Category Archives: War in Iraq

9/11:  History in a Vacuum

I never watch any 9/11 anniversary television coverage. I was in DC on 9/11 and for all of the months after it. I watched the Pentagon burn from the roof of my office building, just a few blocks from the White House. It was a terrifying day and I’m not here to relive it.

But Americans love to relive it. And somehow the round number of 20 has ramped up coverage to take over this entire week. We should absolutely remember those who died and the bravery and selflessness of the first responders who risked and gave their lives so others could live. We should remember the family members left behind.

The 9/11 commemorations always happen in a vacuum. One moment the United States is minding their own business going about a Tuesday, and the next moment the nation is under attack. It’s treated as if the country were sucker punched on the street for no discernible reason.

When you remove 9/11 from its previous context it becomes a cheap way for people who never put their lives on the line, ever, to spend the run up to it and the day itself policing how people feel about it and making it into some kind of patriotic holiday. But it’s the removal of the post 9/11 context that does the most damage.

9/11 was the result of complete carelessness by the Bush administration which was tight with the Bin Laden family to the point of getting them out of the country to shield them from having to provide necessary information. It was the excuse for the Bush administration to launch a war in Afghanistan so they and their cronies could make billions, and then to launch another, even more pointless war in Iraq, to further enrich people like Eric Prince, where the United States committed war crimes.

And it was all sold to us as a triumphant exercise of democracy, and if you opposed it you were asked “what is wrong with you?” I just got asked this question yesterday when someone asked me about 9/11 and I told them the stuff I’ve written here.

Well fuck all that. 9/11 should be a day of introspection and apology to the first responders left without medical care. It should be a day of thanks and asking forgiveness of the men and women who went to Afghanistan and Iraq and came back with mental and physical injuries. It should be a day to apologize to the families who lost people, in the towers, the Pentagon, in PA, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and who were left to fend with cancer and other illnesses after their service and sacrifice. It should be a day to castigate those member of Congress who refused to fund healthcare for first responders.

And it should be a day to do some serious work on beating our swords into plowshares.

 I Won’t Forget

Our fearless leader has written 2 thorough and excellent pieces about the Afghanistan War and how we got where we are. If you haven’t read them, please do:  here and here. I have some thoughts, too.

There sure are a lot of familiar faces on the TeeVee over the last few days, blathering on about Afghanistan and tut-tutting over President Biden’s decision to get the hell out of, well, hell. They seem to think they have a blank slate for selling their snake oil. Well, I remember who they are and what they did.

In 1990, Iraq annexed Kuwait and we were supposed to feel it was justified because Kuwaiti women weren’t allowed to drive. Hey, it was going to be awesome! The US was going to beat back these sexist bullies and Kuwaiti women would be able to drive!

In reality there was no reason for the US to go to war with Iraq. But there was plenty of incentive for the Saudi-loving Bush family to protect their monster friends’ oilfields which were close enough for the invading Iraq army to take over. And so the propaganda machine took over. A DC public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton, funded by the Kuwaiti government, began pumping out disinformation to convince Congress to authorize war.

The nadir of the lying was the Congressional testimony of a nurse who said she saw Iraqi soldiers take babies out of incubators and throw them on the floor. This was all it took to convince Congress to go to war. The truth was that she was a member of the Kuwaiti royal family lying and playing a role. But the damage was done.

George H.W. Bush set a deadline of midnight January 16, 1991 for US demands to be met. On the evening of January 16 I attended an interfaith peace service at National Cathedral that culminated in a silent candlelit protest walk to the White House. Houses along Massachusetts Avenue had candles in their windows, and residents stood in their front yards holding candles in solidarity. Of course it didn’t work. But I won’t forget what happened.

The Iraq War was advanced by even more egregious lies and a news media drunk on ratings. Taking their cue from CNN’s non-stop coverage of the Gulf War, this time all of the networks threw in big time. And the Republicans had upped their propaganda approach:  instead of a Kuwaiti royal playacting to tug on the heartstrings of unsophisticated rubes, this time the government made sure reporters got to go play soldier, complete with flak jackets and Jeep rides with the troops. War was exciting! There were big guns!

I didn’t buy any of it. Just like in 1991, I wholly opposed this war because it was all fake news. I took a lot of crap for telling the truth then but the Iraq War was wrong. It was founded on lies related to the 9/11 attacks and it was sustained by media outlets who put profit over truth. And eventually the whole house of cards collapsed.

Now that Biden has taken the steps to end 30 fucking years of wars built on lies, fought by other people’s sons and daughters and designed to make money for people who are already obscenely wealthy, all sorts of stuck pigs are squealing. A bunch of cowards who won’t make their names public are whispering to reporters at the outlets that are the most complicit in repeating the propaganda of rich people with power—CNN, Politico, Axios—about how it’s not their fault. Multiple sources looking to cover their asses after they put their fingerprints all over the Afghanistan fiasco are now bleating self-interested lies to organizations that love to uncritically print pre-digested GOP talking points.

People who perpetuate lies are always angry when their lies are uncovered and they will scramble to drown out the truth by making more noise. I’ll let Jack Mirkinson have the last paragraph as he excoriates some of the worst people liberals made heroes by not thinking critically enough during the Trump years:

But too many in our media cannot seem to admit this, and too many outlets are rolling out the red carpet for the usual gallery of unrepentant hawks. In the Washington Post, Max Boot called the withdrawal “the worst U.S. foreign policy failure since the fall of Saigon in 1975,” which would be news to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Iraq War, and wondered (yet again) why the U.S. couldn’t just keep troops in Afghanistan forever. NPR decided it was a good idea to ask John Bolton what he thought. In the Atlantic, Tom Nichols told readers, “Afghanistan is your fault,” castigating the American people for demanding an end to the war:

Biden was right, in the end, to bite the bullet and refuse to pass this conflict on to yet another president. His execution of this resolve, however, looks to be a tragic and shameful mess and will likely be a case study in policy schools for years to come. But there was no version of “Stop the forever war” that didn’t end with the fall of Kabul. We believed otherwise, as a nation, because we wanted to believe it. And because we had shopping to do and television to watch and arguments to be had on social media.

So Biden was right to end the war but Americans are still the villains because we care about shopping. Makes sense. Maybe what is happening is the fault of the people who have presided over this calamity for 20 years?

The last word goes to Depeche Mode:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Silent House

House By The Railroad by Edward Hopper.

Since the recent death of a family member, I’ve had mortality on my mind. Hence this week’s theme song and an appropriately somber featured image by Edward Hopper.

Silent House is a song about grief and loss. It was a collaboration between Neil Finn and Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, and Emily Robison of The Dixie Chicks. For more information about the song, click here.

The Dixie Chicks recorded Silent House first on their 2006 album Taking The Long Way. Crowded House cut their version for 2007’s Time Of Earth. Since I’m more of a Crowdie fan and prefer their version, we’ll start with it. Sorry, Chicks.

I hope everyone remembers the whole The Dixie Chicks controversy involving their opposition to the Bush-Cheney administration’s War in Iraq. In this Rodney Crowell song, the Yuppie neo-con narrator calls them out.

Now that we’ve heard Rodney sing “give it to me” repeatedly, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

The Paint By Numbers Post-Presidency

Self-Portrait by George W. Bush

There’s a fierce article about Bush the Younger at I don’t agree with *all* of Sarah Jones’ points, but it’s vividly written and has a brilliant title:

George W. Bush Can’t Paint His Way Out Of Hell

Jones examines the rehabilitation of Bush’s image and finds it creepy. I find it both inevitable and creepy. Inevitable in that even very unpopular presidents such as Harry Truman regain some of their luster once out of office. Creepy because W was such a bad president. But the Impeached Insult Comedian’s four-year reign was so abominable that even an incompetent pro-torture warmonger like W looks good by contrast.

She begins with some art criticism:

I am not an art critic, but I don’t think George W. Bush’s new portraits are very good. They inspire nothing but malaise and communicate a dilettante energy. Painting is to Bush what politics used to be: a hobby for a wealthy man. Yet there is something revelatory about them, though this may be unintentional on the part of the artist.

Bush was a dilettante for his entire political career. It was defined by his complicated relationship with Poppy Bush. It’s the only thing complicated about the simpleton son. W wanted to both avenge his father’s defeat and top him by winning reelection. The fact that Saddam Hussein tried to whack Poppy Bush was a driving force in the invasion and kinda sorta conquest of Iraq.

The Iraq War was a fool’s errand and the man who put the Dick in the Vice Presidency played his nominal boss for a fool as did Rummy. Poppy Bush knew that occupying Iraq would be a disaster, so he declined to do so. His son rushed in where even that fool refused to tread.

I think this is the most revealing passage in Sarah Jones’ piece:

In an era marked by the GOP’s steady march to the far right, the hunt for some vestigial sanity in the conservative movement leads many pundits astray. It’s easier to praise Bush than it is to grasp what he signifies. If Bush is our best example of a compassionate conservative, what does that say of the movement he represents — and what, too, does it indicate about the office he once held? The presidency was broken before Trump occupied it, and so was the GOP, and so was the conservative movement.

W is Trump with better table manners. As president, he presented himself as a conservative true believer, but he lacked the pragmatic streak that Reagan and Bush the Elder had as Oval Ones. He was not clever enough to compromise then sell it as an act of principle. That was Reagan’s specialty.

W was the guy people mistook Reagan for: an amiable dunce easily manipulated by his aides. W’s popularity drowned along with some 1900+ souls lost during Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood. The rest of his presidency was unmitigated disaster. He was reduced to shoe ducking:

One distinct similarity between Bush and Trump was that both were divisive presidents. On more than one occasion, Bush said that you were either with him or the terrorists. I was with neither.

Sarah Jones closes thusly:

Perhaps Trump will take up painting some day — the devil only knows what his subjects would be: landscapes of his properties, portraits of his immediate family, a still life of a dollar bill — and the power of the presidency will launder the reputation of an evil man. We’re already watching it happen.

She missed the punch line: He’d paint nothing but self-portraits. Believe me.

The last word goes to The Band:

It’s Always Gonna Be Democrats’ Fault

Tomasky, proving that nothing has changed since 2002 for his simple ass: 

Trumpworld sees these things differently. Mike Pence articulated the view in the vice-presidential debate. “We’re about freedom and respecting the freedom of the American people,” Mr. Pence said. The topic at hand was the Sept. 26 super-spreader event in the Rose Garden to introduce Amy Coney Barrett as the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court and how the administration can expect Americans to follow safety guidelines that it has often ignored.

Kamala Harris countered that lying to the American people about the severity of the virus hardly counts as “respect.”

It was a pretty good riposte, but she fixed on the wrong word. She could have delivered a far more devastating response if she’d focused on the right word, one that the Democrats have not employed over the past several months.

For fuck’s sake. Sure, the problem here is that Team D just hasn’t used the right WORDS. If only they would play OFFENSE. If only they knew how to TALK, Republicans wouldn’t be forced to have a 24-hour propaganda network funnel every piece of puke from some incel’s basement onto the Twitter feeds of every reporter in America.

If only they’d SAY what was needed, we could have the intellectual debate Michael Tomasky, whose all-time hits include “the second Iraq war will be amazingly stupid great,” would like to have. Said intellectual debate being the real problem here, and not that the GOP is intent on KILLING PEOPLE.

Like imagine, in 2020, as the Republican Party dismantles voting rights from coast to coast, saying that this could all be prevented by a Democrat appealing to John Stuart Mill.

No, really:

Now, conservatives revere Mill. But today, in the age of the pandemic, Mill and other conservative heroes like John Locke would be aghast at the way the American right wing bandies about the word “freedom.”

Sure, that’s what would freak them out about the Grand Old Party of today, and not the ascension of an assheaded sentient cheeto who can’t string a sentence together if you spotted him a noun, a verb and two adjectives. You might also regale them with tales of “Freedom Fries,” a story I’m sure you’ve forgotten, Mikey, given that it happened during the days when Republicans had honor and dignity and the courage of their convictions and were in no way prone to spouting jingoistic garbage to appeal to the rubes.

I am so tired of telling Nancy Pelosi to fight harder and saying absolutely nothing to Mitch McConnell at all. Diane Feinstein sucks, okay, screw her, but let’s not pretend she’s done a fraction of the damage to the country in the past four years that Lindsey Graham has. Eyes on the goddamn ball. Every single day it’s WHY WON’T BIDEN BE PRESIDENT BEFORE HE’S EVEN PRESIDENT and come the hell on, here:

[…] the broad left in America has let all this go unchallenged for decades, to the point that today’s right wing — and it is important to call it that and not conservative, which it is not — can defend spreading disease, potentially killing other people, as freedom. It is madness.

