TrumPenstein Redux (Updated)

 Posted by at 8:03 PM on January 27, 2016
Jan 272016


Zombies have nuttin’ on Herr TrumPenstein

Back in August, we published Trumpenstein! that begins as follows:

Mary Shelley’s classic sci-fi horror novel, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus (1818), her protagonist, the brilliant Dr. Viktor Frankenstein, allows his hubris to get the better of him by assuming the powers of the Creator. His monstrous faux human creation, without name or number in the original—let’s call him “Donald” for now– refers to himself initially as “the Adam of your labours,” and subsequently as “your fallen angel.” Assembled from the disjointed body parts of dead humans, the good Doc’s beloved creation rebels and tries to destroy him.

Which pretty much describes Donald Trump’s relationship with the GOP establishment. His political persona is as much a creation of the political arm of the GOP, Fux News, as it is one of his own devising. Prior to the first, now infamous, 2016 Republican presidential debate, Trump was a regular weekly guest on Fux’s morning program, Fux and Friends, which gave him a long-running, high profile forum to build his political persona. A marriage made in heaven for an extreme narcissist and a cable network, both seeking maximum public attention and approval…

But now that the Trumpestein monster has broken his restraints and left the table, marauding across the countryside and terrorizing the peasants (cue music: The Monster Mash…it caught on in a flash.), the GOP is forced to reanimate the issue.

And now comes this from Media Matters.

GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump backing out of Fox News’ debate is a damning indictment of the creature that the right-wing media helped create and that the rest of the media enabled for far too long.

Not only did Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media manufacture many of the lies that serve as the refrain of Trump’s campaign, but they also fomented much of the racial antipathy and sexism that Trump is using to fuel his campaign.

In this conservative universe, facts don’t matter. Which is exactly why Donald Trump can claim that he is backing out of the Thursday’s debate due to the fact that Fox News doesn’t treat him well, despite the fact that Trump has appeared on Fox News at least two and a half times more than any of his GOP primary opponents. (I’ll save the irony of Fox News being burned by the same kind of fact free attacks that the network conditioned its audience to respond to for another day.)

In his rationale, Trump also cited concerns about the debate being moderated by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Trump has openly attacked Kelly since the first Fox News debate in August. But make no mistake, Donald Trump does not have a problem with Megyn Kelly because she’s a serious journalist who asks really tough questions (she isn’t). Nor is it because she challenges Trump’s policies. Remember, Kelly was one of the first media figures to defend Donald Trump’s claim that Mexican immigrants are rapists and killers.

Trump has a problem with Megyn Kelly because at the first Republican primary debate, Kelly asked Trump about his misogyny and his long record of sexists attacks against women. Trump reacted by attacking Kelly, suggesting that she was on her period and subsequently threatening to boycott Fox News.

Don’t you just love it when life imitates art?


UPDATE (1/28/16)

As the Frankenstein meme to describe Donald Trump’s effect on the Republican party spreads, Professor Cole reminds us today of the historical parallel between Trump and Richard Hostadter’s classic 1964 essay on “a paranoid style in American politics.”

Observing the paranoid style in the early 1960s, Hostadter noted that it had a particularly strong appeal for those who see themselves as dispossessed and feel that “America has largely been taken away from them and their kind.” This holds true today, a sense of dispossession is felt particularly keenly by the white working class, among whom there is a deep distrust of government and a real anger that their cultural and religious identity is under siege. And they are tired of being taken for granted by the Republican leadership.

It is a constituency to which the absolutism of Trump’s rhetorical style plays well – and in appealing to it he has revealed the chasm that has opened between the Republican establishment and its base.

The mainstream American right and its media allies have long exploited fears about social issues to build support among white working class conservatives, but they have simply lost control of this process. Enter Trump a Frankenstein of the Republican Party’s making.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Shocking Truth About Donald Trump

 Posted by at 12:00 AM on December 15, 2015
Dec 152015

Donald Trump Shocking Truth

Donald Trump: Running for Honorary Caliph?

Bush They LiveThe movie They Live provides another example of  how life imitates art

In John Carpenter’s classic sci-fi movie They Live (1988), a race of evil aliens has secretly taken over the planet. They maintain control by broadcasting stealth radio frequencies that not only makes them look like human members of the ruling class, but encodes subliminal messages into various advertising media to manipulate the populace, commanding them to obey, consume, and reproduce. Only by donning specially crafted lenses can their wearer remove the subliminal filters to see what lies beneath.

