One of the big stories on cable news today is the fact that, according to anonymous sources, President Obama used the word “horseshit” to describe the horseshit criticism that if he’d only armed moderate Syrian rebels, we wouldn’t be having all these problems with ISIS right now.
The fact that the President considers this criticism to be horseshit isn’t news; he said as much in an interview withThe New York Times‘ Tom Friedman on Friday.
“It’s always been a fantasy, this idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.”
That translates roughly to, “This is horseshit,” because it is. First of all, we all remember what great success people like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have had at identifying the “good” rebels, but even if you managed to find them and arm them, that’s a little bit like entrusting the AV Club with additional lunch money.
This isn’t even the only narrative on Iraq that President Obama has been going around calling horseshit in public. On Saturday, he torpedoed the “bogus” (i.e.. horseshit) narrative that we never should have left Iraq in the first place.
No, the news here is that two weeks ago, in a private meeting with lawmakers, the President used the word “horseshit.”
The only thing better than watching cable news hosts try to navigate around the profanity (grown people shouldn’t say “horsepoop”) is the straight-faced, scoop-y reporting of it by The Daily Beast‘s Josh Rogin. First, there’s the breathless headline:
Exclusive: Obama Told Lawmakers Criticism of His Syria Policy is ‘Horsesh*t’
According to one of the lawmakers, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) asked the president a long question that included sharp criticisms of President Obama’s handling of a number of foreign policy issues — including Syria, ISIS, Russia, and Ukraine. Obama answered Corker at length. Then, the president defended his administration’s actions on Syria, saying that the notion that many have put forth regarding arming the rebels earlier would have led to better outcomes in Syria was “horseshit.”
After cleaning up the mess from all those dropped jars of Polaner All Fruit around the Daily Beast offices, Rogin did what any good reporter would do with such an unbelievably shocking revelation. He sought confirmation:
White House officials confirmed the charged exchange between Obama and Corker but declined to confirm that Obama used the expletive.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall during that phone call. This is why I’d be an awful press secretary, because I’d have told Rogin, “No, I believe he said it was fucking horseshit. That’s on background.”
So, now we’ve got cable news people chortling and saying “horsepoop” all day, and acting like saying “horseshit” in a private conversation is way worse than actual horseshit, like the invasion of Iraq that started all of this. What you won’t hear anyone explain, though, is how that critique isn’t horseshit, or who those “moderate Syrian rebels” were, or how they would have kept terrifying psychopaths like ISIS from taking weapons away from them. You also won’t hear anyone ask why Republicans opposed action in Syria that really could have made a difference.
Now, that’s horseshit.