Since the beginning of time, liberals have yearned to destroy the sun

by Ted on February 11, 2005

The eminently reasonable Jack O’Toole has been driven to despair by this one-two punch.

This newly ever-growing Western left, not only in Europe, but in Latin America and even in the US itself, has a clear goal: the destruction of the country and society that vanquished its dreams fifteen years ago. But it does not have, as in the old days of the Soviet Union, the hard power to accomplish this by itself. Thanks to this, all our leftist friends’ bets are now on radical Islam. (emphasis added) What can they do to help it? Answer: tie down America’s superior strength with a million Liliputian ropes: legal ones, political ones, with propaganda and disinformation etc. Anything and everything will do.

“Sigh. I wish he were wrong,” comments Glenn Reynolds. Nelson Ascher is directly stating that “all our leftist friends” are actively supporting terrorists, by any means possible, in order to achieve our dream of the destruction of the United States. The mechanisms by which terrorists could destroy the United States are left unstated. (I’m reminded of Eddie Izzard’s recounting of Imperial Japan’s strategy in WWII: “First, we’ll bomb one of their bases, and then… we’ll win.”) And Reynolds is shaking his head in rueful agreement, more in sorrow than anger.

I’m embarassed to admit that this washed over me as so much typical right-wing boilerplate until I saw Jack O’Toole’s reaction. Much like Thomas Sowell’s charming column titled “Fourth Estate or Fifth Column?” Or Jonah Goldberg’s taunt, after proposing a bet with Juan Cole, that “He can give it to the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or whatever his favorite charity is.” Too many mainstream conservatives have adopted accusations of treason into their regular toolbox, and I guess I’m sort of getting used to it.

But it isn’t OK. Not to mince words, this is insanity. This is mistaking the left for the Red Skull. If Ascher or Reynolds know of left-wingers who are actively helping terrorists attack the United States, they should be telling the FBI and Interpol, not their blog audiences. If they merely wish to stigmatize the opposition as objectively pro-terrorism, then they should be ashamed of themselves.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds responds, insisting that he wasn’t talking about American liberals or Democrats as a group. I’m going to punt on a few opportunities for shameless point-scoring and just accept that. Could I suggest that… maybe… Ward Churchill isn’t our authentic face, then?

However, Reynolds still insists that the characterization of liberals as “terrorist collaborators trying to destroy the United States” is an accurate depiction of the European left. I’m afraid that I don’t see how this position can stand up to scrutiny. More on this later, maybe.

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Crooked Timber » » Not another one
08.12.05 at 12:28 pm

{ 245 comments }

1

Carlos 02.11.05 at 7:10 pm

With these sorts of bozos, I occasionally like bringing up Saint Reagan’s appeasement of the Soviet Union, who cut Carter’s effective [1] grain sanctions for the sake of a few Midwestern farm votes.

This is the man they want on our currency? It’s no coincidence that Reagan’s administration of appeasement ran guns to Iran.

C.

[1] Effective in the sense of causing the Soviet world real economic grief, e.g. meat riots in Warsaw.

2

norbizness 02.11.05 at 7:12 pm

Shit, I’m on the Sun Destruction Committee! That report was due yesterday! The mullahs, the interdimensional demons, and the Trilateral Commission are gonna have my ass on this one!

3

Uncle Kvetch 02.11.05 at 7:32 pm

With these sorts of bozos, I occasionally like bringing up Saint Reagan’s appeasement of the Soviet Union

You might also bring up the fact that the great Nicaraguan freedom-fighters, the Contras, were, under any meaningful definition of the term, terrorists.

4

Carlos 02.11.05 at 7:38 pm

No, because then this type of bozo will try playing cutesy-poo word games, evasions, weaselings, et cetera.

Hit them in the wingnuts. And keep on hitting them there until they puke. Hey, they set the rules; now they get to live by them.

C.

5

Randy Paul 02.11.05 at 7:44 pm

Just one name Glenn. Just one name Nelson.

As for Mr. Ascher, he’s rather morally obtuse. He felt that the whole Abu Ghraib prisoner torture case was a concocted scandal. What an ass.

As for Glenn, all he’s trying to do nowadays is be a male Camille Paglia. Why does he spew so much undocumented smearing hate? For the same reason a dog licks his balls: because he can.

6

Uncle Kvetch 02.11.05 at 7:46 pm

This newly ever-growing Western left

Setting aside, to the extent possible, the odious content…how the frig can something be “newly ever-growing”?

7

Chris 02.11.05 at 7:49 pm

I think our standard response to anyone like O’Toole should be to shout in unison “Go F*** yourself.”

8

washerdreyer 02.11.05 at 7:52 pm

In the same Goldberg column you link to, besides his “joke” that Juan Cole would fund the al-Aqsa martyrs, Goldberg attributes to him a belief that blowing up Israeli kids is an example of good judgment. While I don’t know what Goldberg’s stance on abortion is, this is roughly similar to saying, “Jonah Goldberg advocates killing abortion doctors.” Does Goldberg consider that to be reasonable rhetoric?

9

washerdreyer 02.11.05 at 7:57 pm

Chris-
O’Toole isn’t the one saying those things, he’s the one getting mad about being accused of them.

Also, in the same Goldberg column linked to above, he attributes to Juan Cole the view that killing Israeli children is an example of “good judgment.” Maybe he thinks the chickenhawk arguments were unfair rhetoric (I know I do) but he’s really escalating it their.

10

Ted Barlow 02.11.05 at 7:58 pm

how the frig can something be “newly ever-growing”?

I wondered the same thing.

11

Katherine 02.11.05 at 8:00 pm

Best post title EVER.

More seriously: this has to stop. The rift between George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac does not concern me so much. These things happen, and anyway they kind of deserve each other. The large and widening rift between the people of Europe (and not only Europe–Canada, Australia, and the Latin American democracies too) and people of the United States, though–that is not good. That is really quite worrisome. The E.U., NATO, the western alliance–for all the posturing, for all the debates and summits that don’t accomplish anything, for all the silly bureaucracy and sillier comic books glorifying it, they have really made the world a better place for many, many people these last sixty-odd years. What has happened to Western Europe since 1945, and for a number of countries in Eastern Europe since 1989 (with some obvious glaring exceptions–namely Russia and the Balkans) has got to be one of the most amazing changes for the better in human history.

It can survive Chirac and Bush. But it cannot survive if the people of the free democracies give up on one another.

(ctd.)

12

Matt 02.11.05 at 8:02 pm

The Sun?!?! Now you tell me that’s what we’ve been trying to destroy. I’d been putting all my efforts into detroying the moon, and now it seems I had it all wrong. Sigh. And this comming just when I have papers due, and grading to do. I just wish I knew what to do about this sort of nonsense other than offer ridicule, but saddly, I don’t. It’s a sad day when anyone who’s not an idiot believes this, but even people who are manifestly not idiots (See- Steven Bainbridge) often at least have sympathy with this sort of tripe.

13

Matt Weiner 02.11.05 at 8:03 pm

I hope and believe you meant “someone like Ascher.” O’Toole is the good guy here.

Does “a million Liliputian ropes” seems to refer to denying government officials the power to torture, or to lock up people without evidence, or to murder at will, or what?

14

washerdreyer 02.11.05 at 8:06 pm

Oops. And “there” at the end of the second comment.

15

Katherine 02.11.05 at 8:18 pm

This is an E.B. White quotation, from a piece he wrote in 1945 called “Here is New York”:

The subtlest change in New York is something people don’t speak much about but that is in everyone’s mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.

All dwellers in cities must live with the stubborn fact of annihilation; in New York the fact is somewhat more concentrated because of the concentration of the city itself, and because, of all targets, New York has a certain clear priority. In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer might loose the lightning, New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm.

It used to be that the Statue of Liberty was the signpost that proclaimed New York and translated it for all the world. Today Liberty shares the role with Death. Along the East River, from the razed slaughterhouses of Turtle Bay, as though in a race with the spectral flight of planes, men are carving out the permanent headquarters of the United Nations—the greatest housing project of them all. In its stride, New York takes on one more interior city, to shelter, this time, all governments, and to clear the slum called war. New York is not a capital city—it is not a national capital or a state capital. But it is by way of becoming the capital of the world. The buildings, as conceived by architects, will be cigar boxes set on end. Traffic will flow in a new tunnel under First Avenue. Forty-seventh Street will be widened (and if my guess is any good, trucks will appear late at night to plant tall trees surreptitiously, their roots to mingle with the intestines of the town). Once again the city will absorb, almost without showing any sign of it, a congress of visitors. It has already shown itself capable of stashing away the United Nations—a great many of the delegates have been around town during the past couple of years, and the citizenry has hardly caught a glimpse of their coattails or their black Homburgs.

This race—this race between the destroying planes and the struggling Parliament of Man—it sticks in all our heads. The city at last perfectly illustrates both the universal dilemma and the general solution, this riddle in steel and stone is at once the perfect target and the perfect demonstration of nonviolence, of racial brotherhood, this lofty target scraping the skies and meeting the destroying planes halfway, home of all people and all nations, capital of everything, housing the deliberations by which the planes are to be stayed and their errand forestalled.

He writes about the U.N. in 1945. Obviously it has not lived up to that early promise. It is capable of corruption and incompetence and indifference to genocide and flawed in a thousand ways. It is no better than the worst member of the security council.

I do not get stars in my eyes over the international criminal court, either. I think it is worth pursuing but I am not optimistic as to its success. Kyoto’s full of problems too. In general, I think “the struggling parliament of man” ought to be focusing more on changing the laws of our own nations for the better instead of building a beautiful castle in the air that will not materialize.

But look, this cannot continue. Of course the United States is going to be desperate to prevent another massacre in one of its cities, and Israel is going to be desperate to prevent the unrelenting string of murders. Of course Europeans and Canadians and Australians are going get upset when the United States imprisons without trial, and in a few cases arranges for the torture of, their citizens–some of whom were innocent. If we get to the point where majorities of either Europeans or Americans can’t understand that, we are in real trouble, all of us. This has never been only a military alliance, and terrorism is not only a military threat.

16

Gareth Wilson 02.11.05 at 8:20 pm

“I want the state gone: transform the situation to U.S. out of North America. U.S. off the planet. Out of existence altogether.”
Ward Churchill, April 2004

17

bob mcmanus 02.11.05 at 8:30 pm

“But look, this cannot continue.”

And if something cannot continue, it won’t. It will get much worse.

I am amused at the outrage and indignation. I visit blogs that say get the hell out of America now, because in a year you will no longer have that privilege.

18

Chuchundra 02.11.05 at 8:31 pm

The United States of America,

48% traitors
51% idiots

I’m damn proud to be a traitor.

19

abb1 02.11.05 at 8:32 pm

Let’s be fair here: they have their idealistic image of what America is and what America’s superior strength is. And you have your own idealistic image of the same that is dramatically different.

They don’t like your vision, you don’t like theirs. You do want to destroy their imaginary America and they want to destroy yours.

They do use radical Islam (as they used to do the Soviet Union) to bully you into accepting their vision. You use whatever you can to stop them.

This is not insanity, it’s polarization.

20

imag 02.11.05 at 8:48 pm

Best post title ever.

21

jet 02.11.05 at 8:54 pm

Norbizness got water all over my monitor and on my keyboard.

http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/crime/ny-stew0211,0,1331604,print.story?coll=nyc-homepage-breaking2

It looks like the freedom hating lefties are going to jail, and the freedom loving lefties are getting the blame.

22

cleek 02.11.05 at 8:57 pm

my my, what a vile and treacherous man Reynolds is.

23

Barry 02.11.05 at 8:57 pm

Re: the UN:
“It is no better than the worst member of the security council. “

Yeah, right.

24

Joe O 02.11.05 at 9:06 pm

Glenn’s wish came true. Don’t underestimate Glenn Reynolds.

25

puzzled 02.11.05 at 9:11 pm

What has happened to Western Europe since 1945, and for a number of countries in Eastern Europe since 1989 (with some obvious glaring exceptions—namely Russia and the Balkans) has got to be one of the most amazing changes for the better in human history.

Well, the Balkans are a pretty big place. They are not the same thing as Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo. My geography teacher at high school taught me that Yugoslavia (it was not former Yugoslavia at that point), Bulgaria, Greece and parts of Romania and Hungary are situated on the Balkan peninsula. As a citizen of a Balkan country which is not an utter disaster, I find it a bit sad to be lumped together with Bosnia.

Please people, not everyone living in the Balkan peninsula is an ultranationalist supporting ethnic cleansing.

26

apostropher 02.11.05 at 9:19 pm

Look, fellow travellers, we can’t destroy the Sun – yet. My solar-powered fetus-killing, gay-making, Islamification machine™ is almost ready to go into production. Be patient. Once our three main goals are achieved in 2012, then we can destroy the Sun.

Priorities, people, priorities.

27

puzzled 02.11.05 at 9:21 pm

What has happened to Western Europe since 1945, and for a number of countries in Eastern Europe since 1989 (with some obvious glaring exceptions—namely Russia and the Balkans) has got to be one of the most amazing changes for the better in human history.

Former Yugoslavia is not the Balkans. The Balkan peninsula comprises former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece (yes, it does) and bits of Romania and Hungary. I don’t think any country in this list except Yugoslavia deserves being singled out in this way.

I know this is a minor issue but the word “Balkan” is now pejorative not because of the people actually living there but because of loose use.

28

Chris 02.11.05 at 9:31 pm

Yes I did mean “anyone like Ascher” not “anyone like O’Toole.” As for Glenn Reynolds, his conduct during the Swift Boat episode speaks volumes.

29

roger 02.11.05 at 9:33 pm

This is what happens when you read too much Instaborg.

The solution for that is: don’t read Instaborg. Suddenly your life is lightened. There’s a sweetness in the air. The planet whirls around the sun, the seasons vary, the birds return, there’s hide and seek in the neighborhoods among the kids, there is noise and smoke in the bar down the street, there’s songs to listen to as you drive home from work … Yes, life can be lived without visiting the equivalent of a noxious rash to be referred to the equivalent of other noxious rashes.

30

Walt Pohl 02.11.05 at 9:40 pm

Where does this kind of talk end up? What kinds of things become possible once rhetoric becomes so dissociated from the facts, that were unthinkable before? Are they just working up their nerve to commit mass murder?

31

BeingThere 02.11.05 at 9:58 pm

Goddamn it, Matt, the SUN, not the MOON, the SUN! We are trying to destroy the SUN! I bet you didn’t even bother to read the chapter on “Evil and Darkness – Why Total Blackness and not Tie-dye Instead?” in “The Liberals Guide to Demonism, Destruction, and Death” handbook, now, did you?? Get with the program!

Come on, people! Shape up! How can we possibly provide a united front of evil if some of you can’t even get off of your lazy asses and help out around here?? Why can’t more of you be like apostropher and do something destructive for a change??

*sigh*

Look, folks, I can’t be your babysitter, I’ve got a tax-raising strategy meeting with Comrade Kerry this afternoon, I promised Osama I’d have a drink with him after work – God he’s such a pain in the ass, ‘when do I get my bomb, when can I kill some more Americans’ it’s always ‘me, me, me’ – and then I’ve got to squeeze in a quick round of golf with the Anti-Christ first thing tomorrow morning before wasting the rest of the freakin’ day tutoring Harry Reid on how to enslave freedom-loving patriots (God I hate newbies).

I just don’t have time to keep an eye on all of you – all I ask is for a little cooperation. Now get out of my hair and go make yourself useful, kill some of the unborn or tell a kid his mother was a chimp or something. Geez.

32

Uncle Kvetch 02.11.05 at 10:31 pm

How can we possibly provide a united front of evil if some of you can’t even get off of your lazy asses and help out around here??

Hey, back off, Girlfriend! My husband (heh, heh) and I are planning an especially raucous session of “Destroy the Family, the Cornerstone of Western Civilization” tonight, right after the “Changing Rooms” marathon on TLC. And then tomorrow we’re going shopping at Ikea–not because we need anything, but just because we like to flaunt our “lifestyle” in front of decent, normal suburbanites.

We can only do so much in one weekend, y’know.

33

Walt Pohl 02.11.05 at 11:09 pm

Jesus, people! Ix-nay on the alking-tay about our ans-play!

34

Donald Johnson 02.11.05 at 11:27 pm

Man, you guys are lightweights, like destroying the Sun is the puny and pathetic limit of your imagination. THERE’S A WHOLE FREAKIN’ UNIVERSE OUT THERE PEOPLE!! DO I HAVE TO DRAW YOU A PICTURE?

Okay, got a little excited there,but think of it. Gulags as far as the Hubble Telescope can see. And if there’s a multiverse–gives me goosebumps thinking about it.

Sun my ass.

35

Shelby 02.11.05 at 11:43 pm

I see just as much idiocy from the left as from the right. A significant part of the problem is that people on both sides latch onto the more extreme rhetoric from the other side, and treat it as representative of that side.

Look for those who condemn their own extremists as well as the other side’s. How many on the left are making any effort to distance themselves from Ward Churchill? It’s easy to think “not my problem — I don’t agree with him” but that lets the lazy or disingenuous attribute his views to a broad swath of the left. The same applies to ravings from the right.

It doesn’t help that so many people insist their own side’s ranters are not nearly so extreme as the other side’s.

36

ogmb 02.11.05 at 11:47 pm

Not to mince words, this is insanity

You mistyped fascism.

37

Keith M Ellis 02.11.05 at 11:56 pm

In all seriousness, isn’t the normalization of this sort of hateful hyperbole a common sociopolitical phenomenon? And what I’m getting at here is that it might signal intent?

Insanely extreme accusations seem to outsiders and the unsympathetic to be incomprehensible and inexplicable. You can see it in Nazi antisemitic propoganda and numerous bloody ethnic conflicts. I think it’s an unconscious self-conditioning, a preparation for the justification of actions that would otherwise be unjustifiable. People know these accusations are so extreme as to be fantastical, but they indulge in them anyway because doing so serves a compelling psychological need.

38

apostropher 02.11.05 at 11:59 pm

How many on the left are making any effort to distance themselves from Ward Churchill?

Shelby, there is a significant asymmetry at play in your example. I had never in my life even heard of Ward Churchill before Glenn Reynolds got all hot and bothered about him – and I actually read obscure Marxist academics. Be honest: had you ever heard of him before this contretemps?

Conversely, instapundit.com averages over 160,000 visits per day and is linked to incessantly by bloggers on both sides of the ideological divide.

It’s easy to think “not my problem — I don’t agree with him”

Even easier to think “not my problem – I don’t have the first idea who that is.”

39

apostropher 02.12.05 at 12:05 am

Moreover, I have yet to see a single lefty blogger mention the Churchill affair without calling him an idiot, at the very nicest. So to answer your question: pretty much all of them.

40

Randy Paul 02.12.05 at 12:07 am

Shelby,

While you’re intentions are good, I have to strongly disagree. What’s the next step? Loyalty oaths? I’m responsible for my actions, for my comments and for my behavior. Everyone else is responsible for their actions, their comments and their behavior.

I am not obliged to do an auto da fé every time some nutcase who claims to come from my side of the political spectrum decides to bloviate in such a way as to call attention to themself. I don’t expect that from the right; perhaps they can afford me the same courtesy.

41

MNPundit 02.12.05 at 12:12 am

Look for those who condemn their own extremists as well as the other side’s. How many on the left are making any effort to distance themselves from Ward Churchill?

Many on the left are still scratching their heads and saying “Who the fuck is Ward Churchill?”

Which really shows you how important he is.

42

Oscar 02.12.05 at 12:12 am

I think it is appropriate that Liberals want to destroy the sun: there is a rightwing site which sells t-shirts that say “Nuke the Moon!” on them. Religion is alive and well in America, but it is a highly dualist religion where each side identifies themselves with Ahur Mazda, and the other with Ahriman.

43

bob mcmanus 02.12.05 at 12:13 am

Keith Ellis nails it

44

nkirsch 02.12.05 at 12:38 am

Time for a fish fry, and sunfish taste the best! Wear proper head coverings! Haha.

45

dave heasman 02.12.05 at 12:53 am

Shelby :- “I see just as much idiocy from the left as from the right”

Less torture, though.

46

Barry Freed 02.12.05 at 1:12 am

*Curses!* Foiled again! My ingenious and diabolical plan to extinguish the sun, years in the making, was all set to come off without a hitch. And it would have been the most perfect liberal evil act in history too—if not for you pesky war-bloggers.

47

Barry Freed 02.12.05 at 1:13 am

*Curses!* Foiled again! My ingenious and diabolical plan to extinguish the sun, years in the making, was all set to come off without a hitch. And it would have been the most perfect liberal evil act in history too—if not for you pesky war-bloggers.

48

bsf 02.12.05 at 1:24 am

Ward Churchill is a friggin idiot. Do I get my wingnut credibility pass now?

49

fyreflye 02.12.05 at 1:30 am

Ward Churchill isn’t even a registered tribal member much less a “leftist.”

50

neil 02.12.05 at 1:36 am

As a center left voter of generally moderate views I have to say that I can’t see much difference between Jack O’Toole and Atrios. There seems to be an overall polarization, maybe that’s the way it always has been, but it does seem to be more bitter at present.

But I wonder what difference it all makes. For every Instapundit there is a DailyKos. For every Juan Cole there is a Jonah Goldberg. Does anyone change their minds? It appears that all this sort of debate does is cement pre-existing loyalties.

51

r@d@r 02.12.05 at 1:41 am

It doesn’t help that so many people insist their own side’s ranters are not nearly so extreme as the other side’s.

my side’s ranters aren’t calling for the other side’s extermination.

my side’s ranters aren’t getting paid salaries like coulter or o’reilly, nor do they have the ears of millions as those two do.

the worst you can say about my side’s ranters is that they are somewhat paranoid.

except for the fact that every paranoid thing they have been warning about for the past four years has come true.

52

Movie Guy 02.12.05 at 1:57 am

So, I’m supposed to think that the North Korean government is a liberal organization?

No can do.

53

Robin Green 02.12.05 at 3:25 am

the worst you can say about my side’s ranters is that they are somewhat paranoid.

Uh, no, that’s simply not true. The worst thing you can say about our side’s ranters – if by “my side” you mean “the left” – is actually something pretty horrifying: that the most extremist ones actively supported Islamist terrorists, or actively supported the mass-murdering monstrosities known as Stalinism or Maoism.

Be realistic here.

I mean, you could say that all those people “weren’t really leftists by definition”, but that would be disingenous, I think.

However, extremists like Lynne Stewart, or the Spartacist League, are a tiny minority in the western left, and still tinier in the US left.

54

Robin Green 02.12.05 at 3:27 am

the worst you can say about my side’s ranters is that they are somewhat paranoid.

Uh, no, that’s simply not true. The worst thing you can say about our side’s ranters – if by “my side” you mean “the left” – is actually something pretty horrifying: that the most extremist ones actively supported Islamist terrorists, or actively supported the mass-murdering monstrosities known as Stalinism or Maoism.

Be realistic here.

I mean, you could say that all those people “weren’t really leftists by definition”, but that would be disingenous, I think.

However, extremists like Lynne Stewart, or the Spartacist League, are a tiny minority in the western left, and still tinier in the US left.

55

kasei 02.12.05 at 3:34 am

I feel that we have been wasting time here, fellow Sun-wreakers: who needs commentary when you can sit back and read homour like this:

“Those whom the fall of the Berlin Wall had left orphans of a cause, spent the next decade plotting the containment of the US. It was a complex operation that involved the (in many cases state-sponsored) mushrooming of NGOs, Kyoto, the creation of the ICC, the salami tactics applied against America’s main strategic ally in the Middle-East, Israel, through the Trojan Horse of the Oslo agreements, the subversion of the sanctions against Iraq etc. I’m not as conspiratorially-minded as to think that all these efforts were in any way centralized or that they had some kind of master-plan behind them. It was above all the case of the spirit of the times converging, through many independent manifestations, towards a single goal. Nonetheless we can be sure that, after those manifestations reached a critical mass, there has been no lack of efforts to coordinate them.”
?
This guy’s so bad, it’s like he’s doing a parody of a moronic rightist blogger.

56

julia 02.12.05 at 3:53 am

Damn, he’s onto us.

Yes, as a leftist, I’m all over cuddling up to countries where little girls are beaten back into burning buildings by thugs who are enforcing radical islam on the populace with the consent and complicity of the unelected ruling class.

As a matter of fact, Laura and I had their ambassador and his wife over to the ranch soon after 9/11. Wanted them to know we didn’t hold it against them that most of the guys who slaughtered our people came from their country. I thought they might be a little sensitive about it, since she paid their rent out of her pin money.

57

Brian C.B. 02.12.05 at 4:00 am

So, we plan to manipulate adepts of a religion that most of us don’t deeply understand, and bend hundreds of cultures with which we have only a passing familiarity, toward the destruction of the West and bring its rich, powerful champion to its knees? If we could do that, how come we couldn’t win Ohio against a charming incompetent? The eliminationist strain batted around by Instacracker and his worse fellows would be funny, if it weren’t so serious. I suspect that this is a cheerleading for oppression.

Also, does anyone know how the Islamists stand on Social Security privatization?

58

Brian C.B. 02.12.05 at 4:01 am

So, we plan to manipulate adepts of a religion that most of us don’t deeply understand, and bend hundreds of cultures with which we have only a passing familiarity, toward the destruction of the West and bring its rich, powerful champion to its knees? If we could do that, how come we couldn’t win Ohio against a charming incompetent? The eliminationist strain batted around by Instacracker and his worse fellows would be funny, if it weren’t so serious. I suspect that this is a cheerleading for oppression.

Also, does anyone know how the Islamists stand on Social Security privatization?

59

fontana labs 02.12.05 at 5:18 am

Yeah, what apostropher said. Every time I mention Churchill I make fun of him. Is that distance enough for you? And what apostropher said, part II: Churchill teaches at U Colorado. Tom Coburn is in the US Senate. Rush Limbaugh has about the fattest contract in radio. And so on. I know, I’m preaching to the choir. But the Instant Pundit game has become a lot less funny recently.

60

Scott Lemieux 02.12.05 at 5:46 am

Well, at least the question about whether “Reynoldsism” is a strawman has been definitively resolved. Yes, virtually the entire liberal Democratic west is opposed to liberal democracy and secretly in bed with Islamism. Just an airtight hypothesis!

61

Sebastian Holsclaw 02.12.05 at 6:39 am

Hmm, I’ve been called a Nazi and racist by leftists for a decade. I’m not feeling your pain much.

62

ogmb 02.12.05 at 7:40 am

they are somewhat paranoid.

Uh, no, that’s simply not true. (…) the most extremist ones actively supported Islamist terrorists, or actively supported the mass-murdering monstrosities known as Stalinism or Maoism.

I don’t see the contradiction here.

63

bad Jim 02.12.05 at 9:11 am

It probably isn’t necessary to destroy the sun. Dark glasses and perhaps a hat suffice for us in southern climes.

For those who dwell in another green and pleasant land, isn’t the existence of our local star generally conjectural?

64

bad Jim 02.12.05 at 9:28 am

As a generally polite, arguably mild-mannered liberal, I could find some slight gratification in the thought that views like mine evoke fear and alarm from the other side…

That is, I would if I didn’t know that they felt threatened by everything else they encountered, from bare tits to Arab musicians, threadbare tyrannies and low-riding jeans.

Why is fear so addictive?

65

JQPublic 02.12.05 at 10:18 am

And so the penny finally begins to drop, as intellectuals on the left – or in the center for that matter – begin to realise that the modern right isn’t just a bunch of people with a different point of view, or for that matter a group of fellow seekers after knowledge who’d be prepared to have a clever-clever debate with you about casualty figures or philosophy.

These people genuinely hate you.

They want power and they will do anything to get it – including calling their enemies pro-terrorist at the drop of a hat. And clearly, power is the name of the game here – and it always has been. If they genuinely cared about terrorism, they wouldn’t be so farcically incompetent about dealing with it. No, these guys want to get as much power and authority as they can and sit on it for as long as possible.

So, its nice to see that people are finally waking up to the fact that the “West Wing” model of political relations, where the Right are a bunch of principled people with whose principles we happen to disagree, is absolute piffle.

Simple question for those who think I’m being alarmist: has the right ever done anything that wasn’t basically in the interests of the rich? And if not, why on earth should they be permitted to get away with that? And for that matter, what makes you think they give a shit about you, if you aren’t rich?

Well, that’s three questions. But I think they go straight to the heart of the matter.

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Nabakov 02.12.05 at 12:32 pm

I don’t hear any of this “lefty treason” crap in my normal meat life.

Here in Australia, at work and at play, no one seems to give a shit about such things and would pretty much assume that anyone who criticised Howard, Bush or et al was not also secretly plotting the overthrow of western civilisation.

Sometimes the blogosphere really is a feedbacking echo chamber.

SOMETIMES the blogosphere REALLY IS a feedbacking ECHO Chamber!!

SOMETIMES THE BLOGOSPHERE REALLY IS A FEEDBACKING ECHO CHAMBER!!?!

67

Steve Jandreau 02.12.05 at 12:35 pm

“How many on the left are making any effort to distance themselves from Ward Churchill?

It’s hard for me to distance myself from somebody I hadn’t heard of until last week.

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Steve Jandreau 02.12.05 at 12:37 pm

“How many on the left are making any effort to distance themselves from Ward Churchill?

It’s hard for me to distance myself from somebody I hadn’t heard of until last week.

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Steve Jandreau 02.12.05 at 12:37 pm

“How many on the left are making any effort to distance themselves from Ward Churchill?

It’s hard for me to distance myself from somebody I hadn’t heard of until last week.

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Steve Jandreau 02.12.05 at 12:40 pm

Posted by Shelby · February 11, 2005 11:43 PM
“How many on the left are making any effort to distance themselves from Ward Churchill?

It’s hard for me to distance myself from somebody I hadn’t heard of until last week.

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Down and Out in Si Gn 02.12.05 at 12:54 pm

Nabakov: the echo chamber effect is just a byproduct of Crooked Timber’s crooked software. Nothing takes the sparkle off a one-liner like seeing it reposted four times.

72

Down and Out in Si Gn 02.12.05 at 1:05 pm

(No disrespect to Steve Jandreau intended. I almost did the same thing myself…)

73

x 02.12.05 at 1:49 pm

I am ashamed to say, though I have a subscription to Libération and a peace flag hanging out my window, I haven’t done enough in my lifetime to help tie down America’s superior strength. I do, however, enjoy tying down Americans, and they enjoy it, too. Only $150 an hour. Fully booked ’til 2007. Sorry. Wish I could do more for the cause.

74

Chris Baldwin 02.12.05 at 1:52 pm

What’s most striking is Ascher’s irrationality and distance from reality. Does he know nothing about 20th century history? Doesn’t he realise that except in France and Italy most of the western Left was never pro-soviet (WW2 excepted)? Doesn’t he know what politicians like Attlee, Bevin, Blum and Ramadier were doing at the beginning of the cold war? Can he back up his statement that the western Left (and not just a few insane groupuscules) is supporting terrorism with actual evidence? He ends up sounding like one of the Communist hacks George Orwell quoted in Homage to Catalonia. Did Glenn Reynolds actually think before agreeing with these comments?

75

Don Quijote 02.12.05 at 1:55 pm

More seriously: this has to stop.

Too late, the Damage has been done.

The rift between George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac does not concern me so much. These things happen, and anyway they kind of deserve each other.

You really should not compare a mildly crooked but accomplished politician like Chirac to the imcompetant lying kleptocratic & fascist sack of sh*t that came to power thru a coup.

The large and widening rift between the people of Europe (and not only Europe—Canada, Australia, and the Latin American democracies too) and people of the United States, though—that is not good. That is really quite worrisome.

This is what happens when you start preventive wars and occupy a soverein state, and when you can’t stop threatening people!!


The E.U., NATO, the western alliance—for all the posturing, for all the debates and summits that don’t accomplish anything, for all the silly bureaucracy and sillier comic books glorifying it, they have really made the world a better place for many, many people these last sixty-odd years. What has happened to Western Europe since 1945, and for a number of countries in Eastern Europe since 1989 (with some obvious glaring exceptions—namely Russia and the Balkans) has got to be one of the most amazing changes for the better in human history.

NATO is dead, with any luck the EU will become a political & military counter weight to the US.

It can survive Chirac and Bush. But it cannot survive if the people of the free democracies give up on one another.

The people of a free democracy elected a leader that started an illegal war ,is occupying a foreign state, has condoned torture, and is in the process of working up the populace for another war (I won’t even discuss his economic policies).

76

Nabakov 02.12.05 at 1:55 pm

Saigon Downer, nothing takes the sparkle off a one post gag that depends on a formating stunt like being mistaken for someone else’s multiple posts.

Although I think Steve J got it.

77

Matt McIrvin 02.12.05 at 2:42 pm

And so the penny finally begins to drop, as intellectuals on the left – or in the center for that matter – begin to realise that the modern right isn’t just a bunch of people with a different point of view, or for that matter a group of fellow seekers after knowledge who’d be prepared to have a clever-clever debate with you about casualty figures or philosophy.

These people genuinely hate you.

That’s just it, though– I know a lot of people who are part of “the right”, in my family and at my workplace. And as far as I can tell, they don’t personally hate me. They’re not plotting to murder me. They hate a cartoon liberal who lives in outer space. Sometimes they try to convince me I’m wrong. If asked they’d probably profess puzzlement at my liberalism and describe me as atypical of those bastards. If Fox News told my aunt to strangle me in my bed, I doubt she’d do it.

So I’m not going to play the “hate them back” game. Hate the powerful sleazebags who are lying to them, sure.

78

Matt McIrvin 02.12.05 at 2:44 pm

The last unitalicized line was supposed to be part of the quote… oh never mind.

79

Ben Alpers 02.12.05 at 2:55 pm

For every Juan Cole there is a Jonah Goldberg.

This is a bit like saying for every Gershom Sholem there’s a Henry Ford. Juan Cole is one of the leading scholars on Iraq. Jonah Goldberg, by his own admission, has never read a single book about Iraq (which arguably puts him a bit behind Henry Ford, who had at least read “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which, while a libelous, antisemitic forgery, is at least a book about the Jews).

If we are to take Goldberg and Cole as representatives of the right and left on Iraq, the comparison speaks volumes about why this is _not_ a symmetrical situation, either in terms of power or knowledge.

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Ben Alpers 02.12.05 at 3:07 pm

What everyone has already said about Ward Churchill — his obscurity, the extent to which his views are out of step with the vast majority of both liberals and the left, and the willingness of the left blogosphere to separate itself from those views quite unprompted — are all correct.

But it’s worth adding one more thing to this litany. Even Ward Churchill’s “bets” are not on “radical Islam.” Gareth Wilson quotes Churchill saying “I want the state gone: transform the situation to U.S. out of North America. U.S. off the planet. Out of existence altogether.” Certainly opposed to the U.S. But where’s the support for radical Islam?

I certainly don’t know Ward Churchill’s beliefs in any detail. But, as this quote suggests, he seems if anything to be something of an anarchist. Last I checked, supporters of “radical Islam” tend to be theocrats who believe in a robust and repressive state.

What’s the point? Churchill is, once again, a side show. We have still yet to see a _single example_ of a leftist, however obscure, who’s supporting radical Islam. Even Churchill won’t fit the bill.

81

abb1 02.12.05 at 3:37 pm

If Fox News told my aunt to strangle me in my bed, I doubt she’d do it.

Hopefully she’ll be willing to hide you in her cellar for a few years. Lucky bastard.

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x 02.12.05 at 4:03 pm

Gareth Wilson quotes Churchill saying “I want the state gone: transform the situation to U.S. out of North America. U.S. off the planet. Out of existence altogether.”

ben, I read that interview, he was talking of some crazy futuristic/nostalgic idea of substituting the US with a sort of Native-American style alliance of small nations. (I’m one of those who never heard of Ward Churchill until last week, so I had to go and look up some interviews and articles to get an idea.)

Doesn’t sound much like a caliphate to me. But what do I know.

Here’s the rest of that quote:

bq. So what does that look like?
There’s no U.S. in America anymore. What’s on the map instead? Well let’s just start with territoralities often delineated in treaties of fact—territoralities of 500 indigenous nations imbued with an inalienable right to self-determination, definable territoralities which are jurisdictionally separate. Then you’ve got things like the internal diasporic population of African Americans in internal colonies that have been established by the imposition of labor patterns upon them. You’ve got Appalachian whites. Since the U.S. unilaterally violated its treaty obligations, it forfeits its rights—or presumption of rights—under international law. Basically, you’ve got a dismantlement and devolution of the U.S. territorial and jurisdictional corpus into something that would be more akin to diasporic self-governing entities and a multiplicity of geographical locations. A-ha, chew on that one for awhile.

A-ha, yeah, dude. That would be, like, so cool. Although, I personally would prefer a confederation of free-love hippie communes where private property is abolished, except for private cd collections, whose theft is punished by sentencing the culprit to three months in a recording studio with squeaking monkeys.

I think my vision for the New America would be more feasible, too.

Everyone on The Left(tm), please, distance yourselves from me now, or be forever damned by association.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

(I have a feeling I know which listed crime Churchill could be, like millions of others, actually found guilty of, but I’m not a snitch.)

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Randy Paul 02.12.05 at 4:38 pm

Hmm, I’ve been called a Nazi and racist by leftists for a decade. I’m not feeling your pain much.

I never have, Sevastian, which yet again goes to the heart of the matter:

1.) When you use a broad brush to paint an entire group the same, you smear.

2.) Hold those responsible for their actions, not someone else’s.

Got it?

84

Randy Paul 02.12.05 at 4:41 pm

Sorry, that’s a typo. I know, of course that your name is Sebastian.

85

rob 02.12.05 at 4:48 pm

I know it’s nice to mock these fools, and it is REALLY good title, but let’s not shilly-shally about it: there’s part of us that would like American governmental power to be given a bloody nose. That’s not the same as supporting the agenda of the people who might give it a bloody nose, and it’s not the only thing we care about – all the stuff Radical Islam is against, we’re pretty much for, for example – but we do think that one of the ways to stop America from running round the world, invading places, f*cking them up and exploiting their resources is by people making it difficult for them to do that.

86

`Sam 02.12.05 at 4:51 pm

You’re an idiot

87

`Sam 02.12.05 at 4:52 pm

You’re an idiot

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Randy Paul 02.12.05 at 5:00 pm

there’s part of us that would like American governmental power to be given a bloody nose

No, there’s a part of you that feels that way.

89

Phoenix Woman 02.12.05 at 5:02 pm

This is what happens when you read too much Instaborg.

The solution for that is: don’t read Instaborg.

The problem is that Big Media takes their cues from him and the other right-wing crazies, so we have to read him to figure out what bullshit trial balloons are being launched so we can have a hope of countering them before Big Media starts trumpeting them to all and sundry.

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Phoenix Woman 02.12.05 at 5:03 pm

This is what happens when you read too much Instaborg.

The solution for that is: don’t read Instaborg.

The problem is that Big Media takes their cues from him and the other right-wing crazies, so we have to read him to figure out what bullshit trial balloons are being launched so we can have a hope of countering them before Big Media starts trumpeting them to all and sundry.

91

Brian C.B. 02.12.05 at 5:09 pm

Sorry, Rob. I don’t want “America” to be given a bloody nose. I don’t even want happy authoritarian enablers like Glenn or Asher to be proven wrong, or see bumblers like Bush or Rice get their just desserts, if it means people, especially American people, will be maimed, or killed, or made destitute. I object to this neocon, American-greatness, think-tank sponsored parade precisely because I think it will lead to an enormity far worse than some “bloody nose”, one that the United States will not escape, even if we do not suffer the worst of it. Which we might. I like to think that it’s our side that wants to keep Americans alive, while it’s the 101 Fighting Keyboard Regiment that treats us as the fodder that feeds their grand ambitions.

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MarkC 02.12.05 at 5:21 pm

Brilliant post.

Rebranding the right shouldn’t be so hard, should it? I mean, what if NOW started a campaign against the advocacy of traditional sex roles by Pat Robertson and Ayatollah Khamenei, while the Union of Concerned Scientists criticize Putin and Rumsfeld for encouraging proliferation, and human rights groups criticize the slaughter of innocents in Fallujah and New York. We need a concerted effort to show that right-wing is right-wing across the globe, one that will make it clear that the fellow travellers these days are Republicans.

93

abb1 02.12.05 at 5:22 pm

…would like American governmental power to be given a bloody nose…

Not the American governmental power as such necessarily, but the bastards who usurped it.

I don’t think somebody like Bertolt Brecht, for example, wanted Germany to be harmed – only the Nazis; probably only the top Nazies. The Nazis getting a bloody nose would be good for Germany.

94

Brian C.B. 02.12.05 at 5:38 pm

And, I’d add, directly on topic: Who is it, really, who misses so much the Soviet Union? I don’t think it’s us American liberals, who by and large enjoyed seeing the fall of a totalitarian empire and the peaceful maturation (in some places, at least) of democratic institutions. No, Ascher and his acolytes are engaging in that right-wing sport: projection. These are people, as a group, who longed for an adversary like the one who threatened dear old Dad–literally, in the case of the Kristol family– because it called our nation to high purpose. Some of them, I read, greeted 11 September with horror, of course, but also with a relieved sense of calling and a rush to that well-thumbed volume of Winston Churchill’s orations. One can see it in the rhetoric today that inflates a virulent few fanatical criminals, and fat, impotent mass-murdering tyrant like Saddam Hussein, with the Third Reich or Stalin. And, I think, that’s the crime of us liberals, as far as the Ascher-ilk is concerned: we think Osama bin Laden is beneath contempt and should be scrubbed out as a matter of course, but is man who can’t destroy our polity, and we viewed Saddam Hussein and see Iran without real worry, confident in our power to crush any nation should it strike. We won’t agree that these petty thugs are the challenge of our time and that we are called to eliminate it and establish an empire suitable to us it its place.

95

nick 02.12.05 at 5:39 pm

With these sorts of bozos, I occasionally like bringing up Saint Reagan’s appeasement of the Soviet Union

not to mention funnelling money to the mujahedin in Afghanistan. Oh, and who knows what happened in the autumn of 1980 between Reagan’s campaign team and Iran?

It’d be easy to ignore Perfesser Alfalfa if Howie Kurtz didn’t have him on bloody speed-dial.

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rob 02.12.05 at 5:55 pm

What I was trying to say was that, given that the left would generally prefer the US not to act in the way it does in foreign policy, things which make it more difficult for the US to act in the way it does in foreign policy have something to be said for them, specifically, that they make it more difficult for the US to act in the way it does in foreign policy. In the huge majority of cases, that’s nothing like the be-all-and-end-all, but it is a consideration of some kind, even if that consideration is vastly outweighed by the horror of violence against anyone. It remains a consideration, I think, probably a prudential consideration, but a consideration none the less. Think of it this way: if there hadn’t been a substanial resistance/insurgency in Iraq, there probably be marines in Iran. If it’s a good that there aren’t marines in Iran, that’s something in favour of the resistance/insurgency. Obviously, blowing innocent people up is wrong: it’s wrong when Americans do it, and it’s wrong when Iraqis do it. But that doesn’t destroy the fact that successful resistance to American power prevents it being used elsewhere.

97

nkirsch 02.12.05 at 5:59 pm

“Liberals have yearned to destroy the sun??”

Well, it will have to be replaced eventually, and look what it did to Mars.

98

Sun Bandit 02.12.05 at 6:11 pm

We want to destroy the sun? In broad daylight??

Is this what comes from asking why Osama came after us? Is there no conceivable reason why this question should be asked? As I recall, his six or seven points
all made sense.

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duus 02.12.05 at 6:16 pm

ben alpers wrote:

For every Juan Cole there is a Jonah Goldberg.

This is a bit like saying for every Gershom Sholem there’s a Henry Ford. Juan Cole is one of the leading scholars on Iraq. Jonah Goldberg, by his own admission, has never read a single book about Iraq (which arguably puts him a bit behind Henry Ford, who had at least read “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which, while a libelous, antisemitic forgery, is at least a book about the Jews).

If we are to take Goldberg and Cole as representatives of the right and left on Iraq, the comparison speaks volumes about why this is not a symmetrical situation, either in terms of power or knowledge.

Exactly. There’s this false symmetry going on here. And, Goldberg is a nationally syndicated columnist whose essays are printed in hundreds if not thousands of newspapers; Cole has a website. There is no symmetry. It’s a lie.

100

Ian S 02.12.05 at 6:37 pm

St. Reagan also bears significant responsibility for inspiring terrorists by his tail-between-the-legs retreat from Lebanon in the early 1980′s following the attack on the Marine barracks. Don’t ever think that bin Laden didn’t take note of that.

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Matt Weiner 02.12.05 at 6:42 pm

Who is it, really, who misses so much the Soviet Union? I don’t think it’s us American liberals, who by and large enjoyed seeing the fall of a totalitarian empire and the peaceful maturation (in some places, at least) of democratic institutions.

I hope that I can say this without later getting branded a neo-Stalinist moonbat etc., but I just read (via Yglesias an article pointing out that Russian men’s life expectancy has dropped by 5 years since 1990, complete with this quote: “Normally only during wartime do we see the kind of decreases in men’s longevity that we’ve seen recently in Russia.” (Women have not been so badly affected.)

So while the fall of a truly evil regime was great, and the spread of democratic institutions in Eastern and Central Europe was fantastic. But there is some reason to reject subsequent events in Russia. (This doesn’t mean I want to destroy the US and its society, as I hope is clear.)

102

Matt Weiner 02.12.05 at 6:44 pm

“reject” should be “regret” (in the faith that the last comment went through).

103

Donald Johnson 02.12.05 at 6:55 pm

Reagan didn’t just help bring about terrorism by running from Lebanon. You’re thinking of terror against us. Reagan was an enthusiastic supporter of almost every blood-soaked, baby-killing mass murderer who called himself an anti-communist. That’s terror against others. Some people notice, particularly the others.

104

Boronx 02.12.05 at 6:56 pm

I don’t hear any of this “lefty treason” crap in my normal meat life.

You live in Australia. In America, it’s real. No, your conservative relatives don’t hate you personally, but you’re different, you’re just misguided and will come around.

They have forceful yet soothing electronic devices in their homes that tell them all day every day that Liberals are evil and out to ruin the nation, gently easing them back into the fold after scary, nauseating moments when people like you make them think otherwise.

105

Katherine 02.12.05 at 7:11 pm

“Hmm, I’ve been called a Nazi and racist by leftists for a decade. I’m not feeling your pain much.”

by which leftists, specifically? Some jerks you met? Or a healthy and increasing %, if not an outright majority, of the left-of-center media?

106

mw 02.12.05 at 7:24 pm

The ‘want to destroy the sun’ bit is over the top, of course, but there’s not denying there has been some level of cozying up to the Islamofascists on the left. On the far left, we find Saddam’s new buddy Ramsey Clark, for example, and Lynn Stewart.

Less extreme, we have Michael Moore’s idyllic picture-postcard images of pre-war Iraq. And then there is the purely pragmatic (I almost said ‘Machiavellian’) cozying of the type we’ve seen in the comments here, to wit:

“…we do think that one of the ways to stop America from running round the world, invading places, f*cking them up and exploiting their resources is by people making it difficult for them to do that.”

In other words, we don’t support the goals of the Islamofascists, but hey if their terror helps frustrate the U.S.’s purposes in the world–well, we’re willing to overlook suicide bombings, the imposition of sharia, the repression of women, etc.

What else? Well, we have the grudging…always heavily qualified support of the Iraqi election (like the elections in Afghanistan before them).

We have Juan Cole passing on the speculation that Iraqi liberal bloggers may well be CIA agents based on no evidence at all…for no reason other than their form liberalism includes supports Bush in Iraq.

We have leftists on American college campuses embracing Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

And so on. So yes, article in question is over the top. But there’s no denying there’s a DEEP current of anti-Americanism on the left that regards Bush’s America as a greater danger to the world than the Islamic terrorists. I doesn’t strike me that most commenters here are even disputing that.

107

Philboid Studge 02.12.05 at 7:26 pm

Best post title ever? Yeah, I suppose if lifting lines from the Simpsons is your idea of wit, but isn’t that more Chickenhack Goldberg’s speed?

“Worst title ever.”

108

d 02.12.05 at 7:49 pm

Deceptive quoting in this post. Although Reynolds does link to Ascher’s article the only piece he quotes, and agrees with in his post, does not include any of the material quoted here. He may or may not agree with the bolded statement – why not ask him? – but “Sigh. I wish he were wrong.” doesn’t apply to it.

109

oodja 02.12.05 at 8:01 pm

My question is: how can we be Islamofascists and Saddamites at the same time? That sort of cognitive dissonance is reserved for the Republican Party (who actually did court Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden at the same time).

110

julia 02.12.05 at 8:03 pm

Hmm, I’ve been called a Nazi and racist by leftists for a decade. I’m not feeling your pain much.

I’m thinking it probably wasn’t too painful for you at the time. You seem to enjoy prodding “leftists” (a group you don’t really know very much about, at least judging from your writings on the subject) and making them yell.

By and large, readers to the left of yourself who still visit your site are big fans of the same kind of communication you enjoy. If you spend your time hunting for Bad Things to hang a lefty label on and squabbling with people who share your kink for squatting near the water source, you’re most likely going to have a – special – view of the world.

111

Ben Alpers 02.12.05 at 8:04 pm

And now mw has stepped forward with more nominees for the first identified lefty to support radical Islam. Let’s see what he’s got shall we?

1) Ramsay Clark. Certainly a fringe figure, but since we’re still searching _any_ sign of pro-radical Islam views on the left, we need to check him out. What’s mw’s brief on Clark? That he’s defended Saddam Hussein. Well, he has. But perhaps mw didn’t get the memo: _Saddam Hussein, odious though he may have been, had nothing whatsoever to do with radical Islam_. Radical Islamists hated Saddam Hussein, who was a secular Arab nationalist. So much for Ramsay Clark.

2) Lynn Stewart. Gotta admit I had to look this one up. Lynn Stewart was the lawyer for Sheik Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian cleric convicted in his involvement with the 1995 World Trade Center bombings. I’m not sure what her politics are. Surely acting as a defense attorney for somebody is not the same thing as endorsing their political viewpoint.

3) Michael Moore (somehow I knew he’d show up eventually) for his “idyllic picture-postcard images of pre-war Iraq.” I’d disagree with the description of his depiction of pre-war Iraq, but that’s beside the point, as _pre-war Iraq had nothing to do with radical Islam_.

4) All those who don’t support the Iraqi elections with sufficient enthusiasm. Actually, those in favor of a more theocratic Iraq were the big winners in these elections, so I’m a bit puzzled by this. At any rate, I don’t see how skepticism about these elections — let alone insufficiently robust support — constitutes endorsing radical Islam.

5) Juan Cole. For speculating — no wait — passing on someone else’s speculation that two Iraqi bloggers may have had CIA connections. Again, not sure how this constitutes supporting radical Islam, especially as Cole has written strongly, repeatedly, and expressly against radical Islam, as anyone who actually read his blog would know.

6) “Leftists on American college campuses embracing Hamas and Islamic Jihad.” Not so much, I’d say. At any rate, this is one of those utterly nonspecific, gross generalizations with which this whole conversation started.

So we’ve yet to find a _single_ example of a phenomenon that the rightwing of the blogosphere says is widespread.

Oh…at the end of mw’s post, it turns out that the problem is this was just an exaggeration. What they’re _really_ saying is that “there’s no denying there’s a DEEP current of anti-Americanism on the left that regards Bush’s America as a greater danger to the world than the Islamic terrorists.”

First, this is an entirely different claim (i.e. one can argue about the relative dangers of two evils without in any way endorsing the less dangerous one). Secondly, I’m not at all sure that even this is entirely a fair characterization of the left, many of whom believe that Bush’s policies actually strengthen and encourage radical Islam (so it’s not really an either/or question in the first place).

So we still haven’t found our Islamofascist leftist. And perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. As Atrios, digby, and many others have pointed out, Islamic fundamentalists have much, much more in common with the right than the left.

But we have learned something in this little exercise. The root assumption that lets mw and others make this claim while ignoring the little stumbling block of the facts is the strictly manichaean way they view the world. If you are not in lockstep support of the Bush administration, you are with the enemy. Opposition to Bush = support for Islamic fundamentalism. That’s really all there is to their “argument.”

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abb1 02.12.05 at 8:06 pm

But there’s no denying there’s a DEEP current of anti-Americanism on the left that regards Bush’s America as a greater danger to the world than the Islamic terrorists.

That Bush’s America as a greater danger to the world (indeed, the greatest danger) than the Islamic terrorists is the most obvious and commonly accepted opinon in the world. And who if not the World should know what’s the greatest danger to the World?

Michael Moore’s idyllic picture-postcard images of pre-war Iraq

It sure was idyllic compare to what it is now; so what’s the problem with Moore’s images? If a place is not perfect you have a right to bomb it into the stone age – is that it?

113

Maureen Hay 02.12.05 at 8:09 pm

Didn’t you know? They don’t call the authorities because the FBI and Interpol are in on the conspiracy.

114

Don Quijote 02.12.05 at 8:09 pm

Hmm, I’ve been called a Nazi and racist by leftists for a decade. I’m not feeling your pain much.

That’s ok!!! you’ll get over it!!!

I h’ve been called unAmerican, AntiAmerican & a traitor despite having served 4 years in the Corps by shit-heads who have never worn a uniform in their lives & who can’t wait to send other people’s kids to war!

But there’s no denying there’s a DEEP current of anti-Americanism on the left that regards Bush’s America as a greater danger to the world than the Islamic terrorists.

On a really bad day if every thing goes their way the average Terrorist Organization can kill a few thousand people, on a bad day Shrub can turn this planet into a radio active lump of stone orbiting an unimportant star at the edge of a not particularly noticeable galaxy.

115

x 02.12.05 at 8:10 pm

We have leftists on American college campuses embracing Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Dear me. What is the world coming to. Maybe college fees should be raised so students wouldn’t have all that extra money to pour into jihadi training and recruiting. They’re financing more “freedom” fighters than the CIA ever did. Honestly. The government has to do something about that. If only for the sake of historical reputation. The CIA outsmarted by _students_, for gosh’s sake. It has to stop.

Just out of curiosity: how do that other notoriously traitorous bunch bent on destroying real American values, the GLBT people, fare in respect to their leftist credentals these days? How do they manage to be for gay marriage and bin Laden at the same time? It must take some talent.

But there’s no denying there’s a DEEP current of anti-Americanism on the left that regards Bush’s America as a greater danger to the world than the Islamic terrorists.

True. I guess that wacky belief that the danger may come from both those items at the same time my have some basis in the perception that Bush’s America’s policies have helped to create more terrorists than the world ever remembers. But that perception is totally unsupported, of course. Just another of those crazy stories leftists make up to justify their hatred.

Hate is all they have because their great hero, Stalin, is gone. Che Guevara is dead. Castro isn’t looking very healthy either. Michael Moore is fat and rich. And those stalinist Democrat candidates keep losing elections. Have some pity on the poor bastards.

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Brian C.B. 02.12.05 at 8:13 pm

MW: You’re grossly mis-characterizing Juan Cole’s reference to another blogger’s speculation that American interests might “astroturf” in the Iraqi blogosphere for American consumption, given the minority views certain Iraqi bloggers represented and past acts of clandestine public diplomacy by the United States. (Not to mention the recent exposure of Administration pundit-buying.) You can read the account of this smear on his own website. What Cole actually did was insufficiently reprehensible to tar liberals, so it had to be exaggerated by the Noise Machine.

Liberal objections to the Iraqi elections amount to simply not being tearfully swept away by their only having taken place. Will they result in a stable government, and an independent one, that has the backing of the Iraqi people to the point that the government can field police and military forces sufficient to monoplolize violence, yet preserve liberty? Or will they lead to civil war or, as so far in Afghanistan, a kind of tribalist criminal enterprise? Because, this isn’t the first triumphalist incident we’ve witnessed in the past two years, and some of us are kind of worried that we could spend $200 billion and thousands of lives, not a few of them American, and end up with a “Saddam Lite” or a theocracy with “the imposition of sharia, the repression of women, etc.”. (And we’ve sown Iraq with Islamist suicide bombings on the way.) We want results, not genuine televised, heartfelt sentiments at Iraqi polling stations that are later disappointed, or nearly-staged moments of televised Iraqi gratitude in the SotU gallery.

As for Palestine, we want an enfranchised Palestinian people living independently alongside a Jewish republic, or we want a single, larger non-ethnic state uniting Israeli Arabs (including the Palestinians) and Jews in its governance. The general Left no more supports Islamic Jihad’s rocket attacks than the general Right supports Israeli soldiers killing Palestinian schoolgirls. Hard for me to see this desire as either anti-American or anti-democratic, but then, I’m not killing time before the Rapture.

If there’s a deep current of anti-Americanism on the Left, I neither see it here or anywhere. What we demonstrate is a refusal to drink deeply of the Flav-r-Aid that is being poured out by the national greatness crowd, or to acknowledge that Bush is somehow supernaturally ordained as our Generational Leader and to be granted extralegal authority. Indeed, it’s our unwillingness to redefine Americanism away from a love for our historic rule of law, our eagerness to lead by example, for transparency and accountability in government, and into some kind of providential, nationalistic imperialism riding on a cult of personality that the Right finds most infuriating.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.12.05 at 8:44 pm

I know it’s nice to mock these fools, and it is REALLY good title, but let’s not shilly-shally about it: there’s part of us that would like American governmental power to be given a bloody nose. That’s not the same as supporting the agenda of the people who might give it a bloody nose, and it’s not the only thing we care about – all the stuff Radical Islam is against, we’re pretty much for, for example – but we do think that one of the ways to stop America from running round the world, invading places, f*cking them up and exploiting their resources is by people making it difficult for them to do that.

If Americans can’t understand this perspective, try this as an analogy: how did you feel during the eighties when you heard about the Soviet Union being given a bloody nose in Afghanistan? Assuming that, as I did, you felt a certain grim satisfaction at the thought, did that mean you supported everything the mujahadeen stood for, or just their right to fight for their freedom against an occupying empire?

I don’t support journalists getting their heads cut off. I don’t support Al Qaeda flying planes into NY skyscrapers. I don’t support the slow slide into civil war Iraq seems likely to follow.

But I don’t have any problem at all with Iraqis blowing up or shooting American soldiers engaged in occupying their country after an illegal invasion.

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Andrew Reeves 02.12.05 at 9:27 pm

Hey Phonecian, my brother is a Marine who has lost friends in Iraq, and he is himself going to be deploying there himself in a few months. I would very, very much like to see what happened if you or one of your fellow keyboard guerillas expressed those same sentiments face to face.

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Gareth Wilson 02.12.05 at 9:34 pm

“I’m not sure what her politics are. Surely acting as a defense attorney for somebody is not the same thing as endorsing their political viewpoint.”

I don’t know how I ever managed without Wikipedia. Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Stewart
Acting as a defense attorney is fine. What she did wasn’t, and the flurry of liberal groups sticking up for her right to organise terrorism is shameful.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.12.05 at 9:35 pm

Hey Phonecian, my brother is a Marine who has lost friends in Iraq, and he is himself going to be deploying there himself in a few months. I would very, very much like to see what happened if you or one of your fellow keyboard guerillas expressed those same sentiments face to face.

Thank you for that well-reasoned and rational response to my analogy. As I understand it, the Soviet veterans of the Afghani adventure were a bit upset with people condemning the war when they got home, too.

Which, I guess, made Russian occupation of Afghanistan okay, right?

Try harder, Andrew. I’m not an American; explain to me what the moral difference between the two situations is, rather than blustering about your brother being able to kick my ass.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.12.05 at 9:39 pm

Hey Phonecian, my brother is a Marine who has lost friends in Iraq, and he is himself going to be deploying there himself in a few months. I would very, very much like to see what happened if you or one of your fellow keyboard guerillas expressed those same sentiments face to face.

Thank you for that well-reasoned and rational response to my analogy. As I understand it, the Soviet veterans of the Afghani adventure were a bit upset with people condemning the war when they got home, too.

Which, I guess, made Russian occupation of Afghanistan okay, right?

Try harder, Andrew. I’m not an American; explain to me what the moral difference between the two situations is, rather than blustering about your brother being able to kick my ass.

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Andrew Reeves 02.12.05 at 9:43 pm

If you honestly cannot figure out the difference between the U.S. in Iraq and the U.S.S.R. in Afghanistan, then there is really no way to have a conversation with you. So by all means, sit there cheering on each bombing from the comfort and safety of your living room feeling smugly superior to the evil Americans.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.12.05 at 9:46 pm

If you honestly cannot figure out the difference between the U.S. in Iraq and the U.S.S.R. in Afghanistan, then there is really no way to have a conversation with you.

Explain it to us in the rest of the world, Andrew. Huffing and blustering do not an argument make.

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mw 02.12.05 at 9:46 pm

If Americans can’t understand this perspective, try this as an analogy: how did you feel during the eighties when you heard about the Soviet Union being given a bloody nose in Afghanistan? Assuming that, as I did, you felt a certain grim satisfaction at the thought, did that mean you supported everything the mujahadeen stood for, or just their right to fight for their freedom against an occupying empire?

That is EXACTLY the problem–those on the left see the two situations as analogous. They see an equivalence between the gulag-building, show-trialing, totalitarian Soviet Union and the United States. That, in a nutshell, is IT. Thank you.

If you’ll recall, the Soviet Union did not invade countries in order to set up democratic regimes and withdraw (as the U.S. did in Japan and western Europe after WWII). Instead, the U.S.S.R. invaded to set up client states and re-invaded them periodically as necessary when they started to get too liberal and democratic (first East Germany, then Hungary, Czeslovakia, and Poland). Remember the Iron Curtain? Remember how they used to shoot people who tried to ‘escape’ from their own coutries?

So no I don’t see Afghanistan in the 80′s and Iraq in the 00′s as analogous because *I* see fundamental differences in the nature of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. and their goals in the world?

Those on the left? Some do. Peter Beinart definitely does, for example. But many clearly just don’t.

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mw 02.12.05 at 9:48 pm

If Americans can’t understand this perspective, try this as an analogy: how did you feel during the eighties when you heard about the Soviet Union being given a bloody nose in Afghanistan? Assuming that, as I did, you felt a certain grim satisfaction at the thought, did that mean you supported everything the mujahadeen stood for, or just their right to fight for their freedom against an occupying empire?

That is EXACTLY the problem–those on the left see the two situations as analogous. They see an equivalence between the gulag-building, show-trialing, totalitarian Soviet Union and the United States. That, in a nutshell, is IT. Thank you.

If you’ll recall, the Soviet Union did not invade countries in order to set up democratic regimes and withdraw (as the U.S. did in Japan and western Europe after WWII). Instead, the U.S.S.R. invaded to set up client states and re-invaded them periodically as necessary when they started to get too liberal and democratic (first East Germany, then Hungary, Czeslovakia, and Poland). Remember the Iron Curtain? Remember how they used to shoot people who tried to ‘escape’ from their own coutries?

So no I don’t see Afghanistan in the 80′s and Iraq in the 00′s as analogous because *I* see fundamental differences in the nature of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. and their goals in the world?

Those on the left? Some do. Peter Beinart definitely does, for example. But many clearly just don’t.

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Ben Alpers 02.12.05 at 9:48 pm

In response to my denial that Lynne Stewart is our elusive leftwing supporter of Islamic fundamentalism, Gareth Wilson writes:

“I don’t know how I ever managed without Wikipedia. Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Stewart
Acting as a defense attorney is fine. What she did wasn’t, and the flurry of liberal groups sticking up for her right to organise terrorism is shameful.”

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about the Stewart case (I already have admitted as much). But here’s how the Wikipedia article that Gareth linked to describes the position of Stewart’s supporters:

“Supporters of Stewart alleged that the Government was charging her for her defense and speech for the rights of her client. They believed that Stewart’s efforts to release communications from her client were part of an appropriate defense method of trying to gain public awareness and support. They also expressed alarm that wiretraps and hidden cameras authorized by the Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Act had been used by the Government in order to gather evidence against Stewart, which they called a violation of attorney-client privilege. Some of Stewart’s supporters have included the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, who both filed amicus briefs in support of Stewart. They expressed fear that the prosecution for zealous defense tactics could cause attorneys to become fearful of defending alleged terrorists and deprive individuals of their constitutional right to due process.”

I don’t see any support for radical Islam in any of that. There are all kinds of arguments one might make against this defense, but the argument is simply not at all on the correctness of Stewart’s clients’ political views, let alone their terrorist tactics.

Nor is there anywhere in this Wiki article any suggestion that Stewart — who is significantly more politically radical than many of her supporters in this — herself shares her clients’ politics. The legal claim against her is that she violated an agreement with prosecutors not to “use [their] meetings, correspondence, or phone calls with Abdel Rahman to pass messages between third parties (including, but not limited to, the media) and Abdel Rahman.” She was convicted of violating these rules. Even if she did violate these rules, and even if these rules were constitutional, there’s no reason to think that she did so out of political sympathy rather than a desire to win her clients’ case.

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Ben Alpers 02.12.05 at 9:53 pm

If you’ll recall, the Soviet Union did not invade countries in order to set up democratic regimes and withdraw (as the U.S. did in Japan and western Europe after WWII).

IIRC, we invaded Japan because they attacked us, and Germany because they declared war on us. If this had been a grand crusade for democracy, we would never have allied with the USSR. And, FWIW, we still haven’t entirely withdrawn our troops from either Germany or Japan.

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Duane 02.12.05 at 9:53 pm

I love it when people like Jonah Goldberg bemoan being called a “maroon” by Juan Cole and in the process proves he is a “moron” by not knowing how to spell the word that best describes him.

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Andrew Reeves 02.12.05 at 10:01 pm

Bluster? I’m not the one showing solidarity with Ba’athist insurgents in complete and safety in the manner of a left-wing Adam Yoshida. If you realy cared about fighting the evil Americans there are various orginizations around the world that would be more than happy to accept new membership.

Let’s imagine, though, that you seriously cannot tell the differences between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Where would you like to start? It’s a fairly broad field.

For starters, though, I rather suspect that the Soviet occupation authorities did not give in when Afghan religious leadership asked for things. Though who knows, perhaps there is record of Afghanistan’s religious establishment insisting on elections and the Soviets acquiescing. I also have a feeling (though I could be wrong) that the resistance to the Soviet occupation did not involve a minority of the population of the country that wanted to make sure that it kept rule against the majority of its population.

I also have the suspicion that you know nothing about how the U.S. military works and operates and until you do you ought not to bluster about matters in which you are ignorant.

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mw 02.12.05 at 10:06 pm

IIRC, we invaded Japan because they attacked us, and Germany because they declared war on us. If this had been a grand crusade for democracy, we would never have allied with the USSR. And, FWIW, we still haven’t entirely withdrawn our troops from either Germany or Japan.

You know, I’m not going to try to convince you that there’s a fundamental difference between the remaining U.S. forces in Germany and Japan and, say, the Soviet forces in Czechoslovakia in 1968 or in eastern Europe generally until 1989. The point is that YOU don’t see the difference (or don’t see a great difference). If that’s still your worldview at this point, I really don’t see a lot of hope for the power of persuasion.

But surely you must have some inkling why people who *don’t* share your viewpoint find it so profoundly offensive? Or can’t you see that either?

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Assamite 02.12.05 at 10:12 pm

He’s not called “O’TOOLe” for nothing.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.12.05 at 10:12 pm

That is EXACTLY the problem—those on the left see the two situations as analogous. They see an equivalence between the gulag-building, show-trialing, totalitarian Soviet Union and the United States. That, in a nutshell, is IT. Thank you.

Gulag-building – check.

Show-trialing – check.

Totalitarian – getting there.

And, mw, you may recall we are talking about Iraq in 2005, not Japan in 1945. You didn’t invade Iraq “to promote democracy” – that became the excuse post facto.

And I’m not an American, I wasn’t bought up to consider the US to be God, the USMC to be the Holy Ghost, or whatever idiot is in the White House to be Jesus Christ Almighty. Arguments about how good Americans think themselves to be, how great apple pie is, or how fluffy little puppy dogs are really neat simply don’t impress me.

It’s a simple task, despite all of Andrews huffing and blustering. Explain to me, as a resident of a liberal democracy outside the US, exactly what the moral differences between the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the US occupation of Iraq are.

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Andrew Reeves 02.12.05 at 10:26 pm

Hmm, I must have missed that whole thing Soviet Union having an independent judiciary that could strike down government policies. Ah well, I was young in the 80′s. I also seem to have missed the U.S.S.R. deferring to the wishes of the majority religious establishment in Afghanistan. I also seem to have missed Pravda’s in depth reporting on abuses by Soviet troops. I think I also missed that time when the U.S.S.R. worked to form a representative government in Afghanistan.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.12.05 at 10:29 pm

Though who knows, perhaps there is record of Afghanistan’s religious establishment insisting on elections and the Soviets acquiescing.

So you’re claiming that the fact that, after it invaded, the US faces operational constraints forcing it to bow to Iraqi demands in order to reduce resistance makes the actual invasion and occupation morally justified? If the US could have gotten away with ignoring Sistani, it would have.

I also have a feeling (though I could be wrong) that the resistance to the Soviet occupation did not involve a minority of the population of the country that wanted to make sure that it kept rule against the majority of its population.

Uh-huh.

“An earlier Iraqi estimate put the number at 40,000 fighters and 200,000 supporters. I personally suspect that estimate is closer to the truth. Except that I think the difference between a fighter and a supporter is fluid. Iraq has large numbers of battle-hardened veterans from the 8 years of the Iran-Iraq War and from the Gulf War. The Baath remnants can pick them back up when the Americans anger them and put them to work in guerrilla operations. The Baath remnants also know where the 250,000 tons of missing munitions are, and can supply these to downstream cells.”

“So I fear I think the US military is just being highly optimistic with these figures. The evidence from the recent Zogby poll is that 52 percent of Sunni Arabs say that attacking US personnel and facilities is justified. I’d say that comes to over 2.5 million supporters, and those are the ones who will openly admit it to a pollster.”

And as for the Shi’ites

“Actually, the election results are not likely to enhance American influence over Iraq. According to the reliable Arab-run polling firm, Zogby International, more than two-thirds of Iraq’s Shi’ites want US forces out of Iraq either immediately or once the elected government is in place”

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.12.05 at 10:36 pm

Hmm, I must have missed that whole thing Soviet Union having an independent judiciary that could strike down government policies. Ah well, I was young in the 80’s. I also seem to have missed the U.S.S.R. deferring to the wishes of the majority religious establishment in Afghanistan. I also seem to have missed Pravda’s in depth reporting on abuses by Soviet troops. I think I also missed that time when the U.S.S.R. worked to form a representative government in Afghanistan.

Would you care to lay this out for us in a statement following the form of “The moral difference(s) between the Soviet Union choosing to invade and occupy Afghanistan in the eighties and the US choosing to invade and occupy Iraq in 2003 is(are)…”?

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Andrew Reeves 02.12.05 at 10:50 pm

Well, Phonecian, even if we accept the very upward estimate of 200,000, I’d say that 200,000 out of twenty five million represents a distinct minority, somewhere along the lines of .8% of the population. Or let’s go with 2.5 out of 25 million. That leaves us with ten percent of the population. So yes, I would in fact say that this represents a minority of Iraqis trying to impose its rule on the majority. Though perhaps my arithmatic is wrong.

“So you’re claiming that the fact that, after it invaded, the US faces operational constraints forcing it to bow to Iraqi demands in order to reduce resistance makes the actual invasion and occupation morally justified?”

Oh, well, shit. You got me there. Except, of course, that that’s not what I said. Read what I wrote. Totalitarian dictatorships generally don’t bow to the demands of a countries religious leadership; they generally do things like try to terrorize them into submission. Strangely, though, the only people from whom Sistani has been in any danger have been Sadr’s faction and the Ba’athists.

Nor am I arguing that the U.S. will gain increased influence in Iraq with a Shi’ite government.

I am, though, arguing that the U.S. is in fact morally superior to the U.S.S.R.

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Andrew Reeves 02.12.05 at 10:52 pm

Well, Phonecian, even if we accept the very upward estimate of 200,000, I’d say that 200,000 out of twenty five million represents a distinct minority, somewhere along the lines of .8% of the population. Or let’s go with 2.5 out of 25 million. That leaves us with ten percent of the population. So yes, I would in fact say that this represents a minority of Iraqis trying to impose its rule on the majority. Though perhaps my arithmatic is wrong.

“So you’re claiming that the fact that, after it invaded, the US faces operational constraints forcing it to bow to Iraqi demands in order to reduce resistance makes the actual invasion and occupation morally justified?”

Oh, well, shit. You got me there. Except, of course, that that’s not what I said. Read what I wrote. Totalitarian dictatorships generally don’t bow to the demands of a countries religious leadership; they generally do things like try to terrorize them into submission. Strangely, though, the only people from whom Sistani has been in any danger have been Sadr’s faction and the Ba’athists.

Nor am I arguing that the U.S. will gain increased influence in Iraq with a Shi’ite government.

I am, though, arguing that the U.S. is in fact morally superior to the U.S.S.R.

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Ben Alpers 02.12.05 at 10:58 pm

You know, I’m not going to try to convince you that there’s a fundamental difference between the remaining U.S. forces in Germany and Japan and, say, the Soviet forces in Czechoslovakia in 1968 or in eastern Europe generally until 1989. The point is that YOU don’t see the difference (or don’t see a great difference). If that’s still your worldview at this point, I really don’t see a lot of hope for the power of persuasion.

mw, I disagreed with your description of the U.S. in WWII, and after WWII, in relationship to Japan and Germany. What makes you automatically assume that I also disagree with you characterization of the USSR during and after WWII in Eastern Europe? And how can you assume that I am in any way drawing an equivalence between the US in Germany and Japan, and the USSR in Czechoslovakia?

All I said was that the US did not go to war with Germany and Japan because they wanted to impose democracy; the US went to war because it was attacked. And the troops did not withdraw, as you suggested they did. Just because one insists on the facts, and is willing to criticize the US (though I’m not sure that I even did that in this case), doesn’t lead to some sort of slippery slope of equivalence to any other regime that one might criticize. Stop putting words in my mouth, and stop assuming that you know what I — or “the left” — think about the USSR, or anything else for that matter, without solid evidence that we think that way.

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mw 02.12.05 at 10:59 pm

MW: You’re grossly mis-characterizing Juan Cole’s reference to another blogger’s speculation that American interests might “astroturf” in the Iraqi blogosphere for American consumption, given the minority views certain Iraqi bloggers represented and past acts of clandestine public diplomacy by the United States.

I don’t think I’m grossly mischaracterizing Juan Cole. He did not speculate *in general* about the possibility of astroturfing, rather he republished a speculation about a *particular* group of Iraqi bloggers being CIA plants–which speculation could rather easily have put their lives at risk. Further, these weren’t any old liberal Iraqi bloggers, but ones who’d busted Cole’s chops about Iraqi history (with respect to the role of Falluja in an earlier uprising against the British). The point isn’t who was right about the history but that this had the appearance of retaliation for challenging Cole’s expertise.

BUT…my goal is not to debate Cole vs the Iraqi bloggers or any of the other points, because that’s not what the thread is about. What the thread is about is *perceptions* of the left’s positions. The right-wing (or rather libertarian) bloggers viewed the Cole vs Iraqi blogger situation as I’ve outlined it and that is why they were outraged. That is an example of why they see the left as they do.

You must see how the brother of a marine in Iraq would view somebody who said they had no problem with Iraqi insurgents blowing up Marines with roadside bombs. To the brother, assuming that the person is an American, the word ‘treasonous’ does not seem out of bounds, does it? And if not an American, ‘enemy’ seems about right, no? I mean seriously–how could he reach any other conclusion?

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Andrew Reeves 02.12.05 at 11:08 pm

I’m going to make one last comment and then leave Phonecian to his fantasies of killing U.S. troops. The U.S. invaded Iraq with several goals in mind, viz., to remove a regime that was hostile to the United States of America, to show the Islamic world that the U.S. was not afraid to engage in military action, and to establish a government in Iraq that was more or less consistent with accepted international norms of human rights and friendly to the U.S., though not necessarily in that order.

That the part of that goal was to bring a regime that allowed various freedoms previously not experienced by the Iraqis marks a very large difference between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. The Soviet Union had no plans to install a government responsive to the people of Afghanistan.

One can argue about the good of the invasion (and the general consensus among troops who have been to Iraq is that it’s going to be all but impossible to ever unfuck the country), and whether or not it was justified. But when you start talking about Americans as agents of an evil regime bent on conquest, you are engaging in idiot fantasizing.

On a final note: I am pretty sure that most European and American leftists do not enjoy the thought of Americans dying. I think that in general the posters and the commentators at CT for the most part believe that the Republican party has some severely fucked up ideas about what is good for the U.S. and world in general, but also desire good for the U.S. and world in general. Would be bomb-throwers like the “Phonecian,” though, are worthy of nothing but contempt.

Done.

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Justin 02.12.05 at 11:15 pm

Having met Lynne Stewart, let me tell you that

a) She’s a hippy
b) She’s athiest or agnostic
c) She finds the political positions that radical islamists take abhorrent
d) She does what she does because she has an almost religious value on civil liberties, not because she’s a supporter of her MANY clients’ causes.

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mw 02.12.05 at 11:17 pm

It’s a simple task, despite all of Andrews huffing and blustering. Explain to me, as a resident of a liberal democracy outside the US, exactly what the moral differences between the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the US occupation of Iraq are.

Explaining would be simple, but not necessarily short and would be a complete waste of time–as I am sure it would make no dent at all.

But that’s not the point. The point is that GIVEN you believe tha the US already has the equivalent of Soviet gulags and Soviet show-trials and is well on the way to Soviet style totalitarianism — can it be any mystery to why leftists such as yourself are perceived and portrayed as they are by those holding opposing views?

Such differences, after all, are not minor differences of opinion between ‘friends’. And I find it strange that people here should be shocked to find those on the right villifying them. To the brother of the marine, your viewpoint is villainous (just as to you, the Marine’s mission is sufficiently evil that you would be glad to see him dead). So why would anybody expect polite criticism between the two camps here?

As it happens, despite living in a deep blue U.S. college town that went about 85% for Kerry, my barber was recently called back to serve. He got there just in time to help provide security for the elections. I think it is an incredibly important and worthwhile job. Anybody who thinks the opposite–that it would be have been a good thing for him to have been blown up while he’s was doing that…well that person is–objectively–his enemy (and mine, too, given that I support what he’s doing).

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Jerry 02.12.05 at 11:28 pm

Justin up there appears to have been conned by Lynne Stewart, if the transcript of the tape recordings the prosecution introduced in her trial are to believed. Hippy, atheist (note the spelling, Justin)and whatever other pose she adopted when you two met, you fell for it. That makes you a sucker. I have some waterfront property suitable for development I’d like to show you.

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Ben Alpers 02.12.05 at 11:33 pm

The U.S. invaded Iraq with several goals in mind, viz., to remove a regime that was hostile to the United States of America, to show the Islamic world that the U.S. was not afraid to engage in military action, and to establish a government in Iraq that was more or less consistent with accepted international norms of human rights and friendly to the U.S., though not necessarily in that order.

There seems to be one item missing from that list…WMDs.

Was this not the principal US goal? And if it wasn’t, how do justify nine months of lying to the American public and the world by the Bush administration (which is what it must have been had disarming Saddam not been the principal — or even the only — goal of the invasion)?

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rob 02.13.05 at 12:04 am

mw,

I am clearly not engaged in some macchiavellian cozying up to Radical Islam. The first post might not have been as clear as it might have been about that, but the second post was up by the time you wrote your comments, and I quite clearly differentiate between support, and thinking there is one thing which might be regarded as having some good effects. If saying

In the huge majority of cases, that’s nothing like the be-all-and-end-all

that consideration is vastly outweighed by the horror of violence against anyone

Obviously, blowing innocent people up is wrong: it’s wrong when Americans do it, and it’s wrong when Iraqis do it

all the stuff Radical Islam is against, we’re pretty much for, for example

doesn’t convince you of that, I’m not sure what will.

Brian,

one of the reasons I see some good effects from resistance to American power is that it stops Americans getting killed. If America – and here I’m using America as shorthand for the American government – invades Iran, as well as Iraq, for example, more Americans will die. More non-Americans will die. The cause of Radical Islam will likely be strengthened. All of those things are bad. Ergo, not invading Iran is good.

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Lee Kane 02.13.05 at 12:14 am

Ted – There is a difference between “helping” and “rooting” I don’t think Instapundit or any sane pro-war writer is saying the left is “helping” with arms, material, intelligence, etc., terrorists–but many in the left are rooting for the terrorists to win, especially in Iraq. They want a chastised America and, ulimtately, perhaps, a reduced America. I do think also some on the left seek to help the terrorists by advocating for them in areas of public debate, by calling them “insurgents” by moral equivalance and a host of other rhetorical devices designed to maximize America’s “wrongness” and minimize that of everyone else…

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Uncle Kvetch 02.13.05 at 12:30 am

BUT…my goal is not to debate Cole vs the Iraqi bloggers or any of the other points, because that’s not what the thread is about. What the thread is about is perceptions of the left’s positions.

Put another way: It’s not what you people on The Left actually say or do that matters; it’s what we think about what you say and do that matters!

Obviously, blowing innocent people up is wrong: it’s wrong when Americans do it, and it’s wrong when Iraqis do it

Thank you, Rob. That needed saying, incredibly enough.

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Boronx 02.13.05 at 12:44 am

The U.S. invaded Iraq with several goals in mind, viz., to remove a regime that was hostile to the United States of America,

When did Saddam ever show any indication of attacking the US?

to show the Islamic world that the U.S. was not afraid to engage in military action,

This is a ridiculous justification for war, and doubly so since not many doubt America’s willingness to go to war.

and to establish a government in Iraq that was more or less consistent with accepted international norms of human rights and

In a fantasy land where US military action doesn’t lead to mass murder of innocent civlians, and Saddam’s army wasn’t largely made up of conscripts, this would be a cause for war.

friendly to the U.S.

Now we’re talking. This is probably Bush’s reason for tricking America into invading, but it is demonstrably not the reason America invaded.

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Don Quijote 02.13.05 at 12:51 am

I am, though, arguing that the U.S. is in fact morally superior to the U.S.S.R.

You have set a really low bar for yourself, and I would not be to sure of that.

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la 02.13.05 at 12:56 am

The US should get there troops out of Europe and force the EU to start defending themselves. Once they have to start paying their own way, and fighting on their own, I am sure that they won’t be so self righteous.

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Don Quijote 02.13.05 at 1:13 am

The US should get there troops out of Europe and force the EU to start defending themselves.

Against whom?

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abb1 02.13.05 at 1:33 am

I am, though, arguing that the U.S. is in fact morally superior to the U.S.S.R.

The US is a country of 300 million people. The USSR was also a country of almost 300 million people.

If you really think (and I don’t doubt that you do) that US morally superior to USSR, you’re are nothing but a chauvinist pig.

But if what you mean is that the current US leader is morally superior to the last leader of the USSR – Michael Gorbachev – then you’re only an idiot.

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Cecrops Tangaroa 02.13.05 at 1:42 am

Lee, the term “insurgents” comes from the military via press briefings and TV, so there’s nothing anti-US about it. Other neutral terms are rebels, guerrillas, militants, militiamen, fighters, or nationalists. Terms which would advocate for them include patriots, minutemen, freedom fighters, and so on, and I haven’t seen anyone use these terms except as an ironic parody of slanted government propaganda like “anti-Iraq fighters” and “homicide bombers”. Further, while a large chunk of the insurgents are terrorists, many are not. Anyone targeting only soldiers in a combat zone is by definition not a terrorist, so the term “terrorist” cannot accurately be applied to all of the insurgents, just the groups targeting civilians.

Also, most left-of-center people don’t want the terrorists to win any more than right-of-center people do. I don’t see people “rooting for the terrorists to win”, I see them lamenting that the terrorists are winning and grumbling that their government is telling them everything’s okay and not fixing its policy mistakes. I’ve read a lot of liberal blogs and I think I’ve seen a grand total of one post in a major blog in support of terrorism.

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Chris Sandvick 02.13.05 at 1:47 am

Watching lefties like Alpers and Phoenician equivocate the US with the Soviet Union while not noticing they just proved Reynolds point is just delicious.

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Chris Sandvick 02.13.05 at 1:54 am

cecrops:
You don’t see people rooting for the terrorists to win? Scroll up, and read Phoenician’s posts.

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Brian C.B. 02.13.05 at 2:05 am

Regarding Iraq, I have no truck with anyone who would cheerlead the death of an American, or an Iraqi who is not trying to kill that soldier or another Iraqi, for that matter. I know no American liberal who does.

I do recall, in the matter of cheerleading for sudden death, Fox News showing, in 2003, a video of bombs striking downtown Baghdad at night, set to the finale from “The 1812 Overture”, as though it was summer concert in the park, as though no one was actually underneath those bombs. Well, no one for whom, in the judgement of the American to which Fox plays, the time hadn’t righteously come. I was appalled then, and I am now, and I’ll advance this idea: It’s this kind of nationalist revel that makes non-Americans (See “Phoenecian”, above) divine the outlines of the post-war USSR in the USA. We’re not as cruel as it was, not by a long shot. Not yet, but we’re not quite as scared of a repeat of the kind of national trauma that was 22 June 1941 as was Stalin in 1945. Yet. We’re not as destitute or isolated as the USSR of 1980. Yet. But we’ve also just conquered a nation that demonstrably posed only the feeblest threat to the United States, supposedly motivated by an attack that came from a country and individuals with no connection to it. We’re also building permanent military bases in Iraq, and we’ve demanded that the Status of Forces Agreement negotiated with the “sovereign” Iraqi administration be ratified if only a majority, not a supermajority, of the Iraqi assembly agrees. (This matter was the major sticking point in transfer negotiations last June, according to Larry Diamond.) We’ve not treated Iraqi oil revenues with transparency. We’ve not established security for ordinary Iraqis, while we’ve done much better keeping Americans safe in Iraq–such safety as can be had. We’ve tossed aside legal and humanitarian conventions in the treatment of an occupied people, where it’s suited us. We’ve gone and greased our slide into grasping colonialist power pretty well, even if we’re not at the bottom. Yet.

Speaking of cheerleading, which brings to mind human pyramids, I often wonder whether those who loudly minimized Abu Ghraib, and officially-approved extralegal treatment of non-Americans, here, say on the radio airwaves, considered the deleterious effect that sadism had on the mission of Americans in Iraq. I don’t think those were liberals.

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Walt Pohl 02.13.05 at 2:11 am

There are outrageously stupid left-wingers out there. They’re almost never on Crooked Timber, but for some reason they’ve shown up today. It’s a big planet, so you can always find crazies. (My personal favorite is the Young Spartacist League, who denounces Noam Chomsky as a tool of the capitalist ruling class.)

Now I realize that for most of the right, all they care about is standing up to their imaginary enemy, “the left”, since their real enemy, the terrorists, are half away around the world. (Besides, the real enemy uses guns and bombs, while the most the imaginary enemy ever uses is dumb web posts.) I encourage all such right-wingers to mosey on over to the Young Spartacist League’s website and have at it.

But on the off-chance that anyone reading cares what the real left thinks, you know, the people who almost elected John Kerry President, here goes: We’re against George Bush’s foreign policy because it’s based on lies, because it involves a prodigious expenditure of blood and treasure for impossible goals, because it is undermining the struggle against Islamic extremism, and because it is leading us towards disaster. Many more years of George Bush’s policies, and we will have a broken army, a bankrupt government, and Islamism triumphant throughout the Middle East.

George Bush, through negligence, allowed 9/11 to happen. George Bush, through incompetence, has mired us in a unwinnable war that has unleashed fundamentalism in a formerly secular country and created a gigantic new haven and training ground for terrorists. George Bush, through malevolence, has smashed the financial underpinnings of America.

I am against George Bush not because I want the United States to be reduced to a second-rate power, but because I do not. We are already weaker than we were in 1999. Four years from now we will be weaker still. I only hope to God that by then we will be able to reverse the slide.

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Marc 02.13.05 at 2:42 am

The Bush presidency has been a catastrophe for the country, with deep and long-lasting harm on many levels. The wingers crowing in an attempt to score points are utterly oblivious to the clear evidence in this thread of one of the worst aspects: much of the rest of the world has lost its respect for America.

It may appear to be automatically true to the US right-wing that we are the shining city on the hill. Thanks to George Bush and his followers, the image of the US instead for many people in the world is that of a colonial occupier and torture state.
I thus view opposition to Bush as a deeply patriotic and moral matter.

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MQ 02.13.05 at 2:48 am

Look, imperialism is imperialism. The imperialist nation feels entitled to violate other countries sovereignty in the name of the imperialist’s professed national ideals. Both the USSR in Afghanistan and now the US in Iraq behaved as imperialists. Both professed noble national ideals. A difference between the U.S. and the USSR is that *in its own territory* the U.S. does a much better job of living up to those ideals than the USSR did. But overseas we have only a sketchy and spotty record of genuinely respecting the rights of citizens in other nations. This is not too surprising, since imperialism by its nature tends to erode liberal and democratic traditions. Our founders saw this danger. We should pay attention to it too. Thanks to our history, we have stronger democratic and liberal institutions than the USSR did. But we will corrupt those institutions by ruling over foreign nations in service to our interests, not theirs.

The right wants us to believe that we can be beneficent imperialists. And honestly there are a few cases where the U.S. pulled that off — mostly because the nations we occupied genuinely supported our presence to protect them against the soviets, who were more alien to their traditions than we were. But that is not the case in the middle east.

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Cecrops Tangaroa 02.13.05 at 3:15 am

Chris, go read Phoenician’s posts yourself, especially where he/she/it explicitly denounces terrorism while expressing neutrality at combat between Iraqi rebels and US soldiers. Being “not an American”, Phoenician has no duty to support US troops over their enemies. You also ought to re-read Alpers’s posts since nowhere in any of them does he equivocate the US with the USSR.

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Ben Alpers 02.13.05 at 4:36 am

Thanks, cecrops. Not only do I not happen to equate the US and the USSR in any of my posts, I utterly reject any equation of US behavior in Germany and Japan with Soviet behavior in Czechoslovakia (which is what I’m being accused of, I believe).

What I actually did was object to a post that: 1) described the U.S. as invading Germany and Japan _in order to_ install democratic regimes, and 2) claimed that we withdrew our troops after we did so.

In fact, neither of these things is the case. We actually invaded Japan and Germany principally because the former had attacked us, and the latter had declared war on us. And our troops have never entirely left either of these countries. Saying this does not in any way equate U.S. behavior in Germany and Japan with Soviet behavior in Eastern Europe, nor was it intended to do so. And I’m honestly surprised and puzzled that people persist in reading it this way.

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AlanDownunder 02.13.05 at 4:52 am

It doesn’t help that so many people insist their own side’s ranters are not nearly so extreme as the other side’s.

That’s what the mainstream media thinks. That’s why ‘balanced reporting’ is often halfway between sense and nonsense. All the White House has to do is spruik 100% nonsense and the USA gets to act 50% brain damaged — on issues of the White House’s choosing.

It gets even worse when Democrats and “liberal commentators” talk 20% nonsense just to be perceived by “reasonable” people as “credible”.

There is an Axis of Stupidity made up of nations where the big lie works. Under Bush, the USA has joined it.

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AlanDownunder 02.13.05 at 4:53 am

It doesn’t help that so many people insist their own side’s ranters are not nearly so extreme as the other side’s.

That’s what the mainstream media thinks. That’s why ‘balanced reporting’ is often halfway between sense and nonsense. All the White House has to do is spruik 100% nonsense and the USA gets to act 50% brain damaged — on issues of the White House’s choosing.

It gets even worse when Democrats and “liberal commentators” talk 20% nonsense just to be perceived by “reasonable” people as “credible”.

There is an Axis of Stupidity made up of nations where the big lie works. Under Bush, the USA has joined it.

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Ben Alpers 02.13.05 at 4:54 am

I meant to add to my last post: All this talk about WWII might seem desparately off topic, but in fact, it’s very illuminating.

The fact that what I’ve written above has been aggressively misread to suggest that I believe there’s an equivalence between US postwar behavior in Japan and Soviet postwar behavior in Czechoslokia speaks volumes about how the right ended up claiming that we on the left all support Islamic fundamentalism.

Somehow, a short statement that in no way, shape or form indicated a belief in the purported equivalence (an equivalence that, for the third time, I utterly reject, on the off chance that this is simply an honest misunderstanding) was simply assumed to argue for the equivalence.

What remains unclear to me is whether those who persist in claiming that I am suggesting such an equivalence: 1) honestly misunderstood me (in which case I’ll happily accept their apology, and we can all move on); 2) are arguing in bad faith; 3) assume that I, as a lefty, am arguing in bad faith, so I must _really_ believe that the US was just as bad as the USSR, even if I repeatedly deny it; or 4) something else that I’m just not thinking of at the moment.

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apostropher 02.13.05 at 5:34 am

equivocate the US with the Soviet Union

Might want to check your dictionary there, Chris.

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Jon Koppenhoefer 02.13.05 at 6:26 am

Let’s not fool ourselves. The rightwing need radical Islam as much as vice-versa.

Otherwise, why would anybody cuddle up to Dick Cheney or Don Rumsfeld for protection?

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Jon Koppenhoefer 02.13.05 at 6:27 am

Let’s not fool ourselves. The rightwing need radical Islam as much as vice-versa.

Otherwise, why would anybody cuddle up to Dick Cheney or Don Rumsfeld for protection?

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Steve Jandreau 02.13.05 at 9:56 am

“How many on the left are making any effort to distance themselves from Ward Churchill? “

I don’t see why I have to. Until last week, I had never heard of him.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.13.05 at 10:18 am

You must see how the brother of a marine in Iraq would view somebody who said they had no problem with Iraqi insurgents blowing up Marines with roadside bombs.

Did you have a problem with the mujahadeen killing Soviets in Afghanistan in the eighties?

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.13.05 at 10:38 am

The U.S. invaded Iraq with several goals in mind

So many advanced, in fact, that any rational observer would conclude they made them up as they went along…

Interesting, however, that the US is building bloody big permanent military bases in Iraq and has done its level best to privatise the Iraqi oil industry into the hands of overseas (i.e. American) companies, though.
but many in the left are rooting for the terrorists to win, especially in Iraq.

There are terrorists in Iraq. However, we don’t necessarily assume everyone trying to kill Americans is a “terrorist”. Like it or not, many people see a certain right on the part of any people to take up arms and fight an invading army, even if that army happens to be American.

So who exactly are “the terrorists” in your comment above?

Chris, go read Phoenician’s posts yourself, especially where he/she/it explicitly denounces terrorism while expressing neutrality at combat between Iraqi rebels and US soldiers. Being “not an American”, Phoenician has no duty to support US troops over their enemies.

Thank you, CT.

Watching lefties like Alpers and Phoenician equivocate the US with the Soviet Union while not noticing they just proved Reynolds point is just delicious.

I find it fascinating, Chris, that right-wingers exhibit such an inability to actually read.

My analogy was between the US in Iraq and the USSR in Afghanistan, and in particular the view the rest of the world should have of these events. To paint that as “equivocating” the US and the USSR would get a failing mark in any freshman college essay.

The growing parallels between a “gulag-building, show-trialing, totalitarian Soviet Union” and the post-PATRIOT US are a seperate matter.

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mw 02.13.05 at 1:56 pm

You must see how the brother of a marine in Iraq would view somebody who said they had no problem with Iraqi insurgents blowing up Marines with roadside bombs.

“Did you have a problem with the mujahadeen killing Soviets in Afghanistan in the eighties?”

Yes and no. Most of the Soviet troops were draftees who wanted to be anywhere but in Afghanistan. But, on the other hand, they were fighting for not just for an unjust cause but in support of truly evil social system that had, over its 60 year life span, enslaved and murdered millions of its own citizens (and stunted the lives of all who escaped murder or imprisonment). So yes, I wanted to see the Soviet Union defeated in Afghanistan (and everywhere), but I took no pleasure in the deaths of Soviet soldiers.

But I would not have objected and acted hurt if a Soviet citizen had considered me one of the enemy–the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. *were* enemies, for good clear reasons.

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mw 02.13.05 at 2:16 pm

Look, imperialism is imperialism. The imperialist nation feels entitled to violate other countries sovereignty in the name of the imperialist’s professed national ideals. Both the USSR in Afghanistan and now the US in Iraq behaved as imperialists. Both professed noble national ideals. A difference between the U.S. and the USSR is that in its own territory the U.S. does a much better job of living up to those ideals than the USSR did. But overseas we have only a sketchy and spotty record of genuinely respecting the rights of citizens in other nations. This is not too surprising, since imperialism by its nature tends to erode liberal and democratic traditions.

Again, I don’t want to try to talk you out of this belief — I doubt I’d succeed. But try to grasp the gulf between somebody who believes what you do–that ‘imperialism is imperialism’ and that outside their own countries, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. did not behave so differently and people who believe something like the following — that the U.S. was largely responsible for defeating and freeing the world from the two worst tyrannies in history. That unlike the Soviets and unlike the European colonial powers, it has consistently shown a lack of imperial impulses by liberating occupied allies and defeating enemies, helping to set democratic governments, and then withdrawing (except in those cases where some troops remain by invitation of the democratically elected host governments–and in those cases, the U.S. forces are not involved in local politics and leave when asked–Subic Bay, for example).

Now, again, I’m not trying to persuade CT folks that this latter view is correct — only that it there is a huge gulf between it and most of the opinions expressed here…and that, therefore, strong antipathy between groups holding such opposing views is just not surprising.

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Smelling stereotypes 02.13.05 at 2:41 pm

I can’t believe the blather here, starting with Ted’s gauntlet act, “if thee know of lefists involved in terrorism, get thee to the FBI!”

And later, “who be Ward Churchill, he not be on my left!”

Are you assholes seriously auditioning for the Phil Ochs’ liberal? Cus I swear you fucks would be the first ones to turn, fist ones to rat.

Oh, dat ol time religion, love me, I’m liberal.

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rob 02.13.05 at 3:07 pm

mw,

look, the view you expressed about Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan is more or less the view I am expressing about American soldiers in Iraq. I think this is what Phoenican is saying as well, although, I’m not Phoenican, so I don’t know. I think your blindness about a lot of American foreign policy is deeply unfortunate: Vietnam as Afghanistan, Latin America as Central Europe don’t seem to me wildly implausible comparisons. However, that’s a separate argument. You seem to accept that there is something to be said for otherwise terrible actions that restrict the power of an organisation which you have independent reasons for wanting the power of restricted. That is the position I am advocating and so we don’t seem to disagree about that.

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john t 02.13.05 at 3:08 pm

Did somebody ask for just one name? Lynn Stewart,that was easy. Of course the left can’t face themselves,who can blame them,but if you think somebody in the Mideast isn’t reading U.S. news stories pull your head out of the bowl. Apart from the legal aspect[suspected or proven terrorists have the same rights as car theives]you might ponder statements from the like of Ted Kennedy. But then you might agree with them so perhaps that wouldn’t work either. I think Freud was onto something with that Thanantos gig.

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rob 02.13.05 at 3:11 pm

mw,

look, the view you expressed about Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan is more or less the view I am expressing about American soldiers in Iraq. I think this is what Phoenican is saying as well, although, I’m not Phoenican, so I don’t know. I think your blindness about a lot of American foreign policy is deeply unfortunate: Vietnam as Afghanistan, Latin America as Central Europe don’t seem to me wildly implausible comparisons. However, that’s a separate argument. You seem to accept that there is something to be said for otherwise terrible actions that restrict the power of an organisation which you have independent reasons for wanting the power of restricted. That is the position I am advocating and so we don’t seem to disagree about that.

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john t 02.13.05 at 3:13 pm

Did somebody ask for just one name? Lynn Stewart,that was easy. Of course the left can’t face themselves,who can blame them,but if you think somebody in the Mideast isn’t reading U.S. news stories pull your head out of the bowl. Apart from the legal aspect[suspected or proven terrorists have the same rights as car theives]you might ponder statements from the like of Ted Kennedy. But then you might agree with them so perhaps that wouldn’t work either. I think Freud was onto something with that Thanantos gig.

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rob 02.13.05 at 3:21 pm

sorry about the repeat post – you might want to do something about your software. The ‘blindness’ claim should have read ‘what I take to be your blindness’. Apologies for that too.

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mw 02.13.05 at 3:27 pm

look, the view you expressed about Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan is more or less the view I am expressing about American soldiers in Iraq.

Exactly, exactly, exactly! You think that U.S. soldiers in Iraq are like Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan. I fundamentally, categorically DO NOT believe that. The gulf between our views on this could hardly be wider.

I think what the U.S. troops are doing in Iraq–trying to protect Iraqi voters, trying to defeat a nihilistic, fascist alliance between the Ba’athists and Al Queda–is incredibly important. I think for the Ba’athist/Al Queda alliance to prevail in Iraq would be a disaster–for the Iraqi people, for the middle-east, for the U.S., and for the world (in about that order).

I’m not trying to convince you here to believe what I do–that is beyond the scope of the discussion. But I am trying to get you to grasp how very differently we see the world.

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x 02.13.05 at 3:44 pm

“The US should get there troops out of Europe”

You know, la, no one’s stopping them. If they want to leave, they’re more than welcome to. If they want to stay, well they’re not always very welcome, but there’s nothing anyone can do about it anyway, except the US. You might want to consider that pesky fact that the decision to keep US bases in Europe, or anywhere else, is entirely a matter of US policy. They’re not here to do favours to anyone today, it’s their own decision, their own interests, your own money. If you don’t like it, complain to the Pentagon budget department. Thanks.

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bellatrys 02.13.05 at 3:50 pm

Who is the only country in the world to have nuked hundreds of thousands of civilians?

a) The USSR

b) Islamofascism [sic]

c) the USA

But those who follow the Americanist Heresy will never grasp the significance of this, nor of the fact that the Fords and Bushes and Regnerys backed the Reich and its ideals before WWII…and, in the case of Regnery, who argued in print in the late 40s that the Nuremberg Trials were unjustified, openly even after.

Then there’s that odd little fact that we hired on a bunch of ex-Nazis to help run our national intelligence and weapons development programs, how many we do not exactly know, because the battle to disclose this is still being fought by the CIA.

Zipping past a hundred years and more of water torture, death squads, and extermination conducted by US troops against brown non-Christians and Christians of the wrong sort alike,

-there’s the other odd little fact that Zbigniew Brezhinski, NSA to Carter (now if you wanted to argue that D & R were tweedledum and tweedledee, there’s way more historic grounds for it) was even six years ago, still proud of having provoked the Russians into invading Afghanistan, so that it would be their quagmire, their Vietnam – and derisvely dismissive of the idea that radical Islamic guerillas armed and trained with US weapons could ever be a threat to us in the future…

I love the moral relativism of conservatives, speaking as an ex-theocon myself.

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mw 02.13.05 at 4:00 pm

If they want to stay, well they’re not always very welcome, but there’s nothing anyone can do about it anyway, except the US.

Oh, BS. Any European country that wants US troops only has to ask them to leave. Remember Subic Bay?

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rob 02.13.05 at 5:32 pm

mw,

look, the view you expressed about Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan is more or less the view I am expressing about American soldiers in Iraq.

Exactly, exactly, exactly! You think that U.S. soldiers in Iraq are like Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan. I fundamentally, categorically DO NOT believe that. The gulf between our views on this could hardly be wider.

This is quite clearly not what I said. What I said was, and I quote

you seem to accept that there is something to be said for otherwise terrible actions that restrict the power of an organisation which you have independent reasons for wanting the power of restricted.

That’s what I am arguing. I am not arguing that the purposes of the USSR in Afghanistan and the USA in Iraq are morally equivalent. I may think that. You have no way of knowing, since I have said sweet FA about that. What I have said is that I don’t like US foreign policy, that I think that it would be better if the US didn’t invade places and f*ck them up. Presumably, you didn’t like Soviet foreign policy, and thought that, insofar as the mujaheedin made the achievement of Soviet foreign policy goals more difficult, that the mujaheedin were a good thing. That is quite clearly not the same thing as the judgement that the mujaheedin were a good thing. If it were, I could justly accuse you of supporting the Taliban, since they evolved out of the mujaheedin. I’m not going to though, because I think that you are pointing to a relevant distinction, which happens to be exactly the same distinction I am pointing to.

Equally, the judgement that American (and British, and Italian, and Polish) troops in Iraq share one feature with Soviet troops in Afghanistan is not the judgement that these two groups are exactly the same. American foreign policy may be bad, but that doesn’t mean that it is bad in the same way that Soviet foreign policy is bad. Stealing and murder are both bad: this does not mean that they are equally bad, or even bad in remotely the same way. Again, I might think American and Soviet foreign policy, or even domestic policy, are equally bad, but I haven’t said so, or even implied it, so don’t claim I have. The argument you are trying to start is a separate one, about whether the judgement that American foreign policy is wrong is true, and what holding it implies. There may be an argument to be had there, one which I obviously think favours my view, but this is not that argument.

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x 02.13.05 at 6:15 pm

people who believe something like the following — that the U.S. was largely responsible for defeating and freeing the world from the two worst tyrannies in history

mw – first, that currency has already been spent. I am perfectly entitled to be politically anti-american today, while at the same time celebrating every year the anniversary of the allied liberation from nazism and fascism. Because today is 2005, not 1945. Today’s policies are not yesterday’s policies; today’s context in which those policies operate are not yesterday’s.
Secondly, while some people with your views are so keen to spend that anti-nazi anti-soviet currency as if to preempt any possible criticism of today’s policies, you seem entirely forgetful, or unconcerned, about the history of US involvement in _supporting_ some other very bad tyrannies, in Europe itself (Spain), in Latin America, in the Middle East, in Asia, in the past, and in some countries, still today.

Because “freeing the world from two of the worst tyrannies” was not part of a moral campaign or humanitarian effort, it was part of a military and political strategy, like all countries have always had, the bigger their power, the bigger their strategies. Some call it imperialism, some call it strategical interests, some call it superior strength. Pick your preferred definition. But one thing is sure. No foreign policy of any country, much less any superpower, is decided on moral grounds alone. It may have morally desirable ends in one area, but that’s not its motivation. So it won’t shun from immoral ends and immoral means in another area, as long as they fit that strategy.

Disagree all you want with the comparison between the Soviets in Afghanistan and the US in Iraq (and it was obvious to everyone that it wasn’t a comparison between the US and Soviet empire themselves). But you cannot be that selective with history in assessing the overall effects of certain policies, and you cannot ascribe exclusively moral motivations to them based only on what positive outcomes they have had in one respect, or one geographical area only. You have to be a little more honest than that.

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Walt Pohl 02.13.05 at 6:46 pm

John T: Save it for your therapist.

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x 02.13.05 at 7:23 pm

“Oh, BS. Any European country that wants US troops only has to ask them to leave. “

Yeah? In a letter to Santa? Please. The US has put in place military agreements to keep their bases where _they_ want (and to, amongs other things, grant all its military personnel total immunity from prosecution under the laws of that country, so that, as I’m sure you read in the linked story, dumb pilots who do dumb things that result in people being killed can get away with it).

Since “la” was so very intelligently expressing the intelligent and oh so original suggestion that the US should remove all its bases from Europe because that would somehow be a mortal blow to European interests, I thought it would be useful to point out the painfully obvious fact that the interests and decisions to keep US military bases anywhere on this planet are the US own. If a superpower keeping military bases all over the planet is only doing so out of sheer love and generosity and a desire to protect the poor natives from themselves, then Santa is real, too. Everybody needs some illusions. Some are just more arrogant, dumb, and dangerous than others.

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abb1 02.13.05 at 7:42 pm

…the U.S. was largely responsible for defeating and freeing the world from the two worst tyrannies in history.

The Soviets were largely responsible for defeating Nazi Germany.

What’s the second worst tyranny in history?

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mw 02.13.05 at 7:44 pm

mw – first, that currency has already been spent. I am perfectly entitled to be politically anti-american today, while at the same time celebrating every year the anniversary of the allied liberation from nazism and fascism. Because today is 2005, not 1945. Today’s policies are not yesterday’s policies; today’s context in which those policies operate are not yesterday’s.

Given that you think the benefits of American power were all achieved by 1945, I’m guessing you don’t live in, say, Poland or Lithuania or what used to be East Germany? Or Kuwait? Or South Korea? And I’m pretty damn sure you weren’t living in Afghanistan under the Taliban or Iraq under Saddam. YOUR country may have realized most of its benefits from American power by 1945 (though don’t be too sure–what kept those expansionist Soviets on their side of the iron curtain for 50 years?) but others did not necessarily share your good fortune.

No foreign policy of any country, much less any superpower, is decided on moral grounds alone.

Sometimes it is — Kosovo, East Timor. But agreed–usually it is not. But that does NOT mean that the U.S. doesn’t intend to build, support, and leave in Iraq and Afghanistan decent, independent, democratically elected governments in place of the brutal tyrannies that were there before. That is what matters to me–not the mixture of motives behind the actions.

you seem entirely forgetful, or unconcerned, about the history of US involvement in supporting some other very bad tyrannies, in Europe itself (Spain), in Latin America, in the Middle East, in Asia, in the past, and in some countries, still today.

I’m neither forgetful nor unconcerned about that. Some of these have been serious, indefensible mistakes, no doubt about it, while others have involved difficult tradeoffs — for example, how hard should the U.S. push for democratic reforms in Egypt and Jordan right now given that the cooperation of those two governments appears essential for progress between the Isrealis and the Palestinians? Is the answer obvious to you? (It’s not to me).

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mw 02.13.05 at 7:47 pm

“Oh, BS. Any European country that wants US troops only has to ask them to leave. “Yeah? In a letter to Santa? Please. The US has put in place military agreements to keep their bases where they want.

Sigh. Well, yes, the US has signed lease deals for their bases with the host countries. But those deals have expiration dates–the host countries don’t have to renew. I notice you are completely ignoring the example of Subic Bay–why is that?

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mw 02.13.05 at 8:03 pm

you seem to accept that there is something to be said for otherwise terrible actions that restrict the power of an organisation which you have independent reasons for wanting the power of restricted.

That’s what I am arguing. I am not arguing that the purposes of the USSR in Afghanistan and the USA in Iraq are morally equivalent. I may think that. You have no way of knowing, since I have said sweet FA about that. What I have said is that I don’t like US foreign policy, that I think that it would be better if the US didn’t invade places and f*ck them up.

Yes, I KNOW that’s what you’re arguing–that the U.S. is a power that needs to restrained, that the world would be better off if the U.S. did not achieve its goals in Iraq and elsewhere and that, for that reason, you see the Iraqi insurgents as performing a useful function however nasty they might be.

That is enough — more than enough — to put a huge distance between us, is it not?

After all, I think the world will be a MUCH worse place if the U.S. does NOT achieve its goals in Iraq. I further believe that the Iraq under Saddam and Afghanistan under the Taliban were about as f*cked up as any human societies have ever been and that, as a result of the U.S. invasions these places will have been left vastly better off (though positive outcomes are not as yet guaranteed and I believe the opposition of western leftists is having the effect of encouraging the insurgents–they do pay attention to western public opinion).

I short, I think you are dead wrong–dangerously wrong–on the most important geopolitical issue in the world right now. Our differences are not trivial, are they?

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x 02.13.05 at 9:03 pm

“Given that you think the benefits of American power were all achieved by 1945,”

mw, you can stop right there. Now, listen to me: if you want to argue with an imaginary friend, or enemy, make them speak whatever thoughts you put into their mouth, and then also place them in the geographical location of your choosing, you can try that on your own. I hear there’s very good videogames for that purpose. Or if you’re more old-fashioned, a sock puppet is even easier and cheaper.
If you want me to play that game, sorry. I’m not a sock or a videogame character.

Re: Subic Bay – I’m only ignoring it because I don’t know what kind of straw man your mention of Subic Bay is supposed to refute. Did you actually read my response to la? Did it contain a statement about the literal impossibility of the US to ever pull out their bases from anywhere? No, dear, because no one said that. They have moved, reduced or closed bases in Europe too. My response was to the obtuse idea that the reason the US maintains bases is to do _favours_ to the countries that host them, and that if they decide to pull out of anywhere it’s only out of spite. That is such a stupid, childish notion it didn’t really need a response in the first place. But that’s what I was responding to.

Again, I recommend a sock. By the way, I notice you’re uninterested in a few other things that were mentioned, but I’m frankly not interested in the reason of your disinterest. Plus ER is starting now, so forgive me but I have to go bow to the superior strength of American tv series, and curse the evil leftists who want to destroy it and force us to watch endless repeats of Blackadder instead. Tsk. Hateful, hateful people.

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MQ 02.13.05 at 9:05 pm

Subic bay: yes, occasionally the U.S. temporarily pulls back from a basing area. Temporarily. Remember when we gave back the Panama Canal? That didn’t last long. And U.S. troops got the right to operate in the Phillipines again in 1999 under the VFA. In fact with greater territorial access than we had at Subic Bay. So the Phillipines got to spend a whole 8 years (1991-99) out of the entire 20th century without U.S. troops on their territory.

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MQ 02.13.05 at 9:11 pm

Oh, yeah…another 3 years (1942-45) without U.S. troops there too. Which does get to your point…is the only choice domination by one imperialist nation or another, with us being the best of a bad lot? That is about the best argument for U.S. imperium I can come up with. But it doesn’t change the fact that empire is likely to be a very bad deal for us Americans in the age of terrorism.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.13.05 at 9:17 pm

But, on the other hand, they were fighting for not just for an unjust cause but in support of truly evil social system that had, over its 60 year life span, enslaved and murdered millions of its own citizens (and stunted the lives of all who escaped murder or imprisonment).

Again you are confusing domestic and foreign issues. It doesn’t matter whether a country inside its own borders is a communist hellhole or a enlightened utopia; what matters for the rest of the world in judging it when it invades another country is how it respected the rule of law, whether it was an aggressive war, and what its motives were. By all those criteria, the US is at fault. Hell, the USSR had better reason to be in Afghanistan than the US has in being in Iraq; Afghanistan was a real threat (albeit minor) to the USSR.

So yes, I wanted to see the Soviet Union defeated in Afghanistan (and everywhere), but I took no pleasure in the deaths of Soviet soldiers.

I believe the words I used were “a certain grim satisfaction”.

But I would not have objected and acted hurt if a Soviet citizen had considered me one of the enemy—the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. were enemies, for good clear reasons.

When a large power aggressively invades a smaller country which is no threat to it, why should other small countries consider it a friend?

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mw 02.13.05 at 9:21 pm

mw, you can stop right there. Now, listen to me: if you want to argue with an imaginary friend, or enemy, make them speak whatever thoughts you put into their mouth, and then also place them in the geographical location of your choosing, you can try that on your own.

I said:

“…the U.S. was largely responsible for defeating and freeing the world from the two worst tyrannies in history.”

And in response you said:

“…that currency has already been spent. I am perfectly entitled to be politically anti-american today, while at the same time celebrating every year the anniversary of the allied liberation from nazism and fascism. Because today is 2005, not 1945.”

The two worst tyrannies I had in mind were Nazism where 1945 is indeed the relevant date and communism where 1989 comes to mind for some reason. And, of course, one can list newer positive uses of U.S. foreign power since 1989 (Kuwait, Kosovo, East Timor, Afghanistan–even if you won’t accept Iraq as an example).

And, BTW, I don’t mean to suggest that the U.S. has done all of this out of pure magnanimity. Not at all–rather the U.S. has found it in its OWN interest that other countries become modern, prosperous, and democratic rather than backward and tyrannical. And that mixture of self-interest and altruism is not a bug…it’s a feature.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.13.05 at 9:25 pm

that the U.S. was largely responsible for defeating and freeing the world from the two worst tyrannies in history.

i, The USSR did the lion’s share against the bigger of those two tyrannies, MW.

ii, That was 60 years ago. In 1879, Germany was just united under Bismarck and busy with social reforms making it possibly the most progressive countries in the world. 60 years later…

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x 02.13.05 at 9:26 pm

One last thing – those you refer to as “mistakes” or “tradeoffs” were neither. They were part of a strategy. Strategies are a cynical business by definition. Their rules are not dictated by morals. Even “humanitarian” interventions like Kosovo would not have happened if there hadn’t been a strategic interest. Otherwise, there’d be humanitarian interventions anywhere, everywhere, all the time. Militaries and governments are not humanitarian agencies. They pursue their interests, which sometimes have good outcomes, sometimes terrible, sometimes mixed. That was the very simple, non-controversial, self-evident point I made. You cannot ascribe totally idealistic motivations to policies spanning decades based only on selected outcomes, and brush aside the rest. That’s ideology, not realism.

You cannot so callously and arrogantly dismiss the direct support of torturers and terrorists and brutal regimes that made thousands of people disappear as a “mistake”. It wasn’t, it was calculated, it was deliberate. It was only a “tradeoff” for those whose interests it served, and even then, the real, practical benefits remain doubtful and a matter of contention (how necessary was it to the anti-soviet strategy to support fascist dictatorships in another part of the world entirely?) – they were definitely not “tradeoffs” for those who had to live the consequences on their own skin. So think about that instead of preaching to others from a pulpit about their good fortune and who they owe it to.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.13.05 at 9:30 pm

Exactly, exactly, exactly! You think that U.S. soldiers in Iraq are like Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan. I fundamentally, categorically DO NOT believe that.

And yet, when pressed on why, all you can come up with are domestic differences between the US and the USSR. Would you care to explain to us why you think that U.S. soldiers in Iraq are not like Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan?

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Uncle Kvetch 02.13.05 at 9:34 pm

MW, you acknowledge (more or less) that the track record of US foreign policy in terms of human rights is, shall we say, somewhat checkered, given cases like Marcos, Pinochet, Somoza, etc etc etc. But you apparently are utterly convinced that the real intentions of the Bush administration in Iraq are indistinguishable from the rhetoric–i.e., set up a functional, truly democratic state, and then get the hell out.

But there’s a problem here. Many of the very same people who were involved in those unsavory earlier episodes, which you yourself call “serious, indefensible mistakes, no doubt about it,” are now crafting administration policy in the Middle East. Not the same party, not the same organs of government–the same damn people. Rumsfeld, Elliot Abrams, John Negroponte–the records of these people speak for themselves.

Somehow, where I see people whose record in government bespeaks an utter contempt for the most basic concepts of democracy–they lied through their teeth to get us into Iraq, after all–you see only the noblest intentions. You’re right, this does boil down to two utterly incommensurable perspectives. I don’t trust these people as far as I can throw them…and I think history is on my side.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.13.05 at 9:37 pm

But, MW, there was no alliance between Al Qaeda and the Ba’athists before the US invaded. And the US didn’t invade so Iraqis could vote – Sistani forced them into the election.

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abb1 02.13.05 at 9:38 pm

Subic bay? Didn’t it take a volcano eruption to get rid of that base? Lol. Good example.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.13.05 at 9:41 pm

What’s the second worst tyranny in history?

That would be Nazi Germany.

The first would be the Mongols.

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rob 02.13.05 at 10:27 pm

mw

“What I have said is that I don’t like US foreign policy, that I think that it would be better if the US didn’t invade places and f*ck them up.

Yes, I KNOW that’s what you’re arguing—that the U.S. is a power that needs to restrained, that the world would be better off if the U.S. did not achieve its goals in Iraq and elsewhere and that, for that reason, you see the Iraqi insurgents as performing a useful function however nasty they might be”.

The first of these claims is true: I do think the US is a power which could do with restraining.

The second depends on what you think the US’s goals in Iraq are. We differ about that. If you thought what I think about the US’s goals in Iraq, I think you would agree with me. Likewise, if I thought what you think about the US’s goals in Iraq, from what I can gather about what you think the US’s goals, I would probably agree with you (although that wouldn’t justify the invasion, so far as I’m concerned).

The third claim depends on your precise interpretation of what a useful function is: if you mean, I’m prepared to support them, even though I think they are wrong, that’s not true. However, if you mean, they are wrong, I have no desire to see them win, I do not support them, but, despite being outweighed by all this, there is the consideration that they stop the US from invading some where else to be said in their favour, it’s true of me. You might not think there is a difference, but if there isn’t, by your own logic, you supported the Taliban by thinking the mujaheedin were performing a useful function in causing problems for the soviets. I assume you didn’t and don’t. By your own logic then, you must allow me the same position of differentiating between support and thinking there is one thing about some group which is to be said in their favour.

You and I do differ, obviously quite substanially. While I think there is something to be said for American foreign policy in a number of cases, I think its current course is not something we ought to be particularly sanguine about. You disagree. This is a substanial difference. This is not what I am claiming we agree about. I am claiming we agree about the central claim I have been making in every comment I have made in this thread, that

“there is something to be said for otherwise terrible actions that restrict the power of an organisation which you have independent reasons for wanting the power of restricted”.

The argument about the rights and wrongs of American foreign policy is a separate one. You might disagree with me about either, but they are separate issues: one is a claim about what kind of attitudes are consistent, which I might well be wrong about, and the other is a claim about American foreign policy, which I also might well be wrong about, but which nothing you have said is remotely likely to convince me of (Afghanistan vastly better off: in thirty years, maybe. Iraq, you must be joking).

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rob 02.13.05 at 10:29 pm

mw

“What I have said is that I don’t like US foreign policy, that I think that it would be better if the US didn’t invade places and f*ck them up.

Yes, I KNOW that’s what you’re arguing—that the U.S. is a power that needs to restrained, that the world would be better off if the U.S. did not achieve its goals in Iraq and elsewhere and that, for that reason, you see the Iraqi insurgents as performing a useful function however nasty they might be”.

The first of these claims is true: I do think the US is a power which could do with restraining.

The second depends on what you think the US’s goals in Iraq are. We differ about that. If you thought what I think about the US’s goals in Iraq, I think you would agree with me. Likewise, if I thought what you think about the US’s goals in Iraq, from what I can gather about what you think the US’s goals, I would probably agree with you (although that wouldn’t justify the invasion, so far as I’m concerned).

The third claim depends on your precise interpretation of what a useful function is: if you mean, I’m prepared to support them, even though I think they are wrong, that’s not true. However, if you mean, they are wrong, I have no desire to see them win, I do not support them, but, despite being outweighed by all this, there is the consideration that they stop the US from invading some where else to be said in their favour, it’s true of me. You might not think there is a difference, but if there isn’t, by your own logic, you supported the Taliban by thinking the mujaheedin were performing a useful function in causing problems for the soviets. I assume you didn’t and don’t. By your own logic then, you must allow me the same position of differentiating between support and thinking there is one thing about some group which is to be said in their favour.

You and I do differ, obviously quite substanially. While I think there is something to be said for American foreign policy in a number of cases, I think its current course is not something we ought to be particularly sanguine about. You disagree. This is a substanial difference. This is not what I am claiming we agree about. I am claiming we agree about the central claim I have been making in every comment I have made in this thread, that

“there is something to be said for otherwise terrible actions that restrict the power of an organisation which you have independent reasons for wanting the power of restricted”.

The argument about the rights and wrongs of American foreign policy is a separate one. You might disagree with me about either, but they are separate issues: one is a claim about what kind of attitudes are consistent, which I might well be wrong about, and the other is a claim about American foreign policy, which I also might well be wrong about, but which nothing you have said is remotely likely to convince me of (Afghanistan vastly better off: in thirty years, maybe. Iraq, you must be joking).

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FoolishOwl 02.13.05 at 10:40 pm

Rather famously, the Indonesian massacre in East Timor began exactly one hour after the airplane carrying Ford and Kissinger left the runway in Jakarta. The US *supported* the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. When after decades of struggle, the East Timorese had got the attention of activists around the world, the US government hinted that, maybe, it would be nice if the occupation ended. There was no actual action on the US’s part.

On Iraq, and other invasions: has everyone forgotten the principle of self-determination? It’s supposed to be a fundamental democratic principle. The political form of Iraq is up to the people who live in Iraq, not anyone else. Those who fight against US occupation are entirely justified in doing so.

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FoolishOwl 02.13.05 at 10:41 pm

Rather famously, the Indonesian massacre in East Timor began exactly one hour after the airplane carrying Ford and Kissinger left the runway in Jakarta. The US *supported* the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. When after decades of struggle, the East Timorese had got the attention of activists around the world, the US government hinted that, maybe, it would be nice if the occupation ended. There was no actual action on the US’s part.

On Iraq, and other invasions: has everyone forgotten the principle of self-determination? It’s supposed to be a fundamental democratic principle. The political form of Iraq is up to the people who live in Iraq, not anyone else. Those who fight against US occupation are entirely justified in doing so.

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Steve Jandreau 02.14.05 at 4:58 am

MW:”But there’s no denying there’s a DEEP current of anti-Americanism on the left that regards Bush’s America as a greater danger to the world than the Islamic terrorists.”

It’s not Anti-American to oppose the incompetence and lies of this Administration.

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Steve Jandreau 02.14.05 at 5:06 am

ANDREW REEVES:”The U.S. invaded Iraq with several goals in mind”

“But make no mistake – as I said earlier – we have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction. That is what this war was about and it is about.” -Ari Fleischer Press Briefing 4/10/03

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The Lonewacko Blog 02.14.05 at 5:14 am

My european immigration category has several examples of “liberals” supporting dhimmitude in Europe. That’s not the same as building bombs, but it will have a similar effect.

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x 02.14.05 at 8:42 am

Don’t worry wacko, when all Europeans have become terrorists due to their governments not shipping all those damn foreigners back to where they belong (or to internment camps, which would be even better), then the US can just bomb Europe all over again and liberate it! So that in a hundred years, Americans will still be telling Europeans to shut up and be thankful.

Now, the question is: why are uncritical supporters of all policies of their superior-strength power so desperate for approval and ego boosts from people they despise? Isn’t that a sign of weakness?

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abb1 02.14.05 at 11:28 am

A good lecture on the subject of the American exceptionalist messianic megalomaniacs here:
Illegal but Legitimate: A Dubious Doctrine for the Times

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mw 02.14.05 at 1:25 pm

Again you are confusing domestic and foreign issues. It doesn’t matter whether a country inside its own borders is a communist hellhole or a enlightened utopia; what matters for the rest of the world in judging it when it invades another country is how it respected the rule of law, whether it was an aggressive war, and what its motives were.

It may not matter to YOU whether a country inside is a hellhole or not, whether a tyrant has a history of killing his own people by the hundreds of thousands, but it matters very much to ME.

I find the idea that a ‘legal’ war can only be authorized by the UN (the organization whose ‘human rights’ commission has recently included Libya, Cuba, Sudan, and Syria) is absurd.

But…but…the point of this exercize was not to convince you to see things the way I do, but to RECOGNIZE the deep divisions between us.

I don’t see why you should be surprised that I find your views on these topics…repugnant, and I won’t be shocked if you return the favor.

Which, getting back to the original topic, is why it’s kind of silly for CT types to get all offended by the target article–given the differences in views, that kind of thing it is to be expected, isn’t it?

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Uncle Kvetch 02.14.05 at 2:02 pm

Now, the question is: why are uncritical supporters of all policies of their superior-strength power so desperate for approval and ego boosts from people they despise? Isn’t that a sign of weakness?

Hey, we’re Americans. We shouldn’t have to choose between being feared and being loved. We want it all, baby.

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Ben Alpers 02.14.05 at 2:03 pm

But…but…the point of this exercize was not to convince you to see things the way I do, but to RECOGNIZE the deep divisions between us.

I don’t see why you should be surprised that I find your views on these topics…repugnant, and I won’t be shocked if you return the favor.

Which, getting back to the original topic, is why it’s kind of silly for CT types to get all offended by the target article—given the differences in views, that kind of thing it is to be expected, isn’t it?

mw,

I don’t expect to you to find our views attractive, or even non-repugnant. I do expect you not to distort those views when arguing against them (and I should think you’d want the same from us). Just because you find a given view repugnant does not mean that it can be reduced to any other view you happen to find repugnant.

Ted’s original post objected to Nelson Ascher, Glenn Reynolds, and company’s argument that (to quote Ascher) “all our leftist friends’ bets are now on radical Islam.”

This is not a mere distortion or exaggeration. It’s entirely untrue. In this whole, incredibly long thread, nobody has so far produced a single example of a leftist, however obscure, who’s “betting on” (either in the sense of supporting, or in the sense of counting on in some other way) radical Islam. It just ain’t so.

I for one have no interest in having Glenn Reynolds like what I believe (indeed, at this point I’d be a bit worried if I found myself agreeing with him about anything). But anyone who’s at all interested in honest, democratic debate about issues of public concern _should_ care about all sides in that debate representing opposing arguments fairly and debating in good faith. Unfortunately, neither of those things is taking place. And the situation is _not_ symmetrical.

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Uncle Kvetch 02.14.05 at 2:14 pm

It may not matter to YOU whether a country inside is a hellhole or not, whether a tyrant has a history of killing his own people by the hundreds of thousands, but it matters very much to ME.

OK…with all due respect, MW, I’m now convinced that this is not a case of fundamentally different worldviews after all. This is a case of you being willfully obtuse.

Somebody noted that there were parallels between the US’ actions in Iraq and those of the USSR in Afghanistan. Your response: “You think the US is indistinguishable from the USSR.” It’s been repeatedly pointed out that no one said (or implied) that, and that you’re twisting their words. But you just keep coming back with “I just want you to understand how different we are: you think the US is indistinguishable from the USSR, and I think that’s repugnant.” And that’s pretty much the totality of the last 100 posts in this thread.

Another point: think about what you said in the quote at the top of this comment, MW. I don’t think you’re attempting to argue that as long as a country adheres to democracy and the rule of law at home, it can do whatever the fuck it wants beyond its borders. But that’s pretty much what you wrote.

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abb1 02.14.05 at 5:14 pm

No, it’s not being obtuse. It’s more like a cult, supremacy cult; every empire has one, otherwise it wouldn’t be able to function. It’s not based on anything rational, it’s just a matter of faith, faith in the divinely ordained destiny, “assumption of the unique moral value of the US, of a mission to redeem the world by spreading the American way of life”. If this is simply ‘being obtuse’, then every religious person is obtuse.

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mw 02.14.05 at 6:21 pm

This is not a mere distortion or exaggeration. It’s entirely untrue. In this whole, incredibly long thread, nobody has so far produced a single example of a leftist, however obscure, who’s “betting on” (either in the sense of supporting, or in the sense of counting on in some other way) radical Islam. It just ain’t so.

But of course such examples were produced. Lynn Stewart. Ramsey Clark. Phoenician who supports the terrorists blowing up marines. Michael Moore who portrays pre-war Baghdad as idyllic. Go read the posts (and especially the comments) over at Kos or Atrios that take perverse, snarky pleasure in every setback in Iraq (or rather everything that can possibly be construed as a setback)–right now they’re chortling over what they’re sure is a certain prospect of theocratic rule now that the results of the Iraqi elections have been announced. They are clearly ‘betting’ that Islamists will take over (if not Al Queda, then fundamentalist Shiites will have to do) and are clearly looking forward to winning the bet and being able to say, “I told you so!” They seemed to lose their footing for a few days after the elections with those compelling images of purple fingers. For a while they only talked about social security reform, but now they seems to have regained their confidence in disaster in Iraq and the snark and swagger are back.

Now that does not mean that these people on the left support violence against gays, or honor killings, or the subjugation of women or sharia law–only that they are quite willing to overlook those things as long as the Islamist organizations vigorously oppose the U.S.

And, that, I believe is the sense of support for radical Islam that is being alleged.

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x 02.14.05 at 7:19 pm

Hey, we’re Americans. We shouldn’t have to choose between being feared and being loved. We want it all, baby.

And I bet you want it _now_, too?

Damn. See what you’ve done there, uncle kvetch. Now I got that Queen song running through my head. That should teach me to ask naive questions to seasoned imperialists!

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Paul 02.14.05 at 7:24 pm

perverse, snarky pleasure in every setback in Iraq … And, that, I believe is the sense of support for radical Islam that is being alleged

I don’t call snarkiness “support” however, I call it “schadenfreude.” Now schadenfreude may be unkind and it may be childish, but it isn’t “aid & comfort.” It isn’t a conspiracy. Unless you’re arguing that uncharitable words provide “aid & comfort” to the “enemy,” I don’t think they begin to meet the definition for the widespread “support for radical islam” which is being alleged here.

But if you want to use two nutbars, a muckraking film maker and internet commenters to prove the existence of this widespread “support for radical islam” then feel free. With a similar sample, I’m sure I can come up with equal evidence of support for a radical Christian theocracy.

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james 02.14.05 at 7:25 pm

This site has long held the position that it is acceptable to tar ones opponents with the radical speech of anyone ideologically associated. This has been demonstrated time and again any time someone uses Jerry Fawel or Pat Robinson to represent the voice of all 60+ million Christian fundamentalists in the United States. Now suddenly, there is an issue with the application of guilt by association?

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Uncle Kvetch 02.14.05 at 7:30 pm

Michael Moore who portrays pre-war Baghdad as idyllic.

Which, as was pointed out above, has absolutely nothing, bupkes, zero to do with “radical Islam.” But you just can’t resist bringing it up yet again, because everybody knows that merely invoking the name of The Evil One will stop liberals in their tracks.

MW, I give up. You’re obviously listening to no one but yourself.

X, sorry about the inadvertent earworm…and I must sheepishly admit that I don’t know what Queen song you’re referring to…

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x 02.14.05 at 7:37 pm

Michael Moore who portrays pre-war Baghdad as idyllic

Jesus, MW, get over it already. He filmed a scene from the street with children and ordinary people doing ordinary things. Such as had been filmed by reporters and tv crews for years. Because, you know, ordinary people existed in Iraq and they did ordinary things even before being Liberated by the Forces of Good. But of course, to you and your ilk, the point of that scene is not to show the real people who were about the get bombed, naaah, that would be too banal. No, it has to be Pro-Saddam propaganda. Yawn…

And what about the scene with the Iraqi woman crying and cursing over her relatives being bombed and killed? Oh the outrage. Oh the scandal. People being bombed should only be smiling and grateful! The fact he filmed that woman definitely proves he was supporting terrorists! and Saddam! whatever the relation between the two was!

It really shows that people like you are just not used to dissent, even the blandest, mainstream, Disney-produced, million-dollar Oscar-winning kind. No wonder the real radicals and far leftists, however utterly insignificant they may be, send you people right into a frenzy. You cannot even conceive that anything to the left of Kissinger could exist.

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x 02.14.05 at 7:54 pm

uncle kvetch, believe me, you’re lucky if you don’t know that song! It’s this one – titled I want it all, indeed, and the refrain goes “I want it all I want it aaall I want it aaaall and I want it now…”

I believe it was ironic and intended to offer a subtle, covert, post-modern critique of American imperialism. Therefore, like Michael Moore, we can count poor old Freddy Mercury in the Pro-Jihad Leftist camp too. Along with billions of others. Literally.

There, please admire how I swiftly brough it back on topic. Ahem.

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mw 02.14.05 at 8:09 pm

I don’t call snarkiness “support” however, I call it “schadenfreude.” Now schadenfreude may be unkind and it may be childish, but it isn’t “aid & comfort.” It isn’t a conspiracy. Unless you’re arguing that uncharitable words provide “aid & comfort” to the “enemy,” I don’t think they begin to meet the definition for the widespread “support for radical islam” which is being alleged here.

Nobody said it was conspiracy. But it’s not just attitude–it a consistent pattern of looking for and trumpeting the worst news while ignoring everything else and when there’s any choice, putting the worst possible spin on everything.

Does this rise to the level of ‘aid & comfort’. I dunno — I don’t have a precise definition of that, but I would say it does materially worsen the chances of a successful outcome. How can the insurgents not be encouraged by leftists here predicting their strength and the inevitability of their success? Is it just chance the Bin Laden has recently been working from the same talking points as the western left?

When I see people who would clearly prefer to see things go to hell in Iraq, with islamists of one stripe or another taking over, rather than have a decent government (and run the risk of Bush being able to claim any kind of vindication) — well, you can put whatever label on that you want — call it “schadenfreude” rather than “support for islamic radicals” if you like, but the effect is the same.

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MQ 02.14.05 at 8:43 pm

MW, I’m starting to think you’re the anti-American around here. You label dissent treason, hell “snarkiness” equals treason for you, you convert Michael Moore’s perfectly defensible claim that Iraq was not at war before we invaded it into “support for the enemy”, want to call Lynn Stewart a traitor for acting as a defense attorney and advocate for an imprisoned client — in other words bringing him rights guaranteed under the American constitution…one of the many dangers of American global empire is that it tends to empower types like you and take power away from those who support the original principles the Framers put into our constitution.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.14.05 at 9:06 pm

It may not matter to YOU whether a country inside is a hellhole or not, whether a tyrant has a history of killing his own people by the hundreds of thousands, but it matters very much to ME.

Tell me, in the sentence “[W]hat matters for the rest of the world in judging it when it invades another country is how it respected the rule of law, whether it was an aggressive war, and what its motives were”, what part of “when it invades another country” are you having problems understanding. They’re not difficult words; you can look them up in a dictionary.

I find the idea that a ‘legal’ war can only be authorized by the UN (the organization whose ‘human rights’ commission has recently included Libya, Cuba, Sudan, and Syria) is absurd.

This is because you are (i) ignorant of the facts and (ii) ignorant of history.

Regarding (i), I recommend reading the UN Charter, articles 25 and 39-42.

Regarding (ii), you may note that the UN was set up on the 24th October 1945. During the period 1939-1945, a lesson had been learned on the desirability of a “legal” right by sovereign nations to declare war unilaterally.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.14.05 at 9:12 pm

“In this whole, incredibly long thread, nobody has so far produced a single example of a leftist, however obscure, who’s “betting on” (either in the sense of supporting, or in the sense of counting on in some other way) radical Islam. It just ain’t so.”

But of course such examples were produced. Lynn Stewart. Ramsey Clark. Phoenician who supports the terrorists blowing up marines.

Hey, MW, go back to my posts dated February 12, 2005 08:44 PM and February 13, 2005 10:38 AM.

Where the hell did you learn to read, lad?

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.14.05 at 9:13 pm

“In this whole, incredibly long thread, nobody has so far produced a single example of a leftist, however obscure, who’s “betting on” (either in the sense of supporting, or in the sense of counting on in some other way) radical Islam. It just ain’t so.”

But of course such examples were produced. Lynn Stewart. Ramsey Clark. Phoenician who supports the terrorists blowing up marines.

Hey, MW, go back to my posts dated February 12, 2005 08:44 PM and February 13, 2005 10:38 AM.

Where the hell did you learn to read, lad?

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.14.05 at 9:23 pm

Damn. See what you’ve done there, uncle kvetch. Now I got that Queen song running through my head. That should teach me to ask naive questions to seasoned imperialists!

Consider yourself lucky. I had Bob Geldof’s “Attitude Chicken” running around in my head for a couple of hours yesterday. Take a look at this article.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.14.05 at 9:32 pm

When I see people who would clearly prefer to see things go to hell in Iraq, with islamists of one stripe or another taking over, rather than have a decent government (and run the risk of Bush being able to claim any kind of vindication) — well, you can put whatever label on that you want — call it “schadenfreude” rather than “support for islamic radicals” if you like, but the effect is the same.

When I see people who would clearly prefer to burn fossil fuels in their cars, with associated CO2 and monoxide pollution, rather than have their cars run on moonbeams and the energies given off by crystals – well, you can call that “facing reality” rather than “polluting the earth”, but the effect is the same.

Or, to be more serious, the real choice in Iraq is not between a theocracy and a secular democracy. The real choice is between Iraq emulating Iran and Iraq emulating Somalia.

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mw 02.14.05 at 10:17 pm

Or, to be more serious, the real choice in Iraq is not between a theocracy and a secular democracy. The real choice is between Iraq emulating Iran and Iraq emulating Somalia.

So those are the only possibilities? No chance at all of it ending more like its neighbor, Turkey (you know, the one being considered for EU membership)?

Democracy in Iraq is absolutely impossible, because…you say so?

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MQ 02.14.05 at 11:03 pm

Good article on the rights that all of us stand to lose when the government persecutes civil rights activists like Lynne Stewart as “terrorists”:

http://www.slate.com/id/2113446/

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.15.05 at 12:06 am

So those are the only possibilities?

The only realistic ones at the moment, with the growing insurgency threatening to turn into civil war. Democracy, real democracy, is not imposed from above; it has to develop from below, from a general and universal committment to the instituions and habits of thought necessary for it to survive.

This makes Iran an interesting case – a theocratic democracy that may be evolving into a real democracy. I hope Iraq can be so lucky.

No chance at all of it ending more like its neighbor, Turkey (you know, the one being considered for EU membership)?

Remember what I said about an ignorance of history? Turkey didn’t develop a democracy overnight; the Republic was due to Ataturk, a strongman who seized power through a breakaway parliament in 1923. He stifled dissent, exiled critics, and cracked down on the Kurds. Turkey has suffered three military coups and countless incidents of repression, torture and outright massacre.

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x 02.15.05 at 10:34 am

mw – How can the insurgents not be encouraged by leftists here predicting their strength and the inevitability of their success?

Supposing pompous nonsense deserves an answer.

Further supposing anyone who is not embracing optimistic uncritical approval of US policies vis a vis Iraq and/or terrorism is a leftist (that would enlarge the definition of leftist from far left to centre-right), and that these far-left to centre-right leftists being bitchy, angry or even schadenfreundlich are thus giving moral aid and comfort to the insurgents and/or terrorists, in post-liberation Iraq or anywhere else, _and_ that these characters give a shit about what American or European far-left to centre-right leftists think.

(Imagine the scene, Falluja, morning, insurgents headquarters, guy logs on to the internet, and after browsing their favourite leftist weblogs and newspapers of choice in 10 different languages, exclaims to fellow comrades:
- Hey dudes, the leftists are with us!
- Really? wow, that’s awesome!
- Blimey, just this morning I was having a crisis of faith, thinking that what we’re doing is maybe completely immoral and counterproductive and tactically useless except to create more destruction and death which offer more post-facto rationalisations for intervention in Iraq as part of anti-terrorist strategies, but then I read a post on Daily Kos, an editorial on Libération and an opinion piece on Haaretz that said the US policy for Iraq is all fucked up, and I found new strenght to continue the fight against the oppressors!
- Yeah brother! Praised be the leftists from the Great and Little Satans! Now I’ll get some tea and croissants, we need to celebrate!]

Questions:

- how did they end up kidnapping and killing some of their leftist supporters, such as European reporters, some of whom working for overtly _communist_ newspapers?

- how come the Iraqi communist party are not only denouncing the insurgents but also among the most strongly opposed to Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq? The Iraqi communist Party doesn’t count as “leftist”, but Michael Moore, who by communist standards would be nearly right wing, does?

- how do these insurgents and/or terrorists screen out their leftist supporters from the pro-bushite patriots when they attack US military? how do they screen out the pro-bushite from the anti-bushites among the Iraqi civilians that end up dead in bombing attacks?

And if we apply this reasoning to 9/11 itself, how did the attackers screen out the leftists and the anti-bushists and the pro-Palestinian and those opposed to US foreign policy in general, from the pro-bushite, pro-Israel, pro-Great Satan folks?

Mw, the only difference between your statement and Ward Churchill’s premise in his essay on 9/11 is that for you, the little Eichmanns are on the left, defined as encompassing everyone who is not happy about US foreign policy.

Think about it.

Feel free to continue seeing all forms of dissent as comfort to the enemy (typically, that notion had to be enforced by dictatorships via repressive and murderous measures, but it’s surely encouraging to see people embrace it spontaneously! a sign of the progress of democracy!). After all, why hold the people who are actually in power accountable for anything they do, when you can easily shift the blame on those who are not in power and whose criticism and opposition is so pathetically ineffective it couldn’t even stop Bush and all his comrades being re-elected with the very same policies?

Now I’ll shut up because the enemy may be listening, and we don’t want anyone in Iraq getting second thoughts about democracy. The notion that dissent equals pro-terrorist treason might make them commit mass suicide. Which objectively wouldn’t be a good start for liberated Iraq.

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sigh 02.15.05 at 4:29 pm

rw: How can the insurgents not be encouraged by leftists here predicting their strength and the inevitability of their success?

Soldiers under command must, generally speaking, accept the mission they are given without question. That’s a military reality. But the citizens of a democracy served by those soldiers have an equally important duty to do the opposite. Especially if the policymakers are failing.

Many analysts are saying that the war in Iraq is lost, and it slid over the edge into being an irretrievable fuckup quite a while ago. In fact, they predicted it accurately from the start. This is no reflection whatsoever on the American servicemen and women, whose bravery and skill are phenomenal. It is a reflection on the policymakers who have failed them.

The US Marines are the finest battlefield infantry in the history of the world. The question is whether they have been sent on a fool’s errand.

To speak or act as if the citizens dare not dissent — in other words, as if they must be militarized too — is fascism. My grandfather had to help General Patton fight some very famous fascists. It’s likely yours did also. I think you mean well but you don’t understand the consequences of what you are doing.

You’ve said again and again that a fundamental difference of worldview separates you from the “left” as represented here. You’re right. You assume that anybody who disagrees with you cannot love or understand America. That’s asinine.

Also, half the people you have been arguing with here are British. Their attitude proves nothing.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.15.05 at 9:08 pm

And if we apply this reasoning to 9/11 itself, how did the attackers screen out the leftists and the anti-bushists and the pro-Palestinian and those opposed to US foreign policy in general, from the pro-bushite, pro-Israel, pro-Great Satan folks?

There was an ad in the Nation telling them not to show up at the WTC that morning…

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Alex 02.16.05 at 4:31 pm

I’ve just realised that if you just add one capital letter to this, it all makes sense. Since the beginning of time, liberals have yearned to destroy the Sun. Not our nearest star, the world’s worst newspaper.

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jet 02.17.05 at 12:53 am

Phoenician in a time of Romans,
Most Phoenicians in the time of Romans were more Greek than the Romans. And the lonely hold outs in Carthage joined the club after Hannibal pissed off the Empire. So in the time of Romans, you might as well call yourself a Macedonian or Seleucidian as Phoenician. Same culture, different sculpted rocks to pray at ;)

“But I don’t have any problem at all with Iraqis blowing up or shooting American soldiers engaged in occupying their country after an illegal invasion.” So this is probably what was going on in the average Romans mind when Roman armies were nailing up thousands of Phoenicians to crosses to pay back Hannibal’s “illegal” invasion.

How sad you must be when you are hoping Democracy will fail in Iraq and the Americans will go home defeated. How utterly sad for you. Did you know the only time the Phoenicians were able to regain self-rule was the short period they were a semi-republic. About as close to a Democracy as was back then. And here is a modern day Phoenician hoping against Democracy. No wonder Phoenicians took it in the ass all through history.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.17.05 at 9:10 pm

So in the time of Romans, you might as well call yourself a Macedonian or Seleucidian as Phoenician. Same culture, different sculpted rocks to pray at ;)

Jesu Christi on a pogo stick, what can you say about such ignorance?

Phoenicians – coast of Syria, i.e. modern-day Lebenon. Carthage was a colony. Biblically, these were the Canaanites. Invented the alphabet. To the EAST of the Greeks, around 3000-1000 BC.

Macedonians – well, Macedonia. To the NORTH the Greeks.

Seleucids – Empire spanning Persia to Syria, post-Alexander. Around 300 BC.

It’s like confusing the USA with the Aztecs…

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.17.05 at 9:14 pm

So in the time of Romans, you might as well call yourself a Macedonian or Seleucidian as Phoenician. Same culture, different sculpted rocks to pray at ;)

Jesu Christi on a pogo stick, what can you say about such ignorance?

Phoenicians – coast of Syria, i.e. modern-day Lebenon. Carthage was a colony. Biblically, these were the Canaanites. Invented the alphabet. To the EAST of the Greeks, around 3000-1000 BC.

Macedonians – well, Macedonia. To the NORTH the Greeks.

Seleucids – Empire spanning Persia to Syria, post-Alexander. Around 300 BC.

It’s like confusing the USA with the Aztecs…

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jet 02.17.05 at 11:07 pm

Phoenician in a time of Romans,

“what can you say about such ignorance” Well first off, let me point out some of your ignorance. If you are speaking of the Phoenicians from 3,000-1,00 BC, then you aren’t talking about the time of Romans. Rome took the spotlight 700 years later. By the time Rome ascended to the world stage, Phoenicia had been assimaliated into Hellenistic culture, which was my point. And what did I say that made you think I didn’t understand Carthrage was a colony? It was a Phoenician colony wasn’t it?

Or did you mean that you are a 3,000 to 800 BC Phoenician in 300 BC – 400 AD? But surely not, because that would just be silly.

Or you could mean more of a metaphor that you are from an ancient learned culture in a time of crass westerners. But that would go beyound silly into the realm of lameness.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.18.05 at 2:11 am

By the time Rome ascended to the world stage, Phoenicia had been assimaliated into Hellenistic culture,

This is correct

which was my point.

“So in the time of Romans, you might as well call yourself a Macedonian or Seleucidian as Phoenician.”

This is still not true, anymore than pointing out that England, Australia and America share the same Western European culture means an Aussie can call himself American.

Or you could mean more of a metaphor that you are from an ancient learned culture in a time of crass westerners.

Actually, I picked the nom-de-guerre after 2 minutes thought just to indicate that I was (a) not American and (b) from a nation dependent on trade. Nothing more.

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jet 02.18.05 at 3:27 am

How absolutely wonderful for you. Perhaps when the US scores points with Lebanon by bending Syria over, making them leave Phoenicia, you can hope for even more US deaths. May your children hear every word you say and grow up to realize how fucking wrong you were. Asshole.

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Phoenician in a time of Romans 02.18.05 at 3:52 am

How absolutely wonderful for you. Perhaps when the US scores points with Lebanon by bending Syria over, making them leave Phoenicia, you can hope for even more US deaths.

Jet, dear child, the only person responsible for these unnecessary US deaths is Georgie Bush. I don’t “hope” for them – I’d far prefer it if the US had exhibited some measure of sanity and not unilaterally bombed and invaded another country.

However, since the US has decided to do this, the deaths of American soldiers have been some sort of restraint on future actions. In that the US is waving the sabre at Iran and Syria, the high death rate of American soldiers in Iraq is a good thing; it may constrain the US from deciding to murder considerably more Arabs and Persians in the near future.

You do realise that far more Iraqis have died than Americans, don’t you? You do realise that each and every Iraqi was just as much a human being as an American, don’t you?

If two or three thousand American fatalities in Iraq now prevent fifty or sixty thousand Iranian fatalities in Iran later, this is a good thing, surely?

May your children hear every word you say and grow up to realize how fucking wrong you were.

So far I, and the majority of the world who disagreed with Bush’s invasion, have been right. Where are the WMDs? Where are the Iraqis throwing flowers? Where’s the peace and stability?

Asshole.

Fool.

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jet 02.18.05 at 12:57 pm

For what it is worth, I was against the war too, although I don’t see how Iraq could have ever been freed from tyranny. It isn’t like Saddam’s kids were a couple of fuzzy gentle souls waiting to free their people from the clutches of their father. And I find hope in the fact that the Shi’ite and Kurds have mostly accepted the Democratic process, owning it to the point of giving demands to the US. And there is hope in the small number of able bodied Sunni who join in the insurgency. This isn’t like Afghanistan or Vietnam where the US or USSR were so unpopular that anyone capable would join the fight against the outsiders. This is a place where for every cop that gets killed, there are 10 more waiting for his job. It won’t be perfect, but who’s Democracy is?

“So far I, and the majority of the world who disagreed with Bush’s invasion, have been right. Where are the WMDs? Where are the Iraqis throwing flowers? Where’s the peace and stability?” No other intelligence agency thought any differently from the CIA. And Saddam was still in violation of UN sanctions considering abilities to produce WMD’s. Many Iraqis did throw flowers in the beginning. The peace and stability would be plentiful without Syrian and Iranian support. The insurgency is more of a proxy war between Iran, Syria, and the US than a home grown popular uprising.

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