Subliminal messaging has a well-documented history in advertising. In politics, it is referred to as “dog whistling”, the use of code words and phrases to arouse and manipulate specific emotions like fear and prejudice in the subconscious of their target audience. The target audience of the traditional GOP establishment (i.e., rich Wall Street Yale grad types) has shifted over the decades, necessitated by the need for securing a greater number of votes from the peasant class. Getting people to vote against their own interests while maintaining the tax breaks, corporate welfare, and other privileges of the Ruling Class is as much an art as it is a science. That’s why master propagandists like Roger Ailes get paid the big bucks.

In the 1960s, their target audience was the so-called Yellow Dog Democrats, who felt betrayed by President Lyndon Johnson after he signed the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. Imagine the blow to white Southerners’ self-esteem when they were forced to share things like restaurants, public drinking fountains, the education system, and the voting booth wit dem damn darkies. This is turn gave rise to a sense of victim-hood, fomented and exploited by politicians, authors, and media personalities to further their own interests: getting elected to public office, selling books, and increasing their Q ratings. In the succeeding decades, other voting demographics have been targeted: fundamentalist Christians and Evangelicals (who had traditionally avoided politics); and anti-government Tea Party types who, much to the chagrin of the Ruling Class, have become powerful enough to dominate the primary process.

Enter billionaire real estate mogul and reality television show star Donald “Your Fired!” Trump, whose primary business interest these last few years has been the building and selling his personal brand (as has his fellow GOP presidential contenders, “outsiders” Ben ‘The Knife” Carson and Carly “Corporate Wrecking Ball” Fiorina). What many pundits had initially dismissed as a clever, inexpensive, marketing scam has morphed into a situation where Trump, who has expanded his lead over the rest of the GOP field in most state and national polls, is suddenly a serious possibility for becoming the GOP nominee. (Much to his own surprise, I’d wager.)

Conspiracy theories abound. One casts Trump, a long-time friend of the Clintons and a donor to their foundation, as their Trojan Horse, a clever device to divide the Republican Party. Last week there were rumors that GOP insiders are frantically plotting their first brokered convention since 1976, a possibility that had Ben Carson saying he would bolt the party along with Trump and run as Independents if the democratic delegate election process was aborted by the Powers That Be. (Romney to the rescue?)

Donald Trump for Honorary Caliph!

But perhaps the most exotic conspiracy theory portrays The Donald as Secret ISIS Agent Trump, whose pogrom against Muslims will have the effect of driving recruitment for Daesh/ISIL/ISIS to unprecedented levels. Of course, this doesn’t have to be a conscious betrayal, just the inevitable karmic repercussion of The Law of Unintended Consequences of Infinite Dickitude.

Beyond the immediate political repercussions of The Donald’s call for preventing all Muslims from entering the country, there are sociological, geopolitical, and financial knock-on effects as well. Consider just the sociological ramifications of his call to, among other things: register Muslims in a centralized government database; put their mosques under surveillance; and flag their drivers’ license with their religious affiliation. (He hasn’t yet suggested they wear yellow (or green) crescents sewed on the outside of their clothing, but following the inexorable laws of political pornography, there’s still plenty of time for that.) I mean, what could go wrong? Why shouldn’t that inspire America’s 3 million Muslims to identify potential terrorists in their own neighborhoods, despite being suspected of being potential terrorists themselves?

Since the Paris and San Bernardino atrocities, attacks against Muslims and their mosques have increased dramatically. (One baseline being a 2014 FBI report of 154 hate crimes perpetrated against Muslims). These include the throwing of a pig’s head at the doors of a Philadelphia mosque; the arson attack on a mosque just 90 miles from the site of the San Bernardino mass murders by Daesh linked extremists; and the vandalizing of two other California mosques.

Then there are the geopolitical consequences. For example, Juan Cole reports:

After criticism from both the left and the right, Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that he will delay his visit to Israel and Jerusalem. The wealthy business tycoon and apparent presidential candidate had previously stated that he planned to visit the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and then force his way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.

