Monday, July 19, 2010

Loesch Doesn't Think U.S. Policies Have Killed People In Afghanistan

Or at least she believes it's our duty as Patriotic Americans not to think about whether people are being killed in Afghanistan.

Loesch was on Larry King's program several weeks ago with Stephanie Miller, James Carville, and Penn Jillette. Jillette was complaining on the program that no one is articulating what we are really doing in Afghanistan and he went on to say that we should, "just stop killing people." Loesch's brilliant response (4:30 mark) was:
We aren't killing people.
Here's what Penn had to say about her response (warning: f-bombs dropped):

Loesch then went on to make a 12-minute video in response to the 60 seconds Penn spent mentioning her. Her basic response can be summed up as follows:
penn i am so totally your biggest fan but omg i cant believe that you disagreed with me so here let me say a bunch of cliches about afghanistan that completely ignore the fact that you read the news and are not asking for mindless platitudes but for actual concrete benchmarks. also here watch this clip of me nodding and saying "yep" in agreement with you for over 2 minutes, see we agree all the time and you really should share some of your twitter followers with me. in conclusion, omg you know zz top? you're just like way too cool for me. just kidding, no i'm not, yes i am.
Seriously though, Loesch's response was pretty sad. First of all, she claimed that Penn never asked her "what are we supposed to be doing in Afghanistan?" Actually, Larry King directly asked her (4:05 mark) "Dana, do you see an endgame?" and she responded with the completely empty comment, "go in there and get it done." He then asked her again (5:50) what the endgame was and she said:
I can tell you how I would like for it to end. I think Petreaus is going to get us in and get us out. Finish the job, get out. Make sure that they have a stable government, we have people over there that are voting. Women are being freed; you don't have many progress without struggle some time and I'm glad we didn't turn a blind eye to the struggle over there. As a woman, I can say that. But yeah I like Petreaus getting in there, doing the job, getting out, bottom line.
But, of course, this is exactly the kind of empty rhetoric - completely ignorant of the complicated situation in Afghanistan - that Penn Jilette was criticizing.

Still more amazing: even after Jillette criticized her, she failed (5:26) to add any substance to her "critique:"
Let's see, our job in Afghanistan was to stabilize a country that was being ruled by the Taliban, where women and children were being killed daily by the Taliban. Our job was to go over there, Karzai, some people don't like him, some people think he's working all right, he's now the President in Afghanistan, and we turned what was an enemy state, what was a germ bed of terrorist activity, where 9-11 was hatched, we turned this country into an ally as opposed to an enemy. Now it's being stabilized and we're trying to help them maintain their own individual liberty. Because for whatever cracked-out reason, people like to think that Democracy is a patent that is inherent to only white anglo saxon Protestant United States Citizens and it's not. So that's the point I would have made.
Again, this completely misses the point of Jillette's question. Of course everyone would like to see a country that has a wonderful flourishing democracy where no one is being oppressed by the Taliban. However, what he was asking was: what are the actual specifics of what the country would need to look like in order for us to decide that it was sufficiently "good enough" for us to withdraw troops, and how can we get to that point? And Loesch, of course, does nothing to answer those questions.

As to Jillette's comment that we should, "just stop killing people," Loesch again reiterated (7:16) her claim that "We're not over there killing people" and compared Penn to Jane Fonda. She continued (8:30):
Yes, death sucks. War sucks. But I always hear these people saying "we gotta stop killing people! We gotta stop killing babies!" First of all, I'm not even going to address that as if I'm accepting that premise....
There are so many things wrong with her response. First of all, Jillette said that we were killing people, and she tried to twist the comment into a claim that the only thing we were doing is killing people. Nope, sorry, two completely different English sentences with two completely different meanings. Second, she immediately tries to turn this into an attack on the troops, when it clearly was a critique of U.S. policy. Troops are generally expected to follow the orders of their commanders in spite of their own political beliefs. But countries can make mistakes. So, as anyone with a brain realizes, it's possible to criticize a country for going to war without thinking that the troops are responsible for the bad decision and the consequences that result. But of course Loesch like all good neocons likes to hide her hawkish positions behind the troops in order to stifle debate. And finally, there could be no more telling quote about Loesch's approach to politics than her statement that she wouldn't "accept the premise" that women and children are being killed. It's one thing to say "yes, it's true that innocent people are dying as a result of our military activity, but more innocent people would have died if the Taliban was still in charge." But Loesch doesn't even have the intellectual honesty to make that claim: instead, she pretends that no innocent people are being killed at all.

I'll conclude by noting that I really don't have my mind made up about Afghanistan. I see a lot of problems with us pulling out of the country, but I also have not seen a clear plan for how we can be successful in creating a stable, democratic country given the current dynamics. But if we're going to have an honest debate that attempts to make the best decision, it's important that we don't simply turn a blind eye to certain facts just because they don't fit with our preconceived ideology.


  1. I'm so glad you addressed this video. Not only was it a 12 minute display of narcisissm, most of it didn't even make sense. Dana's ego seems to be bloated to new levels these days, I just don't get her appeal.

  2. Sara,

    Yeah, I noticed that Dana called her own video "hysterical," but I didn't see anyone else agreeing with her.

  3. Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.

    Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq ." And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

    George W. Bush on 9/27/2004: “That's why I said to the Taliban in Afghanistan: Get rid of al Qaeda; see, you're harboring al Qaeda. Remember this is a place where they trained -- al Qaeda trained thousands of people in Afghanistan. And the Taliban, I guess, just didn't believe me. And as a result of the United States military, Taliban no longer is in existence.”

    So, see Dana, your exalted leader went to Afghanistan because a) God told him to go Afghanistan and b) he worked with the Taliban (like Reagan) to rid Al Qaeda, so c) he got rid of the Taliban!

    Case closed! No Al Qaeda, no Taliban, bring the troops home! That's what born-again Christians like yourself and George have accomplished! No one dies but we accomplished our objectives.

  4. Well I disagree with Pen. We are in fact killing some very bad people. On the other hand is killing those bad people in our interest or even good policy for Afghanistan? My answer is "I do not know."

    A secure training ground for Al Queda is a very bad thing. Yes, Al Queda is world wide but they are not unmolested any where. If we leave the Pakistani elements of the Taliban and Iran will deny us any access to Afghanistan. Al Queda will be completely secure and we can only hope they only kill three thousand Americans on their next round.

    On the other hand we are losing the battle of "hearts and minds." I know that is a cliche from Vietnam but the idea although poorly executed is important.

    Our policy regarding absolute and blind support of Israel is ludicrous. Israel has always acted in its own best interest even when that meant attacking the US Navy and spying on the United States. Israel is a nation that only deserves our support when it is in our interest and only to the degree that it is in our interest. Our excessive economic support pays for the Palestinian occupation. Take away the money and economics will dictate peace.

    Supporting dictatorships needs to be looked at in a cost benefit analysis. Yes, we prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from taking Egypt but we also ennoble the Brotherhood through out Islam. What is more important our democratic principles and world wide prestige or the stability of the Egyptian dictatorship. Pick a nation and ask the same questions again and again.

    As George H Bush said the cold war is over and we must adopt a new paradigm.