June 21, 2014

Re: Iraq and The Left’s politics of Shut-uppery [Darleen Click]

Your victory lap is grotesque

So, it’s become a trend for lefty pundits to express their disgust when supporters of Operation Iraqi Freedom offer their opinions about the reasons for the present crisis in Iraq. Here’s Jonathan Chait summarizing the theme:
What do liberals believe about the current disaster in Iraq? One thing most of us believe is that the United States should stay the hell out. But another thing liberals believe with even greater conviction is that advocates of the last Iraq war should not participate in the current debate. The Atlantic’s James Fallows argues that Iraq war hawks “might have the decency to shut the hell up on this particular topic for a while.” Slate’s Jamelle Bouie, writing in the second person, instructs Iraq hawks, “Given your role in building this catastrophe, you should be barred from public comment, since anything you could say is outweighed by the damage you’ve done.” Washington Post columnist Katrina Vanden Heuvel, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, and many others have reiterated the point. This meta belief about who should be allowed to argue about Iraq, more than any actual argument about Iraq itself, has become the left’s main way of thinking about the issue.

Rarely have so many people felt so cocky about leaving a genocidal dictator in place. Rarely have so many people felt so sure about the completely unprovable and speculative claim that this hostile genocidal dictator’s next eleven years in power would have been better for America than the decision to depose him. And rarely have these same people been so cocky about working so hard to ensure the failure of the course of action they opposed, then crowed about their success even as they blamed their ideological opponents for the resulting human toll.

This is what the Left is and what they do. All good things are to their credit, all bad things are the fault of the evil white-cisgendered-heteronormative-biblethumping-climatedenying-wrongwarmongering-sexist-islamophobe-gunfetishizing non-Leftists. And they will re-write history through propaganda and intimidation until everyone actually believe We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia.

All you have to do is to realize how the Left has so completely dominated the narrative on how the Vietnam war really ended.

Back to David French:

This I believe: America made some profound mistakes at the beginning of the war, bad choices that if made differently could have had a material, beneficial effect on the course and conduct of the war. […]

This I know: America has made profound — and far more costly — mistakes at the beginning of virtually every war. The opening months of World War II were a national nightmare, rendered more palatable to the public only through large-scale censorship that sometimes blocked the American people’s knowledge of defeats that cost more lives in one night than America would lose in entire years in Iraq or Afghanistan. […]

This I also know, because I was there: In Iraq, we learned from our mistakes, and the Iraq we left — even as early as late September 2008, when I flew home — was a far, far better place than it is today, a far better place than it was under Saddam, and an actual ally of the United States. Commentary’s Peter Wehner states it well:

By the time the surge ended in 2008, violence in Iraq had dropped to the lowest level since the first year of the war. Sectarian killings had dropped by 95 percent. By 2009, U.S. combat deaths were extremely rare. (In December of that year there were no American combat deaths in Iraq.) Iraq was on the mend. Even Barack Obama, who opposed the surge every step of the way, conceded in September 2008 that it had succeeded in reducing violence “beyond our wildest dreams.”

It’s one thing to know statistics. It’s another thing entirely to live the reality. The transformation was simply stunning. In 2007, when we went outside the wire, the tension was palpable and the fear (certainly for me) was very real. We knew the odds, and we knew our vulnerability. By late 2008, the difference was profound. I shopped in streets that months before were war-torn and infested with roadside bombs.

And we threw it away, with a huge assist from the Maliki government.

But it’s Bush’s fault. That pause of good stuff in 2008? Joe Biden claimed it was the Obama Administration’s doing.

All the bad stuff was and will always be Bush’s fault.

And the beat goes on.

Posted by Darleen @ 9:20am
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Comments (55)

  1. This “victory lap” is another good occasion to read Max Weber’s Politics as a Vocation, and among others already cited, the paragraph below. That was written in 1918, after the end of World War I, prior to the Versailles Treaty’s conclusion, but within viewing distance of it for a man of Weber’s mind and experience.

    Recall?

    “Sit down and shut up O ye defeated. We victors alone will determine. You defeated will have no say.”

