Free Markets, Free People
Here is an amazing letter to the editor at a college newspaper from a person who gives himself the title of "academic professional". I’ve looked at it off and on for a couple of days trying to figure out how to excerpt it and talk about this, well, fool. As it turns out, the best way to present it is to present it whole since excerpting it only takes away from the totality of the nonsense this "academic professional" is spouting.
In fact, as I read it, I have to tell you that it immediately reminded me of another “academic professional” that visits the comment section of our blog fairly regularly. The only difference I can see is the “academic professional” I quote below actually is a part of a major university instead of some backwoods school. Other than that, either could have written this:
The vast majority of 9/11 observances in this country cannot be seen as politically neutral events. Implicit in their nature are the notions that lives lost at the World Trade Center are more valuable than lives lost in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere; that the motives of the 9/11 attackers had nothing to do with genuine grievances in the Islamic world regarding American imperialism; and that the U.S. has been justified in the subsequent killing of hundreds of thousands in so-called retaliation.
The observance at Saturday’s football game was no different. A moment of silence was followed by a military airplane flyover; in between, Block-I students chanted “USA, USA.” This was neither patriotism nor remembrance in any justifiable sense, but politicization, militarism, propaganda and bellicosity. The University is a public institution that encompasses the political views of all, not just the most (falsely) “patriotic.” Athletic planners should cease such exploitation for political purposes. They might at least consider how most Muslim students, American or otherwise, would respond to this nativist display; or better, Muslims and others that live their lives under the threat of our planes, drones and soldiers.
The overwhelmingly white, privileged, Block-I students should be ashamed of their obnoxious, fake-macho, chicken-hawk chant, while poverty-drafted members of their cohort fight and die in illegal and immoral wars for the control of oil. University administrators need to eliminate from all events such “patriotic” observances, which in this country cannot be separated from implicit justifications for state-sponsored killing.
University Academic Professional
You can dissect that to your heart’s content, and it is still, on whole, some of the most misguided stupidity you’re likely to see this side of Maine.
Of course 9.11 observances aren’t politically neutral. That neutrality died the day we lost 3,000 people to Islamic jihadist extremists who had been at war with us for years. How did this yahoo get stuck in time on September 10th, 2001 for heaven sake?
That sort of absurdly out-of-touch idiocy permeates the entire little screed. And if you want to see the definition of “non neutrality” at work, read this “academic professional’s” denigration of his student’s nationalism, patriotism and – yes, wait for it – color.
And then there’s the “stereotypes-r-us” portion. “Overwhelmingly white, privileged … students”. Wars fought by “poverty-drafted members of their cohort”. “Illegal” (authorized by Congress per the Constitution) and “immoral” (yeah, can’t hit back when smacked in the face with a sledge hammer – that’s immoral) and all for oil.
All the leftist canards rolled into one can be found in it – yeah, be ashamed of your country, your military, your patriotism and yourselves you bastards because it makes “David Green, academic professional” uneasy.
How freakin’ ‘60s of the dope.
Tell you what, David Green, academic professional – instead of you telling everyone what they’ve done to offend you, why don’t I tell you what about you offends me.
Your very existence offends me. Your smug but ignorant arrogance offends me. The fact that you don’t know the difference between grassroots patriotism and “nativism” offends me. The fact that you have no idea of who makes up our military (although it comes as no surprise, really) offends me. The fact that you clearly don’t know what the words “illegal” or “immoral” mean, but have no problem throwing them around like you do offends me.
But what offends me most is what you must be doing to the young minds which come under your power while attending your university. If what you’ve written is any indication of how you teach, then your students or their parents ought to demand an immediate refund. Because it is not only fact free, but shows absolutely no evidence of critical thinking.
One of the great things about America is everyone is free to express their opinion. However, doing so is not without consequence, because then those who don’t agree get to express theirs. My opinion of you, David Green, academic professional, is below that of the Congressional Democratic leadership. And I provide the bottom side of their 8% popularity rating.
