Quote for the day

“The glib hubris of Libya is a sign that the change we hoped for really has morphed into the wet military dreams of neoconservatism and the utopian notion of the US as the rescuer of all those subjected to tyranny we believe we can opportunistically save – for a few days or weeks. What I see here is far from exceptional. It is the routine pattern of the rise and fall of all republics that become empires. It is what happened to Rome and Spain and Britain: Success, over-reach, hubris, bankruptcy and decline. And the withering of the sinews of a republic’s body – as in the supine, divided, incompetent Congress, and a court so deferent to the emperor’s unrestricted power.

In this, especially with this Libya clusterfuck, Obama reverted to embracing the forces he was elected to resist and restrain. One appreciates the difficulty of this; and I still hope for success – because I see no sane alternative to Obama anywhere and no one can hope that the monster Qaddafi stays in power. But the Libya decision was a deep break with the essential argument for the Obama presidency – and that break is one that the Obamaites seemed not to grasp in their insular, secret and arrogant decision-making process. I fear it has already profoundly weakened the president’s credibility and strength – and will become as big a burden to him as Iraq was to Bush.

For those of us who wanted him – and still want him – to succeed, it is a crushing disappointment. Even if success emerges, this capitulation to the very strains that took the US into the ditch of 2008 is a form of pragmatism too far.” ~ Andrew Sullivan

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102 thoughts on “Quote for the day

  1. The Obama team got spooked by the Gitmo controversy – superhuman detainees will break out of Supermax prisons to terrorize central Kansas with their Mind Bombs!

    Fight reasonable with crazy and sometimes the reasonable become crazy.

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        • Admirable Andy U-turns again, Jason. The wind changed, probably about the time Qaddafi regained the upper hand.

          The problem is that the president did not commit to a course. He could have stayed out, or he could have continued the fiction we are protecting civilians and decisively crippled Qaddafi’s forces with a few more days of sorties.

          This has nothing to do with Rome or Spain or Britain or Dubya. This is the patent sentimental nonsense that passes in some quarters for principled analysis.

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          • Well Mr. Tom, it certainly seems Handy Andy Dandy ain’t no Dandy at all. More like a pathetic, delusional, fop. I think of him as a walking weather vane and give him enough time, you’ll get him to agree on just about anything so long as you throw in a few camels that he can hump day and night. Now, I actually used to like this guy, even tossing him some checks for his show–this was just a few days after 9/11, when he was still resembled an actual sane human being. Now something very odd happened though, after one of his vacations right around that time–it was one of the most dramatic and startling things I’ve ever seen—when he returned, he was an entirely different human being. And I do mean, “different”—almost unrecognizable to be honest. It was quite unsettling—I immediately thought of the movie, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.–because his behavior was eerily similar to the pod invaders after they had invaded the bodies of their earthly hosts. I actually think, in all seriousness, that a mandatory blood test be done on this very troubled, sick man so as to once and for all answer the question on so many minds. Are you, Andrew Sullivan, a member of the homo sapiens race and have you had any intimate contact with exterrestrials in the past few years? Pretty straightforward I’d say. And also, with all due respect.

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          • “The problem is that the president did not commit to a course. He could have stayed out, or he could have continued the fiction we are protecting civilians and decisively crippled Qaddafi’s forces with a few more days of sorties.”

            Last I heard, airstrikes are continuing. The problem seems to be that the rebel forces are small. That is a very hard problem to surmount.

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            • I read your last two posts and while you do a great job of explaining the whys of your opposition I still don’t see how this affects your feelings on your move to liberalism? Is there a conflict? Is there second-guessing? It seemed you were not just embracing liberalism but also embracing the Democratic party. The former can always reconcile itself with temporary disappointments but the latter can find the disagreement uncomfortable, wouldn’t you agree?

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                • E.D.:

                  How is Libya a “bipartisan folly?” Obama is commander in chief and as such ordered the military into action. I don’t remember him getting permission from Congress to commit an act of war, do you? Libya is his baby, so please don’t know start talking about bipartisanship.

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                  • He didn’t say “Libya is bipartisan folly”.

                    He said “War is bipartisan folly.”

                    Are you asking “well, when did a Republican government ever invade a country in the Middle East?”, I’ll have to check wikipedia but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to get back to you quickly.

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                    • Racist! please!
                      The dude was born in Kenya, at least his granny says so, and he’s totally and amusingly incompetent. Thus, “Impeach the Kenyan-clown!” IT does have a ring to it!
                      Hey, how about, “Barry, the Butcher of Benghazi?”
                      And, E.D. can’t find anyone to replace him!
                      hep me, hep me!

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                    • Bob, I have already explained to you that Obama’s grandmother misspoke.

                      I’ve even given you the audio clip, in which she misspeaks, promptly admits the mistake (which was in part a translation error), confirms that Obama was born in Hawaii, and moves on with the interview.

                      This is the same audio still dishonestly passed around (after some clever edits) by birthers as evidence. It’s just proof that they have no conscience whatsoever. And apparently neither do you.

                      Now, please either stop lying or leave this forum. I am asking you a second time. I will not ask a third.

                      http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2009/07/23/liddy

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                    • Jason, I really did not see your ‘first’ explanation that Barry’s grandma ‘misspoke!’ I don’t hang on the ‘comments’ section here, and I think I miss stuff, because sometimes the conversation gets weird.
                      Also, because I have dial-up and a failing land line, I’m not able to hear the link but thanks for it anyway.
                      Whether on not Barry’s grandma ‘misspoke’ or was corrected about what’s true and what’s a lie remains to be seen. The fact is Barry could easily settle the question but has chosen not to and has not released his birth certificate, at least the indomitable Donal Trump says so, and The Donald inquiries as to why, which strikes me as a very good question. Personally, I think it’s a question of who is Barry’s real father.
                      Jason, you do what you have to, but I will continue to have my jape and I will continue to rub the nose of the idiot Left in “it” as long as the incompetent Kenyan-Marxist sits in the White House.

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                    • Oh horseshit, Bob. Seriously. Virtually pure unadulterated horseshit, from start to finish. Let’s review.

                      Jason, I really did not see your ‘first’ explanation that Barry’s grandma ‘misspoke!’

                      It’s here. I posted it two months ago. You were asked on that thread to knock it off. Repeatedly. Not just by me. You were given the reasons why. You ignored those reasons.

                      I don’t hang on the ‘comments’ section here…

                      You are one of the very most active commenters at this forum.

                      and I think I miss stuff, because sometimes the conversation gets weird.
                      Also, because I have dial-up and a failing land line, I’m not able to hear the link but thanks for it anyway.

                      Is this what I’m supposed to take for evidence? I’m supposed to weigh on the one hand the audio interview — and on the other hand your unwillingness even to read a fishing transcript? Seriously?

                      One side: Here’s evidence.
                      Other side: I have a slow modem, so there’s maybe still some doubt!

                      Do you really expect me to buy this? To think you’re being reasonable here?

                      Whether on not Barry’s grandma ‘misspoke’ or was corrected

                      She corrected herself the very moment the mistake was repeated back to her through the translator.

                      The fact is Barry could easily settle the question but has chosen not to and has not released his birth certificate, at least the indomitable Donal Trump says so, and The Donald inquiries as to why, which strikes me as a very good question.

                      Again, horseshit. Obama has released his birth certificate — the real, genuine birth certificate. Also a contemporary notice in the newspaper.

                      These are things you could easily find, if you dared (or just bothered) to find out the truth. Challenge yourself — the truth is out there!

                      Personally, I think it’s a question of who is Barry’s real father.

                      His paternity completely irrelevant to his citizenship, and honestly I don’t care one way or the other. What if Malcolm X was his father? What if it was Wilt Fishing Chamberlain? What if was Elvis? These questions have neither legal nor political implications of any kind whatsoever.

                      Jason, you do what you have to, but I will continue to have my jape and I will continue to rub the nose of the idiot Left in “it” as long as the incompetent Kenyan-Marxist sits in the White House.

                      Translation: You, Jason, continue to supply evidence and reason. I, Bob, will continue to ignore it.

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                    • “Horseshit”, oh that’s nice Jason! Potty mout! You should be ashamed. Now, how are you ever going to discipline those knuckle-draggers on this site who go around using the “F” word and worse (Bp)?
                      However, I see that you got a little excited, got your blood pressure up! Well, you be careful I don’t wanna be to blame for ill-health.
                      And, I am hurt because I honest-to-goodness didn’t see your first warning/threat/effort at clarification…I wouldn’t lie about that.
                      And, my poor land line and the filthy Commies that run AT&T and refuse to fix the land line have been screwing me (financially, that is) for years, and collect my monthly payments like the low-life, money-hungry captialists they are. The good news is I may be getting Verizon and if so, I will be flying around the net linking all my c-d friends to internet sites that prove how right I am.
                      I’m sticking with The Donald on this Barry Birther thing though. I think he’s hit on something and I wanna see how it develops. I think, in the long run, my description of Himself as a “Kenyan-Marxist” is going to prove true and that will make me a legend here at thef Leauge.
                      Re: Barry’s daddy, I dunno who it is either but I’m inclined to think it was that old commie who was his ‘mentor,’ and whose name I can’t remember. Maybe you do. I think that’s what Barry doesn’t want people to see on his birth certificate.
                      BTW, Jason, you owe me a “Why I”m an atheist” blog…and, I’m waiting.

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                    • Jaybird:

                      Liberals want it both ways. They criticized Bush but now seem to forget all the things they said when Barry does the same thing. As I said before, Bush had the permission of the Congress, while Barry only needs the UN’s permission.

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  2. Sullivan is so full of shit it’s a miracle he doesn’t detonate like some suicide bomber. Removing Qadhafi, this time with the advice and consent of our allies (for we shall get none from Obama’s political adversaries) will be worth every penny if we are seen to back genuine political reform in a landscape which has badly needed it for a century and more. Consider the billions we won’t need to spend, the dictatorial asses we won’t have to kiss — fuck, just consider the market possibilities of a half-billion people no longer constrained by the command economies of the Strong Men.

    What a pantload.

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      • As far as I am concerned if the nation of libya got a leader/government that didn’t kill and torture its own people with the support of my government, the new government could have america sucks rallies everyday and it would be more to my liking.

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              • On the other hand when the guy announces in advance that he intends to kill a bunch of his own people and the world does nothing we would have that blood on our other hand.

                There was a choice between sure blood on or hands and potential blood on our hands. The president and the UN decided on potential rather than sure. Now all that can be done is hope it works out.

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                    • So let’s say you call the cops and SWAT shows up and kills both of them, leaves, comes back, and shoots the dogs.

                      Just like the last 10 times SWAT has been called.

                      Is there a point at which we ought to say “Maybe calling the cops is not the best way to keep our hands from bloodying”?

                      Yeah, I know. This time is different…

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                    • That is totally a good point Jay.

                      I don’t know if what we did was the right thing or not.

                      I do know that I would consider us to have ‘blood on our hands’ if we didn’t. That doesn’t mean I think that the blood is avoidable or even avoided.

                      Just that inaction would have led to massive deaths. It remains to be seen what action is leading too.

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                    • Dude, don’t get me wrong.

                      I understand that those who wish to intervene have the best of intentions. Indeed, I think that, when it comes to moral arguments, *THEY HAVE THE BETTER MORAL ARGUMENT*.

                      It’s always more moral to argue for movement. It’s always more moral to argue for action. Whenever you see the moral argument, it’s always weighing the best possible outcome against the outcome of doing nothing which, in this case, sure as holy hell looked like a massacre of thousands.

                      The moral arguments arguing for non-intervention really ring hollow to me compared to the robust morality presented by the arguments for protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

                      But it’s like chicken pox or hockey hair.

                      I’ve already been struck quite badly by the moral argument bug and my body now has quite a resistance to such arguments.

                      I’m stuck looking at what’s likely to happen, what’s likely to not happen, and what’s likely to happen as soon as we stop making things not happen.

                      It’s like prohibition, dude. You cannot use force to make people be better. We will quickly see that the culture of the Middle East created the Middle East as we know it rather than this idea that the Middle East as we know it created the culture.

                      Would that it were not so.

                      But, for what it’s worth, I know that those who argue for intervention have the best of intentions and legitimately want to make the world a better place.

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                    • Jay and others.

                      Here is the funniest part of this discussion.

                      My reaction to the no-fly zone was. WTF, I wish we hadn’t done that.

                      I can understand why. I get the appeal of trying to stop the violence(with more violence done by us natch).

                      Now that we have though I’m just hoping it works.

                      The main disagreement I have with the fine people here is the idea that blood wasn’t going to be on our hands if we didn’t act.

                      So yet again I find us in violent(perhaps partial) agreement.

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                    • If it is indeed true that we’re going to have blood on our hands no matter what we do, even if we do nothing, even if we intervene and everything goes perfect, why not change the grounds of the argument to the selfish and/or callous?

                      It’s not like we can claim any moral high ground for intervention/non-intervention, after all.

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                    • I’m not saying we’d have blood on our hands if we hadn’t intervened in Libya. I’m just saying that actions that we may experience as minding our own business actually do affect people far away at later times. Such as filling up our gas tank and driving, to take just one example.

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      • Hands-on doesn’t mean we do the driving, like that crop of Litmus Test, Non Arabic Speaking crop of dumbasses in the Emerald City of Baghdad tried to do.

        Trust me on this, it works out a whole lot better if you let CIA handle this sort of thing. They don’t have a sense of smell, they can walk into the most putrid situation and start shipping bags of garden soil inside of a month. We’re not going to get someone we much like in Libya just like we didn’t get someone we liked in Egypt. But we’re going to get someone new, someone we helped, someone with enemies already, someone we might be able to influence for the good. And more importantly, we aren’t going to be the only suitors: the Chinese and French and Russians and everyone else is gonna be handing out boxes of candy and bouquets of flowers, too. Gotta be real in this situation. As long as we and the Europeans and the UN can get this guy off on the right foot, help him forge up a regime where he isn’t justified in behaving like every other two-bit dictator (you’re not paranoid if they really are trying to kill you), hell, we have a huge Libyan expatriate community over here, Libya needs good managerial talent. Play this Libya situation like we did with Poland when it went through the sheep dip and emerged as a democracy, the Polish expatriate community just shoveled money and talent into that situation. I just don’t see this intervention in Libya as a bad thing of necessity. We need to plan for what follows the ouster of Qadhafi. If we don’t have a plan, yes, we will be in deep doo-doo.

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        • You have way too high opinion of the CIA. It was before I was born, but I remember reading about a certain body of water just off the Carribean that was made (in)famous when the “CIA handled this sort of thing”

          There were plenty of ex-patriates from Iraq in America in 2003, also. In Afghanistan, most of the government managerial staffing *is* being done by people who were living in the West during the 80’s and 90’s. That has not been a panacea, and in some cases, has actually helped that same ‘talent’ rob the country blind.

          There is also plenty of people that have been playing – and continue to play – the influence game in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

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        • First thing I’d do in Libya, if I were in charge, is to ID every Libyan and issue him a VISA debit card.

          I’d seize control of the oil spigots and fill up a tanker.

          Then I’d have the local Muslim authorities sign off on the totals and I’d auction it off on a public exchange like NYMEX.

          NYMEX publishes the sale amount and totals, again verified by the local Muslim authorities.

          I’d pay those Muslim authorities 10% for zakat and deposit the rest into those VISA debit accounts.

          On the strength of that sale, I can set up a futures contract just like Brent Crude, and completely break the back of every Qadhafi fan out there. I’d pay a premium to every tribal leader who got on board this scheme. The ordinary Libyan would be on the gravy train, and whoever came to power wouldn’t be able to fuck with the accounting, it’s in the hands of the Muslim authorities and they’ll take care of their poor and needy, you can bet on that. The politics of what follows will be strictly secular.

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    • Hey Blaise, I have a great solution–just popped into my head—why not make Iraq our 51st State? I seriously think the Iraqis would love it. We’d have enough oil for the next 500 years and they’d have enough freedom and independence forever. How could it not work? And I promise to split all Nobel winnings with the Gentlemen here at the League.

      p.s. Thanks for the reply a few days ago–will get back to you soon.

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  3. I don’t think this a clusterfuck, as far as these things go, (and as goverment things go generally), but it is far far too early to tell whether or not all this will actually work.

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  4. I’m skeptical, if slightly ambivalent, about intervention in Libya, but anyone who compares it to Iraq in order to accuse Obama of doing precisely what he said he wouldn’t do is being dishonest. The reasons liberals, progressives, and the left generally opposed Iraq, aside from pacivism and non-interventionism (which are hardly universal, or even widely held positions on the left), had more to do with the case for the war being manufactured, the lack of a sizeable coalition or security council resolution, etc. Most if not all of those reasons don’t hold here. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, just that it’s not really what Obama promised not to do.

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    • Yes. I don’t actually know what promises you’re referring to. But whatever side of Libya one’s on, there are clearly distinctions to be drawn from Iraq. It seems odd even to have to say so.

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        • Oh my God, Mike you just kill me sometimes–this time, I’m deeply troubled–you: “And for all the awful things the Israelis have done, they’re not the same as Nazis. Really.”

          You are comparing the most brutal, evil, heartless, wretched, mass-murdering, regime in the history of the human race to”all the awful things the Israelis have done”. You do know you’re bordering on insanity. Have you ever watched the documentary about the Russian liberation of Bergen-Belsen? And then to offer, as a concession, that the Israelis haven’t been as bad as the Nazis is just nuts. Let’s see now, on one hand you have 6,000,000 Jews dying under the most god-awful conditions imaginable, and on the other hand you have…gypsies, by the thousands, homosexuals by the hundreds of thousands, Social Democrats, Communists, trade unionists, habitual criminals, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, beggars, vagrants, hawkers, ….and on and on and on.

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  5. E.D. –

    I know you agree that Libya is a clusterfuck, but do you also agree Libya is “capitulation to the very strains that took the US into the ditch of 2008?”

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  6. Okay, now we’re not getting to hung up about Andrew Sullivan here, are we? Because you know what comes next- arguing about whether he’s the real father of Trig Palin.

    (Not that I’m asking. But Sullivan could easily clear it up by releasing the hospital records.)

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