Category Archives: War in Iraq

Deep State Visit Thought

French President Francois Hollande is here on a state visit.To my dismay, non-Fox MSM outlets are trotting out Bush-Cheney era cliches about the French. Yup, they’re on about “cheese eating surrender monkeys,” “freedom fries” and the rest of that shit. Hardy, har, har. Guess what: THE FRENCH WERE RIGHT ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR.

I had many arguments with people at the time. A real friend tells you the truth instead of what you want to hear. If President Beavis had listened to Jacques Chirac instead of Tony Blair we’d be a helluva lot better off. Hell, Chirac was a center right pol but Bush majored in wishful thinking at Yale so he listened to Vice President Duce and the voices in his head.

Vive La France.

Deep State Visit Thought

French President Francois Hollande is here on a state visit.To my dismay, non-Fox MSM outlets are trotting out Bush-Cheney era cliches about the French. Yup, they’re on about “cheese eating surrender monkeys,” “freedom fries” and the rest of that shit. Hardy, har, har. Guess what: THE FRENCH WERE RIGHT ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR.

I had many arguments with people at the time. A real friend tells you the truth instead of what you want to hear. If President Beavis had listened to Jacques Chirac instead of Tony Blair we’d be a helluva lot better off. Hell, Chirac was a center right pol but Bush majored in wishful thinking at Yale so he listened to Vice President Duce and the voices in his head.

Vive La France.

At least he didn’t call her hysterical

Legendarily dickish former spook MIchael Hayden is back in the news. He’s been known to insult people and he’s at it again:

Who gets “emotional” about torture—or, rather, what is the proper emotional response to a history of torture and lies? On Fox News, on Sunday morning, Chris Wallace asked Michael Hayden, the former director of the C.I.A., about a report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sixty-three hundred pages long, that “says the C.I.A. misled the public about the severity and the success of the enhanced interrogation program.” Hayden’s first response was to talk about the feelings of Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the committee, citing an article by David Ignatius: “He said Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ‘ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.’

“Now, that sentence, that motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the senator. But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.

What’s fascinating to me about the stand-off between Senator Feinstein and the CIA is that it is the latter who are “emotional,” and, I daresay, hysterical, about the subject of torture and keep making things worse for themselves. Old school spymasters like Allen Dulles and Richard Helms were known for their tact and discretion as opposed to the Hayden-Brennan school that keeps calling out members of the intelligence committee including its chair. It’s an indication of the arrogance of the CIA and how much power they gained in the Bush-Cheney years.The pre-Church committee CIA was just as arrogant but at least they had better manners…

Back to Hayden’s imbecilic, sexist comment. As far as I can tell, having a vagina doesn’t make one more emotional than having testicles. Besides, Michael Hayden is an emotional motherfucker who puts the testy in testicles…

In other intelligence committee related news, I have a new hero. It is the mustachioed Independent Senator from Maine ,Angus King. I’ve never had a hero named Angus; probably because it’s evocative of haggis and bagpipe music. Anyway, Senator King was on Up with Steve Kornackiand went after torture aficionado, Dick Cheney:

“If he doesn’t think that was torture,” he said, “I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through.”

“That’s ridiculous to make that claim,” King went on. “This was torture by anybody’s definition.” Even John McCain agrees it was torture, he added, “and I think he’s in a better position to know that than Vice President Cheney.”

“What they did was bad, but then to misrepresent it the way they did throughout a number of years — that’s what’s really the worse thing.”

As we all know Cheney has always lacked the courage of his convictions. He was a rabid hawk during the Vietnam era but dodged the draft and then bragged about it. His Dickness is the ultimate chicken hawk and would rather shit in his pants on Meet The Press before being waterboarded. Now that I think of it, *that’s* something I’d like to see and David Gregory deserves to experience.

That is all.

At least he didn’t call her hysterical

Legendarily dickish former spook MIchael Hayden is back in the news. He’s been known to insult people and he’s at it again:

Who gets “emotional” about torture—or, rather, what is the proper emotional response to a history of torture and lies? On Fox News, on Sunday morning, Chris Wallace asked Michael Hayden, the former director of the C.I.A., about a report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sixty-three hundred pages long, that “says the C.I.A. misled the public about the severity and the success of the enhanced interrogation program.” Hayden’s first response was to talk about the feelings of Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the committee, citing an article by David Ignatius: “He said Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ‘ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.’

“Now, that sentence, that motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the senator. But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.

What’s fascinating to me about the stand-off between Senator Feinstein and the CIA is that it is the latter who are “emotional,” and, I daresay, hysterical, about the subject of torture and keep making things worse for themselves. Old school spymasters like Allen Dulles and Richard Helms were known for their tact and discretion as opposed to the Hayden-Brennan school that keeps calling out members of the intelligence committee including its chair. It’s an indication of the arrogance of the CIA and how much power they gained in the Bush-Cheney years.The pre-Church committee CIA was just as arrogant but at least they had better manners…

Back to Hayden’s imbecilic, sexist comment. As far as I can tell, having a vagina doesn’t make one more emotional than having testicles. Besides, Michael Hayden is an emotional motherfucker who puts the testy in testicles…

In other intelligence committee related news, I have a new hero. It is the mustachioed Independent Senator from Maine ,Angus King. I’ve never had a hero named Angus; probably because it’s evocative of haggis and bagpipe music. Anyway, Senator King was on Up with Steve Kornackiand went after torture aficionado, Dick Cheney:

“If he doesn’t think that was torture,” he said, “I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through.”

