Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nobel Laureate

It was another nuanced and elite Obama speech. Meaning, it was the best he or anyone could have mustered, under the circumstances. Of course he could have done better by declining the Nobel Peace prize. Or, at the last moment, in light of his surrender of the direction of foreign policy to the Pentagon, he could have accepted and then surrendered the prize right back. Put it on "hold". Alternatively, the esteemed Nobel Prize committee, having baited him with the Peace prize could have switched it at the last moment for the Nobel Prize for Literature; or for poetry; or for oratory. Because our President can certainly talk the talk of peace; it's only when he tries to walk his talk that he trips and stumbles.

But if it had to be the Peace Prize, I just wonder why Nobel didn't decide to give it to John "Flipper" McCain? What would have been the bloody difference?

I have come to hate politics and have recently thought a lot about not writing/blogging about it anymore. I am so tired of dwelling on what divides us Americans, one from the other. But whenever I think of Iraq and Afghanistan, my fatigue yields to rage. Nothing and no one has been able to convince me that the wars of George W. Bush do not represent the greatest self-administered foreign policy debacle in our nation's history. And, let's not kid ourselves as many pundits try to, that Bush is over and done and gone. He's not gone. And the people who held his loosened reins over his warhorses in Iraq and Afghanistan still wield them now.

My readers are tired of Afghanistan, too. Their fatigue is palpable. I feel it through the words in comments; I certainly pick it up by the absence of some of my faithful commentariat. But to those I say, if you are tired now of Afghanistan, think how tired you're going to be in 2024?
That's the year Karsai says we can expect not to have to fund armed the forces (police and military) of Afghanistan. As a short-timer, I have it easier than most of you; I certainly will not have to live all those 14 years out.

But I think most Americans are the same as the way they were during Bush's unnecessary invasion and occupation of Iraq; they obediently went shopping at the bidding of their President. "Don't worry about it. I'm the decider." He said at one point.

Well, on the cusp of President Obama's determination to find purpose and "mission" for our lost patrols in Afghanistan, I don't think my fellow Americans really want to give that desert quagmire much thought either. It doesn't sell advertising like Tiger Woods does. For example, there was not one word about Afghanistan in my Los Angeles Times this morning. Not one bloody word.

Out of sight, out of mind?


  1. Vigil,
    I heard excerpts of the speech.Well modulated speaking voice.Stayed on message.Reinforced his talking points.Other than not being based in reality it was a winner.
    Like Bush at the UN,Obama was speaking to the US voting public rather than his immediate/global audience.
    No point in running it down,no point in refuting anything.He's a tool.No more,no less. A tool.Use any meaning of the word you want.

  2. It's depressing thinking about it. I hear about Afghanistan almost every Saturday night during my Leafs game because Don Cherry honors the fallen Canadian soldiers during his Coach's Corner segment. There's no way to get away from it, yet we're probably going to have some sort of military presence there well into my senior years.

    And it's all Shrub's fault. The Right got to blame Clinton for eight years. It's our turn.

  3. The position the president is in was cast by Bush and Cheney long before Obama even began running for the job. I would prefer us to leave Afghanistan and nuke it should the usual suspects set up shop again. However much like the primpy little prince Bush found out, there are limits to power and I believe Obama has ever so quickly found another one of those limiting facets.

    This is not blind faith in Obama, he has quickly proved himself mortal and not the superhero so many made him during the campaign. But whose fault is that anyway?

    All leaders have to play within the confines set by politics and with Obama, what the last person in office left for him. I know that is no comfort but this isn't a perfect world and sometimes the choices we are left with are between crap and shit. In short I'm saying no matter how much most would have liked Obama to give the orders for a withdrawal he is dealing with factors from our position on the global stage to the political corner he painted himself in during the campaign and for that tough spot he is in right now he has my support.

    Shit given the crap Obama is having to deal with in his own party and the squealing from every progressive special interest group unhappy that he has not parted the proverbial Red sea for them personally and dealing with the insanity coming from the republicans if I was him I tell the country to take the job of president and shove it up their asses in 2012. They can try and work instead with Palin, Romney, or Newt.

  4. Well I'll just say it's often a relief to hear this man speak and get through a complicated and nuanced series of statements, and not look like he expects appplause just because he got through a couple of minutes without fumbling. I'll never get tired of watching it: That how embarrassing it was to watch George W. Bush speak to anybody about anything for eight long years.
    At the very least he conceded the irony of the situation, winning a Nobel Prize while presiding over two wars. But I'm through editorializing on this Peace Prize at least.
    The President didn't give himself this award, and he didn't start the wars we're in. I'm hoping that his formidable intellect will help bring them nearer to a conclusion that doesn't make things worse. "Worse" being a word fraught with much open-ended and abyssmal horror.

  5. Vig,
    I think there is a tremendous amount of perception, insight, and wisdom in both Beach's and SJ's comments here. Don't fret, though, my friend. None of us are tired of you or your war commentary. It is a very, very complex mess Dubya/Chgeney/Rummy got us intoi, and, had they finished the job they began in 200102002, we all know we wouldn't be in the absolute mess we're in today. I trust Obama to see this situation come to a sensible end FAR more than I dids the previous clique, even though it won't be easy. And I DO expect it to come to an end long before 2024.

    We are all fatigued by the bitter polarization in the country today; the hostility, obstruction, and noncooperation is infuriating and draining. But, like Washington at Valley Forge, Lincoln after Bull Run, and Churchill after the fall of France going it alone in the face of overwhelming odds, so too must we progressives persevere unendingly. For we are on the correct side of history as well as science and morality, and we WILL overcome! Especially at this moment, this country needs the passion, heart, brains and guts of Vigilante of Sozadee, so I once again urge you to carry on with the good fight, my friend!

