Via an emailer, this Thomas Ricks post:
I am surprised by Obama’s reversal. I wasn’t so taken aback in February when he went along with his generals and abandoned his campaign promise to withdraw a brigade a month from Iraq this year, and instead endorsed a plan that kept troop levels there pretty steady this year. But to get rolled twice — well, he must think he is running up some pretty big chits with them. I know he is trying to do the right thing but at some point he is going to have to say, My way or the highway.
I guess what I don’t understand is how this is considered “getting rolled.” Is Ricks asserting that the Generals are just playing games and there were no merits to their arguments and that this was just a power play? Because that is what I think of when I hear that someone got “rolled.”
From where I sit, all through the campaign Obama repeatedly stated that he would consult with his generals, take their advice into consideration, and then make his decision. You could google all that if you are interested. Hell, his campaign website says the following: “Barack Obama will work with his military commanders to responsibly end the war in Iraq.” Via MM, here are some more examples:
* In a March 19 speech, Obama said: “Let me be clear: Ending this war is not going to be easy. There will be dangers involved — just as there would be dangers involved with staying indefinitely. We will have to make tactical adjustments, listening to our commanders on the ground, to ensure that our interests in a stable Iraq are met, and to make sure that our troops are secure.”
* During a March 2 Washington Post foreign policy “Q&A,” when asked what size his proposed “over-the-horizon” force in Iraq would be, Obama responded: “The precise size of the residual force will depend on consultations with our military commanders and will depend on the circumstances on the ground, including the willingness of the Iraqi government to move toward political accommodation.”
* During an interview on the February 5 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, when asked, “[I]s there anything that would change your position about pulling out troops … if he [Gen. David Petraeus] convinces you that we’re on the right track?” Obama began his response by saying, “Well, what I’ve been very clear about is that I will always listen to commanders on the ground.”
Surprise. He became President, and he listened to his commanders on the ground. Compare that to this:
The so-called Sunni Awakening, in which American forces formed tactical alliances with local sheikhs, has been credited with dampening the insurgency in much of Iraq. But new evidence suggests that the Sunnis were offering the same deal as early as 2004—one that was eagerly embraced by commanders on the ground, but rejected out of hand at the highest levels of the Bush administration.
This is why Washington and the entire intelligence, national security, and foreign policy establishment is such a failure. Rather than earnest public servants with the nation’s best interests at heart, what often is most important is not the best policy, but what the results will be in the cock measuring contest at the end of the day. Hence, when someone listens to people and takes their advice, they are said to have “been rolled.” If you don’t understand how this mindset is a recipe for more unflinching and resolute automatons like Bush, marching us into oblivion because they are determined to “not blink” or “show weakness,” then you are part of the problem.
I’m sorry, your hair isn’t on fire, you aren’t screaming that Obama is JUST LIKE BUSH, and swearing that you’re really gonna vote for Nader next time. How can I possibly hate you as much as I hate so many people on my side right now?
The issue is that while the opinions of “earnest public servants with the nation’s best interests at heart” might differ, Obama appears to heed the same ones every time.
The ‘tell’ is Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
There’s also the mistrust of the military. I know you were in it and I know you like it, hell a handful of my relatives are in it and were deployed into Iraq and Afghanistan but the military is too conservative, too Evangelical Christian, and too wedded to it’s military-industrialism to be trusted when dealing with Democrats.
(And maybe Republicans too but I’m not one so I don’t know.)
That said I don’t think Obama is getting rolled. I just think he doesn’t have the guts to fight anyone but the left.
It may not directly address the question, given that Obama like nearly all leading Democrats left the question of leaving Iraq to hedges about decisions from the commanders in the field, but writing for myself, I don’t want the popular assumption to be that the opposite of idiot political manipulation of and denial of lessons of the field is to leave U.S. foreign policy in the hands of U.S. military commanders in the field.
So, I not only wish for the U.S. to begin ending its occupation of Iraq, I think it’s the best for both our and their national interests, and I’m sure there are any number of arguments for staying there one more year until it’s another 10 years. There should be skepticism equally applied at both levels of analysis — upon national political leadership and on-the-ground military commands.
si se fooledya
There’s a question of agenda. If you think the military just wants to stay in Iraq indefinitely, you can see how ignoring them when they say, “Sunni Insurgency wants to broker a peace deal, we can do this to make progress on the ground” is foolish, but “Don’t reduce troop levels in Iraq for six more months, six more months, six more months” is also foolish.
If Obama really is moving to deescalate in Iraq and he’s just not doing so at a reckless pace, then he’s being a savvy commander. But if his commanders intend to string him out indefinitely with advice geared towards dragging everyone’s heels, he’s being “rolled”.
Currently, there’s a serious credibility gap between the public and the administration. People don’t trust the government to do what is right if they aren’t explicitly doing what we want.
joe from Lowell
I get the attitude: a lot of people like Obama, but differ from him to one degree or another on the issues.
When he comes down with a different opinion, there’s a bit of an “if only the czar knew” response. It isn’t that Obama came to a decision on all his own that you disagree with, but that he was bullied and manipulated into it by the people around him.
The thing to listen for is the sound of an axe being ground, not immediately visible, but off in the middle distance… I haven’t heard that yet from Obama.
Which is not to say that I always agree with his decisions– but I do think he’s making decisions in good faith. This is so different from the standard operating procedure of the Bush years that people are just disoriented.
Jon Stewart weighs in on some of these issues: http://tpmtv.talkingpointsmemo.com/?id=2528415
Aw, c’mon, hasn’t Obama’s inaction to date on [Insert pet issue] proved that he’s just like Bush? I just hope that Hillary decides to run in 2012 so that we can get some real change.
Bullshit. He never said he was going to overturn it himself the first day n office. If I recall, he said wanted it to come form congress, which is probably the smart way to do it. Should he be pushing congress to work on it now? Sure, I’m for it, and I’ve got another 1500 things I’d like him to get done too. I’d prefer if it were already done, but you can’t call him a sell out. Yet.
There really seems to be a lack of recognition of what competent leadership looks like. (Voters seems to have figured it out, on average.)
I think there’s a perception that it was going to be Obama v The Generals, like there was a perception that it was going to be Obama v the Department of Justice, or, the state.
Obama is the state. It’s fine and great to oppose his decisions, but seeing it as Barack Obama left the principled opposition and joined the state side is just misguided.
It wasn’t a contest. What “the generals” do at his direction from January 20th on? Obama’s for that. This is no longer an adversarial relationship.
Very good post. I think the rationale for not wanting to release the photos makes sense. I may not agree with it, but it does make sense. Obama’s choice is the pragmatic one.
The general lack of respect for pragmatism troubles me.
“Bullshit. He never said he was going to overturn it himself the first day n office.”
Tell that to Lt. Choi.
Endangering the troops by releasing evidence of the war crimes we committed? Very wrong.
Refusing to overturn DADT in the first 105 days in office, thus removing qualified Arabic linguists from the field? Just common sense.
The problem with this is there is no mention of the State Department, as if Iraq and Af are strictly military problems and require nothing else other than yes/no, go/stay decisions hatched up by Petraeus and the other pro-consuls.
That bothers the fucking hell out of me, considering the last experience we had with a President getting rolled by his field commanders, see Johnson. I’d like to hear Obama say that the opinion of the Generals – and when did we become a goddamned banana republic – ‘Obama and the generals’ – is secondary to diplomatic considerations.
I can’t even read Kos or FDL much anymore. It’s a feeding frenzy for trolling libertarians, anti-government assholes, and paranoid morons.
The complete and utter inability to take the long view on ANY issue is obscene.
It’s clear that Obama should make use of his Commander in Chief super powers, secret OLC memos, signing statements and Presidential Directives to accomplish our lofty goals. That would make him way different from Bush.
I am assuming that he will keep his promise about when we will get out of Iraq and will be consistant with his statements that he will take advice about what to do before we get out.
Re: the photos. I don’t think he got rolled. My guess is that he decided based on advice. And I think the advice was good. There is no upside to the release of the photos (except to highly partisan Americans who value theory over practice) and the downside is real: in a region of the world (I’m thinking Afganistan and rural Pakistan) where illiteracy is the norm, the photos would be interpreted as current, as evidence of malfeasance that is happening now, and would endager both Americans in those areas and counterinsurgency efforts there. To risk that danger just for the partisan satisfaction of getting outraged again back here at home strikes me as self indulgent.
If the phots were of new crimes or current crimes, I’d have a different attitude.
Obama isn’t perfect by a long shot, but i do think he really is a decider. He takes advice and he decides. And he is to blame when his decision is wrong. Like the decision to appoint Geither.
By the way, I thought Tom Ricks is great, in general though.
Debate on whether or not to release detainee abuse / torture photos may be moot.
I wonder about it too. I actually don’t think it’s accurate though, Wilfred. I think the State Department are really engaged. I watch the State Department press briefings on C-SPAN. They’re all over it.
I think the better question is why they don’t get any press. With Clinton at the helm, I thought it would be wall to wall, because media are fascinated with Clinton. Rice got more press, and she was all but asleep at the switch.
Why hasn’t that fucker expanded SCHIP yet? Why hasn’t he gotten the Ledbetter bill passed? Why hasn’t that fucker allowed stem cell research?
JUST LIKE BUSH!!!! SELL OUT!!!!
Gates said, in an exhausted-sounding voice, re: the memos, that this stuff was all coming out anyway.
He doesn’t want it out, but I think he’s credible on the inevitability of that. He’s been around a long time. He’s familiar with drip-drip-drip.
DougJ said: “The general lack of respect for pragmatism troubles me.”
I think you’re confusing a lack of respect for _assertions of pragmatism_ with a lack of respect for pragmatism.
Some assert that delaying the release of evidence of war crimes is pragmatic. Others assert that delaying the release of evidence of war crimes is not pragmatic.
Perhaps releasing the photos will endanger us. Perhaps not releasing the photos will endanger us. I’m not altogether certain that being the country that suppresses (for a time, at least) evidence of our own war crimes is better for our safety in the long term than being the country that relentlessly exposes all such evidence as publicly as possible.
As for Gates, maybe I’m being snowed, but he just seems to good to be true. How did Bush ever manage to appoint someone like that?
