_


  • Marccooper5_1

Back To Home Page

« Here We Go: Denial and Delusion | Main | Light(er) Posting And a Warning »

Friday, November 05, 2004

Comments

Obsidian

GORE VIDAL: "None of that! We go. They want us out of there — the longer we stay, the more they’re going to kill us, and the more they will be killed. And the more outrages they will perpetrate on us here at home. Get out. No more adventures. Forget about our friends in the Middle East who want us to attack Iran and Syria. Forget them. Tell them to get lost."

Um, I spewed coffee all over my keyboard when I read that. Vidal has a fit of honesty, perhaps. Do our friends in the Middle East want us there or do they want to kill us? 9/11 was an "outrage"? Wow.

GORE VIDAL: "When the Soviet Union folded and we stopped the war on communism, we pretended we had won it. We didn’t. We lost it. And the Russians lost it too. We were both broke, and we both gave up."

Well, I was there before and during the time the SU "folded", and I can compare the SU to the USA around that time. The SU was certainly broke and broken down and no doubt about it, but to say that we were broke too?! What the heck?! Their military budget was probably close to 50% while ours was 5-6%, plus the relative standard of living was simply not comparable. Wow. That's "basic unreality", Mr. Vidal.

Obsidian

Gee, we really do have friends in the Middle East who want us to attack liberate Iran... how about the Hossein Khomeini, the son of the Ayatollah?

In this interview he says:

He refers as a matter of course to the work of the coalition forces in Iraq as a "liberation." He would prefer, he says, to live in Tehran, but he cannot consider doing so until there has been "liberation" in Iran also. ... I asked him what he would like to see happen, and his reply this time was very terse and did not require any Quranic scriptural authority or explication. The best outcome, he thought, would be a very swift and immediate American invasion of Iran. ... "Bring in the 82nd Airborne."

Obsidian

Sorry, interview is here http://slate.msn.com/id/2089329/

Eric Blair

I really hate that use of "us" by Vidal. He has contempt for the average American, contempt that, if the average American were even aware of him, would be returned in kind.

steve

I'm kind of surprised by your excitement about Gore Vidal really, but not only for the reason that Eric, a right winger and right on on in his comment, cites. Gore Vidal is also an enthusiast about conspriacy theories,something that you condemn those who disagree with you as being addicted to [a false charge, at least in my case, or Michael Moore for that matter who cites public documents to bolster his arguments). Why the appeal of Gore Vidal? I've always found him to be entertaining, especially with his odd affection for conspiracy theorists.

reg

I'm not at all certain I would consider factions in the Middle East who would like to use our young people as their shock troops "friends". Call me old fashioned. It's just that the memory of Ahmed Chalabi, who played us for hundreds of millions of dollars and spoonfed false intelligence to his friends in Pentagon circles, is still fresh in my mind. It's a bitter memory. Nor is it evident that the Iranian population would respond as gleefully to an airborne assault as gleefully as certain exiles. Don't ask me why. I just have a hunch.

Also, I thought Obsidian was privy to some plan to liberate Iran in just four years without a war. Surely young Kohmeini can wait that long...

As for Vidal, in general the guy makes me crazy listening to him when he spouts politics. He combines certain insights with elitist venom and conspiratorial nonsense.

reg

scratch one of those "as gleefully"s.

steve

Wasn't Gore Vidal pushing the whole 'navy shot down the plane off of long island' conspiracy theory? that one was always especially wierd in my book.

Xhosa2010

Perhaps Gore should stick to appearances on Da Ali G show because anything more, uh, strenuous, really reveals how out of shape he is, mentally. Interpol? An arrest warrant for OBL? We made up Afghanistan's involvement? Does he have a shred of sympathy for Afghani women? Iraq and the rest of our mideast ventures are pure idiocy on our part but those statements of his are embarrassing. Is he on pills? Perhaps he should be. Actually, even this much time on that gasbag is a waste.

steve

"An arrest warrant for OBL? We made up Afghanistan's involvement?"

On that he's not off base actually, though most liberals dread acknowledging it:

"George Bush, the man whose prime campaign plank has been his ability to wage war on terror, could have had Osama bin Laden's head handed to him on a platter on his very first day in office, and the offer held good until February 2 of 2002. This is the charge leveled by an Afghan American who had been retained by the US government as an intermediary between the Taliban and both the Clinton and Bush administrations."

http://counterpunch.org/cockburn11012004.html

I know people will claim the source of this is Cockburn, but sorry folks, Cockburn is not the Afghani in question. Nor is he the first to break this story. It came from a corporate news organ known as CBS, whose anchor as I recall told the president that he would be happy to go anywhere ordered by the 'commander in chief'...

Ken

There is not a smarter of wittier critic of American empire than Gore Vidal. The man is a national treasure.

PS Those early reports of the youth vote not turning out were wrong. My prediction was right:

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041105/ap_on_el_ge/young_voters_1

PPS A charismatic economic populist Democrat wins an historic landslide victory in 08. The good money is on Edwards:

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041105/ap_on_el_pr/edwards_future

steve

He is smart and witty, undeniably, and often full of insight. He is also much more inclined to be friendly with conspiracy theorists than a Michael Moore or Noam Chomsky. Thus I wonder about the differential treatment that Vidal receives.

Ken

"Thus I wonder about the differential treatment that Vidal receives."

Because he's classy, and understated, as opposed to shrill and confrontational.

Plus he's getting up there in years.

What was that line from Chinatown? "Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough." Add to that conspiracy theorists.

steve

"Because he's classy, and understated, as opposed to shrill and confrontational."

Chomsky is certainly those, although he might be too softspoken if anything. But that's part of the way he approaches discourse in any event.
Moore, compared with most of the better known rightwing hype artists [say coulter, hannity, savage...] is plenty classy [just from the wrong class of course and too friendly with the wrong class]. The confrontational business, not really. actually if you see him interviewed by CNN, which happens once in a blue moon, you'll notice he's actually pretty laid back, reasonable. I think of the recent interview with Anderson Cooper, where Cooper was quite combative and Moore just responded with a pretty laid back and disarming tone...

Ken

Chomsky is too academic and lacks the wit to play a significant role in popular public discourse.

You're right that Moore is much more laid back in interviews, but his more recent work is much more shrill and confrontational than it used to be. Roger and Me and TV Nation were a hoot, but his more recent stuff (Bowling for Columbine and Farenheit 9/11) struck me as incoherent and worse boring and kind of unfunny. I nearly fell asleep about 2/3 of the way through f 9/11, and I don't think that was the intended response.

steve

"Chomsky is too academic and lacks the wit to play a significant role in popular public discourse."

If it were Chomsky's being academic that explained his not being a presence in the media discourse, I'd agree. On the other hand, Chomsky's books sell as well or even better than Vidal's I'd venture. No?

" Farenheit 9/11) struck me as incoherent and worse boring and kind of unfunny."

I dunno, it got a pretty positive response from most audiences, and by now we know it's a canard to claim that his audience was merely 'clapping seals'. And I found many of the early criticisms to turn out to be astoundingly bogus ones. For example, when I finally watched it a month ago, I was amazed to find that the criticims that he 'blew' his chance to make a good film when he 'carried on like an adolescent making wisecracks'...were unfounded, that he wasn't making little wisecracks, harsh criticisms, yes, childish wisecracks, no. I found the ending most effective also, especially the sections with the Marine who refused to go back to Iraq if called on to go back and the sections with Linda Linscomb. Actually most effective, speaking of shrill and lacking class, was the extreme rightwing lady who attacked Linscomb on camera claiming she was a 'fake', she didn't really have a son who died, ....
That ending was actually done very well, and his statement about the soldiers being working class and always called upon to die for their country business at the end...sorry, but that WAS actually quite eloquent and disarming.


Andrew

"Bush and Cheney have other fish to fry. They are oil and gas men, and they wanted those oil reserves in Iraq — the second biggest in the world. They wanted to be well-placed in that part of the world. As soon as Cheney got to Washington, he ordered a study wanting to know how much time do we have? How much oil do we have? He was told, by 2020, pretty much, it will be over with. We will run out. It will be over. And then there’s chaos."

If you consider Greg Palast to be a "conspiracy theorist," Marc, what on Earth does that make Gore Vidal?

steve

"If you consider Greg Palast to be a "conspiracy theorist," Marc, what on Earth does that make Gore Vidal?"

Yes, I've asked this question too. It's rather odd, because Vidal is much more into embracing far whackier conspiracy theories than Palast any day of the week. I mean what was it with that plane being blown out of the sky by the Navy anyhow?

steve

And can you imagine if Michael Moore or Noam Chomsky were into such wierd theories?

http://www.popmatters.com/books/reviews/i/into-the-buzzsaw.shtml

Marc Cooper

This may come as a shock to some of you but I speak to and even interview all sorts of people I disagree with including Gore Vidal who is-- quite obviously-- immersed in some conspiracy theories. Toss in my radio show and I do about 10 interviews a week. People can hear them and read them and reach their own conclusions. Im glad u were smart enough to notice where Vidal goes off the tracks. I have also reviewed Vidal's books including in the L.A. Times and have been very clear about where he's wrong.

That said, there is no comparison to be made between Vidal -- who has written dozens of brilliant novels and scores of elegant and penetrating essays-- and an intellectual pipsqueak like Greg Palast. The latter is merely a clever huckster who has found a profitable niche among naive leftists.

