LGF: Like Flypaper to Sociopaths [1]

by Henry on April 8, 2004

Julian Sanchez notes that some of the outrage at Kos is a bit rich, considering it comes from the likes of the LGF crowd. Charles Johnson and friends seem never to have met an Arab they didn’t want to string up. Now Johnson seems to be on a rampage, egging his commenters on to spew filth at Kathryn Cramer’s and Nathan Newman’s blogs. Their tactics include posting Kathryn’s address and telephone number, making death threats, and threatening her children. This isn’t just trollishness – it’s an attempt to intimidate and to silence. Not a proud moment for the blogosphere. Via Rivka.

fn1. Title borrowed from one of Nathan’s commentators.

{ 85 comments }

1

Patrick Nielsen Hayden 04.08.04 at 4:47 am

Gee, and I thought the real problem with US politics is that “the sheer intensity of feeling exceeded the real political distance by a very long way”.

Clearly there are no waters in Casablanca.

2

mandarin 04.08.04 at 5:39 am

Henry, let me ask you a question I wouldn’t have to ask an honest person: Don’t you think you ought to mention why people are upset with Kathryn Cramer?

3

Kip Manley 04.08.04 at 5:49 am

Golly, you’re right, Mandarin. A mistake of that magnitude and realizing one has made a mistake and doing everything one can to rectify that mistake totally excuses death threats and threats against children and posting personal information to facilitate those threats. Thank you for being so honest as to point out that there are two sides to every story.

4

mandarin 04.08.04 at 6:02 am

Kip, I like your reasoning. It fits in very well here at Crooked Timber. Yes, of course I approve of death threats. But I notice that you too are unwilling to state what Cramer did. Why is that?

5

roger 04.08.04 at 6:17 am

Mandarin, I just skimmed through Cramer’s very long post about mercenaries. And?… there was nothing there to see, in terms of shocking and offensive matter. The Janet Jackson nipple moment had more frisson.
If she had sad she wanted mercenaries stewed and eaten, that’s her biz, really. The idea of sending people over to link her site to some porno site seems to be one of those completely brilliant ideas the Delts come up with at 2 in the morning after the vodka and the bongs.
So what is your problem?

6

Rajeev Advani 04.08.04 at 6:31 am

I’m not a fan of Johnson or his often appalling site, but I think Cramer is being a bit naive in claiming Johnson let loose the “attack dogs” on her. No blogger has control over the antics of his or her readers. I also saw no evidence of Johnson “egging on” people at his site — but then again I didn’t explore every post.

(Unless, of course, Johnson’s hyperbolic, overzealous writing counts as egging on… a debatable point)

7

Henry Farrell 04.08.04 at 7:02 am

Mandarin – are you _really_ saying that it’s dishonest not to provide some broader context to threats to a blogger’s children? You should be ashamed of yourself.

8

ahem 04.08.04 at 7:26 am

No blogger has control over the antics of his or her readers.

Gosh, and the fact that Charles Johnson is a hatemongering rabble-rouser has escaped you?

Obviously, the people behind neo-Nazi websites get a free pass as well.

9

bryan 04.08.04 at 10:21 am

‘But I notice that you too are unwilling to state what Cramer did. Why is that’
Now I’d like to know as well, cause I don’t know, how will I ever be sure whether or not her and her kids should be killed if I don’t know what she said?

If only there were some sort of philosophical guidelines that could tell me when it is appropriate to kill a woman and her offspring for making a comment I disagree with. But alas this is one of those sticky situations for which Western Civilization has provided us with absolutely no resolution.

You know I’m betting that CT’s reluctance to tell us what it is indicates that in fact she should be killed.

Of course I appreciate that mandarin pointed out exactly what the whole brouhaha was over, so that I could see that in fact death threats etc. were completely justified by the only truly good and manly gentlemen now in existence upon our poor benighted sphere, I speak of course of LGF’s contingent of latter-day knights, of which I am afraid mandarin is perhaps not testicularly well-endowed enough to be a member even if capable of defending their righteous actions by suggesting (trolling) that there is probably justification for death threats in this particular situation (and i ask you, when is not a good time for death threats?).

Of course it could be that the academically secluded members of CT, who just don’t understand about the need to kill people who say stuff that is bad and then apologize about it, might have incorrectly believed that this whole thing was so well-known across the whole blogosphere that tediously going over it once again would be a waste of bandwidth but also felt that there was still some moral need to point out that LGF are fasicst pieces of shit.

Nahhh.

10

mandarin 04.08.04 at 12:42 pm

I was pretty certain that this thread would devolve into ridiculous slurs, and I haven’t been disappointed. If I criticize Henry for omitting a key portion of the story, of course it’s because I think it’s no big deal to call a person up and threaten to kill her and her children. That’s just how depraved I am…

I might note, however, that the only evidence of death threats is Kathryn Cramer’s testimony to that effect. Although she’s very far from a credible witness, here she may be telling the truth — the Little Green Footballs crew does include some slavering wackos.

But yes, Henry, I am saying that you are dishonest not to tell your readers what Cramer did to spark the conflagration. You want them to believe that one side (your anti-war, anti-American side) is completely in the right while the other side is completely in the wrong. And this would be impossible if people knew what had actually happened, so you’re forced to omit the casus belli. In your own words, “not a proud moment for the blogosphere.”

I’d also like to see you square your claim that Charles Johnson has been “egging his commenters on to spew filth” with the following excerpt from one of Johnson’s posts.

To the lizardoid hordes: if you go to [Cramer’s] web site, be polite. You will not help the situation by threatening or posting pr0n links. (Not that any of you have; I just feel it’s necessary to point this out, because Cramer is a complete loon.)

Come on, Henry. Tell everybody what really happened. You can squeeze it out. Think of the truth as a painful but necessary bowel movement.

11

mandarin 04.08.04 at 1:01 pm

(Roger, don’t waste your time searching for the original provocation. Cramer deleted it, and a quantity of related material, from her site. Anyway, Henry is going to tell us what really happened. Any minute now.)

12

Peter Cuthbertson 04.08.04 at 1:07 pm

Even if she’s called for the murder of every non-Muslim in the world, I wouldn’t say it justifies death threats against her or her children. However, I would like to know what she said to provoke them and suspect the reason no one is willing to say is that it spoils the impression of an utterly sympathetic creature created thus far.

In case anyone is wondering, Daily Kos is receiving such angry attention because it expressed pleasure at the deaths of Americans in Iraq. Perhaps this woman posted in agreement. Who knows?

13

Maria 04.08.04 at 1:20 pm

“But yes, Henry, I am saying that you are dishonest not to tell your readers what Cramer did to spark the conflagration. You want them to believe that one side (your anti-war, anti-American side) is completely in the right while the other side is completely in the wrong.”

