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January 26, 2010

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If the past must be relived again and again until we get it right on Ground Hogs Day Stardate 6796.497, rather than get on with the now, then it is worth remembering that George W was a product of his times. A man as radical as old Abbie Hoffman or Jane Fonda in his own way. He tried to change the world.

50+ years of recent failures in the Middle East just in Palestine alone made the Neo-cons opt for a radical approach. The original plan at the time was to attack Iraq, Syria, or Iran and install democracy there that would spread throughout the entire region and change it. Iraq just happened to be the short straw.

Saddam was not the goal, he was just the convenient focus the wrap the policy around.

It was stupid, it was a huge mistake, it ignores 5000 years of history (war was invented there back then), it ignores basic human nature, and all those arguments obtain. The old school conservatives at the time just wanted Mossad to sneak in in the dark of night and take out Saddam. How much better that would have been!

We have more important thing to worry about now than illiterates with rags on their heads in the middle of nowhere - or do they and a past President still control us and the decisions we make?

If the past must be relived again and again until we get it right on Ground Hogs Day Stardate 6796.497, rather than get on with the now

Dude, we have how many troops still in Iraq? We're paying how much to keep them there? Which generals are suggesting ignoring/revising the SOFA?

Obama has been in office for about a year, and already we must completely ignore everything that happened during 8 years of Bush? Even though many of the parties are still heavily involved in politics?

50+ years of recent failures in the Middle East just in Palestine alone made the Neo-cons opt for a radical approach.

Not exactly.

We have more important thing to worry about now than illiterates with rags on their heads in the middle of nowhere - or do they and a past President still control us and the decisions we make?

Aside from the ugly - and inaccurate racism - again: we have hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, which come at an enormous price tag in the middle of a severe economic crisis. So, yes, a certain past President has an enormous effect on our current decisions.

Thank you very much.

Since everything from 1992 - 2001 has been blamed on Clinton, it seems WAAAY too early to give Bush 43 a collective pass.

Accountability is not the pseudo-conservative strong suit.

We have more important thing to worry about now than illiterates with rags on their heads in the middle of nowhere

George W. Bush is demonstrably more illiterate than Osama bin Laden.

And that attitude - that killing a million "illiterates with rags on their heads in the middle of nowhere" is no longer an "important thing to worry about" - is the kind of inhuman racism that's made the US a beacon of darkness and oppression to the world.

Interesting. Saying that a war is stupid and a mistake equates to killing millions? Arabs are Caucasians and how they dress may not have anything to do with their race. I fully accept that their choice to wear rags on their heads to symbolize their religion and culture that is corrupt, oppressive, sexist, and violent is something that I am free to make fun of and be opposed to at every opportunity. Guilty as charged.

The fact that we still have hundreds of thousands of troops and no plan to get them out when people from all sides are opposed to keeping them there is stupid. Borrowing money from China to fund keeping them there with 22% total unemployment in this country is beyond stupid. Too bad Obama doesn't have the guts to stand up to his generals and the Republicans and listen to the likes of Vice President Biden or even George Will. Now there is a pair!

When the alarm goes off again tomorrow it will be time to fight George Bush again, and again, and again.

Couple of things:

1) JV's comment might as well have a sign hanging on it, "Pardon Our Dust: Excuses For Bush Administration Still Under Construction". A hint: "raghead" doesn't strike quite the right note, and as Eric notes, you don't get to say "But let's not argue about the past!" until it's actually past.

2) I can't figure out whether the Cheney crew actually believed this theory, or really were so mendacious as to order the production of pseudo-academic studies to back it up even though they knew it was garbage. In either case the motivation to reshape the Middle East was paramount, but I can't tell whether they were more stupid than dishonest or more dishonest than stupid.

