Friday, June 13, 2014


(updated as my goddamn job permits)

• Always forward-looking, Reihan Salam gets out front among the "third-time's-the-charm" Iraq War fans with "We Should Never Have Left Iraq." Never mind that our contract signed by George W. Bush with fucking Iraq was that we'd leave by 2011 -- which Salam does his considerable best to obfuscate:
So why did the U.S. leave Iraq at the end of 2011? Part of it is that many within the Obama administration simply didn’t believe that U.S. forces would make much of a difference to Iraq’s political future. 
That loud noise was your bullshit detector exploding. It's not like he doesn't know the Status of Forces Agreement exists, because just last year he told Vice's Eddy Moretti:
REIHAN SALAM: I think that in my ideal world-- and I'm way,way out of the political mainstream on this issue. I personally think I would have wanted to have a larger American presence in Iraq even now. So one thing is that we didn't wind up negotiating a status of forces agreement that would have kept a substantial number of US military personnel in Iraq.  Now, this is a crazy view, right? Because everyone is like, we want to wash our hands of Iraq, period.
Yeah, that's what everyone was like, Reihan. Anyway, Salam's best argument is that Brent Scowcroft didn't want to go to war in Iraq, but once we did he wanted us to stay there and finish the job:
Though Scowcroft was confident that the U.S. could succeed in destroying Saddam’s regime, he was also confident that military action would be expensive and bloody, and that it “very likely would have to be followed by a large-scale, long-term military occupation.” As we all know, Scowcroft’s warning went unheeded by the Bush White House. 
Scowcroft offered another warning in America and the World, a widely ignored book published in 2008 that collected a series of exchanges between Scowcroft and his fellow foreign policy wise man Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Boy, how'd we all miss that gripping read?
Recognizing that Iraq remained riven by communal conflict, Scowcroft argued that the country would continue to need a U.S. military presence for at least a few more years.
Number 1: TEN YEARS. WE'VE BEEN THERE OVER TEN FUCKING YEARS. Number 2: He's Brent Scowcroft. What the fuck's he going to say? "Yeah, we fucked up, guess we're just going to have to leave those poor people to drown in suck." Scowcroft has to play the Wise Man (character requirements: Grey eminence, nice suits; must have both One Hand and The Other Hand) because that's what he's paid to play. Whereas those of us who told these idiots what a clusterfuck they were in for back in the day got called traitors by Andrew Sullivan.

Being right about these things has its quiet advantages but I gotta admit, I'd love to know what it's like to keep being wrong all the time and still get paid.

• Remember Michael Totten, one of the more passive-aggressive warbloggers of yore? Well, he ain't changed a bit:
Arab governments complain when we intervene and they complain when we don't intervene. Basically, they complain no matter what. So asking what they want is pointless. It takes a while to notice this trend over time, but there it is.
No one likes us/I don't know why/We may not be perfect/But heaven knows we try...
“We’ll kill you if you mess with us, but otherwise go die” is not even close to my preferred foreign policy, but it’s what President Barack Obama prefers (phrased much more nicely, of course) and it’s what the overwhelming majority of Americans prefer, including most liberals as well as conservatives.
Translation: The liberals are always to blame, especially for refusing to support, as I demanded they do, this occupation which I am belatedly rejecting.
Still, it’s only a matter of time before we get sucked in kicking and screaming one way or another. Because the Middle East isn’t Las Vegas. What happens there doesn’t stay there.
Prediction: Some months hence, Totten will demand we re-re-invade Iraq to clean up the mess Barack Obama made. And, shortly thereafter, protest babes!

• If you're looking for new and exciting ways to spin the third-time's-the-charm Iraq re-re-invasion strategy, National Review's Jim Geraghty would like to show you the thisclose maneuver. It's like a cross between the Ticking Time Bomb Scenario and the Butterfly Effect:
...what if the Iraqi government is just short of being capable of pushing back ISIS? Is it worth withholding our assistance to make the point that they need to be independent? How much can fear of future scapegoating limit our options in the here and now?
Just get them over the hump, then you can leave! Then some other exotically-named menace will threaten, then we go back; then we return, then some other exotically-named menace -- it's the military equivalent of shuttle diplomacy.

Bonus dick move from Geraghty:
If we really are going to adopt a philosophy of “we could help you, but we suspect you’ll grow dependent upon us and blame us for problems down the road,” could we please apply that to domestic spending programs as well?
Haw! Stupid libs want to feed paupers when there are Iraqi citizens to re-re-liberate! Doesn't the Constitution apply to them, too?


  1. LittlePig1:27 PM

    (updated as my goddamn job permits)

    No need for CLAMOR?!

  2. LittlePig1:29 PM

    the country would continue to need a U.S. military presence for at least a few more years.

    in six-month increments.

    Scowcroft is pushing Rumsfeldian levels of self-delusion here.

  3. Buffalo Rude1:42 PM

    I'm down for a Kickstarter to send Reihan to Iraq so he can show us how it should have been done the first two times around.

  4. TGuerrant1:52 PM

    But, but, but Reihan Salam, whose fondest boyhood memories were of watching 4th of July fireworks from the windows of the World Trade Center where his parents worked, seems not to have found the time before or after Harvard to join the military and fight for what is Right in Iraq. Surely he tried to enlist or get a commission? Perhaps an enlarged scow up his croft like a pilonidal cyst unfairly obstructed his patriotic service? Surely?

  5. TGuerrant1:54 PM

    He's going to jack the rent up here again, I just know it. Probably slap us with a towel fee, too. Just wait.

  6. TGuerrant1:56 PM

    At last, someplace to spend my bitcoin.

  7. liberalrob2:17 PM

    "So why did the U.S. leave Iraq at the end of 2011? Part of it is that
    many within the Obama administration simply didn’t believe that U.S.
    forces would make much of a difference to Iraq’s political future."

    Yeah, and another part of it is that the Iraqis fcking ordered us to leave. That was part of it too. But I guess the wishes of the local people don't enter into it, do they. After all, we're an empire now and our colonies are the world.

  8. Jay B.2:21 PM

    So asking what they want is pointless. It takes a while to notice this trend over time, but there it is.

    Totten can go fuck himself. He wants to bitch about Arab leaders and all that fucking bullshit but he misses the rather larger and MUCH LARGER reality of the fucking people who we've doomed by our incalculably reckless, illegal, immoral and hateful foray into Iraq. It was wrong, stupid and perfectly predictable when it was happening and it's turned out exactly -- to the fucking letter -- how most sensible, not-war-tumescent people thought it would. There was a fucking Doonesbury that I can't find right now, but circa about 2006, when an Iraqi cab driver was at a checkpoint and a soldier, maybe BD or Ray, but I can't remember and they were talking about the surge and how it prevented civil war, and the cabbie, translated, said, "It's OK, we're just waiting for you to leave anyway."

    To paraphrase Herr in Dispatches, it was all over the minute Antonin Scalia was born.

    Now they want more senseless bullshit. Totten can raise his own fucking army and go fight the infidels. Fucking murderous son of a bitch.

  9. Brian Schlosser2:22 PM

    If I'm keeping count correctly, this Iraqi adventure should be the "farce" repetition. Lotsa larfs and boffo yuks to come, gang!

  10. Derelict2:33 PM

    Let's see: Iran is sending their Iranian Guard fighters to provide support for the puppet government they created when we got rid of Saddam.

    So I guess the only way out here is for the U.S. to provide air cover and drone strikes in support of the Iranians as they try to restabilize their puppet state.

    I'm hoping Dante missed a few of the lowest circles of Hell because that's where all the war-floggers (including and especially the 101st Chairborne and the 56th Keyboard Kommandos) all belong.

  11. satch2:36 PM

    When Nouri al Maliki refused to ratify the 2011 status of forces agreement and basically said "Get the fuck out of our country, we don't want you here any more", what part of that did Reihan not understand?

  12. As usual, they're all singing the same b.s. song.

    We’ll never know if all this effort and progress could have led to a self-sustaining, stable Iraq. Before the country was close to ready, the Obama administration took off the training wheels by not seriously negotiating the NATO status of forces agreement that would have maintained some smaller American presence.

    - Bobo Brooks

  13. thimker32:41 PM

    Sounds like Michael Totten was talking about chicks, or something. You know, "can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em."

  14. Spaghetti Lee2:45 PM

    Retro week, woohoo! Let's crank the Linkin Park and go invade someone!

  15. In this light, it is worth rereading Obama’s May 28 West Point commencement address. The United States’ departure from Iraq without a status-of-forces agreement was offered as an (attempted) applause line.
    This should be the end of illusions. Sometimes risk aversion can be a very risky option.

    - Pastor Sanctimonious, aka Michael Gerson at the WaPo

  16. So reinvading iraq is like going on that fishing trip with the boys?

  17. ColBatGuano3:09 PM

    I'm going to need the over/under on dead American military personell from these blood thirsty monsters. Of course there may not be an over with them.

  18. tinheart3:10 PM

    As long as it's not one of them, there is no over.

  19. sharculese3:14 PM

    Reihan Salam is such a perfect marriage of fussy, faux-erudite affect and a willingness to say things most people regard as insane that I have trouble remembering he isn't just a computer program Slate created to generate clickbait.

  20. Jane Gagle-Bennett3:17 PM

    I'm sure Reihan has enough $ to take himself to the nearest gun show and "load up" on all necessary armaments. And I'm sure he and the rest of the gang can get on a corporate jet and get to the war on their own.

  21. Modulo_Myself3:20 PM

    Somewhere on my bookshelf I have a collection of Alexander Cockburn's columns from the 80s. They're pretty good. The alicublog archives are about five hundred times better.

    I'm not kidding--I know Roy writes for the pure pleasure of it and expects not one cent, and plus the archives on the internet for free, but there must be someway to put them out there in book form so your readers can give them as gifts.

  22. Derelict3:22 PM

    It's not that he didn't understand it--it's that refused to accept it.

    If we learned nothing else about these shitheels over the last 20 years, it's that they have an infinite capacity to shut out information that doesn't support what they want to do.

  23. redoubtagain3:26 PM

    This is the part where Eric Shinseki getsfired all over again for telling the truth all over again (and then takes over the VA under President Hillary Clinton).

  24. Lest we forget: The good old days

    The declassified CIA documents show that Casey and other top officials were repeatedly informed about Iraq's chemical attacks and its plans for launching more. "If the Iraqis produce or acquire large new supplies of mustard agent, they almost certainly would use it against Iranian troops and towns near the border," the CIA said in a top secret document.

    But it was the express policy of Reagan to ensure an Iraqi victory in the war, whatever the cost.

  25. 'Low me to translate:

    "Moooom, I'm bored. Can we have another war??"

    These assholes should have to pitch their wonderful ideas to a room full of soldiers who got stuck in Iraq for years on end because Dubya wanted to masturbate to over the coffins coming in to Dover AFB while his and Cthcheny's pals at DeathCo and WeaponsRUs sodomized goats in piles of cash.

    On second thoughts, the soldiers have been through enough. Let's just tattoo "I Voted for Bush, TWICE" across their backs and drop these chickenshits, naked, in a suburb of Baghdad.

  26. All of these war-boner havers are free to form a volunteer force and go over to Iraq to unfuck what George "Little Boots" Bush fucked.

    Maybe they could call their force the Cheeto Brigade.

  27. edroso4:14 PM

    That's very kind.

  28. If we really are going to adopt a philosophy of “we could help you, but we suspect you’ll grow dependent upon us and blame us for problems down the road,” could we please apply that to domestic spending programs as well?

    Do you know how many lunch ladies die each year feeding indigent school children? The cost in blood and treasure (and processed corn products) is just too high.

  29. Most people get nostalgic for high school from a song, or a book, or a famous quote. I get it when I hear bloggers talk about how much we need a good war. Ah, for a simpler time when the executive branch of these United States was covertly planning world conquest...

  30. Shit, I'd be satisfied if these guys had to pitch their case to the American people again.

    "Look, I know that we tried this ten years ago, and it...didn't go so well, but we've totally got a plan this time. Trust us."

  31. sharculese4:39 PM

    ...what if the Iraqi government is just short of being capable of pushing back ISIS?

    Please. Those oversexed drunks couldn't get ocelot piss out of a fucking Cadillac, much less topple a government.

  32. TGuerrant4:41 PM

    Each longest day would begin with a rousing, bugling FAAAAAART and an inspiring quote from a Right-thinking leader who has triumphed in antiquity:

    "Liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk." - Kenneth Adelman, February 13, 2002

    War in Iraq "could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East." - Bill Kristol, September 18, 2002

    "Five days or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last longer." - Donald Rumsfeld, November 15, 2002

    "It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army. Hard to imagine." - Paul Wolfowitz, Feb. 27, 2003

    "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." - Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003

    "The first two battles of this new era are now over. The battles of Afghanistan and Iraq has been won decisively and honorably." - Bill Kristol, April 28, 2003

    "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq. The United States and our allies have prevailed." - George W. Bush, May 2, 2003

    "I think the burden is on those people who think he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are." - Ari Fleischer, July 9, 2003

    "Quagmire is -- I don't do quagmires." - Donald Rumsfeld, July 24, 2003

    "Two days ahead of schedule, the world witnessed the arrival of a free and sovereign Iraq." - Dick Cheney, June 28, 2004

    "Had we to do it over again, we would look at the consequences of catastrophic success, being so successful so fast that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in escaped and lived to fight another day." - George W. Bush, August 2004

    "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." - Dick Cheney, June 20, 2005

  33. tigrismus4:44 PM

    could we please apply that to domestic spending programs as well?

    Let me guess: this person doesn't mean raising the rate on unearned income or doing away with tax breaks on second homes.

  34. Matt Jones4:49 PM

    NR: "If we really are going to adopt a philosophy of “we could help you, but we suspect you’ll grow dependent upon us and blame us for problems down the road,”"

    Um, can somebody tell Geraghty what his employer's policy is? Didn't he read the memo?

  35. TGuerrant4:52 PM

    Glory Days - the Invasion of Grenada: Operation Urgent Fury! Kicked some ass, in and out in only 51 days, never once gave up control of Port Salines International Airport!

  36. Ah, but have you ever seen Salami and Slate's clickbait computer program in the same room?

  37. TGuerrant5:00 PM

    Should go over to the Guardian to see if our allies are marshaling their forces to dive back in at our side.

  38. ohsopolite5:08 PM

    I can haz war crimes trials now?

  39. More like invade the U.S. Operation Stop the Madness!

  40. LittlePig5:11 PM

    Not to mention the sons of bitches who want the war won't pay for the damn thing.

    That's what kills me, and why I scream at my radio when some shitferbrains says, 'we need the military to do x', who's paying for it, asshole?.

    Not to mention the poor bastards in the National Guard who got screwed on stop-loss.

    Goddamn I wish the NPR talking heads would ask that simple question: "where's the money?".

  41. LittlePig5:14 PM

    David Brooks is a sociopath.

  42. LittlePig5:15 PM

    Good wars died on that second sunrise over Hiroshima.

  43. TGuerrant5:34 PM

    I kept waiting for the Mounties to come for our WMD. And bring us health care.

  44. Well, Roy, that's as fine a listing of John McCain jerk-off material as I've ever seen assembled (and Cheney is feverishly trying to reassemble his Dick derrick as I write this.) Now if these writers would just throw in some vivid descriptions of hirsute Iraqis loudly ejaculating about American imperialists that would satisfy John Bolton's Furry Fix and he and McCain could enjoy a double-ender.
    Holy smokers, double soakers.

  45. Mooser5:45 PM

    "These assholes should have to pitch their wonderful ideas to a room full
    of soldiers who got stuck in Iraq for years on end because Dubya wanted
    to masturbate to over the coffins coming in to Dover AFB while his and
    Cthcheny's pals at DeathCo and WeaponsRUs sodomized goats in piles of

    Wow, enlisted men have to do everything, don't they?

  46. XeckyGilchrist5:46 PM

    Jaysus. Is there really a chance that these mooks are going to convince people that the Iraq invasion was a good thing and only the Obama Dolchstoss fucked it up?

  47. Mooser5:47 PM

    "Shit, I'd be satisfied if these guys had to pitch their case to the American people again."

    Been ten years since 2003, and a whole new generation of American kids have grown up in the 50s since then. If they get the same help from the media, we'll go to war again.

  48. Right. This has been the right wing policy for literally forever. It is specifically why Ronald Reagan didn't think we should have Medicare. Its why they oppose Social Security. And its also why they oppose Medicaid and Food Stamps. For fuck's sake I know this and I'm not even a believer.

  49. I think it might be hard to get ocelot piss out of a cadillac, actually. Can't think of a dry cleaner who could handle it.

  50. Mooser5:53 PM

    What about the Mother of All Good Wars, Desert Storm, the First Gulf War?
    That's the Good War the war Operation Iraqi Freedom was hoping to build on.

  51. Maybe we can market it with a song like "50 Ways to Leave Iraq."

  52. Modulo_Myself5:56 PM

    Well, these mooks were the same people who tended to be convinced that Iraq was behind 9/11 and WMDs were found.

  53. Mooser5:57 PM

    "On second thoughts, the soldiers have been through enough. Let's just
    tattoo "I Voted for Bush, TWICE" across their backs and drop these
    chickenshits, naked, in a suburb of Baghdad."

    I thought they had been through enough?

  54. Mooser6:02 PM

    But wouldn't it be so much better to blame it all on Obama, seeing as how Bush handed him a war this close to being all won, and Obama screwed it up?

  55. Mooser6:08 PM

    I was working on a little anthropophagy-themed number called "Fifty Ways to Eat Your Liver", but I'll stop, so as not to create confusion.

  56. Mooser6:18 PM

    "Is there really a chance that these mooks are going to convince people that the Iraq invasion was a good thing"

    Oh, there's no need to go that far! All that's really necessary is to convince everybody that if they say what a bad thing the Iraq invasion was, it gives our brave enlisted men a big sad, so shut up . And it'll take ten-15 years to gin up something else, and there'll be a new crop of kids along by then.

  57. Derelict6:22 PM

    Freedom ain't free. But war most certainly is! It's free because the people being interviewed on NPR, and the people doing the interviewing, are all in tax brackets where their effective tax rates are way below what you and I pay. So for them, yeah, it's free.

    For us, we pay in the form of swaps. We've swapped fixing our roads and bridges for 12 years in Afghanistan. We've swapped our safety net for 11 years in Iraq. We've swapped our houses and jobs for now oversight of Wall Street and the banksters. Basically, we've been swapped upside the head so hard and so often that most of our fellow citizens can no longer see or think straight.

  58. Derelict6:23 PM

    Hmmmmmmmmmm......A Slate of Salami with a side of clickbait. Can I get that with extra dippin' sauce?

  59. Derelict6:27 PM

    This is why I think we need to re-instate the draft. If everyone's kid had a chance of being shipped to the latest shithole Senators Butch-Me-Up and Splashdown McCain demanded we invade, I think there'd be a lot more reluctance to put our kids in harm's way.

  60. Derelict6:29 PM

    All of these war-boner havers are free to form a volunteer force and go over to Iraq to unfuck what George "Little Boots" Bush fucked.

    For invasions lasting more than four decades, seek immediate UN attention.

  61. Rugosa6:30 PM

    I just heard NPR's Friday segment with Brooks, today with Katherine van den Heuvel (sp?) subbing for E J Dionne. van den Heuvel spat out the whole list of particulars - the lives lost and ruined, the money spent but not paid for in the budget - and Brooks actually sputtered for a moment. When he recovered, he spewed something about how Iraq was on course to a strong, stable government in 2011 and we'll never know if it would have gotten there because we left too soon.

    Brooks is not just a sociopath, he's delusional.

  62. Jay B.6:44 PM

    If we really are going to adopt a philosophy of “we could help you, but we suspect you’ll grow dependent upon us and blame us for problems down the road,” could we please apply that to domestic spending programs as well?

    These assholes are going to make me stroke out. Here's a counter argument, fuckface, if we really are going to adopt a philosophy of spending more trillions on fucking up the world, why don't we spend trillions in this country on infrastructure, renewable energy and poverty?

  63. sharculese6:45 PM

    From what I hear that stink never leaves anything. Those fox-eared assholes.

  64. sharculese6:48 PM

    So if Roy isn't covering it might I submit Young Conor's Very Serious Concerns about Hillary Clinton's history with marriage equality:

    Nut graf:

    Finally, there is widespread amnesia among Democrats more broadly, who reflexively assume that Hillary Clinton has of course supported gay marriage in her heart of hearts for years. They will experience disillusionment when they discover the truth, especially if they first catch Clinton disingenuously obfuscating. Younger voters in particular are likely to be caught unaware, and then as embarrassed by Clinton's slowness to change her mind as they are about the positions of their own grandparents, who they'd never select to run the federal government.

    Bonus points for quoting Sully pretending to be an early Clintonista instead of, y'know, the guy who still brags about torpedoing her health care reform plan through out and out chicanery.

  65. BG, dismayed leftie6:56 PM


    If we really are going to adopt a philosophy of “we could help you, but we suspect you’ll grow dependent upon us and blame us for problems down the road,” could we please apply that to domestic spending programs as well?

    It must be hard for him to walk, considering his ass is where his head should be.

  66. BG, dismayed leftie6:59 PM

    Just in time for the midterms.

  67. XeckyGilchrist7:24 PM

    You know, I had never known about ocelot piss but I recently visited a big-cat sanctuary and holy moly, does ocelot piss stink.

  68. Scowcroft offered another warning in America and the World, a
    widely ignored book published in 2008 ... Recognizing that Iraq remained riven by communal conflict, Scowcroft
    argued that the country would continue to need a U.S. military presence
    for at least a few more years.

    Perhaps someone could slowly and patiently point out to Salam that 2008 + "a few more years" could easily be consistent with a troop pullout in 2011. Maybe use hand puppets to explain it, or even better, one of McMegan's two-by-fours.

  69. I noticed that, too. The Sullivan thing, but I couldn't remember back far enough to remember whether he'd ever supported Clinton.

    Also, I find the notion that young people are expecting to be able to vote for someone who isn't, you know, older than dirt kind of funny. I doubt very much that any young person is "embarrassed" by their grandparents "slowness to change their minds" rather than thrilled when the grandparents do come around. Because even Conor is arguing that Clinton came around and is now a hip grandma, not an old jerk.

