Quote(s) of the Day: “General David Petraeus was the trick pony. George W. Bush was the wonder dog. What a show.”

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

Have been uber-busy this past week and haven’t done nearly as much reading as I usually would, so I initially missed this spot-on post by Marc Cooper re: this past week’s Congressional Kabuki. Worth reading in its entirety, but for me this is the money quote:

The Democrats harrumph and posture and vow to impose deadlines that will be fillibustered or vetoed. But again, why should they care? They have little to lose, knowing that the longer the war stretches into the campaign cycle, the better it is for them. They have just as few of their own kids fighting and dying in Iraq as do their Republican colleagues. They throw their hands into the air and shrug. “Whaddaya want us to do anyway, bud? We ain’t got the 60 votes,” they say in explaining their impotence.

True enough. But all they need is 50 to stop funding the war. Fifty votes and two balls.

It seems to me, after this past dismal week (a four day long insult to the collective national intellect), the debate on the war Iraq is actually over. The administration has made it abundantly clear that it’s not going to budge. The vast majority of congressional Republicans have signed on for the ride. The Democrats’ yammering about non-binding resolutions and imaginary benchmarks and fungible dates has become part of the white noise.

Not much more to talk about. The only question left is who will actually move now to stop the war?

Related: Runner-up goes to Tom Engelhardt, who also gets it (and was cruelly ignored as well by yours truly until today):

The Congressional Democrats are too weak (and divided) to change policy — and let’s be honest, even if they did, this administration would undoubtedly pay no attention whatsoever to anything they mandated. The Republican candidates for President (minus the maverick Ron Paul, who isn’t really a Republican at all) have bowed down low before presidential Iraq policy, as if before a pagan idol in the desert, in search of the “base vote.” Democratic candidates for President (Bill Richardson and Denis Kucinich excepted) are running “tough” (which means running scared and cautious) on Iraq. If, in 2008, the war actually proves good for business at the polls for Democrats, then, to their consternation, they’ll find they’ve just inherited a disastrous war, that they’re likely to be blamed for losing it, and that they’re in charge of Hell, not the Oval Office or Congress.


Given this line-up of forces, how could it have been anything but “words, words, words” in Washington, even while it was death, death, death in Iraq?

What those words do, however, is fill all available space, reinforcing a powerful sense that Washington’s importance in the scheme of things is the one unquestionable reality on our planet. The rest of the world hardly registers, except in the mode of frustration.

Is there a single ounce of humility anywhere in Washington? Can we even imagine that, somewhere on Earth, someone doesn’t think about us?


To grasp the Petraeus moment, you really have to re-imagine official Washington as a set of drunks behind the wheels of so many SUVs tearing down a well-populated city avenue — and all of them are on their cell phones. They hardly notice the bodies bouncing off the fenders. For them, the world is Washington-centered; all interests that matter are American ones. Nothing else exists, not really. Think of this as a form of imperial autism and the Petraeus moment as the way in which the White House and official Washington have, for a brief time, blotted out the world.

There are weeks like this when I regret the fact that I no longer imbibe.

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