My assessment is that the Fahrenheit 9/11 theory that they love the Saudis is 180 degrees from the truth: I think Cheney bitterly hated & resented OPEC & Saudi Arabia as the chief actor in it, and saw Iraq's enormous and under-exploited oilfields as a chance to break the cartel. And while I think his oil background was obviously a major influence on his thinking, particularly in the idea that oilfields developed with Western technology producing for Western markets ought not to have so much of the excess value created captured by producers through cartelization, I think he ultimately had the strategic interests of the US in mind (albeit not in a way most people would find palatable). That is, he saw American economic reliance on foreign oil as a major strategic weakness (which it is), resented the way the price of oil so enormously exceeded the costs of production in the major producers and thereby limited the economic surplus it could create in the US, and thought that the only way to address it was to reshape the region in the way Europe was reshaped after WWII, to a network of friendly countries intimately economically linked to the US, more closely than they are linked to other oil producers, so that a stable flow of low-priced oil was guaranteed and nothing like the OPEC embargo could ever happen again. Where do you start with something like that? Well, clearly with a country with A) large oil reserves and B) a plausible pretext for invasion. That's a pretty short list and only Iraq was enough of a basket case that he could be fairly sure of victory.

The thing is, I don't exactly disagree with the basic problem - strategic reliance on foreign oil - but I think a far cheaper, more effective, more reliable - not to mention more peaceful - method of reducing that reliance would have been a major investment in renewable energy & electric vehicles, which would leave oil primarily as an industrial feedstock and aircraft fuel, which could be met by domestic oil production.

The danger in coming years is that we might forget that that was ever a choice, because I think it's fairly likely that the Iraq plan will "work", in the sense that Iraqi oil production is likely to increase radically in the next decade, outside of OPEC controls, the price of oil will drop, and we will continue to rely on foreign oil. If that happens, you're going to see plenty of attempts at rehabilitation - "Hey, we sure hated George W. Bush, but how about those $1/gallon gas prices? Gotta say one thing for him...", etc. That we had other options, ones that might have been cheaper, cleaner, and involved a lot fewer people getting shot or blown up, is likely to vanish from popular consciousness if oil gets cheap and stays that way.

Anyway, you heard it here first, etc.

I fully accept that their choice to wear rags on their heads to symbolize their religion and culture that is corrupt, oppressive, sexist, and violent is something that I am free to make fun of and be opposed to at every opportunity. Guilty as charged.

Imagine the west's religions and cultures had any instances of corruption, oppression, sexism and violence? What a lark that would be. Of course, anyone that wanted to use racial slurs and derrogatory terms to describe those Western factions would be crazy.

When the alarm goes off again tomorrow it will be time to fight George Bush again, and again, and again

Right. Because the GOP and the neocons will never, ever, ever come back to power again, the end. And just in case they do, won't we be happy that we agreed to just forget everything that happened under their prior stewardship. Because 12 months ago is like a billion, zillion lifetimes ago.

Yawn.

A promotion? I'm surprised she didn't get a Medal of Freedom. (I mean, for all we know.)

Saying that a war is stupid and a mistake equates to killing millions?

Wow, disingenuous much? You dismiss a million dead people as "illiterates with rags on their heads in the middle of nowhere"? Yes, that casual racism is exactly the American mindset that thinks of the war on Afghanistan and Iraq as just a stupid, unimportant mistake.

"their choice to wear rags on their heads to symbolize their religion and culture that is corrupt, oppressive, sexist, and violent"

Pop quiz: do (some) Iraqi men wear head coverings because:

A) it symbolizes their violent corrupt oppressive sexist religion and culture,

or:

B) because it's really frigging hot in Iraq?

B)?

Look! Ragheads!

More ragheads!

Ragheads! Every one!

On the other hand, shellheads.

B)?

That's a tasty cherry you picked there. For most of January, it's been between 64 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit in Baghdad during the day, which in the northern hemisphere is not inconsistent with "really friggin hot."

in the northern hemisphere is not inconsistent with "really friggin hot"

Oh, that gave me a chuckle. I suppose some Inuits might be uncomfortably warm at 70 degrees, but few others would be.

Look, Baghdad is arguably extremely hot most of the year, but just now it's merely pleasant.

But I wasn't trying to refute you, just noting a rather amusing, if temporary, counterpoint.

I'll take 70 degrees over the 52 degrees it is here right now. (It's been raining for a few weeks, too - Extreme Weather for Oakland.)

June 2009 in Baghdad, though, high of 116F. Basrah, high of 120F. I guess a little rain isn't so bad...

Are you guys positively sure that this isn't The Return of the Son of Zombie Jay Jerome?

Extreme Weather for Oakland

Not that we're spoiled or anything.

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