    *** Vanity is a very widespread quality and perhaps nobody is entirely free from it. In academic and scholarly circles, vanity is a sort of occupational disease, but precisely with the scholar, vanity — however disagreeably it may express itself — is relatively harmless; in the sense that as a rule it does not disturb scientific enterprise. With the politician the case is quite different. He works with the striving for power as an unavoidable means. Therefore, ‘power instinct,’ as is usually said, belongs indeed to his normal qualities. The sin against the lofty spirit of his vocation, however, begins where this striving for power ceases to be objective and becomes purely personal self-intoxication, instead of exclusively entering the service of ‘the cause.’ For ultimately there are only two kinds of deadly sins in the field of politics: lack of objectivity and — often but not always identical with it — irresponsibility. Vanity, the need personally to stand in the foreground as clearly as possible, strongly tempts the politician to commit one or both of these sins. This is more truly the case as the demagogue is compelled to count upon ‘effect.’ He therefore is constantly in danger of becoming an actor as well as taking lightly the responsibility for the outcome of his actions and of being concerned merely with the ‘impression’ he makes. His lack of objectivity tempts him to strive for the glamorous semblance of power rather than for actual power. His irresponsibility, however, suggests that he enjoys power merely for power’s sake without a substantive purpose. Although, or rather just because, power is the unavoidable means, and striving for power is one of the driving forces of all politics, there is no more harmful distortion of political force than the parvenu-like braggart with power, and the vain self-reflection in the feeling of power, and in general every worship of power per se. The mere ‘power politician’ may get strong effects, but actually his work leads nowhere and is senseless. (Among us, too, an ardently promoted cult seeks to glorify him.) In this, the critics of ‘power politics’ are absolutely right. From the sudden inner collapse of typical representatives of this mentality, we can see what inner weakness and impotence hides behind this boastful but entirely empty gesture. It is a product of a shoddy and superficially blase attitude towards the meaning of human conduct; and it has no relation whatsoever to the knowledge of tragedy with which all action, but especially political action, is truly interwoven.
    ***

    Versailles didn’t put an end to it, did it? Nope. It planted the seeds.

  2. “…all bad things are the fault of the evil white-cisgendered-heteronormative-biblethumping-climatedenying-wrongwarmongering-sexist-islamophobe-gunfetishizing non-Leftists.”

    And seagulls.

  3. I rise to the defense of John Kerry, Hilliary Clinton, Diane Feinstein, Chris Dodd, Joe Lieberman, Joe Biden, Tom Harkin, Mary Landrieu, Harry Reid, Chuck “the smuck” Schumer, Tom Daschle, and Jay Rockefeller, Democrats all who voted for the “Iraq War resolution” in October 2002.

  4. this is a stupid way to frame things

    some people are more welcomer to chime in than others

    it was grotesque to see Liz Cheney opportunistically seize on the fall of Iraq as an opportunity to rehabilitate her whore ass

    and I’d no appetite for to read ridiculous fop Paul Bremer’s recently published ruminations

    and that’s not to say that “advocates of the last Iraq war should not participate in the current debate”

    Just that some of these advocates have more integrity and creditable insight than others.

  5. I am not taking Jonathon Chait and Leslie Marshall (in today’s US News and World Report) determine who is “qualified” to talk about Iraq.

    It’s a variant of the same stupid argument that wimmin use to shut men up when talking about abortion.

  6. *supply missing words and tenses here*

  7. What pathetic desperation and self-delusion. You people were wrong on all counts and allowed Cheney & Co. to fatten their coffers on the blood of your own children. Now that the grift has been exposed, all you care about is making sure you all agree that this is the fault of the LIBRULS who tried to warn you all along. Deep down you all wish to Christ that you could refund the War and get your trillion dollars back. Bush got his second term. Cheney brought home the bacon for Halliburton. You got dead kids and record deficits without even getting cheap gasoline out of the deal. Establishment elites: 10 Common folk: 0

  8. No one is saying that, jeenus.

    Reading is fundamental.

  9. He just can’t quit us.

    Pathetic.

  10. In 2008, Bush had negotiated a SoFA with Iraq. Done deal.
    In 2010, Obama threw it away.

    Whose fault is it that we don’t have a Status of Forces Agreement today? Oh, right, it’s Bush.

    In 2008, Iraq was at peace, and managing to learn how to build a democracy with the willing encouragement of the US military.
    In 2014, all American troops have been pulled out, including all intel-gathering groups and even the equipment.

    Whose fault is it that there is the return of terrorist groups that somehow manage to chase away an army (underfunded and unsupported) that outnumbers them 10-to-1, and take over large swaths of the country? Oh, right, that would be Bush, too.

    In 2008, our military was able to walk the streets of Iraq in peace, and interact with the populace with friendship and mutual respect.
    In 2014, terrorist groups are stealing the military equipment we gave to the Iraqi military, including Humvees and MRAPs, just driving away with them on flatbed trucks, and our current C-in-C isn’t doing a thing to stop them. Bush’s fault as well, I’m sure.