Lee from NC
I can’t believe that I had to read all the way to comment 20 to get to what I believed to be the germane point of this post. Thanks for not making me say it, gnomedad!
Maybe it doesn’t make a big f-ing difference either way and the shit storm from the left and the crucifixion of Pelosi isn’t exactly a good thing, pragmatically speaking.
I get the feeling Obama’s never been rolled in his life. In addition to having a nimble intellect, he’s emotionally more mature than 90% of the clowns in Washington, and he doesn’t care that some may think they’re rolling him – it serves his purpose if they do, because he’ll make the decision he thinks is the right one in the end. He was a great poker player by many accounts.
And as far as dick-measuring, as a long-time keen observer of men, it’s probably fair to say that a vast amount of energy expended in every field of human endeavor, good and bad (sports, war, finance, etc.) could be dispensed with if all you guys would just whip them out and measure. Really.
I watched his confirmation hearings, during the Despair Years, and although I know he has a somewhat questionable past, I was encouraged. He may not be a pathological liar.
When they fired the general this week, they asked Gates if the general’s career was over, and he said “probably”. I fully expected him to lie.
Plus, it’s ballsy to cut all those defense projects. He won’t succeed, but bravo to him for trying.
The Other Steve
Gen. Janis Karpinski had an op-ed a day or so ago about this. She’s was the commander at Abu-Ghraib when the shit came out.
Her argument was that the people in the region, especially Afghanistan are well aware of how the US has treated prisoners. So we wouldn’t be telling them anything they don’t already know. The hiding of the photos however gives the impression that we are in fact still hiding something, that perhaps the abuse was worse then even the locals thought.
Her suspicion, and granted she has a chip on her shoulder about this, is that the reason they are requesting these photos be hidden is because the reality is the prisoner abuse was far more prevalent and wide-spread then seven bad apples at Abu-Ghraib.
I think she probably nailed it, especially in light of these memos coming out about torture, and Dick Cheney’s rants in public. This wasn’t a few bad apples. This was systematic.
He was forced to by Daddy and Daddy’s big friends.
I know they’re engaged; I meet them all the time. The question is whether their recommendations will carry as much weight as the Generals. Listening to State people doesn’t provide the same cover for Obama as head nods from the increasingly megalomaniacal Petraeus.
The Other Steve
I think Daddy stepped in.
I truly don’t understand the continued callback to the Obama’s a pus$y meme.
Would they like him to go clear some brush to prove his manhood.
I’m not ready to canonize him or anything… but that’s what I mean… given his history and that Bush appointed him the fact that he’s not completely incompetent is a bit surprising.
My point is this: are we at all sure that Obama is not listening to State?
In the last ten years, the entire media have become fawning admirers of anyone in a uniform.
Diplomacy is dull, it moves in inches, and there are no pretty shock and awe pictures. They parse. They don’t make definitive statements. It’s unlikely that they’re going to get any press, although I had hoped they’d follow Clinton around, and raise the level of awareness, or god forbid, understanding, they aren’t.
Are we sure we want that? Maybe the best approach is they work really hard and don’t draw the attention of the screaming lunatics in the punditry, who turn everything into a circus side-show. The work matters, right? Or is the level of attention the measure?
Because consulting with his commanders, or his advisors, or his consultants, is apparently code for maintaining the status quo thus far, on damn near every issue in this administration.
He also said he hates his job. A frank admission! A true statement! I almost fell off my chair.
@joe from Lowell:
Really? I know that Obama is much more capable of the tasks of the commander in chief than I am, so I’m leaving all of that to him. His legacy will be what he does with the situations he’s handed. I am expecting there will be places where we disagree, and, so long as he doesn’t morph into GWB II, I will be happy.
Why does everyone seem to think they know better what to do than Obama?
If you don’t like it, run for office (not you per se, but the collective “you”).
@Lee from NC:
Thanks; I though I was just being a smartass.
oops, beaten to it by #20
I think it’s Obama’s supporters who’ve gotten rolled.
Apparently punditry idiots seem to think it looked like George W. Bush, which makes me question their sanity.
I want to know why people thought Obama was going to fix all of the crap Bush & Co left in the first 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, or whatever random target date people set in their head. Truthfully I am sort of getting tired of people expecting all of their pet issues to be fixed/resolved already to be a bit tiresome. It took Bush 8 years to do what he did to the country, fixing all the isues is going to take longer than the 4 months Obama has been in office.
Obama was left in the position regarding many issues, of making the least crappy decision – or at least the decision that may lead to the least crappy outcome. Bush left a freaking mess with no easy answers! The fact that whatever decision Obama makes on detainees, DODT, DOMA, detainee photos, your pet issue, etc. doesn’t mean he got rolled, turned his back on his supporters, or whatever you want to call it. Sure he could have snapped his fingers metaphorically speaking and changed things but was anyone who was paying attention think that he is that quick to make major decisions.
One of the reasons I supported him was because he made decisions after looking and information and listening to advisers. Bush is the one that seemed to make decision with his gut or with little thought. Sure I think the photos should be revealed, but I am sure I don’t know everything about the issue and those things I don’t know could be the reason they aren’t released. And frankly I don’t think this was as easy a call as some like to think it was. Saying that, this decision could change at some point in the future so I am not going to be all pissed about it yet.
I think those who you seem to think got rolled didn’t study Obama’s campaign very closely.
Bush made decisions based on whether the voice inside his head told him that it was God and he should do whatever it was.
You know, the day he said God talks to him and tells him what decisions to make, he should have been hauled off to a fucking psych ward.
There is no upside to the release of the photos (except to highly partisan Americans who value theory over practice)
and the downside is real: in a region of the world (I’m thinking Afganistan and rural Pakistan) where illiteracy is the norm, the photos would be interpreted as current, as evidence of malfeasance that is happening now, and would endager both Americans in those areas and counterinsurgency efforts there. To risk that danger just for the partisan satisfaction of getting outraged again back here at home strikes me as self indulgent.
The first count is definitely wrong–there are pragmatic downsides to being known as a country that surpresses evidence that makes you look bad, there are pragmatic reasons why torture is harmful in the short term and long term and these photos and any other evidence regarding torture help document the extent to which our institutions tortured and therefore the extent to which those institutions must be reformed. Judging by reactions to textual records of torture compared to reactions of Abu Gharib photos, our own country seems to show some evidence of illiteracy, at least in moral issues.
Of course, institutional reform is deeply uncomfortable, so military leaders are going to do anything they can to avoid it.
When President Bush listened to his generals, liberals howled.
When President Bush ignored his generals, liberals howled.
When President Bush asked Congress to promote generals, liberals howled.
When President Bush had generals relieved, liberals howled.
When President Bush took careful consideration of the things his generals were telling him, consulted with members of his cabinet, and formulated a compromise that he believed was best for the course of our foreign policy, liberals howled.
When President Obama does exactly what he said he would do, and I certainly applaud him for being deliberate, careful and precise–liberals howl. You have President Obama actually conducting a form of diplomacy that meets with your approval–and yet, he is still forced to rely on the military as a continuing option.
The real question is–where’s the consistency of your arguments? When is a liberal ever happy when the military is used as an instrument of American foreign policy? When we’re handing out flowers, cupcakes, and culturally-sensitive vegan peanut butter meals to slackjawed and bewildered goat herders in the middle of nowhere?
Cowboy up, liberals. Sometimes, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. Whatsa matter? Don’t like the chef anymore?
This is why Washington and the entire intelligence, national security, and foreign policy establishment is such a failure.
And the solution is apparently to be even more deferential to the intelligence, national security, and foreign policy establishment.
it’s not about how he’s doing what he’s doing. it’s about what he’s doing: he’s dragging his feet on getting out.
So Obama had no opposition on his way to the presidency after Hillary?
McCain and the GOP — the entire Right — must have forgotten 2008 was an election year because Obama, that gutless wonder, would surely have run away if they had remembered to give even a token resistance.
Sheesh. What nonsense.
Excuse me? This is based on ONE person who went on television and stated he was gay knowing he might get a pink slip. What other Arabic linguists are being driven out of the military for DADT?
If you don’t have a second name, CAN IT!
We’ve been hearing less about der Dolchstoss these days, but wait until the troops have been drawn down and something messy happens in Iraq. Popular or no, Obama knows that this is the same country that elected GWB twice.
When did that happen?
What I most objected to about Bush was the cavalier disregard for competence.
Cheney I think is a genuinely bad actor, and belongs no where near government, but Bush was a little different.
Having an unserious frat boy running the free world made me very nervous, and I think my initial impression of him was more than vindicated.
I’m not a big fan of feckless risk-takers who have an army. I don’t admire that.
One of the things to remember is that Ricks predicted Obama would get rolled on his timeline to withdraw (and he was right to a certain extent) and that the military would try to push him in a corner to stay in Iraq indefinitely. So for some time Ricks has been predicting that Obama was going to end up being at odds with the military, but I think he didn’t believe that on human rights issues which Obama was a lot stronger on, that they would be able to move him. In the post prior to the one Cole linked he talks about our need to investigate and examine the torturing that happened under Bush’s watch so that we can learn from it the way the British learned after we defeated them in the Revolutionary War (his words not mine). So I think he sees this move as President Obama hindering that effort. Now I like Ricks but at times I have been annoyed that he has had so little faith that President Obama would stand up to the military. However as Greg Sargent pointed out yesterday you have to take into account the optics of this move. If President Obama is saying that he changed his mind on releasing the pictures because the military leaders convinced him they might endanger soldiers in the field, then conversely you can draw the conclusion, if you really want to, that President Obama was all set to endanger our troops and had to be held back from doing so by the military leaders. And for that reason there really is no other way to describe this than that he got rolled by the military. I would assume he had plenty of time to talk to those same military leaders BEFORE he made the decision to release the pictures in the first place. I for one am not freaking out over the reversal but I definitely see exactly what Ricks means by President Obama getting rolled.
It didn’t happen, but rightwingers seem to think their idiot hero was so “speshul” and competent.
Can I nominate that for POTD? I know it’s early yet.
That’s how they got rolled. Still rolled.
“Oh, geeze, you want me to actually do those things I strongly implied I would do? No we can’t!”
