Drumbeats category archive
Dick Polman reports on the drummers of the war drums. A nugget:
Most predictably of all, neocon talking-head Bill Kristol is manning up on Fox News: “(Obama) is not a president who wants to start another war, that’s the way he sees it. I think it’s totally irresponsible for the American president to have that.” Sometimes, “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
This is the same guy who declared on the eve of war 10 years ago that Iraq would be a breeze, that the Bush invasion would pacify a warring people: “There is a certain amount of pop psychology in America that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni….There’s almost no evidence of that at all.” Ten years later, in Iraq, the Shiites and the Sunnis are still blowing each other up; for most of those 10 years, American soldiers died in the crossfire. But in Washington, there’s no shame and no penalty for being dead wrong, which is why Kristol still reigns on Sunday morning TV.
As Driftglass often points out, in the punditocracy, there is no penalty for being wrong all the time.
In an article about Sunday’s stupid op-ed in the New York Times, Steven M. buries this nugget.
He’s quite correct, you know.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Fathali Moghaddam attempts to understand why North Korea is throwing a temper tantrum. He thinks it might be one of those Games People Play*:
As a psychologist, Kim Jong Eun (probably in his later 20s when he came to power) believes strongly in the power of displacement. He knows that the North Korean people are living in terrible poverty and deprivation, while he and the rest of the ruling elite enjoy just about every luxury. Ordinary North Koreans have a lot to be unhappy about and they could easily turn their anger at the ruling North Korean elite. The solution found by the ‘psychologist’ Kim Jong Eun is to use displacement and turn the anger of the people against external targets. This explains the daily threats of war against the United States and South Korea, and dire warnings to the people of North Korea that ‘the Americans are going to attack soon…all eyes on America!’. Anyone who questions the idea that ‘the Americans are about to attack’ is immediately branded an ‘American spy’ and punished, sometimes with death.
The ‘crazy’ threats made by the ‘Great Successor’ will continue until he and his supporters feel that the succession has been completed, and there is no threat of rivals rising up and grabbing power.
*Great book, by the way.
Dan Simpson hears the grumblings about yet another war and hopes that we learn from the Great and Glorious Patriotic War for a Lie in Iraq. He lists those who monger for war. A nugget:
The first is the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War and the role of the George W. Bush administration in scamming the American people so it could invade and occupy that country. For the most part, American media were complicit in the fraud, not providing the critical analysis that might have headed it off.
The second is that the Department of Defense, like the rest of the government, is facing budget cuts, due in part to sequestration but also because Americans will want their peace dividend now that the Iraq War is over and the Afghanistan War soon will be.
The third is that the world is always full of what the American military-industrial complex, first identified as a danger by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, can portray as lively candidates for U.S. military intervention.
The Iraq War was a success for no one other than Mr. Bush, who was reelected as a war president in 2004. It is hard to imagine that he would have been reelected without the war. America lost more than 4,000 citizens in Iraq and many thousands more were disabled. An estimated 110,000 Iraqis died. The financial costs are estimated at up to $2 trillion.
He hopes we have learned something.
I fear we have not.
A continuing production:
Thus, the first 100 US military “advisers” are being sent to Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo and Ghana – the six member-nations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that will compose an African army tasked (by the United Nations) to reconquer (invade?) the parts of Mali under the Islamist sway of AQIM, its splinter group MUJAO and the Ansar ed-Dine militia. This African mini-army, of course, is paid for by the West.
Students of the Vietnam War will be the first to note that sending “advisers” was the first step of the subsequent quagmire. And on a definitely un-Pentagonese ironic aside, the US over these past few years did train Malian troops. A lot of them duly deserted.
It’s the martial version of “firings will continue until morale improves.”
Read the rest at Asia Times.
Asia Times looks at civilian losses in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Viet Nam.
It’s not pretty. It is, indeed, rather an indictment of the heedlessness of America’s shoot-first foreign policy.
