Saturday, February 22, 2003
THE GREAT WHITE TRAGEDY IN NEW ENGLAND:
OK, Sullivan. A gorgeously beautiful giant cock gets destroyed so you�re upset (Perhaps they should have made it a circumscised one. Then you wouldn�t mind so much now, would you?).
In the future, may we suggest that the men of Harvard sculpt raw muscled glutes in the snow when it falls and falls and falls.
And then get out of the way lest they be run over by the blur coming from across the Bay.
THE SONTAGS HAVE GONE TO HELL:
He and his readers must be getting desperate in this category if they have to reach down to something published in a small weekly suburban newspaper. We sort of thought the category best applied to statements made in major media forums, or the foreign press.
But no, apparently subversives are just as likely to be found in Upper Merion, Bala Cynwyd or Mt. Holly (And even we�re surprised. We thought the local capacity for eccentricity in that area had been exhausted by that quite charming, yet nonetheless brutally murdered, teenager we all got to know last year ...).
Hey, go read the piece at issue. Most of it is just quotes from Reagan, for Christ�s sake, suggesting that he would never have sat still for something like the PATRIOT Act, and noting just how much the Bush government is starting to sound like the way he described the Soviets. If Sullivan thinks that�s anti-Western, there�s no hope.
posted by Sully 2/22/2003 01:41:00 AM
Friday, February 21, 2003
READING THINGS IN:
In the American Prospect piece, (written by a former TNR intern, interestingly enough), there is absolutely no direct quote saying what Sullivan says it says.
It would be fairer to characterize it as arguing that British support for the war may dry up if there are significant terrorist attacks in apparent reprisal for Iraq (and remember, a higher percentage of the British population than the French is opposed to the war to begin with, as M. Vaisse reminded us over the weekend).
And while political survival is obviously secondary to safety, Blair may want to consider pulling out of this risky alliance if only because his numbers are plummeting. According to a poll released Tuesday by The Guardian, his ratings are at their lowest since a fuel crisis in 2000.
The implicit argument we see is that the people may be willing to make sacrifices and take the risk at home as long as they trust their leadership. Certainly in 1940 Britons endured the Luftwaffe because they felt that way about Churchill, who had only recently ascended to the Prime Minister's job. Would they do such a thing for Tony? Only time will tell.
Naturally, Sully doesn�t like this one bit ... the British public wimping out would just tear his romantic conception of the �Anglosphere� apart.
posted by Sully 2/21/2003 10:39:00 AM
WE COULD TELL YOU IT�S GOING TO BE FUTILE:
But the administration needs to be put on notice by its supporters as well as its opponents.
Like that�ll make a difference with an Administration that has long shown it doesn�t care what you think? You really expect a presidency that came about through such a perversion of the American democratic process to listen to the people?
At least it gives us his future disenchantment with Bush to look forward to.
posted by Sully 2/21/2003 10:29:00 AM
Atrios had the Tymkovich story the day before Miller�s column came out. And he got it from ... the Human Rights Campaign (you know, one of those groups that Sullivan regularly derides as run by dour lesbians at the expense of all GBLT to support their pet left-wing causes), which had it a full week beforehand
(OK, he's only one guy but it gives the slip to the notion that the Dems are being quiet about this. We do wish there were more. But just about every judge Bush has put forth has some reason to object to him, and right now the Dems are (as they should) trying to keep Charles Pickering and his Trent Lott-ittudes off the bench. Then Estrada. Then Tymkovich).
posted by Sully 2/21/2003 10:26:00 AM
Thursday, February 20, 2003
BLACK: IT�S THE NEW WHITE:
So now if the peace demos might provoke war, they�re a good thing? Are peace protesters no longer �objectively pro-Saddam� and now glorious heroes of the Motherland?
One senses it�s not so much the undeniable homophobia in Brown�s piece, it�s that she dared to dis The Big T that earned Sully�s ire.
