Archive for May 27th, 2007

Suck On Tom Friedman

As long as I’m on the subject of NYT columnists, how about a lovely little Tom Friedman flashback, courtesy of Atrios:

What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, “Which part of this sentence don’t you understand?”

You don’t think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we’re just gonna to let it grow?

Well, Suck. On. This.

Okay.

That Charlie was what this war was about. We could’ve hit Saudi Arabia, it was part of that bubble. We coulda hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.

Yes, that’s right: Tom Friedman said “Suck. On. This.”

No wonder he’s so widely respected – if you don’t give Tom his due, he will totally fuck you up with his mad ninja skills.

May 27th, 2007 at 10:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iraq,Media,Wankers,War

Memorial MoDo

Who are you and what have you done with MoDo???

For me, the saddest spot in Washington is the inverted V of the black granite Vietnam wall, jutting up with the names of young men dying in a war that their leaders already knew could not be won.

So many died because of ego and deceit — because L.B.J. and Robert McNamara wanted to save face or because Henry Kissinger wanted to protect Nixon’s re-election chances.

Now the Bush administration finds itself at that same hour of shame. It knows the surge is not working. Iraq is in a civil war, with a gruesome bonus of terrorists mixed in. April was the worst month this year for the American military, with 104 soldiers killed, and there have been about 90 killed thus far in May. The democracy’s not jelling, as Iraqi lawmakers get ready to slouch off for a two-month vacation, leaving our kids to be blown up.

The top-flight counterinsurgency team that President Bush sent in after long years of pretending that we’d “turned the corner” doesn’t believe there’s a military solution. General Petraeus is reduced to writing an open letter to the Iraqi public, pleading with them to reject sectarianism and violence, even as the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr slinks back from four months in Iran, rallying his fans by crying: “No, no, no to Satan! No, no, no to America! No, no, no to occupation! No, no, no to Israel!”

W. thinks he can save face if he keeps taunting Democrats as the party of surrender — just as Nixon did — and dumps the Frankenstate he’s created on his successor.

(…)

The president is on a continuous loop of sophistry: We have to push on in Iraq because Al Qaeda is there, even though Al Qaeda is there because we pushed into Iraq. Our troops have to keep dying there because our troops have been dying there. We have to stay so the enemy doesn’t know we’re leaving. Osama hasn’t been found because he’s hiding.

The terrorists moved into George Bush’s Iraq, not Saddam Hussein’s. W.’s ranting about Al Qaeda there is like planting fleurs du mal and then complaining your garden is toxic.

The president looked as if he wanted to smack David Gregory when the NBC reporter asked him at the news conference Thursday if he could still be “a credible messenger on the war” given all the mistakes and all the disillusioned Republicans.

“I’m credible because I read the intelligence, David,” he replied sharply.

But he isn’t and he doesn’t. Otherwise he might have read “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” in August 2001, and might have read the prewar intelligence reports the Senate just released that presciently forecast the horrors in store for naïve presidents who race to war because they want to be seen as hard, not soft.

Intelligence analysts may have muffed the W.M.D. issue, but they accurately predicted that implanting democracy in Iraq would be an “alien” idea that could lead to turbulence and violence; that Al Qaeda would hook up with Saddam loyalists and “angry young recruits” to militant Islam to “wage guerrilla warfare” on American forces, and that Iran and Al Qaeda would be the winners if the Bushies botched the occupation.

W. repeated last week that he would never retreat, but his advisers are working on ways to retreat. After the surge, in lieu of strategy, come the “concepts.”

Condi Rice, Bob Gates and generals at the Pentagon are talking about long-range “concepts” for reducing forces in Iraq, The Times reported yesterday, as a way to tamp down criticism, including from Republicans; it is also an acknowledgment that they can’t sustain the current force level there much longer. The article said that officials were starting to think about how to halve the 20 American combat brigades in Iraq, sometime in the second half of 2008.

As the Hollywood screenwriter said in “Annie Hall”: “Right now it’s only a notion, but I think I can get money to make it into a concept and later turn it into an idea.”

I’m gobsmacked, really. Maureen Dowd almost completely abandons the shallow high school snark, and administers an actual substantive smackdown.

Now if only she would do this kind of analysis and criticism the rest of the year, and not just on Memorial Day. How many times do we really need to hear that Al Gore is fat and John Edwards has expensive hair?

1 comment May 27th, 2007 at 09:55pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Media,Politics,War

The Queen Of Wishful Thinking

CBS News’ national political correspondent thinks that congressional ethics reform would lead to mass resignations by Representatives who can’t afford to live in DC “unless they’re bought and paid for by lobbyists.”

Much as I would love to see the mass exodus of the corruptocrats, somehow I think there will be enough loopholes that they’ll all find a way to squeak by without resorting to ramen noodles and PB & J sandwiches. On the other hand, if a majority of congresscritters are not in the pocket of lobbyists… Heh, I just cracked myself up a little.

(h/t Atrios)

1 comment May 27th, 2007 at 12:32pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Politics

Lesser-Of-Two-Evilcrats

Shorter NYT editorial page:

The Democrats may be cowardly and weak, but at least they’re not insane.

Hey, that would be a really catchy campaign slogan for ’08!

1 comment May 27th, 2007 at 12:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Iraq,Politics,Republicans,War

Feith-Based Hiring

About two years ago, I wrote a post about the conflict between loyalty and competence, especially in BushCo. Monica Goodling’s hiring practices at DOJ are one example of this principle in action, but this one might be even more shocking:

At a recent forum, career U.S. intelligence officer Patrick Lang recounted a job interview he had with neocon war architect Douglas Feith. Lang, who had previously run the Pentagon’s world-wide spying operations, “was put forward as somebody who would be good at running the Pentagon’s office of special operations and low-intensity warfare, i.e., counterinsurgency.” So he was interviewed by Feith:

“He was sitting there munching a sandwich while he was talking to me,” Lang recalled, “which I thought was remarkable in itself, but he also had these briefing papers — they always had briefing papers, you know — about me.

“He’s looking at this stuff, and he says, ‘I’ve heard of you. I heard of you.’

“He says, ‘Is it really true that you really know the Arabs this well, and that you speak Arabic this well? Is that really true? Is that really true?’

“And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s really true.’

“That’s too bad,” Feith said.

(…)

“That was the end of the interview,” Lang said. “I’m not quite sure what he meant, but you can work it out.”

So, basically, Feith didn’t want to hire Lang because he might actually know what he was talking about, which would inevitably conflict with BushCo’s insane policy imperatives. Or, alternatively, because Feith thought that anyone who understood Arabs so well must be some kind of terrorist sympathizer.

So, in case you’re wondering why Iraq is such a completely fucked-up mess…

UPDATE: I should also add that if you walk into a job interview and your interviewer is eating his lunch, you’re not getting the job. And furthermore – trust me on this – you really don’t want the job.

3 comments May 27th, 2007 at 10:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Iraq,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers


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