SYNDICATED COLUMN: Obama a “Reluctant Warrior,” My Ass

David Ignatius is to The Washington Post what Thomas Friedman is to The New York Times, the 50-yard line of the world as seen by political elites. Like Friedman (but minus the Mustachioed One’s tortured syntax and penchant for airport-to-Four-Seasons taxicab policy briefings), Ignatius mirrors the views of our wealthy, powerful and oblivious leaders at any given hour of the day.

Like the president and his advisors and Congress and the Pentagon brass, he never spies a crisis abroad that couldn’t be improved by firing explosives at it. Long after everyone, including even the media, tires of the carnage (in Iraq, in Afghanistan, etc.), he continues to defend it until the war’s approval ratings dip into fractions of a percentage point, at which point he pivots, bravely arguing that intervention is a mistake.

At this writing, we are at the start of America’s war cycle: (post-beheading video) anger, bombing, more bombing, withdrawal.

Obama’s bombing campaign against ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in Syria is in its larval form. Which means Ignatius is cheerleading what the U.S. does best: turning living human beings into corpses.

Ignatius, a right-winger, is more pro-war than pro-Republican. Which earns the president official Ignatian praise as — no, really! — a “reluctant warrior.”

Obama, writes Ignatius, “certainly didn’t go looking for another war in the Middle East.” He “contorted himself almost to the breaking point to avoid one.” He “had no choice.”

Ignatius approvingly cites fellow Iraq War neo-con Stephen Hadley (last seen in the desert searching for Saddam’s WMDs, rather than in prison where he belongs): “Hadley noted that Obama’s stance as a reluctant warrior will help him reassure foreigners and Americans alike that this isn’t a reckless, unilatateral U.S. crusade,” Ignatius writes.

Beware of warmongers bearing the “no choice” argument. In matters of war, especially against a foe like ISIS deemed by U.S. government’s own professional intelligence analysts to pose no imminent threat to the U.S., there is always a choice.

To war or not to war?

You might also want to be wary of warmongers whose last war, and the one before, and the one before that, didn’t work out well — guys who are always, reliably wrong. Though, to be fair to Iggy, that’s also true about most of his colleagues.

More galling than Ignatius’ Lucy-and-the-football “no, really, this time really will be awesome” here-we-go-again shtick is this “mainstream” columnist’s belief that Americans can’t remember the last five years of U.S. history.

When it comes to killing, Obama is anything but reluctant. To the contrary — he makes George W. Bush look like a dirty peace hippie.

Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 by running against the “stupid war” against Iraq. Once in office, however, he issued order after order extending said stupid war with tens of thousands of soldiers and U.S. private “contractors” (corporate mercenaries).

Obama doubled down in Afghanistan with the failed “surge” of additional troops.

It’s pretty much forgotten now, but in 2011 Obama went in deep against Libya, assassinating dictator Col. Moammar Gaddaffi with a drone. The collapse of Gaddaffi’s government opened a vacuum instantly filled by Benghazi-based radical Islamist militias and sparked a civil war that has reduced a formerly viable nation to a failed state.

Speaking of drones…

Does anyone need reminding that Obama aggressively expanded Bush’s illegal program of drone assassinations in Yemen, east Africa and Pakistan, killing thousands of people, 98% or so of whom have been innocent civilians? Or that, rather than grant the victims of the 9/11 attacks justice in the form of a trial, he ordered the assassination and midnight body dump of Osama bin Laden?

From Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya to now Iraq all over again, Barack Obama is as much of a “reluctant warrior” as Genghis Khan.

(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and cartoonist, is the author of the new critically-acclaimed book “After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You Back As Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan.” Subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.)


12 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Obama a “Reluctant Warrior,” My Ass

  1. And one last thing on this. Right now, the NYPost (that highwater mark of journalism) is reporting:

    Islamic State terrorists are plotting an attack on U.S. and Paris subway systems, Iraq’s prime minister warned Thursday morning at the United Nations.
    Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he was told of the plot by his intelligence in Baghdad, and that it was from foreign ISIS fighters in Iraq, according to the Associated Press.

    Didn’t this crap happen over and over with Shrub? Safety Color Orange, um, Safety Color Red. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! Every time a crisis started to unfold, out came the “security alert” warning us all to be afraid.