QUICK, LATE AT NIGHT AND MAYBE DRUDGE AND THE FREEPERS WON�T NOTICE:
To be fair, Sullivan is the only rightie we�ve read so far who�s dared to at least assent to criticism of Michael Savage, the failed herb pitchman turned talk-radio screamer and media brand name whose appeal we simply cannot understand, even to (or perhaps most among) his co-ideologues (didn�t conservatives always say they liked Rush, and were like Rush, because he always seemed like he could say he wasn�t totally serious? Savage makes Robert Mugabe look like a reasonable and well-grounded individual. Is his whole purpose to be the bad cop and make Take Back the Media call off their boycott dogs? Did he go scan the postings at Free Republic and realize that Rush wasn�t conservative enough?).
That Savage is rabidly anti-gay goes without saying (If you need further documentation of just how far-out this guy is, here�s anti-Savage HQ). You�d kind of think, especially given the way he pops off on Tina Brown, that Smalltown Boy might take this a little personally, and really let him have it.
But, as usual, where right-wing homophobia is concerned, Sullivan quietly tiptoes around it and makes denunciations with all the passion of a parking ticket.
Where�s all that journalistic bravado that makes him dangerous to know, if you but ask him? Guess it�s one thing when it comes to Howell Raines but another when it comes to the sort of people who might write scads of letters to the Washington Times asking why they let some bug-ridden queer recycle his website in its pages every Saturday.
posted by Sully 2/20/2003 02:16:00 AM
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
As TBogg points out, the guy from Downing Street is at least willing to face the press, in contrast to the guy on Pennsylvania Avenue.
SLOW NEWS WEEK:
Sullivan once again, in true over-the-hill journalist fashion, serves his Sunday Times of London readers the same offering he made more pithily to his blog readers at the start of the week.
A few short comments to be made. First, he adds �irresponsible� to his other I-word that he reserved for Clinton. For the Bushies, this is not good.
It�s the kind of pure spending Congressmen and Senators like so much � good old pork-barrel projects that help them win re-election.
If Smalltown Boy bothered to snoop around, he'd notice that that�s simply par for the course for the Bush administration ... particularly in Florida, where the federal government might as well have been the Committee to Re-Elect Jeb Bush over the last two years.
And it�s also full of perfectly admirable things � like spending on education or the astonishingly generous $15 billion worth of spending to combat AIDS in Africa.
Somewhere in the West Wing, Karl Rove is saying �He fell for it! Yes!�
If he�d take a closer look ...:
In the fine print of the Bush AIDS proposal is a consistently with previous policies: the plan, first of all, excludes 36 of the highest burden African countries from receiving funds. The $15 billion is also spread over five years (making it about equivalent to the rounding error on the defense budget), and nearly all but $200 million a year will be routed through mechanisms other than the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Nor is the administration�s track record on keeping its word on this subject particularly good.
The suspicions of AIDS activists are well founded when it comes to the sincerity of the Bush administration�s commitment to fighting AIDS. Last June, Bush announced in a Rose Garden ceremony a $500 million plan to prevent pregnant mothers from passing the AIDS virus to their babies. Republican Sen. Bill Frist, who had made AIDS in Africa his cause, had championed the measure with former North Carolina senator Jesse Helms. Unbeknownst to most observers, the White House had quietly asked Frist to reduce the amount to $200 million, and Frist, being a loyalist, caved into the request. Even that money was never distributed. It was killed in an end-of-the-year crackdown on spending by the White House.
Of course, this whole column is yet another slow step on the road to Sullivan realizing what we have all always known � that the Bush Administration is all about getting Republicans re-elected to attend to the needs of large corporations for various dips into the public trough, and not at all about anything remotely resembling any kind of principle.
But, since Sullivan himself is pretty much the same, don�t expect him to reach Damascus anytime soon.
posted by Sully 2/19/2003 09:22:00 PM
A REAL LEFTIST ANSWER TO HIS RHETORICAL QUESTIONS:
Max Sawicky linked to this excellent piece in The Progressive that would seem to completely answer and disprove all of Sullivan�s recent talking points: the author is an exiled member of the Iraqi Communist Party who is fully aware from direct experience of the brutality of Saddam�s regime who opposes the war and has an alternative plan of his own to remove Saddam from power and restore democracy to Iraq
Iraq�s totalitarian system has been a menace to its own people, the region, and the world at large. Leaving the monster in its place is an invitation to future catastrophe. This may sound like an endorsement of the war camp. Not at all. Warmongering is as shortsighted as philanthropic pacifism. The former deliberately neglects the possibilities of a political solution to the problem; the latter does not recognize the existence of the problem. Both are locked in an ideological cage.
Warmongering comes largely from the evangelical right, i.e., the new conservatism that imposes a clash-of-civilizations formula on world politics. The tragic events of 9/11 provided an ideal backdrop to Donald Rumsfeld�s �leaning forward� argument for aggression. Perhaps the swift success scored by the United States in removing the fundamentalist Taliban regime was � and still is � a catalyst for further experiments in �surgical� removals.
But an invasion of Iraq may well prove too costly or degenerate into chaos. The demise of the totalitarian regime, however welcome, will involve and unleash latent, uncontrollable institutional and social forces beside which fantasy will pale. A civil war may begin nobody knows where and end up in nobody knows what. A palace coup might be convenient for the U.S. Administration, but it would be another tragedy for the Iraqi people.
War is as pernicious as totalitarianism. Both breed violence and mayhem.
Opposing the war in itself is good but not good enough. Letting the Leviathan off the hook is a grave mistake for which we will pay sooner rather than later. Opposing war, which is an instrument of politics, should not lead us to forget the crux of the things political. It is not weapons of mass destruction that count most; what really counts is the political system that controls them. Ignoring this fact by the forces of peace simply serves the war camp.
Ironically, the United States let Saddam get away with no punishment for the actual deployment of chemical and biological weapons back in 1988, but it is now adamant about confronting him for a possible deployment of such weapons in the future. This is the logic of preemption. Yet there is no law, domestic or international, that permits a prosecutor to go after an ex-convict for a future, would-be offense. There is every law to bring a culprit to trial for actually breaching human norms in the first place.
The present U.S. campaign ... is a military crusade, with diplomacy as a reluctant sideshow. And it is not geared to the interests or participation of the Iraqi people.
So, how about it, Sullivan and, indeed, all warbloggers? Consider the ball back in your court.
posted by Sully 2/19/2003 01:13:00 PM
GEE ... WHY MIGHT THAT BE?:
For a while now, I have harped on the importance of EU politics for American foreign policy � and largely been ignored. It seemed so boring.
Also, it�s sort of amusing that Sully considers Blair to be Bush�s ideological opponent. Let the two of them run against each other, then we�ll see just how diplomatic Dubya truly is.
posted by Sully 2/19/2003 12:57:00 PM
BUT AT LEAST THE BBC STILL HAS COPY EDITORS:
... a piece posing as journalism focussing on a handful of liberal churches in the U.S. ...
The semantics of Blair�s claim are the point, it�s one many of us have been making for some time.
Yes, it�s true that the inspectors in 1998 felt they were not getting cooperation from Iraq. So they left for what was ostensibly a matter of time and then, when they wanted to come back, weren�t allowed to.
But to say that they were thrown out is stretching that too far. It doesn�t hurt your arguments � at least to us � to say that truth: �Saddam refused to let the inspectors return when they left.� Unless, of course, your intent is stir up outrage and you could give a horse�s ass for the truth in the process.
Oh, and �Not the insufferable pomposity of Paxman ...�? Did an �e� get lost somewhere between Provincetown and Pyra?
And it is amusing to see Sullivan tacitly admit that he got some of the same stuff, and finally at last confess that the object of his journalistic anxiety of influence is, indeed, Alistair Cooke.
(Humor opportunity: Imagine Sullivan hosting Masterpiece Theatre: �When we left Kyle and his friends last week, Cartman had just resolved the question of who his mother was ...�)
You know, perhaps the Sage of South Goodstone would prefer the Iraqi media: It always affirms its government�s policy, never lets anyone in the audience ask an offending question, and is generally very supportive of the president�s commitment to resisting American aggression.
