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Genocide Chick or Genocide Chic?
March 7, 2008 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Harvard Professor Samantha Power's book A Problem from Hell is on syllabi across the country, and is the bible of humanitarian hawks who decry our failure to intervene in the Rwandan or Sudanese genocides. As one of Barack Obama's foreign policy advisors, she's getting a lot of press for her positions: pro-intervention, obviously, critical of Israel, pro-UN, pro-internationalism, and, perhaps unsurprisingly given her husband's role in ignoring the Rwandan genocide, anti-Clinton.
posted by anotherpanacea (85 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
She's also dating Cass Sunstein, apparently.
posted by louie at 9:59 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


As of today, she's apparently no longer one of Obama's advisors because of the comments she made about Hillary as a "monster" in The Scotsman interview.
posted by pised at 9:59 AM on March 7, 2008


Shit. I've been meaning to do this post for a couple of weeks. The Scotsman article just came up in a last minute google!
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:04 AM on March 7, 2008


Yep, she's in the middle of a scandal, and has resigned.
posted by MythMaker at 10:04 AM on March 7, 2008


That's like serious breaking news. It's from fifteen minutes ago!
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:06 AM on March 7, 2008


Damn damn damn: I also didn't know about the Sunstein-Nussbaum breakup!
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:07 AM on March 7, 2008


Yes, she was a foreign affairs aide for Obama. She just resigned because she called Hillary Clinton a monster in an interview with a Scotish newspaper. She thought she was off the record. Hmm...
posted by ciaciagi at 10:11 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


She was off the record!!!
posted by AwkwardPause at 10:13 AM on March 7, 2008


Yea, um, apparently not off the record, eh?
posted by 45moore45 at 10:15 AM on March 7, 2008


She also just wrote Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World which I read and is very good. Likely to be made into a movie by the same person who made Hotel Rwanda. Too bad about the scandal, she's still young, hard lesson learned.
posted by stbalbach at 10:16 AM on March 7, 2008


Well, the Scotsman says that the interview was -on- the record, and the quote shows that it was a sort of retroactive-off-the-record thing:

"She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything," Ms Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark.

Now I'm pissed that my post about humanitarian intervention is being ruined by some stupid personality politics bullshit. Newsflash: professors are rude and speak their mind. We're not politicians. Power may well be deeply wrong about the policies she advocates, (I suspect so) but this ad hominem bullshit doesn't settle the question either way.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:17 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry for shouting. I hope she'll rebound from this. Her affiliation with Obama was one of the key reasons I threw my vote in his hat -- I'd love to see Samantha Power get an official position with a U.S. administration.
posted by AwkwardPause at 10:18 AM on March 7, 2008


Now I'm pissed that my post about humanitarian intervention is being ruined by some stupid personality politics bullshit.

This is one hell of a coincidence.
posted by cashman at 10:22 AM on March 7, 2008


Well, she did the right thing by resigning before she dragged Obama down.

And, I agree that Bill Clinton's failure to take any action at all on Rwanda (until after the fact) was his biggest failure as president.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:22 AM on March 7, 2008


This is one hell of a coincidence.

I posted at 12:52. The TPM piece was posted at 12:50. It took more than two minutes to write this, and I'm a political philosopher who's been interested in Power's work for a long time. I think we can safely view this as a coincidence.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:25 AM on March 7, 2008


Yeah, I love the Clinton spin on this, when yesterday Wolfson said Obama's campaign was using tactics borrowed from "Ken Starr." Stay classy Clintons.
posted by OmieWise at 10:26 AM on March 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


Prof Power did not "hastily try to withdraw" her remark, she withdrew her remark, and the interviewer ignored the withdrawal. If this isn't an ethical breach by the interviewer, it's certainly a major breach of basic courtesy.
posted by WPW at 10:27 AM on March 7, 2008


Basic courtesy in journalism or politics? What planet do you live on?
posted by 45moore45 at 10:30 AM on March 7, 2008


Clinton a monster?

I always heard that the truth was the best defense.
posted by william_boot at 10:32 AM on March 7, 2008


Any chance she'd be reinstated if Obama gets the nomination? Can that happen?
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:33 AM on March 7, 2008


So when do you suppose we'll see someone in the Clinton campaign toss an off-handed insult at Obama and then resign in disgrace?
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:34 AM on March 7, 2008


but this ad hominem bullshit doesn't settle the question either way.


