ISIS AUMF: Better Late than Never

President Obama forwarded a proposed resolution for AUMF against ISIS to Congress today. You can read it here. Via the NYT, here’s a paragraph about the reaction in Congress:

While some Republicans were concerned that Mr. Obama’s proposal was too constricting, setting the stage for an ineffectual effort, some Democrats quickly expressed concern that the measure would still give the president the power to go too far.

With minor edits, that paragraph could summarize every reaction to any issue ever registered by that august legislative body, ever.

As I’ve mentioned in this space before, I think it’s a bad idea to reengage militarily in the Middle East. Why? Because you can’t control what happens in a chaotic war zone, not even if you’re a sane, competent president with good intentions.

If, FSM forbid, ISIS captures an American pilot and posts a grotesque snuff film of his or her execution, the US would be occupying all of Iraq and half of Syria before you could say “clusterfuck.” Does anyone doubt this?

That said, I’m glad the president asked for an authorization, and I find it heartening that it has a sunset provision. That’s how it’s supposed to work.






148 replies
  1. 1
    Hobbes says:

    I wish the sunset clause had been written to require re-authorization every year (or some time period) after any initial re-authorization, but it’s nice that this would repeal the 2002 AUMF against Iraq.

  2. 2
    soonergrunt says:

    I’d rather there was an actual declaration of war, but this is probably the best we’re going to get. And I DO like the sunset provision. I just don’t think it actually matters much as a practical issue. What happens the day the AUMF ends and there’s still troops in the field? We’re not going to leave them there or cut off their support and we’re not going to impeach the POTUS for supporting them. So it’s bullshit. But at least they checked that box.
    But at least Congress has put their names to this thing they all want.

  3. 3
    BGinCHI says:

    Interested to see how the votes go in each chamber.

    Drink when any of the members says the word “Crusades.”

  4. 4
    Cacti says:

    Hurray.

    25 years later and we’re still “helping” Iraq by blowing things up.

  5. 5
    singfoom says:

    Let’s keep fucking that Middle Eastern chicken. Sure, 50+ years of propping up dictatorships and intervening militarily hasn’t gotten us what we want at all, so let’s do the same thing again and again and expect a different result.

    We could try something different, like, I don’t know, removing our support for Saudi Arabia and Israel. But hey, that would be hard and different and might actually reward someone other than defense contractors.

  6. 6
    Belafon says:

    @soonergrunt: There was some discussion about this at Daily Kos: Can you declare war against a group that’s not a country?

  7. 7
    Alex says:

    There’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that Obama has been an abject failure on foreign policy.

  8. 8
    BGinCHI says:

    @singfoom: What are we going to do then? Build schools and pay teachers more money and fix roads and bridges and invest in green energy?

    What are you, crazy?

  9. 9
    Belafon says:

    @singfoom:

    removing our support for Saudi Arabia and Israel

    And that would stop ISIS how?

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    My (shabby, admittedly) kingdom for a smart troll.

  11. 11
    Mike J says:

    If, FSM forbid, ISIS captures an American pilot and posts a grotesque snuff film of his or her execution, the US would be occupying all of Iraq and half of Syria before you could say “clusterfuck.

    The best argument for droooooooooooooooooooooooooooooones.

  12. 12
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Unless we plan on taking land and keeping it, exacting tribute, or propping up a puppet government with money and arms, there is nothing for the US to win. That’s the mistake the interventionists keep making. Wiping out some bad guys just makes more bad guys and further destabilizes the region. That is exactly why we are where we are right now with ISIL.

  13. 13
    Citizen_X says:

    That said, I’m glad the president asked for an authorization, and I find it heartening that it has a sunset provision. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

    That.

    I don’t think this marks an escalation–at least I hope not–but either way, military action needs to have Congress’ paw prints on it as well.

  14. 14
    singfoom says:

    @Belafon: I don’t think it’s our responsibility to stop ISIS. They are not threatening the US militarily. Let the regional actors in the Middle East handle ISIS. You can boil down my point to we need to get out of the Middle East completely. If ISIS breaks out of the ME or actually threatens us, deal with them then.

  15. 15
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Alex: I wouldn’t go that far. If it were up to me, we’d have folded up our tents and gone home (from everywhere!) on January 20, 2009, but Obama didn’t run on that, and he did mostly get us out of Iraq, start to wind things down in Afghanistan and avoid getting sucked into a prolonged shooting war in Libya and Syria — so far. He hasn’t been perfect, but he’s damn sure been better than any realistic alternative.

  16. 16
    samiam says:

    Cue wr0ng way Cole with his childishly simplistic argument that all war is bad therefore don’t ever do anything war like ever because something something Griftwald wrote.

  17. 17
    samiam says:

    Cue wrong vvay Cole with his childishly simplistic argument that all war is bad therefore don’t ever do anything war like ever because something something Griftwald wrote.

  18. 18
    samiam says:

    Cue wr0ng vvay Cole with his childishly simplistic argument that all war is bad therefore don’t ever do anything war like ever because something something Griftwa1d wrote.

  19. 19
    cokane says:

    @soonergrunt: can’t you only do a declaration of war against an actual state though? I’d have to imagine that any ground force thing Obama might do is going to have to come with the collaboration of whichever territory US troops happen to enter. i’m pretty ignorant though

  20. 20
    Citizen_X says:

    Yeesh. Not only does it name the wrong FPer, it does so three times.

  21. 21
    Cacti says:

    @singfoom:

    I don’t think it’s our responsibility to stop ISIS. They are not threatening the US militarily. Let the regional actors in the Middle East handle ISIS. You can boil down my point to we need to get out of the Middle East completely. If ISIS breaks out of the ME or actually threatens us, deal with them then.

    A major problem, as I see it, is our insistence on the preservation of a single, unified, Iraqi nation state, with a US-friendly government. The Shia, Sunni, and Kurds of that region most certainly don’t consider themselves Iraqis first and their respective ethnicities second.

    The State of Iraq was a creation of the victorious WWI European powers, not something that came about organically. If post-Saddam Iraqis can’t live together peacefully, maybe it’s time for the various regions of Iraq to evolve into something else.

  22. 22
    NCSteve says:

    Because you can’t control what happens in a chaotic war zone, not even if you’re a sane, competent president with good intentions.

    If your position is that we should never, ever go to war under any circumstances–and that’s not a position I would sneer at or dismiss, even though I disagree with it–that’s a really good argument for the position. But as an argument for not engaging in any specific military adventure, not so much.

    War is chaos, and all war zones are chaotic. The outcome of war is inherently beyond the control of the participants. The belief that both what happens within a war zone and the outcome of the war can be controlled is the delusion that has animated every war of aggression, and not a few defensive responses to wars of aggression, throughout human history. It is absolutely the best reason to never start a war.

    But as a reason not to get involved in a conflict that’s already happening, it doesn’t work for me.

    The ultimate outcome will be beyond our control, regardless. The question is whether, by doing something, we will be able to affect whatever ultimate outcome the chaos vomits up in a way that will make that outcome better than it wold have been if we’d done nothing. That is, by definition, a thing knowable only in hindsight. But my gut fear is that ISIS isn’t just going to go away by itself if we do nothing and if it doesn’t go away, war with it eventually is inevitable. And that predisposes me to want to try to do something about it now than waiting.

