Did They Say Why, Willard, Why They Want to Terminate My Command?

Enough is enough:

Beginning in the early afternoon, a cadre of military and civilian soldiers loyal to Gen. Stanley McChrystal began to spread rumors throughout the capital city: that ground commanders in Afghanistan were threatening to resign … that the CIA’s chief of station in Kabul had stepped down … that the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), William McRaven, was irate and wanted to step down … that commanders of the “special mission units” like McRaven’s former subordinates at DevGru (SEAL Team Six) would refuse taskings from the National Command Authority … that buried secrets were about to be exposed, like who actually leaked the McChrystal Afghanistan review to Bob Woodward.

Loyal to McChrystal? I was loyal to my CO and still to this day talk to him every couple of weeks, but we weren’t a cult of personality.

I was of the opinion that Obama would have been within his rights to keep or fire McChrystal, but I was wrong and Fallows and others were right. It appears that we’ve basically got in place an entrenched military command structure that is less like a professional military and more like wingnut milbloggers acting as rogue operators. Add that to the entrenched failure of a national security apparatus that the Stiftung Leo Strauss, Pat Lang, and Col. Bacevich are always talking about, keep in mind the religious fanaticism among many in the officer corps, and you begin to recognize that what we have is not too far removed from a banana republic.

People that willingly talk like this need to be exposed, rooted out, publicly humiliated, stripped of their ranks and their pensions, and a message needs to be sent. The military is supposed to be a weapon used when diplomatic policies fail, not a political wing of the national security state.

If Ambinder’s reporting is correct, McChrystal isn’t the only one who needs to go. Find out their names and shit-can every one of the insurrectionists.






180 replies
  1. 1
    frankdawg says:

    Yeah, like that is ever going to happen

  2. 2
    Redshirt says:

    I know it’s all “Sky is falling, chicken little” crap, but I worry about a coup. Either from the military, or if the Repugs get the House back and launch their Impeachment proceedings.

    Add in the wingnuts, the racists, the pumas, the Firebaggers, Blue Dogs, MSM… and I wonder if anyone in large numbers would oppose it. Election results be damned.

  3. 3

    Exactly. That’s what makes this, if anything, worse than the situation Truman faced with MacArthur: Truman wasn’t facing an officer corps that was marinated for decades in reactionary, bigoted bullshit.

  4. 4
    frankdawg says:

    BTW – this situation is going to get much much worse when the Pentagon goes under the budget knife. Its those entrenched failures & religious crackpots that have moved into key positions & will spare their own at the cost of better “non-believers”.

    Oddly, the reduction of the DoD excess will increase the possibility of military problems. And the wingnuts will be in full-throated support right up till the end.

  5. 5
    tim says:

    John, I very much appreciate your perspective and words on this, BUT to my mind, the fact that there are LOTS of these faux macho, borderline psycho wingnuts in the military is completely unsurprising.

    I’ve always believed that GENERALLY SPEAKING, these are types of insecure jerks who thrive within the hothouse of military culture, and who are attracted to it to begin with.

    I’m sure MOST of the career military personnel despise Obama and wish someone would take matters into their own hands.

  6. 6
    funluvn says:

    Which of the officers and gentlemen from Godslyvania will stand up first and throw themselves upon their Sword of Religious Bullshit in order to AVENGE the outing of McChrystal?

    I’m available for holding the sword if they need any assistance.

  7. 7
    stuckinred says:

    Uh, did anyone read the second paragraph?

    First, though a lot of officers who hitched their careers to McChrystal are indeed quite angry, no one has resigned, the CIA’s station chief remains in place (though he’s quite close to McChrystal) and McRaven isn’t going anywhere. Second, it is meaningful and endearing that so many people are loyal to McChrystal. They revere the man. Third, such behavior, while in one context explicable, is precisely an argument in favor of President Obama’s decision to remove McChrystal. The war is about more than one man. No deviations from the mission are acceptable.

  8. 8
    Zifnab says:

    The military is supposed to be a weapon used when diplomatic policies fail, not a political wing of the national security state.

    Hahahahahahahaha! You’re adorable.

    I do have to wonder, at a certain point, whether the Rolling Stone article was just a really convenient excuse to fire this yahoo. With petty, venal bullshit like this running through the ranks, is it a wonder we can’t beat a bunch of goat herders in Wakka-wakka-stan?

    My only real question is whether the Russians and the Brits had military commands this shitty when they were digging their own graves in Afghanistan.

  9. 9

    I’m pretty sure I don’t really buy this. And if it’s true, I rather doubt they’re a sizeable group. McChrystal didn’t have a whole lot of friends in the senior officer corps.

  10. 10
    Patriot 3 says:

    Fuck them. When you combine Special Ops comraderie with the weakness shown by Obama’s DOJ not going after anybody except E-2’s for torture this is what you get.

    What buried secrets? Pat Tillman was killed by enemy fire?

  11. 11
    Thunderlizard says:

    The maximum penalty for a violation of Article 88–which is merely DISPARAGING the civilian chain of command, as opposed to actively undermining it/fostering rebellion–is dismissal, and loss of all pay and allowances, and confinement up to 1 year.

    (“Dismissal” is not merely being sent away–officers are not discharged, the way enlisted men are. They resign, retire, or are *dismissed*. It’s the equivalent of a dishonorable discharge)

    In other words, we can take these %*&*tards retirements.

    I don’t know why they didn’t come down like a meteor on the %*(#er who refused to deploy cuz of the commie kenyan prezimadent.

  12. 12
    NonyNony says:

    @stuckinred:

    Uh, did anyone read the second paragraph?

    Yeah. I took John’s point to mean that the people spreading the false rumors were the ones who needed to be shit-canned.

  13. 13
    Patriot 3 says:

    @tim: And the zombie kill of the day award goes to Tim.

  14. 14
    Athenae says:

    I do have to wonder, at a certain point, whether the Rolling Stone article was just a really convenient excuse to fire this yahoo.

    THIS. I finally read the thing, and what he said wasn’t that bad. I was thinking last night, “This? This is what everybody’s so het up about?” Joe Biden’s a badass, I think he can take it if some wanker on the General’s staff thinks he’s a dick. I couldn’t see No-Drama Obama losing his shit over just what was in the article.

    Reading this it makes a lot more sense.

    A.

  15. 15
    geg6 says:

    @Zifnab:

    is it a wonder we can’t beat a bunch of goat herders in Wakka-wakka-stan?

    I’m a little surprised to see you making such an ignorant argument. Anyone who would say something like this needs to go back to school and learn a little of the history of “Wakka-wakka-stan.”

    If this is snark, I apologize in advance. If it is not, this might be one of the stupidest statements I’ve seen on BJ since BOB disappeared.

  16. 16
    Zifnab says:

    @frankdawg:

    Oddly, the reduction of the DoD excess will increase the possibility of military problems. And the wingnuts will be in full-throated support right up till the end.

    Honestly, I don’t know. At first, a reduction of military spending might bring out a lot of the crazies. But if the civilian authority can ride the stallion till it chills the fuck out, I can see a cut in military spending as – ultimately – crippling to the US military power structure.

