Giving War a Chance

I guess the bright spot in President Obama’s Afghanistan speech last night is that a great deal of Kabuki was devoted to making a meaningless, marginal drawdown of troops in an endless, decade-long fiasco into some sort of dawning of the Age of Aquarius.  Establishment Republicans predictably howled about the errant perfidy of “playing politics with war,” an accusation which, coming from them, doesn’t exactly sting, but seems tinny and rote when teabaggers are donning love beads over Libya, and vast majorities of Americans want the Hell out, now.  Just as predictably, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a traitorous act which, disastrously, hasn’t been a firing offense since Truman’s days, said flatly that Obama was wrong (and he was right) about troop levels in the very war he and his ilk have been busily and with unusual effectiveness losing all these long years.  Thus, the wanton blatherings of some overdecorated chickenhawk, the sort of whom voters are understandably tired, serve to provide the media with the pretext that the utterly unsurprising and boilerplate nonsense delivered in tones so solemnly manipulative by the President were news.

Really.  Is it news anymore when President Obama morphs into a smarter and more polished Bush, and the media eat it up?  Admittedly, he chooses his sets and costumes more understatedly, and avoids the sort of mangled and often unwittingly inflammatory scripts that eventually made Bush the most hated President in decades, at home and abroad, but the message, and certainly the outcomes, haven’t changed a bit.  As Glenn Greenwald and many others have tirelessly pointed out, in many ways on matters that are always called “National Security,” but are really merely covers for the militarization of America, Obama is every bit as bad as Bush, and often worse when it comes to toleration of dissent (from anyone who doesn’t happen to be a Joint Chief, that is…).  Obama’s acquiescence to these policies, given that he ran against not a few of them, was bad enough, but his later gleeful embrace of them as he headed into what he obviously thought would be a cakewalk reelection, has put him off his game.

On matters large and small, Obama has cast aside the concerns of “The Professional Left” for so long that even a purely theatrical gesture like this one comes as something of a gift at this point, and a tacit admission that the most rabid chickenhawks can be crossed for once is certainly welcome, but is it enough?  The plain fact is that Obama’s worst failures that endanger his reelection all have to do with his constantly surrendering to and thereby legitimizing the worst and stupidest of Republican policies from the Bush years.  Bad policies do, in the end, make bad politics, and Obama is reaping the whirlwind, deservedly, for failing to repudiate them each day.

Had he chosen to look both backward and forward involving the myriad crimes of his predecessors, many of today’s loudest and most strident critics would be in jail.  Had he chosen to prosecute the banksters, same thing, with the added benefit that all Americans, even teabaggers, would have benefitted substantially.  Had he forthrightly and openly backed Medicare for all, he might not have gotten shellacked in 2010.  But worst of all, out of either foolishness or cynicism, he inexplicably adopted the ridiculous rhetoric about the Federal Budget being just like the Family Budget, and therefore couldn’t buy just any old thing in tough times, and the public bought it.   Sadly, for him and the Military Industrial Complex he so ably leads, what the long-suffering public decided it didn’t want to buy anymore was more wars.

Since he can’t run on the economy, healthcare, civil rights, choice, or what have you, he has decided, rather oddly, to run on Peace, and fear of the Republicans.  I suppose it’s better than nothing, but is it really any different, with 70,000 troops still there for at least two years, than Dick Cheney saying, “So what,” albeit  a bit more delicately?  I don’t think so.


  1. The Heel says:

    Not sure I even care about wars, civil rights and budgets much, anymore. I am afraid we have bigger fish (actually beached whales) to fry with what’s going on in the finance world.

    A finance savvy German friend of mine visited us recently and asked for my opinion (yes some people actually ask for it) about what’s going on with the Federal Reserve Bank’s “printing of money”. I had to admit that I was uninformed. Ashamed of this I recently read many articles, blogs, opinions on the subject.

    Apparently the Federal Reserve Bank is buying 70% of all Treasury bonds from the Treasury Department, while the Chinese are dumping them. You and I would go to jail for the equivalent of this check swindle game.

    I am not a fan of conspiracy theories, but this sounds scary to us simpletons that think there may be a problem with writing bad checks. Very scary. You know a trillion, here, a trillion there, soon you are talking about real money….

    • cocktailhag says:

      Yeah, but we do have a bit of leeway, since we print our own currency and people still take it. Admittedly, ballooning debt could someday cause problems, but all the scare tactics right now are just cover to implement long-held righty wet dreams. Clinton increased taxes a few percentage points and had us in the black within a few years, don’t forget.
      When the solution to a “crisis” involves shifting wealth upward, you can bet it’s being manufactured by the idle rich… oops, I mean “job creators.”

  2. nswfm says:

    The Heel, I wrote the same “A trillion, here, a trillion there, soon you are talking about real money…” yesterday.

    Read this blog for finance:

    Pay attention to this guy, since not many others are talking about us getting irradiated:

    Follow the artistic posts of this blogger, williambanzai7, for when the words are overwhelming and the other part of your brain needs to process the news:

    Cocktailhag, you are one of my favorites on non-financial issues.

    • The Heel says:

      nice link, thanks. Signed up with the Finance Geeks…

    • cocktailhag says:

      Wow, nswfm, did I ever learn a lot about Greeks (mainly that they are a lot like Italians, with whom I have more experience…). Thanks for your continued support; I apologize for posting so infrequently lately. Too much work, travel, and cynicism are to blame. Well, that and the booze.

      • dirigo says:

        We’re all Greeks now.

        Actually, Greeks, while of the Med as Italians are (and perhaps sharing certain qualities of temperament due to excessive sun worship or something), diverge quite a bit.

        There’s religion: Orthodox versus Catholic.

        Imperial history? The Romans eventually kicked the Greeks’ asses, and seized a number of asses too, not the other way round (that’s why we’re all Greeks now; we’ve seized, kicked, and cooked our owns asses but good). And of late, meaning over the last century, the Greeks could be said to have had governments as bad or worse than the Italians and been occupied as much also.

        Anyway, having been there very briefly some years ago, I found the Greeks to be much more interesting than Italians: far less operatic, with as much history to be proud of as those on the boot. Tortured too, but in a different way.

        I’d love to go back to Greece, and I hope the people there get a break; but the bondholders will fuck them for sure (Goldman already has).

        • cocktailhag says:

          I’ve never been; I’d like to go, too; to see what we have to look forward to.

          • dirigo says:

            I’d like to comment further on Greece; however, I’m busy monitoring Whitey Bulger’s appearance today in Boston federal court. As a Boston native, I’m trying to glean every detail as it happens in the event Gov. Palin, upon resuming her bus tour, decides to come to town once again to interpret the past, and present, for Bostonians – and heck, all New Englanders. We all know how it went last time when she waxed about Paul Revere’s bell-ringing ride on his trusty nag, Buttermilk, and his thunderous orations about the Second Amendment, aimed at befuddled redcoats all along the Concord Road.

            It could happen again, because she’s not bashful when a mike is stuck in her face, accompanied by a softball question. Plus, she might have spent a lost weekend in Santa Monica and thought she saw something.

            Hey! Given the slippery nature of the legal system and the FBI in this case, Whitey could benefit inadvertently.

            Could be some deals cut, some triangulation maybe. Sarah could be helpful.

  3. avelna says:

    Speaking of wars:

    Gallup: Democrats Only Group That Supports Libyan War
    Because ya know he is, after all, a Democrat (DINO) and we have to support our man, right? Never ceases to amaze me how blind a large part of the American citizenry can be. It’s quite depressing.

  4. retzilian says:

    Hmmm. Greece. I might move there if the NWO takes over the USA. After all, it’s already crashed and they will probably tell Goldman ‘yahsoo’ in a few years and say, like the Icelanders, that the debt is not real and they don’t owe it. The debt is not real. It’s all fake.

    I have been to Greece and it’s gorgeous. Word on the street says that fat jerks like Steve Forbes and friends are trying to buy the place up for pennies on the drachma. Is the Parthenon for sale? Maybe they’ll put a WallMart there. Puhleeze.

    I’ve got a solution – send a few million Japanese there, build new factories (since Japan is pretty much toast now), and that will rebuild the economy. I’d rather see the Japanese get Greece than Goldman, Buffet or Forbes.

  5. retzilian says:

    Incidentally, I paid $9.99 for access to my fambly tree and found out that my great-grandfather on my dad’s side was born a Koch and changed his name to Cook. So, I might be related to the Koch brothers.

    Does that mean I get a seat on the space ship in 2012??

    • dirigo says:

      Some interesting questions arise from your comments, Retz.

      It’s pretty solid in reporting I’ve read that Goldman flat cooked Greece’s books to get the EU to stamp their application for membership “qualified.” So why can’t Greece – since Iceland has put down its marker as a fleeced sovereign – take the same position and drag Goldman into court too? Along the way, the litigation might expose the gaggle of financial predator drones hovering around the Greek islands and the Acropolis, waiting to pounce.

      Note the Brits say they want nothing to do with a Greek bailout; nor do they have any immediate plans to return the Elgin marbles. They like Cypress too, just the way it is.

      Don’t cop out and fly away! Go to Greece, as say, Arianna Retzilianopoulos, and help rebuild the Colossus of Rhodes, or revive Athena or Antigone in the hearts and minds of all Greeks as the lead in a one woman show. I’ll direct.

      • retzilian says:

        I remember making fun of Ariana back when she was running for Governor, or even earlier, when she was scolding people for driving gas guzzlers while she drove around in a big SUV. She’s such a phony. I think she decided the “librul” side of the blogosphere needed a website to counter Drudge and she capitalized on it. Who knows what she believes. Why isn’t she defending Greece or speaking out against this invasion. This is just the economic version of Atila the Hun.

        • dirigo says:

          She had a real problem with Picasso years ago, as you may recall, before she married large to Mr. Huffington.