The Daily Banter Mail Bag: Iraq War Guilt, GOP Racism, and March Madness!

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Welcome to this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mailbag! Today, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war, racism and the GOP and March Madness!

The questions:

1) There's a lot of media hand-wringing going on over the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war starting. Should we really let those who rang the bell to lead us into war off so easily, even if they're offering up mea culpas?
-- SR

Chez: I think accepting the apology of anybody who loudly and proudly beat the drums for the Iraq war should be dependent on whether or not that person actually learned anything. The problem is, good luck figuring it out. There's nothing wrong with making a mistake but there's quite a bit wrong with looking back on it with all kinds of bullshit hindsight wisdom while not being willing to accept that you'd do it all over again if the opportunity presented itself. That's the problem. I think most of the soul-searching we're seeing now from the press is coming from people who would absolutely jump on the bandwagon again if given the chance.

Bob: Definitely not! If you (not you, SR) supported the war and regret it now, I have no sympathy for you. Andrew Sullivan was one of the biggest rah-rah supporters of the war, and the same goes for Chris Matthews. Both should've known better, but the people who continue to infuriate me beyond anyone else are the war supporters who not only helped cheer for the war but who also shamed anyone who didn't support the war as being unpatriotic. There's a special place in hell for them.

Ben: If I'm being totally honest, no. I don't think the people who led to war with Iraq should be let of the hook. I wrote a piece about Andrew Sullivan's political transformation a couple of months ago, concluding that while Sullivan changed his mind on the war, he only did so when it became safe to do so. I'm not saying his about-turn wasn't genuine, but there is a pattern if you follow his writing, of continual shifting that broadly coincides with popular opinion. And that goes for pretty much everyone else in the media who sat by as the Bush administration lied and lied and lied and lied, then changed their minds once it all went horribly wrong. In my mind, if you were in the media and thought Iraq was a) justified and b) a good strategic move, you clearly didn't know a damn thing about government, foreign policy, or the history of Iraq. And if you didn't think it was a good idea and went along with it anyway, you were a damn coward. Either way, I don't have much time for anyone saying how wrong they were. Supporting the war was a monumentally stupid and cowardly thing to do, and anyone who did shouldn't be masquerading as a journalist or media expert etc etc.

2) Did any of you see the panel on race at CPAC that... wait for it... turned into a chance for a bunch of Republicans to spew racism? How is it still possible for the GOP to pretend that it isn't the party of racists and bigots?
-- Milt

Bob: Don't you understand? The act of observing and accusing them of racism is, in and of itself, racist. In other words, they think you're the racist for playing the race card. They're just talking, you're turning it into a racism thing. Seriously, I spend at least a few minutes a day wondering about the same thing, but they clearly don't see their own dangerous, poisonous hatred and intolerance. As for the party itself, as long as racism helps to win them votes, they'll keep doing it. Morality be damned. The end justifies the means.

Ben: Man, that was one epic cock-up. Sadly, it showed how deeply screwed the GOP is when it comes to rebranding itself and transforming into a 21st century political party. In short, it can't because there are too many crazy racist people it relies on to get elected. The GOP might do audience panels, try to reformulate their message when it comes to gay marriage (be against it, but appeal to gays by not being complete assholes to them), and wheel out minority leaders to appeal to different demographics, but it can't change the fact that their core voters are pissed off white people. Unfortunately, one of those pissed off white people showed up to the race panel at CPAC, and all hell broke loose. It really was an astonishing thing, particularly in 2013, to see a pro segregation, young white student tell an older black man that Frederick Douglass should have been grateful to his slave master for providing him food and shelter. Here's the video if you missed it:

Chez: Because they're either delusional or they're so wrapped up in their own press that they'll simply never admit the truth (because they can't). No one's ever said that all Republicans are racists and bigots and denier of women's rights and gay rights; that's far from the case. But kind of like the logic they use about Muslims and terrorists, if you're a racist or a bigot, etc., there's a pretty good chance that you vote Republican or consider yourself a conservative politically. They simply can't get around this fact. So they have to pretend it doesn't exist.

3) Any final March Madness predictions?
-- Travis

Chez: I predict that I'll have no idea who's playing and won't care who wins. I didn't at any point before, I can't imagine that changing from this point forward.

Bob: Dick Vitale's head will literally explode. And he'll continue his report anyway.

Ben: I only watch boxing and MMA. Basketball is a children's game in my opinion (alongside any other 'sport' that doesn't have any contact). Sorry.

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