  6. Man, was I full of typos on that last entry! I hope you were able to read thru that mess. It's like Dubya took over my keyboard or something...

  7. I feel all of the comments above, believe me. In that sense all of them I have to say "Well said!" But if I were to have to leave it thusly, I would have to become chopped liver. I am taken by Beach when he says,

    I would prefer us to leave Afghanistan and nuke it should the usual suspects set up shop again.

    Except for the nuking part, that was the clear course of action. We didn't nuke it the first time. We did use those Bunker-Busting 'Thermobaric' Bombs that suck oxygen out of whatever caves it doesn't quite crush. We could use that deterrent to whatever warlord/Taliban combo follows our withdrawal. And don't kid yourself. Al Qaeda can't be deterred, but any group of ragtag governments can be.

    By selecting Beach's solution as amended, Obama could have accepted the Nobel prize without bowing to hypocrisy; sure a lot cheaper than sentencing our troops to an endless, thankless mission, and tithing our flat economy to the tune of a $1,000,000 per pair of boots per year. That policy, in the grand scheme of post-Bush detritus, would have been of noble as well as Nobel quality.

  8. Jack, you're a far cry from the idiot who preceded Barack Obama. You couldn't come close to his level, even if you tried.

  9. I have some quibbles with BHO's speech:
    1. The U.S. as architect of peace and champion of human rights post-WW2? Tell that to those in Central America who lost family and community leaders to death squads, saw clinics burned down, etc. by Washington-backed thugs, all because Washington couldn't accept "left-wing" "communist" thinking. Not to mention the Chilean people who endured absolutely horrific despotism because Washington couldn't countenance a socialist at the helm in Chile, and many other examples.
    2. He spoke of the U.S. underwriting global security "with the blood of our citizens" - true sometimes - but failed to acknowledge any instances where the U.S. undermined global security and hurt the cause of peace.

    But I know -- if he had acknowledged these things, the Rethugs would be calling him unpatriotic or worse.

  10. Stimpson,
    well put.The list of our interventions could go on and on,none of them for our national interests (different IMO from multinational interests)and none of them helped anyone in the countries we invaded other than an oligarchic few.

    The speech was excellent PR stuff for the American voting public who can't tell a Pashto from a Persian from an Arab and who likely wishes them all dead.

  11. Before I disappear down another bottle this weekend, I'd like to raise a toast to you Vig, and hope it reaches you all the way on the west coast while I can still get through the words without slurring:

    Keep it going Vigilante, tired and annoyed though you may be, there is no one who can take your place. You offer an antidote (Like Mad Mike, Stimpson, Beach Bum, Jack Jodell, Reality Zone, Laser's Edge, Truth 101, Oso, Manifesto Joe, Gwendolyn and many many others) and without you, there's just a lot more poison out there.

    Have a good weekend.

  12. I second what SJ said Vigil,and would buy you guys a round if all y'all (not southern but I just spent three days in Texass and it hasn't completely worn off yet) were here. Don't drink anymore myself.

  13. I don't drink any more, and I don't drink any less! *rimshot*

  14. I'm with Beach, SJ and Jack. It appears there is a group of disgruntled progressives out there who are confusing Barack Obama with Harry Potter. The latter can do magic. The former cannot....Support the troops and support their commander in chief. It was a fine speech by the way. One of the best I have heard him give. As to the "lost patrols" in Afghanistan I just can't find a mention of that anywhere. As to "sentencing" our troops it is nothing of the sort. It is their job. They are doing it quite well. I am proud of every one of them.

  15. I have Buffett's new CD and along with a sixpack of Landshark longnecks, chips, salsa, and a Blu-ray copy of Terminator Salvation for later tonight I'm going to forget about all the crap and relax. Mainly, cause I'm sure everything will still be there on Monday.

    I'd like to go down to the coast but Dragonwife has laid down the law on the freaking credit card. Bummer.

  16. I'm already completely hammered and just realized it's only 7:24pm when I stepped outside. I'm going to order in food I think and play it safe.
    @Beach, if you haven't seen Terminator Salvation yet, you're in for a real cool sequence (there are several) at the very end of the movie. Clearly the director was actually a fan of the earlier movies.

  17. well I got cable and a box of ice cream sandwiches,the heaters blasting and the cats are fed so unlikely to hunt me down as prey.
    Beach enjoy your CD's,movie and beer.SJ hope you don't have a hangover tomorrow.

  18. SJ I am so hammered I could be a nail! During the hammering process I watched "Public Enemy," which couldn't decide if it was a love story or a crime story. It bored the booze out of me, until I went to Vigil's blog which never fails to depress me and give me another reason to drink. So after that I went back to my blog and discovered that I had failed to give homage-ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD! ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!! ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!!!

  19. LOL Mike-Vigils blog which never fails to depress!!

  20. I agree, Vig. The President probably shouldn't have accepted the award. I am not sure, however, if I would lump him in with John McCain. This, I'm saying, in that even the McCain of 2000 had a huge hawkish side. To use the words of Pat Buchanan (who I normally don't quote, btw), "McCain is like Bush on steroids."

  21. No Repuglican could have given that speech, but I wish it had been in a context of withdrawal.

    As much as we complain, are me not better off that we would be with McConJob and Mooseolini?

  22. "Keep it going Vigilante, tired and annoyed though you may be, there is no one who can take your place. You offer an antidote (Like Mad Mike, Stimpson, Beach Bum, Jack Jodell, Reality Zone, Laser's Edge, Truth 101, Oso, Manifesto Joe, Gwendolyn and many many others) and without you, there's just a lot more poison out there."

    What HE SAID...even a week later... WHAT HE SAID!