    The power derived from the military is the money. The ability to spend megatons of cash on well-connected industrialists gives them all sorts of perks. Take away the twelve digit slush fund and the military loses a lot of its clout. Feed the beast and you don’t solve anything.

    If Obama breaks the back of the military spending system, he’ll leave a legacy behind worth more than a thousand public options.

  17. 17
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Happens from time to time même dans les meilleures familles.

    Party like it’s 1961….

  18. 18
    stuckinred says:

    @NonyNony: Pretty tough to root them out I’d say.

  19. 19
    Michael says:

    But we’re supposed to worship them with all our hearts, and cry when flags wave.

  20. 20
    The Moar You Know says:

    I’m sure MOST of the career military personnel despise Obama and wish someone would take matters into their own hands.

    @tim: Widen that brush any further and you’re going to need to attach it to a broom handle.

    You’re wrong.

  21. 21
    John Cole says:

    @stuckinred: Yeah, I read it. But that doesn’t excuse the rumors they were spreading in the first paragraph. Their job is to salute smartly, stfu, and get around to doing the job, not attempting to shape policy or issue threats.

  22. 22
    Emma says:

    Zifnab: Same here. I read the article and my first opinion, was, as I said in another thread, keep the bastard and hang the war around his neck. Now I’m beginning to think that the article was just the excuse Obama and Gates needed to start to clean house.

  23. 23
    stuckinred says:

    @John Cole: Roger, sorry sir!

  24. 24
    russell says:

    what we have is not too far removed from a banana republic.

    The end state I worry about more is something like Spain under Franco, only not Catholic.

    The folks in question need to decide where their loyalty lies. US military officers take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, not their CO.

  25. 25

    @stuckinred:

    That doesn’t surprise me. For one thing, a lot of these folks are woofers more than doers. For another, many of these people didn’t like McChrystal that much precisely because he wasn’t letting them shoot up as much stuff (and people) as they wanted:

    The rules handed out here are not what McChrystal intended – they’ve been distorted as they passed through the chain of command – but knowing that does nothing to lessen the anger of troops on the ground. “Fuck, when I came over here and heard that McChrystal was in charge, I thought we would get our fucking gun on,” says Hicks, who has served three tours of combat. “I get COIN. I get all that. McChrystal comes here, explains it, it makes sense. But then he goes away on his bird, and by the time his directives get passed down to us through Big Army, they’re all fucked up – either because somebody is trying to cover their ass, or because they just don’t understand it themselves. But we’re fucking losing this thing.”

    I wonder how blowing up wedding parties and paying the Taliban $15,000 per truck in protection money fits into that game plan.

  26. 26
    Paul says:

    Anyone else remember the essay/article “The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012”? It came out in the mid 90’s.

  27. 27
    The Other Chuck says:

    If Obama breaks the back of the military spending system

    If he tries, they will kill him. Literally. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but this I am absolutely sure about.

  28. 28
    The Moar You Know says:

    My only real question is whether the Russians and the Brits had military commands this shitty when they were digging their own graves in Afghanistan.

    @Zifnab: Read the tale of how Dr. William Brydon got into the situation of being the sole survivor out of 17,000 Brits and hangers-on that fled Kabul for Jalalabad.

    The incompetence of his commander, and the entire British military strategy, was astounding by anyone’s standards.

  29. 29
    ricky says:

    @stuckinred:

    Party pooper. At least that is what the rumors allege. Especially those from all the “civilian soldiers” referenced in the first paragraph.

  30. 30
    stuckinred says:

    @The Moar You Know: Now it is not good
    For the Christian’s health
    To hustle the Aryan brown,
    For the Christian riles
    And the Aryan smiles
    And he wearth the Christian down;
    And the end of the fight
    Is tombstone white
    With the name of the late deceased,
    And the epitaph drear,
    “A fool lies here
    Who tried to hustle the East.”

    — Rudyard Kipling

  31. 31
    Eric U. says:

    Petraeus should send out a message that encourages those people to resign. Anyone in uniform that doesn’t realize what McChrystal did was worthy of firing needs to get a little more training in civilian control of the military.

  32. 32
    Captain Haddock says:

    Bunch of clucking hens these men are. Its like a stereotypical secretarial pool out of a Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie.

  33. 33

    @Davis X. Machina: There was something similar coming to a head with Bombs Away LeMay, right around that time. (Which is why JFK gave John Frankenheimer carte blanche to film at various military installations for Seven Days in May: It was a way to head off a possible LeMay-led revolt before it could happen.)

  34. 34
    stuckinred says:

    @ricky: In my brief three years in the Army I recall that the rumor mill ran without end.

  35. 35
    dmsilev says:

    @Zifnab:

    My only real question is whether the Russians and the Brits had military commands this shitty when they were digging their own graves in Afghanistan.

    Worse.

    dms

  36. 36

    @Athenae:

    It’s not about Biden, or Obama, specifically so much as it’s about the principle of military commanders respecting the civilian leadership.

  37. 37
    stuckinred says:

    @Phoenix Woman: Depends on who’s in the wedding party now doesn’t it?

  38. 38
    ricky says:

    @stuckinred:

    Then you have a thick skin and don’t mind my repeating what they say about you. I only worked twenty years in a legislative body, so I never know which rumors to believe, start, or spread. I didn’t call you a party pooper, mind you. But the rumor is out there.

  39. 39
    FoxinSocks says:

    One of my friends is a conservative blogger and military contractor and he was foaming at the mouth over this, utterly livid and speaking doom and gloom about how Obama is destroying the military. I haven’t seen him that enraged in ages.

    Take that as you will, I just thought it was interesting and just more evidence that McChrystal had to go.

  40. 40
    stuckinred says:

    From the Army Times:

    “I was really kind of stunned at the aloofness that the article portrayed,” said the field-grade SF officer, who worked under McChrystal when the latter headed Joint Special Operations Command. “I saw him up close and personal at JSOC and I never got that impression … I never got anything other than this guy is serious and this guy is professional and straight-arrow.”

    “I was surprised they would speak like that, even amongst themselves,” said another special operations officer who has worked extensively with McChrystal and his staff in Afghanistan. “I know all of his inner staff…[and] I never heard anybody say anything politically negative about Obama. Nobody ever said anything incendiary about Obama … or about the administration.”

  41. 41
    stuckinred says:

    @ricky: Huh?

  42. 42
    El Cid says:

    I wish the point of the article about how the whole ‘counter-insurgency’ fantasy is a giant load of shit would make more news.

  43. 43
    Corner Stone says:

    All I know is, if there’s a more kickass name for a JSOC than “McRaven” I’ve never heard it.
    That’s some straight A-Team goodness right there.

  44. 44
    Sheila says:

    @Phoenix Woman: Though I am a pacifist, I want to believe that those serving in our military are doing so for what they believe are noble purposes, seeing their work as a last resort when all else has failed (whereas I see it as a first resort insuring that all other measures will fail in the future), but when I read a statement from a soldier such as the one you quoted, I have difficulty feeling any support for him, other than hoping he keeps his life and limbs, which is what I hope for every person on earth.

  45. 45
    PaminBB says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the whole incident reeks of CIA disinformation?

