Judis! Play it fucking loud

John Judis has a great piece on what it was like to oppose the Operation Iraqi Freedom in those heady pre-war days:

There were, of course, people who opposed invading Iraq—Illinois State Senator Barack Obama among them—but within political Washington, it was difficult to find like-minded foes. When The New Republic’s editor-in-chief and editor proclaimed the need for a “muscular” foreign policy, I was usually the only vocal dissenter, and the only people who agreed with me were the women on staff: Michelle Cottle, Laura Obolensky and Sarah Wildman. Both of the major national dailies—The Washington Post and The New York Times (featuring Judith Miller’s reporting)—were beating the drums for war. Except for Jessica Mathews at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington’s thinktank honchos were also lined up behind the war.

[…]

I found fellow dissenters to the war in two curious places: the CIA and the military intelligentsia.

It’s not surprising: opposing the war in any way negative consequences for people in media (see Banfield, Ashleigh) and probably for those at think tanks as well, whereas in academia and the military intelligentsia there are generally some rewards (at least professional respect, say) for being right about things.

I’ve enjoyed reading the apologies from various ostensibly “liberal” or “moderate” media types who cheerled Dear Leader’s quest to spread freedom. Here’s some Slatesters. Here’s everyone’s favorite quasi-paywallee.

What you won’t you hear from any of them is the truth, which would sound like this: “I supported the war because I’m a craven, careerist stooge.”

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245 replies
  1. John Dillinger says:

    Craven Careerist Stooges would be a great name for a band. Doug should copyright it quickly.

  2. James Gary says:

    Here’s hoping that the practice of questioning the pronouncements of Very Serious People has the same effect on American politics as Dylan “going electric” did to popular music.

  3. Violet says:

    I remember being very against the war and I was living in a red state. Not too many of us around. Remember talking to some guys I worked with–who had never been in the military, mind you–and they were so gung ho it was scary. According to them, we were going to mow down all those Iraqi soldiers with our Bradley fighting vehicles and take over the country in under two weeks. Iraqi civilians would welcome us with flowers and have parades in our honor, Saddam Hussein would be removed from office (dead or in prison), we’d be rich from all the oil and we’d be world heroes.

    I felt like I was in some kind of alternate universe.

  4. srv says:

    From the Fallows/Stephen Walt link

    Hitlery, Nancy Smash, DiFi, the whole crowd rolled over. And they will again.

    More importantly, what is this, Day 2 of the Missing Mustard Crises? Can we have a rotating banner? I’m more afraid of Mustard Gnomes than I ever was of Saddam.

  5. Mike in NC says:

    Ten years ago I knew a fair number of people at the CIA and the Pentagon. Virtually all talked privately about how Cheney and Rumsfeld were fudging the facts on Iraq, but wouldn’t do anything that might hurt their careers.

    ETA: Sully says he knew Rummy “as a friend”? Very telling.

  6. Villago Delenda Est says:

    The “Very Serious People” are herd animals, basically. The Dear Leader tells them to jump, and all the only question they can think of asking is “how high?”

  7. gbear says:

    I remember arguing with a woman who worked at the Mall Of America over the invasion. I was very much against it and she was all yay rah rah about it. On the day that the war started I told her I wasn’t going to visit the MOA any more because I thought it would become a target for terrorists and she got really upset that I would say that. She was definitely more afraid of the Muslem hoards than I was. In the end we were both wrong, but my being wrong didn’t cost 4000 soldiers’ lives.

  8. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Does anyone else find it depressing that only 53% of the country thinks Iraq was a mistake?

    The media has learned nothing, just look at Condoleeza Rice, recently hired CBS commentator.

  9. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @srv: From Wiki

    In 2002, Pelosi opposed the Iraq Resolution authorizing President Bush to use military force against Iraq,[84]

  10. japa21 says:

    It wasn’t just people who were against the war who were shunned. Or rather, against the war because just because they felt that going to war was wrong. But also any person who tried to warn of the consequences of invading Iraq were shouted down.
    Some tried to war of the sectarian conflicts that would arise after the downfall of Sadam. Others warned of the potential persecution of the minority but vibrant Christian population of Iraq. Others tried to warn that it would not be quick and that we faced a long slog with potentially large loss of life.
    All of these were pushed aside and the most the public heard was the dismassals of those argument, rarely the arguments themselves.
    Even the reporting that 2/3 of Americans were in favor of the invasion was misleading at best and dishonest and manipulative at worse. Most polling divided opinion into 3 categories:
    1. Against
    2. For under any circumstances
    3. For but only with a major coalition with UN approval.

    It was split pretty much evenly among all three which meant only about 1/3 favored the way we did go about it.

    It was more than just the beating of the war drums that the media should be ashamed about, it was also the total lack of reporting of any other opinions.

  11. Rosalita says:

    yeah, what wonderful memories… if you don’t agree with the war you don’t support our troops…you hate America…this is just one reason we hated King George II.

  12. Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    What you won’t you hear from any of them is the truth, which would sound like this: “I supported the war because I’m a craven, careerist stooge.”

    That would take self-awareness that few people on the planet could muster. It also requires an ability to admit mistakes that a large portion of America just does not have.

  13. GregB says:

    Let us all be reminded that the same people who are now running around to every gun store in the nation arming themselves against a potentially tyrannical US government were the very same people saying things like: The government knows something we don’t. Support the troops. Support the President.

    They are such a pack of assholes it is beyond understanding.

  14. Keith says:

    I hadn’t ever heard the Ashley Banfield story before. Reading the account on Wikipedia makes it sound like she was worse off than Austin Millbarge in “Spies Like Us”.

  15. Ryan says:

    Yes, if you opposed the Iraq war, people like John Cole would call you things like “manic progressive” or “emo prog” and dismiss principled, legitimate objections to mass slaughter as “poutrage”. Thank goodness people like John Cole never do that anymore, certainly not on this blog.

  16. The Moar You Know says:

    I would hope that if hundreds of thousands of people had died as a result of cowardly actions I took to keep my job, that I’d have the decency to shoot myself in the fucking head. In public, in front of my employer’s offices, with a sign around my neck that says “I’m a fucking asshole.”

  17. Zifnab says:

    What you won’t you hear from any of them is the truth, which would sound like this: “I supported the war because I’m a craven, careerist stooge.”

    John Cole came clean, apologized, and repented. That’s one reason I’m still reading this blog, ten years after I found it.

  18. jrg says:

    I remember thinking at the time “They impeached Clinton for a BJ. There’s no way Bush could get away with lying us into a war.”, then reasoning that such a disincentive would prevent a fraudulent conflict.

    Boy, do I know better now.

  19. oldster says:

    “opposing the war in any way negative consequences for people in media (see Banfield, Ashleigh)”

    Could I get a shout-out for Phil Donahue, too?

    He was already a very well-established media figure. He had his own talk show.

    And he got fired by CNN solely and purely because he opposed the war, and said so out loud.

  20. MattF says:

    Also, Mo Dowd. She didn’t believe Powell at the UN, and worse, wrote that no one actually believed Powell. I’m unclear why no one gives her any credit for this, it gave the lie to the whole show.

  21. Chyron HR says:

    @Ryan:

    Ha ha, it’s funny because now the blog is full of “Obotomized Obots” who “Mindlessly Lick Shit From the Anus of Black Jesus” and insult people who disagree with them also, too.

  22. Xecky Gilchrist says:

    But I think the real reason is, as I’ve said before, that when the first plane smashed into the WTC a box cutter flew clear of the wreckage and boomeranged all around the nation, chopping the balls clean off every preening conservative male.

    At which point they lost their fucking shit and started screaming OH MY GOD MY BALLS what did those ragheads and liberals and commies and feminazis DO TO MY BALLS KILL KILL KILL

  23. schrodinger's cat says:

    My opinion of the Republican Party and the MSM changed after the Iraq war. If I could see that the reasons behind going to the war were BS, so could the MSM pundits. If they didn’t see it, it was willful blindness. I didn’t read Balloon Juice when Cole was a wingnut, what were his reasons for supporting the war?

  24. Cassidy says:

    Hell, I remember having conversations with people, while I was on Active Duty, and they’d say dumb shit like “we have to….”. I’d always ask them “what’s this we shit white man? Are you visiting a recruiter today?”.

  25. the Conster says:

    During the lead-up to the invasion, I was concerned that the hell-bent focus on invading Iraq was being driven by agendas and strategic objectives that had nothing to do with terrorism or the 9/11 attacks. The overt rationale for the invasion was exceedingly weak, particularly given that it would lead to an open-ended, incalculably costly, and intensely risky preemptive war. Around the same time, it was revealed that an invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein had been high on the agenda of various senior administration officials long before September 11. Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.

    Chief of Purity Police and Protector of the Homeland from DRONZ, Dear Leader Glenn Greenwald.

  26. Corner Stone says:

    @Keith:

    I hadn’t ever heard the Ashley Banfield story before. Reading the account on Wikipedia makes it sound like she was worse off than Austin Millbarge in “Spies Like Us”.

    Have you seen her show lately?
    What is to be understood from her debacle and beatdown is that she learnt her fucking lesson, but good. She is full onboard the yessir train these days.

  27. The Ancient Randonneur says:

    David Corn:

    Besides, the mass-murdering Saddam was easy to despise, and in Washington there have always been plenty of folks in politics and the media who eagerly await the right war in order to display the kind of toughness that is often associated with leadership.

    In other words we are mostly a nation of chickenhawks. We have been especially so since the end of the draft. Go to a good Ivy League school, get a job in the corporate media, or national politics, and you can write about other people, or the kids of other people, dying in a “just war”. Charming.

  28. Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage) says:

    I like Tim Noah’s non-apology apology. Fuck that guy.

    Fuck all those guys. Now I’m fucking mad again.

  29. Violet says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: No it didn’t. A box cutter did not boomerang anywhere or cut off anyone’s balls. Preening conservative males were terrified that a box cutter might fly around and cut off their balls. That’s why they wanted everyone who they thought might possibly be a threat to be taken out. What they didn’t know is that they didn’t actually have balls. They acted–and continue to act–out of fear and fear alone. See this study on fear and politics for more info on how that works.

  30. geg6 says:

    I’ve been posting everything I can about how the media and elected reps failed us ten years ago on my FB page. People are getting pissed, especially the ones that were telling me what a traitorous DFH I was before and in the immediate aftermath. No apologies there!

  31. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @jrg: David Broder and Tim Russert were on record as saying that Clinton’s lies were worse than Bush’s, because Bush was confused. Or something like that.

    I don’t think most MSMers are smart enough to have made a conscious decision to support a war they thought was wrong because of careerism, they’re just dumb. David Corn told Lawrence O’Donnell that someone “we both know”, and I suspect a name we would all recognize, said he supported the war because Tom Friedman did. Tweety, who opposed the war from the start, has been on a recent jag about Bush having been the dupe of the neo-cons. In one case, he said this to Howard Fineman, who if memory serves was teh guy who first reported the “Fuck Saddam, we’re taking him out” moment.

  32. Linda Featheringill says:

    @Violet:

    According to them, we were going to mow down all those Iraqi soldiers with our Bradley fighting vehicles and take over the country in under two weeks. Iraqi civilians would welcome us with flowers and have parades in our honor, Saddam Hussein would be removed from office (dead or in prison), we’d be rich from all the oil and we’d be world heroes.

    Note to youngsters: She is not exaggerating. That is exactly what a lot of people said and presumably thought.

  33. Zifnab says:

    @DougJ, Friend of Hamas: :-p Undoubtably. That said, he makes a solid counterpoint to guys like Sully or die-hard neo-cons and bigots like Dan Reihl or Michelle Malkin.

    Cole built up a sizable following. I think he mentioned in passing a few times where he had the opportunity to sell out – by appearing on some cable show or going over to TownHall or otherwise hewing to the party line. He stayed fairly independent, ate his crow when it was on his plate, and only backed the people he genuinely liked for reasons he could (relatively) clearly articulate. I appreciate that quite a bit.

  34. The Moar You Know says:

    Chief of Purity Police and Protector of the Homeland from DRONZ, Dear Leader Glenn Greenwald.

    @the Conster: Well. This is something I was not aware of.

    I’ve always suspected Greenwald was a closet Republican, but it’s always nice to have one’s suspicions confirmed.

  35. Lurking Canadian says:

    What you won’t you hear from any of them is the truth, which would sound like this: “I supported the war because I’m a craven, careerist stooge.”

    I think it’s important to be fair, Doug. Some of them supported the war because they genuinely are bloodthirsty racists.

  36. Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cassidy:

    This. Just this.

    I confronted some college rethug type at a John Edwards appearance at the University of Oregon in 2004 (I was wearing my “Republicans for Voldemort” T-shirt) and asked him if he was so for the war, why wasn’t he in uniform, or at least in ROTC? The lame pathetic answer of this vile little cowardly sack of fraternity shit was “they’ve already got enough soldiers, they don’t need me.” It was like running into that vile little coward Tom DuhLay.

    Cowardly scum. Unworthy of a painless death.

  37. moonbat says:

    In the bullshit leadup to the war, I remember being part of peace march in Philadelphia and folks lining the streets cursing and spitting at me and my husband. Part of that is reflective of just how “just” folks thought a war against Saddam would be and part was just the fact that I was in Philly! :)

    I also remember being in Cairo when Bush finally declared his war and having someone telling me where the secret entrance to the U.S. embassy was in case we had to be evacuated.

    Good times, not.

  38. jrg says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I believe you. I also don’t really care what the reason was for sniffing Clinton’s undies for a year or two, while letting Dubya off the hook entirely.

    The simple fact of the matter is that I’ll never trust another Republican (or anyone who smells remotely authoritarian) on national security, and I will never, ever trust the MSM to do it’s job again.

  39. dance around in your bones says:

    Remember the worldwide protests against the Iraq war? Something like 36 million people?

    Totally dismissed.

    I knew it was gonna be a clusterfuck from the get-go.

  40. Violet says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Yes, they did. To give a complete picture, these were white men in their 50’s or so. Some maybe a bit older or younger. As the war began, they were cheerleading it and we’d get daily updates about the magnificence of our military and how the Iraqis didn’t stand a chance. Then as things dragged on, they blamed the mess on the Iraqis, who they claimed “just didn’t understand what we were doing for them.” Uh huh.

  41. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Remember Richard Perle? “I should not be surprised if, in ten years, there were some grand square in Bagdad named after George Bush.” “We will be greeted as liberators” was as much a talking point as “the smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud”

  42. Eric U. says:

    the day of the invasion, a co-worker actually asked me angrily, “why do you hate America?” I am a vet of the first Bush vanity war, so I laughed at him.

    Mentioning Sullivan reminds me that I owe him a punch in the face for his “5th Column” remarks. Oh, yeah, Lieberman too.

  43. Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Violet:

    Marine patrol walks up to an Iraqi farmer. Patrol leader asks the farmer if he’s seen any foreign fighters around here. Farmer replies “I’m talking to one right now.”

  44. Jerzy Russian says:

    opposing the war in any way negative consequences for people in media

    Are you missing a “had” there somewhere?

  45. Zifnab says:

    @dance around in your bones: That’s not fair. It was dismissed by folks in the administration because they thought they’d figured out the perfect 50%+1 electoral strategy and were setting up a GOP Majority 5Eva!

    Meanwhile, the protests provided a means of networking and mobilization that hadn’t really been called for before that point. Howard Dean tapped it in ’04. The Dems running for Congress tapped it in ’06. Obama tapped it hard in ’08.

    You can’t point to the seeds of change and complain that they haven’t born fruit yet. The Iraq War Protests were a huge turning point in public relations for the Republican Party, and an even bigger turning point for a liberal movement that was thoroughly convinced the at-large public wasn’t with them anymore. It mattered far more than people give it credit for. It just didn’t matter instantly, because political change of that magnitude takes a long time.

  46. Scamp Dog says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): It’s not just that admitting it would imply something about themselves, it also implies something about their entire cohort. Impugning other media people would be professional and social suicide for these people.

  47. Lurking Canadian says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Even better, by about 2008, you could find wingnuts saying we had to invade Iran because of the WMD, and it would be a cakewalk because the oppressed people would greet us as liberators.

    They just dusted off their previous comment, changed one letter, and ran with it.

  48. Kip the Wonder Rat says:

    So taking all of this experience and the wisdom that it might impart, what do we do now?

  49. 👽 Martin says:

    @Violet: Yes. And women don’t understand what those conservative men are doing for them by revoking so many rights. And poor people don’t understand what Republicans are doing for them by cutting rich people’s taxes. And minorities and immigrants don’t understand what the GOP is doing for them by preventing them being able to vote.

    Soooooo many misunderstandings. What can be done?

  50. Yutsano says:

    @dance around in your bones: I was studying Islamic history in college right before the war, and our poor professor (who was awesome although he tried to push me more in his direction of Turkey as opposed to my strong interest in Iran) let us all get it out about how bad this would be. Once again us DFHs were rite.

    @Villago Delenda Est: Heh. I love that story even if it is just anecdotal.

  51. El Cid says:

    So many of these people act and write and speak as though they were confused 3 year olds when all of this went down and so can’t be held responsible for their decisions, etc.

    Well, I was a grown-up then, and I knew the basics of how to tell bullshit from truth, and I had seen just like they had seen the U.S. government lie its way into military and violent foreign policy endeavors repeatedly.

    What many commentators apparently excel at is the ability to exempt themselves from the sort of scrutiny of judgment the rest of us think we should have.

  52. aimai says:

    @japa21:

    Yes, it seemed at the time that one of the biggest sins one could commit was being pessimistic –about the chances that the US wouldn’t just walk in and out for no money and no blood. I had innumerable arguments with my conservative sister in law and people on the street about this. Even merely pointing to the downside risk (let alone the moral argument which I also made) was considered a kind of lese majeste against the imagined moral and military might of our great country.

  53. handsmile says:

    I realize that Glenn Greenwald is a favorite pinata for many commenters on this blog, but perhaps on the specific issue of support for the 2003 Iraq War, cudgels would be better applied to those individuals in higher positions on the media food chain (then and now)? Just an idea.

  54. liberal says:

    Maybe I’m remembering wrong (and I don’t have time to look it up), but Krugman was one of the few prominent people with an MSM megaphone to strongly oppose the invasion.

  55. Pooh says:

    Fuck sully for ever for the “objectively pro-terror” McCarthyite bullshit he was spewing back then.

  56. dance around in your bones says:

    @Zifnab:

    I should have been more clear that the protests were dismissed by the Administration and the MSM. To THEM it was like they never happened.

    I was living in Baja at the time, and I still remember when the Bushies mentioned Iraq for the first time and my husband and I looked at each other with horror. Later, a Mexican neighbor of mine brought over a paper with “Bush invades Iraq” as a headline, and I just burst out “He’s an EVIL MAN!”

    A clusterfuck it was, indeed.

    @Yutsano:

    I had traveled extensively in the area and I just knew it was not going to be a bed of roses like the Bushies thought. Jeez, and I was just a DFH. They should have talked to some of us.

  57. smintheus says:

    I contacted several journalists in 2003 (like Slate ninny Tim Noah) who had declared that Powell’s UN speech was bulletproof. I pointed out that his claims had been disproven and even sent them links because I presumed they wouldn’t do any actual research of their own. Not one of them revised their position in the slightest.

    In fact, Noah published a second piece crowing that a reader had pressed him to read an article which exploded Powell’s claims…when in fact, he chortled, it didn’t do anything of the sort. And he linked to a different article at that site than the one I’d pointed out to him. Noah and most of his fellow insiders wanted to keep their heads down like worms.

    Funny how Slate lost all of its good good contrarianism when it came to cheerleading for war.

  58. Mnemosyne says:

    @moonbat:

    Part of that is reflective of just how “just” folks thought a war against Saddam would be and part was just the fact that I was in Philly! :)

    I was going to say, isn’t Philly the city that’s still infamous for booing Santa Claus? Good thing you weren’t wearing red suits with fur collars. ;-)

    I knew the war was bullshit, and no one would listen to me. Colin Powell’s presentation that was supposed to make the case for the war was a fucking farce. The UN inspectors kept saying that there were no weapons right up until Bush started bombing. I managed to convince one of my co-workers that Saddam didn’t have any WMD, but she still supported the war because she thought it would protect Israel.

    It really was like living in the middle of a mass hallucination, or one of those nightmares where you’re trying to stop a horrible accident from happening. You know it’s going to end in tragedy and no one will listen to you.

  59. ellie says:

    I think about the Iraq War and all the lies and my blood pressure goes up. Those fuckers. Waltzing around free while all those people died. I can’t think about it too much because I want to punch something. A classmate of mine died in Iraq as did the son of an ex-boyfriend. For what? Not a goddamn thing. And no one, no one has been held accountable. I hope the people who were responsible for leading us into war as well as the vocal cheerleaders all get what they deserve. And that is all I have to say about that before I get a migraine.

  60. Chris says:

    @Violet:

    Yep, that was one of the more disgusting parts. First it was the liberals’ fault for nit wanting to free the Iraqis; then, within a year, the Iraqis became the people to blame. “We fight for for the freedom of a people who have not yet earned it.”

  61. liberal says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I don’t think most MSMers are smart enough to have made a conscious decision to support a war they thought was wrong because of careerism, they’re just dumb.

    I completely agree. I really do think many if not all the prominent MSM voices belong to people of mediocre intelligence. Of course, to be successful they often have special skills, but their general intelligence is typically not…noteworthy.

    T. Friedman has to be the canonical example. A classic case of a pseudointellectual who knows absolutely nothing.

  62. Villago Delenda Est says:

    @aimai:

    Being pessimistic by being REALISTIC cost Eric Shinseki his job as Army Chief of Staff, for raining on vonRumsfailed’s rosy scenario of a virtually bloodless, inexpensive surgical strike that would topple Saddam and bring peace, flowers, kittens, and yummy little candies to Iraq.

    The entire neocon cabal cannot die enough deaths to atone for their crimes. It’s not possible for them to do so.

    We put Germans and Japanese to death for what the deserting coward, the Dark Lord, and the rest of them did.

  63. 👽 Martin says:

    @aimai:

    Yes, it seemed at the time that one of the biggest sins one could commit was being pessimistic

    You didn’t even need to go all the way to pessimistic. Skeptical was enough for you to be branded as anti-American. The biggest question in many people’s minds was how the US assertions (using the weapons inspectors as proof of WMDs) and the UN assertions (coming from those very weapons inspectors saying there was no evidence of WMDs) were so incompatible.

    I wasn’t pessimistic so much as I was unable to reconcile that. There was no incentive for the UN to lie. There was no evidence UNSCOM had ever lied. I was open to the idea that the administration charges were correct, but they kept getting refuted by the UN.

    And there were two other concerns:

    1) Afghanistan wasn’t going well. Which was to say, it hadn’t ended, and the focus seemed to be off of it. Nobody could explain why that was happening and why it was reasonable.
    2) The GOP was still in full tax-cut mode, which suggested that they didn’t take Iraq (or Afghanistan) seriously. It was like a video game to them – they put in their quarter and figured they could play through to the end.

    Those aren’t unreasonable things to be skeptical about, but answers never came. I was more optimistic than I should have been about how the war would go once started, but my skepticism about the rationale kept growing.

