Howler of the Week

Ross Douthat:

This is an intervention straight from Bill Clinton’s 1990s playbook, in other words, and a stark departure from the Bush administration’s more unilateralist methods. There are no “coalitions of the willing” here, no dismissive references to “Old Europe,” no “you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” Instead, the Obama White House has shown exquisite deference to the very international institutions and foreign governments that the Bush administration either steamrolled or ignored.

…there are major problems with this approach to war….

Because liberal wars depend on constant consensus-building within the (so-called) international community, they tend to be fought by committee, at a glacial pace, and with a caution that shades into tactical incompetence. And because their connection to the national interest is often tangential at best, they’re often fought with one hand behind our back and an eye on the exits, rather than with the full commitment that victory can require.

First, somebody explain “total war” to Douthat. I think the last war the U.S. fought without some self-imposed restraint was World War II.

However, Douthat shows us the most basic appeal of wingnutism — namely, you never have to admit failure. I infer from this that Douthat believes George Bush’s military escapade in Iraq was a rousing success and a textbook example of “full commitment” of military strength bringing about the swift and efficient attainment of all goals.

Some things snark themselves.

15 thoughts on “Howler of the Week

  1. Ross Douthat – Military Super-genious!

    Boy, I bet “Chunky” Reese Witherspoon, whoever and where ever she is, thanks God every day that this inane drone walked away from her and was never able to launch his soft misslie.

    “Because liberal wars depend on constant consensus-building within the (so-called) international community, they tend to be fought by committee, at a glacial pace, and with a caution that shades into tactical incompetence…”
    Yes, I think that this is exactly what Hitler thought, up until he decided to finish off his last meal with a bullet for dessert, since that would be a faster end than waiting for the Allies to ‘consensus-build their international community, fought by committee, at a glacial pace and with caution shading into tactical incompetence,’ and capture his insane fucking ass and put it on trial.

    No, it’s much better to do it Bush’s way, where Little Boots gets a hard-on for attacking still another country, and while thousands of our soldiers died, and millions of Iraqi’s were killed and displaced, including Saddam Hussein (who not only was killed, but had his head displaced from his body), Osama Bin Laden, our original target, is still around to make the occasional video slapping Bush’s image around like it’s one of Charlie Sheen’s beeyatche’s.

    Ross, Darlin’ Baby Boy, stay away from anything that doesn’t involve who, what, when, where, why, and how people should handle their sexual and reproductive organs, and how it’s their ‘oh so’ moral obligation to the world and God to see that that baby is born, no matter what.
    Because the only thing you know less about than sex and fucking, is apparently anything involving the fucking military.

    And the NY Times wants to charge me for this clown?

    PS: I’m still waiting to see who they get to replace Frank Rich. You know, to even out those too, too Liberal Op-ed pages.
    I’m guessing Erick Erickson, unless they decide to try Bill Kristol II – ‘Neo-con Redemption Boogaloo!’
    Maybe Ann Coulter.
    I’ll probably drop dead from shock if it’s anyone who’s actually a Liberal. Because, you know, the real reason readership is down is because while the country has moved to the ‘center-right,’ the NY Times is still has stayed far, far left. Or, so they’re repeatedly told.
    So, what’s your guess about Rich’s replacement?

  2. What’s with the victory goal that Douthat is talking about? As far as I can see Obama has only committed to doing the ground work of imposing a no- fly zone. He’s just neutralizing Libya’s air defenses. And aside from that we don’t need our cruise missiles getting stale.

  3. This morning on my fun filled drive to Tampa, I heard that Barry Bonds is on trial and will likely get in a bunch of trouble for lying about using steroids.
    Certain “folks” in the previous administration lied us into war and are retired comfortably. Splendid!
    “somebody explain” total war” to Douthat”.
    I’m thinkin’ a big fire craker would send him under the bed for a month or so…..

  4. I bet Ross has the soft useless hands of an infant… they certainly never type anything of value. And it’s obvious this smirking neck-beard has never done a day’s real work in his life, judging from the utter inexperience revealed in his columns. He needs to leave national and social policy to the grown-ups.

  5. There’s a reason why Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it’s the same reason why I and much of the world sleeps a lot better at night, after the eight year disastrous reign of the Cheney Administration.

    I’ll take Obama’s measured, deliberate responses to crises – however glacially they happen – over the bloodthirsty, blinded by ideology, shoot from the hip, consequences-be-damned responses, from the incompetent armchair weenies, moral midgets, and immature boy soldiers Douthat apparently prefers, any day. What a dolt.

  6. Do see Michael Moore’s letter to his fellow Michiganders, summoning them to a rally in Lansing, on Wednesday. The events in Wisconsin garnered national attention, but what’s happening in Michigan is much worse and is mostly under the radar. This is what class warfare really looks like.

    …Much attention has been paid to Wisconsin in recent weeks. Well, they got nothing on what’s going on here in Michigan. Rick Snyder is Scott Walker on steroids. There’s never been what even the AARP calls “an all-out attack” like this on us. Trust me, you will rue the day you sat home and did nothing while thieves posing as politicians stole your Great Lakes State from you…

  7. Most of the right wing carping about this “adventure” is no more based in fact than any other opinion or policy they dream up. Obama could have followed the bu$hco doctrine exactly (I personally this is a little close anyway) and he still would be wrong. What they say is irrelevant, though I’d bet Obama’s political folks are happy to have the right wing sniping, if onlty to drum up some sympathy from the left. Most folks I’ve talked to of the left handed persuasion feel pretty much the same as I: this was a mistake. I hope I’m wrong but time will tell. Even if a rousing success Obama has still gone back on his pre-president rhetoric. Something about not going to war without congress? Now some more apologetic liberals may say this is no war, but in my mind when we start dropping thousand pound smart bombs and releasing tomahawk missiles on a sovereign nation we have declared war, UN sanctions be dammed. Like I said I hope this turns out better than I fear, otherwise we could end up with Sarah or Newt come 2012.

  8. Did Ross dislocate anything doing those wild gyrations? I mean, I can maybe see that it wouldn’t be too hard for a dyed-in-the-wool GOP apologist to completely ignore that Bill Clinton used the phrase “coalition of the willing”, but it seems like quite a stunt to go from dinging Obama for NOT having a “coalition of the willing” in one paragraph, then complaining he’s too internationalist.

    Or is Douthat saying that the way to go is to SAY you care about other countries, to the point of embarrassing yourself by counting Palau, or a single guy from where was it, Finland?, but actually ignore them? So Obama’s fault is that he’s ACTUALLY cooperating with other countries, not just pretending to?

    And, if we’re going to talk about “liberal” wars being fought with “one hand behind our back” I just have one thing to say: Tora Bora, you jerk.

    I used to think no one could be more simplistic and apologist that Bobo the Cabbage, but the more I read Douthat, the more I realize my error.

  9. uncledad … I hear Newt is out in Iowa standing on the word and puttin’ syrup in the ears of all God’s children on the power of redemption. He’s preaching a forgiving God with the passion of the Apostle Paul, and style of Elmer Gantry.

    I don’t think Newt is gonna make it to the final round, he’s just too creepy…and he’s a satyr to boot. It’s like we used to say in school..He’d screw a rock pile if he knew a snake was in it.

    • I don’t think Newt is gonna make it to the final round, he’s just too creepy

      Not that creepiness in a candidate ever seemed to bother wingnuts, but yeah, the more I see Newt, the more I think he belongs under a bell jar in the Character Disorder Museum. But I think what might really do him in is that he seems even more stuck in the past than the rest of the field.

  10. I am not sure how he defines “liberal war” but, It seems that the most similar actions (so far) were Bosnis and Kosovo, both of which were fairly successful in preventing atrocious human tragedies. Afghanistan and Iraq have been the protracted engagements with no clear sense of when the missions will end. I suppose they have been going on so long that, to people like Ross Douthat, they have become “wallpaper”, just a part of the environment that no longer stands out as anything remarkable. The hundreds of thousands of excess deaths and the millions displaced are somehow omitted from the “downside” of the cowboy approach.

    I freely admit that there are few people who know less about war than I do. But, at least I’ve read the “Principles of Just War” and their history. Military responses are supposed to be measured to the task and to the opponent. The “Powell Doctrine” is in opposition to to the “Principles of Just War”. Futhermore, I suspect that in some sense all wars are fought by committee, with “councils of war” being part of a long, necessary tradition. But the one thing I know is that, as Sherman said, “War is Hell, you can’t change it.” Part of the “hell” is that you will never know the “what if’s” and the “what if’s” involve a lot of death and destruction. We can support or reject the action by impulse, “like a brute beast without understanding” or we can struggle with assigning a meaning to it and some untestable judgment about whether it was “right or wrong” as if those two virtues are ever to be wholly separate. But, if we had done nothing, we might well be shaking our heads over the brutal murders of tens of thousands of people in the months to come. As it is there will be plenty to be plenty to regret. We will never know what would have been otherwise, we can only guess what MIGHT have been.

    For now, we have bought some time for the rebels, who are people trying to throw off the yoke of a tyrannical despot. That may not seem like due cause for military action, unless you’re one of the rebels.

  11. Obviously that should read “there will be plenty to regret”, like not having proofread to an acceptable standard.

  12. Pingback: The Mahablog » The Abiding Strength of Wingnutism

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