The good news for you is you are precisely where you belong. Outside the academic ivory tower, facing the reality anyone else does, it’s my guess surviving for 15 minutes would be the high side of an estimate of how long you’d last.
Now, crawl back under your academic rock, where you belong, and hush.
The new Bob Woodward book – or at least leaked parts of it – is causing a bit of a stir in the blogosphere today.
One of the versions I read was Steve Luxenberg’s piece in the Washington Post. The book, entitled “Obama’s Wars” is, per Luxenberg, not about the wars (plural) in Iraq and Afghanistan, but instead the war in Afghanistan (the supposed “good war” that we had to fight) and the war within the administration.
However, the whole of the debate – i.e. the parameters in which it was conducted – was pretty much dictated by Obama’s desire to get the heck out of there:
"This needs to be a plan about how we’re going to hand it off and get out of Afghanistan," Obama is quoted as telling White House aides as he laid out his reasons for adding 30,000 troops in a short-term escalation. "Everything we’re doing has to be focused on how we’re going to get to the point where we can reduce our footprint. It’s in our national security interest. There cannot be any wiggle room."
Obama rejected the military’s request for 40,000 troops as part of an expansive mission that had no foreseeable end. "I’m not doing 10 years," he told Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a meeting on Oct. 26, 2009. "I’m not doing long-term nation-building. I am not spending a trillion dollars."
Now I have some sympathy for the "I’m not doing long-term nation-building". And I have even more for "I am not spending a trillion dollars".
However it should be noted that he’s not necessarily averse to spending a trillion dollars so much as he is to spending it on "the good war". And I’d also bet, given "long term" for any politician is "how long until the next election", that "long term nation building" means after November 2012.
Obama’s entire focus was on "getting out" of Afghanistan. I can’t help but believe the reason for that isn’t just a campaign promise – as I recall, Iraq was the war he promised to end – as the fact that Afghanistan is a distraction for a president who’d much rather focus on domestic problems.
And, with the recession, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, given the fact that his entire focus was on passing health care by hook or crook, you can’t even rationalize his domestic focus. It certainly hasn’t been the economy or jobs he’s made a priority (unless you believe the old Dem principle "if we throw enough money at it, it will take care of itself" was considered "addressing the problem").
Another thing that struck me:
Obama told Woodward in the July interview that he didn’t think about the Afghan war in the "classic" terms of the United States winning or losing. "I think about it more in terms of: Do you successfully prosecute a strategy that results in the country being stronger rather than weaker at the end?" he said.
This is pure, metered politics. This is a man carefully avoiding anything that can come back on him. Obviously a “country being stronger rather than weaker at the end” is the difference between victory and defeat. His equivocation is simply to cover his rear end so if, when he hastily pulls out before the 2012 election, the country falls to the Taliban he has some wiggle room.
I assume learning the CIA is running a 3000-man paramilitary counterterrorism force made up of local Afghans is gong to cause the left some heartburn. But it isn’t the disclosure that should have the Glenn Greenwalds of the left upset. How about these:
–Obama has kept in place or expanded 14 intelligence orders, known as findings, issued by his predecessor, George W. Bush. The orders provide the legal basis for the CIA’s worldwide covert operations.
– A new capability developed by the National Security Agency has dramatically increased the speed at which intercepted communications can be turned around into useful information for intelligence analysts and covert operators. "They talk, we listen. They move, we observe. Given the opportunity, we react operationally," then-Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell explained to Obama at a briefing two days after he was elected president.
After all the caterwauling by the left about the Bush administration this is interesting. I wonder when they’ll start referring to him as “W Jr.”?
Finally, the surge decision – it was, per Woodward – exactly what many of us feared. An attempt to please competing sides and, in the end, pleasing no one.
In the end, Obama essentially designed his own strategy for the 30,000 troops, which some aides considered a compromise between the military command’s request for 40,000 and Biden’s relentless efforts to limit the escalation to 20,000 as part of a "hybrid option" that he had developed with Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The 40,000 figure was McChrystal’s minimum figure. Instead of listening to the commander on the ground, he included "General Biden’s" desires. Result – more than Biden wanted (not pleased, or was he – see below) and less than the generals wanted (not pleased). Additionally Obama added the June 2011 withdrawal date which essentially negated anything positive about the plan – it essentially told the Afghans, “we’re going to go through the motions for a year, but you’re really not worth the effort.”
The Afghans have responded accordingly.
But one thing that can and will be said of the strategy, given the Woodward disclosures, is no matter how it turns out (and my bet is on poorly) there’s no doubt now whose strategy it is. And “General Biden’s” role?
Well according to the NY Times account, he was just part of the plan to lower the number of troops the military would get by providing an alternative, no matter how absurd, that the President could trade off of:
I want an exit strategy,” [Obama] implored at one meeting. Privately, he told Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to push his alternative strategy opposing a big troop buildup in meetings, and while Mr. Obama ultimately rejected it, he set a withdrawal timetable because, “I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.”
Or said another way – “my mind’s made up, I don’t really care what the military says or wants, I just have to find a plausible way to seem like I’m being responsive when I’m really not because, you see “the whole Democratic Party” is much more important than prosecuting a war I said was important”. Or words to that effect.
Obama also laid out his strategy objectives in a 6 page memo, but, per the WaPo article, “took the unusual step of stating, along with the strategy’s objectives, what the military was not supposed to do.” Apparently the memo is reproduced in the book and Luxenberg claims the “don’ts” were mostly aimed at preventing “mission creep”. I’d guess it involved more than just that.
As for the rest of the article it details some of the politics and pettiness among the administration staff. Nothing new there – administrations have always been the parking place for massive egos and such egos are constantly bumping into and bruising each other.
What a wonderful world.
In a few words it can be summed up by "deny funding".
Republicans will try to block money requested by the Obama administration to implement Democrats’ signature Wall Street and healthcare reforms in a stopgap spending measure expected to clear Congress next week. The GOP is seizing on the administration’s funding request as an opportunity to send a message to voters that it wants to reduce government spending and provide a check on President Obama.
Given they don’t have the votes to repeal it and override the presidential veto which is sure to follow any such attempt, this is about their only choice. How effective it would be – both politically and in reality – remain unknown. As one might imagine, the blowback potential is significant.
The first test – since Democrats haven’t passed a budget – is a continuing resolution (CR) necessary to keep government funded beyond Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. It is needed to prevent a government shutdown. Republicans are planning to target those parts of the spending request which apply to funding parts of the new legislation:
The Obama administration has asked appropriators crafting the CR to include roughly $20 billion in new spending, according to GOP appropriators.
That request includes $250 million for doctors, nurses, physician assistants and other primary-care health workers. In asking appropriators for the money, the administration said the increase in health workforce funding is needed to meet the demands of the newly insured under the Democrats’ healthcare act.
The administration also requested $14 million for the Treasury Department so it can carry out the new Wall Street reforms.
Says Sen. Lamar Alexander:
“If the question is whether to approve money to fund certain parts of the healthcare law, that’s certainly one way to try to limit its impact,” he said.
Indeed, without majorities or the White House, this is the only avenue that’s really open to the GOP.
Of course that’s brought the usual obstructionist charges from Democrats:
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) blamed Republicans for the need to resort to a stopgap spending measure in the first place.
“I’d much prefer doing individual bills, but with the Republicans blocking everything, that’s hard to do,” Leahy said.
Yeah, bi-partisanship is a bitch, huh Senator – especially when you can’t just ram things through with an filibuster proof majority as you once could. Someone get him a little cheese for that whine.
In the meantime this is the best way for the GOP to lessen the impact of the bad legislation this administration has passed, until they can gain the majorities and the White House and work toward repeal.