Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Monday, June 02, 2008

(Scared) Armadillos in Their Trousers

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)


Fran said...

This post leaves me speechless.

Batocchio- he is one badass mothafucka!

And I say that with a lot of love and in a good way.

Unlike referrals to Dubya or Tom-ass.

debg said...

I agree with franiam.

By the way, anyone who's interested can see my paper on masculinity and violence in preaching for the First Crusade at

Yes, there's Latin in it, but I translated everything.

Batocchio said...

Haha. Thanks, Fran!

I tend to be much more serious on the blog than I am in real life.

And thanks, debg! I'll check that out!

Fran said...

Haha - I am both serious and not -as you can see on my blog. Talking about God one minute, politics the next and dropping F-bombs like mad crazy.

I must check out debg's link too!

Off to post however, you have delivered me the inspiration that I needed Batocchio!

Marc McDonald said...

The world simply doesn't operate the way globalists like Thomas Friedman believe it does. They are a remarkably incurious lot.
They'd have us believe that manufacturing migrates around the world to whereever wages are lowest.
The problem is that high-tech, cutting-edge manufacturing takes place ONLY in the First World.
Boeing, for example, doesn't have to worry about competition from low-wage Bangladesh. Instead its competition is coming from high-wage Europe and Japan.
When Boeing outsources production of key airliner components to Japan, it's for reasons other than low wages.
(The Japanese are some of the highest-paid workers in the world and earn around 30 percent more than their U.S. counterparts).
As it turns out, the world is much more complex than the simplistic globalist views embraced by the likes of Friedman.

Batocchio said...

debg, I don't know if you've got this thread on "follow-up," but thanks for linking your paper. I'm afraid I've had to start and stop it due to other things, but there's some really interesting stuff in there.

libhom said...

This is yet another reason why having Bush in the White House is so humiliating.

Anonymous said...

Good Job! :)