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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Best And The Brightest: Millenial Edition

by digby

Read these and weep. First you have Bob Woodward reprising his earlier role as warmongering hagiographer. Then you have an excellent piece written by the man who wrote Imperial Life In The Emerald City (which, now that I think about it, was the cartoon version of The Best And The Brightest.)And then, dear God, there's this bucket of cold water, which makes me think we are dealing with a whole new level of hubris. Finally, here are two pieces by Spender Ackerman, who you need to bookmark right now if yo0u haven't already.

If you haven't gotten out your dog eared copy of TBATB, do it now and read it through. We are about to go through the looking glass with a man named McChrystal.

The military is obviously turning up the heat in Washington to get us into a much bigger war in Afghanistan and it's being done the usual way, with lies and leaks and back stabbing and grandstanding. And the politics are as confused as ever.

For me, this one is easy. Afghanistan is the most unlikely place to win a war on the planet. To apply the lessons learned in Iraq (such as they were) to this country seems insane to me --- especially the concept of "counter-insurgency," so beloved by the McChrystalites, which is being bizarrely misapplied. But more important than that: whenever you hear people saying that the primary purpose in continuing a war is because "to leave would send the wrong message" and declaring that "perceptions" are the reasons for continuing a slaughter, you know you are in Pentagon NeverNever land.

Escalation is a bad idea. The Democrats backed themselves into defending the idea of Afghanistan being The Good War because they felt they needed to prove their macho bonafides when they called for withdrawal from Iraq. Nobody asked too many questions sat the time, including me. But none of us should forget that it was a political strategy, not a serious foreign policy.

There have been many campaign promises "adjusted" since the election. There is no reason that the administration should feel any more bound to what they said about this than all the other committments it has blithely turned aside in the interest of "pragmatism."

Update: Oh what fun. NRO sent over a bunch of robots who thought it was fun to swing their tiny little appendages around in the comment section (which is now closed and the insults deleted. My house, my rules, no urinating on the furniture.) You didn't miss much other than a bunch of bullshit about Dhimmicrats etc.

I have always believed that The Good War was a myth and that the Democrats used it as a political weapon. I've written about it plenty in the past. But why these bloodthirsty wingnuts should take issue with that and conclude that I'm therefore responsible for the deaths of American soldiers is beyond me.

After all, the Democrats were all for the war --- just like they were. The only problem the right had with it was that the Democrats criticized George W. Bush for not being enough of a warmonger on Afghanistan. They weren't pacifists. They were just liars and political opportunists. And now the Republicans and the Democrats are all potentially on the same team, pulling for a bigger and better and longer war in Afghanistan. Huzzah! Post partisan comity is at hand.

But these people are apparently confused about what they are supposed to believe under these new circumstances. Do they want to escalate the war or do they want the Democrats to "come clean" and get out? I can't really tell. They're so programmed that they launch into Bushian gibberish at the mere mention of the Democrats not "really believing" in the war, like that makes some sort of substantial difference. Am I to conclude that these wingnuts therefore disagree with the Democrats and want to withdraw? Or do they think we should stay? (Or is it that they only want wars to be supported by Republicans, who "really believe" in what they are doing? Heh.)

These right wingers are a lost and defeated little minority these days so I suppose it's to be expected that they make no sense, but this is ridiculous. Here I put out the hand of friendship and agree that the Democrats are just as full of it as the Republicans when it comes to Afghanistan and they call me a traitor. There's just no pleasing some people.

The conclusions they come to about Democrats not liking shooting wars and hating the soldiers and the rest is truly laughable when you look at the record. The fairer characterization is that Democrats back every stupid war that comes down the pike. The only question is whether or not they are doing it for craven political reasons or if they really believe in it. Either way, the idea that Democrats are reflexively anti-war is nuts. If there's one thing you can almost always count on is that they will be there smartly saluting whenever the military establishment says boo.

As for Afghanistan, I knew we were going in no matter what the minute the World Trade center was hit and didn't waste my breath arguing against it. It would have been like arguing against the sun coming coming up. And I suppose I could have guessed that we'd still be there eight years on, but it seemed unlikely after the Soviets got their asses handed to them there just a few short years ago.

But God help me, whatever happened, I didn't think I'd have to listen to the same tired crap about "hearts and minds" and "sending messages" and "dominoes falling" for yet another time in my life. But here we are again, with the wingnuts screeching incoherently about treason and hating the troops like they just invented the argument and the Democrats trying to figure out ways to deal with the whole mess on the margins. It's groundhog day, except that people actually die ...