  46. 46
    Asshole says:

    @Zifnab:

    My only real question is whether the Russians and the Brits had military commands this shitty when they were digging their own graves in Afghanistan.

    The British command was far worse. They also had what was probably one of the most thorough destructions of any military force in world history , and I hope that’s not something we come anywhere close to experiencing.

  47. 47
    Corner Stone says:

    I wonder how blowing up wedding parties

    I’m starting to think this is some kind of catch-all phrase for a major level cock up. Kind of like how every UFO sighting was really a “weather balloon”.
    Blow the fudge outta some gathering, or hit the wrong building ~ just call it a wedding party and everyone will shrug it off.

  48. 48
    JohnR says:

    @Captain Haddock:

    Now that’s a rather foolish statement. Any group can look silly when it’s unfocused, but all you need is a seed crystal to start a riot. Me, I’m uneasily confident that the solution is pretty saturated with people who should not really be in the United States Army, however happily they’d be accepted into a classical Bananaguayan military. If Obama’s people can negotiate this balance-beam act to defuse and disperse this nasty situation below critical mass I’ll be impressed. I figure we’ve been teetering on the edge of a right-wing coup for a decade or more (‘Constitutional’ or military hardly matters, and whether by armaments or electronic voting makes little difference). That it’s nowadays always exressed as a “pre-emptive patriotic effort to prevent the Black Militant Socialist from Destroying America” without any significant media concern is probably the clearest sign that it’s hovering just around the corner. Maybe it will pass over this time. We might be lucky.

  49. 49
    stuckinred says:

    @Sheila: Haven’t spent a great deal of time with the troops have you? When these guys are in the bush and get denied fire support because of the ROE and one of their buddies gets killed it sort of puts them on edge.

  50. 50
    WereBear says:

    It is a small, yet very vocal and well supported, faction that is screwing with every aspect of civilization they can get their vile little paws on.

    It has nothing to do with the culture of the military… or the legislature… or the media… or (insert structure here.)

    They just want to win. This is how ya do it.

    The only difference between the blundering teenaged hacker in War Games and them is that they know damn well what they are fooling with… and will fool with it anyway.

  51. 51
    Corner Stone says:

    @Sheila: Ever see the movie Jarhead?

  52. 52
    Zifnab says:

    @geg6: Well, Afghanistan has a long and illustrious history of tossing out invading empires. But I do have to wonder if this is a case of the impressive home court advantage, the truly irrepressible populace, or the terribly corrupt and prideful armies that do the invading.

    Is Afghanistan simply unconquerable or is the nation only invaded by countries that WANT to get involved in a military spending spree of no national benefit? We’ve scored a fair number of own-goals both Iraq and Afghanistan. You can’t attribute everything to Afghanistan itself.

  53. 53
    Shalimar says:

    Find out their names and shit-can every one of the insurrectionists.

    Like Obama did with all the Bush toadies installed throughout the bureaucracy? It isn’t going to happen, and these attitudes are going to get worse and worse as the years go by. Couple that with the military-industrial complex that thrives on our paranoiac national state of mind, and you have the reason I really do think we will be a military dictatorship in 40 years. It won’t happen with Obama, we aren’t that extreme yet and he isn’t trying to actively roll back the military. But we will have a president eventually who sees the need to do exactly that if we want to balance our economy again, and the military will eventually join with the wingnuts in getting rid of that “illegitimate” president.

  54. 54
    Stroszek says:

    What the fuck is a “civilian soldier?” Is that a euphemism for “chicken hawk?”

  55. 55
    Jim Crozier says:

    Meh. A cleansing of the overly Christianist, right wing parts of the military was long overdue anyway. Find out who the officers are, and dishonorably discharge them. Court martial their disloyal asses.

  56. 56
    Corner Stone says:

    Anybody remember recently when Iran went through their elections and Bob Baer, former CIA guy, repeatedly proclaimed that what really happened was a military coup behind the scenes and the Imams were forced to go along with it?
    I wonder if someone over in Tehran is breathlessly reporting in the paper that this is prelude to a coup or defeat of a near coup.

  57. 57
    stuckinred says:

    @Stroszek: CIA, Blackwater. . .

  58. 58
    Josh says:

    At this point, I don’t even think I care anymore.

    They can do and have whatever they want. I’m going to Canada and settling down in the woods.

  59. 59
    TuiMel says:

    Two points:
    McChrystal’s “cadre” of loyalists are projecting anger away from where it really lies – with the general and with themselves. It would not have shocked me to learn after he left his command through the more expected path that the general vented his frustrations with his civilian bosses and partners in the presence of his staff. People do this sort of thing. But, the behavior chronicled in the RS article should never have been on display to a reporter so that it could be reported. Moreover, the behavior did not flatter these men. It made them look sophomoric. Finally, the open contempt for ostensible allies was extra stupid. All the way around the lapse in judgement was stupefying. Did not one of these vaunted members of “Team America” think, “Hey, ‘The Boss’ is over the line”? or “Hey, Colonel X needs to STFU”? or “Hey, maybe I need to STFU”? If you revere someone, truly, you need to be able to save them from themselves every now and then. But, the McChrystal cadre just rode the bus off the cliff with him.

    Ambinder comments that Obama needs to make changes in his civilian team. I think this is probably true. Richard Holbrooke has had success as a diplomat. I wonder if that success has made him into too much of a diva for his present job. I have also heard that Eikenberry is more interested in the success of his own views than the success of the Afghanistan effort. If this is true, he may not be the best person for the job. It would be easy to say Obama should (a la John McCain) sit them down and tell them to “cut the sh!t,” but if they need daily babysitting to make sure they do, they are not worth it.

    Obama’s road is a hard one. He needs people who will serve him well so he can serve us well. He is presently trying to make COIN work in Afghanistan. I think it is a long shot, but if those working the effort aren’t giving it their best shots, it is insult to injury for the sacrifices that are being made.

  60. 60
    Fern says:

    @Stroszek: Mercenary?

  61. 61
    tim says:

    @Patriot 3:

    I am not familiar with your lingo here…is that a slam or a thumbs up?

  62. 62
    ricky says:

    @stuckinred:
    Rumor has it I might have been in agreement with you original point. But I don’t want to run afoul of the blog commentariat civilian chain of command by spreading it.

  63. 63
    stuckinred says:

    @ricky: Aha, it was encrypted!

  64. 64
    Stroszek says:

    @stuckinred: Ah right. And why the fuck are our mercenaries personally loyal to a military commander?

    I was agnostic on the fire/keep McChrystal thing, but this crap is pushing more and more towards a “purge the Pentagon” position.

  65. 65
    21cdb says:

    @Stroszek:
    PMC’s, probably. They are not subject to the UCMJ. But “Civilian Soldier” sounds a lot like “Premeditated Self-Defense”.

  66. 66
    tim says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I wrote, clearly, that that was MY opinion.

    And I’ve been right about a LOT of shit since 2000. Much more so than our illustrious blog host.

  67. 67
    someguy says:

    @Captain Haddock:

    Bunch of clucking hens these men are. Its like a stereotypical secretarial pool out of a Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie.

    Yep. The posturing and chest beating and the comments about eating with the French foreign minister being “so ****ing gay” makes me think that the upper ranks are nothing but a bunch of typical right wing gay bashing closet cases.

  68. 68
    GregB says:

    Relax, I hear that President in Exile McCain will be on MTP (Massage the Penis) this weekend for an “exclusive” interview.

    I’m sure he’ll tamp down rumors and give his full throated support to those who are fighting the real enemy. That enemy being the duly elected government of the United States.

  69. 69
    cyntax says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Best name I ever saw when I was in was Captain Battle, if only because it would get better with the next promotion.

  70. 70
    Silver says:

    @stuckinred:

    Poor babies. They signed up thinking that it was all going to be Filipino whores and brown people that won’t ever shoot back?

  71. 71
    Jamie says:

    It seems there are a number of our military hold the idea that civilians control in contempt.

  72. 72
    ajr22 says:

    I agree John this scares me. I argued about this with my aunt who is a brilliant Doctor and writer. She is an Obama supporter, but hates these wars. She was saying she was upset with how Obama was handling both wars. I asked her “Do you think if Obama came into office and day 1 said, “we are getting the hell out of there” the Military would have actually done it?”

    I don’t think they would. They would run a huge PR campaign saying how it put the country at risk, call Obama a turrist hugger etc… Then they would just move very slow, claim set backs, violence is up, we need 6 more months etc… We are pretty much there until the military wants to leave. So we are gonna be there for a looooong time.

  73. 73
    stuckinred says:

    @Stroszek: Come on dawg, the dude was a deep spook, where you think these guys come from? They are special ops making 10 times the dough.

  74. 74
    Sasha says:

    This all has the stench of defeat. That was what I took from the snippets of article I read and from Marc Ambinder’s piece. People who are confident they are winning and who see a purpose in what they are doing do not behave like this. The only people who thrive in a pointless, endless war, are the people that like killing or need the rush they get from putting it on the line. There will be more ugliness and more atrocities and more people soldiers getting “… their gun on” and then we will leave and it Afghanistan to our list of failed misadventures.

  75. 75
    trollhattan says:

    @russell:

    The end state I worry about more is something like Spain under Franco, only not Catholic.

    I dunno, checked out the Supreme Court lately?

    I do wonder whether Petraeus is the guy to muck out this stablefull of poo. He’s a politically shrewd selection but can he clean up our internal mess while fighting this profoundly messy war, all while working with the NATO forces?

    I’m guessing there’re not enough hours in the day to succeed in the post. Me, I’d rather be a greeter at WalMart.

  76. 76
    D. Mason says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    This. Woe be unto the unlucky SOB sitting in the oval office when the military industrial complex feels threatened.

  77. 77
    WereBear says:

    @TuiMel: But, the McChrystal cadre just rode the bus off the cliff with him.

    One of these days, I’m going to write a satirical little book on “the Bush Management Style” or whatever, and this is the first rule:

    Terrify those who would bring you bad news, so you will never hear it.

  78. 78
    stuckinred says:

    @Silver: You don’t want them there fine, get them out but don’t just leave them hanging. jesus

  79. 79
    Jager says:

    @cyntax:

    Best name when I was in, SFC Manley

  80. 80
    Josh says:

    @Corner Stone:

    See, this reminds me a lot of the Roman empire in its middle-age–before the reign of Constantine and the reunification of the Eastern and Western Empire.

    A part of the military essentially had control of the “republic.” The Praetorian guard was responsible for assassinating several emperors as a way to maintain control.

  81. 81
    Randy P says:

    Can someone help out a pop culture ignoramus? Where does the quote that forms the title of this post come from, and where is the picture from?

  82. 82
    cyntax says:

    @Jager:

    That’s pretty good. Not that you’d ever want to give your platoon sgt crap, but certainly not one named Manley.

  83. 83
    El Cid says:

    @WereBear: The Great Leap Forward in Afghanistan?

  84. 84
    policomic says:

    but I was wrong and Fallows and others were right

    This is why you are my favorite political blogger, and why I’ve stopped reading LGM, Atrios, and a lot of others: you are willing to consider new information and listen to sincere criticism, and change your position if you are convinced by it, rather than going all Greenwald on those who disagree.

  85. 85
    slag says:

    @Jamie:

    It seems there are a number of our military hold the idea that civilians control in contempt.

    Hell, there are a number of our civilians that hold the idea that civilians control in contempt. The militaristic and quasi-authoritarian streak that runs through our media and political culture disturbs me greatly.

    Although, weirdly enough, there may be signs of hope in the way the media responded to this situation. Steve Benen is right that their reasoning is shallow, stupid, and dangerous in itself. But at least they don’t seem to be taking the general’s side on this one. For a change.

  86. 86
    stuckinred says:

    @Jager: The guy in the helmet liner was my DI at Ft Campbell in 66. Dallas A. Pinkney III,. He was one bad motherfucker.

  87. 87
    cyntax says:

    @Randy P:

    Apocalypse Now. The picture is Marlon Brando doing one of his most famous roles as Col. Kurtz.

  88. 88
    stuckinred says:

    @Randy P: Apocalypse Now, that’s Marlon Brando as Col Kurtz. They only used the close-ups and night shots of him because he was such a fat ass that no one would have bought the footage of him humpin the boonies.

    ps, it’s based on Conrad’s Hearts of Darkeness which is also the documentary doene by Copolla’s wife about the making of the film.

  89. 89
    GregB says:

    Randy,

    Apocalypse Now.

    The horror, the horror.

  90. 90
    ruemara says:

    @Randy P:
    Apocalypse Now. Colonel Kurt, I think. Never saw the movie, but it’s like a building stone of American Pop Culture.

  91. 91
    WereBear says:

    @El Cid: Ah, man, that actually sent a shiver up my spine.

    If you are interested in such, The White-Boned Demon: A Biography of Madame Mao Zedong by Ross Terrill, is a real peek into the peripheral processes that went on, and just how thin the rationalizations were which propelled a giant nation onto disastrous courses.

  92. 92
    Corner Stone says:

    @Randy P:

    Can someone help out a pop culture ignoramus? Where does the quote that forms the title of this post come from, and where is the picture from?

    ***SPUTTER***

  93. 93
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ Phoenix Woman:

    Get them while they’re hot: 1er REP t-shirts.

    More on the 1er REP.

  94. 94
    Montysano says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    If he tries (to break the back of the military spending system), they will kill him. Literally. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but this I am absolutely sure about.

    Very true, I’m afraid. I live in the heart of the Military Industrial Complex, and people here are very clear: fuck peace, fuck “bring ’em home”. Business is booming, and vaya con dios to any politician who tries to reign it in.

  95. 95
    Montysano says:

    @Randy P:

    Can someone help out a pop culture ignoramus? Where does the quote that forms the title of this post come from, and where is the picture from?

    Weekend At Bernie’s, IIRC.

  96. 96
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    If this is true, that is why Obama let McChrystal go: Let everyone down stream know that Obama will remove the person he appointed in order to maintain civilian control.

  97. 97
    liberal says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    Tim might be exaggerating, but I thought the officer corps is pretty reactionary. Something like 9:1 in terms of Republicans to Democrats (though maybe that was just colonels and up).

  98. 98
    PeakVT says:

    @Zifnab: I would say the cause is primarily geography. It’s dry, very mountainous, and climatically extreme (very hot in the deserts, long winters in the mountains). Any invading army will need long supply lines, and there are few opportunities for set-piece battles, which would favor professional armies with heavy equipment over native guerrilla forces.

  99. 99
  100. 100
    catclub says:

    @Randy P:
    The photo is Marlon Brando as Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse now.

    I would guess the quote is also from that – or directly from Heart of Darkness by Conrad.

    Mistah Kurtz, he dead.

  101. 101
    Zifnab says:

    @slag:

    Hell, there are a number of our civilians that hold the idea that civilians control in contempt. The militaristic and quasi-authoritarian streak that runs through our media and political culture disturbs me greatly.

    There are a number of civilians that hold the idea of anyone who doesn’t favor their should not have control over the military. Surprise, surprise.

    I seriously doubt any Republicans would want a military dictatorship lead by Wesley Clark.

  102. 102
    Randy P says:

    @Montysano: Thanks. Some people were saying Apocalypse Now, but that makes more sense. That’s obviously Andrew McCarthy.

    In truth, I managed to track down the quote after asking the question, but I still have a hard time believing the still is from the movie. I thought somehow it looked vaguely alien and assumed it was from a Star Wars flick. It certainly doesn’t look like Brando to me.

    And yes, people, there are those who have not seen this movie. Even people like me who have watched a lot of movies. Hell, there must be dozens of “seminal” movies from the 60s and 70s on my lifetime list that I haven’t seen yet. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen any of the movies that made Dennis Hopper famous.

  103. 103
    frankdawg says:

    @russell:
    ew! Good example, I have been trying to picture what the future looks like & the image I was most was a xianist-Singapore. But this might be a better fit.

    The end state I worry about more is something like Spain under Franco, only not Catholic.

    @stuckinred:
    I had not heard that bit of Kipling – very nice!

  104. 104
    liberal says:

    @Zifnab:

    You can’t attribute everything to Afghanistan itself.

    Note that
    * Afgh has a larger population than Iraq
    * Afgh has much less forgiving terrain than Iraq

    Also, Afgh is riven by ethnic divisions; doesn’t really have a history of modern gov’t (AFAIK); Taliban get support from Pakistan; etc.

    Not to mention that it’s not just Afgh; history shows that most attempts to pacify and nation build fail, IIRC.

    Though you probably knew all that.

  105. 105
    Corner Stone says:

    @tim:

    And I’ve been right about a LOT of shit since 2000. Much more so than our illustrious blog host.

    C’mon tim, at least give yourself a little challenge. Have you been right about more shit since 2000 than the blindfolded dart throwing stock picking monkey?

  106. 106
    El Cid says:

    @Zifnab: There’s a significant minority here — about 27% seems to be the magic numbers — who are opposed to civilian control of civilian government.

  107. 107
    Corner Stone says:

    @PeakVT:

    Any invading army will need long supply lines, and there are few opportunities for set-piece battles, which would favor professional armies with heavy equipment over native guerrilla forces.

    And the old saying about “an army runs on its stomach” applies here possibly more than most places our military would drop into.
    The logistics for the modern military in this battle scape…it’s a private contractors wetdream scenario.

  108. 108
    The Moar You Know says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the whole incident reeks of CIA disinformation?

    @PaminBB: Yes, it’s just you.

    This is pure and simple a guy who saw the writing on the wall and decided he didn’t want to get saddled with “losing Afghanistan” – something his former boss, Petraeus, will now have to deal with.

    Incidentally, nice move on Obama’s part to kneecap Petraeus’ nascent political career with the coming defeat in Afghanistan before it could even get off the ground.

    That McChrystal gets some conservative street cred out of the whole thing is an incidental, but not unplanned, bonus. The man is not stupid.

  109. 109
    Corner Stone says:

    Speaking of:
    “Ten soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed Wednesday in separate incidents, a grim trend that could make June among the deadliest months since Taliban regime collapsed in late 2001, the alliance confirmed in press releases issued here Thursday.”
    10 NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan

  110. 110
    Captain Goto says:

    @El Cid: This.

  111. 111
    cyntax says:

    @Randy P:

    It certainly doesn’t look like Brando to me.

    That’s what Coppola said!

  112. 112
    AxelFoley says:

    @geg6:

    If this is snark, I apologize in advance. If it is not, this might be one of the stupidest statements I’ve seen on BJ since BOB disappeared.

    Yeah, where the fuck did BOB go anyways? I noticed the IQ level here went up significantly, and now I know why.

  113. 113
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Shalimar:

    I really do think we will be a military dictatorship in 40 years.

    I’ve been predicting sometime around 2025. Sooner if Obama loses in 2012 or is otherwise removed from office before 2016.

  114. 114
    Svensker says:

    @Randy P:

    And yes, people, there are those who have not seen this movie. Even people like me who have watched a lot of movies. Hell, there must be dozens of “seminal” movies from the 60s and 70s on my lifetime list that I haven’t seen yet. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen any of the movies that made Dennis Hopper famous.

    Don’t bother seeing any Dennis Hopper movies. El stinko. But DO bother to see Apocalypse Now. Re-watched it recently with my son and it was better than I remembered it from its initial run. My son was blown away. Highly recommend.

  115. 115
    someguy says:

    That’s Brando in Apocalypse Now?

    Shit.

    I thought it was Shaved Jonah Goldberg in Blogginheads.

  116. 116
    cyntax says:

    BTW, although McCrystal comes off one way in the RS article, it’s worth reading all of the Atlantic article John linked to get a more rounded view. Among other things you may not have assumed about the general, Ambinder is reporting that he banned Fox News from the TVs at his headquarters and that he’s a political and social liberal.

    Obviously Ambinder could be wrong about his assessments of McCrystal’s social and political leanings, but the guy may not have been quite the characiture he appeared. Whatever the case, he had to go.

  117. 117
    someguy says:

    @cyntax:

    Among other things you may not have assumed about the general, Ambinder is reporting that he banned Fox News from the TVs at his headquarters and that he’s a political and social liberal.

    Then he’s a stealth right winger. You don’t get to 4 stars under the Bush Administration unless you’re a died in the wool true believer.

  118. 118
    matoko_chan says:

    jesus-h-keeyrist-inna-fuckin-handcart

    mini-surge doctrine–>

    McC + requested # of troops + COIN + X taxpayer dollahs + 3 years = stable afghanistan.

    it was a hailmary pass to McC and the COINheads.
    McC saw it was failing, tried to hold O up for more time, and got benched.
    obviouso.
    can Petraeus pull it off?
    i dunno.

  119. 119
    geg6 says:

    @Randy P:

    And yes, people, there are those who have not seen this movie. Even people like me who have watched a lot of movies. Hell, there must be dozens of “seminal” movies from the 60s and 70s on my lifetime list that I haven’t seen yet. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen any of the movies that made Dennis Hopper famous.

    Whoa. Are you just very young or have you been living in bin Laden’s cave for the last 30 years or so?

  120. 120
    cyntax says:

    @someguy:

    Maybe. In the end, you just don’t know.

  121. 121
    Patriot3 says:

    @Montysano: That’s what Smedley said too.

  122. 122
    demimondian says:

    @matoko_chan: You talk a lot, but do you say *anything*?

  123. 123
    Randy P says:

    @geg6: Neither, I’m afraid. When Apocalypse came out, I was in my 20s. Just somehow never got around to some of these Vietnam films when they were current (eventually saw Deer Hunter and Full Metal Jacket as rentals).

    But I don’t have that many hours in the day. I’ve got 250-some movies in my Netflix queue, and my lifetime list (which is mostly in my head, though a lot of it is on my queue) goes all the way back to the silents. Right now I’ve got the 1939 Burgess Meredith/Lon Chaney, Jr version of Of Mice and Men sitting on my TV for the last 2 weeks waiting to be watched, and probably Metropolis (1927) will be next. Apocalypse is just going to have to wait its turn.

  124. 124
    geg6 says:

    @Svensker:

    Don’t bother seeing any Dennis Hopper movies. El stinko.

    Seriously? I mean, I couldn’t stand the guy on a personal basis, the greedy Randite asshole that he was. But there are lots of Dennis Hopper films well worth seeing. First and foremost, “Easy Rider.” I’d add “Blue Velvet” and “Speed” as simply fantastically great performances in flawed films. Add in “Rebel Without a Cause, ” “Giant,” “Out of the Blue,” “Rumblefish,” “Paris Trout,” and “True Romance” as great stuff, too.

    If he did nothing else, his performance in “Hoosiers” would go down as one of the great performances of all time in a sports-related film. Or any film, really.

    Dennis Hopper films are quite far from the realm of el stinko, IMHO.

  125. 125
    Calouste says:

    @Zifnab:

    You mean the British army that was referred to as Lions led by Donkeys?

  126. 126
    Nick Cage says:

    “Did They Say Why, Willard, Why They Want to Terminate My Command?”

    That was also a line they cut out of my scene with an big lizard on a coffee table instead of a big snail crawling on the edge of a dull razor blade in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call Harvey Keitel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

  127. 127
    geg6 says:

    @Randy P:

    Ah, well. You probably watch more films than I do, at least nowadays. Now is when I don’t have time. In my teens and twenties? Nothing but time. Thankfully, that was during the 1970s, which was, IMHO, the REAL golden age of film. And this from someone who thinks the Godfather films are the worst thing put on film in all of history.

  128. 128
    Uloborus says:

    I think John himself is actually the model we should be thinking of for soldiers here. The vast majority of them are going to be going ‘did these assholes just publically diss chain of command?’. The military is never happy with how they’re being led, which is why chain of command is so totally sacred. I am not remotely worried about a coup. I AM wondering what kind of command McDonalds is running if the media is hearing the grumbling, whoever they’re grumbling about. Either way, when you wonder how widespread this is, remember our good ‘ol scandal mongering anti-Obama media.

    As for if Afghanistan was winnable, we’ll never know. Look at the clusterfuck Bush’s 8 years did to domestic issues. Now apply that to something already really hard and delicate. He told the military to abandon all of their contingency and post-war rebuilding plans in favor of winging it, for pity’s sake.

    Like Obama, I’d really hoped this mess was salvagable. I can’t say I’m SURPRISED it’s too late, given Bush’s pooch screwing fetish.

  129. 129
    trollhattan says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Yeah, where the fuck did BOB go anyways? I noticed the IQ level here went up significantly, and now I know why.

    BoB banhammered IIRC for asserting slavery was more ennobling than welfare. Log-sized straw that broke the camel’s back. Not to worry, he infests other blogs for anybody who actually misses his special brand of verbal diarrhea. I’m not among that cohort and still celebrate the day JC applied the axe. Ommmmm.

  130. 130
    Eric S. says:

    Sorry, late the party so I don’t know if this has been talked about up thread.

    This whole McChrystal thing put a thought in my mind that the professional, volunteer army, with its full time, life long soldiers, and politicians with little or no military experience have become too far removed from each other culturally. Since 1980 we’ve only had 4 years where the C-in-C had real combat experience. Some (Kerry, Dole) have run but not been elected. I feel like the brass doesn’t really respect the civilian chain of command and the the civilian command doesn’t understand the military culture.

    I have no solution and admit I haven’t really even teased this idea out in my own mind but I feel like it is an issue that our country should grapple with.

  131. 131
    Randy P says:

    Clearly we need lots and lots more movie threads on BJ. Are you listening, John?

  132. 132
    Calouste says:

    @cyntax:

    I think the record in that category (including the non-military) has already been set by Cardinal Sin, the late Archbishop of Manila.

  133. 133
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Uloborus:

    As for if Afghanistan was winnable, we’ll never know.

    There was a moment, a very brief moment, where I thought it was possible. If we had devoted the full power of our military, industrial, economic and diplomatic might to the task of building Afghanistan into an actual nation instead of an anarchic hell-hole trapped in the 12th century. If Bush had defied all my expectations and fears and actually been a leader instead of a piece of absolute shit. Even then, it would have been a monumental undertaking, but success was possible.

    By the time we went into Iraq, I knew the moment had passed, and we had decided to embark on two simultaneous Vietnams.

  134. 134
    Jeff Darcy says:

    This is exactly why McChrystal had to go – because he was allowing and encouraging exactly this kind of disrespect among those under him for those above him in the chain of command. Disrespect the people all you like, but UCMJ says you must respect the offices they hold and there are dire consequences if you don’t. Had Obama let McChrystal stay, the rot would only have spread, and that’s to the detriment of all – *especially* to the troops in the field who rely upon military discipline for their very survival.

  135. 135
    Corner Stone says:

    @Eric S.:

    and the the civilian command doesn’t understand the military culture.

    I for one would argue that this is a good thing, and possibly the best thing going for our struggling democracy.
    That said, I think civilian command understands the influence on national politics those beholden to military culture can exert as needed.

  136. 136
    Corner Stone says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Even then, it would have been a monumental undertaking, but success was possible.

    I profoundly disagree with this position. ISTM it’s a victim of the Green Lantern Theory.
    And that’s not even taking on the question of whether or not we should have considered nation building Afghanistan in the first place.

  137. 137
    Nutella says:

    Ambinder wrote a blog post a few months ago saying that all scientists are atheists or posibly deists.* He imagined that to be true and published it after making no attempt at all to investigate. He may have imagined this, too.

    (*) Religious beliefs of scientists range from total atheist to extremely devout and everything in between.

  138. 138
    Elie says:

    Afghanistan is not about Afghanistan. Its about Pakistan. My guess is though we will reduce troops, we are nowhere near leaving (keeping our foot in the door and hand on the pot lid). Too much at stake strategically…

    I speculated yesterday of my very serious concern about what McChrystal’s unprecedented remarks signalled and that appears to have some validation. There appears to be a culture (or growing subculture) in the military that is antithetical to that spelled out in the constitution — it has contempt for civilian leadership. More specifically, Democratic leadership. There was a good piece on poosibly why yesterday in the Huffington Post — that the almost complete reliance on the volunteer army, that there has been a kind of mercenarization of the military along with an isolation from more mainstream Americans that would come about if we had a draft. The increasing ties of the senior leadership with the far right and religious zealots has exacerbated this group think and enabled it to thrive without any checks.

    I dont know how much of this is true, but I suspect at least some. I strongly believe in further investigation of this issue and the consideration of reinstituting the draft to again begin to get fresh blood and ideas circulating through the military. I also recommend a really deep investigation into the invididuals immediately surrounding Gen McChrystal. They scare the fuck out of me and should any American who believes in the civilian led military and full accountability of the military to the American people, not some general…

  139. 139

    @Eric S.:

    Sorry, late the party so I don’t know if this has been talked about up thread.
    __
    This whole McChrystal thing put a thought in my mind that the professional, volunteer army, with its full time, life long soldiers, and politicians with little or no military experience have become too far removed from each other culturally. Since 1980 we’ve only had 4 years where the C-in-C had real combat experience. Some (Kerry, Dole) have run but not been elected. I feel like the brass doesn’t really respect the civilian chain of command and the the civilian command doesn’t understand the military culture.
    __
    I have no solution and admit I haven’t really even teased this idea out in my own mind but I feel like it is an issue that our country should grapple with.

    Well we could start by reinstituting the military draft, and let’s make it retroactive, that way all of chickenhawks who dodged the draft during Vietnam can have the opportunity to serve their country. You might think that guys like Joe Lieberman, Bill Kristol, Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich are too old to be of any use in the military, but you’d be wrong, they’d do an absolutely fantastic job as IED disposal techs. Just give them a shovel and a hammer and send them ahead of your convoy and tell them to whack anything that looks suspicious to see if it goes “boom”. If they object point out that while banging on suspicious objects might get them killed refusing to do so will get them killed by the sniper in the lead vehicle of the convoy. And then there’s Charles Krauthammer, I’ll bet that you could turn his powered wheelchair into a really bitching remote control bomb disposal robot.

    After we get done drafting Limbaugh, Krauthammer et al we’ve got a whole generation of younger chickenhawks to work through, Jonah Goldberg, Max Boot, Rich Lowry, those punks who made the ACORN tape. That’s a lot of boots on the ground for Afghanistan, and if we have any left over after we’re done there we can airdrop them into Iran.

  140. 140
    Tsulagi says:

    Beginning in the early afternoon, a cadre of military and civilian soldiers loyal to Gen. Stanley McChrystal began to spread rumors throughout the capital city: that ground commanders in Afghanistan were threatening to resign…DevGru (SEAL Team Six) would refuse taskings from the National Command Authority

    If that did occur, I’d like to know how many and who were in that “cadre.” Not buying what they were selling. I’m guessing that cadre was really, really small.

    Extortion? That if the President sacked McChrystal who thought going on a Bud Light Lime fueled lame version of a HST-esque road trip in Europe while gossiping about civilian leadership to a Rolling Stone reporter was a great idea, that would trigger wholesale petulant resignations and mission refusals?

    That cadre is living in a bubble on another planet in another dimension. Wouldn’t, and not gonna happen.

  141. 141
    cyntax says:

    @Calouste:

    Wow. FTW.

  142. 142
    Uloborus says:

    @Citizen Alan:
    Exactly my feelings. When we went into Iraq I knew beyond question the Afghanistan ball had been dropped. Abandoned. I felt the mess we’d made for the already miserable civilians and our own interests made it worth TRYING to fix it, but seven years of Bush’s apathy to the results of his warmongering? Eesh.

  143. 143
    vtr says:

    I’ve read each and every one of these letters – all interesting – many establish good points. I’m reserving judgement until Liz Cheney speaks her “mind.”

  144. 144
    AxelFoley says:

    @trollhattan:

    BoB banhammered IIRC for asserting slavery was more ennobling than welfare. Log-sized straw that broke the camel’s back. Not to worry, he infests other blogs for anybody who actually misses his special brand of verbal diarrhea. I’m not among that cohort and still celebrate the day JC applied the axe. Ommmmm

    Oh, shit. Glad I missed out on that one.

  145. 145
    Poopyman says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    That’s a lot of boots on the ground for Afghanistan, and if we have any left over after we’re done there we can airdrop them into Iran.

    We don’t have to give them parachutes, do we?

  146. 146
    Gus says:

    @Svensker: Did you watch the “Redux” version with the added scenes. I haven’t seen it and have always wondered if the extra scenes add anything.

  147. 147
    Elie says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    “and if we have any left over after we’re done there we can airdrop them into Iran.”

    Only if Iran keeps them…

  148. 148
    maus says:

    @geg6:

    I’m a little surprised to see you making such an ignorant argument. Anyone who would say something like this needs to go back to school and learn a little of the history of “Wakka-wakka-stan.”

    If this is snark, I apologize in advance. If it is not, this might be one of the stupidest statements I’ve seen on BJ since BOB disappeared.

    I think it’s snark, the point being that we’re supposed to be disciplined and “serious” about what we’re doing, not WATBs that cry mascara-streaked emo-tears.

  149. 149
    Michael says:

    There appears to be a culture (or growing subculture) in the military that is antithetical to that spelled out in the constitution—it has contempt for civilian leadership. More specifically, Democratic leadership. There was a good piece on poosibly why yesterday in the Huffington Post—that the almost complete reliance on the volunteer army, that there has been a kind of mercenarization of the military along with an isolation from more mainstream Americans that would come about if we had a draft.

    Ironically, it isn’t as if this particular iteration of the miitary machine has demonstrated much competence beyond the primary themes of trigger-happy overreactions and crony-coddling defensiveness.

  150. 150
    gwangung says:

    @Michael: No, they’re quite good at killing opponents, which actually is the main competency required of the military.

    But they’re not very good at occupation or police action, which are aguably major competencies also required of the military.

  151. 151
    matoko_chan says:

    @demimondian: i said this.
    Dragon’s Teeth Axiom–Drones create exponentially more adversary trusted networks than they destroy by de-noding, because of network influence propagating to both social and consanguinous nodes.

  152. 152
    Corner Stone says:

    @matoko_chan: So you’re saying when we kill people their friends and family get pissed.
    Thanks for the tip.

  153. 153
    salacious crumb says:

    maybe these officers bitching about Obama should have resigned en masse when they found out they were misled and used and cheated into a false invasion of an innocent country Iraq. But no, Bush was their CIC who they were willing to blow to the last drop, but now that a black man takes authority and all of a sudden they are worried about principle. When they were shit bombing all civilian Iraqis and Afghanis, where were their principles? now that Obama tells them to be careful, they start getting pissy.

  154. 154
    demimondian says:

    @matoko_chan: Like I said — have you ever said *anything*?

  155. 155
    Svensker says:

    @geg6:

    Seriously? I mean, I couldn’t stand the guy on a personal basis, the greedy Randite asshole that he was. But there are lots of Dennis Hopper films well worth seeing. First and foremost, “Easy Rider.”

    He was a Randite? Really? When I worked in film all the Kewl Kids loooovvvveeeed him and they were all nihilistic lefty Ivy Leaguers. Maybe he became a Randite later?

    Easy Rider is one of those films I loved back then but now makes no sense, to me anyway. Giant and Rebel I don’t consider Hopper films, just movies he was in when he was younger and not such a huge asshole. He just always seemed to overact like hell and think way too much of himself. You could see him thinking “I am sooooo cool” in most of his movies — couldn’t stand him.