  70. sharculese8:45 PM

    It reminds me of a conversation I had with my dad back last November. I was home to visit and we were discussing the slate of GOP Senate candidates for Georgia, and Karen Handel and her anti-choice antics came up and my dad- "I think she thinks these sorts of things because she's a middle-aged, childless woman.'

    I grimaced, and my dad immediately realized he had said something inappropriate, and, as he always does in these situations and to his credit, asked me to explain exactly where he went wrong.

    Do I think any less of him as a liberal because of that? Hell no. My dad was the one who instilled strong liberal values in me, the long and torturous path to that point I just alluded to over at LGM notwithstanding.

    Conor's whole argument is based on the premise that everyone votes based on the same set of shallow, purity-obsessed metrics he's perpetually flogged as a blogger, which well, let us not forget that that school of thought led him to be part of the 'fuck all that equal rights shit, you vote for Rand Paul because drones or you're a bad person' caucus.

  71. Mooser8:54 PM

    "This is why I think we need to re-instate the draft."

    This is a very bad idea. Why on earth should I think that a draft, Selective Service will suddenly become completely egalitarian and its processes completely open? Have you ever checked on the way Draft Boards work? Un-fucking-accountable.
    The idea that giving the government the power to impress people into the military and assuming that power will be applied in a way that pleases you is a very bad idea.
    And the dream that the draft, of all things, will be applied in an open and egalitarian manner, where on earth did that come from?

  72. sharculese9:03 PM

    Second thought: I think he's flippant about this stuff in the same way and for much the same reasons that Jonathan Chait gets flippant about choice. He's largely indifferent to an issue he knows his readership cares deeply about, so he luxuriates in playing Solomon splitting the baby. It's pseudo-intellectual masturbation and mandates that the eyes spin back until they can see the brainstem.

  73. montag29:05 PM

    Ah, well, all of this should have been anticipated from the moment the Bush administration didn't come down hard on our Saudi "allies" for 9/11 and then pursued the "deBathification" of Iraq.

    It was like opening the door for fundamentalist groups once we were gone (and note, importantly, we couldn't have left if we hadn't invaded in the first place), and if I were only slightly more cynical than I am already, I'd say it's an ongoing chapter in The Shock Doctrine, wherein the foreign policy establishment of the U.S., the Saudis and the oil companies are all working together to take advantage of the chaos. The Iraq war turned out pretty much the opposite of the way the foreign policy hawks wanted, the Shiite government that came to power didn't completely bend over for the oil companies and has been buddy-buddy with the Iranian mullahs, and since the Saudis are running out of light sweet crude and would love to have a compliant Wahhabi Wacko government in Iraq that owes them for all the arms and petrodollars that have made an overthrow possible (and the Saudi royals are about as paranoid of the Iranians as the U.S. was of the
    Soviet Union, so, no surprise on that account, either).

    Of course there were going to be second and third acts to this play.

  74. halfkidding9:07 PM

    Radical Salafi Jihadists are the logical extension of Saudi Arabia's particular Islamic sect, usually called Wahhabism.

    I'll quote Wiki.

    is a radical religious movement or offshoot branch of Islam [1][2] variously described as "orthodox", "ultraconservative",[3] "austere", "fundamentalist", "puritanical"[4] (or "puritan"),[5] an Islamic "reform movement" to restore "pure monotheistic worship",[6] or an "extremist pseudo-Sunni movement".[7] It aspires to return to the earliest fundamental Islamic sources of the Quran and Hadith, with inspiration from the teachings of Medieval theologian Ibn Taymiyyah and early jurist Ahmad ibn Hanbal.[8] In July, 2013, European Parliamentidentified Wahhabi movement as the source of global terrorism and a threat to traditional and diverse Muslim cultures of the whole world

    With their money the Saudis have made extending this version of Islam in lieu of actual development their project. In return for no push back at all from us the Saudis have pumped almost every possible drop of oil as fast as they can for 40 years and so maintain 'the American way of life'. They also just let Israel be.

    Osama's Al queda and all its cousins have simply taken the Saudi religion and turned it into a political ideology as fundamentalists are wont to do.

  75. "in six-month increments"... AKA theFriedman

  76. M. Krebs9:25 PM

    I'm sending the Wolf.

  77. Acharn09:28 PM

    Yes, the draft is bad on many counts, but at least it kept the populace at large in touch with what our military was doing. The 0.1% Army we have now is too disconnected from too many families. If everybody knew somebody whose kid was going to be sent to (possibly) die or (more likely) be maimed for life, we would likely have more motivated people to push back. I don't care of Smedly Cadwallader III can buy his way out of the draft. Fk him. I want people to have a stake in our foreign policy again. It isn't perfect, it didn't keep us out of Vietnam (boy, talk about your salami technique) but in the end it got us out (although Nixon and Kissinger should have been convicted of something after they persuaded the South Vietnamese to leave the peace talks so peace wouldn't break out before the election).

  78. L Bob Rife9:34 PM

    what if the Iraqi government is just short of being capable of pushing back ISIS?

    Man, I was this close to quitting heroin but I overslept and missed the bus to the NarcAnon meeting. If you could loan me $20 I can use it to buy an alarm clock and a bus pass and I swear I'll make it to the next meeting.

  79. tigrismus9:36 PM

    "Reihan Salam" actually means "hello microcents"

  80. tigrismus9:38 PM

    She made him look bad, but I guess he comes looking pre-chewed so that's not too hard.

  81. M. Krebs9:46 PM

    Here's a crazy idea for Act II.b.: How's about we stay out of the way and let the various tribes who occupy the piece of desert known as "Iraq" since 19fucking20 fight this out for themselves until they figure out how to divvy up the region into countries that make sense. Exxon, Haliburton, Russia, etc., will just have to deal. And if the price of oil doubles, GOOD! --- fewer assholes driving loud-ass gas-guzzling trucks down my street and the faster we transition to solar/wind/whatever.

  82. montag29:49 PM

    I have the distinct feeling that the results of that would be, just like their writing, more than a little tragicomic. First, these are abjectly stupid people masquerading as intellectuals, so their morning drills would be something akin to Abbott & Costello routines with live ammunition. Second, they've been consistently getting things wrong for, well, forever, so their strategic planning is likely to follow the same course. For some people, practice does not make perfect. Third, they would likely create a hierarchy of rank similar to their pecking order in the world of wingnut welfare, and that would put Der Pantload somewhere near the top, and one can just imagine the dithering under fire that would create.

    Last, they believe they're a lot smarter than the government, and would pay absolutely no attention to what's imprinted on the claymores, with predictable results.

  83. Acharn09:49 PM

    Calling Judith Miller! Calling Judith Miller! Whare are you dear, we need you now.

  84. montag29:52 PM

    A novel idea--American business making deals, instead of depending upon the American military to open new resources and markets for them. But, truthfully, doesn't this sort of strain the concept of willing suspension of disbelief?

  85. Scowcroft has to play the Wise Man (character requirements: Grey eminence, nice suits; must have both One Hand and The Other Hand)


  86. calling all toasters10:05 PM

    Dear Michael Totten,

    "Arab governments I complain when we intervene and they I complain when we don't intervene. Basically, they I complain no matter what. So asking what they I want is pointless. It takes a while to notice this trend over time, but there it is."

    Fucking Traitor Fuck You.

