Witchfinders-general

by Henry on August 16, 2005

I’ve gone through the comments to my previous post, and found a quite considerable number of people who appear to have made egregious claims about opponents of the war rooting for the other side. I’ve excluded people who don’t fit the criteria for being well-known etc (including a couple of bloggers). I’ve included both Glenn Reynolds and Hindrocket of Powerline, who both seem to me to qualify as well-known individuals beyond the blogosphere. Where there’s some real degree of ambiguity, I’ve not included the links; where (as with the Wall Street Journal editorial board’s slur-in-passing), I think that any reading other than the obvious one is simply making excuses for the inexcusable, I’ve included them. Which is not to say that I don’t fully expect some of our regular commenters to engage in aforementioned excuse-making, special pleading etc. The links are below the fold.

Norman Podhoretz in a flagrant lie – “One can only admire Hendrickson’s candor in admitting what is usually hotly denied: that even many leading realists, along with many liberal internationalists, are rooting for an American defeat.”

The ever-reliable David Horowitz – “During this anti-war protest led by 30 members of the Columbia faculty, one of the professors, Nicholas DeGenova declared that every honest opponent of the Iraq War should want America to lose, and that for his own part he wished for “a million Mogadishus.” . …The negative reaction to DeGenova’s statement was so strong that the Columbia organizers, led by Eric Foner, the leftist chairman of Columbia’s leftist History Department, immediately distanced themselves from DeGenova’s image. . . . The immediate effect of Foner’s gesture was to obscure how universally DeGenova’s actual view of the war – which led to the impolitic remark—was shared by those present, including Foner himself. See also his comment that “they [anti-war people] want America to lose. That’s what defines the left.”

And Daniel Pipes pipes up on the same topic – “More broadly, plenty of other Columbia professors share De Genova’s venomous feelings for the United States, though they stop short of calling for the deaths of Americans. … Such sentiments coming from leading lights of the Columbia professorate suggest that De Genova fits very well into his institution. He just made the mistake of blurting out the logical conclusion of the anti-Americanism forwarded by some of his colleagues.”

Glenn Reynolds on the Democratic party – “John Kerry has it tough. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s been trying to send a positive message on the war when many people in his own party are actively rooting for the other side.” Also, see Reynolds’ earlier claim that “this “pressure of public opinion” language is a recognition by Saddam that the “anti-war” movement is objectively on his side, and not neutral” and that preservation of Saddam Hussein is the “top priority” of the left.

Victor Davis Hanson on those European sneaking regarders – “Even aside from the question of whether France and Germany had lucrative commercial arrangements with the Hussein regime, those countries invested their prestige in stymieing the United States by way of the United Nations. It was thus depressing enough for them that the war ended in three weeks; that chagrin could only get worse should postbellum Iraq emerge as a sane and humane society. …In short, our failure is essential to confirming the entire European view of how the world should work. … Most nations and institutions will see themselves as losers should we succeed.”

The Dupe on the “vile spectacle of Democrats rooting for bad news in Iraq and Afghanistan” – “there are quite obviously people close to the leadership of today’s Democratic Party who do not at all hope that the battle goes well in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Tara Ross for The American Enterprise Online – ” Bush hatred has become a defining characteristic for many liberals—so much so that they appear to identify with it more surely and swiftly than they do their American citizenship. At times, some extremist liberals seem to be rooting against their fellow Americans and in favor of those who would kill us.”

Andrew Sullivan on the enemy within, warning us that “The decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead – and may well mount a fifth column” (later surreptitiously revised to ” The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead – and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column”).

The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board – “The silver bullet offered by some on the right, meanwhile, is more U.S. troops. Senator John McCain is the leader of this camp, and unlike the left he is rooting for American victory.”

Time magazine’s blogger of the year – “Carter’s public embrace of Moore can only be seen as an endorsement of his views. That puts Carter squarely “on the other side.”” And more recently, “There is one obvious catch, however, in Rich’s rosy—for him—scenario. Much as he and his fellow left-wingers can encourage our terrorist enemy, and they do, they don’t have the power to bring about America’s defeat.”

Michael Medved on the fifth columnist in the White House press corps – “In moments of candor, critics of the Iraq war make it increasingly clear that they want America to lose … Helen Thomas … displays her eagerness to hand victory to brutal mass murderers.”

Ralph Peters in USA Today – “Today, some left-wing opinion-makers appear to be rooting for Iraq to fail.”

And of course, our old friend Ann Coulter – “Liberals promote the right of Islamic fanatics for the same reason they promote the rights of adulterers, pornographers, abortionists, criminals, and Communists. They instinctively root for anarchy against civilization. The inevitable logic of the liberal position is to be for treason.”

James Taranto makes it clear which “Westerners” were “sid[ing] with the “Iraqi resistance”” in the quote that Eugene Volokh repeated without substantive comment or qualifier at the beginning of this controversy – “The Democrats are in the position of hoping that America loses its ‘gamble’ in Iraq—a politically and morally hazardous thing to hope for.” Also see Taranto’s follow-up claim that “The lesson the left learned from Vietnam is that it is acceptable to root against America during wartime.”

Brendan Miniter in the Wall Street Journal – “Rather the Vietnam metaphor is apt today because the U.S. is in a war it can win and is winning, if only those inside the Beltway would stop preferring defeat to victory and disgrace to honor.”

Thomas Friedman looks deep into the hearts of liberals – “Liberals don’t want to talk about Iraq because, with a few exceptions, they thought the war was wrong and deep down don’t want the Bush team to succeed.”

Stanley Kurtz at NRO’s The Corner – “A house divided against itself cannot stand. A nation where the political opposition stands against our foreign policy, and even secretly (and not so secretly) hopes for its failure, cannot reform a region as recalcitrant as the Middle East.”

Michael Savage on MSNBC tells us that Hollywood anti-war protesters “are absolutely committing sedition, or treason.”

{ 4 trackbacks }

Crooked Timber » » What next
08.18.05 at 1:44 pm
The Poor Man Cafe » Back down the road a while
08.19.05 at 12:16 am
Crooked Timber » » Flaming the Left
08.19.05 at 11:59 pm
Crooked Timber » » The Jane Fonda Myth
11.15.05 at 5:51 pm

{ 86 comments }

1

norbizness 08.16.05 at 6:24 pm

As The Left (I play it at children’s parties), let me be the first to say: It’s true! It’s all true! (breaks down, crying)

2

Slocum 08.16.05 at 6:54 pm

“Carter’s public embrace of Moore can only be seen as an endorsement of his views. That puts Carter squarely “on the other side.””

Yes, well what do we make of not just Carter’s but the Democratic Party leadership honoring and embracing Moore after Moore’s well-publicized cheerleading for the Iraqi Minutemen? Perhaps they weren’t endorsing his views but they certainly couldn’t have found them all that objectionable, could they?

You can’t very well embrace Moore and then be shocked, shocked! to find yourself characterized as not being all that committed to a U.S. victory.

3

djw 08.16.05 at 7:01 pm

Nice to see someone being so upfront about the guilt-by-association standard now fully operative and sufficient for so many luminaries of pro-war commentary.

4

Randy Paul 08.16.05 at 7:19 pm

I guess it’s time for me to quote Fidel Castro yet again:

“All dissent is opposition. All opposition is counterrevolutionary.”

What lovely company this rogue’s gallery Henry assembled keeps.

5

neil 08.16.05 at 7:19 pm

And the pro-war side puts up with an equal amount of obnoxiousness. So not much moral high gronf there.

6

Uncle Kvetch 08.16.05 at 7:22 pm

Enough of all this.Now that we’ve identified the enemy in our midst, what are we going to do about it?

Everybody’s Favorite Pillhead cuts to the chase very nicely here:

“Wouldn’t it be great if anybody who speaks out against this country, to kick them out of the country? Anybody that threatens this country, kick ’em out. We’d get rid of Michael Moore, we’d get rid of half the Democratic Party if we would just import that law. That would be fabulous. The Supreme Court ought to look into this. Absolutely brilliant idea out there.”

Rush Limbaugh, August 11, 2005

7

Adam Kotsko 08.16.05 at 8:13 pm

So what you’re saying is that the right’s tendency to use this technique is far out of proportion to the actual views critiqued. What that means, in my mind, is that Eugene Volokh’s insistence that it is necessary to denounce the views of fringe leftists may have been a case of completely missing the point and, worse, normalizing and rationalizing slander.

Of course, I long ago made my transition from dissenting to undermining speech, so who am I to talk?

8

norbizness 08.16.05 at 8:30 pm

And I’ve got a message for that half-wit Time Blogger of the Year: your weak-ass, comment-less abortion of a website is writing checks your ass can’t cash. To wit, I can bring about America’s defeat.

9

Grand Moff Texan 08.16.05 at 8:49 pm

You can’t very well embrace Moore and then be shocked, shocked! to find yourself characterized as not being all that committed to a U.S. victory.

What would a US victory look like? At what stage has the ruling party taken steps to achieve it?

Once again, their incompetence is someone else’s fault. Then again, I guess it has to be.

And the pro-war side puts up with an equal amount of obnoxiousness. So not much moral high gronf there.

There is no moral equivalence between the two sides. One advocated mass murder, the other didn’t. Shall I say that an accused murder in court and the prosecutor have the same moral worth, just ’cause they’re both, like, mean to each other?
.

10

neil 08.16.05 at 9:00 pm

and grand moff proves my point

11

BigMacAttack 08.16.05 at 9:54 pm

More slop for the slop lovers.

‘I’d like instances in which commentators make egregious claims that a substantial section of those who opposed the war are, in fact, rooting for the other side.’

Your Pipes example in no way shape or form meets your criteria. He lists 7 specific professors. And limits any generalizations to Columbia. Last time I checked Columbia professors didn’t really count as a substantial section of those who opposed the war.

Most importantly he does not in way shape or form accuse the 7 professors he cites of rooting for the other side.

‘More broadly, plenty of other Columbia professors share De Genova’s venomous feelings for the United States, though they stop short of calling for the deaths of Americans.’

He just points out thatlogically if you believe America is some war hungry, savage, and brutal imperialistic empire robbing the third world of it’s resources and impoverishing billions you should be rooting for the other side.

‘He just made the mistake of blurting out the logical conclusion of the anti-Americanism forwarded by some of his colleagues.’

Sort of like if Coulter distanced herself from remarks that all Democrats should be shot on sight. (Ok it is very doubtful she would bother distancing herself.) And someone wondered why she distanced her self. After all, if all Democrats are traitors, logically we should shot them all.

But don’t worry Pipes is an easy target. It doesn’t really matter if only the most creative reading of what Pipe’s wrote could be construed to meet your specified criteria. They will eat it up.

12

Marc 08.16.05 at 10:30 pm

There is a deep central flaw running through these assumptions that liberals must wish for the enemies of the US to “win” because they oppose efforts like the disastrous Iraq war. It is entirely possible to believe that our presence in Iraq is making the US less secure and making it more likely that the enemies of the US will succeed in the long term.
It is also entirely possible that you can believe that the actions of your nation overseas do not properly reflect the true values of your nation, and that it is moral to change course. If I say “the US government is currently doing bad things x, y, and z” this does not imply that I hate the US. I hate the policies being taken in my name, and in a democracy I’m obligated to try and change them.

All of this noise is an attempt to associate the country with the policies of one party, and to delegitimize any dissent from more of the same in Iraq.

13

Doctor Slack 08.16.05 at 10:31 pm

Yes, well what do we make of not just Carter’s but the Democratic Party leadership honoring and embracing Moore after Moore’s well-publicized cheerleading for the Iraqi Minutemen?

So you really haven’t figured out by now that the Moore Minutemen quote isn’t the “gotcha” you appear to think it is? Here’s a hint: “Aha! He used a figure of speech which I’m going to interpret as literally as possible! Traitor!” is not an argument. It just makes you look like either an unthinking ass or a dishonest one.

But if you’re going to insist on doing this stuff (and we all know you are), at least make it entertaining. Come up with some new material. “What are we to make of the Democratic party leadership for Riverdancing with Cindy Sheehan on a field of dead Jewish babies?” Mix it up a little.

14

Marc 08.16.05 at 10:45 pm

Oh – poor, poor Daniel Pipes. Here is the passage that led him to label Columbia historian Eric Foner as someone who hates America. Foner wrote, prior to the Iraq war:

“This doctrine of what they [i.e., the Bush administration leaders] call preemption or preventive war is a complete repudiation of the whole notion of international law, of the international rule of law. It takes us back to the notion of the rule of the jungle. It’s a throwback to the days before the United Nations, before notions of international standards of conduct. This is exactly the same argument that the Japanese used in attacking Pearl Harbor.”

Pipes characterized this as follows:

“You hate America not because of your comments on Japanese actions but because you accuse the U.S. government of acting according to “the rule of the jungle” and because you see it as comparable to the Hideki Tojo dictatorship.”

This is breathtakingly dishonest, and a perfect example of what Ted was looking for. Note that Pipes column is entitled “Profs Who Hate America”.
What a charming fellow.

15

g 08.17.05 at 2:07 am

You’re missing a close-quote at the end of the penultimate sentence of the David Horowitz paragraph, I think.

16

Brendan 08.17.05 at 4:13 am

Much more worrying than the ‘they’re on the other side’ arguments (translation: if you oppose Bush you are a traitor) are the increasing calls for the press to be ‘reigned in’ in some way. That might sound extreme. But how else is one to interpret Instapundit rants like this?

‘Why does the shape of the coverage, and the omission of good news, matter? Because, as Ralph Peters notes: “Our enemies know the Marines won’t quit. But they hope you will.”

UPDATE: Michael Barone writes that it’s all the bad news that’s fit to print. He also asks: “How much coverage would the press have given a World War II-era Cindy Sheehan who camped outside Hyde Park or Warm Springs demanding to meet with President Roosevelt?”

But back then, the press wanted us to win.

ANOTHER UPDATE: How do they feel now? Like this:
The Washington Post dropped its sponsorship on Monday of a walk organized by the Pentagon to remember victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks and to support U.S. troops, saying it was possible the event would become “politicized.”

The press views the war as a political story, not a matter of patriotism. That’s what’s different about today’s coverage, and it’s a disgrace.’

Glenn Reynold’s idea that a war is not a political story (!) and that, when one’s country is at war the press should no longer cover it as ‘a political story’ (i.e. one with two sides), but instead should simply (mindlessly) support whoever happens to be President (or, to put it in plainer terms, the State), is an extremely worrying development in terms of anti-democratic thinking amongst the intelligentsia. On other occasions Glenn has hinted that if the Press don’t ‘shape up’ some (unspecified) ‘action’ (by whom, one wonders?) will ‘have to be taken’.

17

Dave D 08.17.05 at 5:03 am

Is the title supposed you imply that you are the witchfinders, or that they are?

18

Andrew Brown 08.17.05 at 5:21 am

What is interesting here is the assumption of the pro-war forces that the USA cannot lose any war that it really wants to win. This seems to be axiomatic among them and really more worrying than anything else, since the corollary is that if (when) the war is clearly lost, it can only be Americans that lost it.

When democracy is declared and the “coalition” retreats, presumably some time next year, the insurgents will quite clearly have won the war. They will be left in possession of the battlefield, and their willingness to suffer, as well as to inflict, pain will have proved greater greater than the Americans’. They’re not the side complaining of a shortage of volunteers.

The question is whether it’s possible to recognise this fact without in some sense approving of it and wishing that the defeat could be over quickly so we could get on with the next step, whatewver that may be. If it isn’t, then it might be said that the opponents of the war are rooting for an American defeat. But they’re not the ones who are causing it, any more than my placing a bet on a horse race influences the result.

19

Dave D 08.17.05 at 5:29 am

Dammit:
“supposed to imply”

20

Branedy 08.17.05 at 6:19 am

I’m having a lot of trouble with the language of English here. The rhetoric is way too thick. Bush declared ‘Victory’ a long time ago, so we have a Victory. What is is being waged in Iraq is a Republic. And we ‘Americans’ can no more ‘win’ that battle than we can believe there IS no left in the U.S. There is the Middle which looks left, the right, and then there is the extreme Right, looking like Christian Nazi’s.

But guess what, all opinions are protected by the right to free speech. By the U.S. Constitution no less, at least for a while anyway.

And to call anyone a ‘fifth columnist’ or a ‘pinko’ or for that matter ‘cheering for the enemy’ diminishes any argument thus included.

Stick to the facts.

‘…I’ll defend to my death, your right to say them’

I’m a VietNam Vet, Desert Storm civilian volunteer, and anti-Bush, Anti-Iraq war. Afghanistan is another issue, and different than Iraq so treat it as such.

21

Slocum 08.17.05 at 6:27 am

So you really haven’t figured out by now that the Moore Minutemen quote isn’t the “gotcha” you appear to think it is? Here’s a hint: “Aha! He used a figure of speech which I’m going to interpret as literally as possible! Traitor!” is not an argument. It just makes you look like either an unthinking ass or a dishonest one.

Oh, I’m aware that the statement can be construed in alternate ways that don’t imply actual support for the ‘minutemen’ — e.g. Moore doesn’t view them as minutemen, no he’s just claiming that the Iraqi people do…yadda, yadda, yadda. But somebody as skilled in political rhetoric as Moore was clearly aware of what the commonsense interpretation would be. And said it anyway. And didn’t go to any pains to ‘clarify’.

And leading Democrats didn’t just snuggle up to Moore, they even entertained his nuttiest ideas. When asked about Moore’s implication that the war in Afghanistan was ‘really’ about building a natural gas pipeline for Texas oil interests, the Democratic Party chair reportedly said that this might be the case and he’d have to check it out further.

But if you’re going to insist on doing this stuff (and we all know you are), at least make it entertaining. Come up with some new material.

This is inherently a historical exercize. There’s not likely to be a lot of new material from 2004.

22

Slocum 08.17.05 at 6:39 am

If I say “the US government is currently doing bad things x, y, and z” this does not imply that I hate the US. I hate the policies being taken in my name, and in a democracy I’m obligated to try and change them.

That is true. But that may, in fact, put you ‘on the other side’. Had I been alive during WWII and German, I hope that I would have been ‘on the other side’ with respect to the war even while maintaining a love of the best qualities of my homeland and hoping to see them return.

It is one thing to think that the war in Iraq was a mistake — that it was not worth the cost in lives, that the money would have been better spent elsewhere, that the threat of Saddam was exaggerated, etc. It is very much another thing to acribe the basest motives to the U.S. — to argue that Iraq was an unprovoked, illegal war of imperial aggression undertaken to control Iraq’s oil and generate windfall profits for Bush and Cheney’s cronies. If you believe that (or something similar) it is simply illogical to be in favor of a U.S. victory. Why, if you believed all that (and many, MANY on the left claimed to)–why on earth would you be in favor of a U.S. victory?!?

23

Kevin Donoghue 08.17.05 at 6:54 am

But somebody as skilled in political rhetoric as Moore was clearly aware of what the commonsense interpretation would be.

i.e., that people identify with those who fight foreign troops on their soil. Whether or not Iraqis felt that way, that (to a neutral listener) is the most natural interpretation of his words. Of course he knew full well that the wingnuts would interpret them as evidence of seditious intent. He wanted to stir them up. That’s what he does. He’s damn good at it. And why not? Those votes were never going to Kerry anyway.

This is OT however. Henry’s post is not about people who portray individual mavericks as traitors.

24

Slocum 08.17.05 at 7:45 am

Of course he knew full well that the wingnuts would interpret them as evidence of seditious intent. He wanted to stir them up. That’s what he does. He’s damn good at it.

And McCauliffe lending credence to Moore’s Afghanistan conspiracy theories? More intentional stirring of the wingnuts?

And why not? Those votes were never going to Kerry anyway.

And no former Clinton voters in the center were turned off by this crap? Right.

This is OT however. Henry’s post is not about people who portray individual mavericks as traitors.

No, it’s not OT. Moore would not matter on his own — he matters only because the Democratic Party establishment embraced him. Terry McAuliffe said, “I think anyone who goes to see [Fahrenheit 9/11] will come out en masse and vote for John Kerry. Clearly the movie makes it clear that George Bush is not fit to be president of this country.”

Moore, his movie, and his marxist-style ‘cuo bono’ conspiracy theories were not trivial aspects of the 2004 campaign.

25

MFB 08.17.05 at 7:51 am

Hang on a bit, slocum, you seem an intelligent fellow. What part of “unprovoked, illegal war of imperial aggression” don’t you understand? Now, we don’t know why the Americans launched that war, nor do we know why the British joined in, so it’s pure speculation (albeit reasonable) to suggest that oil was the motive there (ditto Afghanistan, contra your rather odd accusations against Moore).

Given that the Iraq war was unprovoked, was illegal and can best be categorised as imperial aggression, it’s obviously a matter of individual choice whether you a) oppose the war but somehow don’t want the Americans to lose (for the life of me I don’t see how you can do that), b) oppose the war and don’t want Americans to die (meaning, pull the occupation forces out at once), which seems to be Moore’s actual position although for tactical purposes he campaigned for warmongers in the last election, or c) oppose the war and want the Americans to lose, meaning that a large number of American soldiers will have to die before the government finally pulls them out of the hellhole they’ve dumped their troops into.

You cited World War II, appropriately. Essentially, you have a very good point. While the US government are not Nazis, morally the invasion of Iraq is very similar to the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. (Perhaps, however, a better comparison would be with the invasion of Belgium in 1914.)

But in that case, why, in heaven’s name, do you think that other people have any obligation to support the war? I can dimly understand that you may have some cockeyed notion that there was some higher cause which led the US to invade Iraq. But surely you can’t expect other people to share that notion — at least, not without providing evidence (which, seemingly, you can’t).

You’re a puzzle, slocum. You’re not a troll, yet you often write like one. You’re plainly a bright person. Yet your politics are the politics of someone who doesn’t understand or care about the world. And yet, you’re rather well-informed. You make my head hurt.

26

No Preference 08.17.05 at 8:07 am

to argue that Iraq was an unprovoked, illegal war

Even Richard Perle has admitted this, slocum.

27

Grand Moff Texan 08.17.05 at 8:17 am

Aha! He used a figure of speech which I’m going to interpret as literally as possible!

Well, the right in America recently claimed that the left had charged a Bush judicial nominee with advocating cannibalism, so I guess there’s a lot of this going around.
.

28

Grand Moff Texan 08.17.05 at 8:19 am

and grand moff proves my point

Exhibit A: the standard of evidence and argument of those unfit to argue with thinking people.
.

29

Harry 08.17.05 at 8:24 am

There is no doubt that some on the right spread the brush too broadly.

But surely none of you would pretend that there aren’t people on the anti-war left who really are openly supporting the ‘resistance’ in Iraq and therefore have gone over to the other side?

And we are talking in the UK at least about leading political and media figures of the anti-war movement.

30

Grand Moff Texan 08.17.05 at 8:26 am

That is true. But that may, in fact, put you ‘on the other side’.

Of Bush, yes, not my country. Bush’s policies are, in fact, failures. Furthermore, the actions actually taken by the administration are inconsistent with their stated goals of addressing either WMD or democracy (also note: both failures).

Those who, due to ideological investment, or an unwillingness to admit how easily they were used, need to continue to reward said failure and dishonesty would have to project their own failures onto those of us who were never fooled.

Therefore: their failure is our fault. Their dishonesty is our crime. Etc.

Color me unimpressed (though occasionally amused). But I guess this will be dismissed as “obnoxiousness” by those with neither the stomach nor brains for an argument, and who have the meaningless deaths of tens of thousands on their conscience. They really have no other option open to them.
.

31

Grand Moff Texan 08.17.05 at 8:28 am

But surely none of you would pretend that there aren’t people on the anti-war left who really are openly supporting the ‘resistance’ in Iraq and therefore have gone over to the other side?

But surely I don’t have to remind you that we don’t have to prove a negative?

And we are talking in the UK at least about leading political and media figures of the anti-war movement.

You were? Where?
.

32

jayinbmore 08.17.05 at 8:36 am

I’m only a little bummed you didn’t include any of the Hitchens quotes on offer. He’s just been such a reliable left-basher I was hoping he’d appear. I think I understand why he didn’t make the list, though.

33

Slocum 08.17.05 at 8:38 am

You cited World War II, appropriately. Essentially, you have a very good point. While the US government are not Nazis, morally the invasion of Iraq is very similar to the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. (Perhaps, however, a better comparison would be with the invasion of Belgium in 1914.)

But in that case, why, in heaven’s name, do you think that other people have any obligation to support the war?

You miss the point. I don’t. I fully expect that people who see the U.S. invasion of Iraq as comparable to the German invasion of Poland, who think it was an illegal war of imperial aggression aimed to control Middle-East oil NOT to support the war. If fact, I expect such people to hope the U.S. efforts are thwarted and, in general, not to be all that fussy about the nature of the adversary doing the thwarting. I further expect their views of the U.S. to color their perceptions, so that they see the Al Queda/Baathist terrorists as ‘minutemen’, Iraqi police as ‘collaborators’, and the elected government of Iraq as illegitimate Quislings.

I just don’t expect people in that group to get all bent out of shape when it is suggested they are on the other side. To a significant degree they ARE on the other side.

I don’t expect people in this group to support the war given the way they see the world, but I do hope, for as many as possible, the way they see the world will change.

You’re a puzzle, slocum. You’re not a troll, yet you often write like one. You’re plainly a bright person. Yet your politics are the politics of someone who doesn’t understand or care about the world. And yet, you’re rather well-informed. You make my head hurt.

Where do I come from personally? Call me soft-headed, but this kind of thing moves me:

Freedom is not an American thing and it’s not an Iraqi thing, it’s what unites us as human beings. We refuse all kinds of restrictions and that’s why we fought and still fighting everyday in spite of the swords in the hands of the cavemen who want us dead or slaves for their evil masters.

You are free to go and leave us alone but what am I going to tell your million sisters in Iraq? Should I ask them to leave Iraq too? Should I leave too? And what about the eight millions who walked through bombs to practice their freedom and vote? Should they leave this land too? Is it a cursed land that no one should live in? Why is it that we were chosen to live in all this pain, why me, why my people, why you?

But I am not leaving this land because the bad guys are not going to leave us or you to live in peace. They are the same ones who flew the planes to kill your people in New York.

I ask you in the name of God or whatever you believe in; do not waste your son’s blood.
We here have decided to avenge humanity, you and all the women who lost their loved ones. Take a look at our enemy Cindy, look closely at the hooded man holding the sword and if you think he’s right then I will back off and support your call.

We live in pain and grief everyday, every hour, every minute; all the horrors of the powers of darkness have been directed at us and I don’t know exactly when am I going to feel safe again, maybe in a year, maybe two or even ten; I frankly don’t know but I don’t want to lose hope and faith.

We are in need for every hand that can offer some help. Please pray for us, I know that God listens to mothers’ prayers and I call all the women on earth to pray with you for peace in this world.

http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2005/08/message-to-cindy-sheehan.html

34

Brendan 08.17.05 at 8:52 am

‘Now, we don’t know why the Americans launched that war.’

No, but we DO know why the US engaged in Desert Storm. The reasons are rather interesting.

‘US interests in the Persian Gulf are vital to the national security. These interests include oil and the security and stability of key friendly states in the region.’ (italics added).

Later on in the document it makes clear that by ‘friendly states’ the US means Kuwait and, more specifically, Saudi Arabia.

‘I have ordered military forces deployed to the region for two reasons: to deter and, if necessary, defend Saudi Arabia ‘ (and then the UN stuff). (italics added).

There is no mystery, none, about why Gulf War 1 was fought: it was fought for oil and for Saudi Arabia. Anyone who argues otherwise is simply wrong.

Now.

The next question.

Why was this current, ongoing war, the one that developed out of Desert Storm, the one in which the causus belli dated from Desert Storm, the one fought by the son of the man who fought the first one….why was it fought?

The burden of proof is on those who wish to prove discontinuity of motives, i’m afraid.

35

Grand Moff Texan 08.17.05 at 8:54 am

If fact, I expect such people to hope the U.S. efforts are thwarted and, in general, not to be all that fussy about the nature of the adversary doing the thwarting.

Yes. You imagine a moral failing for others in order to mask your own. We understand that. The crime you have attached yourself to looms large, so you have to make something else up to complain about.

At least you admit it. That’s the first step.

I don’t expect people in this group to support the war given the way they see the world, but I do hope, for as many as possible, the way they see the world will change.

Why should I knuckle under to the dishonest and misguided, those who have been proven wrong at every turn in this war? Why would I come to see the world in the same way as those who have failed so miserably? You may insist on rewarding failure, but I will not imitate you.

They are the same ones who flew the planes to kill your people in New York.

In every conceiveable way, ‘they’ quite demonstrably are not. Butchering people for the sake of myths may be a time-honored tradition of western society, but that doesn’t mean that people not dumb enough to subscribe to this elision have something wrong with them.

We aren’t the problem. We aren’t responsible for the crime. We were never fooled. What have we to apologize for, other than throwing your own exploitable inadequacy into sharp relief? It is no wonder you have to rail at us. Your weakness was exploited and now tens of thousands are dead. You are to be pitied, even corrected, but you have neither a success to point to nor any moral high ground from which to challenge us.

You and your kind blew it. If you shut up and listen for a while, you might learn something. If your superstitions, however, are more important than the facts or even to succeeding against our enemies, however, then kindly exit a conversation among thinking people. You aren’t qualified, and that’s nothing to be proud of.
.

36

Uncle Kvetch 08.17.05 at 9:25 am

You’re a puzzle, slocum. You’re not a troll, yet you often write like one. You’re plainly a bright person. Yet your politics are the politics of someone who doesn’t understand or care about the world. And yet, you’re rather well-informed. You make my head hurt.

mfb, you just described a very sizable chunk of the elite punditocracy here in the USA. To my mind the “puzzle” about slocum is that s/he bothers to comment here on CT for free when s/he could be paid very handsomely for making the exact same arguments on Fox News.

Oh, and slocum, a little piece of advice: please, please find another boogeyman to obsess about. The Michael Moore thing is getting really, really tired.

37

vidkun 08.17.05 at 9:45 am

Many more will have to die before our divinely-inspired leader is persuaded to lose face. That’s just the way it is. We’re not rooting for it, we’re waiting for it to be over. Each dead kid brings us closer to that point.

Just like in Japan. There it took two A-bombs. Wonder what it will take here?

38

nick 08.17.05 at 9:45 am

But surely none of you would pretend that there aren’t people on the anti-war left who really are openly supporting the ‘resistance’ in Iraq and therefore have gone over to the other side?

Surely you wouldn’t pretend, harry, that there aren’t people on the ‘decent left’ who were and are, say, suckers for Ahmed Chalabi?

39

soru 08.17.05 at 9:56 am

The burden of proof is on those who wish to prove discontinuity of motives, i’m afraid.

Those stated motives did not lead to an invasion and occupation (or even aid to anti-saddam rebels), in 1991, in rather more favourable circumstances.

That change in observed behaviour is the thing that requires explanation – I don’t think the US suddenly got much greedier for oil or more friendly towards saudi arabia between 1991 and 2003.

Various explanations could be provided for the change, but the set that makes most sense to me is:

1 a higher prioritisation of anti-terrorism as a motive, for obvious reasons.

2 a greater belief in the effectiveness of democracy promotion as a tactic against terrorism.

3 a lowering of respect for the UN, mostly as a result of domestic politics.

4 a greater belief in the military effectiveness of US forces, as a result of budget figures and recent small wars.

soru

40

Grand Moff Texan 08.17.05 at 10:11 am

I don’t think the US suddenly got much greedier for oil or more friendly towards saudi arabia between 1991 and 2003.

No, but the composition of the government changed between 1991 and 2001 to include many unhappy with the lack of action in 1991.

Eleven of them, to be precise.

Simple prosopography will answer this question. The policy changed because the policy makers changed, and they had been pushing for this invasion for a decade.
.

41

BigMacAttack 08.17.05 at 10:27 am

Marc,

The criteria was

‘I’d like instances in which commentators make egregious claims that a substantial section of those who opposed the war are, in fact, rooting for the other side.’

not a single instance where someone misrepresents the arguments of a war critic.

And even if I accept your characterization of any argument between Pipes and Foner, if you were paying attention you would clearly be able to see, that the instance you discuss and the quotes you use were not included in the example cited by Henry.

It is very very important that when you accuse someone of something, that the example you cite to back your accusation, actually backs you accusation.

If it doesn’t matter if the example actually backs your accusation why bother with the whole evidence bit? Why not just skip it and just scream the accusation very loudly and repeatedly?

And again, accusing someone of being anti-American or hating America, accurately or not, is very different from claiming someone actually sides with those actually killing American troops.

Just sloppy work on Henry’s part.

42

Kevin Donoghue 08.17.05 at 10:29 am

Sorry Slocum, your problem with Moore is OT, at least until you can demonstrate the relevance. You can’t even make a decent argument that your chosen bogeyman is rooting for the other side. Waffling on about the “minutemen” remark or “his marxist-style ‘cuo bono’ conspiracy theories” isn’t an argument. You talk about people “embracing” him as if you had actually presented some reason why they shouldn’t. Now if you can show that Moore is a traitor whom all patriots would ostracise, then, given that a large number of people haven’t ostracised him, you will have gone some way towards providing an excuse for the guys on Henry’s list. But surely you can see that you haven’t made the case? If you can’t then there is no hope for you.

43

Chris Sandvick 08.17.05 at 10:33 am

You are traitors, morally if not legally. However you dance around the specific wording, you wish the United States to lose in Iraq. Some of you wished the United States to have lost in Afghanistan. It is amply clear how a retreat from Iraq will be propagandized by our enemies, as a loss. How are you on the left going to advertise it? As a loss.

I spent plenty of time with the anti-war activists during the Gulf War. Almost everyone involved hated the United States. The people here are just the same crop of haters that apologized for Communism. This war is just proof that no enemy is so vile for the left as the United States.

What the people Henry has listed are doing is identification. It is also justice.

44

abb1 08.17.05 at 11:20 am

Chris Sandvick, by this logic if the Communists won elections in the US and decided to nationalize all the industries, then you’d be a traitor by opposing them and wanting them to lose. You’d be an enemy of the people.

Think about it, Chris.

As someone who’s calling people who oppose the state actions ‘traitors’ you’re a fascist or Stalinist, proponent of totalitarianism.

45

Uncle Kvetch 08.17.05 at 11:30 am

It is amply clear how a retreat from Iraq will be propagandized by our enemies, as a loss.

It is equally clear that our continued military presence in Iraq is being “propagandized” by our enemies as proof-positive that the US is the enemy of Islam…and that this propaganda has been highly effective in recruiting more terrorists. If you disagree with this assessment, take it up with those traitors at the CIA.

46

chingachook 08.17.05 at 11:34 am

Chris Sandvick wrote:
“Some of you wished the United States to have lost in Afghanistan.”

Really? Who?

Be specific.

47

Mike 08.17.05 at 11:44 am

So I guess I’m just imagining the perverse glee my acquaintances (who mistakenly assume I’m of the same mind as them) have when discussing or hearing of American setbacks in Iraq?
I was actually witness to a group of people toasting the fact Iraq’s constitution was pushed back the other day. To give an example of what I’m referring to
You can rattle off all the individual instances where some rightwing motor mouth put his or her foot in it. But that doesn’t change the fact that within the Left there is growing a dangerous, neo fascist rot. You know it. I know it. And quite a few others are beginning to understand it.
You can play the age-old game of gotcha with your counterparts on the right. Or you can quit providing cover for these degenerates and get your house in order.
Or you can let it get out of hand to the point where when this trash is brought low, they bring everyone and everything even remotely associated with them down as well.
Your lack of action or even acknowledgement will be seen much the same way as a lack of Muslim condemnation of terrorism is perceived today. A defacto endorsement.

MS

48

norbizness 08.17.05 at 11:48 am

Remember, “de facto” is Newspeak Latin for “I’m just making shit up.”

49

Hektor Bim 08.17.05 at 11:51 am

Mike,

Where exactly is this “dangerous, neo fascist rot”? Because I don’t know where it is. Which degenerates, specifically?

Examples, please.

50

Marc 08.17.05 at 11:51 am

Mike: I suggest that you get your house in order first. You’ve been given a series of quotes in the original post. Do you accept them or reject them?
Is opposition to Dear Leader Bush treasonous in your view? Is opposition to the Iraq War treasonous in your view? Remember that treason in the US is a capital offense in formulating your answer. Your lack of action or even acknowledgement will be seen as a de facto endorsement of the views expressed by the conservative commentators above.

51

abb1 08.17.05 at 11:52 am

…a lack of Muslim condemnation of terrorism…

But why should they be condemning terrorism while you’re cheering invasion of their countries? You’re rooting for your team, they’re for their. Why would they want to become traitors like the rotten American left?

52

Brendan 08.17.05 at 11:55 am

‘1 a higher prioritisation of anti-terrorism as a motive, for obvious reasons.

2 a greater belief in the effectiveness of democracy promotion as a tactic against terrorism.’

Yes but what’s that got to do with Iraq? Afghanistan I’ll grant you…..Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were there etc.

But again, what has that got to do with Iraq? Apart from fictitious ‘links’ (and let’s be specific, when the Bush administration used the word ‘link’ they didn’t mean that Saddam and Osama met at cocktail parties, they meant operational links) with Al-Qaeda, the only ‘links’ that have been alleged with Saddam were

1: He allowed terrorists to live in his country which is also demonstrably true about the United States and the United Kingdom

2: He gave financial support to the families of suicide bombers in Palestine, which is a: nothing to do with the United States b: not supporting terrorism directly (although it obviously is indirectly) and c: though you and I might disagree, perceived throughout the Arab world as helping the Palestinian resistance, and therefore not ‘really’ terrorism.

Therefore: Saddam, no links to terrorism (over and above what could be said of any Arab government).

Compare Saddam’s record with that of Saudi Arabia, or Egypt, or Pakistan, vis a vis terrorism. Saddam doesn’t look so bad all of a sudden.

So: given the lack of a link to terrorism, those two arguments fail (the third and fourth I will grant you).

And so, looking for motives, we look back, inevitably, to Desert Storm, where the documents are at least in the public domain.

53

jane adams 08.17.05 at 12:01 pm

Harry:

I will be more than happy to admit that there are idiots on the left. The angry behaviors can be found across the spectrum, but concentrated at the extremes.

What is of concern is the power of the rightist anger machine and it’s proximity to power. It has the media muscle to spread it’s views into every corner and indeed one has to be fairly isolated not to have heard the “media does not report the good news” and many people falsely assume claims such as Iraqi hijackers on 9/11 or increased energy production in Iraq.

This machine has been uncomfortably tied to the current administration and Republican party. There was no shame when McCain was accused of being a N. Vietnamese agent. It is an unpleasant force which routinely associates all critiques with “liberalism” which then is associated with Chomskian and which assumes a “faith based reality.”

What this means is that bad news is what causes defeat, our problems in Iraq are caused by the enemy within, a similar logic is used for the economy. Fact based views are subversive. Traditional protectyions of rights are dismissed as “political correctness.” There is no understanding of the basic concepts of democracy.

I will be happy to agree that a number on the left share this ignorance and rejection of our traditions, but to what extent do they actually influence the direction of the nation?

We are told this power is almost absolute, that all problems in Iraq stem from the presses failure to provide bad news, that the conspiracy is everywhere. I don’t see much of it in my daily life and to to a large extent I do notice it, it has been fed by the adversarial attitude of the right which blares it’s attacks everywhere. While I notice the Republican party and the administration effected by a view that regards analysis of policy as treason, I felt despite Moore’s attendance at the Democratic convention far less influence of the radicals in most policies I see proposed. If this is changing it is in large part because any attempt to compromise is refused. Hillary Clinton supports the iraqi war yet the right routinely spreads the story that she sabatoges it, just as it claims Ted Kennedy not the Republican administration and congress were the ones who tried to keep VA benefits more than a billion dollars less than was necessary. The Democrats who fought for the funding are portrayed as opposing our troops.

There is certainly a great deal of outright lying on the far left and semi far left journals such as Nation do distort. But mainstream liberal magazines have gone so far as to criticize more Moore, Hitchens is carried in Slate, Salon has criticized anti war protestors association with ANSWER. The mainstream right on the other hand does not make such gestures. The mass of publications, radio shows and other media righteously producing lies and accusations of vileness is much greater. It is a force shaping the nation.

I am quite confident that in the next year or 2 it will suffer severe setbacks. Far too many individuals many who regard themselves as conservative have been tarrred with the liberal -> traitor label. The degree of frustration and rage in places like the military are growing as seroous proposals for success are dismissed because they would indicate that somehow somewhere the administration has made mistakes. So I’m pretty sure there will be blowback.

Unfortunatly when this occurs the reaction is likely to mirror the rhetoric and style of the right. A party was given the power to rule, it chose to do so by aggravating differences, it has encouraged such behaviors on the other side. It’s accomplishment will be doubling or tripling the number of angry “nutty leftists” just as it’s role model Tail Gunner Joe spread “anti anti communism” and helped discredit the values of this nation.

The problem I’ve having with the right is that whenever one points out their rejection of American values and their defacto sabatoge of this war, they always reply “well how about the leftists?”

Here is a hint about “responsibility,” it doesn’t involve saying that your questionable behavior should not be examined because somebody else is doing things that you like less. The right has been given the power to rule this country for a few years.

the test will be success in Iraq an other elements of foreign policy, the success of radical economics and the health of society. This is not accomplished by claiming the Clinton years were hell or that failures in the war on terror were caused by Senator Boxer. Nor is true victory talking points on the Limpbowel show where all the middle aged guys with masculinity issues get to call in and sneer.

54

Brendan 08.17.05 at 12:08 pm

Finally:

‘Those stated motives did not lead to an invasion and occupation (or even aid to anti-saddam rebels), in 1991, in rather more favourable circumstances.’

Actually we know perfectly well why Bush senior didn’t continue on to invade Iraq: he just didn’t think it was such a smart idea (and he was right).

‘Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land’

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0825-08.htm

Bush senior saw (correctly) that whereas militarily the US could have won, occupying the country would turn out to be a long term project that would end in disaster.

We also know (or think we know, anyway assuming these quotes are accurate) what Bush junior thought about that.

‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade….if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.”’

Bush junior saw that if he invaded Iraq he would get a second term and with the Bush families knack for getting things more or less right, he was right about that too. What he didn’t see was that Bush senior was also right about the costs of occupation. But perhaps Bush doesn’t care about that. By the time the Iraq fiasco staggers to a halt he will be long out of power (perhaps he will be long dead, who knows?).

You have to take Hershowitz’s word for it but he claims:

‘Bush’s circle of pre-election advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collected from the Falklands War. Said Herskowitz: “They were just absolutely blown away, just enthralled by the scenes of the troops coming back, of the boats, people throwing flowers at [Thatcher] and her getting these standing ovations in Parliament and making these magnificent speeches.” ‘

Frankly i find this very easy to believe. Everyone remembers how unpopular Thatcher was before the Falklands and how this led to the victory of 83. Anyone with any sense would draw the (again, correct) conclusion, that to invade a country is to win the next election. According to Bush junior his dad’s problem was that he wasted the political capital and didn’t go and invade and occupy.

And why Iraq of all countries?

And now we are led back to Desert Storm and the motives for that war.

http://www.gnn.tv/articles/article.php?id=761

55

Steve LaBonne 08.17.05 at 12:24 pm

Here’s your classic InstBullshit of the day: “The press views the war as a political story, not a matter of patriotism. That’s what’s different about today’s coverage, and it’s a disgrace.” Words fail me.

56

Uncle Kvetch 08.17.05 at 12:39 pm

We are told this power is almost absolute, that all problems in Iraq stem from the presses failure to provide bad news, that the conspiracy is everywhere.

Nothing new there, Jane. We dropped more bombs on Vietnam than were dropped by all parties in WWII, to no avail–and yet you’ll still hear any number of Americans maintain that we woulda won that one, if it hadn’t been for those goddamn hippies.

57

kharris 08.17.05 at 12:41 pm

I realize that the conversation has shifted to scoring points off of other people’s responses (what fun!), but I’d like to digress back to the original post.

It is clear, is it not, that Pipes and Sullivan and the lot of them are all looking over their shoulders to see that others were making the same point? There is a luxurious crop of genetically similar weeds growing ’round us because they were all seeded from the same wretched pod.

These are not brave people, nor original thinkers in most cases. They all sound the same, all lie the same, because there is safety in numbers, because this rhetorical garbage is tried and tested, the reaction observed, then spread as widely as possible once the tone is perfected. These are people are delivery boys in an effort to make the latest version of “liberals hate America” part of popular discourse.

Note the pretense of shock, the faux disgust, the pantomime of revulsion, when some bit of truth, of reality, injurious to the “liberals hate America” position is introduced. The entire enterprise is aimed at fostering dishonest discourse, discourse in which saying bad things about a Purple Heart winner is met with a grin, while observing that US policy is truly immoral and harmful to our own interests is treated as treasonous.

Enormous effort has gone into this enterprise, and its successes are many, two presidential terms foremost among them. The Pavlovian conditioning is now so strong that we cannot expect to extinguish this behavior with mere repetition of the truth. The audience for truth is being eroded with each word Reynolds and his mob write.

58

soru 08.17.05 at 1:30 pm

Therefore: Saddam, no links to terrorism (over and above what could be said of any Arab government).

Are you familiar with the sad fate of Admiral Bing?

soru

59

Yosef 08.17.05 at 1:48 pm

“If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier…just as long as I’m the dictator…”
–GW Bush, Dec 18, 2000

So if I understand Slocum correctly, because of this comment by Bush, if Slocum supports Bush then he believes that Bush should be a dictator.

Right?

60

Brendan 08.17.05 at 2:16 pm

‘Are you familiar with the sad fate of Admiral Bing?’

You’re taking the piss. So that was why Saddam was deposed? To stop the Arabs getting uppity? You think the fact that we own most of the middle east might not have been deterrent enough? Or all the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons we have (and they don’t)? Or all the money we have (and they don’t)?

Of course if I was to put in less politically correct terms what you have just hinted at (that Saddam was deposed not for his beliefs, for what he did, or for his relation to 9/11, but because he had the same colour of skin as the 9/11 hijackers) I would of course be accused of inverse racism, paranoia, ‘hatred of the West’ and Christ (or Allah) knows what else.

61

Kevin Donoghue 08.17.05 at 2:19 pm

Are you familiar with the sad fate of Admiral Bing?

Was he any relation to Admiral Byng? If you are talking about terrorists, les autres sont encourages, je pense. Abu Nidal is gone but demand has brought forth a new supply.

62

Brendan 08.17.05 at 2:25 pm

‘Your lack of action or even acknowledgement will be seen much the same way as a lack of Muslim condemnation of terrorism is perceived today’

Incidentally, is the use of ‘a’ meant to acknowledge that this is a figment of your imagination, or are you actually claiming that the many Muslim marches and protests against terrorism did not actually happen?

In which case, ‘de facto’ would seem to become Newspeak Latin for ‘I am completely mad’.

63

soru 08.17.05 at 2:49 pm

You’re taking the piss. So that was why Saddam was deposed? To stop the Arabs getting uppity?

Despite your sarcasm, I honestly think that only someone who thinks first and foremost in racial categories could have made that leap of illogic.

But perhaps I am wrong, and Napoleonic admirals (and middle eastern despots) are actually identifyable as a distinct racial group.

soru

64

Kevin Donoghue 08.17.05 at 2:51 pm

Napoleonic admirals?? That does it, Soru, I have written you out of the human race.

65

Uncle Kvetch 08.17.05 at 3:25 pm

Apparently soru is just restating the Ledeen Doctrine for us:

“Every 10 years or so, the US needs to pick up some small crappy little country & throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”

– Michael Ledeen, Quoted by Jonah Goldberg, “Baghdad Delenda Est, Part Two,” National Review Online, 23 April 2002

I’m glad we could (finally) clear the air about this war once and for all, soru. Somebody should tell Cindy Sheehan that this is why her son died in Iraq; I’m sure it would satisfy her.

66

thetrollinme 08.17.05 at 4:02 pm

Why should I bother rooting for Iraqi insurgents when there are bigger players and bigger stakes? Some Blogworld cretins simply have no imagination, given that they think it’s high treason to bitch about military and policy misadventures.

Me, I’m all for Environmental Apocalypse: polar melting, sea level rise, the whole shebang. I reckon the people who haven’t given up driving SUVs or commuting long distances are all incapable of doing the right thing, regardless of whether they’re richpiglican or dimwitocrat. Anyone who owns a house is probably contributing inordinately to the eventual inundation of their own shores. Let ’em wash away. What was that great invective in Taxi Driver that the Clash used in one of their songs?

Sometimes I wish the reactionary wing would raise its sights a little, just so that there’d be something worth responding to. As it is, they’re just bad actors playing to their own idea of Truly Evil Characters. If it’s sedition they’re after, Iraq is meaningless. Try sedition against the human race. Much more satisfying.

67

SamChevre 08.17.05 at 4:25 pm

Well, 90% of the US military (and the families of US military) would agree with Ledeen’s reasoning. (Yes, that’s an MSU figure). Sheehan is apparently in the 10% that just doesn’t get it.

68

Grand Moff Texan 08.17.05 at 4:29 pm

You are traitors, morally if not legally.

This means exactly nothing. It is, however, on a par with the gauzy, cargo-cult invocations of half-remembered synechnoches of John Wayne probity, often found coagulating at Captain Quarters and the like, deployed by the frustrated and clueless, vaguely aware that someone out there disagrees with them and has a habit of being right, all superstitious hooting notwithstanding.

Something, they detect, is wrong with the script. There must be evil afoot!

It is for this reason that:

However you dance around the specific wording, you wish the United States to lose in Iraq.

… they have to just plain make shit up.

Weak.
.

69

soru 08.17.05 at 4:30 pm

Napoleonic admirals?? That does it, Soru, I have written you out of the human race.

You are right in that it was the 7 years war, not napoleonic.

The sentence for that slip does seem a bit harsh though, but perhaps it will serve as a lesson for what happens when you remember your 18C history wrong.

soru

p.s. can we maybe try to remember the distinction between explaining and justifying?

70

Grand Moff Texan 08.17.05 at 4:30 pm

Therefore: Saddam, no links to terrorism (over and above what could be said of any Arab government).

Not to mention dwarfed by the sponsorship by some US government of terror (state and otherwise) over the last few decades.

But this case was as much for domestic consumption as was the WMD ploy.
.

71

Grand Moff Texan 08.17.05 at 4:33 pm

Sheehan is apparently in the 10% that just doesn’t get it.

Egads, she must be huge. How could she avoid ‘getting’ anything (assuming that means anything and I’m sure it doesn’t). She must have other gold star mothers in orbit around her.

Maybe the Republican smear machine could be turned on them, too? I mean, if they can import an Iraqi (so called) woman to stand opposite Sheehan, reminding one of the “baby incubator” ploy used by the GOP before, they surely have the resources to shit on every bereaved mother who doesn’t salute Bush’s monstrous screw up in the Mesopotamian as the second coming of Reagan’s seizure of Grenada.

Surely.
.

72

Grand Moff Texan 08.17.05 at 4:35 pm

So I guess I’m just imagining the perverse glee my acquaintances (who mistakenly assume I’m of the same mind as them) have when discussing or hearing of American setbacks in Iraq?

Speaking of making shit up.

Glee? Toasting?

Try more subtle confabulations next time, like blue tubes or yellow cake. It’ll last longer that way.
.

73

Alex 08.17.05 at 6:33 pm

I don’t want America to lose in Iraq, but I do want Bush to fall off his bicycle and wind up with a stout branch rammed a foot up his ass, so that the ambulance taking him to the hospital can break down in front of Camp Casey, giving Cindy Sheehan a chance to climb on board and talk to him.

Of course, that is probably the same thing for most of these peckerheads.

74

Functional 08.17.05 at 7:33 pm

I don’t think anyone is getting the point. All of these anti-war marchers, Democratic party activists, Michael-Moore-types were quite clearly on the record making accusations that 1) Bush lied us into a war for oil/Halliburton/political gain; (2) the war was unjustified/illegal/killed 100,000 civilians; (3) Bush is a fascist (see Brian Leiter’s popular blog for repeated variations on this theme); and the like. (I’m not even getting into the substantial number of Democratic-Underground-types who believe that Bush planned 9/11 or let it happen on purpose.)

The thing is, if you really believe that Bush is a fascist who lies about a war for oil, why wouldn’t you be DAMN PROUD to be on “the other side”?

But if you DON’T believe that Bush is a fascist who lied us into a war for oil, well, then, you weren’t the subject of discussion in the first place. So why be all defensive? If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t volunteer to wear it.

75

Marc 08.17.05 at 8:08 pm

Functional: I think I get your “point” just fine.
You see Iraq as a simple choice: either you support Bush or you support the insurgents in Iraq. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but that seems a fair summary.

Now let’s see if you can get my point: I do not support Bush and I oppose the insurgents in Iraq.
Do you think that you must support every enemy of someone you oppose politically? If the leaders of Iran hate Kerry do you have to support them?

I think the war was a disastrous mistake, based on lies. I also think the occupation of Iraq has been handled badly – in fact, so badly that a conventional military victory over the insurgents is not possible. Furthermore, I think the routine usage of torture by the Bush administration is a blot on my country and a deep moral wrong. I also know that the Iraqi insurgents have repeatedly committed barbaric acts, which the Viet Cong also did in Vietnam. I don’t want them running Iraq and don’t think they can either win or be suppressed as long as we’re there. Given all of this, my preferred outcome is

1) Get out of Iraq as soon as possible
2) Assist the Iraqis in rebuilding their country
3) Work with the international community to help the Iraqis end the violence, which I think will only be possible if the US leaves. I think we’ll end up with the insurgents losing – but our leaving must happen first.

You obviously don’t agree with me, but I do hope that you might be able to understand what the people you’re talking about actually think.

And yes – I was one of those anti-war marchers, and I would do it again if the situation was the same. Every reason that led me to oppose this train wreck has, unfortunately, been demonstrated to be correct. I therefore have limited patience when I get lectures from people who were clearly fooled and don’t even see it today.

76

minimalist 08.17.05 at 8:28 pm

functional: One can oppose Bush and support America. Can you not see this? Please don’t tell me you’re one of those types who thinks that “opposing God’s Appointed President” equates to hating America and hoping it loses in a war. The President is not America. He is not a king, a God, or Dear Leader, no matter how much some on the shrill right would like to make him so.

By and large, I find that people oppose the war because it hurts the country that we live in. America is no safer from terrorism — probably less so, now that terrorists have such a superb proving ground against America’s military might. Our credibility abroad is severely damaged, weakening any case we could make in future about acting in our own defense. And I think people tend to have a gut reaction to being lied to.

But, again, “America” did not lie to us, just the current batch of incompetent crooks and liars. Perhaps we want them out so that we can try to return America to something resembling its original noble ideals?

There is nothing more American than dissent. We have elections so we can heave out the bums in charge (theoretically, anyway). We have a Bill of Rights so we can speak out against them without fear of reprisal. The instant you try to equate the President with the ideal of America, you set yourself down a narrow, twisty road that leads to totalitarianism.

That, above all, is what we oppose.

77

snuh 08.17.05 at 8:42 pm

back to the quotes. what strikes me about them is not their content so much as the fervent way said content is expressed. note also the occasional militarily-inspired figure-of-speech they contain, of which sully’s “enclaves on the coasts…fifth column” remark is a particularly clear example.

perhaps the way to understand this phenomenom is not in terms of the fascistic tendencies of reynolds & co., although these tendencies do exist [and probably are playing a minor part]. it seems to me these comments are motivated more by a belief that figuratively violent rhetoric is just as important to the war effort as soldiers are. somewhat counter-intuitively [in that he had actually been a soldier in spain], this is the lesson these commentators have taken from george “pacifism is objectively pro-fascist” orwell.

also, in australian parlance, “rooting” means “having sex”.

78

rollo 08.17.05 at 9:00 pm

“He just points out thatlogically if you believe America is some war hungry, savage, and brutal imperialistic empire robbing the third world of it’s resources and impoverishing billions you should be rooting for the other side.”

“why wouldn’t you be DAMN PROUD to be on “the other side”

Because there aren’t just two sides? Because the temporary control of the American government/military by a handful of opportunists isn’t synonymous with the will of the American people? Especially when that will is polluted with lies, so that what decent Americans want is being channelled into things they wouldn’t want if they knew the truth of what was happening?
It isn’t a football game, and even if it was there’s always more going on than the teams on the field. Those men in the skyboxes for instance, the owners, who come out ahead no matter who wins the game.

79

Functional 08.18.05 at 8:28 am

Yes, yes, of course, Bush isn’t the same as “America.” But Bush won reelection from the voters in America. So if you think that Bush is a fascist war-monger who is trying to enrich his oil friends while torturing and repressing people (Patriot Act), etc., etc., then you should have a big problem with about half of the country as well.

80

Uncle Kvetch 08.18.05 at 8:39 am

What a difference 6 years makes:

“You can support the troops but not the president.”
–Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

“Well, I just think it’s a bad idea. What’s going to happen is they’re going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years.”
–Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

“[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation’s armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy.”
–Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

“American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy.”
–Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

My personal favorite, given the present “discussion”:

“Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?”
–Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

All of the above in reaction to Clinton’s commitment of US troops to Bosnia. I don’t remember any of the above speakers being referred to by fellow right-wingers as being ON THE OTHER SIDE, but maybe functional will let me know if I’m wrong.

Even more here.

81

Troutsky 08.18.05 at 9:54 am

In the end we are all “losers”, people who can only think in sports terminology (winners vs losers),people on both the left and the right who cannot tolerate opposing opinions and unwittingly slide toward fascism, those whose minds have already been melted by religiosity and have lost the tendency towards restraint, all of us caught in the brutal game of influence played by the Great Powers and all our children who will struggle to understand the context when someone attempts to explain the concept of justice to them.
I am a radical leftist who openly hopes America, and all capitalist powers, eventually “lose”, who hopes all Islamo-fascists and all other religious types with claims to absolute truth “lose”, and who finds liberal bourgeoisie attitudes nearly as vapid as those on the right.The real question then ,for your so-called democracy ,is how afraid are you of my ideas? Would you care to hear them first or are you happy to begin demonizing them right now?

82

unabashed 08.18.05 at 4:33 pm

I am an American leftist, and I do indeed want the United States to fail in Iraq. I doubt, however, that I am the typical American leftist. Still, these conservative commentators are not talking about witches or goblins. There are indeed American leftists who want the US to lose.

83

maurinsky 08.18.05 at 8:07 pm

I’m a parent, and when one of my kids screws up, I consider it my obligation to correct them and set them back on the right track. That is how I feel about my country, as well.

The anti-war left was right about the incompetence of the Bush administration to do anything in Iraq – and as we all know, the rationale for why had to go/had to stay kept changing.

Because I love my country, I feel I have no choice but to oppose Bush. Just because some on the right (some who have posted here in the comments as well as those quoted in the post) can’t understand or comprehend that my opposition to the utterly incompetent and deceitful Bush administration in no way translates as support for America’s enemies doesn’t make it less true. The Bush administration should be opposed. Our enemies should be opposed. I don’t think we should hunt down and capture the Bush administration, I just think they should be retired from public life and carry the shame of their failures around for the rest of their natural lives.

America’s enemies should be hunted down, captured and brought to justice. Bombing Iraqi civilians doesn’t make us any safer.

84

Chris 08.19.05 at 11:29 pm

Reynolds is at it again:

JAMES TARANTO:

The whole [Cindy Sheehan] kerfuffle was, however, informative in some ways. For one, it reveals that very few people on the antiwar left have any compunction at all about making common cause with someone who espouses virulent anti-American and anti-Semitic views. For another, it showed something we’ve long suspected: that some on the left–and not just the America-hating fringe–want America to lose this war.

I wish this weren’t true, but I think it is

85

Patrick 08.20.05 at 6:41 pm

If the Left REALLY doesn’t want the United States to lose in Iraq, if they REALLY want to make sure our terrorist enemies get no aid and comfort from our home-front and our military and our administration get all the rhetorical, moral and substantive support needed to win …

THEY SURE HAVE A FUNNY WAY OF EXPRESSING IT.

As noted – “leading Democrats didn’t just snuggle up to Moore, they even entertained his nuttiest ideas.” Leftwing antiwar groups and people (including Cindy Sheehan) embrace Lynn Stewart, terrorist-enabler (just do a google).
False, inflammatory statements, like Dick Durbin (“GIMTO is like Gulag”) or Ted Kennedy (“torture chambers opened under new management”)spout on the Senate floor, or Howard Dean spouts on a regular basis, make it clear they think “enemy” is more associated with the administration than the Jihadist terrorists.

Such rhetoric excesses squarely aimed to undermine the administration, but leaving the military and our war effort as collateral damage, do deserve this kind of retort:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. A nation where the political opposition stands against our foreign policy, and even secretly (and not so secretly) hopes for its failure, cannot reform a region as recalcitrant as the Middle East.”

The examples show only that some commentators aren’t taking the double-standards and hypocrisy of the left anymore. They can’t be like the leftist marchers who had the inflammatory
“We support the troops, when they shoot their officers” – and expect not be held responsible for it. They are employing a level of rhetoric COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE to the challenge of the issue.

If you REALLY want the US to succeed in Iraq, SHOW IT … go ahead and actually lift a pinkie finger to help out, rhetorically or otherwise. When a fellow Leftist lies about it being all about oil – refute it – don’t wallow in the lie because deep in your heart you want the President to be politically wounded more than you care about Iraq.

State the truth: That our side in the war in Iraq is the good side, that our actions in Iraq liberated it from a terrible dictators, that the enemy is the bad side, and it would be a good thing if our side succeeds in helping make Iraq a democracy and the terrorists are crushed and defeated. And that we need the country to be united in order to win in that effort.

If you can’t do that, then you’ve proven the conservative critics right.

It’s been a dog’s age since I heard any statement remotely like that from the Left. (And Chris Hitchens doesn’t count, but read his recent column and go ahead – place him in your ‘hall of shame’ for speaking the truth about the “anti-war” hypocrites who don’t give a damn about whether 25 million Iraqis live in a democracy or al qaeda hell-hole.)

86

Antoni Jaume 08.21.05 at 4:26 am

Patrick, it seems the right want the left to win the war for them.

As to the “damn about whether 25 million Iraqis live in a democracy or al qaeda hell-hole”, that’s a lie: the USA cared so little about individual Iraqis that they never bothered to count how many they killed.

DSW

Comments on this entry are closed.