The archetypal 'melting pot cannibal' is a survival strategy that recognizes that a melting pot is ultimately based on the survival of one group of tribes, then of one tribe, then one clan, etc and so on.
General John Kelly is a sort of smart guy. He has figured out a lot of the tricks to individual success in a melting pot, but his 'smartness' is melting pot intelligence, compromise, not native intelligence.
His son was killed in Afghanistan, and in one interview he said
"“He wanted to be there. He volunteered. Generally speaking, there’s no encouragement in our society today to serve the nation, but many, many, many people do, in uniform, as ― in the military, as well as police officers and CIA and FBI.""
""So gold star families are special, to say the least. –I’m not, but they are. They don’t ask for much. I get ― I get occasional letters from gold star families who are asking, “Was it worth it?”"
"“And I always go back with this: ‘It doesn’t matter. That’s not our question to ask as parents. That person thought ― that young person thought it was worth it, and that’s the only opinion that counts.’"
"“They don’t ask for anything, as I say. I think the one thing they would ask is that the cause for which their son or daughter fell be ― be carried through to ―-- to a successful end, whatever that means, as opposed to “this is getting too costly,” or “too much of a pain in the ass,” and “let’s just walk away from it.” Because that’s when they start thinking it might have been not worth it.“"
In other words, he was cognizant of the question about whether that specific conflict was 'worth fighting', he attributes the question to a 'gold star family', somebody whose child was killed, but his first awareness of that question would have been when he was a young man.
Like any question, that question can be answered accurately, simply. In the context of that speech he was asking the question rhetorically, imitating a question that he heard and knew carried weight.
But did he answer it accurately and simply?
In the context of a general being asked that question, the question really is 'Was Afghanistan an existential threat to the U.S., such that attacking it justified the deaths of many young people on both sides."
His answer was 'the young people thought it was worth it'.
In other words he is saying that his job as a general does not include vetting fights, deciding whether one or another fight is or isn't worth the deaths of other people. He believes his job is to make sure the soldiers are in a fight that they, not necessarily anybody else, believe is worth taking risks for. He was saying it is up to groups of youths, not 'elders', to decide which fights are 'right'.
Of course 20 year old boys will join any group fight and a tribal society does not operate like that, but a melting pot must, and to succeed in the melting pot, to become a general, you must join the herd and encourage whatever deception is paying best that day.
Kelly, if he lives long enough, will eventually shift his position to supporting the idea of 'generals' not sacrificing 'other peoples' children' in conflicts that are not defensive. But until he makes that switch he has high melting pot credibility.
He furthered his credibility within the melting pot hierarchy by having a kid who he was willing to feed to the beast. Once his kid's number inadvertently came up, he maintained his opportunistic stance and continued cashing in, which gave him further credibility.
In other words he is useful as an opportunist with credibility, but not as a strategist. He bought his melting pot credibility by selling his real world credibility, so he can be trusted to be an empty uniform.
He is 'useful' to the melting pot, convincing, effective, promotable, but not ultimately a 'general' except for marketing purposes.
As an unwitting minion of the melting pot, Kelly has similarities to Robert McNamara who was in charge when Kelly was younger.
He might do well to look at McNamara's shift.
"Up to November 1965, McNamara who been a supporter of the war, first started to have doubts about the war, saying at a press conference that "it will be a long war", which completely contradicted his previous optimistic statements that the war would be brought to a close soon. Although he was a prime architect of the Vietnam War and repeatedly overruled the JCS on strategic matters, McNamara gradually became skeptical about whether the war could be won by deploying more troops to South Vietnam and intensifying the bombing of North Vietnam, a claim he would publish in a book years later. He also stated later that his support of the war was given out of loyalty to administration policy."
McNamara, like Kelly, was made a general because he was reliably stupid. He was articulate and educated, but no matter how much evidence he saw, he could not figure out that the Vietnam war wasn't about fighting communists, it was about fighting anti colonialists, those who opposed the melting pot.
