Porcine Flight 476, You Are Cleared For Landing

Go check on your friendly neigbhorhood Sus scrofa.  Examine the potbellied porker ambling down your too-hip avenue.  Make sure the boar in the corner sty (you could name it Dick Cheney if you’re that kind of person) is still properly rooting about in his muck.  Now look extra carefully:  any ailerons, flaps, wings?

Max_Liebermann_-_Schweinekoben,_Wochenstube

They’ve got to be there.  See this, from our old friend BoBo:

The Iraqi state is much weaker than the Rwandan one, but, even so, this quick survey underlines the wisdom of the approach the Obama administration is gesturing toward in Iraq: Use limited military force to weaken those who are trying to bring in violence from outside; focus most on the political; round up a regional coalition that will pressure Iraqi elites in this post-election moment to form an inclusive new government. [Emphasis added.]

Now I confess to deep uneasiness about everything David Brooks writes, given the argument from negative authority.*  I lack the knowledge to assess but have no faith at all that his potted history of post-genocide Rwanda is reliable.  And then there’s Brooks’ usual reflexive nod to the political value of elite authoritarianism.   Most of all, nowhere does Brooks acknowledge explicitly that the Bush years were a colossal f**king mistake/moral disaster, nor that he was a complicit cheerleader in that catastrophe.

But here you see Brooks implicitly acknowledging the failure of the neocon adventure and, mirabile dictu, stating without a hedge, an “on the other hand,” or any other qualifier that President Obama is getting it right, is wise.

Smacked in the gob am I.

All I can say is:  be careful standing under today as those flocks of pigs fly by.

*I.e. While it’s never reliable to say that because someone is labelled an expert in something, anything they say is likely right (see, e.g. Shockley, William…), it is a very useful heuristic to assume that someone who is wrong a lot is going to be similarly wrong going forward.  That’s especially true for someone — so many in our pundit class — who are wrong for a living.

Image:  Max Liebermann, Schweinekoben, Wochenstube [My German sucks, but the Google machine tells me that this could be read as “Pigsty, Maternity room” — any help from the commentariat gratefully received], 1887

79 replies
  1. 1
    catclub says:

    ailerons

    Or spoonerism on purpose?

  2. 2

    In his previous column on Iraq, Bobo said that Maliki shared most of the blame but both Bush and Obama were also somewhat guilty. His latest change of tune may be because the neocons are deeply unpopular even among the Republicans especially the uber conservative tea-party types and also among the libertarians.

  3. 3
    some guy says:

    The 300 can assist the Quds Force in helping put down the Saudi-funded jihadists of ISIL.

    working together in cooperation and harmony, US Special Forces and elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards can help bring stability to Iraq.

  4. 4
    dmsilev says:

    Testing.

    Had two comments eaten by FYWP.

    EDIT: OK, I don’t know WTF is going on. There’s some Bad Word in the actual comment I tried to leave that’s getting it black-holed. Not even moderated. Just gone.

  5. 5
    raven says:

    @some guy: sheeeeet

  6. 6
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Has the Committee on the Present Danger finally run out of gas?

  7. 7
    Bobby B. says:

    Wow, those German pigsties were really organized, as if they were preparing to expand…

  8. 8
    c u n d gulag says:

    I believe the literal translation, would be, “Roast piglet for supper, kiddies!”

    I kid.

    But now I want some bacon…

  9. 9
    c u n d gulag says:

    @Bobby B.:
    Pigsty Raum!

  10. 10
    Cervantes says:

    David Brooks needs a severe ignoring.

  11. 11

    @Gin & Tonic: As far as I can see it is only powered by McCain, who is being treated by his Congressional colleagues like the tantrum throwing toddler that he is.

  12. 12

    @dmsilev: Tunch is in the servers and he is hungry.

  13. 13
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    I hate to break it to the esteemed Mr. Brooks, but those three hundred dudes are going in to help get the 25,000 Americans who are still there out of the fucking country before it blows up like an illegal fireworks factory. 300 people aren’t enough to do jackshit to stop what’s going on there now, but if Brooks needs to believe that then hey, we all have lies we need to hear to get through the day.

  14. 14
    geg6 says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    I tend to agree with your assessment.

  15. 15
    Cassidy says:

    @some guy: They’re Marines.

  16. 16
    dmsilev says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Something like that, no doubt. The comment that got multi-eaten was expanding on Tom’s off-hand mention of Shockley; maybe there were some Bad Words in there.

  17. 17
    some guy says:

    @raven:

    just simply too ironical. the Americans are the 300, and the sons of Darius in the Quds Force, instead of fighting the 300, will be actively assisting them. Anything that makes the Gulf autocrats have a sadz is a good thing.

  18. 18
    heckblazer says:

    I have to say that Brooks looks fairly right. This bit in particular is dead on:

    Well, one possible lesson from Rwanda is that sectarian bloodletting is not a mass hysteria. It’s not an organic mania that sweeps over society like a plague. Instead, murderous sectarian violence is a top-down phenomenon produced within a specific political context.

    People don’t usually go off decapitating each other or committing mass murder just because they hate people in another group. These things happen because soul-dead political leaders are in a struggle for power and use ethnic violence as a tool in that struggle.

  19. 19
    Amir Khalid says:

    My favourite online German dictionary tells me that Schweinekoben does indeed mean “hog house”, while eine Wochenstube is a bats’ nursery roost — presumably where baby bats wait while Mum and Dad go out and catch insects.

  20. 20
    Amir Khalid says:

    @some guy:
    If I were the kind to smoke exotic substances, I might ask you to share.

  21. 21
    some guy says:

    General Ghasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, has been inspecting Iraqi defences and reviewing plans with top commanders and Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militias, the officials said.

  22. 22

    @heckblazer: Very true, applicable to all the riots that India has seen within my life time.
    Anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, instigated by Congress in1984 after Indira Gandhi’s assassination
    Anti-Muslim riots in Bombay in 1991 instigated by Shiv Sena after the destruction of the mosque in Ayodya.
    Anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 instigated by BJP after the train burnings in Godhra.

    The masterminds of none of the above the riots have paid a significant price.

  23. 23
    JCJ says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Do you use Leo for your German -English online dictionary? That is the one my daughter said was suggested when she took some German classes at the University of Wisconsin, I like that one, but I prefer Beolingus

    http://dict.tu-chemnitz.de/

  24. 24
    some guy says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    the Quds Force has already lost one fighter last week in Iraq, Alireza Moshajeri. His funeral was held in Tehran on Sunday. The 300 better hurry up or the Quds Force will be getting all the glory for defeating ISIL.

  25. 25

    Speaking of Bobo, he may have changed on Iraq bu the last I checked he was still pushing the debunked, 1% serving policies as serious economics.

  26. 26
    the Conster says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    At the height of the war, the entire US troop deployment (the “boots on the ground”) could have fit in Ohio State’s stadium. Why anyone anywhere would think that was ever going to accomplish a complete overhaul of a country that has been at war with itself for 1500 years just goes to show how ignorant and arrogant the neocons are. I guess even Brooks is beginning to see that now.

  27. 27
    the Conster says:

    @heckblazer:

    Of course Brooks will never get to the obvious conclusion by connecting right wing extremism, right wing radio and Fox News to Radio Rwanda, because that would be shrill and unserious.

  28. 28
    SRW1 says:

    @Tom Levenson

    Schweinekoben, Wochenstube [My German sucks, but the Google machine tells me that this could be read as “Pigsty, Maternity room” — any help from the commentariat gratefully received]

    All I can say is that whatever your German may leave to be desired, you made up in Google-fu. In other words, your translation is correct, Sir.

  29. 29
    Tom Levenson says:

    @catclub: Not on purpose. Just typing fast, failing to proofread. Fix’t

  30. 30
    Amir Khalid says:

    @JCJ:
    Yes, I do use LEO. It’s also useful for translating between German and the major Romance languages, as well as Russian, Polish and Chinese.

  31. 31
    Tom Levenson says:

    @SRW1: ;=)

  32. 32
    Raven says:

    Just walked in the VA clinic and there are “no guns” signs all over! Bet these dudes love that.

  33. 33
    Corner Stone says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    to help get the 25,000 Americans who are still there

    I’m thinking you meant 2,500. But if not?

  34. 34
    Amir Khalid says:

    @some guy:
    Your president has already decided, wisely I reckon, that America is not wading into this brawl. He has already said that the 300 are for protecting Americans in Iraq. And as already noted, 300 US Marines are not an adequate fighting force against the numbers already in Iraq.

    Please set aside your fantasies of VICTORY! There is nothing for America to win in another country’s domestic troubles.

  35. 35
    nellcote says:

    ISIS puts out photo of members chillin’ with John McCain In Syria

    Isn’t it nice to know that the US government is talking out of one side of their mouths and doing the complete opposite on the other side? Remember in 2013 when John McCain made that trip to Syria to hang out with ISIS radicals? Now, ISIS is using that photo of them hanging with John McCain as propaganda for themselves.

  36. 36
    catclub says:

    @Corner Stone: Not sure about 25000, but the US embassy and consulates have 5000 contractors. Not sure how many would be Iraqi versus US. Then US Gov staff in addition.

  37. 37
    Raven says:

    @Amir Khalid:Any marines would be embassy security, the rest are special ops.

  38. 38
    Cassidy says:

    @Raven: per the article, the Pentagon declined to name the Army unit.

    http://www.navytimes.com/artic.....pound-Iraq

  39. 39
    dmsilev says:

    @Cassidy: The WP auto-abbreviation of that URL is unfortunate. ‘pound-Iraq’.

  40. 40
    Elizabelle says:

    @Raven:

    No guns. That’s marvelous. And smart.

  41. 41
    Cassidy says:

    @dmsilev: Yeah. I can’t link on my phone through the buttons.

  42. 42
    SRW1 says:

    @nellcote:

    I would put this down to the unfortunate fog of Americans too often having little understanding who they are dealing with in the ME rather than secret collaboration between the US government and ISIS. Remember how many Arab-speaking specialists the State department can mobilize?

    And then you gotta remember how much John McCain understands about the ME and how little that prevents him from going off on one of his private missions that get him to adopt all sorts of temporary nationalities until druming up support for a little military adventure some place else looks more shiny.

  43. 43
    Raven says:

    @Cassidy: My understanding was that it was a
    mix of SF, Seals and Rangers.

  44. 44
    Someguy says:

    Let ’em genocide each other. What’s it to us?

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dmsilev: This happens to me every once and a while. I use the back arrow to go back to the screen with my text in the comment box, and resubmit, and I’m told I’ve already said that. The spam filter apparently grabs it but doesn’t put it in moderation, but just parks it someplace. Has nothing to do with naughty words, it’s just FYWP being FYWP.

  46. 46
    Raven says:

    @Elizabelle: Yea, proly some of the clientele have heat in their auto’s.

  47. 47

    @nellcote: The link you cited is full of wingnutty goodness.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Someguy: They’re doing it on top of our oil. The objective SHOULD be a stable government that can pump the oil out and ship it off to somewhere so that Dick Cheney’s awl bidness buddies can skim some profit off of it. The problem with all this fighting shit is it disrupts the oil supply coming out of Iraq, which exacerbates tendencies in the spot markets.

    Now, it seems to me that the smart thing to do is reduce our dependency on oil as an energy source, but of course that would cause some economic distress for awl bidness zillionaires, as in reducing their hookers and blow slush funds, so we can’t have that. I mean, the Dark Lord once dismissed energy conservation as a possible means of addressing our overdependency on Middle Eastern oil. Doing something that is smart is not what the awl bidness is about.

  49. 49
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Raven:
    I stand corrected. Nonetheless, The US is not getting into this fight, and rightly so — glory is not a good enough reason, someguy, and neither is pissing off people you don’t like.

  50. 50
    the Conster says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Heh. We can all agree on firing Andrea Mitchell though.

  51. 51
    Cassidy says:

    @Raven: That could be a standard JSOC mix, but that’s not a lot of people. CAG and DEVGRU usually have a Ranger Platoon in support. I was assuming ISA and/or that ELINT group they have.

  52. 52

    @the Conster: Agreed! Can we also fire Wolf Blitzer while we are at it.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @the Conster: Eric Shinseki told these stupid idiots they were going to fuck it up before they proceeded to fuck it up.

  54. 54

    @Cassidy: I did not understand a word of that. Was that military speak?

  55. 55
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I say put Leslie Blitzer in a balloon over Denver and let the winds blow him somewhere else.

  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yes, that was jargon soup. Or salad. Take your pick, or try the veal.

  57. 57
    maya says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    300 US Marines are not an adequate fighting force against the numbers already in Iraq.

    Trying to wrap my head around that number too. 300 is only a reinforced company level. Now in my day the usual strike contingent floating around the Med or Viegas was a reinforced battalion – approx 1200. I’m pretty sure that with the more modern MEF designation it is still about the same only they can put the whole force on a baby flattop as opposed to spread out on several APAs, AKAs. and larger carriers.(Marines never go anywhere without their air wing.) So they just peeled off one company from a MEF. Question is: Where be the rest of it?
    Off shore, Persian Gulf, ready to go in, obviously.

    Whole thing reminds me of old Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner flick 55 Days At Peking.

  58. 58
    Citizen_X says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    put Leslie Blitzer in a balloon over Denver Maui and let the winds blow him somewhere else.

    Fixed.

  59. 59
    Cassidy says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Sorry. “Delta Force”, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), is CAG (Combat Action Group), but a quick search says they may have been renamed again. “Seal Team 6” is The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group or DEVGRU. ISA is Intelligence Support Activity, made up of special operations personnel, who do intelligence gathering in support of JSOC. Lastly, JSOC has a very elite ELINT (electronic intelligence) unit that does a number of things including being part of the advance party for the President. They were discussed in Killing Pablo, but there isn’t a lot written about them.

  60. 60
    maya says:

    @maya: Edit: Yeah, this 300 is made up of different elements and appears not to be the original 275 group , of which Marines were only 100, that were being sent in for embassy guarding.

  61. 61
    Citizen_X says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    those three hundred dudes are going in to help get the 25,000 Americans who are still there out of the fucking country before it blows up like an illegal fireworks factory.

    They’re there for Embassy security, sure, but the 8000 or whatever ISIS troops aren’t going to do shit against the Peshmerga or al-Sistani’s people.

    Iraq’s dividing into Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish regions–a process that began in 2005-2007. I really doubt it’s going to “blow up.”

  62. 62
    The Other Chuck says:

    the boar in the corner sty (you could name it Dick Cheney if you’re that kind of person)

    The sty, not the boar, right?

  63. 63
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SRW1: Something along the lines that Sunni and Shia really have resolved all their differences and they can get along.

    Uh huh.

  64. 64
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Citizen_X: ISIS has been careful to “conquer” areas that are Sunni. They probably will not attempt to move on Baghdad itself, because, well, it’s going to be hostile, not indifferent, to them.

    This is the breakup that the surge postponed.

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cassidy: JSOC: Joint Special Operations Command

  66. 66
    Paul in KY says:

    @the Conster: The Neocons were trying to destroy Iraq as a functioning country. It has never been about stabilizing or transforming Iraq into a democracy. For them, it has always been about ruining Iraq as a state that could oppose Israel in any way shape or form.

  67. 67

    @Villago Delenda Est: Where is Petraues hiding currently?

  68. 68

    @Cassidy: Thanks for the translation. It is still pretty confusing though.

  69. 69
    the Conster says:

    @Paul in KY:

    But didn’t Bush, Kristol, McCain, Cheney and Rumsfeld believe that there was no history of Sunni and Shia antagonism? I don’t think they really had any plan except war profiteering, and that whole “throw a country up against the wall” dick measuring nonsense that all the boys at the kool kidz table liked to hear.

  70. 70
    Paul in KY says:

    @the Conster: Most of those Bush/Cheney/McCain/Rumsfeld are not Neocons. Those people had their own reasons for going in. The Neocon reason was to fuck up Iraq so it would no longer be any threat whatsoever to Israel.

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne says:

    @heckblazer:

    People don’t usually go off decapitating each other or committing mass murder just because they hate people in another group. These things happen because soul-dead political leaders are in a struggle for power and use ethnic violence as a tool in that struggle.

    If only people could view all of our recent mass shootings in the US through that lens. But, no, they’re all lone wolves with absolutely no connection to what conservative media is pumping out 24/7.

  72. 72
    Citizen_X says:

    @Paul in KY:

    For them, it has always been about ruining Iraq as a state that could oppose Israel in any way shape or form.

    Unfortunately, they also ruined Iraq as a state that could oppose Iran in any way shape or form. The only answer they could come up with for unfucking that particular strategic boo-boo was, “Now let’s invade Iran!” Didn’t hear many huzzahs for that idea.

  73. 73
    PIGL says:

    @heckblazer: did he really say that? what you quoted? Several consecutive sentences that are coherent and not mere steamed lies in bullsh*t sauce? Written by BoBo himself? I may faint.

  74. 74
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Citizen_X:

    The one thing that ISIS and the Sunnis in Baghdad can probably agree on is throwing our asses out of the country, so it is probably prudent to have an evacuation force in place.

  75. 75
    Anoniminous says:

    OK. Fess up.

    Who hacked into the BoboBot and installed the MakeSense app?

  76. 76
    Elizabelle says:

    Great painting.

    I love piglets, particularly the porcine and Cole pet variety.

    Babe! In oils!

  77. 77
    Cervantes says:

    @Elizabelle: It is a great painting. The artist, Max Liebermann, was a thoroughly assimilated German Jew. He died in the ’30s, knowing full well what was happening around him. His widow killed herself rather than get on a train to … Theresienstadt, I think it was.

  78. 78
    Sondra says:

    “While it’s never reliable to say that because someone is labelled an expert in something, anything they say is likely right (see, e.g. Shockley, William…), it is a very useful heuristic to assume that someone who is wrong a lot is going to be similarly wrong going forward. That’s especially true for someone — so many in our pundit class — who are wrong for a living.”

    Brilliant. Bravo.

  79. 79
    Tehanu says:

    @Citizen_X:
    Barry Eisler has a terrific post on this very topic at ., with a link to an older post of his at
    (I hope the links work…)

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