Rush Limbaugh is the provocative, outspoken voice of an army of conservative dittoheads, while The Young Turks‘ Cenk Uygur breathes fire from the left, so the two don’t often agree (and sometimes, they don’t agree in disagreeable fashion). However, the recent burning of Korans at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, and subsequent deadly protests, have brought these two together for a brief moment that could throw open the gates of Hades and swallow civilization whole.
On Monday, Limbaugh lambasted President Obama over his apology for the accidental Koran-burnings, and questioned the wisdom of continuing the mission in Afghanistan. On Tuesday night’s The Young Turks, Cenk told a (likely stunned) audience, “I think I’m going to agree with Rush Limbaugh here. Not in its entirety, of course, but he’s going to talk about Afghanistan, and I think he has the same frustration that a lot of us do.”
He then played the clip from Limbaugh’s show, and while it’s not all that shocking that Cenk would agree that the US should get out of Afghanistan (Cenk is on the con side of a liberal schism on many of the Obama administration’s national security policies), I was surprised to learn that he agrees that President Obama shouldn’t have apologized. Following the Limbaugh clip, he explained “I don’t think he should have (apologized), it was an accident, the more you apologize for it, the more it seems like we did it on purpose, otherwise, why would the President of the United States be apologizing, and I don’t like the idea of encouraging these mobs by giving legitimacy to these protests.”
Now, at the risk of summoning Quetzalcoatl, I’m going to go ahead and agree with Cenk and Rush on about 80% of this. Cenk is wrong that the President shouldn’t have apologized, not only because it was the right thing to do, but because past incidences of deliberate Koran desecration by US forces necessitated it. For the President not to have apologized, to have left it to a lower-level official, would have smacked of papering over it.
However, I agree that the hand-wringing about inflamed tensions that has attended the apology is misplaced. Rather than “We’re sorry, and we hope this calms things down,” our stance should be “We’re sorry, but cut the shit!”
These protests and murders aren’t about burnt Korans, they’re just an excuse. As Limbaugh points out (and God, I hate to do this), the Korans that were burned at Bagram had already been desecrated by the prisoners, and as many have pointed out before, there have been far more Korans burned in terrorist attacks by Muslims than in that pit.
As for the mission in Afghanistan, I supported the President’s decision to send more troops in 2010, because throughout the Bush administration, all anyone did was complain that the mission was never given the force level it needed to succeed. As Cenk points out, Osama bin Laden is dead now, and al Qaeda has been scattered to the corners of the Earth, spending its time dodging drone hellfire. There is no sense in sticking around to put together a Humpty Dumpty that was never an egg in the first place.
Yes, there will still be national security concerns regarding Afghanistan, but if the Obama presidency has demonstrated anything, it’s that sometimes the best solution is a low-flying chopper full of Navy SEALs, not a hundred thousand troops.
Here’s the clip, from Current TV:
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