ha ha and you thought we would all be able to afford things now

Happy End To The Eternal Iraq War That Is Not Really Ending

Is everyone feeling nostalgic already?Oh, Barack Obama announced the war in Iraq is finally over, apparently? Sure! We needed some good news after reading that today was actually the End of the World also, again, also. But mysteriously, it doesn’t feel quite as good as the last 493 times an American president has declared the end of the Iraq War, perhaps because by now we all vaguely sense that it means some miraculously Even Worse trillion-dollar mass goatherder murder project is in the offing. “Mission Accomplished” in 2003? We got a troop surge in 2007. Obama’s nearly identical announcement in 2009 that all the troops were scheduled to start coming home from Iraq? Yeah, he’ll trade you another surge, in Afghanistan. So what will it be this time? We may not even have to wait very long to find out!?

Because it’s not like the U.S. was going to quit pissing away hundreds of billions of dollars on mind-boggling fraudulent defense contracts in its forever War on Terror, Devil forbid. Saving money is what education reform is for. Instead of combat troops, whom everybody loves, Barack Obama is just using a crafty gimmick to replace them with an army of the U.S.’s other favorite war export, “mercenaries,” whom everybody hates. It’s a U.S. presidential political win-win, although of course it’s still a dangerous, crappy situation for Iraqis.

From Spencer Ackerman’s excellent report at the Danger Room:

But the fact is America’s military efforts in Iraq aren’t coming to an end. They are instead entering a new phase. On January 1, 2012, the State Department will command a hired army of about 5,500 security contractors, all to protect the largest U.S. diplomatic presence anywhere overseas.

The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security does not have a promising record when it comes to managing its mercenaries. The 2007 Nisour Square shootings by State’s security contractors, in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed, marked one of the low points of the war. Now, State will be commanding a much larger security presence, the equivalent of a heavy combat brigade. In July, Danger Room exclusively reported that the Department blocked the Congressionally-appointed watchdog for Iraq from acquiring basic information about contractor security operations, such as the contractors’ rules of engagement.

That means no one outside the State Department knows how its contractors will behave as they ferry over 10,000 U.S. State Department employees throughout Iraq — which, in case anyone has forgotten, is still a war zone. Since Iraq wouldn’t grant legal immunity to U.S. troops, it is unlikely to grant it to U.S. contractors, particularly in the heat and anger of an accident resulting in the loss of Iraqi life.

It’s a situation with the potential for diplomatic disaster. And it’s being managed by an organization with no experience running the tight command structure that makes armies cohesive and effective.

“Potential” is probably putting it kindly. We would go with “absolute certainty.” [Wired/PBS/The Nation]

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    1. Pristine_ODummy

      You mean you haven't been raptured *yet*? You must've been one of the BAD kids.

      I mean, I'm typing this from my seat up here in heaven, where 72 virgins are sprinkling rosewater on me and mopping the excess sweat from my brow.

        1. HedonismBot

          Alas, no. I have no blog. If I did, I probably wouldn't have many readers. I've never really understood this thing called "marketing."

          1. PristinePantalones

            Me either. I do it just for the joy of posting furious rants about how much I hate the whole world. Plus, it's MY fucking blog so I get to swear like a fucking longshoreman. I think I have two readers. No, I'm not blogwhoring. Nobody needs to hear me swear.

      1. DahBoner

        "When he realized that he’d happened upon an elaborate display of planking, he just went nuts. At this time, we are placing Mr. Camping on a 72-hour mental health hold"

        Why only 72?

    2. Rotundo_

      Nah, the 72 hour period was determined by a mathematical formula wherein they took the ascii value of each letter of the beginning of each book of the old testament and multiplied by 3 and then divided by 12 and then added the number of days they thought it would take for the thorazine they crammed down Dr. Crazypants throat on intake to kick so he wouldn't do it right away on discharge.

    1. Walkinwiddaking

      That man was a bigger boon to the business community as a V.P. than he was as an actual, ya know.. CEO of a publicly traded company. Damn those pesky beltway insiders.

    1. Negropolis

      War is more like a drug than sex. War is like chasing the dragon; you never quite catch it the next time around. We've hit the war-pipe so many times we don't feel anything, anymore.

        1. Negropolis

          Lol! Just what I've heard. I don't do any drugs, and I don't smoke anything because it bothers my allergies. I'm such a loser when it comes to drugs. lol

          1. PristinePantalones

            I can tell. Now I've tried every drug known to humanity (and yes, chasing the dragon, also) except crack and injectables. Way overrated. Or maybe I'm just lucky — the only thing that makes me high is pot and booze. The rest, meh.

    1. mourningnmerica

      Good observation. I fear we are planning an attack on Iran. Not sure, but thinking it would make sense, in a really disturbing way.

      If I am wrong, then kudos to Hopey. Good move. Whether the shit will blow up as soon as we are gone, who can tell. I suspect it will, whether we get out next week, or in 5 years. But he's got to try to get us out of there, and I think this is more like the Obama we all voted for and expected. Well played, Barack. Nice move on Libya as well. I was against us making a commitment in Libya. But he played it right, and we nailed him without a massive troop commitment. Bravo Obama. Now, toughen up on Wall Street and Boehner, and I will resume hoping you are the right guy for the job.

    2. Nostrildamus

      I used to worry, but not any longer. A Gulf of Tonkin Persian Gulf incident was plotted during the Cheney administration, but Seymour Hersch exposed it in the New Yorker and their cover was blown, so it fizzled. (Hersch really deserved the Nobel prize for that!) Others blowhard have periodically tried to beat Iranian war drum, but its really just a vanity talking point like gays, abortion, Mexicans, etc.

  1. Scottsdalian

    Cause while all you are watching the troops leaving Iraq……Obama is sneaking the troops out of Afghan via the back door.

    Jokes on you!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. arihaya

      Obama is not 'sneaking' it . he does it clearly in a broad daylight, and in fact make it as his campaign promise to re-allocate troops from silly war in Iraq to the silly-but-not-as-silly-as-Iraq war in Afghanistan

  2. nounverb911

    The war is over? Good, now we can lower the taxes of all the rich people who think serving in the military is for the poor (you know, republicans).

  3. OneYieldRegular

    What if they gave a war and nobody came, except for thousands of publicly-funded private contractors?

    1. GeorgiaBurning

      If the casualties are high enough, a win for taxpayers on both sides. Provided the paymaster's muster is AFTER the battle.

      1. OneDollarJuana

        "What if they gave a war and nobody came, except for thousands of publicly-funded private contractorsmercenaries? "

    1. MonsterAGoGo

      I hate that song. It reeks of smug hippie arrogance. I always hear in my mind "war is over, if you want it, oops war isn't over, I guess you didn't want it enough, lesser unenlightened humans at the feet of millionaire hippie god". As Elvis Costello asked, "Was it a millionaire who said 'imagine no possessions'?"

  4. chascates

    No WMDs, no connection to 9/11, no real threat to anyone….at least we got rid of a dictator!!

    Not as bad as the dictator royal family who run Saudi Arabia (ditto Kuwait) who don't allow women to drive, etc, of course. This little foray was originally intended to show the world that the US would quickly smash any regime that we wanted to.

    You don't go to war with the ideas you want, you go to war with the fucking stupidest ideas anyone can come up with.

      1. V572-⁂½‡‡‡‡‡

        Not one of. "The dumbest fucking guy on the planet" according to Tommy Franks, who really knows dumb, as he is probably next on the list.

        1. Pristine_ODummy

          I was going to say something snarky about the Dunning-Kruger effect, but decided I prefer the grade-school equivalent, which is: Well, if Tommy Franks says so, sure, since it takes one to know one.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      "who don't allow women to drive"

      Unfortunately, in Kuwait women are allowed to drive. The reason this is unfortunate is because they often choose to wear the traditional niqab while driving. So you have these gals driving their 3-ton Escalades at 95 miles per hour while essentially navigating through a letterbox slot. Scary things happen on those highways, I can tell ya.

      1. Pristine_ODummy

        A lot of women from that part of the world don't want to drive because they associate driving with "menial tasks normally done by slaves or servants." But I'm not going there to find out for myself, because I've been a passenger in some of these fine ladies' cars, and, frankly, it takes about 10 mg of Valium to subject oneself to the indignity. At least.

      2. Dashboard_Jesus

        for some reason that image you painted so well is actually amusing/ ironic since we FREED Kuwait just so they could continue to make their women wear niqabs…USA!USA!

    2. RadioOcupados

      I've said this from day one of this sad charade: if you wanted to take out a dictator who had WMD's and harbored Islamic militants who use terrorism as a tactic (bogie men), why didn't we attack Pakistan?

      1. Generation[redacted]

        Because they actually do have WMD, and we're not nearly as invincible as everyone thought we were prior to 2003?

        1. SayItWithWookies

          Oh, we could've beat their military — the tricky part is dealing with the population while reconstructing the country's infrastructure. Fortunately Dubya committed to never doing that nation-building stuff, so we left lickety-split after toppling Saddam.

          1. neiltheblaze

            Oh god! You just made me relive the debates in 2000. I wonder how many times Bush said the phrase "nation building" in those debates – I don't know, but he hurled it like a brick each time.

      2. Negropolis

        Do we forget that Pakistan is one of the most populous countries in the world? We generally fuck with only sparsely-to-moderately populated places where we can control the population to a degree. Pakistan is the sixth most populous nation in the world (170 million) with nuclear weapons. Nah-ah. Not gonna happen.

        1. Rotundo_

          One of the great "nightmare" scenarios is Pakistan and India getting into a tiff over Kashmir. Imagine the absolute mess that opening up a war with these folks would bring. It would make Afghanistan look like a fucking ice cream social. We don't have enough bodies to toss into a meatgrinder the likes of that. And imagine if some rocket scientist like Feith or one of the other neocon idiots managed to make Perry believe that we could fight a limited nuclear war there without eternal repercussions. Someone would have to be dumber than Dubya to do it, and Perry (among a couple others) would be just the idiot for the job.

    3. Negropolis

      But, did you hear? They are letting the wimmenz vote. Of course, she can't drive to the polls, but she can vote!

      1. PristinePantalones

        Almost everybody has servants in that part of the world. Even what you would consider lower middle-class folks. Sometimes it's just a superannuated family member who's having a hard time making ends meet and moves in with better-off relations. Those are the people who function as chauffeurs. Middle-class and upper-class women can vote. It's poor women who will not be represented at the polls, or, for that matter, anywhere in the public space.

    4. poorgradstudent

      To be fair (?), I still think Bush II's daddy issues had something to do with it too, also.

  5. Schmannnity

    I think you are wrong about mercenaries. American Revolutionaries loved those Hessian fellows.

    1. HedonismBot

      A good friend of mine has served with the military in Iraq as both a soldier and a private contractor. He's one of the most optimistic, generous, kind-hearted and positive people I know. So yeah. They are only humans – not all good, and not all bad – and it is understandable to feel a little conflicted about them.

        1. user-of-owls

          Thanks, fellas! You guys are jake! I just hope that Dumb Dora don't give me the ol' bum's rush when I sees her.

      1. user-of-owls

        That's swell, toots! There's a blind pig 'round the corner, what say we get some hooch and cut a rug.

  6. BaldarTFlagass

    We have to employ the sociopathic security contractors over there so we don't un-employ them here.

    1. schvitzatura

      This will be a relief on the VA budget, privateer insurance will cover all the continuing PTSD, TBIs, IED trauma injuries for the State Dept. sepoy levies. And America will make in-kind blood money donations for collateral damage aka "Whoopsie, we killed more Iraqis, here is your Chinese-purchase T-Bill-backed fiat money"

      Which means a continued drag on the real economy back here…

      1. PocketsTheClown

        And then apply the 1% solution — we send money from a bank to someone (who will then blow up everyone we owe money to).

  7. Goonemeritus

    I don't know about you guys but I for one love Barry again. Go ahead snark your little hearts out I'm off to re-hang his picture on the bridge embankment that I sleep under.

  8. plinkleton

    you got to be a pretty easily tricked gotcher nose baby in diapers to think the Money Machine Without End is going to cease in Iraq under barackObush

  9. user-of-owls

    I wonder how many of these mercenaries are going to come back from Iraq with that "invisible hand" we hear so much about.

  10. rocktonsam

    Finally, some good news the republicans, tea party and Fox News can support and praise President Barack H. Obama about!!!!11!!!

    Too soon?

  11. johnnyzhivago

    This is an outrage! First Nobama uses "lead from behind" and wins Libya for around $250 in model airplane fuel for his drones. Now he actually follows through on promises to everyone to quit Iraq just because our troops could be put on trial for war crimes. What of those who served and died? Don't they deserve to have MORE serve and die???

    And what of our defense contractors??? Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!!!

    Finish the job Obama – bomb what's left of Iraq and START a serious bombing campaign in Libya.

          1. Dok-cupy Everything

            Conservapedia will do that, yes. Generous doses of RationalWiki and alcohol sometimes help.

  12. edgydrifter

    Conservatives are very worried that the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq will mean someone else will have the opportunity to kill Iraqis, and–even worse–they'll likely be doing it for free. Blood Socialism!

  13. RadioOcupados

    I'll reserve my opinion until Spielberg and Hanks make a schmaltzy movie and mini-series on HBO about it. Thank you.

    1. V572-⁂½‡‡‡‡‡

      "Schindler's Second Greatest Band of Generational Brothers List." Stevie do love Dubya Dubya 2, doesn't he?

        1. V572-⁂½‡‡‡‡‡

          Saw “Schindler’s List” a while back and noticed that, whatever his other difficulties, nobody is a better cinematic storyteller than Spielberg.

          1. PristinePantalones

            Only because you're my friend will I hold my tongue with both hands and watch the fucking thing, I mean, the film. I'm not saying he's not a talented director, mind. I'm … hmm, interesting, how do I put this? I watched Fritz Lang's Destiny last week, and it really infuriated me. I love his later work, but his early work is so kitschy, so … Spielbergian in its refusal to depict life as it is, always insisting on a schmaltzy sidewise look at hard facts — something you didn't see in M. Siegfried Kracauer, who has the peculiar distinction of being an authority on both the German middle-class and film history, skewered the film with more finesse than I can manage. But Spielberg's work, what I have seen of it so far, fills me with the same sentiment. It's schmaltzy. And that is an insult to life, and to art. Or am I being overly harsh again?

            Never mind. I'll watch Schindler's List. What do you think of the films of Zhang Yimou, then?

          2. V572-⁂½‡‡‡‡‡

            Oh wow I’m not nearly that much of a film buff and confess I don’t know Zhang Yimou or his or her films. I did watch “Seven Samurai” on Netflix a while back and was delighted to find it entertaining through all 207 minutes, B&W + subtitles notwithstanding. Altman’s my ideal director, many flops notwithstanding.The thing that’s enjoyable about “List” is the crisp rhythm and beautiful cutting that even in boring exposition parts at the beginning make you excited about what’s going to happen next.

          3. PristinePantalones

            Zhang is probably the best of the Chinese directors of the 1980s. If you liked Kurosawa, you'll like him. I highly recommend Raise the Red Lantern. If that doesn't tear your heart right out of your chest and make you go home and hug all your female relatives fiercely, we'll have to re-examine your application for membership in the human species.

            I'm just an opinionated old git and a douchebag, and before I get my ass kicked for douchebaggery, I'll admit that right up front. I do get very passionate about stuff, but I'm not that well-read or well-informed about film, and I haven't made any of my own, which George Bernard Shaw would argue is a good reason for me to shut the fuck up about it. Just thank your lucky stars I don't have your phone number, when I get a bug up my ass about something, I like to call/email EVERYONE to share my uninvited opinion. That said, Schindler's List is now on my Netflix list. And I won't chew your ear off about it after I see it, either.

          4. V572-⁂½‡‡‡‡‡

            I have heard of “Raise the Red Lanterns” and will watch it. I think my SO has seen it and is an enthusiast. Thanks for the tip. So many movies today are about SethRogan's penis or stuff blowing up that it's good to hear about one that isn't, even if it's from some years ago. Just yesterday we saw “Margin Call” and were very disappointed: the movie glosses over the financial-technical details in the crudest fashion, and then expects to earn our sympathy for traders who still have to work after the crash because they didn't save enough during the bubble. Ew.