    It’s not a shit sandwich we’re going to be able avoid taking a bite out of. The only question is how big a bite and whether taking a nibble at it now saves us from having to eat the whole fucking thing later. And damifino. That’s why that guy in the White House who’s only a year older than I am has gone completely grey over the last six years while and I’ve just got a touch.

  23. 23
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Belafon:

    And that would stop ISIS how?

    Isn’t Saudi Arabia one of ISIL’s chief sponsors?

  24. 24
    srv says:

    Wait, it gets better:

    President Barack Obama is considering a request from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to slow the pace of the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a senior administration official told Reuters on Wednesday.

    ‘President Ghani has requested some flexibility in the troop drawdown timeline and base closure sequencing over the next two years, and we are actively considering that request,’ the official said, speaking on background.

    I have full confidence in Obama’s foreign policy team to win in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and whichever countries in Africa we’re courtesy bombing.

  25. 25
    Cacti says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Turkey also has no problem with ISIS, as they’ve been particularly helpful with their Kurdish problems.

  26. 26
    Tree With Water says:

    The way it’s supposed to work entails a congressional declaration of war. Period. Everything else is window dressing tailored during the nuclear age.

  27. 27
    Betty Cracker says:

    @NCSteve: Good points — I didn’t mean to imply that the possibility of chaos and unexpected consequences alone are a good enough argument against military action, ever; I’m not a pacifist. But I think that is a valid argument against a “limited engagement” — you can’t know it will really be limited.

    So defeating ISIS is worth total war with all the possibilities that implies, or it’s not. And to me, it’s not. I’m not convinced our stated and unstated objectives in the Middle East are realistic / worth it / any of our goddamned business.

    There will be a reckoning between the factions that keep erupting over and over in the Middle East (Shia, Sunni, Kurds, etc.). What Cacti says above about our insistence on a unified state in the trumped up nation of Iraq is right on, IMO.

    They need to sort it out themselves. We’re only prolonging that reckoning with our interference.

  28. 28
    Another Holocene Human says:

    OT: heard this on the radio haven’t seen it on BJ so far today, this 46-year old outspoken Facebook atheist who had a “parking dispute” shot and killed three Muslim neighbors–he had threatened them before. Authorities calling it “isolated incident” and probably not a hate crime.

    Bullshit, you can be an atheist and be Islamophobic (Sam Harris, anyone? Or Ayaan Hirsi Ali?). Besides, there’s a clear link between white supremacy and the notion of carrying and brandishing weapons and also believing you have the right and even responsibility to use them. Xenophobia can happen anyplace anywhere and xenophobic violence by a member of a dominant group towards the minority group is driven by hatred, bigotry, ignorance, and a wider gestalt of intimidation. It may not be a lynching, which is communal violence, but it is tied in a more modern, communication age kind of way, stochastic terrorism.

    This guy may be one of those people who murders neighbors because something is not right in his brain. However, it’s funny how it always seems to be white guys with autism or whatever who “snap” and kill neighbors because they just fucking can’t handle it when they tell other people to do stuff and those other people who aren’t white males fail to comply. (This one guy in Florida tried to poison his neighbors for being “loud”–it was a household of women and children. It’s funny how they don’t pick on other white males this way.)

    It’s like, have you never seen how certain white people get totally pissed when they try to pull some authority move on a Black woman and she fails to respect their authoritah and the white person just flips the FUCK out–? But sub Black for brown, it’s the same principle combined with this horrible fear of creeping Sharia, the fear (projection) of being dominated by the subordinate group. Now you have potential for real violence.

    It’s being driven by white supremacy but some Good Old Boys from NC are here to tell you about how it’s an “isolated incident”.

  29. 29
    Another Holocene Human says:

    The blowback of the deaths of Liu and Ramos vs the deaths of three Muslim students in NC. Discuss.

  30. 30
    singfoom says:

    @Cacti: Right. Western powers have been dicking around in the ME for 50+ years. It has given us/them nothing but grief. Stop expecting we can organize that area of the world by using proxies.

    We can expect blowback and unexpected consequences for every single thing we do in the region. At the very least we can try doing something else rather than repeating the same mistakes ad infinitum.

  31. 31
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Another Holocene Human: From what I’ve read, it’s the wingnuts who are wanking over the possibility that the shooter was on an anti-religion rampage. But maybe he was yet another entitled asshole with a gun and a short temper. Too soon to tell.

  32. 32
    boatboy_srq says:

    While some Republicans were concerned that Mr. Obama’s proposal was too constricting, setting the stage for an ineffectual effort, some Democrats quickly expressed concern that the measure would still give the president the power to go too far.

    Translation: it’s 21 months until the next pResidential (s)election, and while the GOTea is afraid the AUMF will keep JEB! or MITT! from righteously nuking Iran, forcing them back to the negotiating table, some Dems are expressing concern that a pResident Palin might use the power to invade North Korea to apprehend the notorious terrorist Kim Chi.

  33. 33
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Bullshit, you can be an atheist and be Islamophobic (Sam Harris, anyone? Or Ayaan Hirsi Ali?).

    Or Bill Maher.

  34. 34
    raven says:

    @Betty Cracker: And pro-gay and anti-Mitt if his Facebook is genuine.

  35. 35
    Citizen_X says:

    @Cacti:

    maybe it’s time for the various regions of Iraq to evolve into something else.

    I agree with everything you say about the existence of Iraq. However, “evolving into something else” includes horrors like the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad that took place in the mid 2000s (where a cosmopolitan city separated into big Sunni/Shiite/other blocks), and the rise of ISIL.

    Those events are thanks to us, of course, not that you’d hear that acknowledged by our pro-war faction.

    Separating more completely would be an event like the partitioning of India, on a slightly smaller scale. In other words, it would take place over a mountain of corpses.

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    @Citizen_X:
    Imagine a guy down the street from your office building, yelling at the kiosk for your free weekly city newspaper. Then imagine that guy with internet access.

    Now imagine the guy moving to Oregon’s largest city. On second thought, don’t.

    In any case, somebody needs his meds.

  37. 37
    The Moar You Know says:

    Awesome. Obama just handed the GOP all the responsibility for fighting this “war”, and they cannot refuse it.

  38. 38
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @raven: But still a gun nut.

    He had come to their door before, ostentatiously wearing his gun.

    I’m still puzzled why he drove to another county to turn himself in.

  39. 39
    raven says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I’m puzzled by all of it but why waste time when people can make pronouncements without knowing shit? I have a friend who is an artist, liberal and a gun freak. He immediately raved that this was related to American Sniper.

  40. 40
    Baud says:

    @raven:

    pro-gay and anti-Mitt

    It’s like Obama pulled the trigger himself.

  41. 41
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    I wonder what else Obummer can dump in the wide lap of Congress to make their lives even harder and more embarrassing? My bet is…a lot.

