• Washington Post War-Mongeringapoloza

    September 16, 2013

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

    The Washington Post (slogan: We Still Type Well, now Powered by Amazon!) this weekend out did itself in jingoism and war mongering, throwing in some puke-colored pablum about American Exceptionalism to complete a pile that resembles the doggy mess I scoop up every morning using the plastic bag the Post comes in (the bag is so perfectly sized for picking up poop that I still subscribe just to get a new one each morning.)

    Dana Milbank Teaches American Exceptionalism

    We begin with “journalist” Dana Milbank. Dana was of course a Yale Bonesman, which equipped him to properly catch as Washington politicians pitch him. Dana also fancies himself a sometimes “humorist” in the vein of Mark Twain, assuming Twain had suffered from syphilis or, had it been available, dropped a hell of a lot of bad acid.

    Dana leads his “piece” on Putin with a zinger in the tradition of the greats Murrow and Cronkite:

    I know I speak for many American people when I congratulate you on your English. It was flawless, with none of those dropped articles that plague so many of your countrymen. Please don’t be offended, but I have to ask: Did Edward Snowden help you with your letter?

    Now that’s yer journalism right there ladies and gents! Be sure to tip your waitress.

    Dana then drops some Google Translate knowledge on ya’

    This makes your [Putin’s] crack about “American exceptionalism” all the more perplexing. “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional,” you wrote… But I’m guessing what went wrong here is your translators let you down when they defined exceptional for you as luchshyy (better) rather than razlichnyy (different).

    That’s a funny. According to Google (see, I am the journalist too [or is it to?] “funny” in Russian is smeshnoy. I can Google it in other languages if you like, because that’s my job, to Google stuff for you.

    But Dana saves the best “material” for the whip-snap turn from “funny” (smeshnoy) to a Serious Point:

    When we say we are exceptional, what we really are saying is we are different. With few exceptions, we are all strangers to our land; our families came from all corners of the world and brought all of its colors, religions and languages. We believe this mixing, together with our free society, has produced generations of creative energy and ingenuity, from the Declaration of Independence to Facebook, from Thomas Jefferson to Miley Cyrus. There is no other country quite like that.

    Americans aren’t better than others, but our American experience is unique — exceptional — and it has created the world’s most powerful economy and military, which, more often than not, has been used for good in the world. When you question American exceptionalism, you will find little support from any of us, liberals or conservatives, Democrats or Republicans, doves or hawks.

    (Does anyone else still use the terms “doves and hawks”?)

    (Wiping patriotic tears from my eyes) Ah yes, the immigrant experience, like America is the only country with inbound immigration ever in the history of the world. And hey, isn’t Russia made up of a bunch of different nationalities anyway? No mind, the Declaration of Independence stands beside Facebook, as does Jefferson beside Miley, as proof of our exceptional Exceptionalism. That of course is stupid enough, but what Dana did not apparently learn at Yale is that America’s immigrants quickly turned to slaughtering the Native Americans they displaced, even using biological weapons (typhus infected gifted blankets for the win!) In between Miley’s birth and descent into TV slut-for-pay, American Exceptionalism kidnapped and enslaved millions of Africans and still today treats them as second class citizens (it was only within my own lifetime that Virginia legalized interracial marriage.) Of course all those immigrants– the Dagos, the Hunkies, the Kikes, the Polacks, the Micks, et al– were welcomed with open arms and no discrimination.

    As for that American Exceptional “military, which, more often than not, has been used for good in the world,” one guesses there are few Vietnamese, Grenadans, Libyans, Iraqis, torture victims, indefinately detained people and assorted drone victims in the circles that jerk Dana enters.

    Dana, a quick comment: anyone who goes around telling everyone else they’re exceptional isn’t. Same as people who go around saying they’re funny, or handsome. It works best when other people acknowledge your specials, not when you bray about it yourself.

    But There is More: Sebastian Junger

    Appalling in the same pages of the Washington Post (slogan: We’re Still Dining Out on that Watergate Thing, now Powered by Amazon!) is Sebastian Junger. Junger was actually was a real journalist at one time, though as of late his best effort is a U.S. military hagiography piece Restrepo, where Afghans appear only as targets for the plucky Americans, joking one minute, machine gunning some rag heads the next, a sad retelling of every WWII war movie where GI Joe shoots some Japs or Krauts before sitting down for a Lucky Strike and a black and white letter (Google Translate: email) from his bestest gal back home.

    Junger’s article is pretty basic White House talking points reiterated, the need to Protect the Children as long as they are foreign children on the side we support and their deaths are well-covered by media. Nothing real new there. There are however a couple of true blue winners tucked in among the boilerplate:

    We are safe in our borders because we are the only nation that can park a ship in international waters and rain cruise missiles down on specific street addresses in a foreign city for weeks on end.

    First of all, at a minimum, the Russians, the Chinese, the British and the French can rain cruise missiles onto foreign streets if they like. They just don’t do it all the time like America does. Our safety within our borders is arguable, not only for the odd acts of terrorism, or the near-constant gun violence in our cities, but of course for the total abandonment of our freedoms to “secure” us.

    There’s more. Junger, likely dripping with his own manly juices as he dictated the next line to his “valet” Manual, said:

    I find it almost offensive that anyone in this country could imagine they are truly pacifist while accepting the protection and benefit of all that armament. If you have a bumper sticker that says “No Blood For Oil,” it had better be on your bike.

    First, I for one did not ask for the U.S. military to go around the world killing foreigners on my behalf. Second, I do not believe that constantly, aimlessly killing people who are not threatening us does much more than create an endless cycle of revenge and thus more war and of course, that oil thing. Junger my man, why does the U.S. have to bleed for oil? Let’s pretend we didn’t– what would the oil producing states then do, drink the shit? No, capitalism is a reliable tool. Nations with oil would continue to sell oil, because they like being very rich. They would sell oil to countries with money to buy oil. What would be different is that American companies would not control the oil flow and would not assure themselves of obscene profits. So the slogan isn’t No Blood for Oil (you can’t put a bumper sticker on a bike anyway), it is No Blood for Corporate Profits.

    Another Jungerism:

    The United States is in a special position in the world, and that leads many people to espouse a broad American exceptionalism in foreign affairs. Even if they’re correct, those extra rights invariably come with extra obligations. Precisely because we claim such a privileged position, it falls to us to uphold the international laws that benefit humanity in general and our nation in particular.

    Riiiiight, those darned international laws. Like not torturing people. Like not indefinitely detaining people without due process. Not not violating other nation’s sovereignty (Google Translate calls that an “invasion”) with drones and special forces. Like not refusing to sign the landmine and cluster munitions treaties. Like not rendering people. Like not possessing our own chemical weapons. Like not being the only nation in history to use a nuclear weapon, twice, against civilian populations. Like not withdrawing from the International Criminal Court because we’re afraid they will prosecute our leaders for these crimes. Like not invading Iraq for no reason but empire and spite. If you are going to set yourself up as the International Law guy, you can’t cherry pick which laws you’ll uphold and which you’ll trod upon.

    As for all the wonder we accomplsihed in the Balkans (including bombing the Chinese Embassy in violation of international law) there are those collateral damages (Google Translate: Slaughtering innocent people who got in the way of our Exceptionalism). Junger’s got that covered:

    The civilian casualties where there were strikes were terribly unfortunate, but they constituted a small fraction of casualties in the wars themselves.

    See, that’s exceptional. We can kill innocent people as long as we keep the head count (ba bing!) to whatever Junger decides is a small fraction. But least he is consistent. As for that thing about 100,000 already dead in Syria but 1400 dying by gas is a reason for war:

    The civil war in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people essentially one person at a time, which is clearly an abomination, but it is not defined as a crime against humanity.

    See, it is all about how you say things. Words are important, they teach that in journalist school, even the online ones Washington Post (slogan: We DOn’t Have Editoors ANymorer, Powered by Amazon!) writers attend.

    We’ll give Junger one more line:

    At some point, pacifism becomes part of the machinery of death, and isolationism becomes a form of genocide.

    Dude, dude, another thing they teach in J-School is not to plagiarize. The correct line is “War is Peace, and Peace is War.”

