Why Fewer Journalists Is a Good Idea

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I don’t speak about Afghanistan – or, Iraq, these days, but Michael A. Cohen set me off today – now I recall why I stopped subscribing to TNR. “Why haven’t progressives mounted more of a challenge to the war in Afghanistan?” Short answer: they’re not “progressives”!

…liberals generally support the objectives of the war in Afghanistan—and for a good part of the past seven years have been calling on the U.S. to devote more attention to the war there, rather than Iraq.

They recall Afghanistan’s role in the planning of September 11 and are aware of the continued presence of al Qaeda in the region. And many fear that a precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan would subject Afghans, and in particular Afghan women, to a return of the human rights abuses that defined previous Taliban rule. That makes even those with serious misgivings about the Obama administration’s strategy more willing to give it the benefit of a doubt.

No, you war-mongering jack-ass, progressives didn’t want a war! We wanted to kill Osama bin Laden – or neutralize Al-Qaeda. Period. The rest of Cohen’s article is just neo-con rationalizations for why “progressives” let the debate get out of their hands in the first place. It’s all so posh, but now there’s nothing left in the piggy bank for such artful dodges. The denouement is nearing. Retreat, with some wonky rationalization for a cover story, is the future. The only question is, how low will “progressives” have to define success, by butchering the English language, to avoid looking like the enablers they are. Verily, I say: get rid of the politicians who did this, and, if they can’t find their way out the door, Michael Cohen and “progressive journalists” can write op-eds explaining how.

I glanced over this Walt essay this morning, because I thought it callous.

a foreign terrorist threat immediately becomes a big money-maker for lots of well-organized groups (including defense contractors, think tanks, beltway bandits, and yes, more than a few universities), so the danger it poses gets blown out of all proportion. This may also explain why we worry more about foreign-based terrorism than we do about the purely domestic variety, even in periods when the actual danger from the latter is greater. This isn’t the only reason why the public tends to view foreign-based terrorism with alarm and traffic safety with a certain blasé, business-as-usual attitude, but I do think it’s part of the problem. Ironically, if the situation were reversed, we’d be safer here at home and we’d be doing fewer stupid things abroad.

Now, I think it’s just brilliant. Being callous about jack-asses like Cohen is preferable to being callous about mistakes in Afghanistan.

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Filed under: Academia, Eurasian Balkans, Military, Politics, USA Tagged: afghanistan, foreign policy, iraq war, journalism, michael a. cohen, progressives, spencer ackerman, stephen w. walt, tnr


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