Tag Archives: foreign policy

Syria’s civil war: Fools rush in

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with a German newspaper in Damascus

Reuters image

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the new Saddam Hussein: not a nice guy, by all accounts, but is he really worth dragging the United States into yet another war in the Middle East? Is the war hawks’ — chickenhawks’ — interest in American military action in Syria’s civil war actually about the welfare of the Syrian people, or would it be just another opportunity for the U.S. military to flex its muscles again on the world stage (against a much weaker opponent — of course)?

If the allegations that the government of Syria killed hundreds of Syrian civilians with nerve gas are true — I suspect that they are, that the disturbing-enough video footage that I’ve seen of the apparent civilian victims of nerve gas is not faked — I am not sure why this particular method of the slaughter of civilians is considered to be worse than, say, how hundreds of Egyptian protesters were slaughtered by the Egyptian military earlier this month, or how hundreds have been slaughtered by U.S. drone strikes, including the confirmed deaths of almost 100 children.

Hey, how about that “shock and awe” that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians? Talk about “liberating” those Iraqis! We took away all of their problems!

I mean, dead is dead; why, exactly, the use of chemical weapons is a “red line,” as U.S. President Barack Obama put it a year ago, but being shot to death by your nation’s military while you are protesting the military coup against the president whom you’d democratically elected, or being snuffed out by an American bomb or an American weaponized drone, is regarded as A-OK eludes me.

That Saddam Hussein reportedly gassed and killed thousands of Kurds in the 1988, and that the unelected, treasonous Bush regime used this, about 15 years after the fact, as one of its many changing “reasons” to invade Iraq in 2003 (actually, Saddam Hussein was, to Washington, D.C., a “good” dictator, or at least a tolerable one, until he nationalized Iraq’s oil fields, closing them off to Big Oil* — then he was a “bad” dictator) does not mean that every time that chemical weapons are used somewhere on the planet, the U.S. military must invade that nation — because chemical weapons!

I’m not a fan of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but I’m also not a fan of yet another U.S.-led war in the Middle East while the American empire continues to rot from within (one word: Detroit).

And I’m not alone. Reuters reported yesterday:

Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria’s government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says.

About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria’s civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.

More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days — just as Syria’s civil war has escalated and the images of hundreds of civilians allegedly killed by chemicals appeared on television screens and the Internet.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not.

Taken together, the polls suggest that so far, the growing crisis in Syria, and the emotionally wrenching pictures from an alleged chemical attack in a Damascus suburb this week, may actually be hardening many Americans’ resolve not to get involved in another conflict in the Middle East. …

I’m not a cold-hearted bastard. The slaughter of one child is the slaughter of too many children. But how many more Syrian civilians would be slaughtered if the United States were to involve itself in Syria’s civil war?

That the president of the United States pronounced the existence of some “red line” and that the U.S. might look “weak” on the world stage if this “red line” materialized but the U.S. did nothing in response — saving face — is not a reason to take your nation to war.

Those who feel differently, those who want to drag us into a war in Syria — well, maybe we can air-drop them into Syria so that they can help the rebels, since they care about the Syrians so much.

But my guess is that, as was the case with the Vietraq War, the majority of those who would drag us to war in Syria are chickenhawks: They’ll talk a mean game — as long as it’s someone else who’s doing the dying.

P.S. In case you think it’s a closed case that the Syrian government gassed Syrian civilians, know this (from AFP):

… Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said about 3,600 patients displaying “neurotoxic symptoms” had flooded into three Syrian hospitals on the day of the alleged [chemical-weapon] attacks, and 355 of them died.

“Medical staff working in these facilities provided detailed information to MSF doctors regarding large numbers of patients arriving with symptoms including convulsions, excess saliva, pinpoint pupils, blurred vision and respiratory distress,” said MSF operations director Bart Janssens.

MSF president Mego Terzian told AFP that “scientific” proof is still lacking.

“Syrian doctors we work with have no scientific proof. They must take hair samples, for example, and send them to a specialist laboratory,” to carry out conclusive tests, he said. …

So, thus far there is no scientific proof that chemical weapons were used. That’s pretty fucking important, isn’t it?

And even if such scientific proof materializes, would it be impossible that members of the Syrian opposition actually staged the attack in order to draw the U.S. military to their aid? Unlikely, one hopes, but again — would it be impossible?

Syrian rebels, after all, have put the deaths at more than 1,000, but the doctors of MSF are saying 355. I tend to trust the word of the MSF doctors, who don’t have the same political agenda that the Syrian rebels do.

Hopefully the United Nations will be allowed to take the lead on the investigation into whether or not the Syrian government gassed civilians — and hopefully the United States, with its partner in crime, Britain, won’t do what it did in Iraq in 2003: bypass the wishes of the United Nations Security Council and invade a weaker sovereign nation anyway.

*CNN noted earlier this year on the 10-year anniversary of the Vietraq War:

Yes, the Iraq War was a war for oil, and it was a war with winners: Big Oil.

It has been 10 years since Operation Iraqi Freedom’s bombs first landed in Baghdad. And while most of the U.S.-led coalition forces have long since gone, Western oil companies are only getting started.

Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq’s domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies. A decade of war later, it is largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms.

From ExxonMobil and Chevron to BP and Shell, the West’s largest oil companies have set up shop in Iraq. So have a slew of American oil service companies, including Halliburton, the Texas-based firm Dick Cheney ran before becoming George W. Bush’s running mate in 2000.

The war is the one and only reason for this long sought and newly acquired access. [Emphasis all mine.]

Oil was not the only goal of the Iraq War, but it was certainly the central one, as top U.S. military and political figures have attested to in the years following the invasion.

“Of course it’s about oil; we can’t really deny that,” said Gen. John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command and Military Operations in Iraq, in 2007. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan agreed, writing in his memoir, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Then-Sen. and now Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the same in 2007: “People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are.”

For the first time in about 30 years, Western oil companies are exploring for and producing oil in Iraq from some of the world’s largest oil fields and reaping enormous profit. And while the U.S. has also maintained a fairly consistent level of Iraq oil imports since the invasion, the benefits are not finding their way through Iraq’s economy or society.

These outcomes were by design, the result of a decade of U.S. government and oil company pressure. In 1998, Kenneth Derr, then CEO of Chevron, said, “Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas-reserves I’d love Chevron to have access to.” Today it does.

In 2000, Big Oil, including Exxon, Chevron, BP and Shell, spent more money to get fellow oilmen Bush and Cheney into office than they had spent on any previous election. Just over a week into Bush’s first term, their efforts paid off when the National Energy Policy Development Group, chaired by Cheney, was formed, bringing the administration and the oil companies together to plot our collective energy future. In March, the task force reviewed lists and maps outlining Iraq’s entire oil productive capacity.

Planning for a military invasion was soon under way. Bush’s first Treasury secretary, Paul O’Neill, said in 2004, “Already by February (2001), the talk was mostly about logistics. Not the why (to invade Iraq), but the how and how quickly.”

In its final report in May 2001 (PDF), the task force argued that Middle Eastern countries should be urged “to open up areas of their energy sectors to foreign investment.” This is precisely what has been achieved in Iraq. …

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‘Mean’ Uncle Joe beats the Boy Scout at the starting line

U.S. Vice President Biden listens as Republican vice-presidential nominee Ryan speaks during the U.S. vice presidential debate in Danville

Reuters photo

Vice President Joe Biden smiles dismissively at a boyishly overeager liar Paul Ryan during tonight’s vice presidential debate, which was easy to call for Biden not even a full 15 minutes in.

It’s not even a full 15 minutes into the vice presidential debate as I type this sentence, but already Paul Ryan is coming off as a juvenile. It’s that boyish, whiny voice and those boyish expressions — Ryan comes off as a fucking Boy Scout – which might work for him in our youth-worshipping nation if the topic weren’t as serious and mature as foreign policy.

Joe Biden, coming off as experienced and smiling dismissively as Ryan lies, is kicking Ryan’s ass, and there probably is nothing else that I’ll need to write.

Ryan needed to show that we could trust him as president of the United States if it came to him becoming the president of the United States.

Not even a full 2o minutes now into the debate, Ryan has failed to do that.

I do find it interesting how the female moderator, ABC’s Martha Raddatz, is doing a much better job than PBS’s Jim Lehrer did.

Is she just more assertive than Lehrer? Or are Ryan and Biden unwilling to steamroll over a female moderator? Or is it some combo of the two?

At any rate, she’s doing what she should be doing, which is not letting Paul Ryan get off the hook with his bullshit the way that Lehrer allowed Mittens Romney to do when he debated President Barack Obama last week.

Update: As I type this sentence, Joe Biden is addressing a final topic, that of abortion. Wow. Biden — whose response is that he accepts his Catholic church’s pro-life doctrine but could never himself “impose” that view on a woman, who has the right to make decisions regarding her own body — blew Ryan (whose stated stance is that abortion should be allowed only in the cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger because of the pregnancy) out of the water, and there goes the women’s vote that dumbass pundits claimed was swaying toward the Mittens/Pretty Boy ticket.

Update: The debate is over. Kudos to Martha Raddatz for a job well done, and I have to wonder if the topic of women’s rights would have come up at all had a male moderated.

Joe Biden probably didn’t have to be quite as aggressive as he was, but if aggression was such a fucking bonus for Mittens Romney, then why would it be such a liability for Joe Biden?

Is it that right-wingers are allowed to be aggressive, but left-wingers aren’t allowed to be? That there is a double fucking standard there? (A: Yes, there is.)

Finally, again, Paul Ryan just isn’t presidential. Not with that whiny, adolescent voice, his fakey-fake, wide-eyed expressions, his over-practiced, memorized (and thus insincere-sounding) rhetoric, and really, I see twentysomethings walking around with that duck’s-ass hairdo that the fortysomething Paul Ryan wears. (No offense, twentysomethings, but I don’t want you sitting in the Oval Office, not even the most precocious among you. There is so much to be said for life experience, especially in the so-called leader of the so-called free world…)

Call me shallow, but it seems to me that, for better or for worse, it is these impressions — certainly not tedious policy details — that sway the American voters, and thus it seems to me that Joe Biden accomplished his mission of halting Team Mittens’ post-first-presidential-debate momentum.

P.S. Here is the Reuters photo that already has become iconic of the 2012 vice presidential debate:

U.S. Vice President Biden makes a point in front of Republican vice presidential nominee Ryan and moderator Raddatz during the vice presidential debate in Danville

Reuters photo

Again, I expect to hear all day tomorrow how “mean” Old Uncle Joe was to poor widdle Paulie Ryan, even though Mittens Romney’s flat-out prickish debate behavior was called a strength. And this from the corporately owned and controlled mass media that supposedly have a left-wing bias.

Let me be clear, though: Joe Biden won the debate not because he can talk over people, but because he demonstrated that he is fit to assume the presidency if it came to that, and he demonstrated — with plenty of help from Paul Ryan — that the himbo/he-Palin Paul Ryan is not.

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Mittens insults Poles by telling Polak joke

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann meet people on the street before his meeting with Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the Old Town Hall in Gdansk

Reuters photo

Mittens Romney, flanked by wife Ann, tells a Polish woman a Polak joke today in Gdansk, Poland, swiftly bringing the wrath of the Polish press upon him during his visit to Poland. Undeterred by the negative press, Mittens publicly guffawed, “How many Polaks does it take to bring down my presidential campaign?” Ann steadfastly defended her husband, telling the Poles, “You people don’t know a great leader when you see one!”

OK, so I made all of that up*, but fuck, it’s what you’d expect on the last leg of Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Mittens Romney’s Rainbow Tour (Poland), which has been as disastrous for him as Eva Peron’s was for her.

First, Mittens insulted the Brits by proclaiming that their preparations for the Olympics were insufficient.

Then, in Israel, his second stop on his world tour, Mittens yesterday first declared that Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, is the true capital of Israel, which apparently comes from Mittens’ own “Christo”fascism and/or his wanting to please the Armageddon-minded “Christo”fascists — from the theocratic mindset, and not from political reality or from sanity or from fairness.

What the fuck?

As president, would Mittens proclaim that the capital of the United States actually is Salt Lake City?

Then, also in Israel, according to The Associated Press,

Romney’s latest trouble stemmed from a speech he gave to Jewish donors in which he suggested that their culture was part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians.

Kind words for Israel are standard for many American politicians, but Palestinian leaders suggested his specific comments were racist and out of touch with the realities of the Middle East.

Mittens’ pronouncement of the Israelis’ supposed cultural superiority understandably pissed off the Palestinians, whom Romney apparently was calling lazy or untalented or unmotivated or some combination of these things, but shouldn’t it have pissed off Israelis and other Jews, too? I mean, isn’t the economically successful Jew a fairly offensive stereotype?

But if we’re to discuss it seriously, well, it certainly helps Israel that Israel long has been a big recipient of U.S. foreign aid. Notes Wikipedia: “Since 1985, [the U.S. government] has provided nearly $3 billion in grants annually to Israel, with Israel being the largest annual recipient of American aid from 1976 to 2004 and the largest cumulative recipient of aid since World War II.” (Emphasis mine.)

So it’s not that Israel has received more $$$ from the U.S. taxpayers than has any other nation since World War II.

No.

It’s the Israelis’ culture, you see, that has made them so much more successful than are the Palestinians, whose lands the Israelis occupy, and whom the Israelis treat like the white South Africans treated the natives under apartheid.

Silly Adolf Hitler had it upside down, you see. It’s the Israelis who are the master race.

Politicians from both the corporately owned and controlled Coke Party and the Pepsi Party (a.k.a. the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, or the Democratic Party and the Republican Party — I can’t tell the difference between the two) routinely kiss the asses of the Israel-firsters, who have the powerful Israel-first lobbying organization AIPAC to do their bidding, whereas the typical American has no lobbyists working for him or her.

The Israel-firsters are those who proclaim that the U.S. government should continue to staunchly lopsidedly support Israel, regardless of the costs to the people of the United States (such as blowback for such lopsided support for Israel, such as 9/11, and such as how a lot of our own fucking tax dollars sent to Israel sure the fuck could be used here at home).

The craven politicians of the partisan duopoly want the campaign contributions from the Israel-firsters and they don’t want to be accused by the Israel-firsters of being anti-semitic for suggesting that it’s probably actually not in the best interests of the average American for the U.S. government to so blatantly show so much fucking favoritism to Israel over the other nations of the Middle East, and that do so does not make the average American safer, but makes the average American much less safe by further destabilizing the region and by increasing the likelihood of retaliatory anti-American terrorist attacks.

However, there is an awful fucking lot of money for oneself to be made by maintaining the status quo. Not only do the corrupt politicians continue to get their campaign contributions from the Israel-firsters, but these bought-and-paid-for politicians then rubber-stamp the U.S.-taxpayer-funded military invasions, like the Vietraq War, that benefit Big Oil (and other corporations, like Dick Cheney’s war-profiteering Halliburton), and the traitors who comprise the military-industrial complex get to keep stealing trillions of our tax dollars by making sure that we keep making more enemies in the Middle East and elsewhere, which then become “national security threats.”

It’s a sweet gig, if you can get it, to create a problem and then to take money for “solving” the problem that you created, to perpetually perpetrate the problem, and then to perpetually claim that you need perpetual funding to “solve” the perpetual problem that wouldn’t be perpetual if you weren’t perpetually perpetrating it.

I digress, but this is what Mittens Romney clearly promises us: More of the same. He now talks about war with Iran.

With the last Repugnican president, we were told that war with Iraq was necessary. Now, here is Mittens telling us that war with Iran is necessary.

Look how much the average American benefitted from the Vietraq War! Yes, indeed, the spoils of war trickle down, don’t they?

Except that they don’t. Since the unelected, treasonous Bush regime launched the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War in 2003, the average American has gotten poorer and the filthy rich have gotten filthier.

The average American sure the fuck foots the bill for the wars for our plutocratic overlords’ profiteering, but the average American’s own economic situation only worsens — not to mention the number of lives lost to the plutocrats’ treasonous wars for their own personal fortunes.

I, for one, don’t feel like dying in a wholly preventable nuclear World War III because of Mittens Romney’s own lunatic “Christo”fascist beliefs and/or because of his desire to appeal to the “Christo”fascists lunatics’ belief that Israel is critical to bringing about “the end times,” which they want to do.

(This interesting paper on this topic notes:

Pentecostalists have inherited and modernized the fundamentalist end-time system that believes the end of the world will come with the establishment of Israel as a geographical entity, with borders very similar to what was outlined in the Bible, the turn of the Jews from exile, and Armageddon – a final war between Israel and all its enemies.)

By far, Mittens’ visit to Israel has been the scariest stop of his Rainbow Tour. When he rattles the saber against Iran, I believe that he’ll use it.

After all, treasonous plutocrats like Mittens Romney never pay the costs of the wars that they begin.

We do.

P.S. Speaking of King Mittens and Queen Ann, I saw this Photoshop job on Joe. My. God. today and busted up. (You need to know the story of poor Seamus Romney to understand the joke, though.)

*Well, the news photo actually was taken in Gdansk today. That part is true.

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WTF is the matter with Mittens? He’s a multi-millionaire baby boomer, for starters

Raw Video: Romney headlines tabloids in London

Associated Press image

A London tabloid expresses its opinion of Mittens’ visit to London on the occasion of the city’s hosting of the 2012 Olympic games.

The 2012 Olympics have gotten off to a great start — and I’m not even into sports. (Well, men’s diving and men’s gymnastics are OK…)

As others have noted, all that Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Mittens Romney really needed to do in London this past week was (1) to just show up and (2) to not make a total ass of himself. But very apparently, he could accomplish only one of those two objectives.

