Maliki gets the Boot
July 23, 2008

Bad news for Max Boot: the new neoconservative line on Maliki is already getting kind of old.

There is some irony in the fact that Democrats, after years of deriding Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as a hopeless bungler and conniving Shiite sectarian, are now treating as sacrosanct his suggestion that Iraq will be ready to assume responsibility for its own security by 2010. Naturally this is because his position seems to support that of Barack Obama.

Boot then goes on to list a bunch of possible motives for why Maliki would endorse Obama’s withdrawal plan, none of which provide a single compelling reason for why we should continue to occupy a country against the wishes of its chief executive. Maybe that’s coming in part two?

If I were Boot, I would just give up on this whole plan of attack and try what they’re doing elsewhere on the WaPo editorial page: Pretending that Maliki never said anything in the first place. Somehow, that actually seems slightly more intellectually honest.

Oh, if wishing made it so
July 20, 2008

“We’re fucked.”

-An anonymous but prominent Republican strategist speaking about the whole Maliki can of worms.

Re-invasion becomes just regular invasion again
July 19, 2008

Following up on my earlier post on McCain’s response to the whole Maliki thing, it looks like the campaign’s new official statement backs down from assertions that I guess they realized made them same practically homicidal.

Unfortunately for them, it looks like a hostile force invaded their press release and destroyed anything resembling coherency or honesty.

Invasion becomes re-invasion
July 19, 2008

My ex-boss, unsurprisingly, has what I think is the smartest take on this whole “Maliki endorses Obama’s plan” thing. But since this is less a blog for that sort of policy analysis and more a blog for looking at the crazy shit people will say to the American public with a straight face, I want to focus on the McCain campaign’s response. Matthew Yglesias passes it along without seeming to realize how batshit insane it actually is:

“His domestic politics require him to be for us getting out,” said a senior McCain campaign official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “The military says ‘conditions based’ and Maliki said ‘conditions based’ yesterday in the joint statement with Bush. Regardless, voters care about [the] military, not about Iraqi leaders.”

So McCain seems to be saying that if the US military’s top brass supports a continuing troop presence in Iraq, then a President McCain would support that even if the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people both want us out.

Now think about that for a second. Because a military occupation of a country that doesn’t want it, is by definition an invasion – and this would effectively, therefore, be an invasion of Iraq and the government we installed there after originally invading it. Doesn’t that strike anyone else as ridiculously alarming?

The good news is that, as Matt puts it, “it’s just a no brainer that if the Iraqi government doesn’t want us to stay we have to leave. McCain even said so himself before conceding the point became damaging to his campaign.” So I don’t think a McCain presidency would actually do this – he’s just trying to spin this thing as hard as he can, even if he ends up with a position that’s just flat-out lunacy.

The Republican Iraq strategy broke my brain
July 18, 2008

What the hell happened today? Up is down, black is white, McCain is scrabbling to appropriate and repurpose bits and pieces of Obama’s foreign policy. In other words, McCain wants to withdraw forces from Iraq and put them in Afghanistan.

But the two candidates still have totally different positions! See, Obama wants to retreat, based on an arbitrary time table, while the Bush administration is now in support of “a general time horizon” – the only word those two phrases have in common is “time!” And McCain says we won! By definition, you can’t retreat from a war you’ve won. Call it a “liberty exit.”

Seriously, this is giving me a headache. But you know what makes my head pound even more? This startling reversal comes on the same day that, via Dylan Matthews, McCain releases an attack ad accusing Obama of flip-flopping on foreign policy.

Anyone got any Advil?

Deficit Reduction: Winning the Lottery versus Winning the War
July 7, 2008

Since John McCain doesn’t know dick about either the economy or the Iraq War, but is better at faking knowledge of the latter, it makes sense that he would try to change the subject from one to the other at every available opportunity. But reducing the deficit by winning the war? Seriously?

It would actually make more sense to just play the lottery and hope for a stroke of luck. I mean, right now we’re spending $341.4 million per day in Iraq. Why not just buy 341.4 million lottery tickets? At least a couple of those have got to be winners. Plus: playing the lottery, on average, results in a whopping zero fatalities. Versus warfare, which … well, you know.

Jeff Goldberg needs some new material
July 2, 2008

Seriously, this whole “implying my political opponents are terrorist sympathizers” thing is getting way old. He just pulled the same old trick in his latest post, except with Saddam Hussein instead of Hezbollah.

A small indication of the political leanings of some Aspen attendees: At a session with Jim Wallis, Michael Cromartie and our very own Ross Douthat, Michael Gerson pushed back against Wallis’s contention that the Iraq war was immoral because it caused the loss of innocent life. Gerson noted that the previous regime in Iraq was responsible for terrible human rights violations, including genocide, and he went on to say that Saddam was “comparable to Pol Pot.” This was apparently a controversial assertion, because it provoked boos and grumbling in the audience. I would note for the record that there seemed to be no Kurds in the audience.

The title of that post: “Michael Gerson Blasts Saddam, Gets Booed.”

See what he did there? Gerson tried to defend the Iraq War as some kind of glorious moral endeavor despite all the carnage that’s ensued, because Saddam Hussein was a very bad man. Of his two assertions, the latter is obviously true and the former is patently absurd. But the only possible explanation for the booing is that the audience disagrees with both assertions and thinks Saddam Hussein was awesome!

Seriously, this is getting really, really old. And lazy. And to show how stupid this is, I’m going to play the exact same game. See, Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq waged war against Iran in the ’80’s. So by booing the crowd’s booing of Saddam Hussein, Goldberg reveals that he is actually an apologist for the anti-American Iranian government! My logic is unassailable!

Your lips say, “No,” but your eyes say, “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb Iran”
June 6, 2008

Oh, war. I wish I knew how to quit you.

See, if John McCain was your college roommate, then that commercial would be about how his ex-girlfriend is such a bitch and he hates her yet as soon as they bump into each other at some club and get a few drinks in them, you come home to find a sock on the door and end up spending the night in the student lounge on the first floor.

Which would only be a minor inconvenience, except in this case, your roommate’s ex-girlfriend is Enyo, the goddess of bloodlust and destruction. Not to be confused with Enya, who is even deadlier and more terrifying.

Let’s just hope that Enyo doesn’t find out about that other girl McCain’s started seeing on the side – warrantless wiretapping. Because if you put the two of them in the same room, then shit’s gonna go down.

Echoing liberal talking points
June 1, 2008

You know, if I were a Republican shill right now, I would not want to continually point out how much mounting evidence vindicates what liberals have been saying for years. I guess there’s something to the idea that you can refute any argument by calling it “liberal talking points” and some people will reflexively respond “OH NO DAILY KKKOS SCARYBAD.” But how many mentally stable adults actually think like that?

Hypothetically, what would Steve Hayes do if George W. Bush tearfully confessed to all of the allegations about manufacturing a war with Iraq? I guess he’d say that reality was just mindlessly parroting liberal talking points.

O’Hanlon’d!
April 16, 2008

Busy with stuff at NYULocal today, but I just wanted to draw attention to just how stupid O’Hanlon’s new column is. That’s the focus of my post today down at the ‘Local, but more important than reading that is checking out Spencer Ackerman’s takedown.

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