“That’s ridiculous to make that claim,” King went on. “This was torture by anybody’s definition.” Even John McCain agrees it was torture, he added, “and I think he’s in a better position to know that than Vice President Cheney.”

“What they did was bad, but then to misrepresent it the way they did throughout a number of years — that’s what’s really the worse thing.”

As we all know Cheney has always lacked the courage of his convictions. He was a rabid hawk during the Vietnam era but dodged the draft and then bragged about it. His Dickness is the ultimate chicken hawk and would rather shit in his pants on Meet The Press before being waterboarded. Now that I think of it, *that’s* something I’d like to see and David Gregory deserves to experience.

That is all.

At least he didn’t call her hysterical

Legendarily dickish former spook MIchael Hayden is back in the news. He’s been known to insult people and he’s at it again:

Who gets “emotional” about torture—or, rather, what is the proper emotional response to a history of torture and lies? On Fox News, on Sunday morning, Chris Wallace asked Michael Hayden, the former director of the C.I.A., about a report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sixty-three hundred pages long, that “says the C.I.A. misled the public about the severity and the success of the enhanced interrogation program.” Hayden’s first response was to talk about the feelings of Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the committee, citing an article by David Ignatius: “He said Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ‘ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.’

“Now, that sentence, that motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the senator. But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.

What’s fascinating to me about the stand-off between Senator Feinstein and the CIA is that it is the latter who are “emotional,” and, I daresay, hysterical, about the subject of torture and keep making things worse for themselves. Old school spymasters like Allen Dulles and Richard Helms were known for their tact and discretion as opposed to the Hayden-Brennan school that keeps calling out members of the intelligence committee including its chair. It’s an indication of the arrogance of the CIA and how much power they gained in the Bush-Cheney years.The pre-Church committee CIA was just as arrogant but at least they had better manners…

Back to Hayden’s imbecilic, sexist comment. As far as I can tell, having a vagina doesn’t make one more emotional than having testicles. Besides, Michael Hayden is an emotional motherfucker who puts the testy in testicles…

In other intelligence committee related news, I have a new hero. It is the mustachioed Independent Senator from Maine ,Angus King. I’ve never had a hero named Angus; probably because it’s evocative of haggis and bagpipe music. Anyway, Senator King was on Up with Steve Kornackiand went after torture aficionado, Dick Cheney:

“If he doesn’t think that was torture,” he said, “I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through.”

“That’s ridiculous to make that claim,” King went on. “This was torture by anybody’s definition.” Even John McCain agrees it was torture, he added, “and I think he’s in a better position to know that than Vice President Cheney.”

“What they did was bad, but then to misrepresent it the way they did throughout a number of years — that’s what’s really the worse thing.”

As we all know Cheney has always lacked the courage of his convictions. He was a rabid hawk during the Vietnam era but dodged the draft and then bragged about it. His Dickness is the ultimate chicken hawk and would rather shit in his pants on Meet The Press before being waterboarded. Now that I think of it, *that’s* something I’d like to see and David Gregory deserves to experience.

That is all.

At least he didn’t call her hysterical

Legendarily dickish former spook MIchael Hayden is back in the news.He’s been known to insult people and he’s at it again:

Who gets “emotional” about torture—or, rather, what is the proper emotional response to a history of torture and lies? On Fox News, on Sunday morning, Chris Wallace asked Michael Hayden, the former director of the C.I.A., about a report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sixty-three hundred pages long, that “says the C.I.A. misled the public about the severity and the success of the enhanced interrogation program.” Hayden’s first response was to talk about the feelings of Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the committee, citing an article by David Ignatius: “He said Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ‘ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.’

“Now, that sentence, that motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the senator. But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.

What’s fascinating to me about the stand-off between Senator Feinstein and the CIA is that it is the latter who are “emotional,” and, I daresay, hysterical, about the subject of torture and keep making things worse for themselves. Old school spymasters like Allen Dulles and Richard Helms were known for their tact and discretion as opposed to the Hayden-Brennan school that keeps calling out members of the intelligence committee including its chair. It’s an indication of the arrogance of the CIA and how much power they gained in the Bush-Cheney years.The pre-Church committee CIA was just as arrogant but at least they had better manners…

Back to Hayden’s imbecilic, sexist comment. As far as I can tell, having a vagina doesn’t make one more emotional than having testicles. Besides, Michael Hayden is an emotional motherfucker who puts the testy in testicles…

In other intelligence committee related news, I have a new hero. It is the mustachioed Independent Senator from Maine ,Angus King. I’ve never had a hero named Angus; probably because it’s evocative of haggis and bagpipe music. Anyway, Senator King was on Up with Steve Kornackiand went after torture aficionado, Dick Cheney:

“If he doesn’t think that was torture,” he said, “I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through.”

