But once upon a time he liked to pose as a reporter at a journalistic organization (IPS) and now he can't even manage an honest op-ed.
"'Who Lost Iraq' Debate Fails to Get Traction" is the sort of crap that the left should decry -- instead, check your local paper, you'll find other War Hawk loonies of the left (like Truman Institute idiots) on the letters page writing similar garbage.
When an occupying power leaves a region after installing a leader and ignoring the will of the people, it's rarely pretty. Lobe is under the impression that the US is walking away -- that embassy the size of a small village be damned, apparently -- and his whole interest is how will it effect his lover Barack Obama. Dream lover, so he doesn't have to dream alone.
Bloodbaths tend to follow US departures in the 20th century. That could change, I haven't seen anyone advocate that it has -- mainly they've ignored history. But puppets sometimes turn on the people -- and Nouri has a lot of Pinochet in him -- and sometimes the people turn on the puppets.
Right now, negotiations continue between the White House and Nouri. What's going to happen, no one really knows. (Though, as I've shared before, a State Dept friend swears as soon as Nouri and Barack both get their victory laps for 'withdrawal,' US 'trainers' go in.) And no one really knows what happens if the US were to truly withdrawal or even 'partially' (no, there's no such thing as a partial withdrawal, but let's throw the weak minded a few crumbs).
But picture, as January concludes, violence on a scale that makes the fall of Saigon look like a bake sale.
Does the left really want have crap ass pieces like the one Lobe wrote floating around the internet?
It's stupid, it's historically ignorant and it sets all of us to be wrong. And that one "wrong" is all the right needs. They will be pointing to crap like what Lobe's written and screaming their heads off and to people who weren't paying attention to Iraq -- the bulk of Americans -- what will be known is that a blood bath just took place and "the left" (we'll all be crucified for Lobe & company's stupidity) not only didn't anticipate it but was pie-in-the-sky and toss in another slur against the Civil Rights anthem "Kumbaya" and more.
Is Lobe so stupid that he can't grasp what the right does with the points they are laying down? They are planting seeds. Instead of planting their own, too many on the left like Lobe are so caught up in not only spin but momentary spin that they're useless.
Lobe's crap has a shelf-life of about nine minutes.
The right's 'debate' hasn't failed because it's not about today. They're not thinking short-term, they're thinking long-term. And all the short-term nonsense that the left is busying itself with churning out is not only weak and insipid, it's actually potentially damaging.
I hope there's not a blood bath in Iraq. But looking at things historically, it's a possibility. If the US had pulled out in 2004, it would have been a possibility, if they'd pulled out in 2040, it would have been a possibility. The only way it was never a possibility would be if the US never invaded Iraq.
But once the US government made the decision to invade, the chances of an eventual bloodbath became a possibility. We have never pretended otherwise here -- unlike IPS. Should it happen, we can rightly argue that historically this is what tends to happen. We can do that because we've already argued and we've already laid the groundwork.
Over at IPS, I guess Jim Lobe will be trying to play catch up and trying to insist to readers that he really wasn't wrong when he ignored possible outcomes -- including a violent one that just took place -- and while trying to back peddle and refusing to own up to his mistake, it's going to be real hard for most regular IPS readers to take him seriously and in the public debate he's going to be reduced to the man who got it wrong and used as an example,, by the right, on why no one should listen to the left.
There are serious issues at stake and I'm really sorry that an allegedly 'internationally' focused 'news outlet' like IPS can't focus on those real issues: The Iraqi people. Instead, they exist as some sort of glorified Media Matters doing fact checks on partisan arguments and forever coming to the aid of Barack.
They embarrass themselves and they embarrass the left.
There is something highly embarrassing about alleged grown ups who look at any event and attempt to spin it for Barack or turn it into "How does this effect the White House?" Last time I checked, Barack had not been a refugee and was in no danger of becoming one. Sadly, the same can't be said for Iraq which has already been responsible for the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East since 1948.
