Banging the War Drum

The Washington Post editorial board is very, very upset that we are not going to spend the rest of eternity hemorraghing blood and money in Afghanistan, and had an impressively bad piece lamenting that we may not remain in a permanent war:

YOU CAN’T fault President Obama for inconsistency. After winning election in 2008, he reduced the U.S. military presence in Iraq to zero. After helping to topple Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi in 2011, he made sure no U.S. forces would remain. He has steadfastly stayed aloof, except rhetorically, from the conflict in Syria. And on Tuesday he promised to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

The Afghan decision would be understandable had Mr. Obama’s previous choices proved out. But what’s remarkable is that the results also have been consistent — consistently bad. Iraq has slid into something close to civil war, with al-Qaeda retaking territory that U.S. Marines once died to liberate. In Syria, al-Qaeda has carved out safe zones that senior U.S. officials warn will be used as staging grounds for attacks against Europe and the United States. Libya is falling apart, with Islamists, secularists, military and other factions battling for control.

It goes on like that, but it isn’t even factually accurate in the first damned paragraph, as Jeffrey Goldberg (no dove) will attest:

During the course of our discussion, I asked him about the famous “red line” crisis – Obama’s last-minute decision to abort a missile strike and instead negotiate the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile – that colors so much of foreign-policy commentary today. Netanyahu issued what was for him a full-throated endorsement of an Obama initiative, calling it “the one ray of light in a very dark region.”

“It’s not complete yet,” he went on. “We are concerned that they may not have declared all of their capacity. But what has been removed has been removed. We’re talking about 90 percent. We appreciate the effort that has been made and the results that have been achieved.”

What matters to the odious Fred Hiatt and company is not the results, but that they were attained without great loss of life and limb- they are cut from the same cloth as the yellow press of yore. So, when Obama gives a speech at West Point that doesn’t begin or end with “LEMME SEE YOUR WAR FACE,” the Post editorial board is so distressed they issue another “OBAMA IS A PUSSY” opinion piece hours after the President finished speaking. Seriously:

At West Point, President Obama binds America’s hands on foreign affairs

By Editorial Board, Wednesday, May 28, 3:21 PM

PRESIDENT OBAMA has retrenched U.S. global engagement in a way that has shaken the confidence of many U.S. allies and encouraged some adversaries. That conclusion can be heard not just from Republican hawks but also from senior officials from Singapore to France and, more quietly, from some leading congressional Democrats. As he has so often in his political career, Mr. Obama has elected to respond to the critical consensus not by adjusting policy but rather by delivering a big speech.

In his address Wednesday to the graduating cadets at West Point , Mr. Obama marshaled a virtual corps of straw men, dismissing those who “say that every problem has a military solution,” who “think military intervention is the only way for America to avoid looking weak,” who favor putting “American troops into the middle of [Syria’s] increasingly sectarian civil war,” who propose “invading every country that harbors terrorist networks” and who think that “working through international institutions . . . or respecting international law is a sign of weakness.”

Few, if any, of those who question the president’s record hold such views. Instead, they are asking why an arbitrary date should be set for withdrawing all forces from Afghanistan, especially given the baleful results of the “zero option” in Iraq. They are suggesting that military steps short of the deployment of U.S. ground troops could stop the murderous air and chemical attacks by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. They are arguing that the United States should not be constrained by Cyprus or Bulgaria in responding to Russia’s invasion and annexation of parts of Ukraine.

I know they are dim bulbs, but how did they manage to quote him and then in the very next paragraph prove him right. “Arbitrary date” is code for we need to keep troops there forever, because in Fred Hiatt’s fever dreams, there will always be a threat in Afghanistan. “Military steps short of deployment” means raining hell down on the population in the hopes that we hit the right guys, and then when we don’t and the air war in Syria does not stop the civil war, then Fred Hiatt and company will be back demanding we send in troops. I honestly have no idea how how Cyprus or Bulgaria are constraining us, especially since NO ONE anywhere thought there would be a military response in Ukraine (which probably what upset them), and because the sanctions have worked and Putin is basically giving up the ballgame.

Have I mentioned I hate Fred Hiatt? And fwiw, the WaPO editorial board over the last two decades has done more damage to this nation than 1000 Edward Snowdens.

*** Update ***

Just go read Pierce.

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113 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    Reminding me again how much I would love to cancel our WaPost subscription.

