This Is What I Hoped To Avoid

I’ve learned something very interesting the past few days, which is that after mindlessly warmongering and supporting a debacle in Iraq and intractable mess in Afghanistan, it is somehow a personal failure on my part that I need to be persuaded to engage in another military adventure. You would think that setting your default position for supporting military action to “Show me why we should do it and until then no” would be what we might bluntly call LEARNING FROM YOUR PAST FUCKING MISTAKES, but apparently that is just not the case. Turns out that is, according to many of you, just being block-headed in a different way. Interesting, that.

What makes it even funnier is that I don’t really have a say in things- nor do any of you. Not sure if you are paying attention, but they went ahead and got involved in Libya regardless what any of us thought, for or against, and right now we’re just holding post hoc pissing matches. Nothing we say or do is going to get us out of Libya a day before the powers that be decide it is time to go. See also, Afghanistan and Iraq, where no one in positions of power gives two hoots in hell what the public thinks. So holler at me all you want, bury your uterus in WACO, do whatever you need- it doesn’t really matter anyway. About all you can do is hope more shit like this doesn’t make the rounds:

US admiral refuses to deny that a US helicopter sent to rescue downed airmen opened fire on Libyan villagers. A witness reportedly said the rescue team fired shots to keep the Libyans away, then swooped in and rescued one of the crew. Six Libyans are said to be wounded. The F-15E Strike Eagle jet was conducting a mission on Monday night when it crashed outside Benghazi, apparently from a malfunction.

Neither the military denials nor the initial reports from the ground should be seen as credible, but stories like these live on, regardless.

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207 replies
  1. 1
    cathyx says:

    Apparently Congress doesn’t have a say in things either.

  2. 2
    sidhra says:

    I think the Powers That Be have completely forgotten that war is all about cutting other human beings into smithereens for the greater glory of the cause.

  3. 3
    D-Chance. says:

    You don’t get it, Cole. Back then, it was REPUBLICANS who were in charge; ergo, it was bad. But, now, it’s OUR GUYS doing it; ergo, it is good and well and you should just STFU and lay back and take it like a good little Blue Stater… that’s how politics rolls.

  4. 4

    Wait, what? anonymous posters on the Internet have no say? WTF?

  5. 5
    stuckinred says:

    @cathyx: Like they haven’t since 19 fucking 42. Don’t act like this is some new thing.

  6. 6
    MikeJ says:

    Since BBC interviewed the civilian who got shot, it would seem wise for the admiral to not deny it.

  7. 7
    WarMunchkin says:

    It’s surprising how many liberals I’ve heard in the past 48 hours tell me that the main mistake of Iraq was not that the war was on a false pretense, not the arrogance of believing that magic freedom ponies would materialize, not the lack of any idea what we’d do once we got there or understanding the consequences for Iraqi civilians, but that the United Nations said no. Since they said yes this time, it’s totally cool. Right.

  8. 8
    Bob Loblaw says:

    Pissiness does not become you John. It’s time to be the better man here. For your blog’s sake, at least.

    So much of the consternation basically comes down to the question of whether the Iraq War was an aberration or a continuation of the trend. It can go both ways. I think, weirdly enough, it is both ways simultaneously. It’s a funny world. But either way, it’s been absolute poison to the debate at large.

    Oh, and the military lies about everything, even the most trivial bullshit. It’s just who they are. There isn’t really anything to apologize for. One of their pilots was downed, and they took action to secure his safety. They didn’t even kill anybody.

  9. 9
    Jebediah says:

    “Post hoc pissing match” is a beautiful phrase. I hope I have a chance to steal it.

  10. 10
    maye says:

    It is important to keep the war industry going. It is, after all, just about all we’ve got left. Well, there’s war, litigation, and the medical protection racket. So you see, the war business is essential.

    We are Sparta.

    When they stopped drafting people back in the 70s, we set about developing an ongoing professional war machine. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but in the last 10 years, our entire culture has become more militarized. Soldiers are revered in our society. War planes fly over sports events.

    It’s way too late to put this genie back in the bottle.

  11. 11
    kdaug says:

    How the hell do you expect Ratheon, Lockheed, Dynacorp, Xe, Boeing, et.al to keep making a profit and sponsoring Sunday morning news shows if all the ordinance is sitting in a fucking depot?

    There’s a reason General Eisenhower warned us about this 60 years ago. (Heard he went on to some job in a white house, but whatever).

    We will be in a cycle of endless war, until we aren’t.

  12. 12
    Yurpean says:

    @Bob Loblaw: Sorry, I can’t work out if you’re being sarcastic or not in that last paragraph, because if not, WTF?

  13. 13
    General Stuck says:

    War is all Hell, and should be avoided unless the equation of death and destruction favors the doing it, some more than not doing it. There should be no politics involved and each person has to search themselves and all their knowledge and weigh it against personal morals, between acting and not. There is nothing wrong with using your past mistakes as a guidepost, provided you explain it in those terms. And not let those experiences negate other relevant info and dilute their relevance in a final decision of support or not.

    For now, all things weighed and considered, I am supporting this thing, but could turn around on it at any moment depending on events and the elapsing of time.

    If Quadify was not a mad dog killer before, he will surely be one if given the opportunity to conquer his foes, vent his vengeance at a world that failed to see his greatness.

    That still is enough to keep me on board, for now. But if even one GI with a combat mission sets foot on Libyan soil, I will be waving the bloody rag for Obama to pull the plug.

  14. 14
    BTD says:

    Say what? You’re getting a hard time for skepticism about the Libya intervention?

    You gotta be kidding me.

  15. 15
    The Dangerman says:

    Fascinatingly, reports are circulating that people close to Kaddafi are investigating “options” for Kaddafi to head for that retirement island. All, so far, without the loss of a single allied life and, well, minimal injuries to those innocents that approached the downed pilots (perhaps not the best decision on their part).

    This isn’t Iraq and it certainly isn’t Afghanistan. It’s Somalia, done right, 20 years later. Maybe. It could all go to shit, but, right now, things are looking … acceptable.

  16. 16
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    post hoc pissing matches

    This needs to be worked into a rotating tagline, like

    where post hoc pissing matches are epic

    or something more clever.

    O/T , I’m trying to be patient reading HG-W, Inshallah, who has at least improved punctuation and syntax, but remains as obsessive and hectoring as under the old handle.

  17. 17
    IM says:

    bury your uterus in WACO

    What? Is that an West Virginia idiom?

  18. 18
    Martin says:

    The future command structure for the coalition’s military action is Libya is uncertain. The US wants to hand over its leading role and NATO’s role is being debated.
    __
    The UN is preparing to bring more aid into Libya. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards says the agency will send truckloads of goods to Benghazi on Wednesday, including 5,000 blankets and 5,000 sleeping mats.
    __
    The UN World Food Programme plans to move 19 tons of lentils and 11 tons of vegetable oil in the next two days from Egypt into eastern Libya.

    Maybe Cole isn’t the only one learning from past fucking mistakes?

  19. 19
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @maye: One of my favorite incongruous images is the tax payer subsidized NFL with military planes flying above prior to the game that it is being broadcast to military in over 120 countries. And that half of their fans are pissed off about our deficit, but can’t figure out why denying kids immunizations won’t solve the problem.

  20. 20
    IM says:

    @General Stuck:

    How can there be no politics involved? The continuation with other means and all that.

  21. 21
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck:

    But if even one GI with a combat mission sets foot on Libyan soil

    I like your qualifier there.
    How bout as an “Adviser” ?

  22. 22
    nancydarling says:

    @IM: That’s what I would like to know.

  23. 23
    Calouste says:

    What makes it even funnier is that I don’t really have a say in things- nor do any of you.

    It’s called representative democracy. Funny that. You vote once every few years and they don’t come asking you for your opinion every single day.

  24. 24
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Yurpean:

    You would expect the US military to apologize to the Libyan people if they misidentified civilians as potential hostiles during a rescue mission of a downed pilot in foreign territory? You get your guy out of there, and you hope to use as much discretion as can reasonably be expected, but that’s that.

    All I’m saying is I’ve come to expect the military to lie about everything, big and small. Even when they’re not in the wrong, and absolutely especially when they are.

  25. 25
    Martin says:

    @BTD: Skepticism isn’t what he was expressing. He was predicting Iraq.

  26. 26
    bourbaki says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Considering that the topic of the post is about learning (or not learning) some lessons from the Iraq war maybe it would be wise to wait a bit for the triumphalism…

  27. 27
    cathyx says:

    @stuckinred: Why do you always read more into what I write than I actually write? Did I say anything about it being a new thing?

  28. 28
    Jeffro says:

    We are truly in Orwellian times when those on the right are criticizing Obama for getting us into a military engagement in the Middle East…without checking with Congress first…without weighing the consequences, exit strategy, etc.

    You’d almost think that to an American president, almost without regard to party or circumstance, when given the huge-a$$ hammer that is the American military, every problem in an oil producing country looks like a nail…

  29. 29
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Corner Stone:

    How bout as an “Adviser” ?

    Peacekeeper?

  30. 30
    Suffern ACE says:

    The Colonel could make this stop.

  31. 31
    General Stuck says:

    @IM:

    I was talking about average internet fools, like me and you, and Cole.

  32. 32
    Superluminar says:

    No Cole, we are not saying you’re unreasonable for being against this action, we think you’re being an asshole by pinning false motives & arguments on those of us who are in favour. But otherwise, continue on with those fact-free rants masquerading as serious commentry.

  33. 33
    MikeJ says:

    @General Stuck: I’m down with this.

  34. 34
    Mike Goetz says:

    When did the military lie? It says right there that the admiral “refused to deny” it.

  35. 35
    Calouste says:

    @Jeffro:

    without checking with Congress first

    Congress turned that power over in (I believe) 1947 with regards to invocation of certain articles of the UN chapter. There’s an extensive discussion on one of yesterday’s threads. I’m sure the people in Bengazhi wouldn’t have minded to wait for a week or two while Boehner wakes up from his alcoholic stupor.

  36. 36
    The Dangerman says:

    @bourbaki:

    …it would be wise to wait a bit for the triumphalism…

    No triumphalism yet; as I said, it could all go to shit. Mission isn’t accomplished.