  42. 42
    The Gray Adder says:

    @Belafon: Why not? Let’s just say ISIS is a country. Do they really need recognized borders to be a country? Do you even need to be recognized as a country to be a country that you can declare war on? These are pretty stupid arguments; I think the only thing you really need is an army to fight. The land they occupy is enough; otherwise, why did we invade France in 1944? In that regard, they are as much a political entity worthy of the attention of our military as, say, the Barbary pirates in Thomas Jefferson’s day.

  43. 43
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @singfoom: Yeah right, we got exactly what we want, we got rid of democratic governments that opposed our post-colonial designs on “our” oil, also USSR got exactly what they wanted, what is the problem here?

    Middle East turmoil is a baby with so many fathers: Ottoman empire end-stage decay, the British Empire, France, invasion by European Jews, oil-resource conflict, Soviet imperialism, American imperialism, leaded gasoline (thank the good old USA for that “innovation”), and oh yeah some Sunni/Shi’a beefs and Wahhabist beefs with everyone and post imperial era bullshit Christian vs Muslim ethnic crap which probably wouldn’t have been a “thing” except for all the preceding reasons.

  44. 44
    Another Holocene Human says:

    I’m tired of the bullshit that the ME has just been at war with each other for thousands of years, okay so the great Mediterranean empires between the Roman empire and the British empire never happened? Hoookay. Right and the material culture not to mention everything else in Moorish Spain was superior to the “European” empires/kingdoms before and after? Wave, these are not the mosques you’re looking for. Moors could never compete with the fine flower of modern era European civilization.

    Ever since WWI when Arabs made a push for self-rule there has been non stop interference, perfidy, and bloodshed driven by European powers and European diaspora (especially of the British variety). The trauma of bloodshed doesn’t end in one generation. The trauma perpetuates, and the brushfires continue and sometimes sweep into enormous conflagrations. That’s the danger of what’s going on in Nigeria, Sudan, CAR, Congo, or Somalia, Yemen, Syria … or Eastern Ukraine for that matter.

  45. 45
    raven says:

    @Baud: If the dude turns out to have all these “liberal” views he’ll be crazy. If he’s a right winger he’ll be a terrorist or visa versa (depending on one’s own orientation).

  46. 46
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’m not convinced our stated and unstated objectives in the Middle East are realistic / worth it / any of our goddamned business.

    Well said

  47. 47
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @raven: Maybe it was, or maybe “The 300”. Both are ugly xenophobic pieces of trash that reinforce and amplify xenophobic thoughts and feelings.

    You know who else has an overactive amygdala? Psychopaths. So when we say xenophobes and bigots act like psychopaths … they are shaping their brains to resemble the brains of psychopaths.

    This is not a joke. This is some scary shit right here. This is how countries explode into interethnic violence.

    NYT just published a map of lynchings. I think they should overlay with a map of “race riots”, which would give a more nuanced picture. Anyway, this isn’t shit that “those people” do “over there”.

  48. 48
  49. 49
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @raven: no worries, outspoken atheist, despite all the atheist right wingers they all say they aren’t white right wingers, quod erat demonstrandum m–f–, if he did something laudable the Christofascist socons would be telling the tr00f about his sincere Christian beliefs since he did something bad they can lecture about how not being a Christian leads to nihilism something something anti-social violence

    “no true Christian/rightie” applies here, they will ALL disavow him include the Christian Identity/Stormfronters who are wanking to news reports as we type.

  50. 50
    Baud says:

    @raven:

    It’s really disrespectful for these murderers not to fall cleanly within our predetermined categories.

  51. 51
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @raven: :)

  52. 52
    Corner Stone says:

    @raven: I’ve long since given up trying to figure out what the funnel is saying.

  53. 53
    raven says:

    @Baud: It would be irresponsible. . . ah you know!

  54. 54
    muddy says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: And most glibertarians.

  55. 55
    Corner Stone says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    OT: heard this on the radio haven’t seen it on BJ so far today, this 46-year old outspoken Facebook atheist who had a “parking dispute” shot and killed three Muslim neighbors–he had threatened them before. Authorities calling it “isolated incident” and probably not a hate crime.

    It’s all over BJ today, starting with at least the, “On a Lighter Note” post by Tom Mix’s son earlier.

  56. 56
    Corner Stone says:

    An AUMF to do what? Go after a nebulous, dynamic group of sometimes affiliated non-state actors?
    Might as well organize a WKRP drop of turkeys across their HQ.

  57. 57
    Corner Stone says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Awesome. Obama just handed the GOP all the responsibility for fighting this “war”, and they cannot refuse it.

    Please to explain how you reach this conclusion.

  58. 58
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    But maybe he was yet another entitled asshole with a gun and a short temper.

    Perhaps expressed inelegantly, my point is that whether it’s a white supremacist planning and carrying out a conventionally defined hate crime or just a white guy somehow randomly deciding his “right” to boss his neighbors around outweighs their right to life as not white guys, they are part of the same gestalt of white supremacy and pattern of interethnic violence perpetrated by the dominant group in order to intimidate and “keep in their place” a minority group.

    When a Black dude of limited mental stability decided to shoot up some cops during a very public debate about police violence towards Black people, the response was very different. Because a disadvantaged minority group can always turn to violence against the dominant group but it doesn’t have the same meaning or have the same consequences as violence perpetuated by the dominant group.

  59. 59
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Corner Stone: Well my bad then.

  60. 60
    Corner Stone says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Unless we plan on taking land and keeping it

    And that has worked oh so well in Cyprus, Algeria,…

  61. 61
    No One of Consequence says:

    What if we didn’t care about the Middle East?

    Seriously.

    As a thought experiment, what if we made a collective American effort to forcibly move the US to a post-petroleum transportation economy? A real effort. Not ‘go shopping’. But our generation’s moonshot. Fuck manned missions to Mars.

    How long would it require? 10 years? 15?

    Then, we could tell the House of Saud to shove their rigs, and eat their oil. Best of luck.

    At that same point, we told Israel that the apron strings are now cut. No more foreign aid. To them, *or* to Egypt. They can buy our weaponry, as per usual, but not if they don’t sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and come clean with what they have.

    Continuing with the experiment, how much simpler would our foreign policy become?

    Would we be simply handing China the ability to stomp around the region? Or perhaps Russia? Or would they be smart enough to make money off of it, but keep their nations ‘out’ of direct involvement?

    ISIS or whatever nom de guerre you choose, makes my blood boil. Their purposeful atrocities are designed to make my blood boil. I want every single one of them to attain room temperature. That said, as bad as they are, don’t we have a lot of broken windows in our own nation that need attending to?

    Why doesn’t our leadership call out the powers that be about investing in our nation? You know, like we used to do? I am shocked and stunned that this simple argument is not being made in as forceful a manner as it might. Our people are hurting. Sure the entitled class is doing fuggin’ fantastic, but the rest of us, not so much. How about we invest in some very smart moves here in the US?

    Don’t the well-off realize that the rabble will eventually (inevitably) get fed up, and just take what they want. Things will get messy and there will be much blood and tears.

    Don’t our politicians realize that eventually, we won’t wait anymore? That eventually enough of us won’t have anything significant to lose. That a small subset of those with nothing to lose will choose very dangerous means of effecting immediate change?

    Our dearly departed Gonzo once wrote that nothing scared him more than a man in the depths of a hardcore ether binge. Nothing, in my mind, has more potential for woe than some individuals (perhaps one, perhaps many), with nothing significant left to lose, who are more determined than discerning, and more committed than capable.

    Such a person or group scares me far more than ISIS. For I see in them, myself.

    With but a couple of ill twists of fate.

    – NOoC

  62. 62
    muddy says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    It’s funny how they don’t pick on other white males this way.)

    Indeed. I have been having problems with bully neighbor men who scream in my face and threaten me, and then the cop comes and he bullies me too. I know good and well if there were a husband in this house this behavior would be unlikely from either party.

    Oh, the cop also asked me if I was a member of the active duty military, because he wouldn’t give me a ticket (for the thing I didn’t do) if I was one. I was taken aback, I wasn’t aware that being in the military let you do whatever and not be ticketed. Apparently being a vet would not have cleared this bar.

  63. 63
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @singfoom: Try dicking around for two centuries, and you’re much closer to reality.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    Corner Stone says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    @singfoom: Try dicking around for two centuries, and you’re much closer to reality.

    I wasn’t going to say anything, as I’m not a cultural historian like TR or AHH, nor a military brat like Tommy, but it seems like we could easily stretch this into the “millennia” range with no problem.
    It’s only in the last century or so that petroleum was the driving cause for Western interference.

  66. 66
    Corner Stone says:

    @No One of Consequence:

    As a thought experiment, what if we made a collective American effort to forcibly move the US to a post-petroleum transportation economy?

    This reminds me of the Simpson’s Halloween episode where the thought of an evil force was enough to conjure up that entity.
    Their cure was to blissfully sing, “Just don’t look! Just don’t look!”

  67. 67
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Corner Stone: True, it’s only been since the late afternoon of the age of European Imperialism that the Brits, French, and Germans really got interested for reals in the middle east…because of the oil. The sick man of Europe (the Ottoman Empire) was primed for some carving up, and WWI is when it really happened.

    The first stirrings of this were in the late 18th century with the French expedition to Egypt, for reasons.

    The Greeks and Romans were interested in it for their own reasons, and of course there’s that “Crusades” thing that has the Christianists up in a lather recently.

  68. 68
    raven says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: “for reasons.” You are killin me over here!

    click to edit

  69. 69
    Violet says:

    This just depresses me completely. It’s been a crappy week and I’m tired. I’m tired of the wars we always seem to be in. I’m tired of the Middle East running everything we do. I’m tired of backward as fuck Republicans. I’m just tired.

  70. 70
    singfoom says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Ok, fair enough. I was thinking in terms of interference based on oil, but yes, it’s earlier than that. Regardless, I honestly think we should get the fuck out of the ME. Unlikely given our politics, but a boy can dream.

  71. 71
  72. 72
    No One of Consequence says:

    @Raven : Succinct assessment. From which I was able to glean nothing.

    @CornerStone : Recent Ursala L. LeGuin (paraphrasing) – We live currently in Capitalism. It is pervasive and seemingly unavoidable and intractable. It appears inescapable. So to, once, did the divine right of Kings…

    – – –

    Look, I get the energy-density of petroleum as a fuel source. To my knowledge, it is unmatched short of nuclear fuel (which we would not likely be able to harness safely for personal transportation). I understand the inhibiting factor of current battery technology.

    We have solved and overcome problems of similar-seeming magnitude before. How can we divest our citizenry of their concern for the latest iGadget or hot App or whatever the hell the Kardashians are up to at any given moment — and get back to the business of the continuation of our inherited legacy as a (purported) Democracy?

    (And no, I don’t expect to get anything really from posting such questions or thoughts. I rarely dip a toe in, but typically content myself to lurk and chuckle. But today, I feel as an island, and it is extremely improbable that I am the only one with such thoughts. However, perhaps I am.)

    – NOoC

  73. 73
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “If, FSM forbid, ISIS captures an American pilot and posts a grotesque snuff film of his or her execution”, President Obama will be damaged beyond repair. While ISIS needs to be fought, countries in the Middle East should do the heavy lifting and put their own boots on the ground.

    I hope this measure fails. Americans really don’t need to get involved in any more ground wars. We’re still getting out of Afghanistan.

  74. 74
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @raven: The main reason for the French expedition to Egypt seemed to be fucking with the Brits. The French had only recently been kicked the hell out of India, and they were still sore about that, so sitting astride that particular avenue to the east and poking the Brits seemed like a good idea, even if they did abandon it due to the vastly superior Royal Navy cutting up their lines of communication.

    Of course, Napoleon was also the sooper genious who invaded Russia, while having a running wound in Spain to deal with, so you can see that he was not nearly as infallible as his PR guys would have you believe.

  75. 75
    GxB says:

    …some Republicans were concerned that Mr. Obama’s proposal was too constricting, setting the stage for an ineffectual effort…

    [Spit Take – followed by sidesplitting hideous laughter] Well if anyone has expertise on ineffectual middle east policy it’s certainly found in the brain trust of the GoP.

    @No One of Consequence: I like the cut of your jib. While I don’t think abandoning foreign relations altogether with such the (currently) powerful oil nations is wise, the sooner we can develop all that hippie homegrown power stuff and tell them to FOAD (diplomatically, natch) the better off we’ll all be. But we all know that ain’t happening, the powers that be need to tack a few more zeroes onto their net worth.

  76. 76
    raven says:

    @No One of Consequence:

    “Bad Craziness” is Thompson’s account of the salacious Pulitzer divorce case in Palm Beach, Florida. The story is tailor-made for The Good Doctor: a 52-year-old newspaper heir (Pete Pulitzer) marries a much-younger woman (Roxanne Dixon Pulitzer) from the wrong side of the tracks. The couple has three children, but also plunges into cocaine addiction, affairs, and all sorts of tabloid-worthy behavior.

  77. 77
    DTOzone says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    They need to sort it out themselves.

    Whose to say they won’t come after us anyway. France didn’t support the Iraq War and isn’t particularly pro-Israel and yet Al Qaeda in Iraq slaughtered a whole bunch of their citizens in the capital just cause.

  78. 78
    raven says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Most of what I know Napoleon comes from Love and Death.

  79. 79
    Baud says:

    Listening to DougJ and MM’s radio show. It’s kind of neat hearing Juicers come to life.

  80. 80
  81. 81
    Violet says:

    @raven: Thanks. Good for a laugh. How’s the work on the house coming along?

  82. 82
    No One of Consequence says:

    @raven: Many thanks for the clarification. I (obviously) completely missed your reference. I tip my hat to you sir.

    – NOoC

  83. 83
    raven says:

    @Violet: Ugh, dead in the water. Yesterday at 6:30 the paver dude was out front and said they were ready to rock. There were big asphalt spreaders and other equipment so we were jacked. I came back from the Y at noon and they were loading it all up. Apparently the “crusher run” base was too wet and they’ll be back in a “few days”. I know asphalt is tricky and we want it done right so we’re cool with it. None of it really matter since our builder can’t start til April 1 anyway.

