Is there a magic nicotine patch that could help the U.S. kick its habit of disastrous "anti-terror" campaigns? http://t.co/BEYz8gMI52
— Chase Madar (@ChMadar) March 31, 2015
Even the Very Serious People seem to be sidling towards the exits. Stephen M. Walt, in Foreign Policy:
Pardon my cynicism, but the “war on terror” (aka “war on violent extremism”) is reminding me more and more of the disastrous U.S. “war on drugs.” That latter campaign, we now know, has been a costly and counterproductive debacle. The United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars trying to interdict drug shipments, eradicate poppy and coca fields in foreign countries, and round up drug dealers and users here at home, with hardly any lasting or meaningful successes. Narcotics producers just relocate to new areas or develop new products, and smugglers find new routes to bring drugs into the United States, leaving the level of drug abuse largely unchanged. After four decades, the main achievement of the war on drugs was giving the “Land of the Free” the world’s largest prison population.
Similarly, the broad U.S. effort to address the threat from al Qaeda and its like-minded successors seems to be lurching from failure to failure. Indeed, the entire U.S. approach to the greater Middle East has been a costly series of missteps, which is why some of us have called for a fundamental rethinking of the whole U.S. approach. The GOP would like to blame the current mess on U.S. President Barack Obama, but U.S. Middle East policy is a bipartisan cock-up going back more than 20 years…
…[P]ost-Qaddafi Libya is a chaotic failed state, and likely to be a source of trouble for some time to come. Yemen is well on its way to the same status, and more than 15 years of U.S. counterterrorism operations now appear to have been for naught. The Syrian tragedy grinds on, reminding us that the only thing worse than a despotic government is no government at all. (And no, the situation in Syria would not be better if the United States had intervened earlier; this would merely have hastened the onset of anarchy and ensured that the warring factions had even more weaponry to use against each other.)
If one steps back and takes the long view, in short, it is clear that two-plus decades of U.S. policy — much of it focused on combating extremism — has not worked. In 1990, al Qaeda was in its infancy and most Middle East radicals were preoccupied with local concerns. Today, the entire region faces a rapidly morphing array of extremist groups whose message finds sympathetic audiences in many countries. The danger of direct terrorist attacks here in the United States remains very low — fortunately — because the United States is a long way away and because our law enforcement agencies have made it more difficult for large-scale plots to take place here. The rest of the counterterrorism agenda — and in particular, the various interventions the United States have waged overseas — has been mostly a bust.
In short, when historians a few decades from now look back on U.S. policy, they will no doubt regard this record as a massive, collective failure of the entire U.S. foreign-policy establishment…
I mostly basically agree, but there’s one nuance I’d like to add. There is no knowing what the current situation would be if Bush and Cheney hadn’t been such colossal, majestic, stunning fuck-ups. Could Iraq and Afghanistan have been rebuilt as peaceful nations? We’ll never know, because Dick And George* didn’t bother to try. 6+ years of two major nations left to rot reshapes all middle-eastern policy into something unrecognizable.
Also, we should never have been in Iraq in the first place, and I’m totally cool with people who think we should never have been in Afghanistan, either. The last administration shit the bed so hard, we can’t find the bed anymore.
*I almost wrote this as ‘Dick’n’Bush’.
What’s with the mockery? Walt is one of the good guys.
14 years of Democrats and 8 years of Republicans and not a Pony to show for it.
I can’t read the whole thing unless I give FP my info, and I am not doing that. I get enough high class VSP junk email as it is.
From the excerpt, Walt is blowharding VSP BS.
’20 year bipartisan cock-up’? FU, Walt. Hell with that bothsidesdoit-ism. In this matter, I will gladly cede the much, much bigger cock to the GOP.
People have been saying that it is a mistake to treat a tactic as old has human history as an enemy, and try to forge national security policy around defeating that tactic. What is new about that? People been saying that every since Bush and Cheney started messing up after 9/11.