The “broad left” in America has been drowned out by TV screamers in every podiatrist’s waiting room in the Midwest saying that liberals want to kill babies, take your money, give it to welfare queens, and reverse-racism the police. To come up with this kind of “if only the language were different” nonsense requires pretending that the media disparity between the left and the right doesn’t exist, or that there is a vibrant left media at all.

One thing Democrats in general aren’t very good at is defending their positions on the level of philosophical principle.

WHAT GODDAMN PLANET ARE YOU ON RIGHT NOW, WHAT ROLLING STONE DRUGS HAVE YOU SNORTED, THAT IS ALL DEMOCRATS ARE GOOD AT. They’re good at talking for HOURS about the philosophical underpinnings of this or that percent being necessary persuant to the above requirement that we all stuff our heads up our asses and means-test what we find there.

What they’re NOT good at, or weren’t until we decided to run the crabbiest old man in the universe, is fucking kneecapping the other guy and laughing while he whines.

I am so sick of this argument. I am so tired of the blame being shifted onto the party that DID NONE OF THIS, for not stopping it from happening, while the party of WE DON’T HAVE TO SCIENCE YOU CAN’T MAKE US gets to skate away with its pocket full of cash. I am so tired of nitpicking every D speech for something “they” can find to “use” against us when the past 20 years have proven definitively that if there’s nothing there Murdoch’s creatures will just make something up.

Why won’t Biden speak about this, why won’t Democrats make the debate about that, why won’t anyone do anything well WHY DON’T YOU ASK YOUR  CABLE NEWS FRIENDS WHY TRUMP’S EVERY TWEET GETS A ‘BREAKING’ CHYRON WHILE BIDEN ONLY BREAKS NEWS WHEN SOMEONE WANTS TO BITCH ABOUT THE FOOD IN HIS PRESS ROOM. Ask them if they’d cover the campaigns fairly if Democrats used the word “freedom” as John Stuart Mill would have them do.

I’m sorry I’m yelling so much but this is how it’s going to be for the next four years if we’re lucky enough to get a Biden Administration. It’s going to be nonstop blame for every single move Democrats make to put out the fires, and any mention of Trump having lit the kindling the GOP lovingly laid out for him going all the way back to Ronald Reagan, or Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan’s TRUCKS FULL OF GASOLINE PARKED OUT BACK, will be derided as somehow living in the past.

Say this: Freedom means the freedom not to get infected by the idiot who refuses to mask up.

That is all they have been saying. That is all Democratic governors have been saying, and meanwhile their Republican state legislatures are suing to keep getting people sick and kill them. Maybe we could focus some on that, and a little less on why Democrats so stubbornly refuse to invoke the great philosophers of yore.



Bountygate Nouveau

I suspect that the original Bountygate is forgotten everywhere but in New Orleans. It was the accusation that there was a bounty system on the New Orleans Saints for hits against opposing players. The NFL came down hard on the “implicated” coaches and players including head coach Sean Payton who was suspended for a year. It turned out to be sound and fury signifying nothing after further investigation. That’s a fancy way of saying that it was bullshit.

Bountygate Noveau is infinitely more serious:

American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.


The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.

The Trump regime is tripping over itself to explain away the latest foreign policy scandal. My favorite excuse is that the Impeached Insult Comedian didn’t read the briefing papers. That’s the presidential* equivalent of that old standby “the dog ate my homework.” Trump, of course, hates dogs. I wonder when they’ll move on to “my grandmother died.” That won’t work either: his grandparents are long dead.

Shortly after the meeting cited by the NYT, President* Pennywise resumed his push to restore Russia to the G-7. How dare Obama ban Putin for attacking and conquering the Crimea? They were just taking it back. #sarcasm. Of course, Trump doesn’t know it used to be part of the Soviet Union and Russian Empire. All he knows is that Putin is a tough guy, not a fake tough guy like himself.

Joe Biden pounced on the latest Trump-Putin scandal:

“Not only has he failed to sanction and impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin,” the former vice president said.

Biden called it a “betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation — to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way.”

FYI, the featured image shows the aftermath of Putin throwing the ball and Trump fetching it like a good dog. It’s unclear if Putin scratched his head or gave him a treat as a reward. Good boy, Donald.

On a more serious note, this is NOT the first time that a Republican president has endangered the lives of our soldiers. In its rush to war, the Bush-Cheney administration failed to give the troops proper equipment such as body armor. Like W, President* Pennywise can’t be bothered with the details. So much for caring about the military.

I called this post Bountygate Nouveau because it’s a fresh scandal but reminiscent of past scandals. If it were a wine, it would be Beaujolais Nouveau, which a friend of mine insists on calling Boojelly. I’m not sure if the wine image works but I’m not a sommelier. There ain’t no cure for the sommelier blues

The last word goes to the Lincoln Project with an instant response ad to this newly vinted (decanted?) scandal:

Okay. We Gotta Do This Again.

Fine. FINE, fuckers.

God, this is exhausting, at least with Vietnam they bothered to lie convincingly.

But if we gotta do this again, we gotta do it again. Like I said on Tuesday night, bite down on a stick and get ready to play hurt because that’s all we ever do. The Iraq war was a series of fights against not only the horrific GOP but the shitsack spineless Democrats who thought the only way to escape Republican wrath was to give Republicans literally anything they wanted. SPOILER ALERT IT DIDN’T WORK SO GOOD.

I’d like to think the Dems learned something, but one of my resolutions from like eleventy-fuck years ago was to stop deluding myself. They ain’t learned shit. They’ve spent the last two days online and on TV hedging their bets like “I’m glad this bad guy is dead BUT” instead of saying something along the lines of I DON’T CARE WHO THE DEAD GUY WAS THE PRESIDENT IS DONALD TRUMP AND WE’RE IMPEACHING HIM RIGHT NOW FOR BEING TOO DUMB NOT TO CONFESS TO CRIMES ON TV.