  84. 84
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @GxB:

    the sooner we can develop all that hippie homegrown power stuff and tell them to FOAD (diplomatically, natch) the better off we’ll all be

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.....conspiracy

    “The neutrality of this article is disputed. (January 2015)” — keep those yucks coming, wiki-editors

  85. 85
    raven says:

    @No One of Consequence: Ever read “Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang”? Loads of fun.

  86. 86
    No One of Consequence says:

    @GxB: As a practical matter, setting fire to the relationships we have established in the ME including House Saud, would be unwise. However, the irresistible lure of petroleum-consequence-free diplomacy has captured my heart at the moment. Not to mention how much better the planet might feel about the pesky humans getting off the ‘last rays of ancient sunlight’ smack.

    Much of the Middle East is cobbled together political lines drawn in sand at the close of the first World War. Certainly Iraq fits that description. When the second Mess-o-Potamia started, I commented to my friend that foisting democracy on a people at the point of a bayonette (or daisy cutter) would not hold. A nation must bleed and cry to secure and defend a Democracy. I firmly believe it has been ever thus.

    I need a drink. Or a toke.

    Peace,

    – NOoC

  87. 87
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @muddy: Wow, similar interaction with a cop after she called for help happened to a close friend of mine. She is married, cop asked to speak to her husband at one point like the patriarchal condescending bastard who refused to do his job that he was.

    You just feel so helpless and ragey and unsafe. I’m no good in a fight & never have been, I thought cops were there to keep the anti-social element at bay. Turns out they are the anti-social element. The stress you must be under, muddy.

  88. 88
    No One of Consequence says:

    @raven: I have, but it has been years. I do remember his lauding of the Vincent Black Lightning and the Raped Ape reference. Personally, I found Fear and Loathing to be his best work that I read. Curse of Lono was also good, I thought. Vying for second with Generation of Swine, in my humble opinion.

    – NOoC

  89. 89
    Violet says:

    @raven: Ugh. Construction is such a hassle. I live in a construction zone at the moment. Idiot rich people down the street have decided to get a pool installed before they move into their new, ugly, ridiculously expensive house. Poorly constructed as well–we watched it go up.

    The pool company tried to get in the back way to do the pool install but couldn’t because a Mercedes was parked in such a way that it blocked access just enough so the giant truck and trailer that shouldn’t have been going that way anyway couldn’t get through. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. They had to go from the front and through the owner’s fence, which is what they should have done in the first place. Of course, instead of blocking the owner’s drive they blocked the neighbor’s driveway. The pool guy is such an ass. Owners not much better, apparently.

    It was loud as fuck. Made everything shake in the house including the house. So stressful to be around. Of course the owners have not bothered to speak to any of the neighbors and let them know what was happening and leave a phone number or anything else. Nope. Rich, selfish entitled fucks. Move into the neighborhood and think they can dictate how it works. Nope. Sorry. You and your sorry ass pool guys can suck it.

    I’m a nice neighbor and look after people’s homes when they’re gone, keep an eye on things and so forth. But these guys have been selfish and entitled from the beginning. They can go to hell.

  90. 90
    raven says:

    @No One of Consequence: “Said Red Molly to James that’s a fine motorbike. . .”

  91. 91
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @No One of Consequence: To be fair, and this was hardly after a bloodless decade eta: but contra your notion of crying and bleeding for democracy, the US did come in and rewrite Japan’s laws and the Japanese took it from there. (They had some I guess parliamentary institutions that pre-dated WWII and I guess continuity of bureaucracy but the place was a military dictatorship under nominal hereditary kingship prior and during WWII, and a functional representative democracy afterwards.)

    Which raises the question of why the US successfully shaped institutions in Germany and Japan so successfully after WWII and why they screwed up so royally on every level in Afghanistan and then Iraq. (my two cents: it’s the corruption, stupid)

  92. 92
    Corner Stone says:

    @DTOzone:

    France didn’t support the Iraq War and isn’t particularly pro-Israel and yet Al Qaeda in Iraq slaughtered a whole bunch of their citizens in the capital just cause.

    If you’re referring to Charlie Hebdo attack, not the same thing.

  93. 93
    raven says:

    @Violet: I’m hoping our addition isn’t too awful for folks. The sewer work has been a pain but it is for the benefit of all. I gave our tenant a break on her rent because of the hassle. I haven’t told her we’ll probably have to put the dumpster in her driveway when this gets going.

  94. 94
  95. 95
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @No One of Consequence: But what about all our precious stuff? Which is manufactured in China and Vietnam and Bangladesh and Pakistan and Indonesia? Not counting cars.

    All our preshuss polluting disposable stuff.

    We couldn’t give up our stuff, could we?

    And, er, what about food? You know we use petroleum to make food? And food is one of our key national exports?

    Reduce petro use is very good. Eliminate? I don’t know that we can.

  96. 96
    Violet says:

    @raven: “A girl could feel special on any such like…”

  97. 97
    muddy says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Yeah, I really am, thanks for responding.

  98. 98
    burnspbesq says:

    @samiam:

    ue wr0ng way Cole with his childishly simplistic argument that all war is bad therefore don’t ever do anything war like ever because something something Griftwald wrote.

    If you insist on trolling, at least get some game.

    You suck. You are an abject failure as a troll.

  99. 99
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @raven: We didn’t win in Iraq?

    I think Iraq is what happens when you apply Texas-style governance to a place with porous borders. Again, that’s my two cents. Just think the total corruption had a lot to do with what went wrong. How much insurgency would there have been if we’d hired Iraqi construction firms employing Iraqis to do rebuilding instead of US contractors with ties to the US regime. Other stuff went wrong but that was a massive unforced error.

  100. 100
    Mike J says:

    @DTOzone:

    Al Qaeda in Iraq slaughtered a whole bunch of their citizens in the capital just cause.

    French people born in France did that. They weren’t from Iraq, so what France did in the war doesn’t seem to be an issue.

  101. 101
    Violet says:

    @raven: See, you’re a nice neighbor and landlord. I’m sure you’ve talked to the neighbors about the work and will again when the actual house construction starts. You’ve probably given them your contact info so they can get in touch if there’s a problem. Because that’s how nice, neighborly people do things.

    What they don’t do is hire people who damage fences, garden beds, lawns, driveways, and not be at all responsible for it. Nor do they close on the house, bring in the pool company–who then proceeds to do all of the above again–and not bother to let all the neighbors who are directly affected by the trucks parking across their driveway or hitting their fences or spewing toxic fumes into their property or damaging their fences or gardens know what is going on, what the timeframe is, and how to contact them should there be problems. Because that’s the kind of thing nice, neighborly people do. And these people are not that.

  102. 102
    Bob In Portland says:

    @singfoom: What do you think “we want”? Do you really think that US foreign policy is for your sake?

