"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Mar 18, 2011


George Bush involved himself in two warfronts.

Obama's up to four (Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya).

Where's Bush's Peace Prize?


C-Nihilist said...

a friend of mine wonders if Obama's re-election campaign slogan will be "FOUR MORE WARS."

Jack Crow said...

Nah, Montag. That would be the audacity of hope, and B'rack has moved on to winning the future.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

We're kicking the future's ass!

Randal Graves said...

Bush laments having spent all that time coked up instead of working on a Doc Brown special so he could go back and start two, nay, three more and show this upstart who's the real The Man.

Anonymous said...

Didn't need a Peace Price to continue a ruse about Dubya. People knew what Dubya was about.

Obama, on the other hand, can't come across as the bloodthirsty striver he is. To succeed in the public eye, as a Team Donkey leader, he has to mouth the proper sounds, make the suitable gestures. This includes "humbly" accepting a Nobel Peace Prize while in practice being more warlike than Dubya.

Dubya's supporters don't need the Peace ruse, don't need the "humanitarian" angle. Democrats, however, do. They need to feel comfortable about the murders they support, the oppression they enable. They need a happy face on their imperial mission.

They need to believe the symbol trumps the reality.

mp said...

Don't sell Obama short. We're also killing people in Pakistan. Aren't we still operating in Somalia, too?

Michael- said...

Question for the moralists among us: if the Libyian gov (the g-man) started carpet bombing civilians and executing rebels in the streets would "intervention" be ok in all you folks books?

Or is there absolutely, dogmatically no context in which “war” is ok?

Michael- said...

only those sitting on the sidelines could be should 'black and white' about military interventions in my opinion...

Joe said...

Well, you know, Bush started this mess and Obama obviously has no other choice than to try to manage these wars the best he can...I mean, it was out of his hands once he took office.

Jack Crow said...


I was giving Obama a little undeserved slack, and assuming "Af/Pak" to be covered by Afghanistan.

I won't make the mistake again.


There is no war undertaken by any state which would get my support, for any reason, under any circumstance. Especially an intervention.

That's not a moral position. Nor even an ethical one. I have no problem with some kinds of violence. I have kids. I'm pretty sure there I'm capable of hurting people who threaten them.

It's just a working rule, for me at least, that any intervention undertaken by an organized power, representing organized ownership, is going to be funded and waged to their ultimate benefit.

Hope that helps some.

Jack Crow said...


That's the defender line, I'm sure. Watching the press conference, Obama didn't use it. He went right for the Wilsonian playbook.

Jack Crow said...


That's a truth. The conservatives are naked, ugly, out in the open aggressors. Liberals prefer to pretty up their oil wars.

Anonymous said...

There's an example of one in this thread, even.

Michael- said...

Hey Jack,

I can appreciate that perspective.

I'll give you an example of the difficulty of taking such a "clean" position though: Chomsky. Chomsky has a lot to say about what is wrong with international affairs (and I agree with much of what he says) and he can give detailed accounting of death-tolls and dollar amounts, but never talks about 'grey-choices'. Everything is either right or wrong for Chomsky. Any type of perspectivism is totally absent.

But the problem with that is that he is never in a position to actually make hard choices. He tours around getting paid to add the moral sparkle while summarizing foreign affairs journal articles and newspaper stories, while people are forced (by ruling elites, and far less often public opinion) to act and make 'grey' choices.

But would Chomsky, or any of us, be so black and white if it was our children being killed, or our revolution being overcome but a dictator's 'strong arm'?

Yes, the US wages war for its own economic interests, but what does that matter to the folk on the street battling Gaddfi tanks? they needed help and got it.

And these are just questions I have because I have not made up my mind about "intervention" in this case. All I'm saying is that EVERTHING should be considered with nuances and on a case by case basis.

I dogmatic rejection of all organized force seems too simplistic.

Jack Crow said...

The question which bears asking, michael, is: did the Libyan "people" actually get any help?

I see no evidence of that. I see only claims from people with limitless bombs and innumerable bombers that bombs protect people from ground based assholes with little support, a broken military machine.

What did more harm? Years of weathering foreign imposed crippling sanctions, or a civil war which will ultimately benefit extraction companies in the US and Europe?

Jack Crow said...

And if we're even willing to accept the validity of organized force, why would that ever extend to the imperial conquering machine of a capitalist superpower?

Jack Crow said...

Hell, fwoan has an excellent response:


Is this protecting the Libyan people, or a usurpation of their revolt?

I know what I think.

Michael- said...

I guess I don’t know what is really happening “on the ground”, but from what I can tell there are many rebels and people opposed the Gaddafi who welcome the air support. That can’t be disputed. And if Libyans want the military support, who are we to condemn? Even if it turns out to be a “civil war which will ultimately benefit extraction companies in the US and Europe” who are we to sit back in our comfy Americanized cultures and tell them not to accept military assistance at this crucial time?

Without help they would surely lose to Gaddafi troops and their movement towards ‘democracy’ (and whatever that eventually entails for them and US corporations) would be crushed. Are you advocating that the rebels should just roll over and die – and return to dictatorship because a democratic Libya MIGHT result in foreign corporate domination?

I think Libyans deserve the chance to decide for themselves about usurpation or self-determination.

My point is that we should, at least in principle, be open to alternative views and fuzzy moral logic when it comes to the organized use of force.

And for the record, I too oppose the “intervention” now going on in Libya. But I ALSO oppose letting democracy-seeking rebels get overwhelmed and slaughtered by maniac dictators. Doing nothing and watching it all unfold on CNN is still doing something: namely, being complacent.

It is true that Western powers helped arm him, but that fact only leads us to consider if it is then also the responsibility of Western powers to disarm him when he attacks his own citizens. The choices here are never black or white, and almost always accompanied by moral ambiguities.

Again, I do not support ‘interventions’ generally, but in specific cases I would argue that, if we are to remain humanists of any type, intervention by state or governmental organizations might be appropriate.

I’ll give you another example: Rwanda. What if Western powers could have prevented 800,000 murders by going into Rwanda and stopping the genocide? The unwillingness of Western powers to go into Africa and interfere with a sovereign nation allowed almost a million people to get hacked up by machetes or otherwise killed. The U.N under the command of Romeo Dallaire could have prevented much of the bloodshed had they sent troops early on (as requested by Dallaire and national rebel leaders), but they did not. In that case, I would have supports the organized use of force by the U.S or anyone else.

What about the Jewish Holocaust? What if a Western coalition could have intervened in Germany before the Jews were put into ghettos, and before Auschwitz? Would intervention have been acceptable in that case?

The problem I have with paining everything with one brush is that pragmatism and ambiguous conditions get totally ignored, and for the sake of what? A feeling of detached righteousness?
Again, its easy for us Westerners to sit back and pound away at our laptops and condemn everything done by controlling organizations, but what would WE do in their place? What would we choose to support? Who would we use our resources to defend?

I don’t have the answers, but at least I’m asking the questions