Writing at the widely-read liberal blog Hullabaloo, David Atkins says the most recent US atrocity in Afghanistan means it’s time to pull the plug on what should, and in his estimation could, have been The Good War. He weeps for the Buddhas of Bamiyam (destroyed by order of Taliban leaders in 2001); he accuses his fellow liberals of parochialism and closing their eyes to the plight of Afghan women; he quotes both the penultimate stanza of Rudyard Kipling’s iconic poem, The White Man’s Burden, and the exhortation scribbled on the final page of Kurz’s monograph in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Possibly I made that last bit up. But “Ye dare not stoop to less” and “Exterminate all the brutes!” are clearly visible just beneath the surface. He doesn’t despair that we invaded and occupied Afghanistan; he despairs that we didn’t do it better.
Oh, he cites the “enormous peril of foreign intervention in largely intractable situations,” and he says that “prolonged occupations anywhere are a terrible idea” because “[t]hese sorts of incidents are almost inevitable.” He says that “continuing this awful, endless occupation replete with civilian massacre after civilian massacre is no answer at all. It’s long past time to go.” But then he closes with this:
Still, weep for the people we will be leaving behind. Weep for the Shi’ite ethnic hazara who will likely be doomed upon our departure … And mourn the fate of a people who once had hope for a better future, and now have none because America ended up doing more harm than good when all was said and done. It didn’t have to be thus [emphasis mine].
Well, David: it did have to be thus. Because thus is what wars and invasions and occupations are.
Continue reading “Take up the white man’s burden …” Plus, your world record moment of Zen
The Giant Carnivorous Termite Caucus (GCTC) within the Torquemada wing of the Congressional GOP have announced their intent to renege on the debt-limit budget deal in which they participated back in prehistory, before several thousand excruciating albeit occasionally hilarious Republican presidential primary debates and the ensuing elections served to wipe everyone’s minds clean.
Not to worry, though: this is good news. The original deal was horrible, and now they’ll just be kicking things down the road another year. (It’s also bad news: when Republicans shoot themselves in the foot, Democrats cry out in pain and limp to the right. More on that later.)
The only people who didn’t think this would happen were people who didn’t think about it at all. One guy I like to read is calling it “a towering act of bad faith.” Well, you know … these guys are basically ambulatory acts of bad faith. If you sucked all the bad faith from their bodies, the loss of internal pressure would make them implode into small mounds of human skin and you would be spitting out sawdust and foul vapors for weeks.
Continue reading Giant Carnivorous Termite Caucus renege on “budget” “deal”: quelle suprise et horreur!
Alan Fucking Simpson! is a former Senator from Wyoming. He hates Social Security and the “greedy geezers” who rely on it to sustain them in their later years, and he doesn’t understand why anybody who already gets Social Security cares about preserving the program for younger people when anyone can see that it’s none of their business. He is the co-chair of the current president’s completely gratuitous National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a name that translates to “the National Commission on Cannibalizing Social Insurance and Safety Net Programs.”
President Obama created the bipartisan commission when Congress, in an uncharacteristically sensible move involving some characteristically skeezy motives, decided not to. The prospective Congressional commission prefigured the late, unlamented Super Committee, which was designed to do the same thing—produce a list of proposals that Congress would either approve without amendment or disapprove. The president supported the plan, but most Senate Democrats opposed it and it went down when several Republicans who cosponsored the legislation voted against it on the grounds that the commission might somehow do something that could possibly redound to Obama’s benefit.
Good for them. Unfortunately, the president then appointed his own commission, but without the legislative imperative. He named Erskine Bowles, a conservative Democrat and wealthy investment banker, to represent liberals and the poor, and to hold down the cannibals’ corner he appointed the aforementioned cannibalistic Republican Alan Fucking Simpson!
Continue reading Alan Fucking Simpson! plus: SS v. ACA: comparing apples and a mouthful of tacks
Way back when Newt Gingrich was leading the GOP presidential primaries, after he cleaned Willard M Romney’s clock in that bastion of Southern decency and Confederate zeal, South Carolina, former Clinton labor secretary and increasingly shrill Obama critic Robert Reich admonished Democrats who were cheering Newt on in the belief that a demented megalomaniac as the GOP candidate could only enhance Obama’s reelection prospects.
… Democratic pundits, political advisers, officials and former officials are salivating over the possibility of a Gingrich candidacy. They agree with key Republicans that Newt would dramatically increase the odds of Obama’s reelection and would also improve the chances of Democrats taking control over the House and retaining control over the Senate.
I warn you. It’s not worth the risk.
Even if the odds that Gingrich as GOP presidential candidate would win the general election are 10 percent, that’s too much of a risk to the nation. No responsible American should accept a 10 percent risk of a President Gingrich.
Continue reading Rick Santorum, the litmus candidate
The European countries acting on behalf of Greece’s creditors are bullies. Americans are saps. And a group of sane doctors may get the right result for all the wrong reasons.
As is the bully’s practice, the more the Greeks concede, the more the bullies demand. To this point the bullying has worked (for the bullies) but now the country’s managers are in fear for their political lives, at least, so the country looks as likely to default on its debts as to accept the latest turn of the screw.
Continue reading How the patience of the Greeks spells doom; plus, Crazed Doctors for Sanity
First, let me say that those to whom Glenn Greenwald is anathema should just move along now, because his Salon column is where I ran across this item and I know some people just shut down their forebrains when they see his name.
For a very long time now, I have been saying that if George Bush did some of the things Obama has done, Democrats would be screaming for his head. We know this to be true because Obama has in fact done some of the same things that motivated Democrats to scream for Bush’s head. But Democrats are not screaming for Obama’s head; instead, more of them than not have simply decided to support the Bush policies that Obama has embraced and advanced. Or rather, they appear to be acting on instinct to support Obama regardless what he does, just as alleged conservatives acted to support Bush, whose administration was chock-a-block with the worst sort of radicals, regardless what he did. Support first, work out a rationale afterward.
Continue reading Democrats: slightly less inclined toward blind allegiance than Republicans. Huzzah!
As I told the Speaker this summer, I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long-term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.
That’s the Best Possible President once again cutting off power to the Third Rail.
Enthusiastic . . . → Read More: Annoying tics among supporters of not the worst so hence the best possible president
Now that Newt Gingrich has won the first round in the Confederate States primary contests—and O! what a victory it was; America’s demons are on the prowl and Newt is their advance man—it’s time to look at the various possible fates of the Soul of America depending upon who wins the battle for it.
Continue reading Scenarios for various outcomes of the Battle for the Soul of America
A quick word (two, really) for liberals incensed that other liberals and leftists are attracted to the anti-imperialist, anti-authoritarian soundings of Ron Paul: fuck off. If you don’t like that people are praising a guy they would otherwise regard as just another demented freak filling out the field of demented freaks (and the one . . . → Read More: Why panicked liberals hate Ron Paul
The Obama campaign has drawn a line in the tar sand, and if you’re reading this you’re probably on the wrong side of it. A former lobbyist for TransCanada, the giant energy company desperate to build a pipeline from Canada’s oil tar sand fields through the US to Gulf Coast refineries, is the latest high-powered addition to the campaign.
Continue reading Reaching out to underserved communities, Obama hires bank, pipeline lobbyist