    Alas, this vile editorial board co-exists with a reporting staff that occasionally pens something sublime and helpful. (The Post has done some longer non-fiction narratives with excellent photographs accompanying. And — Anne Hull and Dana Priest.)

    It’s still good to support your local newspaper, far as it may have fallen.

    But fuck the WaPost’s editorial board, its publisher, and some of its alumni. (Peter Baker, now throwing red meat to red state types at the real paper of record, the NY Times.)

  2. 2
    Elizabelle says:

    PS: the WaPost is proof of how “journalism” often lags the country on figuring things out.

  3. 3
    Morzer says:

    If Fred Hiatt wants to bomb Iran so much, he can be the first damn person to jump into Tehran from 10,000 feet without a parachute. And, for that matter, he can take Mini-Kristol, McCain, Palin, Krauthammer and the rest of the worthlessly militant parasites with him.

  4. 4
    kc says:

    Well, I mean, whatever we do abroad, I would certainly hope we’re getting Netanyahu’s approval first.

  5. 5
    srv says:

    You know, nobody could have predicted that Iraq was going to be anything but a wildly successful Jeffersonian Democracy.

    Dude doesn’t even get credit for sucking up the Kagan Afghan Surge. Perhaps they should interview Kagan as to why his Iraq and Afghan theories didn’t work out.

  6. 6
    kc says:

    Maybe the editors of WaPo all own a shitload of stock in private military contractors? Just trying to think of a reason why’d they be so gung-ho on the USA being in permanent war status. Surely it can’t just be that that makes them feel more manly.

  7. 7
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Hiatt’s really pissed off that Obama isn’t going to stay in Afghanistan for Infinity Friedman Units.

  8. 8
    Ash Can says:

    They’re just throwing a tantrum because their BFFs in the military manufacturing industry aren’t getting the unlimited gravy train that they did under Cheney Dubya.

  9. 9
    catclub says:

    Pierce’s evisceration of Fred Hiatt and Co was pretty good.
    mention of the fact that when similar results to the present results were predicted in 2002, Hiatt and Co were gung ho to go forward anyway.

  10. 10
    Trollhattan says:

    Well ranted, JC. I’ve nothing to add other than would the WaPo opinionators please vacate my local dead-tree news device, forthwith? My BP won’t tolerate one more sniffy Chucky Krauthammer screed.

  11. 11
    Warren Terra says:

    @catclub:

    Pierce’s evisceration of Fred Hiatt and Co was pretty good.

    Fred Hiatt’s War, by Charlie Pierce.

  12. 12
    Schlemizel says:

    We can’t lose if we never leave! If we leave it will be a loss for sure as both places slip into chaos and become breeding grounds for more terrorists. Had we stayed those terrorists could just kill soldiers there instead of some place else. So we simply must stay & let a few dozen kids get killed every year and make sure that the VA will have a never ending supply of people who have to wait for their rationed care – which we totally shouldn’t have to pay for because its all government waste.

  13. 13
    TG Chicago says:

    I didn’t click over, but it seems that when complaining about Iraq, they didn’t bother to point out that Iraq was demanding that a new SOFA include the ability to try US soldiers under their legal system. Is that what the WaPo wankers want?

    Actually, what the probably wanted was for the US to say “fuck a new SOFA; we’re just staying” Which of course would end wonderfully.

  14. 14
    jl says:

    I can only imagine that editorial brimstone when the WaPo editors notice that we are not still fighting for fifty-four forty, the Philippine coaling stations have been abandoned, the Panama Canal unsecured!

  15. 15
    catclub says:

    @Schlemizel: We were spending more every year on the Afghan operation than their entire GDP. so maybe 1/2 Million people in the entire military and hangers on.
    Population of Afghanistan is 25 Million.

    The smart thing Obama did was put those operations ON the budget, so that when they get turned off, they come OFF the budget.

  16. 16
    Citizen_X says:

    al-Qaeda retaking territory that U.S. Marines once died to liberate.

    Anybody want to explain what “liberate” means in the context of the pointless-clusterfuck Iraq War? It’s not like we were ousting an invading army or something. (Instead of, you know, being an invading army.)

    Hey Wapo: nobody wants your damn wars anymore. Especially not the five or so you’ve got planned here.

    Maybe they’re trying to push Hillary into promising some gore and destruction once she gets in?

  17. 17
    Chyron HR says:

    Well, jeez, if only those silly billies at the WaPo bothered to check out some liberal blogs, they’d be able to sleep soundly knowing that Obama has invaded Libya and Syria, secretly continued the imperial occupation of Iraq, and will never ever leave Afghanistan.

  18. 18
    RandomMonster says:

    @Trollhattan: Agree, JC rant that hit its mark.

  19. 19
    Roger Moore says:

    Few, if any, of those who question the president’s record hold such views.

    Bald faced lie is bald faced. Also, too, a lie.

  20. 20
    🌷 Martin says:

    At West Point, President Obama binds America’s hands on foreign affairs

    Shorter Obama: If Congress wants a war, they can fucking vote for it themselves.

  21. 21
    jl says:

    Toronto;’s leader is a dangerous nut, and the city government collapsing into chaos. We gave up liberating and nation-building in Canada after only four or five tries before negotiating away obvious total victory. Does the WaPo mention that?

  22. 22
    Schlemizel says:

    @catclub:
    Maybe we could pull out & just send a check to every citizen there every year – that would be a win-win

  23. 23
    Morzer says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Yeah, but you know how those liberals just follow the Obama Fascist Alliance playbook slavishly.

  24. 24
    Suffern ACE says:

    Who would have thought that Sunni/Shiite violence would be a theme in this day and age. I figured that problem would have been solved in 2006 and remained resolved until at least 2040.

  25. 25
    Judge Crater says:

    This crap all fits in to the DC villagers’ view of the world. Pax Americana while the inside-the-beltway crowd cheers and jeers from the safety of Chevy Chase and Georgetown.

    It’s sickening. None of the kids from the posh suburbs and the exclusive day schools are coming back in body bags or wheel chairs. Fred Hiatt should be horse whipped down the length of K St.

  26. 26
    Cacti says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Obama’s going to put boots on the ground in Syria because he can’t wait to get his war on.

    -Balloon-Juice front page, 6 months ago.

  27. 27
    BGinCHI says:

    Shit, you think a fucking idiot like Paul Wolfowitz rises to the top of policy-making without a functioning media organ?

    The WaPo is a neo-con feature, not a bug. If they could fire all the regular reporters they would.

  28. 28
    Hal says:

    That conclusion can be heard not just from Republican hawks but also from senior officials from Singapore to France and, more quietly, from some leading congressional Democrats

    As opposed to the opinion of the vast majority of Americans who want out yesterday, but hey, Republican hawks, some unnamed officials in France (since when did conservatives care about their opinion?) and Singapore, and some chicken shit Dems who won’t even name themselves are disappointed.

    Oh well. What is it the Hiatt, McCain or any others in favor of indefinite war think will be achieved? What is the ultimate goal that would justify spending years, if not decades longer in these countries?

    Just one more reason to be grateful McCain and Romney lost. How many wars would the US be involved with if McCain had been elected?

  29. 29
    jl says:

    ” But why not examine conditions then and make a decision based on facts? ”

    Including the fact that the central government of Afghanistan does not particularly want us there much longer? I guess, in true WaPo spirit, the U.S. could, for democratic Afghanistan;s own good as well as our best interest, of course, change the government and put in people who saw both their and our interests more clearly. That has worked before, right?

    Even Dub could see that it was too late to get the thing right and signed the agreement that put us on this course. I am sure the WaPo was careful to state all the facts and history.

  30. 30
    catclub says:

    @Schlemizel: A $200B reward for ousting Saddam would have been the bargain of the century.

    Of course, we would welsh on delivery after the deed was done.

  31. 31
    Klaus says:

    That Forbes article about Putin is bollocks, you know.

  32. 32
    James Hare says:

    @Elizabelle: I cancelled after reading this latest atrocity. Fuck paying any party of Fred Hiatt’s salary. Even the convenience of not having to get around their craft paywall isn’t enough to bring me back.

  33. 33
    Trollhattan says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Step 1: Invade al Qaeda-free Iraq, destroy government and open the country up to infiltration by both AQ and frenemy, Iran.
    Step 2: Sacrifice soldiers trying to boot out same.
    Step 3. Stay forever?

    Had WaPo and the rest of the enablers gone to the mat to prevent Step 1, then perhaps…aw, screw it.

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Mr. Obama marshaled a virtual corps of straw men, dismissing those who “say that every problem has a military solution,” who “think military intervention is the only way for America to avoid looking weak,” who favor putting “American troops into the middle of [Syria’s] increasingly sectarian civil war,” who propose “invading every country that harbors terrorist networks” and who think that “working through international institutions . . . or respecting international law is a sign of weakness.”