Seriously, there’s no reason to keep DADT around for one more fucking day. It’s just cowardice at this point.
I think you should push. He won’t do it without pressure. Inertia is easier, and less risky. I like him because he doesn’t take unnecessary risk, but that could easily veer into seeking safety.
And no one promised him that.
John’s top post gets this exactly right.
Hit the nail on the head.
Wrong! DADT was not supposed to be dismantled upon Obama receiving the presidency, the man has a million other important things to do, let him do his job. I’m sure when things simmer down, he will take a look at the practice and try to right the wrong, but right now he doesn’t need idiot gay servicemen going on tv threatening to bring down his presidency because DADT wasn’t removed the right after he got in office. Obama has a financial meltdown to worry about, two wars, and a lot of other shit, let him take care of the more pressing matters first.
One man going on television to challenge the president to address DADT right now does NOT gain my respect at all.
@DougJ: You might want to read anything that relates to the elevation of General Petraeus, the naming of General Lute to his position, and the changes in strategy that took place during 2007. Serious deliberations took place in order to reverse the course of the war and to correct a failing strategy.
Look, it’s easy for you–all you have to do is beat your chest and howl like a monkey about these things. I get that. When you get serious about understanding how things are done, I’ll answer your call on the Bat Phone.
I must’ve missed it. Which generals said we should invade Iraq? Which generals said we should torture?
I’m a numbskull, what’s your excuse for being so confused?
@kay: What evidence do you have that VP Cheney really was the power behind the throne?
Scooter’s still waiting for his pardon. If the VP couldn’t wrangle a pardon out of a supposed dolt like George W Bush, then where do we proceed from here?
And I’m still waiting for that bombing mission against Iran to happen, and soonly. Sy Hersh, where’s your retraction on that? I thought VP Cheney was supposed to unleash armageddon? Instead, they wheeled him home in a wheelchair after peacefully giving up power.
Has that Biden done anything stupid today?
nope, you’re way off on this one. this seems like a pretty classic case of getting rolled in exactly the sense in which Ricks uses the term. he agreed to release the photos, then backs out mysteriously, using a silly right-wing talking point as the reason?
not a good sign.
I love all of the people pretending to be so angry because people sometimes criticize Obama when he does something wrong / dumb. This infallibility complex that people have developed around the guy is hilarious.
Everyone was mad at Bush trying to suppress the Abu Ghraib photos, but Obama doing it here means its “pragmatic” and “makes a lot of sense”. You people are idiots. Not all of you, just the blind followers who don’t use logic or have real principles.
@numbskull: Well, I don’t know if it matters to you, but quite a few people thought it was a good idea–the American people, actually. The members of the House and Senate who voted for it.
What the generals want is irrelevant. They follow orders. We have civilian control of the military, and I believe it is the civilian authorities who should be responsible for the decision to go to war, and who should be held accountable for the reprehensible act of torture.
This has long been a favorite rationalization mouthed by totalitarians and their enabling dirtbags for the crimes they commit and the brutality they are guilty of.
You’re one of those dumbfuck fans of ’24’ aren’t you? Jack Bauer is your kind of guy, amirite? There’s always a ticking time bomb somewhere that justifies the means to assholes like you.
Only a fucking moron is happy when the military is used as an instrument of any nation’s foreign policy.
Dick Cheney is a self-interested coward who belongs no where near government. I am of the opinion your hero ordered a POW in our custody tortured to extract information to sell a war. That’s outstanding! I understand your admiration.
I laughed when I read the account of Cheney’s reaction to the anthrax attacks. The paranoid, egotistical weenie thought they were directed at him, and insisted on heading to a bunker.
While the brave mail carriers soldiered on.
Cheney’s afraid of the mail. I think I could kick his ass, and he has 150 pounds on me.
I don’t think anyone here is acting like a blind follower. Most of us knew he was a center right guy during the campaign. Why should I be surprised when he takes the path of least resistance?
I do know that Dobson is now downright morose, according to Benen. That’s worth something.
And the beatdown goes on.
@binzinerator: I’ve never seen “24.” I don’t consider myself a big fan of television. I am sad to see that Kiefer Sutherland has essentially pissed away his enormous talents as a dramatic actor over the years. I thought he was outstanding in “The Lost Boys.”
Tell me, fans of “Twilight” — do you not understand that, at one time, people actually made watchable vampire films?
@Norman Rogers: You don’t know what you are saying – first, Bush-the-cock-sucker spent YEARS not listening to his staff, experts and even generals. When, after thousands of needless deaths he finally listened, what liberals said he was wrong? Please list the extensive number because again, I was reading papers, blogs and watching the news and I heard no such thing – yes, some people didn’t aggree 100% but said the new course was wrong because he listened to experts? Right. Either your opinion is full of shit or else I have to believe that the media selectively hid all the information from me.
Second point – your perceptions of reality may seem valid after you selected a few opinions from people you think represent all liberals but that only proves that you only care to believe your preconceived ideas rather than reality. Please prove me wrong and find the few key liberals that represent all liberals at the time and prove that the asshole bush wasn’t the total ass wipe he is and caused the countless murder of people because he never listened to his generals before and for most of the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
@kay: Well, quite a few people were once very pleased with his tenure as Secretary of Defence, and quite a few liberals hooted and howled when he spoke truth to power and once held the belief that Iraq wasn’t worth too many American lives.
Should he be investigated and tried for the crimes that he may or may not have perpetrated in office? Absolutely. No American is above the law.
I do note that, it’s been over a hundred days, and the Obama Administration has control over the Executive, and the Congress is run by Democrats. There’s a Justice Department out there, and there are certainly Congressmen and Congresswomen who can wield the power of subpoena.
What’s the over-under on whether or not Mr. Cheney is still a free man on January 20, 2013 when General David Petraeus takes the oath of office on the steps at the Capitol, putting a quick end to the Carter, whoops, the Obama Administration?
I think that Bush made the right decision there, but I don’t think it was a compromise. Your description is not, to my mind, accurate.
You’re not making much headway here. You’re that worst kind of wingnut: the kind who thinks he’s smart and adopts a superior tone.
EDIT. I stand corrected. You’re a pretty good spoof, I think.
I disagree. What did Obama learn in December, he didn’t know in the fall of 2008 regarding Iraq?
Here, with the photos, the justification makes no sense: the world knows we tortured, how do images of it make it any worse? A brief spike in emotional disgust or anger doesn’t change the facts which are already known and cause a bunch of terrorists to try to kill American soldiers.
Further, appealing a weak case like this is stupid. Barring a miracle, he’ll lose and have to release the photos and he and the DOJ know it.
Even that clown Limbaugh knows it. Just yesterday, he was telling his zombies that the Obama administration would write a “bad” brief which weakly defends their point and the Appeals Court judges would realize they don’t care and defeat their appeal (which made me wonder why my briefs have so much damn case law in them! If all I need to do is argue that we care more than the other side, we should win, right?)
I don’t think he “got rolled,” as much as he agreed to compromise with them. And, that’s not a bad thing to do.
Cheney’s ‘attempts’ to get Scooter a pardon were probably about as valid as his attempts to get those memos released that would show torture ‘worked’: i.e. not valid at all. Cheney doesn’t want those memos released, and he doesn’t want a pardon for Scooter.
Right now, Scooter’s useless as a witness – all he has to do is cite his right to avoid self-incrimination. Give him a pardon instead of a commutation, and suddenly Scooter not only can, but must, sing like a bird. He can’t go to jail on charges for which he’s been pardoned, and therefore can’t incriminate himself. That Scooter would get a commuted sentence instead of a pardon was predicted by Emptywheel weeks before Bush granted Libby’s commutation, for exactly that reason.
So, I don’t know whether Cheney was “the power behind the throne” or not. But I do know that Cheney’s so-called failure to get a pardon for Libby is no proof that he wasn’t.
NOTE: There are many broken eggs, and no omelets. I’m just sayin’.
@DBrown: Your heart is in the right place, but it’s clouding your judgement. There was no way–no way–the United States was going to go to war in 2003 without the consent of Congress and the support of the American people. Despite the presence of seemingly endless numbers of people who swear up and down now that they knew then it was such a terrible idea, I happened to have been paying slight attention at the time, and perhaps I missed it, but the people who were against the war were far fewer than the number who supported the decision to go to war. The media should have–should have–given more of a voice to the anti-war voices. That would have ameliorated future arguments that “no one was heard” and that there was no dissent. There certainly was. But it was in the minority, and it was largely discounted at the time.
The problem is, it’s still 2006 for liberals, and they don’t get that the rationale, the purpose, the logic, and the public sentiment shifted dramatically when the war turned into a full-on calamitous disaster. Bush should be held accountable for his failures, as should any President who presides over an unpopular war.
The problem is, you don’t want to give him credit for turning the war around. You don’t want to give him credit for anything positive, only the negative. And that’s fine. But it’s still intellectually dishonest to suggest that the howling liberal view is the only correct view. Stamping your feet and drowning out other points of view is just as bad as not acknowledging there were terrible lapses in judgement and terrible choices made.
I’m a lawyer. Process takes forever. Don’t get too comfy.
I meet 16 year olds who steal CD players out of cars that do a more convincing job of covering their ass while spouting nonsense than does Dick Cheney. When I listen to him? I approach it like listening to a defendant. Really. It’s remarkable. He sounds just like a criminal. Toward the end, Gonzales sounded exactly like President Bush’s defense attorney. He had long before abandoned any pretense of representing us.
@54 Little Dreamer – “What other Arabic linguists are being driven out of the military for DADT?”
Don’t know if you meant specifically under Obama, but there was Bleu Copas in ’06 as well.
What’s particularly frustrating is there is a straw man where we expected Obama to come in and radically change things from the get go. I don’t think anyone did… but the decisions he makes day to day are determining the course of his Presidency.
No one thought he should overturn DADT on day one, out of the box, but when he’s confronted in the course of events with an Arab linguist being expunged for homosexuality, an issue he specifically talked about in his campaign, he tacks to the side of the stat quo.
When confronted with issues of transparency in government and accountability, the photos being just one example, he again makes decisions contrary to the rhetoric and promises of his campaign, abrogating all at the dubious altar of “national security.”