    Bush is so badass, he’s responsible for things even 6 years after he was out of office, while the man (chortle) actually holding the position of President? Utterly blameless for the things he does.

    At least, that’s the “official” story. Just like there is not a smidgen of corruption in the IRS, the attack in Benghazi were all about a video none of the attackers had ever seen, the VA is totally efficient and ObamaCare is actually going to cost less than anything the free market could provide. MiniTru has made sure of it.

  11. Pingback: From Around the Blogroll | The First Street Journal.

  12. “You got dead kids and record deficits without even getting cheap gasoline out of the deal”

    Bush left office with average gas price at $1.78/gal. Over his 12 years in office they averaged $1.87/gal.

    Compared to today (and the last 6 years) that IS cheap gasoline, douchebag!

  13. By the way brainsquirts, where is the left’s crystal ball that displays with clarity what would have happened if we would have left Sadaam in control of Iraq?

    What would have occurred once the sanctions and no-fly zones no longer were in place?

    And why would Obama, given the chance take the very same action (removal of a dictator) in Lybia when the opportunity availed?

    I guess the attack of the consulate in Benghazi is a small price to pay when your God-King is pulling the strings.

  14. On Fox Megan Kelly tried to rattle Cheney about “the left was right” and she bounced off him like he was a brick wall. He didn’t mock her he just said he totally disagreed and suggested that looked back across the last six years to find the problem was not going to work.

    It’s funny today watching Howard Kurtz trying to make Megan sound courageous but…she got blown off as a flake from the start. Her outraged tone was stopped cold by Cheney not going along with it. She looked like a clueless lightweight.

  15. “What pathetic desperation and self-delusion.”

    Bullshit. Try harder you stupid fuck.

  16. the Iraq war was a huge mistake

    say nothing of the death and wasted wasted utterly wasted money

    say nothing of the vicious cunt-reaming failshit america’s prestige received

    say nothing of the strategic disaster what we have no fucking clue how to confront, what we have no fucking resources with which to confront

    it paved the way for the neo-fascist ascendancy what yet grips our pitiful little country tight

    paved

    the

    way

    Liz Cheney is a short-sighted opportunistic feels-good-do-it policy whore and she should be shunned and spat on by All True Americans

    her Daddy was just wrong

    her Daddy was just wrong

    her Daddy

    he was just wrong

  17. Don’t be a moron happyfeet, it’s unbecoming.

  18. that’s mean you big grumpy

  19. Megan Kelly looked like a fool. And Cheney was right, you can’t ignore the role of the persistent failures of the last six years by chirping ” we never should have gone”.

  20. we never shoulda gone duh

    that’s ridiculously humiliatingly painfully obvious in retrospect

    people died – most awfully a lot of people who believed cowardshit America would have their backs

    and now it’s 2014 and we live in an America what is severely diminished

    and this is incontestable

    and the Iraq War contributed to this yes yes yes

    it was money ill-spent – a LOT of money – good god the opportunity cost alone – my goodness and gee willikers

    it was a bad call, ripley

    and in retrospect what a pikachu can see

    is we’re in a strategically worse place than when we started

    we’re actively freeing terrorists and not even maintaining a respectable status quo

    if i could trun back time without getting a butterfly tattoo on my ass I think I’d counsel against this Iraq War fiasco

    but oops

    I was an Iraq War pikachu from the git-gu.

    Sorry you guys. My bad.

    I guess the good thing about the Iraq fiasco is how it accelerated the whole American decline thing so it wasn’t all protracted and tedious.

    That’s a very crappy silver lining though I think, cause real people are getting real hurt.

  21. *turn* back time i mean

  22. No, it isn’t mean, at least I don’t intend it that way. It’s meant to indicate that even though the decision to take the war to overthrow Saddam may have been a mistake (and I don’t happen to think it was, but needn’t insist on that here), that decision was taken with a highly serious moral purpose on behalf of a nation which at that time demanded and approved it in light of the circumstances then understood. It was in no way an angle designed for narrow partisan political gain, so far as I can tell, and as such had every advantage over the empty moral posturing we see you make here. Liz Cheney is surely not your equivalent, is she? That is to say, she is not truly important in our present circumstances, I think. Then why, I wonder, would you put yourself at the same level you charge her with violating by that angry outburst? It’s just that I expect something more, is all.