As for the financial repercussions, consider just the ones that effect Trump alone.

Prominent UAE-based businessman Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor has ruled out any chance of working with US presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying he doesn’t trust him anymore. Branding billionaire Trump “the biggest enemy of Islam” over his call to ban Muslims from entering the US, Al Habtoor said he was no longer supporting his bid for power.

In August, Al Habtoor wrote an opinion piece criticising US president Barack Obama for the rise of ISIL and saying Trump would be a welcome breath of fresh air and was “someone prepared to put their money where their mouth is”.

But in a video interview with CNN, Al Habtoor said: “I view him as the biggest enemy of Islam. He is a man supporting ISIS… he is encouraging them, this is what they want to hear.”

Earlier in the year Trump called Mexicans “drug traffickers and rapists,” demanding that all 11 million of them be deported. This helped secure the support of David Duke’s KKK,; as well as the Hitler Party, as announced by the neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer. The wannabe Storm Troopers doubled down last week with the headline:

“Heil Donald Trump—the Ultimate Savior.”

The good news is that Trump is throwing away the stock-in-trade Republican dog whistle, used traditionally to evoke the entrenched racism and religious bigotry of the knuckle dragging portion of its base. No need now for subtext, nuance, magical sunglasses, or intricate subliminal messaging to reveal what lies beneath.  Instead, The Trumpster is telling his target audience exactly what they want to hear: Muslims are out to kill us, and only he can make us safe.

The bad news that in the process he is letting slip the dogs of war. This of course plays right into the hands of the ISIL and their ilk, whose apocalyptic fantasies are woven around the instigation of a religious war with the Christian West,Clash of Civilizations, to use the classic neocon formulation.

As the great existential philosopher Pogo put it: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Take Executive Action On Gun Control

 Posted by at 10:44 AM on January 12, 2013
Jan 122013

Tennessee’s James Yeager promises to “start killing people” if President Obama limits his ability to start killing people

“Welcome to Tennessee, patron state of shooting stuff” says Mark Wahlberg‘s character in the movie “Shooter.”

A couple of days after Alex Jones‘ anti-gun control tirade on Piers Morgan’s CNN show, West Tennessean James Yeager, who runs an uncertified firearms training school called Tactical Response, went all in on the crazy.  After hearing that “Reich Marshal Biden,” as Stephen Colbert calls him below, suggested that President Obama consider using his executive authority to rein in the proliferation of military style assault rifles and high capacity ammo magazines to help limit the carnage in our schools, movie theaters, and shopping centers, Yeager promised to “start killing people” should Obama so act.

Well, that didn’t escape the notice of Tennessee law enforcement, which revoked Yeager’s handgun carry permit. Oops.

In the “Be careful what you ask for” category, a number of “gun enthusiasts” including NRA Director Wayne “Call Me Crazy” LaPierre, warned all during President Obama‘s first term that he was coming to take their guns away.  The only action on guns that Obama did sign into law is the new right to carry weapons in national parks and on Amtrak trains.

But after refusing to take action after the mass killings in Aurora, Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood, Tuscon, et al, the wholesale slaughter of twenty 6 and 7 year old children in Newtown, Conn. seems to finally have caught the president’s, and the nation’s, attention.  Much to the dismay of the “I’ll give you my TOW anti-tank missile when you pry it from my cold, dead hands” crowd.

Back to Jones, who makes his money as one of talk radio’s top conspiracy theorists (911, the Oklahoma Murrah Building Bombing, and WACO all being government plots), his rant has him taken him to the threshold of US domestic terrorism laws (h/t Juan Cole):

(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or…

Jones followed up his call for revolution (ala Donald Trump‘s Tweeted reaction to Obama’s re-election) by going on an anti-Prozac rant.  Presumably another government plot to keep voters voting Democratic.  All of which suggests that, like the flu, crazy is contagious.  Once it slips its moorings, it seems to feed on itself and multiply.  Not a good development in a highly networked world.

As for the prospect of passing saner gun control laws through Congress, given the lobbying power of the NRA and the munitions industry as a whole, we won’t see any help from that quarter, especially via the  House.  So that leaves limited executive action as the only recourse.  It might not get us an outright ban on assault rifles, but it could produce something like closing the gun show loophole and make background checks mandatory for everybody.  Better than nothing, I suppose.