Yesterday Conor Friedersdorf published "A Plea to Liberals: Stop Marginalizing Peace and Civil Liberties" at The Atlantic. It should be required reading for the week. Excerpt:
During the Bush Administration, up right until the end, it was unthinkable that mainstream media organizations or prominent center-left writers would offer general assessments of President Bush that just glossed over his aggregation of executive power, his secrecy, the unchecked militarism and collateral damage of his foreign policy, his attacks on journalists working to shed light on his actions, or the domestic civil liberties abuses, whether the Patriot Act, which Obama extended, the warrantless spying on Americans, which is ongoing, and other policies besides. Ask someone at the ACLU or the Center for Constitutional Rights or the Cato Institute and they'll affirm that all of these post-9/11 excesses are still problems -- that Obama is better on torture, but that he's also gone farther than the Bush Administration on various objectionable policies, and that his actions have lent to Bush/Cheney policies the veneer of bipartisan consensus.
But to read about the Obama Administration, even in publications like The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, both of which do phenomenal work on these subjects in isolation -- to read pieces even by exceptional journalists who agree with the ACLU on most issues -- it is too often the case that these policies are invisible, as if they're so insignificant that they need not be mentioned, when it comes to articles that step back and assess the Obama presidency.
They're just left out of the master narrative.
Is Obama better than all the Republican candidates on these issues? Certainly not. He is worse than Gary Johnson and Ron Paul; arguably worse than Jon Huntsman too. Is he better than anyone likely to win the GOP nomination? Perhaps. Does it matter? What does "better than the Republicans" get you if it means that executive privilege keeps expanding, the drones keep killing innocents and inflaming radicals and destabilizing regions, the Pentagon budget keeps growing, civil liberties keep being eroded, wars are waged without Congressional permission, and every future president knows he or she can do the same because at this point it doesn't even provoke a significant backlash from the left? Is the dysfunction of the Republican Party license to oppose those policies less vociferously than they were opposed during the Bush Administration?
These aren't fringe concerns, or peripheral disappointments to lament in the course of leaving them to the Charlie Savages and Jane Mayers of the world -- they are issues of maximal importance that are central to the Obama Administration. They ought to be raised as such in every assessment of Obama's tenure. What few of us saw in 2008 is that Bush Administration wasn't "a temporary detour from our history's long arc toward justice," and the Obama Administration wasn't a vehicle of change -- it was the normalization of the post-9/11 security state. If it is still to be a detour, there must be a backlash. The Republican establishment isn't inclined to help. And libertarians, civil and otherwise, are too few to bring about a backlash alone.
Instead of exploring the things that matter, Lobe wants to play Newsweek's "conventional wisdom" minus the illustrated arrows up and down to forever explain 'how does this effect Barack.' Strange, because in 2002, the left seemed united on the belief that we didn't need that it-writes-itself garbage but something far deeper.
The following community sites -- plus Antiwar.com -- updated last night:
Plus Rebecca's "the numbers" and Ann's "4 men, 2 women." Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and her office issued the following:
For Immediate Release
November 7, 2011
VETERANS: Senators Murray, Cantwell, McCaskill Send Letter to GAO Urging Evaluation of VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise
Senators: As our veterans face an unprecedented rate of unemployment, Congress must continue its work fostering our nation’s service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses
(Washington, D.C.) –Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) sent a joint letter to Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller Gene Dodaro about the critical need to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE). In 2006, to support service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses, Congress created the Veterans First contracting preference program. VA was charged with implementing procedures to verify the ownership, control, and status of service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses seeking to participate in Veterans First. Congress also emphasized the importance of ensuring that veterans’ preferences in federal procurements are used to benefit only eligible service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses. CVE began verification of service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses in May, 2008. Since that time, CVE has struggled to implement an effective verification program. The letter urges the GAO to assist the CVE in developing the tools, resources and capacity necessary for an effective, timely and efficient verification process.
“Service disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses are key partners in our economic recovery. These veteran-entrepreneurs continue to face red tape, delays and hurdles as they work to verify their businesses with CVE,” said Senator Patty Murray. “After sacrificing so much to serve their country, they should not have to face such challenges when they return home. As Veterans Day approaches, there is no better time to be reminded how much we owe these brave men and women in uniform. I hope the GAO will assist CVE in identifying the changes necessary to make its verification program efficient and reliable, so that CVE can better serve these veteran-owned small businesses as they work to make America’s economy strong.”
“Veterans who have fought for our freedom deserve our support in their civilian lives,” said Senator Maria Cantwell. “We need to make sure that returning troops have fair access to veteran small business programs that support jobs. That’s why we’re asking GAO to look into the process the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Veterans Enterprise follows for verifying the authenticity of service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses. We need to ensure there’s an efficient and timely verification program in place, so veterans can focus on growing their businesses and putting Americans back to work, instead of dealing with excessive red tape.”
“Our veterans have already made a tremendous sacrifice for our country, and we should do everything possible to ensure job opportunities for them after they return to the civilian workforce,” said Senator McCaskill. “There is clearly a problem with the VA’s ability to verify that contracts are going to the right businesses under the law. We want to see the GAO help the VA get its house in order and ensure that truly veteran-owned businesses are getting the contracts targeted to them.”
The Senators’ letter also requests that the GAO assess the steps that would be necessary for CVE’s verification program to be scaled and implemented government-wide. Such a verification program would apply to all service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses participating in federal procurement preference programs. The letter also asks for suggestions for actions CVE can take to achieve readiness for this expanded role.
The full text of the Senators’ letter is below:
November 3, 2011
The Honorable Gene L. Dodaro
Comptroller General of the United States
Government Accountability Office
441 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20548
Dear Mr. Dodaro:
As our veterans face an unprecedented rate of unemployment, Congress must continue its work fostering our nation’s service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses. These small businesses fuel America’s economy, are key partners in our fight to get veterans back to work and are vital to our long-term economic vitality. One such step that Congress can take to support these businesses is to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE).
In 2006, to support service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses, Congress created the Veterans First contracting preference program. VA was charged with implementing procedures to verify the ownership, control, and status of service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses seeking to participate in Veterans First. Congress also emphasized the importance of ensuring that veterans’ preferences in federal procurements are used to benefit only eligible service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses.
CVE began verification of service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses in May, 2008. Since that time, CVE has struggled to implement an effective verification program. Indeed, the VA Office of Inspector General found that as many as 1,400 contracts were awarded to ineligible businesses in FY 2010. While VA has made some progress in improving its verification program, questions remain as to the program’s overall effectiveness. Indeed, it appears VA may need to better develop the tools, resources and capacity necessary for an effective, timely and efficient verification process.
Therefore, we are requesting a GAO evaluation of the verification program operated by CVE. Specifically:
§ How have CVE’s businesses processes and procedures evolved from inception to their current-state following passage of P.L. 111-275, what metrics does CVE utilize to evaluate its processes and procedures, and are such metrics sufficient to provide CVE with an objective and measurable review of its own performance;
§ How effective is CVE in processing, reviewing and verifying eligibility of service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses, and in conducting appeals and quality-control reviews of its verification decisions in a timely and accurate manner;
§ What steps can be taken to improve CVE’s total in-process, aged inventory and requests for reconsideration statistics;
§ Do CVE appeal and quality-control review reversal rates reveal any systemic or substantive errors in CVE eligibility decision-making policies, processes and procedures, and, if so, how can such errors be remediated;
§ How effective are CVE communications to an applicant business at informing the business of its application status at each stage of the review process, and are such communications timely and consistently made;
§ Has CVE issued effective guidance to applicant businesses regarding its interpretation and application of 38 C.F.R. § 74 et seq., “Veterans Small Business Regulations”, and has CVE applied such regulations in a manner that is clear and consistent to applicant businesses;
§ What progress has CVE made in developing capacity by updating and maintaining its data systems to reduce manual data entry by staff and to improve the timeliness and accuracy of application process; and
§ What steps has CVE taken to analyze and assess core competencies and workforce needs for each of its business units, and to align these competencies and needs with its personnel training, performance evaluation, and recruitment and retention strategies?
Finally, we would like you to assess the steps that would be necessary for CVE’s verification program to be scaled and implemented government-wide. Such a verification program would apply to all service-disabled veteran-owned and veteran-owned small businesses participating in federal procurement preference programs. To the extent that you find further development is needed before CVE can perform government-wide verification, please include suggestions for actions CVE can take to achieve readiness for this expanded role.
Please contact David Brown, Counsel to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, at (202) 224-9126, and Margaret Daum, Staff Director to the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, at (202) 224-4462, to discuss this request.
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
United States Senator
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