    What I am saying is those that are saying this is an impeachable offense (it isn’t), Congress didn’t authorize (they don’t have to), we’re spending too much money (yeah, like the Republicans are going to allow DOD money to fund NPR), or other such nonsense are barking at the moon mad.

    Let’s wait for it all to play out prior to hitting the fainting couches…

  37. 37
    MikeJ says:

    @Superluminar: And I’ll add, I agree with this too. I love how Cole launches a multi day crusade against one anonymous commenter who referred to it as “only” a no fly zone, but when he’s caught in a “untruth”, it just vanishes from the front page with nary a word.

  38. 38
    Mary G says:

    The version I heard was that the villagers were approaching the downed pilot, and the rescue plane, one of those ones that’s not supposed to work well, anyway, they did not know if the villagers were good guys or bad guys, so they dropped some bombs in the space in between to hold them off. Bombs, not just bullets, because better safe than sorry. The space wasn’t quite large enough to keep 6 villagers from being wounded. This operation has MASSIVE FAIL written all over it.

    And I was against the Iraq war before it started, and all these years during it and I am against this one too. Doesn’t matter who did it. Blind party loyalty makes me crazy. If something is wrong, just because your guy did it doesn’t somehow make it right.

    no one in positions of power gives two hoots in hell what the public thinks

    This, also too. I have been writing outraged letters in my head for two days to send to Obama/Feinstein/Boxer/my Republican congressperson. I was even planning to handwrite them out so they might get a little attention. But I don’t think they will so I’m using my time for other things.

  39. 39
    joes527 says:

    @Calouste: Some representative democracy.

    I voted for the guy who was the least likely to start another war. That was the alpha and omega of my choice, both in the primary and the general. And yes, given the choices, he WAS the least likely to start another war.

    Fuck me I guess.

  40. 40
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .

    What makes it even funnier is that I don’t really have a say in things- nor do any of you. Not sure if you are paying attention, but they went ahead and got involved in Libya regardless what any of us thought, for or against, and right now we’re just holding post hoc pissing matches.

    But balloonbaggerism requires loudmouthing every issue with 100 percent certitude about what will happen, why it will happen, and how it will happen.
    .
    .

  41. 41
    joes527 says:

    @General Stuck:

    War is all Hell …

    Damn.

    I just had a flashback to every excuse made for every atrocity that we have committed in my lifetime. It would probably go back longer, but my flashback circuits don’t have the historical upgrade.

  42. 42
    Mike Goetz says:

    Obama did not start this war. It was well under way and he was clearly content to let it run its course until Khaddafi started almost literally sharpening his knives and drooling in the faces of the rebels. He decided he couldn’t let that happen and he decided to do something about it.

    That’s why I voted for him.

  43. 43
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Fascinatingly, reports are circulating that people close to Kaddafi are investigating “options” for Kaddafi to head for that retirement island.

    Fascinatingly, you obviously didn’t bother to read Clinton’s actual qualified statement.

    “Some of it is theatre,” Clinton told ABC News, saying the US was aware of people reaching out “allegedly on Gaddafi’s behalf” to try to assess their options.
    __
    “A lot of it is just the way he behaves. It’s somewhat unpredictable. But some of it, we think, is exploring. You know, what are my options, where could I go, what could I do. And we would encourage that.”

    And some of it may be a deliberate misinformation campaign by NATO to weaken the Libyan regime. Who knows? It’s day four. It’s a little early for triumphalism given the current state of the people of Misrata, let’s say.

  44. 44
    Canadian Observer says:

    Brilliant editorial from People’s Daily:

    “How ‘Humanitarian’ Is Western Intervention in Libya?
    For days, British, French and U.S. forces have been conducting air strikes in Libya. Despite coalition claims that their actions have made steady progress, voices of dissatisfaction and opposition are increasingly louder due to casualties caused by a strike ostensibly carried out in the name of humanitarianism.

    According to the U.S. Army, the operation “Odyssey Dawn,” which started on the afternoon of March 19, has largely weakened the capability of Libyan air defense. The first phase of the coalition’s mission to control Libyan air territory has achieved success, said Michael Glenn Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, on March 20.

    The Western coalition emphasized that the first wave of the strike is “limited in scope,” but in fact it turned out otherwise, triggering great questions and doubts. Libya’s state-run TV station reported that 64 people died and 150 people were injured in the first day of the air strike. Such numbers are definitely going to increase with the ongoing strike.

    The two main purposes of the current air strike are to destroy Libyan air defense facilities and lay the groundwork for setting up a no-fly zone, which will allow Western fighters to cruise on one hand. On the other hand, it aims to stop Gaddafi’s eastern aggression and force military troops loyal to Gaddafi to evacuate from Benghazi and other places occupied by Libyan rebels. However, neither of the purposes has been achieved as of now, and Gaddafi is not compromising, either.

    The action implemented by the coalition was authorized by the U.N. Security Council in the name of “humanitarianism” to stop the killing of civilians by Gaddafi. However, the real situation is that casualties might be much higher than before Western interference. Aside from the deaths and injuries caused by the air strike, it will eventually turn into a humanitarian disaster because the interference might turn the civil conflict into a severe protracted civil war.

    Poor Libya is not the first “trial target” that the Western has attacked in the name of “humanitarianism.” Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq and so on are all the former “targets.” Sadly, the “experiment” never really succeeded. As seen from the other two countries, this so-called “humanitarianism” is actually just the first step toward overthrowing of another country’s political power.

    The historical experience also tells us that such military interference is only for self-serving political and economic interests or even just out of dislike for some leaders, such as Saddam and Gaddafi, though it is veiled by a humanitarian guise.

    However, it is definitely not under the pure name of “humanitarianism.” Then, who is going to clear the name of this cause?

    Therefore, we could see the turning of Arab League’s sides from supporting to waving and “regretting” within just a few days. In order to stop the bombing of civilians by Gaddafi, the Arab League appealed to the U.N. Security Council to set up a no-fly zone over Libya and provided a “legal” excuse for France and Britain to advance the 1973 no-fly ban.

    But, Arab League never expected the air strike on Libya could cause such a big disaster, and they may have to share the burden of deaths first. So, the Arab League started to condemn the military attacks on Libya on March 20.

    Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said what is currently happening in Libya has strayed away from the purpose of setting up no-fly zone approved by the U.N. Security Council. The council’s decision was done in order to protect civilians but not at the expense of sacrificing more civilians. The no-fly zone is expected but not bombs.

    Apart from the Arab League, Russia strongly appealed all sides to cease fire to avoid hurting more civilians and opposes to use of military forces indiscriminately. Iran condemns the air strike on Libya and questions Western countries’ improper purposes. Chávez, the President of Venezuela, said the air strike could only cause more bleeding. Also, Turkey, as one member of NATO, opposes the behavior of its “partners” and warns NATO that the military interference would result in very dangerous consequences.

    End of article.

    Resistance is growing! Down with US Empire Imperialism!

  45. 45
    hhex65 says:

    I think it’s great that you learned this lesson. For now my default position is just a lowercase “wtf?”– so I hope you don’t think I’m an a-hole.

  46. 46
    Canadian Observer says:

    That was the Chinese People’s Daily, btw.

    They’re now speaking out strongly! Time to dump their Yankee debt!

  47. 47
    Calouste says:

    @joes527:

    Sorry, should have written “representative” “democracy” considering that it applies to the US.

    Oh, and tell me again who proposed resolution 1973 and who fired the first shots?

  48. 48
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I’d rather bury my uterus in Lubbock. Lower property taxes, won’t cost so much to buy the plot of land.

  49. 49
    John Cole says:

    Skepticism isn’t what he was expressing. He was predicting Iraq.

    Bullshit. The only thing I predicted was that this would morph into heavy American involvement. Worst case, boots on the ground (although even that is a relative term, because if we are using cruise missiles and the like, we probably already have Special Forces all over the place anyway, and did so before the official UN action) for a long time. I never once predicted this would be Iraq.

    If you can find a link to back up me predicting this would be Iraq, I would love to see it. Hell, it couldn’t possibly be Iraq, given that we don’t have the forces to have another Iraq. Until then, knock it off.

  50. 50
    IM says:

    And now the fake troll is a spamming fake troll.

  51. 51
    The Dangerman says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Fascinatingly, you obviously didn’t bother to read Clinton’s actual qualified statement.

    You are right; I didn’t read her statement. I read a report on some blog or tweet. There is one twitterer that reported the demise of a Khadafi Son quite awhile before the standard media reported it, IIRC.

    Edit: And it still isn’t confirmed, so … it, too, is just a report.

    It’s only a report; it has about as much credibility as this post. I’m just saying there are reports. It could be propaganda. As before, we have to wait to see what happens before we call this a success or failure. All I’m saying is, so far, so … acceptable.

  52. 52
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mary G: I hope that you don’t really think that everyone in favor of this action is in favor of it out of blind partisan loyalty. If you read through the threads on this topic (and there are a lot of them), you may find Obama getting a benefit of a doubt that would not have been given to Bush. I, for one, think that there is some justification for that. Outside of that, the pro-intervention people have made cogent arguments and so have the anti-intervention people. Some on both sides have been wrong about facts and issues, but this is the internet.

  53. 53
    Mike Goetz says:

    Democracy does not cease to be representative when people with discretion choose to do something you disagree with.

    Resolution 1973 was proposed by Britain, France, Lebanon and the United States.

    The first shots were fired by Khaddafi.

  54. 54
    Martin says:

    @Canadian Observer: Wow, Libyan propaganda further refined through the Chinese propaganda engine. What does North Korea have to say about the situation?

  55. 55
    Canadian Observer says:

    @Martin

    If this is “propaganda” what does that make the Western corporate media?

  56. 56
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole @ Top:

    You would think that setting your default position for supporting military action to “Show me why we should do it and until then no” would be what we might bluntly call LEARNING FROM YOUR PAST FUCKING MISTAKES, but apparently that is just not the case.

    (Applauds)

    I’m with you. I understand the reasoning behind our involvement and don’t think it’s as heinous as our involvement in Iraq, but I’m still highly skeptical.

    .

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    Going from a knee-jerk pro-war position to a knee-jerk anti-war position isn’t really changing much except which knee you decide to jerk.

  58. 58
    Suffern ACE says:

    The Colonel could stop this. But he appears to continue to lob shells into his own cities. The resolution is clear that he should stop doing that if he doesn’t want his stuff blown up. Sad, really the mess he’s made in his own country.