It’s another thing to lay all the blame for everything that went wrong on that one mistake. There have been plenty of other mistakes, and IIRC, the really disastrous and decisive ones were all made by Bush II and Cheney.
I agree with Frankensteinbeck that it is arguable whether we should have gone into Afghanistan, but it was not foredoomed to failure as Iraq was. But Dub and Cheney started pissing that away a few months after the invasion, so we will never know.
I also don’t see why the problems in Yemen are attributed to the war on terror (or anything in particular). There used to be two Yemens, which have been very different from each other for a long long time.. For some reason they tried to work it out as one country. Don’t look like it is working out, and it may not have even with perfect US foreign policy.
So, from the excerpt, I am not giving FP my info to read the rest of the thing. Signs in the excerpt are not promising.
“Wars on…” don’t seem to work very well. Framing the issue as a “war on” is dumb.
I also wonder whether Walt mentions that it became almost impossible to resist the war on terror mania, politically, precisely because of the disastrous consequences of Bush and Cheney dismissing non-state terrorist organizations, and the very idea of terror as an important poltically powerful tactic
What was the Dub quote following the briefing that an AQ attack was imminent? Something like ‘You’ve covered your ass, now you can go back to Washington?”
Dub and Dick were too busy having war leaderererer daydreams about duking it out with China, or Russia, or.. I don’t know, whoever would be most convenient and politically and for (Dick) financially advantageous.
Is it starting to seem to anyone else like American planners want the middle east engulfed in a giant, flaming, chaotic mess perpetually? Who’s to say a unified, independent middle east keeps the oil flowing…
@Cpl Cam: I don’t think a unified Middle East can happen, regardless of what US planners do or don’t do, anymore than a unified North America (which includes everything from Panama to Canada).
Edit: or a Unified Indo-China, or a unified sub-Saharan Africa.
It’s a big honking cash cow for the military-intelligence-industrial complex. Whether or not it is wise or efficacious is a decidedly secondary concern.
@NotMax: I don’t think the military industrial cash cow complex drove us specifically to the war on terror. Any national security crisis can be easily turned into that kind of cash cow.
They would have been fine with repeated great power WWIII scares with China or Russia that Cheney was daydreaming about before 9/11. But Dub and Dick blew off the warnings, shit happened, and the military industrial complex adjusted.
@Cpl Cam: In other words, isn’t it blindingly bloody obvious that our “war on terror” is a cover for our actual war on a post-colonial, modern ME?
@jl: Ok, fully united is a stretch but, at least, a more tolerant and secular ME? It’s been proven countless times that sunni and Shia muslims can peacefully coexist (as long as we’re not funding and supporting the worst elements of extremist wahhabism spreading out of Saudi.)
@Cpl Cam: I think you give way too much credit to the ability to conduct coherent planning on the part of our political leadership, or their corporate masters.
The logical time to really eff things up would be before he OPEC oil embargo. But from what I have read, Big Oil tried to forecast when it would be most profitable for Saudi Arabia and others to take control of the oil in the ground. They also calculated that it would be most profitable to just milk the oil for all it was worth before then, rather than trying to go to war over it.
And, their allies, the GOP? Can they think at all, let alone coherently plan, or coherently direct planners, or follow a plan that their corporate masters give to them? I think that they are completely incapable of any of those tasks.
Edit: but they are perfectly capable of screwing things up, we know that much.
@Cpl Cam: I think, sadly, that Jefferson was right about some areas of the world solving some problems and creating a peaceful, free civil society: it will take several centuries and oceans of blood.
It took the US oceans of blood, but we did get one big part of it done right here at home, in less than a century, during the Civil War. Hope the worst is behind us.
No. They would have had to have been occupied and policed. The number of troops it would take to do that would be in the hundreds of thousands, lasting for years. There’s no way the American public would have ever been willing to foot the bill.
Then we should get out completely, since the only plausible strategic interest we have there is that no single power gets control of all the oil.