  23. i will think more on this Mr. sdferr but I also should keep struggling to articulate and understand what it means that…

    I know i no longer trust the United States to prosecute a war with any grace dignity determination or class

    which is a rather big piece of mental furniture to rearrange

  24. one of the most horrifying and sickening dynamics what protruded from this cancerous fiasco was how food stamp and his propaganda slut media were so easily able to argue that the horrifically incontinent war spendings rationalized a similar waste of money at home – and so he won his bullshit stimulus and built it into the spending baseline

    bad call ripley man ripley you suck

  25. I can’t help but agree as to the unsettling breach of trust our fellow citizens have committed against not only themselves but against us all by electing a genuine moral cretin to the highest office in the land, not once (bad enough), but twice. Can’t really imagine rebuilding that lost confidence anytime soon. So we grieve when beloveds die.

  26. it’s a lot to process so forgive me please if i stumble over the particulars or even the gist of it

  27. Those that beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who kept their swords.

  28. Deliberately fucking it over across the last six years and telling anyone who complained to shut the fuck up was the mistake Happy Feet. It all burned down recently because of recent people who couldn’t see past their own vanity to discover how absolutely shit they were a foreign policy.

    Going was not the problem. Walking away from it and letting it slide into the shit so a some SICKENING LITTLE ASSHOLES trying to hold onto smart cred that they never earned could preen in public about how distasteful it all was was the problem.

  29. It’s like Bush handed the smart diplomacy crowd a tray with lots of glasses balanced on it because his term was up, and after babbling about how much better a job they would do holding that tray of glasses, they dropped one glass after another off of it over six years, making stupid excuses every time they messed something up. Then they dropped the whole tray. Now the assholes and idiots who dropped it all and their coteries of dim, half psychotic, cognitive dissonance addled enablers, have somehow gathered the fucking chutzpah to claim that those glasses never should have been on the tray to begin with.

    Sure they WERE set up to fail but by their own “theory obsessed” and reactionary stupidity, not by Bush.

  30. I agree Mr. pal

    but looking back i had no idea what we were building was a jenga tower

    for america’s foodstampfag president, his boss vajajay jarrett, and candy crowley and the other bloated cunt media whores to gleefully topple over brie and chocotinis

    not with a bang

    not with whimper

    but with a series of cringe-worthy outtakes you never planned on using in the actual documentary but once you got in the editing room you found out that’s all you had to work with

    that’s how america fell into the shitgutter

  31. *a* whimper I mean

  32. what goes well with whimper? dill, horseradish?

  33. in-n-out burgers, mostly

  34. i should ask mrwhimpy. he be a baracky kinda guy

  35. Gas was cheap at the end of Bush’s term because the economy had crashed and demand had cratered, IIRC. Bush left Obama a stinking pile of shit, not a pristine tray of glasses. Dissolving the Ba’ath party, sending in insufficient troops to stop the looting and violence – these blunders doomed the enterprise from the get-go. Not to mention the simple fact that any hope for the abstract thing known as “Iraq” depended entirely on the majority of its inhabitants vowing allegiance to “Iraq” and “Western-style Democracy” as opposed to their own ages-old religious divisions. Remember, Bush was surprised when someone told him about the entire Sunni-Shiite split. “Aren’t they all Muslims?” he asked, dumbfounded. Yet, somehow, you doe-eyed optimists opened your gullets and swallowed the load of crap they shoveled down your throats. And now you’re choking on it.

    We don’t expect you to ever ‘fess up to your idiocy. We just hope you remember and learn. many of you might not live long enough to see the next time that the US wants to get itself entangled, but for those still breathing when a Republican Pres tells you that the only choice is to invade N.Korea/Iran/Egypt/China or face a mushroom cloud, please, close your mouths and think on it for a minute. Ask yourselves if the people promoting this war stand to directly gain financially or politically from it. Examine the history of hatever craphole nation they want to invade and ask if it can be united. Raise your tiny hands in objection when the Pres suspiciously wants to withdraw weapons inspectors before they can finish their work. Ask yourself – has there been a recent national tragedy that is blinding my simple little brain with tribal/patriotic impulses that are clouding my logic? As of where we stand right now, the pikachu is the smartest among you, and that’s never a good sign.

  36. >. Bush left Obama a stinking pile of shit,<

    is 20 trillion bigger than 1o trillion? inquiring minds want to know if you are stupid?

  37. > Ask yourselves if the people promoting this war stand to directly gain financially or politically from it<

    how's the keystone pipeline doing dude? whabbi big money no doubt.

  38. > has there been a recent national tragedy that is blinding my simple little brain with tribal/patriotic impulses that are clouding my logic? <

    hi baracky. dude be proggtarded.

