Oh,let it be the end!

December 21, 2011

I stopped reading Thomas  Friedman several years ago, but I couldn’t resist his latest column commemorating the departure of the last U.S. soldiers from Iraq.  He called it, The End, For Now.  Oh, would that it was the end of his scribbling!!

A few morsels to choke on:

With the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from Iraq, we’re finally going to get the answer to the core question about that country: Was Iraq the way Iraq was because Saddam was the way Saddam was, or was Saddam the way Saddam was because Iraq is the way Iraq is — a collection of sects and tribes unable to live together except under an iron fist.

I suppose this was the reason for the war:  just a big intellectual experiment.

Iraq was always a war of choice. As I never bought the argument that Saddam had nukes that had to be taken out, the decision to go to war stemmed, for me, from a different choice: Could we collaborate with the people of Iraq to change the political trajectory of this pivotal state in the heart of the Arab world and help tilt it and the region onto a democratizing track?

Is this the same guy who was jumping up and down shouting about WMDs in Iraq?  Perhaps he is drawing a fine distinction here:  “Oh, I said WMDs, but I never said “nukes

But was it a wise choice?  My answer is twofold: “No” and “Maybe, sort of, we’ll see.”

I say “no” because whatever happens in Iraq, even if it becomes Switzerland, we overpaid for it. And, for that, I have nothing but regrets. We overpaid in lives, in the wounded, in tarnished values, in dollars and in the lost focus on America’s development. Iraqis, of course, paid dearly as well.

Here, Tom follows the great American tradition of celebrating and mourning our losses, while those losses we caused to our ‘friends’ were so much larger:  2 million Vietnamese, half a million Iraqi civilians… of course, of course.

 So no matter the original reasons for the war, in the end, it came down to this: Were America and its Iraqi allies going to defeat Al Qaeda and its allies in the heart of the Arab world or were Al Qaeda and its allies going to defeat them?

Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq until we offered them an invitation there by reducing the country to primitive chaos.  With people like Friedman, no need for real enemies:  we’ll create them as we go along.

…the most important product of the Iraq war: the first ever voluntary social contract between Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites for how to share power and resources in an Arab country and to govern themselves in a democratic fashion. America helped to midwife that contract in Iraq, and now every other Arab democracy movement is trying to replicate it — without an American midwife. You see how hard it is.

So, the ‘Arab Spring’ arose in imitation of our war in Iraq?  That jerry-rigged “democracy”, which may be falling to bits as I write, is what they were striving for?  We are truly a beacon to the future!

The best-case scenario for Iraq is that it will be another Russia — an imperfect, corrupt, oil democracy that still holds together long enough so that the real agent of change — a new generation, which takes nine months and 21 years to develop — comes of age in a much more open, pluralistic society. . . I don’t know if Iraq will make it. The odds are really long, but creating this opportunity was an important endeavor, and I have nothing but respect for the Americans, Brits and Iraqis who paid the price to make it possible.

Wow!  So that’s what it all comes down to?  An “important endeavor,” a few hundred thousand dead civilians, lots of dead and maimed soldiers of our own, untold havoc to our federal budget, a gaping hole in the credibility of our government, and, oh yes, a lot of respect from Mr. Tom.  Not to mention the very real possibility that it will all unravel completely in the very near future into the fulfillment of the fiasco that began it.


Dick Cheney: Truthteller

April 23, 2009

evil_dick2

Vice-president Dick Cheney spent eight years acting as a black hole for information the public might want – stuff went in, but nothing ever came out.  Now, apparently without irony, he is calling for classified documents to be released to the public so we can have a “more honest debate” on the merits of his torture policies.  

Perhaps we should classify him, so we wouldn’t have to listen to his drivel any longer.  At least we can hope that Scooter Libbey, unable to earn a living by lawyering anymore, might seek a hefty advance for a mother-of-all tell-all memoirs about his life with Dick.

And you know, I would really like to ask Dick this:  “Just when did you stop beating your wife?”


WORST PRESIDENT EVER!

September 19, 2008

Train wreck …as metaphor, from Wikipedia:

The term is sometimes used metaphorically to describe a disaster that is foreseeable but unavoidable.

I sing to you of the presidency of George W. Bush:

  • I sing to you of hanging chads and a Supreme Court putsch…
  • Of the black day, September 11th, and a leader caught in the headlights of history I sing…
  • Of Hank Kissinger, proposed for a truth-finding commission, a divine oxymoron, I do raise my voice…
  • Of bullhorns, and tyrant mayor wannabees, and bloody shirts innumerable waved in flapping breezes unending…
  • Of “Swiftboating” skillful, I marvel and sing…
  • I sing to you of “Kenny Boy Lay” and Enron…
  • I sing to you of Dick Cheney intoning on the free market as emails plot market skullduggery…
  • I sing to you of fraudulent yellow cake and weapons of mass destruction unfound…
  • I sing to you of smoking gun mushroom clouds, and preemption extraordinary…
  • Yea, I sing to you of shock and awe gone shockingly awful…
  • Of Abu Ghraib…
  • Of Baghdad looting…
  • …and of Mission Accomplished I sing…
  • I do sing of Brownie doing a “helluva job” in the Crescent City…
  • Of torture made legal…
  • Of habeus corpus suspended…
  • Of secrets unknown and unknowable…
  • Of science denied, and malarky made policy…
  • Of history denied, I sing…
  • Of Ken Delay…of partisan firings unjust…of regulation defanged I sing
  • And lo, I now sing of economic meltdown, the fitting finis to a sing-song dirge I do sing…

Let us chant together with Clio, History’s muse:

worst president ever!
Worst President Ever!
WORST PRESIDENT EVER!
WORST PRESIDENT EVER!


Whose Mission Accomplished?

November 19, 2006


Having just finished reading Lawrence Wright’s excellent book, The Looming Tower, I have to ask, whose mission was accomplished when we invaded Iraq? From what that book tells of bin Laden’s murderous and somewhat delusional ‘plans’, it would seem that his mission was accomplished!

Bin Laden’s plan was to strike America with mass-murderous blows so as to provoke a violent response, This would, he believed, involve us in a ruinous conflict overseas that would bleed us dry and destroy our society, leading to the complete collapse of the USA and its dissolution into fifty separate, anarchic states. This is the level of Al Quaeda’s political thinking – pure fanatical gibberish. Once they get past the mass murder part, they’re on pretty shaky ground. Bin Laden thought that getting the USA involved in a guerilla war somewhere, oh, Iraq will do, would ruin us the way that Afghanistan had ruined the USSR. It’s clear that he knew little about the USA or the USSR, and is not capable of making informed judgements about them. Unlike many of his terrorist cohorts, he had never even visited the States even when he was wealthy and could move about freely.

On the other hand, although his utimate goal is clearly not within reach – Iraq is not going to shake the USA to pieces – he has met some of his objectives. He provoked a violent response that has whipped up more fanatical anti-American fury. He has gotten a tyrannical-secular-mass murderer opponent, Saddam Hussein, knocked off. He has seen Iraq turned into a possible seed-bed of a some sort of Islamist state. Oh, and American troops have left Saudi Arabia, one of his principle goals. Not too bad for a guy in a cave in the mountains of Afghanistan. Smashing his supporters, the Taliban, was a severe blow to his organization. Loosing our heads and invading Iraq played right into his hands.


Gillray – George Bush

October 26, 2006

(click to enlarge the image)


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