What exactly is it that you want Mandarin? I followed Henry’s links and was easily able to find out what led to the abusive behaviour against Cramer, and her subsequent apology. Nothing is being concealed here at CT. By your ‘logic’, it would be even more ‘dishonest’ not to have written about the whole sorry episode at all.

Since when is it dishonest to link to something rather than re-hashing the entire episode? Bloggers typically link to something and comment on it – that’s the magic of hypertext. So what’s your problem?

I find it extraordinary that your twisted sense of morality finds sudden outrage at a standard blogging practice, and utterly fails to condemn death threats. Grow up.

14

Maria 04.08.04 at 1:29 pm

But yes, Henry, I am saying that you are dishonest not to tell your readers what Cramer did to spark the conflagration. You want them to believe that one side (your anti-war, anti-American side) is completely in the right while the other side is completely in the wrong.

Mandarin, you seem to be completely missing Henry’s point. No matter how odious you find someone’s point of view, it is wrong, always and in any case, to threaten that person and their children.

Bloggers link to stories or other blogs – rather than re-hashing the entire thing – and comment on them. It’s a standard practice and I’ve never found it dishonest before – have you? If so, when?

I had no difficulty in following Henry’s links and piecing together the story – even though the original offending post seems to have been deleted. Did you?

So come on. Stop throwing up all this distraction about ‘dishonesty’. If Henry’s dishonest in this instance, then so is every blogger who ever puts up a link and doesn’t summarise the linked story/issue to your satisfaction.

I find it truly extraordinary that you can summon up so much outrage over linking/summarising and just can’t find it in yourself to say that threatening and intimidating a blogger and their children is wrong, plain wrong.

And, by the way, I’ve no doubt you expected this thread to deteriorate after your trollish comment. That was the idea, no?

15

Maria 04.08.04 at 1:34 pm

Ah, the comments crashed in my first burst of righteous indignation but seemed to have saved it anyway.

There you go, two fraternal defenses for the price of one.

16

mandarin 04.08.04 at 1:46 pm

Maria, are you so helplessly addicted to empty gestures that you think it worthwhile to puff oneself up and declare oneself opposed to something that’s obviously wrong?

And are you really willing to defend biased reporting on the grounds that it’s standard blogging practice? — Actually I suppose it IS standard blogging practice, especially here at Crooked Timber. But (if I may be permitted, for the sake of satire, to puff myself up and declare myself opposed to something that’s obviously wrong) it shouldn’t be.

If Henry’s dishonest in this instance, then so is every blogger who ever puts up a link and doesn’t summarise the linked story/issue to your satisfaction.

Staggeringly irrational. And I guess this means that you too refuse to tell your readers what really happened chez Cramer?

17

Detached Observer 04.08.04 at 1:52 pm

I’m not very convinced, I must say.

Lets say Kathryn Cramer did get death threets from people reading LGF. How is this Charles Johnson’s fault? Sure, Johnson criticized her. In very harsh terms. He wrote that she was sick; that she was a loon; that her post was “a disgusting exercise in moral bankrupcy.”

Does any of this amount to asking people to sne her death threats?

I’ve criticized Bush using similar terms on my blog. Does this mean its my fault if one of my readers decides to attack Dubya? It sounds like something conceived by John Ashcroft.

18

Maria 04.08.04 at 2:00 pm

One last time and then I give up. CT is a blog. Blogs link. They don’t summarise, they comment. That’s the point. If you want reporting, read a newspaper.

It’s not staggeringly irrational. It’s really rather obvious.

I’m not refusing to tell anyone anything. I just don’t think my own third-hand version of now-deleted events would add anything to anyone’s understanding, do you? I also refuse to be distracted from the point; threatening bloggers and their children is wrong, no matter how much you agree with it.

19

bob mcmanus 04.08.04 at 2:13 pm

To get back on topic a little, I would say that there is a method to mandarin’s madness. Do not let your contempt for him blind you to his dangerousness.

Nor the danger of the Charles Johnsons who inflame while understanding well the legal definition of incitement.

20

Maria 04.08.04 at 2:19 pm

Sorry, another blooper committed which tells me I should really desist from comments and go back to my earning-a-living activities;

I just wrote “I also refuse to be distracted from the point; threatening bloggers and their children is wrong, no matter how much you agree with it.”

What I meant to say and inexplicably didn’t was; “I also refuse to be distracted from the point; threatening bloggers and their children is wrong, no matter how much you disagree with the blogger’s views.”

Good luck Mandarin. Another time.

21

bryan 04.08.04 at 2:46 pm

shorter Mandarin: the existence of Hyperlinking has led to a common mode of operation that allows me to feel morally superior to everyone that operates in said common mode.

22

Peter Cuthbertson 04.08.04 at 2:50 pm

Here’s the sequence of events:

1. American security contractors horribly murdered in Iraq trying to do their bit to bring peace to a very dangerous part of the world.
2. Silly left-wing blogger attacks contractors on her site before they’ve all been cut down from a bridge. She calls one of them a neo-Nazi based on the fact that someone else with the same name is a neo-Nazi.
3. LGF, and others, criticise her while urging his readers to be polite at her site.
4. A “small number” [her words] of excitable idiots send death threats to silly left-wing blogger in response.

In summary, a handful of idiots on the internet got into a fight and LGF is the only one of them who behaved responsibly. Now you know why Henry didn’t tell you the real story.

23

Pete 04.08.04 at 3:01 pm

Sorry guys, but I’m with Mandarin on this one. If we are to abhor what LGF’s minions have done (which I haven’t been able to discover firsthand, but, knowing Charles Johnson’s rabble-rousing, I can imagine) the very least we could know is the context. I am unfamiliar with Kathryn Cramer’s blog and, despite my efforts (not helped by the deletion of evidence), I haven’t been able to get a clear picture of what she did. Absent links that will provide it, or some explanation here, this comment adds up to a very uncomfortable exercise.

24

pete 04.08.04 at 3:09 pm

Oops, I guess I should have refreshed the page before posting. Thanks for the explanation, Peter Cuthbertson (though I still would have preferred to read the original; the language and tone of a comment a big difference).

25

Henry 04.08.04 at 3:45 pm

I didn’t want to talk about Cramer’s post, precisely in order to stop this degenerating into a he-said, she-said thing, but Peter Cuthbertson’s summary is deliberately disingenuous. Cramer didn’t “call one of them a neo-Nazi” – she said that one of the contracters had the same name as a neo-Nazi, and that they _could_ be the same guy – she’d tried to compare photographs, but couldn’t reach a conclusion. In her original post, she said that if they weren’t, she would apologize profusely. When she found out that they weren’t the same guy, she _did_ apologize profusely. I’ve been reading Kathryn’s blog for a long time – she’s evidently a deeply sincere person, who wrote a post that many people could reasonably have found offensive. But that’s not the issue that I wanted to blog about (see further below).

