Taking a Stand

by Belle Waring on August 13, 2005

Noted without comment:

I points the fingerbone of scorn at those inhumanly cruel Republicans who drink puppy blood for breakfast. When I consider the sharp, tiny milk-teeth of those puppies, protruding from gums now white with blood loss, I am filled with a righteous and long-abiding anger. In fact, the mere thought of a pure-bred English Bulldog puppy, its throat slit with a dull buck knife, its precious life-blood draining into a glass pitcher soon to be enlivened with worchestershire sauce, gin and Tabasco—the lot soon to be poured into a glass garnished with a pale green stalk of celery from the inner part of the bunch, in the manner of some cut-rate third-season Dr. Who—well, my gorge rises. Just saying, is all.

UPDATE: Some e-mailers have objected that not all adherents of the GOP refresh themselves with puppy blood of a morning—I would have thought that was obvious.

UPDATE 2: Falsely claiming that someone (or the majority of some group) drinks puppy blood is indeed egregious misbehavior. (Accurately claiming that, of course, is not egregious.) I haven’t bothered to investigate whether any Republicans in fact drink the blood of innocent puppies, so I can’t speak to the merits of any given case, but to the extent that my opponents uncover and condemn false claims of this type, they are doing reasoned debate (and basic decency and fairness) a great service.

UPDATE 3: I find it odd that so many Republicans who do not—and in fact have never been accused of—drinking puppy blood felt it necessary to object to my claims. Perhaps each of these people should look in his own heart. No matter how small the number of Republican puppy-blood drinkers is, so long as it is >1, then clearly this “group” should be denounced. I find it difficult to see how any fair-minded individual could object to this. Also, any readers who can supply links to prominent Republicans advocating the de-lumptious quaffing of puppy blood would be much appreciated. Please note that anonymous emails sent to K-Lo will not qualify.

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{ 73 comments }

1

Uncle Kvetch 08.13.05 at 9:22 am

Also, any readers who can supply links to prominent Republicans advocating the de-lumptious quaffing of puppy blood would be much appreciated.

No, no, Belle…what we really need to know is this: Where are the Republicans with the integrity to condemn the de-lumptious quaffing of puppy blood? Their silence speaks volumes about their motives, don’t you think?

2

Seth Finkelstein 08.13.05 at 10:51 am

You are objectively pro-rabies.

3

Daniel Berczik 08.13.05 at 11:00 am

Drinking puppy blood is disgusting. Now, kittens on the other hand…

4

abb1 08.13.05 at 11:20 am

Oh, great. Disgusting Koreaphobia is raising its ugly head again…

5

Guest 08.13.05 at 11:36 am

Perfect.

6

Matt 08.13.05 at 12:54 pm

It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would do that to a pup, and to a British Bull-dog pup even! The national dog of our oldest allies! Poor bull-dog mothers! When I find those republicans that did this, _THEY WILL PAY!_

7

Michael 08.13.05 at 1:02 pm

Your post and message are entirely dismissable due to gross factual error. While significant parts of the third season of Dr. Who are missing, it is clear that celery wasn’t a key part of the show until the twentieth season.

If an error of seventeen years can be so casually made, then there is no merit to further discussion of anything except celery.

Celery, celery, celery. You have been factchecked.

8

Slocum 08.13.05 at 1:28 pm

Sigh — maybe you’re all making headway in the ‘who us supporting the insurgents?’ onslaught, but I kind of doubt it. Yes, few professional commentators have been stupid enough to express clear unambiguous support for the insurgency, that is true. But I don’t think it’s quite a simple as that. In April of 2004, Michael Moore made his famous, rah-rah, ‘the Iraqi resistance are minutemen and they will win’ comment. Is he a fringe nutter who makes outrageous statements to generate publicity? You might make that case execept that a couple of months after those remarks, a host of Democratic party big-shots turned up for Moore’s big premiere and then, of course, he was given a seat of honor at the Democratic convention.

As a Clinton (and Gore) voter, I was apalled. A person who expressed such sentiments should have been persona non grata in any party I could identify with, end of story. But no. Did the honoring of Moore constitute an official party endorsement of Moore’s views? Perhaps not, but it certainly was not a rejection of them.

But that was last year — where are we now? How about this today from Kos:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/8/13/0287/29969

Is it an endorsement of the insurgency? No. But it is a clear refusal to recognize that Iraq now contains the front lines in the fight with Al Queda, that Al Queda in Iraq is fundamentally opposed to a decent democratic outcome, and that it is vitally important for the Iraqi government, not the Al Queda / Baathist insurgency to prevail. It’s not a desire for the insurgents to win so much as placing far greater emphasis on the outcome of the political battle in the U.S. than on the war in Iraq.

Support for the insurgency? No. Reckless indifference to a possible Al Queda victory in Iraq? That is how it appears to me.

9

Steve Burton 08.13.05 at 1:31 pm

If lots of right-wingers took this post personally and got all indignant, Ms. Waring could reasonably claim to have scored a point here.

But if *nobody* takes it personally or gets indignant, doesn’t that sort of prove *their* point?

One need hardly resort to feeble attempt at satire to find good leftish parallels to Volokh’s post. Just consider all the opinion pieces that include phrases like:

“those who support the bombing of abortion clinics…”

or:

“those who want to nuke Mecca and Medina…”

Trouble is, I think you’ll find that very few on the right either (1) deny that such characters exist, or (2) identify with them to the extent that they get bent out of shape when left-wingers attack them.

So what is it that makes so many on the left so much touchier than their right-wing counterparts, when it comes to the issue of support for the insurrection?

10

abb1 08.13.05 at 1:50 pm

Good point, Steve, good point.

I suspect they do really want the US to fail in its this glorious attempt to bring neo-liberal pro-US and pro-Israel democracy to Iraq by killing tens or hundreds of thousands of people there and terrorizing the rest.

They are just too cowardly to admit it.

11

Russell L. Carter 08.13.05 at 2:02 pm

“So what is it that makes so many on the left so much touchier than their right-wing counterparts, when it comes to the issue of support for the insurrection?”

Dolchstosslegende.

12

kathleen 08.13.05 at 2:18 pm

nice post. good work. Could Mr. V finally get the point?

13

Steve Burton 08.13.05 at 2:23 pm

russell carter:

If Prof. Volokh had attacked anyone for “criticizing the cause of [American] nationalism, or for “not being zealous-enough supporters of it,” I would happily join with you in condemning him.

But he didn’t. So what’s your point?

abb1:

obviously *you’re* not (too cowardly to admit it).

14

Russell L. Carter 08.13.05 at 2:48 pm

Steve, ask a general question, get a general answer.

15

Demetrios 08.13.05 at 3:04 pm

a clear refusal to recognize that Iraq now contains the front lines in the fight with Al Queda, that Al Queda in Iraq is fundamentally and so on

The Bush administration in particular and the right in general are geniuses at creating terrible situations with no good choices, then declaring in propagandistic terms that the status quo must not change, because they’re the only ones who know how to clean up the dung-pile they so lovingly built.

The entire realm of the right-wing blog world, and your posts here, are rotten with what is the only “clear refusal to recognize” that, if reversed, could actually change the course of things.

Meanwhile, such energy goes into muddying the distinction between hoping that the architects of the mess leave the national stage in the kind of political disgrace that guarantees at least a generation of exile, and “reckless indifference to a possible Al Queda victory”. The former includes an honest accounting in the national discourse, at least, of the human cost of this ghastly mistake.

The ones operating with “reckless indifference to a possible Al Queda victory” are the idiots who invaded Iraq.

16

gzombie 08.13.05 at 3:05 pm

if nobody takes it personally or gets indignant, doesn’t that sort of prove their point?

The post above is obviously a joke. Volokh’s was not. We should not expect to be able to draw any useful conclusions from the different reactions the posts elicit.

17

James Emerson 08.13.05 at 3:18 pm

But it is a clear refusal to recognize that Iraq now contains the front lines in the fight with Al Queda, that Al Queda in Iraq is fundamentally opposed to a decent democratic outcome, and that it is vitally important for the Iraqi government, not the Al Queda / Baathist insurgency to prevail.

This is so wrong. There are no front lines, there are only back allys and back roads leading to nowhere. Whatever role Al Queda plays in Iraq it is certainly not about opposing a democratic outcome. We have already learned that a democratic outcome in Iraq involves a theocratic government…albeit one that has three centers.

Al queda is in Iraq precisely because that is where we are. It matters little to them whatever political system we’re currently trying to jury rig there as long as they can target our forces. It is about the military occupation of an arab state. This is not a trivial point. Iraq is…one), a training ground for advanced guerrilla style urban warfare…and 2), an effective recruitment tool as the imagees of dead men, women, and children continue to accumulate. We are mindlessly cooperating with their agenda, and in time there will be blowback on American soil caused by it. We can do better, but it will require some honesty from this administration that, frankly speaking, they don’t possess.

It’s not a desire for the insurgents to win so much as placing far greater emphasis on the outcome of the political battle in the U.S. than on the war in Iraq.

The insurgency falls into a least two categories. The nationalists, who want their country back, and the Al Queda, who want to throw the US out of the Middle East. If we allow the nationalists the chance to run their own country, they will sort out the details themselves (this might require the political trifurcation of Iraq), but they will rein in the Jihadists who are solely bent on chaos and destruction.

And yes, this might be a bit of a gamble, but with the occupation so far having been a complete disaster and trending towards getting worse, a gamble is something worth considering. Afterall, how much worse can self-determination be for both us and them?

18

Harry 08.13.05 at 3:19 pm

Steve,
its a joke. Quite a good one, in fact. So obviously a joke that no-one could publicly admit to being offended without looking utterly ridiculous. It might provoke reflection, but not public reaction. That’s fine, no?

19

JRoth 08.13.05 at 4:07 pm

It’s not a desire for the insurgents to win so much as placing far greater emphasis on the outcome of the political battle in the U.S. than on the war in Iraq.

I’ll probably get clobbered for saying this, but that’s exactly right. Could you offer some reason that I should care more about Iraq being destroyed than I do about America being destroyed? I mean, it’s parochial and provincial and all that, but the bottom line is that it is incredibly important to me that my daughter not grow up in a second world backwater as a second class citizen, paying debts incurred by self-righteous assholes who thought it was more important to swing their dicks in the ME than it was to a. catch the bastards reponsible for 9/11 or b. get this nation on some sort of sane economic and financial footing. I would also be thrilled if the daughters of Iraq could also avoid such a fate, but you’re the fools who made it less likely by supporting a patently stupid, unnecessary, and unlikely to succeed endeavor.

I don’t know what it will take to make Iraq anything resembling a stable, non-backwards society. But I know for certain that there is zero evidence – none whatsoever – that the current crowd in power in the US will do what it takes. Getting them out of power here may not be sufficient for success in Iraq, but it is wholly necessary.

20

JRoth 08.13.05 at 4:09 pm

Oh, and Belle’s piece is fucking hilarious. If no one on the right is laughing with it, it only proves Mithras’ point.

21

soru 08.13.05 at 4:41 pm

Could you offer some reason that I should care more about Iraq being destroyed than I do about America being destroyed?

Becuae one is a realistic possibility and one is self-indulgent hyperbole?

soru

22

Steve Burton 08.13.05 at 4:59 pm

Harry: well, yeah, duh. “its a joke.”

You say “a good one,” I say “feeble.”

How shall we decide?

I say: by looking at real-world parallels, to find out whether a serious point has been made, and a genuine piece of hypocrisy pointed out. I mean, that’s what satire is all about, right?

I still await examples of right-wingers going ape-sh*t about left-wing bloggers who complain about (if I may repeat myself):

“those who support the bombing of abortion clinics…”

or:

“those who want to nuke Mecca and Medina…”

or – well, anything at all that they haven’t explicitly endorsed.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

23

Brendan 08.13.05 at 5:00 pm

“a possible Al Queda victory”.

No no no no no no no. It is absolutely impossible that Al-Qaeda could win for so many reasons. However for just one reason have a look at a map of Iraq, and at the relative populations of Shia and Sunni (and Kurd for that matter). And remember the majority of the Sunni insurgency (which is not, in fact, the only insurgency going on in Iraq, let alone the only military operation) is NOT Al-Qaeda, but a Ba’athist ‘core’ onto which various sympathisers and ‘fellow travellers’ have attached themselves. The basic differences between Sunni Ba’athist nationalists and Musliam theocrats remains: they cooperate at the moment because they are united in their hatred of the Americans. As soon as the Americans are gone they will start fighting each other.

Actual Al-Qaeda fighters (by which I mean Sunni Jihadists associated with Bin Laden) are only a tiny minority even of the insurgents, and always have been. If the Americans are fighting to prevent an Al-Qaeda take over they really can go home now, cos that ain’t going to happen.

24

Kevin Donoghue 08.13.05 at 5:18 pm

I still await examples of right-wingers going ape-sh*t about left-wing bloggers who complain about … anything at all that they haven’t explicitly endorsed.

They get quite excited about complaints that Bush lied. They haven’t endorsed lying. What do we conclude from this?

25

gzombie 08.13.05 at 5:26 pm

“those who support the bombing of abortion clinics…”

or:

“those who want to nuke Mecca and Medina…”

If you would provide links to specific examples of left-wing bloggers making these assertions, it would be easy to find the reactions to those assertions.

If you want to make a point, you can’t very well expect other people to do the work for you.

26

Shelby 08.13.05 at 5:34 pm

Silly people, Republicans don’t drink puppy blood. That absurdity is probably derived from Glenn Reynolds’ reported vile habit of blenderizing puppies. See, e.g., http://evilpundit.com/archives/004241.html. Of course, hardly anyone would endorse such a practice.

Still, it seems unfair to tar Republicans in general with this meme, because Reynolds is not a Republican. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instapundit states that he claims to be libertarian. So logically we should seek fellow puppy-drinkers in that crowd; perhaps some have taken up puppy-blood instead of full-on puppy shakes. I imagine that’s easier on the blender. Any volunteers to lurk on Hit & Run and look for clues?

27

soru 08.13.05 at 5:35 pm

However for just one reason have a look at a map of Iraq, and at the relative populations of Shia and Sunni (and Kurd for that matter).

The map and relative populations were little different when saddam won the 1991 civil war, and that was without any outside help from groups like al qaeda.

You might also consider Afghanistan (40% Pashtun, and al qaeda groups provided essential muscle to the regime).

Still, while impossible is overstating it, it likely would go the other way, with the shi’a getting a lot of formal iranian help.

Then, what happens to Saudi Arabia with the Persians on the border, and the americans having proven they are not to be relied upon?

Saudi Arabia is the country where al qaeda has majority popular support, £61 billion of western arms purchased since 1995, the two most sacred shrines of islam, and a high proportion of the world’s oil production.

soru

28

Doctor Slack 08.13.05 at 5:48 pm

Is it an endorsement of the insurgency? No. But it is a clear refusal to recognize that Iraq now contains the front lines in the fight with Al Queda, that Al Queda in Iraq is fundamentally opposed to a decent democratic outcome, and that it is vitally important for the Iraqi government, not the Al Queda / Baathist insurgency to prevail.

I count four different assumptions here. Let’s just deal with the first one: “Iraq now contains the front line in the fight with al Qaeda.” Basically a repackaged version of Bush’s “Iraq is the front line in the war on terror” soundbite — precisely the sort of soundbite that has been so consistently wrong and dishonest to this point that the judgment of people who still buy into it is automatically suspect.

Think about it for a second: three years ago, people just like you were carping about how Saddam obviously “had to be disarmed.” Do you really think it should impress anyone now that you imagine Bush’s latest soundbite is some kind of incontestable strategic summary? Especially when it hasn’t even occurred to you that Iraq may not be a front line at all, but a massive training ground for al-Qaedists created at the expense of the American taxpayer? (This idea has occurred to the CIA, whose borderline treason in thinking about it must, I’m sure, appall you.)

If your first assumption rests on such shaky ground, how much credence should be given to your imagined composition of the Iraqi insurgency, to your assessment of Michael Moore’s Minutemen comment, or indeed to your assessments or judgements of anything at all related to the war? Supposing that we had evidence that the Iraqi insurgency was composed of more than just al Qaedists and Baathists; could you be relied upon to look that evidence square in the face, or would you be too busy trying to decry those who dared to unearth it as anti-American for acknowledging the facts?

Reckless indifference to reality is an original sin that supersedes — and is far, far worse than — anything in Michael Moore’s choice of epithet for the Iraqi guerillas or a Kossack’s disdain for the WaPo editorial board. Those who demand that their country fight a war while cut off from reality and exposed only to self-serving happy-talk are actively undermining their country’s conduct of war, while simultaneously and hypocritically persuading themselves that they’re supporting it. And that’s beneath contempt.

29

harry b 08.13.05 at 5:51 pm

Listen to yourself, steve.

30

Brendan 08.13.05 at 6:56 pm

‘It likely would go the other way, with the shi’a getting a lot of formal iranian help. Then, what happens to Saudi Arabia with the Persians on the border, and the americans having proven they are not to be relied upon?

Saudi Arabia is the country where al qaeda has majority popular support, £61 billion of western arms purchased since 1995, the two most sacred shrines of islam, and a high proportion of the world’s oil production.’

Er…well quite. Umm….am I missing something here?

31

Steve Burton 08.13.05 at 7:28 pm

gzombie: you mean to say that nobody on the left has ever noticed or remarked upon the fact that there are right-wingers out there who support the bombing of abortion cinics and/or the nuking of Mecca and Medina?

Play dumb much?

32

Steve Burton 08.13.05 at 7:30 pm

harry b: I have perfect pitch.

33

jet 08.13.05 at 8:29 pm

While it is a well known fact that Republicans drink puppy blood, I noticed no one brought up the fact that Libertarians just put the puppy in a blender for a nice smoothie.

34

gzombie 08.13.05 at 9:36 pm

Steve, if so many prominent bloggers on the left have remarked upon these things, surely you will have no difficulty in providing links. Heck, don’t even provide links; instead, just cite them from memory and let others look them up. Tick-tock, etc.

Even if you do manage to provide links to examples that you say exist (but, strangely, expect others to provide), and even if there are no reponses from those on the right that, to you, parallel the responses from those on the left to the Volokh post, then what?

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

If you have a point to make, make it.

35

Herbert Browne 08.14.05 at 12:19 am

Speaking as a non-Stalinist, non-Zionist leftist, aren’t the “Nuke M&M” guys (or, mostly guys) missing a good bet by not nuking Jerusalem, too? It’s kinda like the “2 birds with one stone” package, isn’t it?
The embarrassing thing about Iraq is that the air-conditioning hasn’t worked for a couple of years, now. Even people who would have put flowers in our gun barrels and danced in the streets 2 years ago are probably muttering about when they had lamb in the freezer, and the air conditioning didn’t crap out mid-afternoon. It’s kind of role reversal, isn’t it? I mean, we used to PUT IN guys like Saddam (and Trujillo, and Duvalier, and Pinochet, and Somoza, and Sg. Joe Mobutu, and Marcos, and Suharto); and offered up the SCARY Alternative of Allende (or, gulp! Castro!) to the whiny naysayers. We HAVE come a long ways… but the air-conditioning still doesn’t work. ^..^

36

Kevin Donoghue 08.14.05 at 3:29 am

I have perfect pitch.

That’s some wind instrument you’re using.

37

bad Jim 08.14.05 at 4:19 am

I can’t comment one way or another about puppy Bloody Marys, but it’s clear that collecting kittens from animal shelters and dissecting them represent solid Republican values.

Does anyone else feel the least bit squeamish about the juxtaposition of this post and Quiggin’s In praise of speciesism?

38

mythago 08.14.05 at 4:29 am

But if nobody takes it personally or gets indignant

…it would be an all-time first in the history of the Internet.

39

Slocum 08.14.05 at 7:38 am

Whatever role Al Queda plays in Iraq it is certainly not about opposing a democratic outcome. We have already learned that a democratic outcome in Iraq involves a theocratic government…albeit one that has three centers.

Al queda is in Iraq precisely because that is where we are. It matters little to them whatever political system we’re currently trying to jury rig there as long as they can target our forces.

But that is plainly, delusionally wrong. It is an essential delusion if you want to believe that the best course of action is to withdraw leave the Iraqis to their fate (imagining against logic and clear evidence that Al Queda will then also withdraw), but it is a delusion nonetheless.

Zarqawi has repeatedly asserted that democracy is apostasy–what does the guy have to do to convince you he actually means it? Or it it just too inconvenient for you to accept?

Further–the Al Queda / Baathist alliance certainly wouldn’t give up and go away if the U.S. left. More delusion. The Baathists, of course, want to regain control (of all or of a large part of Iraq). Al Queda wants to be victorious over the U.S. and that means not only driving the U.S. from the country but driving the Iraqi government into the ground (which government is triply despised because it is democratically elected, U.S. supported, AND Shia dominated).

40

abb1 08.14.05 at 7:50 am

I thought Al Queda now consists of two crazy old fellas sitting in a cave in the middle of nowhere and a bunch of schoolboys in Europe. What gives?

41

Slocum 08.14.05 at 7:52 am

Especially when it hasn’t even occurred to you that Iraq may not be a front line at all, but a massive training ground for al-Qaedists created at the expense of the American taxpayer?

There is no reason it cannot be both — in fact, I think it is unavoidable. Wherever an enemy is engaged, the battlefield necessarily becomes a ‘massive training ground’ for both one’s own forces and those of the enemy.

Supposing that we had evidence that the Iraqi insurgency was composed of more than just al Qaedists and Baathists; could you be relied upon to look that evidence square in the face, or would you be too busy trying to decry those who dared to unearth it as anti-American for acknowledging the facts?

I’m sure the Iraqi insurgency is composed of more than just Al Quedists and Baathists (it does seem to be supported by Syria and possibly Iran as well). But there is little doubt that the Al Queda and the Baathists are by far the dominant forces in the insurgency. Or were you suggesting that Al Queda and Baathists are really marginal and that the real power in the insurgency is…who exactly? And your evidence for that is…what exactly?

42

Slocum 08.14.05 at 8:04 am

Meanwhile, such energy goes into muddying the distinction between hoping that the architects of the mess leave the national stage in the kind of political disgrace that guarantees at least a generation of exile, and “reckless indifference to a possible Al Queda victory”. The former includes an honest accounting in the national discourse, at least, of the human cost of this ghastly mistake.

Do you feel that defeat in Iraq — witdrawal of coalition forces and the destruction of the elected Iraqi government — is necessary to ‘guarantee an honest accounting…of this ghastly mistake’? Because that is my impression. If the Iraqi government were to survive and succeed, that would make it possible for some to claim (perhaps a 2008 presidential candidate) that it was not a ghastly mistake after all, wouldn’t it? And we can’t have that, can we?

And this is the crux — the ‘ghastly mistake’ version of events depends on failure, on disaster not just for coalition forces but much worse disaster for the Iraqi people.

Or do you feel that you can make the case ‘ghastly mistake’ case even if gradual withdrawal of coalition forces leaves a functioning Iraqi government — in which case, it’d be OK to actually hope for such an outcome?

43

gzombie 08.14.05 at 8:48 am

U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq,” By Robin Wright and Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post, Sunday August 14):

The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

44

Upright in Duluth 08.14.05 at 10:47 am

Slocum, Slocum, umpteen posts and you *still* have not denounced puppy-killers. You won’t even address the issue. *Don’t* you think the defense of civilization absolutely requires the most vigorous possible stand on this point? I wonder why not. Could it be . . . no, the accusation is too beastly to consider.

45

Chris Clarke 08.14.05 at 11:58 am

I have perfect pitch.

That’s some wind instrument you’re using.

Le Petomaine lives!

46

JRoth 08.14.05 at 12:51 pm

slocum-

Your chain of logic seems to be: the left/Dems/progressives/liberals don’t want the current crowd to win in ’08; the current crowd will inevitably win in ’08 if Iraq becomes Athens on the Tigris; therefore, l/D/p/l must want Gaza on the Tigris.

The problem with your chain is twofold: first, nothing the l/D/p/l can do makes a whit of difference in Iraq – that’s why we blame Bush et al. for Gaza on the Tigris; more importantly, you’ve reversed cause and effect. Iraq will not be Athens on the Tigris, not in ’08, probably not in ’18 – see gzomble’s quote from the Post. Because we see this reality, we are desperate to get the current bunch out of office and get in someone halfway competent.

This has been a favorite tactic on the right ever since they started supporting incompetents – claim that those who oppose incompetents are, in fact, supporting the results of incompetency. Economy in the crapper and Bush’s economic policies a mess? It must the the l/D/p/l who want a bad economy.

“Dear, you’re an alcoholic, and you’ve cracked your skull open because you’re falling down drunk. You need to get help.”
“Aha! You wanted me to crack my skull so that I’d get help.”

I’m sorry you’ve got blood on your hands for promoting this easily-foreseen cock-up. But please stop trying to wipe it off on us. We told you not to, and you called us Saddam-lovers. Now we remind you that we told you not to, and we’re terrorist-lovers. For god’s sake, what does that make you?

47

Doctor Slack 08.14.05 at 12:57 pm

There is no reason it cannot be both

But there is every reason to suspect that it is one and not the other. Al-Qaedist militants are pretty evidently operating far more widely than just in Iraq, and Iraq continues to inspire branch plants of the ideology (cf. London).

But there is little doubt that the Al Queda and the Baathists are by far the dominant forces in the insurgency.

Little doubt in your mind, perhaps. But then, you’re the one with the serious credibility gap at this point, and it’s time for you to start coming to terms with that. Serious observers of what is going on in Iraq moved on from the canned “foreign fighters and dead-enders” line a long, long time ago. You need to explain why you haven’t done the same. Frankly, I don’t think you can do it.

And this is the crux—the ‘ghastly mistake’ version of events depends on failure, on disaster not just for coalition forces but much worse disaster for the Iraqi people.

Actually, the “ghastly mistake” version of events depends on an honest assessment of whether Coalition forced can withdraw and leave a functioning Iraqi government vs. whether their presence has become inherently destabilizing, as many military strategists now feel. If you’re capable of mounting an honest case against that version of events, you need to start showing a wider and more current awareness of the state of the debate. Repeating canned White House and Pentagon talking points simply will not fly.

48

Uncle Kvetch 08.14.05 at 1:07 pm

Actually, the “ghastly mistake” version of events depends on an honest assessment of whether Coalition forced can withdraw and leave a functioning Iraqi government vs. whether their presence has become inherently destabilizing, as many military strategists now feel.

And on that note:

“It’s a race against time because by the end of this coming summer we can no longer sustain the presence we have now,” said retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who visited Iraq most recently in May and briefed Cheney, Rice and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “This thing, the wheels are coming off it.”

49

Brendan 08.14.05 at 1:10 pm

‘ It is an essential delusion if you want to believe that the best course of action is to withdraw leave the Iraqis to their fate’

God I loathe all that crap. It’s as if Iraq invaded the United States using America’s weapons of mass destruction as an excuse (which actually exist, unlike Iraq’s). This would undoubtedly lead to a huge armed resistance, which would undoubtedly have a huge faith based/Christian/radical Christian/Bushite element (amongst others), with a less than advanced record on women’s rights, gay rights etc. Imagine then the Iraqis refused to leave to ‘leave the Americans to their fate’, and described the battle as one between ‘civilisation’ and ‘radical fundamentalist Christianity’.

There was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq before the invasion. Now there is. Draw your own conclusions.

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Steve Burton 08.14.05 at 2:15 pm

gzombie: my point?

There are extremists in the world.

There are left-wing extremists “who side with the ‘Iraqi resistance’ against America and its allies.”

There are right-wing extremists “who support the bombing of abortion clinics” and/or “want to nuke Mecca and Medina.”

People on the right like to draw attention to the former. People on the left like to draw attention to the latter. (And, no, I’m not going to provide you with a bunch of links to prove this. If you’ve never noticed this phenomenon, then I’m obviously wasting my time talking to you. One does have a life, after all.)

This is all perfectly obvious, and to be expected. Politics, politics…whatever.

But here’s where things get interesting: when people on the left denounce (e.g.) Tom Tancredo for suggesting the nuking of Mecca and Medina, people on the right just can’t wait to agree. Try a google search on “tancredo nuke mecca medina” and see what comes up.

On the other hand, when people on the right criticize those who support the insurgency, people on the left suddenly get all…well, defensive. As if the criticism applied to them, personally, and not just to the Michael Moore’s of the world.

I tell you, it’s creepy.

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Steve Burton 08.14.05 at 2:21 pm

chris clarke: anal fixation, huh?

No doubt it’s just a passing phase.

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abb1 08.14.05 at 2:57 pm

Good point, Steve, good point. Except that it’s not, of course, extreme to admit that the Iraqi resistance and ‘people on the left’ share a common goal of getting US troops out of Iraq and ending the disgraceful war. There’s absolutely nothing shameful or extreme about it at all.

See, the pro-war types like yourself now share a common goal with a bunch of fundamentalist pro-Iranian stooges like His Eminence Ayatullah Sayyid Sistani of Najaf – and you guys don’t lose any sleep over it; even though you’re basically Iranian agents, America-hating fifth column.

So, I fully agree: sensible anti-war liberals should put up or shut up. Give them hell, Steve-o.

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Kevin Donoghue 08.14.05 at 3:10 pm

…when people on the right criticize those who support the insurgency, people on the left suddenly get all…well, defensive.

When people from any part of the political spectrum observe that Bush and Blair told lies, pro-war people (left and right) suddenly get all…well, defensive; as if the criticism applied to them, personally.

I tell you, it’s creepy.

That was your point? That’s it?

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Steve Burton 08.14.05 at 3:31 pm

abb1: would it be at all impertinent for me to ask how old you are?

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Steve Burton 08.14.05 at 3:39 pm

kevin: when “people from any part of the political spectrum observe that Bush and Blair told lies,” I may or may not agree, depending on the evidence, but do I take it as a personal accusation that *I* have told lies?

Nope.

Who does?

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Kevin Donoghue 08.14.05 at 4:09 pm

Steve: do you “get all…well, defensive; as if the criticism applied” to you, personally?

If not, good for you. But many on the pro-war side certainly do. Is that “creepy”?

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gzombie 08.14.05 at 4:09 pm

I’m not going to provide you with a bunch of links to prove this.

I’m not asking you to prove anything. I’m just asking you to clarify, specifically, what you’re talking about. You apparently have some particular examples in mind of statements by liberals denouncing conservative extremists as well as conservative responses to those denouncements. Because I cannot read your mind, I don’t know what those specific examples you’re thinking of are.

I’ve always found it strange when people use this argumentative tactic: “Here’s what I believe, and the evidence is available via Google. I don’t have time to provide the evidence for you.” (For example, see Ben Benny in this thread.)

If your argument relies upon evidence, and if you don’t have time to provide evidence, you don’t really have time to make a persuasive argument.

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Grand Moff Texan 08.14.05 at 4:48 pm

If I were to extend to Republican drinkers of puppy blood the same courtesies they do to the liberals they can only see by the light of the full moon, I would have to say that anyone who tries to explain, account for, or otherwise comprehend their behavior in drinking said puppy blood is really just defending that behavior and minimizing its eviltudinousness.

They are a small group, yes, but at that scale they are only worth condemning. Comprehension? That way madness lies.

I said I would have to say this, but I won’t. I lied.
.

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gzombie 08.14.05 at 5:13 pm

I suspect there are not many such Republicans. However, we must remember that some Republican drinkers of puppy blood may not admit to doing so in polite company.

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Steve Burton 08.14.05 at 5:34 pm

gzombie: no, you haven’t quite got it yet.

“You apparently have some particular examples in mind of statements by liberals denouncing conservative extremists as well as conservative responses to those denouncements.”

But “conservative responses to those [dime-a-dozen] denouncements” of the sort that Ms. Waring needs to sustain her point are precisely what’s missing here.

Let’s review.

Volokh posts an item denouncing those who support the insurgency.

A bunch of anti-war folk who insist that they *don’t* support the insurgency take angry exception, as if Volokh’s post were directed at them.

Volokh replies that his post *wasn’t* directed at them, but only at those few who…well…actually do “support the insurgency.”

Ms. Waring then posts a parody, the point of which seemed to be that those on the other side would take understandable umbrage were someone on the left to post something targeting some small-to-nonexistent group of right wing extremists, the opposite numbers of those who “support the insurgency.”

Trouble is, people on the left post attacks on right-wing crazies all the time – but I simply can’t come up with any instances where reasonable right-wingers have taken this routine sort of thing as an attack on themselves, unless somebody specifically tried to implicate them in the craziness.

…which is presumably why Ms. Waring had to resort to her imagination to come up with a parallel case.

Is this really so difficult?

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gzombie 08.14.05 at 6:13 pm

I believe that I understand what you’re saying, Steve.

…the point of which seemed to be that those on the other side would take understandable umbrage were someone on the left to post something targeting some small-to-nonexistent group of right wing extremists.

I disagree. I think the point of Belle’s post is the what we find in the Volokh post is a silly thing to post in the first place.

I simply can’t come up with any instances where reasonable right-wingers have taken this routine sort of thing as an attack on themselves

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

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Uncle Kvetch 08.14.05 at 6:27 pm

I would have to say that anyone who tries to explain, account for, or otherwise comprehend their behavior in drinking said puppy blood is really just defending that behavior and minimizing its eviltudinousness.

Next thing you know they’ll be offering them therapy.

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PZ Myers 08.14.05 at 7:20 pm

I’m sorry to muddy the waters here, but as someone who has bled puppies, in addition to decapitating cats, castrating fish, scooping the eyes out of various animals, and pureeing embryos, I am troubled by the blanket condemnation of people who may have a perfectly good reasons for engaging in those activities.

Tell me, what is objectively wrong with good Republicans choosing to slake their unholy thirst with the warm life’s blood of the innocent? Given that it is an unpopular act, it must be not only amply warranted, but necessary. That they do it at all is therefore a service to America, and we should be grateful.

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Dan Kervick 08.14.05 at 9:09 pm

I think Democrats should resist the urge to engage in a blanket condemnation of puppy blood drinking, and adopt a more muscular, nuanced view of puppicide.

It’s not the blood drinking itself that is wrong. A puppy is indeed a noble meal, and Bush’s call to dig in was justified, impure though his motives might have been. Even Wilson, Roosevelt and Truman were known to tipple a terrier, lap up a lab or slake their thirts with a fine young Nouveau Newfoundland from time to time. What red blooded American’s pulse does not quicken as a puppy-pulse slows?

No, it is for their inadequate preparation and blundering execution that the Republicans must be called to account! These were the wrong puppies, from the wrong pound at the wrong time. Yet now that the meal is underway, we need more bowls to collect the gushing vital fluid of these hounds. And if we are destined to gargle canine sangre, our American slurpers must be outfitted with the finest napkins available, the newest laser-sharpened knives, and protective goggles lest they be hit in the eyes with stinging droplets of the gushing red stuff.

If we fail to back this latest pooch picnic unreservedly and unequivocally, I fear the American public will never again trust us with the imprtant task of small mammal carnovory! Of course, of course … we were right to call for an end to that misguided slaughter of the gerbils in the 60’s. The preparers of that meal lied to the American public, hiding from them secret scientific findings that showed gerbil blood was as indigestible as it was unappetizing.

But puppies are an entirely different matter. America was indeed founded on the principle of the liberal pursuit of puppy hemoglobin, and we are presented with a unique, historical moment in which no rival can stand in our path as we round up and fatally dispatch our fill of tail-waggers.

That political victory in the tragic case of the gerbils was purchased with a double-edged sword, and our short-term win exacted a painful long-term price. While recognizing the rightness of our gastronomic recommendations, the public irrationally blamed us for their own indigestion. If we now let the lingering Small Critter Syndrome of the 60’s prevents us from taking a good healthy gulp at the present Fido-feast, we may very well be painted as puppy-lovers … or even vegetarians! … by our Republican opponets.

Even now, they are preparing their “Milk Bone in the back” defense, should we fail in our national effort to hold down the nutritious doggy nectar on offer.

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abb1 08.15.05 at 12:42 am

Steve, how old can anyone be to engage in this conversation here? No more than 14 or no less than 76, I’d think.

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bad Jim 08.15.05 at 3:35 am

Kervick, that was simply monumental. Maximum lobster. I’m awestruck.

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harry b 08.15.05 at 8:51 am

Steve, you’re trying to dent a feather duster with a sledgehammer, and seeing you try is, indeed, funnier than Belle’s post (which I found funny).

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chris from boca 08.15.05 at 10:28 am

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Jeff 08.15.05 at 12:53 pm

The guy that made comments about nuking Mecca was, like, a Republican Congressman or something, right? I think the Republican response to the uproar over that was that there was absolutely nothing wrong with nuking Mecca, given the right circumstance. The right circumstances being an Islamic nuke in the US, regardless of where exactly the Islamic nuke came from.

Maybe if there is a difference in reactions to this sort of thing, the reason may be found in the fact that one group is capable of shame, and the other is not.

If you don’t think drinking puppy blood is a big deal, then you don’t much care when someone paints you with the puppy blood brush, even if you do not particularly care for puppy blood yourself.

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Steve Burton 08.15.05 at 6:13 pm

harry b – ideally, of course, one would respond to a weak satire with an equally light-hearted but more deadly soap bubble of ones own.

Alas, I have not the talent – as would become all too apparent were I to try. So I don’t try.

On the whole, I think probably Ms. Waring shouldn’t either. But *de gustibus*.

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jasmindad 08.15.05 at 7:43 pm

There are lots of reasons why patriotic Americans would support the US getting out from Iraq now. It’s absurd to say that such people “support the insurgency.” First, many are becoming convinced that the odds of beating Al Quaeda will be higher if the US got out of Iraq. Second, on balance, the debacle in Iraq and the excessive financial and human cost of the adventure can help bring to the US (and American citizens) a sense of realism about their relative power, which in the long run can only be good for the US. If the debacle in Iraq saves the US from a reckless engagement in North Korea — an engagement whose costs could dwarf the costs in Iraq –, as a patriot, I think that would be a good price to pay.

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Henry 08.16.05 at 6:20 pm

From James Wood, “Introduction,” _The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel_

bq. Particular derision is reserved for the formal criticism of comedy, which seems to most sensible people like an unwitting bad joke, since nothing is funnier than solemnity about laughter.

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Steve Burton 08.17.05 at 5:42 pm

And yet, there is good comedy and bad comedy, and there are (at least sometimes) identifiable reasons why some attempts at comedy succeed and others fail. So comedy is no more exempt from criticism than any other genre. Were we discussing Mark Steyn, perhaps harry and henry would be more inclined to agree with me on this.

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