The mind of Mittens is a terrifying place to explore, but my blogger’s psychoanalysis of Mittens is that his London Olympics trip was meant to underscore the fact that he was in charge of the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake City and was meant to show that he — and not Barack. Hussein. Obama. — is the man who should be representing the United States of America abroad. (I hate it when someone like Mittens acts like a shadow president — it’s deeply undemocratic, since we have not elected Mittens to act as our shadow president.)

And the wingnuts’ view of foreign relations, of course, is much closer to George W. Bush’s than it is to Barack Obama’s. And that view is that the United States of America must act like a drunken, aggressive, narcissistic frat boy, treating others in the manner of a complete and total asshole. 

On that note, I just signed on to this open letter to the people of the United Kingdom:

An open letter to the people of the United Kingdom:

We are writing to express our concern over Mitt Romney’s recent comments, and to let you know that he does not represent how most Americans view your great country.

First, we do not believe, as Mitt Romney implied in 2007, that you have become a second-tier nation. Rather, we are impressed at how the United Kingdom has consistently been able to punch above its weight on the world stage.

Additionally, we do not share the opinion which Romney expressed in his 2010 book, No Apologies, that “England [sic] is just a small island,” and that “with few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy.” Please continue sending us your many wonderful products, especially the upcoming third season of “Downton Abbey.”

We look forward not only to the London Olympics, but also to many years of continuing the special relationship between our two nations. Rest assured we will do our level best to prevent Mitt Romney from becoming our next president.

Cheers!

I hope that before the organizers send the letter on to the Brits, they delete that reference to “Downton Abbey”* — that bad joke seems actually to reinforce Mittens’ contention that the UK is not a serious contender on the world stage — but I agree with most of it. (If you want to sign on, you can do so by clicking here.)

Of course, when we state that “we are impressed at how the United Kingdom has consistently been able to punch above its weight on the world stage,” we need to be careful that with such broad statements we are not endorsing some of the UK’s atrocities, which include the subjugation and in some cases even the decimation of the natives of Africa, Australia, India and neighboring Ireland, and which also includes the UK’s government’s support of the Vietraq War, in which the United States and the UK were partners in war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Indeed, if the U.S.’s rap sheet of atrocities is shorter than the UK’s, that’s only because the U.S. is a much younger nation.)

All of that said — and all of that reinforcing  yet another reason why it was an incredibly poor idea for a henchman of Mittens to assert earlier this week that Mittens Romney better understands the “Anglo-Saxon heritage”** shared by the UK and the United States than does Obama — it was incredibly pompous for Mittens, as a guest of the UK, to state his opinion just before the opening of the 2012 Olympics that London wasn’t ready.    

My guess is that such boorish behavior comes from the fact that Mittens is an American baby boomer — as a group, these selfish narcissists vastly overestimate their talents, abilities and worth, and as a group, they know no fucking shame — and from the fact that as a overprivileged (Daddy was chairman and president of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973, and Mommy ran for the U.S. Senate for Michigan in 1970, for fuck’s sake) multi-millionaire (from his vulture capitalism) who is used to others sucking up to him, Mittens is uncomfortable in any other role than being the uber-alpha male, the frat-boy asshole on crack.

My guess is that Mittens feels like he’s in charge wherever he is, and that he saw nothing wrong with telling his hosts on the topic of hosting the Olympics: “You’re doing it wrong!”

Of course, again, those on the right subscribe to the George W. Bush School of Foreign Policy, so it’s not like in their eyes Mittens did anything wrong. They want their president to be the biggest bully on the international stage. Unless the U.S. president is hated worldwide, he isn’t doing his job — that’s their credo.

So, as usual, in November it will come down to the “swing voters.”

I don’t imagine that a huge chunk of them really cares either that Mittens conducted himself like a jackass in London this week, since their area of concern usually doesn’t extend more than a few miles’ radius, but if Mittens gets the reputation as a bumbler on the world stage — because he is — that might cost him a significant number of votes.

We’ll see, but in the meantime, it is instructive, I think, to examine Mittens’ personality traits that have been on display on the world stage this week and to ask ourselves what these personality traits would mean for us here at home should he ever sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.

Of course, we Americans just allowed George W. Bush to blatantly steal the White House in late 200o — what bad events possibly could follow a blatantly stolen presidential election? — so of course we can’t write presidential wannabe Mittens off.

*I purchased and watched the first two seasons of PBS’ “Downton Abbey,” and my impressions of the television show are that one, while the series is watchable, the first season was better than the second, and that two, “Downton Abbey’s” American target audience seems to be limousine liberals. (That said, I’m quite middle- and working-class myself. I’ve never even been inside of a limo.)

“Downton Abbey” seems to be making structural and institutional socioeconomic equality seem OK because the lord and lady of the manor are fairly decent individuals, are not individually abusive to their servants. Of course, the whole setup — an overprivileged class that is served by an underprivileged class — is abusive, but apparently we are to overlook that.

Thus, again, “Downton Abbey” should be a fave among the limousine liberals, like my baby-boomer uncle, who owns several homes and is a U.S. military contractor but who nonetheless in all seriousness calls himself a “socialist.”

**While I haven’t studied my own genealogy, I suspect that I primarily of am British stock, as many white Americans are. (Wikipedia notes that “German Americans [16.5 percent], Irish Americans [11.9 percent], English Americans [9.0 percent], Italian Americans [5.8 percent], French Americans [4 percent], Polish Americans [3 percent], Scottish Americans [1.9 percent], Dutch Americans [1.6 percent], Norwegian Americans [1.5 percent] and Swedish Americans [1.4 percent] constitute the 10 largest white American ancestries.”)

While there is much about the UK that I admire — such as the incredibly useful and expansive English language, of course — I think that it’s vital to recognize a nation’s wrongdoings as well as its successes. Thus, when Mittens said this in “defense” of his henchman’s “Anglo-Saxon heritage” remark, it was not a save: “It [the United States’ and the UK’s shared ‘Anglo-Saxon heritage’] goes back to our very beginnings — cultural and historical. But I also believe the president understands that. So I don’t agree with whoever that adviser might be, but do agree that we have a very common bond between ourselves and Great Britain.”