When confronted with admittedly difficult decisions, he abandons the principles and ideas he espoused during his run to stay the course of Bush era policies – of course he didn’t actually SAY he’d change them, just that they were bad, ineffective policies he disagreed with.
Like Stewart said the other night, no one noticed the disclaimer – “Yes, We Can” doesn’t necessarily mean that they will.
@DougJ: You discount the idea that firing Generals Casey and Rodriguez had an impact on reversing the course of the war? Hasn’t Speaker Pelosi been talking about how she was also fighting a war in Iraq during this time period? They may not have listened to her, but they at least let her into the room. It may not have been much, but there it is.
General McKiernan has also lost his job this week. All President Obama has done is what President Bush has done. However, President Obama gets far better press and a pass from the liberal media because he likely refused to take responsibility for the choice, delegating it to General Petraeus and Secretary Gates.
I think Bush should have let Rumsfeld take more of the hits. Sadly, he thought that as Commander in Chief, he should be the one to absorb the hits so that his people could continue doing their jobs. I hope President Obama realizes that scapegoating the military is usually a poor substitute for taking responsibility for ones actions.
Petraeus effectively trapped us into a long-term policy in Iraq when Bush handed the war over to him. Obama is being given little choice about Afghanistan/Pakistan now, basically stay the course or go big. There isn’t a single person in the national security apparatus who channels Bacevich. They’re going to call it “COIN” and just start bombing the crap out of everybody in hopes that will bring some groups back to the table. That won’t work, will succeed in destablizing more of Pakistan, and it will provide a wonderful platform point for the Draft Petraeus movement.
Obama will have to walk to the tune the they set.
A DADT change will not happen, at least during the first administration. You can take that to the bank.
I need to give Bush Jr. credit for finally recognizing what an absolute right wing pinhead idiot he was ignoring all warnings and common sense in his asshole first set of approaches to the war, and then completely lying as did all SURGE fetishists about the point of of (a) allowing ethnic cleansing to proceed until it was largely completed; (b) paying off the Sunni guerrillas who had been targeting U.S. soldiers until we began paying them not to; (c) walling off Baghdad into ethnic micro-enclaves; (d) finally committing a small portion of the number of U.S. troops that nearly everyone had said would be minimally necessary in the first place except doing so would have undercut political support for this fraudulent war and occupation; and (e) completely ignoring the supposed political reconciliation which would allow the U.S. to, you know, leave, which was supposedly the point of THE SURGE in the first place?
@kay: No argument here. People tend to get testy when you don’t pound the drum and echo what they want to hear.
If we know torture happened and we’ve already seen some photos proving it, what good comes out of seeing the rest of them?
Consider that the rift between left and right will only grow larger with the release of these images, the right will be pushing to make those things our common practice and will be denouncing anyone who doesn’t agree.
Isn’t it time we tried to figure out how to lessen the anger and try to find common ground with those whom we can find it with and not give ammunition to the crazy loons who seek to only divide us even more and conquer our nation for their own purposes?
I predict if these pictures are released, it will be the onset of a new civil war. GWB is no longer president, and it’s time for our nation to work on healing itself, not by re-opening wounds but by trying to work together as much as possible and leaving those who refuse to join in on the perimeter of our political process.
@Little Dreamer: @El Cid:
WIN. This goes into my Bag of Standard Retorts: “Where’s the omelet?”
Was it on Sully? The guy who said, Obama is like the dawn after a dark night…but we’re looking for the day.
He’s good. He’s a lot better than Bush. But whether it’s because there is so much doodoo that has to be cleaned up after the Bush incompetence team, or whether Obama is a complete realist without much of any ideals, he’s not moving fast enough for me. And he’s doing some bad things. He still likes empire, just a slightly kinder one.
It is nice to have a president who’s a) not an idiot; b) not a psychopath; and c) competent, tho.
I agree with John. And as for the Greg Sargent post and this idea that Obama is now a weakling getting rolled by everyone (as per Ricks). As someone there put it in his comment section yesterday Sargent was just repeating the Village meme, not really doing analysis (like Walsh from Salon saying that Obama was being infected by Cheneysm, or covering up for him and Ignatius yesterday in the WaPo).
How a lot of bloggers just can’t wait to call Obama Bush without any thought to how long it took that administration to fuck the country up and that it may take a tiny bit more time than 4 months to fix it, just makes me think that all they want is to go back to the days they were fighting him.
Exactly. Obama knew these photos would come out sooner or later and I think his decision was so he could say to the military, “See, I tried to do right by you so don’t get pissy with me”
In other words, knowing that they would leak, he decided to play nice with the military while knowing that the people that wanted them released would still get their wish.
Good politics, IMO.
Obama wasn’t president in ’06, so that point is moot.
The argument is for changing DADT now, so who else is an Arabic linguist who has outed him/herself as gay and is being driven out of the military since January 20th?
Hoo boy, someone’s been sniffing the LSD this morning.
Dude. IT TAKES A FUCKING ACT OF CONGRESS. So chill the hell out.
It seems like during the Bush years some people became so accustomed to the all-powerful executive that while screaming about it when it was Bush and Dick Vader actually only objected because the people wielding the power played for the other team. The loudest critics on the left don’t seem to TRULY want a return of the rule of law and proper constitutional governing. What they want is Bush-version 2.Left(TM). Obama, on the other hand, respects the role of the other branches of government and understands that even though he is President, his powers do in fact have limits.
Customer: I can’t afford this car.
Salesman: Here, look at our special Shock and Awe Edition! And take a look at that price!
Customer: Um, OK, I guess.
Salesman: Would you like an engine with that?
@El Cid: Well, President Obama is the Commander in Chief now. The troops will leave when he orders them to do so. With a word, he can end two wars, draw down the military to a token home guard, and sign only legislation from the Congress, which his party now controls, that reduces military spending to the levels seen in the mid-1990s when we reaped the “peace dividend.” He can have his Secretary of Defence decide which active duty Army divisions to deactivate (my vote is for the 82nd Airborne and the dreaded 10th Mountain Division–we don’t fight in the air or on mountains anymore, sir.)
He can decide that because he is now the decider, see? He was not “handed” anything that wasn’t in full view of all concerned when he decided that he wanted the job–that’s childish thinking. He has quite wisely applied himself to the existing problem, freeing himself from the dogma of outdated thinking.
Your anger is still pointing at Bush because you aren’t ready to spend the next few years wondering why President Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do.
Ummm, thanks for thinking of me, but I haven’t had any eggs or omelets this morning. ;)
you know this is what i hear a lot as the dream from the right. Their golden hope. Anyone think he will be running in 4 years?
Obama will next name General Betrayus to the Supreme Court.
Thank Dog for that!
Where are the other Bush Administration principals backing up Cheney?
He has his daughter, who had a really inept tenure as the Iran Czar, so much so that Congress cut the funding for her program, to the bone, very quietly.
She’s all he has?
The wounds have already been re-opened. It’s doubtful they were ever closed. I think the question now is whether to disinfect them or allow them to fester.
This is what Obama has to work with:
Seems that Blue Dog Democrat Ben Nelson won’t support cloture because Dawn Johnsen once did legal work for NARAL.
Republicans are determined to force cloture votes on nearly everything that comes before the Senate. With Blue Dogs like Nelson aiding them getting any of Obama’s legislation, including a repeal of DADT, is going to be an uphill fight.
This nation and the entire civilized world disagreed with your belief of who is to be held accountable for torture, demonstrated most aptly at Nuremberg and Tokyo.
If the world had the same stupidity then that you are afflicted with now a lot of Nazi and Imperial Japanese officers and soldiers would have never been charged.
Obviously you want different rules for when our military is involved with war crimes. Typical right winger. The rules are always different for your kind, aren’t they.
Mr. Arabic Linguist decided to out himself, it is not up to Obama to fix this problem on Mr. Arabic Linguist’s schedule. Obama is juggling a lot of things, give the man a break. He will tend to it when it is feasible and not one minute before.
Jesus, John, the Generals want to stay in Iraq forever so they can say the ‘won’ at the West Point war games. Obama’s having a hard time recognizing that this is the Generals saying their cocks are bigger and pretending its military necessity. Yes, he’s getting rolled. Don’t want to be branded a weakling.
He’s giving ground on lots of things so he can protect his priorities. Wonder when he’ll figure out he’s given so much ground he’s left with nothing.
“A Guantanamo Bay detainee who lent his name to a landmark Supreme Court case was released from custody today and flown out of the military base in Cuba to join relatives in France, according to government and diplomatic sources”
Any random French person is now braver than all US conservatives in Congress.
I’d like that noted.
Hmmm. Let’s see. The Republicans largely consist of a gaggle of stumble-bums who couldn’t find their way to a coherent opposition if you gave them radar, a GPS device and a seeing eye dog. Not much to fight there.
The left, on the other hand, consists largely of discrete clumps of ideological chumps who have deluded themselves into believing that Obama is a failure if he is not delivering on their fantasies exactly the way that they have laid them out in their diaries or on their web pages.
But if you take a moment to look up from your navel gazing, do you actually see what is going on in Iraq and the surrounding area? British combat operations ended on April 30, and US operations are winding down, no matter how you slice it.
On the other hand, Afghanistan is rapidly turning rancid, and the political, social and military situation in Pakistan is mutating into something potentially very, very ugly, and which does not offer any clear military or diplomatic responses from Obama.
And yet despite the complexity of the situation, some supposed liberal are stuck on “We aren’t getting out of Iraq fast enough.”
I honestly have no idea why anyone is arguing with Norman Rogers using the flawed premise he is offering as the cornerstone of the debate he wants to have.
It is anything but sure that the “surge” was a success. All it did was temporarily tamp down the hideous rise in violence with an increase of troops in the hot zones of Baghdad and to pay off the Sunni’s. For all we know, this is a temporary thing, and despite what “deep thinkers” like Norman and Michael Goldfarb claim, just because some people claim victory for the eighth time in Iraq does not mean we have won anything or there is a lasting anything. if anything, there has been ample evidence that the awakening is ending, with a new round of potential chaos right over the horizon.
