Archive for military

It’s Tough to Argue with Results

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2011 by rottenart

For the past 20 years, one of the most effective attacks Republicans have used against Democrats is the ‘Soft on Defense’ barb. In actuality, one could make the case that Democrats have far more experience (and success) with military conflict but since when has reality had anything to do with politics? It’s been a pretty devastating tactic and one which Democrats have always had a problem defending against, even when it should have been easy.

That era, however, might be coming to an end.

Three distinguished former military members, former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark, former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig, and retired Major General Paul Eaton, tore into the GOP field and strongly defended President Obama’s foreign policy after Tuesday’s debate. The attacks are pretty brutal, though entirely factual:

“While President Obama has kept his promises across the globe, the leading Republicans have been all over the map, offering sound-bite critiques and shifting positions with every change in the headlines as they seek partisan advantage,” Clark said.

“If you took any six of those candidates, you might find sixteen positions on any issue,” said Danzig. “If you added Governor Romney you’d probably find forty six positions.”

Ouch.

Of course, it has the added benefit of being true. Even leaving aside the end of the Iraq war, the steady dismantling of Al Qaeda, the overthrow of Qaddafi and the unwinding of the war in Afghanistan, Obama still has an ace in the hole that the right will have a hard time attacking: Osama Bin Laden. After ten years, it was this administration that killed him. That alone should be enough to neutralize the ‘Soft on Defense’ sop.

If the Republicans want to attack Obama’s foreign policy credentials, I’m sure it’s a debate the administration would heartily welcome.

 

Um, Say What?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by rottenart

I don’t know what to make of this news. I know the military is desperate but generally gets everything it wants. However, the war in Afghanistan is costing us an arm and a leg (literally) and is increasingly unpopular. It doesn’t surprise me that they would stoop to such underhanded tactics to gin up support. However, what’s more surprising is the list of senators they targeted: Sens. John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin as well as Rep. Steve Israel and Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, among others. I mean, Al Franken probably isn’t the biggest booster for war but did John “Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran” Mccain really need to be brainwashed?

All in all it’s a disturbing story that I’m sure is not a new development. Add this to the news that the military is also procuring software making it easier to “sock puppet” online and you have a picture of a defense department that is seemingly out of control in its ability to influence opinion. And make no mistake, as the war drags on this sort of story will only become more common as the goals of the military and the goals of the American people become further from each other.

About That Wikileaks Video

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2010 by rottenart

I missed commenting on this at the time it was released but I have been thinking about it a lot. Nearly everyone I talked to who watched it expressed shock at its brutality. While I can’t argue that it is not horrific, I really don’t know what we expected to be happening in Baghdad. In the midst of a pointless, prolonged war of occupation on two fronts, you send the same young people into battle over and over, train them to shoot at things, and that is what they will do. Wikileaks was right in exposing the story but I think letting this one incident shock you is a little naive. If you think the scenes of testosterone-and-anxiety-fueled mayhem and destruction in that video are disgusting then we should end it, period or do everything we can to try. The situation we’re in is untenable and this is surely the tip of the iceberg. It still pains me to think that America let this happen to herself.

These soldiers shouldn’t be castigated for their obvious passion for shooting people. That is only a symptom. The disease is an unlawful war that is going to tarnish our history (again) for many years to come. I wish there were some way to find every person who appeared in rallies in 2003, screaming for war, and ask them how they feel about it now. Actually, I’d start with Bill Kristol, but I already know what his response would be: blow up Iran. I have always maintained that Afghanistan and Pakistan were the legitimate war made more onerous by being ignored in favor of Iraq. If we must fight wars, then we should have a goddamn good reason. When you don’t, rattled young kids spray groups of people with gunfire from a helicopter all the time.

Glug Glug Glug

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2010 by rottenart

Maybe the oil derricks off the coast of South Carolina are closer than we think. Unfortunately, this will not change the minds of Houston’s energy masters or legions of Hummer-driving douchebags because it came from the military which has a history of saying things right-wingers don’t like. I think it’s great news. We should see what it’s like paying what the rest of the world does for gas. It’s a big reason why we can’t seem to shake our car addiction. If people were forced to forego the car and get out and walk a little bit, everyone would be better off.

I just wish these high speed rail projects would get going. Once people see the convenience, it will be hard to break the fever. Ask any American who visited Europe. It’s kind of hard to believe everyone isn’t wild about this idea but Big Oil does pay a lot of checks so it’s not too surprising. We all deserve access to safe, reliable, public transportation that doesn’t involve sucking on an oily teat every week. Even “hybrids” are problematic, if better than nothing, because they just perpetuate the artificial need for personal transportation. Maybe when we finally start running out, people might change their minds.

Jesus, given how many morons watch cars turn left all day, the country as a whole should have a lot less problem with it.