Three Out Of Four Republigoat Candidates Agree…and So Do We

It’s time to get the hell out of Afghanistan.

The latest events do nothing more to throw a spotlight upon this idea and to put it into the headlines. A U.S. Army sergeant (allegedly) walks off his base in southern Afghanistan and kills 16 Afghan civilians, many of them children. A Koran is burned. The crazy and the incompetent anecdotes here do not help the effort.

Especially the brutal story of these shootings. This detail:

The Army staff sergeant accused in the incident was treated for traumatic brain injury suffered in a vehicle rollover in 2010 during a previous deployment in Iraq, a U.S. official said. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was premature to state whether there was any link between the brain injury and Sunday’s shootings.

is reminiscent of the utter incompetence of the Bush administration through the Iraq war. Why was this soldier in country? Why are we still, apparently, over-deploying our troops?

The elder Bonk and I especially find Gingrich’s perspective on the issue rather interesting. Frankly:

We need to understand that our being in the middle of countries like Afghanistan is probably counterproductive. We’re not prepared to be ruthless enough to force them to change. And yet we are clearly an alien presence.

I frankly don’t know what the mission in Afghanistan is anymore. We shot Osama bin Gotten right in the head. Bring out the big banner and fly Obama onto the carrier. Mission accomplished. And, as Gingrich so correctly stated, unless we’re willing or even remotely able to whip the Taliban-tendencies out of an entire culture, unless our mission is to embark on a new crusade (which, duh, I don’t think we ought do), then every day spent there is a waste of resources and lives.

Funny. This war once seemed to be the reasonable one. Now it’s just muddy as hell. What the hell are we doing there again?

Obama has deflected comparisons of this incident to My Lai. But the comparison is going to be made. And frankly, it doesn’t seem to me to be that off. Human beings are generally reared with an instinct and a basic moral system that requires with every inch of their being that they not murder one another. Then you take a guy and you teach him how to kill people, and then you drop him into a foreign land, and you say, you get to kill those people, but not those people. Even though, sometimes, some of those people might be using some of those other people to kill you. And you don’t expect that at least one of those fellas is gonna wander off and pursue it a bit more recreationally?

Thing is, at this point, things can only get worse in Afghanistan. We burned a Koran. Oops. Sorry about that. One of our guys really was a baby killer. Oops. Yo. These are not people who suffer fools lightly. There have already been car bombings and shit over there.

How long until they make their way over here?

Find a way to save face and get out. Or, even more interestingly, just come out and declare the fucking thing over and done and start pulling out the tanks. No reason necessary, no need to save face. This wasn’t your war to start with, President Obama. You accepted the deed and all its liens in what I consider to be a raw deal: I have to end Iraq, so I’ll use boosting presence in Afghanistan as a way to achieve that politically.

But when you killed that bin Larden dude? That was the time to make like George Costanza and leave on a high note.

I’m just concerned the President is gonna start looking a little bit like Lyndon Johnson. Which would be weird. But sticking with Afghanistan may not just be bad policy.

It might also be the deal that seals the Obama Presidency at one term.

This shit can turn on a dime boss. Get out.


I have been lately revisiting my effort so go mining about in the wonderful world of Leftblogistan. It’s a tiny little site powered only by me, just a collection of some of what I find interesting among the work of my colleauges.

Sometimes, you get a post that just blows your skirt up.

Bill Scheher over at Liberal Oasis has written such a post, titled etting Osama: What We Should Have Done In The First Place … But Republicans Wouldn’t Do

I think it is always worth remembering and reflecting on the sheer incompetence of the administration that was in office on September 11, 2001, and the forgotten complicity that incompetence actually played in getting our asses attacked in the first place. Bill does an excellent timeline there, and it is well-sourced. Nice going, Bill.

Gloaty Gloaty

It is impossible not to be gloaty today.

I heard it commented somewhere in the news that it’s somewhat unnatural to celebrate a death. Unfortunately, I think that’s wrong. I think that humanity has yet to shed the whole of its lizard brain, and that actually it is quite natural to want to vanquish a fellow human being who has wronged you. Unfortunately, I think the unnatural thing to do is to eschew that primal urge. Fortunately, most people manage to exercise that facility rather adroitly each and every day. We should all be thankful that this is true because were it not most of us would have been murdered in our sleep by now.

I think in the case of Osama bin Laden, though, it is not a sin to give in a little to that base instinct. We are not a bad person if we did a little victory bootie shake upon hearing that this evil bastard had been forcefully discorporated. We are not a bad person if we, say, cracked open that bottle of Prosecco and toasted this bloody event (as we did here at the Serious Poo-Poo Institute of Technology).

And, dare I say, I think we are not a bad person if one of our first immediate reactions was to fluff up at the chest that, by gravity, that was MY preznit what got this job done.

It went to politics right away. Of course it went to politics right away. I’m not even sorry that it did. I mean, how long did we have to suffer through “George Dubya Boosh kept us safe?” How long did we have to suffer through the Iraq war? Through the swaggering moron who didn’t deserve to swagger and didn’t even do it very well? Through a million excuses for letting this maniac slip through our fingers at Tora Bora?


We haven’t heard much from him. And I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don’t know where he is. I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run.

No. After living through all of that, it is wonderful to finally experience what it is to see a Commander In Chief assess the correct target, to pursue the target, and to actually accomplish the mission. This, friends, is what a Presidency looks like and smells like. That’s how it’s done.

More recently, we’ve had to suffer through one of the most brutally assailed presidencies in recent history. This black man was made to produce papers for crissake, forced to an indignity that just does not seem to go away for people of color in America. And this was only the most recent indignity he’s faced based on his melanin levels. Most pronounced have been the efforts to undercut this President as some other, some sinister, some anti-righteous force regarding these Untied States of America. But now? Now? Call him a Kenyan socialist now, motherfuckers. Question his provenance now! C’mon, Trump! What do you have to say now? Bitch?

By the way, why are we so surprised that Obama carried this out? We already knew that this President knew how to take a person out and how to do it right.

Remember the pirates?

So there’s no surprise here. This is a Presidency that has chronically exhibited measured competence and one that has shown an uncanny ability to deliver on the promises its candidate made in 2008. I do not disagree with PB’s assessment that powerful, popular Democratic presidents tend to turn their backs on the base. The answer for that is for the base to turn around back, and that’s happening:

The nation’s largest firefighters union — one of the Democrats’ most reliable sources of campaign money — announced Tuesday that it would quit donating to federal candidates this year because members of Congress aren’t sufficiently backing them in their fight against anti-union measures around the country.

As it should be. Democrats take labor for granted and really should not because labor does not have “nowhere else to go.” Labor is movement, not party, politics and could really give a shit about Democrats or Republigoats.

Nonetheless. Damn. This guy sure did get it right. Damn. I mean, damn.

The War Is STILL Stupid

I have been silent here for some time; am adjusting to a new situation in life. However, I would be remiss if I did not make this brief point before I dash off to my new day job:

The United States and Britain have just handed Gaddafi exactly what he needs.

His most recent political struggle is no longer about his brutal attempt to quash an uprising. It is now about his persecution by a western superpower. His recent fumbling of his peoples’ hearts and minds will be readily recovered. We had better manage to drive Gaddafi from power. And when we do, we had best prepare for a godawful clusterfuck.

Our strikes in Tripoli are just the latest in a long series of missteps in this nation’s attempts to navigate in the Arab world. What we ought to be doing is doing everything in our power to reclaim our economic independence from these assholes so we can stop getting entangled in bullshit like this. What we are doing, even under The Obama, is to continue with the horrible, awful, shitty policies of the previous Preznit.

War. Still stupid. Solar panels on the White House. Now that was smart.

Happy New Year

It’s a weird day to be reflecting on the attacks of September 11, 2001.

I’m on dog, cat, hen, and house-sitting duty this week, a regimine that wraps up today when PB and the gang return from a jaunt to the Garden State. I wanted them to arrive home to a spotless kitchen and dining room, so I was in severe cleaning mode. And so I was listening to Howard Stern, which is running the usual holiday “History Of” shows. As such, they broadcast tape of the Stern show from that day.

Even if you’re not a regular listener or if you think Stern is nothing more than a mysoginist with a penchant for dick jokes, you’ve got to sit down and listen to this broadcast.

When historians seek a historical documentation of this terrible event, the more astute ones will most certainly stumble across this tape. To listen to it is to relive it, in real time, with real reactions from some of the most vital New Yorkers there are. There are comments from these folks that are incredibly prescient, some naively so. You experience it all in reviewing this broadcast, the fear, the anger, the outrage, the uncertainty, all of it.

Through it all, Howard and regular callers like Joey Boots and Crazy Cabbie strongly emote these feelings and advocate a swift and certain response by the United States. I felt the same way at the time myself. Still do.

The United States began its land war in Afghanistan in October 2001. We’re still there, and the intense yearning for justice you likely had and that are voiced so elegantly through the Stern broadcast is still elusive. We followed with an invasion and war in Iraq that was even less effective. There are many, many reasons to despise these godammed wars. Primary among them in my book is that none of it has ever delivered justice.


Perhaps most revealing about today’s posting on the National Security Archive’s Web site is what is missing—any indication whatsoever from the declassified record to date that top Bush administration officials seriously considered an alternative to war. In contrast there is an extensive record of efforts to energize military planning, revise existing contingency plans, and create a new, streamlined war plan.

As if it’s needed, more support for the supposition—and by that I mean “fact”—that George W. Bush took his oath knowing he was going to find a way to go to war with Iraq.

A Fitting Address

I think the best adjective one can conjure for President Obama’s Oval Office address—in which he REALLY declared that combat operations are over, at least as really as can be—last night would be “fitting.” Or, perhaps, “appropriate.” I think it was those things. There are a lot of people on both “sides” who are not at all happy with the President’s words last night. This should surprise nobody.

Because there’s nothing, nothing what-so-ever, that can be said about Iraq that can make or that should make anyone feel any better about it.

The incursion into and eventual occupation of the sovereign, secular nation of Iraq was an abomination. From its initial scheming to its execution in March of 2003, to the disingenous celebrations of victory, such as the dragging of the Saddam statue and the disgusting cheerleading from the once credible news network CNN, to the macabre vision of the televised corpses of Uday and Qusay, to the denials of looting and the failures to prevent it and that aspect’s contribution to the pending insurgency, to the many bullshit justifications given for the war, to the horrific murders of contractors at Fallujah, to the insurgency, to the McCarthyesque insults upon Americans by the Secretary of Defense of the United States, to the failure to locate any manner of WMD, to the tossing around of packets of thousands of dollars like footballs with no accountabilty and the appointment of a “viceroy,” to the utterly failed free-market laboratory that was Iraq, yadda, yadda, yadda—this war was stupid.

It’s funny. Some conservagoats had the nerve to get on the TV and to bitch that President Obama hadn’t done enough in his words to thank President McCokespoon. Seriously? Thank him?

That man’s lucky he’s not pounding rocks in shackles.

Anyway. As I wrote. I think it was a fitting address. Mr. Obama gets to say that he’s kept his promise, although as will continue to be noted, we are likely to have a perpetual presence there, and we are still at war in Afghanistan. That war, by the way, was somewhat less stupid when it was initiated but has since become very stupid as well. My theory has always been that Obama’s commitment to Afghanistan was a necessary political calculation. I am hoping there will come a time soon when the notion that we can somehow “stop terrorism” via a forward-footed military stance will be exposed for the folly that it is.

Until then, I figure alls you can do is suck in a breath and thank goodness that John McWeirdsmile isn’t in there.

Major Combat Operations In Iraq Have Ended

We would be remiss here at Ketchup Is A Vegetable if we did not mention that the stupidest war ever is finally, officially, over sort of.

It’s funny. As we went through the Iraq War and the Preznit what oversawl it, I thought I was living through the entirely stupidest period in American history ever. At this point, I’m not sure if that’s true or not. These are pretty god-dammed stupid times. But, the fact is that the Iraq War was a very very very very stupid thing.

Let me get something straight here. I am not a pacifist. I don’t oppose war for its own sake. I understand that sometimes a nation has to flex its muscles geopolitically in order to preserve its own interests. For instance, I don’t think George I was entirely wrong for Gulf I, though I do think there was some shenanigans behind our involvement there. And I certainly think Colin Powell showed us how to do such a thing correctly. And I can tell you, as a guy who had to walk home to Arlington from downtown D.C. on September the Eleventh amid reports of car bombs going off everywhere and whatnot, that I would have LOVED to see some fucking justice go down for that shit.

But that’s not what we got. We got a bullshit stupid war that dethroned a guy who—as a secular dictator—was intuitively our most likely natural ally in the Middle East, and, not to mention, a guy who had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks. There were no WMD. There was no reason to invade this sovereign country preventively. And even though the premise was wholely stupid, its execution was mind-blowingly idiotic. I would refer here to a post of mine from years ago, “Freedom’s Untidy.” This is one of the favorite things of mine that I have ever written. And I have written some pretty good shit in my day.

And the question comes, inevitably, as I watched Richard Engle on his embedded reporting from Iraq and junk, and as I was surprised at how uninterested I was in the reporting, the question comes and it can’t help but come: Who won? And what the hell did they win?

Gen. McChrystal Gets His Life Back

So President Obama told McChrystal to pack his duffel today. I don’t think he had much choice in the matter. But one can’t help but wonder if Obama actually affected a policy change regarding Afghanistan today as well as a change of personnel. He said he didn’t. But we’ll see.

One thing’s for sure: This may be the most powerful thing journalism has achieved in decades. As Sam Stein points out, a little ink managed to give McChrystal the old heave-ho when other scandals, including the cover-up of the death of Pat Tillman, couldn’t.

Other interesting shouts from Leftblogistan:

Why does Mike Huckabee spend so much time thinking about gay sex?

You too can write a Richard Cohen Column!


History’s made today! Yay! Longest. War. Evar. Eight Years and Eight Months! Take that, Vietnam!

Wouldn’t it be great if President Obama could simply admit what I think is true, that he made a commitment to Afghanistan for cynical political reasons, because for some reason, you can’t get elected to the White House as a Democrat these days unless you sign on to the bipartisannally stupid idea that never-ending war is awesome.

It’s so weird. Presidents are not allowed to campaign on the promise of peace anymore. You know what presidents campaigned on the promise of peace? Liberal commie homo ones like Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Mailbox Noxin, that’s who. Nowadays, though, if you’re running for President, it’s all “I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth…eat dead burnt bodies…” and whatnot.

The war in Afghanistan is intractable, folks. There’s no winning to be had. We’re never going to find UBL. And regardless, it’s just a continuation of the classically awful foreign policy stance that we’re gonna “fight ’em over there so we don’t have to fight ’em over here.”

On that note, it’s time to note the untimely retirement of Helen Thomas.

That’s right, yet another person’s entire career has been run off the road by the YouTube, apparently. Thomas flapped her gums about Israel and said something very very stupid, and now out she goes. One could argue that she’s past her prime, but considering that she was recently the only reporter with the balls to confront President Obama about our presence in Afghanistan during a recent press conference, I’d say we’re losing a hell of a great resource, perhaps the last reporter with the actual nuts to put it to the POTUS. Let’s raise a glass and remember what I think was her finest moment:

[George W. Bush] is the worst President ever. He is the worst President in all of American history.

And that’s the way it is.