Steve.. cherish ur posts here. U are close to the moment when you will become a fading memory.

steve

It is odd, I do recall challenging Vidal's conspiracy orientation, I don't recall saying Vidal was not a person with an impressive publishing or intellectual resume.

Ken

"Bush and Cheney have other fish to fry. They are oil and gas men, and they wanted those oil reserves in Iraq — the second biggest in the world. They wanted to be well-placed in that part of the world. As soon as Cheney got to Washington, he ordered a study wanting to know how much time do we have? How much oil do we have? He was told, by 2020, pretty much, it will be over with. We will run out. It will be over. And then there’s chaos."

This administration is less inscrutable as it is simply complex. The major actors have converging goals, but different motivations. The "blood for oil" charge does have some merit with respect to Cheney, who like Rumsfeld is an old fashioned realist hawk (of Nixon era vintage) and has little concern about a democratic outcome in Iraq, but the neoconservatives in the administration, including Bush and Rice (who are both converts to the neoconservative cult) have decidedly different motivations.

However badly Mr. Bush has prosecuted the war in Iraq, and however his deeds have failed to match his high minded rhetoric about mideast democracy, he and the other neocons (including Wolfowitz and Feith) genuinely believe that transforming the political, economic, and cultural landscape of the Arab world is the key to ending the threat of radical Islamism. We can dither about whether this strategy will succeed or fail, whether it is moral or immoral, and whether it is worth the cost in lives, liberties, and dollars, but opponents of this president would be wise not to underestimate his commitment to this vision.

steve

"However badly Mr. Bush has prosecuted the war in Iraq, and however his deeds have failed to match his high minded rhetoric about mideast democracy, he and the other neocons (including Wolfowitz and Feith) genuinely believe that transforming the political, economic, and cultural landscape of the Arab world is the key to ending the threat of radical Islamism."

Possibly, as an ideological posture that is their character, but the driving force is invariably making the world friendlier for privatization. and to that end, their not that different from Thomas Friedman really. I've never felt that the neocons represent much more than an aggressive and emboldened Friedman.

Ken

"Possibly, as an ideological posture that is their character, but the driving force is invariably making the world friendlier for privatization. and to that end, their not that different from Thomas Friedman really. I've never felt that the neocons represent much more than an aggressive and emboldened Friedman."

Corporatism in the neoconservative project is peripheral to them, a kind of canned filler for the serious and difficult task of economic reformation that is a part of every major experiment in nation building. It doesn't particularly interest this crowd, even as it plays a role in their overall vision.

As far as Friedman is concerned, he is a liberal hawk, not a neoconservative, and while both share the goal of radically transforming the political landscape of the Arab world, the neocons emphasize state sponsorship of terrorism (which is mostly a canard) and the liberal hawks know better (even if one disagrees with their vision this point is to their credit.)

John Moore

Ken,
Have you ever considered that the war in Iraq was actually fought as part of the war on terror?

The blood for oil is so silly. If we want Iraqi oil, all we had to do was buy it. Furthermore, since oil is fungible, we wouldn't have to get it from Iraq. I'd love to know how you have such ccertainty that Rumsfeld has little concern about a democratic outcome.

I am glad to see that you recognize one of the important reasons of the war - to push Democracy in the middle east in an attempt to reduce Islamist terrorism. Furthermore, I doubt if anyone serious thinks they know whether the experiment will work or not.

As for how Bush prosecuted the war, a reading of military history is needed. Every war is a catastrophe, with huge mistakes. It is the nature of taking tens or hundreds of thousands of human beings, with millions of pieces of equipment, and going up against an opponent also very complex. The Civil War, WW-II, Korea and Vietnam all had horrible errors. The tendency for mistakes is not just on our side - in Vietnam the Tet Offensive of 1968 was a catastrophic mistake for Giap, for which he was (quietly) demoted. Even the invasion of Panama had a significant tactical mistake that cost several SEALS their lives. Churchill was responsible for a campaign that cost 500,000 unexpected casualties and also failed completely (Gallipoli). Somebody commented that it may not be possible to wage war given modern communications technology [and the impatience and lack of historical knowledge of the populace]. So I think it is easy to have 20-20 hindsight and find problems in any way.

Regarding the Iraq campaign (it is just one campaign in the war(, there were all sorts of contingency plans that weren't needed - such as dealing with massive civilian flight from Baghdad with chemical weapons exposure. What they didn't have plans for was a pre-panned insurgency. What would have happened if France hadn't threatened Turkey with blocking of their EU membership if they let the 4ID through? (note: they are blocking it anyway - never trust the French).

The comments to this entry are closed.