Friday, September 12, 2014


You know what we always learn when Americans are asked what should be done about the federal budget: they want budgets to be balanced, they hate hate hate deficits, but give them a list of programs to cut and they're unswervingly opposed to cutting anything (entitlements, defense) that's actually a significant part of the budget. At most, they're in favor of taxing the rich more (which would help reduce deficits and debt, but wouldn't be enough on its own), and they want to cut foreign aid (which is a tiny sliver of the budget). In fact, they usually want to increase spending programs.

I'm starting to think that's where we are with regard to ISIS-- we have a public that wants the impossible. From a New York Times roundup of opinions from ordinry citizens:
Yet even as Mrs. Anderly wanted to "bomb the hell" out of the militants, she was uncomfortable with a protracted campaign.

"We've been doing this for 11 years. Another three years? We’re not supposed to be a war nation; we're not Rome."
"We really don't want to get bogged down in another war," said Mr. Marsette, who faults Mr. Obama for "just sitting back" while ISIS grew. "Before it grows too big," he said, "there has to be some kind of action."
Well, sir, we are where we are. What are we going to do now? Bitch about what we think should have been. And now we should kick ass -- but not in a long-term, burdensome way.

But if the president's response to these conflicting, contradictory demands is a containment plan rather than an all-out war plan, and someone in the adminstration acknowledges that what we're planning falls short of full-scale war, then Fox is going to flip out in response to that, and Americans are going to grumble some more.

It's too bad the wars in Grenada and Panama were so quick, as was Gulf War I. Twenty and thirty years later, we're still spoiled. Even after the past thirteen years, we're still longing for a rapid little war. So the president and his team shouldn't do stupid stuff, but they may have to say some stupid stuff, just to mollify the public.


Victor said...

So, the POTUS and his team should echo what the shit-heads in the Republican Party and FOX are saying?

No thanks.
I'll take the thoughtful, calm and measured approach I've seen from the POTUS.

But, you may well be right, Steve.

The public wants a quickie war - kind of like a one-time affair, where you meet, fuck the brains out of one another, clean-up, and leave to go home.
No names.
No attachments.
No responsibilities.

Too bad wars have consequences...

Yastreblyansky said...

I think that's what Obama has gone and done. What Cole is calling "John Wayne rhetoric", to disarm John Boehner (successfully) and Ted Cruz (not so much).

Ken_L said...

I reckon you're right. All the "OMG Obama's trashed the constitution" stuff is way over the top - he hasn't DONE anything yet. I anticipate he'll do as little as possible, and take every opportunity to blame the unco-operativeness of other countries for the lack of action. And that's about the best he can do given the political context.

John Kahler said...

Hell is just as eternal as heaven. And the more you send to hell, the more will step in to replace them. It's endless. There's not a little bit of hell, or a percentage of bad guys less than all, and they will continue to be created until there are no more humans. Even if you do have bombs and drones and such. Besides, ending war is not a good business model for a lot of players on both sides. There's profit and ideology to consider.