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May 23, 2006

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Geez, I had no idea what DaveC was talking about until I googled it.

Since I have neither the stomach nor the heart to figure out this latest round of insanity, anyone want to summarize for me?

DaveC: The fact of the matter is that US aerial bombardment of Iraq had pretty much ended by July 2003

Saturday, December 24, 2005, in the Washington Post:

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq have surged this fall, jumping to nearly five times the average monthly rate earlier in the year, according to U.S. military figures.

Until the end of August, U.S. warplanes were conducting about 25 strikes a month. The number rose to 62 in September, then to 122 in October and 120 in November.


DaveC: The US is being blamed for the deeds of the militias

Well, that too - besides the attacks directly committed by the US military, the US can be justly blamed for starting a civil war in Iraq.

Sure!

1) Some guy who looks nothing like you'd imagine a Ranger might have to look is featured on a film made by a no-name guy and posted on a no-name website.

2) Word gets out, in one way or another.

3) Guys who actually have been rangers or who have the slightest notion at all about what military uniforms look like, what military personnel look like, what training is required to become a Ranger, etc cry bullshins!

4) Word spreads around amongst people who are most outraged about such things.

5) Various webhosting sites take their copy of the film in question down.

Fart in a windstorm, recalling other, similar farts in windstorms.

Hope I didn't condense it too much.

"A lot of anti-war folks want to believe that the US military is indiscriminately killing civilians"

A lot of pro-war folks don't have any idea what anti-war people think and aren't prepared to give it much thought, either. Lord, I hate this pro-war, anti-war dichotomy.

My brother-in-law and his brother were both in the army in VietNam. When the brother's son went to Iraq they both advised him that if they see somebody do anything funny, shoot. If somebody is walking towards you, shoot. They were advising him to liberally interpret the rules of engagement and whereas that might increase the likelihood of innocent dead it might also help him to get home safely.

That's advice from people who have seen the elephant. The young man was being told not to descriminate, not to even think, just shoot. And it's because they love their son/nephew and I don't blame them at all for their advice.

When we send our men and women to fight they can be killed, maimed, dismembered and scarred. They can also commit such savagery that it disturbs their dreams and psychology for the rest of their lifes. I've known people thus affected by Viet Nam and they are both pitiful and perhaps dangerous. In short, war sucks.

Knowing that, how can somebody be pro-war? Its almost like being pro-evil, not to make a the case for moral equivalence between the two (though one could be made) but its really too abstract to have any meaning at all. To engage in aggressive military action or not is a calculus of risk and benefit that one can be pro or anti only on a case by case basis. Given the costs in lives, treasure, morality and psyche I think the threshold for war should be very high. How can anybody think different?

Look, I realize we live in different worlds.

At firedoglake the headlines are

David Broder, Panty Sniffing Pervert
To Sniff or Not To Sniff
and
Weeding Out The Racists

At pandagon

The never-ending sadism of the church
No tampon ads during Papa Ratzi's Poland tour
Natural vs unnatural ias a cover to romanticize oppression
and proof that Christians are the same as Nazis.

Don't be alarmed at the scary wingers!

"A lot of anti-war folks want to believe that the U.S. military is indiscriminately killing civilians, and engage in wishful thinking. Hence all the talk about Americans bombing innocent civilians, and little blame given to the bombers of the Red Cross headquarters, the golden mosque, the murderers of Iraqi politicians and their relatives."

Well, this is sufficiently passive voiced that I can't tell precisely who is wishing that the US military is indiscriminately slaughtering civilians. I mean, Hilzoy is busy wishing the sage green goes with the butternut squash in the dining room, and Donald Johnson didn't end his post above by exclaiming "God, I'm glad this is happening." If Jes is wishing anything, it would be that no civilians get scragged, but then she has unreasonably high standards.

As for me, if we could get the civilian casualties under 2000 dead, I would be happy as a clam. A number like 1999 dead would have me giving up wishful thinking all together. There is a guy over at Red State who wants to crank the number up a good bit, but I can't think what that has to do with anything.

As for little blame given to various killers and such, could someone with more authority than I possess please issue a statement of requisite blame.

All I can think of is the time my brother (who wasn't Governor of Florida) and I took a stick and did a really crappy job of whacking a hornet's nest that was just out of reach in a tree off in the woods that really had nothing to do with my other problems at the time (like the bully who lived down the street). My brother was out for mere fun, whereas I, the earnest, well-intentioned one, took it personally that the bees didn't organize their society around lower marginal tax rates thereby incentivizing higher revenues for the queen, but never mind that. Big clouds of pissed-off hornets chased us to the house and some of them stung us. A couple even got my sister who was minding her own business, not in a mosque, but in her sandbox.

When my Dad arrived home from work, he heard the story and listened bemused to our expressions of outraged blame-casting on the horrid bees. Then he went out around dusk when things were quieter and went door-to door where the bees lived, who were still hovering around their partially destroyed nest, and took them out. He sawed the smallish limb off the tree and placed the whole mess in a big metal trash can, doused it with gasoline and threw a match in. Even the civilian bees were goners, the little shits.

It was cool. Then my Dad looked at the brothers standing there and asked "Everybody happy now?"

There is a dichotomy, for sure.

Hope I didn't condense it too much.

Nah, that was fine. The real question, I guess, is: why the fnord is he being invoked at all?

"There is a dichotomy, for sure"

The real point of my post above is that you don't do much thinking about it.

Dunno. I considered bringing it up, but I really hate to carry that sort of thing in first. I mean, even in a moderately well-educated society as this (I'm saying this in a relative, historical sense), there's always an alarmingly large number of people who will believe Stupid Stuff, like 9/11 was secretly engineered by the Jooos. I don't take it all that seriously, and neither should anyone else. Pointing and laughing, though, is always fun.

Thullen. Oh, Thullen. Let me just say that you've had several useful and amusing comments in this thread and though I haven't mentioned it before, I'm mentioning it now, I appreciate them for their usefulness and their amusingness.

But the comment at 11:49 was off the charts. The perfect morality tale for our age. If I remember, and most assuredly I will not, I will recomment you for a Koufax for best commenter. Brilliant.

I will recomment you for a Koufax for best commenter

I think you've just coined a new one. Either that, or I just don't get out much.

I knew there* was something funny about that sentence** but it took your italics to flush it out for me. I'm so pathetic.

*originally spelled their
**originally spelled sentance

Let me second LowLife's praise of Thullen's 11:49, even though I'm allergic to bees.

There's much to be said for misspelling the right word at the right time, LowLife. Some folks have raised this to nearly an art form.

DaveC
It's a bit depressing that you not only elide the titles that doesn't quite have the oomph of the other three from Firedoglake and do the same for Pandagon, but that you fail to note that the 'weeding out racists' refers to the fact that CNN used the CCC (the Council of Conservative Citizens) as a source for the Aztlan myth. Perhaps you didn't read it and automatically assumed it was describing the Republican party, or perhaps you did, but either way, it doesn't really correspond to the reality of the piece.

"There's much to be said for misspelling the right word at the right time"

This may be analogous to the hypothetical million year/million monkey typewriting session that culminates in a good portion of the Shakespeare folio. The real art is in the editing. Which is to say my dire spelling is only redeemed by your wry observation.

If we had some swiss cheese, kraut, thousand island dressing and corned beef to go with that wry, we'd be more Rubenesque.

Or we could forgo the calories and just drink it straight.

ok, i admit it. i'm overweight and drink too much.

what's for lunch?

Lay & Skilling just convicted; story over at CNN.

Some might say that John Thullen misspelled "bee" as "hornet" a few times, or vice versa, but they're simply missing his subtle allegory on ethnic divisions within the enemy.

