Snarky Behavior

Entries tagged as ‘iraq’

Dropping Knowledge: Rashid Khalidi

October 14, 2007 · 2 Comments

Yes, I know I promised a hiatus.  But this will be short.

All of my Conceptual Foundations of International Politics lectures are being hosted on YouTube.  Please enjoy for free the education that costs me a fortune.

It’s no Charlie Rose, and it can get a bit bland.  But Khalidi is provocative.   And he spit hot fire at the neo-cons when everyone else was buying what they were selling in 2003.  The lecture is framed through “Alternative Views of American Primacy” and was accompanied by the reading of Khalidi’s book, “Resurrecting Empire,” which I highly recommend.

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Before You Count Obama Out…

October 5, 2007 · Leave a Comment

Take a look at this video. Tell me his position and foresight isn’t exactly what you want out of a president. Remember… he said this when 80% of the country was in favor of invasion.

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It’s Hot. Milk was a Bad Choice…

August 8, 2007 · Leave a Comment


Here in Washington, the temperature is expected to reach a steamy high of 103 degrees. Which is nice… I don’t have to iron my shirts before I walk to work.

No wait, it’s not nice. It’s hell on earth.

Actually, a retraction: hell on earth is Baghdad. 117 degrees, 6 million people, no running water.

To recap: the US strategy in Iraq is now to “buy time” for the Iraqi government to stabilize itself. 90% of its population feels that their situation was better before US occupation. 60% see US troops as legitimate targets. Over half would prefer to see an immediate withdrawal of United States forces. And now they have no electricity or running water in 117 degree heat.

Whatever you think about a US withdrawal from Iraq, and what the consequences of that might entail, it’s amazing to me that the justification to invade a country– which were Wilsonian ideals of self-determination, liberty, democracy– carry so little weight in a transitional period of occupation.

Security is the foundation of any government. And if we’ve already demonstrated that we can’t successfully play the paternal role of “provider,” then we certainly have no grounds to play the paternal role of “father knows best.” To quote Chomsky:

As for the consequences of a withdrawal, we are entitled to our personal judgments, all of them as uninformed and dubious as those of U.S. intelligence. But these judgments do not matter. What matters is what Iraqis think. Or rather, that is what should matter.


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I Don’t Want to Live in a World without Burritos

July 9, 2007 · Leave a Comment

Congratulations to the New York Times editorial board for finally growing a pair. Puberty is a special time when your budding gonads slowly descend, your voice deepens, and you start to question authority. I’m verklempt.

In no instance is the axiom “the opposite of progress is Congress” more true than on the issue of Iraq. Democrats sent a timetable to the White House knowing full well it would be vetoed, and would lack the required super-majority to override. And the President continues to conveniently push-back his benchmarked expectations until he sees a clear turnaround.

In my previous post, I initially intended to inquire why it was so easy for the media and general population to pick-up and run with the immigration issue, while the question of Iraq is handled with kid-gloves. Why does Lou Dobbs have a conniption at the mention of “amnesty,” but talks over Iraq as if it were verbal cud?

It’s weird, right? Why can’t people get angry over the war without being cast as hysterical?

I think there are a lot of reasons, but most importantly is the fundamental misunderstanding or misconstruing of sectarian violence and targeted terrorism. Most people aren’t sure why our troops are there, other than we invaded on false urgency, made a mess of things, and should stay until things have settled down. Um, let’s ask Britain how that worked for them in Israel.

Another unfortunate pawn in the debate are our troops themselves. Do you ever notice how uncomfortable politicians get when the talk about the “cost” of the war financially without first mentioning the cost in bodies? Nearly 4,000 American soldiers have died, and nearly 20,000 have been wounded.

Now, I don’t want to sound crass, because these are professional soldiers who bravely enlisted during a time of war. As long as they are overseas they will have my support, admiration and respect. But a soldier’s sacrifice should not obfuscate how much this war is costing our nation in real dollars. And at $200 million per day, and an estimated $1.7 trillion overall… this war is very, very expensive.

As a tax-payer, why can’t I (or anyone besides Ron Paul) get viscerally angry at that price-tag?

Because the soldiers are giving their lives, and you can’t put a price on that, and nobody wants to be the beatnik hippie who spits on their veterans, so it’s best if you just don’t bring it up at all. (Hold on… let me remove the silver spoon from my mouth… there we are). Plus there are those (and I used to be one of them) that still think Iraq is strategically salvageable to secure a viable source of foreign oil for years to come.

Well, it’s not. It’s a sunk cost. As much as it pains me to admit, liberal economic theory is too optimistic to expect a democracy to exist in an single-resource economy (see: Iran, Afghanistan, Columbia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia). And the global spotlight is too intense to set up another puppet government.

So on the issue of Iraq, we walk on egg-shells, waiting for someone, anyone to take a strong position, admitting failure, citing cost-benefit analysis.

But on immigration, any yahoo can openly and eagerly hate on an illegal alien. And we can shoot down policy reforms willy-nilly, even if it means accepting the status quo.

And that, is the Dobbsian theory.

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