I sympathize, somewhat, in that carrying out ill-thought-out assassinations, nominating frathouse rapists to the courts, deporting anything that bugs him, and being a racist prick were pretty much explicitly what Trump ran for president on, so how dare we like, act surprised by literally anything. But it’s not acting surprised to say something other than what every Democratic senator besides Russ Feingold said in 2002 which was “I promise I will be very good, sir, and I trust you not to hit me.” That our national original sin is baked into our Constitution doesn’t make it okay if we continue to sin; there’s a reason confessions end with the exhortation to go forth and knocketh that shit right the fuck off. The lack of will to end shit in 2004 doesn’t make anything happening now okay.

It just means we have to have the same fight again. Fine. We’ll have it again. Disillusionment isn’t an excuse for apathy; if we know we can’t stop it, if we even doubt our ability to slow it down, then at the very least we aren’t starting from zero this time.

We know now that debunking lies is useless and even pointing them out is pointless and the only thing that works is changing the subject. Voting the fuckers out. Registering new Democratic voters, getting the ones we have to show up in November and in every local election from now until then and riding for whatever pathetic half-a-loaf compromise bullshit the Dems nominate as if that person is the second coming of Christ Jesus because we know from bitter experience that’s the only way out of this mess. I will be at every protest just like I have been since this shit started but at least now we know there’s no way out but through.




It’s A Plame Shame

The MSM is full of former Bushies trying to convince the public that President Beavis was a prince among men compared to the Current Occupant. While it’s true that Dubya had better table manners, it should not be forgotten that the Beavis-Duce administration was almost as fond of smear tactics as the Trump regime.

According to Team Bush-Cheney, those of us who opposed the Mess in Mesopotamia were soft on terrorism at best, traitors at worst. The difference between Bushies and Trumpers is that most of the time Dubya let others do the lying and smearing on his behalf.  Genuine upper-class twits swells let the help do the dirty work for them: Poppy had Lee Atwater; Junior had Karl Rove. The Insult Comedian enjoys wallowing in the mud alongside Gym Jordan, Devin Nunes, and John Neely Kennedy. More about the latter next week at the Bayou Brief.

That brings us to two people the Bush administration gleefully smeared: the late Ambassador Joe Wilson and his then CIA agent wife, Valerie Plame. Scooter Libby was convicted of disclosing Plame’s identity: his sentence was commuted by Bush; Trump pardoned him in 2018. Karl Rove escaped indictment by the skin of his teeth; surviving to take up residence as a Fox News pundit. Robert Novak the right-wing columnist who published the story was not indicted either, but the man known as the Prince of Darkness finally went to hell in 2009. It’s unclear if he went there in a bucket: 

I think of Valerie Plame with each Republican demand that the Ukraine scandal whistleblower be outed. Here’s what the spy who was forced out of the cold has to say about it:

“I feel personally for this whistleblower. I know what he’s going through,” says Plame. “His career is over. His world, it’s already been upended. I don’t think he’ll remain anonymous for long.”

The good news is that Valerie Plame survived the Bush smear campaign, moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and started a new chapter in her life. After a tough year in which her father and husband died, she’s landed on her feet again. She’s the subject of a flattering profile in the WaPo and is running as a Democrat for a House seat in New Mexico. This ad is a knockout:

The Plame-Wilson affair was such a cause celebre that a movie based on their respective memoirs was made in 2010, Fair Game. Naomi Watts and Sean Penn played the couple. It’s the rare case in which the real people were more attractive than the actors portraying them. It’s a good movie, check it out if you haven’t seen it.

There was also this song by The Decemberists:

The next time a Bush acolyte tries to tell you that their guy is a much better man than President* Pennywise, remember the smear campaign against Valerie Plame. Dubya just knows what fork to use and would have had the good sense to stay off social media. Otherwise, he set the table for the Insult Comedian’s smear tactics.

I couldn’t resist a rock and roll pun in the post title, so the last word goes to Peter Frampton:

(War) Party Like It’s 2002

You know things are bad when you wish Steve Bannon was still a member of Trump’s inner circle. I cannot believe that I just wrote that sentence but I mean every word of it. Bannon’s sole redeeming characteristic is that he’s on the dovish side and was not a fan of the Iraq War. Trump’s ultra-hawkish national security team is ready for a sequel to the Mess In Mesopotamia: war with Iran.

I was worried about this when John Bolton and his mustache of war joined Team Trump. Bolton is the ultimate chickenhawk: a man who loves war but has never fought except with his mouth. His flashback to his bureaucratic glory days is giving many whiplash:

With the Trump administration slipping onto war footing with Iran, there are growing fears inside Washington that John Bolton, the president’s hawkish national-security adviser, is plagiarizing his own Iraq war playbook. “Everyone feels the shadow of 2002–2003: The administration seems determined to find a cause for conflict; allies are aghast; the public seems disengaged,” a former senior U.S. official told me, shortly after The New York Times reported that administration officials had begun drawing up plans to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East. “It’s hard for anyone to fathom why [Donald Trump] would think a war of choice is a good idea, given what he’s said in the past about Iraq and Afghanistan.”

As we saw at the dawn of the 21st Century, war plans have a momentum of their own. Bolton may be a cartoon militarist BUT he’s one of the few members of Team Trump who is not a blithering idiot. He’s also a skillful bureaucrat who knows how to manipulate the levers of power.

Bolton has been dreaming of war with Iran for years. He thinks his time has come: he works for a president* who makes Dubya look savvy and well-informed. The axis of assholes is down with some sort of attack on Iran: Bibi and Mister Bone Saw would love to trick a gullible American president* into another Middle Eastern misadventure. Strike the word misadventure, a ground war with Iran would be a catastrophe. It has the potential to make Iraq look like the “cakewalk” of the neo-cons fever dreams.

If a story in the WaPo is to be believed, the Insult Comedian may be dubious of Bolton’s bolt to war:

But President Trump is frustrated with some of his top advisers, who he thinks could rush the United States into a military confrontation with Iran and shatter his long-standing pledge to withdraw from costly foreign wars, according to several U.S. officials. Trump prefers a diplomatic approach to resolving tensions and wants to speak directly with Iran’s leaders.

I hope the story is right but the thought of relying on Trump’s gut instinct gives me indigestion. I’m also leery of counting on his desire to keep a campaign promise. He can always change his story and lie about his previous views. He does it on a daily basis.