  59. 59
    Rick Taylor says:

    Like you, I’m leery of our involvement; it seems like a bad idea. I hope to be wrong. On the plus side, Juan Cole who knows a hell of a lot more than me about what’s going on in that area of the world is cautiously supportive. My biggest worry is once we start something like this, if it doesn’t work, it’s not likely to end there.

  60. 60
    Todd Dugdale says:

    Is there ANY military action that the U.S. has carried out that did not result in a single civilian casualty?
    If not, then why is this one supposed to be so different?

    We are preventing civilian deaths, but some civilians will be killed.

    Cops are supposed to protect innocent people, but sometimes they end up shooting them by mistake. So abolish all police forces, right? Let anyone kill anyone and we’ll all be safer without those cops.

    I’m not saying civilian casualties are okay, but it’s pretty unrealistic to think that they won’t happen – and it’s stupid to think Khadafy will stop the massacre if we just go away.

  61. 61
    Mike Goetz says:

    It really just comes down to trust, since none of us really know much. Do you trust Obama to navigate this intelligently, or not? I do.

  62. 62
    slag says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Wait, what? anonymous posters on the Internet have no say? WTF?

    Theoretically, if you’re a citizen of this country, you have a say. But truth be told, if you don’t believe in micromanagement, you probably don’t think the President or any of your other elected representatives should make every decision based on your opinion of an issue. Nonetheless, it’s your representative’s job to tell you exactly how and why you’re being an asshole when you disagree with him or her. And if your representative doesn’t do that job to your satisfaction, then you’re free to take it up with him or her come election time. In whatever form pleases you. This is what we lovingly call republican democracy. You’re welcome.


    I’m kind of on John’s side here thinking that this whole endeavor is a bad idea (for a variety of reasons). But contra DougJ, I’m not convinced that make me a non-interventionist. I think it just makes me predominantly anti-war. I still think it’s America’s job to be a good neighbor and help out other countries. Just less in the form of freedom bombs and more in the form of freedom schools, vaccines, and doctors.

  63. 63
    MIWill says:

    I’m offended.

    (Oops, that’s for a thread many days ago.)

  64. 64
    MikeBoyScout says:

    John,

    Apparently you spend too much time reading the comments. So as you’ve got time to kill, read this.

    My old man used to say “the last perfect man to walk this earth they hung on a cross. learn & move on.”

    Look, you are a Steeler fan who has a cat named Tunch that even your gloating twisted critics love and respect.

    WTF is not to like about your blog? Heck, not only are ALL of your front pagers stepping up their game, day to day, week to week, sometimes even a reasonable debate occurs in the comments.

    Some dirty f***king hippies are born, and some learn the value about the correctness of dirty f***king hippydom.
    It ain’t how you got here. It’s you’re along for the ride.

    Just one exception…. if Troy Polomalu runs off and joins the Rangers to fight in Libya, I’m holding you personally responsible. ;-)

  65. 65
    maye says:

    These Libyan rebels seem a bit disorganized.

    Remember Afghanistan? Where there was this solid unified opposition force called the Northern Alliance? All we had to do was just help them with their cause, install Karzai, and voila! Mission Accomplished!

    How’d that work out?

    Maybe we’ll have better luck with Libyans. Maybe just because they don’t look like any kind of political or military group that could, you know, govern, after the dictator is removed, perhaps it could be just the right recipe for success.

    Hope springs eternal ……..at the Pentagon.

  66. 66
    junebug says:

    You do not understand a damn thing.

    If you listened to or read anything like NP fucking R or the fucking NEW HOUR you would have known before posting this that 1) a Libyan FEMALE doctor took care of one of the pilots, and that 2) the Libyans who went out to the pilots and got shot by the stupid helicopter personnel DIDN’T hold it against us.

    Gees, you might have also heard an answer to the stupid “Who are they?” question.

    You were wrong about Iraq. Acting all indignant about Libya, or eve equating it is STUPID.

    This is the problem with recently turned liberal/democrats. The hang over/lag time for coming to your senses is god-awful long.

    You have no legs to stand on John. Only Sully’s shoulders.

    If you feel comfortable there, then so be it.

  67. 67
    The Dangerman says:

    @John Cole:

    …we probably already have Special Forces all over the place anyway…

    Almost surely and we aren’t the only ones; hell, didn’t MI6 get caught with a half dozen in country a week or 2 back?

    I’m still predicting Kaddafi takes takes the money and runs; felt that way since the UN vote. Now, unpredictable, is WTF happens after Kaddafi departs or is deposed.

  68. 68
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Martin: As I noted on a previous thread, it’s really too bad that some of the countries that CO says are horribly against this action don’t have seats on the UN Security Council so that they could vote against, or even veto, things like this.

  69. 69
    joes527 says:

    @Calouste:

    Oh, and tell me again who proposed resolution 1973 and who fired the first shots?

    Fired the first shots? The civil-resis-surgency? Wait? What? by “first shots” you want to frame it differently? Fair enough. “They did it first” is a bullshit justification whether it comes from from my kids or my country.

    Why don’t you try to ‘splain to me what would have happened if the US of f’ing A had just told the rest of the world: “We are sitting this one out. Good luck. Y’all have plenty of ordinance to blow them all to shit yourselves without us.”

    That’s right. Nothing.

    No, this is not Iraq. I would never say that. But every justification, excuse, and lie we told ourselves about our involvement in Iraq is coming out in force. It is just coming out of different mouths.

  70. 70
    Mike Goetz says:

    I agree with MikeBoyScout. This is a great blog. It gets me through each and every work day. The discussions sometimes devolve, but I always enjoy them. I hope the proprietor still does too.

  71. 71
    The Dangerman says:

    @joes527:

    Why don’t you try to ‘splain to me what would have happened if the US of f’ing A had just told the rest of the world: “We are sitting this one out. Good luck.”

    Easy. Republicans (and some Democrats) would be shouting from the rooftops that Obama won’t lead, probably because he’s a closet Muslim (some of the Republicans, at least).

    Not that that should be a decision point w.r.t. go or no go, but that would be what would have happened.

    Edit: I could be FOS (would be far from the first time), but those Republicans complaining (see McCain, John) that Obama should have stepped up 2 weeks ago are dead wrong. It would appear that we had to give the Rebels a chance to do it on their own; once they couldn’t, presumably we were hoping this wouldn’t turn into a bloodbath. Once it was headed in that direction, there was little choice, but with the benefit of Kaddafi’s forces being stretched over the longest possible supply line when we did finally attack.

  72. 72
    ColeFan says:

    I’ve learned something very interesting the past few days, which is that after mindlessly warmongering and supporting a debacle in Iraq and intractable mess in Afghanistan, it is somehow a personal failure on my part that I need to be persuaded to engage in another military adventure.

    Stop patting yourself on the back, Cole. Thus far today, you’ve spent more time pissing on people who think Obama should be impeached (don’t worry, those Rethugs you’re always blaming for everything will never impeach over a war) than questioning the Emperor.

  73. 73
    Yurpean says:

    @Bob Loblaw: In foreign territory, yes, but in the non-Quaddafi part of the country so a little more discretion would possibly be expected. Still, as you said, nobody died. I mean sure, some people lost their legs but hey, shit happens, right?

  74. 74

    […] Oh, what am I fed up about?  Assholes who were giddy about invading a country to appease a son’s revenge and now want to know all of the unknowables up front. FUCK YOU. […]

  75. 75
    Mike Goetz says:

    The key thing is not to give in to rage, despair and hysteria. Then you can see things clearly and make a rational judgment.

  76. 76
    JGabriel says:

    @joes527:

    … every justification, excuse, and lie we told ourselves about our involvement in Iraq is coming out in force.

    Er, I don’t see anyone talking about mushroom clouds or WMD.

    They may be lies and excuses, but, rhetorically, the justifications for our involvement in Libya are much more in line with Bill Clinton’s justifications for bombing Serbia and the studied diplomatic rhetoric Obama used when discussing Egypt.

    It’s not the same type of fear-mongering propaganda we got in the lead up to Iraq.

    .

  77. 77
    WarMunchkin says:

    @Superluminar: Serious commentary – because that’s what we do here, man.

  78. 78
    Redshift says:

    I’m glad to see a little more consideration of the downside of both acting and not acting. I checked out of here for a while because it seemed like it was a steady stream of how bad it was going to be without any consideration of whether that was better or worse than what would otherwise have been, and frankly, that was reminding me a lot of the atmosphere at FDL (about Afghanistan) when I stopped reading there.

    I’m not gung-ho about the Libya mission, but I’m open to the idea that it might work out better than the alternative. I heard the calls of my friends born in Arab countries who wanted to see some action so that the uprisings in the Middle East might might continue. I don’t know whether they’re wrong or right, but I’m willing to consider that they might have some idea what they’re talking about. And I’m somewhat persuaded by the argument that if we want soft power and persuasion to be effective, there sometimes needs to be a response when they are egregiously ignored.

    Maybe it will turn out to be a disaster. I generally prefer we avoid military action, but I don’t think matters are particularly one-sided (in either direction) in this case.

  79. 79
    joes527 says:

    @The Dangerman:

    … would have happened.

    Dude. Have you been sleeping the last 2 years?

  80. 80
    Mike Goetz says:

    I see that Dangerman and I have come to the same conclusions. I don’t think you are FOS on this at all Dangerman; in fact, right on.

  81. 81
    DPirate says:

    “Show me why we should do it and until then no”

    Now now. You know damn well this is a glibertarian position!

  82. 82
    John Cole says:

    You do not understand a damn thing.

    I said you shouldn’t trust the military denial nor the reports on the ground, because this shit is often wrong when it is first reported, and for that I understand nothing because I don’t immediately latch on to one of the first reports.

    Fuck off, seriously.

  83. 83
    JAHILL10 says:

    Cynically predicting the worst possible outcomes is the fail safe position for people who don’t possess all the facts. Read Juan Cole’s take on this. He makes some good points. All I know is that sick, disgusted feeling I had at the pit of my stomach last week when it looked like the international community was going to let Gaddafi kill everyone who opposed him is gone. I will take a little uncertainty about what the future holds as a trade-off.