Tree With Water
The consequences of congressional democrats to confront their party’s complicity in the Bush-Cheney War is a major component of that collective failure. All concerned bear a heavy responsibility to the boat we’re in today; none will assume it. Even today with all that is known, supporters of Hillary Clinton resent being reminded of her complicity.. they would have us believe that good people were led astray by faulty intelligence- end of story. But that’s a lie.
@liberal: i agree. If we had simply tried to occupy Afghanistan long enough to merely police it, and undo some of the damage done by Taliban extremism, it might have turned out better.
I do remember that the military started programs for very small bore and narrow reforms, and quasi democracy, on a village level at the beginning of the occupation. But Dub and Cheney had different plans.
Maybe the initial approach would have worked, maybe not. We will never know, after the neocon geniuses tried to build free market main street Ohio in Kabul and Baghdad, and build a unified nation state in Afghanistan. And I think those projects were doomed even if the attempt had been in good faith and executed with the highest competence. But of course, ti was bad faith and attempted with wretched incompetence.
@jl: what makes you think the Civil War is over?
@delurkingtopost: I did say I hoped the worst was behind us.
@Frankensteinbeck: Afghanistan has never been a peaceful, functional nation, going back to the days of Alexander the Great. Saddam Hussien would probably be out of power by now had we not invaded (he’d’ve been 78 this year), Uday and Qusay were not likely to be reformers.
Mike in NC
Was once presented with the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, but was also too embarrassed by our government to wear it.
But I thought the solution to a bad guy with a gun was a good guy with a bigger gun? I took it on faith! Why isn’t it working? >_<
They still aren’t. Dubya put it all on the nation’s credit card while cutting taxes to the rich twice. These two wars will take hundreds of years to pay off, and I’m just talking the dollars. The damage to our soldiers is incalculable.
EDIT: this is my first comment from the new laptop? Neat!
@Arclite: I’m beginning to doubt your belief in Sparkle Motion. CLAP LOUDER!!!
Nor do I, and never intimated such. Once begun, the GWOT grew like Topsy on steroids. Once entrenched, the craving for those sweet, sweet (and often unaudited) greenbacks became insatiable.
Much like the so-called PATRIOT act, which snatched from dusty shelves and the recesses of file cabinets the grossest of wish lists and threw them all into an unvetted bill passed at lightning speed, the complex mentioned recognized and fed upon the ka-ching! being almost literally shoveled into its lap and that became the new norm.
[email protected]jl: While I’m sympathetic to your views on western planners I don’t think you give them or middle eastern muslims enough credit. There’s a fairly well established tradition in the middle east of any country that finds itself getting too secular, liberal or democratic soon facing repercussions from the west. Whether that be in the form of a coup as in the case of mossedegh in Iran or just getting to host the next proxy war like Afghanistan in the eighties makes no difference to our planners. If the only goal is chaos the plans don’t have to be that detailed or precisely executed…
Tissue Thin Pseudonym
Meh. I don’t like this post as much as my usual one, Fortunately, I only work this post once a week. Among other things, I can’t use my own laptop so to amuse myself I’m limited to just the things I can do in a web browser with a bunch of sites blocked. There’s all sorts of other little things, but that’s the main one.
It’s because the client uses us as receptionists as well as security guards and they don’t want to present the image of someone who is occupied with other things. Aside from the fact that I don’t think it’s really smart to combine security and reception, as it means both functions perform less than optimally, between when my shift starts at 2300 and about 0530 when people start coming in for the work day, I’m literally the only one in the building. The only people that could see that I wasn’t focused like a laser on the entry doors are my supervisors. And it says a lot about this place that they do review the footage of the security desk on the overnight shift to make sure that no one is violating policy.
It’s a fucking clown show here. I have my laptop hidden out of sight of the camera and at least have it playing music.
@Cpl Cam: You’d have to argue in more detail for a few different countries to convince me of your general theory.
For example, the US was quite eager to help modernize Afghanistan from the late 1940s through late 1970s when we were competing with the Soviets for influence with their ruling class. Not sure the place was stable enough to say more than ruling class, since turnover in rule between different relatives and rivals was pretty rapid.
