For the annals of boundless hackery

Team Obama: Game Theorists:

There are days when you wonder why they bother.  In two paragraphs, the New York Times – by helpfully conveying Team Obama’s message exactly as intended – inadvertently demonstrates why the Obama policy is a self-cancelling exercise:

Qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to govern, and it is time for him to go without further violence or delay,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters after a special meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council. “No option is off the table,” she said, adding “that of course includes a no-fly zone.”

But officials in Washington and elsewhere said that direct military action remained unlikely, and that the moves were designed as much as anything as a warning to Colonel Qaddafi and a show of support to the protesters seeking to overthrow his government.

It’s the last sentence that bears examination.  “Direct military action remained unlikely.” “The moves were designed as much as anything as a warning to Colonel Qaddafi.”  If the, er, cognitive dissonance hasn’t registered with you, I recommend reading it over three more times.

A warning is about something you will actually do.  When you tell the “warnee” that you’re probably not going to do it, that you’re “just” giving him a warning, he doesn’t take that as a warning.  He takes it as a bizarre, perhaps annoying exercise in irrelevance on your part.

Dyer has difficulty understanding that the point of warning is not actually doing what you’re threatening to do.  If I point my Oklahoma shotgun at you and say, “I’m going to shoot you if you take another step,” I may very well consider it very highly unlikely that I’ll have to discharge both barrels on ya. It’s my reluctance to put another notch on my stock that leads me to offer a warning.

The Obama Admin “warning” is that it currently has no plans to intervene militarily or to take other unspecified escalated steps against Xadaffy & Co.  You don’t have to have read Cold War era nuclear war game theory treatises to reach this perfectly simple conclusion.  It could be, however, that reading those treatises – either that or, more likely, living in a state of constant anxiety over insufficient anti-Obamaism and bloody-mindedness – can render even the totally obvious, re-read three times or not, impossibly obscure.


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21 comments on “For the annals of boundless hackery

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  1. Nah, Dyer just thinks that if you’re gonna say “I’m going to shoot you if you take another step”, it’s bestest and most effectivest to actually be carrying your shotgun. Just having a lot of them someplace ain’t always all that efficacious-like.

    Obama’s rebuking a mad dog that’s clawing to stay on top and probably alive.
    That don’t much signify in this situation.

  2. @ fuster:
    Last I heard, the USS Entergun, USS Shotsarge, and one other USS or so, not to mention all of their lesser USSs that accompany them, were on station or approaching.

    Look, you know as well as I do that if Obama jumped, Dyer would be appalled that and/or how he jumped. If he doesn’t jump, she’s appalled that he stands still. If he had backed the Libyan protesters more loudly, then every dead body would be his fault, and he’d have blown U.S. prestige. Didn’t he ever hear about speaking softly…? If hostages had been taken, it would be Iran 1979. And on and on… It’s a stupid partisan hack game.

  3. @ CK MacLeod:

    and I’m a contrary old pain in the ass. Dyer is Dyer and absolutely out to lunch about Obama. First thing I remember her saying about him was during the time when Somali pirates were holding hostage an American
    Dyer predicted that Obama would micro-manage the Navy, hamstring them with his pinko/ Negroid concerns that the Democratic Party “base” wouldn’t like it if their African brothers weren’t respectfully negotiated with, and get the the American killed or stuck in a hole until Obama would agree to pay ransom.

    When the Seals popped the pirates and freed the guy…… all she talked about was the Navy.

    this time, Tsar, blind chicken that she is, she’s got a kernel.

  4. Ah, no Colin, no we wouldn’t have, Muammar is a disreputable sort of the lowest order. but ‘Motown Night’ with Sheryl Crow and Nick Jonas, priorities you know, now the unidentified staffer, one of the Rhodes/MacDonough/Powers triumvirate, shouldn’t speak out of turn so readily.

  5. miguel cervantes wrote:

    Ah, no Colin, no we wouldn’t have,

    Oh yes you woulda! Don’t lie to yourself. The Motown thing is a cheap shot, and you know it, and if you can’t find a staffer in dissent, then you’re not covering a White House.

    fuster wrote:

    this time, Tsar, blind chicken that she is, she’s got a kernel.

    Horsehockey. Everybody’s got a “kernel.” So what?

  6. Do we have to remind, that Shah, like Mubarak was a longtime ally, hence the concern over the latter’s prompt removal, which hasn’t really been assuaged, totally. The fall of the Tunisian government
    also hovers over these circumstances. as does the upcoming events
    of March 11th

  7. I thought you might concur, silly moi:

    I’m sure you hear the “but” coming, however. Since the unrest erupted in the Middle East last month, he has devoted more and more time to focusing on the links between the political networks of the Left, some of the radical Islamist groups, and George Soros, whom Beck calls “Spooky Dude.” And my point about this is not that the links don’t exist. It’s that there is nothing politically new, significant, or terribly interesting about them. Given the trends of history, we should expect two things: first, that such links probably do exist; but second, that they are not the manifestations or agents of a shadowy conspiracy with the power to shape our destiny. Nor are they necessary to explain what’s going on in the Middle East.

    What I see in Beck’s analysis of the unrest in the Middle East is a deficit of historical perspective. He has become self-taught in American political history, but I’m not sure he has ever read Thucydides – to take just one of the more familiar examples – or, indeed, any of the other writers from the Western classical heritage whose works high school students used to sample and college students used to study in depth. A single swing through Peloponnesian War is good for all the political “types” we have ever seen in Western history; one can’t read it and remain unenlightened about the recurrence of “George Soros,” Bolshevism, labor politics, and corrupt ward-heeling in their various incarnations across time.

  8. @ miguel cervantes:

    miggs, I doubt that the Tsar would be impressed by Dyer’s finally taking a totally tiny first step away from Beck
    she’s has been an absolute groupie for that clown and has gone with him and down on her knees trying to ignore Beck’s bullsh1rt and bigotry.

    I suspect that the blatant anti-Semitism with Soros has moved her whereas race-baiting Obama never did.

    Now that the Tsar understands that you were calling attention to Dyer’s demurral. I’m certain that he’ll be pleased.

  9. @ miguel cervantes:
    Sorry, silly toi, but I find the whole performance cringe-inducing. It was just about a year ago that Dyer was going on and on, in a multi-post-and-comment confrontation with silly moi, about how conservatives shouldn’t have a problem with Glenn Beck and his obscene and paranoid apocalypticism – and flatout eliminationism, come to think of it. So, finally, several of her colleagues and allies – Wehner, Rubin, Kristol, Lowry – have stuck their necks out condemning Beck, and she comes up with this self-superior mealy-mouthed mush about how, if only Beck had read Thucydides like JE Dyer, he’d be a bit more above it all. So, what, 10 words of the gentlest criticism of this spiritually destitute, and intellectually and emotionally desertifying demagogue, and 990 on how Marxism ruined American education so that it’s no longer like it was in the Victor Davis Hanson good ol ‘days when real good Americans could argue about Sparta vs. Athens?

    No, I’m not impressed.

  10. miggs, I think that it ill-serves US interests to set up a military mission against Libya when the public calls for us to do so are coming only from the ex-colonial powers.

    When the Arabs publicly ask for our aid, might be a different story.

  11. Think the chaos of Somalia, in the 90s, but with oil, that’s what we’re
    trying to avoid, with alternate power centers in the old regions of Tripolitana and Cyrenaica, among others

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