It's kinda late in the threat, but:
I don't believe it's a sound idea to craft policy based on another group's emotional state.... In other words, the terrorists are emotional midgets who lash out and murder innocent civilians because their feelers got mushed due to some perceived slight. Makes me want to pull out my tiny violin.... I suspect that this marks a liberal-conservative divide where, in my opinion, too much emphasis is placed on emotional well-being and not enough on achieving concrete results.

That depends on whether you think pulling out a tiny violin is the sort of concrete result we're looking for.
If dealing with issues of cultural humiliation makes our foreign policy more successful (ie achieves concrete results), then that's a good thing, right? And if ignoring those issues has real costs, that's bad, right? So how about some examples to shore up your theory?
Contrawise, why write a long article about how you don't *feel* like being sympathetic, and then sum it up by claiming that conservatives such as yourself want concrete results?
(and then tack on a nonsequitur paragraph of Orwellian Newspeak dictats, wherein you define the term "civil war" out of existence and demonstrate unfamilarity with the definition of the word "insurgent").

Bees, hornets, Arabs, Persians, illegal Mexican immigrants. Michelle Malkin, waspish harridans, what's the difference?

Malkin's a WASP? Who knew?

No, but I sure wish she'd bee quiet.

Malkin is a Catholic with a stinger. What's that called? Does it start with bee?

Bees, hornets, ... what's the difference?

Here's a graphic depiction. Caution, this is a video link that downloads immediately.

One short answer is that unlike wasps (including hornets) bees don't eat meat in their lifecycle.

what's for lunch?

Tofu and banana curry. I made a big pot and you're all welcome to come over except for LowLife, because I can't tolerate people who make spelilng misteaks.

She's a Phyllis Schafly of a different .. forget it, I've lost my touch.

I never get invited anywhere. I'll just set out by the curb, drinking wry and grilling misteaks.

CB you do understand, right, that 'legitimacy' is completely a human construct?

Up to a point. Iraq has had three free and fair elections with incredible turnout, it has a formed parliamentary government (albeit with a few holes) and it has overwhelming recognition from the international community, yet apparently to you and others the Iraqi government is not legitimate and both Sunni and Shiite paramilitary thugs and terrorists do have legitimate gripes and a legitimate cause. Sorry, but I simply don't accept it. These "insurgents" were given three fair chances to address their grievances democratically, and they chose to pass, and now most of the blood they're shedding is Iraqi, in the form of terrorist attacks, guerilla attacks and felonies. But I'm the one who needs to look in the mirror? You set your standards regarding Iraq such that that 80% of the rest of the nations on the planet would not be able to meet. Are 80% of the world's nations illegitmate? Again I say, you're not making sense, but at least more so than Sancho.

If you think I said that I don't think the Iraqi government is legitimate, you need new reading glasses.

The part that worries me, though, is the ongoing squabble over the Constitution. The Sunni factions were persuaded to sign onto it because they were promised it would be significantly revised as soon as a government could be formed, but as soon as it was signed into law, the Kurdish factions declared game over--and maybe they'd exercise their right to succession aaaany day now--and the Shia declared themselves unwilling to negotiate with the Sunnis. That's a fight waiting to happen; either it will happen in political negotiations, or it will be decided--as it already may be--on the streets.

And of course we've only just now even got a government together, and it certainly doesn't have a "monopoly of force."

Legitimate or illegitimate don't seem to me to be exactly the right words to use to describe what is probably a terrifying lack of predictability about authority within Iraq. Almost every group within Iraq seems to be hedging its bets; if the central government goes "phut" for whatever reason, each group wants to be well-armed and mobilized for whatever follows. The other guys are thugs and terrorists, after all.

The elections do confer a degree of legitimacy--on paper. But that paper needs to be backed up by a monopoly of force and a enforceable system of law. Iraq isn't there yet.

DaveC, I'm aware of Raed's survey. Do you think it was complete? Anyway, there are other Iraqi groups that have done other surveys of civilian dead and I don't recommend that you believe them necessarily, but I've seen numbers like 30,000 by late 2004, 37,000 dead by late 2003, and over 100,000 by sometime last summer. That last one appeared in the Washington Times.

I've been critical of Iraq Body Count, but I have to give them some credit--they do a very good job keeping track of the number of civilian dead as reported in the press. And their figure for the first two months of the war is just under 7000 civilians killed by US forces. After that, according to them, the number drops dramatically. Their total for Fallujah in 2004 is under 2000, which includes the April fighting, the November fighting, and the bombing in-between. The Lancet paper suggests (doesn't prove) that the true number is far higher. Who is right? I don't know. I think it's almost true by definition that the correct figure is higher than what gets reported in the press, but how much higher God only knows. Which I mean literally. If the US government keeps a secret tally of the number of civilians they kill I bet it's an undercount.

I'd never heard of Jesse MacBeth, I don't think, or anyway the name doesn't ring a bell.

I'd never heard of Jesse MacBeth, I don't think, or anyway the name doesn't ring a bell.
A guy who recorded a videocast wearing a badly-faked Green Beret costume, or somesuch. Claimed to have served in Iraq, and talked about all the civilians they killed and the massacres and so on and so forth. Some web site was hosting the video, but I'd never heard of the guy until conservative bloggers started picking it to pieces (rightly so).

Then Michelle Malkin ran a picture of him photoshopped next to Kerry, or something like that... Basically, he's the next Ward Churchill meme.

Then Michelle Malkin ran a picture of him photoshopped next to Kerry

what a loathsome little cancre is she.

Well, GW Bush seems to think that the figure is around 30,000 civilians killed as of a few months ago. Perhaps that could be accepted as the low end of the scale for discussions regarding casualties.

yet apparently to you and others the Iraqi government is not legitimate and both Sunni and Shiite paramilitary thugs and terrorists do have legitimate gripes and a legitimate cause.

CB, for the 99th time, it's not we bloggers who count. The point is that many IRAQIS believe that their own govt is not legitimate and have taken up arms against it. (see, eg, CSA 1861.)

We have Kurds setting up for secession, apparently believing that the US will rein in Turkey. We have the Shia establishing Sharia law in the south, likely with Iranian assistance. We have Sunni rejectionists p*ssed off at losing power and attacking the occupying US forces. Each major power bloc appears to have established death squads to ethnically cleanse disputed territory. and last on the list we have AQ-in-Iraq, just stirring the pot.

and this is progress!!??

you're still getting cause and effect backwards. (you're in good company; the President hasn't figured it out either.) Elections do NOT create legitimate governments; free and fair elections are the RESULT of the population accepting as legitimate one particular form of government -- democracy.

Thanks Jeff.

The Lancet paper is politically correct on the subject of US troops committing massacres--that is, they are careful to say that they found no evidence of such things being committed by ground troops. In the weird sort of morality Americans (or maybe most humans) have, it's less upsetting if large numbers of people are killed as "collateral damage" in air strikes. Of course, given the size of their sample they wouldn't be likely to pick up an occasional massacre if such things occur. They found 3 cases of US ground troops killing people--in one case it was a military-age man (and perhaps an insurgent) and in another it was an old guy shot at a checkpoint and in the third it was a security guard shot by mistake. 2 deaths in the Lancet study correspond to about 6000 deaths, but the error bars are, once again, gigantic. Still, there are probably thousands of such cases or the Lancet survey most likely wouldn't have picked up 2. If there were only 1000 such events the expected value for the Lancet survey would be about 1/3 and getting 2 is possible, but not terribly likely.

These "insurgents" were given three fair chances to address their grievances democratically, and they chose to pass, and now most of the blood they're shedding is Iraqi, in the form of terrorist attacks, guerilla attacks and felonies.