Second, this just pissed me right off:
Again, your website claims you are a deep thinker, so you might want to wipe the smug grin off your damned face long enough to recognize that the people you are now deriding were, in large part, the supporters of the successful military intervention in Kosovo (and even then, some pretty horrific things took place as a direct result of our actions and in some cases, tragically, inaction). You remember that, don’t you- the conflict that the people you are now fellating went to the well of the House and Senate to decry? Likewise, most of the people you are mocking were also very supportive of military intervention in Afghanistan. You know that place- where the guys who attacked us were from?
Additionally, and for a deep thinker, you should be well aware that in the case of Iraq, the anti-war wing of the party and the “liberals” were right. There was no reason to invade, there was no gain to be had, there were no WMD, he was no threat to the US, he was not involved with Al Qaeda, it would be expensive, bloody, and a disaster, pre-emptive war is a hideous idea and terrible doctrine, and our nation is far, far weaker for having invaded Iraq. That isn’t conjecture. That is simply fact.
And one last thing. “Deep thinkers” don’t come in throwing haymakers about “the liberals” or this group or that, and are able to argue things on the merits, and not resort to Limbaugh-like smears and generalizations. I know, because that is where I was six years ago. I guess I’m just small-minded that way these days.
We haven’t been viewing the photos non-stop, everyday for the past six years, we had time to understand what happened and accept that what was done was wrong and we needed new leadership, we got it. Opening up that can of worms now will create more problems than we had before this photos release question came up. We have had some healing, so much so that America elected a Democratic president, one of a minority persuasion, change IS happening – give it time to work it’s magic.
Right, but see the government was doing some serious propaganda as it was trying to sell that war. Trying to link it with Al-Qaeda and now we learn that they were torturing people to find that link. Willing to out a CIA officer to find that link. They wanted that war, and they wanted it badly and they were going to do what it takes to get it.
I know I wasn’t one who wanted to go to war. I knew it was going to be the biggest clusterfuck and I got that just doing simple research, reading newspapers, and my own personal experience as a brown skin from the east. Any middle east expert would have told you that it was real stupid to have a war there and assume that you could just get in and get out.
@Norman Rogers: My anger is still pointing at Bush? You were just saying that liberals were failing to CREDIT Bush for ‘turning the war around’.
I know you had a thesis there you wanted to support, but you can’t do that on me, because I wasn’t just screaming in the darkness because I couldn’t bear to admit that Obama was doing things I wouldn’t do, I was responding to your nitwit demand that ‘liberals’ “credit” Bush Jr. for a shitty, deceitful policy that was slightly less shitty while just as deceitful as his earlier shitty and deceitful policy.
It was you dwelling in the past, not me.
@Norman Rogers: First, I didn’t mean to say you were full of ” fill in ignorant comment on my part” (I don’t like personal attacks and I did that) but what you were saying was full of it. That is, saying all liberals speak with one voice is nonsense and that is a simple attempt to bait people.
As for the change that bush made in Iraq, yes, I give him credit and a lot of people did but it makes me all the more angry that he waited so long to do what was such a no-brainer policy shift – payoff the ‘local terrorist’, and that some complex idea took now many years and deaths? Bush was criminal in his incompetence. Thousands of American lives were lost to prove a military concept at the start that was flawed and stupid.
Yup, it was outlined in the Project for a New American Century’s manifesto which was introduced long before any of this shit occurred. They wanted that war badly alright!
@John Cole: Most of the time I only decide with whom to engage based on worktime boredom and / or unpredictable impulse, but I think there is a huge, huge danger here:
I think the SURGE booster nuts have convinced a lot of people (including [much of] our political and media establishment) of some things pretty much along the lines of (a) Iraq is now all just hunky-dory and maybe we could stay there another year or two or five or twenty and this would be better than any messes connected with ending the occupation, and (b) now we ‘know’ how to do these things and so the next invasion boondoggle the warhawks get all het up about will be fine and go smoothe as butta because, hey, Petraeus, SURGE, shut up.
It’s called projection, righties make this mistake all the time. No one thinks in lockstep the way righties do, hell, they have “talking points” to keep them all on the same page.
You are assuming the generals have America’s holistic well-being at heart when they advise Obama to continue the Iraq war indefinitely.
These are hardened, career military men. They exist in the military bubble which equates leaving Iraq to “losing”.
Their advice on how to win the war hasn’t even been reliable. I would expect their advice on how to leave the war to be highly unreliable.
and (b) now we ‘know’ how to do these things and so the next invasion boondoggle the warhawks get all het up about will be fine and go smoothe as butta because, hey, Petraeus, SURGE, shut up.
The only way Iraq will be viewed as a cakewalk is when we compare it to the aftermath of Pakistan once the charcoal on that grill gets completely heated up.
I think Comey would be good, just because it would set Republicans all off-balance. I want them to face Mr. Ethical Prosecutor Man, who is apparently a liberal legal thinker.
I’m extremely shallow, and I deserve a show. That’s what’s at stake here. My amusement.
As an addendum, it’s important to remember that most of the generals who didn’t agree with the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld worldview either retired or were fired (c.f. Shinseki) during Bush’s term, leaving a fairly hard right core at the top.
I’m not sure Obama’s getting the best, or even honest, advice from some of these guys.
Whoops! Sorry El Cid, I thought I blockquoted your portion (#123), too late now. :(
I think that what is happening is healthy but ragged and necessary. There is no “clean” way to do a lot of different things — with many interrelationships — such as whether to release or not release photos and the impacts of said release. The complications include the reality that “leaks” will happen, that the world already knows that we tortured, etc. Its messy but there are many different considerations that at least have to be acknowledged — do you want to just assume that there will be no impact on the troops for example, release them all and just let the devil take the hindmost?
In that instance, the first time a US soldier is tortured from this point on, it is a right wing talking point that it happened because he released those photos. If he says no to releasing them, and they get leaked anyway, which they already are, the right wing cannot just say that its because he approved their release so they have to come up with another reason for the torture of the hypothetical US soldier. In the later case, the photos will still be released and therefore open to public — we live in the age of internet – right – and who knows who is actually releasing them, right? If he just releases them, something that would have happened anyway — any bad outcome necessarily gives them Obama as the whipping boy for the outcome.
This is called “tactic”. The strategic issue — having the photos available for viewing to further bring home the horror and excess of torture – IS HAPPENING.
Some of you have some sort of need for a Super Hero with a cape flying in, cape flapping to round up all the bad guys and fix all the bad in the world through stirling righteousness and sparkling teeth. That is not the world we live in. In the real world where power and saving your capital allows a leader to use that power for important decisions that will span SEVERAL YEARS, he or she has to use that power judiciously and carefully and not just shoot it all in one or two glorious but extravagant gestures — ESPECIALLY when the ends desired are going to happen by OTHERA MEANS – get it? In other words, are some of you freaked out because of process righteousness (Obama didnt release them personally), or about the final outcome that is going to be achieved anyway?
As I always point out, if anyone thinks liberals all think alike, try ordering pizza at your next district meeting. If you want five opinions, ask three liberals.
You think he hasn’t thought of this? He’s not an idiot, you know.
Actually, not. There wasn’t a single Afghan hijacker on 9/11.
And no matter how long you keep bouncing rubble there, it isn’t going to change that. And now, St. Petreaus, Surge Hero, has gotten rid of the guy that was IN HIS WAY in Afghanistan and we have a guy who’s torture camp motto was “No Blood, No foul!” running the show.
Really, that’s all going to turn out swell. Anti-torture Dems except when Obama wants to appoint a pro-torture general taking the reigns in Af-Pak.
Everyone does realize that there is a political price to pay no matter what Obama decides to do or when he decides to do it?
If/when we leave and things turn very bad in Iraq (most likely they will without our troops and money tamping things down) democrats generally and Obama specifically will get the blame.
Taking time to draw down Obama gets blamed for dragging his feet.
We all hope he’s doing his best for the country but sometimes even the best politician has to do what’s best for him so he can continue to do what he/she sees as best for the country. These foreign wars turn into a real mess very fast and very easily.
I should have said, last paragraph “forgetting that the outcome is going to be achieved anyway” Ends or means?
@srv: You are telling me there was no Al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan? I’m not talking about the country of origin of the hijackers, most of whom were Saudi and Yemeni.
I’m not quite arguing that Iraq would ever (now) be seen as a cakewalk. The warhawk PR industry is not stupid. Deceitful, but not stupid.
What would I say to encourage my next war? I’d argue along the lines that, yeah, Iraq turned out terribly, but that was only because when it was begun the political leadership wasn’t incorporating the insights of the counterinsurgency regime which was proven so correct in THE SURGE.
There you go. I’ve just incorporated the warlord hell chaos of Iraq into an argument for more warmongering, based on the SURGE logic which has been largely adopted across much of the political spectrum because, well, BUT YOU WILL ADMIT THAT THE SURGE IS WORKING.
Would this really be so difficult? These things are always contextual. I don’t thing the next invasion & war will be of the same form, it (hopefully) may not be preceded by a giant terrorist attack, and it will be based within some immediate crisis, and maybe on a different scale, but, yeah, I think that given a few years’ time I could sell another unnecessary invasion largely using the “SURGE lessons” rhetoric.
Three years from now, you’ll probably be finding some other excuse. People who trot this out can always find something “more important” he should be doing.
@John Cole: You could say “where most of the hijackers spent limited time receiving some training” and be mostly correct. You could also say that about Florida.
Why y’all think that means Afghanistan should be occupied and bombed for the last 8 years, and the next 4 at least, I’m not sure.
The people who were on the other end of that surge and were deeply affected by it will remember and will create a huge problem if we use that tactic. While I don’t expect Iraq to be a peaceful neighborhood when we leave, I’m sure that if we brought “The Surge” out as a weapon to use again (not even the actual war plans, just the name itself), there would be increased unrest in that nation.
Like waiting for congress to pass the needed law?
Ya know, I feel for you, I really do, but the financial wellbeing of the world and the flashpoints in the middle east are just a couple of things that are much more important than whether some guy who is gay gets to go on tv and say so and keep his appointment. Fuck off!
Like displaying some leadership on the issue? Do you really think congress will pass the needed law without being pushed from the White House? Come on.