          5. Dok-cupy Everything

            Spielberg is awfully good at manipulating the viewer, which is why I found myself simultaneously tearing up and hating Spielberg at the end of Private Ryan. I know exactly what emotional levers the fucker is pulling, and resent that he is able to do it as well as he does–it's like a really well-choreographed blow to the patella. If Spielberg knew the meaning of "restraint," he'd make much more honest movies.

            That said, a couple months ago, I introduced Kid Zoom to Speilberg's very first feature-length movie, Duel, which already shows off his best and worst qualities: tight pacing, genuine suspense, a well-crafted thrill ride….and heavy-handed messaging. Dennis Weaver, the Everyman protagonist, plays a character named David Mann who's being stalked by a psychotic truck driver. Mann versus machine…GET IT???? And what does he drive? A little Plymouth VALIANT.

            But, yeah, Schindler's List is pretty good.

          6. RadioOcupados

            Alright, y'all, maybe I was a little harsh on Steven's buzz. I despised Private Ryan; it was pure schmaltz from the perspective of an intrepid WW1.5 buff. Same with Band of Brothers and Pacific. Dude did well with Jaws (excepting Dreyfus) and ET, and A.I. made me think (I'm robophobic), but otherwise he is a Hitchcock wannabe. I wonder if he supports the Bush/Obama tax cuts?
            Oh, and Radiohead, the English Wilco, is on SNL; pussies didn't play OWS though. Fuck 'em. They could've been a contender, but instead, they're only namesakes.

            So closes the Radio Cinema Critîque.

          7. not that Dewey

            I've been pondering your "Wilco as American Radiohead/Radiohead as British Wilco" paradigm lately. I own all albums from both bands, so I have plenty to think about. I think Jeff Tweedy is a little better at getting those daggers right up under my soul, but maybe that's the American thing. Neither one has any nearest competitors as far as song arrangement or instrument voicing is concerned. They can both get me angry or depressed or make me laugh in equal amounts. So hard to choose; I think I'll take both.

          8. RadioOcupados

            From a song structure, studio experimentation aspect both these entities rock. Thom Yorke is a little mopier. Wilco by a nose. Plus I just saw Wilco in Maryland a few weeks ago, and it was a great show. But don't we like to ponder?

          9. not that Dewey

            Indeed, we love to ponder. In fact, I'm always contemplating whether kids are still cruel. (Oh, the kids are still cruel.)

          10. PristinePantalones

            I hated Saving Private Ryan with a passion. Way too much gore without reason. Wasteful. War films aren't easy to make, though. And I loved ET, MIB, and many of his other films. I think I hate when he tries to make *serious* drama. He does fine with shlocky American action films, but when he's trying to do "real-life," he just isn't honest. And you said it best: too manipulative, and nobody likes being manipulated.

            I like my pain painful, but not with violins in the background.

          11. Occupy V572

            You should see, if you haven't already, "The Stunt Man," with Peter O'Toole, Barbara Hershey and Steve Railsback. Among other virtues it is the greatest sendup of war movies ever. I am a sucker for movies about making movies ("Day for Night," J Bisset, need I say more?) but this is the best, even better than Altman's "The Player," which itself is a triumph.

          12. Herring_Burnit

            Thanks, V, I'll put all three of those on my Netflix queue!

            I like recommendations, especially from people I know virtually — because they don't know me IRL, their recommendations tend to be very different from what I would normally read/watch, forcing me outside my comfort zone and the rut it has inhabited for over half a century now. Feel free to insist on telling me more. ;-)

          13. not that Dewey

            Nobody is mentioning Minority Report, which, despite the fact that Tom Cruise was in it, is one of Spielberg's best thrillers, due in no small part to the Phillip K Dick story on which it was based. And it's got hot, hot Kathryn Morris in it. Or Munich, which represented Spielberg's first foray into actual, conflicted, human storytelling. The period that spans AI through Munich is his best to date, and he credits that to the fact that he's making movies that he hopes his children will like someday, rather than movies that other people's children will like. I haven't seen Super 8 yet, but I'm something of an Abrams fan, too. Please don't tell me it's terrible.

          14. ShaveTheWhales

            Youse guys are all funny. You talk about Spielberg, while ignoring most of his films. Close Encounters, E.T., four Indiana Jonesers, Jurassic Park, Hook, Color Purple, The Terminal — heard of them?

            Of course, he's manipulative. He's a fucking film director. He's supposed to be manipulative. That's why we pay for the popcorn. Sheesh.

          15. not that Dewey

            Hey — The Terminal is certainly within the span of films that I mentioned. What?

            What I like about his post-millenial period is that he started to drop the manipulative obvious moral thing in favor of a format that poses more open questions of morality to the audience . He stopped telling us what to think and started crafting entire films around the asking of interesting questions. Of course, there were shades of this all along, particularly in many of the movies that you listed, but it turned into more of a driving technique in the more recent films.

          16. PristinePantalones

            Except for The Colour Purple those are all bang-bang shlocky glitter films. Now, I did not say they weren't *good.* But it's like eating Hallowe'en candy. You do it once a year. If you do it more often than that, you're looking at diabetes. I don't like shlocky movies, except occasionally.

            If you want to see films that actually *have* heart without trying to tug on your heartstrings, consider the directors I named above. Kurosawa's I Live in Fear, or Ikiru, Or Satyajit Ray's Charulata. Considering the limitations they worked under, those films are beautiful, classic, unforgettable.

            Shit, back when Hollywood made *real* movies, there were plenty here to choose from, good serious film minus the shlock and schmaltz. White Heat was a brilliant film, for example.

          17. PristinePantalones

            I saw that. Like I said, he does fine with that shlocky action-movie shit, because it's not ABOUT real life. It's all about bang-bang, shoot-em-up, fancy effects. He's great with that shit. I didn't see much after that, because he just doesn't measure up to Kurosawa, or Satyajit Ray, or Zhang Yimou, or Ousmane Sembene as a filmmaker, not when it comes to real human emotions. Bang-bang and glitter, he does great. I don't always like bang-bang and glitter. Like I said, I like my pain without violins.

          18. tessiee

            "It's schmaltzy. And that is an insult to life, and to art. Or am I being overly harsh again?"

            Sorry, can't entirely agree.
            Setting aside Spielberg in particular, "schmaltzy" does not necessarily = "bad filmmaking" or even "bad storytelling", imo. Good/bad and schmaltzy/not are two separate and not necessarily related continuums (continua??). There's good candy (Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate) and bad candy (Nestle's Crunch), and there are good popcorn movies (Wayne's World) and bad popcorn movies (It's Pat). Equating schmaltzy with bad is like criticizing candy because it's not health food. It's not meant to be.

          19. PristinePantalones

            But we can still be FRIENDS, right?

            Just kidding. I like my schmaltz in *very* small doses. I get infuriated by Spielberg films because he's so heavy-handed about tugging my heartstrings. Sometimes all it takes is a silent moment, a brief cut, to point up something. Spielberg beats everything to death.

            But, see, tastes differ, and I admit to being an eccentric old fart with tastes that are very out of the ordinary. None of the films that I love have ever been wildly popular. In fact, *nothing* I like seems to be wildly popular with anyone but me. Fine. More for me. So there. :-P

          20. PristinePantalones

            I've never seen either of the two movies you mention. Should I? Wasn't Mike Myers, or somebody, in Wayne's World?

            Sometimes I feel like an alien who landed here and doesn't *quite* speak the language or get the cultural flow. Sigh.

          21. Dok-cupy Everything

            Wayne's World is the best movie I almost walked out of repeatedly. It's a string of very funny vignettes held together by stretches of tedium. It's perfect for watching on DVD.

    2. AJWjr.

      But I want the characters animated, and in Smurf blue. And on network TV, come on I can't afford cable!

      1. user-of-owls

        You'll just have to be patient. Ken Burns' next film, "Smurf,"doesn't come out until next spring.

          1. PristinePantalones

            I'm DYIN' heah. That is the funniest — I have got to stop hangin' around here goddammit. All y'all ever do, it seems, is send me to places I never heard of to listen to things I shouldn't and look at eyeball-destroyers. No wonder I never get shit done. Goddamn bad influence.

          2. RadioOcupados

            Listen you two, I have wasted TWO fucking years at Wonkette Community College, but Owls, one thing for sure, your little linky-poo is a total rip-off of my often referenced favorite movie scene of all time. Where is my Associate's Degree?

          3. user-of-owls

            You can pick it up Monday when you report for work at Walmart.

            What do you mean 'they didn't tell me'? Why the hell do you think they call it an Associates degree,?

          1. Dok-cupy Everything

            The 2000 Year Old Man was partial to the Wars of the Roses. "The only just war ever. They took our roses, we went and got 'em back!"

  14. johnnyzhivago

    We could AT LEAST stay in Iraq until we finish building them a functional high speed rail network. So they could stand proud with the rest of the civilized world. (Except for the USA)

  15. imissopus


    Snark off…

    I think it's okay for one damn day, Ken….er, Kirsten…to be grateful that all of our soldiers are finally leaving Iraq. It's been a long time in coming. The reason today's announcement is a big deal is because it means we are indeed going to honor the SOFA signed by the Bush administration in 2007. The Pentagon had been pushing to keep soldiers in-country beyond the end of the year, resulting in some semi-public tussling between the WH, the Pentagon, and some congressional Republicans, plus some hysteria from folks on the left (including writers for this here Wonkette, if I recall correctly) that the U.S. would not honor the SOFA and continue the country's imperialistic empire-building blah blah blah.

    Plus I'd go out on a limb and suggest that the families of soldiers who are still there or might otherwise be sent over there will be very happy about today's news.

    I recognize why the mercenaries and the money we're spending on them are a bad thing, but there will be plenty of time for that argument later. Considering the circumstances under which we sent our military into Iraq in the first place, today should be a day of happy relief, at least.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Done. I've waited 10 minutes. Can I start snarking again?

      Srsly, it's a pretty good step. No helicopters off the embassy rooftops just yet.

      1. HuddledMass

        My first thought when I heard about the troops leaving was, "Uh-oh, setting up for the helicopters off the embassy roof finale, they are, yep."
        All those mercenaries…. I just can't see this going along all peaceful-like, you know?

    2. V572-⁂½‡‡‡‡‡

      Thank you for that. Our satisfactions are few and far between and it's nice to savor them for a while. None of them is unalloyed, but that's no reason to reject them either. Some young people will get to come home.

      1. imissopus

        I went to an anti-war march in Hollywood in late '02 or the very early part of '03, and it was the only one I ever attended. There were too many fringe groups (LaRouchies, anarchists, environmentalists promoting vehicles that ran on vegetable oil) using it as an excuse to push their pet causes. Rob Corddry, who was still with The Daily Show, was walking around snickering at some of the people, and I realized I couldn't take many of them seriously either, and I knew that W could not have cared less about any anti-war protests anyway so the whole thing wasn't going to do a lick of good. It's almost painful thinking about how long it has been from that day to this one, which is why I want at least a few minutes to take some deep breaths.

    3. poorgradstudent

      "…but there will be plenty of time for that argument later"

      Sorry, but the rationale of "Some good came out of it, so let's ignore the bad for the time being" sets my teeth on edge, especially because it's very similar to one of the tactics used to brush anti-war criticism under the rug at the time Saddam was overthrown.

      1. imissopus

        "Some good came out of it, so let's ignore the bad for the time being"

        Yeah, you MIGHT have an argument…if that was what I had in fact been implying. Try reading it again. I said it was okay to be grateful for one damn day that our soldiers are coming home. Those are the kids our government sent in without enough armor or resources, the kids who have spent the last nine years getting blown up and coming back in coffins, or coming back to find we don't have the resources to treat the emotional and physical traumas they suffered over there. Those are the people I was thinking about yesterday. And this was just a few weeks after there was some public debate about whether this would in fact happen.

        The Pentagon and congressional hawks were trying to box Obama and his advisers into keeping soldiers in Iraq past the end of 2011 by playing games with public opinion in the press, and it didn't work. That too is something of a victory for those of us who have opposed this thing from the beginning.

        especially because it's very similar to one of the tactics used to brush anti-war criticism under the rug at the time Saddam was overthrown.

        Maybe you missed my follow-up in which I wrote that I marched against the war nine years ago despite my certainty that Bush would ignore and not care about any anti-war arguments, making the whole exercise futile, and that feeling never went away, so don't lump me in with those who allegedly used a similar construction to ignore anti-war opinions. I am not in any way saying that "some good" has come out of any of this. I don't think Sadaam being gone justifies anything we have done. But it has taken our government nine years to get its head straight and get to this step of pulling all the soldiers out, and for one day I intend to be grateful for that at least, your teeth notwithstanding.

        Grrrrr. Fuckin' reading comprehension, how does it work.

        1. poorgradstudent

          No, I didn't miss your fellow-up. It was just completely irrelevant to my points.

          So you're going to stand by "there will be plenty of time for that argument later" as NOT inferring "let's ignore the bad for the time being"? Well, clearly you are operating on a whole other level of reading/writing comprehension from this PhD candidate who recently spent an entire semester reading Lacan and Foucault.

          1. poorgradstudent

            How else was I supposed to respond to you playing the "Nnnnneh, you have bad reader comprehension!" card? You brought up the issue of my personal intelligence; I responded. Deal.

            (And the irony of you calling me a douchebag for bringing up my academic cred right after you tried to sell your liberal cred is delicious enough to keep me well nourished for months.)

          2. Dok-cupy Everything

            So, to recap: You are actually going to insist that "you know what? The fact that we're getting out of this clusterfuck is worth being glad about" is equivalent to, as you put it, "Some good came out of it, so let's ignore the bad for the time being" (which was your first entry into the thread)?

            I've read Foucault and I have the PhD, too, and have to concur: You're being an utter douchebag on this point, although you are correct on one matter only: Joe's follow-up was irrelevant, considering that you completely missed the fucking point of his initial post.

          3. poorgradstudent

            Oh, what-the-fuck-ever. You and Joe win, and I'm an asshole (actually, that's the one thing I can agree with you all on; I just don't think I'm an asshole for bringing up my nerd-academic cred).

          4. user-of-owls

            this PhD candidate

            Everything we need to know about you is right there: PhD candidate. Let me guess, whenever you go to a bar or coffee shop (unaccompanied, of course), you brandish a "seminal" book (with a big title so everyone can see!) and a sneer, right?

            Well listen up, douchebag: you have no academic 'cred' at all…you're just another ego-bloated dime-a-dozen graduate student reading outdated and overrated bullshit that someone told you was 'important.'

            I'd love to be in the room when you pull that smarmy shit in front of your committee. If they're anything other than sycophants, they will humiliate you without quarter and throw your cunty self out of the program.

            Oh, and go foucault yourself.

          5. imissopus

            This place is just infested with moronic douchebaggy assholes this weekend spewing fact-free assertions and whiny talking points, and they're not even Breitbarters. We're through the looking glass.

          6. Negropolis

            It's not even really that. It's that the issue of these wars have always divided liberals. Few other issues can get us to turn on one another like the war. You look down this page and you see a whole multitude of people arguing, including myself.

          7. Nothingisamiss

            If it's any consolation, I only have a B.S. and I agree with you.

            Oh, but I CAN be an asshole if the situation calls for it.

            I always done good in them thar readin' comphenshun in the schoolz.

    4. MissNancyPriss

      Agreed. However you resent our president it for not doing everything you wanted him to do (yet), if crackwhistle John McCain were sitting in that wingback chair right now, do you think the "troops" would be on the to-do list? One wonders, though, what will face those 40,000 men and women when they return to enter the "work force".

      1. PristinePantalones

        I fear. I worry. But still, I'd rather have them home, and relatively safe, and their families not dying from the strain of never knowing where the beloved one is and if they're still alive. I have too many friends who have a friend/relative in the military. This will soothe their pain. They have suffered unbelievably under the stress. I am happy for them. What happens after, well, I guess we'll have to deal with it when it happens.

    5. MonsterAGoGo

      Um, those soldiers won't come home for long, you know, they'll get shipped to some other war.

    6. PristinePantalones

      I am so glad for all my friends who have kids in the military that their children will be home soon, and safe. Ttommyunger's son was just deployed, and I'm sure he's really happy that his kid will soon be home. One of my dearest friends has spent the past few years in agony wondering if her nephew is still alive every time the phone rings. She will be a happy woman when he's back in her loving arms (like me, she's childfree, and he is her surrogate child). Come 1 January 2012, many folks will finally get a decent night's sleep, no longer fearful that they'll have to see their beloved coming home in a bag. Obama has done some things I do not agree with, and some things I really don't like at all, but this is not one of them.

    1. ProgressiveInga

      All of 'em, Katie (except the 4478 American soldiers killed in combat and the 18 soldiers per day who commit suicide and the 1M+ Iraqis who were killed due to the invasion of their country).


    2. Negropolis

      Iran. No, really, Iran did.

      I'll tell you what, Ahmadinejad would have likely never been elected president — and sure as hell wouldn't have been re-elected — if it were not for Bush's war.

      1. tessiee

        "Ahmadinejad would have likely never been elected president — and sure as hell wouldn't have been re-elected"

        In which case, he would have had to keep his day job as a celebrity lookalike for Jake Gyllenhaal [sp?].

    1. El Pinche

      ♬ ♬

      That I’m proud to be an American,
      where at least I know I’m free.
      And I wont forget the military contractors,
      who fuckin peed on me.

      And I gladly drink a bud lite,
      filtered through your ass crack.
      God bless the USA.

  16. edgydrifter

    Those poor Xe contractors will have to drink Vodka out of each other's ass cracks on their own time now. Or maybe in Uganda if they're lucky.

  17. x111e7thst

    I doubt the brave Condottieri the State Dept has hired will feel quite as empowered to mow down sand monkeys as they did when they had the big green machine to back them.

  18. JackObin

    I think they should send Little Georgie Bush over there to do a final cleanup. That is, after he is finished falling asleep at the World Series. It's sounds like something his favorite philosopher would do.

      1. Negropolis

        We could always send him to Fallujuah. They'd love him, there. I hear Tikrit is nice this time of year. Also.

  19. Dok-cupy Everything

    I guess that now, for nostalgia, I'll go re-read Tom Ricks' Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. Or maybe Rajiv Chandrasekaran'sImperial Life in the Emerald City

  20. chascates

    Dipshit David Brooks is on PBS Newshour whining about how we should leave troops in Iraq to counter Iran blah blah blah. John McCain also has his panties in a wad over the announcement.

    We can't fund Social Security and Medicare but by God we can send troops and contractors wherever any two-bit country has oil we might need.

    1. Guppy06

      You know who was really good at countering Iran? Saddam Hussein.

      "Realpolitik" bullshit is how we got into this mess to begin with. More of it won't get us out.

      1. user-of-owls

        He hasn't had time, what with hosing all the blood off the sidewalk in front of Joe Lieberman's 10th floor apartment and whatnot.

    2. fuflans

      ej dionne responded by asking where all this concern about iranian influence was in '02 and '03 before, you know, we helped iran get so much influence.

    1. Callyson

      I love how they conclude that we won "twice":
      In 2003, American arms, masterfully trained, equipped and commanded, destroyed Saddam Hussein’s army and regime with stunning speed and precision.
      Later, an insurgency that at times resembled a civil war caused an appalling level of violence and terror in Iraq.
      "Later"?!? Maybe if by "later," FOX means "five minutes later"…

    2. SayItWithWookies

      Unwise U.S. political suzerainty, especially that of de facto viceroy Paul Bremmer, a member of the State Department’s foreign service, exacerbated the problems in Iraq.

      Oh, I see — it was the fault of Bremer (Mr. Whiton spelled his name wrong, of course), that rogue State Department operative, that the insurgency happened.

      Except of course that Bremer retired from the Foreign Service in 1989 and reported directly to Donald Rumsfeld when he was head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Also, Rummy and Dubya approved Bremer's most controversial decisions, including deBaathification and dissolving the military.

      Not to mention that the State Department was completely shut out of decisions on post-invasion Iraq. But when the author's got such a big axe to grind, facts shouldn't stand in the way.

  21. DahBoner

    " The war in Iraq is finally over"


    The last time I heard that, it was so long ago, I was down at the Cap N Cork listening to the new Yanni cassette.

    After my ceramics class…

    1. schvitzatura

      The last time I heard that, it was so long ago, I was boning my nubile Jewish-American princess girlfriend (gentile here, schwiiiing), listening to the new-ish JAMC and/or PWEI.

      After my photography class…


  22. BaldarTFlagass

    OT, but is that Mitt Romney working posing on the assembly line at a BMW plant over there in the upper right?

  23. Callyson

    Well, for those troops who *are* getting the hell out, I hope the pilots of the evacuation planes don't use any maps from FOX News, or they'll never make it.

  24. slowhansolo

    Oh goody, lots more psychologically shattered police heading to a town near you. I hope at some point our level of commitment to veterans surpasses the Civil Service rubber-stamp.

  25. DaRooster

    "…the State Department will command a hired army of about 5,500 security contractors…"

    These are those highly government paid mercenaries of private companies that we pay for in payments of government money… right?

  26. Mahousu

    That means no one outside the State Department knows how its contractors will behave as they ferry over 10,000 U.S. State Department employees throughout Iraq…

    Oh, come on. I know that, and I'm nowhere near the State Department.

  27. Limeylizzie

    I just heard what bloody , vile, nonsensical, evil, spiteful, gleeful, repulsive nonsense the Republican "Candidates" for President were spewing, they are so concerned about what will happen in Iraq, fucking warmongering cunts should have given that a thought nine years ago..

    1. not that Dewey

      Mitt Romney sez:

      “President Obama’s astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women."

      Barry's campaign counters with:

      "Mitt Romney's foreign policy experience is limited to his work as a finance executive shipping American jobs overseas,"


        1. not that Dewey

          Perhaps, but for now I'll settle for "not letting Romney get away with that kind of crap". What's great about Obama campaign mode is that he doesn't have to sit idly by while Repubs frame and dominate every discussion in the news. The "campaign", separate from and above the Presidency, can oppo-research and swift-response anything that comes out of these assholes' mouths (or out of these mouths' assholes, whichever).

          Of course, he didn't ever have to sit idly by while the Repubs framed and dominated every discussion in the news, but what's done is done. Campaign mode is gearing up.

      1. tessiee

        "Barry's campaign counters with:

        "Mitt Romney's foreign policy experience is limited to his work as a finance executive shipping American jobs overseas" "

        I think I just came.

    2. SayItWithWookies

      It's interesting that President Obama can say that he was abiding by an agreement Dubya signed in 2007. At which point the Republicans will start arguing that our withdrawal is another victory for Bush, who thus deserves a parade.

  28. SayItWithWookies

    Awww — poor damn Republicans were soooo hoping to stall for four years and we'd still be stuck there so we could ramp up some more adventures. Now their whole fucking dream of making the Middle East safe for whatever sham of democracy they felt like imposing is falling to shit.

    Schadenfreude aside, I'm thrilled that our troops will be coming back. They volunteered out of patriotic fervor or just dire necessity, but the chaotic, nihilistic hellhole Dubya and Rummy and Cheney sent them to turned lots of them into fucked-up paranoid hair-triggered misfits, as Frontline so harrowingly documented in The Lost Platoon. I only hope we dedicate the necessary resources, energy and devotion to getting them back to functional.

  29. owhatever

    Teh lame-stream media again is lying about the real reason. The United States is broke and could no longer pay the mortgage on the bigass Embassy in the Green Zone, so Wall Street foreclosed on it.

  30. GeorgiaBurning

    The State Department's ability to run an army has got to be better than the Defense Department's ability to run a state, right?? Naah, just kidding, just as bad or worse. Still, I'm having a drink to celebrate, being Friday and all.

  31. finallyhappy

    Goodnight, I am going to read a book about the British Navy and the American Revolution. I hope I get through a few pages before the world ends tonight

          1. Chet Kincaid

            Okay, besides ending the war in Iraq, and getting rid of OBL and Ghaddafi, and ending Don't Ask Don't Tell, and passing healthcare reform, and lifting the stem cell research ban, and saving GM and Chrysler, what has fucking Obama ever done for US?!

          2. not that Dewey

            And he played basketball with a women's college team once. WHAT ABOUT THE 3AM PHONE CALL, NOBAMA? HUH?

    1. fuflans

      well i think it's a disgrace that we've done nothing about fair pay and financial regulation.

      and those fucking supreme court appointments…

      1. tessiee

        To quote Stephen King, "Nixon is revered as a statesman, where, if there were any justice, he'd be blowing the other convicts for cigarettes".

  32. iburl

    "Our Soldiers" are leaving…

    "His Soldiers" (Jesus a.k.a. Abu Dhabi resident Erik Prince) are staying, and WE'RE paying…

    Merry Christmas!!!!!

    1. DahBoner

      Figures he's a Dutch nutcase from Western Michigan. The Dutch people there were apparently kicked out of Holland for being crazy, ignorant motherfuckers….

  33. DemonicRage

    So what will sure-thing nominee, sure-thing Presidential Replacement Mittens do, after he has reversed Obamacare? Will he reverse our withdrawal from Iraq and reinstate DADT? Will he reverse the side of the road that US cars drive on? Is that what it's all going to be about? Reversals of everything? Because it's a certainty, isn't it that he will be the nominee, and it's an equal certainty that the fickle "Independent" voters that will decide the next election are unhappy with what we've got now.

    1. Dok-cupy Everything

      Ah, but you forget Obama's secret weapon: the massive voter-fraud machines of ACORN and the New Black Panthers*

      *Both of them!

    2. Jukesgrrl

      My fearless prediction I've stated here before: the fickle American electorate will put Democrats in charge of Congress and a Republican in the White House. Doesn't make sense? Do any choices made by the electorate lately make sense?

      1. Negropolis

        My prediction — and it's been this way for months — is that Obama will hold onto the Presidency, we'll make very modest gains in the House (since the GOP won in lots of districts that aren't naturally their turf in an off-year), and we'll either lose the Senate or barely keep it because of the particular seats that will be up. Not sure which one.

          1. Negropolis

            Yeah, with the only silver lining being that Obama will have the possibility to further go around Congress without having to worry about re-election. But, then again, we say that about every second term, and I'm not sure anyone wants a more imperial presidency than we've already created in the, oh, last 50 years, at least.

            So, yeah, we're kind of fucked, regardless. Until some Senate Majority Leader — and I really couldn't care less if it was a Dem or Republican — changes the rules back to where it'd take a simple majority to start debate, we're going to be stuck in the same, intractable mess. Elections are supposed to have consequences, but Senate rules don't seem to approve of that idea.

    3. DoktorThompson

      Yes! Finally we'll get the metric system and be done with this dividing by 12/5280/etc. bullshit.

  34. moar_plz

    Great. Now there'll be a hundred thousand super motivated, wise-beyond-their-years, go-getter types to take the jobs I can't be arsed to go and look for.

  35. Negropolis

    Come on, Kirsten.

    I am not even going to complain about this. No fucking way, not how, no way, not today. This is truly good news, and we should take it where we can get it. Anything can happen in the future; today, we applaud in bring combat troops home, for good.

    I took Iraq dicking around on the political end to get Obama to extract us from this horrible car wreck, but I couldn't give a flying fuck why it happened at the moment. Any soldiers were bring out of harms way is a good day in America.

    I feel sorry (mostly for the Iraqis) that we're sending in defense contractors, but on the American end, if an American civilian is stupid enough to be employed by one of these evil fuckers in Iraq, that's a willful risk of employment.

    1. RadioOcupados

      The unrelenting anti-Obamism has even gotten to us. This guy is more centered than Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and, yet we can't seem to separate ourselves from Föx and the MSM. GTFO was a campaign promise, but Xe aside, he did it. When 30% of the country thinks he is 100% failed, it seems to permeate the whole discussion.
      I guess it's the willful risk of voting for him.

      1. ttommyunger

        Fortunately, he has one of those, uh, you know, LIVES going for him, so I doubt he will be snarking much like his old man.

      1. ttommyunger

        Old age and geography have delivered me from that particular sweet torture. I am, as well, too cranky and self-involved to arrange such events and as the eldest surviving Patriarch, no other relative can require my attendance at another's clusterfuck. I do, however, have a full inventory of bittersweet memories. You enjoy/suffer for me, Fu.

        1. fuflans

          i actually love the holidays and man it's going to be a sad panda one this year. as you know mr. fuf just lost his dad (in marietta) and i have a very sick brother back here in chi who's going in for some risky heart surgery in early nov. so we may be suffering but not in the good way…

          1. fuflans

            thank you all.

            my brother is a graceful generous handicapped man who shouldn't have his life cut short in years as well as opportunities.

            but then, life certainly doesn't trade in fairness.

            if it did, i'm pretty sure doug feith would be working as a tranny slave to some wealthy sheik.

    1. ShaveTheWhales

      A surprising number of Wonketeers seem to think that the removal of the last combat troops from Iraq is equivalent to V-J Day and will be followed immediately by demobilization. While I am glad to see us adhering to the SOFA, the direct impact of completing the withdrawal will be to slightly increase the non-combat dwell time for combat troops. And maybe to let some of the Guard go back to being the Guard.

      Best wishes to your kid (he's an O, so this is at least okay career-wise, right?)

      1. ttommyunger

        Fantastic in that regard alone; from E-1 to 0-4 in 14 years. Hell, I was only an E-10….That's what you are if you make E-5 Twice, right?

          1. ttommyunger

            I jest, of course. Made E-5 once in Army, went into Corps, made it again (and lost it). 5+5 = 10, NOT! But I agree, CSM rates a salute from any rank.

  36. LibrulEleet

    Twenty years from now, every American schoolchild will know that Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize because he withdrew the troops from Iraq.

    1. Negropolis

      And, then they'll learn how hollow the honor is when they remember he did this while simultaneously ramping up another intractable, hopeless war two countries over. Honestly, he deserves credit for getting out or Iraq, but that Nobel Peace Prize of his is a fucking joke and insult to the real peace makers of this world.

      Afghanistan was never the "right war", but many of us (myself include) told ourselves this to help and deal with the haunting and burdensome cognitive dissonance it created.

      1. Chet Kincaid

        Really? Afghanistan was "never the right war"? And this was obvious to whom on 9/12/2001? Actually, to whom is it obvious now? I can understand wanting to get Afghanistan over with, but this disingenuousness about why we went there in the first place, and holier-than-thou hindsight, is a little hard to swallow.

        1. ShaveTheWhales

          The reason we "went in there in the first place" was because the Taliban wouldn't cough up OBL. Like the vast majority of other Americans, I felt that this was a completely good reason for the incursion, no matter what international law might say. Like most Americans who had any previous idea of who the Taliban were, I was happy enough to see them knocked out of power as a side effect.

          After the Tora Bora fiasco, there was no longer a cost-effective reason for the US to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan. Possibly, we had an implied obligation to continue to support our Northern Alliance warlord buddies, but that support could have been logistic-only.

          I do not subscribe to the "we can't let it become a failed state, because that becomes a haven for terrorists" theory. I'll agree that a failed state may well be a haven for terrorists. What I disagree with is the idea that we can prevent a state from failing by using military force. The only historically successful way to do that is to make the state a vassal, and our military is not big enough.

          To sum up, I'd say the Afghanistan incursion was indisputably the right police action, but letting it drizzle off into a partial occupation (or war) was never a good idea. And, incidentally, this means that I voted for President Obama even though I disagreed with his position on this matter.