    Sorry Fred and company, there isn’t a bit of straw in there. That’s the neo-con world view in a nutshell and you guys are soaking in it.

  35. 35
    Rheinhard says:

    Best thing about the Charlie Pierce Hiatt-fillet (well, after the actual filleting, that is)?… it introduced me to the word “Wolkenkuckucksheim“, which must take its place in the pantheon besides “Schadefreude” and “Weltanschauung“.

  36. 36
    Anton Sirius says:

    Is Fred Hiatt a syphilitic vampire sucking dry the soul of America, one grotesque, amoral, charnel house op-ed at a time? Alas, he does not say.

  37. 37
    PaulW says:

    the solution is simple: anyone advocating for war will be the first ones sent in to the front lines.

    I am tired of these chickenhawk cowards who cheerlead for war while sitting in the safety of the Sunday talk show green rooms.

  38. 38
    Morzer says:

    @Rheinhard:

    Try the taste of nephelococcygia on your tongue. Savor it on your palate. Now, isn’t that nicer than Wolkenkuckucksheim?

    No need to thank me.The credit goes to Aristophanes.

  39. 39
    Turgidson says:

    Geez, they’re really accusing Obama of constructing straw men here? The quotes about how “not invading [country x] = weakness” from John “bomb Iran” McCain and Lindsay Graham alone could fill a novel the length of War and Peace.

    Obama is getting all this shit about being “weak” towards Putin even though he’s already doing everything these dipshits say they want him to be doing when someone actually asks them rather than letting them just say “Obama suxorz!” without followup (looking at you, David fucking Gregory).

    Obama HAS stopped the chemical attacks in Syria without firing any shots (how weak!), but was smart enough not to recklessly deploy our air force to a theater where it’s almost impossible to distinguish friend from foe for various reasons.

    The murderous dipshit Hiatt was cheerleading from 2001-2009 basically went around bragging about how they didn’t give a shit about international institutions or the law. If they think Obama saying so is creating a straw man, they know not what the term means.

    …wait wait wait, why am I wasting valuable seconds of my life refuting the bullshit of a bunch of warmongering sociopaths? Well fuck those guys for that too.

  40. 40
    BGinCHI says:

    WP tells me my comment was “marked as spam.”

    I had no idea it was so delicious and salty.

  41. 41
    sparrow says:

    @Morzer: Agree. If you think we should be at war and want to use a national newspaper as a platform to shout it from, you better be in line to enlist the next day or STFU.

  42. 42
    BGinCHI says:

    @Omnes: “Corps of straw men” pretty much sums up the neocons, their enablers, and what is stuffed into their hearts and minds.

  43. 43
    PaulW says:

    @jl:

    Toronto;’s leader is a dangerous nut, and the city government collapsing into chaos. We gave up liberating and nation-building in Canada after only four or five tries before negotiating away obvious total victory. Does the WaPo mention that?

    Yeah, well, the last time we invaded Canada and burned down Toronto, we ended up getting British troops invading Maryland and burning down DC.

    Actually, hmmmmmmmm…

  44. 44
    kindness says:

    I fear one day the karmic cycle will turn and it will be the Fred Hyatt’s & the Wayne LaPierre’s that will be assassinated because they egged on lunacy. It will only be fitting if it is by a gun that they get theirs.

  45. 45
    Suffern ACE says:

    Egypt is also falling into chaos. Thailand not much better. The leader of India isn’t returning our calls. Vietnam and China are sinking ships! And no one who is actually going to change those situations is asking for our help.

  46. 46
    Morzer says:

    @kindness:

    More likely they’ll die in their beds as martyrs to the high fat, salt and sugar industry.

  47. 47
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Fred Hiatt’s head would look much better on a pike than it does on his shoulders.

    That is all.

  48. 48
    Morzer says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    The Hyksos have refused to acknowledge our lines in the sand! Clearly, this is the time for Delta force to put an end to their pyramid scheme!

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yep. The list of countries they don’t talk about “helping” when problems arise is rather small.

  50. 50
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @BGinCHI: The neocons should be treated pretty much the same as the Japanese militarists were after we kicked their butts in WWII.

    The gallows. They’re all war criminals, and they all deserve, richly, to be put to death for their crimes.

  51. 51
  52. 52
    Chyron HR says:

    @catclub:

    A $200B reward for ousting Saddam would have been the bargain of the century. Of course, we would welsh on delivery after the deed was done.

