That vein in your forehead that throbs when someone says something stupid? I formally petition the American Medical Association to rename it the Lieberman:
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, (I-Conn) a renowned hawk and one of the foremost champions of the invasion of Iraq, warned on Sunday that the United States faced “danger” unless it pre-emptively acts to curb the rise of terrorism in Yemen.
“Somebody in our government said to me in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, Iraq was yesterday’s war. Afghanistan is today’s war. If we don’t act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow’s war,” Lieberman said, during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday”. “That’s the danger we face.”
So unless we make it today’s war, it’ll be tomorrow’s war. And presumably next Thursday’s Surge when everything goes wrong and needs to be magically rescued. How can you have a surge without an invasion? It’s time to think seriously, people.
Is it a mistake to respond to this with more than ridicule? Maybe, but if not: it’s a ludicrously blithe and cost-free assertion to say that we need to take preemptive action in Yemen. What the fuck does Joe Lieberman know about Yemen? What does anyone in the Washington policy community know about Yemen? Fucking nothing except that (a) there is an apparently growing al-Qaeda presence there; Abdulmutallab told investigators that he got hooked up with his botched explosive there; the USS Cole was bombed there; there’s an important port there; and… that’s it. What are the local dynamics in Yemen that a military strike would impact? What would the goals of such strikes be? What are the underlying political effects that have allowed al-Qaeda to establish itself in Yemen? What measures short of war might be better targeted to addressing those conditions? These are just a few of the many prior questions that have to be answered before such a thing is considered. Instead, Lieberman just gets to go on Fox and monger away, unchallenged. Such is life.
Perhaps I’ve conceded too much to Lieberman’s frame by responding in this way, but oh well. For a saner set of policy options that might be considered for Yemen, see this recent paper by Andrew Exum and Richard Fontaine.
Sorry, I was all set to end this post, but fuck it. I’m really getting tired of the MSM descriptions of progressives being pissed off by Lieberman divorced from the reasons why the dude gets my goat. There are lots of assholes and conservatives in politics, and life is unfair, etc. I get all that. What I don’t accept is that people in power should get to be blithe and flippant with other people’s lives at stake, whether through war or through health care; and especially if they portray themselves as arbiters of seriousness. The only people being petulant are those who think the anti-Lieberman crowd is petulant.