She is one of my favorite artists, Rickie Lee Jones. This song – “Ugly Man” – was written about President George W. Bush, but I’m dedicating it to my new friend Glenn Greenwald, who has inspired me to write a lot more about him. Thanks Glenn…
Considering the fact that Glenn Greenwald trusted Bush going into Iraq, it seems appropriate.
I remember all those many months ago when President Obama made clear that he was going to pull our military out of Iraq by the end of 2011 and how it was met with skepticism and pretty much dismissed by those in the Professional Left, who see everything through a filter that turns President Obama into another one of the Bush children.
Here are just some of the headlines from those supposedly über progressive blogs that have spent the last 3 years trashing on the most liberal president in a generation.
From Salon.com – Justin Elliott on September 12, 2011
Obama poised to break Iraq pullout promise
This one was from May 11, 2011 from Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel
Iraq Withdrawal Date For U.S. Troops May Be Pushed Back Beyond 2011
There are many more where those came from. It’s been interesting to watch as these same people who were heaping blame and skepticism on President Obama’s promise to get all the troops out of Iraq are now failing to give him any credit for it. Glenn Greenwald and others are doing all sorts of contortions in order to avoid admitting that President Obama has kept another of his promises and has ended the Iraq War, which should send the likes of Greenwald into the streets in celebration. Instead, they are, in a round about way, praising President Bush for setting the initial timetable, which everyone met with skepticism as just a temporary measure that would be changed later on. That is why the Republicans are freaking out so much about it, they never intended on leaving Iraq at the end of 2011. Robert Parry spells it out in this piece called “Why the Left Won’t Accept Success”…(emphasis mine)
In President Obama’s speech the other night on the ending of combat operations in Iraq, he did what all presidents do and was respectful of his predecessor George W. Bush. Here is what he said…
I’m mindful that the Iraq war has been a contentious issue at home. Here, too, it’s time to turn the page. This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It’s well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one can doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I’ve said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hopes for Iraqis’ future.
The greatness of our democracy is grounded in our ability to move beyond our differences, and to learn from our experience as we confront the many challenges ahead.
Now really, that is not exactly praise in my opinion. But if you watched Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow following the speech, you would think he lavished praise all up and down his ass. This is a little of Rachel’s reaction, from The Raw Story…
“And to to have in this speech, as combat operations are ending, to have, as you point out Keith, the president not only not addressing the circumstances in which he we went to war, but these kind words for President Bush, describing his commitment to our security, despite the recklessness with which President Bush discarded that national security in favor of this war of choice, which only diminished our security, and is responsible probably for the Afghanistan war still going on today, for the depths of people who have died in Afghanistan after the time, after which that war would have ended had we not gone to Iraq, not to mention all of the people who died in Iraq,” Maddow continued.
Woe Rachel, stop and take a deep breath. What would you have him do, give a campaign-like speech rehashing what we all know and have known for many years. President Obama’s final sentence, posted above, says exactly why he didn’t bring up the things Rachel wanted to hear, we need to move beyond that crap and look to the future. What good would that do today, to bring up all that stuff that has been very well reported and talked about for many years? The whole revenge mentality of some on the left really makes Democrats look petty. A philosopher that had a huge impact on my thinking, Jiddu Krishnamurti, taught that all thought is based on the past and interferes with the present (I’m paraphrasing). Here is a salient quote from Krishnamurti about anger…
One of the most common expressions of violence is anger. When my wife or sister is attacked I say I am righteously angry; when my country is attacked, my ideas, my principles, my way of life, I am righteously angry. I am also angry when my habits are attacked or my petty little opinions. When you tread on my toes or insult me I get angry, or if you run away with my wife and I get jealous, that jealousy is called righteous because she is my property. And all this anger is morally justified. But to kill for my country is also justified. So when we are talking about anger, which is a part of violence, do we look at anger in terms of righteous and unrighteous anger according to our own inclinations and environmental drive, or do we see only anger? Is there righteous anger ever? Or is there only anger?…
I was as angry as anyone about that goddamn war before it started and after it started. I screamed at my TV set when they were leading us into this war that “they are fucking lying, there are no WMD’s” and all sorts of other stuff. But like I said, what good would it do for the sitting president to take jabs at the former president when it has been done plenty since that war began. It isn’t “presidential” to do that, especially to satisfy the anger that still exists and seems to cloud Rachel’s mind. This is a perfect example of why the Democratic Party turns off so many moderate voters. In effect, Rachel is asking him to trot out the blame, rehash the whole damn war, fulfill my lust for anger and revenge. Hasn’t that been done? Shouldn’t we move forward and make sure that kind of shit doesn’t happen again?
If you look at what he actually said, he didn’t praise President Bush at all. In fact, he basically said he fucked up, but it’s not because he is unpatriotic, it’s because he is fucking stupid. I can read between the lines, but apparently Rachel and Keith only heard the words “security” and “patriot” and were unable to see that he was not addressing the effects of the stupid fucking decision but rather that Bush’s motivations weren’t the issue, it was his stupidity. It was a very classy way saying Bush fucked up. I think he really believed that starting that war would help our security, whether it was Cheney who brainwashed him or someone else. Bush’s fault lies in being a moron, not in his motivations.
I love Rachel and think she has the best news and opinion show on television, but man she can go off on tangents and lose perspective. President Obama is a classy man who looks forward, not back and is really trying not to play the blame game which the media is obsessed with, including Rachel. But I still love her.
I went back in the Google archives and found this story from the Guardian about the speech President Obama gave at Fort Lejeune in February of 2009, where he spelled out his plan in Iraq. Last night that promise was fulfilled on schedule and exactly as he laid out. Eat it, critics. Here is a reminder of what was said in that speech, from the Guardian piece…
Obama flew from Washington yesterday morning to Fort Lejeune, North Carolina, to deliver his speech in front of 8,000 marines. He told them it was going to be a speech with far-reaching consequences: “Today, I have come to speak to you about how the war in Iraq will end.”
Of the 142,000 US troops in Iraq, between 92,000 and 107,000 are to leave by August next year. The mission at that point will change, from combat to one that deals primarily with training Iraqi forces, supporting the Iraqi government and engaging in counter-terrorism.
So of course I remember how much skepticism there was from people in the “professional left” or as I like to call them “the Obama-haters”, so I did a little googling to find out what these folks were saying back then. Think how they are talking about Afghanistan now….do you see any similarities and will these assholes admit that they were wrong, yea right…
According to Ricks, military brass and foreign policy officials express deep skepticism toward Obama’s withdrawal timeline and “[m]any of those closest to the situation in Iraq expect a full-blown civil war to break out there in the coming years.”
“The quiet consensus emerging… is that U.S. soldiers will probably be engaged in combat there until at least 2015 – which would put us at about the midpoint of the conflict now.” In a summary of his book, Ricks concludes: “[T]he events for which the Iraq war will be remembered probably haven’t even happened yet.” (Washington Post, 2/15/09)
Here is some more skepticism from back when the president announced his plan, I wonder how many people are listening to these people and their predictions about Afghanistan today?
Iraq’s Parliamentary elections have not yet been scheduled and don’t even have an electoral law, and according to a number of senior Iraqi politicians probably will not be held until March 2010 (not December 2009). That would then give the U.S. about five months to withdraw the bulk of the dozen combat brigades which would reportedly remain. And then, keep in mind that U.S. officials generally agree (correctly) that the most dangerous period of elections is actually in their aftermath, when disgruntled losers might turn to violence or other destabilizing measures. So the following month will likely not seem a good time either. So that would leave four months to move, what — 9 brigades? Did someone say precipitous? Good luck with that.
Some people are just in denial about it, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering there is a lot of that going around amongst the Obama-haters. Here is a piece from the one and only Obama-hater Glenn Greenwald from October of 2009…
Beyond Afghanistan, Obama continues to preside over another war — in Iraq: remember that? — where no meaningful withdrawal has occurred.
Oh, and another from Glenn Greenwald further down in that post, emphasis is mine…
It’s certainly true that Obama inherited, not started, these conflicts. And it’s possible that he could bring about their end, along with an overall change in how America interacts with the world in terms of actions, not just words. If he does that, he would deserve immense credit – perhaps even a Nobel Peace Prize. But he hasn’t done any of that. And it’s at least as possible that he’ll do the opposite: that he’ll continue to escalate the 8-year occupation of Afghanistan, preside over more conflict in Iraq, end up in a dangerous confrontation with Iran, and continue to preserve many of the core Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies that created such a stain on America’s image and character around the world.
Where is the credit for fulfilling his promise to get combat troops out of Iraq? Hmmmmm, nothing on Glenn’s blog about the Iraq withdrawal at all, nada, nothing. Surprised? Not me. While that small but very vocal minority of Obama-haters keep chattering on, our awesome President keeps doing what he said he would do and delivering on his promises. Washington pundits don’t know how to act when someone actually does what they say and doesn’t let the media push them around with poll results. Keep it up, “Prez”, you’re doing an excellent job.