June 2010

Leaving aside the emphatic assertion that Petraeus’ “strategy” in Iraq worked (does he mean “worked” in the sense that Iraq is now one of the most corrupt countries on the planet?, or “worked” in the sense that Iraq is now the least peaceful country on the planet?, or perhaps “worked” in the sense that several extenuating and unrelated events led to a modest reduction in violence?), I found this bit of Petraeus leg humping to be quite the unintentionally hilarious bit:

Lost in the furor over the disgraced Gen. Stanley McChrystal is this simple truth: The counterinsurgency strategy championed by his successor, Gen. David Petraeus, works. [...]

There’s a terrific example of this in Small Wars Journal this morning, and it’s worth a read. Written by two officers of the 2nd Infantry Division’s Stryker Brigade, “Three Cups of Tea and an IED” captures in compelling detail what Petraeus, and the nearly 100,000 U.S. troops under him, hope to accomplish in the next 12 months.

Over numerous cups of chai – just as Greg Mortenson described in his bestseller, “Three Cups of Tea” — the American team of soldiers and representatives of USAID, the State Department and the Department of Agriculture collaborated to support local Afghan leaders in the Arghandab district of Kandahar Province, building security, local government and job opportunities.
Tragically, the aging warlord and district governor with whom the team worked was assassinated, but the effort continues.
Yes, but we won his heart and mind before they had to scrape them off the side of the road. 
And the effort continues, and as long as it continues, we haven’t lost.  In that sense, Petraeus’ strategy in Iraq did work.

Lara Logan wants you to know that she never pees on the uniformed leg of the U.S. military (…unless they ask, cause she totally would if they want her to, OK, she just wants them to know that she’s a team player…):

I thought I’d seen everything when I read David Brooks saying out loud in a New York Times column that reporters should sit on damaging comments to save their sources from their own idiocy. But now we get CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan slamming our own Michael Hastings on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” program, agreeing that the Rolling Stone reporter violated an “unspoken agreement” that journalists are not supposed to “embarrass [the troops] by reporting insults and banter.” [...]

When I first heard her say that, I thought to myself, “That has to be a joke. It’s sarcasm, right?” But then I went back and replayed the clip – no sarcasm! She meant it! If I’m hearing Logan correctly, what Hastings is supposed to have done in that situation is interrupt these drunken assholes and say, “Excuse me, fellas, I know we’re all having fun and all, but you’re saying things that may not be in your best interest! As a reporter, it is my duty to inform you that you may end up looking like insubordinate douche bags in front of two million Rolling Stone readers if you don’t shut your mouths this very instant!” I mean, where did Logan go to journalism school – the Burson-Marsteller agency?

But Logan goes even further that that. See, according to Logan, not only are reporters not supposed to disclose their agendas to sources at all times, but in the case of covering the military, one isn’t even supposed to have an agenda that might upset the brass! Why? Because there is an “element of trust” that you’re supposed to have when you hang around the likes of a McChrystal. You cover a war commander, he’s got to be able to trust that you’re not going to embarrass him. Otherwise, how can he possibly feel confident that the right message will get out?

True, the Pentagon does have perhaps the single largest public relations apparatus on earth – spending $4.7 billion on P.R. in 2009 alone and employing 27,000 people, a staff nearly as large as the 30,000-person State Department – but is that really enough to ensure positive coverage in a society with armed with a constitutionally-guaranteed free press?

And true, most of the major TV outlets are completely in the bag for the Pentagon, with two of them (NBC/GE and Logan’s own CBS, until recently owned by Westinghouse, one of the world’s largest nuclear weapons manufacturers) having operated for years as leaders in both the broadcast media and weapons-making businesses.

But is that enough to guarantee a level playing field? Can a general really feel safe that Americans will get the right message when the only tools he has at his disposal are a $5 billion P.R. budget and the near-total acquiescence of all the major media companies, some of whom happen to be the Pentagon’s biggest contractors?

Does the fact that the country is basically barred from seeing dead bodies on TV, or the fact that an embedded reporter in a war zone literally cannot take a shit without a military attaché at his side (I’m not joking: while embedded at Camp Liberty in Iraq, I had to be escorted from my bunk to the latrine) really provide the working general with the security and peace of mind he needs to do his job effectively?

Apparently not, according to Lara Logan. Apparently in addition to all of this, reporters must also help out these poor public relations underdogs in the Pentagon by adhering to an “unspoken agreement” not to embarrass the brass, should they tilt back a few and jam their feet into their own mouths in front of a reporter holding a microphone in front of their faces.

That’s what separates the professionals from the blogger rabble.

Jeffrey Goldberg on the firing of Dave Wiegel for what are, self evidently, bullshit reasons:

The sad truth is that the Washington Post, in its general desperation for page views, now hires people who came up in journalism without much adult supervision, and without the proper amount of toilet-training. This little episode today is proof of this. But it is also proof that some people at the Post (where I worked, briefly, 20 years ago) still know the difference between acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior, and that maybe this episode will lead to the reimposition of some level of standards.

Jeffrey Goldberg wrote that.  Jeffrey “Pull My Strings and I’ll Go Far” Goldberg.  Warmonger propagandistLikud apologistSmear merchantShallow thinkerLousy journalist.

But without a doubt toilet trained.  Obedient.  Properly supervised.  Cautious champion of the wealthy and elite, deferential to power, obsequious to authority and prone to grovel like a good little doggy who doesn’t even need his wee wee pad anymore!

Look how proud mommy and daddy are, Fido.

If the pattern holds for the sanctimonious, moralizin’, sex obsessed, family values set, considering the GOP platform outlawing sodomy, strip clubs and homosexuality, there’s a whole lot of blow jobbing, anal sexing and ghey to be had.  And that’s just within the Texas GOP’s upper echelons

Maybe the State’s not all bad.* And now we finally know why Roy migrated. Cheeky bastard.

*(see, also, Austin)

BP upper management and shareholders are the Native Americans of Liberal Fascism.

If all you liberals keep being so mean to BP and other poor little oil companies, or make them follow all your “rules” or pay any amount of restitution when they ravage an entire ecosystem, the oil companies will pick up and drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico somewhere else, and then where will our drill baby drill be?

Normally we don’t like to point to embarrassing gaffes and laugh full gut-busting-piss-your pants laughter at the ignoramus in question, but since Marty Peretz is such a sociopathic, bigoted, evil son of a bitch, well, hahahahahahahahaha:

Obama commented that, if Hayward had been working at the White House, he’d now be out of a job. We’ll soon see how many people and whom the president actually dumps to make it seem that someone was held responsible. By now, someone would have been pushed off the ship if this were a British affair. Anyway, one low level woman bureaucrat is now receiving unemployment compensation. I forgot her name. But the big office at Energy, now empty, is that of the director of the Minerals Managements Service. Still, in Washington, the person to watch taking the real fall is Ken Salazar. [emph: from ed]


If the “Blind Shear Ram” was the last line of defense against a blowout, why wouldn’t you arrange the system so that the ram was deployed by mechanical pressure, and the hydraulic lines kept it from deploying? A dead man’s switch, as it were. Wouldn’t that have been a bit more of a fail-safe solution?

Wait, no, that’s not my question. My question is where the heck did the MMS hide the rest of those mountains of blow? There’s got to be some Disco Yucca Mountain somewhere, right? That’s my question! Can we get Nic Cage on the case here? National Treasure: Book Of I’m Going To Party For Weeks And Weeks, is what I’m saying.

So James Risen got played slightly by the Pentagon and ended up writing a “breaking” story about Afghanistan’s mineral wealth – the details of which had been fairly extensively reported over the past several years – right when the Pentagon was looking for a little Afghan War Viagra.  Some bloggers pointed to this chronological curiosity, and other nettlesome details, Risen’s ego got bruised, and then he threw a tantrum that would have made a 5 year old cringe.

Now, with arms crossed firmly, and a pout upon his lips, Risen doubles down triples down in his efforts to show those mean pajama jerking bloggers that he is too the boss of them.

A Pentagon team, working with geologists and other experts, has shared its data with the Afghan government, and is working with the Afghan Ministry of Mines to prepare information for potential investors in hopes of placing some mineral exploration rights up for auction within the next six months. On Thursday, Afghan officials said they believed that the American estimates of the value of the mineral deposits — nearly $1 trillion — were too conservative, and that they could be worth as much as $3 trillion.*

Dude, you’re embarassing yourself.

(as cited earlier by Ugh)

My favorite deceased African dictator has a long and winding, if thoroughly enjoyable, post about Cliff Kincaid and his recent rantings, ravings and drool.  Merriment ensues.

On the topic of the repeal of DADT (George Will’s support of which is the subject of a Kincaid fatwa excommunicating Will from conservativedom), Kincaid observes that, “Socializing with gays is not the main issue although it can be a problem in the close quarters and battlefield conditions that our soldiers are forced to endure.”  To which our beloved despot responds:

Stop for a moment and applaud Cliff Kincaid. Whenever situations might arise between homosexual soldiers and those who loathe them or are afraid of them, he has looked deeply at the kind of discomfort or unhappiness that can occur in close quarters and empathized with those who have to be around the queers. People with antipathy for other groups of people should be preserved from having to be near those people, in the interests of personal liberty and safety. Someone who fears gays has a right to have gays prevented from encountering him.

For the record, like almost everything else dealing with gay integration of the military — including, humorously, some of the sexual paranoia — you can swap “negro” for “gay” and an N-bomb for “faggot” and virtually recreate verbatim arguments against the racial integration of the American military. The thing about hatred and discrimination is that it just repurposes its rage against new groups whenever an old one falls away or becomes politically deadly; it hardly ever makes any attempt at novelty when justifying itself.

You know, at the risk of tarnishing my liberal street cred, I must admit that I never thought about it quite that way – or at least, I don’t remember, and maybe that’s just because of a wicked hangover depriving my brain of its “go back” functionality.  But that is it, really: sympathizing with the plight of the bigot, rather than the person being scorned and ostracized.  How wonderfully insidious.  Yet that is reflexively how this issue is framed, and not just by rabid, frothy conservatives like Kincaid. 

I’d add that there are also a neat linguistic trick that goes along with this:  the tendency to refer to “soldiers” and then “gays” as if they are distinct groups, as in “the possibility of homosexuals serving openly is an issue our soldiers would be forced to deal with.”  When, in reality, some of those soldiers are gay and serving already, and thus the issues our soldiers have to grapple includes our soldiers hiding their true identity in a fucked up forced closeting. 

Oh, and that was probably the most sane, innocuous thing Kincaid has to say on the subject.  Shocking, I know.

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