Unpleasantness Of Actual War Dims Congressional Enthusiasm For It

  it's morning in america
  • 'Hope' you'll fund all the wars!Despite the fact that, as the White House loudly and no doubt correctly insists, the WikiLeaks War Logs contained only information that everyone kind of knew already, it was pretty depressing information, all in a big pile! So now that the picture of the Afghan cauldron of death and carnage and betrayal is clear, with smashed villages and dead people everywhere, we get to the really important question: Will the process in Congress to pass the law needed to pay for more of this be even more convoluted and irritating than it would have been otherwise? [NYT]
  • Oh, and the other important question: Who snitched? Keep in mind that snitches get stitches. [One India]
  • Did you hear that Jim Webb wrote a little op-ed for the Wall Street Journal last week explaining how white people aren’t actually privileged, in Obama’s America? The NAACP wasn’t so pleased with it. [WP]
  • Charlie Rangel released a YouTube of his last birthday party, to show how much everybody likes him. [Pareene]
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About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

View all articles by Josh Fruhlinger

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55 comments

  1. Oblios Cap

    It’s refreshing to see that the government is searching for a scapegoat to pin the leak on rather than addressing what the memos say. Since it’s our money and our citizens being put into the meat grinder, we should have no right to know anything that’s going on over there.

    “You can’t handle the truth!”

  2. Geogre

    Well, the narratives are just what I thought they’d be and predicted yesterday. The most common one is still, “News? There’s no news here. Don’t read the documents, because we sure won’t.” The second one is starting now: “We must find the leak, because that’s good investigative journalism, and we can build psychological profiles and have discussions of just how cowardly and traitorous the person is and what kind of torture is best.” The third is running, too: “This is just like Pentagon Papers, but it’s different in ways that allow me to get my word count without reading the documents.”

    The budgetary issue will, of course, either get lots of “we want accountability” junk that will be impractical or “we want to direct the troops ourselves” junk, depending on left or right. The people screaming about deficits, though, will be silent, because, like tax cuts, wars never contribute to deficits.

  3. norbizness

    That NAACP official had it right on Webb: it’s simple pandering to whatever passes for an independent (obviously white) voter in Virginia, which I think deals with stoking racial animosity. The asinine argument goes as such: because not all whites have it better than all members of other ethnic groups, white privilege is a myth, he says as he parties down with other whiteys in the millionaire Senate club.

  4. Terry

    “WikiLeaks War Logs contained only information that everyone kind of knew already, it was pretty depressing information, all in a big pile!”

    This is why the founder of Wikileaks is very likely to be wrong about this being the new Pentagon Papers. When these documents were leaked, as f’ing depressing as they are, the great majority of people say “Yeah, pretty much, yeah.”

  5. fictional character

    way to preach to the choir, jim.

    if anybody’s already aware that white americans are totally second-class citizens now, it’s people who read the wall street journal.

  6. Geogre

    [re=626174]norbizness[/re]: “White” has no meaning. That’s his problem. Of the people filling out “Caucasian” on their Census forms, they will record grave poverty, awful education, and poor health, but they won’t do so because they’re perceived as Caucasian.

    Until folks get that race isn’t skin color, that race is class plus whatever external sign a culture wants, they’ll do this kind of misdirection all the time. “But there are rich negroes! Look at Famous Amos!” was the old argument.

  7. Johnny Zhivago

    [re=626174]norbizness[/re]: Where’s your outrage for detestible treatment of our wealthy and priviledged white US Senators? I mean really, where is your outrage?

  8. WarAndGee

    Erected in front of my house is my old yard sign from 2002 “LIBERATE AFGHANISTAN” (I just crossed out IRAQ) Come on Bushbots help us out here! The Taliban tried to kill Obama’s Dad I think.

  9. Limeylizzie

    [re=626177]Geogre[/re]: Nicely put, I always am tempted to put “other” as in , yeah I’m technically white but I’m from another country and I do not want to be lumped in with people who enjoy NASCAR.