  64. Pokeyblow says:

    Two trillion dollars divided by three-hundred million Americans works out to just under seven thousand dollars each to pay for the Iraq debacle.

    We know Powell lied about the vial of talcum powder. Can we sue him for fraud?

  65. R. Porrofatto says:

    @oldster:
    Yup. Speaking of craven, MSNBC fired Phil Donahue and canceled his show even though it was the highest rated show on MSNBC at the time. Who didn’t they fire? Chris Matthews, ardent Iraq invasion fan.

  66. Cassidy says:

    @Violet: From personal experience, they may noit have understood what were doing for them, but they understood what we were doing to them.

  67. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @liberal: Friedman’s pre-war schtick was a chin-stroking reluctance to do this hard and risky but necessary thing; the phrase he kept using was IIRC “I’m 51% for invasion and 49% against”, his wife was 51% against, and I’m sure all his cab-drivers were in one or the other group. His comments after the war, “Suck on this!”, “I’m sorry for being a bad liberal, and believing the Iraqi people are capable of democracy!” et al proved that was bullshit.

  68. Helmut Monotreme says:

    I didn’t join any protests, but I was against the Iraq war since Sept 12th 2001. It was plain Saddam was a nasty piece of work, but he clearly wasn’t suicidal. And attacking the US would have been suicidal for him. And as the Neocons kept moving the goalposts for the Iraqis with weapons inspectors and embargoes, it was clear the fix was in. It didn’t matter what the inspectors found or didn’t find. It didn’t matter if the food for oil program was corrupt or not. George Bush and his associated toadys and lickspittles wanted war and they were going to get it.

  69. El Cid says:

    @jurassicpork: Yeah, well, remember, in this country, ‘we’ ‘lost’ Vietnam, and the pervasive theme on the subject just last fucking week at CPAC is that we gave up too soon, that if only we’d stuck it out and, what, slaughtered another million or two million or three million or five million civilians, if only we’d carpet-bombed more desperate mothers and fathers and children into bloody mush smashed into non-productive cratered former farmland, then we could have ‘won’, looked at ourselves proudly in the mirror, known that we had finally managed to beat all those fucking short yellowish people into the mantle, instead of simply now employing them to build U.S consumer goods more cheaply than our workers.

  70. Ted & Hellen says:

    Can we discuss again how Bradley Manning deserves death for trying to put a stop to this clusterfuck?

  71. liberal says:

    @R. Porrofatto:

    Chris Matthews, ardent Iraq invasion fan.

    No, actually, Tweety was nominally against the invasion, from everything I read in the blogosphere.

    Doesn’t mean he did anything useful with that, or helped those who wanted to stop the war, etc etc.

  72. Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    “It is unimaginable that the United States would have to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars and highly unlikely that we would have to contribute even tens of billions of dollars.”

    Kenneth Pollack
    former director for Persian Gulf affairs
    National Security Council
    September 2002

    http://www.thenation.com/artic.....f-they-did

  73. oldster says:

    @R. Porrofatto:

    You’re right: it was MSNBC that fired Donahue and canceled his show, not CNN as I said above.

    I don’t know whether people nowadays realize that Donahue was, previous to that, a pretty damned big deal. Not as big as Johnny Carson or Oprah Win, but pretty close.

    And then he opposed the war, and since then he has been a non-person.

    Those were horrible times. And the process of de-Nazification has not even started.

  74. El Cid says:

    @smintheus: See, lesser people like us think of the ‘argument’ as this thing which exists and can be evaluated, like an object, separately from the identity attributed to the person, persons, or insitution presenting it.

    Sophisticated people such as he — who act exactly the same way each and every time a U.S. President tells us he intends to send us into war — understand that the reverse is true:

    It’s their view of the identity of the person or persons presenting an argument which proves or disproves the argument.

  75. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @R. Porrofatto: Tweety had and has a weird fixation with George W Bush, and he certainly has the widespread and misguided belief that criticizing military policy is criticizing “the troops”, but he was against the Iraq war:

    There were other outbreaks of good journalism and challenging commentary. On September 1, 2002, Chris Matthews wrote, “I hate this war that’s coming in Iraq. I don’t think we’ll be proud of it. Oppose this war because it will create a millennium of hatred and the suicidal terrorism that comes with it. You talk about Bush trying to avenge his father. What about the tens of millions of Arab sons who will want to finish a fight we start next spring in Baghdad?”

    This was pretty typical of his views at the time

  76. Roger Moore says:

    @Violet:

    Preening conservative males were terrified that a box cutter might fly around and cut off their balls.

    Those preening conservative “males” never had any balls to worry about in the first place. The preening, strutting displays were designed to disguise their utter lack thereof. This is the basic thing you need to know to understand conservatives.

  77. NobodySpecial says:

    @Alex S.: Evidently you weren’t paying attention back then.

    This is the one thing that even Greenwald bashers should give him props for – he changed his tune and did so even quicker than John Cole did. Hell, people give Charles Johnson more of a pass, and he’s never said boo about the Iraq war that I can recall.

  78. liberal says:

    @👽 Martin:

    The biggest question in many people’s minds was how the US assertions (using the weapons inspectors as proof of WMDs) and the UN assertions (coming from those very weapons inspectors saying there was no evidence of WMDs) were so incompatible.

    The other problem, as it relates to “true” WMD (nukes) is that it’s almost impossible to hide the infrastructure needed to make them.

    The results of the UN inspections turned the allegations from not really believable to absurd.

  79. Mnemosyne says:

    @handsmile:

    I realize that Glenn Greenwald is a favorite pinata for many commenters on this blog, but perhaps on the specific issue of support for the 2003 Iraq War, cudgels would be better applied to those individuals in higher positions on the media food chain (then and now)?

    GG has a nasty habit of declaring that everyone who doesn’t come to the same conclusions he does is a hypnotized Obot who follows Dear Leader unthinkingly. That’s why those of us who never bought Bush’s bullshit for a New York minute like to remind him that he’s the one who blindly followed his president into war, not us.

    Though I will at least give GG the credit of having recanted, no matter how much of an asshole he’s been to those of us who were right all along about it. That still makes him better than the Tim Noahs and Judy Millers of the world, who insist that they were wrong for the right reasons, which makes them better and smarter than the DFHs who were right for the wrong reasons.

  80. Villago Delenda Est says:

    @👽 Martin:

    I wasn’t pessimistic so much as I was unable to reconcile that.

    Doublethink fail. Doublepulsungood. Report to room 101 at once!

  81. NobodySpecial says:

    I don’t want to revisit the runup to the Iraq war, though, because we haven’t all got our Freedom License to Stand Our Ground when an idiot like Friedman comes wandering across our sights.

    I remember arguing this on a rather conservative board with a bunch of well off Caucasians who ranged from mildly left wing Libertarian to hardcore Rush Limbaugh stiffie types. One of them was an ex-soldier who was quite certain that we would find WMD’s, because his buddies were going over to look, and his comment was ‘They’ll be found whether they exist or not because that’s why they’re being sent.’

    Bunch of fucking fools, the lot of them. Makes me angry just to think about all the stupid flying in the atmosphere.

  82. Omnes Omnibus says:

    One of my favorite lines from someone in Columbus, Ohio, to whom I had mentioned a wide variety of potential problems with the invasion and the, to put it mildly, thinness of the justification for it, “Yeah, well, Saddam is a bad guy and he has to go.” Deep fucking thinking there.

    Edited slightly.

  83. Todd says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Can we discuss again how Bradley Manning deserves death for trying to put a stop to this clusterfuck?

    Well, if the sleazy little chunk of traitor shit uses his time machine for that as opposed to revealing Nixon’s Vietnam treason, then he deserves that his death be slow, cruel, unusual and painful.

  84. liberal says:

    @ellie:

    A classmate of mine died in Iraq as did the son of an ex-boyfriend. For what? Not a goddamn thing.

    Well, that’s not true. One of things we accomplished was taking out Iran’s biggest enemy.

    Wait a minute…uh…what?

  85. Cris (without an H) says:

    All this nostalgia makes me remember the triumphalist attitude that disgusted me so much in the immediate aftermath. I remember a T-shirt shop in my town selling pro-war crap, including one that said “Turns Out War Was The Answer After All!” Ha ha ha.

    Fuck those guys. If you think “war was the answer” (and aren’t just saying it to be contrary and piss off liberals) then you’re asking the wrong question. Nobody thought the US wasn’t going to roll through Iraq. Nobody thought we were incapable of deposing Saddam Hussein. We weren’t saying “we can’t do this,” we were saying “we shouldn’t do this.” And yet the day Saddam was captured was somehow this big WOLVERINES moment.

  86. Svensker says:

    @Kip the Wonder Rat:

    We could also look at Hillary 2016 with a jaundiced. She and her hub were supporters of the war and never seemed to be particularly repentant about it, either. I know everyone just lurves them some Hill these days, but that still pisses me off, big time. I knew the war was based on bullshit and would be a clusterfuck, why the hell didn’t she?

  87. Todd says:

    @handsmile:

    I realize that Glenn Greenwald is a favorite pinata for many commenters on this blog, but perhaps on the specific issue of support for the 2003 Iraq War…

    He’s just miffed that Kommander Kodpiece turned out to be a fabrication nearly as bad as the Mission Accomplished banner.

  88. smintheus says:

    @El Cid: Yep. I had discussions even with other academics who dismissed evidence and argument because they trusted that a president would not lie about a case for war. These were adults, not children.

  89. Soonergrunt says:

    @Cassidy: My favorite question became “We? Who the fuck is ‘we’?”
    College Republicans and other military-aged conservatives sure were awfully generous with the blood of other people’s children.

  90. Villago Delenda Est says:

    @liberal:

    Not to mention fattening the bank accounts of all the Dark Lord’s cronies.

    On edit to expand: One of my favorite moments was when the clusterfuck was fully on in 2004 that people actually said that what was needed to put things right was a secular Sunni strongman to take charge and get them to knock that shit off.

    The classic “uh..wait..” moment.

  91. Corner Stone says:

    @Cassidy:

    Who? I’ve been a part of almost every conversation re: Manning and don’t recall anyone supporting the death penalty.

    HAHAHAHA!! That is too fucking good. Thanks.

  92. Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Like Friedman, Richard Cohen had a dishonest pre-war arugment– the Tony Blair “humanitarian” case– and a post war admission that after having watched 9/11 on TeeVee, he needed some “therapeutic violence”, i.e. dead Browns. In a sane world, that man who wrote those words would be a pariah.

  93. the lost puppy says:

    I understand Paul “The Oil Revenues Will Pay for the Entire War” Wolfowitz has had somewhat of a change of heart?

  94. ET says:

    Of course he found the dissenters at the CIA and in the military. They were seeing all the documents war supporters didn’t want anyone to see and the crap they did.

    I am not sure I had an opinion about the trying to get nukes thing but I do know that I remember think that the administration’s trying to make the Saddam/Al-Qaeda link were spewing bull. First, for me Saddam was all about him and maintaining his power and deliberately inviting in Al-Qaeda (who he had to know hated him) was just not going to happen. Al-Qaeda would have tried to be top dog and Saddam was never going to let that happen. Second, I always felt that Al-Qaeda and Usama considered Saddam almost as much of an enemy as the US – though for different reasons. I guess after that I felt that any argument they used was BS.

  95. JustRuss says:

    to their credit, our local paper ran a column (can’t recall the author) discussing several of the failures that lead to the war. It went into a little detail on each factor, but the total failure of our media was just mentioned in passing. I have little doubt that 10 years from now, they’ll break out the pom-poms to cheer the next “liberation”.

  96. Anya says:

    @the Conster: benefit of the doubt and all that but, could this signal the moment when GG learned that he should always be hostile to those in power. Maybe the lesson he learned is that our government is always up to no good when it comes to countries inhabited by brown people.

  97. Omnes Omnibus says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: The other fun one for me, as an ex-soldier, was people’s assumption that I would automatically be on board with the invasion. Fuck, my army experience is one of the things that led me to question the invasion. And I didn’t really appreciate being called a coward by some fat fuck who would never have risked his life for anyone under any circumstances. Assholes, all of them. Yeah, I still harbor some anger issues on this one. No legitimate justification for the war. Didn’t listen to the professionals about WMDs or how many troops would be needed. Broke the military to a large extent. Damn near bankrupted our future. Tortured people. Fuckers.

  98. the lost puppy says:

    All these pundits, all these writers, all these “journalists,” talk and radio show hosts, “experts” blah blah blah

    You never had to be a rocket scientist to figure out, from the very beginning, this was all a sham.

    Colin Powell & cartoons.

    I watched a huge chunk of the nation, and most of the people around me, allow themselves to be hypnotized and eventually brainwashed and slurp down war talk as if it were mothers’ milk.

    Once the “serious people” realized they were wrong, however, it was “we must move forward and not dwell on the past” which is, of course, an excellent way to continue repeating the same tragic, disastrous mistakes.

    And yes, it was hard to forgive Hillary and many, many others who sold out.

  99. the lost puppy says:

    There, I expressed an opinion about the Iraq War without going absolutely, apeshite ballistic.

    (pats self on back)

  100. Soonergrunt says:

    @aimai: How does your sister act today when Iraq is brought up?
    Kindly inform her that she has the blood of 4,400 American Soldiers on her hands and soul, to say nothing of the 400 Coalition soldiers, and 100,000+ Iraqis. Ask her what, if anything, she intends to do about it. Come back here and tell us.
    Thank you.

  101. jrg says:

    @smintheus: They were probably under the impression there would be consequences for getting thousands of people killed for no reason.

    Before 2003, I don’t think that was an unreasonable belief.

  102. Foregone Conclusion says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    This is essentially Tony Blair’s argument to this day.

    “Sure, I lied to you about the whole thing, and millions of people died in the process… but Saddam Hussein bad man! If you oppose the war, you love Saddam! I know, because Jesus told me!’

    I still don’t understand how the slimy little fucker lasted another four years as Prime Minister. Same reason that Bush lasted another five-and-a-half as President, I suppose.

  103. handsmile says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Nary a word or sentiment that I disagree with here. I was prompted to my own comment simply because it seemed that Greenwald rather than Miller, Noah, Friedman, Ignatius, Hitchens, Ignatieff and a contemptible host of other far more influential media figures was becoming a primary focus of indignation. (A concern happily unfounded as the thread developed.)

  104. Soonergrunt says:

    @handsmile: How about those of us who were right all along and suffered for it give a rhetorical bitch-slap to anybody who was wrong then and hasn’t adequately acknowledged it, especially if they have any kind of platform at all from which to address public opinion?

  105. patroclus says:

    @handsmile: Agreed. I’m a huge Greenwald-basher, but I think he deserves a pass on his initial support of the Iraq war. He was a nobody then – just your typical passive Republican that trusted Bush to do what was right. He then switched big-time and was one of the best full-throated critics for several years – in effect, he made his bones by opposing the Iraq war so vociferously that, in my view, made up for his earlier apostasy. I save my criticism for supporting the war for someone who was in a position to affect public opinion at that time – like virtually every single Republican office-holder and media elite member and a good portion of supposed Dems too. Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer are far more culpable than Glenn Greenwald, in my view.

    Besides, I’m not entirely in the clear either. I certainly opposed the build-up, I opposed the idiotic war resolution, I thought Colin Powell was lying, I thought Cheney was lying, I thought Bush was lying, I marched in the Chicago anti-war protest, but once the war started and the statue fell, I have to admit that I, more or less, gave up. It wasn’t until the UN building bombing that August that I woke up and started really opposing the war again, and it wasn’t until the DSM revelations and Abu Ghraib that I got very very vocal about it. I was never a war supporter, but I can’t claim that I was always right, so I am somewhat hesitant at lobbing grenades at others, like Greenwald, who have similar histories.

    On Manning, I think he should get a light sentence because of all the prosecutorial misconduct.

  106. Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Can we discuss again how Bradley Manning deserves death for trying to put a stop to this clusterfuck?

    He tried to prevent the war from starting in 2003 by releasing documents in 2010?

    That’s some Phillip K Dick-strength weed you’re smoking there, Timmy.

  107. Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I have anger issues about it, too, and for the same reasons.

    When I think of all the broken soldiers…my heart breaks.

    Then there are all the broken Iraqis, who number in the millions dead, wounded, or driven out of their homeland.

  108. brantl says:

    They didn’t have to be craven and careerist, either one did, by itself. Orson Scott Card, a mormon, did the projection that Muslims might be just as nutso as mormons, then he read their crazy book, decided that they believe it literally, just like he believes the batshit crazy book of Moron, then got a’sceered.

  109. liberal says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    That’s only if “this clusterfuck” refers to the invasion of Iraq. Sadly, “this clusterfuck” is a continuing enterprise.

  110. Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Foregone Conclusion: Of course, Saddam was a bad guy. That was a no shit statement. There are lots of bad guys; one doesn’t just go around knocking them off willy-nilly. What’s weird is that I am not one of the people who is automatically opposed to military interventions by the US. I just think there are several preconditions that must be met before we do anything. Things like a valid legal justification (self-defense and UN authorization come to mind), limited and achievable aims, a favorable risk analysis, and a viable exit strategy. None of those conditions were really met with Iraq.

  111. Ted & Hellen says:

    @patroclus:

    On Manning, I think he should get a light sentence because of all the prosecutorial misconduct.

    Manning should get the medal of freedom and a few million dollars in damages for his confinement.

  112. liberal says:

    @patroclus:

    … but once the war started and the statue fell, I have to admit that I, more or less, gave up…

    So? Once we invaded, there was no way to unshit the bed.

  113. Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    limited and achievable aims, a favorable risk analysis, and a viable exit strategy.

    The Powell Doctrine. That Powell personally cast aside when he appeared before the UN and served up a banquet of bullshit.

  114. geg6 says:

    @handsmile:

    And why exactly should he get off? He spends all his time piously lamenting how those of us who were right then are totally wrong about everything concerning foreign policy and war today. Again. Fuck Glenn Greenwald and fuck anyone who thinks he has some sort of moral authority about anything.

  115. smintheus says:

    @jrg: I don’t remember there being too many consequences for most of those who lied to us about Vietnam. Certainly not for the lies about WWI.

  116. R. Porrofatto says:

    @<a h@liberal:
    ref=”#comment-4297985″>Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    You’re right. Matthews did voice his opposition to the invasion. I was wrong about that. Unfortunately he switched gears as little as a month into it. When the toppling of Hussein’s statue was staged:

    Why don’t the damn Democrats give the president his day? He won today. He did well today….

    What’s he [Dean] going to talk about a year from now, the fact that the war went too well and it’s over? I mean, don’t these things sort of lose their–isn’t there a fresh date on some of these debate points?

    We’re all neo-cons now….

    And then he became just plain embarrassing during Bush’s Mission Accomplished codpiece deck-prance.

  117. Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    He tried to prevent the war from starting in 2003 by releasing documents in 2010.

    You really cannot argue a point without distorting your opponent’s statements, can you.

    I will write very slowly for you: He tried to stop it in 2010.

    See how your various mental problems, which you have discussed here, apparently cause you to imagine assertions never made, since that is the only way you can feel you are winning an argument?

  118. patroclus says:

    @liberal: Indeed, I don’t consider myself culpable for the war, but during the period from March 2003 until August 2003, I wasn’t exactly the best opponent I could be. I supported de-Baathification, now proven to be an awful mistake. I was pleased about the statue falling; I was glad that Saddam Hussein and his henchmen had been deposed; I was glad when Uday and Kusei met their fate. I actually thought that the Iraqi Transitional Council was a representative body. I regret virtually all of those thoughts now – I now believe that virtually everything the U.S. did throughout was a clusterfuck of the first order. And I changed my view because of reading stuff from journalists like Glenn Greenwald – I despise him now for reasons best articulated by geg. I think we should rain down rhetorical hellfire missiles on those that actually were in a position to affect public opinion before the war and I have some sympathy for some of those who had shifting positions, as I (regrettably) did.

  119. handsmile says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Please slap away, rhetorically or otherwise, at those who were wrong about the justifications and consequences of the Iraq war then and fail to acknowledge those errors (or but grudgingly so) to this day. (particularly if, as I infer from your comment, you suffered from your opposition to the war.)

    My point was simply that in the long line of those media and academic figures deserving contempt and condemnation for their “platform…from which to address public opinion,” Greenwald’s trivial audience/influence in 2003 places him somewhere towards the back of the queue.

    @patroclus:

    Thanks. Your first paragraph is what I was trying to get at: the degree of culpability relates to the degree of influence or impact.

    For myself, I never had any doubt whatsoever about the baleful effects of a Bush/Cheney administration for this country or the world.

  120. Corner Stone says:

    @Cassidy:

    Step up amigo. Show your work.

    How about #109 which was posted right above your flatly ridiculous position? The juxtaposition doesn’t do it for you? Too bad.
    Oh, and as for showing my work, do your own research.

  121. Ted & Hellen says:

    @Cassidy:

    Several commenters here at BJ, among thousands of others. I’m not going to hunt them down for you. You’re a dishonest freak and you’re misdirecting as per usual.

    Fuck off.

  122. Tonybrown74 says:

    @R. Porrofatto:

    And then he became just plain embarrassing during Bush’s Mission Accomplished codpiece deck-prance.

    This was definitely one of the most disgusting and humiliating things I have ever watched.
    A bunch of grown [straight’ men leering and drooling over another man’s package.

    Anther disgusting moment: Fucking Fox News playing patriotic music while showing the firefight on TV!

    As for the war, I have to say I felt the same as many others here. It was like the world went mad and I was the only sane person in the room. I witnessed as supposedly liberal, well educated friends slowly became in favor of the war. I felt like the star of the movie Invasion of the Body Snatcher. One by one people turned, and before I realized it, I (and a few other were the only non-affected people.

  123. priscianus jr says:

    @Ryan: Yes, if you opposed the Iraq war, people like John Cole would call you things like “manic progressive” or “emo prog” and dismiss principled, legitimate objections to mass slaughter as “poutrage”. Thank goodness people like John Cole never do that anymore, certainly not on this blog.

    Truly it takes a special kind of sanctimony to snark people for things they did in the past long after they themselves have realized and admitted, on multiple occasions, that they were wrong. You’re not the only one who does this.

    In fact, I can think of another great example, à propos both subject-matter and cultural geography. Cole’s fellow West Virginian, the late Senator Robert Byrd, was a strong opponent of the Iraq War. All of a sudden supporters of the war like Michelle Malkin were making sure everyone knew Byrd was a former Klan member. (As a very young man, he had been a member from about mid-1942 to early 1943.)

    Byrd had told newsman Bernard Shaw in 1993: “The greatest mistake I ever made was joining the Ku Klux Klan. And I’ve said that many times. But one cannot erase what he has done. He can only change his ways and his thoughts. That was an albatross around my neck that I will always wear. You will read it in my obituary that I was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.”

    Byrd — the longest-serving senator in US history — had a 100% voting record from the NAACP on all 33 senate bills relevant to their concerns.

  124. Johannes says:

    Ok, I took a certain amount of crap at work for being against Der Klusterfukk in real time, but I had the advantage of (1) having read the Flashman novels in addition to having taken some courses in Mideast studies and thus was properly cynical about the Admin spin ; and (2) knew a weapons inspector on Blix’s team (since deceased, alas) who gave me a pretty scathing account over dinner.

