Welcome Back, Quagmire

Back in March 2003, as we were settling in to what would prove to be a month-long CNN marathon, we had a single thought:

Don’t fuck this up.

Our opposition to Shrub’s War, hopeless to begin with, had been rendered moot by the launch of Shock & Awe. Whatever Bush did, we were stuck for the ride, and could only hope that he would prove competent at the task. We’re old enough to remember when “quagmire” was part of contemporary political jargon, not a Family Guy character.

As it happens, eight years to the day after Dubya announced that war to the nation, Barack Obama launched missiles into Libya. Maybe we’ll get lucky this time, and there the comparisons will end. Beyond that, we’re absolutely fucking clueless what to think.

We know what others think, and unless they’re John McCain, they generally don’t think well of it. It certainly sets a bad precedent — or, more to the point, continues a long string of bad precedents. After all, we also remember “Imperial Presidency” the first time around. And “War Powers Act”.

And “Three Mile Island”, come to think of it. Seriously: We thought Seventies Nostalgia was over.

In the end, all we can think for certain is what we thought eight years ago:

Don’t fuck this up.


The fact that John McCain and Joe Lieberman are against it means that I’m almost ready to let slip the dogs of war.

White dumb GOPer guy invades nation who had nothing to do 9/11 with 100Ks of troops for oil. GOOD for nation. Must support the preznit huzzah harrumph. No criticism whatsoever. Yellow ribbons people!

Black not-so-liebral Demrat guy shoots missiles and leaves the rest to the Euros for oil. BAD for nation… Imperial Preznit.*

* of course, I’m not saying Barry is above criticism. He certainly isn’t. But I’m sick and fucking tired of GOPers and their enablers who play prissy two faced bitches when it comes to what a Demrat preznit does versus what a GOPer preznit does. They should be called out on that “Support the preznit” shit every fucking time. Plus the fact that they were horribly wrong when they did invade (Bush 1 and 1994 Dick “Dick” Cheney were right) or when they didn’t (Bosnia.)

Hypocrite asshole McCain reminds me of my housemate in that aspect. For example: he is more than happy to hit on younger women (mid 20s) but freaks out when other single friends in our age range does he starts screaming about “propriety.” He got upset with me when I called him out on that.


The current Middle Eastern situation is revealing a few things we all pretty much already knew:

(1) The GOP is completely, wholly, and irredeemably unprincipled. I reacall that when Dubya invaded Iraq we were all treated to soaring oratory and fawning speeches about how the installation of a Democratic government in Iraq was going to lead people across the Middle East to demand the same of their governments. Well, we now have people across the Middle East demanding Democracy and the removal of their dictatorial regimes. It probably has a lot more to do with Wikileaks than Iraq, but the end result is the same. The people of the Middle East want democracy and are tired of living under dictatorial regimes. So where is the GOP in all this? Holding back, tossing snide, pathetic arrows at the president and his handling of Libya… waiting to see what he does and criticzing him for not doing the opposite. Rememebr when the Right was aghast that Obama was failing to inject the U.S. into the Libyan siutation on the side of anti Ghaddafi protesters? Well, now he has. So where’s the support from the Right? You don’t see it. Instead we get stories about how Obama is empowering the Muslim Brotherhood.

(2) The Left has pulled itself into an isolationist shell. Now, this is understandable given the fact that the country is embroiled in two extremely costly, seemingly unending quagmires. We don’t want to see a third commitment that we can’t reasonably follow up on and that will only further strain our resources. But at the same time, it is inescapable that in doing this we’re taking a “sucks to be you” attitude to the crows of protesters who gathered in squares demanding a dictator cede power and allow democratic elections, and were instead met with a hail of bullets and bombs dropped from military aircraft… a completely aymetric and criminal response.

The differnece bewteen what’s going on in Libya and the Iraq fiasco is that in Libya we are supporting a home grown, large, armed resistance movement (that began peacefully until the dictator responded with brute force), whereas in Iraq we weren’t supporting anybody. We just mached in and started giving orders. Is this a significant enough difference to justify support? I don’t know. But I will say that it can be exasperating to see what appears to be a reflexive anti-interventionist reaction from the Left, an assumption that military intervention cannot possibly lead to anything other than catasptrophe.

@Serolf Divad:

I don’t blame the “left” for feeling isolationist, but I’d like to think I’ve read enough history to know that sometimes violence is the only option. The problem is when… (no one is ever certain and those that are certain are typically wrong–Dunning Krueger effect.) and dealing with the unintended consequences.

