Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Protests Mark Fifth Year
Of This Interminable War

My friend Bill sent me a note from D.C. yesterday, saying he was pleasantly surprised that the Washington Post put the news of a protest against the war on the front page, even though it drew a relatively small number of protesters. But then, you know how anniversaries are a staple of journalism. Almost three years ago, I attended a much larger anti-war protest with Bill in the capital, and if you told me then that we'd still be at this now, I'm not sure I would have believed it. Besides the obvious horror of thousands of dead and wounded on both sides and a loss of respect for America around the world, this endless war is bleeding us financially. A Nobel-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, and a colleague have just published a book which pegs the real cost of this war for America at $3 trillion and counting. And they argue that that's a conservative estimate. You can read an extensive interview with the authors here.
UPDATE: To mark the fifth anniversary of the endless war, Vanity Fair posts this valuable online archive of 43 post-invasion stories. Its label for the package: Mission Unaccomplished.


At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

I'm not sure that voting for McBush is the best way to register lack of support for the war. Even if he were a Rhodes Scholar or a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard, and had the best of intentions, the GOP would thus be retained in all the key positions.

At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

And he definitely is neither kind of scholar...

Reuters today: Obama belittles McCain for confusing extremists

At a news conference in Amman, McCain said Iran supported the Sunni group al Qaeda in Iraq, until he was corrected by a colleague. U.S. officials believe Iran has been backing Shi'ite extremists in Iraq, not a Sunni group like al Qaeda.

It was the first stumble of note that McCain has made since clinching the Republican presidential nomination early this month.

"Just yesterday, we heard Senator McCain confuse Sunni and Shi'ite, Iran and al Qaeda," Obama said.

"Maybe that is why he voted to go to war with a country that had no al Qaeda ties. Maybe that is why he completely fails to understand that the war in Iraq has done more to embolden America's enemies than any strategic choice that we have made in decades," the Illinois senator said.

He also mocked McCain's oft-stated vow to follow Osama bin Laden to "the gates of hell" if elected, arguing the U.S. focus should have been on Afghanistan and Pakistan instead of Iraq.

"We have a security gap when candidates say they will follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell but refuse to follow him where he actually goes," Obama said.

At 3:56 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

So you're going to hold my feet to the fire on being for McCain, are you? Good for you. But I do continue to think he'd manage a retreat/withdrawal in a smarter, more responsible manner than either Obama or Clinton, in part because he better understands the military culture and has its respect more than they do, and because he sees the larger picture. And you can mostly ignore his grandiose chatter about being there forever. I don't believe he means that (not that I'm excusing his having said any of it). Some (to perhaps much) of it I just chalk up as a residue from having been put through the ringer of the 2000 primary fight, and seeing that you had to say some crazy things to secure the nomination of a party full of lots of certifiably crazy people.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

That's who you are getting when you vote for McCain. It's not a "two-fer" like the Clintons, but a "thousands of certifiable crazies-fer."

At 4:24 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Actually (and this is one more reason to like McCain), the crazies on the right are mostly anti-McCain. The fact that Rush Limbaugh hates him and doesn't trust him speaks pretty loudly about his positive qualities, in my book.

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

Don't worry. However crazy they are, they will fall in line. That's one of the few things they do well, and a good reason to deny them the opportunity.

As for Limbaugh, his position on McCain is likely to be a bit more nuanced.

He previously said:

"I will not retire," he said. "I will not concede. I will not drift away! I will not fade away, until every American agrees with me."

Presuming that statement wasn't his usual bombast...(ha)...what he didn't say was whether that would occur by "Americans" falling in line with him, or by him falling in line with "Americans" (i.e., the far-right GOP.)

At 7:02 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Mr. Bluster, I would encourage you (not that you probably need much encouragement on this) not to take anything idiot Rush says too seriously. He's primarily a lowbrow entertainer who caters to uneducated folks who cling to resentments like they were life preservers. One of many things I love about McCain is that he simply refuses, unlike most of the rest of the political establishment (R's especially), to take Limbaugh seriously, no matter how much damage he might be in a position to inflict on him electorally. He just refuses to engage him, which is what smart people should do with idiots who try to bait them. It's also a principled stance, and one on which he's demonstrated real intestinal fortitude and leadership. All of which makes him a good choice for the Oval Office.

At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

So how are you with McCain courting religious crazies John Hagee and Rod Parsley? Read about these guys on Wikipedia, then tell me if you like the idea of a President who even gives them the time of day.

At 7:39 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I wouldn't for a moment try to either defend or explain that. He does remain something of an enigma in certain places, and that's certainly one of them.

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Roldo Bartimole said...

John: If McCain has a plan for getting us out of Iraq in a proper manner, why doesn't he tell us?

I think believing that a warrior necessarily can be a peace-maker is faulty thinking.

McCain has been disgustingly flexible with his ethics in changing his mind to fit his needs. He's against Bush's taxes, he' for them, as with other issues.
He doesn't know anything about the economy, oh, he knows about the economy.

The Republicans, as Bush's irrational talk yesterday on the anniversary, is linked so strongly to this war that they cannot get us out. There's no way to "Win" this war, that isn't a war and has no real end.

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

Josh Marshall at TPM today:

"Yesterday, I wrote the first in what I hope will be a series of posts making the case that a John McCain presidency would be a strategic disaster for the United States. McCain's record suggests he has little ability to think in terms of America's strategic goals around the world and focuses instead on near term tactical issues which he usually gets wrong."


"In today's episode of TPMtv, we discuss why John McCain's poor grasp of foreign policy and military strategy makes him a dangerous choice for the role of commender-in-chief."

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you mr. bluster for the talkiing points memo links. i did not know of marshall's site and it's great to see someone of substance deconstruct this groupthink mentality that's taken hold in the u.s., e.g., mccain has the judgement and experience to be president, mccain is concerned with fiscal irresponsibility, mccain is a moderate on social issues and the environment etc. i seemed to recall someone running 8 years ago saying that he wasn't an idealogue but a uniter, and that he wants to become president to do the people's will. if america is fooled a third time into voting in a republican, they get exactly what they deserve.

At 3:11 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

So it's unanimous: my commenters are anti-McCain. The people have spoken. And hats off to you, Roldo, for continuing to point out to me the error in my thinking about McCain. You've steadily done so, here and elsewhere, and who knows? It may eventually even convince me that I'm wrong. Stranger things have happened.

At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

McCain sought Hagee's endorsement

Coming this Easter to your New York Times.

At 11:12 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I'm sure his campaign wished this issue would just disappear. But of course it won't, nor should it.

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I can't understand the McCain endorsement. I agree with Roldo, we can not expect that a man who is so military biased, it is woven in his DNA, will have the ability to gain perspective and develop an action plan to end the occupation in Iraq.

For McCain a solution is always a military solution.


At 11:23 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Daniella. Lovely to see your name in the comments, because I've missed chatting with you. And to be honest, I am rethinking my McCain sympathies. We'll just have to see where that leads. Thanks for stopping by, dear one.


Post a Comment

<< Home