Stephen, as usual, captures the zeitgeist.

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Latest Romney FAIL: Israel Version (Update)

 Posted by at 8:49 PM on July 29, 2012
Jul 292012

Tisha B’Av — a 25 hour fast period that commemorates historical Jewish tragedies

Willard just can seem to help himself from stepping in it.

Mitt Romney Campaign Scraps $50,000 Per Plate Jerusalem Fundraiser On A Jewish Fasting Day

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has been forced to scrap a $50,000 per plate fundraiser scheduled to take place during his visit to Jerusalem because the date coincided with a solemn Jewish day of mourning.

The fundraiser, which was supposed to be a “a small meeting, but a big fund-raiser,” according to a source quoted in the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, was set to take place on July 29, amid the Romney campaign’s first foreign policy tour.

But July 29 is also Tisha B’Av, a Jewish day of fasting in some traditions of the religion, in which catastrophic events like the destruction of the First and Second Temples and the Holocaust are mourned.

What’s next on the Romney Campaign’s foreign policy credibility tour?

Oh yeah, Poland.

Maybe Mittens will give a fiery speech denouncing labor unions as inimical to capitalist freedoms.

UPDATE:  Romney succeeded in being tabbed “a racist” by Palestinian politician Saeb Erekat for saying it was the superior Jewish culture that accounted for its economic success relative to the Palestinians, without mentioning little things like US subsidies to Israel, Israeli blockades, and such.

Prof Cole notes:

Although the West Bank has seen economic growth since about 2007, for most of the past 20 years Palestinians actually were being driven deeper into poverty, and Gaza is still below early 1990s levels because of the illegal and evil Israeli blockade.

Read the rest of his critique here.

Careful What You Ask For

 Posted by at 12:39 PM on July 6, 2012
Jul 062012

From TPM:


Just over a week ago, the New York Times ran an eye-opening story about a key paradox in U.S. politics: It turns out the biggest critics of federal spending — Republican base voters — are some of the biggest beneficiaries of the social safety net.

Expand on that irony, and you’ll find that some of the most conservative states in the country are the greatest beneficiaries of transfer payments — where residents pay on average less in taxes than they receive in federal benefits. Not all “taker” states are red, and not all “giver” states are blue.

But the color spread on the map below suggests that many Republican base voters either choose to vote against their economic self-interest, or would be stunned if the members of Congress who represent them ever got their way.

Another point of national cognitive dissonance: for all the hype and anger about soaring deficits, all the green and dark green on the map illustrate how severe the implications of balancing the budget too rapidly would be.

On a related note, from Prof Cole today:

States with fewest Passports most Opposed to Obamacare

Only about one third of Americans have passports, and if it weren’t for the post- September 11 requirement that one travel to Canada and Mexico on a passport, it would no doubt be an even smaller proportion. (Hence the high number of passports in states with large Latino populations). But take Latinos out of the equation, and which states are cosmopolitan is pretty clear. Lack of experience with the world seems to track pretty closely with strong opinions about how to deal with the rest of the world. It also tracks with socially reactionary views.


From The Urantia Book

The greatest twentieth-century influences contributing to the furtherance of civilization and the advancement of culture are the marked increase in world travel and the unparalleled improvements in methods of communication. But the improvement in education has not kept pace with the expanding social structure; neither has the modern appreciation of ethics developed in correspondence with growth along more purely intellectual and scientific lines. And modern civilization is at a standstill in spiritual development and the safeguarding of the home institution.

Don’t Sprays Me, Bro (Update)

 Posted by at 11:37 AM on November 22, 2011
Nov 222011

Dozens of  kittens who had peacefully gathered on a UC Davis sidewalk were assaulted with Oleoresin Capsaicin (Pepper) Spray by the Campus police, early Wednesday.  Oh wait— those weren’t kittens— they were America’s children. . .

It’s been some 40 years since I last referred to a police officer as a “pig.”  Raised with a healthy respect for law enforcement, all that changed radically in 1969 when I witnessed  an incident of unconscionable police brutality.

What brings this unfortunate porcine imagery to mind are the now viral videos of two UC Davis police officers methodically pepper spraying student demonstrators as they sat peacefully expressing their First Amendment in solidarity with their UC Berkley brethern in particular, and the larger OWS 99% movement in general.

