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From Family Guy:

Congressman: There is no just cause for an invasion..
Peter: Well that may be, but what were all forgetting is anyone that doesn't want to go to war is gay.
Congressman: I want to go to war.
Congressman: I want to go to war.
All of Congress: I want to go to war.
Dick Cheney: I was the first one who wanted to go to war.

The most insidious of the right wing's rhetorical coups in the last century has been its successful framing of progressivism as passive, bleeding-heart, effeminate, even "gay."

Democratic politicians have too often answered the framing not with scorn and scoffing, but with incremental retreats toward "centrism," which is another name for Shock Doctrine fiscal policy minus all the race-baiting,  homophobia and creationism (Bart Stupak notwishstanding). Because this move seldom squares with Democrats' early campaign rhetoric or the Democratic platform, it reads like cowardice, not conviction.

The joke of course is that the GOP just gleefully re-loads the "weakness" trap. That's why they never let up on the namecalling and accusations, no matter how far to the right a Democratic leader moves. Clinton, signer of NAFTA, the Telecom Act and the repeal of Glass-Steagall, was one of the "best Republican presidents" we've ever had. The GOP rewarded him with impeachment. The more Obama inches to the right, the more threats he gets, and the more he gets teabagged with Hitler and Mao posters. The GOP smells blood in the water, and know they can win more ground and more concessions if they get even more vicious and crazy.

Many of us chose Obama's message of "change" over Hillary's message of "experience" because we didn't just want another "best Republican president." We wanted a true Democrat who would not buy into the right-wing's bullshit framing of progressivism, and would not compromise merely for the sake of appearing "not-too-leftist." (Read: Not-too-gay/weak/bleeding-heart/effeminate.)

Obama's vote on FISA, his championing of the (ultimately) oversight-free bailout, his refusal to release torture photos, his Bush-style coverup of information, his balking at prosecuting war crimes, his hiring of Wall Street banking hacks, and his bargaining style on health care that compromised just about everything on the opening bid, made something clear.

The "change" Obama means to effect is less about radical progress toward the good, and more about being slightly less evil than, but still appeasing and "cooperating with," the neocons that got us into the mess we're in. Sure, when the legislative sausage is done, the health insurance industries might be compelled to be slightly (but just slightly) less evil, but their reward will be 40 million more people forced to buy their snake oil.

And now the war. Of course the Pentagon professional warmongers and their contractor cronies would advise Obama that we HAVE to escalate the war, or all is lost. And Obama, ever the dutiful "centrist," will kick the can down the road.

This is a twofer for the GOP. The contractors and Pentagon war pigs get another huge influx of cash, and Obama will take the occupier's albatross off of Republican necks, and wear it himself into 2012.

No, nobody is calling Obama stupid. Kennedy and Johnson weren't stupid either, but they took us into a stupid war under pressure from the right. It remains that it takes a lot more courage to walk away from a stupid fight and risk being called a coward, than it does to fight the stupid fight out of fear of being called a coward.

Especially if someone else does the fighting.

We're eight years into this goddamned war in Afghanistan. Yes, it was the right move when we had a shot at getting bin Laden. Now we hear that was never really the plan. Now that al Qaeda is in Pakistan and our man Karzai turns out to be corrupt, we're sending MORE troops in to bolster a fake government? Didn't we just star in an Iraqi version of this bad movie?

The Soviets were there for ten years, and committed 120,000 troops, all their financial resources, and they lived right across the border. They not only lost Afghanistan, they lost their entire nation.

If we can learn anything from other occupiers' experience in Afghanistan, and our own adventures with invasion and occupation, it's that this is a colossal waste of blood and treasure, at a time when we can spare neither. Basically, we're putting more hundreds of billions into Afghanistan to MAYBE, hopefully make Americans safer from some imagined, potential future harm.

This will be money and brain-power we don't spend on critical health care, green energy jobs, infrastructure and education, the absence of which will absolutely, positively guarantee harm to Americans right away.

Weak sauce, Obama.

There is one bright light in all of this. Obama clearly responds to pressure. If "we" are the ones we've been waiting for, we need to put the lie to the right wing characterization of progressives as "weak," and fight hard against the continued squandering of our nations's resources. We need to make it exceedingly uncomfortable for Obama to make common cause with the neocon imperialists.  

Cheney's cabal was full of evil men. McCain/Palin both made it clear that they were willing to embrace evil if it made them part of the (country) club.

Obama is not remotely evil. But not-evil is not good enough. Weakness in the face of evil is not good enough.

Not remotely.