    I’d forgotten what a McCartyite twit Sully was in those days, and how he’s never really apologized for that.

  125. Corner Stone says:

    @priscianus jr:

    @Ryan people like John Cole would call you things like “manic progressive” or “emo prog” and dismiss principled, legitimate objections to mass slaughter as “poutrage”. Thank goodness people like John Cole never do that anymore, certainly not on this blog.

    I too am thankful he never does things like that anymore.

  126. handsmile says:

    @geg6:

    Not in my original comment (#68) nor in any subsequent reply did I suggest that Greenwald should “get off” or be free from condemnation for his initial support for the Iraq War. As I first replied to Mnemosyne (#139), it was my concern that he would become the principal villain here.

    I acknowledge that you believe I should be fucked for maintaining some measure of respect for Greenwald’s writing. We will continue to disagree on this particular matter, but I do look forward to the pictures and accounts of your new dog. :)

  127. Chuck Butcher says:

    Since I loathed Cheney/Bush for what were real reasons I had no problem with the fact that evidence kept showing them as liars and saying so. I note that caveate for good reason and more should think about it regarding criticisms of “their” guy. Making heroes of politicians is risky business and generally ultimately disappointing – and stupid.

  128. liberal says:

    @smintheus:
    Agreed.

    That was one (out of many) reasons I never bought into the Truthers’ theory. If what they’re saying were proven, we would execute Bush et al.

    But for murdering a few hundred thousand brown guys? Nah.

  129. Omnes Omnibus says:

    @liberal: I read 109 as bad snark based on the earlier time machine comment – not as an actual call for Manning’s execution.

  130. Todd says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I will write very slowly for you: He tried to stop it in 2010

    I can hear the debate now – “Oh, noze – a candy-ass 19 year old private just dumped a bunch of classified documents, a few of which sort of talked about Afghanistan, but all dumped out in complete violation of law and his authority. Lets abandon responsibilities in Iraq and Afghanistan because of it, wring our hands a while, and make Manning president!!!”

  131. liberal says:

    @Johannes:
    Maybe this thread should divert itself into a contest between those who think he’s a bigger douche for the “5th column” statement and those who prefer the “promoted that silly, racist, unscientific tract” part of his career.

  132. liberal says:

    @Todd:

    Lets abandon responsibilities in Iraq and Afghanistan because of it, wring our hands a while, and make Manning president!

    Responsibilities in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    The US isn’t, wasn’t, and would never be willing to pay the costs of a large enough occupation of Iraq, ie one that would have kept the peace and quickly stabilized the country.

    And Afghanistan actually has more people than Iraq.

  133. Todd says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Am I the only one here familiar with our friendly commenter Todd?

    Hey, you’ve got your contrarian troll thing going, I’ve got mine. Yours happens to be more consistently applied, mine comes out when I’m of a certain mood.

  134. Kathleen says:

    @oldster: See also “Chicks, Dixie”. Though they weren’t pundits or so called journalists, the paid a huge price for a comment that was neither disrespectful, obscene nor threatening.

  135. Chuck Butcher says:

    @liberal:
    OK, I was deliberately unspecific – there are some I like quite a bit even when I disagree with them but that is a different thing from making a hero… One thing people miss about the concept of “being brave” is that it involves accepting the possible bad consequences of the act.

  136. Corner Stone says:

    @Todd: I don’t consider asking for more info or denying the prevailing CW here at our watering hole BJ to be contrarian.
    That’s been an easy shorthand for people who dimly understand I am not swallowing what they are pushing.

    But for the clearer question, do you have any thoughts on Bradley Manning, how he should be (or should’ve been) charged, or at trial how it should have been resolved?

  137. Todd says:

    @liberal:

    The US isn’t, wasn’t, and would never be willing to pay the costs of a large enough occupation of Iraq, ie one that would have kept the peace and quickly stabilized the country.

    And Afghanistan actually has more people than Iraq.

    Ironically, we’re in agreement as to that.

    I remember being really perplexed at the speed at which the purple finger of voting was invoked, and wondered (as the DoD would have had extensive files on the successful occupations of Germany and Japan) why they didn’t use variations on the MacArthur model from Japan. MacArthur’s occupation included imposed, unmodifiable for a decade constitution mandating voting rights, equality for women, democratic institutions, freedom of conscience, etc.

  138. handsmile says:

    @liberal:

    Neither this thread nor this blog itself is the proper venue for such exercises in metaphysics or moral philosophy. I prefer a more Puritanical response to Sullivan: he should be publicly shunned. (That his opinions continue to hold the attention of so many BJ regulars is a source of abiding bewilderment.)

  139. sw says:

    The one who turned my stomach was Scott Simon at NPR. I had always liked him. Thought he had great impulses. His coverage of South and Central American issues during the Reagan and Bush years was great. Then, it seemed like the moment his and his family’s personal safety was threatened, he shit himself and all his values went out the window. Spent three years or so just completely sucking up to the idea of military power saving us from this existential threat. I can’t listen to him anymore.

  140. chopper says:

    @Corner Stone:

    see, a statement like this out of you is absolutely meaningless. look, you misread something and made yourself look like a buffoon. it’s okay, seriously.

  141. liberal says:

    @Todd:
    I’m merely stating what was true—I was making a descriptive (or “positive”) claim, not a normative one. “Is”, not “ought”.

    I don’t know the details about what you’re alluding to with Japan. I only remember that there’s very good rules of thumb for how many men it takes for an effective occupation, and the number we had wasn’t even close; off by about a factor of 5 for Iraq, if I recall correctly.

    That’s one reason I think it’s important that we distinguish between the war/invasion part of the history, and the rest, which is really an “occupation” not a “war”.

  142. Todd says:

    @Corner Stone:

    But for the clearer question, do you have any thoughts on Bradley Manning, how he should be (or should’ve been) charged, or at trial how it should have been resolved?

    What would I do? I’d have him arrested, jailed without bail, prosecuted, convicted, and given a long prison term. I do this as a message to all 19 year old privates who are given more material than they should be entrusted with.

    For what its worth, I’d also prosecute and/or wipe out the careers every NCO, junior officer and field grade who was responsible for a 19 year old private being entrusted with that much marginally sensitive material.

  143. liberal says:

    @chopper:
    The standard is “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    If you think that a reasonable educated guess is that the number of people on this blog who called for the execution of Bradley Manning is “zero or one,” then you need to get your head examined.

  144. Omnes Omnibus says:

    @liberal: Actually, T&H is the one who made the suggestion that Balloon Juice has a large contingent of habitues who want Manning put to death. Cassidy asked T&H to prove it. In my experience, if those commenters or front pagers exist, they are vanishingly few in number. The number who believe that he committed a crime when he released the files and deserves punishment of some kind is much larger.

  145. chopper says:

    @liberal:

    “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” does not imply that “all other claims require no evidence at all.”

  146. LaurelhurstLiberal says:

    Not to prematurely Godwinize the conversation, but there’s always somebody who will say, “I told the Fuhrer not to invade Russia!” They usually say this in 1946 in Buenos Aires.

  147. Alex S. says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    I WAS paying attention back then. Of course, I was younger back then (21 years old), and maybe I was lucky that I was in an environment that instinctively rejected wars, but I saw through the propaganda from the very beginning. I also understood that much of the press had to go along with the war to keep their credentials – that’s an excuse Greenwald doesn’t have by the way. But his holier-than-thou attitude is hypocritical. If you are so sure of yourself as he is, you better be right, and he wasn’t. Anyway, I mainly refered to Greenwald’s comments on Obama’s and Portman’s change on gay marriage. If Obama doesn’t get Greenwald’s approval for his changing stance, then Greenwald doesn’t get mine.

  148. Pete says:

    FWIW, Andrew Sullivan just wrote the following:

    “As the archives show, I was seriously convinced by the WMD argument, because I wanted to be convinced, i.e. a useful idiot.”