No one is likely to suffer more from today’s huge disparity in wealth between the top 1% and the 99% than today’s college students. They’ve played by the rules, put in the interminable hard hours of class attendance and study. They’ve incurred tens of thousands of dollars of non-dischargable debt,  expecting that when they graduated they would land a job commensurate with their efforts in short order, if  for no other reason than to discharge that debt.


Instead, many of them have been forced to move back in with their parents, with little prospect for immediate or even mid term employment. And as the reality of becoming indentured servants of the EIC (Eductional Industrial Complex) is dawning on them, they are taking to the streets in protest.

Monday on Lawrence O’Donnell’s The Last Word, Michale Moore called this macing of 11 students an iconic moment that is resonating around the world.  Moore asks: When are the police going to start arresting the real criminals?

Indeed. Let’s look at the math. Take the current number of arrested protesters as A;  the number of Wall Street crooks responsible for the greatest economic crash since the Great Depression as B; subtract B from A, and the answer is—wait for it–  A.

The M$M continues its pearl clutching, feigning confusion over what all these protesters could possibly be protesting.  Fux News chooses to cast them as just the latest incarnation of the Dirty Fucking Hippies, a meme that the political psychopath Newt Gingrich echoed while stuffing his ample gullet at a “family values” conference Saturday in Iowa, telling protesters:

While Gingrich and his ilk might succeed in obscuring the issue of wealth inequality that exists today between the top 1% and the bottom 99%  in what used to be known as The Land of Opportunity,  an issue that the masses more readily comprehend is accountability.  The title of Prof Juan Cole‘s blog last Friday pretty well sums it up:  OWS under Pressure: Banks Bailed out, People Sold Out. 

Three years after the banksters received their Get Out of Jail Free cards from the Bush and Obama Administrations, the issue of accountability has shifted to politicians and administrators like Jean Quan, the Mayor of Oakland. Quan found herself scrambling to keep her job last month after her police nearly turned a peacefully protesting Iraq war veteran named Scott Olsen into a vegetable after he was shot in the head with a tear gas canister.

In the wake of the pepper spraying incident noted above, it was the Chancellor of UC Davis, Linda Katehi, who was trying to hang on to her job after the university’s faculty association called for her resignation and over 50,000 people signed a petition demanding that she go.  As TPM reports it:

…Chancellor Linda Katehi told ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday that she’s staying put.  “I really feel confident at this point the university needs me,” she told GMA (video here). “There are so many critical issues to be addressed and we really need to start the healing process and move forward.

Student body and faculty reps have called upon the Chancellor Linda Katelhi to resign, seen here providing UC Police officer Lt. Puke Pike,  some preparatory training

Yeah, the university “needs” her like Lt. Puke needs a recharge of his pepper spray canister, and a new litter of kitties to practice on.


UPDATE  [11/19]  Garance Franke-Ruta over at The Atlantic reminds us that the UC Davis macing was not an isolated event.


*Original Pike Spraying Students photo by Louise Macabitas

Iraqis Crap On Bush’s SOFA, Update IV

 Posted by at 10:34 AM on October 18, 2011
Oct 182011

Finally, an end to Bush’s bullshit SOFA

A little over three years ago I wrote my first post on the 2008 Status Of  Forces Agreement (SOFA) entered into  between the George W. Bush Administration and the government of Iraq. (For that and the subsequent two entries, see “Related Posts” below). Despite the many efforts of both the Bush and Obama administrations to extend its original three year term, the SOFA turns into a pumpkin at midnight, December 31, by which time all remaining US troops must have vacated the premises.

As Juan Cole explains in his post This is the Way the Iraq War Ends, with Bangs and Whimpers, SOFA agreements are designed to shield American troops from various forms of legal prosecution by a host country, something the US typically insists upon when stationing troops in foreign lands. However, this was not something that the Iraqis were predisposed to approve.  And following the slaughter of 17 innocent civilians by Blackwater mercenaries in Nisoor Square in September 2007, followed in turn by the refusal of US courts to prosecute the company and its employees, the die was cast. Any agreement would be on Iraqi terms.

