My “Never Again”: How the Iraq War Forms My Thinking On Living and Investing

My “Never Again”: How the Iraq War Forms My Thinking On Living and Investing
The rally against the Iraq War was the city’s largest since the Vietnam War.

When I was feeling particularly low and lonely at the height of the pandemic a friend of mine encouraged me to volunteer at a suicide hotline.

“If you think you have problems just listen to these stories,” she said.

“How bad could it be?”

The answer? BadVery bad. I lasted about a week. There were simply too many soldiers—soldiers who in another life could well have been me.

They say it is twenty-two soldiers a day who take their lives but I suspect that it’s a lot more. How many? I’m not sure.

Maybe we don’t need boots on the ground but eyes in the sky. Maybe, just maybe, the solution isn’t to be the world’s police man but the world’s prosecutor.

Prosecutors have to “prove it” and so too, should the United States of America when it goes to war, or even when engaging our military at all.


Today marks the anniversary of my grandfather winning the Navy Cross at the Battle of Honshu Island. I come from a long line of Americans who did their part before we were even a country. In some cases — notably the King Phillips War and the American Revolution — my ancestors paid with their lives.

So I decided long ago to do my part. I took the ASVAB and unbeknownst to a lot of people even volunteered for the Army ROTC — only to be “medically disqualified.” It was appealable but my scholarship and my work came to just enough to let me get through college with minimal debt which I paid off.

By that time I had turned almost radically against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and indeed against all wars altogether.

Which is precisely why I became a defense contractor. We need defense contractors that are about defense, not war.


I attended the March 2003 protest in the Boston Common — which was then the largest protest in Boston since the Vietnam War. I was fourteen.

My father was not pleased and advised me not to be involved in political protests. He told me quite rightly that there would be people there who meant me harm. He was, of course, right but I have never let prudence get in the way of doing the right thing.

Slowly but surely I began to join the neoconservative case for intervening in Iraq though I never really believed that the Iraqis were capable of building atomic bombs.

My reasons for intervening in Iraq were strictly humanitarian. “Saddam Hussein was brutal to his people,” I’d say, but then the Kurds aren’t really his people are they? What did he really care?

Looking back now I see how I was misled by cunning neoconnery. Only now have we begun talking about the role of Russia, Israel, and China played in getting us stuck in the Middle East. Russia — ever the petrostate — wanted us to take out an oil producing country. Israel, particularly Netanyahu, wanted us on either side of Iran with Afghanistan and Iraq forward bases. China bribed the Cheneys by owning Halliburton stock.

For all of the talk of the necessity of us being in the Middle East it’s seemingly only been when we pivoted to Asia that the various countries began offering one another peace deals. Be honest. Did you have Iran and Saudi Arabia having a peace deal brokered by China in your analysis?

Looking back at it now Soviet spy Alexandre Kojève and his student Francis Fukuyama was putting us to sleep — first with delusions of Cold War victory then with Chinese fentanyl. Think carefully before you join the metaverse.

In some real sense the fakers behind the Iraq War moved on into the tech world where they couldn’t readily be outed. This is the thinking that gave us Theranos with its Afghanistan war generals, or Ubiome with its fake shit tests (literally).

Neoconservatism gave us Facebook — its own kind of predatory vision. Whereas neoconservatism sought to spread “democracy” by force of arms Facebook sought to spread it by “connecting the world.”

In reality we got scammers and cons and foreign ops and Q Anon. Move fast and break democracy!

I imagine a different America than that builds

  • solar powered cars to reduce our demand for oil while decentralizing power production
  • satellites to monitor shipping lanes and neutralize tanks and ships
  • drones to intercept Chinese spy balloons
  • facial recognition and genomic genealogy to make all crime unsolvable
  • control over the U.S. dollar to stop foreign money laundering and removes the need for crypto

I have invested accordingly. I want nothing to do with the classification system. Let all the secrets out and about. Let the government invite in the nerds and let the nerds to their thing.

Never again will we allow ourselves to be misled.

If you aren’t investing in sense-making you aren’t really investing in America. Our adversaries know this about us and they sneak spies into our discourse and technology companies.

America is waking up from the end of history and becoming its author once more.

Things are happening — so long as we don’t fall for the malarkey.


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