  156. 156
    demimondian says:

    @Tsulagi: My guess is that there was a tiny cadre of “true believers” who really were speaking out of turn. Like John says, those folks need to be found, bound, busted, and jailed for a good long time. I suspect that there was also a group of people who were echoing those sentiments, in a game of telephone. Those folks…yeah, listen, soldiers gripe and exaggerate like bloggers.

  157. 157
    Svensker says:

    @Gus:

    Did you watch the “Redux” version with the added scenes. I haven’t seen it and have always wondered if the extra scenes add anything.

    No. We have it, but don’t have the stamina to watch it yet. That film is not a casual “oh let’s hang out and watch a MOVIE!” kind of film. You have to plan for it, make sure you’re not doing anything later that requires emotional equilibrium.

  158. 158
    geg6 says:

    @Svensker:

    Oh, yes. Hopper was a libertarian’s libertarian. That’s why he made all those investment company commercials. He loved those assholes.

    But seriously, “Hoosiers” is the awesome. And I thought you were basically saying that nothing Hopper was in is worth watching. He was very good in a lot of stuff, especially if he remembered that less can be more (as in “Hoosiers”) or if over the top asshole was a requirement of the role (like in “Speed” or “Apocalypse Now”).

  159. 159
    matoko_chan says:

    @Corner Stone: umm….nope.
    i just used SNT (social network theory) to PROVE COIN doesn’t work.
    wass ur prob, Oldboi?
    ur up in my grill 24/7.
    so how become?

  160. 160
    matoko_chan says:

    @demimondian:
    /giggles
    well Obama reads meh…i get frontpaged at sully’s lots.
    does he read you?

  161. 161
    demimondian says:

    @matoko_chan: Like I said, do you *ever* say anything?

  162. 162
    Ruckus says:

    @Uloborus:
    Bush’s pooch screwing fetish.

    This should be one of the rotating tag lines. A perfect description of his 8 years.

  163. 163
    matoko_chan says:

    @demimondian: yeah.
    do you?
    do you have the Oldboi problem liek Cornerstone?
    all i hear from you guys is blah blah blah and get off my lawn!

  164. 164
    Ruckus says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:
    Not that I liked the draft when I was eligible and 1A, but I don’t think this is such a bad idea, if done correctly. If we want to have such a large standing military and engage in “peacekeeping” around the globe, then it probably would be a good idea to have mandatory service. You are 18, you go in, 2 years. No deferments unless missing a limb or such. I think one of two things would happen.
    1. The country would get more conservative and war hungry.
    2. The country would get much more liberal and war adverse.
    What goes hand in hand with the draft would be that all battles would be televised. Live. All surgeries to repair the damage would be televised. Live. These can replace the religious and shopping channels, those are useless anyway.
    I think #2 is the more likely result, given the exposure and visuals.

  165. 165
    tim says:

    @Corner Stone:

    ah cornergallstone, ever the asshole.

  166. 166
    Uloborus says:

    @Ruckus:
    I’m sure I’ll use it again. Bush screwed every pooch he could get his hands on. Name an issue, and George Bush screwed that pooch. Our country is in such a mess because of it.

  167. 167
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I just said there was a brief moment where success in Afghanistan was remotely possible. I said nothing about whether I thought it was a good idea to try. I’ve always belonged to that class of people who were dismissed as “soft on terror” and “objectively pro-terrorist” because I thought 9/11 was a criminal matter and not an attack by a foreign power that could ever be countered by something as clumsy as traditional warfare.

  168. 168
    Corner Stone says:

    @tim: Well, you’re right of course. But that’s actually meant to insult Cole, not you.

  169. 169
    Corner Stone says:

    @Ruckus:

    You are 18, you go in, 2 years. No deferments unless missing a limb or such. I think one of two things would happen.
    1. The country would get more conservative and war hungry.
    2. The country would get much more liberal and war adverse.

    Judging from scanning a short list of countries with mandatory service here, it’s hard to really draw any kind of conclusion that either outcome would happen due to mandatory service.

    ETA – now, the visuals? That I think would seal the deal for less armed conflict.

  170. 170
    maus says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    I just said there was a brief moment where success in Afghanistan was remotely possible.

    “Was” or “seemed”?

  171. 171
    tim says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Ah…I get it.

    Well, by all means then, carry on. :D

  172. 172
    demimondian says:

    @matoko_chan: Do you *ever* say anything?

  173. 173
    Kered (formerly Derek) says:

    @Montysano:

    Holy lol.

  174. 174

    Witness, the murder of brain cells.

  175. 175
    Larkspur says:

    @Citizen Alan:“… I thought 9/11 was a criminal matter and not an attack by a foreign power that could ever be countered by something as clumsy as traditional warfare.

    Yeah, that was me, too, except without the self-confidence to hold to that opinion. I remember very clearly thinking, war on terror? War on terror? Seemed to me like if you’re gonna hold a literal shooting-type war, you need the enemy’s freakin address. “Terror” doesn’t have an address. I thought, this is Interpol stuff, this is a massive international man-hunt, this is about law enforcement.

    Then I started looking around and wondering if I was being stupid, because Colin Powell, and then there were diagrams, and blah blah blah, and the only people I could see opposing a war on terror were the People In Black who’d gather at intersections with their signs and slogans. I guess I never actually thought I was wrong, just naive and definitely irrelevant. So I watched a lot of movies, but none with Dennis Hopper, as I recall.

    God, I used to be so angry with old people, about how they didn’t get something done that so clearly needed to be done. “Couldn’t they see what was happening? Why didn’t they do anything?” Gah.

  176. 176
    Corner Stone says:

    @Citizen Alan: I’m :
    Practically the Poster Boy for Unbending and Extremist Ideology ™
    So, I have to represent 24/7 ya know.

  177. 177
    Corner Stone says:

    ?

  178. 178
    Bob Loblaw says:

    I’m reasonably certain matoko_chan is mentally retarded.

    Discuss.

  179. 179
    Pat says:

    I am a recovering alcoholic (13 years sober on the Fourth of July!), and it astounds me how it seems to be totally acceptable for a four-star general to get shitfaced and mouth off about the White House, undermining their leadership and so on and so forth. I am a mother of four young men and I shudder to think how enraged I would feel if any one of them were serving under his command. He may eat one meal a day but his behavior going back to last year and his speech in London, is telling me his alcohol consumption finally got the better of him.

    Meanwhile, Senator Orrin Hatch thinks all the unemployed should be drug tested before they receive any more government handouts.

    I used to feel lucky and kind of “smug” that I was born in this country; not anymore…

  180. 180
    CreativeAnarchy says:

    I don’t like to talk shit about conservative mouthpieces but I’m more and more astounded at how badly their judgement is in making comments about current events. Equivocating enforcement of chain of command as somehow destroying the military is the biggest failure to grasp the idea of irony since someone called the protests against Arizona immigration laws as the greatest enemy of liberty ever conceived. I really fear that Conservatism as an ideology no longer serves any kind of values as it does the echo of it’s own repetitive messaging.

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