GOP House Leader Boehner’s Excuse: Precisely As Predicted

Rep. John Boehner’s communications director has now provided an excuse for his boss’s already-notorious comment to Wolf Blitzer that the blood of Americans is a "small price:"

"Wolf asked about the money spent in Iraq, and that’s what Mr. Boehner was referring to when he said our troops’ efforts are critical for the safety and security of our country."

This is, of course, precisely the excuse rather easily predicted — and, as described in advance, a rather horrifying admission that when confronted with both dollars and American blood in the same question, the GOP’s leader in the House only hears the dollar amounts.

The predictability of the current leadership’s inhumanity would be almost funny if it weren’t so goddam awful.

Riverbend Has Gotten Out of Iraq

Not sure how many of you have ever clicked any of the links to other blogs on the lower right (under "Too Many Links"), much less the one unobtrusively titled "Riverbend."

That’s the pseudonym of a carefully anonymous young Iraqi woman from a mixed Shi’a-Sunni family, whose blog, Baghdad Burning, has been a humane, courageous, and often heartbreaking first-person chronicle of events since shortly after the beginning of the US invasion. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Until last week, the blog had been worrisomely un-updated since April. The last entry said that Riverbend’s family had decided to try to get out of the country, to flee Baghdad, like millions of other Iraqis, as refugees. (By some estimates, up to 15% of the entire population have been displaced from their homes.) I’ve been peeking in once every week or two ever since, hoping to see some good news.

Good news, of a kind, there is. For those following her saga, Riverbend and her family have made it into Syria. Now they start over. But they’re alive and safe.

Take a day and read the whole blog sometime, front to back. You may never read about Iraq the same way again. 

And once you’ve come to understand Riverbend’s story… just multiply by millions.

The Blood of American Soldiers: “A Small Price,” Says GOP Leader

TPM grabbed this from CNN, and C&L reposted the video. This isn’t some minor guy speaking. This is the leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, John Boehner, telling us how he really feels about the very soldiers his ilk are constantly instructing us to "support:"*

Here’s the transcript — Boehner is quite pointedly asked not just about the financial cost, but about "the loss in blood, the Americans who are killed every month."

BLITZER: How much longer will U.S. taxpayers have to shell out $2 billion a week or $3 billion a week as some now are suggesting the cost is going to endure? The loss in blood, the Americans who are killed every month, how much longer do you think this commitment, this military commitment is going to require?

BOEHNER: I think General Petraeus outlined it pretty clearly. We’re making success. We need to firm up those successes. We need to continue our effort here because, Wolf, long term, the investment that we’re making today will be a small price if we’re able to stop al Qaeda here, if we’re able to stabilize the Middle East, it’s not only going to be a small price for the near future, but think about the future for our kids and their kids.

I suppose maybe Boehner may claim that he wasn’t paying attention to the second part of the question, that all he heard were the dollar figures. That would be simply restating the problem. Rather precisely.

There are so many other falsehoods packed into that one brief response that it’s almost like one of those Highlights for Children puzzles where you have to find two dozen things hidden in a cartoon tree. No, we’re not "making success." No, General Petraeus didn’t really outline anything "pretty clearly;" the Pentagon itself reportedly disagrees with a great deal of the what was ultimately just a rehash of longstanding Bush administration talking points. No, the war isn’t going to "stop Al-Qaeda" (which isn’t centered in Iraq, of course, had no connection to Saddam before the war, but which now uses the war itself as a major recruiting tool). No, we’re not going to unilaterally "stabilize the Middle East," no matter what happens in Iraq. And so on. How many ways can the GOP House Minority Leader disconnect from reality in one paragraph? Find ’em all!

And the blood of American soldiers, not to mention countless Iraqi civilians, continuing to be spilled so allow this nonsense can continue? It’s "a small price."

* "Support," remember, means "allow to die and be maimed in large number for no clearly attainable objective other than preventing a massive loss of face for the war’s supporters."

Russia Announces the “Father of All Bombs”

Surprisingly, they’re not referring to Daddy Day Care:

In what appears to be the Kremlin’s latest display of military might, officials said Moscow had developed a new thermobaric bomb to add to its already potent nuclear arsenal.

Russia’s state-run Channel One television said the new ordnance – dubbed the Father of all Bombs – is four times more powerful than the US’s Mother of all Bombs.

The "Mother of All Bombs," of course, is the US’s own non-nuclear GBU-43, which can destroy nine or ten city blocks, but which is also so large that it has to be dropped out of a cargo plane. It’s also only a fraction of a percent as powerful as the bomb the US dropped in 1945 on Hiroshima; compared to the largest modern thermonuclear warheads, it’s relatively flea-sized. The US has never even bothered to put more than a handful in its entire arsenal.

And now the Russians, in addition to their own nukes, can also drop four fleas at one go. While describing the near-nuclear-devastation results as (I kid you not) "environmentally friendly." Points for imagination on that one.

Thing is, the bad news here has nothing to do with the kablooey and everything to do with the politics. The US and Russia have been sinking into old-school brinksmanship since Pooty and the Chimp each took (and continued to keep taking) power. The big picture is indeed getting a little scary — but because of the dysfunction of both governments, not because of any one weapon. This should be fairly obvious; to paraphrase NRA supporters: "high-yield airburst thermobaric fuel-air munitions don’t kill people — people do."

Sample Image Not quite sure why we’re supposed to panic about this one particular bang, but Fox News and its cohorts seem hopeful that we will. I guess if you’re not constantly frightened about something, you’re not truly patriotic these days. (Notorious recent example pictured at right.)

The most dangerous weapon in the world right now is the ability of the powerful to mobilize a generalized fear and hostility.  Everything else follows.  This might be good to keep in mind. 

Next in line to frighten us: the Bitter Ex-Spouse of All Bombs, which will glower at us menacingly from across the room at a party before making out furiously with someone almost at random; the Depressed Coworker of All Bombs, which will creep us all out with its constant talk about "getting even;" and the Drunken Brother-In-Law of All Bombs, which will drink ten city blocks’ worth of our beer and then throw up on Canada.

Hat tip: Colin.

Strangely Cool Item of the Week

Sample ImageI never expected that a paperback romance would ever be mentioned on this site. But my old friends Patrick and Deanna, whose wedding I attended, whose advice I value greatly, and whose home I crash in whenever I’m in San Diego, are (weirdness begins here) on the cover of an upcoming Harlequin novel.

They’re not models. They’re just a real married couple who won a contest. But I can also confirm that they’re actually even better-looking in real life.  Also, whenever they kiss, a powerful sea breeze sweeps through the room, opera music begins to play (usually something by Puccini), and in the distance, you can hear lions roar.  Fun at parties.

They are also successful, happy, and good at filling their lives with excitement and challenges and good friends. Truth be told, if they weren’t so bloody wonderful, they’d probably be completely annoying. But no, they’re just terrific people. So while Harlequin romances aren’t exactly my thing, I must say, something about seeing the two of them on the cover of one just seems completely… well… inevitable.

Yes, that’s the word.

My congrats to two of the nicest, most loving people I know.