Tuesday, December 1

Use SNL (back when it was funny) to sell a war?

I just keep thinking Obama's going to go before all those West Pointy's and say...

It's an escalation...and a peace plan!

And if he can speak cohesively about that, it's a win. Sigh.

As I said at Salon last night, anyone who feels betrayed by 35,000 troops to Afghanistan wasn't listening during the campaign. Obama said he was committed to this one. He's not turning back on any promises.

And I voted for him knowing this. But the alternatives? Hillary would have invaded Iran by now. And McCain would be dead, and any of you self-respecting hippies think we'd be better off with Bill Kristol running our foreign policy backstage while Sarah Palin gave the speeches?

We liberals are stuck between a floor wax and a dessert topping on this one. Being roughly the same age as Obama (exactly the same as Michelle), the first presidential candidate I remember my parents voting for is George McGovern. For us DFH's, being a peacenik and distrusting the Pentagon are in our genetic code. We paint Viet Nam, Cambodia, Iraq, Grenada, The Balkans, Afghanistan, and the mother fukkin' Falkland Islands with exactly the same wide brush. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud, very proud, to be a pacifist.

But my parents also had interracially married friends, and they taught me that part of the good fight, a big part, was to push for equal rights for everybody. We stand behind this President in that he is Not Bush, and we stand in front of him and scream bloody hell to anyone who would make his race an issue, and there are plenty of Americans who are, every day. For the Fox News minions calling Obama a "racist"? Honey the Fox viewer hears "race" and that's it, that's the new N-word.

It's very cool to be disgusted with Obama at this point, especially in Liberal Blog Circles. I love the infighting, too: bloggers who've bragged about how they have the left ear of the President, or even being some insider circle of high-end blogs that will shape policy (as if), are now all of a sudden the enemy of those they sought to lead or exclude. I never saw my pixel level drop even once while the A(hole)-list blogger cabal was forming, but maybe that's me. And E-list bloggers taking on some mantle of exposing the betrayal of single-payer by a self-appointed A-list cabal. And let's fight the 2008 primaries all over again while we're at it. PUMA obviously now stands for "People Underestimate My Arrogance."

Sayre's Law, my friends. Sayre's Law.

May I work for peace, resist this President when he deserves it, and make sure that whatever I do as a blogger or activist, it is not about me. The strongest weapons in our arsenal, I think, are patience and humility.

And thank goodness we have something about which to be outraged. I'd hate to have to blog about that dead Miss Venezuela and her botched butt operation.


  1. A-freaking-men.

    I love all of us on the left who were pushing to go into Afghanistan to get bin Laden are now clanging the bell to get out. Being one of those who thought getting bin Laden was a good idea, I"m prepared to stand with the President on this one.

    But this can't be an open-ended commitment, and I hope he knows that. Bin Laden has long decamped to Pakistan and if Obama can convince the Pakistanis to give him up then more power to him. So our involvement in Afghanistan is no longer about bin Laden. I'm not sure what it's about, but Obama had better define it clearly tonight.

    Or else I might decide to stay home next November.

  2. I was just glad to see the Bush/Cheney cabal out of direct power in my neighbor's land - Seeing the culmination of 4 decades of jingoistic malfeasance triumphant and armed with all the excuses in the universe to do what they pleased was a vision of Armageddon ascendant.

    Obama's not a liberal (if we are using the construct of that pejorative that is peculiar to Americans), and that's to be expected - no true representative of that ilk has risen to the Highest Office In The Land, because it just wouldn't be acceptable to those who must be obeyed.
    Even Carter doesn't really qualify, IMO at least during the term of his presidency.

    So what's the takeaway? Staging area for Pak 'stabilization'? Safe conduct for oil and drug conduits? Showing the filthy commie failures Amurricah 'can-do' twenty years too late?

    Tell me how the movie ends, Mr. President.


  3. I trust this President's judgment. I do think he's a peacenik by nature but he's got these wars to contend with. I think he worries about not only the lives of our troops but the lives of the Afghanies. Whatever strategy he decides on will take all souls into account and that's okay with me. We have, in the past, had a nasty habit of hit and run and damn the consequences in the ME.

    I'm also a little weary of people pining about troops being in harm's way (not talking about anyone here). That's like weeping over a boxer who's getting punched in a prize fight. It's okay to pay the salaries of our troops while they sit around the base playing cards but they did sign up for the job of warrior so going to war should not be a surprise.

  4. Big Daddy Malcontent2:25 PM

    Sounds to me like you're following a talking point, Fran.

  5. Graham Firchlis3:16 PM

    IIRC the troop "surge" used to escalate the two-front war we now call WWII was widely considered within the Allied powers to have peace as its end-point, and correctly so.

    Coherently explaining that in the present case the two are related, if not in fact inseparable, can easily be done if it is the truth. Under BushCo it would have been a lie, since pereptual war was indeed the aim. Obama's goals are quite different, he has been entirely consistent on this, and I don't think he will have any trouble making the case for this new approach.

    Whether everyone will be willing to listen is another question, the answer for which Obama is not responsible.

  6. BG -

    I agree with what you are saying -- and the whole 8-year clusterfuck in the middle east was premised on getting Bin Laden, which is still a worthy goal (I agree with TommySpoon on that one).

    But maybe as a project kinda guy, without a measurable goal, how does anyone know when they are done?

    No one talks about OBL anymore, and so I think we are absurd to be there. And no one can tell me that we are not being seen as an occupying force (as were the Soviets, the Brits, Ghenkis Khan, Caesar... the list goes on and on) in an unwinnable conflict.

    As for what Grandpa Walnuts or Hillary would be doing now, well, it's a false choice. They are not in charge, Obama is. I just don't see anyway to say you escalate in order to leave.

    Six months from now, they will be talking about sending in more troops.



  7. What you said, Ten. How do you send 30,000 more troops but wind it down 18 months later? They really think we are stupid. And yes, they now includes Obama's team.

  8. I'm disgusted.
    I hate the argument that "he said he'd surge in Afghanistan in the primaries"

    Because he also said this:


    FYI we currently have 100,000 troops still in Iraq.

    As for Obama's surge promise-- he already fulfilled that in April 2009, when he sent an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan.

    And he said he'd shut down gitmo.

    I voted for the guy. I wanted hope & change.
    I KNOW he would inherit an America in smoldering ruins & he would have an enormous mess to clean up. I understood he could not fix it in short order & he was handed an economy in collapse to boot.

    Which is why this issue makes me so mad.
    The eternal wars have been the elephant in the room of our economy all along. We are $12 trillion in debt. No matter who got us there (the Shrub- busy getting his wars on), but the fact is that is where we are at.

    Let's just do a little reality check...

    The White House estimates that it costs about $1 million per year to send just one soldier or Marine to Afghanistan.
    If Obama authorizes 30,000 more troops, that would add another $30 billion to the cost of the war.

    The cost will also be offset by the anticipated reduction of troops in Iraq, which is expected to be cut from more than 100,000 troops to 50,000 by the end of next year.
    100,000 troops= $100,000 Billion, reduced to a reasonable $50,000 Billion

    Plus there are already 65,000 troops in Afghanistan.

    You see-- we spend 60% of the entire budget on WARS.
    As Dr. Phil would say-- How's that working for you?

    My answer: It ain't

    So the next time you wonder
    Why can't we afford healthcare?
    How come there is limited money for education?
    Why do we have starving children in America?

    Know that this Nobel Peace prize winning president has adopted these wars as his own.

    Historically- No doubt, no other empire has won a war in Afghanistan. We could/did not in 8 long years.

    Personally, I think Obama has just made the biggest mistake of his presidency.

    I do agree with one part of his speech...

    "The status quo is not sustainable"

    Sure enough.

  9. Tengrain nailed it.

  10. taylorbad9:56 AM

    Peace, patience, humility, compassion--what conflict doesn't need more of these?

    I believe the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have gone on so long that mission creep, war-mongering creeps(yeah, you, Blackwater), crooks, victims and all the other hounds of war have fundamentally changed why we are there and how we get out. Our presence is now part of the system. We can't just leave without huge catastrophe ( see Viet Nam exit and Bush the Smarter's exit in Gulf War I). I, too, am a "how do you know you succeeded?" kind of person. I don't know how we'll know in this case.

    If the President has kept his metrics close to the vest, OK, but don't wait too long to play them--the stakes are too high.


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