Yes it does, a.p. Not in your mind of course, not in many others, but it "settles" it by moving it away from attention of the public, who is supposed to pay a lot more attention to the sensationalistic nonsense about who's the professor getting laid with, in the past, in the future , whatever. Sometimes I wonder if politics have learned about pretending by hip-hop gangsta east-coast west-cost and wrestling : bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

It's the Murdochization , tabloidification of media : it's all slowly , but surely becoming a localized version of The Sun.
posted by elpapacito at 10:35 AM on March 7, 2008


And, I agree that Bill Clinton's failure to take any action at all on Rwanda (until after the fact) was his biggest failure as president.

What's amazing is that Kofi Annan was the head of peacekeeping operations for the UN during the Rwandan genocide, and Madeline Albright was our UN ambassador. Both of them basically ignored all the warnings, and suffered no career consequences.
posted by gsteff at 10:36 AM on March 7, 2008


Any chance she'd be reinstated if Obama gets the nomination? Can that happen?

Yes. That could certainly happen. Power made an understandable remark directed at a campaign currently designed to damage the Democratic possibilities for winning the White House with anyone other than Clinton. It's a despicable display of ego-driven campaigning. If Obama survives, as he's running against President-elect McCain, he would have no reason not to reinstate Power.

This is a great post. I'm sorry this moment came up and kind of derailed it. I'd like to talk about the substance, but I'm really too pissed off to address it.
posted by OmieWise at 10:43 AM on March 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Any chance she'd be reinstated if Obama gets the nomination? Can that happen?

I don't see why not. But I understand with the race being so close right now and all that she had to step down. Who knows -- should Obama assume the presidency, having called HRC a monster might even be a career bosster (",)
posted by AwkwardPause at 10:44 AM on March 7, 2008


Booster.

And sorry, Omie -- I should have previewed (you said it better anyway). I'm pissed off, too.
posted by AwkwardPause at 10:46 AM on March 7, 2008


Foucault said a lot of unflattering things about her in his books! Apparently she's, like, everywhere, man.
posted by nasreddin at 10:49 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Madeline Albright was our UN ambassador

Albright is another of those who definitely deserve some sort of eternal torment and/or political fallout both for their at-the-time actions and their subsequent failure of remorse.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:50 AM on March 7, 2008


She should have said she meant that Clinton was a Cookie Monster. Everyone loves cookies.

I always heard that the truth was the best defense.

That rule applies for everything but politics, where truth is the best liability.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:53 AM on March 7, 2008


I don't think all your moral outrage is necessarily fair. You can judge Clinton on action/inaction at the time of the event but you cannot do the same with Obama because he was not on the radar screen at the time. It also isn't exactly fair to paint one Clinton with the same brush as the other Clinton. Obama's campaign hasn't exactly been without ridiculous commentary as well. It is all going to get very ugly on both sides because the race is so close. They probably have more in common than they have differences but they can't focus on that now because they are rivals. Anything that happens on this ugly road is just one more red herring to distract us and I agree with the comment above that we are a tabloid society with no attention span and Wal-Mart standards.
posted by 45moore45 at 10:56 AM on March 7, 2008


I posted at 12:52. The TPM piece was posted at 12:50. It took more than two minutes to write this, and I'm a political philosopher who's been interested in Power's work for a long time. I think we can safely view this as a coincidence.

Well, both this post and her resignation had the same root cause, right? I mean, you linked to an article about her comments (last) and it was her comments that caused her to resign.

Anyway, it's a shame. I've been ranting about this on TPM so it's out of my system, but it's a shame that someone so as knowledgeable as her would lose her job over complete nonsense like this. Hillary Clinton's campaign is just so damn touchy. They absolutly freak the fuck out about every little tiny thing. I don't think anyone could really be that sensitive, so I think it's mostly about strategy. But it's really annoying.

Also, the race isn't close. Hillary has almost no chance to win, and her odds actually went down on Tuesday because the ratio of her win was less then the ratio of Obama's current pledged delegate lead.

In order to win, she essentially has to destroy Obama, and that's what she's trying to do. It's pretty sad and embarrasing, really.

Yeah, I love the Clinton spin on this, when yesterday Wolfson said Obama's campaign was using tactics borrowed from "Ken Starr." Stay classy Clintons.

She also used this tactic herself against Rick Lazio.
posted by delmoi at 10:59 AM on March 7, 2008


Well, both this post and her resignation had the same root cause, right?

Nope. I've been meaning to post about Power since I found out that she worked for Obama, which I'm embarrassed to admit was three weeks ago.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:04 AM on March 7, 2008


How is it "sad and embarrassing"? It is what all politicians end up doing one way or the other. You just think worse of it because it's a female doing it which would be your own bias tainting your impression of the politics at hand.
posted by 45moore45 at 11:04 AM on March 7, 2008


delmoi writes "Anyway, it's a shame. I've been ranting about this on TPM so it's out of my system, but it's a shame that someone so as knowledgeable as her would lose her job over complete nonsense like this. Hillary Clinton's campaign is just so damn touchy. They absolutly freak the fuck out about every little tiny thing. I don't think anyone could really be that sensitive, so I think it's mostly about strategy. But it's really annoying."

Given that, as well as her recent praise of McCain, I think her campaign is doomed if she somehow wrangles the nomination. McCain will appear as a calm, clear-headed leader in comparison, and she can't claim he doesn't have experience or can't answer the phone at 3am. His security and experience far outdo hers, and his negatives aren't as high. She's setting herself up to lose, if not now, then in November.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:07 AM on March 7, 2008


So anyway... is anyone interested in talking about her position on Israel? It's stirred up quite a hornet's nest at LGF, for instance.

There's also the issue of the role humanitarian hawk-ism played in justifying the Iraq invasion. Power's work softened the ground for liberals to be pro-invasion in the name of the Kurds, and there's real question whether our intervention in Kosovo was just a delayed reaction to the Bosnian war that ended up supporting a bunch of genocidaires.

And what about the UN? Is Obama going to be another Woodrow Wilson? Would that be so bad?

The David Rieff/Samantha Power snarking is pretty good, too.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:08 AM on March 7, 2008


She was off the record!!!

no, she wasn't. you can't say "she's a monster -- hey, that's off the record". it's not. you have to say, "this is off the record", then the guy agrees, then you talk.

I mean, you certainly can with a friendly journalist. the Scotsman guy wasn't friendly.

also it's amateurish to call someone "a monster", what the fuck is that? you're advising a guy who has a good shot at the nomination, not Dennis Kucinich, you're supposed to do better than that. also, if you want to go off the record, you say something really damaging, give away damaging research you don't want to be traced back to you and that could give the guy an unflattering story about Clinton.

"a monster"? did she also add "she's a fattie"? it's high school. I really liked her book but she's been very amateurish. almost as bad as the Obama guy who told the Canadians that the Nafta talk was bullshit, thus losing Ohio to Clinton and handing her the nomination.

with aides like that, Obama didn't even really the racist bullshit hurled against him by his enemies.
posted by matteo at 11:08 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama didn't even really need the racist bullshit
posted by matteo at 11:10 AM on March 7, 2008


45moore45 writes "How is it 'sad and embarrassing'? It is what all politicians end up doing one way or the other. You just think worse of it because it's a female doing it which would be your own bias tainting your impression of the politics at hand."

What? Where are you getting that?

No, it's her tendency to go negative so quickly and so viciously that's the problem. I saw the same thing with Bill. It's a Clinton problem, not a Hillary problem.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:11 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hillary Clinton's campaign is just so damn touchy. They absolutly freak the fuck out about every little tiny thing.
And why should Power care at all , I think to myself ? She takes one for the party by removing Clinton's agitprops from smearing Obama indirectly by smearing her, that's one plausible explanation. But this confirms that the two are attacking each other : which is the same line used by Berlusconi agitprops, painting opposition as divided and quarreling.

Or you try to defuse all of this by saying it was a joke , find out if the Scots journalist is somehow tangentially remotely related to some republican, and it's all a smear scheme by opposition ; meanwhile you talk with the Clinton campaing and organize to switch the media attention from "quarreling dems" to " right wing bush iraq".
posted by elpapacito at 11:14 AM on March 7, 2008


No, the problem is that this thread was about an Obama aide making a stupid remark and everyone deciding that somehow it is Hilary Clinton's fault. The responses are as weak minded as one would expect from someone watching the Home Shopping Network all day.
posted by 45moore45 at 11:16 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, who the fuck is Power , I mean on the voter radar ? Power who ?
posted by elpapacito at 11:16 AM on March 7, 2008


The responses are as weak minded as one would expect from someone watching the Home Shopping Network all day.
It's hillary campaign fault ! It's obama aide fault ! Turn it left, turn it right, it still lands on dems.
posted by elpapacito at 11:20 AM on March 7, 2008


There's also the issue of the role humanitarian hawk-ism played in justifying the Iraq invasion. Power's work softened the ground for liberals to be pro-invasion in the name of the Kurds, and there's real question whether our intervention in Kosovo was just a delayed reaction to the Bosnian war that ended up supporting a bunch of genocidaires.

A friend of mine edited a book on humanitarian intervention at the same time that Power was writing hers. It had a piece by Rieff on Yugoslavia, and was about Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The book came up more than a few times in the statements of Neocons re: Iraq, and it made her (my editor friend) furious. It's a tricky subject, but my friend was quite clear about the difference between stopping genocide and liberating oppressed polities.

(n.b. She was getting her Master's with Agnes Heller when she was editing the book, and was writing about Arendt.)
posted by OmieWise at 11:26 AM on March 7, 2008


Is Obama going to be another Woodrow Wilson?

In two weeks, his supporters are going to claim he can walk on water.
posted by Stynxno at 11:29 AM on March 7, 2008


Hillary supporters currently touting her expansive Foreign Affairs "experience" over Obama's seeming lack thereof should be strapped to a chair a la Clockwork Orange to enjoy a viewing of Hotel Rwanda. Hell, maybe the Clinton's could deign themselves to host, fund and also participate. At least that way we'd be sure the accommodations would be 1st class.

I'm sure she has had great experiences traveling the world, eating different foods, shaking lots of hands and viewing the local traditions. They just missed the bloodletting thing goin on down in Africa.

Monster?
posted by HyperBlue at 11:37 AM on March 7, 2008


Omiewise: Sounds like a good friend to know.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:42 AM on March 7, 2008


I remember back in 2004 when people's blind and unthinking support of a warmonger made up into down, fact into fiction, and fiction into fact, and I see it happening again right now. I thought it was impossible to become more politically detached from the loudest voices, but here it's happening again. Now that a Democratic candidate is doing the fear-mongering, arguing cryptically about "crossing a command in chief threshold" that sounds like preemptive war or outright executive power grab, and has supporters that in their best light I consider irrational and unhinged, I wonder where in bizarro land I've landed.

Samantha Power's involvement in the political realm was important to me, because here seemed a well thought-out, pragmatic way of dealing with a difficult problem. Interventionism, I always thought, even with the best of intentions, will likely go wrong. But also, how can one stand by as Rwanda happened. Power was making a case I could agree with, even if it made me uneasy. And she could hold her own against Amy Goodman's pointed attacks, so she scored points with me there.

Somebody, please, hold me, reassure me that we're not going to be plunged further into the moral turpitiude of reacting against imagined/fabricated enemies with more war. Bring back Samantha Power, or at least make sure ideas like hers are put into policy.
posted by Llama-Lime at 11:43 AM on March 7, 2008


she could hold her own against Amy Goodman's pointed attacks, so she scored points with me there.

I looked at that transcript, but missed the 'pointed attacks.' Could you elaborate?
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:48 AM on March 7, 2008


Oops, that was the wrong transcript, let me see if I can find the other one, it dealt more directly with the campaign.
posted by Llama-Lime at 11:50 AM on March 7, 2008


"a monster"? did she also add "she's a fattie"? it's high school.

No kidding. Disappointing.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:51 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile the current administration allows Darfur and I don't hear any of the nominees talking about that.

Our political process sucks. The democrats are going to canibalize each other and cancel each other out leaving a clear path for the nominee offering us more of the same. Obama is more likeable but that doesn't mean he is more qualified. Personally I'd like to see them join forces now and pledge to be president and VP no matter who gets the nomination (with the one getting the nomination being the president). It would eliminate so many of these distractions and stop the bleed so they can start building together instead of trying to destroy each other.
posted by 45moore45 at 12:01 PM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


"a monster"? did she also add "she's a fattie"? it's high school.

The idea of moral monstrosity is pretty prevalent among liberal hawks, who depend a lot on the outrageousness of genocide for the policy advocacy. At heart, they're little different from pro-lifers who see every death of an 'unborn child' as evidence of human evil. It's the same black and white thinking that underlies Bush's presidency. But I agree that this lack of subtlety has more far-reaching effects. I mean, a book tour? During your candidate's primary? Seriously?

This alone is probably good reason for the Obama campaign to distance itself from her. But genocide is a problem from hell precisely because it's impossible to get past the outrage; you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. It's hard to think straight when considering the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. It's hard to remain calm, dispassionate, and strategic. It's hard to be subtle, to avoid immature name-calling, to avoid falling into comparisons to Hitler. It's hard to avoid painting your political opponents as monsters.

I'm disgusted by our failure to help the African Union intervene in Rwanda; it came down to an argument about who would pay to paint the troop transports blue, not a real consideration of the wisdom of intervention. That's bureaucratic stupidity, Eichmann-esque thoughtlessness, not deliberation. But I think Power may ultimately bring her own brand of forgetfulness to the policy discussion, and that's potentially dangerous. She's no Karl Rove, but she might be a Robert McNamara, forever hiding from the reality, which is that the gap between what ought to be and what is cannot be bridged with hope and rhetoric.

I admire her work, and her optimism. But I think it's probably better for Obama to read her books over Christmas break and call her in Cambridge for a chat rather than to put her in a position at the White House where her ideas and actions would have the weight of the weight of the Oval Office behind them.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:08 PM on March 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I could offer you a veritable thesaurus of adjectives to describe how I feel about Clinton and how low or vile her campaign has stooped over the past several weeks. Monster is on the kinder end. I can appreciate Power being a human being first and reacting to an awful strategy or the like and blurting that out. Do I think Clinton is the only "Monster" in the race? Heavens no, but I can appreciate someone being tired, or suprised, or both, and, not used to having any word they utter being soundchecked -- you know, saying it.

If Clinton doesn't tear the DNC apart in her hunger for power -- I can imagine the conversation being something like "I suffered the humiliation of an entire nation after forgiving my husband's wandering wang... to get the Presidency! And now you're telling me my 10 year plan is being thwarted by some young punk in Illinois?!" -- well, I sure do hope Power can be enticed back into the fray once the nomination is up.

There are some really scintillating ideas here. I'm sorry your thread became a politico thread, panacea, ah, timing being what it is...
posted by cavalier at 12:09 PM on March 7, 2008


Hillary is a monster.
posted by cell divide at 12:11 PM on March 7, 2008


almost as bad as the Obama guy who told the Canadians that the Nafta talk was bullshit, thus losing Ohio to Clinton and handing her the nomination.

Except as it turns out, it was one of Clinton's aides, not Obama's who called Canada for a little doublespeak.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 12:12 PM on March 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


And what about the UN? Is Obama going to be another Woodrow Wilson? Would that be so bad?

You mean a member of the KKK and the introducer of racial segregation into the U.S. Military and federal government?

I would consider that a problem, but for some reason I don't think it's a likely outcome.
posted by delmoi at 12:36 PM on March 7, 2008


"a monster"? did she also add "she's a fattie"? it's high school.

No kidding. Disappointing.


I've worked full-time on a few campaigns. Its hard, mostly unrewarding work. There are only a few things that make it bearable. Belief in your candidate, pure unfettered competitiveness, gossip, sexual tension, coffee, pizza, and demonizing your opponent.

Name calling, scurrilous rumors, pictures of the opponent with drawn in word bubbles saying unprintable things, etc. These things are expected. Of course there's an unwritten rule that it all happens on your turf. In your offices, behind closed doors. The public face is always "on message". Which is difficult when the campaign gets heated and the workdays get longer. Which is why candidates are candidates and everyone else, no matter how brilliant, stay behind the scenes as much as possible. Power knew she f'ed up, and she did the right thing in resigning. But to quote David Corn at Mother Jones

Non-News Flash: Aides to presidential candidates routinely refer to the competition in harsh terms, particularly when they talk to reporters off the record. More than once, a top Clinton person has told me that s/he believes Obama is a self-righteous fraud--or worse. It was, of course, always off the record. But if I had reported any of these remarks, I could have gotten the pop The Scotsman has received for disclosing Power's comment

posted by billyfleetwood at 12:43 PM on March 7, 2008


No, the problem is that this thread was about an Obama aide making a stupid remark and everyone deciding that somehow it is Hilary Clinton's fault.

If Hillary Clinton hadn't been so monstrous, then Power would have never have said that. Therefore, it's of course Clinton's fault. QED.
posted by delmoi at 12:45 PM on March 7, 2008


If Hillary Clinton hadn't been so monstrous, then Power would have never have said that. Therefore, it's of course Clinton's fault. QED.

not only is she monstrous, she's doing a lousy job of positioning herself for the race against mccain by ceding that she and mccain are more or less equally capable on foreign policy, a position that almost can't help but undermine her own campaign by diminishing her ability to credibly distinguish herself from mccain on foreign policy!

but slightly more on topic: it really is an incredible shame that someone with such impressive foreign policy credentials could so easily be thrown to the wolves just for the sake of scoring cheap political points.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:20 PM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can see making the “monster” comment given her POV. I disagree with it, but it’s self-consistent within her set of ideals. From her perspective I presume Bushco would then be “diabolic.” I agree with anotherpanacea’s take on the black/white thinking, and that one is bound to be passionate about genocide.

