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June 18, 2005

Comments

Charles, when are you going to use your new AI membership to, you know, actually fight for human rights, rather than waste it trying to do an audit of AI?

How much are they spending on the respective countries they report on? You and I don't know because they don't provide a proper accounting. I received a batch of financial information in the mail from Amnesty the other day. As a member and as a onetime CPA, the information provided little enlightenment.

And that's a completely legitimate point to make. [I'd ask Randy Paul whether more information is accessible and, if so, how you might get it, although I second Phil's query re human rights v. auditing.] What's not legitimate is to invent an obviously screwy metric and to relay the statistics derived therefrom as meaningful -- let alone turn them into a springboard for your derision -- as you did in your previous post, nor defend them once they've been shown to be meaningless as you're doing here.

If Phil had said article count, Anarch, instead of word count, then you would've had a point.

Are you joking?

It also presumes that they keep track of how much they spend on each country. In other words, Charles is trying to develop his beloved and ultimately irrelevant ranking system for human rights abuses by making inferences from the amount that they spend on each country.

My guess is that they don't break it out that way, much to Chuckie's unending dismay. I would imagine that they probably have line items broken out by such activities as POC work, Campaigns, Urgent Action Network, Regional Action Networks, Co-Groups, Death Penalty Campaigns as well as other expenses.

Of course if Charles had taken Phil's advice and actually started to work on AI's human rights work instead of devoting himself to outrage over a metaphor, he might have figured this out on his own.

Oh how world shattering it is when one has to face the fact that the world doesn't answer to your preconceptions.

Taking a step beyond what Durbin recommended, President Bush should appoint a bipartisan commission--similar in authority and scope to the 9/11 Commission--to expeditiously investigate all incidences of mistreatment, fold all the separate investigations into a single authority, hold accountable those responsible and make recommendations as necessary.

Ain't gonna happen Charles. Can't wait for the post when you condemn the Bush administration for this decision.

I assume people saw about the apology. I like Durbin, but what the f*ck. Apologize if you have to, but don't cry--not during that part of the speech. Cry when you talk about what you were responding to, not when you're worried about hurting people's feelings because they didn't read your words carefully. And don't so completely fail to turn people's attention back to the real issue. What message are you sending to the rest of the democratic caucus?

I had always believed that our side would win this, sooner than we think. Well. I suppose I still believe we'll win in the end, but it won't be anytime soon. What a f*cking disaster.

As the contrast with Amnesty shows, the substance of the "gaffe" matters much less than being competent and prepared for the response. God help us when AI has more political savvy and courage than one of the most politically savvy and bravest Democrats in Congress.

Katherine
I normally don't go for me too posts, but you are exactly correct.

As happens much too often, only the Fafblog can capture folks like Charlie. Go and visit:

"This is not the type of thing you would expect from the United States." Well the White House wants you to know it's all crazy talk! There's just no way Guantanamo Bay is as bad as the Soviets or Pol Pot. Those guys were really really bad! But that's not all! There's a whole lot of other people America isn't as bad as. Let's take a look!

Hitler
How many times has the US tried to wipe out the Jews or started World War II? None - which is more than Hitler can say. Hitler killed ten million innocent people in camps over the 1930s and 40s. America has only killed about a hundred innocent people in prison camps over three years. At this rate it'll take the US thirty thousand years to beat Hitler's record. Hitler isn't too impressed with America's badness, I can tell you that..."

Better than the really, really bad. That's the america some people want.

Don N.

btw, you all have seen Michael Berube's response to Charles, right?

And Fred Clarke's.

Ugh, Katherine's right about Durbin's apology:

After the speech, Republicans said they were ready to put the matter to rest. During a later vote, Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) shook Durbin's hand and thanked him for apologizing. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said of the apology: "It was good for the troops, and it was good for Senator Durbin."

McCain said the lesson is "Watch your words."

We won't be seeing much criticism from Congress on that subject for a while. Good job, Charles and the rest of the right-wing pile-on! Now that we've made sure no one's going to talk about that pesky torture problem, we can go back to pretending it doesn't exist.

Reading through these comments, one would think they were made by brain damaged, kneejerk anti-american, terrorism apologists. Sadly, this is not the case. These are from (mostly) Americans.

Jeanne at Body and Soul on Senator Durbin.

PS: Doug, I think your comment (your first?) broke the posting rules. It's not generally allowed to call other commenters, let alone Hilzoy and Charles Bird and other ObWing posters, "brain damaged, kneejerk anti-american, terrorism apologists".