The last thing we need is a sequel to the Mess In Mesopotamia. We’ve seen this movie before and it’s bound to end badly.

The last word goes to XTC:

Remembering the War

It’s been a particularly infuriating week, what with pardoning Dick Cheney’s chief of staff and resurrecting the entirety of the monsters’ ball that was the Bush administration to comment on it. We’ve forgotten, people my age say to people younger, what the beginning of the war was. We joke about the memory hole like it’s something new, like Henry Kissinger isn’t our National Foreign Policy Grandpa, like any mention of the antiwar movement doesn’t come with a dozen qualifications.

There’s a reason we don’t remember the war.

We can’t remember it.

It isn’t over.

And it isn’t over because to this day, the only person to face any kind of real consequences for the war (now that Scooter Libby’s been pardoned) was Lynndie England.

Remember Lynndie? Here she is.

Here she is: 

In an attempt to explain her post-traumatic stress disorder, England recounted, “Somebody dropped something off the [store] shelf and I freaked out. It was two aisles down. They dropped something on the floor and made a big bang and I was like, ‘Ah!’ “

On the back of this woman, who seems not very nice but also not very bright, we’ve put the only blame we’ve been able, as a country, to mete out for the deaths of hundreds of thousands, for the destabilization of an entire region of the world, for the betrayal of trust that now spans a generation.

Do you find that photo, up there, sickening? I do. She had no humanity, in that moment and not much since, and that’s what war does. That’s all it does. That’s what torture does, to the torturers.

The people in charge knew that, had every way to know that, had access to the whole of American history and Shakespeare besides, and they still put people like her in a fucking torture prison and said go for it. She went for it, and that’s on her. But they built that prison, and here they are, writing op-eds for Fox News and dancing with talk show hosts and making bank on #NeverTrump, like their lying murdering torturing spying bombing had value because they weren’t eating KFC with a fork.

In a just world, the hierarchy of blame would go something like this: Everyone in the White House from 2000-2008, who either directly promoted this or didn’t throw their bodies on the wheels to stop it. Then every chickenass Democrat up to and including Barack Obama who said we would look forward, not back, and not only didn’t Nuremberg Trial this nonsense but didn’t even bother to censure anyone, such that there’s no historical record and these vampires can claw their way out of the dirt again, like Judith Miller up there who should be breaking rocks in a yard.

THEN everyone who treated it like a video game, and gibbered about it on TV, like Chris Matthews and Brian Williams and Katie Couric. Then our Very Serious Op Ed pundits and Warbloggers, many of whom are now In The Resistance because again, Trump is RUDE about his warmongering and we can’t have that.

Then after we’re done with everybody who knew better but looked at the spreadsheet and said fuck it, after we’re done with power and done with money and done with might, we can get to Lynndie England.

Because she did what she did.

Which is apparently all we can remember.


Save One

We are arguing about how much of the house is on fire, with the refugee/immigrant ban. We are arguing closet versus attic versus living room, instead of picking up a damn bucket and putting the fire out:

President Trump and his aides love to cite a small number and a big number in order to minimize the impact of the president’s executive order suspending the visas of citizens of seven countries.

But these figures are incredibly misleading, so let’s go through the math.

Let’s not, because it doesn’t fucking matter. I don’t care if this executive order affected one person.  I don’t care if this hadn’t affected ANYONE yet. In no possible world are any of our laws tested constitutionally based on how many people they affect. That’s not the measurement. That’s not the qualifier. You don’t get to say well, we only screwed over a dozen immigrant kids, so until we get to triple digits we’re cool. That’s not how any of this works.

Our laws were not designed to save as many as possible. Our laws were designed to save us all, and that means saving one. One person. One child. One family. One mother or father or brother or sister. Our laws were designed to weigh us all, one against the other, and say no one of us is worth more than any of the others.

It’s why our presidents, our congressmen, are subject to our laws. It’s why you can bring suit against those holding the highest offices in the land. It’s why you and I can — or should be able to — avail ourselves of the same legal system as someone who got here last week.

And that includes potential terrorists, for all the wingnuts in the cheap seats. I know you all think life is a nonstop episode of 24 and if President Trump doesn’t personally electrode a Syrian dude’s balls in the Roosevelt Room then we’ll all die in a nuclear attack, but a) that is not how anything is going to happen and b) at no point would such a scenario be endangered by said Syrian dude invoking a right to counsel. If Trump is hooking jumper cables to his nethers he’s already figured out that nobody can hear him scream.

Meanwhile, the non-terrorist families that just want to come here, get jobs, spend money at the local Wal-Mart and watch American TV are going to get handcuffed and deported back to the places we explicitly encouraged them to flee, and you’ll pardon me if I don’t want to wait until they’re a certain percentage of travelers or if they’re especially promising at geometry or any of the other bullshit narratives that have sprung up in the past 72 (holy shit, only 72) hours.

They’re human beings, and we are America. Let’s not go through the math.


Speaking Of Dictators

It’s no secret that Donald Trump loves dictators. He’s a Putin praisin’ motherfucker and yesterday he batted his beady, rat-like eyes at a dead dictator. You know, the guy that tried to have Poppy Bush whacked:

“Saddam Hussein was a bad guy. Right? He was a bad guy, really bad guy,” Trump offered as a disclaimer. “But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights—they didn’t talk, they were a terrorist, it was over.”

It’s a classic Insult Comedian formulation: a disclaimer followed by the crazy. I realize that he’s not a fan of due process under the law but the only possible good thing to say about Saddam Hussein is that, in between going to war with Iran and Kuwait, he was kinda sorta a force for regional stability. So sad to say that. So sad.

I’m not sure what audience Trump is trying to appeal to here. The neo-cons like torture but hate Saddam Hussein and the so-called Republican neo-doves aren’t crazy about either. It’s just the sort of dick waving that appeals to GOP primary voters but bombs in the general election. Repeat after me: so much for the Trump pivot.

In other Trump loves dictators news, there’s a fine piece by Franklin Foer at Slate about the Donald’s interactions with the Russians over the years. The title, Putin’s Puppet, is a bit hysterical but the content and analysis are rock solid. The Russians have been flattering Trump for years and Putin, as a good KGB man, has been doing likewise. It turns out that he’s supporting a bunch of right-wing nationalists throughout Europe. His goal is to undermine the EU and NATO as well as the US in order to increase Russian influence. During the Cold War, the KGB subsidized left-wingers but as we all know the line between far left and far right can be a thin and frayed one.

The most interesting section concerns the ties between Team Trump and Russian oligarchs:

While Putin hasn’t dirtied his hands in American elections, the Russians have cultivated Washington—hiring fancy firms to craft strategy, donating money to think tanks, building a small coterie of wonks sympathetic to their leader’s view of the world. The Trump campaign is the unlikely culmination of this effort. It has been a magnet for like-minded fans of Putin. Fans might not be quite the right term, since so many of these advisers have profited from proxies of the Russian state.

Let’s begin at the top. Trump’s campaign manager is a wizened operative named Paul Manafort. It’s true that Manafort is a mercenary by trade. His old Washington consulting firm pioneered the practice of representing the dictators of the world, no matter their grim record. (I profiled his authoritarian ambit earlier this year.) Late in his career, however, Manafort dedicated himself to working on behalf of clients close to the Kremlin. His grand achievement was reviving the doomed career of the anti-charismatic politician Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort’s image-crafting and shrewd strategy culminated in Yanukovych’s election to Ukraine’s presidency in 2010. Thanks to Manafort’s handiwork, Ukraine pulled into Putin’s sphere of influence. Unlike other American consultants who flitted in and out of Kiev, Manafort set up camp there. He became an essential adviser to the president—his tennis partner even.

If Manafort were the only Kremlin connection in the Trump campaign, his presence might signify nothing. But he’s hardly isolated. Many pundits have scoffed at the idea that Trump has a circle of foreign policy advisers given that his initial list of gurus emerged abruptly in March and included names unknown to most experts. Yet the list suggests certain tendencies. One of the supposed Trump whisperers was an investment banker named Carter Page. During a stint in Moscow in the 2000s, he advised the state-controlled natural gas giant, Gazprom and helped it attract Western investors.  (In March, Page told Bloomberg that he continues to own shares in the company.) Page has defended Russia with relish. He wrote a column explicitly comparing the Obama administration’s Russia policy to chattel slavery in the American South. His reasoning: “Numerous quotes from the February 2015 National Security Strategy closely parallel an 1850 publication that offered guidance to slaveholders on how to produce the ‘ideal slave.’ ”

That’s some nice company the Insult Comedian keeps. Foer’s article rises above its click-baity headline to pose some serious questions. Check it out.

Speaking of people who moved from the far left to the far right, I watched a thing about Mussolini at Amazon the other day. It’s a British series called History’s Verdict that takes a historiological look at various participants in World War II. The episode about Il Duce featured some pictures that may have inspired Putin’s shirtless exploits. I give you the Vlad and Benito show:

Putin comp.preview


I hope Trump has no plans for any beefcake shots. The mere thought could gag a maggot.

That is all.


Ahmad Chalabi & The Politics Of Exile


I have long been fascinated by political exiles and their outsized dreams and intrigues. Some of them will say or do anything to return home in glory. Ahmad Chalabi was such an exile. He died yesterday at the age of 71.

Chalabi is best known as the Iraqi exile leader who talked the neo-cons into ousting Saddam Hussein by hook or crook; primarily by the latter. Chalabi was a silver-tongued opportunist who started whispering in the ears of official Washington not long after the first Gulf War. His goal was to return to Baghdad accompanied by the American military. As we all know, his dream was realized. It was followed by a nightmare for Iraqis and Americans alike. Things didn’t go as planned for Chalabi. His political career laid an egg: he was largely unknown in Iraq and regarded as an American catspaw by those in the know. They were wrong: he duped the so-called tough guys and hard men of the United States national security apparatus.

Chalabi was a skilled con man and fabricator of “evidence,” which is, perhaps, one reason I find him so appallingly fascinating. He understood his American audience and played to their fears and delusions. To Cheney, it was finish the job you started in 1990. To W, it was avenge your father, Saddam tried to have him whacked. To Rummy, time to show up Poppy Bush for the feckless fool you believe him to be. Con men know what buttons to push and what marks to target: Paul Wolfowitz was born to be conned by Chalabi. Wolfy’s unholy blend of arrogance and gullibility made him the perfect sucker for the likes of Chalabi. As recently as 2014, Wolfy thought his boy Ahmad would be a fine Iraqi Prime Minister even though he’d been playing footsie with Iran for years.

Despite Chalabi’s lies and Machiavellian maneuverings, I don’t blame him for Bush, Cheney, and Rummy’s Iraq misadventure. He was doing what exile politicians do: lying, selling, and exaggerating for his cause. The Bush administration was ostensibly made up of grown-ups who could have said no to the wily con man. They did not: widespread death and destruction ensued. It’s still going on.

Ahmad Chalabi thought he was playing a long con that would make him the ruler of Iraq. Things obviously didn’t turn out as planned. It was, however, a successful short con on terms that only an exile could understand: his target was overthrown and executed.

Wishful thinking and the dreams of exile politicians are a poor basis for policy making. It remains astonishing to me that the Bushies not only followed Chalabi into the rabbit hole, they led the way. The next time an exile tries to sell us a used war, we should pass.

On Disqualification

Everybody is just so shocked and horrified that someone would say something mean about a veteran who served bravely and was hurt in the war: 

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says Donald Trump’s comment that Sen. John McCain is not a war hero should disqualify him from the 2016 presidential race.

“It’s not just absurd, it’s offensive. It’s ridiculous. And I do think it’s a disqualifier as commander-in-chief,” Rubio said in an interview Sunday with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

The Florida senator was the latest Republican White House contender to hit Trump after the real estate mogul said Saturday that McCain “is not a war hero” because he was captured and held prisoner in Vietnam.

“He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”

Since we seem to have an epidemic of historical illiteracy going around these days, here are things that outraged no Republicans whatsoever in 2004 (except, after too much time had passed for it to do any good, John McCain):





None of these things bothered the leading lights of the Republican party. None of these seemed to them to be beyond the pale. None of these were worthy of a blistering response, probably because they were useful to the man Kerry was trying to un-seat. This is how that man treated war heroes:

iraq war cemetary

None of his handiwork with regard to veterans bothered Republicans either.


ps. I seem to be turning this into the Defend Donald Trump blog of late, and it’s not intentional, except that watching people act like he’s not saying what they’re thinking is gross and unfair. I do not like the dude, but I like even less the shit people are trying to get away with around him.


Charles Kennedy, R.I.P.

Charles Kennedy,  the leader of the British Liberal Democrats from 1999-2007, died today at the age of 55. He was far from perfect: he recently lost his  parliamentary seat in the SNP tsunami and lost his leadership post because of a serious drinking problem. But Kennedy stood tall when it most mattered in his political career and opposed the UK’s entry into the Iraq War:

Doubtless it will be his decision to oppose the war in Iraq for which he will be defined as a politician. He described it as the biggest British foreign policy mistake since Suez, and told parliament in the critical debate: “The case has not yet been made for military action. The evidence has not been clearly assembled. Public opinion in this country is profoundly opposed to unilateral action by US and British forces without a UN mandate and without clear evidence of the need for war.”

It was a brave move since he respected much of Blair’s domestic policy and came under pressure from the prime minister not to oppose him. Leading a political party in opposing military action by UK troops is not easy and quickly led to allegations of appeasement. Kennedy found himself as the highest ranking politician to join an anti-war march in Hyde Park, London. And he did not abandon the issue after the invasion, insisting that the continued occupation of Iraq “contributes to the insurgency and attracts those from abroad who see the opportunity to spread violent fundamentalism”.

As Blair moved right into the arms of Bush and Cheney, Kennedy positioned the Lib Dems to the left of the New Labour government on many  issues. In 2005, Kennedy led his party to its best electoral showing since the days of Asquith and Lloyd George. He was ousted in 2007 and eventually succeeded by Nick Clegg who moved the party right into the arms of Cameron and Osborne and the political catastrophe of the 2015 election. Kennedy opposed going into government with the Tories and eventually lost his seat because his warnings were not heeded. Anyone detect a pattern?

Charles Kennedy was a kind, compassionate, witty, and articulate man. He wore his failings with grace and dignity. It’s appropriate that this Scotsman shared a last name with John F. Kennedy. His political career was genuinely a profile in courage.

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‘What’s my job, right?’ On the CIA, False Intelligence, and Other Obligations

What was your job? 

MATTHEWS: You’re the briefer for the president on intelligence, you’re the top person to go in and tell him what’s going on. You see Cheney make this charge he’s got a nuclear bomb and then they make subsequent charges he knew how to deliver it…and nobody raised their hand and said, “No that’s not what we told him.”

MORELL: Chris, Chris Chris, what’s my job, right? My job—

MATTHEWS: To tell the truth.

MORELL: My job—no, as the briefer? As the briefer?

MATTHEWS: Okay, go ahead.

MORELL: As the briefer, my job is to carry CIA’s best information and best analysis to the president of the United States and make sure he understands it. My job is to not watch what they’re saying on TV.

I’ll tell you what your job was. Your job was the same as anybody else’s in the entire fucking White House, the entire government of the United Goddamn States, is today: To keep as many Americans alive as humanly possible for as long as you could. That is the job of the president, his entire staff, every agency established by the government in the history of this country. That is the job. Keep as damn near close to everybody alive as you can. Keep them from dying. That is your  basic obligation. That’s it.

Everything else is just smoke-filled coffeehouse crap. The government runs to make sure that people can live. That’s the point. So if you think your job is to push paper or print agendas or make things efficient or do what the president wants, I have news for you: It’s not more important than that basic obligation. That basic obligation is why you are there. Your paychecks may be signed by your boss or your agency director or whoever, but your purpose is something else.

And in this particular case, Mr. Morell, you watched on TV as the president and vice president said shit you knew wasn’t true, and at the time you said nothing.

And thousands of Americans died in the sand.

As they were dying, you still said nothing.

Year after year after year.

So now you come to us with this revelation and expect, what? To be treated gently? To be patted on the head and comforted, as if you were the victim of a terrible crime?

Have you lost your fucking mind? I don’t love Chris Matthews, okay, and he was as guilty as anyone of weaseling around taking a stand on the war one way or the other, but in this case? He’s righter as a human being than you ever were. You were still a human being with an immortal soul, by the way, while you were a CIA briefer, and taking care for that soul’s disposition was your job as well.

You said nothing. Back when you could have stopped it, you said nothing. People were putting their bodies in the streets and getting fired left and right for saying based on their best guess what you could have said with certainty, with force, with full faith and credit. You could have called someone, anyone, even some filthy hippie blogger, and said this isn’t right. They’re lying. And you could have stopped it, or at least done what you could under your obligation as a human being.

What was your job? What was your JOB? What was your life? Two third of all the evil in the world comes from convincing ourselves we are powerless. Nobody could have stopped it, you’d say. Maybe so. But your job was to keep everyone alive. Your job was to try.


The Fog Of History: Last Days In Vietnam

Last night we watched the American Experience documentary Last Days In Vietnam. It’s quite simply an amazing film, and one doesn’t have to have supported that war to be moved by the tales of heroism by Americans and Vietnamese alike. It all happened 40 years ago, but director Rory Kennedy and some of the most interesting talking heads I’ve ever seen in a documentary make it come alive as if it happened the other day.

There were vast swaths of the film that played like a thriller; the stories of individual bravery and moral courage. We all know the big picture: the North Vietnamese invaded in March and the corrupt and feeble South Vietnamese government folded like a poker player with a pair of deuces. The US Congress, quite rightly, refused to throw good money after bad and didn’t grant the Ford-Kissinger request for more funds to be stolen by Generals Thieu, Ky and their cronies. The worst talking head is, unsurprisingly, Henry Kissinger who recycles the same lies that he’s been peddling for the last 40 years: Nixon good, liberals bad. So it goes.

One of the most compelling American talking heads is Richard Armitage. Yes, *that* Richard Armitage of Colin Powell and Valerie Plame fame. He was a bona fide hero of the evacuation, choosing to disregard orders in favor of saving the lives of Vietnamese who might have faced death at the hands of the Communists. As I listened to Armitage’s tales of derring-do, I couldn’t help thinking of his role in W’s Iraq War. Both Armitage and his close friend and associate General Powell were opposed to the war and convinced it would lead to disaster. They were right but lacked the individual bravery and moral courage Armitage showed in 1975 and did not resign.