  87. montag210:09 PM

    I've tossed this back and forth for a long time, particularly whether or not the draft enabled interminable warfare (there's no question that the draft extended and expanded the Vietnam war well beyond good sense).

    That said, the recent (and still ongoing) wars have not been any neater or cleaner or quicker with a volunteer army, and at the same time, the volunteer army has encouraged a "warrior culture" both in and out of the military that has completely supplanted the "citizen-soldier" concept.

    Conscription tends to be necessary when there's no apparent good reason for wars, when there's no clear, definable threat to home and family such as invasion. It's much more difficult to get people to join up when the goal is protecting "American interests," which are murky and more likely than not imperial in nature.

    So, since neither the draft nor the volunteer army have prevented the nation from embarking on stupid, senseless wars, maybe our attention ought to be focused elsewhere, on the people in government, media and society whose aims are not in the best interests of ordinary people.

  88. Spaghetti Lee10:10 PM

    I'm not sure there's a scenario where "cause harm to innocent people to prove a political point" is ever a good idea, and I'm really not sure why so many lefties seem to be cheering for a return to the draft. Even from a cold-blooded political perspective, how often does this "Purposefully adapt stupid policy to send a message to the public" thing ever actually change the public's mind?

  89. Spaghetti Lee10:12 PM

    Like, notably smelly compared to other big cats? Well, everyone needs some claim to fame, I guess.

  90. Spaghetti Lee10:15 PM

    "Who threw that grenade?" "That's what I said!" "Wh-"BOOM!

  91. smut clyde10:20 PM

    If only there was an expert on humility available, who could advise US leaders about abandoning the Utopian delusion that they can control events and governments everywhere in the world.

  92. smut clyde10:23 PM

    not seriously negotiating the NATO status of forces agreement
    I amuse myself imagining the response from Brooks and the rest of the rightwing noise machine if Obama had acceded to Iraqi demands and made US troops subject to Iraqi law, as a condition for them staying.

  93. smut clyde10:27 PM

    Also too, isn't there enough noise already about the Obesity Epidemic? Imagine the aggravation and the headlines about the proportion of recruits who fail the fitness tests.

  94. montag210:37 PM

    Umm, I don't think Brooks is smart enough to be a sociopath. Is there such a thing as a dumb sociopath? I mean, I always thought of them as clever enough to be successfully manipulative, and Bobo is little more than a lump of shit in a suit.

  95. smut clyde10:40 PM

    such a thing as a dumb sociopath?
    They're the ones in prison.

  96. Tehanu10:41 PM

    But, but, they're not Americans, so why do us Americans have to get out of their country?

  97. Why do you hate Manifest Destiny?

  98. Plus the expense of buying all those uniforms from China.

  99. All they'd have to do is start talking about re-instituting the draft and the public would be (ahem) up in arms. I don't think we'd have to actually get there. But we could probably achieve the same thing by proposing to tax CEO's to pay for full health care benefits for the returned vets with no nickle and diming. Then the money men would refuse to allow us to enroll any more soldiers, ever.

  100. I keep visualizing thousands of hundred-dollar bills just blowing around Iraq, caught on chain-link fences and high in trees up in the mountains, down storm drains and floating in creeks; there were so many of them--probably a couple million--and nobody gave a flying fuck what happened to them.

  101. montag211:04 PM

    Actually, more than a few of them are in the hands of the jihadists, since they looted the bank in Mosul when they seized the town, to the tune of ~ $450 million, according to recent reports.

    The rest, of course, went to American contractors and bribes. Those are safely tucked away in (name of favorite tax haven ______ here).

    Now, that helicopter shipment of $1.5 billion which was transferred to an unmarked moving van in the middle of nowhere in northern Iraq, that's another matter....

  102. M. Krebs11:09 PM

    Here's how I see it: An all-volunteer army too easily becomes the personal army of the President, for doing whatever the President deems to be in the "national interest." With a draft, the people get involved pretty quick in a real goddamn way, and maybe the President will think a few more times before unleashing the dogs of war.

    It's interesting to imagine what the Vietnam era would have been like with an all-volunteer army. My guess is that it would have dragged on and on even longer than it did, with just as much loss of life.

    War is horrible either way. I'd just rather that those who wage it be accountable to everyone, not just those who volunteer.

  103. Thanks for the walk down memory lane, T.

    "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq. The United States and our allies have prevailed." - George W. Bush, May 2, 2003

    I always liked the way Bush pulled his punches with that squirmy little speech of his (which I'm sure followed an orgasm in his flight suit; don't try to clean it, just throw the fucking thing away). "Major combat operations": What the fuck does that mean? "The battle of Iraq": Oh, you mean, unlike the war of Iraq. At least he could've said "the battle of Baghdad," which was all that had been done to that point. And I like "prevailed." Not "won"; "prevailed." If Bush had really though "the war is over," he'd have said so, but it looks like even a mental defective like him knew better.

  104. timb11711:23 PM

    Reihan understands that it was Obama's fault. The Kagans told him and all

  105. anonymouse11:34 PM

    It's also true, you certainly have a gift for writing, however, that pales to insignificance compared to your ability to sample the waters of the right wing fever swamp and emerge untainted.

  106. Have to disagree. These mooks are the same people who knew Saddam had no WMDs and had even less to do with 9/11, but they also knew that enough gullible people in these United States (including the Senate and, for all we know, the Oval Office) could be convinced of those gross falsehoods in order for an invasion to be judged The Only Possible Alternative.

  107. Chin up, BG, it can always get worse.

  108. montag211:42 PM

    Accountability seems to be grossly undervalued these days. And, truthfully, ever since Congress abdicated its obligation to declare war and turned over that duty to the President, the military--draft or no--has always been the personal toy of presidents.

    Which is why I suggest that the problem is wider and deeper than how we fill the ranks of the military.

    We've allowed some fundamental Constitutional principles to be tossed aside, and allowed ourselves to be heavily propagandized into believing in war as a necessity, and that's the root of the problem. The militarism generated by the volunteer army is a symptom, rather than a cause, of that bigger problem. Many countries have operated volunteer armies without the belligerence exhibited by the U.S. In fact, most developed countries do not have conscription, and have managed to avoid the sort of conflicts in which the U.S. finds itself willingly and habitually embroiled.

    As long as the leadership of the country thinks the U.S. should run the world, and that the principal instrument of that ambition should be military force or threat of military force, it matters not how that military is maintained, whether by literal draft or de facto economic draft. The underlying culture of war for economic gain remains.

  109. I wonder what the exchange rate is.

  110. montag211:50 PM

    I'm sure the gun-runners could tell you.

  111. anonymouse11:53 PM

    If you were going to invade one middle eastern country and depose its leadership, it would have to be Saudi Arabia. It seems to be governed by a metastasising tumour of evil. It's a font of jihadist money, they suppress democracy across the middle east and they don't let women drive. If kicking puppies spread Wahhabism, the Saudi govt. would probably organise contests.

  112. JennOfArk1:06 AM

    That fuckstick Ari Fleischer was on the twitter concern-trolling about how leaving in 2011 had ruined all the good work done in "the Surge."

    So of course I felt compelled to point out to him that "the Surge" never would have been needed if there had been a fucking PLAN from day one, or if his cronies in the White House had listened to the generals' estimates of troop levels needed (instead of Don Rumsfeld's). And then, couldn't resist coming back and saying, "ok, "no plan" wasn't fair. You guys had an Underpants Gnomes plan. 1-Invade Iraq 2-???????? 3-FREEDOM & DEMOCRACY!!!"

    Smarmy dickhead.