If, three years from now, he hasn’t done anything, I will join you in flaming him. My guess is you won’t be able to wait 3 weeks to see if anything changes.
Maybe I am just cranky today, but I have decided the last few weeks of watching liberals cry into their Mumia t-shirts about how Obama is no better than Bush that the only thing I hate more than Republicans is the online activist left. Seriously. The sheer volume of affected butthurt makes me want to kick puppies.
The goal of ending DADT is to make it so that gays and lesbians can openly serve in the military without fear of stigma or punishment or discharge. It is not, however, to turn it into yet another political football that becomes more like a perk of owning the Presidency, like having an Oval Office. If you want to turn DADT into another gag rule, in which whenever a Republican is elected, the first thing they do is re-impose it, and then when a Democrat wins, they repeal it, then you just haven’t thought things through and you clearly have no idea who you were supporting in the election.
That is not only not Obama’s style, but it is not his goal. It shouldn’t be yours, either.
Let’s be honest, DADT isn’t going to be addressed unless the president says he wants it to be addressed, and even then it will difficult to achieve the outcome that those here are hoping for.
@Little Dreamer: I didn’t mean Iraq. I meant the next place.
@Little Dreamer: Funny, I said nothing about that Choi guy. You’re the one who keeps talking about him.
In other words, yes, you will keep making excuses for this for years.
@Little Dreamer: I am, quite frankly, offended that you call Dan Choi an idiot for standing up for his civil rights. Would you have said the same thing about Rosa Parks for not going to the back of the bus? She should have just shut up and moved to the back? You can disagree on whether or not DADT should be repealed, but this man wants to be able to serve his country openly. His subordinates knew he was gay. Most likely, so did his superiors. To me, he is courageous for fighting against an asinine and discriminatory law, not an idiot.
By the way, read this article on the Arab linguists who were fired because of being gay under DADT. I found it on Google. You could have, too. To me, it isn’t the fact that he doesn’t repeal it right now, but the fact that he is making noises about walking back his claim–as are his proxies.
As for the overall point, as I have stated, I don’t understand why it has to be one or the other. Either Obama is Bush-lite, or he is the One. To me, he is a very intelligent, capable, sensible man who has his flaws like any other human being. I have liked about seventy percent of what he has done and have disagreed with about thirty percent. He is far better than Bush or McCain, and I am still glad he’s my president. That doesn’t preclude me from noting that he isn’t perfect.
If we can’t criticize him, then how is it any different than how the right treats Bush or Cheney?
On the other hand, I also agree that we Dems are way too fucking hard on our leaders. A tad too idealistic and impatient.
Well Max, this meme really took root when those beach shots came out. Obviously Barry is a man-scaper, and therefore deserves all the heat that comes with the territory.
I don’t think brush-clearing is going to fix this. We need to find a flight suit that fits just so, with the emphasis on the codpiece. Hairless pecs are for the Coastal effemintates.
This is not the time and Choi was crazy to choose the moment he did to make his stand. If we were not involved in all the craziness that we’re involved in, I’d say sure, this guy should stand up if he wants to and make his voice heard, but I cannot honestly believe so many people are so pissed right now when all this other shit is going on. Impatience is wearing on me.
I can’t buy “rolled” in either of those examples. For one thing, I always figured that the people advising Obama were as good as the people advising Clinton (obviously better in some areas), and that he therefore pretty much had to know that his campaign promises regarding Iraq were unrealistic when he made them. I said at the time that you should watch for candidate Obama’s Iraq pull-out schedule to be revised outward early on by a President Obama.
I never really faulted him for it though. It didn’t see that he had any real choice in the matter given his his back-door, caucus-centric nomination strategy and the ultra-liberal leanings of the folks who tend to dominate the Democratic party caucus process. They’re not the most reasonable people in the world when it comes to not being told what they want to hear, but they make up only about 5-7% of the general electorate, meaning it’s generally not too much of a problem to singe them a little once nominated/elected.
As for those photos, to say that Mr. Obama was “rolled” presumes that a) he personally would prefer to see that stuff splashed all over cable news and the internet at this very moment in time, and/or that b) it’s unarguably a good idea to do that. I don’t see either of those assumptions as being all that clear-cut.
@John Cole: My main problem with all of this is that isn’t even so much with Obama dragging his heels so much as it is with people who who are nodding their heads with him, because of who is doing the heel-dragging.
@Comrade Kevin: Right on, Comrade Kevin.
Oh, and it’s not just about one serviceman keeping his job. I hate when it’s reduced like that.
12,000 soldiers have been fired under this asinine policy. I don’t see any movement at all in the direction of even asking congress to consider repealing it or enacting a new law. Again, I’m not asking for immediate repeal. I am asking for some movement forward, even if it’s verbally.
Excuse me? The man has been in office for less than four months and he’s dealing with two wars (plus a third one complete with nuclear arms is unfolding) and a financial situation that could topple the entire world economy, what criticism was Bush getting at that point of time in his administration and were conditions similar?
I have the impression now, that for you, it will never be “the time”.
Tom Ricks got a name for himself and now he knows everything. He knows what Obama should do or not do.
Actions have consequences.
It seems a lot of people think that it’s so easy to do things with the military, as if the soldiers are toys.
If you read a lot of military history, no war or occupation is simple.
The SOFA with Iraq is being followed. Remember cut and run?
What happened to support the troops?
Obama is changing strategy in Afganistan.
As far as DADT is concerned, there are Christian and White extremists in the military. Trying to root them out takes time.
It is an emotional plea to get rid of DADT quickly. It will have to be an orderly, slow process. To just say that oh, okay, all gay people in the military raise your hands and everything will be wonderful is stupid and ignorant.
The call for gay equality in the military is coming from the civilian sector. We aren’t the ones who pay the price of a hasty move in that direction.
People were saying, in different forms, that Obama was getting rolled in the Primaries and in the General Election. Is that so?
and 12,000 soldiers get to keep their appointments so long as they don’t go on national television or letter writing campaigns to make sure everyone knows they are gay. Rome was not built in a day, DADT will not come down in a short period of time either. Get used to it. Obama will address it when he is ready.
Funny Kevin, I have been known to enjoy sexual conduct with both sexes, and I am not afraid to either admit it or to talk about it. I am however NOT IN THE MILITARY and I see the problems we are facing right now as being much more important than whether someone can tell other people they are gay, so please go fuck yourself.
@Little Dreamer: Really? When is a good time for this? We’re going to be in fucking Afghanistan for ten years by some account. We are probably going to get into it with Iran and Pakistan. We are hiring felons at an increased rate for the military because we can’t get enough quality people.
Dan Choi could not stand the dichotomy of being allowed to die for his country, but not being allowed to SAY he’s gay. He can BE gay. He just can’t say it.
You may be impatient with this shit, and it may not be on your top ten list of important issues (as I suspect it isn’t for most non-queers), but for the people living it, I can bet it’s pretty damn high on the list.
To paraphrase Jon Stewart, “We can waterboard the guy until he talks, but we can’t understand what the prick has to say because the guy who can translate for him has a boyfriend.”
I can understand your impatience, barely. I can’t, quite frankly, understand your lack of compassion for the soldiers who have to serve under this stupid law.
No, actually, now is the time for individuals to step up and force Congress to act on this. There will be no change without it.
I am not disppointed that there are no visible signs on the part of the Obama Administration with regards to ending DADT; however, I would be very disappointed if there are no backroom arms being twisted.
I am undecided about any interim measure or lack thereof; it depends on what impact it would have on an ultimate Congressional action (and I am not stupid enough to think there wouldn’t be any).
Yeah, right – that’s why you attack an admitted bisexual because I don’t see that the needs of gays being able to admit they are gay as more important than the state of the fucking planet.
I’m going to disagree with you.
I think reversing DADT is a simple question of fairness and honesty, and, not incidentally, MERIT, and Obama could certainly sell it. It’s not fair, it makes people into liars, and it gets good people fired.
You can’t treat people like shit at work because of their sexual preference. You can’t insist that they lie.
I’m usually cautious as all get out, but to me, this concept is completely accepted in the civilian workplace, and that’s how it should be presented.
Obama could pull it off easily.
@Little Dreamer: It’s not about telling other people, damn it. It’s about being to be who the fuck you are. Other people can talk about their family, their spouses, their children. Under this law, gay people can say zip. It’s not just one aspect of who they are. If a gay man slips once and says boyfriend, he can be fired. I am not asking it to be repealed this moment. I am asking that people acknowledge it is fucked up and needs to be the fuck repealed.
If all you got from my earlier post is that I am asking to criticize Obama, then you weren’t reading very carefully. I will not be silenced just because it’s inconvenient to you.
@DBrown: No, I agree. Liberals do not speak all with one voice. A good many of them see a long term game in play, and support the President. I support the President and want him to win both wars, fix the economy, and engage in an honest debate on public policy. I’m confident he will.
I note with a wry smile that the most vocal, deranged, and unhinged element of liberalism (and it’s a very small element) are quite easily drawn into screaming matches, and for that I am thankful. It really is 2006 all over again, and I’m a nostalgic person.
ALL Americans should support their President. ALL Americans should feel that they can criticize their President when he does something wrong. Remember, kiddos–we can chill the f### out, cuz’ Obama’s got this.
At least I hope he does.
Is this really going to be your pet project?
I might as well just go into my shower and turn on my fucking hairdryer, I cannot believe that with the current state of affairs that we are even discussing this now.
Thank you, gwangung and kay for being the voices of reason. I will step back away from this discussion now because I think both sides have said all that needs to be said.
Little Dreamer, my pet project is equality for all. If you don’t like it, fine. The thing is, you don’t get to decide what is important and what isn’t. Neither do I. You get to believe what you want, and I get to believe what I want. Which is why I agree that it’ll be best not to discuss this any more. Like you, but in a completely different way, I cannot believe we are discussing this right now.
@Cain: Yes, and President Obama has selected a man to run the US Justice Department who can look into that. What’s the over-under on that happening?
This nation and the entire civilized world disagreed with your belief of who is to be held accountable for torture, demonstrated most aptly at Nuremberg and Tokyo.
I must have missed the part where all of those civilian political leaders were tried, convicted and hanged for their crimes.
