his comments. Thompson responds by acting willfully stupid yet again.

And in a phone conversation with Danger Room, Thompson said the comment about Mexicans was a “straightforward observation” about the ethnicity of many of the workers on the Pentagon’s renovation.

“I often notice as I walked in and out of the building that a lot of Hispanics were working in the building,” Thompson said. “It’s not a criticism, it’s just an observation.”

Last week, Thompson added, was Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that honors Mexican history and culture: “We don’t have a lot of Mexicans working desk jobs in the Pentagon. I was just observing that they were the only people in the building that may have had a reason to celebrate.”

Man, that guy sucks.

15 comments:

  1. It's clumsy and not funny, but I don't know if it's all that racist to note that Mexican (or, more likely, a mix of Central American) immigrants comprise a great deal of the unskilled and other forms of blue collar labor within the Beltway.

    It added nothing to his larger point and seemed to be motivated more from his need to begin an essay than an underlying racism. But is it racist?

    He actually is right about the cuts coming for amphib warfare because Congress won't let him touch Trident. He also was correct in noting that SecDef's second speech really identified where the growing expenditures arise -- "rising military healthcare costs, redundant commands, and a surfeit of general officers."

    What went unsaid was that Navy shipbuilding was designed to CUT the numbers of tars onboard, thereby slashing the prices paid by salaries, healthcare and the commanders needed to scrutinize them.

    What he could've discussed more was his point (probably valid) that the growth of the ground component will need for cuts to come elsewhere. Is the military becoming a jobs program? As a Posen acoylte, even an infantry-centric dolt like me can see that it might be better to invest in systems that allow us to defend the global commons rather than invest heavily in the one area that can only be contested at a high pricetag.

    SNLII

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  2. Maybe not racist, no. And maybe it's irresponsible to use that term, since I find culture war and race-baiting to be pretty boring and tired. But it's really damn stupid.

    For one thing, most of the Latino day laborers in the DC area are Salvadoran, and then maybe Guatemalan. Two, if we're making a joke about people celebrating Cinco de Mayo, shouldn't we include all the Texan whiteys like me who were at Tortilla Coast come 5 o'clock on the 5th? Three, as pretty much everyone knows, there's a shit-ton of Mexican-Americans in the U.S. military... presumably to include at the Pentagon. They're not all there to swing hammers.

    What a dick.

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  3. "shouldn't we include all the Texan whiteys like me who were at Tortilla Coast come 5 o'clock on the 5th? "

    No, because that sounds really, really lame. It would be lamer if you were at the Taco Coast outlet in Bethesda.

    And your gratuitous use of the racist term "whitey" makes you sound "douchey," which is itself sexist.

    I'm offended. SecDef, help me!

    SNLII

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  4. Oh man, you guys are hammering all my friends recently! But yeah, it was a clumsy opener. I would have run my red pen right through it had it come across my desk.

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  5. I've only met Loren a few times, BF, but you know him well. He never struck me as a "racist."


    SNLII

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  6. "We don’t have a lot of Mexicans working desk jobs in the Pentagon. I was just observing that they were the only people in the building that may have had a reason to celebrate."

    Oh, no.

    SNLII

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  7. In a related story, President Obama didn't wear a flag lapel pin. He must hate America.

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  8. In a related story, President Obama didn't wear a flag lapel pin. He must hate America.

    Uh, how is this related again?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Why so many Hispanic laborers on a government jobsite when so many African-Americans in DC are unemployed?

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  10. Anon @ 0152 -- Why so many Hispanic laborers on a government jobsite when so many African-Americans in DC are unemployed?

    I think you've got the wrong blog, dude. You want to go here.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Loren is not a racist. He can be a wise-ass, and a general rule he's more likely to double-down on anything he says than he is to retract. He was trying to be cutesy, ended up being too clever by a half, but now he's not about to show weakness.

    Funny story about Loren. I was his successor at Georgetown at the National Security Studies Program. Had his desk, phone number, etc. For a while my boss would introduce me as the "new Loren Thompson." Anyway, in the Summer of 1994 as the Haiti situation deteriorated, my phone rings. I pick up, "Bernard Finel, NSSP." The person on the end identifies himself as from as a reporter and says, "Oh, I'm sorry, I was trying to reach Haiti expert Loren Thompson." I think the closest Loren is to a Haiti expert is that he probably vacationed in DR at some point. Anyway, that was a running joke for a long time with my colleagues at Georgetown.

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  12. How is this related? It's a minor issue that is getting more attention than it deserves by people smart enough to know better. You're no fan of Thompson and neither are lots of others. Got it. So you bite onto this? It's like knocking Obama for not wearing a flag lapel pin.

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  13. That's actually a funny story, BF.

    It reminds me of some told about Tony Cordesman, too. Some public defense intellectuals seem to wear their expertise pretty loosely.

    SNLII

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  14. That's actually a funny story, BF.

    Agree.

    How is this related? It's a minor issue that is getting more attention than it deserves by people smart enough to know better. You're no fan of Thompson and neither are lots of others. Got it. So you bite onto this? It's like knocking Obama for not wearing a flag lapel pin.

    Disagree.

    I'm not saying "this is evidence that Loren Thompson isn't qualified to be President of the United States!" I'm saying that this is evidence that Loren Thompson sucks, which could be entirely incidental to the fact that he also sucks at defense analysis, filtering his version of reality through a pro-industry lens that may or may not be the product of the fact that he ACCEPTS MONEY FROM THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY for his services.

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  15. If you want to see racist, then go here. This sickens me.

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/05/05/harvard-student-stephanie-graces-racist-e-mail-a-disaster-all/

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