September 11, 2014
Just So…

From Andrew Sullivan at The Dish:

What I under-estimated was the media’s ability to generate mass panic and hysteria and the Beltway elite’s instant recourse to the language of war. I believed that Obama was stronger than this, that he could actually resist this kind of emotional spasm and speak to us like grown-ups about what we can and cannot do about a long, religious war in the Middle East, that doesn’t threaten us directly. But he spoke to us like children last night, assuming the mantle of the protective daddy we had sought in Bush and Cheney, evoking the rhetoric he was elected to dispel.

What the president doesn’t seem to understand is that this dramatic U-turn isn’t just foolish on its own national security terms; it is devastating to him politically. He is now playing on Cheney’s turf, not his own. His core supporters, like yours truly, regarded our evolution from that Cheney mindset one of Obama’s key achievements — and he tossed it away last night almost casually. He committed himself and us to a victory we cannot achieve in two countries we cannot control with the aid of allies we cannot trust. And, worse, he has done so by evading the key Constitutional requirement that a declaration of war be made by the Congress. He is actually relying on the post-9/11 authorization of military force against al Qaeda in Afghanistan to wage war in Syria (in violation of international law) and in Iraq.


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at September 11, 2014 12:27 PM
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He's not actually wrong (on most of it), of course, and he says it pretty well, but that just makes it the more galling. God, Andrew Sullivan is despicable. "... the protective daddy we had sought ..." WE, Andrew? Who is this we. YOU are the one that used to talk about Bush and Cheney in nearly orgasmic terms, like you were fantasizing about being the bottom piglet in a BDSM three-way with them as the tops. You were the major cheerleader for the war on Iraq until ... well, until you weren't, for some reason. Please STFU Andrew Sullivan.

Posted by: Tim on September 11, 2014 6:48 PM

Here's the thing... Barry is screwed no matter which way he goes on this, so the route he's chosen seems to be the least objectionable. The key phrase here is 'counter-terrorism', something he's been doing pretty damned well for a bunch of years now. I would rather he hold his nose and move forward with the plan he has instead of dithering around doing nothing or unleashing the bombs of hell as his numerous Rethuglican critics would prefer.

NO ONE KNOWS what is gonna go down with those idiotic murdering religious bozos, but I know one thing for certain: it's gonna be interesting!

Posted by: Bob on September 11, 2014 7:45 PM

I admit, watching ISIL stomp bloody-booted through Iraq and Syria, killing Shia, Christians, and Yezidi as they go, I'd like someone to stomp back. Hard. But I know America cannot afford another war.

I'd like some of the misery and death ISIL is spreading, as they act like their bloodbath will bring back Gabriel AND Mohammed, to be stopped. But humanity doesn't seem to EVER see that handwriting on the wall until it is written in blood, so I'm not sure the world would appreciate any bullet America's overextended hand helped them to dodge.

Largely, the GOP half of the aisle wants pretty cowboy rhetoric more than difficult gray truth, and unilateral action appeals to them more than a real coalition. For me? This militantly religious convulsion seems poised to set in motion a refugee crisis that will be a forerunner of a worse crisis to come as water, not oil, becomes the next major contention. But I somehow doubt if bombing practice by the US is going to be the proper preparation for THAT debacle.

I wish we had long ago told the Mideast: Police your own nutjobs. But then, look at American politics, the dominant religious paradigm HERE isn't too good at weeding their little garden-not-of-eden either; and if we aren't killing each other yet on church steps, it is only because orange is such an ugly color.

Posted by: Syrbal/Labrys on September 12, 2014 12:01 PM

Wow, some pretty harsh feelings being expressed! I share the general direction of some of them, I have to admit.

I would venture a guess that some portion of the national mood of unhappiness might be related to an expectation that Obama would be different from his predecessors. The evidence was always against this view, but it seems to have been widely held.

For those of us who never believed that Obama would be anything different the course of events is somewhat less surprising. But even to me the scale of Obama's ignoring of the Constitution and binding international treaties such as that on torture is a bit surprising. I did think he would moderate somewhat the rightward drift of politics, but it hasn't happened because he goes with the flow. Had he not, we might have put together a reasonable health-care system like other grown-up countries.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree on September 12, 2014 3:48 PM

Who created the Taliban? Who created IS? The United States of America. Waging war on the spirits we've crated is never a sensible policy ... Evil always begets evil.

Posted by: Peter on September 16, 2014 1:02 PM
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