"Through McNamara reported to Johnson that American forces were inflicting heavy losses on the North Vietnamese and VC, he added that they could "more than replace" their losses and that "full security exists nowhere" in South Vietnam, even in areas supposedly "pacified" by the Americans. Worse of all, McNamara complained that the South Vietnamese were still not carrying their full share of the load, as they expected the Americans to do all the fighting for them, stating: "This important war must be fought and won by the Vietnamese themselves. We have known this from the beginning. But the discouraging truth is that, as was the case in 1961 and 1963 and 1965, we have not found the formula, the catalyst, for training and inspiring them into effective action"."
"McNamara's own teenage son, Robert Craig McNamara, was opposed to the war and denounced his father when he came from work every day. McNaughton told McNamara that after having talked to some of the young people that "a feeling is widely and strongly held...that 'the Establishment' is out of its mind" and the dominant opinion was "that we are trying to impose some U.S. image on distant peoples we cannot understand and that we carry the thing to absurd lengths.""
In the Vietnam era, the 'domino theory' was the signature blindness, or stupidity, of promotable minions. If a person could convincingly show that they supported such an absurd theory then they could be considered reliable servants of the melting pot.
"McNamara commissioned the Vietnam Study Task Force on June 17, 1967. Intended as the official record of US military involvement in Indochina, the final report ran to 3,000 pages and was classified as "Top Secret – Sensitive". The report was ultimately leaked to the New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg, a former aide to McNamara's Assistant Secretary of Defense, John McNaughton. The leak became known as the Pentagon Papers, revealing that McNamara and others had been aware that the Vietnam offensive was futile. Subsequent efforts by the Nixon administration to prevent such leaks led indirectly to the Watergate scandal. McNamara said that the Domino Theory was the main reason for entering the Vietnam War."
The only people who could be convinced of an absurdity like the 'domino theory' were group creatures, people who got their identity and power from loyalty to some group paradigm, and those types of people gravitate towards uniformed jobs, they wallow in the manure of 'top secret' authority that protects their fantasy club.
Slowly they begin to realize that they don't really possess the 'top' secrets.
"The historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr stated that he was present during a conversation between McNamara and Senator Robert F. Kennedy during which the former told the latter that he only learned from reading the newspapers of Johnson's announcement that he had just "resigned" as Defense Secretary and had been appointed president of the World Bank."
At some point the useful minions like McNamara and Kelly get a glimpse of what they are really supporting, but then it passes, simply because the jobs they get pay too well to complain about.
"McNamara left office on February 29, 1968; for his efforts, the President awarded him both the Medal of Freedom and the Distinguished Service Medal. McNamara's last day as Defense Secretary was a memorable one. The hawkish National Security Adviser, Walt Whitman Rostow, argued at a cabinet meeting that day that the United States was on the verge of winning the war. Rostow urged Johnson to send 206,000 more American troops to South Vietnam to join the half-million already there and to drastically increase the number of bombing raids on North Vietnam. At that point, McNamara, snapped in fury at Rostow, saying: "What then? This goddamned bombing campaign, it's worth nothing, it's done nothing, they dropped more bombs than on all of Europe in all of World War II and it hasn't done a fucking thing!" McNamara then broke down in tears, saying to Johnson to just accept that the war could not be won. Henry McPherson, an aide to the president recalled the scene: "He reeled off the familiar statistics-how we had dropped more bombs on Vietnam than on all of Europe during World War II. Then his voice broke, and there were tears on his eyes as he spoke of the futility, the crushing futility of the air war. The rest of us sat silently-I for one with my mouth open, listening to the secretary of defense talk that way about a campaign for which he had, ultimately, been responsible. I was pretty shocked"."
And of course McNamara's cannibalism, his willingness to consume soldiers as part of the beast, was not as direct as Kelly's. McNamara was much brighter than Kelly, and the trend towards less and less bright 'leadership' will probably continue accelerating.
"On September 29, 1972, a passenger on the ferry to Martha's Vineyard recognized McNamara on board and attempted to throw him into the ocean. McNamara declined to press charges. The man remained anonymous but was interviewed years later by author Paul Hendrickson, who quoted the attacker as saying, "I just wanted to confront (McNamara) on Vietnam.""
All of the above quotes are from