Even so, the Bush Administration believed it or its successor administration, whether Republican or Democratic, would be able to negotiate an extension.  (The Military Industrial Complex is a truly bi-partisan enterprise.) Well, it’s didn’t quite work out that way.


Washington hawks had wanted to keep 25,000 US troops in Iraq indefinitely. The Obama administration had decided by this September that that goal was unrealistic, and decided to seek a small contingent of 3,000 or so. But there would be no point in having them in Iraq if they could not fight when necessary, and for that activity they would have needed a new SOFA or a legislated extraterritoriality. They got neither, and so the US has to go…

The consequences of the ill-conceived and ill-executed US occupation, besides its humongous cost in blood and treasure to Americans and Iraqis alike?

The US will leave behind a failed state. A determined guerrilla insurgency based in the Sunni Arab community (though not necessarily widely supported by the latter) continues to hit Baghdad, as it did on Wednesday in a series of attacks that targeted police and killed 25…

There are severe tensions between the Kurds in the north and the Arab government in Baghdad…

Cole goes on to describe just one of the many failed ventures that was part of the grand neocon enterprise of nation building. After using billions of borrowed dollars to destroy what was then the Middle East’s most modern infrastructure, the plan was to pay American contractors like Halliburton to rebuild it, using more billions of borrowed dollars, all guaranteed by the US taxpayer.  Shoddy work, a long tradition of official corruption, and a determined insurgency that destroyed stuff as soon as it was built were just the most obvious impediments to “success” and “victory.”

Then there are the geo-strategic consequences of Bush’s insane war. Cole again:

The US keeps fretting over Iranian influence in Iraq, but that is silly. If you didn’t want Iranian Shiite influence in Iraq you shouldn’t have overthrown the Sunni Saddam Hussein and seated the Shiite fundamentalists as a controlling interest in Parliament. Now that Washington has put the Iraqi Shiites in power, it should expect at least moments of great cooperation with Tehran.

And let’s not forget the millions of Iraqis that George W. Bush forced to flee from their homes.

From WikiP:

In 2007, the United Nations estimated that nearly 5 million refugees fled the country since 2003,[1] with nearly 100,000 fleeing to Syria and Jordan each month.[2][3] In October 2006, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Iraqi government estimated that more than 365,000 Iraqis had been displaced since the 2006 bombing of the al-Askari Mosque, bringing the total number of Iraqi refugees to more than 1.6 million.[4]

More recent numbers estimate that those numbers have continued to grow. Costs of War, a report from Brown University‘s Watson Institute for International Studies, reported that “three and a half million Iraqis have fled their homes and have not returned” since 2003. That number includes 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 1.8 million Iraqi expatriates.[5] The UNHCR puts the number even higher, estimating 4.7 million displaced Iraqis since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The UNHCR reports the same proportion of IDP refugees in Iraq as Costs of War–i.e., 2.4 million internally displaced Iraqis, of which 58% rent housing, 18% live with host families or relatives, 24% live in public buildings, but only 1% live in tented camps.[6] This has caused a strain on infrastructure and further deterioration in the humanitarian situation where 4 million are food insecure (25% of children are chronically malnourished) and only one in three children has access to safe drinking water.


According to the U.N., roughly 40% of Iraq’s middle class is believed to have fled. Most are fleeing systematic persecution and have no desire to return.[14] Refugees are mired in poverty as they are generally barred from working in their host countries.[15][16] In Syria alone an estimated 50,000 Iraqi girls and women, many of them widows, are forced into prostitution just to survive.[17][18]


Heckuva job, Georgie! Heckuva job!

Cole concludes:

And so that is the way the war ends. No great demonstrations in the US against it in its twilight. It is ending almost by default, because the Iraqi parliament can seldom get real legislation done, the US is forced to adhere to the 2008 SOFA. In the background, the bombs are still going off and the country is riven by ethnic disputes. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. The US will receive no benefit from its illegal war of aggression, no permanent bases, no bulwark against Iran, no new Arab friend to Israel, no $14 a barrel petroleum– all thing things Washington had dreamed of. Dreams that turned out to be flimsy and unsubstantial and tragic.

The only remotely good news now is the savings to the American taxpayer of not having to station tens of thousands of American troops in Iraq, an estimated $50 billion a year. Now, if we could only repeat that feat in Afghanistan.