But - if y’all remember, our little excursion into Somalia, the battle of Mogadishu (Black Hawk Down - anyone? Bueller?) really changed the Clinton administrations intervention policies.
So we ignored Rwanda, and we didn’t really mobilize in Bozonia (for some of y’all that get that) and it was, save for some few guys on the ground, mostly an air war.
Now, the real problem was we pussyfooted going in - once we were in. Exactly the same criticisms - sans policy and strategic considerations - that can be leveled at Bushco for Iraq can be leveled at Clinton - bad intel, poor support (just like the scrap armor for the humvees and lack of body armor in Iraq, so too tactics had to be changed because of a shortage of nightfighting gear, which is really lousy), and no political will (I blame the GOP for that. Same assholes saying how great we’re doing in Iraq were blaring that we never should have gone into Somalia and fought to limit the scale of the op and so degraded the asset level of ground forces, like, y’know, tanks and gunships n’stuff, which are kind of useful in supporting infantry)

Putting the ‘whys’ back on the table (policy and strategy) - it’s tough to be owlish on genocide. You’re either against going in (dove), or your want to intervene (hawk). So your choice is either go in full tilt and start nation building with U.N. support (which I think was the mistake in Somalia, apart from not going in full tilt, should have just kept delivering food, trading it for arms and chewing up the arms dealers until folks ran out of ammo) or you sit back and let it happen and deal with the chips once they fall.

Tough to do for any person of conscience. As a result you get this sort of devil’s bargain where you either don’t go in and rely on influence - which, to be fair, is where the Clintons are coming from, or you go in half assed because you don’t want to spend the blood and gold on a war that has basically zero material return which, to lay criticism properly, is what the Clintons did, then sought to later avoid.

But again, you have to bring enough force to bear - overwhelming force - of boots on the ground, to limit the killing you have to do to stop the killing. You have to completely occupy and secure the area. Not enough guys to “win,” enough guys to make fighting you look completely ridiculous, a platoon on every streetcorner, plus enough incentive to work within the system you’re setting up.
Otherwise you get caught in that trap where we are now in Iraq trying to kill our way to a solution. Silly. Like shooting a guy attempting to commit suicide.
Interesting pieces. Not so sure we’d be able to pull off intervention as it is. It’d put a big white hat on us. But what that coin is worth, dunno. Maybe as a counterpoint to China.

I’d like to focus a bit more on butter than guns for a while though. The U.S. has been bleeding, invisibly, the blood of our troops, and visibly - money, real money, for some time now. Don’t know if we can keep that up.

Find myself caring less and less for Clinton though. That “Sky will open up” snarky shit she aimed at Obama’s optimism really got me.
It’s one thing to criticise whether an opponent’s arguments have any substance, it’s quite another to attempt to justify cynicism over optimism. That arrogance that because the Clintons couldn’t pull it off, no one else could, irritates the hell out of me. Good leaders are not good leaders because they know and speak, but because they listen and learn.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:20 PM on March 7, 2008 [9 favorites]


Except as it turns out, it was one of Clinton's aides, not Obama's

no, too easy, Goolsbee isn't off the hook. at all. even Talking Points Memo says :

"So was Hillary bashing Obama for what her own campaign had done? Did they both do it? Was it all a set up"

and anyway, Ohio is lost, the nomination, very likely, too. this is kind of moot.

I'm also sure a shitload of Obama fans just won't be able to vote for Hillary in November (the ones I know have certainly told me so) after the truckloads of filth she and her husband have dumped on Obama, and I can perfectly understand that. and I'm pretty sure the Clintons and their apparatus will be happy to sit on their hands in case of a Obama nomination, leaving the black guy with no experience and a Muslim name who half of America thinks is a Muslim try to win against a white guy who's also a war hero.

President McCain isn't that much of a motivating factor, not as bad as President Huckabee. and anyway, this campaign has provided and will provide a lot of material for those who are interested in electoral politics -- how to choose two flawed candidates, have them rip each other apart, split the party in two factions who despise each other, allowing the victory of a terribly lame opponent who belongs to the party of a hugely unpopular President who busted the economy with an unpopular war. almost a masterpiece. unless McCain dies and the GOP nominates Rush Limbaugh, the Democrats have slit their own throat.
posted by matteo at 1:22 PM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


If we could put aside the "monster" stuff for a time and deal in what wshe has to say, I wish someone could sum uip what so much of this verbiage ils about. It seems to me she wants to intervene in any number of the world hotspots, but I am not sure this is what America wants or needs at the present moment. I know that what began in the misguided invasion of Iraq as enabling the various factions now seems to require instead tough love. I don't think Obama is about to appoint her to anything other than an advisory role, in any case.

I would use the instance of the middle east. How does she plan to end that has seemed an endless mess since before Israel came into existence--Israel claims it wants a peaceful resolution and Hamas continues to maintain it will not accept the state of Israel. Her solution then is.....?
posted by Postroad at 1:24 PM on March 7, 2008


and anyway, Ohio is lost, the nomination, very likely, too. this is kind of moot.

