Friday, February 08, 2013

Joe Klein as the cautionary tale

It's a rare moment when Joe Klein is actually of use.  In his own stupid way, he managed to be useful this week.  "Refighting the Last Wars" (Time magazine) is the title of his bad column.

Before we get to that, Klein cheerleaded the illegal war.  That's not a minor point. He's also someone who repeatedly attempts to deny that.  He's been called out for it many times.  In February 2007, Arianna Huffington probably called him out better than most with "Joe Klein Seeks to Master the Art of Revisionist Journalism (Forgetting He Lives in the Time of the Internet)" (Huffington Post).

Joe Klein is whore -- cheap and tacky with little to offer other than demonstrating just how craven the public discourse is in the United States. 

When the press was selling the Iraq War, there was Joe Klein on TV taking part.  When the illegal war grew unpopular, Klein tried to walk away from his support for it.  When Arianna's calling him out in 2007, he's turned on Bully Boy Bush and is attempting to make John McCain his hero.

Arianna quotes, with disbelief, his 2007 claim, "McCain, whether you agree with him or not, has been entirely consistent about the war."

In 2007, there was a chance McCain could become president in 2008.  He'd long been a press favorite.  He'd made waves in his 2000 primary run.  Like the calculating whore he is, Klein did the odds and found he could stand against Bully Boy Bush by embracing McCain even tighter. 

And today?  He writes of McCain's "rude badgering" of Chuck Hagel as he attempts to recast himself yet again as a McCain foe this time and a Hagel supporter.

This is your modern day press -- calculating, fraudulent, unethical and much worse.

But mainly what they are is stupid.

"Refighting the War," Klein claims.  He's never refought anything.

He's a cheap, dishonest blob incapable of actual thought.  He's a dog (but less loyal) who runs to whomever is holding food. 

In his illuminating column, he writes:

The answers were found at Fort Leavenworth, where General David Petraeus and a formidable team of military intellectuals were designing a clever and humane way to do Phase IV. This became the counterinsurgency doctrine that worked well enough to calm Iraq--but not so well in Afghanistan.

He goes on to note some "limited practical utility" with counter-insurgency, then quickly adds, "But that doesn't mean COIN should be abandonded."

This is what passes for thought among those incapable of actual thought. 

It's been ten years and he still can't think.

He can trade loyalties, like the good whore he is, but he can't think.

Counter-insurgency is war on a native population.  It was not a success in Iraq -- not by any measurement.  It hardened the divisions, it led straight to the current political crisis. 

If it had been a success in some way, it still wouldn't have mattered because it's unethical.  It's trickery, it's deceit and it's lies.  And that someone who is supposedly a journalist could embrace it says a great deal about what he really thinks of the public.

Someone who embraces a war on the people is not someone who's going to tell the truth when it matters.  Someone who embraces a war on the people is someone who will lie to his own readers.  If trickery and deciet are 'winning' tactics 'over there,' you damn well better believe the same person would use those tactics 'over here.'

"Refighting the war"?  No.  Changing loyalties, that's what Klein's about.

He's never taken the time to evaluate a damn thing regarding the Iraq War.  Even now, he can't call out counter-insurgency.

He's far from alone currently.  We call it out and have repeatedly.  I have no qualms about that.  Not only is counter-insurgency wrong, there's also the reality that the social sciences, history and humanity are on my side. 

Joe Klein's column is a gift because it demonstrates what we can expect in the next weeks as various pundits decide to weigh in on Iraq.  They won't address the issues.  They won't question the accepted savagery.  They'll just trade loyalities and pass that off as having re-thought their position.  They'll make it about personalities because it's a lot easier to feign offense at some senator than it is to point out that counter-insurgency is a crime.

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, C-SPAN and -- updated last night and this morning:

Finally, David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "THE DIGNITY CAMPAIGN'S ALTERNATIVE VISION FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM" (The Nation):

For some immigrant rights organizations, President Obama's principles for comprehensive immigration reform sound very familiar. "The idea of the three-part tradeoff, that is, that we get some legalization in trade for guest worker programs and increased immigration enforcement, has been around for a long time," says Lillian Galedo, executive director of Filipino Advocates for Justice in the San Francisco Bay Area. "We need a new alternative, based on much more progressive ideas. I don't think the Dignity Campaign is the only alternative, but it's an effort to get us to talk about what we actually want, not just what politicians in Washington DC tell us is politically possible or necessary."
The Dignity Campaign is a loose network of over 40 immigrant rights and community organizations, unions and churches that has crafted an immigration reform proposal "based on human and labor rights." (Full disclosure: I am an active supporter of the Dignity Campaign.) But it is more than a network and a particular proposal. It is an alternative to the political strategy behind the tradeoff. And the campaign's member organizations support it because of what they call the bitter impact of earlier tradeoffs over the last 30 years.
In Tucson, Arizona, the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos calls comprehensive immigration reform, the shorthand name for the tradeoff strategy, "primarily a vague promise used to attract immigrant and Latino voters, [while] border communities have suffered the costs of irresponsible and brutal enforcement-only policies, resulting in death and violence." A recent study found the federal government spends more today on border and immigration enforcement than on all other law enforcement agencies combined. 

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