Yes, among other things, the United States and the UK have in common their colonization of other nations, the raping, pillaging and plundering of other, militarily weaker nations (including, of course, slavery) so that the UK and the U.S. could maintain a standard of living much higher than that of the average member of Homo sapiens on planet Earth. (And for this so-called “Anglo-Saxon” “success” you will get no apologies from Mittens Romney!)

When the British empire waned, the American empire rose up to replace it, and now the American empire wanes.

And you gotta love Mittens’ assertion, “So I don’t agree with whoever that adviser might be.” How much control, exactly, does Mittens have over his own campaign?

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‘Bomb-throwing’ Ron Paul wins wingnuts’ New Hampshire debate

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, points to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as he answers a question during a Republican presidential candidate debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Associated Press photo

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, left, gestures at front-runner former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during tonight’s Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary debate in Manchester, New Hampshire. Romney was polished and toed the party line, while Paul kept it real and wasn’t afraid to buck the party consensus.

I live-blogged tonight’s Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate, the first 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary debate that I’ve watched in its entirety. The live-blogging is below.

I conclude that Ron Paul won the debate, hands down.

5:59 p.m. (Pacific time): The debate should begin within minutes… I’ve yet to force myself to sit through an entire 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate, but tonight I am going to, come hell or high water.

6:03 p.m.: It’s telling that all six candidates are middle-aged or old white men. These are the faces of the Repugnican Tea Party, no doubt. Anyway, with Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos and some other guy moderating, this apparently is a pretty high-level debate…

6:07 p.m.: All of these fascists more or less look alike to me, but thus far Mitt Romney seems to be doing pretty well, with the exception of his fakey-fake “friendly” voice, which is whisper-like and condescending. Rick Santorum seems to be uncomfortable in his own skin, not entirely unlike how he is parodied by Adam Samberg on “Saturday Night Live”…

6:11 p.m.: The candidates are now singing the praises of capitalism, which they aren’t calling “capitalism,” but are calling “free enterprise,” since that polls better and since capitalism isn’t as popular as it used to be with the 99 percent these days. There was a mention of how dangerous Iran is, which I’m sure we’ll get back to. This “free enterprise” crap sounds just like the portion of a debate I listened to a long time ago, when Michele Bachmann was still in the race…

6:14 p.m.: Ron Paul has called Santorum “corrupt.” Santorum has taken issue with this charge, of course. Santorum also states that he isn’t a libertarian, but that he believes in some government. (Government when it helps the plutocracy, right?)

6:17 p.m.: Ron Paul brags that he has signed only a handful of appropriations bills in the U.S. House of Representatives, that he opposes most government spending. “I am not a libertarian, Ron,” Santorum has repeated.

6:19 p.m.: Rick Perry is on now. He has bashed “corrupt spending” in Washington, D.C., and touts that he’s a D.C. outsider. His claim that he has been the “commander in chief” of Texas’ National Guard, apparently, is risible.

6:21 p.m.: Ah, we’re back to Iran. What’s the U.S. without a bogeyman? Jon Huntsman is rambling now. Sawyer asked about Iran, but Huntsman, perhaps fearing he won’t be able to answer another question, hasn’t answered the question, but has given a little stump speech. Huntsman is as white-bread as Romney is, but maybe that’s a product of their Mormonism.

6:25 p.m.: So Romney has called Barack Obama’s a “failed presidency,” stating that Obama has no leadership experience (I guess that the past three years don’t count), and alleging that Obama hasn’t been tougher on Iran, even though elective war in the Middle East has brought the American empire to the brink of collapse already.

6:27 p.m.: “Iran’s a big problem, without a doubt,” Rick Perry has proclaimed, further claiming that Iran (somehow) threatens our freedom. (It would be the plutocrats here at home who threaten our freedom, but that’s another blog post.) We heard the same thing about Iraq, did we not? That it was a threat to our freedom and our security? Again, it’s apparent that the Repugnican Tea Party fascists intend to use the specter of Iran to scare the populace into voting for them. Will it work again?

6:30 p.m.: Ron Paul passionately has talked about chickenhawks, though who gladly send our young off to war when they avoided military service themselves. Paul and Newt Gingrich went back and forth about whether or not Gingrich evaded military service, which would make him a chickenhawk. It’s rare for a Repugnican Tea Party candidate to bash chickenhawks.

6:33 p.m.: Ron Paul passionately has talked about how blacks and other “poor minorities” disproportionately are punished by our “criminal” “justice” system (as opposed to whites), including the fact that blacks and other poor minorities are more likely to be executed than are whites. Paul’s rant was a diversion from the question about the reportedly racist overtones of his old newsletter, but it’s rare to hear a Repugnican Tea Party candidate admit that the “criminal” “justice” system is patently unfair and racially biased.

6:35 p.m.: So there’s a break now. Some fucktarded ABC News pundit has called Ron Paul a “bomb-thrower,” but Paul seems sincere in his positions to me. Thus far, Ron Paul is doing the best in the debate, in my book, but as his views are closest to mine, maybe that’s why. I find front-runners Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum to be yawn-inducing and utterly uninspiring.

6:41 p.m.: Mitt Romney states that he personally opposes any attempt to ban contraception, although he states that he has no idea as to whether or not it would be constitutional for a state to attempt to ban contraception. Romney states that he supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define a marriage as being only between a man and a woman. This makes him utterly unelectable to me, to codify homophobia in the U.S. Constitution.

6:42 p.m.: Romney states that he believes that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned, which also makes him utterly unelectable to me.

6:43 p.m.: Rick Santorum, not to be outdone by Mitt Romney, also states that he also would overturn Roe vs. Wade. These men sure hate women.

6:45 p.m.: The topic now is same-sex marriage. Ron Paul has talked about privacy rights, but I’m not sure of his stance on same-sex marriage. Thus far no one supports same-sex marriage, unsurprisingly, with the possible exception of Paul. Jon Huntsman says he supports civil unions but does not believe that same-sex marriage should be allowed. That’s the coward’s way out, and separate is not equal.

6:47 p.m.: Santorum says that marriage is a federal issue. (I agree. Same-sex marriage should be allowed in all 50 states.) Santorum sounds like he also supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman only.

6:49 p.m.: Romney has used the bullshit “argument” that same-sex marriage should not be allowed because children should be raised only by heterosexual couples. Studies refute this assertion, and of course many people marry with no intent to raise children. Newt Gingrich essentially has tried to make the argument that “Christo”fascist haters are being oppressed by not being allowed to hate and to discriminate against others based upon their hateful religious beliefs. Oh, well. Gingrich has a snowball’s chance in hell of making it to the White House anyway.

6:54 p.m.: Rick Perry couldn’t resist adding that he also supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage, and he is echoing Gingrich’s “argument” that the poor “Christo”fascists are experiencing a “war on religion.” Really? How about we start throwing them to the lions so that at least they aren’t lying through their fucking teeth when they claim that they are so fucking oppressed because they can’t cram their bullshit beliefs down our throats?

6:59 p.m.: Sounds like Jon Huntsman supports our withdrawal from Afghanistan. Newt Gingrich has used the topic of Afghanistan to bring up the specter of Iran, but, surprisingly, indicated that the problems in the Middle East don’t call for military solutions. Rick Santorum speaks again. He still seems ill at ease. He opposes withdrawing from Afghanistan any day soon, very apparently, because, he says, “radical Islam” is a “threat.” (Funny — I see radical “Christianity” as a much bigger and much more immediate threat to my own freedoms and security than I see Islam ever being.)

7:01 p.m.: Rick Perry says that he disagrees with the pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq, because Iran will overtake Iraq — “literally” “at the speed of light,” he said. (Really? Literally at the speed of light?) Like the last governor from Texas knew what to do in Iraq… Anyway, Rick Perry isn’t getting much air time, and I predict that his campaign won’t make it to next month.

7:04 p.m.: Ron Paul correctly points out that so many of the members of his party can’t wait to, as John McCainosaurus once put it, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran, but that he thinks it’s a bad idea, as the U.S. military already is woefully overextended. (Paul did make an awkward comment about how although the Chinese government killed scores of its own citizens, it was a ping-pong game that “broke the ice.” Again: Awkward…)

7:06 p.m.: Rick Santorum seems like he’s so nervous that he might barf. We’re on another break now.

7:11 p.m.: Still on break. In my book, Ron Paul is winning this debate. However, he’s not mimicking all of the others on key stands (Iran evil, same-sex marriage evil, etc.), so I can’t see him getting even the vice-presidential spot on the 2012 ticket (presuming he’d even want it).

7:20 p.m.: We’re talking about the nation’s infrastructure now, apparently having finished with social issues and foreign policy. Mitt Romney is supposed to be talking about infrastructure, but instead he’s singing yet another insipid paean to capitalism, as opposed to Barack Obama’s “social welfare state.” Newt Gingrich is actually answering the question. Newt says that we have to maintain our infrastructure in order to keep pace with China and India (not because it’s good for us commoners, but because it’s good for business, apparently). Rick Santorum is supposed to be talking about infrastructure, but instead is claiming that corporations are overtaxed and over-regulated. Apparently the Repugs don’t really want to talk about the infrastructure, which the unelected Bush regime allowed to crumble for almost a decade.

7:25 p.m.: So little of substance was said on the topic of our crumbling infrastructure. Apparently all of our resources should go into even more warfare in the Middle East for the war profiteers and for Big Oil. Ron Paul is rambling on about cutting spending. Who is going to pay for our infrastructure? Oh, no one, since it’s not important, apparently. Rick Perry is now pontificating about lowering taxes (although without taxes, we can’t have a commons) and is advocating an energy policy of “drill, baby, drill,” essentially, and claims that Texas’ being a “right-to-work” state has resulted in job growth there. The plutocrats love it when the worker bees cannot unionize for better working conditions and better pay and benefits and rights. Rick Perry is evil, and his state’s jobs are low-paying jobs with bad or no benefits, which is why he focuses on the number of jobs, not the quality of those jobs, in Texas. Bad, low-paying jobs in which the deck is insanely stacked in the favor of the plutocrats are great for the plutocrats, but are catastrophic for the working class.

7:26 p.m.: Mitt Romney says that the November 2012 presidential election is about “the soul of the nation.” Indeed. If any of these fascists win, the soul of the nation will wither even further than it has over at least the past decade.

7:28 p.m.: Newt Gingrich has brought up Ronald Reagan. I’m shocked that it has taken this long for the name of St. Ronald to be brought up. (No mention of George W. Bush yet. Not one… Hee hee hee…) Rick Santorum, who still appears to be nauseous, just essentially stated that we don’t have socioeconomic classes here in the United States of America, and that Barack Obama has been trying to stoke “class warfare.” Wow. We are a classless society? When is the last time that Rick Santorum hosted a homeless person in his home, I wonder? And given that Obama took more money from the Wall Street weasels than John McCainosaurus did in 2008, how has Obama been stoking “class warfare” (as Santorum means it)?

7:32 p.m.: Now the topic is China. Apparently China is The Enemy, too, although I’m sure that Iran remains Public Enemy No. 1. Hmmm. Isn’t it the capitalists who sell us out here at home for their own enrichment, rather than anyone in China, who are responsible for our nation’s economic collapse? All of these bogeymen, when the enemies are right here among us…

7:40 p.m.: Another break. Overall, this is a sorry batch of candidates, a bunch of circus clowns, for the most part; Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman seem to be the least insane of the six all-white, all-male candidates. Rick Perry wants to be George W. Bush’s third term, apparently, and again, I can’t see that happening for him; I predict that he’ll be the next to drop out. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum seem to be too similar on the issues for it to matter much which one might ever be president, Mitt the Mormon “Christo”fascist or Rick the Catholick “Christo”fascist.

7:42 p.m.: Damn, this shit is over already!

The winner of the debate, in my book, was Ron Paul. The pundits, not shockingly, are calling Mitt Romney the winner. Gee, if being as insipid as a glass of warm milk makes you the winner, then perhaps Romney won, but Paul showed more spunk and passion and sincerity — and, dare I say it, some wisdom — than any of the other five candidates.

I think the pundits are calling Romney the winner only because they’re fucktards who are going to side only with establishmentarian, orthodox candidates. To them, Ron Paul essentially is a ghost, an invisible man, because he doesn’t say what they think he should say. They don’t really listen to him, but only compare what he’s saying against what his cohorts/“cohorts” are saying, and because he isn’t mimicking his cohorts, and because his views don’t fit neatly into the pundits’ oversimplified worldview, they simply ignore him or dismiss him.

I hope that Paul sticks it out and keeps sticking it to them. He’s the only thing remotely interesting about this crop of backasswards white men who would be president who seem to be stuck in the ethos of the 19fucking50s.

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UN looking into legality of slaughter of bin Laden

Was this past weekend’s assassination of Osama bin Laden legal?

Unsurprisingly, in the articles that I’ve read online, Americans tend to say that of course it was — he was an “enemy combatant” with whom we were “at war”; U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder actually called, quite speciously, bin Laden’s assassination “an act of national self-defense” (and not, say, a revenge killing); and besides, Barack Obama had said when he was campaigning for president that if we got bin Laden in our sights then he would order him killed (as though if you simply warn someone that you will do something illegal, such as rape her or murder him, if you get the opportunity to do so and then do so, then your actual act is not illegal because hey, you’d given him or her a warning!) — while those outside of the U.S. are much less likely to make such a certain pronouncement, expressing problems with the facts that bin Laden was unarmed and that the raid on his compound was conducted without the consent or even the prior notification of the government of the sovereign nation of Pakistan. Bin Laden should have been captured, if at all possible, and put on trial, since everyone, even the likes of bin Laden, has the right to due process, these dissenters have expressed.

One of these dissenters, Kent University international lawyer Nick Grief, called bin Laden’s killing what it apparently was: an “extrajudicial killing without due process of the law,” and he noted that even Nazi war criminals were brought to trial at the end of World War II.

Louise Doswald-Beck, former legal chief for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that bin Laden was not an enemy combatant but that “He was basically head of a terrorist criminal network, which means that you’re not really looking at the law of armed conflict but at lethal action against a dangerous criminal.”

Another British lawyer, Michael Mansfield, said, “The serious risk is that in the absence of an authoritative narrative of events played out in Abbottabad, vengeance will become synonymized with justice, and that revenge will supplant due process. … Whatever feelings of elation and relief may dominate the airwaves, they must not be allowed to submerge core questions about the legality of the exercise, nor to permit vengeance or summary execution to become substitutes for justice.” [Emphasis mine.]

And it looks as though the United Nations is investigating the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reports The Associated Press today:

Geneva – The United Nations’ independent investigator on extrajudicial killings* has called on the United States to reveal more details of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideaway to allow experts to assess the legality of his killing.

South African law professor Christof Heyns said in a statement [today] that Washington “should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards.”

Heyns says “it will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture Bin Laden.”

His statement echoed similar appeals from other UN officials, human rights groups and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

U.S. officials say the raid is legal under U.S. and international law.

Of course “U.S. officials say the raid [was] legal under U.S. and international law.” How often does the perpetrator of a crime admit it?

In any event, it’s not like the U.S. is going to respect any adverse finding by the UN anyway. The UN Security Council would not rubber-stamp George W. Bush’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War, but the Bush regime went ahead and launched it anyway in March 2003. The U.S. respects the UN only when it is convenient for the U.S. to do so, which is one of the many reasons that the U.S. is so hated throughout the world: its blatant hypocrisy and double standards.

I still believe that the assassination of Osama bin Laden was meant, at least in part, for Barack Obama’s political gain. I believe that Obama wanted to show that he’s just as bad a bad-ass as George W. Bush tried to pass himself off as, and also, what’s better to counter the charges that Obama is not really an American and actually is Muslim than to snuff out Osama bin Laden, to take him dead or alive dead?

The so-called “swing voters” are susceptible to such wingnutty charges that Obama isn’t a citizen and that he’s actually a Muslim, and it’s the support of the “swing voters” (he’s screwed his progressive base) that Obama so very badly wants for his re-election.

Weirdly, though, in the White House photo of the gathering in the Situation Room during the operation to assassinate bin Laden that everyone has dissected to death —

In this image released by the White House and ...

— to me, Obama doesn’t look like the leader of all of it. To me, he looks like he’s just kind of shrinking in the corner, a bit bewildered and perhaps overwhelmed by all of it, and hell, just from this photo, Secretary of State Billary Clinton appears to be more in charge than Obama does. Obama appears in the photo to be an onlooker at most.

In any event, Osama bin Laden is dead, which even Al-Qaeda has acknowledged, and it’s not like there will be formal repercussions for the U.S. government for once again very apparently having violated international law.

But it will be interesting to see for how long the U.S. can maintain its position as the global bully. Bin Laden’s actions significantly weakened what he believed to be the “great Satan,” the American empire, costing the United States at least $3 trillion, pundits are saying. (Of course, much if not most of that $3 trillion went to greedy war profiteers, not for the actual benefit of the U.S., and much of it simply disappeared and remains unaccounted for to this day.)

And as China is poised to become the world’s No. 1 economy within the next decade, as the U.S. economy continues to teeter on the brink of collapse, how long will the U.S. be able to call the shots globally?

It is in the long-term interests of the United States of America — and any other nation’s — to follow the rule of law. It is easier and more convenient, in the short run, to circumvent the law, but to circumvent the law often bites you in the ass later, often (if not usually) costing you more than if you had just done it right the first time.

Because he was not put on trial, but was assassinated, Osama bin Laden is now, to many in the Muslim world, a martyr whose manner of death only proves his assertions about American abuse of power against Arabs and Muslims to be correct. We Americans can, and should, fully expect bin Laden’s death to be avenged. And then we’ll avenge that. This tit-for-tat bullshit bloodshed can go on for years and years and years, which is exactly what the war profiteers and the weasels of the military-industrial complex want.