“That’s ridiculous to make that claim,” King went on. “This was torture by anybody’s definition.” Even John McCain agrees it was torture, he added, “and I think he’s in a better position to know that than Vice President Cheney.”

“What they did was bad, but then to misrepresent it the way they did throughout a number of years — that’s what’s really the worse thing.”

As we all know Cheney has always lacked the courage of his convictions. He was a rabid hawk during the Vietnam era but dodged the draft and then bragged about it. His Dickness is the ultimate chicken hawk and would rather shit in his pants on Meet The Press before being waterboarded. Now that I think of it, *that’s* something I’d like to see and David Gregory deserves to experience.

That is all.

At least he didn’t call her hysterical

Legendarily dickish former spook MIchael Hayden is back in the news. He’s been known to insult people and he’s at it again:

Who gets “emotional” about torture—or, rather, what is the proper emotional response to a history of torture and lies? On Fox News, on Sunday morning, Chris Wallace asked Michael Hayden, the former director of the C.I.A., about a report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sixty-three hundred pages long, that “says the C.I.A. misled the public about the severity and the success of the enhanced interrogation program.” Hayden’s first response was to talk about the feelings of Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the committee, citing an article by David Ignatius: “He said Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ‘ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.’

“Now, that sentence, that motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the senator. But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.

What’s fascinating to me about the stand-off between Senator Feinstein and the CIA is that it is the latter who are “emotional,” and, I daresay, hysterical, about the subject of torture and keep making things worse for themselves. Old school spymasters like Allen Dulles and Richard Helms were known for their tact and discretion as opposed to the Hayden-Brennan school that keeps calling out members of the intelligence committee including its chair. It’s an indication of the arrogance of the CIA and how much power they gained in the Bush-Cheney years.The pre-Church committee CIA was just as arrogant but at least they had better manners…

Back to Hayden’s imbecilic, sexist comment. As far as I can tell, having a vagina doesn’t make one more emotional than having testicles. Besides, Michael Hayden is an emotional motherfucker who puts the testy in testicles…

In other intelligence committee related news, I have a new hero. It is the mustachioed Independent Senator from Maine ,Angus King. I’ve never had a hero named Angus; probably because it’s evocative of haggis and bagpipe music. Anyway, Senator King was on Up with Steve Kornackiand went after torture aficionado, Dick Cheney:

“If he doesn’t think that was torture,” he said, “I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through.”

“That’s ridiculous to make that claim,” King went on. “This was torture by anybody’s definition.” Even John McCain agrees it was torture, he added, “and I think he’s in a better position to know that than Vice President Cheney.”

“What they did was bad, but then to misrepresent it the way they did throughout a number of years — that’s what’s really the worse thing.”

As we all know Cheney has always lacked the courage of his convictions. He was a rabid hawk during the Vietnam era but dodged the draft and then bragged about it. His Dickness is the ultimate chicken hawk and would rather shit in his pants on Meet The Press before being waterboarded. Now that I think of it, *that’s* something I’d like to see and David Gregory deserves to experience.

That is all.

lest you be taken in

By the right’s newfound concern for reporters’ lives:

Whatever” seems to be President No Strategy’s standard operating procedure. What now, Obama? As Twitchy reported, horrifying news is coming out Tuesday afternoon. It is being reported that another journalist, Steven Sotloff, has been beheaded by the barbaric savages known as ISIS.

Let’s not forget this.

Note that even after her release, Carroll maintained that she had been treated well by her captors—so it would appear that this journalist for the Christian Science Monitor made these anti-American comments voluntarily.

Or this.

One member of the Pulitzer-winning AP team was AP stringer Bilal Hussein. Hussein’s photos have raised seriouspersistent questions about his relationship with terrorists in Iraq and whether his photos were/are staged in collusion with the enemy.

Or this.

It’s official: Treason is cool and traitors are acceptable sources for journalists. The Pulitzer Prize says so.

Or this.

Every time a journalist dies in horrid agony, the Baby Jesus smiles and shakes his rattle.

Let’s not forget Ann Coulter saying the only problem she had with Timothy McVeigh was that he didn’t drive to the New York Times building.

Let’s not forget Rope. Tree. Journalist.

When a group becomes so dangerous to America as “news” sources, like the Associated Press is, it becomes time to seriously consider the idea that EXTREME FUCKING MEASURES need to be taken.