Originally posted to rhetoricus on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 01:50 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

    by rhetoricus on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 01:50:58 PM PST

  •  Sending young men to die for a pipeline = Evil (9+ / 0-)
    •  Don't forget the drugs. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaleA, Johnny Q, thethinveil

      I'm not saying that's Obama's intent, but it's certainly in the mix.

      If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

      by rhetoricus on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 01:57:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What? are you claiming this President's (0+ / 0-)

        reason for sending our young men and women in harm's way is for oil and drugs? Maybe I missed something. If I did, I apologize.

        •  ha! (0+ / 0-)

          i like the preemptive apology.

          the greatest threat to america is its sense of exceptionalism.

          by SeanF on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 02:07:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think either is Obama's reason (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fou, JVolvo, ColoTim, thethinveil

          ..but I do believe both (not oil so much as natural gas and strategic positioning) factor into the reasons the war's strongest proponents would like it to go on.

          No, I think Obama would like Afghanistan to stabilize so we can get the hell out of there. I just don't think he'll get his wish, if history is any indicator.

          If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

          by rhetoricus on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 02:07:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is also a very small minority of faux (5+ / 0-)

            feminists who insist that the war should be supported for the sake of Afghan women.

            Which is bullshit since any feminist should know that women are the ones who die the most as civilians and that they are more likely to fall into starvation and poverty because of war.

            If a person really supported Afghan women they certainly wouldn't be for the War.

            It is just a Hawk talking point that has no merit but can be used to influence the ignorant.  

            "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

            by thethinveil on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 02:16:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Or maybe Obama is risking (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rhetoricus, ColoTim

            selling us a bullshit strategy because he has something else in mind?  That's extremely problematic if true, but it's a possibility.

            I just cannot believe that Obama's stupid enough to throw good money after bad to train some non-existent "security forces" in Afghanistan.  My gut is telling me that this deployment probably has more to do with Pakistan than he's letting on.  My gut is also telling me that these plans were probably on the table well before Obama won the election.

            I've read a bit of Seymour Hersh's article on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.  It's a fascinating read.  I haven't finished it yet, but the impression I have so far is that Pakistan is in much worse shape than it was when we first invaded Afghanistan, despite the $10 billion we've squandered on it.

            Look.  It goes with out saying that I have no idea what the fuck is going on.  On the one hand, I really have a hard time trusting that Obama isn't walking into a giant trap the way Carter did (Lord knows the Repos will crucify him no matter what he does).  But at the same time, I do trust that Obama has more backbone than many give him credit for, and that he wouldn't risk his name, his Presidency and his life (he's doubtlessly well aware that there are those in the military who'd like to kill him) on yet another giveaway to the monsters.  That just makes no sense to me.

            So I'll wait and see, and listen tonight.

            Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

            by fou on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 02:39:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Interesting indeed. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I always prefer to believe the 11th-dimensional-chess conjecture, however remote the possibility.

              If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

              by rhetoricus on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 03:19:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Here's my conjecture. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rhetoricus, JVolvo

                (A comment I wrote earlier.  From one butch dyke to another. :)

                Here's what I see.  Now, I know many people around here think oil and money suck; but like it or not, they are what make the world go 'round, and the US President would be a fool not to try to use them to our advantage.  China, Russia and the United States all have an interest in being able to get oil from the Caspian Sea to the Gulf of Oman.  

                Why?  Because right now, much of the world's oil supply flows from Iran through the Straits of Hormuz.  Another pipeline would presumably weaken Iran.  Control of that pipeline would also afford the US critical regional leverage over Russia and China at a time when China is becoming a world economic power.  If the US provides the Chinese and the Russians an incentive to reduce their dealings with Iran, then Iran has a strong incentive to come to the table and deal with us regarding its nuclear ambitions.  Now, since this pipeline would go through Pakistan, Pakistan too has a powerful incentive to rein in its crazies and give us what we want (Bin Laden?).  Since it would necessarily go through Afghanistan, it gives us the ability to try to create jobs with the locals in Afghanistan and stabilize the region.

                Anyway, if I had to guess, I'd guess that Obama's thinking is somewhere in that ballpark (and obviously, this is my layperson's guess.  I'm not a political scientist, and I don't pretend to be one, so this armchair analysis could very well be marred by false assumptions).  Now, of course this strategy is fraught with grave risk as is any war strategy, and if it doesn't work, then history will judge Obama pretty harshly.  But if it does, ... well, let's hope that whatever he's planning works.

                Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

                by fou on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 03:33:25 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  This is really helpful. Thanks for the added info.

                  It does really suck when all possible choices are shitty ones.

                  If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

                  by rhetoricus on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 03:42:56 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You said it. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    And no matter what he says tonight, I'm still going to have a hard time swallowing this.  We've been sold on bullshit to make these barons rich for years, and that's obviously part of the reason for doing this.  

                    However, if Obama can align all of the appetites (greed, power lust, etc ..) in such a way as to generate pressures and incentives to eventually defuse that region, then he's really doing exactly what I elected him to do and I'm behind him 100%.

                    Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

                    by fou on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 03:49:19 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  There is Pakistan (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Which is increasingly unstable and prone to terrorist attacks in the cities.  Leaving Afghanistan to the Taliban and remaining elements of Al Queda will further destablize this nuclear power, especially after we convinced their army to go after the Taliban extremists in their border areas.  I really wish Pakistan did not have nuclear weapons.

            I'm not arguing for more troops.  I'm torn and anguished, having been near one war in my youth and not wishing to have more Americans die in another.

            "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

            by Navy Vet Terp on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 03:05:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  "I'm not saying that's Obama's intent" nt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
        •  What did you not understand about: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'm not saying that's Obama's intent

          "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

          by thethinveil on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 02:11:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thinking that Afghanistan is about a pipeline = (0+ / 0-)



      by Mark Warner is God on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 02:48:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Homophobia runs deep (5+ / 0-)

    Maybe if the image was of a really butch dyke there might be hope. But when all that is out there is a fem twink, I don't know. Dems need to get over being called gay.

  •  Good diary... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhetoricus, thethinveil

    ... but I believe there will be about 40 million more people forced to buy insurance (not 40 thousand).

  •  typo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You've got 40 thousand more people to buy insurance.  Wouldn't it be 40 million, if 40 is the number?

    Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 02:15:25 PM PST

  •  Tipped and Rec'd. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhetoricus, thethinveil

    I'm not sure how I feel about Obama's plans for the war yet, but I think much of what you said makes sense.  

    I'm seriously conflicted.

    Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

    by fou on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 02:21:42 PM PST

  •  We clearly have three choices (0+ / 0-)
    1. Return Republicans to power in 2010 and 2012.
    1. Pressure Obama but once a decision is made, support it, or we get #1.
    1. Wait.  Fuck, there's no 3.
    •  Yeah basically, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He could pass EFCA, repeal DOMA, close Gauntanamo, and pass a public option, along with a strong cap-trade or carbon tax bill.

      But are those things going to happen without a boatload of pressure? No.

      So once again we are left with pressuring him.

      "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

      by thethinveil on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 02:53:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have no problem with pressure (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rhetoricus, doinaheckuvanutjob

        But there's a lot of tearing down happening around here.  His own base is going to make him a failure and Republicans are going to sit back and laugh.

        •  It is reciprocal, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          He needs to take better steps to insure those things, so far he has not and has been willing to bargain away his base that he needs for the mid-term elections.

          It sucks, but he, other Senators and Representatives could do something about it as well.

          "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

          by thethinveil on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 03:03:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  His base can't be taken for granted (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          in his zeal to appease the right, which is a move that kills "centrist' Democrats all the time.

          If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people. --Tony Benn

          by rhetoricus on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 03:15:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  His own base also shouldn't shoot itself (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            in the foot

            •  You mean like adopting precompromed stances (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LeftOverAmerica, rhetoricus

              without any demands met and making sure Blue Dogs have more unity and power when they don't represent the views of the wider public like progressives do?

              Yeah, passing health insurance reform without the most popular aspect, the public option, and mandating coverage sure sounds like shooting oneself in the foot.

              Clearly, it is not us doing that is doing this, it is the leadership.

              We can always be clearer, but we should expect better of them, we expect that they shouldn't have their heads up their ass.

              "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

              by thethinveil on Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 04:08:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  How is our pressure on him going to get (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        EFCA passed? There we need to pressure conservadems in Congress blocking it, not Obama who's supported it. Same with the pub option, cap and trade and the carbon tax bill all of which HE PROPOSED. People are getting weird here.

        On the rest of your post, yeah, I agree pressure him on Gitmo and DOMA.

  •  They use name-calling because (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they can’t win the debates on merit. What stupider that that is, the name-calling has been working. I‘ve said for years the rule should be, "Whoever resorts to name-calling automatically loses the debate, because debates should be won on merit, not on who can most effectively insult their opponent". Maybe someday that will become accepted thinking.

  •  War mongers are.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


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