And just as the United States was somewhat recovering from its reputation as the global asshole that the treasonous members of the unelected Bush regime earned it, Barack Obama, by mimicking George “W. for Wanted Dead or Alive” Bush, has taken us backasswards again.

Can we at least take away that Nobel Peace Prize that he so prematurely was awarded while the UN investigates the legality of his unilateral order to assassinate bin Laden?

P.S. Reuters reports a little more thoroughly today of the United Nations’ looking into the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reuters reports today:

Martin Scheinin, UN special rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism … and Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that in certain exceptional cases, deadly force may be used in “operations against terrorists.”

“However, the norm should be that terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially-decided punishment,” the independent experts said in a joint statement.

“In respect of the recent use of deadly force against Osama bin Laden, the United States of America should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards,” they said. “It will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture bin Laden.”

Scheinin, a Finnish law professor who teaches in Florence, and Heyns, a South African human rights law professor, report to the UN Human Rights Council, whose 47 members include the United States. …

Navi Pillay, the top UN human rights official, also called this week for light to be shed on the killing, stressing that all counter-terrorism operations must respect international law.

“We’ve raised a question mark about what happened precisely, more details are needed at this point,” her spokesman Rupert Colville told a briefing in Geneva [today].

*Those Obama apologists and American jingoists who take exception to the word “assassination” (as though only, say, an American president could be assassinated) at least cannot argue that bin Laden’s killing was indeed, at the least, an extrajudicial execution.

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Bin Laden’s death changes nothing

Updated below

Osama bin Laden

Associated Press photo

There is no shortage of bogeymen for the war profiteers and the war hawks anyway. Like Big Brother in 1984, the United States always has an enemy, and if there isn’t a real enemy, an enemy will be fabricated.

So news is coming out now that Osama bin Laden is dead. I knew that the wingnuts would spin this into much, much more than it is (little more than a symbolic, rather than much of a practical, “victory”), but I wasn’t expecting NBC’s correspondent Richard Engel to spin it the way that he did.

Not to pick on Engel, because I’m sure that we’re going to hear variations on the same theme from the members of the same corporately owned and controlled mass media organizations that were fucking cheerleaders for the Vietraq War, but I just listened to him state that now that bin Laden is dead, the American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will know why they were there, and now the “war on terror” is over (he said something close to that if that’s not exactly what he said).

Oh. My. God.

OK, the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been there for the war profiteers, such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton. No war, no profits. The unelected Bush regime gave the war profiteers their war. Oh, and the whole oil thing, too, of course — which is why they called it Operation Iraqi Freedom instead of Operation Iraqi Liberation.

Bin Laden and 9/11 were just an excuse for the radical right-wing traitors to do what they’d wanted to do all along. For instance, Project for a New American Century, a right-wing think tank, was pushing for the full-scale invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein when Bill Clinton was still president, and members of that very same think tank ended up in the BushCheneyCorp’s cabal after the stolen presidential election of 2000. (Google it.)

Not that Osama bin Laden is/was a great guy. Bin Laden and company killed just under 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001. But since then more than 6,000 U.S. and coalition troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of them in Iraq, but Iraq had absolutely fucking nothing to do with 9/11, so how — how — can anyone assert that Osama bin Laden’s death makes the whole Vietraq War, in which more Americans have died than died on Sept. 11, 2001, worth it? (Yes, it’s a fucking fact: via his bogus war in Iraq, George W. Bush killed more Americans that did Osama bin Laden on American soil.)

And after the United States has slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq alone since 2003, how can we declare the “war on terror” to be over? For us to do that, we’d have to assume that none of the thousands upon thousands of Iraqis who had loved ones slaughtered by the United States will ever attempt to exact revenge.

Since the Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust invasion of Iraq in March 2003 — using 9/11 and non-existent weapons of mass destruction as the justification — the U.S. has far more enemies in the Middle East than it did before Sept. 11, 2001. And that’s just the Iraqi body count. The U.S. continues to slaughter civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan pretty much every day.

This makes us safer from future (attempted) terrorist attacks?

And is the corpse of Osama bin Laden really worth the hundreds of billions of our tax dollars that have been funneled to the war profiteers via the bogus Vietraq War?

Will bin Laden’s body get us back those hundreds of billions of dollars not just squandered, but stolen from us? Will his death resurrect our economy, including easing our federal budget deficit, a huge chunk of which is due to the expense of the bogus Vietraq War?

Bin Laden’s death won’t improve things here in the U.S. any more than Saddam Hussein’s death did.

We can celebrate all we want that ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead, but the wicked witch’s death won’t stop the collapse of the American empire.

That so many of us Americans apparently so stupidly believe that one man’s death is worth the thousands of lives and the hundreds of billions of dollars that we blew through first in order to get it is a sure sign that our empire’s collapse is close at hand.

Update (Monday, May 2, 2011): The Huffington Post gives this as the Richard Engel quote that I referenced:

“This [news of bin Laden’s death] is nothing less than breathtaking,” said Richard Engel, reporting from Bengazi, Libya. “This ends a chapter — the global war on terrorism that has defined a generation, which has defined the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan and Iraq. So many people, so many soldiers have been waiting for this moment.”

I seem to remember Engel having made a stronger comment to the effect that now our soldiers know why they have been in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I heard his remark live via the Internet and I didn’t write it down.

Again, the so-called “war on terror” is not over, and Iraq never had anything to do with bin Laden. For a major television “news” network correspondent to reinforce that myth is journalistic malpractice.

And I don’t even believe that “So many people, so many soldiers have been waiting for this moment.” I believe that the vast majority of Americans had, until now, mostly forgotten all about bin Laden.

I’ll give Engel a bit of a pass for having been caught up in the moment of the breaking news, but fuck.

P.S. For more commentary on this, see my mirror blog at Open Salon, where there is more discussion than there is here.

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