Just as the American South lost an election just before the Civil War. Yet we don't call the Confederates 'terrorists' and 'criminals'- we recognize that when a substantial subset of a country doesn't accept the legitimacy of the government, there is a big problem. A big problem which doesn't go away when you start calling that subset nasty names.

Seriously, there is an actual problem in Iraq, and the best you can do is suggesting that we delegitimize the oppositional groups and alter our language to fit that deligitimization. How does that accomplish *anything*?
(Other than making members of certain political parties feel better about themselves for advocating the Iraqi adventure in the first place, since the blame can now be shifted from their criminally bad judgement to the insurgents for not 'playing fair' and giving up after losing some elections.)

Francis, I understood CB's comment to employ second person singular, and so you don't need to be looking down to see if the shoe fits.

It's true, of course, that it doesn't matter whether you and I think the Iraqi government is legitimate. We're not planning on taking up arms either way. On the other hand, if someone engages me to represent them in a matter in which the power of the Iraqi government to take some action or other is in issue, well I'd be happy to look into the question from the client's perspective. I'd expect you're in the same boat.

Yet we don't call the Confederates 'terrorists' and 'criminals'

Speak for yourself.

30,000 was the IBC count when Bush used that number. The unfortunate thing about the Iraq Body Count number is that it is frequently cited as an estimate when they themselves say it's a media-based count and surely too low, perhaps by a factor of two. (They disagree with critics who say the violent civilian death toll is too low by a factor of maybe 5 or 10. If you include infant mortality and other things then the true number probably is several times larger than their number, which I don't think they'd dispute.)

I've been looking around for statistics on the number of insurgent dead, on the theory that these numbers are probably going to be comparable to the number of civilians killed by the US. (According to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, the Israelis have killed more unarmed Palestinians than armed ones and I don't know why the US would have a better record in Iraq, especially when Israel surely has much better intelligence.) The number isn't commonly cited. But the Brookings Institute puts out their tables of numbers fairly often and as of early May, a graph in their report shows the US had captured or killed over 60,000 insurgents. One interesting point is that there is a dramatic surge in the numbers in November 2003, which they attribute to better data and not necessarily to any actual increase--which I take to mean we don't know how much violence our government inflicts unless the government tells us. And in the article (address below) I just read, Michael O'Hanlon of Brookings estimates that around 1500 to 2000 Iraqis die violently each month, about half of those being insurgents. I wonder what the evidence is that all those insurgent dead really were insurgents. Or putting it another way, does the term "insurgent" include sympathizers, which probably includes most of the Sunni population.

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/10/25/172649.shtml

Donald Johnson, you've spoken before about your work on and criticism of the Iraq Body Count, and I've never quite understood where you're coming from.

I became aware of IBC when they started up at the very beginning of the war. Their methodology, and its built-in limitations, have always been stated clearly. It is, if I haven't totally misunderstood it, to count and as far as possible verify the civilian casualties from press reports and military reports.

That takes a fair amount of media analysis to do, but in order to get a real statistical account of Iraqi mortality, one would have to do a study like the Lancet's. So IBC has a very limited usefulness, as its numbers will always be low, and it always has done.

The Lancet's study, done some time ago, was absolutely above-the-board as far as epidemiological methodology is concerned, and their numbers, which measure increased mortality rather than reported violent deaths, were much higher.

It would be excellent to have another such study conducted, but the last one was so poorly and politically received, and Iraq become so dangerous, that it's unlikely that another will be commissioned.

So, I don't entirely understood your disagreement. Both of these studies are research models, with their own inherent limitations.

Regarding your last comment, I'm very skeptical of any numerical reporting that pretends to know who is an insurgent.

According to CB's standards the Vichy Goverment was legitimate.

I'm very skeptical of any numerical reporting that pretends to know who is an insurgent.

Simple, if they are not British or Americans and they are dead, they were obviously insurgents.

Hmm, I thought my own position was fairly clear, but maybe I'm too familiar with my own position to see how unclear I'm being when I explain it.

I had no problems with IBC until I downloaded their two year analysis last summer. It came across as the work of people who'd fallen in love with their methodology and were claiming more for it than it could deliver. What really stuck out were the bar graphs and tables showing the number of civilians killed by coalition forces. Quite frankly, if those numbers are true or even in the ballpark it's a mystery to me why so many Iraqis favor attacks on coalition forces. From all accounts that I've read most Iraqis didn't hate the US in the earliest months and hatred only grew later and if so, judging by IBC statistics Iraqi hatred of the US is almost inversely related to how many civilians our forces are killing. According to IBC, the overwhelming majority of civilians killed by US forces were killed in the first two months (7000 by their count). Roughly 2000 were killed in Fallujah in 2004. And outside of that, IBC shows that in most months the number of civilians killed by coalition forces was typically in the range of a few dozen. Yet according to the Brookings Institute, in virtually every month of the war the US has been killing nearly 1000 insurgents a month and civilians are dying at about the same rate, but mostly from criminal attacks, insurgents, and more recently (not so much in the first two years) Shiite death squads. IBC also mentions another 1000 "crossfire deaths" to be added to the mix, where civilians died in firefights between the US and insurgents. So over the first 24 months of their study that's another 40 deaths a month the US is partly responsible for. That still means the US contribution to the civilian deaths is in most months a small fraction of the total.

Maybe the IBC data is giving us a roughly accurate picture of the war, in which case the US is extraordinarily good at counterinsurgency warfare, far better than the Israelis. Or maybe there's something wrong with the data.

My problem with IBC is twofold. First and less important is the total number. Their "maximum" count is frequently cited as an estimate, which it is not. If they think the true number might be double their own they should state that their "max" is likely to be a serious undercount so that this confusion would end.

My second problem is that I suspect the data is probably slanted--I suspect that many of those "insurgent" deaths are civilians. If so, IBC's data is actively misleading. It's probably just as well that hardly anyone seems to have paid close attention to their two year study.

On the other hand, if I'm wrong then it's worth knowing that the US can fight a counterinsurgency campaign and kill well over ten times as many insurgents as civilians. Or maybe the insurgents are being chivalrous and fight their battles making sure that they don't use civilians as human shields.

Belatedly, I too want to applaud John Thullen's comment. I especially liked this: "I, the earnest, well-intentioned one..." ;)

I assumed that 'Jesse MacBeth' was some sort of pun on Jesurgislac that I didn't get, and that the 'Malkin started it!' was riffing by people who did get it, whatever it was, until very late in the thread. Yeesh. Fwiw: you did not hear about him/her/it from me.

Oh hell, I thought that earlier reply had gotten through.

I hadn't been aware that IBC was trying to differentiate insurgent and civilian deaths. That's inherently problematic. But I'd always assumed that their method of counting would be low, and that their reported "maximum" would be according to the admissable data under their collecting methods. In other words, I'm really glad they're doing the work they're doing, but that work has always seemed to be of limited use. I'd far rather see another Lancet-style study.

Anyway, thank you very much for clarifying your position for me, Donald.

Darn, I'm not doing very well on clarifying, I'm afraid. IBC doesn't count insurgent deaths. What I'm doing is comparing the numbers the Brookings Institute gives for the number of insurgent deaths with the number of civilians allegedly killed by US forces according to IBC and to me the two sets of numbers don't seem plausible when compared--that is, the US seems to be killing an amazingly large number of insurgents according to the Brookings Institute when compared to (in most months) the relatively small number of civilians killed by the coalition according to IBC.

Charles Bird: But I'm the one who needs to look in the mirror?

As I was the one who made the mirror comment, I should probably respond even though your remarks are technically addressed to CharleyCarp. Most of what I want to say has been said by Jackmormon, Charleycarp and Carleton Wu, but there's larger point I think that's worth addressing more... bluntly than others have done.

You set your standards regarding Iraq such that that 80% of the rest of the nations on the planet would not be able to meet.

80% of the rest of the nations on the planet possess significant numbers of people so infuriated at their government that they are taking up arms against it? That's certainly news to me; do you have any particular support for this contention or are you just bloviating at random?

...that's an unfair question, of course, because we're talking at cross-purposes. So let's get this cleared up once and for all. To reiterate what most people in this conversation have been saying: it does not make a goddamn bit of difference what we, the bloggers, or we, the American people, would like to consider a "legitimate" government. Legitimacy is not conferred by American imprimatur. Meaningful legitimacy is not conferred by the simple presence of elections, no matter how much we'd like to believe the contrary. "Legitimacy" itself is a colossal red herring, in fact, at least from the American perspective.

What we can say right now is: there is a government that's been democratically elected according to certain standards -- one that we more or less like, and one which, if it lives up to its promise, seems like it might help engender a free and fair society -- and it's being forcibly opposed by other people who want to see a different government installed instead. [The precise composition of these people, as well as their goals, being a matter of some dispute.] Anything else we might say on the matter -- anything else at all, whether it's a question of "legitimacy" or "appropriateness" or of "moral justification" or whatever -- is obscurantist propaganda bullshit, empty rhetoric whose sole purpose (intended or not) is to impede an accurate assessment of the situation.

Period.

The upshot, then, is that your remarks re "legitimacy" are completely vacuous, and they're distracting from the topic at hand. I don't know how much clearer I can be. The sooner you can get off this particular high horse, the sooner we'll be able to have a productive discussion about what's going on in Iraq.

"Just as the American South lost an election just before the Civil War. Yet we don't call the Confederates 'terrorists' and 'criminals'"

I'd like to add the term traitors to the list.

Muslim cultural humiliation is the theory of Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis, not exactly famed left or liberal thinkers, so you might want to take your argument up with them, rather than with the left, who didn't invent this theory.

(Though I'd say it has a moderate amount going for it in its own limited way, myself.)

so, when it turns out that Murtha was right, does that mean he's no longer Working for The Enemy ?

someone with a better grasp of Right Wing Logic needs to work this out for me.

someone with a better grasp of Right Wing Logic needs to work this out for me.

He remains a traitor because he spoke of it out loud.

I will come clean.

After all the whining about censorship on the web, from various parties, I undertook a little experiment:

How obnoxious would I have to be, before anyone called me on it?

Based on my experience, here and on Americablog, the answer seems to be "Pretty fargin'"

Your response was correct, and it gives me a data point. Better still, for practical purposes, it gives me an anecdote: when some blathermouth starts attacking blogs, I will have a certified personal experience to offer up.

I hope that I have not annoyed you, at least not beyond the point where you can forgive me in the name of Science.

Mr. Bell,

Your use of us as unwitting experimental subjects reminds me of a joke:

A guy's sitting at the bar, asks the young lady next to him what time it is. She shouts back at him "How dare you speak to me like that!!!" He, surprised and embarrassed, ducks his head and mumbles, "I just asked the time, miss". She yells even louder "Stop it right now, I'll call the police if you say another word!!!!". He grabs his drink and retreats to a table in a dim corner of the bar.

A few minutes later she quietly comes over and sits down at his table. "I'm sorry to have done that to you -- I'm a grad student in Psychology and I'm doing research on how people react to surprising and embarrassing situations." He goggles at her a second, then yells out at the top of his voice, "You'll do all that for me all night for just five bucks??!!!!"

"so, when it turns out that Murtha was right, does that mean he's no longer Working for The Enemy ?"

I, myself, am a "sickening soul" who is on the "far left" who is "gloating" over this horrible event, it turns out.

But I'm sure everyone here already knew or assumed that.

Reading list:

On cultural humiliation and war in the American psyche: Sherman's March and Vietnam by James Reston, Jr..

On Japan, cultural humiliation, and the recovery from WWII: Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John W. Dower.

I am quite boggled by Charles' dismissal of "cultural humiliation" as a Muslim motive, when it just seems like another way of saying "culture war" to me. Cultural resentment in the Muslim world is a profoundly conservative force -- reactionary, even -- just as it is in the US. Would you be more sympathetic if they talked about "dishonor" instead of "humiliation"?

From my POV, it sure doesn't look as though liberals are the ones who place "too much emphasis . . . on emotional well-being and not enough on achieving concrete results". Rather, the difference is that though we *all* hold our own emotional well-being (religious feelings, for instance) very dear, liberals try act as though other people's feelings are as real as our own.

Dower is good.

so, when it turns out that Murtha was right, does that mean he's no longer Working for The Enemy ?

No.

It means reality is :o

Charles's comment reminds me of a classic jokes about economists:

Three people are stranded on a small island. One is a physicist, one is a circus strongman, and one is an economist. After a few days of surviving on fruit, they discover a cache of canned food, and they have to decide how to open it. The physicist says to the strongman "Why don't you climb that tree, and smash the cans down on the rocks, and burst them open?"
The strongman says, "No, that would spatter the stuff all over. I can open the cans with my teeth!"

The economist says "First, we must assume that we have a can opener."

Charles's solution: assume Muslims are not feeling encroached by the West ... and tell them to get over it.

Charles's solution: assume Muslims are not feeling encroached by the West ... and tell them to get over it.

Sounds a lot like McCain's solution.

someone with a better grasp of Right Wing Logic needs to work this out for me.

He remains a traitor because he spoke of it out loud.

Sigh.

Sigh

wow. Murtha's "agenda" is an issue?. BD would benefit from a little self-reflection.

As I've blogged, quoting these from news reports:

Whatever you think of Congressman (former Colonel) Murtha's politics or policies, he spoke out after being officially briefed, and obviously violated no request not to do so. Had he, we'd certainly have heard of such from the Marines.

Claims otherwise need to be either sourced, or we would seem to have no reason not to take them as false.
And, again, as I noted here, this:

Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican who is a retired Marine colonel, said that the allegations indicated that "this was not an accident. This was direct fire by marines at civilians." He added, "This was not an immediate response to an attack. This would be an atrocity.
When those calling Murtha a "traitor" for speaking after an official Marine briefing, repeating what the Marine Commandant has confirmed, what endless Marine official spokespeople have said, also call Congressman Kline a "traitor" and call for him to be ousted, we'll know that they are sincere, if deluded, and not politicizing this tragedy in service of their pre-existing political beliefs, and not just out of desire to smear a decorated war hero Marine Colonel who served in two wars.
Another Kline quote:
R-Minn.), a retired Marine colonel, said there was clearly an attempt to cover up the incident by those involved. But he said he did not think the Marine command was slow in investigating.

"There is no question that the Marines involved, those doing the shooting, they were busy in lying about it and covering it up — there is no question about it," Kline said. "But I am confident, as soon as the command learned there might be some truth to this, they started to pursue it vigorously. I don't have any reason now to think there was any foot dragging."

Moreover, the only way it would seem Charles could substantiate his mindreading of Murtha that he wants us to lose, and says things to further that cause, is by mind-reading. Until he can demonstrate said mind-reading capability, or otherwise explain his knowledge of Murtha's evil intent, he loses the argument.

I do, needless to say, desire and invite Charles to respond.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and a few other NGOs, have designated June Torture Awareness Month. I've created a blogroll you can join if you're interested. You can find it here. The idea is that everyone is linked to from the blogroll, and in exchange, you discuss torture (as you already do), and link to the Torture Awareness site to help support the NGOs.

There's a lot of bloggers concerned about human rights abuse in the War on Terror. If we coordinate, we can show our support and help Amnesty and HRW make Torture Awareness Month a success.

If you think I said that I don't think the Iraqi government is legitimate, you need new reading glasses.

Sorry, Charley.

Just as the American South lost an election just before the Civil War.

Your problem is equating the American Civil War with what's taking place in Iraq, Carleton, and that the "insurgency" is a "substantial subset".

According to CB's standards the Vichy Goverment was legitimate.

You really go sit in a corner, Sancho. Your comment is too stupid for futher response.

free and fair elections are the RESULT of the population accepting as legitimate one particular form of government -- democracy.

Not the last election, francis. The December 15th election established the very government that is in place right now.

The precise composition of these people, as well as their goals, being a matter of some dispute.

Anarch, when only 30% (or less) of the people stay out of the democratic process in the previous election, the people have spoken, and they're the ones who conferred legitimacy on the current Iraqi government. Obviously you have a different opinion. But if you think 4,000 or so terrorists and 20,000 "insurgent" fighters have legitimate grievances--even though many aren't even Iraqi and the rest eschewed participating--fine, go to town. To me, it makes little sense.

Jack made a point about Iraqi forces and their ability to keep the peace on their own, and I think it's reasonable. Almost. Since we were responsible for disbanding the Iraqi in mid-2003 (which was a huge mistake), it's only fair that the Iraqi government outsource their security forces until they get enough troops up to Level 1 and Level 2 proficiency.

I do, needless to say, desire and invite Charles to respond.

I'm sorry y'all don't like my use of "loser-defeatist" as it pertains to Murtha, but it is exactly what his strategy is, in my opinion, for the reasons stated here. Murtha brought up the matter, and then expressly reiterated his position that U.S. forces should immediately withdraw from Iraq. Murtha is a politician, so by default he will act in a way that furthers his agenda. In this matter, he had a choice: sit by and let events unfold and then respond after the information was officially released (or not), or to immediately splash his views on Hardball and other venues in order to try to change American opinion to his way of thinking. He chose the latter, jumping ahead of the story and bringing himself and his agenda maximum exposure. He couldn't have been the only Congressman who was briefed, but he was the only one who splashed it, and we all know where he stands. He took alleged war crimes committed by fellow Marines and used them as a club for bashing current policy. That's why I wrote what I did. That he exploited this incident by stepping out the way he did looks pretty self-evident to me.

He couldn't have been the only Congressman who was briefed

Cite?

He took alleged war crimes committed by fellow Marines and used them as a club for bashing current policy.

And Congressman Kline? What's his crime?

I say it's spinach and to hell with it.

Actually, not me. Others.

He took alleged war crimes committed by fellow Marines and used them as a club for bashing current policy.

It seems to me he was holding up evidence, quite damning evidence actually, of why the current policy is both fundamentally flawed and incompetently executed.

And oh, protecting the honour of both the Corps and the country. Of course, that's mindreading, but looking over the transcript of that Hardball interview, and viewing the reaction from the Marine High Command, I feel somewhat confident in my interpretation, as I am confident, based on the dearth of evidence you provide, that your charges are scurrilious. Remember, assertion is not argument.

Murtha has an agenda. Heaven forbid that every human being on the planet operates with some sort of goal.

What's your agenda?

Goodness, here I am again. It's probably obvious by now, but I'm positively livid. Given the subject, which is serious business of the highest order, this is quite frankly the most dishonourable thing you have ever written, Charles. In my opinion, of course.

People might hold other statements of yours in higher disregard. I couldn't say, I haven't read everything you've written. Thank goodness for small miracles.

I'm going to step away from the computer now for a few days. Cheers.

When the Abu Ghraib story broke, Donald Rumsfeld testified,

Mr. Chairman, I know you join me today in saying to the world: Judge us by our actions. Watch how Americans, watch how a democracy deals with wrongdoing and scandal and the pain of acknowledging and correcting our own mistakes and weaknesses.

Testimony as Prepared by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Before The Senate and House Armed Services Committees, Friday, May 7, 2004.

Charles, do you really believe we can trust administration investigations? The events in Haditha occurred in November, 2005. If not for the publicity attracted by Congressman Murtha, might this not have been another example swept under the rug? The investigation of Tiger Force in 1975 was killed the same month that Donald Rumsfeld began his first tenure as Secretary of Defense.

He chose the latter, jumping ahead of the story and bringing himself and his agenda maximum exposure

he didn't jump ahead of the story, he accurately reported what happened. the only people who jumped ahead of the story are those who went on to invent a myriad of fantasies in which the our troops didn't do what they did, and then tried to sell those stories, along with accompanying tall tales about the hoardes of imaginary traitors trying to bring our innocent country down. talk about an agenda.

"loser-defeatist"

delusional apologist

Having not been around for most of this thread, I'd like to respond to what Carleton said here: "Yet we don't call the Confederates 'terrorists' and 'criminals'- we recognize that when a substantial subset of a country doesn't accept the legitimacy of the government, there is a big problem."

Yes, we call the Confederates "traitors" and "rebels," actually.

Charles: "Your comment is too stupid for futher response."

Be that as it may, a tad more courtesy might be in order.

"Since we were responsible for disbanding the Iraqi in mid-2003 (which was a huge mistake), it's only fair that the Iraqi government outsource their security forces until they get enough troops up to Level 1 and Level 2 proficiency."

Just to surprise you, Charles: I agree.

"I'm sorry y'all don't like my use of "loser-defeatist" as it pertains to Murtha,"

Before addressing other points here, I'd like to get to one I've never bothered to: I don't quite understand what this phrase means.

I understand perfectly well what it means if you just call him a "defeatist." I would tend to argue, but I understand it perfectly well.

But are you calling him a "loser" as in when 8-year-olds do: "you loser!"

Or is "loser" intended to modify "defeatist" in some way? (I can't see how.)

Or do you simply mean that he is for us losing, just as he is a defeatist, in which case the term is pointlessly redundant, and any copyeditor would strike it as such.

I can't think of a fourth possibility, but if that's just my lack of imagination, which is perfectly possible, please clarify. Because any way about it, I don't even understand this coinage, and thus have difficulty discussing it, when I don't know what you mean by it.

I'll, however, attempt to do so on the basis that it's a redundant synomyn of "defeatist."

"...but it is exactly what his strategy is, in my opinion, for the reasons stated here."

Plenty of military thinkers and advocates and strategists, Charles, believe that a large force stimulates as much resistance and offense in the general population as any good it does, or more; you know who the most prominent such in the United States is?

His name is "Donald Rumsfeld."

I'll give you plenty of cites, if you'd like.

Presumably having been made aware of this, you will now never again refer to him as other than "loser-defeatist Donald Rumsfeld."

Right?

If not, why not?

In any case, when and how withdrawals should take place is perfectly debatable and something that reasonable people can and will differ about. But everyone is for them, including one "George W. Bush." The only arguments are about when.

But, in any case, I wasn't arguing with you above about Murtha's timetable for withdrawal. I was arguing about people calling him a "traitor" for a) suggesting a withdrawal timetable of a very vague sort; and b) currently for having done nothing more than pass on -- clearly at the request of the Marine Corps, their briefing, which they confirmed, and which Congressman Kline has gone on to say considerably more inflamnatory (if you think such statements are) statements about, as regards the events at Haditha.

If you'd care to address that point, I'd appreciate it.

"He took alleged war crimes committed by fellow Marines and used them as a club for bashing current policy."

This is horsepucky, unless you can either mind-read, or produce a statement from the Marine Corp confirming your mind-reading that he wasn't authorized.