Let’s not forget Rush Limbaugh mocking reporters detained in the Middle East: 

“It is being breathlessly reported that the Egyptian army . . . is rounding up foreign journalists. I mean even two New York Times reporters were detained. Now this is supposed to make us feel what exactly? . . . Are we supposed to feel outrage – I don’t feel any outrage over it. Are we supposed to feel anger – I don’t feel any anger over this. Do we feel happy? Well – do we feel kinda going like [taunting sound]“

Let’s not forget the last 25 years of attacking the press for anything reported that contradicted their point of view on abortion, war and the second amendment. And then let’s not forget the decade during which the journalists under attack by these freaks sucked up to them and pretended they weren’t serious about having reporters killed: 

When I spoke with her friend Miguel Estrada, an attorney and onetime White House nominee for a judgeship (Estrada asked President Bush to withdraw his name in 2003 after a Democratic filibuster targeted Estrada’s conservatism), he said Coulter’s appeal 15 years ago, when they met, was “the same as it is today. She was lively and funny and engaging and boisterous and outrageous and a little bit of a polemicist … Most of the time, people miss her humor and satire and take her way too literally.”

I began to wonder, in a moistly liberal formulation, whether Ann Coulter might be … misunderstood?

They are not interested in reporters’ lives. They never have been and they never will be. If this wasn’t an opportunity to attack Obama, if this wasn’t a chance to argue for more freedom bombs and more endless war, if this wasn’t their shot to once more be relevant to the public conversation in the eyes of the Stockholmed media executives who are seeing their profits vanish before them, they wouldn’t be saying dick.

This is a way to score points. That’s all this is. They do not love press freedom or the idea of an independent and courageous Fourth Estate.

If this was happening under a Republican president, they’d be making pious noises about the inevitable costs of war and the sacrifices required. Or they’d be intimating that somehow Foley and Sotloff were asking for it, not being embedded with contemptuous troop contingents in the Green Zone somewhere. Or both.

And the way I know that is that when this did happen under a Republican president, this was the response: 

For some reason, Daniel Pearl’s murder has been elevated above those of 3,000 Americans murdered on 9/11, even though the 3,000 were innocent victims on American soil minding their own business. Pearl, on the other hand, was an extremely left-wing, nominal Jew whose reporting repeatedly gave exposure to and legitimization of Islamic terrorists.

Daniel Pearl was killed not minding his own business on an airplane or in an office building, but putting himself at risk chasing more Islamic terrorists to tell their story. But he was a mainstream media reporter–and for one of America’s most prestigious newspapers–so his life, in the mainstream media’s eyes, is far more important than common-folk Americans who conduct America’s commerce and raise families.

And Judea Pearl–in the seven years since his son’s death–has sought to legitimize this same legitimization and appeasement of terrorists, even if he won’t admit it.

They have no shame, they do not care, and their opinions on the brutal murder of a man who by all accounts was a decent person trying to shed some light on one of the most lightless places in the world are worth no more than the wind that howls between their ears.

So when one of them demands action from Obama in the name of the journalist whose barbaric killing so outraged them, ask them if they’d have preferred the rope and the tree, even if some assembly was required.

A.

Malaka Of The Week: Peter King

I’m talking about the Congressman from Guyland, not the Monday Morning Quarterback guy. The former is the only one I want to take my first name back from. Peter King is one of the leading GOP neo-cons still left standing in the so-called era of the brogressive Senator Aqua Buddha. Yet, the MSM insists on calling him a moderate. Then again, they still persist in calling Senator John McCain (R-Warloverstan) a moderate despite his manfiold immoderate positions. Rep. King is once again demanding that the United States immediately bomb the shit out of a Middle Eastern country, and he’s become a fashion critic all of the sudden. And that is why he’s malaka of the week.

King is rabid on the subject of terrorism. He wants the President to arm everyone and bomb everything. Of course, like many Vulcans, King is a full blown hypocrite: he was one of the IRA’s staunchest supporters when they were bombing London and murdering civilians in Ulster. He was even critical of peace moves in Northern Ireland including those made by Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. I’m very glad they didn’t listen to Congressman Malaka. They have not reached  nirvana in Northern Ireland, but the militias have long since disarmed. No thanks to armchair chickenhawks like the malaka King. Hmm, now that I think of it he’s the *worst* kind of Monday morning QB…

Last week, the Tweeter Tube lit up with jokes about the tan poplin summer suit President Obama wore to a presser. Initially, it was sort of amusing but, as always with the inside the Beltway punditocracy, they turned it into a search for significance and went on and on and on. It’s a fucking summer suit, y’all. The reply to this malakatude was *almost* as annoying: photos of past Presidents in tan jackets and summer suits. Enough already, Harry Truman was as fond of Hawaiian shirts as I am and it doesn’t mean shit to a tree.

Back to Congressman Malaka’s debut as a fashion critic:

“There’s no way any of us can excuse what the president did yesterday,” King said on NewsMaxTV on Friday. The interview was flagged by Buzzfeed. “When you have the world watching … a week, two weeks of anticipation of what the United States is gonna do. For him to walk out —I’m not trying to be trivial here— in a light suit, light tan suit, saying that first he wants to talk about what most Americans care about the revision of second quarter numbers on the economy. This is a week after Jim Foley was beheaded and he’s trying to act like real Americans care about the economy, not about ISIS and not about terrorism. And then he goes on to say he has no strategy.”