  84. 84
    Suffern ACE says:

    @joes527:

    Why don’t you try to ‘splain to me what would have happened if the US of f’ing A had just told the rest of the world: “We are sitting this one out. Good luck. Y’all have plenty of ordinance to blow them all to shit yourselves without us.”

    I believe that may have been the plan, but events in Libya were moving quickly, and once Qadafi said that if he were attacked he would attack shipping, do you think the US could just stay home?

  85. 85
    Martin says:

    @John Cole: Ok, not Iraq by name, but you predicted from day one that we’d follow the same recipe:

    The number one goal is not saving civilians, it is getting the no-fly zone in place so that escalation will be easier. When the no-fly zone doesn’t work, we’ll move up to shock and awe, and before you know it, we’ll have troops on the ground. After all, we’re Murrika!

    Then later:

    Are we going to have to stay and protect people after we “win?” Will we have to create bases to protect the war profiteers who are going to swoop in and start drilling and reconstructing what we just blew up? What is the reaction going to be in other Arab nations? What kind of blowback will there be from this?

    That’s not skepticism. That’s making the same kind of bullshit predictions as the ‘The Iraqis will greet us with flowers’ crew from 8 years ago. Even with public statements that the US wouldn’t put troops on the ground and wouldn’t engage in a protracted campaign, you went all the way to drilling and bases.

    Skepticism is making a case for why you think there will be mission creep based on some observable or at least presumptive evidence. And that’s fine. Or why you think this effort will fail to remove Gaddafi or lead to sectarian or tribal violence.

    But you’re not doing that – you’re blowing past skepticism and then making predictions 5 steps down the line, with no basis of evidence other than to suggest that we’re going to retrace Iraq, without acknowledging any meaningful distinctions between the two events. That’s denial, not skepticism. And it’s not learning from past mistakes since you’ve failed to specifically identify where the mistakes were. I can’t go off and proclaim that my credit union is going to blow up the economy because it’s a bank and Goldman Sachs was a bank, and goddamn haven’t I learned my lesson – all banks are evil, always, all the time, no qualifications! See, I’m learning!

    The problem is that if you reject everything that’s been presented and invent your own reality of what is going to happen, then it’s fucking meaningless. Why not predict that Obama will invade France next? Obviously that’s the next step. Just being skeptical here.

  86. 86
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): The ideal opponent for “Hermione Granger-Weasley” in post-hoc pissing matches would be someone commenting as “Ronald Bilius Weasley”. That would keep things in the family, as it were.

  87. 87
    nancydarling says:

    In case any of you pearl clutchers have forgotten, civilian dead and wounded always outnumber military casualties. In WWII estimates of military dead range from about 22.6 million to about 25.5 million (and an overall worldwide range, including civilians, of 62.4 million to 78.4 million). It looks to be about 40 to 50 million dead civilians or “collateral damage” as the Pentagon likes to term it. Atrocities occur in every war, and this does not sound like anything approaching My Lai. I’m not making excuses, I’m just trying to put it in perspective.

    Also if Qadaffi had massacred most of the people in Benghazi, you all would be damning Obama for letting that happen. I’m going to reserve judgment and see how the next few days play out.

    And John, I am still wondering why anyone would bury their uterus in Waco.

  88. 88
    junebug says:

    @Redshift:

    I heard the calls of my friends born in Arab countries who wanted to see some action so that the uprisings in the Middle East might might continue. I don’t know whether they’re wrong or right, but I’m willing to consider that they might have some idea what they’re talking about.

    This is where I am living. They hate it that there is a meme out there that it’s all Muslim Brotherhood or that that is such a bad thing.

    They want our help. They have been asking for a while now. They have tried to tell us who they are and the people involved know who they are.

    This is not a mystery if you know people OUTSIDE of the same people who sat on their asses throughout the Iraq lead up.

    John Cole twice wrong and belligerently so each time.

  89. 89
    Anne Laurie says:

    Learning from one’s mistakes is officially Un-Amerkin(tm). What’s different is that now this is a consensus value, on both “sides”.

    Fortunately, I have been a member of the Eeyore School for longer than you’ve been alive, Cole, so I can be saddened but not surprised.

    We have always been at war with Eastasia!

  90. 90
    Mike Goetz says:

    Our primary “excuse” (or if you prefer, as I do, “reason”) for doing this is Khaddafi’s (credible) boast of an imminent bloodbath. I don’t think we should allow that to happen, and I am glad Obama decided not to allow it. We ought to lend a hand when people want to throw out brutal dictatorships.

  91. 91
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @John Cole: This is why you should read Koko.

    Pa-ta-li di Ra-pa-ta
    Cromda Cromda Ri-pa-lo
    Pa-ta Pa-ta
    Ko Ko Ko

  92. 92
    junebug says:

    @joes527:

    Thanks for making it easy to respond.

    I have read you for many years and know exactly what you are doing.

    I’d love to hear you disagree with Sully.

    What are the odds that will happen.

    Everyday people and even some of the higher ups have asked for help in Libya. On the teevee. For all to see. They asked us for help. They tried to help, and you decided to clip a report where the very people who got shot (your preference) said they UNDERSTOOD why it happened.

    You are using one indecent to FOX NEWS it.

    FUCK YOU.

  93. 93
    Mary G says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You are correct; it wasn’t even Balloon Juice per se that set me off. John’s rant did jibe with what I was feeling and I just unloaded here.

    That said, I still oppose this thing. I think the Europeans should have done it themselves, or at least a lot more of it. They have a much more direct interest, because we don’t get much oil from Libya and they do.

  94. 94
    The Dangerman says:

    @joes527:

    Dude. Have you been sleeping the last 2 years?

    Point taken; ok, they would have been shouting, with amplifiers, from the rooftops. Or similar. It would have been all noise, all the time. Shit, they might have impeached him for being that closet Muslim.

  95. 95
    Svensker says:

    @nancydarling:

    And John, I am still wondering why anyone would bury their uterus in Waco.

    I always prefer to keep mine with me at all times. No idea what John is talking about in re Waco.

    With him 100% on the other stuff, tho.

  96. 96
    junebug says:

    I never trust new Democrats because they turn out like John Cole or Glenn Greenwald. They make a lot of noise and don’t ever represent the base.

    John just look at the numbers. Obama is doing ok. Just look at the response of the Libyans. He is coming to their rescue.

    Perhaps you should go back to your conservative roots. It seems to suit you better.

  97. 97
    BombIranForChrist says:

    This statement is chilling:

    What makes it even funnier is that I don’t really have a say in things- nor do any of you. – John Cole

    I think this is correct.

    Question is: Doesn’t this pretty much apply to any discourse in our country?

    Name a topic, and it’s pretty clear that the people in charge don’t give two shits what we think. And what’s worse, they don’t give two shits and we will vote for them anyway.

    I heard someone say today that the strong do what they can and the weak do what they must. We’re a congregation of the weak, and it makes me grumpy.

  98. 98
    Gozer says:

    All I know is that situations like these are why I don’t know why anyone would want to be President, why I’m glad I’m not, and why I never will be.

  99. 99
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Svensker: I think….he is paraphrasing Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
    It is horrifyingly poetic.
    :(

  100. 100
    junebug says:

    @John Cole

    You can’t even admit that what you posted is old news and is only meant to disturb your uniformed commentariot.

    Otherwise they would have shot you down in three comments.

    YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT.

  101. 101
    John Cole says:

    @junebug: What are you talking about? If you have newer information, fucking link it.

    @Svensker: This is what I was referencing.

  102. 102
    CurveBall - formerly MikeBoyScout says:

    Oh dear.
    Seems I’ve too much time on my hands as I’ve read the thread.
    hmmmmm.

    HEY! Change of subject!

    Given that the US forces leaving Vietnam (finally!) led to the communists taking over and unifying the country under communist rule,

    Was the Gulf of Tonkin resolution the right way to go?

    I say if it weren’t for the Dirty F***king Hippies, especially those who were for the Vietnam War before they were against it, we’d have won the war and communism would be an after thought today. What say you?

    {… all internet traditions}

  103. 103
    Suffern ACE says:

    @junebug:

    I never trust new Democrats because they turn out like John Cole or Glenn Greenwald. They make a lot of noise and don’t ever represent the base.

    It’s amazing that anyone bothers to join at all.

  104. 104
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @John Cole: wow. that is even better.

  105. 105
    Martin says:

    @Mary G:

    I think the Europeans should have done it themselves, or at least a lot more of it. They have a much more direct interest, because we don’t get much oil from Libya and they do.

    I think that’s a fair issue. Maybe the US isn’t going to back off as Obama has stated, but if we do, I suspect the reason why we’ve been so heavily involved early on is twofold:

    1) We’re really quite exceptionally equipped for taking out defenses without putting lives in harm’s way – on both sides. I don’t mean that to sound as proud as it might sound, it’s chilling how effectively we can rain fire on people with no warning of where, when, or who it came from. But there’s no escaping that we’re exceedingly capable at it.

    2) We were there. We had two carrier groups there, at least 3 subs, and two amphibious groups there. Outside of the US, there are only 10 carriers in service. We have 11. In terms of tonnage, three of ours equals everyone else’s combined. If that’s not an indictment of our defense excess, I’m not sure what is, but if immediate action was needed we were sitting right there. That, of course, is what all of those defense dollars are designed to buy – we’re never far out of position (whether it’s needed or not).

  106. 106
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mary G: It’s cool. I see the reasoned side of not getting involved in this, just as I am sure you can see the reasoned side for getting involved. Our cost/benefit analyses simply came out differently.

    But since people are venting here, I will add this. I supported actions in Bosnia and Kosovo and got sneered at by people on the right. I supported Afghanistan, but not Iraq and got sneered at by people on the right. Now some of those people have genuinely moved left ( e.g. Cole) or seemed to move left (e.g. Sully) and are sneering from the other side.* I have applied the same general principles to whether I support a military action or not over time. Because facts differ, I have come to different conclusions at different times. Anyway, that pisses me off a bit.

    * I am not saying that Cole specifically is sneering. But yeah, maybe the past few years have made some of us a little sensitive.

  107. 107
    Svensker says:

    @John Cole:

    This is what I was referencing.

    Eeep. Poor woman. My heart really breaks for her. I think if my child were taken from me for such utter bullshit and no one cared that I would go round the bend, too.

    Wait, not only did no one care (except a few hippies) but she was openly mocked for mourning her child. Yes, I would go mad.

  108. 108
    brucds says:

    I’ve supported this action – for what that’s worth. But I’ve supported it against at least a part of my better judgement and with trepidation. I opposed the Iraq war from Day One – thought it was a total scam – but supported intervention in Afghanistan, even as I saw it very quickly get screwed up (perhaps deliberately – although I would have been horrified at the thought until they ginned up the Iraq venture as Mission #1.) But keep the questions and skepticism on the table. Keep debating all of the obvious and not-so-obvious problems with these kinds of missions. The country needs you. I – as someone who “supports” the action – need you.

  109. 109
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Martin: The French aircraft carrier arrived…today.

  110. 110
    General Stuck says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Sounds like you and me picked the same warpigs to ride.

  111. 111
    Martin says:

    @Martin: And our 11 carriers omits the 10 or so amphibious carriers that we have in service that roughly match the tonnage (and in most cases, capabilities) of everyone’s else’s carriers as well.

  112. 112
    tomvox1 says:

    Well, John, I have been thinking of the Spanish Civil War as an apt comparison to our intervention in Libya but maybe that makes me an Obot asshole. On the other hand, I am not alone apparently…

    http://fullcomment.nationalpos.....democrats/

    And some other “Liberal hawks” in favor, FWIW:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....n-in-Libya

    Personally, I think a lot of people are caught reacting to the previous set of circumstances regarding our various military escapades and so are not able to analyze each given situation as a unique event.

    But I respect yours and everyone else’s healthy skepticism given the unending stream of bullshit that emanates form the military industrial complex. Quite healthy really.

  113. 113
    Stillwater says:

    @JGabriel: Er, I don’t see anyone talking about mushroom clouds or WMD.

    Does mustard gas billow up like a mushroom cloud? Does it massively destroy?

    Edit: Should’ve linked but Imakinda lazy right now.

  114. 114
    junebug says:

    @John Cole:

    It was on the Snooze Hour this evening. Do I really need to link to that?

  115. 115
    Martin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I supported actions in Bosnia and Kosovo and got sneered at by people on the right. I supported Afghanistan, but not Iraq and got sneered at by people on the right.

    That’s where I came down as well. I expected Afghanistan would be a relatively quick operation. Didn’t expect Iraq to come along, and be such transparent bullshit from the start.

  116. 116
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @General Stuck: Do you think I should rethink my positions in that case?

  117. 117
    junebug says:

    @Suffern ACE:
    Yeah, I don’t get why John Cole or Glenn Greenwald think they represent me at all. They don’t.

  118. 118
    General Stuck says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Can’t unride a warpig.

  119. 119
    John Cole says:

    @junebug: Well, I didn’t watch. I spent the day with two elder neighbors at the ENT and then the chest surgeon discussing one of their upcoming surgeries to remove her softball sized thyroid, since they had no way to get to the doctor and are Syrian and don’t speak much English. There was nothing about it on NPR on the two hour ride home, and then I took a nap. All I knew was what I saw while checking news in the waiting room on the laptop.

    And I just generally resent the notion I’m trying to keep people uninformed. That’s why we have comments, so if I am wrong you can link it.

    And you ought to check out your hostile god damned tone. Sorry I haven’t been a good enough Democrat for you.

  120. 120
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @junebug:

    When did Cole claim to represent your ass? I’m not sure Cole even represents Cole sometimes.

    This is a weirder impromptu feud than joe from Lowell’s David Horowitz fetish.

  121. 121
    Joel says:

    Congress has a say; they control the pursestrings. And of course they’ll stop the war, given that we’re broke, right?

  122. 122
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @tomvox1:

    Personally, I think a lot of people are caught reacting to the previous set of circumstances regarding our various military escapades and so are not able to analyze each given situation as a unique event.

    Or, you know, people have seen the heartfelt utterances that turned out to be utter bullshit after the fact, and now tend to disbelieve propaganda.

    Case in point, the link Cole points out now has this:

    “A US military spokesman has denied reports that US Marines rescuing a downed pilot in Libya on Monday night shot and injured six civilians.

    “It didn’t happen, I can deny this 100%,” said Captain Richard Ulsh, a spokesman for the US Marines.”

    Now, get the sequence?

    i, A report comes out from Libya that a rescue team shot and injured six villagers. (http://www.channel4.com/news/t.....-in-libya/)

    ii, the US military doesn’t comment.

    iii, One of said villagers is interviewed, showing shrapnel wounds.

    iv, The US military issues a statement saying that they DENY 100% SHOOTING and killing SIX VILLAGERS!!!

    v, The media accepts this. No-one asks – “hey, wait, you were accused of shooting and injurying villagers – we know you didn’t kill them all, because we just interviewed one of them!”

  123. 123
    Martin says:

    @Stillwater:

    Does mustard gas billow up like a mushroom cloud? Does it massively destroy?

    It doesn’t kill – it burns. Takes trained soldiers out of battle in large numbers, throws off tactics, ties up logistics and medical personnel. Kills very few. Wicked shit, though.

    Gaddafi was supposed to have destroyed the last of his stockpile by the middle of this year after an extension from last year, which would suggest he still has some, but probably not a lot. Useful stuff for putting down revolts, which is why there’s probably some legitimate concern here. Not WMD levels of concern, but might be enough to stop any momentum toward overthrowing him if he let it loose on a city.

  124. 124
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @121 Phoenician in a time of Romans,

    Wait. Are you implying that from time to time US DOD spokespeople don’t speak the truth about collateral damage?

    Well, I’ll need to see proof of that, cuz I don’t think that ever happened before and it is pretty unlikely the incident you cited could be the first time.

    And even if it did, Nobody Could Have Predicted!

  125. 125
    junebug says:

    @John Cole:

    I spend EVERYDAY with people who don’t speak English.

    That’s just BULLSHIT.

    It doesn’t make your vilification of an individual only better. Remember how you felt about one person. You thought is was ok to humiliate him. You and many were a ok with that.

    Libyan asked for our help. We know who they are. To say that we don’t is just stupid.

  126. 126
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Martin: Took me a few days, but I’ve come around to this operation as long as I can take potshots at Sarkozy and Berlusconi…the former for drumming up the “I’ll do it alone if I have to. Where is US leadership” when his country’s history of humanitarian intervention seems suspect and the latter because he is a louse on the butt of civilized leadership.

    The Libyan people might end up with a better set of leaders. Hope it is over soon. Remain skeptical about that. I’ve been a democrat my whole life. Hope my delay in getting comfortable with this is acceptable to Junebug.

  127. 127
    JGabriel says:

    @Stillwater:

    Does mustard gas billow up like a mushroom cloud?

    I don’t want to minimize the effects of mustard gas, which were horrendous enough to lead to the first treaties (Geneva Protocol 1925) banning the use of chemical weapons in warfare.

    But, we are talking about WWI technology here. The damage it caused to skin and lung tissue could be lifelong, but it had a lethality rate of about 1%. Rhetorically, it doesn’t really carry the same fear factor for most people as nukes or anthrax or VX or sarin.

    And, no, it didn’t billow up like a mushroom cloud, if I remember correctly. It tended to roll across the battlefields like a yellow-brown fog/smog.

    .

  128. 128
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Hope my delay in getting comfortable with this is acceptable to Junebug.

    I certainly hope you won’t lose sleep over it.

  129. 129
    Keith G says:

    Almost all military operations end up being much more dirty and complicated than they were planned out to be. President Obama seems to thinks that he has the special sauce needed to prevent this from escalating into FUBAR-dom. Maybe he does. We will see.

    And maybe he and by extention, we, have aided in the prevention of the certain blood bath of Qadaffi carrying out his full vengence. I understand why some of y’all wanted to turn your back on these poor souls. Life is so uncertain and ponies of perfection are so hard to come by, but I just feel it was a worthy effort even with the risks.

  130. 130
    junebug says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Fuck you

  131. 131
    Allan says:

    John, it may be because you have shouted at your readers from the start that you just know this is a horrible mistake, and made demands of them that they answer all of your questions and predict the future before we engage in military action, which demands were made after it was, as you note, already too late to influence the actions of world leaders who weren’t listening anyway.

    This tends to make people think that 1) you want to argue about it just for the sake of arguing, and 2) that you are actually open to being persuaded, which in turn leads to 3) people making lots and lots of arguments in either in favor of or opposed to the action, then you 4) get angry because some of those people making arguments about the intervention do not agree with you, as you don’t seem to be at all upset that just as many or more of your commenters agree with you, which suggests 5) you would be happier if your comments section was filled only with “attaboy”s and “you tell ’em”s.

    Just a thought.

  132. 132
    John Cole says:

    @junebug: I wasn’t villifying them, I was merely pointing out that the day was long because explaining in-depth and life altering surgical procedures to people who don’t SPEAK THE SAME FUCKING LANGUAGE is long, exhausting, and tiring.

    I’m starting to think this is a DOUGJ spoof.

  133. 133
    John Cole says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans: The initial stories about Tillman and Jessica Lynch are interesting in retrospect…

  134. 134
    Bob Loblaw says:

    So does anybody know what junebug is even ranting about anymore? I feel like it’s only a matter of time before he starts up about his DODGE STRATUS.

  135. 135
    junebug says:

    John Cole was so wrong it was embarrassing enough that he had to have a number of people who don’t openly comment now. And I have to apologize for that?

    it’s like you all don’t pay attention unless it reflects well on you.

  136. 136
    Stillwater says:

    @JGabriel: @Martin: Thanks for the info on mustard gas. That shit sucks! And apparently the NYT wants everyone to know that Qaddafi has some. Aaaand that he’s not afraid to use it.

    Maybe it’s more like a cumulo-nimbus than a mushroom cloud, but that doesn’t sound quite as threatening.

  137. 137
    Will C says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    I believed the report of us killing civilians until I read the type of aircraft involved.

    The Osprey does not have any firepower. If anyone paid attention to the budget battles over the past decade and a half for the Osprey, one of the biggest complaints was the tiltrotor didn’t have the ability to defend itself. At the time of its development we weren’t writing as many blank checks to the military, so the hundred million dollar price tag of redesigning for a machine gun turret was axed.

    So the next train of thought would have been, well maybe it was the Cobras escorting the Osprey. Then you run into the fact the Osprey flies too fast for the Cobras. So something is off on this story. The locals claim it was a helicopter that fired at them. It obviously wasn’t a US helo unless it was one we aren’t claiming because it’s supporting illegally inserted ground troops or the US isn’t wanting to admit that the Brits or French saved our pilots’ hides. The next possible point is well maybe the Marines fired on the villagers, but that wouldn’t mesh with the story the villagers have of claiming it was the helicopter.

    Something is off with the story, from both the civilian side and the military side.

  138. 138
    srv says:

    @John Cole: Sadly, no. I think you should realize that many of the folks you thought were on your side aren’t really that different or more rational from the side you were on back in 2003. They’re quite comfortable making up lies and justifications that would have made Karl Rove blush.

    One commenter here was saying MQ is chaining children to tanks.

  139. 139
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Will C: Door gunners?

  140. 140
    junebug says:

    There is a person who would like your support.

  141. 141
  142. 142
    Will C says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The Osprey doesn’t have door gunners. It’s impossible with the way the wings tilt.

    It can have a gunner hang off the back loading ramp, but still, that just doesn’t jibe with what I’ve read claimed by both sides.

  143. 143
    Joel says:

    I think you should realize that many of the folks you thought were on your side aren’t really that different or more rational from the side you were on back in 2003.

    Not to pick on anyone in particular, but this sentiment seems a bit familiar. Who’s on the “other side” and are they welcome back?

  144. 144
    El Cid says:

    Given that I’m not in the position of being foreign policy establishment influential person #X, I find myself asking lots of questions beyond “should” or “shouldn’t” a military attack by major Western nations occur.

    Not that that isn’t an important personally moral question. I’m certainly not opposed to various states intervening in other nations’ affairs to thwart a worse fate. It isn’t all on the side of the US & the West, either: without the Cuban forces at Cuito Cuanavale, not only would Angola not have been independent, but Mandela has frequently emphasized how the Cubans’ defeat of the apartheid fascist forces brought forth the free and formally equal society they gained.

    (Of course, in two other ironies, Cuba was thus actually enforcing a UN resolution that the SADF withdraw, and, of course, the country’s forces were fighting so that others could enjoy political democracy.)

  145. 145
    JWL says:

    Cole: I notice you avoided any reference to either the president or his party in your rant. Almost as if the delineation point between the lesser of two evils had diminished to a thin, blood-red line.

    Interesting, that.

  146. 146
    Martin says:

    @Suffern ACE: The Libyan people would be hard pressed to come out with worse leaders, assuming they get that far.

    @Stillwater: It’s not that his 10T of mustard gas is an imminent threat to large numbers of Libyans (it’s of no threat to us – at all). But uprisings, particularly ones that need to cover almost 1000 miles of north african desert are hard enough to keep going. If you can put half a city in the hospital, it has a good chance of stopping everything dead in it’s tracks. I doubt most Libyans read the NYT to know how much more Gaddafi likely has. The real threat is that it’s one of his better tools to stop this uprising.

    And JGabrial has it right – it sits low on the ground. That’s the point – it’s slightly heavier than air so it just hangs down low. You don’t want it going up (nobody up there to affect). In WWI it’d flow down into the trenches and force everyone to come up for air and relief, and then they’d just machine gun the shit of the poor bastards.

  147. 147
    Will C says:

    @srv:

    I stand corrected.

    Edit: How often do people in the comments section admit when they are wrong?

  148. 148
    El Cid says:

    @Keith G: In fairness, you haven’t placed yourself alongside those poor souls, either. At least, as far as I’ve seen from that statement.

    So if those who have anything from skepticism to strong disagreement have ‘turned their backs’ on those poor souls, it’s not more, um, keeping one’s chest in the right direction to post on blogs that one supports it.

  149. 149
    JGabriel says:

    @Stillwater:

    Maybe it’s more like a cumulo-nimbus than a mushroom cloud, but that doesn’t sound quite as threatening.

    Which was the point of the comment that started this digression — that the rhetoric justifying our involvement in Libya may be questionable, but it’s not at the level of fear-mongering that led to our involvement in Iraq.

    .

  150. 150
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Will C:It happens here a bit. Of course, it’s cooler when you don’t call attention to it yourself. (Just giving you a little grief.)

  151. 151
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @John Cole:

    I said you shouldn’t trust the military denial nor the reports on the ground, because this shit is often wrong when it is first reported, and for that I understand nothing because I don’t immediately latch on to one of the first reports.

    You latched onto the first reports about civilian casualties, even though they were propounded by the Qaddafi government spokesman. (See the “Just a Simple Arab League Action” thread from 3/20.) That wasn’t particularly skeptical.

    Everyone is “skeptical.” You don’t get credit for that. These threads have run from skeptical and gloomy to skeptical and obnoxious to skeptical yet hopeful. The people who have been skeptical yet hopeful have been on the receiving end of a non-stop bitchfest. Fine, bring it. But stop it with these lectures about how it’s important to be skeptical. We fucking know that already. That’s where the discussion STARTS, not where it ends.

  152. 152
    Suffern ACE says:

    @JGabriel:

    Which was the point of the comment that started this digression — that the rhetoric justifying our involvement in Libya may be questionable, but it’s not at the level of fear-mongering that led to our involvement in Iraq.

    I commented earlier today that I think people like Boehner or (shock) Sully, or the usual media suspects, who want the President to make a stronger case (and not run off to Brazil!) are actually longing for him to fear monger more. I think he might have stated the rationale, it actually might be the rationale, he promised that it will be short (I hope so, too!) and that just isn’t good enough. We want fear and hyperbole dammit and we want it now!

  153. 153
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @John Cole:

    I’m starting to think this is a DOUGJ spoof.

    I don’t know. The “fuck you” at me, however warranted, seems random enough to be real.

  154. 154
    Martin says:

    @Will C: Not tons, but it’s always welcome when it happens, and it happens here more than most places I’ve hung around.

    But the story sounds right. I’ve not seen a report that we killed anyone – wounded 6, but no fatalities. And the military did not deny the report, unlike what a few people here have claimed. The didn’t confirm it either, but that’s standard procedure for the military.

    I wonder how many military we have left that can issue warnings from the rescue craft in Arabic? I thought we booted most of them out under DADT.

  155. 155
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @JWL:

    Yeah, or not.

    That people insist on reading nefarious intent into what is clearly one of the most timid and reluctant military actions the United States has ever taken against anybody in history is mindblowing. More fervor was expended on Pancho fucking Villa.

    You’re the reason I’m familiar with the term ‘firebagger.’ And I hate that I’m familiar with a term like firebagger…

  156. 156
    Martin says:

    @Suffern ACE: My take is that the scenario here is a bit too complicated for Sully or the GOP or a number of other groups to be comfortable with. They like their bumper-sticker solutions to bumper-sticker problems. I don’t see Obama or Clinton appeasing them with some stupid answer.

  157. 157
    FlipYrWhig says:

    To the credit of the DailyKos team, they recently posted excerpts from two sets of opinion pieces: in support of intervention; against it. At least a few people in the world with a modicum of credibility _don’t_ think it’s an obvious and inevitable disaster. The “here we go again” stylings only succeed at preventing anything like dialogue from happening here.

  158. 158
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Canadian Observer:

    That was the Chinese People’s Daily, btw.

    They’re now speaking out strongly! Time to dump their Yankee debt!

    Please. Do you honestly think that China is going to destroy the world economy over Libya? Libya?

  159. 159
    Martin says:

    AlJazeera is reporting that another protest of our military intervention has broken out:

    A group of around 20 activists have held a protest in central Seoul, in opposition to the airstrikes in Libya.

    Sounds like the Arab population is really fired up about our actions.

  160. 160
    Mart says:

    I read that the downed jet cost $30M. Relative in the know says $100M. So only about 100 cruise missiles, no big deal.

    And yeah John Cole, this sucks big time – we are in the middle of another civil war where we are not sure which of the bad guys are on our side. It all sounds too familiar, only with American Exceptionalism light.

  161. 161
    Martin says:

    @Mart:

    I read that the downed jet cost $30M. Relative in the know says $100M. So only about 100 cruise missiles, no big deal.

    Since the report is that it was likely mechanical failure, would you be just as upset if the plane went down over Utah instead, since it might as well have?

  162. 162
    Mart says:

    @Martin: You’re kidding.

  163. 163
    JWL says:

    @Bob Loblaw: Well, Bob, you’ve got my number.

    I most certainly do perceive a nefarious intent in this most recent act of my country’s foreign policy, if for no other reason than that my congressional representatives were not consulted prior to its implementation.

    Why doesn’t that fact bother you?

  164. 164
    Joel says:

    @Martin: You laid out a pretty solid case in 85, so don’t think this is coming from a hostile perspective. But “mechanical failure” from my perspective is military boilerplate the world around for any sort of plane or helicopter crash. They don’t want to admit to vulnerabilities.

  165. 165
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @JWL:

    Because I’ve seen our Congress.

  166. 166
    JWL says:

    @Bob Loblaw: Which is to say, you are a monarchist.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

  167. 167
    Joel says:

    @JWL: Not particularly. I think the president “not consulting” congress is a red herring. For one, most if not all congresspeople were probably informed of the President’s intentions sometime in advance of the public. Secondly, if I’m reading this correctly, congress still has the power to defund military operations and it doesn’t seem like they’re going to do anything like that.

    The result of a “consultation” in congress would be more airtime for some teabaggers to wax poetic about deficits and maybe some drum banging from the war wing of congress to use more force, maybe even putting boots on the ground. These parties being non-mutually exclusive, of course. Ultimately, I think the consultation issue is simple grandstanding and nothing more.

    Now if you want to criticize acts of war on the merits, that’s something I’d find much more convincing.

  168. 168
    Mart says:

    Whether that plane goes down in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, falls off one of our 12? carriers or ditches in Wichita, KS… we are still spending 1.2 trillion annually on building and manning these war planes and other goodies. For a country that is broke, it is a staggering number. So, in the immortal words of Jesse Jackson on SNL, “your question is moot”.

    And yes I would feel better if it ditched on a training mission to protect our borders, rather than ditching on a bombing mission to support some random middle east/African tribes rebellion. I do not know if you have noticed, but this does not always work out as cleanly as the experts supposed.

    Standard Qualifier – I Truly Hope I Am Wrong This Time…

  169. 169
    pattonbt says:

    Just piping in really quick again. I just wanted to state a few things, again from my perspective only.

    I will agree with many who support this action that the facts on the ground seem much, much more worthy and forthright than with many other actions and that the goal appears laudable. I can see why people want to do what they think is right to help a people in need. And while my skepticism for this action is considerably lower than for others previous and I have more faith in our current government to act more openly and prosecute the action better, I still would not get involved.

    I stated my main two reasons last night, but I wanted re-emphasize my main reason for objecting in this case. That is, it does not to be us, the US, at all. All of our allies who have much closer interests in this are more than capable of handling this themselves. They do not need the US to accomplish what is necessary. We have no special technology or military prowess that is needed for success that isn’t possessed by our allies.

    Our (non)involvement in this action was an important yardstick for me regarding where we stand as a country regarding our willingness to engage in unnecessary military actions (and yes, I say this is unnecessary from a US point of view in that we do not need to be involved, but not that intervention by our allies more closely related to this action is unnecessary). We could easily hold our head up high and say “Not us this time, but you guys can take care of it. You have our full support.”.

    Sure, all the haters would have yelled from the rafters and gone after the administration for saying no, but they would do that anyway. It would be like the Russia/Georgia thing (and that’s a long ago fading memory). Things have to change on the military intervention willingness side of our country before any meaningful change can occur in other areas of importance.

    So I accept many who are well meaning in their support of this, but I would question why they think we (the US) must be involved beyond cheerleader support. Until the world knows sometimes its up to them, they will keep waiting for us. The US must learn to wean itself from this desire. Now I know, realistically, that a change of this magnitude will take a considerable amount of time (if ever) so I did not necessarily expect a different outcome regarding our intervention this time, but it would have been welcomed.

    And as I said, I do not hope for fail or assume fail, but I do assume that history shows that these things never go as planned and are almost never seen as “worth it” in the end. And of course lastly, I will happily be proven wrong if all goes according to the original plan.

  170. 170
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mart: Perhaps we’re not really broke?

  171. 171
    JWL says:

    @Joel:

    “I think the president “not consulting” congress is a red herring”.

    Barring proof to the contrary, I disagree. As does Constitutional stricture.

    “..congress still has the power to defund military operations..”.

    That’s interesting. Defund what, exactly? What specific expenditure of taxpayers money that funds the Defense Department do you refer to?

    Tomahawk missiles? They’ve been paid for. The fuel that our jets eat? Its been paid for. The cost entailed in naval operations off the Libyan coast? Paid for.

    Finally, Joel, and superfluously, the GOP will “wax” insanely about about any and every goddamn thing endorsed by the democratic party.

    You’re comfortable waking up, and finding America at war at the whim of the Executive branch. I’m not.

    Because that’s the way they roll.

  172. 172
    Mart says:

    Meant that metaphorically since “we” all know taxes are at their lowest since the 1950’s. Is taxes possessive? I hate English. Bed would be good.

  173. 173
    Martin says:

    @Joel: Yeah, it was near Benghazi, so it could well have been shot down. I thought it was farther east, which would have been much less likely.
    @Mart:

    For a country that is broke, it is a staggering number.

    Agreed it’s a staggering number, but if it broke down, it doesn’t much matter where it was when it happened. It’s like claiming all the meals eaten by our military as a cost against this action – they wouldn’t have eaten otherwise?

  174. 174
    Auguste says:

    One commenter here was saying MQ is chaining children to tanks.

    I’m not categorically denying this is happening.

    But in a discussion in which the acceptance of propaganda is being debated, this is the kind of thing we like to call “inadequate sourcing.”

  175. 175
    Martin says:

    @Auguste: To say the least. Chaining children to tanks would make for great headlines and yet every media outlet has resisted. I wonder why.

  176. 176
    El Cid says:

    @Martin: It does seem like it would be a lot of work to keep children chained to tanks, fairly impractical. I suppose you could allege that it’s all Vlad the Impaler style, with heads hanging from chains. Or maybe this is a skill that the Libyan army trains its soldiers in — how to successfully keep kids chained to tanks.

  177. 177
    Jeremy says:

    You are the perfect pundit, John: you never hesitate to make it about you.

  178. 178
    alwhite says:

    John, your default position is the right one but you need to make some addenda:
    Can you clearly state the end game – what will it look like &how do we get there? Until then NO
    Will you accept the consequences that accompany all wars – “collateral damage”, fucked up return vets, everything? – Until then NO

    And remember the default assumption: They *always* lie.

  179. 179

    This is a very astute observation on John’s part, and the thing is, it applies to EVERYTHING where our government is concerned. We have very little control over anything at all. Zero.

    I sorta touched on it in this morning’s blog post. I really don’t know what the answer is.

  180. 180
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @The Dangerman:

    All, so far, without the loss of a single allied life and, well, minimal injuries to those innocents that approached the downed pilots (perhaps not the best decision on their part).

    I love the version of the parable where the good Samaritan gets whacked by the mugging victim.

  181. 181
    Ron says:

    John, I don’t agree with the people who basically think you don’t have a valid opinion because you supported the Iraq war. Maybe that’s partially because at first I supported it too. Not because I was some neocon, but I believed the reports from the government including Powells infamous UN speech. I fell for it all. But that’s only part of it. Overall, I think that it’s ridiculous to say “You supported X, X was bad,therefore you are tainted with that forever.” Personally, I’m glad to see that you learned from your past and changed your mind.
    All that being said, I think there is no comparison between this and Iraq. We aren’t going this one alone. We aren’t planning a full scale invasion to remove Qaddafi. The US has acted like they are reluctant to get involved, and I see no reason to think that’s an act. That being said, I do have some concerns about what we’re doing because it isn’t clear where we go after the no-fly zone is established. Nevertheless I’m far more comfortable with what we are doing here than what we did in Iraq. This one feels more like Kosovo than anything else.

  182. 182
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @joes527:

    No, this is not Iraq. I would never say that. But every justification, excuse, and lie we told ourselves about our involvement in Iraq is coming out in force. It is just coming out of different mouths.

    Yep. The movie is different, but the trailer is exactly the same. The same people are deeply unserious, or at best, right for the wrong reasons.

    And the star-bellied sneetches predictably have flipped sides. The one advantage Republican legislators have is that they act as a counterweight to military actions by Democratic presidents. They do it for crass, hypocritical, political reasons, but at least they do it. Democratic legislators never met a war they would do more than send a sternly worded letter about.

  183. 183
    Virginia Highlander says:

    @John Cole:

    The problem was not your reluctance to endorse this latest most excellent military adventure; the problem is that you threw a frankly embarrassing, snot-bubble-blowing fit in the middle of the fucking floor over it. And not just once, but twice. Did you ever notice that the only real difference between Kossacs and Freepers is the nominal content of their hyperventilating rants? I thought not.

    I had followed what’s going on in Libya since day one. The comparisons you tried to draw, between this action and those of previous administrations, were fucking ludicrous, dude.

    Obviously, you are still in withdrawal, but us non-authoritarian types have a weapon that we use to counteract the effects of fear-based feefees: information. I suggest Prof Juan Cole and al-Jazeera English, though YMMV.

  184. 184
    sparky says:

    @Bobby Thomson: true, unfortunately.

    as for the critiques of mister cole, it’s unfortunate that the mentality seems to be one of gotcha rather than giving credit for saying “i wuz wrong”.
    in any event, this constant need to analogize to other military adventures in the hope of showing the “correct” way to think of this latest excursion is a bit of touching Villagerism & talking-head dom.

    edit: this was directed at the commentators. i haven’t had the luxury of reading everything here lately but i do read the postings and unless i missed something most of the complaints about Cole seem to be more that he isn’t onboard the Obama train on this one. not that it would ever be put that way, of course.

    one might, might, actually try thinking of this adventure on its own merits. oh, sorry, that requires something other than reflexiveness.

    though on the other hand, since the US is now an elective autocracy it doesn’t really matter what the peasants say or think. carry on, then.

  185. 185
    Corner Stone says:

    @sparky:

    and unless i missed something most of the complaints about Cole seem to be more that he isn’t onboard the Obama train on this one. not that it would ever be put that way, of course.

    Correct. They hate it when he goes off the chain. It makes more work for them.

  186. 186
    Corner Stone says:

    Is there some way we can get FYWP to start filtering posts straight to EPU for “butthurt” and “fee fee” ?
    If we can make that happen I’ll sign up for a monthly donation to the Charlie’s Angels pet rescue organization.

  187. 187
    Chrisd says:

    Much heat, little light on this thread. If you are unhappy with the rhetorical bad faith under a Democratic administration, in which Democrats line up behind our president’s military adventures and the Republicans become born-again deficit hawks, you can just sit tight and wait until the guard changes again, whereupon the roles predictably reverse.

  188. 188
    Joe Beese says:

    I don’t really have a say in things- nor do any of you.

    You’re learning, Mr. Cole.

    Permit me to remind you of this epiphany when you start exhorting us about the importance of re-electing Obama.

  189. 189
    John Cole says:

    The problem was not your reluctance to endorse this latest most excellent military adventure; the problem is that you threw a frankly embarrassing, snot-bubble-blowing fit in the middle of the fucking floor over it. And not just once, but twice. Did you ever notice that the only real difference between Kossacs and Freepers is the nominal content of their hyperventilating rants? I thought not.

    Really, that was a fit? I thought it was pretty tame, myself.

    @Jeremy: Umm, the comments I’m addressing ARE about me.

  190. 190
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @sparky:

    most of the complaints about Cole seem to be more that he isn’t onboard the Obama train on this one

    Of course, it can only ever be that. It can’t possibly be what everyone has said, which is that John has had moments of going overboard with demonstrating the extent of his won’t-get-fooled-again-ness. Even though both intelligent expert opinion and intelligent amateur opinion (to say nothing of the thoughts of some jackass like me) are _split_, including such heavy hitters as Juan Cole and Human Rights Watch on the lean-“pro” side, the tenor of the blog has not been to have any kind of discussion about the merits. It has instead been to compete with one another about who can be the biggest here-we-go-again doomsayer, either the maudlin kind or the smirky kind or the 14-year-old gutterpunk who found a tattered copy of Howard Zinn on the bus stop bench kind.

