THE BLOG
04/13/2007 12:48 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Shock and Ewww: Neocons and Hookers

I was kind of hoping to never hear the phrase "shock and awe" again, but it's back in the news, because one of men who coined it is getting a reputation for paying for sex. What makes it even more interesting is that he's a Republican, and it's with a woman.

Last year, when the Feds raided the home of (alleged) Washington D.C. madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey, she speculated that the bust:

"Had solely to do with some Duke Cunningham-type bigwig client that got caught up in something and started to say, 'Do you know this?' and 'Do you know that?' And that he might have been able to lead them to somebody."

Which is pure speculation and just wrong, I mean dragging Randy "Duke" Cunningham's name into the problems of some sleazy escort service. Everyone knows his prostitutes were provided by Shirlington Limousine.

Since then, Palfrey has threatened to identify all her famous clients, in the course of her defense, which is just wrong too. Because if there's one thing a jury hates worse than a pimp, it's a name-dropper.

She claims she has big names in her little black book. And just to give everyone a taste, she identified... Dick Morris.

(Okay, now most people think Dick Morris is a celebrity like the San Diego Chicken is a baseball star. But we're talking about Washington.)

Since then, the whole town has been waiting for the other shoe to drop. And/or an explanation of the expression, "waiting for the other shoe to drop."

Harlan K. Ullman is that shoe.

(Oh my God! Not THE Harlan K. Ullman! He seemed so nice when I had never heard of him before in my life!)

(Ah, Washington.)

Harlan K. Ullman is the father of "shock and awe." Or one of its parents, anyway. In 1996, he and six other guys wrote a paper for the National Defense Institute called Shock and Awe - Achieving Rapid Dominance.

("Oh, Harlan... you're so dominant... and rapid!")

It came to the attention of George W. Bush because it's not very long. And it argued that America would have to fight future wars quickly, and with overpowering force, because (in a post-Cold War world) defense budgets were bound to shrink. So, while most people think "shock and awe" is a disgrace because it advocates mass murder and showing off, and it turns out it doesn't work at all, its actual charm lies in being built on a premise that was 100% wrong from the start.

The defense budget is never going down.

But the paper does make interesting reading, now that we (allegedly) know that one of its authors is an (accused) whoremonger. It begins...

To stimulate and intrigue the reader, we note at the outset that one thrust of Rapid Dominance is to expand on the doctrine of overwhelming or decisive force in both depth and breadth...

(Harlan, honey, you had me at 'Hello, here's $50.'"

Rapid Dominance must be all-encompassing. It will require the means to... convey the unmistakable message that unconditional compliance is the only available recourse.

(Baby, I'm all about compliance.)

Rapid Dominance must also demonstrate to the adversary our endurance and staying power...

(Yes... yes... But it'll cost more if I'm here all night.)


There must be staying power effect on the enemy or they merely absorb the blows, gain in confidence and their ability to resist... With Rapid Dominance, the goal is to use our power with such compellance that even the strongest of wills will be awed...

(Awe me daddy, awe me! But just give me a minute, while I run your credit card, it didn't go through the first time.)

... This discrete or precise nature of applying force differentiates this from Hiroshima and Massive Destruction examples. Sun Tzu was brought before Ho Lu, the King of Wu, who had read all of Sun Tzu's thirteen chapters on war and proposed a test of Sun's military skills. Ho asked if the rules applied to women. When the answer was yes, the king challenged Sun Tzu to turn the royal concubines into a marching troop. The concubines merely laughed at Sun Tzu until he had the head cut off the head concubine. The ladies still could not bring themselves to take the master's orders seriously. So, Sun Tzu had the head cut off a second concubine. From that point on, so the story goes, the ladies learned to march with the precision of a drill team.

(That's right, sugar. I'm your concubine and you can... wait... What the fuck are you talking about? Cut off my what? Cut off my HEAD?)

... The German Wehrmacht's Blitzkrieg was not a massive attack across a very broad front... the enemy's line was PROBED in MULTIPLE LOCATIONS and, wherever it could be MOST EASILY PENETRATED, attack was concentrated in a narrow salient. The image is that of the SHAPED CHARGE, PENETRATING THROUGH a RELATIVELY TINY HOLE in a tank's armor and then EXPLODING outwardly to achieve a MAXIMUM CONE OF DAMAGE AGAINST THE UNARMORED OR LESS PROTECTED INNARDS!

(Okay, that's it. I have this thing about Johns talking about my innards. Untie me or I'm calling my driver.)

To be fair, I may have taken those quotes out of context.

Also, to be fair, Ullman has called Deborah Jeane Palfrey's allegations "beneath the dignity of a comment." ("... Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to planning the deaths of thousands.")

And, to be fair, I don't know anything about Harlan K. Ullman except what his pimp says, and that he's one of six "shock and awe" guys and the author of IN IRONS: U.S. Military Might in the New Century.

Mmmmm... in irons...

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Hey Idiom Fans!

A charming Huff Post commenter informs me that I misused the expession "Ann Coulter wears army boots" a few weeks ago. I thought I was saying that Ann Coulter was a lesbian -- and some of my best friends are lesbians -- when the phrase actually comes from the idea that streetwalkers who had sex with soldiers were given their boots, in exchange. That sounds right to me. I stand corrected. When Ann Coulter wears army boots, that doesn't make her a lesbian, it makes her a whore.

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Hey, Idiom Fans!

While we're at it, what does "waiting for the other shoe to drop," mean? I really don't know.