According to David Brooks, the U.S. government’s little nation building exercise in Iraq worked because, among other reasons:
…833,000 Iraqis had phones before the invasion. Now more than 1.3 million have landlines and some 20 million have cellphones. Before the invasion, 4,500 Iraqis had Internet service. Now, more than 1.7 million do.
Brooks admits, though, that the “success” is “fragile and incomplete.” Thus President Obama will have to be straight with the country in his upcoming speech and acknowledge that the U.S. can’t withdraw completely from Iraq lest we squander “an American accomplishment that has been too hard won.”
What makes Brooks more despicable than even the most rabid war boosters is that he attempts to bring an air of reasonableness to the whole sordid business. Instead of frothing about freedom-hatin’ “Islamists” who need to be killed before they kill us, he tells us, in his characteristically bland and mild-mannered tone, how many more Iraqis have internet access. Well, at least he didn’t raise his voice! Here we have a morally bankrupt cretin, an apologist for murder and conquest on a grand scale, in the guise of an insurance agent.
I’m sure all of the Iraqis whose friends and family members were killed by the forces of liberation will be glad to hear that their loved ones didn’t die in vain, that their deaths resulted in much-improved phone service and were a boon to America’s self-esteem.
Posted by Joe on August 31, 2010
The last U.S. combat brigade has left Iraq, says NPR:
The U.S. military presence in Iraq took a symbolic turn Thursday as the last full Army combat brigade left the country, ahead of President Obama’s end-of-the-month deadline for ending combat operations.
So that means no more fighting in Iraq, right? Well, not exactly:
The departure doesn’t mark the end of the U.S. military presence, however: About 50,000 troops will remain in Iraq through the end of next year. The troops are officially there in an advisory role, but will carry weapons to defend themselves and will join Iraqi troops on missions if requested.
So even though there are no more combat troops in Iraq the U.S. military will most likely still be involved in combat operations in Iraq? Kinda, yes:
“‘Combat operations’ is sort of a relative term,” [Marine Reserve Capt. Peter Brooks] said. “I think some troops who remain after this date are going to see things that look kind of like combat.”
Symbolic, indeed. Of course, for some Obamanoids, no amount of blatant manipulation is enough to diminish the total awesomeness of the “prez” for living up to a meaningless campaign promise.
Posted by Joe on August 20, 2010
While visiting some relatives a week or so ago, the subject of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding came up. One of my relatives expressed genuine disappointment, even disbelief, at the fact that the Clintons would throw such an extravagant bash for their daughter’s wedding.
Now, this person is pretty much your standard-issue liberal, and a bit of a bleeding heart type, and the idea, I suppose, is that, with all the poverty and suffering in the world, dropping a few million dollars on a wedding was in poor taste and that the Clintons, of all people, should know better. I understand the part about the decadence, but what I don’t get is how anyone would expect anything less (or more) from the Clintons. Bill, in particular, is a starfucker extraordinaire, a man for whom the presidency wasn’t much more than a springboard to wealth and celebrity, notwithstanding the empty “feel your pain” bullshit and the occasional photo-op for a disaster relief project with his fellow ex-imperial chieftains, Bush I and II. When I think of Bill Clinton, I think of a man dry-humping Bono in front of a camera or hanging out with Mick Jagger at the World Cup, not someone out trying to save the world (like, say, another former president, the peanut farmer guy who was disinvited to the 2008 Donkey Convention for having the gall to criticize the U.S. policy of neverending war). At any rate, at the very least you shouldn’t be surprised when somebody who actively and publicly cultivates relationships with celebrities, and who is himself a celebrity, actually behaves like a celebrity.
Posted by Joe on August 17, 2010
You may argue that “society” collectively decides what to permit and not to permit, based on some vision of the “common good.” But remember those high school civics texts with the stuff about government exercising only powers delegated by the governed, government’s function being to protect the rights of the individual, and all that? Well, you can’t delegate a power you don’t have. And government can’t protect a right, on your behalf, that you don’t possess as an individual.
So you can’t delegate to government the power to tell other people what foods or drugs to ingest, or who to have sex with, unless you, as an individual, already have the right to boss other people around. You as an individual, or in acting together with any number of other individuals, cannot delegate to government the power to boss people around against their will in regard to peaceful and consensual actions, unless you own them. “Society” has a right to criminalize peaceful, voluntary behavior only if each individual is the property of society as a whole.
This reminded me of something I heard the other day on NPR (or it might have been the BBC World News; I can’t find the story on either website) about the tedious legal “wrangling” over the California court’s overturning of Prop 8 (the ban on gay marriage). Some proponent of the ban—a politician, I think—was arguing that the reversal was somehow a violation of the Constitution and that the voters were getting screwed (or maybe it was a violation of the Constitution because the voters were getting screwed).
1) I love when politicians who (pretty much all of them) generally couldn’t be bothered to wipe their asses with the Constitution suddenly discover the sacred scrap of parchment when it suits their purposes.
2) I love when politicians who (pretty much all of them) generally couldn’t give two shits what “the voters” want suddenly discover the value of democracy during an election year.
For what it’s worth, I’m skeptical of both majoritarian rule and Constitution fetishism. I’m with Carson in that I place individual rights above the will of the majority, regardless of what the Constitution has to say (or not say) about the matter. Not that I expect anyone in power to care.
Posted by Joe on August 17, 2010