  191. 191
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Or, to put it another way, if more of the lean-against people were sounding like pattonbt above, there wouldn’t be nearly the acrimony.

  192. 192
    General Stuck says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I’ve always considered sparky to be a corner stone sockpuppet. Now wrap your head around that one.

  193. 193
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @General Stuck: I thought sparky was someone whose blog I used to read. Maybe I’m thinking of someone else.

  194. 194
    Phoebe says:

    @John Cole: You are way way way way too sensitive for your own good. Not too sensitive for mine, because it’s usually extremely entertaining, but you can’t get mad at the commenters for saying things that are wrong on the internet, even really stupid things like that because you were wrong about Iraq you are always and forever wrong. In fact, the stupider the comment, the less you should be mad about it. It’s like being mad at Tunch for not doing his fair share of the household chores. Go ahead and be mad, but what are you hoping for here?

  195. 195
    mclaren says:

    The bizarre rationalizations offered by commentators for attacking your position are truly mind-boggling.

    For example, there’s the sneering attack on your advocacy of non-interventionism that you’re somehow going backwards historically, that if we embrace the American non-interventionism that was typical for 150 years of our history, we must also embrace slavery, revoke womens’ right to vote, and so on.

    How do the commenters on this site come up with this shit?

    Seriously–what kind of knots must you people twist yourselves into that this kind of insane thinking seems reasonable to you?

    Cole is saying what George Washington said in his farewell address. Avoid foreign entanglements. What, George Washinton was a traitor? He hated America?

    What the fuck????!!??!?

  196. 196
    Joe Beese says:

    @mclaren:

    George Washinton was a traitor?

    To the globally dominant empire of the time, he sure was.

  197. 197
    Danny says:

    Ok here goes: This is why Libya is not Iraq III.

    In Iraq II

    1) The sales pitch to the public was a lie. Cheating your way into support for a war by lying about atom bomb terrorism to the public subverts democracy.

    2) For various reasons – some historical and political (Israel) and some relating to basic factors of human nature (pride, dignity autonomy), the idea that the US would take the initiative out of nowhere to present some arabs with democracy was bound to be a hard sell. Even more so given that the particular individuals doing the selling were the same ones most rabidly behind the extreme right in Israel. Even more so when the “gift” of democracy was given as an afterthought and as part of a PR campaign targeting the US electorate and not the Iraqis.

    3) I believe strongly in trying to establish – through the institutions of the UN – some shared international framework to have a say in these matters. I think this gives interventions legitimacy, and that it acts as a check on walking down frivolous and unwise paths.

    I think that such a framework can eventually give small nations at least some small say and a reason for buying into the system. In the end it comes down to the rule of law and trying to establish something on an international scale that resembles it, even if it everso little, it still beats might makes right which is the alternative.

    Iraq II broke the UN framework established by Bush I & Clinton. To get their way the bushies went to new heights in conducting a PR campaign badmouthing the institutions of the UN and those of our partners that thought the war was unwise (Freedom fries were far from the worst example).

    This was in no way surprising, since the architects of Iraq II actively and outspokenly oppose the US supporting such an international framework. In their way of thinking, the US is the biggest dog, and the biggest dog should do as it pleases and not allow itself to be constrained. Which may seem ok as long as you are the biggest dog, but we are moving rapidly towards a world where there will be several big dogs again…

    4) It was in our interest to focus on Afghanistan and Al Qaeda, and Iraq required substantial resources which was taken out away from Afghanistan. Even worse, after 9/11 we had more support from the world community than in a very long time, we had goodwill and we had partners. We all know what Iraq II did to that.

    5) Iraq II, while not causing it, worsened our unprecedented, but now introduced official policy of state torture (yes, even though the Bush admin sought to define a new distinction between what they deemed acceptable torture such as waterboarding, stress positions and sleep deprivation, which they said was not real torture but enhanced interogation methods). These acts gravely damaged both our idea of ourselves and who we are and how we are viewed in the rest of the world.

    Those are just some of the reasons why Iraq II was a clusterfuck and you would have been well advised to oppose it from the beginning.

    But you didn’t. You gave the administration and the president the benefit of the doubt and held on in your support for quite some time.

    Now there’s a new president. One that

    1) Is about as honest as any politician (can be) in what he tells the american public about his choices for the country and why he thinks it’s the right thing to do.

    2) Understands that facilitating the spread of democracy in the middle east requires smarts and that change must come from homegrown democracy movements.

    Bush II’s justification of the Iraq war as spreading democracy, while it was a blatant after the fact try to justify the missing WMDs, it doesnt change the fact that it is in our interest – and more importantly who we are as one of several democratic nations – to support democracy in the world, because we believe that in the end it is in the people’s interest to have their say.

    Obama understands that this process, in the middle east, will be facilitated if the perception is not of the US forcing it down their throat with one hand, and cuddling autocrats and Israel with the other.

    3) Has managed to stitch together the international community again in record time. Obama is once again establishing a precedent – that international intervention and use of force requires partnership and should be pursued through the institutions of the UN. This is a precedent that future presidents will have to follow, or publicly break with which they will then have to justify. I like and support that notion.

    4) Has obviously with open eyes evaluated the situation, openly communicated to the public that he does feel that we have few resources to spare, and would rather avoid it, but forced to priorotize he made a choice and stood by it. Through his belief in, and work towards, building a partnership under the framework of the UN, he has limited the commitment required by the US to a point where he feels it is worth it.

    5) Has banished the official policy of torturing our enemies. Just that last one buys him the peace price and reelection against any republican not willing to publicly break with Bush policy in this regard.

    So then, how many months, weeks or days are you willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to this new president?

    Back in 2003, one of the many undignified slurs from the right wing morons against the left was that all that opposed the war was pinko bleeding heart pacifists. Not that there’s anything wrong with beeing a pacifist, but the argument went that we were all secretly pacifists, while posing as just being against Iraq II.

    The reason why that was a slur should be obvious. It implies lying on my part.

    Now I was not a pacifist back then and I’m not now. Or a rather, I am of the sort pacifist in a better world, not until then. But my second question to you is this:

    Under what circumstances are you once again willing to get behind an act of war, an intervention, etc by this president or a future one? Because if Iraq II turned you against supporting the president in any military intervention not proven justifiable to you in a court of law, well it’s just to f**king bad that GWB had the good fortune to come into power after Clinton and get your undeserved trust, while Obama had the bad fortune to come after GWB and get no trust whatsoever.

  198. 198
    Joel says:

    @Corner Stone: Who is they? Name names.

  199. 199
    Corner Stone says:

    @Joel: You know. They. Them.

  200. 200
    Joel says:

    @JWL: Just for reference.

    Like I said, the “congressional” element doesn’t bother me. Consider me cynical but I think they’re all in the know.

  201. 201
    Catsy says:

    Libya is not Iraq. Period. You can make it Iraq if you abstract the two conflicts to the level of “attacking targets in a country with a brutal dictator in the general vicinity of the middle east”, but that’s a level of abstraction that is not useful in any way.

    There were a number of specific factors that made George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq so morally and practically objectionable:
    1. Fabricated, factually indefensible pretexts for the war
    2. Intentional deception of the American people, the UN, and the rest of the world about those pretexts
    3. Incompetent execution and nonexistent post-war planning
    4. Complete ignorance of the region’s history, culture, religions, and peoples
    5. Indifference to or complicity in mulitple violations of the Geneva Conventions
    6. Abrogation of the UN Charter and our treaty obligations by waging an unsanctioned war of aggression

    The Iraq War was rotten from top to bottom. It was rotten at its fraudulent foundation, and everything built on that foundation furthered that rot rather than correcting it.

    This operation may yet turn out to be a mistake. We may yet discover that it suffers from inadequate planning or an absence of a concrete end-game. I’m prepared to raise my voice in full-throated opposition if this turns into a clusterfuck.

    But for fuck’s sake, it hasn’t even been going on for a week. Right now we don’t know shit. What we do know is this:

    1. Qaddafi was engaged in a brutal, ongoing campaign of violent suppression of his own people. Not “he was a bad man”, not “he’s thumbed his nose at us in the past”, but “he is slaughtering civilians right now“.
    2. There is an active uprising against Qaddafi’s regime right now by his own people, one which was succeeding on its own until Qaddafi started using tanks and aircraft against civilians.
    3. We have the ability to stop those tanks and aircraft without invading and occupying the country–and we have.
    4. We have, as required by treaty and law, sought and received UNSC approval for what we have done so far.
    5. Obama and his team are demonstrably well-educated and well-informed about the region and its complications in a way the Bush Administration never was even at the end of its 8-year parade of disaster.

    There are plenty of arguably valid reasons to be opposed to what we’re doing in Libya right now. The idea of getting involved in another land war in Asia Africa should give us pause. Hell, the very idea of taking military action against any other country in the world should be met with presumptive skepticism and a whole lot of very pointed questions.

    But this is not Iraq. And anyone trying to score points against Obama by comparing this to Iraq–or make any kind of argument about someone’s integrity or worldviews by contrasting their position on Iraq with their position on Libya–is engaging in shallow, lazy thinking that deserves nothing but scorn.

  202. 202
    Catsy says:

    @Danny: Get out of my head.

  203. 203
    Danny says:

    @Catsy

    Great minds think alike ;)

    Seriously, I’m just happy there are so many people out there with their head on straight, remembering the lessons of 2003 well enough not to buy into the confused bullshit narratives of the echo chamber, coming from both left and right at the moment.

  204. 204
    agrippa says:

    Fog of war.
    War is one of the most confusing, frightening and incomprehensible of human efforts. The ultimate contingency.
    Sorting out is almost impossible at the time; and, little easier afterward.

    Catsy – 203 — good post.

  205. 205
    agrippa says:

    @Danny:

    danny – well put.

    This is a roll of the iron dice. We have little idea of whom we are fighting for; we do know whom we are against. At the end of the day, Libyans may be little better off. They may get another dictator.

    War has a life of its’ own as the dynamic of battle may drive us to aims that we did not have when we started this campaign.

    This is not Iraq; for the reasons that Catsy and danny laid out.

  206. 206
    Ron says:

    @Catsy: That was well said. Thanks for articulating what I’ve been thinking and trying to explain for the past few days.

  207. 207
    Svensker says:

    What is this “iron dice” thing everyone’s using these days? Where’d it come from?

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