He sounds like Nina Garcia confronted with a skirt that reveals too much booty. He could show some wit and quote Michael Kors, “I feel like the Pope in a sex shop,” but instead he sounds like Archie Bunker on a tear. Get a grip, Congressman Malaka, it’s summer and people from warm climates wear summer suits. The President is originally from Hawaii, you feel me? Somebody oughta send the malaka King a seersucker or ice cream suit to help him cool the fuck down.

This strong reaction to the tan suit may mean that King pays attention to the Twitter echo chamber. I recommend that he follow some cat picture users and chill out.

It’s after Labor Day, so, hopefully,  the President will put his summer suits away until next year. If he doesn’t, Miss Manners may be on his case but she’d be more diplomatic and polite about everything. Pete King could learn a thing or three from Judith Martin, but he’s a disciple of former Noo Yawk Senator Al D’Amato who never whispered when he could scream. To make matters worse, the malaka King made me think of Senator Pot Hole. And that is why Congressman Peter King is malaka of the the week.

Journalistic Passive Voice Part the 1,000th

Politico pretends to be stupider than they are, which is funny considering, you know, where the starting line is: 

The president’s aim was clearly to defuse building expectations that U.S. military strikes in Syria were imminent as part of a broadening drive to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. But his awkward choice of words to describe a policymaking process still in midstream seems likely to haunt him for some time.

“We absolutely know what is going on here, but we’re going to pretend we don’t, so that we can gossip like jealous little assholes, because that’s easier than working.”

The inartful phrase quickly went viral among right-leaning media outlets and Republican figures, pushing the White House into damage control mode.

DAMAGE CONTROL MODE ENGAGED. Virality! White House aides versus Republican “figures,” whatever the fuck those are.

White House aides immediately went online and on TV to argue that he was simply pointing out that he had yet to settle on new military options for a broader assault on ISIL that has already led to more than 100 airstrikes on the group’s positions in Iraq.

Has someone done “Politico bullshit jargon bingo” yet? If not, can y’all get on that please?

A.

Obama Enters week one of presidency

It’s about fucking time: 

He said service members leaving the military who are being treated for mental health conditions would now be automatically enrolled in a program in which mental health professionals help them move to VA care.

Currently, service members must be specifically referred to the program by their Defense Department providers or seek out the program on their own.

“Additionally, VA will implement a new policy to ensure that recently discharged service members enrolling in the VA health care system maintain access to mental health medication prescribed by an authorized DoD provider regardless of whether the medication is currently on VA’s formulary,” the White House said.

Did anybody not know the VA was fucked up? I mean, we might not have known how fucked up, but if you talk to any six vets they’ll tell you sixteen horror stories, and given the state of mental health coverage for rich people (it still sucks) with private insurance, does it take a major genius to figure out this was going on?

A.

Quote Of The Day: Chickenhawk Edition

Have I mentioned how much I love Dan Rather recently? Here’s one reason why he’s my main man:

My first question to anyone who is on television saying, “We have to get tough, we need to put boots on the ground and we need to go to war in one of these places” is, I will hear you out if you tell me you are prepared to send your son, your daughter, your grandson, your granddaughter to that war of which you are beating the drums. If you aren’t, I have no patience with you, and don’t even talk to me.

I cannot top that. Attaboy, Dan.

The Clean Up Crew

On the set of 'The Dawn Patrol'

There’s a great story in one of David Niven’s Hollywood books (I cannot find them in the clutter of my study, which looks like a particularly slovenly used bookstore; bad me) about attending a Hearst-Davies circus themed costume party with Errol Flynn. The two actors showed up wearing white hats and jackets. They were carrying brooms and shovels with buckets marked IT. That’s right sports fans, they were the guys who clean up Elephant shit.

That’s been the story of the Obama administration: tidying up after the horrendous mess made in Iraq by the Presidents Bush. The reason I throw Poppy’s name into the hopper is the current situation involving the Yazidis and Kurds. The sight of those folks cowering on that mountain evokes images of Kurdish refugees fleeing for their lives after Bush the Elder incited them to rise up against Saddam Hussein. We have a way of talking loud and dropping the stick when things get too, well, sticky.

Iraq continues to be an ungodly mess. The current shit storm can be traced to the last Gulf War but the whole thing goes back to the Treaty of Versailles. That’s right,  all roads lead to the Great War and its botched aftermath. Iraq is simply untenable as a single nation state. If they can fend off the bloodthirsty maniacs of ISIS and stabilize the situation, it may be time to revive then Senator Biden’s sensible partition notion from 2006.

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The Stories We Tell

It’s important to look at what you’ve done: 

The night they received the image, Pledge tells me, editors at the Associated Press’ New York City offices pulled the photo entirely from the wire service, keeping it off the desks of virtually all of America’s newspaper editors. It is unknown precisely how, why, or by whom the AP’s decision was handed down.

