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What Atrios said


It's absurd but nonetheless completely normal that 5 years later, anti-war voices are almost completely missing from our mainstream public discourse and all of the idiots who cheered this thing on are given platform after platform to describe their intellectual journey or whatever. I don't really understand the degree of narcissism that many of them exhibit, unable to recognize that what the world really needs is for them to shut the fuck up and turn their microphones over to people who didn't cheer on this horrible disaster.

I hate to be cynical, even though I'm never cynical enough. But there's only one explanation I can think of:

The Village simply doesn't view Iraq as a disaster.

After all:

1. The people who do matter have made a great deal of money, including the billions that were stolen;

2. Only people who don't matter are being killed;

3. The war has produced a vast expansion of executive power, especially military and surveillance power;

4. Which will be very useful, once people figure out that the rich fucks ran off with all the money before they bankrupted the government.

So what's not to like?

No votes yet


BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

You're right, lambert, Iraq hasn't been a disaster for everyone. Naomi Klein made this point when I saw her speak in LA. She said (paraphrasing) that people should stop simply calling Iraq a disaster because it wasn't a disaster for everyone. It was a disaster for the American people, the Iraqi people, and much of the U.S. military. But it wasn't a disaster for Haliburton shareholders. It wasn't a disaster for Eric Prince and Blackwater. If you look at it as a project designed to move public money to private hands, it's been a rousing success.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

would be too dissonant with our national myth that we're always the "good guys" etc.

The GOP uses the govt to profit always, so they would be doing that anyway, Iraq or no--look at how they've privatized, and no-bid contracted, and faith-based funded, and taken our money for their buddies over and over and over...

rootless's picture
Submitted by rootless on

"Obviously, I've thought about that a lot in the months since," she said. "No, I don't regret giving the president authority because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction, grave threats to the United States, and clearly, Saddam Hussein had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade."

April 2004.

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

With Vietnam, the draft brought the war home to people and energized the anti-war movement, because it meant that the people commenting on the war had people close to them involved in it, or were subject to the draft themselves.

Now, we have a professional military, and they're the ones bearing the brunt of the war. It's hidden from the taxpayers of yet, and it's not like the young man next to you in class will have his number called, or your daughter will be sent up. It's easy enough to put it aside, pretend it's happening elsewhere.

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

I've been curious about this one. I know he's made the claim that his 2002 speech was brave and significant because he was in the middle of a high-stakes Senate race (except, well, not). But does he point to anything after that? Did he speak out when he was actually in a high-stakes Senate race, before Jack Ryan dropped out?

I know he hasn't actually been on fire with anti-war fervor since he's hit the Senate, but once Ryan dropped out and Keyes was drafted to be stomped on, he really had very little political risk. So did he speak out then?

rootless's picture
Submitted by rootless on

She voted for the war, and as noted above was still defending her vote as last as 2006.

There is no reason to believe Senator Clinton is not an advocate of preemptive war, of a long term presence in Iraq, and of reckless use of military force. That's her record.

As for Obama, he's spoken strongly against the war on many occasions but waffles on details of timetable to get out.

Both have come out against permanent bases in Iraq - something to be thankful for.

If there was a real-anti-war candidate left I'd support her or him, but we only have a choice between a confirmed hawk whose criticisms are purely technocratic (execution was poor) and someone who at least has a longer record of opposing the war and sometimes mentions more fundamental reasons for staying out.

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

What I'm asking, and what you're avoiding answering, is what Obama has done beyond one speech in 2002, to oppose the war. Because I know about his one speech in 2002, and I know how he voted once he got into the Senate in 2005.

But what came between?

rootless's picture
Submitted by rootless on

but the keyes/obama debates are findable on the web

And I have to say that, going back to the issue of Iraq, it is simply not true that Saddam Hussein was providing weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. There's been no evidence that that was the case, and this incursion into Iraq has resulted in a situation in which terrorist recruits are up. It's been acknowledged, now, by the Pentagon, that the estimates of how many insurgents are active in Iraq is far higher. Terrorist attacks, worldwide, have gone up. They're the highest in twenty years.

