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Linda Tirado @KillerMartinis
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Okay then, I am in a hotel with two weeks worth of groceries for a family of four (really don't ask about my day) but there is wine and I've been putting this off so welcome to this evening's cultural activity! It is a reading of Amy Chua's book Political Tribes! There's wine!
I need a few minutes to breathe and start everything charging and figure out this food situation because ironically I have stuffed this mini fridge to capacity and also have nothing I could actually eat for dinner. There has to be pizza delivery to the motel near nothing right?
For those of you new to my feed, I often do things so you don't have to, and reading books that you should know exist but shouldn't spend time or money on is one of them.

Eventually I will prejudge a book wrongly and feel very chastened but I keep spinning that wheel!
(Also god bless what is probably the only motel left in America with smoking rooms, if you are ever near the hospital on the ass end of town in Athens Ohio hard recommend on the Super 8 for your smoking family and friends who of course will visit you!)
Anyway the deal with these things is I last as long as the bar tab does, so feel free to chip in at PayPal.me/riseandbeheard or patreon.com/bootstrap

Get you a glass of something and settle in, we are doing Culture tonight! Starting soonish! After food is sorted!
Seriously I am having the sort of day in which "I had to unpack your sriracha to find my pajamas" is a text I just sent to my ex-husband and also in which on PAGE THREE OF THE INTRODUCTION Amy Chua has said that poor people don't protest things because that's for elites
I mean to be fair she quoted "a student from rural South Carolina." It's not like her personal thought or anything.
Yeah maybe definitely go get a drink. Join me. You'll need this.
See because Occupy was mostly not actually poor people, ergo apparently the following:
Because say it with me, who was the average Trump voter? That’s right, a white person making about $70k a year!

Oh, weird. Because the data has been available since the election but this seems to say the working class broke for Trump and that’s how he got elected
Your reminder that the author, who is now informing you about how a working class person’s identity works, teaches at Yale Law.

I have been just on the edge of my damn seat since Hillbilly Elegy came out for another Yale Law person to explain the working class to me tho srsly
Me: Fuck, this is gonna be another “rich person exploits actual flaw to make a bullshit argument based on performative populism while being the most classist asshat in the county isn’t it”

Chua: did her research watching early 90s CMT videos
No but back up to that first quote from that South Carolinian

Like go back and look at the last line and consider that this is on page three of the book and tell me that @Blackamazon was not right to tell me this was the next book because come on now
Also not for nothing but tacky is in the eye of the beholder and I think it’s a little gauche to talk about things you clearly have no real idea of.

But what would I know; tacky is decided and declared by the wealthy. One assumes Chua wrote with self-awareness.
OK I HAVE PROBLEMS

1. That’s not patriotism, that’s nationalism
2. LOLOL BUDWEISER IS NOT THE BEER OF THE WORKING CLASSES WHAT THE SHIT LADY
Oh, someone has pointed out! I should tell you about what we are reading instead of assuming you just know!

So Amy Chua, who wrote that tiger mother book some time ago, is a Yale Law professor. She’s also JD Vance’s mentor, or one of them.
She wrote the book I am reading just now, which is called Political Tribes: Group Instinct And The Fate Of Nations, which is according to the publisher’s summary about how identity politics is killing the nation (look it up for full description)

Anyway that’s us caught up!
Anyway, it’s page six, we still haven’t defined “elite” yet, and it’s not even the first chapter

But damn here is this paragraph anyway, in case you needed a fine example of polemic argumentation which somehow passes no tests of veracity.
I constantly talk about elitism in the US, particularly as it manifests in classism.

But man it takes a rich person to spot a real thing that happens and then just fundamentally fail to grasp power structures while explaining how poor works
“Gee I wonder what underlying social thing might be manifesting when the wealthy can find more compassion for those in what they consider inferior cultures?”
“Couldn’t be both imperialistic racism and also a firm belief in a disproven domestic meritocracy, could it Bob?”
“Absolutely not, Jim, what’s clearly happening here is that there’s an elite that’s just on the anti-Budweiser side”

Anyway you’re welcome @tomtomorrow I didn’t write this book but I did just save you a whole plotline having read it
1. that’s the end of the emergency bourbon, we’re breaking into the wine
2. There’s pizza, thank everything that’s holy
3. We’re about to watch a really interesting thing happen in this book.

Back in like 10. I need to read ahead a bit and see what this first chapter is.
Okay so like, if you were a betting sort of human, how many pages would you bet it takes before this book gets from A to B, where A is “racism sucks” and B is “and that’s why people who talk about racism are why white nationalists exist”
Let’s take a journey through this then shall we?

Step One: position yourself as an inclusive “us” to the out-group’s “them.” Don’t do it openly, use inclusive language.
Step Two: note that gee whiz, EVERYONE feels discriminated against somehow! Everyone does! It’s a totally normal state of humanity to feel like that! I mean of course hate crimes are on the rise, but everyone *feels* persecuted against sort of equally!
Step Three: Both Sides Do It, because clearly identity politics are the same whether they’re defensive or genocidal amirite
Brief break while the author of a book about culture bemoans the fact that society has changed over the course of some years, which was apparently a surprise to the person who wrote a whole book on how cultures work
Step Four: Well This Is Just What You Get
And finally: who will stand up for an America without identity politics?

Unasked and unanswered so far: what the author thinks “identity politics” means outside the inference of race
Neat trick, isn’t it?
We're not even finished with the introduction

How do I share a publishing house with this book even
Anyway, the premise here is that the natural order of things is ethnostates, and that the US is anomalous in this way
And here’s this further explanation so that nobody can say I’m being unfair in my presentation even though this is clearly already ridiculous
ALSO did you know who was Trump before Trump ever Trumped? ONLY HUGO CHAVEZ.

One super-minor difference. I SAID SUPER MINOR.
And that brings us to this, the conclusion of the introduction, which I think is arguing that ethnostates are the norm and we’d all be better off just accepting that!

Of course I have never taught at Yale Law. Gave a lecture there once, but not TAUGHT. So maybe I don’t get it.
See because the only definition we have so far is that political tribalism happens down ethnic lines, and also class ones, and that identity politics is bad (identity politics being defined by a white supremacist as racial and that being the only definition thus far)
So while I’m grabbing a drink here I just want you to know that I’m aware the huge screencaps are a pain in the ass, but also I feel like they’re necessary if you’re going to do granular commentary. People should be able to compare your take to the writing you’re talking about.
okay actually we're going to have to pick this back up tomorrow because I've just read the first five pages and I have to be missing something here, there is no way this is the premise

Because it seems to be, and bear with me here because I'm not 100% following
The US is both super-racist and also wholly unaware of ethnic conflict elsewhere because we're just sort of Americans

And this of course is why Muslims in the UK aren't assimilating, according to Clive Crook

Like the entire whole universe brain here
Oh holy shit it turns into an argument for American exceptionalism using as proof the fact that we're racist and short-sighted

Yeah, no, I'm not gonna last long enough to give this chapter the attention it deserves because it is actually a feat. Of something. Not sure what.
Anyway, you can chip on this bar tab at paypal.me/riseandbeheard or patreon.com/bootstrap and we'll pick this back up tomorrow!
Okay party people, we are commencing the first chapter of Amy Chua's Political Tribes!

To catch you up, in the introduction we watched the author use a few rationales we assume she doesn't know are favorites of fucking Nazis!
Now, here is what's going on with this book, as near as I can tell given the publisher's summary versus the copy that I've read: the book setup is whole chapters, and the twist comes later.

See, there's a reasonable argument in the first chapters.
So, bear with me as we kind of agree with a bunch of what's coming now! And then watch in what I assume will be awe at the absolutely genius shift to the actual premise of the book as described by the publisher!
Anyway chapter one is titled American Exceptionalism and the Sources of U.S. Group Blindness Abroad
First observation is that Brits were "minutely knowledgeable about, almost obsessed with" the cultures they subjugated, and that this was "astonishingly successful" policy from a "cold-blooded" point of view
Comparatively:
See and this is what I mean when I say “ok so it’s true, and also there’s a HUGE big but coming up”
Other notable thoughts in the chapter:
We have been remarkably insular and notably globalist; strangely sexist while also leading on dismantling patriarchy; unusually protectionist and also advocates of free trade...
Like just imagine writing these sentences in this order outside a Texas-commissioned high school textbook
Anyway here’s another one of those things you can’t actually argue with on its own:
And it’s immediately followed with an apologia because God knows we always *mean* well right
And we have hit the part where this is why I do these things a few glasses in. Sober I might be polite.

OK so how do you rise to the level of teaching at fucking Yale and you’re writing a book about literally anything political and you don’t know that a PM isn’t directly elected
No major power has democratically elected a racial minority as head of state

Like OK but you do realize that we’re one of few major powers in the entire world that aren’t in a parliamentary system right
Me: continues to search for a shred of reasonable argument on behalf of credentialism
Anyway this chapter is a would-be treatise on what a super-group is, and an argument that Americans are one because we have risen above ethnic identification to become simply Americans

Because like you wouldn’t hear someone say they were African-Japanese
Anyway how can you tell I'm in the rurals to visit my kids? It's that a tweet with a pic won't screenshot!

I'll be back tonight or not depending on how well this whole "rural internet" thing goes

Please do meditate on your assumption that anyone just "has internet" to learn on
Like I can comment on my phone but lol loading video

Like I can't upload a pic. Tell me again how easy "being informed" is though?
Okay you lot, pour a whiskey and settle in because we're just about to pick back up where we left off with this book!
Now, we left off a few days ago with an assertion that no major power had elected a racial minority head of state until Obama.

This is used as an argument for the immutability of ethnocentrism. Which would be fine if it didn’t have a pretty specific recent example of mutability?
Anyway point is that’s a silly example to make because many major world powers don’t directly elect their leaders which means that the will of the voters is not directly reflected in the choice of a Prime Minister.

Which makes it a weird example to use to bolster a thesis.
But Chua argues that Obama was elected because the US is a “supergroup,” which is to say we identify first as Americans and we append an ethnic designation as well, whereas in more ethnically homogenous countries you don’t append your ethnicity.
Reasons the UK isn’t a supergroup even though it’s relatively diverse, and I am not kidding: the insufferability of the English have led to the rise of UKIP because the Irish, Scots and Welsh don’t like being called Brits? I think?
Like I’m no UK history buff but I’m pretty sure there was a Scottish independence movement well before “identity politics” was a coined term

Ireland too, but there wasn’t a shitty movie about that, or at least not one I’ve been forced to see, so IDK
Here we have a journey in a paragraph: explaining the difference between the UK and the US as far as assimilation and shared identity, we start with “immigrants” and within a few sentences have made it to “and they’re banning pork because of the Muslims (and the Jews)”
when I think to myself “I wonder what the UK’s Muslims are feeling” I for sure don’t ask Sadiq Khan.

I go for Clive Crook every time.

To begin with.
Secondly the QUOTE is about how Muslims are being alienated by British society as much as it is about how anyone is withdrawing from it. But the subsequent embroidery is straight into some UKIP talking points

If you ever find yourself making the same point as Nigel Farage, run.
Anyway also the EU isn’t a supergroup because while some of the rich people feel “European,” the rise of far-right populism proves that many of the citizenry don’t.

No mention about how that’s actually kind of really parallel to America or how it might be any different
I mean a short paragraph on the difference between right-wing populism and nationalist populism wouldn’t have gone amiss there is all I’m saying. Inference is fine when it’s not like the main point of the whole book.
Man, I need another drink before we get into the history of whiteness and immigration

Y’all might too because that’s what’s coming next.
(Your reminder that you can support my work at paypal.me/riseandbeheard or patreon.com/bootstrap and that we carry on as long as I’m not covering the whole bar tab, as nobody should be made to do this sober!)
Okay. Are you ready? You’re not ready. First, there’s a lot of history which I don’t quibble with, largely about immigration rates and how America’s been pretty racist over the years.