  39. > Ask yourselves if the people promoting this war stand to directly gain financially or politically from<

    hi vlad putin. good allan you are a dummy

  40. >Dissolving the Ba’ath party<

    you go fascist grrl

  41. >has there been a recent national tragedy that is blinding my simple little brain with tribal/patriotic impulses that are clouding my logic?<

    see any "story" of "shootings". you be a proggtared pawn

  42. has there been a recent national tragedy that is blinding my simple little brain with tribal/patriotic impulses

    Oh, look, squirts has revealed itself! It’s really Rosie “Fire doesn’t melt steel” O’Donnell?

    How ya doing, Rosie? Worked out those daddy issues yet?

  43. >Fire doesn’t melt steel<

    sayeth the losers who are womyns studies majors and not material science majors. the idiots of academe

  44. “We don’t expect you to ever ‘fess up to your idiocy.”

    Listen to yourself you delusional fucktard. 6 years of pure raging ‘ political shit on fire’ now, and somehow you idiots still think it’s time to bitch about Bush and preach smugly about shit you know absolutely nothing about. How does it feel to watch your big theories, your predictions, and your utopian sucker plans collapsing around while you shout squirrel and racist at the top of your lungs? You could not sound any more stupid.

  45. ” Remember, Bush was surprised when someone told him about the entire Sunni-Shiite split. “Aren’t they all Muslims?” he asked, dumbfounded.”

    Meh. More Kos-cartoons

  46. Guy says that other guy is holding a tray full of glasses wrong, says he could do it better.

    Guy gets handed glasses on a tray as other guy’s shift ends.

    Guy drops glasses off of tray and eventually drops whole tray.

    Guy blames whoever put all those glasses on that tray.

  47. Speaking of crapholes, you should’ve seen the 13th yesterday.

    But it was a dogleg.

    Yum!

  48. Don’t be a moron happyfeet, it’s unbecoming.

    He became one years ago.

  49. Yeah, I was unreflective before I cut loose with that stupid comment and immediately regretted it. I’ll try to do better in future.

  50. Dissolving the Ba’ath party, sending in insufficient troops to stop the looting and violence – these blunders doomed the enterprise from the get-go.

    So in your view, we should have left the genocidal dictator in charge? And you have now simultaneously claimed that we should not have sent in any troops at all, and sent in more troops than we did (despite the fact that in a single 24-hour period, Iraq went from having the largest army in the region — 7th in the world, IIRC — to having the second-largest army in Iraq).

    More liberal reasoning. Anything is true, as long as it makes America look bad.

  51. “Gas was cheap at the end of Bush’s term because the economy had crashed and demand had cratered”

    1. I quoted the AVERAGE GAS PRICE as well douchenozzle ($1.87) and Obama’s average is about double that.
    2. Talking out of your ass about economic records while your hero sports a less than 2% growth rate is telling.

    “Bush was surprised when someone told him about the entire Sunni-Shiite split.”

    Says who?

    You know who caused the Iraqi Sunni-Shiite split? Here’s a hint: the Ace of Spades.

  52. Hindsight, meh. Bush and Obama are destined to be forever entwined in Iraq, Afghanistan; Syria, Russia, Israel, Palestine, China, you name the flashpoint. We join with the good guys then, Bush and crew, but why is Obama seemingly aiding the head-choppers of ISIS – ISIL? He’s choosing the coward’s way out, as all modern far-Left Democrats are wont to do.

    I’m glad USA killed Saddam Hussein and his flesh-shredding sons. I’d like to see those beheading ISIS bastards get what’s coming to them. I’d support actions to stop them.

    Face it, Leftists, Democrats. Your worldly Utopia, pain-free, no warz, everyone equal in outcome? Never. Gonna. Happen. Humans can’t manage that; we’re not wired that way.

    So, little fella, holla your BOOOOOOOSH! cries, blow up some more Giant PROTEST HEADS!, squeal your little yellow hearts out. If we do decide to kick some ISIS asses, it’ll be because we’ve become outraged at the inhumanity they’re committing.

    I’ll support it, if Barky has the balls to unleash it.

  53. One might make the comparison with a fella who sees the need to tear down an engine, gets everything taken apart, organized clean and tidy, then turns the project over to an assistant who then walks away from the job, leaving everything exposed to be scattered and rust away, whereupon the imbecile lazy-assed assistant only then complains: “It’s his fault: why did he go to fix the engine in the first place?”

  54. Well said.

  55. It seems to me that were the present situation in Iraq not the result of a failed foreign policy, the administration wouldn’t be so busy trying to characterize it as an internal dispute for the Iraqis to work out amongst themselves.

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