US investments during that period were source of most modern irrigated agriculture and transportation system in Afghanistan that was ruined during the Soviet occupation, civil wars and Taliban regime.
This afternoon I watched Flight 93 on Netflix. It’s about the plane that went down in PA, on its way to the Capitol. The whole morning unfolds in this movie, mostly in control towers in Boston and NYC, Interspersed with scenes from Flight 93 itself.
It’s pretty wrenching, even if you’re a cynical as shit bitch like myself . . . brings back the feeling of the country on Sept 12 that led to the GWOT and the entire fiasco of the W administration. People were SO ANGRY about getting humiliated by “guys with boxcutters”.
I still get angry when I remember listening to Scott Simon on NPR, cheerleading the war, and all the interviews with Cheney where he was sneering about how Democrats want to bring Bin Laden to therapy.
@Cpl Cam: Saying that the Western imposed ideal of unified nation-state with a strong central government may not be suited to Afghanistan is not the same thing as saying there is no such thing as an Afghan cultural and political identity.
There seems to be a strong Yemeni cultural identity, but attempts at a strong political union between North and South Yemen have been problematic.
I just know what I read. Seems to me that Soviet and US rivalries during the Cold War caused just as much instability that has consequences to this day that Western and US plotting per se.
Well, Zahir Shah was head of state from 1933 – 1973. During the 1960s he introduced a modern constitution which included, among other things, a parliament, civil rights, women’s rights and universal suffrage.
He did voluntarily abdicate after a coup occurred while he was abroad, ostensibly stepping down to avoid outbreak of civil war.
@NotMax: Well, IIRC he was the king. There was several changes of prime minister that had some big effects on modernization policies and perceived Cold War alignment. And IIRC previous 20 years were pretty tumultuous.
If we both cherry pick decades, I can go with 1920s to 1933 and then pick up in 1973 and say that your 40 years was an abnormal interlude of calm, and that my decades are the typical situation of chaos (which I don’t believe BTW and not arguing).
But haven’t there always been problems with modernization in the more traditional parts of Afghanistan, regardless of whether it was attempted by Afghan rulers, or byproduct of Soviet/US rivalry, or communist rule, or the post 9/11 occupation? I don’t think blaming it all on US or European plotting, as Cpl Cam seems to do is plausible.
Edit: and the mess that started in the mid-1970s was at least partly due to the Soviets. I don;t think we were doing anything on the scale of sketchy filibustering by proxy that went on in, say, Georgia in 2007-8, that could excusably provoked the Soviets.
“After four decades, the main achievement of the war on drugs was giving the “Land of the Free” the world’s largest prison population.”
He says that like it’s a bug and not a feature. It has been abundantly clear to me for nearly twenty years that the primary purpose of the drug war has always been a pretext to criminalize minorities in order to limit their ability to participate in civic society. After all, with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the books, you can’t just snatch up a black guy and send him to the work farm because he’s walking too slow and is therefore a vagrant, so you need a more modern excuse. You know, like smoking a joint when you’re NOT a white college kid from a good family.
Can recall seeing a report from Kabul (late 60s or maybe very early 70s) showing women university students wearing mini-skirts and in full make-up
Oh, and there’s a better than even chance that Zahir Shah would have been tapped to serve as head of state again (but not king) after the collapse of the Taliban government had the U.S. not arm-twisted the first loya jirga into voting for Karzai.
@Violet: Yep. Johnson had a “war on poverty” and, last I checked, poverty is still around.
@jl: Or a unified Europe… oh, wait…
A voice of sanity from the vaudeville chorus of shrill hallucinating midget eunuchs misnamed America’s foreign policy establishment.
Expect that lone voice of sanity to get drowned out by the usual dementia, lunacy, and self-defeating egomania so typical of the United Snakes of Amnesia, a nation of incompetent and sadistic cowards whose concept of “foreign policy” involves tying a small crippled child to a tree and sending a heavyweight prizefighter to beat the kid with a baseball bat.