    Where the hell is the press on all this? al-Abadi’s intelligence in Baghdad? How corrupt (or not corrupt) are they? Why should I believe them?

  2. Notice Ignatius’ language. The older I get, the more I realize that Orwell had it dead solid right all the way through and through. Control language, control thought. What does Ignatius say? “Reluctant warrior.” What is a warrior? It’s someone who fights. All the time. To claim someone is a reluctant warrior is similar to claiming someone is a reluctant breather. The nature of a warrior is to wage war, so the premise of reluctance is nonsense.

    Yes, yes. I understand. Metaphor. Flowery language. Etc. But just like the police departments have “militarized” so has the language. Give it a few more years. Will we be treated to “I, reluctantly, had no choice but to rape her,” or perhaps textbooks from Colorado telling us of the great reluctance of the Nazis who murdered all the Jews and Romany in the concentration camps?

    I can’t have political discussions with most of my Obamafriends. They, genuinely, do not comprehend that he’s identical (or worse) in behavior to George W. Bush.

    And Ted, if you find out what that foot had wrong with it, I would love to know.

    • I find it makes it easy to separate out the ‘progressives’ from the democrats. Likewise, the other side of the fence, however you define it.

      We’ve got one group that adamantly defended Bush’s wire tapping & droning, yet scream bloody murder when Obama does the same thing. We’ve got another group who does the exact opposite.

      The only people with true guiding principles are those who react the same way to the same actions regardless of the political party in power. (And the only people with morals are those who oppose such actions)

      • Hey CH;

        What about us rubes who think that Twiddle-dumber and Twiddle-diddle are just secret war-crooks born locked at the hip?

        While Orwell has been right about the government at least since Roosevelt, it was Dubya who treated his book, 1984, as if it were an instruction manual.

        It’s all just another episode of “Good Thug, Worse Warmonger.” And the Rubes? They don’t matter at all, that is until they get in the way too much. Then, like Webb, Thompson, and that other dude whose new Mercy they blew up with him, well, they’ll simply “suicide” them (us?) all.

        I’m beginning to think, NOBODY can stop this fate.


  3. “Ignatius’… belief that Americans can’t remember the last five years of U.S. history.”

    “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting” –Milan Kundera

  4. Mr Rall once objected to comparing Bush, jr to Hitler. This was before the ’04 election, so, as Mr Rall pointed out, Hitler was elected in a fair election.

    Likewise, I have to object to comparing Obama and Bush, jr to Genghis, because Genghis does not deserve to be compared to someone like Obama or Bush, jr.

  5. > Does anyone need reminding that …

    I’m pretty sure that there is no need to remind al-Qaeda, ISIS, ISIL, IS, Boko Haram, et al. But by the time they get around to flying airplanes into skyscrapers, the American public will have conveniently forgotten all that went before.

    • I would regard that as a remarkably stupid remark except that in one sense it it completely true.If you count what pretends to be our government as part of the “public” you can be sure that they haven’t learned a thing. It’s unlikely that any of the mid-eastern groups would try another airplane attack, but if we are attacked by a retarded terrorist, he might even get away with it.

      • I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to say.

        The airplane/skyscraper scenario is only a metaphor, the next attack may be biological, it might be a computer virus, or it might just be a wave of beheadings across the country. The method is Irrelevant.

        After 9/11, there was a very small percentage of the US population who realized it was not an attack, per se, but rather a retaliation.

        Do you really think that Joe Public has learned something in the last thirteen years that he didn’t learn in the previous fifty? I’m pretty sure he hasn’t. On the day of The Next Pearl Harbor (note: metaphor) he’ll still be asking, “Why do they hate us?”

        OTOH, I do believe that a far larger percentage of our politicians know damned good and well, “why they hate us” – they just don’t care so long as the money keeps rolling in.

      • Interesting. The conversation turns to the question of “hate.”

        Let us be clear with each other. The thing that EVERYONE in the world hates is people who say one thing and act another. So when the U.S. talks about freedoms and liberties, checks and balances, and then tortures people behind closed doors and denies anything happened, when our “warriors” drop bombs that wipe out whole towns and talk of “surgical strikes” we dig our own graves because all we do is make more people hate us.

      • derlehrer:

        I like Osama’s reply to that canard, “If it was about freedom we would have attacked Sweden”


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