Vincent Alabiso, who at the time was the executive photo editor for the AP, later distanced himself from the wire service’s decision. In 2003, he admitted to American Journalism Review that the photograph ought to have gone out on the wire and argued that such a photo would today.

Yet the AP’s reaction was repeated at Time and Life. Both magazines briefly considered the photo, unofficially referred to as “Crispy,” for publication. The photo departments even drew up layout plans. Time, which had sent Jarecke to the Gulf in the first place, planned for the image to accompany a story about the Highway of Death.

“We fought like crazy to get our editors to let us publish that picture,” former photo director Michele Stephenson tells me. As she recalls, Henry Muller, the managing editor, told her, “Time is a family magazine.” And the image was, when it came down to it, just too disturbing for the outlet to publish. It was, to her recollection, the only instance during the Gulf War where the photo department fought but failed to get an image into print.

James Gaines, the managing editor of Life, took responsibility for the ultimate decision not to run Jarecke’s image in his own magazine’s pages, despite photo director Peter Howe’s push to give it a double-page spread. “We thought that this was the stuff of nightmares,” Gaines told Ian Buchanan of the British Journal of Photography in March 1991. “We have a fairly substantial number of children who read Life magazine,” he added. Even so, the photograph was published later that month in one of Life’s special issues devoted to the Gulf War—not typical reading material for the elementary-school set.

Stella Kramer, who worked as a freelance photo editor for Life on four special-edition issues on the Gulf War, tells me that the decision to not publish Jarecke’s photo was less about protecting readers than preserving the dominant narrative of the good, clean war. Flipping through 23-year-old issues, Kramer expresses clear distaste at the editorial quality of what she helped to create. The magazines “were very sanitized,” she says. “So, that’s why these issues are all basically just propaganda.” She points out the picture on the cover of the February 25 issue: a young blond boy dwarfed by the American flag he’s holding. “As far as Americans were concerned,” she remarks, “nobody ever died.”

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Iraq Again Forever and Ever

The night the Iraq War broke out I was drunk at a bowling alley. 

The paper I was working for had set up its coverage plan, because we'd all known this was going to happen if not exactly when, and we'd been working on it for approximately 12 hours a day for a week. Everybody had their assignments, everybody had the places they were supposed to be and the people they were supposed to call all lined up, and all we could do … was … wait. 

Our boss called a friend of his in AP who said it wasn't going to be that nigtht, but maybe the next morning. The waiting and planning and worrying and watching TV 24 hours a day was making us all buggy so we decided to go across the street to the bowling alley bar where we hung out after elections and big stories.

This was an old-school place, where you could still smoke and there was only one TV and there was a pool table, and the jukebox had a lot of Journey. The bartender had a blonde beehive wig and a voice like the inside of a whiskey barrel, and she'd keep the register open late on nights she knew we'd be there because no matter how poor reporters are, there is always money for beer. 

We ordered a bunch of pitchers, put our phones and pagers on the table, and proceeded to get pretty plastered pretty quickly. There was a show on, at the time, called Are You Hot? and we watched that for a while. People talked about wars they'd covered. People talked about sleeping with each other. Nobody thought it was going to be that night. Then all our pagers and phones started going off at once.

My assigment was to talk to a WWII vet about what he thought about all this, and as I recall (can't find the story online now) first he said something to the effect of at least now the politicians will shut up. But second, he said, he hoped it didn't come to house-to-house fighting in the cities and towns. 

This guy had been shot at by snipers. If that kind of thing happens, he said, things will get very bad, very quickly. 

Nobody could have predicted, of course. Except anybody who'd been in that kind of situation, including a nonagenarian watching the war on TV while talking to a half-lit reporter on the phone. 

I thought of that night when I heard this had happened: 

(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he has authorized air strikes against Islamist militants in Iraq to protect American personnel and launched humanitarian assistance to prevent a genocide of members of a religious minority who have fled their homes.

[snip]

Obama said any U.S. operations would be limited, and pledged not to allow the United States to be dragged into another war in Iraq.

"Even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq," he said. "The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces."

None of which was promoted during the near-decade we have already spent bombing the shit out of that country. What exactly do we think we're salvaging, here? 

A. 

Sunday Morning Video: Hubris

Since we're once again discussing our misadventure in Iraq, it's a good time to post this MSNBC documentary about how the Bushies lied their way into war:

 

To Be Worthy of Remembrance

Not everyone lost their minds, you know.

It's tempting to talk about it that way now, isn't it? Especially if you favored the war, or at least, didn't oppose it. It's tempting to talk about it as if everybody in the world agreed that "we" needed to do something to "them" and this was the answer "we" all agreed upon. 

It's tempting because it absolves those who were wrong of the failure to listen to those who were right. It's tempting because it lets us all off the hook, for not doing more to stop it. No matter what we did, it wasn't enough, because we didn't stop it. 

But oh, God, we tried, didn't we? We wrote and we called and we marched in the streets, and if "we" attacked Iraq then "we" are at least going to give ourselves the credit of remembering that "we" were never "we" at all, never even once. We attacked Iraq, and we tried to stop it, and not everybody lost their minds. 

Some of us fought back: 

Had I been a member of the Senate, I would have voted against the resolution that authorized the President to use unilateral force against Iraq – unlike others in that body now seeking the presidency.

I do not believe the President should have been given a green light to drive our nation into conflict without the case having first been made to Congress and the American people for why this war is necessary, and without a requirement that we at least try first to work through the United Nations.

That the President was given open-ended authority to go to war in Iraq resulted from a failure of too many in my party in Washington who were worried about political positioning for the presidential election.

To this day, the President has not made a case that war against Iraq, now, is necessary to defend American territory, our citizens, our allies, or our essential interests.

Some of us fought back: 

Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so. Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming "Mission accomplished" certainly doesn't make it so.

Some of us fought back: 

“I think there always are things you can see in retrospect that you’d want to do better,” he said. “[No one] aside from those of us who’ve stayed in the streets against these wars can say truthfully I told you so.”

Watching the events in Iraq this week, watching something completely inevitable happen exactly the way it was always going to happen, all I could think was that the people who had tried to stop it saw this coming, now we talk about them as if they didn't exist.

A. 

Iraq Flashback

I hate to be unoriginal, but I do not mind piling on in a good cause. It's looking an awful lot like the aughties right now, which is a flashback to a bad trip, man. It's the political equivalent of eating the brown acid at Woodstock or being at the front at Altamont, man. The MSM is all revved up about a terrorist/jihadist group in Iraq and they're calling upon "experts" for commentary and unwisdom. That's right, the same bunch of poltroons who got *everything* wrong about Iraq the first time around are back on the teevee machine and the op-ed pages.

It's bad enough that they're chatting up McCain and the man who Charlie Pierce calls Huckleberry Butchmeup and I call Little Lindsey. But they're trotting out Paul Wolfowitz and his comb, Bill Kristol, L Paul Bremer, Ken Pollack and, most hilariously, Athenae's old friend Doug Feith. All of whom said that Iraq had WMD's and that the Iraqi people would greet our boys like the French, Belgians, and Dutch at the end of WWII, the big one. They were wrong, wrong, wronger, and wrongest. Not sure if that's a word but it applies to all of them, especially Bremer whose depth of knowledge is as thin as a, uh, Bremner wafer and just as tasteless. Actually, Bremner wafers are bland whereas the man who likes to be called Jerry is toxic. The only good thing about Bremer's re-emergence is that I get to use that biscuity, crackery pun again. I coulda lived without making it…

In Great Britain, Tony Blair is back and as wrong about Iraq as ever:

Tony Blair has strongly rejected claims that the 2003 US-UK invasion of Iraq was to blame for the current crisis gripping the country, pointing the finger instead firmly at the Maliki government and the war in Syria.

In a passionate essay published on his website, the former prime minister said it was a "bizarre" reading of the situation to argue that the US-British invasion of Iraq had allowed the growth of Sunni jihadist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis), whose fighters have swept through towns and cities north and west of Baghdad over the past week.

"We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that 'we' have caused this. We haven't. We can argue as to whether our policies at points have helped or not: and whether action or inaction is the best policy. But the fundamental cause of the crisis lies within the region not outside it.

"We have to put aside the differences of the past and act now to save the future," says Blair, adding that force may be necessary. "Where the extremists are fighting, they have to be countered hard, with force."

The only thing that's less bad about Blair's bizarre bizarre comment than the bad right wing company that he keeps is the fact that he doesn't blame President Obama. According to Senator Walnuts, the President should have waved his magic wand and made Maliki be nice to other sects and keep our troops there. They wanted us out and it's their country, not ours. You got that Senator?

Back to Tony Blair. His continued malakatude on Iraq grieves me. I remember when he became Labour leader and led his fractious party back into government in 1997. He was a hero for a few years there as well as one of the most talented politicians around. But like so many other liberal interventionists (i.e. Christopher Hitchens), he drew the wrong lessons from the humanitarian disasters in Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo. Iraq was obviously the wrong place to put those ideas into action and the Bush-Cheney-Rummy team were clearly the wrong allies. Pick your cliches: if you lie down with garbage you smell like it, or if you lie down with fleas, you get them. Either is depressingly applicable here.

I wish the public Blair sounded more like the private Blair as depicted in Andrew Rawnsley's superb account of the Blair government's second and third terms, The End of the Party. That Blair is frazzled and depressed by the fiasco in Iraq. It's a pity he kept a stiff upper lip in public but he did, so he's gone from popular to pariah at home.

Back to the American war/fear/scaremongers. Their advice on Iraq should come with a warning label complete with a skull and crossbones and say: Always wrong but never sorry. 

