Comments on Too late for healing by CK MacLeod

@ miguel cervantes:
The subject was your statement that "they" - Journo-listers, directly by context - "almost did force us out of Iraq." To show how your mind works, the next "they" was Tet, and then the next "they" is journalists like Ricks and somewhere in there is a possible "they" the resistance in Iraq. The first general they - leftwing critics of the war - were probably more right than the public opinion leaders on the right, who were mainly in the "it's working ok just needs time the newspapers don't cover water treatment projects enough cuz they're biased" + "criticizing the war emboldens the enemy." Finally, in response to the massive clusterfark of the occupation under Bremer, Sanchez, Casey, and others, and the repudiation at the polls in Nov 06, Bush changed course in critical respects, though there is potentially much more to be said about what the real change was by that point. That may really just be the official, Petraeus hagiographic, Bush spine of steel public story; the truth may remain hidden somewhere deeper than that, but, however you look at it, the role of strident leftwing critics of the war effort was arguably somewhere between irrelevant and positive vis-a-vis conduct of the war itself, and much more effective in undermining political confidence in the Bush Administration generally.

@ miguel cervantes:
Now you're changing the subject. As usual.

miguel cervantes wrote:

they almost did force us out of Iraq

WAKE UP! Spencer Ackerman didn't almost force us out of Iraq. 10s of thousands of Iraqi casualties, thousands of US casualties, corpses bearing signs of torture piling up in the streets, mass kidnappings executed by in broad daylight by insurgents wearing government-issued American-provided uniforms, corruption on a fabulous scale - in short, a seemingly dysfunctional, hopeless, and immensely costly, ill-conceived and poorly executed occupation effort going nowhere is what almost forced us out of Iraq.

@ miguel cervantes:
"Don't do it honestly"? The guys were making very public statements of their support for this new publicity-seeking lobbying/PR organization. Ackerman, Yglesias, Alterman these are guys who seize every conceivable opportunity to push their politics through the plate glass windows of your face. I mean this is a truly ludicrous angle of attack. Criticize Chuck Todd, as Todd has criticized himself, or other mainstream journalists for participating, if you want, but trying to turn the J-list into a revolutionary conspiracy, branding all participants as enemies of the United States of Right-Thinking People, is... weird. Hard to tell whether it's funnier than it's scary, or vice versa.

@ fuster:
How about just plain stupid? Left-liberal Jewish dudes support a left-liberal political organization... Oi gevalt, it's a conspiracy!

@ Zoltan Newberry:
I didn't sign up to be a slave to your self-regard.

@ fuster:
I only ever deleted naughty naughty things. And look what a polite and well-mannered amphib you've grown up into! (Most of the time, you asked to be deleted.)

@ miguel cervantes:
Can't say I've been following Porter's life and career, but the material in fuster's dossier is old stuff. He may have been a twisted wrong ideologue, but it's not like he killed all of those people with his bare hands. Is having been wrong about something enough to render everything else he says for the rest of time useless?

@ fuster:
No pose.

Oh, right GB. One of his other favorites is that WE ARE GOING TO LOSE A CITY TO NUCLEAR TERROR. Another is that OBAMA PLANNED TO DESTROY THE U.S. BECAUSE HE HAS TO KNOW THAT THOSE ARE THE INEVITABLE RESULTS OF HIS POLICIES. Another was that DOSTOEVSKY WAS SHALLOW or something. I guess I really shoulda bent over backward to pretend all that was pretty darn fascinating. Another alternative, possibly a better one, would have been to cease participating in the comment threads at all, confining myself strictly to arguing with other wonderful people who write actual posts rather than directly with the commenting hoi polloi - at most occasionally responding to a comment on the level of a post. Would likely have served me better at HotAir, too, if the objective was merely to "have a gig" and "build a readership." Next non-life, maybe.

@ miguel cervantes:
Who's "GB"? JEM made it very clear why he left: He couldn't stand someone challenging his ideological credentials on this very topic. Others dropped out for similar reasons - some admitting as much - and, unlike the frog, I don't miss them much, especially the ones who found particularly disagreeable ways of registering their disagreement.

Adam, I'm not sure about. I think he enjoyed what you call "argument clinic." He may be on some Summer sabbatical. If he just wanted to go to someone's "rightwing agreement clinic," so be it.

@ fuster:
Always good to be reminded of the ambidextrousness of non-niceness. I'll just take in on faith that M. Rick's censoriousness is not justified.

If you'd care to deliver a blow-by-blow account, critique, reconstruction, or even just a bit of a tirade, I suspect that the few conservos who still wander by these parts would be grateful.

@ fuster:
I didn't see any frogs in that thread, though I did see someone who claims to kiss frogs, so I can understand why you might be interested. Is there some place where the amphib-on-amphib action is furiouser up to your neck? And I'm not talking about one of those frogball things you posted once.

fuster wrote:

It was good to see a brief reappearance from Howard.

There are more where he came from.

narciso wrote:

He’s a Sufi,

Who are you talking about? I think you may have your Schwartzes mixed up.

@ narciso:
Yes, the Standard's Islamophobic hit man may on occasion strike at a target not worth defending. However, a history of the Middle Ages that sought a global and balanced perspective could devote greater attention to the rise of Islam than to some other "civilizational" phenomena without being considered disproportionate.

@ JHM:
I think H.N.H. thinks, if that's the right word, that all right-thinking people - 52% in all the latest polls on whatever subject - are born knowing that there is no contradiction between Hyperzionism and everything else that 52% of everyone are born knowing.

As for conspiratorialists and their enemy images, consistency is the hobgoblin of mind. The Devil may be an ass (in the long run), but that doesn't prevent him from being cunninger than the average bear, or cunning enough and more for whatever present rhetorical purpose, not to be confused with any prior or future rhetorical purpose. 52% of the sensible populace can be counted upon to resist all merely cunning attempts to make sense of anything at all.

If I'm willing to do irrevocable violence to the inferior himself, why should I hesitate to do violence to logic, a mere abstraction, chiefly of interest to decadent intellectuals? At the same time, my refusal of the restraint of reason is a demonstration of my fearsomeness. It's the discursive equivalent of demonstratively hanging a Muslim, who had hitherto been on your side of the lines, in order to impress both sides with your determination to fight to the bitter end, no quarter - an effective tactic employed by de la Valette in the glorious defense of Malta against the Moorish swarm. It's a rhetorical lifting of the kilt and demonstrative self-exposure to the enemy. Or, for another equivalent, in the words of another knight, "I spit in your general direction."

Anyway, our Civilization is Superior because it's ours, and ours because it's superior. Bear that in mind.

@ bob:
I'd accept that the "nt style" helps to shape responses and initial and sometimes overriding tendencies, but I think in Kristol's particular case, both his positioning and how he describes it, opportunism and the unconscious/linguistic echo of the "towers" are more determinative.

I held out some hope as of a month or two ago that either the Standard/William Kristol or the National Review/Rich Lowry would present an alternative viewpoint along with the dominant one, or at least acknowledge the main elements of the opposing case and raise a warning flag against the bigots aligned on their further-right flanks.

I know that at that time the issue was just hitting Kristol's radar. He probably thinks that the neo-Joe-McCarthyite stance the Standard has taken at least looks superficially less contemptible than the Andy-McCarthyite stance at NR. But, like the lady said, everything that rises must converge, and the right is, relatively speaking, on the rise right now.

@ narciso:
Nothing new from JRub, except maybe how happily she slides into religious polarization. She's actually happy to imagine Jews lining up on one side, "pro-Muslim leftists" on the other. Apparently it's a zero sum Jews vs Muslims thing for her. Very sad. Very deluded. Very destructive.

@ Lotus Feet:
Yeah, kind of too bad that the rightwing ideologues who could at least pretend to make an argument chickened out and checked out a long time ago. I don't blame them, really. When the conservative movement is at the point that pretend-smart people like Jennifer Rubin are speaking up against the evil intellectuals and finding new things to like about Sarah Palin, or like William Kristol, so desperate to tack with the idiot wind, are talking about a 13-story building in Manhattan "towering" over Ground Zero (future site of America's tallest structure + skyscaper park) from two+ blocks away - it probably seems more important to practice dumbing down than to think things through.

@ Rex Caruthers:
I confess you've taught me a lot, induced me to read a lot of stuff. Unfortunately, it's about 98.72% depressing.

@ Rex Caruthers:
We diffed the splitterence.

@ Rex Caruthers:
Rex - you really do need to stop in at Recommended Browsing more often. Have you ever? It's set up so that you can add links yourself using a VERY simple form, and so that we all can in theory discuss stuff that no one quite feels inspired to post on.

When I linked that article yesterday, I was thinking to myself, "this is about as close to RCARianism as you're likely to see in a mainstream publication."

@ Rex Caruthers:
We made a Roman-like deal with the local client elites, a bit more generous to the elites themselves, but it's not as though the Romans were a model of consistency. Often they, or governors acting on their own recognizance for for their own benefit and against the Roman interest, would pillage and plunder past the point of finding means to carry the treasure west. In other places, a local potentate would swear allegiance, and be left pretty much to his own devices. Over time, things would tend to even out, especially as rights of citizenship began to be distributed more broadly, but eventually it was an ungovernable mess.

All past empires reached their own administrative limits to growth, overstretched their lines of communication and supply, and became vulnerable to corruption, decay, and external threat. The theory of administration of the American neo-empire attempts to circumvent that problem by radical decentralization within the context of a global progressive project, world "federalism" you might say, though with much less power at the world center than at the U.S. national center. Anything else pretends to combine vastly unlike entities - the world's nations at current radically unequal levels of development - into a single homogeneous structure.

Saudi Arabia's oil resources are a small part of that all. The deal achieved what it was intended to achieve for a very long time, including up to the present moment.

narciso wrote:

Beinart is being disingenous to be very charitable

No, that's not being "charitable," that's just being opinionated in an insulting way, on no apparent basis other than ideological prejudice. You don't like his message, so you call it dishonest.

Well Rauf came out in support of Rowan William’s support for Sharia courts,

Deport him! Yesterday!

How about a constitutional amendment - underlining that voicing an opinion construed as supportive of Sharia law be herafter considered treason? I betcha Andy McCarthy, Pamela Geller, Jennifer Rubin would favor it. Civilizational war, doncha know. And even the ADL could justify it - speaking favorably of Sharia being so painful to certain people.

@ narciso:
A "civil conversation"? I haven't noticed any incivility directed at you personally. I do see you continually making accusations, from corruption to treason, against individuals - Rauf, Walt, and others - based on little more than your assumptions, sometimes outfitted with nebulous conspiracies. And I see us reacting to them.

When you start with Nahoul the bumblebee in Gaza,

That's a TV show, not a "living bomb." Who are or were the "living bombs"?

The "end result" of THE KINGDOM was a renewed cycle of violence, as I recall. Somewhat similar to MUNICH, on the level of message - not a film I greatly admired when it came out, but I may take another look at it one of the days - memorable, especially the final image, of course.

(I will say that I admire narc's willingness to take it from all sides.)

those who turn children into living bombs,

Which children? I'm not aware of many instances of children being "turned into living bombs." I'm certainly aware of many children being killed, and of plans, apparently, to kill more of them. I'm also aware of many children being blasted to pieces by our bombs. Walt's numbers would suggest rather more in the latter category. But they don't count, right? Or count very much?

And what basis do you have for again defaming Feisal Rauf. "More on that side of the line"? What is that supposed to mean? I wonder how many "lines" I could put you on the wrong "side" of, by some margin.

Then here we go with the musical "they"'s again. We started out asking why "they" hate "us," and providing some support for one set of reasons why they might. Now, I guess, we've temporarily gotten past the point where looking at the reasons is something other than treasonous blasphemy. Then suddenly we're in the land of defining the entire "them" interchangeably with the extremists, by collapsible chain of association.