Much is made of birthright citizenship as a thing setting the US apart among nations.
No points for guessing whether the author teaches at an Ivy League school or further, which one
(I’m sorry, but “elite institutions helped dismantle racism because of the civil rights movement” is the oddest remembering of history I think I’ve run across recently)
ANYWAY. Now we’re into the immigration charts and folks, there’s news: once we lifted racial immigration quotas, the ethnic makeup of immigrants as a demographic changed

Keep this chart in mind as we venture into the next section, which is a wild ride!
Anyway we are into the Difficulty Of Being White

Here’s a fun stat about how Protestants are underrepresented at Harvard even though at no point do we learn about whether the data controlled for age, given how the elderly are religious but not usually undergrads!
What, not enough evidence? WELL. The Supreme Court is nearly all Jews and Catholics and Taylor Swift is the only Protestant pop singer left to us! (I am not even kidding here are the full sentences!)
I mean I don’t know where the rest of y’all white people learned about race but Supreme Court was third and Billboard Charts were fifth on the list I was given of Institutions That Will Fail Unless Dominated By White Protestants

Like we have apocalypse warning sheets
Course I was raised Catholic and then Mormon so I suppose they might not have realized I slipped by the KKK rules

Oh, did you think just normal not-white supremacist American folk were still bothered by the Pope existing? Because they’re not.

That’s some fucking Nazi shit.
I have never not once heard someone’s racist uncle complaining about Moonlight for the record.

Also why does everyone assume that white people uniformly resent things like hip hop or a really good tikka masala?
To be clear there are grafs like this all over the book. I wouldn’t want it said I was misrepresenting.

I just don’t think they excuse most of what they’re clearly there to make up for.
So in foreign policy, this tendency towards super-group behavior of diversity and putting black people on TV leads us astray in foreign policy because other countries simply aren’t equipped to deal with real democracy

Imagine writing this paragraph
Chua scorns this as naive, citing the breakdown of Libya as an example. She also says that it’s a naive view of ourselves, but that we are also victims of political tribalism

Even though we’re the supergroup

And that’s the end of chapter one!
No, seriously, this is the chapter’s end. Next chapter is about Vietnam.
So we are through the first chapter and we have learned thus far that white people are frightened and marginalized even though it’s the British Muslims that are violent and the Mexicans who’re really immigrating to America.

Can’t wait to see what this has to do with Vietnam.
So far it’s been fascinating to see the data. When I wrote my book I was terrified to use any; what if I was as sloppy as this thing I’m reading now? Like, what if I took the first page of a Google search result and extrapolated that out into some kind of unified social theory?
Good evening ladies and gents and welcome back to our exercise in literacy, by which I mean a reading of the book Political Tribes by Amy Chua!
To catch you up, we learned in the introduction and the first chapter that racism is bad and also ethnocentricity is an unavoidable human characteristic, which is of course why American exceptionalism is both justified and awful
We learned that Clive Crook doesn't think Muslims assimilate well in Britain.

OTOH we also learned that the Welsh don't like being called Brits, which. Fair.
So now that we know that, let's open chapter two, which is called, simply, "Vietnam" and opens with a quote from Henry Kissinger because of course it does
You thought I was kidding
There’s some intro stuff but here’s the chapter thesis:
What follows is a twelve-paragraph subchapter called “The Tribal Instinct And Ethnicity” where there is a lot of science about in and out groups! Turns out people prefer people they think are like them.

Even babies get in on this!
At no point do we hear about whether babies prefer faces of their own race because babies typically spend their time looking at their parents or whether it’s just that we spontaneously just develop racism but the age of three months
There are of course no studies cited on mixed-race babies’ racial preferences
I’m straight up not even bothering to disseminate the next bits, which is exposition on a few studies about how people’s brains light up more when they see pictures of people of their own race being harmed

Because remember we’re talking ethnicity here not race
LOL JUST KIDDING WE ARE CONFLATING THE TWO TERMS LIKE THEY WERE WHOLLY INTERCHANGEABLE
Anyway here’s this
“The key to ethnicity is that it’s built around shared blood”

-Amy Chua, paraphrasing Donald Horowitz
OK so the first screenshot is Chua’s premise for why the US isn’t like the rest of the world, you see we’re racist but not driven by ethnicity like all those other countries