  103. 103
    jharp says:

    “If, FSM forbid, ISIS captures an American pilot and posts a grotesque snuff film of his or her execution, the US would be occupying all of Iraq and half of Syria before you could say “clusterfuck.” Does anyone doubt this?”

    Yes. I do.

    Obama is far too smart for that.

  104. 104
    raven says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Apparently Zhou Enlai’s remark in 1972 that it was “too early to say” what the effects would be of the French Revolution has been debunked but I like it anyways!

  105. 105
    raven says:

    @Violet: We try. We live in funky town with a mix of students and “local color”.

  106. 106
    Bob In Portland says:

    If you owe the bank a thousand dollars, that’s your problem. If you owe the EU/IMF a few billion, that’s the banks’ problem.

  107. 107
    burnspbesq says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    There will be a reckoning between the factions that keep erupting over and over in the Middle East

    The question is when. The Catholics and Protestants in Ulster kept killing each other for 300 years, and the theological disputes between them were small beans compared to what divides the various sects within Islam. And as long as they have oil to sell, they can always buy more arms and equipment.

    You can make a case, after a fashion, for what the Administration is proposing to do now–but somebody will be making the same case at approximately three-year intervals for about the next 500 years. When do you say “enough?” And if not now, why not now?

  108. 108
    realbtl says:

    @No One of Consequence:
    All good but my favorite is F&L on the Campaign Trail. I read it every 4 years to keep my political cynicism primed.

  109. 109
    Bob In Portland says:

    @jharp: Not not too smart not to send weapons into a Ukrainian civil war. Or not too smart not to bomb Libya into chaos.

  110. 110
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone:

    An AUMF to do what? Go after a nebulous, dynamic group of sometimes affiliated non-state actors?

    The biggest favor left that Obama could do for us is to start (and do the heroic work to sustain) a conversation about, 1) What are the components of this, and the greater, conflict, 2) What is at stake internationally, 3) How do we engage the global community, and 4) What costs are the American people going to be asked to bear.

    Now that outlines a very tough slog, but it is an essential one. But we need to figure this shit out, and right now Obama is the guy who has the responsibility.

    Our government can’t just agree to use force, but have no overarching agreement with our citizens.

    It. Will. Not. End. Well

  111. 111
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: re: crusades my understanding is that the expansion of the Rashidun caliphate was the nail in the coffin for easy access to what had been a VERY lucrative religious tourism industry in Palestine, and what the Vikings were able to do briefly was to re-open access to this area to Christian pilgrims. That’s part of what drove crusading, though there was plenty of other stuff too. Crusading Franks struck the local Arabs as particularly barbarous which is interesting, because a few centuries earlier the besieged Romans had pretty much felt the same way.

    Those are my peeps, the Franks … idiots.

    eta: the other side of my fam is Irish, pig-headed dolts, six a’ one, half a’ dozen of the other

  112. 112
    jl says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    I don’t agree with you on much. But it is interesting to see what the reaction would be reaction wrt to Greece. Shoe on other foot, whose ox is gored, etc.

    From your link:
    ‘ Dr Jonathan Eyal from defence and security think tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) called Kammenos’ statement an “unbecoming threat from a NATO member state.” ‘

    A little Cold War mentality showing there, Dr. Eyal? Seems like helping out Greece would be a nice way for Russia to show how it could play a helpful role in the international community.

    Or it could be a huge BS geopolitical mumbojumbo crisis, with the ‘Russian bear’ prowling some woods or other and will tip over OUR trash bin and raid it and pose a serious someting or other.

    Russia is not a major national security threat to US interests, and I am sick of all this geopolitical and militaristic crap coming out of the US and NATO and the EU.

    What the hell is Hungary doing in NATO? We going to go into WWIII mode if some autocratic loons there get into trouble?

    And, yes, for the anti-BiP brigade, this kind of thought is consistent with the proposition that Putin is a Bad Man. I agree with that too.

  113. 113
    JPL says:

    @Violet: When we lived in Dallas, we put in a pool. We had alleys and fences so I didn’t know who lived behind me. I delivered flowers and a nice bottle of wine to warn them, when the cement would be poured for the pool. In TX they do it about four in the morning and their driveway could be blocked. They were quite appreciative. I still felt bad though.

  114. 114
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @burnspbesq: Catholics and Protestants in Ulster were not shooting each other over theological disagreements. That’s crap-sauce any way you want to serve it.

    Go learn about “people of the soup” just to get an eensy-weensy little piece of what the picture in Ireland was about. Hint: it was about systemic genocide and its aftermath. Not transubstantiation or whether God requires intermediaries.

  115. 115
    Another Holocene Human says:

    When Dr Seuss wrote about star bellied Sneeches he was more on the point about Cat-o-lick vs Proddie in Northern Ireland than anything you’ve said on this thread, burnsie.

  116. 116
    Pogonip says:

    @Violet: Company’s name should be on the side of the trucks, and if you file a claim against the company for damaged trees or whatever, I guarantee you the pool company’s insurance company will subrogate to the asshole neighbor’s company. Photograph every bit of damage and file on everything.

  117. 117
    Buddy H says:

    @Violet: House next to us is occupied by renters. The owners live on the opposite coast. They have a woman who comes to mow the lawn, snowblow in the winter, trim hedges. Last summer their tenants (young people who smoked cigarettes on their porch and flicked butts all over) moved out, and the owner decided to do some renovations. Here’s where it gets fun.

    They hired the three stooges to spruce up their house. The roofer had one of these big cherry pickers to get on the roof. He had to park in my driveway. Okay, no problem, I’m a good neighbor. By all means, park in my driveway. Then they knock on my door. The battery is dead on the cherry picker. Can they leave it in my driveway overnight? (Meaning all weekend?) “Uh, no” I tell them. So they ask if they can plug the cherry picker into the outlet on my house. I tell them yes. After about a half hour, the thing is charged enough for them to leave. The next day I see they snapped the cover off my outlet. About six days later, they return, want to use my driveway again.

    I don’t want to piss anybody off. I’m new in this neighborhood. I tell them yes. They bring their ladders and cherrypicker. The guy has to set up his ladder in my yard, over my fence, to get to the roof. “Okay, go ahead,” I tell him. While they’re painting the trip at the top of the house, a big chunk of the house falls in my yard. I’m watching from the window, they pretend nothing happened. The guy damages my fence moving his ladder.

    They replaced the outlet cap finally, after I asked them nicely twice. But I can see the crap job they did on the house. Bad paint job, and the roofing looks horrible.

    I wrote down their company name and put a note “Do not call these people ever” In case my wife ever needs a contractor after I’m dead.

  118. 118
    raven says:

    @Buddy H: The pipeline contractor and his guys have been great. The communicate, do their best to clean up and really seem to care. I’m writing to the mayor and city manager and giving props to them and the city staff involved in this project.

  119. 119
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @jl: If I understand you correctly, I disagree. Russia is an existential threat to numerous NATO members and the US as their sworn ally is saber rattling over Ukraine to send the message to Russia that this stops here and they won’t be eating Baltic states or maybe even Poland for lunch once they wake up from their Ukraine AYCE buffet hangover.

    Hungary likely joined NATO because they didn’t want to go back to being part of USSR, TYVM. Like most Central European countries they had more than their fill of taking orders from Moscow, and unlike others they never had the buffer of being “brother Slavs”. Which is no doubt why nationalistic neo-Nazi rhetoric is playing so well there (and freaking the fuck out of Jews, ex-pats and other minority group members in Hungary even though the racists keeps saying there’s nothing for them to worry about). I visited Budapest (which is a beautiful city) right before things got politically even worse and the Magyars just hated anything Soviet or Austrian on the landscape regardless of objective aesthetic considerations.

    Hungary is super proud of being a long-standing medieval age kingdom, they resented what happened to the during Hapsburg era and have plenty of Soviet era grievances even though it’s quite possible that quality of life in material terms was never better than during 60s-80s Soviet era. But you have to go back to 1956-1957 which has been a sort of national fixation since 1989.

    If communists = Soviets = Russians and Nazis sell themselves as Communist-busters and Russians are threatening you now, you can see why Nazi stupidity is so appealing to some people. Russian racism during the Soviet era has ugly children.

  120. 120
    Buddy H says:

    @raven: You’re fortunate.

    What bugged me was that the guy snapped the outlet cover (which protects the outlet from rain and snow) and just sneaked away, hoping I wouldn’t notice.

  121. 121
    Violet says:

    @JPL: That’s how nice neighbors act. These neighbors are apparently here, according to the pool guy, but haven’t bothered to contact any of the neighbors being affected by their pool installation. Not even the next door neighbors, the ones whose driveway was blocked today.

    @Pogonip: The problem is, you go to work in the morning, you come back in the evening and the damage is done. No way to prove who did what. The construction guys are gone. At times my schedule varies so I may come and go at different times. When I’m home I can go out and yell at them and take pictures. I had all of the construction company’s guys, including the owner, on speed dial. Took pictures and texted them all the time with the damage. The subcontractors lied to the owner and blame the utility companies, etc.

    If you’re home, that works fine. If you’re not, it doesn’t. Most people in my neighborhood work during the day. They come home and find their yard is torn up or their fence is completely mangled. No sign or anyone.

  122. 122
    Pogonip says:

    @muddy: What you need, madam, is a shotgun and a cleaning kit for same. Sit at the window, or wherever they can see you, and conspicuously clean it. When it’s warm enough, do the same in your back yard, and work the action. All miscreants recognize that ratchety sound. Hence the old joke about the Chicago burglar alarm that plays the sound of shells being jacked into a 12-gauge; it alarms the burglars so much they go elsewhere.

    Also, you don’t have to stand there while some moron yells at you. Walk away.

  123. 123
    raven says:

    @Buddy H: Yea that sucks. These dudes are under some pretty heavy regs and it’s a $300K job that they don’t get paid for till everyone is happy.

  124. 124
    Turgidson says:

    @raven:

    Oh goodie, now we can look forward to a few weeks of “are all liberals murderous Muslim-hating psychopaths? It would be irresponsible not to speculate. Up next to discuss this probing question, our expert panel: Peggy Noonan, Charles Krauthammer, and Mark Thiessen.”

    I can’t wait, I tell you.

  125. 125
    Violet says:

    @Buddy H: I was nice to begin with but I learned. Now I go outside, arms crossed and stare at them. Then, “Do not touch our driveway. You damage this garden bed and I’ll be calling the cops. You block our driveway and I’ll be calling the cops” Take pictures of truck with info on the door, license plate, person driving. I’m a complete asshole at this point about it. I learned. They do not touch our property if I can help it. I also text the pictures to the neighbors if I see the trucks on any of their property. Document, document, document.

    Previous house, they re-did the house next door and the contractors stole water when we weren’t home. Learned that lesson really well.

  126. 126
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @DTOzone: That’s a bingo. Compared to your average Middle Easterner, we’re rich, affluent, and different. And thanks to modern technology, its easier more than ever for the local Ayatollah wannabes to put on their Five-Minutes Hate, and instruct the masses on how to really reach out and touch someone.

    But that brings up uncomfortable questions for today’s game of Progressive Blog Buzzword Bingo. Best to rest in belief in our collective smugness at the foibles of the Red Scare. Simply by giving those people our blessings not be bothered by us anymore, everything will be good forevermore. Our sheltered cocoons will always be protected by our splendid isolation. Admirals Atlantic, Pacific, Norton, and McAfee will make sure of it.

    Decrying American exceptionalism with beliefs grown and rooted in that very American exceptionalism. Its good to be the king.

  127. 127
  128. 128
    Pogonip says:

    @Violet: Crumbs. Somehow I had the idea you were home during the day. I’m sorry. I’ll try to think of something else.

    I’m blessed with a neighbor who IS home during the day and willing to take delivery, pick up the paper when we’re gone a few days, all those things. We hate her cat collection but we love her. Oddly enough, her husband feels the same way! We did mention Alley Cat Allies but have seen no traps yet. I’m sure the Mr. is working on her; their patio smells like a zoo. Maybe when the next batch of 10-15 kittens arrives in the spring she’ll give Alley Cat Allies a try.

  129. 129

    @Alex: And there’s no way to sugercoat that you’re a damned idiot.

  130. 130
    raven says:

    @Pogonip:I work from home and that has helped. I don’t know how great it will be when the addition goes in!

  131. 131
    Tree With Water says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-: “Compared to your average Middle Easterner, we’re rich, affluent, and different”.

    Yeah, we’re different all right. One difference is we war with impunity in their backyards, but righteously resent attacks on our soil. Of course, that’s just one thing that’s makes us so affluently different than your average Middle Easterner. Still, it’s a good place to start whenever drawing up a list of those differences.

  132. 132
    jl says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Well we disagree, then. I think NATO is over-extended and include countries that are not in the sphere of direct and important US security interests. It is very nice that Hungary is proud of its heritage, but it is an unstable country that is currently run by authoritarian anti-democratic loons (who have said that they are anti-democratic). And Poland has flirted with going that direction, though currently it is not in that camp.

    I think the idea is utterly ridiculous that what is going in Ukraine today, or what might go on in future on Polish Belarus border due to Russian BS is in anyway comparable to Soviet tanks invading Germany.

    Russia, as it is currently governed, is surely and eventually a loser economically, so will eventually will be a sure military loser (except for their nukes) and therefore will pose no significant military threat to US or major US allies. Major US allies that are important for US security do not include Poland and Hungary. Yes that is too bad for them right now, but so what for US or Western security?

    Such sudden NATO expansion was a mistake and talk of continued expansion to places like Ukraine is a mistake. The very real split between German and US on potential responses should indicate that. A political split in NATO that casts into doubt its guarantees defeats the whole purpose of NATO, and renders it a danger not an aid to US security interests.

  133. 133
    muddy says:

    @Pogonip: I don’t think menacing the neighbors and/or the police with my shotgun would be prudent. These aren’t intruders unfortunately, they are allowed to be where they are. And are apparently allowed to be real shits.