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  • Recent Comments

    • pitchfork said...


      I find it almost offensive that anyone in this country could imagine they are truly pacifist while accepting the protection and benefit of all that armament – See more at: http://wemeantwell.com/#sthash.6PRA0Fnx.dpuf

      Accepting the protection And benefit. right.

      Excuse me while I puke…again..this morning.

      Someone needs to slap the shit out of these demented scum. I wish it could be me. Better yet..drag them through a droned village full of dead children and shove their face in the blood…and THEN beat the “exceptional” shit out of them.

      bartender..set em up. I propose a toast. Here’s to watching Amerikan exceptionalism burn alive at the stake..along with those pathetic journalists who preach this bullshit propaganda.

      09/16/13 1:08 PM | Comment Link

    • Stephen said...


      Wasn’t there a funny little guy with a silly mustache in Germany insisting that HIS people had that quality of extra special-ness-ism? Until those sub-human Slav soldiers showed up on the outskirts of Berlin, well you know the rest. One should always be careful about that extra-specialty thing-that would be my guess.

      09/16/13 8:57 PM | Comment Link

    • Washington Post | Curation Club said...


      […] Washington Post War-Mongeringapoloza | We Meant Well – Peter … 16 September 2013 | 11:14 &#1072m Two WaPo columnists &#965&#1109&#1077 cheap logic &#1072nd sad arguments to claim American Exceptionalism means we &#1089&#1072n kill foreigners wh&#1077&#1495e&#957er &#1110t suits us. https://wemeantwell.com/blog/2013/09/16/washington-post-war-mongeringapoloza/ […]

      09/17/13 4:27 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      “…our American experience…has created the world’s most powerful economy”:


      09/17/13 4:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...



      The WP is good for something besides packing material for Amazon. I use it for my dog’s poop tray.

      BTW – did the W bother to report this news about State’s latest goof?


      09/17/13 6:19 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      09/17/13 6:30 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      Dear Rich, Right? No, that’s not newsworthy at all. LoL. Why did the Guardian ever decide to collaborate with the NY Times ??

      09/17/13 7:54 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...




      Of course it wasn’t surprising enough. Half the population of Amerika doesn’t know anything exists beyond their parallel universe of Facebook and wouldn’t give a damn if they knew. In fact, walk down a street in any city in Amerika and watch how many people are looking at or talking on an iphone. They don’t even see what’s going on around them.

      Amerika redefines the word pathetic.

      09/18/13 10:19 AM | Comment Link

    • A. Siegel said...


      I see that Stephen (#2; 9/16/13; 08:57AM) kind of alluded to the part of Junger’s nonsense that also caught my attention:

      “At some point, pacifism becomes part of the machinery of death, and isolationism becomes a form of genocide.”

      I wonder whether he’s aware that he is hardly the first to think of denouncing/blaming pacifism?

      From Gustave Gilbert’s “Nuremberg Diaries”, a portion of some chilling words from Hermann Goering, explaining the role of government (to drag their populations into wars) and the method by which it is done. It’s easy, he says:

      “All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”

      According to Goering, this is a “one size fits all” method. I think the U.S. has proven him correct.

      It seems to have for the U.S., even before WWII. In 1898 Americans were encouraged to “Remember the Maine and to Hell with Spain”. Wm. Randolph Hearst foreshadowed John Kerry by disregarding the fact that the conclusion of the inquiry into cause(s) of the explosion and sinking of the Maine was unknown/indeterminate and not allowing that fact to stop him from naming Spain as the culprit. And then somehow, the U.S. used the sinking of a ship off the Cuban coast as a justification for sending its military half a world away to occupy the Philippines.

      But as you, yourself point out, “American Exceptionalism” is essentially the historical use of military force by the U.S.(when trickery doesn’t suffice or is deemed inefficient) to take from others that which it covets.

      I don’t recall the name of the journalist, but I remember he was French. In the months leading to the invasion of Iraq (2003), he said, “If George Bush wants his commodities, let him buy them like everyone else.” Quite sensible.

      But then the U.S. would have to learn to cope with no longer being “exceptional”.

      10/13/13 5:18 PM | Comment Link

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