  149. Ted & Hellen says:

    Multiple posters here announced multiple times that if Manning were executed it was no great loss to them, etc. etc, and other variations on that same theme.

    The fact that Fat Assidy pretends not to remember any of that is no surprise. He’s a known liar and dissembler here.

    BTW, Fatassidy, are you playing on the Intertrons on your employer’s time again? Is he or she out of town so you feel justified in wasting time again?

  150. Ted & Hellen says:

    @Pete:

    And why would anyone believe this excuses his behavior? A past useful idiot on something so clearly bogus is a future useful idiot waiting to strike again.

    Fuck him and fuck you for reading his trash.

  151. Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I will write very slowly for you: He tried to stop it in 2010.

    And that has what, again, to do with the subject everyone else is discussing, which is when the war started in 2003?

    If you’re going to jump off into a different subject, you should probably make it clear that you’re trying to change the subject away from what everyone else has been discussing for 100+ comments rather than getting all huffy because people aren’t talking about what you want to talk about.

    I mean, I realize you want every thread to be about youyouyou and the subjects that fascinate you most, but sometimes the adults are trying to have a discussion and flinging your bottle to gain some attention isn’t really contributing to it.

  152. dance around in your bones says:

    All I know is that T&H had some kind of pain in his gulliver that made him have to eat some pie.

  153. Villago Delenda Est says:

    For the record, I don’t think Manning should be put to death for his crimes.

    On the subject of Timmeh, his finding a fire to die in would not be unwelcome, however.

  154. Pete says:

    @Ted & Hellen: I was specifically referring to DougJ’s statement in the original post. To wit:

    “What you won’t you hear from any of them is the truth, which would sound like this: ‘I supported the war because I’m a craven, careerist stooge.'”

    What Sullivan wrote is pretty close to that, IMO.

    I make no claim that he is anything other than a future useful idiot waiting to strike again.

    But thank you for saying “Fuck You” to me. That was very kind of you.

  155. Tonybrown74 says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Multiple posters here announced multiple times that if Manning were executed it was no great loss to them, etc. etc, and other variations on that same theme.

    Dude/Dudette (or whatever the hell you are), you see that word IF? It kinda weakens that argument just a bit …

  156. Corner Stone says:

    @Cassidy: I’m just following the moral arbiter’s blog lead on this specific request.
    I, too, find it fascinating when someone makes a claim and is then challenged and they so “do your own homework” or “do your own research”, or some variant of the “I’m slinging BS but it’s 100% up to you to disprove all of it” gambit.
    But aimai does this non stop on pretty much any emotionally laced topic that comes up here. Just makes shit up and refuses to cite sources or links.
    I figure if it’s good enough for BJ’s leading moral and intellectual lights…

  157. Paula says:

    I was in college, therefore I was surrounded by people who thought this was a bad idea.

    They also thought Afghanistan was a bad idea.

    It was easy to see that they were right on both counts.

    I have yet to be offered a weekly column at the Guardian, Slate, NYT, Daily Beast or any other place.

  158. Cassidy says:

    @Corner Stone: Well, to be fair, you didn’t insinuate a mjority as Pedobear did, but I imagine that you’re original response seems to imply a fairly large contigent of BJ commenters. So, I’m flexible.

    I really think that’s beside the point. There are a lot of people here who ave no problem with his detainment and prosecution and others who think he’s a hero. Most fall in between.

  159. Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    In my experience, if those commenters or front pagers exist, they are vanishingly few in number.

    Vanishingly few, or never existed in number?
    Because I distinctly recollect wildly differently, and went through a couple of long threads in disgust.

  160. Redshirt says:

    I’ve felt like ancient Cassandra since about 1999. I saw it all coming, clear as day, and told anyone who would listen what was what. Made no difference.

    I ran an “Iraqi Invasion” Pool back in late 2002. Closest to the date won the pot. 60 bucks up for grabs, and I was off by 2 weeks confound it.

    Things are different now, thank FSM.

  161. Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    @Violet:

    Iraqi civilians would welcome us with flowers and have parades in our honor, Saddam Hussein would be removed from office (dead or in prison), we’d be rich from all the oil and we’d be world heroes.

    I remember being mocked on McArglebargle’s website comments for saying that by not letting Blix complete the inspections and instead rushing to war we’d be paying more in blood and treasure than we had to.

    I was convinced by Kevin Drum and Daniel Davies of the “why this war right now,” that we should give Blix more time and build an international concensus. But I suspected the part rush to war was (1) to wrong-foot Democrats and retake the Senate in the 2002 mid-terms, (2) discredit the UN, which was starting to build up some authority in that post-Cold War world.

    But I expected all DFH objections to the war would be embarrassily silenced when the WMD turned up and the anti-war side would be discredited. So I didn’t actively oppose the war.
    Damn you Ken Pollack.

  162. Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Herbal Infusion Bagger: Saddam was a an evil prick but he was cunning and had strong survival instincts. Since he was letting Blix’s teams in, I figured that either was nothing there was nothing to find or, if something was there, he was going to give it up. In either case, we had no casus belli. I had less confidence in Powell than most; I saw him as a go along to get along guy from the time I know of his involvement in trying to bury My Lai.

  163. Ted & Hellen says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Saddam was a an evil prick

    Hmmm…do you really think he was more evil than Bush and Cheney, just comparing the number of dead on each roster?

  164. Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Saddam was a an evil prick but he was cunning and had strong survival instincts.

    If I were Saddam, I would have had a hundred leaky radioactive barrels brought in secretly from somewhere and slapped a bunch of big fucking “Sold in the USA” labels all the hell over them.
    Then I would have sat there with my white gloves and my dainty parasol and said, “Yeah, we gots some 20+ year old shit that’s pretty nasty. Don’t you remember? You sold all of it to me. BTW, do you give any credit for trade-ins?”

  165. Corner Stone says:

    Couple things. To my recollection Saddam did just about every thing but let the UN inspectors sniff his underwear drying clothesline. He looked truly baffled at why no one wanted to believe what the official inspectors were telling the world. It was almost like an SNL parody at the time at how confused he was.
    Second, we knew good and god damned well he had had WMD because we did fucking sell them to him in the 80’s.
    That’s just fact. It’s in the undeniable historical record. It’s why the Clinton admin and John By God Kerry all felt so ok with talking shit about Iraq. They knew from classified intel that the Reagan admin had completely sold Saddam his goodies in the 80’s.

  166. Debbie(aussie) says:

    @the Conster:
    Just out of curiosity; why is this any different to John and others change of mind. Glenn was not a public figure or even a blogger at the time. That appears to be an honest assessment. Wrong, in so many ways, but he doesn’t claim to be infalable.

  167. Alex S. says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    He does, read my comment again. Cole doesn’t condemn Obama for changing his mind, so I don’t condemn John. And John is not as sanctimonious as Glenn.

  168. Shared Humanity says:

    What really pisses me off is the “big lie” that still gets told by everyone.

    “Well, of course, everyone thought he had weapons of mass destruction!”

    You hear this BS today on a daily basis. No, we all knew he did not and we chose to enter into an illegal war anyway, causing an enormous refugee crisis, destroying one country (Iraq) and destabilizing a second (Syria).

    This nation is guilty of war crimes.

  169. chopper says:

    @Shared Humanity:

    what pisses me off is the whole ‘of course he had WMDs, we still have the receipts!’ line. as if nerve gas doesn’t lose its efficacy after 20 years.

  170. Ronbo says:

    @Ryan: So true! They aren’t even as liberal as Richard M. Nixon. Cole’s stooges are much worse about lineing up behind someone, ANYONE. His moderators are just a tweak too fascist for my taste.

  171. OldVet says:

    @James Gary: One of the most overlooked momentuous occurences in music happened in 1965, when John Lennon and Bob Dylan spent a couple months hanging out and jamming together. It was after that that Dylan went electric and Lennon started writing songs that had meaning.

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