Thursday, March 27, 2008
you ain't no killer, you a pussy:
Before I begin this post, let me say: Fuck the Boston Red Sox and all their fans. Except for Samantha Power and Megan Carpentier. This means you, Professor Simpson.

That's by way of saying that Dean Barnett of the Weekly Standard critiques "The Obama Doctrine," and in so doing reveals why neoconservatism can never destroy al-Qaeda. He has a lot of cute lines to disguise the fact that he doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.

So for instance. Barnett takes Power's quote about draining the swamps of extremism by attacking "climates of fear" and comments:
"Climates of fear" are indeed a bad thing, and they can produce undesirable results. But is the principal American foreign policy challenge today really based on people acting out because they live in "climates of fear?" Does al Qaeda act out of fear, or does something more malicious lie in the jihadist heart?

And what are we to make of Power's insistence that we need to meet people "where they're at?" Does "meeting people where they're at" include situations when "where they're at" includes a pining for a world without Israel and a visceral need to control the output of Dutch film makers? That's probably an uncomfortable question for Obama and his Doctrinaires. You won't find it asked or answered anywhere in Ackerman's column.
What Barnett will never understand is that the real danger from al-Qaeda isn't just the people who've joined al-Qaeda. It's the much larger cohort of people who could join al-Qaeda, and the larger-still cohort of those who would not actively help the U.S. destroy al-Qaeda. Those latter two population clusters are where any anti-al-Qaeda strategy has to focus. And there, yeah, climates of fear -- in other words, the experience of people pinioned between the militia on the corner and the U.S.-backed regime that it fights. Those people come to hate the U.S. Lots of them. And it only takes a small number of them to decide to act on that hatred.
Power is (or rather was) just one of the high-minded Doctrinaires whose résumé evidences a certain fondness for dovish idealism. Sarah Sewall is, according to Ackerman, one of Obama's closest advisors. Sewall made her bones as a human rights advocate and disarmament advocate. Disarmament advocates since their regrettable Helen Caldecott led heyday in the 80's have never been a repository for hard-headed foreign policy prescriptions.
Just laughably stupid. What Barnett evidently doesn't realize is that Sarah Sewall helped write the fucking Army and Marine Corps counterinsurgency manual. Is FM 3-24 filled with "dovish idealism"? Remember what this dude wrote the next time anyone from the Weekly Standard tries to take Petraeus or Odierno into their tender mouths.

And as long as we're talking COIN, let's tie this all together. Barnett has this line about Obama fighting al-Qaeda but not al-Qaeda in Iraq, which is something John McCain mentioned in his speech yesterday. But look at who AQI is. According to this fascinating briefing that Bits Bacon gave last week, we're talking not just about fanatics. We're talking about the people brainwashed by al-Qaeda into coming to Iraq to blow themselves up -- brainwashed thanks to propaganda victories that the Weekly Standard's chosen policies, like the Iraq war and torture, have yielded. That's the swamp that Dean Barnett and his homies will not only fail to drain, but they'll expand, over and over and over again, no matter how decisively the last five years have shattered everything they believe in.

Finally, there's this:
[P]erhaps Team Obama could talk to Theo van Gogh. Oh never mind--he's dead. Maybe they could ask Hirsan Ali, who has millions of people who would like to make her dead, too.
Her name is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, you dumb douche.

Plus, in 2008, the New York Yankees will fuck you up like Obama will AQSL in the Northwest Frontier Province.
--Spencer Ackerman
I think "Critiqued" is the wrong word to describe his reaction.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that dude's paid by the word, because he took a really long time to say "Obama's advisors are liberals."
Blogger Gaston | 3:11 PM

Linking an otherwise righteous beatdown to a prediction that the Yankees are going to take the division in 2008 is the sort of thing that can come back to haunt a man.

As a Phillies fan, I can only suggest that it's best to come to terms with futility as quickly as possible.
Blogger Doctor Memory | 3:57 PM

I thought about this more -

Spencer, you're a reporter, and The Obama Doctrine is an investigative report. There's nothing to disagree with, unless he thinks you're wrong about what Obama's choice of advisors tells us about what he meant by the quote you're investigating.