Charles Johnson has created what can only be described as a hate-site, where vicious racism and eliminationism are tolerated and implicitly encouraged among his commenters. When he makes a post like that, he knows damn well what the consequence is going to be. Cuthbertson notably fails to mention that Johnson’s post “urging his readers to be polite at her site” post-dates the death threats etc by a considerable period, and also describes Kathryn as an “evil woman.” It’s clearly a post-hoc exercise in limiting any possible legal or other consequences rather than a sincere effort to behave “responsibly.”

But all of this is beside the point. Mandarin – you seem to see this in terms of a greater exercise in point scoring between left and right. I didn’t say anything in the post about LGF as a representative of the right, and for good reason. I don’t see it as representative of the right. It’s an extremist hate site. If you see it as being part of the right that you want to defend, then that says quite a lot about you. In the end it boils down to a simple set of issues. I think that threats to someone’s children are fundamentally wrong. You argue that they should be put in context. I think that it’s a black and white issue. You see it in shades of gray. Clearly we inhabit different moral universes – I suspect that argument between us is a waste of time, and don’t intend to engage in it any more.

26

Rajeev Advani 04.08.04 at 5:05 pm

Preface: I abhor Charles Johnson’s site, having been recently disgusted when his puerile mob shut down the comments thread in Chomsky’s new blog. Yet I have some qualms with Henry’s method of argument in this post, and I don’t think that they are disagreeable.

Henry wrote: In the end it boils down to a simple set of issues. I think that threats to someone’s children are fundamentally wrong. You argue that they should be put in context. I think that it’s a black and white issue. You see it in shades of gray.

Henry is positing a false dichotomy here: it is perfectly natural to believe threats to children are fundamentally wrong while still desiring the full context. We all want to know how the Nazis came to power; few intellectuals are willing to forego further inquiry simply because the movement was morally contemptible. Context is not equivalent to rationalization.

If you see it as being part of the right that you want to defend, then that says quite a lot about you.

This is also a bit worrying. You should be allowed to defend a deplorable cause from attacks you feel are unwarranted. For example, were someone to accuse North Korea of chemically gassing its population, and I knew this to be false, I should be able to say “no, I don’t think so” without falling prey to others’ moral contempt.

27

pepe 04.08.04 at 5:13 pm

In response to mandarin and peter: like henry pointed out, the “criticise her” part is a huge understatement. And no matter how you may think Cramer’s earlier post was “idiotic”, putting her assumptions, which she acknowledged as mere assumptions and later recanted, on a par with death threats against her and minimising these as simply “idiotic” is … how can you call it, odd? strange? warped reasoning?

Death threats are an offence, and online abuse of that kind is expressely forbidden by all internet providers. Assumptions even of the most tenuous kind and opinions of even the most objectionable kind about political events are not.

See if you can grasp that difference. Not to mention from an ethical and not just legal point of view.

And then explain to me how responsible it is to start a witch hunt against someone just because they happened to say something that offended your delicate political sensibilities.

What maria said applies even to that comment by kos. I can find it as ugly and stupid as anyone else, but no matter what he wrote, when people start sending him threats they’re the ones who stepped out of line.

Why do people who are so ready to incite this kind of mob lynch behaviour even bother to discuss politics if they can’t stand the fact that other people may have different opinions and strong ones too?

Why do they react in such absurd hyperbolic ways to objectionable stuff, but are so ready to justify the most outrageously objectionable crap they themselves do and write?

The one thing I gather from all this is that blind adoration of someone, blogger or politician or anything, is directly proportional to the size of their ego and their capacity to find excuses for everything they do. (“Start a witch hunt, who, me? I only started a discussion with my notoriously moderate and rational contributors about how much of an evil disgusting loon she is. I didn’t start no death threats. I don’t even control the comment section on my site. I’m so popular, I have, like, 3000 comments a day, how am I supposed to set any standard there? You’re just envious. Besides, do you see that disclaimer? right there, it says I wash my hands of anything that’s written on my website unless I write it myself, and that you can never tell what I endorse or not. The fact that what I write is 1/1000th of what’s on my website is irrelevant, of course. I’m still not responsible for anything that gets posted there or for the direction discussions take. If people choose to interpret “evil” and “loon” as “deserving abuse and death threats”, well, I can’t do anything about it. It’s the price of popularity. You can’t hold that against me. I can’t be accountable for the consequences of my blinding brilliance. In fact, I so resent being at the center of these blogging controversies because it brings me even more popularity and with that comes even less responsibility and dammit, I don’t really like not being responsible because it clashes with all my ideals, but it’s not my fault… “)

28

Thorley Winston 04.08.04 at 5:24 pm

Henry wrote:

I didn’t want to talk about Cramer’s post, precisely in order to stop this degenerating into a he-said, she-said thing, but Peter Cuthbertson’s summary is deliberately disingenuous. Cramer didn’t “call one of them a neo-Nazi” – she said that one of the contracters had the same name as a neo-Nazi, and that they could be the same guy – she’d tried to compare photographs, but couldn’t reach a conclusion. In her original post, she said that if they weren’t, she would apologize profusely. When she found out that they weren’t the same guy, she did apologize profusely.

Is the apology still up on her blog? If so, I was unable to locate it or her original Neo-Nazi post (for which we seem to have two conflicting accounts as to its contents). Henry seems to be missing a crucial point though in that all we have to go on in believing whether there were death threats made against Cramer and her children is her word. IMNHO if she is the sort who tries to smear other by inference that they are Neo-Nazis (I don’t care how you try to spin it after the fact, this a charge that any credible person would have tried to find proof for before posting on it) and later removes the offending post (and the supposed apology) makes her credibility suspect.

29

Henry 04.08.04 at 5:35 pm

Rajeev – I think you’re misunderstanding both Mandarin’s original post and my response here. Mandarin wasn’t simply asking for more context in a neutral fashion, trying to understand the origins of the phenomenon as your inquirers into the origins of Nazism would be doing. He/she was saying that I was being dishonest for not providing it. If you really wanted to draw out the analogy you’re making, which is an extreme one, the equivalent would be someone who accused a historian of Nazism of being dishonest for not explicitly referring to some form of previous bad behavior on the part of Jews (I note for careless readers that I’m emphatically _not_ accusing Mandarin of anti-Semitism here – I’m responding to the specific analogy that you put forward, not to Mandarin’s original posts).

It’s also quite clear that Mandarin interprets my post as being an attack on him/her, and people who he/she agrees with, an effort to make people “believe that one side (your anti-war, anti-American side) is completely in the right while the other side is completely in the wrong.” Again, the analogy is not with someone who seeks to defend a deplorable cause from attacks that he feels are unwarranted. It’s with someone who wants to defend a deplorable cause that he identifies as tangled up with his or her own. Mandarin interprets this post as an attempt to discredit the pro-war pro-American right (ignoring the fact that I start the post with a nod to Julian Sanchez – dunno what his position on the war is, but he’s a patriotic card-carrying libertarian). The fact that Mandarin sees LGF as part and parcel of his “side” is surely a significant datum. If I perceived a verbal attack on North Korea as being an attack on my part of the left, then I would be saying something important about my political leanings (and willingness to excuse horrific dictatorships). It would be a different matter if I challenged a claim that North Korea was in some sense representative of the left – which I would do without hesitation. However, in the matter at hand, I did not at any point say that LGF was representative of the right, or the anti-war side.

I can understand – and directly sympathize with – the principles of reasoned debate that you’re trying to defend, but I’m quite sure that they don’t apply here.

30

Gareth 04.08.04 at 5:45 pm

Peter misstates what Kos said. He didn’t express pleasure in the death of Americans in Iraq. He expressed (and later apologized for) indifference to the death of mercenaries in Iraq at the hands of an enraged local population. That position is perfectly reasonable, especially in comparison to all the talk about “atrocities” and “barbarism.” If any “context” is interesting here, it is what caused the people of Fallujah to be so enraged with the “contractors.”

The presence of neo-nazis in Western merecenary groups is deserving of reasoned examination. Canadians are aware that in Somalia in 1993, a regiment of Canadian forces was infiltrated by ultra-rightists and racists who committed atrocities against Somalis. What do we know about what is happening in Iraq along these lines right now? Not much. But LGF-style fascist attitudes surely exist, and may help explain the turns in Iraqi public opinion.

(I won’t apologize for “diverting” this thread. Publishing someone’s home phone number, knowing that one’s audience consists of mentally imbalanced fascists, is a crime, not a debatable blogging talking point.)

31

Thorley Winston 04.08.04 at 5:53 pm

Gareth wrote:

Peter misstates what Kos said. He didn’t express pleasure in the death of Americans in Iraq. He expressed (and later apologized for) indifference to the death of mercenaries in Iraq at the hands of an enraged local population.

Saying “screw them” is quite a bit more vapid than one would expect from mere indifference.

(I won’t apologize for “diverting” this thread. Publishing someone’s home phone number, knowing that one’s audience consists of mentally imbalanced fascists, is a crime, not a debatable blogging talking point.)

We do not appear to know that any such thing happened and we only have the word of someone who falsely intimated that one of the contractors was a neo-Nazi and later deleted her own offending post.

32

mandarin 04.08.04 at 6:31 pm

What I meant to say and inexplicably didn’t was; “I also refuse to be distracted from the point; threatening bloggers and their children is wrong, no matter how much you disagree with the blogger’s views.”

Mr, f y thnk ‘v bn dsptng ths pnt, ll I cn sy s t’s a gd thng y dn’t mk yr lvng wth yr brn.

33

John Isbell 04.08.04 at 6:57 pm

“In summary, a handful of idiots on the internet got into a fight.”
This an odd way to refer to someone (and their children) receiving death threats, and does not inspire respect for the writer (Peter Cuthbertson). I shall hope for better.

34

mandarin 04.08.04 at 7:02 pm

Hnry, wht ld y t nfr tht I s Lttle Grn Ftblls s bng smhw “n my sd”? Ws t my rlr cmmnt tht th cmmntrs thr ncld “slvrng wcks” wh mght b cpbl f dth thrts?

r s yr dshnsty s bn-dp tht y rn’t vn wr f t ny mre? Ds t jst cm flwng ffrtlssly t f y vry tm y trn t rgmnt? s t lk rmmbrng hw t rd bcycl?

Whtvr th prcss, wndr whthr w’ll vr s a mr strlng xmpl thn ths:

Mandarin – y seem to see this in terms of a greater exercise in point scoring between left and right.

n th cntrry, sr — t s Y wh hv vld th rlty f th Crmr mbrgl n n ttmpt t scr pnts gnst th rght. Th gst f yr ntl pst ws, “Thr g thse rght-wng scmbgs gn.” Wht ‘v bn bjctng t s yr lsn f th lft-wng scmbggry tht gt th bll rlling.

A fr ssssmnt f wht hppnd chz Crmr mght rn lke ths: “Sh psted smthng lthsm whch lctd sme lthsm rspnss frm Chrls Jhnsn’s crw.” Bt y dn’t knw fr, d y, Hnry? Jst sn’t prt f yr mkp.

Ftnte: t wsn’t nly th Jhnsnts wh pstd prsnl nf n rdr t ncrg hrssmnt. Crmr’s dfndrs dd th sm, lthgh — typclly — thr rsrch trnd p th wrng Chrls Jhnsn.

35

mandarin's little dog 04.08.04 at 7:22 pm

Grr. Grr. Whuf! Whuf!

36

Thorley Winston 04.08.04 at 7:31 pm

This an odd way to refer to someone (and their children) receiving death threats

And you know this how exactly?

37

Doctor Memory 04.08.04 at 8:25 pm

Shorter Mandarin:

“How dare you give me the fight I’m spoiling for!?”

38

David W. 04.08.04 at 8:32 pm

Neil Young might as well have said this about these stupid piddly little blogwars too:

And there ain’t nothin’ like a friend
Who can tell you you’re just pissin’ in the wind

Oh for the days when you could tell two tendentious twits on usenet to take it to e-mail…

39

John Isbell 04.08.04 at 9:21 pm

I cite Peter Cuthpertson:
“4. A “small number” [her words] of excitable idiots send death threats to silly left-wing blogger in response.”
Do your 15-second research, Thorley, and you won’t look like such a schmuck. Here at least.

40

Thorley Winston 04.08.04 at 10:00 pm

John Isbell wrote:

I cite Peter Cuthpertson:
“4. A “small number” [her words] of excitable idiots send death threats to silly left-wing blogger in response.”

Right, Peter Cuthpertson is clearly saying that this all according to Kathryn Cramer – the person who falsely intimated that someone was a Neo-Nazi and later removed the post – and does not in fact provide anything else to show whether this ever happened.

Do your 15-second research, Thorley, and you won’t look like such a schmuck. Here at least.

Try actually reading the text you cite and whether it actually answers the question being asked rather than snarking and you won’t look like such a moron.

41

Thorley Winston 04.08.04 at 10:11 pm

I apologize to the group for the “moron” retort. I should not have brought myself down to the level of the other individual. If he is unable to conduct himself in a manner befitting a civilized person that is his problem but it does not give me license to do the same.

42

Rajeev Advani 04.08.04 at 10:23 pm

Henry: Thanks for that clarification; paradoxically, it appears that I’m the one who didn’t think enough about the context of your remarks :)

43

Jesse R. 04.08.04 at 11:11 pm

I’m really amazed at how generous the commenters here have been to Mandarin. Even aside from the merits of his (her?) argument–I don’t really see that there are any, though I can understand a reaction of “Well, since Henry didn’t provide the details of what happened, I’m not going to jump to any conclusions until I hear more”–I would think that his style would lead everyone to ignore him as a troll from moment one. Quoting from his first three posts in this thread:

05:39 am: “Henry, let me ask you a question I wouldn’t have to ask an honest person”
06:02 am: “Kip, I like your reasoning. It fits in very well here at Crooked Timber.” (In context, clearly an ad hominem attack; if you don’t believe me, scroll up and judge for yourself.)
12:42 pm: “I was pretty certain that this thread would devolve into ridiculous slurs, and I haven’t been disappointed.”

The first of these was entirely unprovoked; the second was a reaction to a comment that took issue with the substance of Mandarin’s comments but said nothing whatsoever about Mandarin himself/herself. After number 3, what, exactly, leads anyone else to think he/she is worth responding to?

44

Detached Observer 04.08.04 at 11:32 pm

Why exactly is LGF a racist hate site anyway? Its downright bizzare to classify LGF in the same category as white supremacists who rant about evil jews plots and inferior black people. LGF never says arabs are inferior and never advocates violence against them. It does argue that the Palestinians should not be given a state and that Israel is right on every conceivable issue. I don’t agree with this and I know neither does Henry, but none of these points are really outside the political spectrum…

45

John Isbell 04.08.04 at 11:33 pm

Good luck, Thorley.

46

Thorley Winston 04.08.04 at 11:58 pm

Speaking of research, here’s the post that Kathryn Cramer removed from her blog:

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:J5IriJFArwwJ:www.kathryncramer.com/wblog/archives/000487.html+&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

Not quite what people have been saying (where’s the apology?) but still irresponsible, IMNHO she (a) should not have even gone there until she had her facts straight and (b) should not have removed it afterwards as it made her look guilty.

47

msg 04.09.04 at 12:40 am

Moral arguments get their valence from goals, stated or unstated, masked or plain.
Success can be hard to determine when the goal is vague, abstract, and distant.
Wanting your family to be secure and well-fed is easier to measure as an achieved/unachieved goal than wanting those same things for everyone.
-
What’s the goal of Charles Johnson?
Of Muqtada al-Sadr?
Of Ariel Sharon?
Of Henry Farrell?
Of Kathryn Cramer?
Don’t we act toward goals in moral debate?
The feral dog-pack that Johnson sets loose doesn’t. They’re sadistic voyeurs, denied catharsis most of the time. Hungry and blindly reactive.
There’s a tacit neutrality behind the papparazzi rationale. That the images they capture and reproduce are in and of the polis, a shared communal space.
The cunning result is a hampering dangerous force that seems to have no master, though it serves one, and well.
What stymies too many decent people is the quandary of allowing the participation of destructive individuals and groups in democratic processes.
This is a fundamental question that goes unanswered except locally, and its local solutions are almost always force, as opposed to reasoned persuasion.
Being forcibly kicked off a thread for nastiness isn’t a democratic thing.
The tolerant suffer the presence of the intolerant, and suffer from the actions of the intolerant, and the results of those actions.
Where’s the gain? Is it worth it?
Or is it only that there’s no other way through?

48

Rich Puchalsky 04.09.04 at 2:39 am

Don’t bother replying to trolls like mandarin. Look at the larger picture: the U.S. is now losing a guerilla war. The right-wingers are going to be foaming at the mouth and viciously attacking any liberal blogger they can. Why? Because they can’t do anything else, and the momentary thrill they get from trolling a comment thread or writing denunciations — or sending death threats — lets them briefly hide from the truth. It’s a form of fascist leaning sympathetic magic: purify the blogosphere to bring victory.

49

Sebastian Holsclaw 04.09.04 at 4:54 am

Hmmm, I thought the Kos comments were clearly outrageous, and I have been to LGF at most twice, and never participated in the comments. Mark A.R. Kleinman didn’t like them either, and he doesn’t strike me as a regular LGF reader. Hmm.

50

Bryant 04.09.04 at 4:59 am

“LGF never says arabs are inferior and never advocates violence against them.”

Currently on the front page of LGF:

“I really want to find signs of moderation and civilization in the Arab world. But this may not be one.”

So he’s never found any sign of civilization in the Arab world… but that’s not saying Arabs are inferior? Maybe by the most hair-splitting of definitions.

Here’s another excerpt from the front page:

“But I worry that our Western tendency to project our values on other cultures, and assume they hope for and dream of the same liberties we do, may be leading us astray. Even at the highest levels, there seems to have been a preference for believing the best (‘Islam is peace,’ President Bush has said many times) about cultures that are radically different from our own, despite mountains of evidence that point in another direction. A direction that led to Fallujah.”

So he’s not saying Arabs are inferior… just that their culture may not be as good as ours. Just saying that their culture leads to massacres and horrific killings.

Yeah.

51

Armed Liberal 04.09.04 at 5:02 am

I donno, folks. We just got into it with the LGF crowd over at WoC, and nary a death-threat has crossed my mailbox.

Then again, I didn’t call them mouth-breathers, either.

Amusingly enough, the only thing I’ve ever recieved that could be considered a threat came from someone to the 52

Carlos 04.09.04 at 5:12 am

Frankly, I’m surprised by how sensible are americans about wars and casualties. I mean these “contractors” were armed, trained, knew very well the dangers of the proffesion and choose to go to Irak. They got killed, which is not unusual in a war zone. I’m sorry for their deaths (I lament the death of everybody) but it was an accepted risk of their job. The mutilation was repugnant of course, but they were dead already and didn’t feel a thing. It’s barbaric of course but nothing else. When I was young, in Argentina 20 people were kidnapped, tortured and executed by the government every day; some of the torturers devised ways to give eletric shocks to unborn children. But because there were no cameras, there was comparatively little scandal. Let’s not let television playing time rule our moral priorities.

53

bryan 04.09.04 at 9:22 am

A.L. I think there are probably two very clear reasons why you have not received any LGF death threats:
1. you’re not a woman
2. your first name is “Armed”

54

Mr. Spock 04.09.04 at 10:15 am

55

Detached Observer 04.09.04 at 12:01 pm

More on the LGF-being-a-hate-site issue:

No, calling the Arab world uncivilized does not constitute hate speech. Nor does criticizing the tendency to believe the best about Islam. After all: Islam seems to have a near-monopoly on *global* terror. A disproportionate share of terrorists are Muslims — and all the 9/11 hijackers were certainly driven by Islamic fantacism. Pointing this out — like LGF does — is not hate speech. It does not incite violence.

56

Detached Observer 04.09.04 at 12:13 pm

On the LGF quiz Mr. Spock posted two comment
entries above,

Its not quite fair — the comments it attributes to “a poster from LGF” are actually *comments* readers posted on LGF. At worst, it makes Charles Johnson guilty of being negligent in deleting inappropriate comments. But the implications that the endorses these views are wrong — I am not aware that he ever said anything like that.

If someone points out to me a passage where Johnson himself advocates violence against the Palestinians — or engages in dehumanizing rhetoric — and not simply criticizing the tendency of Islam to produce terrorists or the tendency of the Palestinians to support terrorists — I will be happy to admit I am wrong.

57

Matt Weiner 04.09.04 at 3:55 pm

Detached,
Charles Johnson apparently actively monitors his comments; last I looked there was a comment about banning someone for posting under two names, with (justified) indignation about the fact that one of them was Jewish; and I’ve heard that he deletes anything that he thinks is anti-Semitic. That means that he doesn’t think that advocacy of genocide against Palestinians is worthy of deletion or banning. The “I didn’t write it, it’s just posted on my site” defense won’t work there.
Anyway, if you posted a bunch of reasoned criticism of Israel, and your comments became filled with things that were indistinguishable from statements of the Nazis, don’t you think it would be a sign to check yourself or at least forcefully state that you were opposed to such garbage?
Sebastian–
I don’t think anyone is talking about you. Henry said “Some of the outrage,” not all of it.

58

Detached Observer 04.09.04 at 4:13 pm

matt,

You are right. I was under the (mistaken) impression that Johnson does not censor his comments.

59

Kate Nepveu 04.09.04 at 5:02 pm

The cached link, above, was apparently taken before the post was edited for an apology. All I can say is that I saw the edited version, complete with lengthy apology, with my own two eyes, but didn’t save a copy for myself.

60

Rivka 04.09.04 at 6:50 pm

I’m pleased to see that Teresa Nielsen Hayden appears to be policing the comments section. Disemvowellment is so much more satisfying than mere deletion.

61

mandarin 04.09.04 at 9:35 pm

Ys, dd vryn ntc tht my lst pst bv hs bn rndrd nrdbl? Dsn’t mk Hnry ny mr hnst — lss, pssbly.

62

sennoma 04.09.04 at 10:36 pm

Mandarin, if you really think that the context makes a difference, why not say so politely? Why not give your version of events and argue for your view of those events, instead of starting out by calling Henry dishonest?

If you want a strong discussion of complex ideas you’ve come to the right place, but you’ll need to give the histrionics a rest.

(Shorter sennoma: dude, you started it. Back up and try again, unless you’re just trolling.)

63

Henry 04.09.04 at 10:58 pm

bq. Disemvowellment is so much more satisfying than mere deletion.

Indeed, I’ve nicked Teresa’s policing methods (met her for the first time last week – she’s every bit as nice as you might imagine). It’s not only more satisfying than deleting, it serves as a class of a shot across the bows. I’ve some tolerance for rudeness, but after a while it gets boring, especially when it isn’t being used to convey a point. If Mandarin starts playing nice again, he/she will stop being disemvowelled when he/she comments on my posts. If he/she doesn’t want to, that’s his/her problem (CT is our playground – we set the rules).

Unmitigated 24 carat firebreathing trolls, like the anti-Semite who was hanging around a few weeks ago, can expect to get their comments deleted completely and immediately, without mercy. Different problem, different solution.

64

mandarin 04.09.04 at 11:43 pm

Right, Henry. The problem with my comments was that I didn’t have a point. I’m sure everyone will agree with that. At least until you disemvowel this post.

65

Anti-Zionist 04.10.04 at 3:55 am

LGF is one of the worst sites I have ever seen. Even websites that can be considered “Nazi,” do not spew the level of hate LGF does. e.g. I have never heard a Nazi rejoice in the deaths of Jewish kids for instance, whereas I have read posters at LGF rejoicing in the deaths by incineration of Palestinian children; laughing about IDF thugs with flamethrowers and calling it a “turkey shoot.” I am an anti-Zionist Jew, and it is rabid Zionists like Charles that is going to bring another Shoah down on the rest of us. May God help us.

66

mandarin 04.10.04 at 4:55 am

One last question, Henry. When you consider your original post, in which you deplore what you describe as an attempt to silence Kathryn Cramer, and then compare the way you’ve edited this thread in order to prevent people from hearing what I have to say about your ethics, do you experience even a twinge of cognitive dissonance?

67

mandarin 04.10.04 at 5:12 am

I am an anti-Zionist Jew, and it is rabid Zionists like Charles that is going to bring another Shoah down on the rest of us.

Anti-zionist, was the first Shoah the fault of the Jews? Was it their bad behavior that brought it on?

If another Shoah occurs, I kind of think the countries in which the media and the clergy spew hatred of an intensity before which Hitler himself would feel obliged to kneel in awe might have something to do with it.

68

msg 04.10.04 at 7:13 am

Probably close to half the world thinks the Americans are occupying Iraq, after invading it a year ago. As a unified thing, a people, the Americans.
I’m an American, I’m not occupying Iraq.
I separate myself, morally and politically, from whatever force or power it is that has put American soldiers into that line of fire. That has willingly discarded thousands of Iraqi lives to gain some unspoken, mercenary goal.
I’m willing to risk my life in opposition to that occupation, as a matter of fact.
It’s possible to be both an American and still be opposed to official American policy, foreign and domestic. Completely opposed.
To distinguish between the thugs in office and the millions of basically decent American people who are being kept in the dark and constantly lied to, whose emotions are being cynically manipulated.
One is the American government, currently controlled by some of the most un-American individuals around, the other is the American people. They are not the same thing.
Yet on the street, in Fallojeh, this distinction isn’t being made.
It’s our responsibility to speak as loudly as we can in opposition to this obscene and desperate maneuvering. To separate ourselves from it.
As Americans and as human beings.
It should be possible for Jews to do this as well.
It’s become impossible to speak to the underlying forces and causes at work in the Middle East without either avoiding the issue of Israeli subterfuge and state facism, and its support in US media, or becoming a target for vicious anti-anti-Semitic warriors.
Naomi Klein is probably the most prominent public figure who’s doing what I’m talking about. Decisively and actively saying no.
Not to vague abstract concepts that seem to refer to real things but don’t, but to real immoral acts and attitudes.
We live in a world where anti-Semitism is seen as more contemptible than anti-Arabism. Where the atrocities that are being committed in Iraq are readily ignored, because the people they’re happening to are seen as inferior. This is wrong.
There are questions that can’t be asked publicly, in the US, that need to be asked, and need even more to be answered fully and clearly.
But they’re not being asked.

69

Christopher 04.10.04 at 7:59 am

Like flypaper to anti-ahem-Zionists. Once again a comment by Henry degenerates into an exercise of cherchez le Juif.

70

msg 04.10.04 at 9:32 am

OK. I’ll ask one.
Is Paul Bremer a Jew?
Is there anything slightly provocative in his being in the position he’s in?
Was that intentional?
How could it not have been?
Is there something dishearteningly incomplete in the total absence of that fact ever being discussed in a public forum?
How many Americans realize that their government placed a Jew in charge of an Arab country already rife with irrational anti-Semitism?
My guess is not many.
But the Arab world realizes it.
And the knee-jerk response of far too many seemingly rational liberals, that it should make no difference, is absurd.
It makes no difference to me, but you can bet your life it does to the Iraqis.
The real danger, to all of us, not just to Jews, is not in overt anti-Semitism, it’s in the underground. The unspoken fear and disgust grow rancid in the dark.
Bring it into the light.
Cleanse it with truth.
Answer the questions.

71

proAndCon 04.10.04 at 10:41 am

LGF weren’t the only yellow slime to jump all over this. Dumb little Michele Catalano hopped on the bandwagon for a while, then deleted HER inflammatory post on her weblog when she was confronted about what was happening at Cramer’s site. Now Catalano seems to be having some sort of crisis involving “medication” and is blaming that for her behavior problems over the last several days. No word yet on what the brave Charlie Johnson’s excuse was, unless he was on the rag.

Go figger. They all look like nutjob wingnuts from here. And it all backfired pretty severely on them.

72

Hal 04.10.04 at 2:12 pm

Ok, MSG, other than vagues references to “senior Jew-Occupation figures” on neo-Nazi web sites, I can’t find any references (not even on Arab sites) to Paul Bremer being Jewish. But since you seem to have particularly sensitive antennae (or it just an acute sense of smell?) when it comes outing Jews, all of us at Crooked Timber would be grateful for the “truth”.

73

velvet revolution 04.10.04 at 2:41 pm

Bring it into the light.
Cleanse it with truth.
Answer the questions.

Is this guy for real? Is this the crowd Crooked Timber is now attracting?

74

batterup 04.10.04 at 4:21 pm

MSG:

Is Paul Bremer a Jew?
It makes no difference to me…

Of course not. No one would suspect that it would.

But you know devious those people are… always masquerading as Christians. Take that Kerry chap, for example. And Bremer’s a “neocon”, right? Case closed.

75

Bryant 04.10.04 at 5:56 pm

“Islam seems to have a near-monopoly on global terror. A disproportionate share of terrorists are Muslims…”

This turns out not to be true. You may be interested in reading the State Department’s Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002. I call your attention, in particular, to Appendix H.

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msg 04.10.04 at 8:43 pm

The intensity this question produces, and the immediate invalidation of anyone asking it, means it doesn’t get asked.
Except by someone willing to take the heat it engenders.
My point’s only confirmed. And it’s a serious one, sincerely proffered. There’s no sarcasm here, not from me.
And the idea that I have to insistently repeat my admiration for people like Naomi Klein and Seymour Hersh, and Krugman, and Chomsky, and many others, who are Jews, and who are actively opposing what’s happening, only confirms it more.
The only possible acceptable response, certainly the only safe one, seems to be acquiescence, or silence.
-
Bremer either is or is not a Jew.
It shouldn’t be hard to determine that. It wasn’t last summer.
If he’s not, I’ve publicly embarrassed myself to a degree that won’t permit any further participation in an open forum on such a volatile topic.
If he is, there’s a question here that needs to be addressed, immediately.
Once it’s been asked by enough people who can’t be easily dismissed as irrational racists.
-
Nothing about the current situation in Iraq makes sense, morally or politically – not as democratic “liberation”, not even as a mercenary grab for resources.
It seems like nothing more than a series of egregious blunders performed by dimwitted fools.
Unless the true purpose was and is to destabilize the country, and keep it destabilized.
Then it does make sense.
Chilling, perfect sense.

77

batterup 04.10.04 at 9:15 pm

And the idea that I have to insistently repeat my admiration for people like Naomi Klein and Seymour Hersh, and Krugman, and Chomsky, and many others, who are Jews

Some of your “best friends”, are they?

…I’ve publicly embarrassed myself to a degree that won’t permit any further participation in an open forum…

Nah, don’t let pesky facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory. He once worked under Henry Kissinger, didn’t he? Makes him an honorary Jew, at the very least!

78

Detached Observer 04.11.04 at 12:25 am

Bryant,

does the report you give contradict the fact that muslims make up a disproportionate share of global terrorists? the only relevant claim i see it making is that there were more *incidents* in latin america — which is not true if you count casualties instead of incidents, as the report shows in the introduction. i don’t see it addressing the religion issue anywhere…perhaps i overlooked?

anyway, i said *global* terrorism. i specifically meant to exclude local groups like the eta, ira, or farc whose goals only pertain to their region.

79

msg 04.11.04 at 1:18 am

batterup-
Well it’s not like I can’t be sarcastic, it’s more that we seem to be moving directly and rapidly toward nuclear holocaust, and that seems serious to me, inasmuch as it will probably bring about the extinction of the human race. But hey, there’s always Mars or something, right? Or maybe Venus.
-
It’s been pretty obvious for a while now that there’s more to the phrase “conspiracy theory” than just sensible irritation at paranoid monologists. The way it now describes its own negative seems almost intentional.
There are no conspiracies right? Only bizarre suspicions without substance. “Conspiracy theory” means no conspiracy took place.
That’s a fascinating trick, how that happened.
-
Putting Bremer under Kissinger’s blood-soaked wing is hardly a defense of his moral character, whatever it says about his participation in plots, non-existent or otherwise.
I can’t think of a good sarcastic way to convey this so I’ll say it straight, I really don’t care about Bremer’s ancestry or religion. It’s his affinity to what’s bringing us closer by the day to the aforementioned nuclear fesitivities.
Really. Really really really. Seriously really.
But ok, in a sort of sarcastic vein, though it’s true, Tommy Franks? He of the drive to Baghdad? Yep.
I could make a really long list of Jewish people that matter greatly to me, personally and culturally, (Lenny Bruce, George Steiner, Bob Dylan, a girl named Rosenthal…) but I don’t think it would register with you, I don’t think it matters, to you.
What matters to me is I’m neither a racist anti-Semite, nor a knee-jerk liberal, nor a rabid conservative, nor a timid academic…let’s see, did I leave one out?
Because that’s pretty much it for the acceptable positions isn’t it?
Suggesting that Bremer’s where he is for reasons that go beyond his diplomatic qualifications is a kind of heresy, and can’t be permitted, can it?
-
Just to make it easier for you:
I’m saying-
1. The US is in Iraq to benefit Israel.
2. Iraq has been intentionally destabilized.
3. Bremer was placed in his position intentionally, out of vindictive spite.

Also, I’m working toward saying that this sociopathic manipulation bids fair to destroy us all, or maybe I already said that.
-
It is possible to hold these opinions and not be anti-Semitic, I know because here I am, holding them, and not being anti-Semitic.
I’m sorry if that makes you unhappy.

80

Bryant 04.11.04 at 4:33 am

detached observer: there’s no such differentiation. Welcome to the global village. I refer you to this NRO article on the IRA’s part in training the PLO and the relationships between the IRA and FARC.

Here’s another article discussing the same issues, and linking in the ETA. Here’s a Telegraph report on the ETA supplying the IRA with plastic explosives.

This is the danger of believing in the LGF worldview. One becomes so obsessed with Islamic terror that one cannot see the other dangers in the world.

81

mc 04.11.04 at 9:12 am

msg – “If he is, there’s a question here that needs to be addressed, immediately.”

Um, why? why would it matter if Bremer was a Jew?

No one seems to bother about that question _in Iraq_ itself, so, if your idea was they put a Jew there only to spite the Iraqis because Iraqis are supposed to hate Jews like all Arabs do, then please do show where that has been raised as issue other than by yourself.

Seems to me those against the American presence are against the American presence full stop. Bremer being a part of that so whether he’s a Jew or not would be completely irrelevant, even to terrorists, let alone the ordinary Iraqi population – who maybe aren’t all the obsessive Jew-haters you imagine them to be? Some of them are even working with Bremer and co. to reorganise Iraq, you know that? You know they’re not all terrorists and kidnappers?

or did you just want to line up one racist cliché after the other? if so, congratulations…

82

Detached Observer 04.11.04 at 1:53 pm

Bryant,

All of these “links” are coming from the same people who claimed there was a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. They are highly tenuous at best. Its convenient to tie all the bad guys of the world together — but Islamic terrorism is fundamentally different from groups like the eta. The eta will be satisfied if the basques are given independence; the Islamic radicals will never be satisfied until they’ve established another caliphate encompassing parts of the western world. Is it really so irrational to focus more on the latter and not so much on the former?

83

Bryant 04.11.04 at 2:22 pm

All of these “links” are coming from the same people who claimed there was a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

… what?

“Following the Israeli incursion into Jenin earlier this year, Paul Collinson, a British explosives expert working with the Red Cross, identified hundreds of explosive devices found there and noted that ‘the pipe bombs I found in Jenin are exact replicas of ones I found in Northern Ireland.'”

That’s a Red Cross worker; the Red Cross is not typically seen as a neocon organization.

“A more recent report, published in May by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, identified Hezbollah, Hamas, and a number of other Middle Eastern terrorist organizations as active in Colombia and the Triborder Region (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Venezuela).”

That’s the Library of Congress, also not a typically neocon organization.

My second link pulls together a lot of the information; it’s a piece published by the non-partisan Center for Defense Intelligence. The CDI often criticizes the US. In fact, they’ve published articles critical of the war in Iraq, like the one I just linked to.

The eta will be satisfied if the basques are given independence; the Islamic radicals will never be satisfied until they’ve established another caliphate encompassing parts of the western world. Is it really so irrational to focus more on the latter and not so much on the former?

Yeah, it is. Motive doesn’t much matter to the people who get killed. We shouldn’t ignore big threats because they’re limited to one geographic area.

This “global” distinction doesn’t really have much meaning, I’m afraid, even if you were right in saying all the global terrorists are Muslims. The key metric is very simple: does group X have the ability to carry out its plans, and do those plans involve terrorism? “We didn’t focus on them because they only want their own country back” is faint comfort to the families of those who die in “non-global” terrorism.

84

Detached Observer 04.11.04 at 6:35 pm

Bryant,

You cited, for example, an NRO article. These *are* the very same people that claimed connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq. The piece was also written in 2002 — before the mistakes on Iraqi intelligence became apparent and when it was quite common for conservative magazines to make bold claims about terrorism and WMDs based on scant evidence. This is what the NRO piece does:

It cites an unnamed US goverment official on the links between the various global terrorists groups. (Exactly the same type of “evidence” as used to be claimed for Iraqi WMDs). It cites a Red Cross worker saying that he found hundreds of bombs used by the PLO being exact replicas of the bombs used in Ireland. Hundreds? The Red Cross bomb expert never claimed that there was a training connection of anything of the sort. Most bombs used by Palestinians are pretty simple stuff; nothing for example that can be set off by a cell phone like in the Madrid bombings. Its hardly surprising that these things are built the same way in different countries. The reference to “hundreds” suggests to me that this is what is being talked about.

The other two pieces you cited were not about connections with Islamic terrorism.

About the larger issue of focus: motivation matters because it affects US interests in the issue. Local terrorist groups who are concerned with taking back the basque region of spain or columbia pose little to no threat the United States. Islamic groups like Al Qaeda, on the other hand, pose a pretty substantial one. Arguing that the United States should devote as much energy to the eta and farc as it does to Al Qaeda strikes me as more than a little strange.

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msg 04.12.04 at 9:58 am

mc-
“No one seems to bother about that question in Iraq itself…”
The prospect of trying to forge a reply to a world-view so schizophrenically divorced from reality is too disheartening.
At some point the diminishing returns of arguing this stop outweighing any possible benefit.
You’ve heard me, and so have others; it’s enough.
And I have no doubt that I’m the only person you’ve heard raise the issues I’ve raised.
It’s in your favor that the same conditions are probably what caused you to publicly deliver an absurdity like the one quoted above.
To continue this debate at this level would damage more than it would heal.

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