Swopa

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1 month, 1 week ago
  • Incidentally, regarding Maliki staying in office despite his bloc being edged out by Allawi in the popular vote, I wrote about that for this site four years ago.

    Both I and Juan Cole (as linked in the post) predicted that Maliki would stay in power, and it had nothing to do with U.S. influence — instead, it was because structural fault lines between the various factions guaranteed that Allawi would not be able to build a majority coalition.

    As to his initial ascension to being prime minister, Maliki didn’t “strong-arm his way into office” (as Jamail claims), nor was he backed by the United States. If anyone “handpicked” him, it was Moqtada as-Sadr.

  • Zachary is completely correct about the U.S. preference for Allawi and Maliki actually having slightly more leverage over the U.S. than vice versa.

    In fact, the UPI link he provides highlights one of the darkly comic aspects of our occupation — namely, that (as Dahr says) Maliki has “his own private intelligence services” because the U.S. wouldn’t let him control the official agency, where it had installed a longtime CIA asset.

    A similar tale lies behind the link between Petraeus et al. and the Shia death squads. As I wrote elsewhere in 2007 (see 1st comment):

    What happened was that when our boy Iyad Allawi was the interim prime minister, we supported him in setting up the Special Police Commandos (from whence the stories about the “Salvador option,” etc., arose). Like Allawi, they may have been nominally Shiite, but were really more secular/Baathist — i.e., Saddamism without Saddam.

    Then, in early 2005, the new elected Shiite government takes over, looks at the SPC — including the TV show(!) set up to promote them — and says, “Hey, nice structure you’ve put in place here… now step aside, and let us show you how to do this.” They proceeded to sideline the Allawi loyalists and turned the Special Police Commandos into a Shiite death squad, along with much of the rest of the govt. security forces.

    Note that Allawi was the U.S. prime minister in 2004 (and so thoroughly pro-American that he was invited to Washington to address Congress). He was also in charge during the November 2004 assault on Fallujah that Jamail mentions. I’m not sure how he managed to forget all that in claiming that the U.S. favored Maliki over him.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Outro…

    2013-08-22 22:20:10View | Delete

    “What will he find out there, doctor?”

    “His destiny.”

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: If It’s Dubya, Can It Still Be Art?

    2013-02-08 22:08:28View | Delete

    That’s an awesome anecdote. And cheers to you for your fine work; I’m a longtime fan.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: Bye-Bye, Barney

    2013-02-01 22:04:59View | Delete

    I’m doing well, thanks! In San Francisco/Oakland for the weekend, and about to step out now to visit some old friends/haunts…

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: Ending a Three-Year Charade in Afghanistan

    2013-01-11 22:46:45View | Delete

    Also, saying that Karzai will be laughed at when he campaigns for U.S. immunity is quite a bit different than your claim that Karzai told Obama to stuff it.

    I haven’t followed the Afghan SOFA issue as closely as I did Iraq, but in neither country have I ever seen any real desire on Obama’s part to keep troops on the ground forever. In Iraq, we left and haven’t looked back, and I suspect that in effect we’ll see the same result in Afghanistan.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: In Monsanto We Trust?

    2013-01-04 21:09:23View | Delete

    I’m also instinctively suspicious of such well-publicized conversions, especially when one turns in favor of positions that well-heeled corporations would love to promote. This is particularly so given that Lynas’s earlier claim to fame doesn’t seem to have been the intellectual force of his arguments, but doing things like throwing pies.

    That sort of thing fuels my natural hunch that the “convert” is/was little more than an attention-seeker, regardless of ideological direction. That said, I’d like to hear if anyone knows about the arguments backing up Lynas’s new stance.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: Last-Minute Xmas Shopping

    2012-12-21 21:18:54View | Delete

    Are you sure?! At least a few people must have tried shipping Sarah Palin’s books that way…

  • Yep. I haven’t paid attention to those shows in years.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: It’s Gonna Be Alright

    2012-11-09 22:20:22View | Delete

    What CTuttle said… I tried to avoid posting anything like this before the election, because if someone’s conscience wouldn’t let them vote for Obama, I really didn’t want to argue with them — and if that group was large enough that Obama lost, that was his fault, not anyone else’s.

    But the election’s over, so Obama is the only president available to lobby… and he won’t be on the ballot in 2016, so “supporting” him is no longer relevant. So nothing should be dividing progressives at this point.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: It’s Gonna Be Alright

    2012-11-09 21:28:27View | Delete

    Oh, come on. TBogg has dozens of posts more provocative than this. :)

    I’m just saying that after all the accusations that voting/not voting for Obama is an awful betrayal of the progressive cause… the day after the election, it doesn’t matter anymore.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: The Virtues of Procrastination

    2012-10-26 21:01:28View | Delete

    I’m supposed to censor spam or threats of violence.

    Incoherence, I think, I just have to let go.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: The Virtues of Procrastination

    2012-10-26 20:50:30View | Delete

    Um, “sensing,” I mean. What I get for commenting from a primitive smartphone.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: The Virtues of Procrastination

    2012-10-26 20:48:23View | Delete

    Dr. D.; My experience was off-camera… Many years ago, I joined my sister-in-law in attending a small quasi-fundraiser by someone who was thinking of running for mayor of Los Angeles. As we were chatting, a man came over and introduced himself as a reporter for the LA Times.

    Being a smartass, and sending a bit of self-satisfaction in his greeting, I instinctively responded, “Oh, well, we’ll try to lower our conversation to your intellectual level.” He spent the entire rest of the evening trying to get back at me for that remark (talking to my sister-in-law and taking digs at me, etc.). He was *really* pissed off.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: The Virtues of Procrastination

    2012-10-26 20:36:57View | Delete

    Er, um, “think,” I mean.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: The Virtues of Procrastination

    2012-10-26 20:33:56View | Delete

    What Dr. D. says is true; the best way to make a reporter your mortal enemy is to suggest that you thin you’re smarter or savvier than he/she is.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: The Virtues of Procrastination

    2012-10-26 20:23:47View | Delete

    Dr. D: They also know that the one thing which would endanger their status most is being too aggressive in challenging the GOP.

    When you take down Dan Rather, everyone notices. And just about all of them draw the appropriate lesson.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: A Familiar Diagnosis

    2012-10-19 22:21:20View | Delete

    “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

    A great quote, and I always like to preface it with, “As someone said more than 2,200 years ago…”

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: A Wake-Up Call, Perhaps Scheduled in Advance

    2012-10-05 20:55:40View | Delete

    Something else I didn’t manage to squeeze into the post — I suspect at least a partial reason behind the “race video” faux-controversy that Drudge et al. worked overtime to hype the day before the debate was to nudge Obama toward that non-confrontational, non-angry black man persona.

  • Swopa commented on the blog post Late Night: A Wake-Up Call, Perhaps Scheduled in Advance

    2012-10-05 20:51:42View | Delete

    Several people have noted that he started out the debates with a weak performance against McCain. I agree with those that feel he is not really comfortable with the confrontational style of that medium.

    This is related to a point I tried to make above. And I should add that he wasn’t “weak” against McCain (except in the eyes of very partisan Democrats) — he came across as calm, confident, and more presidential compared to McCain, who was jumpy and aggressive. This wasn’t just my opinion, but that of the post-debate polls, which indicated he had “won” the debate.

    Trying to apply the same philosophy after a 4-year hiatus, though, Obama apparently erred on the side of being *too* passive.

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