"You're a funny man, Sully ...

that's why I'm going to kill you last."


Saturday, March 29, 2003


Atrios has found the definitive this-will-be-easy quote from none other than ... Richard Perle!.

posted by Sully 3/29/2003 01:07:00 AM


Replying to Sullivan�s post about how we must �keep hammering,� TBogg shares a link to the sort of thing The Blog Queen considers pernicious propaganda.

(Tom is right ... some of these are pretty damn ugly).

Perhaps Andy would like counter and challenge the following arguments, and then he can remind us again how we are �morally in the right.�


George Bush is a war criminal.... and Andy Sullivan is a cowardly sanctimonious idiot.

And needless to say they should both be tried after the war. No matter what the outcome.

posted by Sully 3/29/2003 12:26:00 AM


As usual the Telegraph story came through blank in our browser, so we couldn�t see if anything had been excluded. But notice that the van der Graaf quote never says anything about protecting Islamism ... he was worried about the effect Fortuyn�s platform would have on those elements of society less able to protect themselves, which in the Netherlands includes but is not limited to Muslim immigrants.

That Sullivan conflates protecting Muslims with a philosophy practiced by very few of them is telling. Very Little Green Goofballs.

posted by Sully 3/29/2003 12:21:00 AM


One lesson of the ferocity of the Saddamite resistance is surely this: who now could possibly, conceivably believe that this brutal police state would ever, ever have voluntarily disarmed?

TBogg says he doesn�t even know that one thing.

To us, of course, a certain Rubicon (or is that Euphrates?) has been crossed when war hawks are now trying to make it seem like this proves their prewar arguments. In other words, the fallacy of the self-fullfilling prophecy

Would it have been reasonable to expect Saddam to disarm with an Iran next to him that has long funded Shiite opposition groups within Iraq? With a Turkey or Syria to the north that would love to make a power grab? With an Israel that had already bombed him once?

Hesiod has a take on this, based on the very sensible proposition that Saddam has had twelve years to plan for exactly this, and probably already has, meaning that we may not be seeing the actions of a rabid dog but rather a very cunning plan to force a stalemate and then a political solution.

As for us, we�d also like say that any college or pro football or basketball coach apparently knows what Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Perle do not. Namely, if you think your opponents are weak and a pushover, don�t spend weeks before the contest trash-talking them in the press to that effect.

Two words: Bulletin Board. We just wonder now what effect it had on all those Iraqi soldiers to hear (as we�re sure Saddam and his loyalists made sure that they did) that they were apathetic lackeys who would surrender their own homeland without firing a shot.

When they heard these things, they may have forgotten how much they hated Saddam. They may have felt some pride in something for the first time in a while.

Why does Iraq even need a Ministry of Information when we have Rumsfeld, Cheney and Adelman?

posted by Sully 3/29/2003 12:16:00 AM


Sullivan conveniently avoids quoting from the Guardian story in which the BBC supposedly admits being biased to the right.

As usual, ALWAYS FOLLOW THE LINK. For what you get here shows you just what depths Andrew Sullivan has fallen into.

What was the BBC apologizing for? Not any �bias� per se � just reporting some incorrect facts from the early days of the war, like that an entire Iraqi division had surrendered, or that Umm Qasr had been liberated:

Mark Damazer, the deputy director of BBC News, also admitted the BBC had been making mistakes �on a daily basis� during the first week of the Iraq conflict, but denied there was any deliberate bias towards either the pro or anti-war camps.

�I don�t deny for a moment that the accumulation of things that have happened in the first week, such as the false claims about the fall of Umm Qasr and the surrender of the Iraqi 51st division, have left the public feeling they are not as well informed as they should be,� Mr Damazer said.

So, apparently, for Sully, bias consists of failing to report propaganda as fact.

It�s no longer surprising.

posted by Sully 3/29/2003 12:01:00 AM

Friday, March 28, 2003


Blogger crashed during the one window of time we had today around noon, so as it turned out Salon did the hard work of compiling the many examples of hawks both in government and out suggesting the war would be a cakewalk.

Even Smalltown Boy is forced to concede the point somewhat. But, of course, he never forgets that nothing is too important to trash out Bill Clinton. The fact that he rejects the argument that Clinton was trying to set up Bush is not as telling as the fact that he entertained it in his blog in the first place.