And the second is...yeah you go ahead and find the 1. Lie or 2. Coherent thesis
Anyway the next subchapter is mostly historical exposition about how Vietnamese people always hated China but the US didn’t understand that they hated China more than they did France and here’s how that starts:
Two pages later:

What had happened was, you see, we didn’t understand the MARKETS.
My God I always always speak too soon

Here’s a sentence in print:
I mean she coined a term for “colonization” if I’m understanding this right. An ethnic minority which nonetheless controls the majority of land and economic opportunities?
How is this a new concept that we have just named I am so confused
At least once in the reading of any book by someone in the Ivy League I find that I’m incredibly confused because I’m looking for the nuance or higher intellectual activity and it turns out that actually people just like congratulating themselves for inventing this “wheel” thing
But I can’t argue with this:
Anyway next we have a lot of history about the Hoa in Vietnam which culminates in the following:
So I am trying to parse this next bit out but it seems to be mostly a discussion about how when Vietnam split all the Chinese went south and then the US didn’t understand how the ethnic divides worked and inflamed them with the war
And then there’s also this that is kind of indisputable
Next: hey did you know that war is usually bad for civilians? No shit! The Vietnamese largely didn't profit from America bombing them for years!
So this is a first

I've never read an argument for ethnic supremacy which was largely stated from the ostensible position of "racism is bad" before
And the weird part is that I'm not entirely sure the author is aware of where the arguments come from

Like I think she's doing analysis from Yale Law and she's legit not separated white privilege from other sorts, to the point she doesn't know she's saying Nazi shit
Next we have a few pages about how post-war, the Vietnamese mostly fucked up ethnic Chinese
Which leads us to this conclusion:
Note that we’re talking about the control of resources and the overall flow of capital, but Chua makes no particular effort to delineate the difference between class and ethnicity here. It’s assumed that the trouble is ethnicity rather than nationality or resource control.
I don’t say that I disagree with the assertion because I frankly don’t know the regional history well enough. I just note that “control” is always assumed to be a question of ethnicity as a baseline.
And that’s the end of Chapter Two: Vietnam

Tonight we learned that the US frequently invades places without fully understanding them

Not sure how this explains the resentment of Trump voters but I’m sure we’ll get there in the end
Tomorrow night we tackle Chapter Three: Afghanistan

I’m sure we will learn things then too
Your reminder that you can chip in on this beer tab at paypal.me/riseandbeheard or patreon.com/bootstrap

And you definitely should, as I’m out of pocket on this book’s reading so far
Okay people! There is a fresh beer and I have all my devices charging, and the clouds seem to be cooperating tonight so I have decent internet service! Let’s read a book!

To catch you up:
Chua has thus far argued that America is super-racist but not an ethnic state, which of course explains why we keep fucking up wars in which ethnic conflict is a primary concern

Also other countries just can’t democracy like we can because ethnic
Anyway we are on to chapter three, which is called Afghanistan and opens thusly
Anyway see the trouble we ran into in Afghanistan was that we ignored ethnic conflicts, Chua says

Not that we didn’t have a clear mission
Not that we engaged in mission creep on a grand scale
Not that we didn’t need to fucking be there at all.
She further argues that it was our lack of understanding of ethnic conflict in the region that created the Taliban

One assumes Amy Chua has never heard of Charlie Wilson
Like IDK how civilian families roll but in mine we’re real keenly aware of how all the arms money flowed and when and why.

The Taliban, I promise you, was not created because the US invaded and didn’t quite understand who the Pashtuns hated most.
To BEGIN with the Taliban was founded in the mid-90s and began to gain some regional relevance well before we ever up and invaded the Asian land country in defiance of every bit of advice the Princess Bride gave us
SECONDLY nothing about this was inadvertent. We wandered in with handfuls of cash and bought all the warlords we could find. I do not do not buy that we did that unaware of regional ethnic division GIVEN THAT WE HAD BEEN ARMING THESE PEOPLE FOR DECADES AGAINST RUSSIA WTF WTF WTF
There are randomly just a lot of references to British people talking shit about brown people generally not doing that Western Society thing properly in this book about American policy
pro·le·tar·i·at
ˌprōləˈterēət
noun
workers or working-class people, regarded collectively
There’s a fair bit of history in here about the Punjabis and Pashtuns and also the Bengalis and the Durand Line

