Monday, August 22, 2011

LIBYA ENTERS THE POPCORN STAGE. I opposed the Libyan intervention, so once again I'm watching video of happy crowds in a newly-taken capital with mixed feelings. I said my say in March and stick to that; Glenn Greenwald has other relevant demurrers. Here's to our new, hopefully more tractable client state.

Of course if I were a neo-con whose bloodlust only chills when a Democrat runs the show, my feelings would be much more unpleasantly mixed, in the manner of a number of imbeciles who have already embarrassed themselves today.

Leading the pack, as I expected, is Stanley Kurtz:
America put its credibility and prestige on the line in Libya, and we have fortunately escaped the potential disaster of seeing this intervention fail–although our escape as been far too narrow for comfort. Just a month ago, it looked as though the Libya campaign was nearly lost...
Yeah, NATO was in serious danger of being defeated by Muammar Gaddafi and his gunsels. That dream being dead, Kurtz spins:
What happened? We may learn more about that in the days ahead. Preliminary reports suggest that, despite denials, NATO changed its tactics under pressure of the deadline for re-authorization. NATO began offering more aggressive support to the rebels, by attacking Qaddafi’s strictly defensive positions.
I'm no war historian, but I understand that in any campaign tactics tend to evolve with circumstances, some of them political.
In other words, we may have finally won this war only when we recognized that it was a war, and stopped treating it as a strictly humanitarian intervention.
This is good news for Rick Perry.
So Qaddafi has been toppled, but only after a notably weak and unnecessarily prolonged campaign. If this is what it takes for America and its allies to dislodge an unpopular dictator in open terrain, our more dangerous potential adversaries cannot be feeling much fear right now.
Yeah, Bashar Assad just stretched his legs, put his hands behind his head, and sighed, "Easy Street!"

If it were not for the mountains of dead involved, I would just as soon see this finale stretched to October, so it coincides with the 10th anniversary of our invasion of Afghanistan.

UPDATE. This just isn't Kurtz's day:
I’ve been reading Rick Perry’s book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington. You should read it too...

The real controversy comes when Perry suggests that, in an ideal world, even sacred cows like Social Security and Medicare might have been better run by the states....

So what’s the big deal? Aren’t most conservatives and Republicans talking like that nowadays? Absolutely. But Perry’s critique of our entitlement system is very sharp — in a couple senses of that word — and is part of a systematic attack on the welfare state that runs all the way back to Roosevelt’s New Deal...
Almost simultaneously, Perry has been disavowing the Social Security argument in his book, per the Wall Street Journal:
But since jumping into the 2012 GOP nomination race on Saturday, Mr. Perry has tempered his Social Security views. His communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that he had “never heard” the governor suggest the program was unconstitutional. Not only that, Mr. Sullivan said, but “Fed Up!” is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix the program.
Kurtz does try some preemptive spinning:
All this will be loudly excoriated by Democrats. Perry is going to be portrayed as an extremist who wants to kill Social Security and Medicare. In fact, Perry doesn’t call for that.
Back to the Journal:
[Perry] suggested the [Social Security] program’s creation violated the Constitution. The program was put in place, “at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government,” he wrote, comparing the program to a “bad disease” that has continued to spread. Instead of “a retirement system that is no longer set up like an illegal Ponzi scheme,” he wrote, he would prefer a system that “will allow individuals to own and control their own retirement.”
You can call this watered-down system "Social Security," just as you can call Coupons for Codgers "Medicare," but you can't get very many people to vote for it. That's why even the most rabid wreckers try to disguise their intentions as soon as they think someone's watching.

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