  10. ManchuCandidate

    This whole Afghaninam mess makes me wonder what would have happened if GW Bush didn’t go all neoboob/Napoleonic and actually put the needed units/resources into Afghaninam. Of course then I imagine if I had won the lottery.

    I remember reading Halbestram’s War In A Time of Peace which basically shit on Clinton’s Foreign Policy Gang in 2001. Looking back, despite the numerous cockups that Bill’s and Maddie’s gang did, they were mere ants farts compared to the long lasting elephant turds that W and his shitbirds dropped on US America.

  11. HedonismBot

    Come on now! War is fun, and grand, and exciting, and noble – just like in the movies! I’ve never been to war, and I know that.
    Most Congresspeople have never been unemployed, so they know that unemployed people are just lazy. Most Congresspeople have never suffered at the hands of a major corporation (au contraire -they take money from major corporations) so they know that corporations are never greedy; they are always kind and benevolent.
    What is so hard about this? Everyone knows it is best for the sons and daughters of privilege to make these kinds of decisions, on things about which they know nothing.
    Fund the danged war! Stop asking so many annoying questions about it!

  12. Lazy Media

    [re=626172]Oblios Cap[/re]: Yeah, except they have addressed what the documents say. All of that stuff is pre-surge, pre-reengagement in Afghanistan. That might not be the RIGHT way to address it, but they’re addressing it. War is depressing and often kills the wrong people, is what comes out of those memos. Oh, and that south Asian politics are very complicated. Duh.

    I thought they already knew who snitched; it was that stupid kid. I guess they’re trying to formally pin it on him so they can add to the charges.

  13. Lazy Media

    [re=626173]Geogre[/re]: You can guarantee that no competing news organization is going to commit the resources to have anyone read and report on the documents, because the NY Times has already done it, and nobody wants to chase a scoop where there’s no prospect of new information. That’s how the news biz works.

  14. Geogre

    [re=626190]Lazy Media[/re]: Oh, I realize that, but there could be silence or, um, what is that other thing that they keep promising… oh, yeah: analysis.

    Now that could mean taking one’s time and doing a “Frontline” documentary on it. It could mean saying, “Next week, we hope to have commentary from X expert from Thisplace and Y expert from Thatplace.” It could also mean having the speed dial Bozo from the American Enterprise Institute “debate” with the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, after being introduced by the Viacom or News Corp. lede, and, of course, doing it right now so as to make room for an in-depth package on Lindsay Lohan’s drug addictions and lesbian sex habits.

  15. Undeterredbyreality

    At the risk of being concerned with only the little stuff, Jack, don’t you mean: “now” instead of “know that the picture of the Afghan cauldron of death”?

  16. Geogre

    [re=626182]Limeylizzie[/re]: Well, sometimes people will talk about race as class (in the academy, for example), but most of the time, it makes folks uncomfortable, because it has culture as well. This is why it gets to be “identity.”

    Academics can easily tell each other that it is impossible for a member of an oppressed group to be racist, because racism requires power and discrimination, but when a statement like that leaks out of the ivy covered walls, it ends up feeding the AM radio trolls. The biggest lie in America is that it has no classes, that everyone is “middle class.” From that lie, most others can be teased out and woven.

  17. ManchuCandidate

    [re=626196]coolcatdaddy[/re]:
    Nothing so Apple/Jobs about it. That’s a clip for a headlight.

  18. V572625694

    [re=626202]Geogre[/re]: America society certainly has classes; what makes it bearable is the upward (and downward–Hi, Bernie! Good to see you out in the exercise yard again!) mobility. Unfortunately the hope (however unfounded) of upward mobility is what motivates lower-class voters to oppose any meaningful inheritance or wealth tax.

  19. actor212

    Charlie Rangel’s video has stiff competition from such other self-delusional videos as “Tony Robbins Ultimate Toupee” and “Kim Jong Il’s Flyfishing For Dummies”

  20. weejee

    [re=626190]Lazy Media[/re]: As yer name implies, that’s exactly so.
    So far we have learned:
    1. War is an ugly, nasty business. And how has this changed since the cave dudes?
    2. Some Afghanis hate the Pakis. And how has this changed since the cave dudettes?
    3. Much of Afghanistan is stuck in the 8th Century, and not likely to change any time soon.

    Not meaning to lay on a dada ‘yeah, right,’ as those three items are not trivial, but isn’t that about it? If so, there doesn’t appear to be a Pentagon Papers moment here. The Pentagon papers clearly and unequivocally demonstrated that LBJ’s Administration had been systematically lying to both Congress and the ‘Murican peeeepole. Is there something at that kinda level here? Did I miss something?

  21. mumblyjoe

    I’ve been trying to come up with a “Hopey sez: Stop Snitchin’” photoshop that isn’t incredibly racist. I’m presently fairly convinced that such a thing could not be done, ever.

    But, yeah, apparently most of this terrible death stuff where the ISI is still helping the Taliban and we’re cold killing people who generally don’t deserve it, and whatnot, is apparently “common knowledge” of the “so what else is new” amongst the journalists and policy-makers who didn’t really feel it was terribly important to pass along the message to the rest of us. So, in that sense, maybe the Wikileaks thing actually did do something productive, even if it’s old news to the terrible people responsible for this stuff?

    I dunno, maybe if you have a problem with the fact that Wikileaks released “unverified” reports, and think some were “irresponsibly” leaked and that they “don’t reflect the reality on the ground today”, then a reasonable answer would be much more transparency, so we don’t need to rely solely on things like Wikileaks to get a clear picture of what’s going on on the ground? Nah, who am I kidding, let’s just get Wikileaks shut down instead.

  22. Prommie

    [re=626202]Geogre[/re]: She’s a limey, they actually have legally defined social classes over there. Royals are higher beings than ordinary peons. Here we only know class from Marx, and since Marx is Satan, we must never speak of class ever, or communism and stuff. But the thing about Marx’s classes is that there’s complete mobility, and with the mobility, being a prole or a bouregoise is not an inherent trait, and therefore, its not something I would make part of the definition of “race” thats relevant to a discussion of racism in US society.

    Lumpenproles, lumpenproles, that is our majority, these are the tea partiers and nascar pigfuckers.

  23. Escape Goat Nation

    My feeling was that in 2001, Afghanistan was the right war at the right time and for the right reasons. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda should have had the absolute shit kicked out of them when we (The U.S.) had the sympathy and the support of 90% of the planet. At that time, we had the help and resources to do it. We also had the ears and eyes of many Tribal Leaders and Warlords to root those fuckers out.

    But let’s not forget why we let that opportunity to slip away: Bush.
    Diverted money and resources meant for Afghanistan to a build up for war with Iraq and generally pissed away all the world wide support that we had. We had a small window for success in Afghanistan but Bush didn’t take full advantage of it.

    I’m now mixed about our chances of any kind of success in Afghanistan. I just don’t know if we belong there anymore. I think the window of opportunity slammed shut 5 years ago.
    The GOP is already painting Afghanistan as Obama’s mistake.
    It’s Bush’s Fuck-up.

  24. Prommie

    [re=626215]V572625694[/re]: Nah, its the lack of class-consciousness. They’re lumpen proles who don’t even understand what it would take to become a bourgoise, let alone a capitalist. There is mobility, just because old money may sniff disdainfully doesn’t mean new money isn’t welcomed to the club. But the lumpen proletariat, which is unnaturally large in our society because of, oh, the civil war, which forced the States where they live to stay, the lumpenproles are simply utterly clueless, and prone to infections of fascism.


  25. Post author
    Josh Fruhlinger

    [re=626197]Undeterredbyreality[/re]: Fixed! But I’m not Jack. Jack can’t be bothered to drag his carcass out of bed before 11 (more proof he is secretly Newell wearing a very clever disguise).

  26. germansteel

    Why would anyone expect the military and the neocons and the Pentagon to want to do anything different than what they have been doing in Afghanistan, just because the stuff they’ve known all along is now known by the public at large? I don’t see how the fact that it is now common knowledge convinces them any more sufficiently than these self-same facts – that they’ve known for years – convinced them before. They are uneducable on the issue of war. For them, it’s always the right thing to do.

  27. mumblyjoe

    [re=626249]Vulpes82[/re]: I think it’s mostly the thing where it kills the wrong people far more often than it kills the right people, and also where a lot of our war-money ends up going to people who are paying people to kill our guys, also, that makes it sort of extra-super depressing in ways that should maybe make us think it’s not a good idea. Even if the Owners kinda knew that shit was happening, all along.

  28. proudgrampa

    [re=626227]Escape Goat Nation[/re]: I agree with you 100%, my friend. We had a golden opportunity that included the support of most of the world. And now all we’re doing is killing civilians and losing our men.

    My nightmare is that my 2-year old grandson is going to be drafted in 16 years, because the US is still fucking around over there.

    The longer this goes on, the more it will become Obama’s War.

    US OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!!

  29. Elephants Gerald

    [re=626223]Prommie[/re]: Crap. I was getting ready to email my kids about Geogre’s class comment – I thought it played pretty well.

    If “its not something I would make part of the definition of “race” thats relevant to a discussion of racism in US society” what do you use?

  30. Vulpes82

    [re=626274]mumblyjoe[/re]: I really was poking more at the “brave” legislators who will suddenly be OUTRAGED about this stuff when they knew this kind of stuff was going on but just voted for more money anyway.

  31. Prommie

    [re=626314]Elephants Gerald[/re]: Well, hell, it seems pretty obvious, US racism is based on a belief in northern and western european superiority, we were a brit colony, and the natives were considered subhuman, and the blacks were considered animals, and as immigrants from ireland and southern europe entered the US, they were considered inferior. It has evolved with time, nowadays, for example, Italians are trusted with money, allowed to run banks and stock firms (with predictably disastrous results). But our racism was founded on British “the white man’s burden” belief in anglo-saxon superiority over ALL wogs.

    Class divides have been used to enforce racism, you lose some class status, for example, if you “slum” around with lower races, and racism has resulted in greater barriers to class mobility in the US. But class is a different phenomenon.

    And I cannot stand this strange new term I hear coming from libtards, “classism,” what the fuck is that? I mentioned, in passing, that in the US, “class” is a forbidden term, most US Amurricans shudder at the thought there there are social classes in Amurrica, the suggestion that there are classes gets you accused of being a marxist. The only people in the US who understand that there are social classes are those at the very bottom and those atr the very top, the poor know damn well that they are victims of a class structure, and the rich know damn well to preserve and protect the perks and privileges of their class, and above all, to keep their daughters away from “non-U” or NOC (not our class) boys.

    But the vast majority of Amurricans perceive themselves as “middle class,” which was always just an illusion, the middle class was always just high-paid proles, wage slaves, just making much higher wages than most wage slaves, so we had a nation of proles with bourgeoise values and self-image. In other words, blind to the fact that their class interest lies with the workers, and instead, identifying with the lower levels of the rich, exactly what people have been saying, the eternal conundrum of liberal politics, why do the poor vote with the rich?

    Of course, the democratic party does nothing to raise class-consciousness, because it has been Mau-Maued by the GOP, which screams “class warfare” at any mention of economic class self-interest by the dems. So instead, the dems focus on “interest group” politics, which balkanizes the democratic base into blacks and latinos and women and gays and enviros, instead of the one, huge group which should form the base “the working people.” You see, the working people, thats a class, and again, class is verboten in Amurrica, so instead, we identify what should be identified by class, instead, by racial or ethnic group, gender, orientation, or niche political issue.

    Fucked country.

  32. Undeterredbyreality

    [re=626242]Josh Fruhlinger[/re]: Yup, sorry, Josh. I would have sworn I saw Jack’s name on the byline, but I probably confused myself when I wrote “the little stuff.”

  33. PabaBritannica

    [re=626174]norbizness[/re]: Regardless, the idea that all groups of “whites” being monolithic in American history is not true, especially with regards to poorer immigrant groups (Italians, Irish).

    Not to mention, when you actually read Webb’s piece, it’s pretty clear that he’s making an appeal to class-based affirmative action.

  34. Elephants Gerald

    [re=626371]Prommie[/re]: Sorry I misundertook your comment; I thought you were denying class as a consideration. I read too much un-ironic stuff at work and forget to shift all gears when I toggle over here, esp when there are some seriously intelligent threads.

    ‘Tis indeed a fucked country. But it’s home; the only place…. sorry again; I gotta run over to youtube and get some tunes cranking.

  35. Mad Farmer Manifest

    [re=626227]Escape Goat Nation[/re]: Gotta respectfully disagree. War was not a solution to a criminal act that wasn’t a state attacking us. If we’d treated it as an international criminal conspiracy, we would have been able to find the men responsible and get the cooperation needed to deal with them. We had the international support and sympathy. Instead we tried to swat a fly with napalm. Not very effective for criminal catching. Very effective for running drugs (opium) and securing pipeline deals for Unocal, however. And now mineral wealth. All your lithium are belong to us, bitches!

  36. Geogre

    [re=626408]Elephants Gerald[/re]: I discover, at long last, that I am a Marxist.

    The problem with race is that it is not simply class, it is largely class. More importantly, though, we use it to define class. “The Irish race is lazy” and “The Hispanic is lazy” and “The American black is lazy” and all three “breed like animals and have no self control,” etc., because there is no reality present as much as there is a creation that helps create an economic reality. Eventually, the class status begins to generate resistance and culture.

    It’s still class, though, mostly, and class mobility in the US is almost all imagined. Other than a few periods of explosive growth, American laborers climb up a bracket per generation, from unskilled to skilled, unless they’re SaraPAC.

  37. Hoplight

    Maybe this is just my inner hippie, but this whole stupid “outrage” crap is a product more of the republicans successfully repainting war as some kind of happy, effective shit. They lie. It fucking sucks. It always has. Anyone who’s surprised by these leaks believed the lies and needs to grow up and see them as such.

    Thank you. Sorry, just needed to get that out. Now I need a shot of tequila or something.

  38. Prommie

    [re=626490]Geogre[/re]: Don’t forget, the Italians, they steal. And the spanish, they stab each other over women.

  39. Hoplight

    [re=626371]Prommie[/re]: I’m not going to do your long argument much justice because I’m still caffienating here, but I have to say that I’ve found the extraordinarly broad self idenfification of “middle class” to be one of the country’s strengths. It’s crazy how wide that gets self reported, from dirt poor to top 2-3%. That’s not a bug, that’s a feature. Everyone wants to be one of the ordinary folk, damn the staticians.

    Where real “class warfare” shows up in the middle is where it intersects culture. “White trailer trash” for example, which in the u.s. (true or not) is widely held to be a matter of choice, and therefore a valid target for enforcing a different norm.

    Hell, I forgot where I was going with this… Anyway, I’m not sure you are reading things quite right . . . but I’m not coherent to really discuss it, but that’s not stopping me from trying. Ugh.

  40. lumpenprole

    [re=626182]Limeylizzie[/re]:
    Most Americans would rather endure a root canal without anesthetics than admit that they are poor or have any interests in common with poor folk.

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