More intolerable is his indirect imputing of an increase in gay discharges to Clinton. Apparently it was all Clinton�s fault ... if he hadn�t been there to provoke the military, they could have handled themselves better. Of course, that wouldn't have changed the fact that gays have about as much legal right to serve in the military as Oday Hussein.

posted by Sully 3/28/2003 11:54:00 PM

Thursday, March 27, 2003


Marshall again with some sobering yet penetrating analysis of just what the long-term implications of our brushoff of the Turks was ... it may well wind up benefiting the French at our expense:

France has never made peace with American dominance in Europe. What they�ve heretofore lacked was a constituency among the countries of Europe to work against that dominance. Now they have it. And France is a big player in ... well, what else to call it, an alliance, the EU, which Turkey would really like to become a part of. If no more than French perfidy were involved here, France�s threat would carry little weight. France doesn�t run the EU. On the contrary, if the Turks think that the French are now speaking for most of the populations of Europe, the threat could be quite real. As we noted here, opportunists will always arise to exploit an exploitable situation. But we created a situation ripe for exploitation.

It�s sad and undignified for conservatives to trumpet the evidence of the administration�s shortsightedness and incompetence as evidence of its insight. They�re lost in a tangle of their own enthusiasm and self-deception. Unfortunately, we�re all along for the ride.

We are so often reminded by this war of one of our favorite lines of cinematic wisdom of all time, Mickey Rourke�s line to William Hurt in Body Heat:

Any time you can think of a decent crime, there are fifty ways to fuck it up. If you can think of twenty-five, you�re a genius.

And you ain�t no genius.

posted by Sully 3/27/2003 02:50:00 PM


Permit us also to recommend, also from the Post, courtesy of Max Sawicky, Harold Myerson�s op-ed piece:

Whence this arrogance? The toxic mix of unilateralist policy and belligerent attitude that defines this administration has several sources. The neoconservatives who have been promoting war with Iraq ever since Poppy Bush let Saddam Hussein get away in 1991 have long acted with a kind of historical certitude, exhibiting an almost Leninist ruthlessness toward any institution that would impede America's hegemony. (In fact, neoconservatives can trace their roots to Trotskyist anti-Stalinism, and they seem to have retained the Trotskyists� imperviousness to all those annoying facts that suggest history may have gotten off course.)

You go Harold! But then he cites something that brought to mind another thought we�d been mulling over:

That Bush�s is the first CEO-dominated administration in U.S. history has also played a role in botching the content and conduct of our foreign relations. Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld (and Treasury Secretary John Snow and Commerce Secretary Don Evans, among others) were not merely CEOs, but CEOs at the moment of the cult of the CEO. The men who ran corporations in the boom-time �90s were lionized for the rising value of their companies� stock at a time when all stocks were rising. They could do no wrong; few rewards were denied them. Theirs was an altogether cosseted world from which the word �no� � at least, directed at them � was all but banished. Not the best training, perhaps, for dealing with sovereign nations. This was not the world that bred George Marshall, George Kennan � or, for that matter, Colin Powell.

What we add is this.

Look at the war plan. Announce you�re going to do something bold and attention-getting that looks neat, but for which the need has not yet been established. Tout your technology. Start with whatever resources you can scrounge. Go like hell at the start. Hope you�ll be able to pick up more juice later. When everyone scoffs at your plan and asks pertinent questions about its many long-term implications, diss them and diss them big-time. Say they�re prisoners of such old ways of thinking and they don�t understand the new way. Say your plan depends on intangibles that can�t be easily measured. Say you always need just a little bit more resources to make it really work for everyone, everyone who will of course understand after it�s all over. Spend like crazy promoting it, whether such promotion actually works or not, as you have been told that if you promote like crazy, you�ve got something to promote. Rely on a tight coterie of advisers in the grip of some iconoclastic philosophy promoted in flashy magazines.

Does this sound familiar? Is this a pattern we heard a lot of during that same recent epoch?

We respectfully submit that this conflict should be formally renamed GulfWarTwo.Com and a flashy IPO (with the appropriate pre-IPO allocations to Dick Cheney�s friends, of course) be announced for next quarter.

posted by Sully 3/27/2003 02:36:00 PM


The esteemed author of What Liberal Media? has, in responding to some friendly criticism from Michelangelo Signorile, set the record, ahem, straight on one of Sullivan�s longstanding canards about him.

This is not really a �gay� issue for me but a privacy one. Andy�s whining notwithstanding, I never once took advantage of his tabloid troubles deriving from his personal ad, despite the fact that he is more than willing to do so to others.