Maybe you've not followed the news stories. He was briefed. The Marine Corps made the same statements he made simultaneously. I've given cites in my posts. Please familiarize yourself with the facts. Please explain why you're lambasting Murtha, but not the Marine Corps spokespeople, Commandant Hagee, and Congressman Kline, save that you wish to policitize this tragedy to bash a politician you have disagreements with, to further your agenda. That you're exploiting a perfectly reasonable behavior utterly inconsistently to further your political agenda looks pretty clear to me, but it might be unreasonable of me to engage in such speculation: what do you think?

And please address the facts with other facts, not your imaginative mind-reading of intent of a war hero decorated Marine Colonel who fought in two wars, if you would be so kind.

"He took alleged war crimes committed by fellow Marines and used them as a club for bashing current policy."

Cite?

I'm too lazy to look for it, but I seem to recall reading that there was a poll some months back which showed that nearly half of Iraqis approve of violent attacks on American troops. Which, if true, sounds as though there might be a fairly large amount of Iraqi support for the groups which actually do that.

Why they feel that way is another question.

"If not for the publicity attracted by Congressman Murtha, might this not have been another example swept under the rug?"

No, that's clearly not so. An investigation began promptly in January when Time brought the results of their investigation to the Corps, following investigations by human rights groups, and the video provided by one, and it's clearly been proceeding thoroughly ever since.

n January, after Time presented military officials in Baghdad with the Iraqis' accounts of the Marines' actions, the U.S. opened its own investigation, interviewing 28 people, including the Marines, the families of the victims and local doctors.
And, as I've been repeating until my fingers grow tired, Murtha only passed on what he was cleared asked to by the Corps, simultaneously with Corps spokespeople addressing the issue.

Here's Time on Mar. 27, 2006, and March 23, and March 19th: Collateral Damage or Civilian Massacre in Haditha?.

How anyone, such as Charles, can claim Murtha was releasing info last week, I don't know, other than stipulating that he and many are ignorant of the facts.

Okay, I see another post to make. See here, if you like.

Gary: Please explain why you're lambasting Murtha, but not the Marine Corps spokespeople, Commandant Hagee, and Congressman Kline, save that you wish to policitize this tragedy to bash a politician you have disagreements with, to further your agenda.

And, to be blunt, to cover up war crimes in the service of that agenda.

Now, apparently, I too will need to step away from this thread for a day or so, lest Godwin reign; but for the record, I too agree that this sentiment is one of the most sickeningly dishonorable you've ever expressed, Charles, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

I might as well note here that I added the following addendum to this post:

ADDENDUM, 11:54 p.m.: It's just come to my attention that on May 20th, Republican Representative Duncan Hunter called for hearings on Haditha:
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Friday that he planned hearings into the military's investigation of whether Marines from Camp Pendleton brutally killed two dozen Iraqi civilians and lied to cover up possible war crimes.

Although the administrative investigation into the Nov. 19 incident in Haditha, Iraq, has not been completed, the comments by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) suggested that its findings would be crucial.

"I don't want the actions of one squad in one city on one morning to be used to symbolize or characterize or tar the actions of our great troops," Hunter told a Washington news conference.

He put the number of dead at about 24 and indicated that frontline troops might not have been truthful in their initial accounts to their officers. Previous accounts have put the noninsurgent fatality count at 15, including several women and children.

The Haditha incident threatens to be the most scandalous episode involving the Marines in Iraq.

Hunter said a hearing would look at the thoroughness and "integrity" of the investigation being done by Army Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell and the recommendations to be made by Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the top operational commander in Iraq, once he reviews that investigation. Hunter said he expected the "voluminous" report to be sent to Chiarelli late next week and recommendations to be made within several days.

In a teleconference with reporters Friday, Chiarelli said the military "took these allegations very, very seriously."

Better add Hunter to the list of traitors prematurely speaking about this incident before the investigation has been completed.

Should add Chiarelli, too, I guess, for prematurely calling the allegations "very very serious[ly]."

The 'loser-defeatist' labal has always amused me. The implicit meaning is, essentially, "Here's a problem. I favor one solution to it. Anyone who points out that my solution only makes it worse is a DEFEATIST. Clap harder."

"Duncan Hunter called for hearings on Haditha:"

Color me cynical. The only point to Republicans calling for hearings is a desire to provide immunity.

And Congressman Kline? What's his crime?

Kline who, sparti? I don't know who he is or what he said, but if said the same as Murtha, the same charge applies to him.

What's your agenda?

Sometimes to advance moderate conservatism. For Iraq, a free, peaceful, non-theocratic representative republic. To me, Murtha's agenda is the exact anti of that objective. As for what's "scurrilous" or not, Murtha clearly referenced on Hardball to the statements he made last November regarding immediate unilateral withdrawal.

So what's your agenda?

Charles, do you really believe we can trust administration investigations?

Abu Ghraib was under already investigation when it was made public, and it was inevitable that it would be publicized. This has happened for every scandal, non-scandal and pseudo-scandal that has occurred in the last six years. Why ever would Haditha be the one incident to not get full-throated coverage? As far as we know, Time magazine alerted the Marines to Haditha, and the Marines in turn investigated, and it looks like they're ready to court-martial several men for murder.

If not for the publicity attracted by Congressman Murtha, might this not have been another example swept under the rug?

With the left-wing blogosphere ready to blow this up on all of their front pages? With adversarial-to-hostile mainstream media poised to give this front page coverage? Anything's possible, but sweeping under the rug sounds completely implausible to me.

...he didn't jump ahead of the story, he accurately reported what happened...

He reported allegations as foregone conclusions, cleek, AND he jumped the story by going to Chris Matthews before the Marines finished their investigation.

Gary, I'll agree that "loser-defeatist" is redundant. "Defeatist" works just as well.

Plenty of military thinkers and advocates and strategists, Charles, believe that a large force stimulates as much resistance and offense in the general population as any good it does, or more; you know who the most prominent such in the United States is?

There are plenty of military thinkers, etc. who believe a whole range of different things, Gary. What I believe is that Rumsfeld shouldn't be gainfully employed in the Bush administration. He was wrong in having too few troops in mid-2003 Iraq, and we're still paying for that mistake to this day. The security situation still remains the number one problem, and sufficient numbers of coalition and Iraqi forces are needed, and the strategy most needed is clear-and-hold which is, of course, my opinion. But Rumsfeld's policy is not Murtha's policy of immediate withdrawal, so I don't know why you would think Rumsfeld's is defeatist, or why you would attempt to conflate the views of Murtha and Rumsfeld.

The Marine Corps made the same statements he made simultaneously.

Your WA Post cite stated the Marine Corps briefed govt officials. I didn't see any reference to the Corps simultaneously briefing the media. I also didn't see where the Corps stated as fact, like Murtha did, that "Marines overreacted . . . and killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

Cite?

No cite necessary. It is an opinion which I thought was obviously self-evident, but NBC News did happen to confirm it:

Murtha held the news conference to mark six months since his initial call for "redeployment" of U.S. forces from Iraq.
That you're exploiting a perfectly reasonable behavior utterly inconsistently to further your political agenda looks pretty clear to me, but it might be unreasonable of me to engage in such speculation: what do you think?

I think you have a strange view of what "exploiting" is, Gary, not to mention that disagree with your judgment. This is the first time ever that I've commented re Murtha and his statements on Haditha, comments which happen to be off-topic in an aged thread of a middling-trafficked blog. On the issue of timing, yes, Haditha had been reported earlier, but it was Murtha who started the firestorm when he stated as fact that "our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood", rendering his verdict before the investigation is completed, in a goddam press conference that he initiated in order to commemorate the six-month anniversay of his defeatist policy. In the NBC News link above:

The Marine Corps issued a statement in response to Murtha's remarks:

"There is an ongoing investigation; therefore, any comment at this time would be inappropriate and could undermine the investigatory and possible legal process. As soon as the facts are known and decisions on future actions are made, we will make that information available to the public to the fullest extent allowable."