    But if we didn’t pay up, the Pied Piper would take our children away to die. Oh, wait, the invasion of Iraq did that anyway, so I guess that one’s a freebie.

  53. 53
    Rheinhard says:

    @Morzer: Given that my echter Deutscher grandfather was annoyed at having the English show up in his family history, I think I’ll leave that one be….

  54. 54
    Patrick says:

    PRESIDENT OBAMA has retrenched U.S. global engagement in a way that has shaken the confidence of many U.S. allies and encouraged some adversaries.

    Really? Where’s the evidence of that? Hell, it was our allies who did NOT want us to attack Iraq in 2003. And maybe, just maybe, the Wash Post could write an article that shines a light on how our allies has much more confidence in Obama than they ever had in Bush.

    Furthermore, has the Wash Post forgotten that it was us keeping hundreds of thousands of US soldiers in Saudi Arabia that helped serve as a motive for bin Laden to strike in the US?

    Finally, where the hell does Wash Post expect the money to come from the fight these never-ending idiotic wars???

    I am so tired of clueless people running our media.

  55. 55
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Turgidson: Obama is near.

    All you need to know, really, about what the scum of the WaPo editorial board really is upset about.

  56. 56
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Trollhattan:
    I have the impression that for Fred Hiatt and people who think like he does, only when America is shooting at people is America Winning. Put it that way, and sounds like they’ve married Charlie Sheen’s crazy period of a few years back to the Wayne Lapierre School of Diplomacy. Which does seem to be how All The Right-minded People Think in Washington DC.

  57. 57
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Patrick:

    Finally, where the hell does Wash Post expect the money to come from the fight these never-ending idiotic wars???

    We’ll bleed the proles dry. We’re certainly not going to ask Jeff Bezos to make a contribution.

  58. 58
    BGinCHI says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I like the cut of your scimitar.

  59. 59
    Morzer says:

    @Rheinhard:

    There’s quite a nice moment in the latest Gin and Tacos post where Ed asks a pair of German backpackers why everyone in their country wears Leiderhosen.

  60. 60
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Anton Sirius: Well, some people say that.

    /faux noise

  61. 61
    Marc says:

    Jesus Christ. Every time I see a Fred Hiatt editorial I briefly wish we still subscribed to the Post so we could drop their sorry asses once again.

    “Iraq has slid into something close to civil war, with al-Qaeda retaking territory that U.S. Marines once died to liberate.”

    At the request of absolutely no one outside the Bush White House and your own editorial board. Assholes.

    On the plus side, that first paragraph makes a pretty awesome endorsement, no matter how they meant it. That is why I will have this man’s back until the moment he leaves office.

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @jl:

    ” But why not examine conditions then and make a decision based on facts? ”

    Neocons hate facts. Facts make their fantasies look really, really stupid. That’s why Eric Shinseki got the boot as Army Chief of Staff. For making the neocons look like the war obsessed dilettante shitstains that they are.

  63. 63
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    That conclusion can be heard not just from Republican hawks but also from senior officials from Singapore to France and, more quietly, from some leading congressional Democrats

    If this is indeed true, name names, Hiatt. Otherwise this statement has less grounding in reality than the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.

  64. 64
    BGinCHI says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Some say…..

    Journalism from the editorial page is dead.

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Citizen_X:

    al-Qaeda retaking territory that U.S. Marines once died to liberate.

    He means this pretty much in the same sense that the Waffen SS once died to liberate Ukraine. And Poland. And Belgium. And Norway. And Yugoslavia. And the Netherlands. And Denmark, And Luxembourg. And France. And Greece. And Belarus. And the Baltic states.

    Oh, yeah, too, Austria and Czechoslovakia.

  66. 66
    Citizen_X says:

    @Patrick:

    where the hell does Wash Post expect the money to come from the fight these never-ending idiotic wars???

    Funny, I would swear that a little over a year ago, the deficit was the Most Serious Problem Ever. Now I guess we’ve got gobs of money.

    Not enough to spend on, say, infrastructure or basic research or other frivolities, of course.

  67. 67
    Hill Dweller says:

    The Twitter machine is telling me the entire afternoon lineup of fake liberals on MSNBC have also been attacking Obama. The Village is overflowing with blood-thirsty ghouls.

  68. 68
    KG says:

    This is just an amazing piece of prose:

    Few, if any, of those who question the president’s record hold such views. Instead, they are asking why an arbitrary date should be set for withdrawing all forces from Afghanistan, especially given the baleful results of the “zero option” in Iraq. They are suggesting that military steps short of the deployment of U.S. ground troops could stop the murderous air and chemical attacks by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. They are arguing that the United States should not be constrained by Cyprus or Bulgaria in responding to Russia’s invasion and annexation of parts of Ukraine.

    I am pretty sure you have to actively try to get shit that wrong. I mean, sure “few” hold those views within the general public, but not within the punditocracy or within government. But the most amazing thing is that the sovereignty of other nations means pretty much nothing. It doesn’t matter that the Afghan government (and people) want us out. It doesn’t matter that neither side in Syria really wants us in (or that it would violate international law to take up arms in another country’s civil war). It doesn’t matter what nations much closer to the potential battlefields think of the US military blowing shit up (even if we will likely have to use bases in their territory or use their airspace). All that matters is we go swinging our dicks around. This is the foreign policy equivalent to ammosexuality, isn’t it?

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @srv:

    Perhaps they should interview Kagan as to why his Iraq and Afghan theories didn’t work out.

    REALLY goes against the Village narrative. Can’t have that. Splashing the cold water for fucking reality really harshes the mellow of a Georgetown cocktail party. Gets the weenies wet.

  70. 70
    Morzer says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    the entire afternoon lineup of fake liberals on MSNBC have also been attacking Obama

    No change there then.

  71. 71
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @kc:

    Surely it can’t just be that that makes them feel more manly.

    I would not casually dismiss that as the motivation for these cowards who never wore a uniform but are very eager to send others off to spill their guts in the sands of the Middle East.

  72. 72
    catclub says:

    @Patrick:

    Furthermore, has the Wash Post forgotten that it was us keeping hundreds of thousands of US soldiers in Saudi Arabia that helped serve as a motive for bin Laden to strike in the US?

    And we (Bush the shrub) withdrew them from Saudi Arabia, just as Bin laden demanded.

  73. 73
    jl says:

    @KG: Any sacrifice to quiet the Foreign Policy Credibility gods haunting them in their fever dreams is cheap.

    Edit: If you want imagine real pretzel logic, imagine what the editorial would be like if Obama did what they wanted.

  74. 74
    Patrick says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Funny, I would swear that a little over a year ago, the deficit was the Most Serious Problem Ever. Now I guess we’ve got gobs of money.

    This is one great example of our media is failing us. When Bush was President, the deficit truly didn’t matter. Dick Cheney even claimed “deficits don’t matter”. The second the black guy won the 2008 election, Obama was blamed for the entire deficit and the deficit was enough to bring our country down. Yet now, this Hiatt person apparently thinks we have so much money that we can keep fighting never-ending wars of choice against countries that never attacked us.

    I can’t keep track – does the deficit matter or not?

  75. 75
    catclub says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Would not work. He would just say that we didn’t kill enough, hard enough, for a long enough period of time. But if we had, it would have all worked out fine.

  76. 76
    BGinCHI says:

    @Patrick: Classic shell game. House always wins.

  77. 77
    WereBear says:

    I must be grateful to the Republicans for one thing: I would never, ever, have grasped just how much some people rely upon their self-esteem being based on trampling over other people who cannot fight back.

    Both in the small, and the large, sense.

  78. 78
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @catclub: What does this pansy mean, “we”, I wonder? He wasn’t dressed up in camo in Soonergrunt’s squad eating dust and smelling cordite, was he?

    I think not.

    (poof! I just vanished the way Rene Descartes did when he turned down the fries with the burger)

  79. 79
    KG says:

    @jl: they’d applaud Obama for blowing shit up, but condemn him for not blowing enough shit up and suggesting we need more ground troops in every country because there might possibly be someone there, somewhere, that holds a bad view of the US and our liberating forces.

  80. 80
    catclub says:

    @Patrick: Fred Hiatt has pretty consistently said that any deficits caused by wars (if he gets around to noticing them), are ok.

    I noted earlier than Obama put the wars on the budget so that when the wars end they come off the budget. It is a bit of an own goal since he has gotten no credit for reducing the deficit.

  81. 81
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Patrick:

    I can’t keep track – does the deficit matter or not?

    Democrat in the WH: Most important thing on the national agenda

    Rethug in the WH: “Deficits don’t matter…Ronald Reagan proved that” – Dick “The Dark Lord” Cheney.

  82. 82
    catclub says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Who this we, Kemo Sabe?

  83. 83
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @KG: The Army only has half a million soldiers.

    We’re going to need a few dozen more or so to put them in every country that needs them. Good luck with that. Recruiting them would take a bite out of the hookers and blow slush funds of the MIC CEOs.

  84. 84
    Baud says:

    Can’t we compromise and invade the Bundy Ranch?

  85. 85
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Elizabelle: I also subscribe. But to be honest, I just read the TV Guide, the comics, the Style and Arts sections and their weekly Food section. Or I read it for a specific article if something momentous happens. Not sure what audience they are going for since the Rightwingers already have the Wall Street Journal.

  86. 86
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Not sure what audience they are going for since the Rightwingers already have the Wall Street Journal.

    Neo-cons for foreign policy and neo-liberals for domestic policy. IOW people just like them.

  87. 87
    Turgidson says:

    @KG:

    Bingo. We saw something like this when Obama intervened in Libya. Sure, Obama acted, but he was still a bumbling failure because he didn’t act exactly how resident foreign policy experts such as John Bolton, Chucky Krauthammer, or John McCain wanted.

    And of course, once Obama decided to deploy force, the GOP’s involuntary “if Obama is for it, we’re against it, whatever it is” reflex kicked into gear, and there was suddenly a surge in long-held, sincere, principled pacifist sentiment in their caucus. Ditto with Syria.

  88. 88
    bemused says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Guests, hosts or both?

  89. 89
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @catclub: Bingo!

  90. 90
    Patrick says:

    @catclub:

    Fred Hiatt has pretty consistently said that any deficits caused by wars (if he gets around to noticing them), are ok.

    Does he many just the critical wars where we were attacked first or also idiotic wars of choice, such as the Iraq war?

    I noted earlier than Obama put the wars on the budget so that when the wars end they come off the budget. It is a bit of an own goal since he has gotten no credit for reducing the deficit.

    Obama did a good thing. During the Bush years, Bush funded the war as an off-budget item. Amazingly even the Democrats were OK with this as they kept voting for the off-budget item.

    And you are right. Obama has not gotten any credit for putting the war costs on the budget. Instead FoxNews etal is simply claiming that the deficit due to Obama is now much higher. And, oh by the way, never mentioning that part of it is because Obama refused to do the creative accounting that Bush did with the costs of the wars.

  91. 91
    jl says:

    @Patrick: Of course the neocons complain. Their way, you get war, dishonest accounting, lack of war spending accountability, and social insurance cuts. It’s a fourfer!

  92. 92
    Turgidson says:

    @Patrick:

    …or that Obama inherited a massive structural deficit along with a crashing economy – complete with plummeting tax revenues and escalating payouts from automatic stabilizers in the safety net.

    Nope, nope, never happened. Time began in January 2009, with Obama’s Trillion Dollar Deficit.

    You know, if the full story of America’s politics and foreign policy from 2000 to the present was told to someone who came out of a 50 year coma, I’m pretty sure they’d never believe it. Shit is weirder than a Vonnegut novel, but not nearly as darkly humorous or creative. It’s a wonder we even elected Obama – he has his faults, but he doesn’t belong in this era of batshittery.

  93. 93
    Trollhattan says:

    @KG:
    What if what really happened is Krauthammer locked Freddie out of his office and commandeered the OpEd machine while swilling purple drank? Because that’s how these things read.

  94. 94
    chopper says:

    @Cacti:

    maybe he just wants another nobel prize, LOL

  95. 95
    Mike in NC says:

    We visited six countries in northern Europe while on vacation in the middle of May. Everywhere we went they were building stuff: apartment projects, schools, roads and bridges, airport and seaport expansion, shopping centers, etc. Investing in their people and infrastructure.

    Are we even building anything in this country anymore, other than crappy $200 million airplanes designed to drop bombs on brown people?

  96. 96
    BBA says:

    War sells more newspapers and gets higher Nielsen ratings, hence the media is always for it.

    Luckily for them and unluckily for us, the next president will probably be an uberhawk, bringing this dovish experiment to an end soon enough.

  97. 97
    jl says:

    @Mike in NC:

    ‘ building anything ‘ is so twentieth century. You must be way old.

    EditL oops, I forgot a lot of cheezy McMansions no one could pay for. We built a lot of those.

  98. 98
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Suffern ACE: i take that back. Vietnam would probably like us to sink Chinese ships so that they don’t have to. We might as well. What could it possibly mean for us anyway.

  99. 99
    taylormattd says:

    “Because Fred Hiatt is a warmongering piece of shit, nobody is allowed to criticize Snowden”

  100. 100
    Trollhattan says:

    @jl:
    And strip malls. Nobody does strip malls like ‘murka. Also, too: big box malls and factory outlet malls. We’re shopping our way to Freedom!

  101. 101
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Patrick: it matters if there is a whiff of suspicion that some of the borrowed money might serve to alleviate the suffering of the masses.

    Deficit spending used to blow up brown people while lining the pockets of the Right People is what doesn’t matter.

  102. 102
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mike in NC:

    We’re building lots of stuff here in California. Of course, we’re run almost exclusively by Democrats these days, so make of it what you will.

  103. 103
    handy says:

    The Afghan decision would be understandable had Mr. Obama’s previous choices proved out. But what’s remarkable is that the results also have been consistent — consistently bad.

    Therefore we should keep up the fight in Afghanistan because REASONS. My God, it’s almost like these morons can’t read a calendar. Enduring Freedom began in October of 2001. Two thousand and freaking one. I don’t know about you, but that’s way past the sell by date for me.

  104. 104
    Elizabelle says:

    @Patricia Kayden:
    @James Hare:

    WaPost is piling up unread in our house. I skim their website several times daily; like the Metro and Food sections; don’t read Outlook or their tragic daily Op Ed clusterfuck.

    The NYTimes and LATimes are my go-to newspaper sites.

    WaPost is a shadow of itself during Kay Graham’s tenure.

    Five reasons the Washington Post effing sucks …

  105. 105
    David Koch says:

    But Bill Clinton says UR a puxxy

    President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that President Barack Obama risks looking like a “wuss,” a “fool,” and “lame” for not doing more to influence events in Syria.

    Responding to a question from McCain about how he views Obama’s Syria policy, Clinton said that any president who avoids a military intervention in order to satisfy short-term political objectives would come to regret it in the end.

    “If you refuse to act and you cause a calamity, the one thing you cannot say when all the eggs have been broken is, ‘Oh my god, two years ago there was a poll that said 80 percent of you were against it.’ You look like a total fool,” Clinton said.

    See, Syria is a fucking mess cuz Obama did’nt carpet bomb Syria with freedom fries.

  106. 106
    Suffern ACE says:

    @David Koch: ugh. Yes. It just makes sense in our system to ignore opinion polls. But foreign policy is different. Too far removed from the common man to be subject to that kind of scrutiny.

  107. 107
    Chris says:

    @David Koch:

    With friends like these, who needs enemies?

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @David Koch:

    In Bill’s defense (sort of), apparently Rwanda still weighs heavily on his conscience, as it would anyone’s. He went too far in the opposite direction, but I can see why he would think it.

  109. 109
    David Koch says:

    @Mnemosyne: nah. he was just pandering to McCain and the Neo-Cons in the audience. He can’t help himself.

  110. 110
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Turgidson: While I don’t approve of Obama’s continuation/escalation of the drone war, I suspect a large part of the reason libertarians who make “left” attacks on Obama, like Conor Friedersdorf, emphasize it so heavily is that it’s the one way in which Obama is obviously a bigger warmonger than Bush. So if you lean on drone war as the most frightening type of war in existence, over things like invading Iraq, you can use “worse than Bush” phraseology and make an antiwar case for voting Republican, or at least rejecting Democrats.

    (Never mind that the only reason this is the case is opportunity: the drone program was just getting started under Bush.)

  111. 111
    David Koch says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I appreciate almost everything you wrote. But I just don’t get objections to pilotless airplanes. They’re cheap, inexpensive to use, and have a low carbon footprint. I mean, if Elizabeth Warren became President tomorrow and appointed Bill de Blasso secretary of defense, would they turn the UAVs into plowshares and start sending Mullah Omar Candygrams – no, of course not.

  112. 112
    mclaren says:

    @KG:

    I am pretty sure you have to actively try to get shit that wrong.

    Yes, this is not ordinary everyday stupidity — this is advanced stupidity. This is postdoctoral-level stupidity, requiring an in-depth seminar to fully parse.

  113. 113
    winstongator says:

    The Viet Cong has retaken much territory US soldiers died to liberate.

    I think there should be a 10 question quiz that all journalists should take. It should involve their views on some basic issues – Vietnam, Spanish Civil War, Pentagon Papers, Iraq War. Very clear questions that would show the range of their views, and nearly everything that is behind them.

    If someone thinks that the reasons that were given to go into Iraq, in retrospect, are sound, then that tells you a lot about them.

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