In the case about which I did have something to say, The New York Times Magazine unaccountably allowed him to �out� liberal politicians and entertainment figures. I think that was wrong. I still do. But as I said, I could be wrong and I appreciate both the spirit and the content of Signorile�s criticism.

(link ours)

posted by Sully 3/27/2003 02:16:00 PM


We join with other bloggers in recommending today�s lead Washington Post story, about the unexpected ... well, so far we�ll call them complications of the Iraqis� horrible decision to violate every international treaty by fighting back.

Money quote:

�The whole linchpin of this operation was the reaction of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi ground force,� said retired Army Col. Robert Killebrew, a specialist in war planning. �If they don't turn, and so far they haven�t, we have a very different strategic problem facing us than when we went in.�

We also think a certain former Speaker of the House needs a remedial lesson in military history:

Gingrich, who also is a member of the Defense Policy Board, a top Pentagon advisory group, said the key fact to keep in mind is that U.S. forces drove to within 50 miles of the capital in just six days without being engaged by regular Iraqi forces. �If they come out and fight us, they will be annihilated,� he said.

(emphasis ours)

Gee, when the other side is refusing battle, and you�re moving over empty, strategically trvial land, a Sunday school picnic trip could look like the unstoppable force. Just remember that it took the Soviets two bloody weeks to take Berlin, another embattled, bombed-out city with a despised dictator holed up in a bunker underground.

posted by Sully 3/27/2003 01:17:00 PM


Why did conservative hawks like me not believe our own rhetoric about the horrors of totalitarianism?

Because you knew you were talking out of your ass on so many other things as well?

Of course, our recent musings on neoconservatism make us realize that the hawks have personal experience of �success in indoctrinating and marshalling the shock troops� that may make them blind to the way it works regardless of ideology.


�Embrace the suck�

posted by Sully 3/27/2003 12:59:00 PM


TBogg has some harsh words for Sullivan�s responses to Iraqi atrocities:

What did he think was going to happen? That the Iraqi soldiers were going to stand in formation with musket loaders while drummers and pipers played behind them? That they wouldn�t use their media for propaganda purposes? Here�s a news flash: Saddam or no Saddam, these people are fighting for their homes and country against an invading army. The �shooting prisoners of war in the head� is pure unfounded Sullivan hysteria, and severely diminishes what little credibility that Andy had to begin with. Iraqi soldiers are wearing civilian clothes and fighting from neighborhoods. Why does he find this so surprising?

For someone who claims to have not watched the Academy Awards, it sure seems that his knowledge of war is based on old John Wayne and Audie Murphy movies. Someone send him the Library of America set of Reporting Vietnam so he can brush up on how war is fought by the home team before he embarrasses himself anymore.

posted by Sully 3/27/2003 11:12:00 AM


Keep in mind Sully�s oft-expressed hopes that the administration is serious about democratizing Iraq, and his advice to antiwar protesters that they concentrate their energies on holding the administration�s feet to the fire over the issue, when you read this truly frightening Josh Marshall piece in the newest Washington Monthly:

In their view, invasion of Iraq was not merely, or even primarily, about getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Nor was it really about weapons of mass destruction, though their elimination was an important benefit. Rather, the administration sees the invasion as only the first move in a wider effort to reorder the power structure of the entire Middle East.


In short, the administration is trying to roll the table � to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually every regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt, on the theory that it is the undemocratic nature of these regimes that ultimately breeds terrorism. So events that may seem negative � Hezbollah for the first time targeting American civilians; U.S. soldiers preparing for war with Syria � while unfortunate in themselves, are actually part of the hawks� broader agenda. Each crisis will draw U.S. forces further into the region and each countermove in turn will create problems that can only be fixed by still further American involvement, until democratic governments � or, failing that, U.S. troops � rule the entire Middle East.

There is a startling amount of deception in all this � of hawks deceiving the American people, and perhaps in some cases even themselves. While it�s conceivable that bold American action could democratize the Middle East, so broad and radical an initiative could also bring chaos and bloodshed on a massive scale. That all too real possibility leads most establishment foreign policy hands, including many in the State Department, to view the Bush plan with alarm. Indeed, the hawks' record so far does not inspire confidence. Prior to the invasion, for instance, they predicted that if the United States simply announced its intention to act against Saddam regardless of how the United Nations voted, most of our allies, eager to be on our good side, would support us. Almost none did. Yet despite such grave miscalculations, the hawks push on with their sweeping new agenda.

