Night Owls, an open thread, is published seven days a week by Daily Kos
Daniel Always True at The Nation writes –Away everywhere. How did the United States get involved in a cycle of endless war?
Shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the United States, a reporter asked Donald Trump if he now considers himself a war president. "I do. I actually do," he replied. He swelled on purpose and opened a press conference by talking about it. "We are at war in the truest sense of the word," he said. But the press and the experts rolled their eyes. “War President?” scoffed the New York Times. “It's far from clear that many voters will accept the idea of him as a war leader.” His “attempt to adopt the military air raised more than a few eyebrows "NPR reported. What few noticed at the time was that Trump was, of course, a war president, not a metaphorical sense. He led two ongoing military operations, Operation Freedom's Sentinel in Afghanistan and Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Iraq Syria: Thousands of US troops patrol Africa more quietly and have suffered casualties in Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan in recent years. US planes and drones are now filling the sky mel and have killed more than 5,000 people (and possibly as many as 12,000) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen since 2015.
Why is it so easy to filter out these facts? The relatively small number of US casualties plays an obvious role. But what certainly matters more is how relentless the slow drop in coverage is. The United States has fought in so many places for so many vaguely defined reasons that it is easier for some to forget about the fight altogether and instead wonder if a virus made Trump a wartime leader. In two presidential debates, none of the candidates mentioned the fact that the United States is at war.
But it is and it is troubling to think about how long the country has been. Students who entered college this fall have spent their entire lives during the Global War on Terrorism and its follow-up campaigns. In the past ten years, American operations have been in the Gulf War, the Balkan conflicts, Haiti, Macedonia and Somalia. Indeed, war has been a way of life since 1945, when Washington posed as a global peacekeeping force. Classifying military engagements can be difficult, but in the past seven and a half decades – 1977 and 1979 – there have been only two years in which the United States never invaded or fought in any foreign country.
The question is why. Is it something deeply rooted in the culture? Legislators in the pocket of the military-industrial complex? An imperial presidency out of control? Surely everyone played a role. A new book by David Vine, USA, names another determining factor that is too often overlooked: military bases. (…)
Three more articles worth reading
How to fix a food system that was not designed to feed humans, by Debbie Weingarten. Industrial agriculture is bad for workers and the environment. Farmers around the world are creating fairer food systems that work with the earth, not against it.
Why the murder of an Iranian nuclear scientist poses a new challenge for Joe Biden, by Lawrence Freeman. In a conflict-ridden region, American and Iranian interests are likely to continue to conflict.
Don't say goodbye to Zoom just yet: most people want to go back to the office, but not for the whole week, by Abigail Marks, Purple Skountridaki, and Oliver Mallett. As the good news about vaccines grew, Zoom watched its stocks fall. In contrast to nervous markets, however, we believe that video conferencing and remote working will stay here – whether we like it or not.
TOP COMMENTS • SAVED DIARIES
"The best part about getting out of the closet is that no one can offend you by telling you what you just told them." ~~Rachel Maddow, Rachel Maddow: A Biography (2020)
TWEET OF THE DAY
Trump is now 1-46 with his lawsuits. He raised $ 207,000,000 and only spent $ 8,800,000. You fucking idiot #MAGA
– Albert MacGloan @ (@AlbertMacGloan) December 5, 2020
BLAST FROM THE PAST
At Daily Kos that day in 2016– Mike Pence defends Trump's lies about millions of "illegal" voices by declaring the lies "refreshing":
We need to take a moment here and blame Trump's Vice-Child-Designate Mike Pence. We were all a little baffled by how the Trump-pence combo would work, given Trump's disdain for people with actual government experience or thoughts of their own, but I think most of the press in their first pence coverage neglected that Mike Pence is itself as monumentally dishonest as one can be without being Donald Trump. Noteworthy is his willingness to settle down and eagerly shed his hindquarters over the ridiculous claim Donald Trump made last week.
Anyone who suspected that Mike Pence was chosen on the basis of either his ideologies or election considerations was replayed: Mike Pence appears to have been chosen to distance himself from simple facts in a way that makes other so-called divine men upset would convulsions. Not Mike Pence. Mike Pence can lie about anything.
And with that, we take a look at Pence's appearance this week, Act III, a detailed explanation for George Stephanopoulos of why, even though the soon-to-be president clearly and apologetically lies that millions of illegal votes are being rejected, it's "refreshing" for him to do so to do.
Note that this is a several minute conversation. Stephanopoulous keeps pointing out that the president-elect is lying flat out. Mike Pence is seriously defending his position that doesn't give a rat its ass, whether his boss is lying or not.
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