@ miguel cervantes:
?
@ Scott Miller:
Sure it's contradictory, though when I went all historical and meta-historical on you, I wasn't just being snide or something. The maverick military historian Martin Van Creveld forecast developments something like what we've seen with the contractors a generation or so ago. He's a skeptical pessimist on the nation-state and associated institutions, sees it as kind of an historical accident or detour, and suggested that things might be developing more toward the "private army" model that in one way or another has more often often been a core social/anti-social institution in diverse civilizations. The professionalization of national armies, the decline of mass-engagement warfare, the rise of militias, and so on, all can be seen as part of the same process, if you're of a mind to generalize. I think it's also possible to imagine a kind of interlocking 3-D jigsaw of security and corresponding social concepts, but if the global economic situatoin takes a particularly harsh turn for a sustained period, it might start looking a lot less secure and a lot more scary, even in still relatively well-organized and wealthy places like the US of A.

@ Scott Miller:
"Ever" is a long time, and there have been a lot of variations on the theme going back to the origins of civilization. Certainly the concern exploded along with the huge upsurge in contracting to the likes of Blackwater for roles that in modern wars would previously have been served by uniformed personnel.

@ Scott Miller:
Never underestimate the cunning of history.

http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/93198/how-the-supercommittee-will-succeed-failing

Also, I just learned (did I already know, but forgot?) that dammit Im mad is dammit Im mad spelled backwards.

@ fuster:
True, but the hypothesis - virtually CW at this point - has been that on the Prez level that stuff is marginal, and that economic condition are much more predictive, with incumbents or representatives of incumbent parties consistently performing as predicted by whatever chosen economic indicators. So, there was plenty of mud to throw at O, for instance. Even without getting into Wright, McCain had a whole slick, high-tech negative "dossier" campaign prepared, and, even after it was mostly junked, Fox and independent actors like Dick Morris were going crazy on that stuff, but no one cared after the financial crisis. The reason I don't buy it is that there are far too few really meaningful instances and no available inertial frame, especially if the frame of frames is itself being broken.