The first step is to determine what civilian authorities are liable for ordering the military to execute an unlawful order. The second step is to determine what military officials are liable for carrying out an illegal order. The third step is to have a trial and weigh the evidence and allow due process to occur. I apologize for not clarifying what it was I actually intended to say.
Choi is the same person he was before he went on tv, the only difference is now he doesn’t wear a uniform.
If the world were not in this dire state of affairs, I’d agree with you, but there is only so much that can be done at one time and I want the focus to be on the fucking economy and the safety of nations, got that?
I feel bad that a man who is gay couldn’t openly admit it to the world, but, if he is going to be upset about it, perhaps he shouldn’t have gone on fucking television and admitted it.
I betcha $5.00 every single one of his non-military friends (and probably even some of his close military friends as well) already knew about his orientation.
I’ll tell you what, if we’re going to focus on gay equality right now, we won’t have a world to be equal in.
I hate that I even know these things, but… Norman Rogers was a long-time right-wing commenter on a couple of other blogs (I think I saw him mostly at Kevin Drum’s place), and he’s always been pretty much exactly like this. Engage with him only if you like lots and lots and lots of the same. He’s less loopy than Brick Oven Bill, but just as unwaveringly loyal to the Cause, and seems to regard everyone to the left of Reagan as a howling moonbat.
i can imagine a scenario as to why obama wants to posture (wink, wink) not wanting to release photos.
he pretends to oppose photos being made public, despite knowing courts will force their being released.
photos get out. violence erupts. insurgents target and kill soldiers, citing photos as their rationale.
had obama not pretended to oppose their release, he would be personally blamed for those soldiers deaths. it would be blackhawk down all over again. media would have a free-for-all attacking obama. his political capital would have shrunk to nothing. any hopes of passing a progressive agenda, flushed down the toilet.
this way, a little game of pretend puts the onus on the courts and preserves future viability.
I don’t have a lack of compassion for someone who can’t admit they are gay, I just don’t see it as a priority right now.
and, on the upside, while I was deparately trying to keep up in this thread, I think I may have seen a reason for carpet bombing FL on the haven of scarey terrorists rationale, which I wouldn’t exactly mind having on the table of possibilities…. Cartographically speaking, it is such a bore having it hang down there right where we could put a good inset or something.
The military is not a civilian workplace. I must take issue with the idea that DADT can be overturned quickly without bloodshed. The soldiers have weapons. In Iraq and Afganistan, they troops are under serious stress.
It has to be a process.
Right now, the military has enough to contend with. It is not a social experiment.
Truman integrated the military. Roosevelt couldn’t.
I think that the element of timing is important.
Also, in Iraq and Afganistan, gay people are at risk.
What I’m saying is that is a very difficult hurtle to jump. Perhaps I ere on the side of caution.
Jesus H. Christ.
thomas ricks is a little out there. i listened to him describe the obama speech he gave before troops in iraq. he characterized it as bushian “mission accomplished” triumphalism. i later caught the speech. it wasn’t like that at all.
Maude, ere you err, are you implying that military personnel can’t be trusted to obey orders and would go all postal and stuff for having to explictly cope with the fact that there are gays at their sides when there are gays there already? Gotta protect those tough guys from admitting reality at all costs! Gee Golly, sometimes its as though your average Marine grunt doesn’t have the balls of any reasonably attractive blond walking past a construction site.
This is it, on many subjects. Until there’s some degree of organization, a reactivation of the sort of energy and scale of effort that we saw in the elections, and people organized to press for the things they want, there’s nothing but these sorts of media / internet debates when things don’t go ‘our’ way.
I actually do think we’ll start to get there, but a lot of people are still just sort of coming to grips with the enormous change that the Obama administration represents while not having a good read on how to deal with those elements, forms, and styles of power which are quite constant from administration to administration.
No, Maude, good for you for addressing the actual issue. I have no idea what the military as workplace is like.
I thought we were doing the “are Americans READY for gays in the military?” spiel. They’re ready. It’s about fairness and merit.
If the military is ready…I don’t know. Is anyone ever “ready” for change, though? You sort of have to drag people, kicking and screaming.
@asiangrrlMN: Agreed. Being gay is a civil right, and anyone who understands freedom and the US Constitution, regardless of their political affiliation, understands that being gay is no different from being a Quaker, except for the wardrobe and the personal grooming products.
The Republican Party’s great failure (one of them, anyway) has been to ignore the sage advice of Senator Barry Goldwater and embrace ALL individuals and their right to be free as Americans.
People in general sneer at the idea that Obama could be beaten, but let me roadmap it for you (and, no, I doubt this will actually happen, but still):
The Republican Party must abandon anti-gay positions and rhetoric, abandon the foolishness of trying to be more anti-illegal immigration than the next guy, and it must seize a key issue such as legalization of pot from the liberal agenda. The Republican Party must secularize the primary process by removing the litmus tests of the religious right and designing a primary process that does not favor an exploitation of religious values in the first few weeks of the primary (no “Bible Belt” states, no Super Tuesdays where possible). The Republican Party will always be the party of low taxes, anti-abortion, and pro-guns. But where it can moderate itself with said position changes and get behind an optimistic candidate with an impeccable resume, such as someone like General David Petraeus, well. All bets are off. It could come down to a rural county in Ohio in 2012 if any of that happens, and I know it is unlikely, but still.
@Hob: Uh huh. Seen a doctor lately for your inability to read and comprehend? How am I unwavering to the cause? I’ve spelled out my belief that gays should serve openly in the military, that the Republican Party should abandon anti-gay and anti-immigrant policies, should legalize pot, and that ALL Americans should support their President.
Still 2006 for you as well, I guess.
Well, looking at #163 now, I’m sort of pleasantly surprised to see Norman acknowledging that not all liberals howl. That’s not worth much though, considering that he still thinks all opposition to Bush’s military adventures amounted to nothing more than “howling”.
@Hob: True that. Many of them jumped out of windows. Heard any splats lately?
Thank you Maude, great points and I couldn’t have said them better myself. Not only does the military have a lot to contend with, the entire world is in a state of major upheaval and I just don’t see this as the right time, personally.
Gays will begin to serve openly in Iraq sometime during the Obama administration and gays will continue to serve openly in Iraq long after the Obama administration.
@Little Dreamer: Has Obama done anything about Darfur yet?
Hmm. I think you’re right.
As Tintin over at Sadly, No! noted: “The best part about being a wingnut is being able to argue your case based on an alternate and completely speculative universe where pretty much anything that might help your argument could have happened.”
However, Norm’s bit about President General Petraeus does it for me. A little too alternate and an speculative a universe. He sure had me going there for a while though.
i have a picture of that:
While not wading into the “when should Obama do it” I don’t understand how difficult the “process” has to be? We’ve already got the “don’t ask” part down. Simply say, “if someone is ‘found to be gay’, they can’t be discharged for it anymore”.
That’s what I think. An administrative order. Easy.
Too, Obama gives a good speech. I’d like for him to set it out and have the opposition respond with why they support firing qualified people for no good reason, and demanding that they lie. Please. This is indefensible.
@binzinerator: Read much?
THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that General Petraeus is planning on delivering the commencement address at the University of Iowa in 2010. So reports Michael Goldfarb , late of the McCain campaign, on the magazine s blog.
@kay: I can here it now:
“In reviewing this policy, it’s clear that it is outdated, counter-productive and reduces the effectiveness of our military. That is why, after much consideration, and consultation with military leadership, I am, effective immediately, rescinding DADT. All of the brave men and women who serve in the military shall from here on out be allowed to serve in a manner befitting their sacrifice and dedication.”
Sure, there will be people who oppose this change, but they’re a lost cause (like those that viruletly opposed de-segregation, or giving women the right to vote). I’m not suggesting Obama make this his first priority, but much like Social Security, it can be taken off the table pretty easily through forward-thinking leadership and principled actions. Or it can continue to be an issue haunting Dems forever with wishy-washy mealy-mouthed “study it some more” rhetoric.
Which do we think is more likely to: a) result in the right outcome; b) pay political dividends?
@JGabriel: I won’t vote for him, but, if you don’t think that’s the right’s wet dream, you’re crazy. Patraeus-Palin in 2012 or Patraeus and some dullard theocon
Ricks has been reporting on the Pentagon for YEARS.
You may not like what he says but he is an extremely well-informed guy. He says what he thinks is true, NOT what he thinks people want to hear. Mostly he is apologetic about being the bearer of bad news. I am not aware of positions he has taken that have been later proved to be erroneous. Perhaps you know of some?
i remember an earlier assertion tom ricks had made. he said insurgent attacks were lower during the winter because of the weather. a few weeks later, one of the winter months reached the highest level of attacks at that time.
he may be experienced but he’s not infallible.
so you are arguing that something is an existential threat that we need to keep our eye on. what is that something? al-queda? the economic meltdown? iran?
i do NOT believe that Osama Bin Laden and his ilk are an existential threat to the US. do you?
@srv: So the Taliban don’t take over Afghanistan, topple Pakistan, and give nukes to terrorists to blow up Kashmir.
To keep a base of operations in Afghanistan to ensure there is no power vacuum allowing a terrorist organization like Al Queda to operate with impunity.
To ensure someday a pipeline can be built to get natural gas and oil from crazy Central Asian countries to market, thus preventing the Russians from having even more power as peak oil and gas are reached.
Really, srv, I usually completely agree with you, but having a problem with the tactics (as I do), doesn’t mean the strategy is wrong. The Taliban operates in a vacuum created by an incompetent central government (a truism in Afghanistan since Tamerlane’s death with a mere episode of a few decades when the King was able to convince everybody to hate the Brits more than him) and a lack of soldiers. Beefing up troop levels helps solve the air strike problem. Security will lead to development and development will lead to lowered heroin prices, errrrr, a government that keep some criminals and thugs fighting the Afghan government rather than exporting them to fight mine.
Whether or not a President Petraeus is the right’s wet dream is kind of besides the point. The idea that Petraeus could win election against Obama is an acid-worthy delusion in and of itself – never mind the effect on Petraeus’s reputation as the Iraq War and the Surge become ever more discredited over time.
@timb: You’re fighting a drug war. Good luck with that one.
All the kings horses will not stabilize Afghanistan or Pakistan. Our fiddling has caused them to destabilize. We can bomb any non-existant AQ camps with impunity from the friendly parts of the non-nation Pakistan. We can use allied tribes in Afghanistan as needed. Iran should (and would) be our ally in this.
The Taliban is not a threat to us. It is not a threat to our interests that can’t be contained. Pakistan isn’t a viable country, unless you’re kids are taking Pashto, Bolochi or Urdu classes right now and have joined an Explorers SWAT group.
Choi wasn’t crazy, but I hope he realized he’s paying the price required of those who take the first steps in making change happen. It will take more like him coming out, and getting discharged, for the necessary momentum to develop.
Changes like this work best from the bottom up. Obama singlehandedly changing the policy could end up, as someone said, making DADT like the gag rule – reversed with every party change in the WH.
@JGabriel: They used to say that about Ronald Reagan all of the time. Who do you think has the better resume? Reagan, or Petraeus?
What’s sad is that more Americans do not recall the Eisenhower Administration. General Petraeus compares favorably to Eisenhower in that he is an upbeat, positive, and likeable individual.
I’m not saying General Petraeus would win it in a walk. I’m saying that it strains credibility to say that he wouldn’t present a formidable challenge for Obama in 2012.
Has that Biden said anything stupid this afternoon?
I think Ricks has changed. He states his opinion as fact.
The bit about Obama being rolled twice is silly.
Ricks doesn’t know how to solve Iraq.
There are 27 groups there, not three.
I don’t like reporters pontificating on policy.
I don’t think that DADT is the main issue now.
I am not about to drag anyone kicking and screaming when they are armed.
Edit wouldn’t work. Couldn’t correct ere.
Ah, the soldier that just killed 5 soldiers. Is that what you mean?
I read through 170 comments before someone made this point. Obama is a shrewd politician and I think omen nails it when he/she says the onus is on the courts.
The public reaction and the accompanying hair-on-fire media whirl is myopic.
Um, how, exactly?
He can’t politic, he can’t fundraise, he can’t speechify — he’s a fucking SERVING GENERAL. If he resigns, then he can do those things, but he also leaves a broken Iraq as his legacy, which will serve him poorly in his campaign.
There is no way Petraeus mounts any sort of campaign, let alone a formidable one.
@srv: Srv, are we living in the real world or the world of our dreams? A world where there is no war on drugs? A world where you hate the American policy of bombing insurgents right before you say we should leave, but destroy Al Queda by bombing? A world where the Taliban running around Afghanistan didn’t allow all sorts of crazies, including Al queda to operate at will? A world where the 65 year old country of Pakistan is not really threatening a nuclear attack on a billion people?
‘Cause I like it, but it’s not the place I live. I think drugs should be legalized, but they’re not and the President is not going to de-criminalize heroin of all things (although one suspects Limbaugh would at least back that policy). That means we ARE fighting a drug war. Ask my Fourth amendment right, sadly a casualty of this war.
Bombing doesn’t work in the real world, as the German, Japanese, Spanish, North Vietnamese, Londoners, and various others will tell you. To hold ground and root out your enemies, you must have men and women on the ground. Otherwise, you slaughter 5 civilians for every insurgent and lose the “war.” And, certainly, bombing Al Queda camps back in the 90’s didn’t limit their reach.
We did not de-stabilize Pakistan, since the only time Pakistan has ever been stable is when Bhutto’s dad ran it or it was under a military dictatorship. It is a kleptocracy of Muslim Indians/Punjabis. The same people who held the Moghal Empire together for several centuries might be able to do it, but to ignore the populism sweeping down from the tribal regions is folly. Assad rules Syria, despite the Alawites representing 11% of the Syrians. Conservative rule my media, despite there are like ten cons left in the country.
Nonetheless, Pakistan is de-stabilizing and that directly affects the Indians, the Chinese, and us.
In the real world, an attempt to stop the Taliban and crazies needs to be marshaled, since I don’t know which side the Pakistani Army or the ISI is on and I’m pretty neither does Zadhari. The Pakistani Army or the crazy militants are the two groups most likely to nuke Mumbai. I’d like to make sure they don’t.
No and I’ve never argued such. The world financial meltdown including banking stability and housing and job market stability, dealing with extremists such as the Taliban in Pakistan before they get a hold of nuclear capability, and rebuilding the infrastructure of this nation (and especially New Orleans) to me seem like the most important. We need to get back on the even footing that we had before Bush decided to throw his temper tantrums. The world needs to go back to being normal again, then I think we can go back to arguing ideological questions such as DADT, abortion, civil unions/DOMA and such. There are just so many things to deal with, and the financial situation needs a lot of Obama’s attention.
@timb: In the real world, back in the day, the Taliban had dramatically curtailed heroin production, and lived quite nicely with the Pakistani army and the ISI.
We never bombed AQ camps seriously, we lobbed a training load to try to off Osama. Very different from actively denying them “camps” that operated without impunity for a decade.
Now, we’ve been running around on the ground for 8 years, dropping bombs left and right, and looking at the disaster all that has wreaked, you think a surge is going to make things better. I’m speechless to find someone who thinks Pakistan is better off now.
You sound like all the folks that thought Iraq #1 was a swell idea, and leaving 15K troops in Saudi was even better. Well, take a look at those two holes in Manhattan and get back to us.
The part of Pakistan (the Army) that controls the nukes will survive, and you’re just going to have to live with that risk. The only way Mullah Omar can get his hands on those weapons is if we f**k the country up enough and the generals decide to flee.
Ideological? You are talking about people’s LIVES, Miss “Admitted Bisexual.” I am a bisexual. No modifiers, no bullshit. Hell, I’d say polysexual, as I am apparently more aware than you that there are more than two genders (and the term is gender, not sex, thank you). The financial situation affects lives. So do DADT, abortion, same-gender marriage and such. Frankly, I find myself wishing you’d quit claiming to be bisexual, because you sound like you’re trying to stay in favor with the power structure so you can go entertain your boyfriend with a three-way in peace instead of admitting you are in an oppressed minority and doing something about it. I mean besides burying it under a rock and asking the rest of us to do the same. Just because some projects exist does not mean others have to take a backseat. We are a people of many resources and means, we Americans. Some of us work on one thing while others do another. The MLK quote was dead-on. You’re apparently too blind to see that.
@John D.: What if Obama fires him? It’s not GWB’s war anymore–it’s Obama’s war in Afghanistan. And if Obama doesn’t pull US troops out of Iraq and if Iraq spirals back out of control, then Iraq becomes Obama’s war as well. Didn’t he say he’d be bringing home 1 brigade per month by now?
What if he resigns his comission and retires in the Spring of 2011?
Whatsamatter? This scenario got you skeered?
And he has never claimed to know how to solve Iraq.
I have seen pols saying “This is the way.” That lasts for some indefinite period of time and then the commander is changed and we muddle on. Has it been solved? I don’t think so. And neither has Af/Pak.
Ricks is an intelligent fellow who has taken the time to listen to many people. IMO he does not have an ideological axe to grind. He has realistic ideas about how the military works.
It is his opinion that the generals are playing Obama. To me this is plausible. I do not like Odierno; he has tried several times to re-interpret the SOFA. Just like the military told Bill Clinton “No” on DADT and got away with it.
My biggest criticism of Dems: they seem always to be afraid to tell the military to shut up and get on board. (Except for Harry Truman, that is.)
Well, get a commission together to get the paperwork started to convince the lawmakers to get moving on this thing, Obama is busy trying to fix other situations which are more dire and require his attention..
How does not being able to admit you’re not heterosexual change your life? And why is it so much more important than taking care of the financial meltdown, the wars that we never should have gotten involved, failing infrastructure, etc…?
It is YOUR PET PROJECT Blue Raven.
I don’t need to feel afraid to tell anyone that I’ve had sex with individuals who are not of the opposing gender, I’ve never had a problem with it, perhaps THAT is your problem? I never joined the military, and even if I did, what would be the big reason why I would need to announce my sexual orientation to my superiors, or on television to the world?
No, I’m not looking to do a threesome with anyone, those days are over. I had my fun, I never looked at anyone of the same gender as a romantic interest. I really don’t care whether you are pissed off or not.
The DADT situation just doesn’t have the impact that effects millions of Americans or the billions of people around the world that our influence reaches and therefore this is not the correct time to be working on it. When the financial situation has calmed down, when the other major problems that Obama is juggling have calmed down, THAT is the time.
I wish everyone who is affected by the DADT policy a successful outcome that allows people to say whatever they want about their sexual orientation but, really, the policy doesn’t change who a person is, and the time to do it is not now.
Your pet project doesn’t take precedence over whether millions of Americans have jobs, homes, banks to make loans, roads to drive on or the absence of wars that threaten the world community. Sorry, it just doesn’t measure up that high on the scale.
If you feel I’m wrong, please name at least one way that the DADT policy has a greater impact than these things, I’ll take it into consideration. I don’t think you can.
I stand corrected. I did hear Ricks on NPR some weeks ago and I did find him off putting, which surprised me.
Only the Iraqis can deal with Iraq in the long run.
Gen. Odierno was over the line, I thought when he was out there almost contrary to Obama. He’s the type who would have said, 100,000 troops and ten more years and we’ll win in Vietnam.
Someone said that Obama gave the military brass fits when he releases the memos and so allowed the courts to decide the photos. That way, the military wouldn’t be so distrustful of him.
Clinton caved in on a lot.
Dems seem to always be afraid of being called soft on security.
Til a future thread. Thanks for your replies. It gives me things to mull over.
You know what I think? I think sex is best when private, and people like you enjoy making it public, so you can blather about it and thump your chest about your sexuality.
I don’t give a flying fuck about your sexuality, but for those who need to deal with policy, DADT is a complex situation requiring some care to take it apart. Luckily we have people in charge now who will take that care.
And they will do it in the fullness of time, and that’s fine.
Actually, no, we are talking about the rules in effect in a military context, and everyone who signed up to serve recently knows exactly what the rules were, and if they didn’t like them, they should have gone and done something else. I don’t like the rule, but I like even less people who agree to a rule and then decide to break it just to prove a point. I think they are shitheads who care only about themselves.