I wish we had more of a tradition of public officials resigning over matters of principle and policy. The Johnson administration was honeycombed with senior officials opposed to the Vietnam War. None of them resigned and went public with their criticism. Hell, even President Johnson had serious doubts about his war policy but he stumbled ahead out of fear of being called weak. Truman was accused of “losing China” and LBJ didn’t want to be the first President to lose a war. Instead, he lost the American people and damaged his place in history. The war itself was lost in 1975. So much for Nixonian “peace with honor.”

Sipping a Maker’s Mark on the rocks later in the evening, I contemplated our two great recent foreign policy disasters and what they did to the country. Vietnam had a more searing impact on the national psyche because *everyone* alive at the time knew someone who served in Vietnam. Presidents had always lied but LBJ and Tricky Dick were exposed telling some major whoppers and people haven’t trusted the government ever since. Their mendacity gave a boost to the Reaganite credo “guvmint isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.”

Bush, Cheney, and Rummy’s Iraq fiasco is turning out to be a bigger geopolitical disaster than Vietnam. The Obama presidency has been, in part, devoted to cleaning up their mess but the rampant instability and violence in the Middle East is Bush’s gift to a war weary nation. The Bushies also lied their way into war, but after Vietnam it was assumed that governments did that so the stench has slowly worn off in many quarters.

The general public is more isolated from the personal side of the Iraq-Afghanistan War experiences: most Americans do not know people who served. They “support the troops” but they’ve never met them. That makes it easier to support the next conflict. I’m not going to advocate restoring the draft since I’m old enough to have contemplated it and to have been relieved when it was ended by my old pal Tricky Dick. There is something to be said for a Citizen army though.

Back to Last Days In Vietnam. It got me thinking of a Vietnamese gentleman I got to know when I was a college student. He had been a Colonel in the Vietnamese Army and was running a liquor store when we met. I was fascinated by his stories of the War and how he and his family fled the country in the nick of time. This fine documentary is full of similar stories, which makes it must-see teevee. It’s also a cautionary tale about the folly of going to war in a country whose culture and history one is unfamiliar with. Unfortunately, we made many of the same mistakes in Iraq. Here’s hoping we can avoid them in the future but history has a nasty habit of repeating.

Make Room, Judith Miller

There’s really only one question she should be asked. 

Where are the profits from your book going?

Are they being given to charities that make prosthetic limbs for the soldiers returning from the war?

Are they being given to an Iraqi family that is homeless? To a child that is orphaned? To a city or town bombed or burned or overrun?

Are they being used to dig wells, to buy generators, to lay sewer pipes? Are they purchasing back the cultural heritage looted in the chaos following the war about which you were “proved fucking right?”

If they are not, then get the fuck out of the green room, you goddamn ghoul. Make room on the couch for somebody, anybody, who was right about the war you were so staggeringly wrong about.

Make room for Joe Wilson, for Valerie Plame, for Cindy Sheehan, for Howard Dean, for every one of a hundred thousand people who shut down the goddamn streets back in 2002 so that we maybe might not do this. Make room for any one of the 156 members of Congress who were not chickenshit, who did not fail in their duty, who were not interested in sucking up or knuckling under.

Make room for the reporters who weren’t jerking themselves off about their access at a party. Make room for the bloggers and the writers and the artists and the singers who were told to shut up and sit down if they didn’t want to wave flags around and yell. Make room for the smelliest hippie with the rudest T-shirt you can think of, the one with the book about Che in his Army surplus backpack, because he has more to say about this than you ever should.

Make room for people, even, who admitted their mistakes and tried to fix them. Make room for people who tried, too late, to stop things from getting worse. Make room for John Kerry and John Edwards and everybody who turned around on Bush not in 2005 when it was convenient but in 2003 when nobody could be bothered.

Make room for those still fighting the war. Make room for a soldier or a sailor or a Marine. Make room for somebody who faced actual consequences, whose family might miss a meal, as a result of world events. Make room for somebody who was in danger of something more drastic than mean things being said about them on the Internet. Make room for somebody who didn’t just tour the war zone. Make room for the first guy into the war and the last guy out. Make room for somebody whose boots have dust on them, because he or she will have more to say than you.

Make room for her. And him. And him. And her. Make room for them. For these people. These. And these.

Make room for people who can talk like grown-ups. Your book should be one sentence long. It should say, “I am sorry about all the dead people.”

Have the good sense to say that and go the fuck away, and make room for somebody who matters.


Remembering the War the Way We Have To

This is the one I think of: 

Washington (CNN)One former employee of the private Blackwater Worldwide security company was sentenced Monday to life in prison and three others to 30 years each behind bars for their roles in a 2007 mass shooting in Baghdad that left 17 people dead.

A federal jury convicted the four in October after a lengthy trial that saw some 30 witnesses travel from Iraq to testify against the security contractors. Prosecutors accused the men of illegally unleashed “powerful sniper fire, machine guns and grenade launchers on innocent men, women and children.”

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced Blackwater sniper Nicholas Slatten to a term of life in prison, mandatory for his first-degree murder conviction. Blackwater workers Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were sentenced to 30 year each, plus one day.

Remember the reasonable debate we had about the proper role of civilian contractors in a war zone?

Yeah. Me too. 


The Past Isn’t Even Past

Fuck Jeb and his entire family sideways with a rake: 

“I won’t talk about the past,” Bush said on Friday when a reporter asked him about an upcoming foreign policy speech in Chicago, according to Bloomberg Politics. “I’ll talk about the future. If I’m in the process of considering the possibility of running, it’s not about re-litigating anything in the past. It’s about trying to create a set of ideas and principles that will help us move forward.”

The past. Because nobody died today.  Nobody will die tomorrow. It’s the past.

You sick bastard. The bombs and guns and bullets your brother sent over there are still killing people every single day. The soldiers who come home are still dying, years later, some by inches and some by their own hands. And the politics you people poisoned are still burning through this country’s veins, and the way I know that is that you are showing your face in public and no one is throwing rotten fruit.

The past. How nice it must be to be able to shrug it off like that. How nice it must be to wake up free of nightmares, with all your limbs attached. How nice it must be to sleep beside your wife and children, all of whom are alive, beneath a roof without holes in it, in a house with running water, without fear of being fucking BEHEADED by the monsters your actions loosed. It’s the past, for you. How nice. How peaceful. How normal.

How convenient, you fucking horror show. How easy. How small. How mean.