That doesn't come across to me as simultaneous, but as in response to.

AND he jumped the story by going to Chris Matthews before the Marines finished their investigation.

He Was Right

suck it up.

"Kline who, sparti? I don't know who he is or what he said, but if said the same as Murtha, the same charge applies to him."

Well, Charles, thanks for proving you don't read what I write.

You wrote a response to this comment of mine, Charles.

And now you say you don't know who Congressman Kline is.

At this point, I'm apt to give up writing to you, when you blatantly respond and yet haven't read what you're responding to.

I then wrote about him again.

Moreover, I linked to my posts about him. You obviously read none of this.

Come back to me when you've read what I've written. Respond. I'll respond to then. Thanks.

He Was Right

suck it up.

I never said he was wrong, cleek, but that wasn't what I was talking about. In fact, I feared that those Marines did indeed murder innocent Iraqis.

Well, Charles, thanks for proving you don't read what I write.

When sparti wrote it, I didn't who Kline was and responded to him to his May 27 at 9:36pm comment. I didn't click on your May 26 at 9:39pm comment until just now. So, I'm sorry for not reading what you wrote in that instance. But you would be wrong in claiming that I don't read what you write. When you excerpted Kline further downthread, I clicked and from there learned more of what he said. I hope that clears it up.

"I didn't click on your May 26 at 9:39pm comment until just now. So, I'm sorry for not reading what you wrote in that instance."

Yeah, except you already responded to it.

I do, needless to say, desire and invite Charles to respond.

I'm sorry y'all don't like my use of "loser-defeatist" as it pertains to Murtha, but it is exactly what his strategy is, in my opinion, for the reasons stated here.

Yadda yadda yadda.

You now agree that you responded to a message you didn't read.

I really don't know what to say.

When you actually respond to what I wrote, as I said, I'll get back to you. I'd like to hope that you'll try reading it first, this time.

This is really quite incredible, though. Just incredible.

What I find remarkable is that Charles feels that when you hold a particular position - say that the United States armed forces are overstretched (indeed, breaking) by an endeavour in which their very presence exasperates the problem they are trying to solve (the insurgency) - and you are presented evidence that supports that position - say Marine units on their 3rd and 4th rotation abandoning their training and code to massacre Iraqi civilians (exasperating the insurgency) - that this is, somehow, exploitative.

Let's say that again: presenting evidence that supports your argument is an act of exploitation.

So what's your agenda?

My agenda is to live in a world run by pragmaticism: when a policy or approach is shown to be in error, or inoperable, it is abandoned for something else. A "democratic, non-theological Iraq" sounds super. I'm pretty sure, and I admit this is mindreading, that's what MURTHA WANTS TOO. Too bad the evidence is overwhelming that is not going to be achieved by the current approach.

Another part of my agenda is to live in a world where absolutism is downplayed as much as possible. If someone disagrees with your favoured approach to achieve a goal, for example, they are not labelled "losers", "defeatists", or "traitors". If I was to adopt that approach for myself, I could say something along the lines of those who have been so consistently and dramatically wrong, by trumpeting the threat of Iraqi WMD, of Iraqi-al Qaida ties, who minimized the dangers of a military occupation, who continue to support a war they themselves won't participate in, have lost the right to an audience.

And who exploit the deaths of US soldiers and Iraqi civilians to further their agenda.

OK, here's what I did, Gary. I read and responded to sparti first, then I went on to read your earlier comment, even though chronologically yours came first. In any event, when I read and responded to sparti, I didn't know about Kline. When I read and responded to yours, I clicked on your link and learned more about him. This is what I hate about this comment format, because everything is chronological and there are no subthreads for carrying side conversations, such as in Scoop. In sum, I didn't read every single comment in chronological sequence and respond exactly in chronological order. That was my crime.

More evidence that a democratic non-theological Iraq is not in the cards:

Don't be afraid to speak Farsi in Basra. We are a branch of Iran.

It occurs to me that since it's clear only a smattering of folks here look at my blog (weep! wail!), I should highlight the addendums I've added today to this post, particularly including links to Mike Duffy's Time piece put online about an hour or two ago, and this local news story about the battalion commander, who turns out to be from Colorado, and tonight's ABC report, but most of all, this video, with video from the Hammurabi Human Rights org that Time got back in January, which when they handed it over to the Marines, got the investigation started, which includes shots of the bullet-ridden walls of the house, which appear deeply stained with blood, and an interview with what is said to be the sole survivor, 12-year-old Safa Younis, who says she hid under bodies and wasn't seen.

Perhaps, of course, she's lying. I wouldn't know. Without doubt, we'll see blogs explaining she was coached by The Bad Guys. And, as I said, I wouldn't know.

But if you don't assume that, it's pretty godd-amned grim and heart-breaking. Be warned. Be very very warned.

Also in the local tv station report:

Representative John Kline is a Republican from Minnesota. He said, "When you have Marines who have behaved so abominably as to allegedly shoot Iraqi civilians I'm not surprised that they would lie about it and cover it up."
More traitorous loser-defeatism, since the investigation isn't complete.

Of course, most of Washington is now such by that definition, as is the entire press corps, and to their credit, most all of conservative blogdom, save the fringe nutbars (shame Charles hasn't caught up with the very long list of conservative bloggers who have now spoken up about Haditha as of this morning).

And incidentally, as I mentioned in that post, Mark Kleiman was nice enough to speak up for me.

With all due respect, Gary, (and it is considerable), getting on Charles' case about what he has or has not read really give Chas the psychological out of thinking that this is just about the niceties of reading and responding, leaving his world view unchallenged. I mean, Chas' Tacitus comment was in response to a brief post about Congressman Kline, so him telling slarti that he doesn't know who Kline suggests that he's not actually considering any information that is being rendered.

Now, saying that, I have no idea what sort of information would be necessary to have Charles rethink this or how to get him to consider it. You've laid it out pretty clearly at your place (and I note that the blogger who called you a sick soul is now on about Kerry going into Cambodia. I know he's quoting a current NYTimes story, but talk about trapped in amber. I also note your updates and CY's response. I really don't think he's worth the effort, but I can understand how you might be incensed), so I'm not sure what information would cause Charles to re-evaluate his position. Certainly Murtha's service record won't, nor his close connection to servicemen and women, so I despair of presenting anything that might pierce the armor of self-assurance.

I would note that Charles has the good graces not to make his statement here, and I appreciate that. I'm always had trouble determining whether one should be held accountable for everything one says in every forum, or one should limit it to one forum. It may be that Charles is pretending to be a moderate here and deep down inside, he's an extremist conservative who can't acknowledge that people can have different opinions without being labeled as defeatist. On the other hand, given that it was a one line statement, he could have said it in a fit of pique and is now trying to defend it so he doesn't have to say he should reconsider. I'm not sure which is a more charitable interpretation, but it's clear that simply haranguing him is, at this point, meaningless.

I never said he was wrong, cleek, but that wasn't what I was talking about

you're smearing him because he was right without your permission.

"That was my crime."

Charles, you don't get it.

I wrote this comment:

As I've blogged, quoting these from news reports:

Whatever you think of Congressman (former Colonel) Murtha's politics or policies, he spoke out after being officially briefed, and obviously violated no request not to do so. Had he, we'd certainly have heard of such from the Marines.