AND STILL ...:
Sullivan apparently thinks that Biased BBC isn�t up to the task. So, we just gave them another link, to remind him that he�s unoriginal and an ingrate to boot.
posted by Sully 2/19/2003 12:55:00 PM
HEY, DON�T FORGET ABOUT WEST 43RD STREET, EITHER:
Well, Howell Raines must be smiling somewhere to see Sully shift his guns to the BBC, an entity that, outside of the Internet, means dicksquat to most of the American readers who make up the bulk of his audience.
But he shouldn�t. For recently one of his paper�s supplements ran an error-filled review of a new book, Susan McDougal�s The Woman Who Wouldn�t Talk, in which the reviewer, appropriately enough a creative-writing professor at George Mason University, stated that McDougal had been convicted in relation to Whitewater, and even if she wasn�t she, her husband and the Clintons were all probably guilty as hell.
The Times ran a correction � which then turned out to have errors of its own, mistakenly stating that McDougal had been convicted of an unrelated fraud charge in California, when she had in fact been acquitted.
The matter is finally settled this week with a letter from McDougal herself setting the record straight. Editor Chip McGrath actually apologizes to the publishing industry for the review (this is more than just a formality ... the editors have the power to really marginalize the Times Book Review over this for a while, if they so dare, and McGrath is well aware of this).
This is hilarious, or would be if it didn�t involve the nation�s most prestigious newspaper.
A botched correction? A humble apology? Isn�t this right up Sully�s Raines-bashing alley? If he wants to reach out to liberals and prove that his complaints about crumbling standards at the Times aren�t politically motivated, that he really somehow does care about journalistic accuracy, this is an excellent opportunity.
It isn�t like he�d just be pissing in the wind about Raines�s motive, either. It�s well-known that he turned the Times editorial page into a virtual fatwa against Clinton over Whitewater. Surely, by Sullivan�s understanding of the world, Raines must have leaned on the book review to not challenge this, right?
No, wrong. Sullivan has admitted, once (to a British readership) that Raines screwed it to Clinton from the editorial page just as hard as he supposedly is to Bush now from the executive editor�s chair.
And that�s a large part of the reason why Sully will let this one pass. Because in doing so he�d have to admit the Grey Lady gave Bill and Hillary Clinton a wholly undeserved bad rap. And in the process make a complete mockery of any further whines of his about the Times.
YES, JUST WHAT MAKES US GET OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING:
An obituary is his idea of something to read to cheer up? Gawd, how British.
posted by Sully 2/19/2003 12:41:00 PM
GREAT WHITE MONSTER:
But Andrew, we thought you preferred them black.
RUSH TO JUDGEMENT:
Although Marshall comes to the same conclusion as Sullivan, that the Germans are dodgy wimps who'd prefer that the Americans take all the flack for fighting terrorism, note that Josh, the good journalist, is careful to note that the report doesn�t include any actual quotations from the government officials, nor are they identified.
posted by Sully 2/19/2003 12:44:00 AM
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
In addition to showing us that we�re not alone in flaming Sullivan�s sometimes-comical spelling errors, Roger Ailes reminds Sullivan that he, too, should have welcomed Rush�s loss of hearing:
I�m sick and tired of turning on my TV and being told that the AIDS crisis is my fault too, because I don�t care enough.
posted by Sully 2/18/2003 02:33:00 PM
Speaking of blogs Sullivan has linked to once and only once, every now and then we drop in on the Israeli blogger Tal G, recommended and long since forgotten by Sullivan, but whose site is actually interesting to read (He blogrolls Little Green Goofballs, so no link from us).
Today he had links to two columns in the liberal Israeli newspaper Ha�aretz that are worth reading, we think, as they offer a more experienced perspective on the very dark room that is a non-Arab country starting a war in the Middle East than you might find from know-it-all know-nothing Andrew Sullivan: Ze�ev Schiff pointedly notes that the U.S. is assuming very little beyond victory and not planning for any contingencies, such as an Iraqi attack on Israel that the latter, as it would likely do, retaliates against. This point is worth taking:
The American presence in Iraq becomes protracted and an �enlightened presence� that was supposed to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people, becomes a despised occupation. Israel can offer free lessons in a course on its negative experiences in this field.
Yossi Melman, who has a good read on intelligence issues, repeats and expands on The Guardian�s debunking of the alleged Saddam-Osama connection. Here, as Smalltown Boy would say, are the money quotes:
Unlike Iran and Libya, Iraq has not made a habit of using terror organizations ... �Iraq was always very cautious in his relations with terrorist organizations,� says Dr. Reuven Paz, a former researcher for the Shin Bet and currently the director of a research project on the radical Islamic movements at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. �To provide asylum as well as material, logistic and political support for the organizations is one thing and to use them to carry out terror attacks and assassinations is quite another.�
When Iraq wants to assassinate an enemy of the regime outside of Iraq, says Paz, it prefers to use its own security and intelligence apparatus. Iran, on the other hand, did not hesitate to use Lebanese terrorist organizations, such as that of Imad Mughniya, which carried out missions for Iran.
That is why intelligence experts are finding it difficult to believe that now of all times, with Saddam Hussein at the eye of the storm, he would destroy a modus operandi that he is familiar with and commit himself to the groups led by Zarqawi and Krekar. This is especially so, because in view of Zarqawi�s and Krekar�s background, it is difficult to imagine that they would support the Iraqi regime.
And note that Melman gives some credence to the theory that an all-out war against Saddam would make terror attacks against the West on its turf more likely rather than less:
Intelligence experts fear that if Saddam has his back is to the wall, he will not hesitate to hand over chemical and biological weapons to radical terrorist groups, even if they are fundamentalist in nature. After all, the Iraqi regime and the radical groups share a common enemy: the United States, the West and Israel.
In other words, when such a terror attack or attempted terror attack does occur in the late stages of a war, we�ll be told by Sullivan and the other warbloggers that this proves we were right to launch the war in the first place.
How would this not differ from the logic of some Holocaust deniers who say that the poverty in war and postwar Germany retroactively justifies the gas chambers? But we�ll leave that question to when it comes, if it does.
posted by Sully 2/18/2003 02:24:00 PM
TIMESTAMP MYSTERY SOLVED:
Sullivan does indeed set his computer clock ahead an hour, for no reason we can adequately discern except to look prescient.
Last night at 1:40 a.m., we were looking over his site and not finding anything we felt the need to blog about, so we left the window open and went to work on something else.
When we came back, there were fresh posts up, all timestamped a hour ahead.
Why? Why does he do this? It remains the same whether it's daylight or standard time. He can�t, in our opinion, claim to be just forgetful (as he seems to be when it�s suspiciously convenient).
posted by Sully 2/18/2003 02:00:00 PM
THAT SAID ...:
As we�ve noted before, we don�t particularly enjoy having to defend Edward Said, and the Al-Ahram column again reminds us why (anyone who represents Ralph Nader as the principle voice of U.S. opposition ought to be sued for defamation of character by just about every right-thinking person in America ... Said might well ask himself who did more than any other single person to make the Bush Administration and this war possible. If that doesn�t convince you, his oh-so-clich�d I�m-such-the-thoughtful-intellectual pose in the picture accompanying the column should do it).
Anyway, all he is saying is the same thing we just said. Who brings democracy matters as much as bringing democracy itself does to whether that democracy would last.
posted by Sully 2/18/2003 12:23:00 PM
SOME FRIEND HE IS:
He asks re Shepherd�s Bush:
If there�s a webpage, please send me the URL. Aux armes, confreres, bloggeurs, and so on.
Oddly, he seems to have completely forgotten that at the beginning of the year he promoted this blog, which would seem to be exactly what his fans are looking for. It�s sort of funny, given that the lead item there as we read is excerpts from his site this weekend. If we were these people, we�d be extremely upset with our erstwhile patron (Hey, we�re probably not on their side, and we�re giving them a link).
Or was it a mistake? Can�t take the chance that these people might just want BBC-bashing and, once they got a site that offered them that all the time, they might not read your own anymore, eh, Sully?
UPDATE: We just fell over laughing as we reread this and realized the delicious irony of Mr. Let�s-Isolate-the-French-because-they�re-cowards using the language of Foucault and Robespierre to rally his troops.
posted by Sully 2/18/2003 12:11:00 PM
�OBJECTIVELY PRO-SADDAM� BY ANY OTHER NAME:
Stalinism is slowly becoming the intellectual nectar of the right.
That is the only conclusion one can draw after reading The Blog Queen�s latest outbursts, so many of which try to hammer home this meme: Since Saddam is the world�s worst dictator, anyone who opposes a war against him must therefore wish to keep him in power.
This is insulting and manipulative to say the least.
Someone please explain to him that it is entirely possible to feel that Bush�s war is not the ideal solution to the problem.
Did we invade the Soviet Union? Romania?
Now, we realized over the weekend that it is entirely possible to argue in response that we are sort of using past moral failures to justify a lack of military action in the current situation � throwing good policy after bad, so to speak.
So it occurred to us to develop a new line of counterargument, to wit: The best conditions for allowing democracy to rise in the wake of dictatorship is for the oppressed people themselves to do the liberating.
Some neocons were calling for the U.S. to go in the ground in 1999 and arrest Slobodan Milosevic personally for delivery to the Hague. We didn�t, preferring instead to use our power to stop the ethnic cleansing of Kosova and weaken his regime, succeeding in the latter sufficiently enough for the strong democratic resistance within Serbia to bring him down themselves in October 2000. The country�s got a long way to go, but it�s on the road at long last.
Latin America boasted many ugly military dictatorships throughout the Cold War. Most have reverted to democracy by now without U.S. military intervention (granted, in many cases we intervened covertly to prop them up).
It occurs to us, then, that the best chance for democracy in post-Saddam Iraq is for the Iraqis themselves to be at the lead of any toppling of Saddam.
You can say in reply that we made Japan and Germany go democratic at gunpoint and it has worked out well, and you'd be right. But both those countries had some prewar stabs in that direction. We�d also remind you that it took many years of military occupation (granted, again made necessary by Cold War geopolitics) to bring that about, and in some sense you can still say that both countries are lightly occupied even today.
posted by Sully 2/18/2003 12:01:00 PM
Monday, February 17, 2003
QU�EST-CE QUI APPELEZ-VOUS �LES MONKEYS DU SURRENDRE�?:
Atrios called a couple of things to our attention this weekend regarding the French that we wanted to post here as correctives to the invective offered against them by an individual oft-referred to by Sullivan as a drinking buddy of his, and subsequently repeated further by every blogger to the right.
First is this Washington Post op-ed by Justin Vaisse, a Frenchman at Brookings, not only pointing out that opposition to the war is stronger in Britain than in France but also putting paid to the notion (advanced recently by Sully and others) that the French are really just protecting Elf-Aquitaine�s oil interests:
Now that I have admitted everything, I should own up to the true motivation of our foreign policy: We are protecting commercial interests, especially oil. For the harsh truth, just check out the International Monetary Fund�s Web site:
From 2000 to 2001, our exports to Iraq jumped from 0.12 percent to 0.2 percent of our total exports! Never mind that we�ll never realize our oil contracts with Iraq or get our debt repaid so long as Saddam Hussein stays in power, and don�t believe anyone who tells you that a truly mercantilist France would help America attack Iraq and share the spoils afterward. Some even make the bizarre claim that if America wanted to enhance its oil interests, it would join France and oppose the war in the United Nations so as to keep oil flowing from Iraq at current levels (America is the first buyer of Iraqi oil). But not too much oil, as this would lower the price to a point where it would be bad for Texas producers and Alaska drilling. But I take that as typically far-fetched Gallic perfidy.
Vaisse is too diplomatic to note this, but try imagining the Revolution without French aid. Steak and kidney pie, anyone? We didn�t think so (Actually, most English food isn�t all that bad, but it is an acquired taste).
And we are once again �Very Very Happy� to quote The Mighty Reason Man on the truth of recent French military history:
The French surrendered so quickly after the German Western Offensive not because they were abject cowards, but because they had been so thoroughly outfoxed. They had been, with the Maginot Line and not much of an air force to speak of, �fighting the last war� ...
The fact that the French military hierarchy did not grasp the importance of using tanks in mass-attacks, much to the frustration of Charles DeGaulle, only made matters worse. In fact, an idea of what might have happened if the French army had been organized in accordance with the ideas DeGaulle set forth in his 1934 book �The Army of the Future� can be gleaned from DeGaulle�s successful rout of the German forces at Caumont. Unfortunately, that one victory was not enough. The majority of France was occupied, and, with DeGaulle out of the country to consult with the British, the Vichy regime came to power under P�tain, and negotiated the armistice. Keep in mind: the government that led France when DeGaulle left the country was not the government that negotiated with Germany. Also keep in mind that the primary leaders of that government were sentenced to death after the war � by the French � for treason (the 89 year-old P�tain�s sentence was commuted to life in prison).
So, while it's fair to say that the French military hierarchy was outsmarted, the �surrender-monkey� theme is completely inappropriate. But then, I guess it takes a lot more thought to yell �Followers of an obsolete military doctrine!� than �Pussies!�
The French Resistance, while perhaps not as effective as some in France make it out to be, was nonetheless composed of some extremely brave men. I would ask anyone living in the middle of the (ridiculously geographically secure) North American landmass if they would be brave enough to fight to delay, with few weapons and no supplies, the 2nd SS Panzer Division were it rolling through, I don't know, say Culver, Indiana? And what if you knew that a nearby town, possibly the one your family lives in, would have its inhabitants rounded up and executed in retribution? Well kids, this is exactly what the French Maquis did when the Allies were storming the Normandy beaches. As anyone who has at least watched Saving Private Ryan knows, the first days after the invasion were absolutely critical, and one of the most elite armored divisions in the Nazi army showing up at the wrong place could have tossed the Allies back into the sea. This was not token resistance.
And in more recent history, it was French troops who, in 1997, rescued 1,500 foreign nationals from the street fighting in the Republic of Congo. And just last September, French soldiers rescued 200 American students and school staff who had been trapped between warring factions in the Ivory Coast when it dissolved into bloody chaos.
Hmm. Funny Smalltown Boy forgot that little fact when he linked to that pic of Ivoiroises holding up signs begging Bush to rescue them.
HEY, WATCH IT, YOU�RE GETTING CLOSE TO OUR LAWN THERE (JUST KIDDING):
The Mighty Reason Man further ingratiates himself with us through this critique of Sully�s attempt on Alterman:
I hate Andrew Sullivan.
Not for the reasons most people hate him. Not, for instance, because he refuses to engage anyone in actual debate. Not because of his weird jihads against organizations that fired his worthless ass and people who point out that George Bush tells lies. Not because he seems to think that he is morally and intellectually superior to everyone on the Left wing. Not even because of the disturbingly sycophantic orgasm he had while watching one of the most inept, stumbling and blatantly dishonest State of the Union addresses in American history.
No, I hate Andrew Sullivan because he makes me a conformist. How? Because he keeps writing such utterly dishonest bullshit that everyone with a soul, a brain, and a pen has started writing anti-Sullivan screeds, desperately trying to exorcise the unclean feeling they get when they read him. It's gotten to the point where writing refutations of Sullivan�s writing is about as original as watching TRL.
Everybody�s doing it.
It simply must be done. I�ve tried showering. It doesn�t work. I feel dirty.
Why explain yourself when someone else can do it just as well for you?
posted by Sully 2/17/2003 01:51:00 PM
SEE WHAT A GOOD NIGHT�S SLEEP CAN DO?:
We were blogging at length about Sullivan�s steroid-rages at the peace protesters when a problem on our end cost us everything we'd written, and so rather than start again we decided to call it a night.
As so often seems to be the case, this was fortuitous. Sullivan seems to have come around to addressing some of our concerns, most notably the lack of faith on the part of many of us who, having no doubt about the badness of Saddam Hussein, nevertheless don�t trust the Bush Administration to instill democracy in a post-Saddam Iraq.
He�s absolutely right that after the war (whenever that comes) the Bush administration must be held to the fire to make Iraq democratic. This might, after all, be an easier task than it has been thus far in Afghanistan ... Iraq is less isolated and has more to work with, although it too has little direct experience of democracy.
But for him to say he thinks we can trust Bush? After what he wrote about that same Bush�s budget a mere week ago? What will he say when democracy is delayed yet again for reasons we are told is very important yet we can�t know about? What does it take for Andrew Sullivan to once again see George Bush for what he is? Right now he�s putting us so in mind of Walter Laqueur.
The only really interesting thing in his critique of Maureen Dowd is that it sounds like, having channeled Al Gore last week, he now thinks he is Media Whores Online.
posted by Sully 2/17/2003 01:22:00 PM
Sunday, February 16, 2003
Proving that there is no angle from which Sullivan is safe, today left-wing economist Max Sawicky defends President Bush against Sullivan�s critique of his budget (Yup, you read that right).
posted by Sully 2/16/2003 02:16:00 AM
SHOW US THE RESULTS:
Sullivan clearly knows that the absence of US followthrough in Afghanistan is a nettlesome point of war critics, so he does this quick-linky-to-someone-else thing to deflect it.
While we�re a little surprised and pleased that he linked to the Hoosier Review, which boasts us on their blogroll page and occasionally generates some hits, that�s about it.
We�re not convinced. Appropriating money in Congress is the easy part. Actually getting it together and spending it is the hard one. And then you might not even make a difference.
Everyone knows the numbers make great press releases but that�s about it. The question is, what are we getting? And the answer is a nicer capital city but a country where women are still mostly treated as second-class citizens and warlords are beginning to rule small tyrannical fiefdoms much as they did before the Taliban.
And in any event this misses the point of the recent blogging about all this, which is that the Bushies actually forgot to include money for Afghanistan in the current budget until a Republican congressman brought the �oversight� to their attention (Not that it seems to make much difference).
That, too, is telling. More telling than any rote recitation of numbers.
posted by Sully 2/16/2003 02:13:00 AM
AND NOW BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED FLAMING:
Something about Britain seems to bring my homeland the leaders they need when crisis beckons and nerves fail.
Punchline a) So what does this tell us about Clement Attlee or Harold McMillan?
Punchline b) And something else about it seems to breed an inordinate supply of the sort of people who run off to distant coastal cities in other countries far from the firing line (The Blog Queen, The Duke of Windsor etc.).
posted by Sully 2/16/2003 02:03:00 AM
It shouldn�t be this easy.
Many of the people marching will say they hate Saddam. But the consequences of taking their advice is that he stays in charge of Iraq, ruling the Iraqi people.
Much as Robert Mugabe and Aleksandr Lukashenko stay on in Zimbabwe and Belarus, respectively. Yet we�re not lining up to put them in the tub.
A country that in 1978, the year before he seized power, was richer than Malaysia or Portugal.
�Seized� in a palace coup. You�d almost think pre-Saddam Iraq was a democratic state.
And that says a hell of a lot more about Malaysia and Portugal than it does about Iraq.
A country where today, 135 out of every 1000 Iraqi children die before the age of five � 70% of these deaths are from diarrhea and respiratory infections that are easily preventable. Where almost a third of children born in the center and south of Iraq have chronic malnutrition.
Where 60% of the people depend on Food Aid.
Where half the population of rural areas have no safe water.
Which are reasons to drop the sanctions, not bomb the hell out of them (not that we necessarily would, but we�re just saying ...)
Where every year and now, as we speak, tens of thousands of political prisoners languish in appalling conditions in Saddam's jails and are routinely executed.
And, of course, this is the only country on earth where this happens.
... with up to four million Iraqis in exile round the world, including 350,000 now in Britain.
�Would you like to see our coloured cousins (them) home again, my friend/ All you have to do is follow the worms ...�
There will be no march for the victims of Saddam, no protests about the thousands of children that die needlessly every year under his rule, no righteous anger over the torture chambers which if he is left in power, will be left in being.
So, since we can�t convince you with our arguments, we�ll just try the ol� guilt trip.
If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started.
And we [cough] supported by giving him arms out the wazoo[/cough].
posted by Sully 2/16/2003 01:57:00 AM