Doug didn't call other commenters "brain damaged, kneejerk anti-american, terrorism apologists". He said, in fact, that this was not the case.

True, Felix. Doug is only saying that it appears to him that the commenters on this thread are "brain damaged, kneejerk anti-american, terrorism apologists". I still think this is a breach of the posting rules.

I agree, Jesurgislac. DougM, please make sure you've read the posting rules, and then please comply.

LOL
Jes and Slart, I think you missed the ironic dig in DougM’s post. It wasn’t any different then what Durbin said on the floor of the Senate.

Sulla claimed: It wasn’t any different then what Durbin said on the floor of the Senate.

It was considerably different. Have you actually read what Durbin said? Suggest you do.

"you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

"one would think they were made by brain damaged, kneejerk anti-american, terrorism apologists. Sadly, this is not the case. These are from (mostly) Americans."

More similarities than differences for me, I must be obtuse.

More similarities than differences for me, I must be obtuse.

No, I would never say that. I would say, however, that you evidently haven't read the entire speech, and I recommend it to your attention.

If you have no wish to read the entire speech, do at least show me the similiarities to Doug's comment in this:

"How should we treat them? This is not a new question. We are not writing on a blank slate. We have entered into treaties over the years, saying this is how we will treat wartime detainees. The United States has ratified these treaties. They are the law of the land as much as any statute we passed. They have served our country well in past wars. We have held ourselves to be a civilized country, willing to play by the rules, even in time of war."

Please. Go ahead.

"More similarities than differences for me, I must be obtuse."

Probably not, and you have a point, but alternative punctuation of this is yet possible.

"More similarities than differences for me, I must be obtuse."

Probably not, and you have a point, but alternative punctuation of this is yet possible.

Jes,
Come on, it is obvious he was only referencing the part of the speech Durbin ended up bawling over a couple days ago.

Gary,
I suppose and the punctuation I got is Doug and I have a similar sense of humor.

Sulla: Come on, it is obvious he was only referencing the part of the speech

Ah, but that's not what you claimed. (And Doug hasn't yet come back to explain what he meant, so we're dealing what you said, here.)

You asserted: "It wasn’t any different then what Durbin said on the floor of the Senate."

I've just cited you what Durbin said on the floor of the senate, and it's way different from what Doug just said - at least to my eyes.

Jes,
Must be a Obi-Wan “truth from a certain point of view” thing.

Sulla; Must be a Obi-Wan “truth from a certain point of view” thing.

If this is a reference to one of the new SW movies, it's going right over my head: I do my best to pretend they don't exist.

But, if you claim you are referencing a whole statement, as you did, don't be too surprised when people assume that you mean what you say.

"If this is a reference to one of the new SW movies, it's going right over my head: I do my best to pretend they don't exist."

Whatever he may mean, it's clearly a reference to The Return Of The Jedi, the third movie, wherein Obi-Wan explains to Luke that his account of the death of Luke's father in the first movie was true "from a certain point of view."

I think Sulla is right about Doug's comment, which was obviously intended to parallel Durbin's. Doug is saying that the comments more resemble those of "brain damaged, kneejerk anti-american, terrorism apologists" than those one would expect from Americans. I disagree with that statement, of course, and I find it an outrageous thing to say about perfectly civil comments from people who are supporting what America stands for rather than everything it does.

The problem with the reaction to Durbin is that those opposing him are disagreeing with the statement that the prisoner abuse described more resembles the actions of Nazis, Soviets, and the Khmer Rouge than those one would expect from Americans. I'm still amazed that that idea is controversial.

Realizing moments later that I may have engaged in more repetition than explanation, I'll further note that in the first movie, Obi-Wan explained that Darth Vader killed Luke's father. From his later "certain point of view," Obi-Wan explained that Darth Vader was, in fact, Luke's father, but that when Vader turned to the Dark Side, he killed Luke's father "from a certain point of view."

If I added that I realize this is pretty obscure stuff that only tens of millions of people know about, I'd probably be being bad, and entirely insincere, so I won't. Only Darth Tyranus would do such a thing.

And, man, Darth Tyranus on his scooter, in his dark cloak, played by Christopher Lee, is possibly one of the best Star Wars villains, ever, but I digress. It's not as if an open thread on the topic would be timely, anyway.

Sulla: More similarities than differences for me, I must be obtuse.