Claims otherwise need to be either sourced, or we would seem to have no reason not to take them as false.
And, again, as I noted here, this:

Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican who is a retired Marine colonel, said that the allegations indicated that "this was not an accident. This was direct fire by marines at civilians." He added, "This was not an immediate response to an attack. This would be an atrocity.
When those calling Murtha a "traitor" for speaking after an official Marine briefing, repeating what the Marine Commandant has confirmed, what endless Marine official spokespeople have said, also call Congressman Kline a "traitor" and call for him to be ousted, we'll know that they are sincere, if deluded, and not politicizing this tragedy in service of their pre-existing political beliefs, and not just out of desire to smear a decorated war hero Marine Colonel who served in two wars.

Another Kline quote:

R-Minn.), a retired Marine colonel, said there was clearly an attempt to cover up the incident by those involved. But he said he did not think the Marine command was slow in investigating.

"There is no question that the Marines involved, those doing the shooting, they were busy in lying about it and covering it up — there is no question about it," Kline said. "But I am confident, as soon as the command learned there might be some truth to this, they started to pursue it vigorously. I don't have any reason now to think there was any foot dragging."

Moreover, the only way it would seem Charles could substantiate his mindreading of Murtha that he wants us to lose, and says things to further that cause, is by mind-reading. Until he can demonstrate said mind-reading capability, or otherwise explain his knowledge of Murtha's evil intent, he loses the argument.

I do, needless to say, desire and invite Charles to respond.

Posted by: Gary Farber | May 27, 2006 at 05:36 PM

You responded to that post here (I'll cut the rest, and leave the part directed to me):
I do, needless to say, desire and invite Charles to respond.

I'm sorry y'all don't like my use of "loser-defeatist" as it pertains to Murtha, but it is exactly what his strategy is, in my opinion, for the reasons stated here. Murtha brought up the matter, and then expressly reiterated his position that U.S. forces should immediately withdraw from Iraq. Murtha is a politician, so by default he will act in a way that furthers his agenda. In this matter, he had a choice: sit by and let events unfold and then respond after the information was officially released (or not), or to immediately splash his views on Hardball and other venues in order to try to change American opinion to his way of thinking. He chose the latter, jumping ahead of the story and bringing himself and his agenda maximum exposure. He couldn't have been the only Congressman who was briefed, but he was the only one who splashed it, and we all know where he stands. He took alleged war crimes committed by fellow Marines and used them as a club for bashing current policy. That's why I wrote what I did. That he exploited this incident by stepping out the way he did looks pretty self-evident to me.

Posted by: Charles Bird | May 27, 2006 at 08:48 PM

Then you responded to my next comment, in which I asked you to respond to the part of what I wrote at 5:36 p.m. I wrote that here at May 27, 2006 at 11:05 PM, and among other things, I wrote:
But, in any case, I wasn't arguing with you above about Murtha's timetable for withdrawal. I was arguing about people calling him a "traitor" for a) suggesting a withdrawal timetable of a very vague sort; and b) currently for having done nothing more than pass on -- clearly at the request of the Marine Corps, their briefing, which they confirmed, and which Congressman Kline has gone on to say considerably more inflamnatory (if you think such statements are) statements about, as regards the events at Haditha.
I then wrote another link-filled comment at May 27, 2006 at 11:33 PM. I wrote yet another with links and cites and quotes at May 28, 2006 at 03:26 AM.

You responded to my 11:05 at length here at, and claimed not to know who Kline was.

This isn't reconcilable with your having responded twice to comments from me with lengthy quotes from Kline.

Sorry, you're not making the remotest sense. You've responded at length to comments you then say you've not read, and which I'm willing to believe you didn't read.

That's not a "crime," but it's clear.

"In sum, I didn't read every single comment in chronological sequence...."

I suggest trying it. I strongly suggested trying it.

That is, "I strongly suggest trying it."

That is, I suggest Charles trying following discussion in linear order, and if he's responding to my comments, to read them in linear order.

LJ: "I also note your updates and CY's response. I really don't think he's worth the effort, but I can understand how you might be incensed)...."

If you look back at CY's post/thread, you'll see that I posted a final comment and signed off. He has quite a few links and readers, by the way. And his cite was picked up by at least six other conservative bloggers, a couple as loony as he is, but not all, and they repeated how sad it was that those damn leftists were gloating, but what can you expect, etc.

In the thread at SisterToldja's that I also commented at, similarly, people were going on about those leftists who were using this to smear all Marines as baby-killers and people who massacre, etc., and nobody, of course, cited any actual cases of this. It was all fevered imagination: they knew it must be happening, so actually bothering to find cases of it before denouncing them wasn't necessary.

Kinda fascinating in a frighting sort of way.

I never expected to get anywhere in the first place with CY, but I figured I'd give him an opportunity to do the right thing.

Besides, it's been a slow weekend. :-)

Coming very late to this thread, because I was on vacation last week. I'd just like to make a few minor observations about how different cutlures have reacted to being humilitated by outside cultures.

In 1853, the Japanese were humiliated by the appearance in American warships in Tokyo Bay, which they could do nothing to prevent. They were subsequently forced to open up to foreign trade. They reacted by engaging in a forced march to industrialization and built themselves a modern army and navy, until they could face the West on equal terms. Humiliated again in 1945, they turned their backs on war and concentrated on becoming an economic great power.

Why didn't the Arabs react the same way to their various defeats and humiliations? After WWI, the Turks modernized themselves. The Iranians at least took their own destiny in their hands in 1979, though I believe they have since come to regret their choices during the Revolution. The Afghans kicked out the British back in the 1840s and the Russians in the 1980s (though our Stingers helped - you're welcome, Mullah Omar!) So why do the Arabs continue to indulge themselves in paranoid fantasies about Jewish and Western conspiracies, against which they are apparently helpless? Why do so they continue to believe that 9/11 was perpetrated by Mossad? Why do so many of them condone terrorism? Why can't they build nations capable of functioning in the modern world?

I do not deny that the Arabs have suffered cultural humiliations at our hands, and I do not deny that they have many legitimate grievances against us. But hey, so do the Latin Americans, and you don't see them flying planes into buildings or strapping bombs to their children.

I consider myself a moderate conservative, but on this subject I sometimes feel like a troglodyte. There is something wrong at the heart of Arab culture - it infects other Islamic cultures to varying degrees, but it starts with the Arabs. I don't know what the solution is, and I'm pretty sure it's something they need to discover for themselves. I hope they figure it out soon.

(Preemptive caveat - yes, I am aware of the Tamil Tigers, the ETA, Timothy McVeigh, etc. I am also aware that Muslims did not invent terrorism, and that it has existed in one form or another probably as long as humanity. But the Arabs, in particular, have chosen it as their primary tactic for expressing their rage. Again, I ask why?)

Umm, the Arab countries were created out of whole cloth to be weak? They've been the center of outside meddling to an unusual extent? Oil money leads to a bread-and-circuses/authoritarian regimes? They started out farther back than much of Latin America? Plenty of awful stuff happened in the latter area too, we just don't care much about it since it hasn't touched us lately, and anyway we're not trying to run Bolivia? They tried various modernisms (sadly not ours) already without success? Having Israel (causing some legitimate grievances along with the nutty stuff) next door has been an irritation and a convenient excuse for failing regimes?

ThirdGorchBro: Well, within the West, we've got the examples of the Confederacy here at home, Opus Dei and its drive to resurrect everything that drove the Reformation the first time around, those who glorified the Irish Republican Army, the "stab in the back" crew in Germany after the First World War, conservative revisionism about the Vietnam war and its French counterpart about Algiers, the noble savage myth in all its flavor...what was it about Europe in any century, or America in any century, that brought forth such responses?

Me, I think it's just human nature showing one of its common faces.

Rilkefan and I will now demonstrate "complementary".

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