It’s like that kid in Australia who finally had enough of being picked on and grabbed his bully and slammed him head first onto a slab of concrete (captured for all time by the bully’s friend’s cell phone.) What annoyed the hell out of me (which is pretty much the same thing in this instance) were the demands that the bullied kid apologize (fuck no) and the snide questions from the press as if he did something horrible.

I think Barry is probably on the right track. I read on another site the local RW dipshit was shrieking that regime change should be done… I didn’t bother replying. Some folks are just too fucking stupid to figure it out.

yes. please dont fuck this up.

having said that. I think it was the right thing to do.

@Serolf Divad: But I will say that it can be exasperating to see what appears to be a reflexive anti-interventionist reaction from the Left, an assumption that military intervention cannot possibly lead to anything other than catasptrophe.

“Remember Rwanda in 1994, Mr. President. Remember Bosnia in 1993, Mr. President. Remember ‘this is our moment, this is our time’ Mr President.”

– short version of the joint memo from Susan Rice, Samantha Power and Hilary Clinton.

I found this bit from the Times pretty interesting (and somewhat relevant):

Disunion: March 16 – 23, 1861

The excerpted speech from Alexander Stephens serves *once again* to remind us that anybody who insists that the war was about “states’ rights” rather than slavery is both a scoundrel and a liar.

In more cheerful news, Tom & Lo analyze Shelley Oh’s outfits in Brazil. Every time I see a photo of Malia she looks like she’s grown another four inches.


Nice find. What’s amazing, though, is how many authoritative contemporary sources you can find to demonstrate that slavery was the central causus belli of the American Civil War. Southern politicians were not shy about broadcasting their desire to preserve the institution, nor the centrality of that mission to the seccesionist cause. It is only modern revisionists who have attempted (with not a little success) to paint a false picture of the war, presenting it as a cause that was fought over abstract principles of local governance and de-centralization.

@SanFranLefty: Wow! Shelly-O is wearing a dress with the waist in the right place (3rd, 4th & 5th pics)! Looks great!

As for the issue of the blog post above, I think it’s worthwhile spending some time on Andrew Sullivan’s site. That’s where the most enlightened debate on the subject seems to be taking palce. Sullivan is most dislpeased by Obama’s latest adventure. He’s really become the most vociferous ex-neocon voice of non interference. He seems to think that Obama allowed himself to be railroaded into this.

The truth is, this is a “damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t” situation for the president. If Obama intervenes, he risks the ire of his base who want nothing more to do with Middle-east entanglements. And there will be a contingent of paleocons insisting that the US has no strategic interest in de-stabilizing Ghaddaffi, and all we’re doing is pursiung a vague, liberal, do-gooder war that can only end up poorly for us. However, if the president fails to act, and Ghaddaffi crushes the dissenters who have risen up against him, he will be roundly criticized for not supporting the goals of an oppressed people striving for freedom.

You hear both voices echoing in seemingly equal measure in the right-wing blogosphere. As soon as Obama acts, I can assure you the dissenting voice will become the most prominent, and proponents of the president’s chosen strategy will waste little time switching sides.

@Serolf Divad: Yeah, I dunno about the Hillary Did It line. Obama’s responsible for his own decisions.

The more telling question is Why Libya? Why not [insert Mideast dictator ally here]?

@nojo: Where are the Saudis on this last adventure?

@Dodgerblue: Where they always are: bathing in money while they marry multiple teenage girls to keep in state-sanctioned slavery.

Plus ça change…

This post on Sullivan’s blog, I think, sums up the best pro and con arguments for the war:


Pro: we have to sent a message to other dictators in the region that they can’t just massacre peaceful protesters.

Con: But who are we supporting here? Is it just an opportunistic uprising by tribal rivals?

@Serolf Divad: If we waited for absolute moral certainty, we’d wait forever.


The more telling question is Why Libya? Why not [insert Mideast dictator ally here]?

A question that will only become more pressing as pro-U.S. dictatorial regimes mount similar offensives against their own people.

Oh, that’s dandy: Kucinich just dropped “impeachment” on Black Eagle.

Having hit YAHTZEE in the marital relations department just wasn’t enough, was it? You had to go and do this? For fuck’s sake.

@chicago bureau:

I dunno, Kucinich is a little daffy on this one – but he’s at least consistent, having introduced a similar resolution against Teh Shrub. It’s already getting interesting watching the wingnuts try to split Libya vs. Iraq…

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