Obtuse, probably. Unlike Durbin, who provided specific accounts of abuse, DougM didn't do us the favor of pointing out which comments on this thread are consistent with the remarks "made by brain damaged, kneejerk anti-american, terrorism apologists", but if you see those similiarities, then you should have no trouble giving us the particular quotes. Where is the apologia for terrorism? Where is the indication of diminished mental capacity (or was that bit put in for strictly pejorative purposes)? And you can only get to "anti-American" if you assume that criticism of particular American practices is equivalent to opposition to the country in general, a frankly stupid position. So which comments fit these criteria, and how?

Durbin claimed that the abuses described by that FBI agent are more consistent with the acts of Nazis, the Khmer Rouge, or Stalinist Soviets than they are with the way he expects Americans to treat their prisoners. You obviously disagree, but in what regard? Are the abuses consistent with your conception of American values? Or are they somehow inconsistent with the abuses of the totalitarian regimes in question? The question here isn't whether we know those regimes to have committed worse abuses -- we certainly do. The question is whether we would expect our men and women to commit the acts described. Am I to take it from your obvious disagreement with Durbin that you do not find such treatment at the hands of American soldiers and agents shocking? Am I to take it that you find this behavior to be more in line with American values than with those of the totalitarian regimes Durbin listed?

Are there any Chicagoans here? Look what our Mayor did.

I've got to hand it to that family. Usually mayors only manage to mess up their own cities, but the Daleys have got some real geographical reach.

Gromit,
You get much more worked up about this than I ever will. Doug made a crack that I think cleverly demonstrates how offensive Durbin’s remark can be construed and as a consequence he was pointed toward the posting rules. I thought it was funny, others don’t, end of story.

Sulla,
Doug's cleverness would have been much more apt if anyone here had actually said anything which would open them up to being compared to "terrorism apologists." This is in contrast to Durbin's remarks, which referenced specific acts as the basis for the comparison. Doug's crack, in fact, demonstrates exactly how Durbin's critics have misconstrued his words. But Gromit already said all this, and you didn't seem to get it then, so I'm not sure you will now.

BTW, if you think any remarks here are at all similar to anti-americanism or terrorist apologia, please do give some examples.

Larv,
I would say both remarks are over the top and with out historical basis. If that isn’t a good enough explanation then no, I don’t get and neither do I care to.

Sulla,
Okay, let's try this:

Do you think that the treatment of prisoners described by Durbin in his remarks is at all comparable to the treatment of prisoners by the Nazis, Soviets or other mad regimes? Not necessarily in degree, but just in general outline?

Do you think that any of the comments on this thread are at all comparable to kneejerk anti-americanism or terrorist apologia? Even in very general terms?

If you answer yes and yes, or no and no, then I'll leave you to your opinions. Otherwise, the comparison is inapt and a bit offensive.

Larv,
I would say no, no. That isn’t to say the treatment described by Durbin is humane but to reference death camps and the killing fields seems in these cases over the top to me because of the matter of scale. I believe he could have made his point just as strongly with other metaphors.

How few people would the Soviets or Nazis have had to kill, or how many would the US have to abuse, for the comparison to be apt? Can you ballpark it for me, here?

If I asked you to complete the sentence, "If I read this to you . . . you would most certainly believe this must have been done by ____________?" how many guesses would it take for you to answer, "The United States Army?"

1,000,000

the mafia

So your answers are actually:

1. We can abuse, torture and kill up to and including 999,999 detainees and still be Better Than Hitler, and

2. Infinity.

Do I have that about right?

Sulla: ?to reference death camps and the killing fields seems in these cases over the top to me because of the matter of scale.

I agree. But you see, as you would know if you had read Durbin's statement, he did not reference death camps or the killing fields. I keep urging you to read the full statement: why do you persist in not doing so?

From the OP:
" Can we agree that, no matter how the words are weaseled, putting American in the same sentence with Nazis, gulags and the Khmer Rouge has no place in civil political discourse?"

From Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago

"5. Preliminary humiliation was another approach. In the famous cellars of the Rostov-on-the-Don GPU (House 33), which were lit by lenslike insets of thick glass in the sidewalk above the former storage basement, prisoners awaiting interrogation were made to lie face down for several hours in the main corridor and forbidden to raise their heads or make a sound. They lay this way, like Moslems at prayer, until the guard touched a shoulder and took them off to interrogation. Another ease: At the Lubyanka, Aleksandra O_-va refused to give the testimony demanded of her. She was transferred to Lefortovo. In the admitting office, a woman jailer ordered her to undress, allegedly for a medical examination, took away her clothes, and locked her in a "box" naked. At that point the men jailers began to peer through the peephole and to appraise her female attributes with loud laughs. If one were systematically to question former prisoners, many more such examples would certainly emerge. They all had but a single purpose: to dishearten and humiliate.