Mind you, when he called you a de facto member of the Obama Press Corps, that seemed a little jarring. Unless he means that you can do stuff like ask Barack to come to my Birthday Party. Then it's actually an awesome thing for him to say.
Blogger Gaston | 5:15 PM

Spencer -

Is it even worth listening to Dean Barnett or the various other assorted lunatics at the Weekly Standard or the National Review anymore?

But I have a more substantial question, after having read you piece on the Obama foreign policy team:

What do they make of the possibility that the next great social conflict, at home and abroad, is not between democracy and assorted anti-democratic radicals, but between democracy and global capitalism?

Now, I know that Obama's campaign, despite the lies of the right, is not staffed by Marxist radicals. But I ask this question sincerely. Leftists writers like Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill have documented the conflict, especially in third world nations, between capitalist expansion and democratic governance. Look at the hissy fit markets threw when Zuma defeated Mbeki for the head of the ANC.

Further, serious Marxist scholars like Immanuel Wallerstein, Giovanni Arrighi, Ellen Meiksins Wood and David Harvey have devoted much of their recent work to both unearthing the historic roots and anti-democratic tendencies of our current political-economic moment, and the potential that exists in the future for serious conflicts between peoples seeking their democratic rights, and the limits on political action set by current neo-liberal orthodoxy.

Now, I am not expecting the Obama team to announce the nationalization of the Ford Motor Company, but are they savvy to this possibility? Because across this planet, and particularly in Africa, which is becoming an increasingly important flash point in global security concerns, this conflict is particularly pronounced. So, for example, how would they deal with Nigeria and its essentially kleptocratic state? Are they willing to go easy on South Africa when it implements redistributive policies, as demanded by its people?

In other words, do they have a policy to accommodate non-state actors demanding great economic and political equality that would result in policies that don't necessarily benefit American and European MNCs? Or will this be a retread of Kennedy-era policy, where if you didn't meet all the stringent criteria for the carrot of American aid and support, you received the stick of CIA meddling and economic sanctions?

Sorry for the long post - usually I only comment on punk-related matters!

Andy
Blogger - A | 5:48 PM

Good god, there is someone out there who thinks that Samantha "OMG genocide! Let's you and him have a fight about it!" Power is a peace-lover. I am actually scared.

Of course, the horrible laboratory of human political pathology which much of Africa has become, shows us that the single biggest determinant of someone becoming a dangerous and violent adult is having grown up in a refugee camp. Any project which creates refugees is creating tomorrow's terrorists.
Blogger Bruschettaboy | 1:36 AM

Man, you brought out the dagger for Barnett in this post. Nice work, especially on the Yankees/Obama prediction.
Blogger Jeff Dexter | 7:35 AM

In his shriveled little lizard brain, Barnett doubtlessly imagines that he's writing a script, like Stallone feverishly whipping his next edition of Rambo into some minimal state that won't get him laughed out of Hollywood.

He's just waiting for the part where the stupid incompetent ululating brown people, who fire millions of rounds whilst hitting nary a target, throw down their guns and run shrieking into the jungle. Followed, naturally, by a pensive reflective re-evaluation of their worldview and their epiphany that Uncle Sam really has been right all this time. After which they all peacefully file out of the jungle, get jobs at Exxon, and shop 'till they drop.
Blogger Joe Bleau | 8:09 AM

Spence--Prof. Simpson wanted me to let you know that she will ignore this slight until the next time you need a nut graff quote 5 minutes before deadline on a Friday.

Hope you enjoy watching the Tigers beat you for the wild card.
Blogger Charlie | 10:14 AM

Year two thou-sand!
Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!
Blogger Jack Roy | 10:53 AM

I can't wait for when the Yankees finish behind the Rays for 3rd in the AL East. The gnashing of teeth and flailing of limbs will be a sight to behold
Blogger Robert | 11:14 AM

Ahem to all you Yankees haters, all I have to say is 26. Now getting back to the issue at hand Spencer is correct about Dean Barrett. But Mr Barrett or the Weekly Standard doesn't have to be correct since it is a case of the blind leading the blind lemmings.
Blogger kj1313 | 1:48 PM

Before I begin this post, let me say: Fuck the Boston Red Sox and all their fans.

I couldn't have stated it better myself.

BTW, ESPN & SI both pick the Yanks to take the AL East.
Blogger Steve J. | 3:10 AM