Archive for April 9th, 2008

All Growed Up

Who says Iraq doesn’t have a functional government?

In this morning’s hearings before the House Armed Services Committee, Chairman Ike Skelton asked Petraeus to give him some sort of sign that the nascent Iraqi government was within sight of being some sort of functioning body. Petraeus made an effort to assure Skelton that this was the case, and cited Prime Minister Maliki’s actions in Basra as a clear sign:

PETRAEUS: First of all, Mr. Chairman I would point out that they want to do that as much as we do. Indeed, they are under — they put themselves under enormous personal pressure, and collective pressure, from various political elements in Iraq, to increasingly exercise their sovereignty. In fact that’s exactly what Prime Minister Maliki did, of course, when he decided that as the Constitutional Commander in Chief of the armed forces of Iraq to deploy forces on short notice to Basra

Maliki launched a badly planned, disastrous attack that made Iraq even less stable – Iraq has achieved American-style government already!  Or Republican-style government, anyway.

Now they just have to start torturing people and set up some warrantless wiretaps (assuming they haven’t already), and pretty soon they won’t need our guidance at all.

April 9th, 2008 at 11:02pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,War

Quotes Of The Day

From the NYT Magazine profile of Chris Matthews, by way of my good friend Spear & Magic:

Sometimes during commercial breaks, Matthews will boast to Olbermann of having restrained himself during the prior segment. “And I reward him with a grape,” Olbermann says.

Keith Olbermann rocks.

From Scott Horton’s “Worst. President. Ever” story, by way of Caro Kay:

“No individual president can compare to the second Bush,” wrote one [historian]. “Glib, contemptuous, ignorant, incurious, a dupe of anyone who humors his deluded belief in his heroic self, he has bankrupted the country with his disastrous war and his tax breaks for the rich, trampled on the Bill of Rights, appointed foxes in every henhouse, compounded the terrorist threat, turned a blind eye to torture and corruption and a looming ecological disaster, and squandered the rest of the world’s goodwill. In short, no other president’s faults have had so deleterious an effect on not only the country but the world at large.”

“With his unprovoked and disastrous war of aggression in Iraq and his monstrous deficits, Bush has set this country on a course that will take decades to correct,” said another historian. “When future historians look back to identify the moment at which the United States began to lose its position of world leadership, they will point—rightly—to the Bush presidency. Thanks to his policies, it is now easy to see America losing out to its competitors in any number of areas: China is rapidly becoming the manufacturing powerhouse of the next century, India the high tech and services leader, and Europe the region with the best quality of life.”

Ouch.  History is already starting to judge Dubya… while he’s still alive!  Can it do that???

April 9th, 2008 at 09:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Media,Quotes,Wankers

The Occupation Of Northern Aggression

I guess Pat Buchanan isn’t the only crazy one:

Earlier this week, I mentioned that the conservative blog RedState is trying to pressure the traditional media to treat critiques of John McCain’s embrace of a 100-year occupation of Iraq as lies and distortion.

Today, RedState sent an email alert to readers to further push the point … making a, shall we say, novel argument (emphasis added):

Clearly McCain was talking about a peace time standing presence … Someone should ask the Democrats if they think we’re still at war with the confederacy, the Germans, and the Japanese given all the standing American armies in the South, Germany, and Japan.

As I said in my previous post, “Claiming a 100-year occupation in Iraq would be like Germany or Korea reveals an immense lack of foreign policy knowledge, judgment and vision. The situations and political dynamics have absolutely no similarity.” (For more on that point, check out Agence France Presse, Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, Booman Tribune, The Newshoggers and Juan Cole.)

But hey, at least Germany and Japan are like Iraq in that they are other countries.

I can’t believe I am wasting 15 seconds of my life to type this, but having military bases in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina does not constitute a permanent occupation. Does RedState really believe that 140 years after the Civil War, American troops have a “peace time standing presence” in the American south?

On the other hand, the government still hasn’t withdrawn those troops after all those years – so what are they afraid of?

April 9th, 2008 at 08:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Elections,Iraq,McCain,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

This Just In: Pat Buchanan Continues To Be Racist And Insane

What the hell?  I mean, What. The. Hell???

According to Buchanan, WWII was a bad war because Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev were all even worse than Hitler, and if there hadn’t been a war, there wouldn’t have been a Holocaust(!).  Yes, I’m sure if we had left Hitler alone and let him have Poland and whatever other countries he wanted, he would have left everybody alone, including the Jews, and I’m sure all the countries he took over would have been much better off under the Nazis than the Soviets.

Also, Japan’s occupation of China was actually a good thing, because it prevented Mao’s disastrous rise to power.  When we foolishly took down the Japanese empire, there was nothing to prevent Mao from taking over China.

It’s true that WWII probably teaches us some lessons about unintended consequences, and possibly opened some doors for amoral opportunists like Stalin and Mao, but to argue that it was actually a bad war, you have to essentially argue that the Nazis and the imperial Japanese (and the HOLOCAUST) were really not so bad, and certainly better than the alternative.  You also have to argue that, left to their own devices, the Nazis would never have attacked France or Great Britain or the Soviet Union, and the Japanese would never have attacked the U.S.

IANAH (I am not a historian), but my sense is that while Japan might have left us alone if we promised them a free hand in the Pacific, there’s no way Germany was not going to try to take over all of Europe at the least.  Indeed, by forcing the issue, the Allies forced Hitler to overextend and play defense rather than just picking off countries at his leisure – he was also denied the opportunity to fully deploy fighter jets, ballistic missiles, and possibly nukes, which would have been huge difference-makers.  Without WWII, all of Africa, Europe, Asia, and probably Australia would be split between Japan and Nazi Germany, and the only Jews left on the planet would be in the Americas.  I just don’t see how any of that would be a good thing.

If it were written by someone other than Buchanan, I would think the whole thing was a setup, to trick us liberals into giving conservatives ammunition for their why-Saddam-had-to-be-destroyed-immediately arguments.  But crazy and racist and evil as he may be, Buchanan is as opposed to the Iraqupation as we are.  I think he sees parallels to WWII, but to him they’re a reason to stay out.

(h/t dakine)

April 9th, 2008 at 08:04pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Racism,Republicans,Wankers,War,Weirdness

Return Of The Son Of B&W Post-Implosion Photoblogging

Some more lovely post-implosion photos…

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April 9th, 2008 at 11:26am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Chris Matthews Is Sooo Not Right In The Head.

Oh. My. God:

We’ve got an advanced copy of Mark Leibovich’s piece on Chris Matthews, entitled “Chris Matthews, Seriously. (O.K., Not That Seriously),” which will appear in this Sunday’s NYT magazine.

  • “Did you get a load of Lou Rawls’s wife?” Matthews said as he left the spin room. Apparently the Rev. Jesse Jackson was introducing the widow of the R&B singer at the media center. “She was an absolute knockout,” Matthews declared. It’s a common Matthews designation. The actress Kerry Washington was also a “total knockout,” according to Matthews, who by 1 a.m. had repaired to the bar of the Cleveland Ritz-Carlton. He was sipping a Diet Coke and holding court for a cluster of network and political types, as well as for a procession of random glad-handers that included, wouldn’t you know it, Kerry Washington herself. Washington played Ray Charles’s wife in the movie “Ray” and Kay Amin in the “Last King of Scotland.” She is a big Obama supporter and was in town for the debate; more to the point, she said she likes “Hard-ball.” Matthews grabbed her hand, and Phil Griffin, the head of MSNBC who was seated across the table, vowed to get her on the show.

“I know why he wants you on,” Matthews said to Washington while looking at Griffin. At which point Matthews did something he rarely does. He paused. He seemed actually to be considering what he was about to say. He might even have been editing himself, which is anything but a natural act for him. He was grimacing. I imagined a little superego hamster racing against a speeding treadmill inside Matthews’s skull, until the superego hamster was overrun and the pause ended.

“He wants you on because you’re beautiful,” Matthews said. “And because you’re black.” He handed Washington a business card and told her to call anytime “if you ever want to hang out with Chris Matthews.”

  • “People are a little impressed with themselves,” Griffin went on to say, continuing his commentary about the scene. “It’s a bit of an echo chamber.” Matthews is central to that echo chamber — at the Ritz, as in the 2008 presidential campaign. He is, in a sense, the carnival barker at the center of it, spewing tiny pellets of chewed nuts across the table while comparing Obama to Mozart and Clinton to Salieri. At one point, Matthews suddenly became hypnotized by a TV over the bar set to a rebroadcast of “Hardball.” “Hey, there I am — it’s me,” he said, staring at himself on the screen. “It’s me.”
  • “I like the fact that people don’t think of me as famous, but that they know me,” Matthews said. “They come up to me and say, ‘Chris, what do you think?’ There’s no aura. It’s a different kind of celebrity. People assume they have a right to talk to me. They want to know my take.”

    Those first two bullets in particular.  I mean, wow.  How do you even snark on that?  The pathology is just… laying there, right out in the open and everything.

    (h/t emptywheel)

    2 comments April 9th, 2008 at 07:20am Posted by Eli

    Entry Filed under: Media,TV,Wankers,Weirdness

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