God you make Bizzare predictions. Why don't you tell us how Wyoming and Mississippi are going to vote tomorrow and tuesday? It's Virtually impossible for Hillary to win the nomination at this point. Hillary won fewer net delegates in Ohio and Texas then Obama did in Washington D.C. Alone. If you really think it's "very likely" Obama will lose the nomination, then you have absolutly no idea how this system actually works.

Besides, you were predicting Doom and Gloom for the democrats in 2006, so it's pretty clear that you have no predictive ability whatsoever when it comes to US Politics.
posted by delmoi at 1:39 PM on March 7, 2008


Hamas continues to maintain it will not accept the state of Israel. Her solution then is.....?

Well, given the fact that Isreal refused to negotiate with Hamas, it's impossible to know what they would give up if a negotiation were to take place.
posted by delmoi at 1:41 PM on March 7, 2008


John Hodgman is a fan.
posted by sparkletone at 1:44 PM on March 7, 2008


I had never heard of Samantha Power before this post. I think it's pretty cool that Obama would choose to be advised by someone like her. It's pretty easy to sympathize with her. It was a stupid mistake and I hope she's back. Thank you for the post anotherpanacea.

wshe has to say, I wish someone could sum uip what so much of this verbiage ils about.
posted from my iPhone. :)

posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:52 PM on March 7, 2008


Intresting video psycho analyzing the 3 main politicians with Ellen Ladowsky, Psychologist and Author of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

It's very interesting.
posted by delmoi at 2:06 PM on March 7, 2008


sorry, I should not have said "psycho analyzing", in fact she is talking about the election in psychological terms. It's very interesting, anyway.
posted by delmoi at 2:11 PM on March 7, 2008


THANK HEAVEN WE HAVE CHASED THAT POISONOUS MONSTER SAMANTHA POWER AWAY FROM OUR PUBLIC DISCOURSE!
posted by homunculus at 2:14 PM on March 7, 2008


Her solution then is.....?

From the 'critical of Israel' link:
Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine - Israel problem, let's say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide?

I don't think that in any of the cases, a shortage of information is the problem. I actually think in the Palestine - Israel situation, there's an abundance of information. What we don't need is some kind of early warning mechanism there, what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing -- or investing, I think, more than sacrificing -- billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel's military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you're serious, you have to put something on the line.

Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. It's a terrible thing to do, it's fundamentally undemocratic. But, sadly, we don't just have a democracy here either, we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. It's essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to [leaders] who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people. And by that I mean what Tom Freidman has called "Sharafat." I do think in that sense, both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention, which, very much like the Rwanda scenario, that thought experiment, if we had intervened early.... Any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism. But we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are becoming ever more pronounced.
Tom Friedman?!? The guy who thinks claiming the world is flat is a helpful addition to public deliberation?
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:43 PM on March 7, 2008


I am most sympathetic to stopping genocides. However: when does it become the role of the US to take care of such issues and if it is to be our role, why do we have the United Nations (admittedly, not a very effective group)? Didn't we approve the UN so that this or that nation would not take on international initiatives on their own and as they saw fit?
posted by Postroad at 2:43 PM on March 7, 2008


God you make Bizzare predictions

I feel kind of funny arguing with you, because your account is famously used by several people, none of them particularly bright, but please tell me again how Lamont was going to destroy Lieberman, one of your pet issues, because you made me really laugh with that. oh, and what about Bush going down in '04, because you -- well, one of you guys using your account -- were totally gung ho about that, too.

you were predicting Doom and Gloom for the democrats in 2006

have a link? because I remember saying that they had their hands tied and the GOP was running the show. it's different. and the nonexistent withdrawal from Iraq, their giving Bush anything he wanted, their complicity in the use of torture and their approval (well, not all of them, but many) of illegal wiretaps only proves that point. there's just one party (except for Roe v Wade, there are still differences there) with two right wings -- one of which is simply more religious and less polite.

I never said I had any kind of clairvoyance -- I'm simply someone who, unlike you, pays attention and reads the papers and watches, occasionally, the news. and unlike you, with your stunningly naive fanboy act for the Democrats, I don't care and I don't have any horses in any American race -- among my many problems, being American isn't one. I'm simply one of the billions of people watching from afar and hoping that the people elected by dicks such as yourself don't blow up the planet. simple as that.
posted by matteo at 2:51 PM on March 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


The level of political discourse in the US never ceases to disgust me. I can't watch CNN. I start shouting at the TV.

Great post, anotherpanacea. I really enjoyed reading the links posted, with the exception of Salon. For some reason, I don't seem to be able to access their day pass any more. Not sure why.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:56 PM on March 7, 2008


It's Virtually impossible for Hillary to win the nomination at this point. Hillary won fewer net delegates in Ohio and Texas then Obama did in Washington D.C. Alone. If you really think it's "very likely" Obama will lose the nomination, then you have absolutly no idea how this system actually works.

It's a virtual certainly that neither Clinton nor Obama will have won the required number of delegates after the primary/caucus season, so it all depends on the superdelegates. From what I've seen, Clinton and her team are willing to dirty themselves and do whatever it takes to win, so I certainly don't think Obama has the nomination anywhere near the bag.
posted by gyc at 3:18 PM on March 7, 2008


If anyone in the press should ask Obama if he believes Hillary is a monster, it'd be awesome if he'd respond: "There's nothing to base that on. As far as I know."
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:38 PM on March 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I feel kind of funny arguing with you, because your account is famously used by several people, none of them particularly bright

What the fuck?
posted by delmoi at 4:42 PM on March 7, 2008


If anyone in the press should ask Obama if he believes Hillary is a monster, it'd be awesome if he'd respond: "There's nothing to base that on. As far as I know."

Sadly, sharp wit will never be a part of modern American politics because all the candidates are scared shitless of how the press will spin their comments.
posted by Krrrlson at 5:03 PM on March 7, 2008


Anyway, let me respond to your comment in a little more detail matteo. First of all, This account has only ever been used by one person. And as far as I know no one has ever seriously accused me of being multiple people, at least until now.

have a link? because I remember saying that they had their hands tied and the GOP was running the show.

Why don't you point out where I said I thought Lamont would win the general election? I said he would the primary, and he did. I never said specifically that he would win the general, although I hoped he would.

I never said I had any kind of clairvoyance

You just said that you thought Hillary would be the democratic nominee, thus claiming to predict what would happen in the future. Your prediction is in-line with all of your predictions, that the most conservative candidate will win, and that liberals are naive, hopeless, and hilarious.

I'm simply someone who, unlike you, pays attention and reads the papers and watches, occasionally, the news. and unlike you, with your stunningly naive fanboy act for the Democrats.

Well, I've been bashing the democrats pretty heavily lately. I mean it's hard to imagine "Democratic fanboy" posting this FPP or this comment where I call senate democrats "Craven"

I'm simply one of the billions of people watching from afar and hoping that the people elected by dicks such as yourself don't blow up the planet. simple as that.

Yes, yes, none of this matters to you personally so you can have a good laugh about it, gleefully spouting off in a delusional manner. (Seriously? You think I'm multiple people? If that's not delusional I don't know what is)

Anyway, to reiterate. You frequently make predictions that are at odds with reality, your predictions are always of the same genera: Liberals will always fail and only sellout democrats will ever win anything, and you are often wrong.

Your shtick may have been interesting back in the day, but you've become like a parrot squawking smug negativity any time someone suggests liberals might win an election, it's just so predictable
posted by delmoi at 5:16 PM on March 7, 2008


So she's cheating on her husband with Cass Sunstein?
posted by onepapertiger at 5:20 PM on March 7, 2008


Power getting demolished by Jeremy Scahill. Good riddance.
posted by stammer at 6:11 PM on March 7, 2008


Demolished? She comes off as someone who has more questions than answers, but Scahill doesn't do much there but throw around accusations. I'd like to hear him say what should have happened instead. The part where Scahill protests that Milosevic was railroaded at Rambouillet is an apology for a genocidal nationalist, not exactly a reasonable position we should chalk up to a win. This is why genocide is a problem from hell: intervene, and you end up turning tyrants into victims; leave them alone, and watch as they commit atrocities you know you could have prevented. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:05 PM on March 7, 2008


Power getting demolished by Jeremy Scahill. Good riddance.
SAMANTHA POWER: No, but we can talk about that. I don’t think the Clinton administration set out to deliberately destroy the Iraqi people as such.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Oh, I totally disagree...
Okayy...
posted by delmoi at 7:09 PM on March 7, 2008


Gary Hart on Clinton: Breaking the Final Rule
posted by homunculus at 2:59 AM on March 8, 2008


Glen Greenwald has a great take on the "controversy" surrounding the Powers interview and what it says about the spinelessness of the US press and how we've all come to accept that; this is for the several of you who said "well, she said it was off the record".

Among other things, it features beautiful YouTube videos of UK interviewers taking our government officials to task because the US press won't.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:42 AM on March 9, 2008


“In the hope that the gap between promise and practice won’t be so great.”
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:38 AM on March 11, 2008


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