[CONTENT NOTE: excessive and probably unnecessary f-bombs.]
Some people really should just shut the fuck up.
First there’s David Petraeus. After getting caught with his pants down* and being forced to resign as CIA Director, Petraeus has been a very, very busy conservative trying to reclaim some of his former glory. Petraeus is one of those smart conservatives—by far the most dangerous subspecies (think Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts). Seriously, this d00d has a Ph.D. in International Relations from Princeton. Fuck.
In his glorious heyday, at the height of the worst foreign policy blunder in American history known as “the Iraq war,” the mainstream press absolutely adored him. And because the mainstream press consists primarily of power worshiping sycophants instead of, you know,journalists, they made Petraeus into a god. For his part, Petraeus was a slick operator, a brilliant manipulator of the media in service to his own ends: he could always count on his dutiful servants in the press to never challenge his glaring omissions and distorted interpretations of reality. In fact, he was so good at not telling the truth to the media that pundits had him pegged as the next Republican presidential nominee, before the FBI hacked his email and revealed that he couldn’t keep his peen in his pants. Alas, because he is a self-entitled narcissist (a.k.a. “conservative”), he did not care whether his self-glorifying media strategy would prove damaging to American policy, and ultimately to himself. You know what I always say: Live by the fucking media, die by fucking your biographer. There is always a reckoning, asshole.
“Because the mainstream press consists primarily of power worshiping sycophants instead of, you know,journalists, they made Petraeus into a god…”The Iraq war is and always was a total disaster in every way: strategically, politically, fiscally, morally, even environmentally. Any attempt to frame it as a victory—well, for anyone other than oil companies—should be revolting to anyone with a working memory of the last decade and a fucking conscience. And to defend it for the purpose of self-glorification? That is beyond despicable. And yet, much as we might wish him to just shut the fuck up already, here we find Petraeus in the pages of Foreign Policy, ‘splaining just how awesome his personal Iraq war “surge” was, and yet sadly—now that he’s no longer the Big Willy in charge—other people who are Not Him are ruining all the awesomeness:
How We Won in Iraq
And why all the hard-won gains of the surge are in grave danger of being lost today.
The news out of Iraq is, once again, exceedingly grim. The resurrection of al Qaeda in Iraq — which was on the ropes at the end of the surge in 2008 — has led to a substantial increase in ethno-sectarian terrorism in the Land of the Two Rivers. The civil war next door in Syria has complicated matters greatly, aiding the jihadists on both sides of the border and bringing greater Iranian involvement in Mesopotamia. And various actions by the Iraqi government have undermined the reconciliation initiatives of the surge that enabled the sense of Sunni Arab inclusion and contributed to the success of the venture. Moreover, those Iraqi government actions have also prompted prominent Sunnis to withdraw from the government and led the Sunni population to take to the streets in protest. As a result of all this, Iraqi politics are now mired in mistrust and dysfunction.
This is not a road that Iraqis had to travel.
I’ll spare you the rest. It goes on and on like that for five. long. pages. But I do have some (FREE!) helpful suggestions Foreign Policy editors might wish to consider, if they (a) are interested in facts and not in rewriting history for the benefit of the worst U.S. administration ever, and/or (b) want people to do anything with their magazine other than scoop up dog shit with it.
How We Won in Iraq
[We did not win in Iraq.]
And why all the hard-won gains of the surge are in grave danger of being lost today.
[Translation: mah surge, it is Teh Awesome.]
The news out of Iraq is,
once againstill, exceedingly grim. The resurrection of al Qaeda in Iraq — which was on the ropes at the end of the surge in 2008 and which did not even exist there until the U.S. invasion — has led to a substantial increase in ethno-sectarian terrorism which also did not exist at anything near this level until the U.S. invasion in the Land of the Two Rivers. The civil war next door in Syria has complicated matters greatly, aiding the jihadists on both sides of the border and bringing greater Iranian involvement in Mesopotamia. [Those damn Iranians! What are they doing meddling in OUR Mesopotamia? Wait—which terrible terrorist jihadists are we supporting again?] And various actions by the Iraqi government have undermined the reconciliation initiatives of the surge that enabled the sense of Sunni Arab inclusion and contributed to the success of the venturetragic disaster of our own making. Moreover, those Iraqi government actions have also prompted prominent Sunnis to withdraw from the government and led the Sunni population to take to the streets in protest. [Iraqis: if there are protests in your streets, you are doin’ democracy rong.] As a result of all this, Iraqi politics are now mired in mistrust and dysfunction. [Just like U.S. politics? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.]
This is not a road that Iraqis had to travel. [Hahaha! Oh! Oww! Stop it! Stop! It hurts to laugh so hard!]
I guess Petraeus is counting on the Iraq war being a big part of his legacy.
Good. It should be.The next contender for shutting the fuck up is our old friend Dick Cheney. It seems Darth is on a new book tour, and he sat down for a self-promoting chat with one of his fellow Lizard People, Bill O’Reilly of Faux News.
O’REILLY: But what — right now, what do we — what do we get of Iraq for all of that blood and treasure? What do we get out of it?
CHENEY: What we gain and my concern was then and it remains today is that the biggest threat we face is the possibility of terrorist groups like al Qaeda equipped with weapons of mass destruction, with nukes, bugs or gas. That was the threat after 9/11 and when we took down Saddam Hussein we eliminated Iraq as a potential source of that.
That’s right, people: by eliminating Saddam Hussein, an enemy of al Qaeda, which did not exist in Iraq until after the U.S. invasion, now we in the West can sleep like babies knowing that al Qaeda will not be attacking us with any WMD from Iraq. That Iraq didn’t have in the first place. WHAT.
Hunter at Daily Kos quipped:
Whether Iraq actually had any weapons of mass destruction, you see, is beside the point. The point is that by invading them, unleashing a chaotic series of events that killed perhaps a half a million people or so, we were able to set our minds at ease as to how they did not have any. Scratch one country off the list; all that is required now is to bomb and invade every other nation in the world so as to satisfy ourselves that there are not any illicit weapons there either.
TAPPER: Do you think the Snowden leaks have hurt America’s ability to defend itself?
CHENEY: I do. I think he’s a traitor. I think – I hope we can catch him at some point, and that, uh, he receives the, um, the justice he deserves.
Glenn Greenwald went on Anderson Cooper’s show and responded beautifully:
Remember, Dick Cheney is a politician who engaged in some of the worst, most radical and criminal conduct in the last century in the United States and did it all in secret — from lying about the war in Iraq to torturing people, to putting people in cages with no lawyers, to eavesdropping on the American people without the warrants required by law. So of course political people like Dick Cheney, people in political power always want to do what they do behind a wall of secrecy because that’s how they abuse power.
And they always consider those who bring transparency to what they do to be evil, treasonous people. Edward Snowden is considered a hero to people around the world and the United States and received a whistle blowing award because he did what people who have a conscience do, which is tell that world about things that they should know, that the world’s most powerful people are trying to keep concealed.
Actually, Snowden nailed it himself the last time Cheney called him a traitor, back in June:
Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him … the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.
Hell, I’d have a Ph.D. in How to Be the Kind of Citizen Dick Cheney Worries About, if I could. By the way: in a grand act of chutzpah that would make George Orwell gape in awe, Cheney’s new book is entitled Heart.
DICK CHENEY JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY.
Last, we have this classic Donald Rumsfeld tweet:
Untold lives have been lost, the taxpayers have been plundered and America’s standing in the world is greatly diminished. This is due to epic doucheweasels like Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and General David Petraeus. These people really need to shut the fuck up already about the Iraq war. And about everything else.
*What David Petraeus does in his own private life is no one’s fucking business but his, his spouse’s and any other enthusiastically consenting partner(s), and should not disqualify him from any job, including CIA Director. He should be disqualified from such jobs for being an epic doucheweasel.
Speaking of high-ranking military officials who cannot keep their pants on despite choosing careers that require this elusive skill, now comes “news” that the US Army has decided retired general David Petraeus will face no consequences for his crimes. In case you get confused between Gen. Petraeus and Pvt. Chelsea Manning—I know I sure do—Petraeus is the one who gave eight notebooks full of highly classified material to his mistress and biographer before leaving the Army to head the CIA. The general maintained the notebooks in 2010 and 2011 while serving as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan: they “contained code words, war strategy, the names of covert officers and other sensitive information” and “outlined deliberative discussions with the National Security Council and President Obama.”
Petraeus also admitted to lying to the FBI, which I think I heard somewhere is a big no-no?
Anyway, as part of a plea deal during federal criminal court proceedings earlier this year, Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified materials, for which he received two years probation and fine of $100,000. Instead of subjecting him to a court-martial for his crimes and risking a reduction in rank that would cost the general tens of thousands of dollars every year in pension payments, Army brass has wisely decided that this poor man has clearly suffered enough.
Chelsea Manning on the other hand is the one who provided evidence of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan to Wikileaks, and was sentenced after a court-martial to 35 years in prison, reduction in rank to private, forfeiture of all pay and a dishonorable discharge.
I CANNOT KEEP THESE TWO PEOPLE STRAIGHT IT’S SO CONFUSING.
Maybe I’ll write to Chelsea Manning at the prison in Fort Leavenworth and ask her what she thinks about the Army’s treatment of Petraeus. I’ll be sending her a holiday card anyway.
Iris Vander Pluym is a writer, artist and activist based in New York City. A self-described “unapologetic, godless, feminist lefty,” she blogs at Perry Street Palace, is a regular columnist at TPJ Magazine, a contributor at Secular Woman, Worldwide Hippies/Citizen Journalists Exchange and Pharyngula, and has written professionally for Keyboard and Electronic Musicianmagazines (print editions). Indoctrinated with the notion that Nice Girls™ never talk about politics, sex or religion, it turns out these are pretty much the only subjects she ever has any interest in discussing. Follow Iris not being nice on Twitter @irisvanderpluym.
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