  37. Negropolis

    The Project for the New American Century is coming to a close, thank god. More than anything, this is catastrophic blow to the neocons project in that region of the world. There will definitely be some residue left over; how can there not be after how deeply we dug in? But the age of nation-building using tens-of-thousands of American troops in a combat setting is over and god if it isn't long overdue.

    1. fuflans

      i think you're right. even if – god forbid – mittens is elected, he will be utterly circumscribed. and as a waning power we will have no appetite for furrin 'ventures.

      until the great chinese moon war…

      1. Negropolis

        I mean, it's going to be difficult to get out of Afghanistan, but not even a Republican president could never get away with another misadventure of this size.

        If there is one thing Bush did as president, he poisoned this kind of nation-building for many years to come. I just hate that it too so many fucking lives to do it. I fucking loathe that man.

        1. iburl

          I hope you're right, but Obama has not slowed down the involvement of combat troops in ever more and more places around the globe.

          1. ShaveTheWhales

            Dude, you need to watch the hyperbole. Obama did, indeed, increase the level of combat troops in Afghanistan, but "more and more places around the world?" I'll give you partial credit for Libya, although "limited air support" is not usually considered to be equivalent to "combat troops", but what else?

          2. imissopus

            I don't have the energy to read through that entire list, but I must make the point that this…

            Obama exploits the tragedy in Norway
            "It's a reminder that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring," Obama said prior to learning the identity of the assailant, clearly trying to justify his military strikes in 6 Muslim nations. No doubt Obama was later stunned, if not disappointed, that the person responsible for the killings in Norway was a non-Arab Christian, and not a 'Muslim terrorist'.

            …is an utterly ridiculous statement. Unless there are some other quotes from Obama's statement on the Norway slaughter that give some more context, Obama could have easily been talking about violent extremists of any religion. Hell, he could have been talking about ANYTHING…pick a reason someone has given for machine-gunning a bunch of unarmed people anywhere in the world, and maybe there's something the international community could have done to prevent it.

            In fact, Uganda is an example right there: you've got a few hundred rebels running around the jungle slaughtering villagers, Uganda asked the United States for help in stopping them, and we sent some soldiers to help their military do just that. It's not the United States sending an army to overthrow a nation's government in yet another example of our imperialistic empire-building, or whatever.

          3. ShaveTheWhales

            Did you actually read the articles you link? 'Cause, what they actually say is that we've got "engagement" in lots of countries — even more than Bush. But the "engagement" runs from no troops and some spooks, through "token numbers" of military, and up to "more" troops, where "more" isn't defined. I like Tom's Dispatch, but sometimes they draw conclusions from limited evidence.

            In any event, there is no such thing as "token numbers" of "combat troops".

          4. iburl

            No, I didn't read the entire set of links on the 2nd link. No, I can't /won't defend them, but it just gives a general view of the state of mind of Obama, the worlds most killingest Peace Prize winner eva.

          5. imissopus

            Okay, you've convinced me otherwise. Nobama!

            I mean, you post a page full of links that by your own admission you have neither read nor will you defend, but you still feel confident proclaiming the page is a peek inside Obama's mind, and when challenged your answer is a dismissive "Get real"? I don't see how my assertion about the motivation of the person who compiled those links is any less accurate, facile, or glib. Hell, I even took the time to argue against at least one of those links.

        2. tessiee

          "If there is one thing Bush did as president, he poisoned this kind of nation-building for many years to come."

          Yeah, he really was the "Poochie" of Presidents.

    2. RadioOcupados

      The Neocons were like injecting stool into the gums of American politics. Very difficult to recover from such an insidious insult. And, for reference, my friend, they put it right in front of our noses and alluded to Pearl Harbor.

  38. zappadoo76

    Here's the deal. The troops are coming home because the US got the oil. The mission has been accomplished. Now there only has to be a small force of mercs to protect the liquid gold. I believe the US intends to sit on it rather than sell it, to keep prices up, which is what this war was always about.

      1. Negropolis

        Bingo. Though, oil was not an insigificant part, it's an oversold one. There are any number of countries to get oil from, and for a lot less blood and treasure, to boot. The overreaching arch, here, is the personal connection to Iraq, and how easy they thought trumping up charges against a hated dictator would be.

    1. imissopus

      Saying "the US got the oil" is overselling it quite a bit, which is obvious just from that article, which pretty clearly states that one U.S. company holds a minority position in a consortium that will develop just one of Iraq's untapped oil fields. I believe Exxon also has a similar position on another field, but the vast majority of the contracts handed out by the Iraqi government the last couple of years went to firms from other countries, particularly Russia and China. Do a little search on Google, you should find articles from early 2009 or '10, when Iraq was handing out these contracts, which will give a comprehensive picture of who won and who lost out. SPOILER ALERT: U.S.-based oil companies lost out for the most part.

      The U.S. isn't really in a position to sit on anything…it takes years and years to tap a field, build up the infrastructure, and start pulling oil out of the ground. Exxon and Occidental aren't going to sit on those fields (if that's even an option for minority stakeholders) because then they lose out on selling that oil to emerging markets like India and China that are increasing consumption at an exponential rate.

      So, yeah. That.

      1. zappadoo76

        Nice commercial message from the State Department where you work. Keep it up and you might make GS8! Suggestion for improvement: "Google it" is not a source.

        1. imissopus

          Good Lord, that's your response? Seriously? For the record, I didn't really care whether you looked up the info or not, since I'd already told you the big overall point and suggested the reading for your own personal edification. But since you are either afraid of having your dogma challenged or just a lazy little shit, we'll start with a couple of articles from Der Spiegel and Juan Cole, two sources not noted for being U.S. government propaganda organs:
          http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,… http://www.juancole.com/2009/12/new-oil-bids-cens

          Here are links to the Wikipedia pages for four of Iraq's major oil fields the government has awarded contracts to develop in the last couple of years. There are further links on each page to other sources, I trust you can click on those links yourself and don't need me to hold your hand when you do:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majnoon_Field http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halfaya_Field http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Qurna_Field http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumaila_Field

          Here's a story on the good ol' L.A. Times (the same source you linked above, how about that) about how Iraq had some trouble getting companies to bid on developing some of their oil fields because the security situation is so fucking awful. See, unstable environments are actually bad for oil companies, as they would be for many businesses. If the U.S. mission was to secure Iraq for the oil companies, then contrary to your first assertion, we pretty much failed:

          Nice commercial message from the State Department where you work. Keep it up and you might make GS8!

          Sigh. I'm aiming for GLG-20. But that's good: when you aren't sure you're on solid ground, go for the insults. For the record, I do not work for any government agency, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn last night. I'm just a writer who actually does research and gathers facts from places besides FDL or Glenn Greenwald, so I'll know what I'm talking about.

          In conclusion: go fuck yourself.

  39. Negropolis

    OT: Occupy Detroit is still going strong:

    Detroit — The Occupy Detroit movement took its demands for job creation and a halt to home foreclosures into the heart of downtown Detroit on Friday with a protest outside the Guardian Building.

    About 300 marchers, chanting and carrying signs, marched at noon from Grand Circus Park to the landmark skyscraper to protest at the Bank of America branch.

    Abayomi Azikiwe, 54, of Detroit shouted instructions to the demonstrators through a megaphone as they marched down Woodward.

    "This is a democracy, so we're trying to get the government's attention," he said. "We're solving their problems for them."

    The crowd of demonstrators was escorted down Woodward by police officers on horses and Segway scooters. As they marched, the protesters chanted, "How do we end this deficit? Stop the war, tax the rich," and "From New York to L.A., occupy the U.S.A."

    Mike Warminski, 49, of Warren, who works downtown, was on his lunch break and took pictures of the marchers with his cellphone camera.

    "I didn't know it was going to be here," he said. "I think it's a good thing. I'm working and grateful, but there is too much greed. It's a good thing to get that message out there."

    1. Jukesgrrl

      Thanks for the article. Good news.

      I know the navel-gazing media elite think OWS is only happening in NYC and now they are falling all over each other to report strife in the movement. One of the drums was destroyed in bad weather and the drum circle wants it replaced (to the tune of $8,000) with money that has been donated to the cause from the public for things like food and blankets. I'm sure we will hear more about that damn drum this weekend than we will ever hear about Cantor failing to show up at Wharton to discuss whatever crazy-ass ideas he has about fair income distribution.

      I think the Occupy movement WILL be a success, but in the long term not because of anything that happens in New York. It will be successful because people in places like Detroit, Las Vegas, Des Moines, Portland, Houston, New Orleans … even Republican Boise, for chrissake … are mad as hell and have finally found their voices.

      If there's a march on Washington that's decently organized and publicized, I expect it will be bigger than the anti-war demonstrations of the 1970s.

      1. Chet Kincaid

        That's ludicrous, what kind of drum costs $8,000, and if there was one, who would bring it to a fucking drum circle in NYC in October? Even the best, professional level djembe or conga only costs about $600, and no professional percussionist would be stupid enough to expose it to the elements or to angry-pig-action.

        The drum circle douches should be apologizing for creating that kind of stupid distraction.

        1. Jukesgrrl

          My sentiments exactly, but you know this is just the kind of story the press will run with to illustrate what happens when you don't have the "leaders" they seem to think are so crucial for the success of any movement.

          A General Assembly attendee named Craig Kenalley reported the following, "On Thursday, the matter at hand was a proposal from Pulse — the group of drummers — for $8,000 for new musical instruments. They say they hoped to secure the funding after a $5,000 handmade drum was sabotaged and destroyed during a rain storm. They say that because they've been there since Day 1, they deserve the funding more than anyone. 'We have worked for you! Appreciate us!' the leader of the proposal shouted angrily to the GA in response to voices of dissent. After a long debate, the proposal was tabled. No funding for the drummers. After the meeting, one drummer cursed and yelled at GA members for their decision. He confronted another occupier and the two shouted obscenities back and forth; a physical fight nearly erupted but a peacemaker came between them."

          Given the fact that the middle-of-the-night drumming is one of the things most likely to get these people kicked out of the park, I'd say the sooner the drummers leave the better. Maybe one of the nearby residents "sabotaged" the absurdly expensive drum. I suspect I'd be so inspired after several weeks of pounding.

          BTW, I create hand-made cookies and I'd be happy to sell you an endless supply of my best for $5,000 … ummm, how about $8,000?

      2. ShaveTheWhales

        Somebody in OWS needs to grab the drum circle spokesperson by the throat (gently) and ask "Why $8,000?" If it's because it was some kinda antique (possible; even I have a Les that's worth a couple three grand) then the answer is, "Sorry, you're an idiot".

        1. tessiee

          "now they are falling all over each other to report strife in the movement. One of the drums was destroyed in bad weather and the drum circle wants it replaced (to the tune of $8,000) with money that has been donated to the cause from the public for things like food and blankets"

          Is it possible that whoever reported this is… er-uh… "fibbing" in order to discredit the OWS folks?

  40. MiniMencken

    Seriously, snark-lessly, having grown up in an extended family of spook world adults, I am very sad to read this announcement. We, the US of A, are burying ourselves deeper and deeper into a morass in the Middle East.

    1. ShaveTheWhales

      Wait, what? At least we're getting the uniformed troops out of Iraq. We may be burying ourselves in a morass, but I fail to see how this announcement points to that.

        1. ShaveTheWhales

          Honestly, 5,500 mercs in a 25M country might be an embarassment, but they can't really fuck things up (and yes, they could kill quite a few civilians, but, you know, we do that all the time).

    2. tessiee

      "I am very sad to read this announcement. We, the US of A, are burying ourselves deeper and deeper into a morass in the Middle East"

      We may very well be in a morass in the Middle East, but it seems to me that the fact that troops are leaving means that we're, at the very least, burying ourselves slightly *less* deeply.

  41. subsum

    Either Halliburton is going to have to pay for their own troops or they're ordering the US Government to just stick to drones from now on.

  42. MzNicky

    War is Over
    If You Want it

    Merry Christmas/Happy Halloween Kyoko! Don't worry don't worry don't worry, Mummy's only looking for her hand in the snow.

  43. DahBoner

    "BMW was forced to recall a female-voiced navigation system on its 5 Series cars in the late 1990s after being flooded with calls from German men saying they refused to take directions from a woman"

    Ah, good to hear that today's GOP is more advanced than this and very happy to take orders from a woman in a sex dungeon!

  44. Blueb4sunrise

    GOP Iowa Forum re-cap:
    I'm crazy.
    I'm stupid and crazy.
    I'm stupid, crazy, and a liar.
    I'm stupid, crazy, a liar and a sociopath.
    I'm crazy.
    I'm stupid and crazy.
    I'm stupid, crazy, and a liar.
    I'm stupid, crazy, a liar and a sociopath.

  45. DahBoner

    "Jobs also revealed to Isaacson that he had spurned potentially life-saving surgery in favour of alternative remedies, a decision he later regretted."

    Oh well, Steve, it's all good * , right?

    * = Or insert some other new-age, east-west, alternative medicine cliche here

    1. Jukesgrrl

      Geez, the one time he makes a non-genius decision …

      (Other than the time he went to court to deny parentage of his first-born child, as if paternity tests didn't exist.)

      1. DahBoner

        "On the genius of Jobs, Isaacson is not dazzled. "He was never much of an engineer," Isaacson said. "He didn't know how to code or programme a computer. That was Wozniak's job."

        Geniuses are smart enough to get somebody else to do the actual, uh…work.


  46. Jukesgrrl

    Off-topic: In his first start for the Broncos, Tim Tebow led his team to an overtime victory over the Dolphins (I know, Miami, big deal right?) proving once and for all that Jeebus cares more about football than he does about politics. No wonder poor Rick Perry can't catch a break from the Lord — he just fills a stadium with prayerbots, not people who know what's really important in America. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes rejoices over their #1 boy's ascendancy. And you wimmins better stop abortin' them babbies or a big football player will come to your house and beat Jesus' message into you.

    1. RadioOcupados

      Tim Tebow, after the game, also said that the Canadian Health Care System is inferior to our overpriced, in triplicate, structure, and he wouldn't be here if abortion was readily available. Needs moar face tar.

    2. ShaveTheWhales

      Actually, I thought that this indicated that Jeebuz has a wicked sense of humor (and, possibly, that Miami is cursed for having too many Cubans in its political system).

      Presently, The Tim will face a team that has a functioning secondary, and someone like Patrick Willis will introduce him to Neverland.

      1. Jukesgrrl

        You have a point. And as many people have pointed out today, Tim didn't win the game — the kicker did.Or maybe Miami handed it to them in an early draft of Andrew Luck (I've been hearing last place referred to as the Suck for Luck Bowl).

    3. Negropolis

      Speaking of football — and I hope I'm wrong — but we may be witnessing a Lions collapse up here in Michigan. I'm not feeling the mojo, anymore.

      1. RadioOcupados

        Stafford, with his god-forsaken injuries, trade for Teblow with his God given abilities, and snazzy 3:16 eye tar, praise the Lord, is all you need.

        1. Negropolis

          After two seasons of John Kitna, I don't think the Lions could take another blatant Jesus-freak.

    1. tessiee

      *raises hand hesitantly*
      I would like to be cuddled in be–
      Oh, wait, you said "cuddled in BREAD".
      Meh, I don't think I have any interest in that.

  47. LiveToServeYa

    Dude! If the author of the 'Danger Room' article can't tell the difference between 'protecting State Department personnel' and 'combat operations', that's his problem. This is fucked-up, inflationary crisis-mongering that takes away from actual crises; in other words, this is the game the other side plays. Let's not play it.

    And there's no TruckNutz, ass-fucking, or Cocktober in it anywhere.

  48. Barrelhse

    OT- Monday AM, I see that Rahm has decided to sic the fascist Chicago pigs on the Occupy people as they exercise their 1st Amendment right to peacefully assemble. Nice fucking country, America.

  49. problemwithcaring

    Electing President Obama, marked a turning point in Iraq's struggle. The US war against the Iraqi people is over.

    But yea — Keep fucking that chicken, Wonkette.

  50. Negropolis

    Do not even remind me of the beer summit. Ugh. I'd been pretty successful in purging that farce of an event from my memory.

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