Continuing our recent discussions of those brave cowboys of the junior high lunch room and other bold hawks, it turns out Atrios declared last Friday Thomas Friedman’s Happy ‘Suck On This Day!’ in honor of the fifth anniversary of that infamous bit of appalling pundit bravado. John Amato of C&L has a good post rounding up many of the reactions.
Don the mustache of understanding, and all shall be revealed! You can relive all the excitement here:
I've taken on pundit idiocy on the war earlier and will again soon enough, although many bloggers have written in depth on these issues. There are many reasons we went to war with Iraq needlessly, but one of the key reasons it was possible was because of useful idiots like Thomas Friedman, who really, really should have known better. It's truly pretty depressing that for an influential American pundit who actually knew something about the Arab world, going to war really boiled down to:
Hey, you Arabs! Tommy F is one badass muthafucka!!!
It's also sad he's still rich and influential.
Moving on to the Bushies, there's Doug Feith expounding on assholes and opposition to torture. As usual for his ilk, Feith ignores that some of the people he advocated torturing were innocent, not that he'd be morally upright even if all of them weren't. But, truly, we've entered a surreal world where even Brecht, Kafka, Bulgakov, Terry Gilliam and Orwell might say, "I can't top the irony of that one."
Oh, and since Republican hacks and other right-wingers are attacking Obama's qualifications as commander in chief, let's stop by and take a look at our draft-dodging, frat-boy preznit:
Personally, I think it's a good thing for a president to have a sense of humor, but not when people are dying as a result of his decisions, and not when it's to dodge serious questions (one of his favorite tactics). And while we've certainly covered Bush's recklessness, ignorance, and swaggering machismo, this is among the most appalling incidents, from Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez' book (emphasis added):
Among the anecdotes in "Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story" is an arresting portrait of Bush after four contractors were killed in Fallujah in 2004, triggering a fierce U.S. response that was reportedly egged on by the president.
During a videoconference with his national security team and generals, Sanchez writes, Bush launched into what he described as a "confused" pep talk:
"Kick ass!" he quotes the president as saying. "If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can't send that message. It's an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal."
"There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!"
A White House spokesman had no comment.
Shocking, that. Tom Engelhardt also has a good piece on this incident.
As with Tom Friedman and his ilk, there are many reasons we went to war with Iraq needlessly, but a decisive factor was Bush's lack of character. Bush was so vain, incurious, insecure and immature Bush officials were able to push him or egg him on beyond his already prodigious capacity for reckless action and horrendous judgment. Pathetically, a lot of the war for the friggin' President of the United States was just Bush trying to say:
Hey, you Arabs! Dubya is one badass muthafucka!!!
I agree with the very last part, anyway.
Don the mustache of understanding, put on the cowboy hat of the faux, draft-dodging cowboy, and ye shall know that these bold, swaggering men who have never gone to war — but are relatively untroubled to send others to their deaths — have armadillios in their trousers. To call them colossal pricks might be too magnanimous, but "tiny scared rodents sheathed in armor" seems about right. And in a weird way, minus any wit or charm, this scene sorta sums up the entire Bush administration's approach to national security and "the global war on terror":
(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald)