In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the fiasco in Iraq, why the Obama presidency is "over," and why is Dick Cheney still alive?
1. It seems like there's no good answer for what the U.S. should do in Iraq given the circumstances. If you were Barack Obama what would you do?
Ben: Generally speaking, the US needs to extricate itself from the Middle East in every way possible. It has done inconceivable damage with its ham fisted approach to controlling the regions oil resources over the past few decades, and Iraq is its master piece. The Bush Administration took what was already a stupid policy towards the region and turned it up by about a million percent by invading the wrong country for the wrong reasons. Iraq is one gigantic basket case, and it's almost all America's fault.
If I was Obama, I'd try everything possible to get other countries to take the lead there and not commit American troops to a conflict it has shown no ability to make better.
Chez: I have absolutely no idea. This is one of those times I truly don't envy Obama because there's no acceptable move he can make. Technically this fucking mess is one we made so it can be argued we have a responsibility to make sure everything doesn't descend into utter chaos. On the other hand, we will NEVER make things right in that region. The hatreds and rivalries and lunatic religious extremism goes back hundreds of years and it's impossible to imagine us ever making a significant impact. We might fix things briefly but the folly of our stupid adventure in Iraq will always be revealed eventually. I would love to see us try for big-idea diplomacy here, since the last thing I want to see is more of our forces anywhere near that country again, but who knows if that's even possible. It may be just pie-in-the-sky at this point.
Bob: I would stay the hell out of Iraq and I would speak publicly every day about exactly why. Sectarian discord will continue there no matter what we do. So do we want sectarian violence with American casualties, or do we want sectarian violence without American casualties. If history has proved one thing it's this: the United States can't positively change the millennia-old religious/ethnic/territorial issues there. Sure, the previous administration made things worse, but any further intervention will only result in more flag-draped caskets without any real change. That's what I would tell the American people.
2. This week both Megyn Kelly and Chuck Todd officially said the Obama presidency was over. From Kelly that's not a surprise but from Todd it bothered me. Was it just that he thinks it makes him look balanced or is he just another mainstream media douche who loves making big declarations?
Chez: The latter. You hit it on the head, in fact. Media people love hyperbole; they eat that shit for breakfast. There's never any sense in being nuanced when you can be stridently declarative. That's what Todd was up to and it makes him look like a boob. He of all people should know that even in the middle of a second term for a president, anything can change from one day to the next -- especially these days.
Bob: It's more than making declarations, it's about wanting to be the super-genius who "called it" before anyone else. A lot of these talkers want to be Cronkite declaring that Vietnam was unwinnable and therefore influencing the public perception of the outcome somehow.
Ben: Chuck Todd is literally the definition of a media hack, and his opinion doesn't mean a damn thing. The dude is pretty good at looking at polls and telling everyone who is up and who is down, but that's about it really. I can't believe he still has a job to be honest - his schtick got old about 5 years ago. He says these sort of things to get attention and keep himself relevant, so I wouldn't read too much into it. As for Megyn Kelly, her pronouncements about Obama ideologically tainted, so it's hard to take what she says too seriously when it comes to Democrats. I mean, maybe they are right, but Obama is still making some pretty big decisions (sending troops to Iraq, issuing executive orders to protect vast swathes of ocean eco systems, expanding student loans forgiveness etc).
3. How is Dick Cheney still alive?
Bob: This probably isn't the snarky answer you were looking for but it's clearly because he can afford the best healthcare in the world. In spite of the ACA, we still live in a nation where the quality of medical care you receive depends greatly upon your income.
Chez: Who says he is? My money's on him having long ago transitioned into an undead being of pure, infinite evil.
Ben: Please don't remind me.