Exhibit A–Hillary Rodham Clinton’s proposed “assertive foreign policy”: more five-year-old kids. More rope. More baseball bats.
@NotMax: Kabul is where Timothy Leary went to hide from the Feds after he’d escaped prison in California. He was turned in by his travelling partner and kidnapped in Kabul by American agents who came to get him. Then he was dragged back home and put in solitary next to Charles Manson. Talk about the excesses and paranoia of the drug war… before it got officially called that.. it didn’t start out as a war on minorities, it started as a war on the youth of the day and youth culture of the day. It was later in the Reagan era when it became used as an excuse to incarcerate minorities.
Reagan was president in the ’20s?
@jl: Absolutely understandable. I’m not fully convinced of it myself. Hard for me to go into great detail typing on Android. I think a lot of it is just dumb luck or a natural consequence of cold war politics and resource wars like you say. And a lot of problems have stemmed from the nature of our relationship with Saudi Arabia. The best thing about the deal with Iran to me is that it seems to represent a pivot away from not only Israel but Saudi as well.
J R in WV
If we became independent users of renewable resources, we could tell the middle east to kiss their butts and leave us alone, but that makes too much sense, being as it would slow down climate change and save us gtrillions of dollars we don’t really have any more.
But no ome wants to head that kind of advice, do they?
@Cpl Cam: While I generally agree with your premise, and while it’s certainly a centerpiece of the US GWOT, Afghanistan is not in the Middle [email protected]Citizen Alan: The illegality of drugs is an effective method of social control, even for your white kid from a good family.
Stephen Walt has been outside the VSP club for many years. He committed the unpardonable sin of arguing that AIPAC has way to much influence on the foreign policy decisions of the United States and was promptly labeled an anti-semite who know VSP should ever listen to. Arguably, all the Western interventions in the Middle East since 1914 has been one unmitigated disaster after another (given the history Anglo-Egyptian War in the Sudan that date perhaps could be moved back: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahdist_War). And the various tribes and nations of the region all have their own imperial agendas and revanchist dreams to justify the slaughter each other even without the U.S., Great Britain, and France joining the melee. The wisest decision President Obama has made was not to intervene in Syria. His least wise decision was his joining the intervention into Libya.
Well, golly gosh darn, I remember when the U.S. first started meddling deeper in Libya, and way better than half the commentariat here was all, “hey man, don’t worry, We can trust that this time shit will be all good because Barack has got this….” And if one expressed the thought that, gee, maybe we are getting in too deep in places where we will just fuck shit up worse, then you just were not a quality progressive. One couldn’t be both a real Obama supporter and be wary of the Libyan intervention policy.
Yeah. Anyone else remember that?
Good times. Good times.
@Sherparick: I agree that Obama was wise to take the rope Putin threw him when he swam out alone too close to the “red-line”.
@Donut: Forget it Donut… it’s Balloon Juice.
@fuckwit: Well, LBJ left office in 1969, and a guy named Nixon came in and pretty much ended all that effort. Instead, he and his administration, which continued under Ford, began to pursue policies, particularly trade and anti-union policies, that started us on the path of eliminating the blue collar industrial jobs that had been the path out of poverty for poor and working class people from 1940 to 1970. One the dumbest right wing memes that the MSM lets Republicans and Wing-nuts get away with is “The War on Poverty has lasted for 50 years and we still have poverty.” It stopped being a funded war after the 1966 election when Republicans and Southern Democrats retook joint control of Congress and stopped all together when Nixon became President and put Don Rumsfeld in “charge” of it. Yep, that Don Rumsfeld and his primary aide was a guy named Dick Cheney. So, no, there has been no “War on Poverty” for 50 years. (Although, it should be noted that between 1960 and 1970, the poverty rate had its steepest fall, from 22% to 11%, and has been bouncing up and down from that floor since then with the business cycle (rising with recessions and the early part of recoveries, and falling as as the recovery turns into the next “boom.”) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/07/11/poverty-in-the-50-years-since-the-other-america-in-five-charts Also, although this seems to bother the right, poverty does not necessarily mean the deprivation, hunger, and illness it meant in 1959 (and which still exists in much of the world) because of the programs like SNAP and WIC. Apparently the goal of right-wing social policy is to see people starving in the streets again so as to “encourage the others.”