Given that Chua thinks there aren’t working class people in Afghanistan I’m not gonna reproduce it here because I’m not a regional expert to the point I could parse it
(Hard recommend that an expert DOES read this though because I know enough to know that the history itself isn’t wrong, the events and dates are correct, but man those conclusions...IDK man.)
Wait now she’s talking about how the Russians got whipped in Afghanistan “by the US backed mujahedin”

So apparently she does know about Charlie Wilson?
Let us be very fair here and instead of saying that Chua’s made two opposing statements within a few pages, just say that oh man that was a sloppy as hell chapter intro

Because here is the Taliban being created in 1996!
Anyway hello writers, here is some advice! If you’re going to set a chapter in a place but it’ll unfold over decades maybe don’t start by blending the past and present in a single sentence without clarifying, because your readers will spend the whole chapter asking wtf
So having gone back to reread the chapter with its intended thesis rather than its stated one, it’s still mostly a lot of history in which the upshot is “man there’s a lot of tribes in the Afghan region”
And that’s actually the whole chapter. “The US invaded a place it didn’t understand well and it went poorly.”

There is little to no analysis of any other part of the war in Afghanistan or its justification. It’s just “anyway lots of history there we don’t know really”
OK so looking ahead we have one more chapter to power through before we stop proving that land wars in Asia are a fool’s errand, this one is about Iraq

On the one hand I can’t begrudge it to her because LOL OBVIOUSLY WE DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE ETHNIC CONFLICT THERE
OTOH if this chapter is “did you know there were Sunnis? And Shia?” I’m not drunk enough for this yet.
I AM NOT DRUNK ENOUGH FOR THIS

The problem in Iraq, you see, the problem, it was that we compared it to the wrong things

Again not that we didn’t need to invade the place to begin with
Not that we had no defined goals
Not that we just sort of occupied the place for no reason
At no point in any of this writing of our military misadventures do we broach the possibility that maybe the reason we didn’t win these conflicts were because there wasn’t actually a win to be had, or that we had the moral short end of the stick

It’s just we don’t know ethnicity
Sigh. Yes, this chapter is indeed “hey did you know there were Sunnis and Shia and also some are Arabs and some are Kurds? IT IS TRUE!!!!1!”
Chua quotes McCain and various Administration officials being fucking clueless and spewing propaganda to prove her thesis that we just don’t understand the region

There’s no room here for the possibility that we understood and didn’t give a shit because it’d make us money
That’s the trouble with the book thus far actually

At no point in this writing has there been any acknowledgment that while we certainly mucked things up further being western-centrist idiots, it’s wholly possible that that was a feature not a flaw.
Like yeah we armed rival warlords

Did you think that was accidental instead of our actual strategy, of arming everyone and waiting to see who lived at the end and then doing deals with them
I mean sure we’re in the longest war in American history in a country we don’t really know much about, across the actual world, for no apparent gain

Huh I wonder why we might do that

Anyway coincidentally people make billions every year in this war
Anyway that’s probably unintentional, the actual problem is we keep invading places meaning well but we’re just haha silly us we don’t know anything about anywhere else!
Chua’s history of the Iraq conflict isn’t bad, overall. Turns out (gasp shock) the de-Baathification went poorly and also so did pretty much the rest of the war

BUT THEN
It’s at this point I should disclose that I’ve been married twice, both times to Marines (trust this was unintentional misadventure, never marry a jarhead wtf) and that the father of my children was in Fallujah.

So I have more idea than most civilians about that war.
What happened was that Tom had enlisted under Clinton in peacetime, because he wanted to go to college and the GI Bill exists. He did his years stateside, and had been a civilian for years when the surge happened and every Marine with reserve years left got called up and deployed
So here I was with some dude who’d once been enlisted and suddenly he was legally obligated to go into combat.