6. Any method of inducing extreme confusion in the accused might be employed. Here is how F. I. V. from Krasnogorsk, Moscow Province, was interrogated. {This was reported by I. A. P__ev.} During the interrogation, the interrogator, a woman, undressed in front of him by stages (a striptease!), all the time continuing the interrogation as if nothing were going on. She walked about the room and came close to him and tried to get him to give in. Perhaps this satisfied some personal quirk in her, but it may also have been cold-blooded calculation, an attempt to get the accused so muddled that he would sign. And she was in no danger. She had her pistol, and she had her alarm bell.

...

18. The accused could be compelled to stand on his knees-not in some figurative sense, but literally: on his knees, without sitting back on his heels, and with his back upright. People could be compelled to kneel in the interrogator's office or the corridor for twelve, or even twenty-four or forty-eight hours. (The interrogator himself could go home, sleep, amuse himself in one way or another-this was an organized system; watch was kept over the kneeling prisoner, and the guards worked in shifts.) What kind of prisoner was most vulnerable to such treatment? One already broken, already inclined to surrender. It was also a good method to use with women. Ivanov-Razumnik reports a variation of it: Having set young Lordkipanidze on his knees, the interrogator urinated in his face! And what happened? Unbroken by anything else, Lordkipanidze was broken by this. Which shows that the method also worked well on proud people_.

19. Then there is the method of simply compelling a prisoner to stand there. This can be arranged so that the accused stands only while being interrogated-because that, too, exhausts and breaks a person down. It can be set up in another way-so that the prisoner sits down during interrogation but is forced to stand up between interrogations. (A watch is set over him, and the guards see to it that he doesn't lean against the wall, and if he goes to sleep and falls over he is given a kick and straightened up.) Sometimes even one day of standing is enough to deprive a person of all his strength and to force him to testify to anything at all.

...

Sleeplessness was a great form of torture: it left no visible marks and could not provide grounds for complaint even if an inspection-something unheard of anyway-were to strike on the morrow.

"They didn't let you sleep? Well, after all, this is not supposed to be a vacation resort. The Security officials were awake too!" (They would catch up on their sleep during the day. j One can say that sleeplessness became the universal method in the Organs. From being one among many tortures, it became an integral part of the system of State Security; it was the cheapest possible method and did not require the posting of sentries. In all the interrogation prisons the prisoners were forbidden to sleep even one minute from reveille till taps. (In Sukhanovka and several other prisons used specifically for interrogation, the cot was folded into the wall during the day; in others, the prisoners were simply forbidden to lie down, and even to close their eyes while seated.) Since the major interrogations were all conducted at night, it was automatic: whoever was undergoing interrogation got no sleep for at least five days and nights. (Saturday and Sunday nights, the interrogators themselves tried to get some rest.)"

You know what, Mr Bird? I really do not think we can agree, no. Not on this.

Phil,
Sure

Jes,
When Nazis or Pol Pot are mentioned I don't believe the images they are meant to invoke are industrious workers or yeoman farmers.

Keep spinning Sulla.

Sulla,
I thought I had phrased that in a way that would specifically exclude consideration of matters of scale. The point isn't whether he could have used other metaphors, it is whether the ones he did use are absolutely out of bounds. If Durbin had said something like, "Our soldiers are acting like Nazis over there," I'd agree with you. But that's simply not what he did. He compared specific treatment of prisoners with that of odious totalitarian regimes, specifically Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, probably because they are the best-known examples of such for most americans. As for your setting a threshold of a million people killed/abused as a cutoff for Nazi/Soviet comparisons, this is just silly. Is it your contention that if some unspecified state (setting aside the US and any potential emotional involvement for a moment) were to start rounding people up into forced labor camps, and maybe executed some portion of them, as long as the numbers stayed at a few thousand (less that a million!) any comparisons to concentration camps or gulags would be inappropriate?

BTW, the "matters of scale" argument, while a potentially valid point in objecting to AI's use of the term gulag, simply does not apply here. There is nothing in Durbin's comments that references the relative scale of abuses. He's clearly speaking of equivalences of quality, not quantity.

Sulla: When Nazis or Pol Pot are mentioned I don't believe the images they are meant to invoke are industrious workers or yeoman farmers.

Your assertion that death camps or killing fields were invoked in Senator Durbin's speech is either complete ignorance of what he actually said - which since I have provided the link to his speech several times, is culpable in itself - or a flat lie. Which?

Your assertion that he meant to invoke the death camps and the killing fields is worthy of a Karnak award, given that in his statement he makes absolutely clear how he is referring to the Nazi regime or the Pol Pot regime. Wouldn't it be better just to read the damn statement and then (if you must) disagree with what he actually said, rather than keeping yourself in ignorance and being compelled to make stuff up?

If they're doing it to you, as selfish as it seems it really doesn't matter that they're only doing it to ten thousand other people, rather than one million. They could just be doing it to you, and it would still be wrong.

That we are doing it to any, is wrong. This is not a hard concept to understand. It has been explained in words of one syllable or less. Did anyone hear what Andrew Sullivan said the other day?

"I don’t know about Hugh Hewitt, Bill Kristol or NR, but I supported this war in large part because I wanted to end torture, abuse and cruelty in Iraq. I did not support it in order, two and a half years later, to be finding specious rhetorical justifications for torture, abuse and cruelty by Americans."

So, Sulla -- why did you support it?

Larv,
“As for your setting a threshold of a million people killed/abused as a cutoff for Nazi/Soviet comparisons, this is just silly.”

Silly questions get silly answers. And I don’t see how you separate quantity from a Nazi comparison because it is the sheer scale of what they did that is so shocking and I believe if you mention them you’re intention is to shock.

Jes,
You think Durbin’s Nazi reference is in bounds, I think it was out, I’m pretty sure neither one of us is going to bring the other over to their point of view. Karnak or no I don’t see why you would mention the regimes without intending to invoke their most profound horrors.

McDuff,
I supported it because I believe we needed a larger presence in the region.

Sulla: You think Durbin’s Nazi reference is in bounds, I think it was out, I’m pretty sure neither one of us is going to bring the other over to their point of view.

Certainly not if you persist in refusing to read what Durbin actually said. Ignorance is a wonderful excuse. *shrug* I can't make you read it for yourself, of course. But I do wonder why you refuse to.

. . . it is the sheer scale of what they did that is so shocking . . .

Ah, so it's not that they did it at all, it's that they did it a whole bunch of times. Usually we refer to this as "moral relativism," and I'm to understand it's supposed to be bad.

I supported it because I believe we needed a larger presence in the region.

So you'll be moving over there . . . when?

(Alternate answer: What you mean "we," Kemo Sabe?

Sulla,

...I believe if you mention them you’re intention is to shock.

Of course his intent was to shock. Truly, do you not find the revelations that we have been abusing prisoners at all shocking? Reading the account of prisoner treatment that Durbin cited, you can remain perfectly unfazed, unshocked? Your argument seems to be that because these actions are not as shocking as other historical abuses, no comparisons with those other abusers are permissible. For reasons stated above by myself an others, I think this is ridiculous. And by the way, if only crimes of the same magnitude as Hitler's or Stalin's permit comparisons, may I assume you were equally outraged by the Saddam/Hitler rhetoric being bandied about by the right in the runup to the Iraq war?

Phil,
Horrible deaths occur in this country every year at the hands of various sociopaths. What made the Nazi’s so vile is that a group of sociopaths got a hold of the mechanisms to an industrialized nation state and took genocide to the next level. Appropriate comparisons should reference this IMHO, not just some reprehensible acts.

I’ll move over there once our colonial offices are set up.

Larv,
Shocking and worthy of condemnation but I differ from most folks here with my faith that the administration is working to correct the abuses, they don’t and are calling for transparency. In Nazi comparisons I would certainly say Hussein was a lot closer to the mark than our treatment of the detainees but it is still off. I believe he had the will but lacked the means.

Larv: Reading the account of prisoner treatment that Durbin cited, you can remain perfectly unfazed, unshocked

Actually, as far as I can tell Sulla has consistently refused to read what Durbin actually said.

I get this from the following clues: (1) He thinks Durbin references the death camps and the killing fields, and he'd know if he'd read Durbin's statement that this is not so.

(2) He thinks (not having read it) that Durbin must have meant to reference the death camps and the killing fields, and he'd know if he'd read Durbin's statement that this is not so.

(3) He really doesn't appear to be aware of the context of Durbin's query, following the description of specific abuses documented in Guantanamo Bay by an FBI agent, asking if people hearing this would not rather associate this abuse with regimes such as the Nazis or Pol Pot than American soldiers.

I conclude that either Sulla is a hardened liar or he hasn't read Durbin's speech. As it would be very rude to assume he was lying to us, I have to assume he's simply chosen to remain ignorant.

Jes,
From what I understand Durbin read an FBI agents account of abuse and said it was something he expected from a Nazi rather than an American. I don't see how anything I've said doesn't take that into account but maybe you do. Either way I'm out for the night. Gotta get a run in before game 7.

Go Pistons!

Sulla: I don't see how anything I've said doesn't take that into account but maybe you do.

You claimed (June 23, 2005 02:15 PM) that Durbin had referenced the death camps and the killing fields. If you'd read Durbin's statement by that time, you were lying: if you hadn't, you were asserting as fact something that wasn't true, and hadn't bothered to check the source material to find out if it was true. You repeated this false assertion at June 23, 2005 04:56 PM.

Heh, I didn't really think I had to parody the whole speech to get the point across, and I still don't. Comparing actions/comments to outrageous acts/comments, check. Backhanded 'but I'm not saying you -reaaaally- are like them', check. Humor...ehh, half check. It is good to know that Durbin would have gotten referred to the posting rules if he had said it here though.

DougM: It is good to know that Durbin would have gotten referred to the posting rules if he had said it here though

Of course not: Senator Durbin's speech, as you'd know if you read it, could not have been construed as a personal attack on anyone commenting here, unlike yours.

"Of course not: Senator Durbin's speech, as you'd know if you read it, could not have been construed as a personal attack on anyone commenting here"

Then color me mistaken, I had assumed the posting rules would encompass comments that may "have been construed as a personal attack" on our soldiers/military as well as those posting here. My mistake.

DougM: I had assumed the posting rules would encompass comments that may "have been construed as a personal attack" on our soldiers/military as well as those posting here.

You're right about the posting rules. I can't remember whether this is specifically in the posting rules, but it is generally understood that you don't make sweeping attacks on whole groups of people - for example, to claim that "liberals are all stupid" or "conservatives are all evil". So, if Durbin had made a sweeping attack on all US soldiers, you'd be right.

But you are wrong: because, as you would know if you read Durbin's statement, he made no sweeping attack on US soldiers. As specifically as Moe Lane could have desired, he objected to torture being carried out by some US soldiers in Guantanamo Bay. And that would fall well within the posting rules.

What made the Nazi’s so vile is that a group of sociopaths got a hold of the mechanisms to an industrialized nation state and took genocide to the next level.

Along with a compliant society willing to agree to the victimization of Jews, Gyspies, homosexuals, the disabled (physically and mentally), among others, while the government appealed to the basest form of nationalist fervor and while the government sought to conjure a sense that der Volk had a right to conquer the world for themselves.

Not all Germans were like that, of course, but a compliant public aided the Nazis.

People don't believe in the mundanity of evil any more. That's a shame.

I unfortunately have read the speech, so you can rest your html skills at the door. If objecting to actions was all that occurred, this wouldn't even have hit the radar. Durbin knew this, so well, he did what he did. Ignoring the impact of his statement, and the way it was made, is just as silly as getting in a huff over my little parody above. Though it does serve to show the carelessness of his words. By the way, do you really think that others who get fed this particular soundbite, will get to, or even want to, read his full statement?

DougM: I unfortunately have read the speech, so you can rest your html skills at the door.

Ah. So when you claimed that it included a sweeping attack on US soldiers, you were lying, rather than merely ignorant.

Ignoring the impact of his statement, and the way it was made

Who's ignoring it? It was a terrific statement, and I really hope it's effective. To put it in simple terms, Doug, I believe torture is evil and it ought to be stopped. I believe, further, that responsibility for torture lies all the way up the chain of command, among those in the military who saw it happen and failed to stop it, as well as among those who gave direct orders for torture or who signed orders to send someone away to be tortured. I believe that the further up the chain of command you go, the heavier lies the responsibility. Senator Durbin's speech was fine, and admirable, and splendid. I hope indeed the impact was effective.

I'm sorry to see that your reaction to it was to lie.

Ah. So when you claimed that it included a sweeping attack on US soldiers, you were lying, rather than merely ignorant.

Golly gee, I'm pretty tempted to point you to the posting rules. Anyway, I was echoing your idea that my parody had included a sweeping attack on the commentors here.
PS: Doug, I think your comment (your first?) broke the posting rules. It's not generally allowed to call other commenters, let alone Hilzoy and Charles Bird and other ObWing posters, "brain damaged, kneejerk anti-american, terrorism apologists"

I'll let you do your own little thought experiment on who's lying and being ignorant.

Doug,
Although he is being quite irrational on your joke I think Jes is a worthy and admirable opponent. Just my 2 cents.

Dougm
my parody
Don't give up your day job

Sulla
JFTR, she, not he. (though she thought I was a she, but I'm actually he)

Doug, if you wish to retract and apologise for your false assertion at June 23, 2005 06:19 PM that Senator Durbin's speech included any personal attack on American soldiers/military, I will certainly retract and apologise for my assertion that you lied.

Sulla: I think Jes is a worthy and admirable opponent. Just my 2 cents.

Thanks. You too! :-)

Dougm,
I don't think it's a violation of the posting rules to point out that a given statement is a lie. Whether or not the statement Jes refers to qualifies as a lie is, I think, debatable, but the posting rules don't forbid criticism or vituperation. As to whether it is a lie, in the comment that I think Jes had in mind, you state that ...I had assumed the posting rules would encompass comments that may "have been construed as a personal attack" on our soldiers/military as well as those posting here, implying that Durbin's statement could be so construed. I challenge you to point to any part of Durbin's remarks that would qualify as such an attack. If his remarks can't reasonably be construed as such, then your assertion that they can be is very, very close to a lie. As many of us have pointed out, the remarks about Nazis, Soviets and Pol Pot were clearly directed at a specific account of specific examples of prisoner mistreatment. Any attempt to read them as a personal attack on our soldiers/military is either due to a willful misreading, or, more likely, the reading of just the Nazi line out of context of the rest of the speech, specifically the precededing paragraph. You say you've read Durbin's speech, so please explain to us how you've detected an attack on our military in his words. It reads to me more like an attack on the administration. I do hope you see the difference.

btw, Sulla, I'm pretty sure Jes is a she. And it's not that anyone is being irrational about the joke, we all got it. Ha ha. Unfortunately, the "joke" contained a gratuitous attack on the posters here, and was also a prime example of the way Durbin's critics have been misrepresenting his remarks. Toss us up a softball like that, of course people are going to swing at it.

Jes sez: PS: Doug, I think your comment (your first?) broke the posting rules. It's not generally allowed to call other commenters, let alone Hilzoy and Charles Bird and other ObWing posters, "brain damaged, kneejerk anti-american, terrorism apologists"

Doug sez: Then color me mistaken, I had assumed the posting rules would encompass comments that may "have been construed as a personal attack" on our soldiers/military as well as those posting here. My mistake.

Jes sez: So when you claimed that it included a sweeping attack on US soldiers, you were lying, rather than merely ignorant.

Is it really that hard? I believe I'll leave it at this, as I don't know how to simplify further than I have to this point. Although I must say, it was rather more successful that I expected, I thought I was being -too- obvious in the parody.

“JFTR, she, not he.”
Really (slicks eyebrows and lowers voice).

Larv,
Gratuitous attacks are in vogue these days, especially on the senate floor.

Hey Larv,

Would you care to point to me the difference in my "joke" that contained the gratuitous attack, and Mr. Durbin's now infamous blurb that, uhh, I guess doesn't? By the way, softball? No way man, teeball.

Larv,

Sorry, hit post to quick there, my own JFTR, and correct me if I'm wrong cause these comments have been spread over a few days, but I don't believe I've actually stated a position re: Durbin's comments, what I have done, is 1. Make my "joke" 2. Parrot responses I recieved in regards to that "joke" about Durbin's comments 3. Try over and over and over again to find some consistency behind Jes' arguments in light of 1 & 2.

“JFTR, she, not he.”
Really (slicks eyebrows and lowers voice).

Also JFTR, she's gay. :D

Oh well, then we can cruise for chicks together.

Doug: Is it really that hard?

To retract a false statement and apologize for it? Evidently it is.

Doug: but I don't believe I've actually stated a position re: Durbin's comments

Let me remind you, then: You asserted on June 23, 2005 06:19 PM that I had assumed the posting rules would encompass comments that may "have been construed as a personal attack" on our soldiers/military as well as those posting here. So you did, in fact, state a position re: Durbin's comments - and make a false assertion with regard to them.

Sulla: Oh well, then we can cruise for chicks together.

Duck!

Dougm,

Would you care to point to me the difference in my "joke" that contained the gratuitous attack, and Mr. Durbin's now infamous blurb that, uhh, I guess doesn't?