@Donut: You were right. We were wrong. Does that help?
@Sherparick: Excellent comment. The only thing I might add is that among the trade policies that facilitated or may further facilitate the decline of the working class are NAFTA (part of the Clinton legacy) and the TPP, which is currently being championed by Obama.
@Sherparick: Your apology falls on a lot of dead ears in Libya.
There’s a central arrogance that underlies much of American foreign policy. Namely that we are responsible for the governance of Libya and Yemen and the like.
Grievances in those places stretch back decades – centuries – before we started drone hunting Al Qaeda.
We have contributed to the brokenness of the Middle East in many ways. We are hardly guiltless. But the lion’s share of blame lies with the people who have poorly governed that region.
@liberal: and @KG:
I’m not at all convinced it couldn’t have been done. (Mind you, I’m not convinced it could have, either.) Particularly in Iraq, remember, we really were greeted as liberators. The locals of both countries hated their governments. It took about five minutes for it to become clear that we had no intention of restoring, oh, gas, plumbing, and garbage collection. At that point, we were nothing but occupying conquerors.
We should never have been in Iraq at all, but Bush rebuilt Iraq like he did emergency relief in New Orleans. Worse, even. We didn’t hear as much about Afghanistan, but presumably the same Bush dogma and incompetence happened there. Counterfactuals for or against aren’t much use in the face of that kind of destruction.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Sargon the Great was 2271 BC and about 5,000 years later Americans are starting to notice this. Yes, it’s funny how the local warlord and his goons telling everyone how they will share their cup of water and loaf of bread is vastly superior to some Hunger Games free for all the Glibtarians want.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Read up on the Middle East – it is a bloody chaotic mess unless some strong man or outside empire imposes their will on it. Our sin is we are trying to have it both ways: we won’t allow any local strongman to take over at the same time we won’t do direct rule. This is all the result of the government is never the solution way of thinking.
I don’t want to just blame the GOP, because for over a decade, Dems also bought into the lets be tough, law and order rhetoric that emanated from Law enforcement and National Security interests.
But at this time, as the parties have transitioned through the years, there is finally pushback from one of our major parties on the whole War on NameYourPoison tough on crime NeoCon/NeoLiberal philosophy that drove foreign and domestic policy since Nixon’s days. It’s the same with the Trickle down economics fraud….
In our other major party though, they cling to both like a reassuring blankee fresh from the dryer.
I’ll let you all speculate which is trying to break that bad habit and which continues to throw temper tantrums at every suggestion to put the blankee down….
I remember reading a fairly good article too in the mid 2000s about Dutch troops in Iraq which concluded that, bluntly, they behaved far better towards the local population than American troops and were rewarded with much less violence in their sectors. Might also be worth looking into in the “might it have gone better?” department.
But digging into that would open the whole can of worms of “how dare you suggest that our troops are anything other than Eagle Scouts. Our troops would NEVER do anything bad. And if they did, I’m sure the hajji deserved it.” In a country whose memory of Vietnam is “hippies spitting on troops and calling them babykillers,” no way does that happen. No one wants to be the hippies.
Counterfactuals are hard, and especially so where the issue is something as complex as foreign policy. I don’t think that we can call the last 40 years a “failure” without some idea of what things would have been like had we done things differently. But that’s not possible even to predict, because for more than 100 years we haven’t even tried to keep our nose out of the business of other countries.
It would be nice to give that a try to see what might happen, or not happen. Unfortunately, that will never occur because (1) there’s no money in sitting on the sidelines; (2) from an international public-relations standpoint we’d be compelled to intervene in various ongoing injustices and atrocities, and (3) from a domestic public-relations standpoint a non-interventionist government would be crucified for any act of terror against Americans.