  113. smut clyde2:53 AM

    had ruined all the good work done in "the Surge."
    If all that good work fell apart so soon perhaps it was completely fraudulent.

  114. smut clyde3:01 AM

    Now I am wondering who in the Maliki administration decided to stash half a billion dollars in unmarked bills in a bank right next to a warzone; not to mention a convenient stockpile of weapons. Could be that the Maliki strategy for dealing with an insurgency was the same as the Petraeus plan, i.e. "Pay them to go away", but the insurgents realised that they could just send in a large enough force to seize the money and not go away.

    Alternatively, when the US spent a few trillion dollars and 1a few thousand lives to install a mixture of Iranian clients and bribe-taking specialists as the new government of Iraq, some of them were actually more sympathetic with ISIS.

  115. If we really are going to adopt a philosophy of “we could help you, but
    we suspect you’ll grow dependent upon us and blame us for problems down
    the road,” could we please apply that to domestic spending programs as

    All righty. And since you mentioned the road, we'll start there. Iraqi roads are in terrible shape. So we're going to send oh ... 75% of road repair equipment and crews to Iraq to fix their roads. Also, it may surprise you, but wars are expensive. So you'd be just dandy with a 100% increase in your taxes to fund that adventure. Don't worry, we'll snip out the 2 bits that go towards domestic programs.

    Me, I think their desire to have the U.S. involved in a ground war is based on the delusion that if enough soldiers are out of the country, they'll have a chance with the ladies. "Just 6 more months and I'll finally get some action!"

  116. I understand the desire to see the looks on those assholes faces (male and female now that the combat ban has been lifted) as their pants fill up in response to the idea they might be exposed to something more dangerous than a rough commute.

    However, bringing back the draft would simply mean that the ones who weren't rejected outright as unfit would be able to buy their way out of it. So not only would they not care, we'd have to listen to them clack on about how horrible it is that Obama brought back the draft to fight the war they had to have. Why didn't he trust the American people to do the right thing?? (Such missives written in Canada, just in case.)

    Having said that, human behavior and history suggests that one day some asshole will get U.S. involved in an immense war that will require the return of the draft. If they're still alive and the president reinstating it is a Republican, I'm sure they'll spin it into a positive. Aren't massive wars supposed to be good for Moral Fiber, which promotes the Dookies of Christian Values. Something like that.

  117. So ... they'd likely kill or maim themselves during training and the survivors would head out under the command of General Faster than a Speeding Fart Goldberg, who would want to send orders (or have his subaltern send orders) from the comfort of his home after he finished catching up on Game of Thrones.


    Sorry. I'm not seeing the tragedy part here.

  118. satch9:09 AM

    "Now I am wondering who in the Maliki administration decided to stash
    half a billion dollars in unmarked bills in a bank right next to a

    The insurgents saw "Kelly's Heroes" on AMC one night and a light bulb went on over their heads...

  119. tigrismus9:09 AM

    Just how many times must the Mission be Accomplished?

  120. satch9:21 AM

    "...what if the Iraqi government is just short of being capable of pushing back ISIS?"

    If we'd REALLY wanted to help, we'd have given the Iraqi Security forces velcro-fastened tearaway uniforms so they'd have been able to shuck out of them faster when they deserted.

  121. The Surge was largely about the US ARMY paying terrorists not to terrorize.

    Wonder what they did with all that cash?

  122. mortimer20009:39 AM

    Goldberg phones in, and proves once again that he it's a mommy miracle
    he's even in the pundit business. This
    gaseous column
    on the current Iraq problem is so lacking in
    substance it floats. After yards of dither and yawn, he gets to this:
    of the president often ask critics, “Well, what do you want to do?”
    I’ll be honest. I don’t know. We have no good options left. I certainly
    think we should have provided assistance to the (corrupt and pathetic)
    Iraqi government when they asked for air support last month. But I don’t
    want boots on the ground.
    What I really want is that time machine.

    time machine being something that transports Obama
    back to his first term where he could amend his entire foreign policy to
    conform to right-wing talking points instead of reality, which would
    make everything just peachy now.

    And can you imagine another
    writer not being embarrassed by the parenthetical (joke? clever
    observation? sophomoric fart?) in this:
    Even the most rabid
    hawks (though technically, I don’t think birds can get rabies) would
    never dream of arguing that the military should be the only or primary
    component of leadership in “every instance.”

  123. maxdi9:51 AM

    Occam's Razor Says : In modern punditocracy there is no downside risk to being wrong. (i.e., there is no batting average). All you have to do, it seems, is write pretty and kiss your editorial boss's ass sufficiently.

  124. Provider_UNE9:58 AM

    Now that you mention fox-eared asshole, crepuscularic bastards, I do think it was you, dear friend that turned me on to Archer. I am now certain that you were at least a participant in that thread.

    Thank you.

    IIRC, the person who sealed the deal indicated that they were a big Venture Bros fan.

    Also, too, "....He remembers me!!!!" cracks me the fuck up, every time.

  125. Provider_UNE10:06 AM

    White dudes, on wingnut welfare-lite, can afford to be flippant about anything that wont possibly touch their privilege...

  126. Provider_UNE10:09 AM

    New one, feel free to steal: "Clue-iville Slugger."

    Inspired by mds's " of McMegan's two-by-fours."

    Thank you.

  127. XeckyGilchrist10:29 AM

    Well, at least that was a bipartisan caucus.

  128. XeckyGilchrist10:31 AM

    Amazingly, yes.

  129. XeckyGilchrist10:36 AM

    Up in BC a while back I saw, at the border crossing to get back into the U.S., and enormous billboard - framed with yellow and black warning stripes - saying WARNING: ENTERING EXPENSIVE HEALTH CARE ZONE and detailing how you're on your own in a predatory wilderness sort of thing. The message was a useful PSA but the presentation was a giant, and totally earned, fuck-you to the U.S.

    Bring on the Mounties.

  130. XeckyGilchrist10:39 AM

    Well, if they're not dumb rich sociopaths.

  131. mgmonklewis10:47 AM

    Also, the "liberation" of Iraq has made the inevitable civil war even worse. Discussing what would happen if fighting occurred in Baghdad, Richard Engel told Rachel Maddow that Baghdad used to be a diverse city, with Sunnis, Shia, and Christians often living on the same streets in neighborhoods. After Dubya's great adventure to spread Peeance and Freeance, Baghdad is almost totally segregated by ethnic group. I'm sure that won't encourage and facilitate "ethnic cleansing," should fighting occur.

  132. mgmonklewis11:00 AM

    ^^^ FTW.

    Can we start an organization of Warmongers Anonymous?

  133. mgmonklewis11:01 AM

  134. mgmonklewis11:03 AM

    Great. How long until Act V when some fking Norwegian prince comes in and arranges to haul away all the bodies?

    exeunt omnes, with alarums

  135. mgmonklewis11:06 AM

    Maybe there's an Anti-Matter Circle in Dante's sub-basement for people who deserve worse than being frozen in ice eternally with Satan.

  136. mgmonklewis11:08 AM

    Billions in clandestine funds for slide whistles to arm the insurgents!

  137. LittlePig11:20 AM

    Too bad the dumb fuck can't realize there never were any good options.

  138. LittlePig11:24 AM

    The 10th (Quantum) ring is where those folks go, since in life they never took a solid position on anything. There they exist only as wave-functions that never collapse into reality.

  139. LittlePig11:26 AM

    Joltin' Judy's dead and gone away

    hey hey hey

    hey hey hey

  140. LittlePig11:27 AM

    I'm always fond of 'I now smite thee with the mighty sword Cluebringer!"