    As to the screaming in my face, I told him to fuck off and then I walked off with him pursuing in full howl. The worst part was the cop came and started haranguing me about my supposed crimes and didn’t even ask my side. These people just made up absolute lies and he laid into me like it was proof. They are trying to get my dog destroyed because it got out last May and they can’t get over it. No damage or injury was done, they are just drunk assholes with a grudge.

    Cop said he was writing me up for a dog running loose biting people, I was displaying some eagerness to take it up in court at this point because the dog did neither. He got in his car. I closed my door because it was cold and waited, but he never came back with my ticket. Probably realized he was making a paper trail that would end up stupidly for him. Of course now it’s hanging over my head wondering if they are coming back to try to take the dog.

    The only good thing is that the asshole neighbors are being foreclosed on because they haven’t paid their mortgage or taxes in ages. Fingers crossed for spring.

  134. 134
    liberal says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Russia is an existential threat to numerous NATO members and the US as their sworn ally is saber rattling over Ukraine to send the message to Russia that this stops here and they won’t be eating Baltic states or maybe even Poland for lunch once they wake up from their Ukraine AYCE buffet hangover.

    LOL. The stupid, it burns…

  135. 135
    liberal says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    …or maybe even Poland…

    Yeah, those Poles are so scared, the spend a whopping 1.8% of their GDP on their military!

  136. 136
    Steeplejack says:

    @Violet, @JPL:

    A little bit of care and sensitivity goes a long way. When my brother bought his dream house a few years ago, he did a huge landscaping renovation of the back yard. He is a serious gardener, and the house’s big (but featureless) lot was a selling point for him. He and his husband delivered a bottle of champagne and an explanatory note (including contact info, etc.) to each of the five neighboring houses (one on each side, three in back), along with an invitation to a “meet and greet” party. Not everybody attended, but they knew what was going to be happening—rough schedule, potential disruptions, etc.—and who to contact if there were problems. And everything did go very smoothly, even when a storm knocked down a dead tree (scheduled to be taken down anyway) and it crushed part of the fence between bro’ man’s house and one neighbor’s. People don’t like to feel powerless or “out of the loop,” and a lot of neighborly friction arises when those crazy people next door start doing unexpected shit. Knowledge is power.

    The big bonus came a little bit later, when one of the back neighbors, emboldened with the contact info and probably tipsy on champagne, showed up and sort of timorously asked if the kids on that cul-de-sac could cross bro’ man’s yard to get to and from the school bus stop. Bro’ man was like, WTF, sure, just tell them to stay out of the flowerbeds. Turns out the previous owners, a corporate lawyer and a corporate lobbyist, had literally—literally!—sent “cease and desist” letters to the neighbors about the kids crossing trespassing on their yard. So the kids had to take a three-block detour to get to the bus stop. When bro’ man and partner granted the letters of transit their cred was made in the ’hood, trumping any concerns about the gay.

  137. 137

    @jl:

    The problem is more that NATO membership was made an at least de facto requirement for membership in the EU (though ask Turkey how that’s worked out for them so far). If those two could be decoupled, or if another non-aggression treaty could be negotiated, that would probably help tensions quite a bit.

  138. 138
    David Koch says:

    I wonder how Elizabeth Warren will vote. Surely she’ll stand on principal and won’t vote the wrong way.

  139. 139
    jnfr says:

    @Cacti:

    Christ. 25 fucking years. I’ve been watching closely the whole time and I still can’t believe it.

  140. 140
    JPL says:

    @Steeplejack: Just being nice goes a long way.

  141. 141
    Chris says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Which raises the question of why the US successfully shaped institutions in Germany and Japan so successfully after WWII and why they screwed up so royally on every level in Afghanistan and then Iraq. (my two cents: it’s the corruption, stupid)

    No, not just the corruption. The underlying assumptions of the people behind the process.

    Rumsfeld turned Iraq into a playground for his no-government ideology. The military was disbanded; de-Ba’athification meant the civil service was gutted as well; and the CPA eventually turned Iraq into a fair tax playground as well, as if the state wasn’t already short enough on revenue. Between the total lack of preparedness (Rummy explicitly ordered our postwar planning scrapped because we weren’t going to be there that long) and the vastly insufficient number of U.S. troops, we had nothing to fill the vacuum we created.

    But that vacuum is something conservative ideology claims is good – it’s Grover Norquist’s “drowned in a bathtub” fantasy applied to real life. According to wingnut belief, that’s all you need for a happy working middle class democracy to just will itself into existence. The corruption was just icing on the cake – the assumptions underlying the reconstruction or lack thereof guaranteed that it was never going to work.

    Germany and Japan were rebuilt by New Dealers. In other words, people who understood that working societies don’t simply will themselves into existence, that investing a ton of money into restarting the economy and building institutions is a necessary part of rebuilding society, that putting in place governments that actually govern and don’t just sit back and twiddle their thumbs waiting for the Invisible Hand to do their job for them is too. Iraq and Afghanistan were “rebuilt” by Reaganites. The results speak for themselves.

  142. 142
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:

    @Chris:

    Excellent post.

  143. 143
    Pogonip says:

    @muddy: No, no, you don’t menace them! That’s a crime! You simply, subtly make them aware the weapon is there.

    And pray they move. There are few things worse than horrid neighbors.

  144. 144
    Linnaeus says:

    @Chris:

    Not only that, but it’s also a way to try to ensure that Iraq would remain a client state of the US. Not that that worked well, either.

  145. 145
    Interrobang says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Hey, Holocene Human, you wanna see a huge thing I wrote about that? I’ve got the documentation. I’ve got buckets of it. I’ve got so damn much, I keep thinking I need to write to Edwin Black (who wrote IBM and the Holocaust and Internal Combustion) to see if he’ll teach me what he knows about managing vast quantities of documentary evidence, and turning it into a work with citations, so I can expand my monograph into a full book. Incidentally, Black knows the score.

    Only one nit to pick: Those allegedly “European Jews” still have Levantine origins. Genetics doesn’t lie.

  146. 146
    Alex says:

    @Marc McKenzie: You’re quite sweet to say so.

  147. 147
    Elie says:

    My guess is that this was advanced trolling by the President. I agree with whoever upstring said that he had dumped this shit into Congress’ lap and I personally think its kryptonite. Once the Republicans touch it, it is theirs. Period. It is up to them to respecify the scope, if they think its not deep enough, or to pull it back if they don’t want to do anything (which of course they won’t). For every accusation that the President’s policy is “wrong”, they have to design and pass a better one.

    I truly believe that Obama does not want the US tangled up in the ME in any significant way that we can’t peel off. I believe that he also believes that this is an internal struggle for the ME that we should largely stay out of. He is forcing the Republican led Congress to own that there is little we can really do without pouring gazillions of dollars and lots of blood down a rathole again. If they want that, they will have to assert that and convince the American public… which they won’t.

    I think Obama has all kinds of goodies waiting for this Congress…. Just my opinion and I am not an expert.

  148. 148
    Rick Taylor says:

    We’ve been fighting in Syria for six months, citing the 2001 AUMF as justification, so what difference does the current vote make? Until they repeal the 2001 AUMF, it’s all kabuki.

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