If we did everything right, it might take generations before there was no one left trying to convert the Hassan's and Shahzad's into operatives, and occasionally scoring successes, and we'll still have the luxury of getting shocked by the deaths of 13 soldiers. If we do things wrong, then what Hassan did won't even register for us anymore. In a lot of places where we're busy, they're already long past that point. Why do you think they raise their children to admire suicide bombers? Because they're naturally perverted? Because they like it?

We also raise our children to admire sacrifice, you know. Most, possibly all societies do. It's usually the most touching part of any war movie. Dulce et decorum... Greater love hath no man... Oh no, it's even in that evil holy book of the deceiver or whatever Sully was just saying in the other thread! You ever read the Sharpe novels? Remember all those wonderful "Forlorn Hope" detachments?

You should read MATTERHORN. First of all, I think you'll like it. Second of all, because it has passages like this:

"He would not slip into the jungle and save himself, because that self didn't look like anything worth saving. He'd choose to stay on the hill and do what he could to save those around him. The choice comforted him and calmed him down. Dying this way was a better way to die because living this way was a better way to live."

Is that alien to you? Is that really so far away from what a "martyr" is said to experience?

You're aware, I suspect, that we haven't given a Medal of Honor to a living soldier since 1973? Does that mean we have a culture of suicide warriors?

Life itself is a losing proposition justified by sacrifice for something larger than the individual.

@ narciso:
I see. We spent a few years tripping on our shoelaces and oh yeah by the way bringing around 33 9/11s to a country less than 1/10th our size, but we said some nice things about democracy before getting the heck out, and because of that the entire Islamic world is going to turn on a dime, forget 200 years or so, trust our every word and intention, and, if they don't, right now already, let's adopt a policy of hating them even harder than they hate us, and matching it with firepower, world without end.

Who could have any doubts about that working?

And as for Jeremiah Wright, yes, I know, it's even more blasphemous than G-D America. How could anyone even say such a thing?

Wright's fault wasn't the intellectual content of his sermon, it was the emotional thrust - the scary black man shouting wrong things. But I think he's basically a lot more sane than Pamela Geller, and more interesting to listen to, too (not saying much...).

A mature nation would have said: The barbarians struck us. We need to punish them, but we also need to stop stirring them up so much and get more of them on our side. Come to think of it, that's kind of what we did, but it interferes with the conservative liturgy of 2010 to admit it. What was the Bush policy of "democracy promotion" other than an admission that our prior policy of a couple of generations was wrong? What was his policy of asserting respect for Islam and reaching out to moderate Muslims other than an admission that we hadn't communicated it previously, or that doing so might help prevent future 9/11s? What was our intervention in Afghanistan other than a tacit admission that our abandonment of Afghanistan had been a mistake?

@ narciso:
No, it's a step YOU take, because that's how your mind works. Walt's point was simple. It was the title of his post. "Why do they hate us?" He's not the first person to ask that question. He won't be the last. He describes an incident. Someone said, maybe it would help if you stopped killing them.

Apparently, that's too painful for you to contemplate. Why, if we stopped killing them, maybe that would indicate to someone somewhere that we thought killing them was a bad thing...

@ narciso:
I thank Rex for bringing up Walt's completely reasonable little blog post - it saved me the time of working up my own tally.

Apparently, your view is that being aware of factors that may influence the other side, its reluctance to see things our way, and its embrace of ideas and methods that strike us as desperate and cruel is treason. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but your view appears to be that opening one's eyes, clearly assessing the situation, establishing attainable goals, and determining how to proceed is only for terrorists, traitors, and useful idiots. Right-thinking people just keep on doing whatever they've been doing without a second thought, as long as they can get away with it, and if other people don't like it, it's their problem (see prior sentence).

@ narciso:
Now that's silly. He wasn't trying to justify 9/11. He was obviously trying to justify 100 9/11s, though, considering the shortage of 100-story skyscrapers and very limited number of Pentagons, we'd probably have to have 200 or 300 9/11s just to even things up. Who could have a problem with that?

narciso wrote:

So how many professor will clean the

That's not his recommendation. It may be the eventual result of yours, someday probably far off. Your, and JRub's, and Zolt's alternative - though you prefer to keep your eyes on almost every other thing - appears to be to keep on keeping on, hoping that someday we hit tilt.

I have come to the conclusion that it might have been better for Saddam to have invaded Saudi Arabia,

That might be an interesting counterfactual - but I think that, like most, it will start to look inconceivable once you examine it a little more closely.

Don't have any idea what you're talking about, Z. Your avatar, which you have dishonored so egregiously, is sitting up there plain as day for me, right next to your comment. When you sign in under other e-mail addresses, it doesn't know how to find you, and keeps me up at night whining pathetically and scratching at the virtual door.

@ Rex Caruthers:
OMG - you linked to an article by Stephen Walt! Don't you realize what you've done! Someone Zoltan and narciso like called him an anti-Semite, so that means that there's nothing he ever said or can say that anyone should ever take into account, unless he or she also wants also to be considered an anti-Semite. Furthermore, by definition - DEFINITION, dammit - the opposite of everything he says, with possible exceptions for the weather and the time of day (presuming they can be checked), should be considered true, until and unless John Podhoretz says different.

Got that?

And he's right that those are low-ball estimates. In addition, for U.S. enemies and even for some would-be friends, the "we" includes U.S. allies and clients far in addition to Israel, and going back for a very long time.

Not sure if I wish I had read that before the Other 9/11 Truth post. Yet, as I've been saying all along, I think most people who have been paying attention and are capable of thinking about it "know" all of that, but learn at a relatively early age, usually, to get over the initial sense of something unimaginably out of balance. Anyone of Vietnam age or not too much younger probably got "that" out of his system, turned it into a dull, minimizable, forgettable, what you gonna do?, mere fact a long time ago.

fuster wrote:

Rudy Guiliani’s was just fine in not accepting that money and accepting the money would not have been.

It was a cheap, crowd-pleasing, rallying gesture. I didn't say it was the wrong thing to do. I just said what the thing that was done was.

@ Rex Caruthers:
I've heard different estimates. 10s at least.

There's a certain elephant that JRub and the ADL can't bring themselves to acknowledge about how their own opposition to the project will be interpreted. Very similar to Zoltan's elephant, I think. But if you don't mention it, and overcome it (I don't think it can be done, but you must try), you leave it to the observers - and future observers - to interpret it for themselves.

In a few years, assuming the character assassination of Rauf and the attacks on his associations succeed - meaning the project collapses - here' the call: "All together now, population of the world, who killed the Ground Zero Mosque?"
Anyone care to shout the answer?

@ Zoltan Newberry:
Someone took your security blanket away from you, and so you cry some more.

"What passes for the liberal intelligentsia is convinced that we have no right to protect the sensibilities of our citizens." You really want to get behind that sentence? Behind the kind of people who, presented with a political, intellectual, or cultural challenge, have being saying that or some slight variation for thousands of years? If so, I don't want to be anywhere near your asylum, and don't want you anywhere near mine.

Rudy G's gesture was a useful demagogy that served its intended propagandistic purpose at the time, rendering shades of gray as black and white, exactly as described in the first sentences of my prior post. Because you're happy to play dumb and nurse your resentments for the rest of your life until the end of your days - if I can take your repeated comments under whatever latest moniker at face value - you may very well continue believing and believing in the godly perfection of Rudy G's defiant act, and the requirement that we fall down and worship it forever.

Among other things, that approach relieves you of the burden of ever actually responding to an argument with your brain. You can just lash out instead, again, and again, and again. That's what so great about anti-intellectual political movements for the people in them: They declare thinking itself to be suspicious, eventually they forbid it completely, all difficult moral and intellectual burdens lifted, and the horror becomes unstoppable. At that point, the only remaining dignified thing to do is to walk silently to your execution, because there's nothing but things doing things to other things, no authentically human contribution to be made.