  141. Provider_UNE12:00 PM

    (i.e., there is no batting average)

    I think you meant (i.e. there is no Mendoza line)

  142. Thing is, if your dad had said: "I think she thinks these sorts of things because she's a middle-aged, childless woman who believes SHE'LL never need to terminate a pregnancy", he might not have been far wrong. There are bargeloads of married white women who, unfortunately, think this way because they're incapable of imagining themselves in any other circumstances than the ones they're in.

  143. Fitness was a big issue during the war, but not just weight. I know the Army kept lowering its standards and changed its basic training program, in part just to get enough people through. Now it is bringing them back up to normal, which will result in a lot of people being discharged.

  144. Heard outside the door of the room where NPR producers were discussing possible future subs for Dionne:

    "Hmm, vanden Heuvel... nope, can't use her any more... too strident and uncivil."

  145. And I'm not seeing the write pretty part. These people are to writing what a cat is to a nice wool rug.

  146. Bleeding Jeezus, Brooks... the main sticking point in the 2011 SOFA was that the US wanted immunity from prosecution of soldiers and contractors in Iraqi courts, and Maliki, unsurprisingly, in view of our history with Abu Ghraib and Baghram, wouldn't agree. The key to understanding the Right's propaganda is that they assume the American people are either amnesic or stupid.

  147. Dr. Hunky Jimpjorps12:24 PM

    To the people in charge, obsequiousness is just as good as prettiness.

  148. Oh fuck me. Brace yourselves, guys, Mitt Romney's coming to Meet The Press this Sunday to remind us all of why HE should have been elected president, and he'll no doubt have some advice for Obama on the Iraq situation...

  149. cleter12:37 PM

    If Obama re-re-invaded, all these guys would turn on a dime and denounce him as a bloody tyrant who was going all Napoleon and spreading his bloody tyranny with his big black Kenyan sword. IMPEACH HIM BEFORE HE KILLS AGAIN!11 etc.

  150. cleter12:39 PM

    The answer is blowing in Jonah Goldberg's wind.

  151. RogerAiles12:53 PM

    As racist Popeye once said, "Salam-i, Salam-i ... Ba-loney!"

  152. montag212:55 PM

    Yup, he would have gone into Iraq and rounded up all the moochers. Problem solved!

    And if the army had just installed all those underground garages like he did, why, the rebel forces couldn't have stolen all that equipment.

    And, if al-Maliki had just run his government like a business, everybody would be wealthy and happy, youbetcha!

  153. montag21:04 PM

    It's blobs of words like this example that make me think that a hundred years from now, they'll pull the tinfoil off some frozen guy ala "Sleeper" and they're going to ask the guy about these "things they found" and they'd like to know about them, and the poor schmo, after defrosting his eyebrows, is going to say, "yeah, that's Doughy Pantl... er, Jonah Goldberg and yes, his columns were used to punish hardened criminals when solitary confinement was finally outlawed. But, then, the Supreme Court said that Mr. Pantload was cruel and unusual punishment and he had to move back in with his mother."

  154. DocAmazing1:05 PM

    Well, not invading in the first place was a pretty good option; no backing Saddam's rise to power would have been nice, too. As long as Jonah is asking Sherman to set the Wayback Machine, maybe we could undo the Sykes- Picot agreement?

  155. StringOnAStick2:01 PM

    I think he meant we should tattoo this on Totten and crew, not the soldiers, who have indeed already been through enough.

  156. This is from a guy who has never had to face consequences for being a fuckup- "why can't Obama just declare a mulligan?"

  157. A Friedman Unit for their units...

  158. PersonaAuGratin3:20 PM

    How many Cheetohs must a man gobble down?

  159. cleter3:22 PM


  160. cleter3:25 PM

    Why isn't he wearing a ball-gag and a Cone of Shame, living out his days in the calm, windswept silence of Dukakis Island ?

  161. Derelict3:39 PM

    Since I started this . . .

    The draft has never been applied in anything approximating an egalitarian manner in this country. And I'm not foolish enough to wish for the pony of "everyone eligible/no deferments."

    What a draft does do is get much more of the population involved on at least some level. It also eliminates (or at least drastically reduces) the "well, they're all volunteers--nobody forced them to sign up for this war" bit of rationalization that's become endemic.

    Having grown up during Viet Nam, I well remember how the weight of the draft fell most heavily on the poor, the working class, and the lower middle class. That was a big chunk of the population then, and it's a big chunk of it now. Back then, the draft helped galvanize people to oppose the war.

    Today, I believe the draft would make the average citizen pay a bit more attention to what our politicians are doing. When the government uses the power of conscription, it seems to get people's attention. And I'd like to think it would make our politicians a lot less likely to be so cavalier about starting wars.

    Personally, I hope to never again in my lifetime have anyone sitting in the Oval Office who says "I want to be a wartime president."

  162. Derelict3:41 PM

    I would like to string this theory along, and maybe fold it into my very own dimension.

  163. Derelict3:48 PM

    And lest we forget Casey's really amazing brain cancer that killed him just before he was going to end up testifying before Congress. A brain cancer so advanced it felled him almost instantly, yet it somehow never had any noticeable effect on him in countless public appearances right up to that moment.

  164. zencomix4:21 PM

    "Being right about these things has its quiet advantages but I gotta admit, I'd love to know what it's like to keep being wrong all the time and still get paid."

    Pull a Vonneguttian Mother Night. Maybe they'll pair you up with Ollie North and G. Gordon Liddy on Fox.

  165. Magatha4:56 PM

    Doesn't it all really depend on what the private sector contractors need at the moment? I'm not sure they are interested right now, since there would be no huge in-country contracts for building facilities and compounds and fake infrastructure, like that Marine base in Afghanistan that was never even going to be used. If there's nothing in it for them, why would they bother jerking the strings of their congress critters to make them re-start the wars?

  166. smut clyde5:13 PM

    though technically, I don’t think birds can get rabies
    They can; they just can't pass it on, because no salivary glands. This is not a question of 'technicalities' but of simple fact.

  167. David Lloyd-Jones7:30 PM


    Sorry, doesn't compute. There is a Russian freight helicopter that can carry a billion, but no evidence that there has ever been one of that model in Iraq.

    $1.5 billion in the mix that existed in the Bank of Iraq is one and a half forty-foot containers, not your "unmarked moving van."


  168. Mooser9:16 PM

    Except by now there are kids getting into their majority who think (whether they choose personally to join in or not, it's optional) that's what the US does, it goes and invades foreign countries, just cause. Sure, you may not win, but there's nothing wrong with doing it. It's just they way the world runs. It's the new normal for them.

  169. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person10:39 PM

    It's what Junior woulda done...

  170. AGoodQuestion11:22 PM

    what part of that did Reihan not understand?
    The "Iraqis speaking for themselves" part.

  171. AGoodQuestion11:35 PM

    I'm pretty sure he thinks that inner city residents are already hopelessly dependent on government. We simply must discard them all and purchase new ones.

  172. AGoodQuestion11:47 PM

    I have to admit to kind of liking Friedersdorf because he's trying to teach conservatives to think and debate and try to empathize with people different from them. Sure, it's like trying to teach manatees to play electric guitar, but wouldn't it be a wonderful world if he succeeded?

    The "support Rand Paul because of drones and Wikileaks" though? I have a very strong suspicion that he's full of shit, and that if our next Republican president taps our phones and keeps the Predators flying, he'll learn to keep his mouth shut. It's hard to confirm, though, because I haven't been able to find much paper trail before 2009.

  173. AGoodQuestion11:58 PM

    If only Jonah had said "I'll be honest. I don't know because I'm a moron." He was this close to writing his first honest column.

  174. YNWA405151:11 AM

    Yes, too-- in a word-- shrill.

  175. Gromet2:34 AM

    I'll back your draft idea, Derelict. I do think, however, that there should be no exemptions or deferrals. Mark Zuckerberg gets drafted? Off he goes. Jonah Hill? Scarlett Johanssen? Sure. You don't get to Cheney your way out of it by suddenly having "more important things to do." Either our foreign policy aims are worth American lives, or not; if it's worth risking the life of some poor goof from the hills of West Virginia, then it's worth risking an American life, and that means an American life. So everyone has an equal chance to go.

    The main thing that bothers me about our time, however, is that the great sea of info available to us has resulted in a dumber electorate, as people seek filters to receive the info and end up adopting ones that exclude the actual information in favor of the propaganda. I have a (very slight) hope that shared national projects like being in the army together might help reverse some of this divisive media consumption. If the rural cons actually serve alongside some city libs -- and if a Senator who has to vote on war once served instead of just spending his life in law school and board rooms -- maybe we get a less dysfunctional citizenry.

    Of course, we also need to start requiring declarations of war again, in cases where the only possibility is a decade of occupation and combat with thousands dead. It's kind of in the Constitution, so Scalia & his originalist buddies in the GOP should be all for it.

  176. Gromet3:01 AM

    Oh no, I've already witnessed it in a comment thread at a Republican-favored site: their position is that we're a world power and Iraq ain't doodleysquat, so any decent US president could have told Iraq "here's the deal -- take it, or take it." They really imagine we are all-powerful (and on the verge of utter collapse thanks to the Obamaphone program).

  177. Gromet3:17 AM

    I heard an interview with Gates on NPR and he struck me as a guy on the verge of a mental breakdown. It occurred to me that he'd stayed too long in that job, and if he was ever pragmatic and sharp, hoo boy, those days are over. He must have contradicted himself half a dozen times in 10 minutes, he veered into this oddly condescending just-folks tone, expressed bewilderment at standard political disagreements, and talked about how he ended every day weeping in his study -- and that was meant to indicate he took his job seriously. Imagine if Obama said he ended every day weeping. Think the rightwing would agree that made him look serious? Yikes.

  178. montag27:09 AM

    Hmm. I said "helicopter shipment," not "a helicopter."

    I was talking not about what was in the Bank of Iraq, but the way money was shipped from the U.S.--shrinkwrapped in $100 bills and delivered on pallets from U.S. Treasury warehouses in NJ to the Green Zone and as for the assertion, you'll have to take that up with Ed Harriman and the London Review of Books, because that's the lead paragraph in that story.

  179. Fuck no, it's not. It's actual praise for great fuckin' work.

  180. Why on earth should I think that a draft, Selective Service will suddenly become completely egalitarian and its processes completely open?

    Obviously it would not. Just as obviously, however, the elimination of the draft has made starting wars a much easier sell to the American public. The difficulty of the draft was an important lesson that the military took from the Vietnam War. Ending the draft, combined with lots of easy invasions, was the neoconservatives' Reagan-era plan for getting over the "Vietnam Syndrome". The plan was successful.

  181. I suspect that calls from the left to reinstate the draft are mostly rhetorical. Anyway, the US government is not gonna reinstate the draft.

  182. It's kind of in the Constitution, so Scalia & his originalist buddies in the GOP should be all for it.

    Ba dum-bum *cymbal*

  183. Or the way "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction" kept getting downgraded until it was "Iraq showed evidence of weapons of mass destruction program activites", that was also classic.

  184. I believe the Eighth Circle has them covered. Especially Bolgia's 9 and 10.

  185. tigrismus10:55 AM

    "I'll be honest. I don't know because I'm a moron... and I'm too lazy to find out."

  186. Clawing or vomiting?

  187. realinterrobang12:42 PM

    It was probably also a giant, and totally earned, fuck-you to Stephen Harper, who would really like to undo everything that Tommy Douglass did and leave us in the same position as you, or worse.

  188. That was what I was recalling as well: the shrink-wrapped pallets of hundred-dollar bills shipped in right after the invasion, a significant number of which have surely been cast to the four winds by now. You have to wonder who's bright idea that was, although as a way of doing business it fit right into the clusterfuck mentality that governed the whole operation over there.

  189. Sick, but true. There cannot be an upper limit on casualties when your philosophy is either "I do not give a fat shit how many people must die for the sake of my vision" or "We cannot let those who have died have died in vain." It amounts to the same thing. And those 4.489 Americans (4,347 since "Mission Accomplished") who gave their lives for Bush and Cheney? Sorry: Died in vain.


  190. Kordo1:43 PM

    I actually asked Doghouse Riley (the blogger who led me to this fine establishment. The word he used to describe Roy's writing was "luminous"; the man knew his shit) if I could do that with his archives, he said yes, and I've started, like, ten times. I just wind up wandering through them and being amazed and blowing coffee through my nose for three hours (yes, I am not the most focused person in the world)
    I'd have the same problem here. Any Greatest Hits attempt is just gonna wind up being a comprehensive re-print, with some liner notes on context for the new people. Not the worst problem a writer could have, I grant you, but it makes it hard on someone looking for the "Best" alicublog post to show to our friends...

  191. DocAmazing2:13 PM

    I can only hope that he is weeping due to intense, agonizing pain. That's as close to justice as will ever happen.

  192. Mooser3:01 PM

    And don't forget, criticizing US policy is just the same as saying you hate our soldiers! Why shouldn't any American boy who wants to get a chance to be a hero?

  193. Mooser3:05 PM

    "in order for an invasion to be judged The Only Possible Alternative."

    Why, to say anything else is to call our brave soldiers thieves and murderers!

    And that every one of these attacks were noble attempts at something noble has become the received wisdom.

  194. montag23:37 PM

    Umm, the case can be made for a slow-growing tumor, since there were at least a couple of decades prior during which one could say, based on the evidence, that Casey was never actually sane.

    What was really amazing about that incident was how Bob Woodward got his hand up Casey's corpse and made it give him a deathbed interview.

  195. Derelict3:49 PM

    I will defer to anyone with a smidgen of medical knowledge. But it certainly counts as one of the more interesting coincidences of Washington.

  196. montag23:55 PM

    Y'know, he almost sounds (based on today's reports) that he wants to run again, because he specifically called out Clinton for her transgressions.

    By now, I would hope, everyone realizes his ambition is to change the name of the country to United Corporations of America (which, in itself, sounds like a lobbying group).

  197. Derelict3:55 PM

    Sure, there were all sorts of people "on the Left" (not to mention billions more worldwide) who knew what was going to happen the instant the secular Baathists were toppled. But all of those people were right for the wrong reasons. So whatever they had to say then didn't count, and whatever they have to say now is even less worth listening to.

    On the other hand, everyone who was wrong was wrong for the right reasons. That fact that they have continued to be wrong makes them even more worth listening to now than ever before. If their wrongness can result in the outbreak of jihad-fueled war that engulfs the entire Middle East, resulting in millions more needless deaths and a worldwide depression fueled by energy shortages, that makes it imperative that we listen only to them.

  198. montag24:03 PM

    Gates may well be one of the better examples in government of the Peter Principle at work. If Gates is suffering any pain, it's in the form of confusion: "I sucked up to every Bush. How could I have failed?"