It should be required reading for the gunslinging crowd whose preferred solution for any international kerfuffle is to shoot.
No one will ever know just how many Iraqis died in the wake of the US invasion of 2003. In a country with an estimated population of about 25 million at the time, a much-debated survey – the results of which were published in the British medical journal The Lancet – suggested more than 601,000 violent “excess deaths” had occurred by 2006. Another survey indicated that more than 1.2 million Iraqi civilians had died because of the war (and the various internal conflicts that flowed from it) as of 2007. The Associated Press tallied up records of 110,600 deaths by early 2009. An Iraqi family health survey fixed the number at 151,000 violent deaths by June 2006. Official documents made public by Wikileaks counted 109,000 deaths, including 66,081 civilian deaths, between 2004 and 2009. Iraq Body Count has tallied as many as 121,220 documented cases of violent civilian deaths alone.
Then there are those 3.2 million Iraqis who were internally displaced or fled the violence to other lands, only to find uncertainty and deprivation in places like Jordan, Iran, and now war-torn Syria. By 2011, 9% or more of Iraq’s women, as many as 1 million, were widows (a number that skyrocketed in the years after the US invasion). A recent survey found that 800,000 to 1 million Iraqi children had lost one or both parents, a figure that only grows with the continuing violence that the US unleashed but never stamped out.
Follow the link for more and more depressing numbers.
It seems to have become accepted in the Village that Iran is a threat to the United States. Just listen to the beginning of the video below.
I understand that the government of Iran is not friendly to the United states (and vicey versey), but I do have a question:
Just how is Iran a “threat”?*
As near as I can figure, it’s a threat because people say it’s a threat and because they don’t like President Ineedashaveabad’s manners.
*Loopy theories about “cyberterrorism” are not admitted as legitimate arguments. They are part of the “full employment for security consultants” movement and aren’t taken seriously by persons who know how computers and networks actually work.
In wingnut world, war is a magickal thing (emphasis added):
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) is taking on the White House for not explicitly threatening a “military strike” on Iran, which he called “magic words” that would prevent the country from obtaining military weapons.
Speaking at the United Nations on Tuesday, President Barack Obama said that containment was not an option and the U.S. would “do what we must” to stop Iran.
But during an interview with MSNBC, Giuliani said that the implicit threat of military force did not go far enough.
. . . because the last two invocations to bloody Mars cast a magickal spell unbroken to this day in the fantastickal wingnut world sans history and accordingly sans lessons therefrom.
And, besides, other people have children to spare.
Remember the old children’s laxative commercial which started “Prunes: Is one enough? Are three too many?”
Congress is singing a similar tune about wars. Asia Times reports:
In another resolution apparently designed to prepare for war against Iran, the US House of Representatives, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 401-11 vote, has passed a resolution (HR 568) urging the president to oppose any policy toward Iran “that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.”
With its earlier decision to pass a bill that effectively sought to ban any negotiations between the United States and Iran, a huge bipartisan majority of Congress has essentially told the president that nothing short of war or the threat of war is an acceptable policy. Indeed, the rush to pass this bill appears to have been designed to undermine the ongoing international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, noted how “this resolution reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war, and could be the precursor for a war with Iran. It’s effectively a thinly-disguised effort to bless war.”
One more time: The old lie. The young die.
Image via Balloon Juice.
At Asia Times, Gareth Porter examines the United States’s contrarian counter-productive policy regarding Iran. A nugget:
The prospects for agreement (on Iran’s reducing its uranium enrichment efforts–ed.) are not likely to improve before that meeting, however, mainly because of an inflexible US diplomatic posture that reflects President Barack Obama’s need to bow to the demands of Israel and the US Congress on Iran policy.
The US hard line in the Baghdad talks and the failure to set the stage for an early agreement with Iran means that Iran will not only increase but accelerate its accumulation of 20% enriched uranium, which has been the ostensible reason for wanting to get Iran to the negotiating table quickly.
Read the whole thing.