In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss airstrikes in Iraq, Joan Rivers on Gaza and dating political opponents.
1. So we're going back to Iraq. This concerns me no matter how President Obama tries to couch it. Thoughts?
Ben: Will the strikes do some good in the short term? Yes - they could well save lives and prevent ISIS taking control of Kurdistan. ISIS is incredibly dangerous entity that is wreaking havoc in Iraq. Does it help in the long term? Probably not. Iraq is structurally fucked from decades of war, and it will continue to break at the seams in my opinion. I have to say, I have a hard time believing Obama's rhetoric about this being a humanitarian effort while thousands of civilians are being massacred in Gaza. Where is Obama's response to that? Kurdistan is the oil rich region of Iraq, and the US still has major interest there, so that's why there's a 'humanitarian effort' going on. Look, I probably think it's the right thing to do even if the efforts are selfish and hypocritical. ISIS is about as close to evil as you can get, and I'm all for erasing them off the face of the earth.
Chez: I think it's safe to say what we're about to do in Iraq is a lot different than what we did 11 years ago. It's also necessary. As for the reaction to it, we already know what it's going to be. The left will hammer Obama because they detest all war and they already think he's a war monger and maybe even a war criminal, and the right will do it just because it's Obama; they'd hammer him just as hard if he did nothing. I think Obama is smart enough to know that this has to be surgical and the optics have to be that he's out to punish only ISIS and provide humanitarian aid otherwise.
Bob: Why does it concern you? Limited, targeted airstrikes are features of nearly every presidency, especially in Iraq. I agree that reintroducing combat troops would be a colossal mistake, but we appear to be the only world power that's interested in preventing what could become a genocide. We have the ability to do it, the risk of U.S. casualties are very low. I don't see a downside here.
2. You often defend people who say offensive things, especially comedians. Did you hear Joan Rivers said that the Palestinians who are dead in Israeli attacks deserved it, that they're stupid, and that the entire population should be bombed like "what we did in Japan?" I'll overlook a lot but I think that's despicable. Do you think she went too far?
Chez: It was a pretty horrific statement. Joan has obviously made a career out of offending anyone and everyone and there isn't a thing wrong with that since she's a comic. But the shit that's been coming out of her mouth lately about Israel and the Palestinians doesn't seem like the kind of thing she's playing for laughs. She's entitled to her opinion and to voice it and there's no reason to call for her head because, really, who the fuck is she in the great scheme of things? It's not like she's influencing policy. Think her opinion's ugly? Well, thankfully it hardly matters.
Bob: She been popping off a lot lately, leading me to the conclusion: who the fuck cares what Joan Rivers has to say about anything? Her relevance is exactly zero, unless we're talking about surgery addiction.
Ben: It's really sad that everyones' prejudices seem to appear when the conflict in Israel/Palestine starts to escalate. Thankfully no one cares what Rivers has to say about anything anymore, so it's of little consequence that she's a nasty racist.
3. Have any of you ever dated somebody whose political beliefs were the polar opposite of yours?
Bob: No. Not by design, but total coincidence.
Chez: I was married to someone who was a Republican and probably still is, but oddly enough we rarely talked about it. At that time I had beliefs, sure, but I really wasn't all that politically inclined and I know she wasn't. She may have had conservative economic tendencies but she was actually pretty liberal socially, and again, it wasn't the kind of thing that came up a lot in conversation. She's now a bureau chief for Fox News. Make of that what you will, I guess.
Ben: Yes. Several times. I've gone from Christian Republican to full on Rage Against The Machine types. All were awesome people, but the massive ideological differences were certainly a strain....