Like any group of permanent Washington revolutionaries fueled by visions of a righteous cause, the neocons long ago decided that criticism from the establishment isn�t a reason for self-doubt but the surest sign that they�re on the right track. But their confidence also comes from the curious fact that much of what could go awry with their plan will also serve to advance it.


Ever since the neocons burst upon the public policy scene 30 years ago, their movement has been a marriage of moral idealism, military assertiveness, and deception.


This willingness to deceive � both themselves and others � expanded as neocons grew more comfortable with power.


... [L]ike a TV plot, the hawks� vision rests on a willing suspension of disbelief, in particular, on the premise that every close call will break in our favor: The guard will fall asleep next to the cell so our heroes can pluck the keys from his belt. The hail of enemy bullets will plink-plink-plink over our heroes� heads. And the getaway car in the driveway will have the keys waiting in the ignition. Sure, the hawks� vision could come to pass. But there are at least half a dozen equally plausible alternative scenarios that would be disastrous for us.


The hawks� whole plan rests on the assumption that we can turn it into a self-governing democracy � that the very presence of that example will transform politics in the Middle East. But what if we can� really create a democratic, self-governing Iraq, at least not very quickly? What if the experience we had after World War II in Germany and Japan, two ethnically homogeneous nations, doesn�t quite work in an ethnically divided Iraq where one group, the Sunni Arabs, has spent decades repressing and slaughtering the others?


Ultimately, the longer we stay as occupiers, the more Iraq becomes not an example for other Arabs to emulate, but one that helps Islamic fundamentalists make their case that America is just an old-fashioned imperium bent on conquering Arab lands. And that will make worse all the problems set forth above.


If the Bush administration has thought through these various negative scenarios � and we must presume, or at least pray, that it has � it certainly has not shared them with the American people. More to the point, the president has not even leveled with the public that such a clean-sweep approach to the Middle East is, in fact, their plan. This breaks new ground in the history of pre-war presidential deception. Franklin Roosevelt said he was trying to keep the United States out of World War II even as he � in some key ways � courted a confrontation with the Axis powers that he saw as both inevitable and necessary. History has judged him well for this. Far more brazenly, Lyndon Johnson�s administration greatly exaggerated the Gulf of Tonkin incident to gin up support for full-throttle engagement in Vietnam. The war proved to be Johnson�s undoing. When President Clinton used American troops to quell the fighting in Bosnia he said publicly that our troops would be there no longer than a year, even though it was widely understood that they would be there far longer. But in the case of these deceptions, the public was at least told what the goals of the wars were and whom and where we would be fighting.

Today, however, the great majority of the American people have no concept of what kind of conflict the president is leading them into. The White House has presented this as a war to depose Saddam Hussein in order to keep him from acquiring weapons of mass destruction � a goal that the majority of Americans support. But the White House really has in mind an enterprise of a scale, cost, and scope that would be almost impossible to sell to the American public. The White House knows that. So it hasn�t even tried. Instead, it�s focused on getting us into Iraq with the hope of setting off a sequence of events that will draw us inexorably towards the agenda they have in mind.

The brazenness of this approach would be hard to believe if it weren�t entirely in line with how the administration has pursued so many of its other policy goals. Its preferred method has been to use deceit to create faits accomplis, facts on the ground that then make the administration�s broader agenda almost impossible not to pursue.


Another president may be able to rebuild NATO or get the budget back in balance. But once America begins the process of remaking the Middle East in the way the hawks have in mind, it will be extremely difficult for any president to pull back.

As Sting put it in a different context, �One day in a nuclear age/ They may understand our rage ...�

Will Sullivan understand how badly he was used when it finally becomes too obvoius even for him to deny? Maybe. But remember that he has absolutely no moral standing on this issue, having explicitly advocated exactly this kind of deception on the administration�s part even before anyone imagined planes crashing into the World Trade Center (see blogroll for link).

posted by Sully 3/27/2003 11:08:00 AM


If the war is more protracted, that makes the home front much more important. The propaganda organs against this war will fight hard to weaken American resolve ... But heaven knows, the anti-war right and left will do all they can to derail a war they so fiercely opposed ... We have to reiterate tirelessly that we are morally in the right.

Don�t tell us anymore that this war isn�t as much a vehicle to discredit the domestic left as it is for regime change.

And what are we to make of this?

If we have to live without a perfect scenario - regime collapse, infrastructure intact, civilians spared to an historically unprecedented degree � we have to.

So, we don't even have to topple Saddam? A rather odd way to conclude a paragraph that states �winning means unconditional surrender of the regime.

posted by Sully 3/27/2003 08:56:00 AM

Wednesday, March 26, 2003


Quiddity Quack, who delighted us by taking favorable notice of our long digression about the pending schism on the right, has two adjacent posts about our boy Andrew: one beginning the reality check on his Sunday Times column this week, the other just beyond words.

posted by Sully 3/26/2003 09:21:00 PM


TAPped linked to this fine Boston Globe piece about the Commonwealth origins of some of our loudest boosters of American Imperium, including The Blog Queen:

... [A] quick review of history shows that imperial enthusiasm doesn�t emanate only from the center. Often, the dream of empire is nursed by those born on the periphery of power, precisely because empire would give them a place in a larger framework. Alexander the Great, for example, was born in Macedonia and went on to create an Hellenic empire. And France�s greatest empire-builder was the Corsican Napoleon.

The writer, Jeet Heer doesn�t, of course, go on to the obvious next point that comes to mind: Hitler, an Austrian, built the last German empire and Stalin arrived in this world a Georgian, not a Russian. But perhaps that would have been (as, indeed, it was) overkill.

It�s also nice to learn that a) The Sage of South Goodstone did not coin the term �Anglosphere� himself, and b) it came from a sci-fi novel (no shame in that, a number of useful terms came into being in places like Astounding):

Among conservative intellectuals, Black�s dream of an Anglo-American concert of nations is part of a larger desire to strengthen �the Anglosphere.'� Apparently coined by science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his 1995 novel �The Diamond Age,� the term has been popularized lately by journalists like James C. Bennett, who writes a weekly column covering �The Anglosphere Beat� for United Press International, and Andrew Sullivan, as well as by the English historian Robert Conquest. The proponents of an anglosphere want a loose and informal alliance of English-speaking peoples, modelled on the �soft� imperialism that governed Britain�s relationship with dominions like Canada and Australia, not the �hard� imperialism of the Raj.

posted by Sully 3/26/2003 09:12:00 PM


Whatever political motivations Shepherd�s Bush may have, the quote is amply justified by the reported facts in the story:

The explosion in this district of Baghdad took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

What is impossible to ascertain now is what possibly could have been a military target in such a populated area.

By late morning the district was transformed into an almost apocalyptic scene.

Ferocious sandstorms enveloped the city in a blood-red haze, it was as though the day was turned into perpetual dusk by the fine, choking sand.

Within minutes the sense of bewilderment began to turn to defiance and also anger.

What is a tragedy for the people of Shaab is a public relations disaster for London and Washington.

�We are just trying to make a living in our shops,� one man told me.

�What do they want from us, why are they doing this? Our homes are gone and are livelihoods are gone.�

Now, if Sully had any journalistic antennae, he�d have followed Sean-Paul Kelley�s lead:

Developing story right now is that the �bomb� that went off in the market earlier is left too small a crater for coalition weapon. It was only two feet deep. Suspected to be an Iraqi air defense weapon. The weapon, repeat, does not resemble any coalition �penetration weapon.�

Guess which major western media outlet discusses this possibility in great depth later? Why, the BBC, of course!

posted by Sully 3/26/2003 09:02:00 PM


When you�re cornered, this is how you fight. But it is also reminiscent of al Qaeda and other Islamist fanatics.

Good God, is there no end to what he will do to hedge a bet?

posted by Sully 3/26/2003 07:10:00 PM


Now it�s Justin Raimondo�s turn to have his way with David Frum, and some of his analysis agrees with ours. We don�t always like him but on this he�s a good read.

Such a technology is naturally not conducive to the neocons� party-lining Soviet mentality, and it is telling that Frum�s piece, which appeared on the Internet before it ever saw print, contains not a single link. That�s because most of it is lies: he pulls quotes out of context, without linking to the original, and is liberal in his use of ellipses. Readers who bother to check the original � not, one will have to sadly admit, your typical National Review reader � will find that he�s distorted the meaning of the original beyond recognition.


Frum does not even confront the essential argument made by paleoconservatives and libertarians against this war: that its consequences on the home front are going to be the worst of it. Yet Frum is, himself, the best evidence that we are right, for war has surely brought out the worst in him. Not only are his arguments completely lame, but the viciousness that motivates them is truly ugly.


What�s going on is that the neoconservatives have been caught off guard by the extent and intensity of antiwar sentiment on the Right. They thought they had a monopoly on the foreign policy stance of thinking conservatives, but this turned out to be far from true.