Spare Me Mitt Romney’s Thoughts on Iraq

Oooh, deep thoughts: 

Romney said the terror enveloping Iraq is "a result of inaction" by President Barack Obama. He said the White House should have acted decisively against the insurgents "when Assad was on his heels" in Syria.

And while the Iraqi leadership deserves "much of the blame," a relatively small presence of American troops in Iraq would have been a wise choice to keep the fighting at bay, the former Massachusetts governor said.

"This administration has repeatedly underestimated the threat," Romney said, widening his criticism to Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary of State, calling her tenure a "monumental bust."

Secretary of State John Bolton would have sewed that shit UP.  

Forget that it wasn't Obama that decided to stick our natlonal dick in this bees' nest in the first place. Forget that it wasn't Obama who said that we should disband the Iraqi army and let everybody keep their guns. 

I have yet to see anyone ask any of these Monday morning quarterbacking goddamn nutmeats if they don't think this would have happened anyway, no matter who was in charge, no matter what we did, because: 

Days after Iraq's second-largest city fell to al-Qaida-inspired fighters, some Iraqis are already returning to Mosul, lured back by insurgents offering cheap gas and food, restoring power and water and removing traffic barricades

If your government can't keep the lights on, if your government can't get the water running, if your government can't keep you from getting shot on your way to the store for a pack of smokes, if your government can't perform basic functions, you very quickly lose patience with that government.  

You go looking for a new one. And sometimes you end up with something better, and sometimes you end up with just another pack of jackals, and sometimes you wish you had your old government back, and sometimes you realize the old boss is the same as the new boss. But you're always just looking for the basics. A safe, relatively happy life. 

This isn't mysterious. This isn't some major unanticipated problem. And if Obama underestimated anything, it was the stupidity of his political opponents, who would go on TV and act like human nature wasn't human nature, and was instead all his fault. 

A. 

Malaka Of The Week: Steve Scalise

Scalise-Cheney

Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District has long been a hotbed of wingnut malakatude: from dim bulb Bob Livingston to David Vitter to Bobby Jindal to the current member, Steve Scalise.Scalise is a genuinely nasty piece of work who publicly fumed when PBJ decided to run for the seat when Vitter moved his diaper bag to the Senate in 2004. Scalise thought he was next in line; plus he actually lived in the district whereas PBJ was a carpetbagger from Red Stick. But at that time, Jindal was the chosen one, so Scalise eventually shut his yap and stayed in the lege until PBJ was elected Governor in 2007. Since then, Scalise has been a rabid right winger and a worthy stylistic successor to Bitter Vitter as one of the nastiest members of the House. And nowadays, that’s saying a lot.

Scalise is obviously qualified to be a member of the malakatude hall of fame as I’ve disliked him since his days in the Louisiana Lege but here’s the reason he’s this week’s honoree:

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson Wednesday brought Dick Cheneyback to the Capitol, where the former vice president got a rousing response from members of Scalise’s conservative caucus.

“He was back in his old stomping grounds and it was great to see him,” said Scalise, the chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC).

snip

Cheney was a member of the RSC when he served in the House, though he observed to Scalise that the group was a lot smaller when he was there. Democrats were in the majority then, and the House GOP caucus included a sizeable number of moderates who are an endangered species in the current GOP congressional membership.

“He was very well received,” Scalise said. “He carries a lot of credibility having served in the House, as defense secretary and then as vice president for President George W. Bush.”

He “carries” a lot of credibility? Carries? Really? First of all, that’s an awkward way to put it, but how on God’s green earth does Cheney have any credibility whatsoever? Let’s see, he was one of the primary architects of the Bush administration’s lying its way into the Irag War. He keeps telling us that waterboarding and other forms of “enhanced interrogation” are swell and needed to fight the so called war on so called terror. (If it existed, it would be a war on terrorism, you cannot fight an emotion, which is what terror is.) In short, if Cheney ever “carried” any credibility, he dropped it a long time ago with his assurances that the Iraqis had WMD and that the war was not about oil. Yeah, right.

I know I’m preaching to choir but what Dick Cheney really is, is the sanest sounding lunatic in American political history. (Sorry for the double is, y’all.) I gotta give him credit for saying nutty things in a monotone so people won’t notice the tin foil hat and the way his nose grows with every lie. Ths is probably a mixed metaphor since Cheney was Gepetto to W’s Pinocchio but you know what I mean. Guess that makes Dick’s pal Rummy the boss of Donkey Island or whatever the hell it was called in the Disney flick.

Back to Steve Scalise. It’s not surprising that he’s sticking with the scare America shitless neo-con crowd. Paulist isolationism is a poor fit for a Congressman whose head is permanently wedged up the petro-chemical industry’s ass. Big oil likes war because it leads to big profits. I also get a kick out of the name of the group he chairs: the Republican Study Committee. When was the last time House Gopers studied anything? All they need to know is where President Obama stands and they’re automatically against it. I’m not sure if Scalise has come out against the White House Easter egg hunt but that may be something the RSC is studying.

Since Scalise is fond of the word carry, I’ll give CSNY the last word: