Lots o’ news today about what a disaster Operation Iraqi Freedom was. James Fallows has written a lot of interesting stuff about how the invasion happened and how to avoid similar foreign policy mistakes. Similarly, Stephen Walt is right to salute those foreign policy types who publicly opposed the invasion.
But to my mind, all of this discussion is too limited in scope. This isn’t just about foreign policy. The same pundits and think tankers who said we’d be greeted as liberators ten years ago are now telling us we need austerity or, at least that BOTH SIDES DO IT. (The pro-war neocon types want austerity and the pro-war “liberal hawks” are saying both sides do it, generally speaking.) Same shit, different issue.
Our permanent government is completely broken. It won’t be fixed anytime soon. Yes the olds who populate the Sunday shows will die or become completely senile fairly soon, but they’ll probably just be replaced by equally sociopathic commentators.
That’s why I think it’s worth it read and write blogs, and argue with your friends about politics on social media, and so on. We probably can’t imprison or execute our Very Serious Overlords but we may be able to dilute their influence.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve been trapped in a chapter of The March of Folly since sometime in late 2000.
TRUTH TO POWER!
No imprisonment? No executions? Not even a little waterboarding? After all, it’s not like it’s torture or something.
Well, there won’t be any return to Ozzie and Harriet anytime soon, that’s for sure. Our fate is entwined with Dancing With the Stars, and the great Aqua Buddha. The revolution will be tweeted.
I hope this is true. I’ve been blogging much less for a while — part post election hangover; part day job blues (and some big projects in formative stages); part, a large part, though, the sense of growing futility that comes from contemplating yet another Sunday listening to our utterly failed overlords.
I agree w. you, DougJ on the necessity of creating an alternate voice to those, say, of Former Intellectual Niall and his ilk. But damn, I’m struggling to do so.
[Says to self: Pull up your sox, man.]
That is all
@General Stuck: “Lead us to victory, Honey Boo Boo!”
Anyone see Ron Dreher’s non-apology, blaming the hippies for strengthening his commitment to the war?
They looked so silly with their puppets and all. They had to be wrong, therefor, Bush was right!
Erm, that’s one way to look at it.
Another way to look at is that one major party chose one candidate in the primary largely on the basis of his consistent rejection of Iraq, then the country elected that man, then reelected him, and he drew down the troops there.
Yes, they’re still putting Tom Friedman in the NYT (and will be for at least another 6 months), etc., but I think given the former you may be overestimating just how important the Beltway circlejerk is.
From the Fallows article:
The most concise encapsulation of the Bush Presidency I have ever read.
You’re going a bit overboard saying our government is completely broken.
DougJ, Friend of Hamas
Only our permanent government, not the elected officials.
Forum Transmitted Disease
Tucker Carlson is 45 years old.
Plenty of weeds to sprout when the old ones die.
@dan: The conservative scolds that I hate the most are the religious goody two shoes types. I am looking at you Douthat and Dreher.
Ted & Hellen
So wait a minute. Are you seriously pretending that President Obama is not one of these “very serious overlords” of which you speak?
Are you also seriously pretending that the U.S. doesn’t still have a huge footprint in and around Iraq?
@DougJ, Friend of Hamas: I agree the Beltway Punditubbies are the worst. They have been wrong on so many issues but pay no price for being wrong.
FYI, Jesus’ General has not been well:
Honestly, I don’t really care anymore about Iraq or about how useless pundits are. It’s done and over with. Progressives need to revisit instead of shining a light on today’s GOP obstruction pisses me off.
The GOP Senate obstructed another Obama judicial nomination. There are now more judicial vacancies than there were when Obama took office. Durbin’s response is an empty threat and Obama’s response is a stupid statement saying he’s deeply disappointed. Either Reid needs to go nuclear or Obama needs to give a primetime address discussing the issue. What will happen instead is that Obama and Reid will ignore it and Obama will end his 2 terms with almost no judges confirmed.
Yet, this issue is constantly ignored in the media and the progressive blogosphere. There is no pressure put on anyone to do something about it. Makes me want to just give up on even caring about politics.
Far too few left blogger types get this Doug.
I swear, I’ve been listening to the same song over and over: if only [politician X] would say [lefty blogger position Y], then PROGRESSIVE WIN FOREVAR.
This simplistic view completely fails to take into account why democratic politicians say and do the things they do. It fails to recognize or account for 40+ years of indoctrination from a combination of wingnuts, broders, brookses, cohens, and woodwards. All of whom have been feeding the public your decades a steady diet of Democrats are amoral tax and spend pussies.
And they are still doing it.
Until this changes in some way, whether it is by turnover, or via some parallel information delivery mechanism that actually gets through to a large majority of the population for an extended period of time, not much will change in terms of policy outcomes in this country.
Because I think we’ve established that unless it directly impacts their lives, these people are incapable of feeling any human emotion beyond self-satisfaction.
@Jon: The event you accomplished has been observed.
A facebook friend of mine just liked a 2004 Hitchens piece on slate reprimanding Moore’s journalism on the bin Laden’s in F-9/11. DougJ, are you *sure* I should be engaging her in a political discussion. When I knew this person in meatspace she was pretty smart, but I don’t feel like FB is the place to point out how Hitchens wouldn’t know an Iraq fact if it shat on his face.
Years ago, the series Yes, Minister described the opposing party as the “opposition in exile” and the civil service as the “opposition in residence”.
The Village courtiers fulfil that role in the United States. They are as adamantly opposed to effecting real change in Washington as Humphrey Appleby was to reforming the civil service.
DougJ, Friend of Hamas
Maybe not her.
Well, that gives us some hope that in 2016 or 2020, a presidential candidate who resisted the austerity circlejerk will be viable and may even win. Doesn’t do much for us today, though. And economic policy is easier to obfuscate and confuse people about than whether a war was good or bad, so the boomerang of public opinion may never come with the force necessary to adequately discredit the austerity-obsessed dipshits ruining the world economy. I have hope that there will be a similar shift in the narrative, but I’m not counting on it.
I’m a fairly devoted Obot on most things, but he is on board for far more austerity than is necessary (which, today, is none, and in the longer term should but won’t be shouldered by the 1%) and is willing to direct at least some of it at the people who had nothing to do with our economic malaise and can least afford to be punished. As far as austerity goes, Obama is about equivalent to Kerry-on-Iraq; better than the GOP fuckheads, but worse than we deserve.
Nothing to see here. Move along. Your FB is secure.
@Ted & Hellen:
Only a person who is an Obama-deranged total fucking moron like you would fail to recognize DougJ was referring to foreign policy media member types when he spoke of “Very Serious Overlords” who supported the Iraq War.
So I would hazard a guess that, no, DougJ does not believe President Obama is an obnoxious member of the foreign policy media.
Arm The Homeless
A woman I knew from Graf school finally blocked me today on Facebook. She is a staffer for Ted Cruz and as such could not have dirty hippies making sparky comments about Cruz’s belief that there are 12 revolutionary communists at Harvard. It was simply the end I always imagined would come about. Sad, but not at all unexpected.
Crush them and their will to fight, then mock them mercilessly. It’s the only way to be sure.
Speaking of Iraq, today’s MoDo column eviscerating Darth Cheney is a work of art.
It’s an issue ignored when a Democrat is in the White House. When some of Dubya’s crazy judicial nominees were filibustered it became a national emergency, covered repeatedly on the national news broadcasts.
@Turgidson: I’m a fairly devoted Obot too, and even I would admit that at best he arrested our decline, and at times only decelerated it. I also think a big reason that the Beltway Circlejerk isn’t as powerful as people think is precisely because of blogs and the Internet. I just think that some of these things are already “facts on the ground” and aren’t, like, our last hope like Obi Wan or something.
I also still think our country deserves a full and fair reckoning of the Bush Junta and its crimes, both in war and in the economy.
I just don’t think that whether Bob Woodward has a sad or whether Tom Friedman has a new idea from Aspen matters all that much in the polls.
By your logic we should just ignore the GOP obstruction a bit longer and then it will be “done and over with” and we can just forget about it. Given your desire to forget, I have to ask: were you also pro-Iraq war at the time?
But more importantly, you’re falling into the fallacy that only one thing can be done at a time. There’s plenty of opportunity to both highlight GOP obstructionism and review just how wrong the pundits we are still supposed to believe were. Why I do believe both issues are present on the front page of this very blog.
Didn’t you know? In Timmy’s world, Obama is retroactively responsible for the mess in Iraq even though he opposed the war because shut up, that’s why.
I wonder which of the commenters on those posts was self-proclaimed 10-year BJ veteran “Ted and Hellen”.
@taylormattd:You realise, counselor, that you answered your own question non?
Cole actually typed, “Democrat Presidential campaigns” ten years ago? This “Democrat” thing has been going on a lot longer than I realized/noticed.
I applaud the Rebublics for staying on script lo, these many years.
There’s another reason to continue mocking the powers-that-be– particularly relevant for those ambitious young’uns who have their sights set on being the Next Andrew Sullivan, the Next Andrew Breitbart, or the Next Erick ibn Erick– it has to be understood that power is slippery and if you’re wrong about something important, you’re likely to end up with people pointing and laughing at you.
@DougJ, Friend of Hamas: Now I want to. What have you done to me!? Should I start with his alcoholism orhis Iraq cheerleading? Better yet, attempt to explain that Hitchens only understands black-and-white thinking and follows up with ad hominem (ad homines?) and non sequiturs when logic fails, which is always. Despite having been widely (and incorrectly) regarded as an intellectual heavyweight in his time, he was petty and narcissistic.
Nah, I’ll just ask her if she accidentally clicked “like” and give her an out ;-)
One hopes, but I’m guessing that the combination of a steady paycheck, continuous invites to Very Special Events and vigorous lack of self-examination sounds just supah to the next gen of li’l Tuckers and Andys.
I’d be quite happy to be wrong on this, FWIW.
From the TPM link:
Greatest nation on earth, folks.
There is also our active role throughout the Cold War as an arm of fucking oppression under a bipartisan, often-liberal-led consensus. I mean, when the government was “working” it was still working for the wrong people. Is this better? Shit no, we have no interest in social programs anymore and we can’t manage our own economy. But still, it wasn’t a bed of roses for the world’s poor either when everyone in the American ruling class could sit down in a room and pour scotch.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
I thought about making this comment on the previous thread, but it fits even better here: The most important thing we can do to break the fever that is American Conservatism Democrats need to treat 2014 like it was 2012, GOTV like it’s a presidential election, get Hispanics in places like Texas to vote, and win the House and keep the Senate.
@taylormattd: Pretty much.
Doug, you’ll be much happier when you don’t engage yourself with these people. If enough of us disengage, they will be reduced in numbers or they will cease to exist.
I don’t listen to the radio, I no longer read the local paper and I watch virtually no cable or broadcast news. If it is not covered on about 5 or 6 blogs I read, I don’t worry my beautiful mind with it.
My fb page is very conservative, and it is amazing how much of the crap they post is factually inaccurate. There must be a whole industry out there to just churn out false shit.
I quit correcting people, I just take them off my feed so I don’t see their posts.
It was reported as early as 2005 that the American military (and David Petraeus personally) were implicated in torture centers set up by Iraqi commandos that Petraeus was in charge or training. There’s a lot of grisly detail in that report about one torture center in Samarra, showing the complicity of the US military and how it had been trained to keep silent about it.
If Americans had wanted to know that we were involved in torture in Iraq, all they had to do was open their eyes. This report dates to well after Abu Ghraib came to light.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
Sucky sentence fragment. Make it read:
I’ve always assumed that Derf et al was Eric Erikson.
Find myself thinking we dodged a bullet when Petraeus’ political future exploded in such dazzling fashion last year. That said, I don’t forsee him paying any penalty for actual misdeeds, just being shamed from public view because of his skirt-chasing.
It’s frustrating because the progressive media has a platform to discuss this and make it a big issue. Instead they spend their time whining about something that happened years ago or some perceived slight from the Obama WH. What’s the point of having progressive media outlets if they covering the same stupid stories Fox News is covering?
@Trollhattan: Before 2008 I spent several years poking holes in the sainted General Petraeus’ self-promoting mythology because I feared his political ambitions.
Since I’m interested in politics and policy, I gave up on the sunday shows long ago. Kevin Drum, Steve Benen, Rachel Maddow, Ezra Klein, etc, any of those are more educational in a single day than all the sunday shows (except Zakaria) put together for a year. Our DC media is worthless and misinforms as much as anything.
Also, as a former scientist, I care about facts and reality, and I basically have to mute it anytime a republican starts talking, because the stupidity, mendacity, and illogic make my blood pressure soar.
Jesus, what a stupid statement. No, I wasn’t pro-Iraq War. I am just sick of progressive blogs and media missing today’s news because they are too busy re-litigating fights from years ago. And while they do this navel-gazing, our judicial vacancy crisis continues. And it deserves more time and attention than Iraq, because we can actually do something to stop this crisis.
I agree. In the run-up to Iraq, I was reading the Economist, the WaPo, The Atlantic, etc., etc. In retrospect, I think the main thing my news consumption did was confuse me. The war sounded very necessary and urgent, but it also felt like there was something missing.
The best way I can think to describe it is that it was like eating the store-bought version of some food your mom used to make from scratch. It looked right, but there was something off or missing. Same thing with the coverage of economic issues. One side said tax cuts for rich people is good, another side said it was bad, so how is anyone (let alone me, a non-expert) to know?
Once I started going online for news, thing clicked. I could read Dean Baker and see a chart on why David Brooks was incoherent on this or that economic policy issue or read Juan Cole giving some context on current events in the middle east (they hate us for our liberty never seemed quite right to me.) or why Megan McGlargle couldn’t add and was corrupt. My experience probably isn’t unique in this, just thought I’d share.
Anyways, keep up the good work liberal blogosphere!
@askew: Yes! Why do WE expand and megaphone THEIR spin?
Short Bus Bully
Because the first rule of
Fight ClubThe Village is that Democrats are always wrong.
All true, and kind of fitting a scale described over a hundred years ago by one Helmuth von Moltke, chief of the Prussian general staff and inventor of the officer system used by all modern armies to this day. He believed that all officers could be placed on two scales, those being intelligent/stupid and lazy/energetic. Officers who were lazy and stupid were that much of a problem, being too lazy to do much damage. Lazy and intelligent made decent staff officers, energetic and intelligent were made to be field commanders. Those who were stupid and energetic needed to be gotten rid of as soon as possible, since they were in a position to do great harm.
Three guesses which heading W would fall under.
In other news concerning Iraq, I am shocked, shocked that it appears that we wasted a great deal of money in efforts to rebuild Iraq. I know, grass is green, too.) It appears that the wasted funds mentioned in the linked article does not include (one of my personal favorites) the nine fucking billion in cash out of twelve billion that was shipped to Iraq on pallets by the Federal Reserve which just sort of…vanished. Yes, that’s Nine Billion; Nine as in nine players on a baseball team and B as in we’re talking about serious money. Vanished. No fuss by Congress, no action by the Fed…crickets.
I don’t know but I sure wish we’d stop. It’s making me nuts.
Kip the Wonder Rat
Well, actually, we can. Gets messy.
Kip the Wonder Rat
Not to be a dick, but I’m going to be a dick. Your statement is encapsulates a lot of why we’re in the the mess you claim you want to fix going forward. If you don’t know where you’ve been, where you are now, and how the former led to the latter, then you won’t be able to figure out how to get where you want to go.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Depending on how you define austerity, it seems to me a lot of liberal hawks are all for it, as in Simpson-Bowles advocates. I did chuckle with rue when I saw Rob Portman, the WH budget director under whose watch war was declared, and taxes brought down, that man nodded sanctimoniously when described as a fiscal conservative by a news anchor, I’m pretty sure Mme Greenspan.
Also, too, some enterprising MSNBC host ought to challenge Beohner’s office to present evidence of His Orangeness opposing all this mad spending of the Bush years.
The Fed wouldn’t have anything to do with this. The money was appropriated by Congress. Congress did no oversight.
It makes me very sick to know about this.
@danielx: And, to be fair, don’t you remember how outraged the fiscal conservative hawks were over that missing money? And the exorbitant amounts of money paid to Halliburton for shoddy products and services? And how they refused to authorize the debt ceiling each year because debt is bad and deficits and our grandchildren? And remember how the mainstream media dutifully reported their anger and concern and what a terrible problem the deficit was? And…oh, sorry. Those nice young orderlies are here to administer my medication. That is all.
@askew: With enough practice one can chew gum and walk at the same time, as unbelievable as that might seem to you.
Shorter askew: Stop talking about your issue and talk only about mine.
DougJ, what the fuck is wrong with you? This is a trend. I’ve seen this in a bunch of your posts, calling for VIOLENCE and even MURDER against people who really are just dumbshits.
And, we have free speech in this country, so even highly-paid and completely false bullshit is still free speech. Nobody should be EXECUTED for it.
Being an ignorant dumbshit isn’t against the law. But instigating violence is.
Please, I can’t stand these stupid fucks on the TV and in the op-ed pages any more than anyone else can, but, for the love of Godwin, please stop calling for the EXECUTION of… pundits, for fuck’s sake.