It is the neocons, however, who will be held accountable. They are now getting high off the triumphant march of American troops as they race toward Baghdad, and will no doubt get quite a rush celebrating their great �victory,� but when the bill comes due � when the real costs begin to mount, and the natives get restless � they will slip quietly toward the door.

posted by Sully 3/26/2003 07:06:00 PM


When we browsed on over to John Kusch�s blog for his recent blast at Sully�s reliance on poll numbers to morally justify the war, we were also amused by his reaction to a Welsh politician�s outing in a local park:

There�s only one explanation for this kind of ridiculous and reprehensible behavior: there are gay men who are adrenaline junkies, who thrive on the naughtiness of public park sex, who are irresistably drawn to the danger and the risk of being caught � and who secretly, in their deepest selves, act out their superficial, depersonalized compulsions because they believe being gay is wrong.

Hmm. Think this could be applied to anyone else?

posted by Sully 3/26/2003 12:58:00 PM


You know Sullivan�s casual, chin-scratching remark about how he suddenly realized the Iraqi armed forces might have enough pride to not roll over and say �How we admire your neoconservative moral resolve, your appointed president�s rolling Churchillian rhetoric!� earns him this little bit of friendly-yet-serious payback from �The Mickster� (you know, maybe if he�s so big on welfare reform and being in touch with the African-American community he should call himself Micks-Master MK or something like that):

... [O]ne admission by Sullivan may qualify as the understatement of the month, if not the year:

I also think that we hawks might have under-estimated the Iraqis' sense of national violation at being invaded - despite their hatred of Saddam.

Er, um, yes. ... And Sullivan was doing such a great job of gloating two days ago! (I actually mean that � the posts were excellent.) Give him points for expressing his doubts and second-thoughts instead of hiding under a shield of Fox-like certitude. ...P.S.: Would an invasion by the U.N. have been less resented by Iraqis? I�d say clearly yes. It�s a higher-order power. And nobody�s resented like the U.S. is resented.

Along those lines, Kaus slyly counters Sully�s frothing at mouth over the French:

Maybe we could have used Jacques Chirac�s proposed 30-day delay � if only to bring the 4th Infantry divisions heavy weaponry down from Turkey, where they were blocked from being used in a Northern front.


Josh Marshall has done an excellent job showing how the Bush Administration�s ham-handed excuse for diplomacy in Turkey has hurt the war effort and insulted a valuable ally.


It occurs to us that, once Iraq is secured, the most apt historical comparison will be Israel�s 1982 invasion of southern Lebanon (similar justification and opening) which of course does not present the most uplifting future.

In light of that, then, when reading this week�s Economist we found this quote, in an article about Shia Islam and the complex issues invovled, from a Hezbollah spokesman in that country to recommend itself well to all of us:

When Israel invaded here ... we met them with showers of rice and roses. One hundred days later we blew up their headquarters.

posted by Sully 3/26/2003 12:47:00 PM


Sully has his spin on how it�s going; we all have ours. But if you can read Russian, you might want to go here for some really informed commentary. English translations of some can be found here.

Yes, maybe it's a propaganda project of Russian intelligence. But nothing in what we've translated and read seems to contradict anything we know, so far. Like ...

Aerial bombardment of Baghdad has so far failed to produce the expected results. All targets designated before the war have been hit 3 to 7 times, but this had almost no effect on the combat readiness of the Iraqi army, their air defenses or the command and control structures.

It seems that during preparation for the war the Iraqis were able to create new, well-protected communication lines and control centers. There is plenty of intelligence information indicating that so far the US electronic reconnaissance was unable to locate and to penetrate the Iraqi command's communication network, which is an indication of the network's high technological sophistication.

A particular point of concern for the US command is the huge overuse of precision-guided munitions and cruise missiles. Already the supply of heavy cruise missiles like the �Tomahawk� has been reduced by a third and, at the current rate of use, in three weeks the US will be left only with the untouchable strategic supply of these missiles. A similar situation exists with other types of precision-guided munitions. "The rate of their use is incompatible with the obtained results. We are literally dropping gold into the mud!" said Gen. Richard Mayers during a meeting in Pentagon yesterday morning. [reverse translation from Russian]


During today�s online meeting at the coalition headquarters Gen. Franks was criticized for inefficient command of his troops and for his inability to concentrate available forces on the main tasks.


A decision was made to change the way aviation is used in this war. The use of precision-guided munitions will be scaled down and these weapons will be reserved for attacking only known, confirmed targets. There will be an increase in the use of conventional high-yield aviation bombs, volume-detonation bombs and incendiary munitions. The USAF command is ordered to deliver to airbases used against Iraq a two-week supply of aviation bombs of 1-tonn caliber and higher as well as volume-detonation and incendiary bombs. This means that Washington is resorting to the �scorched earth� tactics and carpet-bombing campaign.

Link to the English version from Sawicky.

posted by Sully 3/26/2003 02:48:00 AM


We got the day-pass thing to work. Here it is:

Andrew Sullivan posted a fine example of this hysterical style last Saturday, in which he predicted that I will be "politically annihilated." The clinical experts over at Sullywatch wonder why he spews poison at me; I can only speculate that I'm receiving my deserved cosmic comeuppance for defending Salon's decision to hire Andrew, not once but twice.

Just that got us over 1,500 hits and led to Sitemeter going down on us for a while.


posted by Sully 3/26/2003 02:22:00 AM

Tuesday, March 25, 2003


We see from Sitemeter that none other than Joe Conason has linked to us from Salon, generating over a thousand hits. Wow! The new best day in the history of the blog, by a long shot!

However, we do have one slight problem.

We don�t, for reasons we�ve made clear in the past, subscribe to Salon. So could someone please email us a full copy of the article, specifically where the link was, so we can read it? We tried doing that watch-the-ad-for-the-free-pass thing, but it didn�t work.

posted by Sully 3/25/2003 10:33:00 AM


As we noted last week, it was inevitable that the self-styled paleocons would launch a counterstrike against David Frum�s National Review Online hit job on them.

Hesiod �twas who brought Robert Novak�s latest column to our attention yesterday. Not surprisingly, he can give as good as he got, pleading that he and Pat Buchanan, unlike those EEEeevil antiwar people on the left, really do support the troops, and that unlike Frum (and, he conveniently failed to note, Buchanan), he actually served in the U.S. Army.

TAPped, too, took notice with comments that explored a similar direction as ours: namely, how it got to be this way. How did National Review become less intellectual and scholarly and more just another pipe on the Mighty Wurlitzer?

Well, we�re not CJR, but we�ll throw a few things out there.

It�s been years since we last leafed through issues of NR regularly, but that has as much to do with the magazine�s declining importance among the right as its journal of record as it does with its change in tone, which in fact are two sides of the same coin.

Kevin Drum, who also had some thoughts on the matter, captures it best about what was still true of National Review in the �80s, to some extent:

The old Buckley version of the magazine, love it or hate it, was often animated by a Goldwater-like adherence to principle, come what may. The current version, on the other hand, simply picks and chooses its target with no apparent principle to guide it. Federalism is good when it�s on their side, bad when it isn't. Ditto for Supreme Court strict constructionism, libertarian views of individual rights, federal deficits, and a host of other topics. I can quite imagine Buckley, for example, engaging in sustained criticism of the Bush administration if it did something he disapproved of, but not the current group. They might � might � write a single article expressing mild disagreement, but that�s about it.

Yup. In the Reagan �80s, we recall, NR still editorialized strongly in favor of drug legalization, allowed a pseudonymous conservative a controversial (well, for NR) cover story pleading the case for gay rights, and felt no problem in criticizing the first Bush administration for its clandestine openings to China.

The problem was, as Spy magazine put it in its famous �The Boys Who Would Be Buckley� story (someone should put all those old Spy articles online somewhere), by the second Reagan term NR had become more of a symbol, a relic, than an actual organ of importance to the conservative movement, �ritually subscribed to but never read,� ignored by the rank and file in favor of the cheekier American Spectator and the Norman Podhoretz-edited Commentary. These were the figurative in-flight magazines of Reagan�s Air Force One.

Let us not forget, as well, that NR had to deal with the frequently embarassing presence of Jeffrey Hart (faculty advisor to the Dartmouth Review) and Joseph Sobran, who sort of blew his spot praising an obscure racist magazine called Instauration. As TAPped reminds us:

It wasn�t so long ago, after all, that Buchanan�s version of conservatism had a home at NR. (If memory serves, Michael Lind, currently a poo-bah at the New America Foundation and years ago a Buckley protege, left the magazine � and the conservative movement � during the early 1990s over Buckley�s refusal to disavow the anti-Semitic ravings of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.)

So what�s happened in the interim?

It�s important (especially for our, ahem, younger readers) that the conservatism that came to power in 1980 was fundamentally a different movement than the one we know now.