You bet your ass I got real familiar with ethnic and sectarian strongholds in the region while he was gone.
I say this ‘cause I’m a few drinks in and the next subchapter is called THE SURGE

And it’s possible that y’all are gonna have to bear with me while I read someone explaining that actually, the problem was we didn’t understand when the problem is WE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THERE
By the time of the surge, we had cell phones with great video (this wasn’t actually true when we invaded unless you had a lot of money to blow) which means that I spent about a year compulsively watching the war on YouTube looking for my Marine to be sure he hadn’t died.
I’ve picked up pidgin Kurdish and a couple Arabic dialects from those videos.

I will tell you this, and so will my man who went over there in the uniform of the USMC: that was bullshit. Top to bottom. None of that was fucking necessary.
I will say, for the record, that my heart bleeds all these years later still for what I watched on those videos.

There was nothing that justified that. Nothing.
And as long as we’re here? I reported from Ferguson. I was married to a Marine who served in Fallujah.

When I showed him my video from August 2014 he told me that was more of a war zone than he’d ever seen.

So now you know that.
Anyway there’s me emotionally disengaging enough to read about how, actually, the surge was great
You thought I was kidding
*head explodes*
What follows (send liquor) is whole pages about how McMaster just absolutely ran the thing right (seriously send liquor) because he made his troops role play in dishdashas (fuck it send weed) and told his troops not to call anyone “h*jji” (maybe make it stronger)
Listen just send any of the chemicals really at this point, because we have just figured out what “community policing” is and given credit for this discovery to McMaster of all damn people and then somehow also this is more to do with ethnicity than locality
Imagine writing a whole ass book about ethnic conflict and then you’re like “anyway so we sent a new general and instead of just shooting everyone he tried *not* shooting everyone and that’s how we know it was totally worth sending another 20K occupying troops”
I remain convinced that we should either outlaw war or bring back the draft specifically because shit like this would never be written if everyone had skin in the game

What absolute inherent American bullshit this is
And I do mean to say that only someone who’s never seen war or been adjacent to it would write about it so flippantly.
Anyway, having finished with how fucking great McMaster was we move on to how great Petraeus was

What goddamned world this is being written in I don’t know but apparently we’re here now
OMG NO NO NO NO NO NO WTF WTF HOW
Like FIRST OF ALL there wasn’t a solid reason to invade Iraq other than Dubya damn well wanted to, as well as the rest of his councilors, many of whom made a shitton of money off the war

But what do you mean “success”

what’s your metric here
“Man we would have totally been able to more easily exploit the region if we’d bothered to do the research”

The fuck is going on here with this thesis
Right sure we totally installed Maliki because *checks notes* we thought he’d be Mandela
Right sure and then the next thing that happens is that Obama fucking creates ISIS what else would be next
There’s more pages in the chapter, they’re best summed up as “the author has a hammer and has found what they think is a nail, anyway commerce and natural resources are irrelevant here because we’re talking ethnicity” but here’s a summary graf of the chapter
OK I’m pretty sure that’s the end of the history, as the next chapter is called “Terror Tribes” and I’m betting this is where we get into the bits that had people asking me to read this book drunk and in public
It’s worth pointing out that most of my work is free to the reader, which is a thing I pride myself on, but that support is always appreciated at paypal.me/riseandbeheard or patreon.com/bootstrap because end of the day this is my actual living
Some days I wonder how the fuck I got so lucky that I can just think and that’s “work”

Other nights I’m reliving some shit and I’m realizing that I’m not getting paid nearly enough for all this. So I always do appreciate those of you who make that gap up
(And for those of you who also don’t get paid enough, please do know that there’s a reason my work is free to the reader and it’s you, and I don’t need you to dig deep. Take care of you and wait for the day where you’ve five bucks disposable. <3)
Anyway that’s the end of tonight’s reading of Amy Chua’s Political Tribes

So far we have learned that America is really good at invading places, less good at knowing much about the places we invaded
We have not yet learned of an invasion that maybe we shouldn’t have carried on with; what we know is that once we invade a place we should be very careful to understand how tribal leaders feel about each other

So we can war better, you see
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