And, the notion that somehow we are less vulnerable in the United States as a consequence of spending two hundred billion dollars and sacrificing thousands of lives is simply not borne out by the facts.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

and the torture lovers from abu-G? that's not how i was trained. nor was i trained to understand that "duty" meant raping, killing, and being able to quit the job and go home when i was tired of making 5X more than regular military, who also cleaned up after my mistakes.

that's our "professional" class over there right now. paid for by your tax dollars, and under no rule of law. i don't know squat about V'nam, but i'm sure that the "military" "professionals" in iraq and elsewhere right now are unfortunately heavily peppered with, well, murderous, slaverunning cronies from blackwater and suchlike.

zuzu's picture
Submitted by zuzu on

And it includes a lot of other people, like my brother, my sister-in-law, and my brother-in-law. And Casey Sheehan. And Pat Tillman.

However, my point is that because the military is professional, and for "professional," you can read "all-volunteer," if you like, it's quite easy to compartmentalize the war. Because it doesn't touch anyone but military families personally, and if they complain, their complaints can be dismissed because they signed on for the duty.

One of the reasons that the Bush administration is so terrified of a draft is that if he asks the public to support the war with their own lives and those of their loved ones, he'd have gotten a much, much bigger backlash against the war.

As it stands, without a draft, the complaints of the soldiers are dismissed as whining, and the complaints of the protesters are dismissed as the irrelevant mewlings of DFH's.

And without a draft, without the war touching the lives and the consciousnesses of a majority of the populace as they wondered whether they or their young relatives would be next, it's altogether too easy to keep those who are and always were against the war away from a microphone, so as not to remind those who were slavering for war that they were wrong from the get-go.

As a side note, I'm not really sure what the source of your apparent hostility is.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

because my service was in a branch that hasn't ever used a draft (not to say the USAF didn't heavily benefit from a draft when there was one, because a "better deal than infantry" proved to be a credible incentive):

being a volunteer doesn't mean that you aren't sworn to the same responsibilities, and entitled to the same rights, as a conscript soldier would be. In today's ecology, nobody joins up unless the finances are dire and alternate solutions untenable (if they exist at all). That's just a fact. So saying that they're a "professional military" or using that as a way of blaming the troops for not being able to e.g. stage a coup on the field and get out of Dodge is disingenuous, at least.

Lynndie England's sentence wasn't justice, and how it was (partly) served wasn't justice either. The repercussions from those photographs should have, in a world where the United States still stood for truth, justice, and "the American way," meant courts-martial not just for England and her mentor/boyfriend but for her unit NCOIC, her CO, the CO over that commander, and if need be a shaking out all the way to Rumsfeld.

What we know for sure now, though, is that such a thing didn't happen and there's little, if any, stomach for trying to bring the torturers to justice now, at least among the administration and the Beltway/Village press corps, never mind the "opposition party". Abu Ghraib is probably the portion of the iceberg visible above the waterline, which means that horrors well beyond its more-than-sufficient grisliness existed, exist, and will continue to exist so long as the US prosecutes this war, instead of the criminal regime(s) who started this war.

Honorable men and women take the oath to support and defend the Constitution every day; I can't speak for what's taught in basic training now, but in 1978 it included a short, specific, detailed course in the recognition of and response to illegal orders. The orders that created the situations photographed in Abu Ghraib were, without a doubt, illegal orders.

Whether Lynndie England realized that or understood what her duty truly was when given those orders, I cannot say; I was not there at the time, I do not know what she had in her mind. I am not sure how Graner's influence contributed to her obedience to those illegal orders.

But the end results were not good for anybody involved in that diabolical fiasco, and that remains an immutable fact.

whaleshaman's picture
Submitted by whaleshaman on

...among "excesses of the 60s & 70s"?

In 40 years, maybe some small paper can win their first Pulitzer for investigative reporting exposing Iraq atrocities.

[Sorry, my fossilhood is showing.]

BTW, how interesting is this, beyond how someone of the OFB can shred a democratic president's motives, that is?

I've often thought that the Bush Folly in Iraq was also about restoring the honor of the Vietnam-era chicken hawks, who claim still to this day that the only reason the US military did not prevail was because of the antiwar movement. Oh, and Jane Fonda, how could I forget my bra-burning sister in crime?