Sunday, 22 November 2015

Love to Love War, Baby?

"I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric ... suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop.

"...but apparently, they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion... Now they’re worried about three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me."

You know who's not scared of widows and orphans? So little scared in fact that his entire presidency has the creation of more widows and orphans on his weekly agenda? Part and parcel of our tradition of compassion? Like quite too occasionally putting them out of their misery by preemptively striking their widow and orphan status.

It will be interesting to see if he responds to this letter from former drone operators:
We came to the realization that the innocent civilians we were killing only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS, while also serving as a fundamental recruitment tool similar to Guantanamo Bay. This administration and its predecessors have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.
"Is fundamental potent?" I can imagine WH Press Secretary Josh Earnest earnestly joshing. You know, this administration is not above joshing about drones. What? Should I be "over" this by now? (Read first, watch later.)

So President Bo Rama cannot imagine a more potent recruiting tool. Wouldn't that be the imagination of a sociopath? I don't wanna believe that he just refuses to imagine the more potent tool he's been deploying for two terms, because that'd be the other pathology. Ted Bundy was a congenial fellow they say.


Speaking of another guy people quite apparently love to love (I'm promising myself to extinguish this pet peeve after this. (Again, maybe best to read first, click & watch later)):

The point of the segment was for Late Show host Stephen Colbert to demonstrate that displays of solidarity (with Paris) via social media are a perfectly appropriate way to show support on the one hand, and to deal with grief on the other.

I dunno if it's the crowd roar when Colbert reaches the part where the Statue of Liberty gives ISIS the finger, or if it's when he jokes about how France gave the US "half the continent at a bargain price. No take-backs, guys."

Why, Stephen... don't you mean Indian giving?

I find it all so fucking brain-dead, trying to explain why feels like an exercise in zombie bating.

He intros soberly, "I hope you had a good weekend but, given what's going on in the world, that's a tall order." Regarding what happened in Paris, and as a New Yorker who "knows too well the horror" he says he'd like to offer Paris "the hope that there is a way through the unspeakable tragedy."

I would maintain that the truly unspeakable tragedies are those that go unspoken. What do you think? Anyway, I'd be wary of someone reading me the instruction manual for the "way through" from the verse 9 chapter 11.

That so much of his tone sounds nearly indistinguishable from his earlier fake-persona — or at least a cadence eerily similar to that of his previous schtick — is creepy enough. But the ego-centrism of the colonial empire as victim enterprise should make one question whether or not the inhabitants of this bubble are capable of the awareness that there is a larger swath of victims between the lines drawn by the military, the terrorists, and the refugees that might be worthy of more serious consideration even than the other three. And they don't necessarily live in Europe or America or even want to.

In a later segment, Stephen has a US military colonel (decorated, don'tcha know) on to do one of those oh-so serious, yet cracking wise, always in the service of lady liberty, interviews that is very nearly titled "Whadayagonnado!?"  (embedded at the end)

One cannot make the case that Colbert exercises a devil's advocate role in the least. He basically assists in making the colonel's case, which is a coalition of troops in the "several hundreds of thousands and for a long time... it'll take a decade, two decades."

Though I doubt most people think things this far through, I guess we're envisioning a day where there'll be bases all over the region in question, surrounded by the same kind of peace loving community the US has in other countries of wars past and whose worst offense to doe-eyed Americans will be giving their GIs venereal disease. The wholesome version has Elvis in an implied love triangle with a local girl who will also be doe-eyed. How progressive! You see, they're not all terrorists.

Basically, occupying the world with brute force is the solution to the world. No chance at all that occupied children will continue to grow up with the ambition to kill the happy occupiers with their charmingly oblivious Facebook profiles.

In wondering where this coalition is to come from, the host helpfully suggests, "So many countries have been attacked by ISIS at this point."

In the relatively lucid existence of my imagination, it would have been the  colonel leading the host, and the host would have retorted with a quip about how many countries & territories have been attacked by the US in the last year, decade, century — and maybe offered an estimate as to the number of dead. You know, in case one wonders where coalitions come from.

For their part, instead guest & host venture hand in hand down the road of the reasonable discussion of alternatives, or at least what passes for it on the network with an all-seeing eye pasted permanently in the lower right corner of the screen, like the signature of the artist.

Dabbling gently as devil's advocate himself, the colonel paraphrases "an argument that says...stop trying to unseat bloodthirsty despots" as it relates to toppling regimes, but in the way that omits the specific detail that has long been the setting them up & knocking them down reality of foreign policy.

It's at this point in the interview where it takes on a more obviously scripted quality. Certainly The Late Show has always tried to do pre-interviews. Keep in mind that this time of night used to include David Letterman moderating Stupid Human Tricks or dropping shit from the top of the Rockefeller Center, which, in retrospect, would show a broader range of world solidarity even if it ignored Reagan's world exploits.

Anyway, Colbert responds, "Certainly we were in bed with a lot of blood thirsty despots for a while and then we got out of that business and, uhhm, overthrew Saddam Hussein. Would ISIS exist if Saddam was still in power?"

To this the colonel answers in the negative, giving the response that liberals love to love, even though almost all of their preferred politicians voted for that war, they hang it on the previous administration. Because Democrats don't care about the ongoing problem as much as they cherish being able to blame it on Republicans.

The colonel goes on to say that ISIS want "you to die and they want to die themselves" to which Stephen asks, "So how do we give that to them?" Cheers from the audience, I daresay with a tad of blood thirst bravado. I think nary a soul thought that response through. If you do, you realize that, although Colbert meant "How do we kill them?" technically the question was about how to give ISIS the gift of all of us being dead. Probably the answer to the implied question better fits the unintended one.

Colonel's conclusion: More war. "A quarter of a million of troops in Syria alone". This is immediately concluded with superfluous comic relief about the hotel the colonel is staying in to the hearty laughter and applause from those who love to love this shit in spite of everything. And, my goodness, because of it. They probably went to sleep feeling smarter.

My take: If you're on about how "we" need to take in refugees without just as passionately maintaining that "we" need to stop taking war to the rest of their world, I cannot take you seriously. "Either, or" does not work here. If you wanna be "we", then you gotta own this shit. This includes not passing weapons out to everybody who serves some shady long- or short-term interest.

If you're answer is, "But they will at best only allow us the one thing!" then it's time to stop calling yourself "we" and distance yourself from they who would promote anything less. Don't be a tool.

Look at it this way: If you intuit the worthiness of symbolic solidarity, don't let anybody tell you it has something to do with the colors of their flag — this, the day before they redouble their bombing raids. Instead, find nice pictures of the actual victims and declare your sympathy with them.

Remember nine-eleven? Imagine the creative use of stars & bars if profile images had been a thing then. Just because France has been roundly mocked by Americans for "surrendering" to the Nazis does not mean that freedom, equality, and brotherhood have not been adept since the second world war at being partners in war crime with the other red, white, and blue. If all you're aware of is their refusal to join the coalition of the willing, look into the rest of their twentieth century history. Don't be a tool.

If you think that your guy or gal in office doesn't have a choice, that certain shadowy powers have captured their every bloody move, then they owe it to you to say so. Explicitly. Otherwise I'm not buying it.

Colbert's assertion that "we got out of that business" of bedding blood thirsty despots is a bald-faced lie, but it serves the brand's narrative to hand-wring out half-truths. Call it truthiness. It is increasingly clear that CBS is paying Stephen Colbert to sit high up on the propagator of the lesser evil brand of the Project for the New American Century.

On that note, I conclude today's Sunday Paper with Exhibit A: