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17 December 2011

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PS

So the Middle East was just one big snow globe that was begging to be shaken up? Let's just call it the "Snow Globe Theory": some times you just have to shake things up. Intellectually, it's an evolution of the "S--- Happens" school of thought.

Nathan W Stroupe

I can't thank you enough for posting on this. I stared in a mixture of disbelief and fury when I heard Brooks last night. As the Iraq war draws to a close and the Neocons have a chance to rise to ascendancy again, I found Brook's statement and the lack of outrage with which it was met (by Shields and Lehrer) most disheartening.

Amileoj

I don't know which is more breathtaking: the folly of believing that 'disrupting' an entire region was somehow 'necessary', or the moral idiocy of finding humor in one's folly. Or I guess what is supposed to be funny is the fact that this lunatic causus belli, though apparently well-known among media elites, was witheld by them from the citizenry they boast of having a sacred duty to inform. Were it not for the immense damage to innocent bystanders, it would be just if the 'revolution' these children helped to unleash some day consumed them.

meffie

I heard this, and agree about Brooks, but to give Mark and Jim the benefit of the doubt, I don't think they were laughing about the chaos in the middle east but rather about Jim's clever segue into the sign off...short and quick "goodbye" none of the stilted thank yous.

Sean McBride

We can now see that the entire neoconservative program has done enormous damage to Israel and left it in a much worse position strategically than it was before 9/11 and the Iraq War. And matters are about to get much worse: the neocons won't back off on agitating for a war against Iran.

New Orleans

Watching the video, I'm skeptical that the laughter had anything to do with the issue. It was prompted by Lehrer's absurdly blunt wrap of the segment: "Unstated, and goodbye."

turcopolier

New Orleans

They should have had better sense than to laugh in this context. pl

New Orleans

Agreed.

Dr Onan Agitprop, DD

Pat, I'm with you on this. I'm pretty sure the guys in the amputee at Bethesda didn't think it was funny either. Shields and Lehrer I'm pretty disappointed in. As for Brooks, he's a Wanker and a Dick, and always has been.

Dr Agitprop

Redhand

I don't watch the PBS Newshour with any regularity anymore, and go out of my way to avoid Fridays, precisely because David Brooks is on. It appalls me that this intellectual nebbish has a gig on PBS and at the NYT to spout his neocon lies and nonsense.

Brooks' intellectual dishonesty is matched only by his stupidity. The meme that "disrupting" the Middle East was a necessary response to 9/11 and that it had something to do with the Arab Spring is precisely the kind of magical thinking that makes David Brooks an infuriating joke.

If I read about Brooks at all it is through the scathing rants about him that are posted by driftglass over at http://driftglass.blogspot.com/#main. The site is definitely worth a visit.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

You are correct. The modern tragedy is that ideology trumps reality and we all are caught in the blow back.

The neo-conservatives still believe in Israel first, then and now. Look no further than the drumbeats for coming Iranian Bombing Campaign. Their ideology prevents them from seeing that revolution on the Israeli borders is the last thing apartheid reactionary State needs. The Forever War needs unlimited national treasure and end less causalities.

Similarly at home, the only thing that will break the developed world out of the recession/depression is significant increased government spending on infrastructure and jobs. Instead, the radicals in the GOP are intent on flushing the State down the toilet and cutting taxes for the Oligarchs. The recession/depression cannot end until the Elite’s handmaidens from both parties are thrown out of office.

Roy G.

'Securing the Realm' and its first phase, the Iraq invasion, was like buying subprime investment tranches from Goldman - a 'solution' manufactured out of political exigencies, mindlessly embraced by true believers, marketed like hell by profiteering opportunists, and promoted tirelessly by high-class media whores like Brooks.

Of course, the ivory tower set of neocons believed their twaddle about the clash of civilizations, etc., but the diffuse war wagon contained many individualized profit seekers, looking to take advantage of the situation. It could either be a pallet of millions of dollars or a sinecure at a neocon think tank and admittance to the 'inner circle.' Nothing these people said or say can be taken at face value - Brooks' glib responses reveal him to be a man of grand rhetoric and a psychopathic lack of understanding of the destruction wrought by his cheerleading.

Imo, the Big Lie behind the whole neocon remaking of the ME is that it sought to solve the regions' problems through military means while ignoring the most common root problem - the continued advancement of Israeli belligerence and subjugation and marginalization of the Palestinians. Of course, there's no profit there.

Sean McBride

A great revelation has come upon me. :) Please shoot any obvious or non-obvious holes through said revelation.

The only solution to Israel's problems, and to those American problems which are caused by Israel, is to bring Israel fully under the protection of NATO, with these conditions:

1. The achievement of a Mideast peace agreement *now* which guarantees Israel's borders and security and those of a Palestinian state.

2. The declaration of the Mideast as a nuclear weapons-free zone and the strict enforcement of that policy by the international community and NATO.

The United States and Europe, in combination with enlightened forces within Israel and the Zionist world, should have the power to make this happen if they apply their minds and will to it. We know which forces will bitterly and even violently oppose these policies, but they must be forcefully subdued and overcome.

Am I mistaken? Dreaming? Is there any sane and viable alternative to preventing an apocalyptic catastrophe in the Mideast that would wreak havoc on the entire world, and especially on the United States?

fanto

I agree with you meffie, I did not take it as ironic loughter at what Brooks said, but as a clever letting Brooks hang himself on his own rope

Bobo

I contrast our invasion of Panama to that of Iraq. Both were invasions to remove a despot though Panama was more of a Police action while Iraq should have been the same. Just think if our invasion in Iraq was limited to the removal of Hussein and the stand up of a Sunni government we would have been out in a short time versus today.
So why did we stay so long, oh yes, we wanted to stand up a democracy. One based on our own which was pure idiocy. Democracy comes from within and purple fingers does not make a democracy but only a start. What we have done is stand up a government aligned with Iran a country Iraq had fought a decade or two prior to our invasion. A country we have been at odds with since the fall of Pahlavi.
Our military services are a tool of our democracy not the decider of who, what, when and where. Those decisions rest with our political leadership who seemed to have been duped by a small section of self promoted experts whose basis of thought is not what is best for the homeland but what is best for a supposed ally. We elected this political leadership who tossed aside opposing thought thus whatever we say we the citizens of the United States are responsible for the outcome and human cost of this invasion and we will pay for years to come.
So now we must learn that when we invade to remove a despot leave a government similar to what the populace is used to not a radical change as that brings out the radicalism seen in Iraq versus the calm of Panama.

walrus

Karma is a bitch. Quoted below from the latest newsletter I receive. These guys have a success rate of about 82% this year. They also ominously predict that the attraction of a "Man in uniform" - David Petreaus as Republican candidate in 2016 which will be followed by another attempt at a Thousand year Reich.

"the 2012 election year, which opens against the backdrop of economic and social depression, complete paralysis of the Federal system24, strong rejection of the traditional two- party system and a growing questioning of the relevance of the Constitution, inaugurates a crucial period in the history of the United States. Over the next four years, the country will be subjected to political, economic, financial and social upheaval such as it has not known since the end of the Civil War which, by an accident of history, started exactly 150 years ago in 1861. During this period, the US will be simultaneously insolvent and ungovernable, turning that which was the flagship” of the world in recent decades into a “drunken boat”.
"

walrus

The reference for my previous post is linked below. It's a European perspective on current events. However, once the European bias and snark are removed, it provides the best picture I know of what is actually happening in the world.

http://www.leap2020.eu/GEAB-N-60-is-available-Global-systemic-crisis-USA-2012-2016-An-insolvent-and-ungovernable-country_a8481.html

Larry Kart

Brooks IMO is among the most insidious disinformation agents on the landscape.

Phil Giraldi

Thge problem is that Brooks is not stupid - it is just that his attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable in foreign policy - to make everything support Israel while twisting issues to make it appear that the policies are really pro-American - sometimes makes him appear to be an idiot. He is really one of the most effective fifth column agents for Israeli interests as he has managed to frame himself as a compassionate conservative who is credible enough to peddle his wares on PBS and in the NYT.

mbrenner

I just finished this piece for the National Journal next week. With the Colonel's indulgence, here it is:

IRAQ – GOOD-BYE TO ALL THAT?

Failure is hard for a country to swallow – especially so for the United States. For two reasons. One, Americans feel that our nation was born in a state of original virtue which, as Destiny’s child, always would be crowned with success. Two, the US has experienced tangible failure only rarely in its triumphant sweep across the continent and then in its rise to world supremacy. 'The last best hope of mankind’ motif pretty much sums up the collective self esteem. Militarily, the worst was the tie in Korea and the abandonment of Vietnam. Even the ugly blemish of slavery and racism did not impair the pervasive sense of exceptionalism and superiority. And it, too, was addressed with exceptional effort – however belatedly.

The deeply etched image in our collective mind and heart is that America is a winner. A winner due to two factors: the talents and acumen of its inventive people; and the just rewards for its moral fiber. They are interlaced. We accomplish what nobody else can because we are both better at doing things and better people. We expect to be appreciated for both by the rest of the world. Failure, in this mindset, is inconceivable. To acknowledge failure is to accept a notion that undercuts the very essence of who we are. Moreover, given the powerful binding force that is the American civic religion, acceptance of national failure injures individual self esteem as well as national pride. That psychology raises the stakes on never failing.

As a consequence, our national existence becomes something of a high-wire act. No venture seems too daunting; we are daring by nature and identity. (Who else – past or present – would impetuously take on the harebrained scheme of taking over and transmuting Mesopotamia?) The compulsion to prove our exceptionality, to confirm our prowess, has produced some great accomplishments. More and more, it is jeopardizing our well-being in ways so manifest that it threatens our national self-identity and challenges our powers of sublimation. Only prudence can curb what have become our self destructive impulses. Prudence, though, has never been a prized American trait. We even participate in the degeneration of our national politics into an inane celebrity game whose crippling damage to public life exacts a heavy toll on sense and reason.

Given the dire implications of failure, there is profound need to deny it. Hence, the mealy-mouthed commentaries on the Iraq recessional. None of the multiple objectives for embarking on the venture are close to being met. Each of the underlying premises has proven wrong. Deceit has marked the project from Day One. Strategically, we have turned a counterforce to Iran in the Gulf into its ally. We have motivated could-be terrorists by the gross. Our credibility across the region has plummeted. In effectively destroying a country for no good reason, we have placed a lasting taint on any form of intervention. Our gross human rights abuses over there have shredded our moral standing; the stealth war on civil liberties over here compromises what is best in us. Mr. Obama says: leave it to the historians to come up with a balance sheet. Great nations know why they act, what the results have been and draw the lessons without anticipating the sum of academic tomes to be written “going forward.”
So will America learn the lessons of our folly? Certainly not fully. For that requires the kind of dispassionate self examination of which are incapable for the reasons noted above.

Even at the instrumental level, it would be rash indeed to presume that our readiness to take on another illogical enterprise fueled by self-righteousness has been permanently muted. After Korea, the American foreign policy establishment was as one in declaring never again a ground war on the mainland of Asia. A decade later we flung ourselves gung-ho into the morass of Vietnam. From that tragedy, emerged not just a war averse public but also formal military doctrines (the Powell Doctrine) that set stringent conditions for the deployment of our troops on battlefields.

The inoculation held for a awhile. Then came 9/11 and all caution was cast to the winds in the rush to slay dragons – real or imagined – and to reach the security nirvana of a zero threat world. One of the flag bearers was Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Tomorrow? The ‘verdict’ of history won’t provide a clear answer since such verdicts will come too late; anyway, we’ll all be too busy text-messaging to read it. Moreover, we are not a people who live by the guidelines of history. An intrinsically virtuous, exceptional America that is the agent of Destiny exists outside history. It exists in our psyches whose own dynamics will determine what we think and what we do.

Americans’ enthusiasm for thrusting one finger heavenward while shouting “U.S.A! U.S.A!” seems to have lost some of its edge in the era of financial mayhem, a looming China, and the sting of serial misadventures in the Greater Middle East. You will see little sign of that, though, among the high priests of our national faith who run the mainstream media or the throng of predatory aspirants who figure among the papabili.

Redhand

Well, I will qualify my statement about his being "stupid" by saying that I regard him as a bit of a lightweight whose perspective is hopelessly warped by privilege. I don't buy his "Centrist" nonsense either domestically or in foreign affairs.

It's a toss up for me who in the NYT editorial page is more reprehensible: Brooks or "The Mustache of Understanding."

Chil

Wolfowitz has a sister who lives in Israel. Think for a minute about suicide bombers blowing up kids in restaurants. If we, without a dog in that fight and thousands of miles away, talked about it, surely it's reasonable to assume that Wolfowitz and his sister did likewise. Saddam Hussein "helped out" the families of suicide bombers with gifts of 25,000 dollars - a "gesture of 'solidarity'" (one imagines). Wouldn't most people in a position to do something about that think, "I'm in a position to do something about that - and I'm going to". Wolfowitz was in that position. Directly* so.

Raises all kinds of questions. For example, should he have recused (is that the word?) himself?

*And the likes of Brooks, Kristol, Perle, etc. were in a position to "help out".

Charles I

And you get Israel to agree to this how?

"if they apply their minds and will"

That's a mighty existential "if", especially given our recent record efforts re"forcefully subdued and overcome"

Charles I

recused, that's a foreign word, no? means shirking duty, shrinking from spotlight, moral imperative and paycheck?

Fred

So Wofowitz and company placed the interests of a foreign government and people ahead of the United States of America. At least the soldier pictured above will know who really betrayed the Republic.

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