Actually, I've already pointed out the difference, specifically in my post of June 23, 2005 01:17 PM. I'm pretty sure others have done the same. The difference is that Durbin pointed to specific actions as the basis for his remarks, whereas you just made a baseless smear. That you think the two comparable simply illustrates how completely you are either misreading or misrepresenting what Durbin said. Again, if you'd care to point to specific remarks here that you think qualify as anti-american and/or pro-terrorist, or that could be mistaken for such, by all means do so.
...correct me if I'm wrong cause these comments have been spread over a few days, but I don't believe I've actually stated a position re: Durbin's comments

Okay, I'll correct you. You asserted that Durbin's remarks could be "construed as a personal attack on our soldiers/military". This appears to be a position on those comments (i.e., that Durbins' remarks are capable of being interpreted as such). You have still not explained just how you have derived said personal attack from his actual remarks. Might I ask again for a clarification of your thought processes here? Perhaps its obvious, and I'm just a dense, kneejerk anti-american terrorism apologist, but humor me, will ya?

Wow. I can't believe I yet again have to point out the following...

The difference is that Durbin pointed to specific actions as the basis for his remarks, whereas you just made a baseless smear.

I doubt Ed and Kat would have liked me to fill up the comments with a parody of Durbin's entire speech, but if thats where you're getting confused, I can certainly oblige.

You asserted that Durbin's remarks could be "construed as a personal attack on our soldiers/military"

Again, and again, this was me -parroting- Jes' first response to -me-. So no, I haven't made any judgement here about his remarks.

Doug: I doubt Ed and Kat would have liked me to fill up the comments with a parody of Durbin's entire speech, but if thats where you're getting confused, I can certainly oblige.

Okay, so your non-apology for the baseless smear directed at everyone who posted here amounts to "it was only a joke"? Am I reading you right?

1. Make my "joke" 2. Parrot responses I recieved in regards to that "joke" about Durbin's comments 3. Try over and over and over again to find some consistency behind Jes' arguments in light of 1 & 2.

I see: so everything you said since can be taken to be the disgruntlement of someone who made a comment he thought was amusing, that fell utterly flat. That does make a kind of sense.

It's interesting that you should assume that a total stranger walking into an ongoing discussion and insulting everyone taking part would be regarded as amusing: is this how you usually try to make jokes in real life?

Again, and again, this was me -parroting- Jes' first response to -me-.

And I hope you now realise that it would have been much better just to apologize for your initial stupid joke, rather then defensively try to claim you never really did anything wrong because you meant to be funny.

Okay, so your non-apology for the baseless smear directed at everyone who posted here amounts to "it was only a joke"? Am I reading you right?

Haha, wow, I think we've reached critical density. Though this is really a great bookend to your breathless 'LIAR' accusations and your equally strange 'ITS ALL TRUE' about the Durbin speech. I bow to your ability to selfparody. Toodles.

Doug, if you are under the impression that Senator Durbin was lying when he reported the FBI agent's description of torture/abuse in Guantanamo Bay, I fear you're beyond help.

I accept that when you insulted everyone commenting in this thread, or when you falsely accused Senator Durbin of attacking the US military, you were "only joking".

But if you're foolish enough to think that the US is not committing torture, I recommend to your attention this series of blog posts on this topic.


I thought that the GOP "didst protest too much" when those Durbin remarks were made on the Senate floor, then, less than 3 months later, we found out WHY the *GOP*er *PILE*-ons went ballistic! They weren't behaving LIKE Nazis or soldiers in their gulags - they were REALLY using ACTUAL concentration camps & real gulags!

Any hyper-patriotic aliterate twits our there in the red-states still wanting to pick a fight with reality - should first spar "light contact" with Google. Here are some good starting points: Camp Siegfried, Camp Nordland, Camp Hindenburg & Camp Hindenburg - those are just 4 of the more than FIFTY NAZI YOUTH CAMPS in the America of George Bush's youth. Rienhardt Gehlen was a Nazi spy who came to America and ran our intelligence operations. The American corporations and the Christian churches basically BUILT Hitler and his war machine from the ground up and out in every direction. The coup d' etat against the FDR White House tells you EVERYTHING YOU'LL EVER NEED TO KNOW about the christian-corporate-conservatives here in the USA. For THAT CrAzY CoNspIrACy tHEoeY story, you'll only have to go to The History Channel! ...but you may have to cut&paste...

http://www.amazon.com/Plot-Seize-White-House-Conspiracy/dp/1602390363

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