(“Crucified” reference not intentional on Good Friday.)
Really? Most of those stories were staged or carefully cherry-picked, weren’t they?
Filed under “Nobody could have predicted….” except, of course, many in the blogosphere and beyond who argued that terrorism should be treated as a criminal activity, not a “war”, and who were roundly ignored.
We are ruled by idiots.
@Cpl Cam: Stratfor thinks so.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: Yeah, right. We all know these muslims are savages who only understand violence and can only be ruled by an iron fist. This chaos has nothing, nothing I tells ya, do to with western meddling in their affairs for the last 100 years…
Yep, I’ll agree with others that this is all about “follow the money.” How many untold millions have been funnelled to the military-industrial-security complex? Not to mention the pallets of money that the Cheney Administration “mislaid” in Iraq. I truly wonder if we will ever recover from this misadventure. Hopefully, the tide is beginning to turn, and many in power will take the time to read Mr. Walt’s recommendations.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
I keep wondering why the folks who like to reluctantly go to war in the Middle East are thought of as realists and the Doves who’d rather not drop bombs on anyone are considered to reside in a mental la la land. It seems at some point that the realists, given that their real policies have resulted in disaster, might at some point be given a different name.
@What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: They just as reluctantly target North Africa, Central Asia, the Balkans, etc. Currently, the Balloon Juice Laptop Bombardier Battalion reluctantly endorses the bombing of the civilian population of the Donbass.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@BobS: Yes, I realize they’re always reluctant, but always willing, to bomb some new country full of brown people. In fact, they reluctantly do it so frequently you might get the impression that they’re not all that reluctant, even though they’ll always tell you they are in fact reluctant.
@Frankensteinbeck: You could even just say “but what if the dummies had never invaded Iraq?”
The “Global War on Terror” is a silly slogan, but Al-Qaeda was active in a lot of spots. So that phrase gets a pass.
It’s that so many people went to Jihadi university in Iraq after we broke it (first, they fought against the best, the US, and lost, but picked up some tricks and had some great networking opportunities in Iraqi prisons, and then got to fight the local JV squads…) AND that the Qaeda message actually sounded better. They claimed we were evil, so what did we do?
We invaded a country under false pretenses and instituted widespread torture of Muslims.
Fighting terrorists – not proven to be counterproductive. Invading a country for no good reason and torturing its people? INCREDIBLY counterproductive.
Fuck yeah, Cole and I and Corner Stone and a handful of the rational people were all “What are you people smoking, are you INSANE???” And the B-J commentariat was all, “Nah, man, it’ll go great, trust us, Barack plays 11-dimensional chess!”
Just wait for Hillary to announce her campaign platform of an “assertive foreign policy.” And once again all the ignorant incompetent sociopaths like Mnemosyne and Soonergrunt and eemom and the rest of the DINOs will start screaming that if you express the thought that, gee, maybe Hillary is getting in too deep in places where we will just fuck shit up worse, then you just are not a quality progressive. Once again we will hear that you can’t be both a real Hillary supporter and also be wary of more endless unwinnable foreign wars.
Yes, the Democrats’ new foreign policy theme song comes straight out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show — Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!
You can say this kind of stuff, but that doesn’t make it true. The plain fact of the matter is that Walt got an article printed in Foreign Policy magazine. That matters.
Heretofore, the only people who have been publicly pushing back against this War on Terror lunacy have been fringe figures like Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein and Glenn Greenwald. When is the last time Noam Chomsky got published in Foreign Policy magazine? Never, that’s when. These people are so far outside the U.S. foreign policy establishment that they might as well be shouting their comments from Mars.
When a guy gets published in Foreign Policy magazine arguing that, hey! This ain’t workin’, folks, let’s step back and think about it, that’s a significant change. It suggests that U.S. foreign policy thinkers might be recognizing the insane futility and counterproductiveness of current American foreign policy.
Anyway, it’s a ray of light. And that’s more than we’ve seen for the last 14 years of hysteria and paranoia and over-the-op interventionism in this country.