Stepping Away From the Dick-Snark

by matttbastard


There’s a top-rated diary on Daily Kos right now entitled Dennis Prager Endorses Marital Rape. Somebody explain to me how the CIA isn’t doing functionally the same thing.

Also make sure to check out Echidne and my CFLF co-blogger Kathy for more on the women whose concerns (which, it should be noted, were not broached even in a cursory manner by the Washington Post) have almost been universally silenced by the disturbingly jovial snickering (in hindsight, yours truly is, unfortunately, not innocent in this regard, either).

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When ‘Soft Power’ Isn’t So Soft

by matttbastard

I hope you’ll excuse me if I refrain from opining at length or in explicit detail about this amusing little nugget currently smoldering in the slow holiday news cycle. Am loath to trigger the unwelcome attention of relentless sp@mbots. Instead, a quote from The Matrix (just make sure to invert the colour scheme so that it makes more sense in context):

You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Now, I know that the US is apparently bound and determined to import the Anbar Model to Afghanistan at any cost, but is this really the *cough* tribal awakening that Gen. Petraeus had in mind–“pharmaceutical enhancements for aging patriarchs with slumping libidos”?

Gotta second Jesse Walker:

I look forward to the dueling Reichian and Foucauldian interpretations of this approach.

Related: Megan Carpentier and Spencer Ackerman analyze the CIA’s novel chemical inducement strategy from a feminist perspective and whip out the expected cock jokes. What? C’mon, it’s Jezebel. Dick-and-fart feminism is their bread and butter. Although I suppose one could argue that even for a Gawker Media affiliate going below the belt like that is merely plucking *ahem* low hanging fruit to increase page views (see what I did there? Eh? Eh? Ok, I’ve had more than enough broad penis humour for one day.)

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Quote of the Day: ‘Whatever Petraeus Wants’

by matttbastard

“It is part of Bush’s overall management style — to cede responsibility to a lower level and not look carefully at critical issues himself… . Originally on Iraq, it was whatever Rumsfeld wanted. Then it was whatever Jerry Bremer did… . And now it is whatever Petraeus wants.”

– Kenneth Adelman, “a Reagan-era official who has parted company with such longtime friends as Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney over the war”, on the secrets of George W. Bush’s epic fail strategy (ie “find a convenient scape goat to do a heckuva job”).

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An Unparalleled Legacy

by matttbastard

Hey, Defeatocrats: it’s your war now.

President George W. Bush will signal next week that he will pull no more troops out of Iraq while he is president, once his troop surge ends in the summer.

His senior Iraq commander General David Petraeus will use his testimony to congress on Tuesday and Wednesday to argue for continuing political support for the tactics of the surge strategy even after a planned drawdown of troops.

US military chiefs have already committed to reduce the American combat presence in Iraq from 20 to 15 brigades by September. But in what administration officials say is a bid to bind the hands of his successor, Mr Bush will make clear that he will go no further to placate his critics.

“It looks like it will be that far and no further,” said a Pentagon official.

“Any further reductions will have to be made by the next president.”

With all three presidential candidates sitting on committees that will hear from Petraeus, how much you wanna bet that the Kabuki performances are especially melodramatic this time ’round? Yep, nothing like a good old fashioned dog and pony show to liven up a lull in the primary horse race. Speaking of award-worthy performances, it appears that General Colin Powell David Petraeus (and his 4 star credibility) will once again be playing the role of proxy for some decidedly less less-than-honest brokers:

Mr Bush’s determination to stand firm was reinforced by a report from Frederick Kagan, the architect of the surge strategy, sent to officials a week ago, which states: “The surge and the change in strategy have transformed security in Iraq”.

Mr Kagan warns that a reduction in combat forces below 15 battalions could endanger American objectives.

He said: “The drawdown that is already planned accepts considerable risk and will make the task of moving forward more complicated and harder and little bit slower. “I wouldn’t be comfortable pulling a single soldier out because we pay an exponential price for every brigade that comes out.”

And what are these vital “objectives” that would be “endangered” by troop reductions?

Michael O’Hanlon, a Brookings expert who supports Hillary Clinton, said Mr Bush has his eye on the judgment of history. “There’s obviously a focus that comes from being in the last year of a presidency,” he said.

It’s inconceivable he could be a successful president if his central foreign policy project failed, especially because it was his choice to wage the war when he did and it was his administration’s mistakes that set us on such a bad path.

“If we get to some reasonable outcome in Iraq, that’s not going to make him a great president but if we fail, it’s very likely he will be seen as a poor president.”

I’ve always admired Dubya’s keen sense of priorities.

(Oh, and not to toot my own horn, but I called all this last July. Sometimes I really, really hate being right.)

Related: Tom Engelhardt on why Petraeus’ testimony is guaranteed to be “delusional”; advance testimony from OG Iraq war critics William Odom and Nir Rosen (more on Rosen from Jon Schwarz).

h/t War in Context

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