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Blog posts with the tag "Iraq"
Oct
22

I’m liking Obama Reloaded who is much more decisive and not afraid to make decisions like to withdraw from Iraq, despite a unanimous chorus of nay-saying from the GOP candidates. In fact, it’s a pretty good bet that if the Republicans are against it, it will be the right thing to do for the country.

I read an interview with Clinton in the Guardian where he came out with a good summation of why it’s pointless to argue with the GOP on just about any topic. Clinton made a distinction between philosophical vs. ideological differences, arguing that, in the latter case, facts don’t matter because the person has already made up his mind and nothing is going to change it. I think he’s right on: if a fact — say, on global warming — were a bullet, you would need to coat it with teflon and run it through that Super Collider in Geneva to get it up to a speed where it could penetrate Rush Limbaugh’s skull.

Speaking of Rush, I turned myself into an oxycodone pill and sneaked into an emergency meeting Rush held with the GOP field where they discussed how to deal with this latest crisis.

“Did you see how little Obama spent to get rid of Ghadaffi?” Gingrich exclaimed. “I mean, did any of the Defense Contractors who stuff money in your pockets make anything out of it?”

Shaking heads. Only one hand went up. “I mean, one of our contributors made some chump change on jet fuel and a few Hellfire Missiles, but other than that……”

“Damn, where is “Blank Check Ronnie” and “Yellow Cake Dick” when we need them?” Bachmann lamented. “I mean, if you needed an excuse to go to war and there was no evidence, he would make it up.”

Heads nodded. A collective sigh filled the room. You could almost hear everyone thinking:

“Justification No. One: Weaponsamassdestruction.”

“Justification No. Two: Sadaam plotted Nine Eleven.”

“Justification No. Three: Al Queda was in Iraq.”

“Justification No. Four: Sadaam is a Brutal Dictator.”

Only Rush was smiling. Perry asked him what was so funny.

“You guys. Don’t you get it? The real money is in Climate Change. Look at the destruction these floods and powerful storms are causing. Are you telling me you guys can’t figure out how to profit from that? I mean, I’m doing my job, denying it, ensuring that no one will act until it’s too late — but you guys gotta step up!”

The mood in the room did a 180 then. You could almost hear everyone thinking: “Make money off Climate Change. Why didn’t I think of that?”

Oct
4

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

With the assassination (the old ‘bomb in the turban’ trick) of Karzai’s lead negotiator — purportedly by Pakistan’s Intelligence Service (ISI) –the Taliban Peace Talks are derailed for the time being, so it’s back to Business As Usual, which means more suicide bombings and a stepping up of the military operations down south. The Drones have become our counterweight to the suicide bombings, sowing Terror Among the Terrorists. Imagine yourself at a birthday party or wedding: “Happy birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Omar – KABOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!

The Drones are really effective for the type of terrain where Al Queda likes to set up operations. Not many trees to hide under in the Yemeni desert. Drones are inexpensive, too, compared to boots on the ground which cost about $1 million per soldier per year. Whew. Much has changed from Napoleon’s days when he could get by with a month’s supply of bagettes and a few bottles of cheap claret per Legionaire.

My alma mater, Brown University, came out with a study that put the total cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars at north of $3 trillion. You can just see Cheney growling: “Impossible! I only steered a trillion to Haliburton, and I know no one else got as much as they did!”

Growl on, Dick, growl on, my brother.

That’s all for now. Doning my Turkish suit, counterfeit Dunhill tie and lucky airline socks and going out in pursuit of a few million clams to allow FINCA Afghanistan to expand its operations. Bon chance!

Bin Ladin’s issue is upset with us. I guess they thought their mass murderer Dad deserved better.

Satisfying as it was to see Osama get his just deserts, it was just a reminder that we have enjoyed a decade largely free of terror — despite some close calls. Sadly, we know they will eventually get through again, it’s just a matter of time.

When they do we have to remember the Big Lesson of 9/11: traumatic as it was, it was not so much the immediate damage and loss of life in the Towers that wounded America, but what we did to ourselves in the aftermath that has really left us weakened. The billions spent of what has been in effect “closing the barn door” at our airports. The massive blunder of the trillion dollar war in Iraq. We simply cannot afford to respond in the same way.

We also need to be prepared for the national acrimony and blame-gaming that will surely come. I hope Obama has a communications strategy to deal with it.

Sorry for the gloomy thoughts on such a beautiful spring morning.

Seems like the old bastard still had a few tricks up his sleeve.

Like those annoying folks from CNN’s “Situation Room” on election night, even though just a fraction of the official returns are in, I’m ready to call this one for the Dictator.

As to the miniseries, I admit I was wrong on both counts. It won’t be “Khadaffi: The Last Days of the Tyrant” nor “The Enduring Dictator” that gets made, but a third one: “Les Miserable II”.

Many of those brave young Libyans who revolted against the Old Man will die at the barricades, while the UN and NATO try to persuade Egypt and Tunisia to open up their borders for a few miles to house the flood of refugees that will ensue when Khadaffi rides triumphantly into the formerly liberated cities. Other dictators in the region are taking heart. The Saudis quietly gunned down 3 protestors in a Shia city, and no one said a thing.

Even the earth is on the side of the dictators: the quake in Japan has the media obeying the “Law of the Bigger Disaster” and giving just a brief crawl mention to the turning of the tide against the rebels in Libya.

The future of Libya was written plainly on the confident, gloating face of Khaddafi’s son — such a contrast from the frightened manchild of a few weeks early — as he stood before the cameras, daring the U.S., Nato, and the UK to try to topple his Dad. He stopped short of saying “Bring it on!”, but we got his meaning. His gleaming eyes said “Forty more years of Dictatorship”.

I am going to make an admission here. Before Iraq, I was in favor of the West using its military might to overthrow murderous dictators. I cheered as the warplanes pummeled the Serbs in Kosovo. I was there, in the aftermath, with FINCA, to reap the Kosovar’s gratitude. To this day, when you leave the airport in Pristina, you will pass a giant billboard of Tony Blair, with the words “Thanks!”. Go into any restaurant (except in the Serbian enclaves) and you will find a big picture of Bill Clinton hanging on the wall.

What ruined it for me? First, were the multiple “justifications” that Bush and Cheney used to explain our misadventure in Iraq. First, we were going into find “weaponsamassdestrucshun”. Thanks for taking the fall for that one, Colin. Next it was “SaddamHusseinisabrutaldictator”. (Try it, still rolls off the tongue) Finally, it was….actually, we never heard the real justification: ‘all, as they call in Texas. Yeah, the black heroin that destorys our environment when the price is low, and our economy when the price is high.

They must be celebrating in Houston today at the footage of the Japanese reactor melting down, in what will certainly constitute the coup de gras to any future “nucular” energy may have had.

The Libyan rebels are not the first, nor will they be the last group to risk their lives for freedom and to be let down by those nations who espouse to be its defenders.

I know it’s not simple. We don’t know who the rebels are. Suppose we invaded and the result was another Iraq: a country closer to Tehran than to Bagdad. We are already stretched to the breaking point in Afghanistan. Libya is just the latest example of how we are, as all empires do, slowly losing our appetite for military adventures, regardless of how noble or ignoble the cause.

Then again, the real reason could be as simple and eloquently as John Boo Hoo Boehner put it:

“We’re broke”.

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