(Don’t) Use All Your Well-Learned Politesse

And to keep the theme going, I urge you to read these posts on D.C. insider, universal expert, and Keynesian killbot Matthew Yglesias by Charles Davis and IOZ. We need more of this – more undermining of the  we’re-all-friends-here centrist atmosphere that contributed to so many of the disasters we look upon today. Now, there’s no use trying to collect scalps, because as the case of Dave Weigel, the Lane Kiffin of Washington punditry, demonstrates, once they’re in the establishment, they’re in to stay. But it can’t hurt to knock these best and brightest down a few notches in the estimation of their readers (and themselves – note that the first response to IOZ’s post is by a wounded Yglesias). I’m not saying that anyone should grab an establishment journo’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window, take a snapshot of the bleeding mess, and send it out in a Christmas card to let the establishment know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear, but we should certainly rebut their BS at every turn. And don’t be polite about it.

John Bolton’s “Armed Social Workers”

As part of the continuing discussion of Michael Steele, Judge Andrew Napolitano and Rep. Ron Paul bravely take on former UN Ambassador and AEI senior fellow John Bolton with passion but the winning zinger goes to Christopher Preble, Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Professor Preble dares to ask why conservatives who opposed nation building under President Clinton now embrace such under President Obama.

Surge Lies Come Home to Haunt Us

Chicago’s South Side is indulging itself in a bit of nostalgia for the ’80s and ’90s. Michelle Obama’s hood is overrun with gang-related murders; deaths are at the same rate as US soldiers dying in both major theaters of the US’ “War on Terror.” Government must do something, declares two Illinois state senators who represent parts of the city. I know — a good old fashioned military occupation, like what worked so well in our wars and Kent State and whatnot.

“John Fritchley and LaShawn Ford, Democrats who represent the north and west sides of the city, said troops were needed to ‘stabilize communities’ in Chicago just as they had done in Iraq and Afghanistan,” explains the Telegraph.

These men are talking about the “surge,” or what those of us against the war labeled “escalation.” Iraq was in the throes of vicious violence that was killing over a thousand civilians (and who knows how many others who were labeled militants for intermittent or single acts of resistance) per month. The Bush Administration decided sending many tens of thousands more hastily trained troops into the mix would be a great idea, ignoring the fact that much of the violence was likely due to the presence of foreign troops. The troops were sent >> fast-forward >> violence is down in Iraq! The surge worked!

What’s missing in that fast-forward blip is what really happened in 2007. Many — most? –Americans can’t usually be bothered with the truth, especially when it’s all long and stuff. Recap:

1) Sadr ordered his men to stand down, apparently sickened by the recent violence between his followers, and other Shi’ites and the government.
2) The Awakening (Sahwa) councils, Sunni groups who were revolting against al-Qaeda-in-Iraq’s senseless slaughters, began receiving large sums of money from the US to only fight AQI, and not US troops as well, as they had been doing. The verdict is yet out on what happens when the money stops and Maliki, or whoever is in power, decides to turn on this now-well-trained movement.
3) This is the big one: the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad was essentially complete. No more violence was necessary for many partisan sectarians. Juan Cole did some extra parsing of this in 2008.

All of these pointy complicated facts were mushed into a smooth ball for easier digestion — our Glorious Soldiers had won the day. If you disagree you’re a commie or a terrorist symp who hates America. This actually succeeded in convincing some antiwar types, if I recall.

Candidate Obama, however, seemed not to be fooled. Then, when it was no longer politically tenable, he changed his mind. We now know this is Obama’s typical flip-flopping treachery, but this was one of his first major public instances. And now he’s got his own surge.

For their parts, reports the Chicago Tribune, the mayor and the governor oppose adding another layer of force to Chicago’s already well-armored police.

“You have to look at long-term solutions. You can’t just put something temporary in there,” said Mayor Richard Daley. “People have to get involved in their community, family by family and block by block.”

Chicago police are trained in the state and federal constitutions, says Mark Donahue, president of the city’s police union.

“With the guard coming in, it’s making a statement that your constitutional rights will be diminished,” Donahue said. “They don’t have the training that Chicago police officers do.”

The governor can send the Guard troops in, but in this case will only do so at Daley’s request.

So should we add PTSD-affected soldiers to the ranks of possibly also-traumatized police on the admittedly well-armed but nonetheless civilian streets of Chi-town? That’s a surge I don’t see working well. But maybe when the violence ends once everyone kills each other, they’ll proclaim another “mission accomplished.”

If troops end up occupying our cities, it will be thanks to simplistic lies told by men with authoritarian minds. We can blame President Barack Obama for backing up Bush’s surge fairy tales and painting military intervention a panacea for all threats, foreign and domestic. It’s now okay for Americans across the political spectrum to trust guns and bombs as an organizing principle of civilization.

Iraq Troop Deaths Under Obama Reach The Century Mark

The number of U.S. troops who have died while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom since President Obama’s inauguration has now reached 100. This figure includes both combat and non-combat deaths that occurred since January 20. A few of the deaths were of servicemembers who died of injuries received before the inauguration but did not pass away until afterwards. Three U.S. soldiers who were killed in a Katyusha rocket attack last night were the latest reported casualties.

President Obama ran a campaign that promised Americans an end to the war in Iraq. Many were hoping for an  immediate resolution in January. Their disappointment in the president’s slow withdrawal and change of focus to Afghanistan and Pakistan is eclipsed only by those who are directly serving in the war theater. According to army officials, the suicide rate among Iraq and Afghanistan servicemembers is higher than last year and increasing. Indeed, of the 100 dead, only 32 were reported as combat incidents.

It would not be the first time that President Obama ran on an anti-war platform and then tempered his opposition upon winning office. Some anti-war democrats, including the son of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, complained two years ago that then-Senator Obama’s opposition to war faded after the election. At that time, Jim Ginsberg said to the New York Times, “some of [Obama’s] actions and speeches once he got in the Senate did not match his [pre-election] rhetoric.” By the time, Sen. Obama returned to the campaign circuit, his tune changed again. One can only hope he’ll actually start listening to the music before more Americans lose
their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Grim Milestone: 5,000 GIs Dead in Iraq, Afghanistan Wars

Among the six U.S. servicemember deaths so far reported in June, one soldier has become the 5,000th casualty of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among the six U.S. servicemember deaths so far reported in June, one soldier has become the 5,000th casualty of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Icasualties.org the wars have cost at least 4,308 lives in Iraq and 695 in Afghanistan. The official count from the Department of Defense, however, has the total number of deaths at 4,996 in both military campaigns. The D.O.D. figures often lag slightly behind those reported in the mass media.

These figures include both combat and non-combat deaths, as well as those servicemembers killed outside the main theaters of action. In some cases, however, a servicemember who may have died months or years later of wounds received during service might not be included in official figures.

Military Families Speak Out noted the milestone in a press release published today. The antiwar group, which was formed by military families in 2002, asked President Obama to swiftly end the wars, as promised during last year’s presidential campaign. However, as the U.S. Congress returned from a weeklong Memorial Day break yesterday, the lawmakers’ main war concern was not ending either campaign, but in finalizing a new war funding bill for the president to sign.

President Obama originally asked for $84.3-billion to continue the wars. Both chambers then added their own items, bringing the final tally for the House to $96.7-billion and the Senate’s to $91.3-billion in additional funding.