There were several different strains vying for power and influence within the executive branch: the Old Right, represented by Buchanan and his ilk then and now; the New Right, Newt Gingrich�s faction, and the neoconservatives, former alleged liberals like Podhoretz and Horowitz who had �seen the light� and were passionate about actively confronting the Soviet Union and, well, just about everything else. The residual antisemitism in the movement made this group a little more restrained than it later became, as most (but not all) of its avatars were Jewish, a rarity in the movement up till that point.

Now imagine a time traveler skipping the last two decades or so and looking at the conservatives of today. He or she could only conclude one thing: The neocons have won, and won big. The New/Religious Right is pretty much a wholly-owned subsidiary that, since it never really had its own line on foreign policy, lets the neocons handle that and shares common ground with them on many social issues. The Old Right, the one with its roots in small Midwestern towns that Frum describes ... well, you saw what happened to them.

How did this happen? We think what the neocons brought to the fight that other conservatives failed to appreciate was a talent for organization and centralism and a sheer Stalinist ruthlessness in dealing with their opponents.

Frum cites, as does paleocon Sam Francis, the early 1980s fight over who would be appointed to head the National Endowment for the Humanities ... M.E. Bradford, the paleo pick, or a then-unknown young intellectual named William Bennett. Bradford lost because, Frum asserts, he had (among other things) written articles comparing Lincoln to Hitler.

Francis has a rather different take on that:

The politics of this conflict, as those involved in it will recall, was often vicious and personal, the most notorious case being the backstabbing treatment of the late M.E. Bradford by his neoconservative rivals over the appointment to the chairmanship of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1981. The bitterness of the NEH controversy was due not to the neocons pushing their own nominee, the totally unknown and laughably under-qualified William Bennett but to their complete lack of hesitation in smearing, lying about, and undermining Bradford at every opportunity.

Scotchie deals briefly with the Bradford controversy, but I have to say, as one closely involved in supporting Bradford at the time, that he does not dwell sufficiently on the sheer evil and meanness of neoconservative conduct in it. But he also notes the firing, calculated vilification, or effective ostracism of several paleos or paleo fellow travelers by the neocon cabal in the following years as well as the deliberate campaign to strip the Rockford Institute of funding by neoconservative-controlled foundations.

As the neoconservatives emerged into prominence, most paleos more or less welcomed them, believing their contributions were largely positive and that if they could move no further to the right then, they might do so in time. Certainly that was Mel Bradford�s view before he enjoyed the benefit of their malicious attentions. By the late 1980s, however, no informed paleo harbored any such illusions any longer. Critics of paleoconservatives who raise an eyebrow at the bitterness and sheer hatred that paleo polemics with neocons sometimes display will find in Scotchie�s book a good deal of explanation for such passions.

What the neocons realized was that whoever controlled the funding, given the limited sources at the time, controlled the movement. They had help from people outside of it, too, like Sullivan and his boss Marty Peretz, who could perform flanking maneuvers. And pretty soon paleos realized the waters around them had grown. Deep

The second reaction that elicited the emergence of paleoconservatism was what most paleos began to grasp as the intellectual, moral, and political collapse of the mainstream conservative movement itself. Not only did such stalwarts of the mainstream Right as National Review and various Washington think tanks begin to welcome neoconservatives as allies and allow them to displace older conservatives, but the older conservatives themselves (as well as the much vaunted �New Right�) began to adopt the essentially liberal rhetoric and values to which neoconservatives appealed.

For example, paleos, neos, and the mainstream Right all opposed sanctions against South Africa, but the case against sanctions was less and less couched in terms of American national interest and anti-communism and more and more as simply an inefficient way to promote global democracy and end apartheid. Sanctions, the conservative mantra of the day held, �would only hurt South African blacks,� a price the communist-dominated African National Congress and its allies in this country were entirely prepared to pay (or allow South African blacks to pay).

Anti-communism itself was transmuted into a neo-Wilsonian crusade for spreading democracy, and the cultural and institutional preconditions that make stable democratic government feasible were ignored. A �big government conservatism� that virtually abandoned the constitutionalist and anti- statist convictions of the Old Right was espoused by Newt Gingrich, Jack Kemp, Irving Kristol, and George Bush (not to mention his son).


... [P]aleoconservatism emerged also as a reaction against what was taking place in American culture itself in the 1980s and �90s, trends that the mainstream Right warmly embraced. Not only the increasing secularism, hedonism, and carnal and material self-indulgence of the dominant culture but also its shallowness and artificiality, its proclivity to being manipulated by media and political elites, its passivity in the face of more and more usurpation of social and civic functions by big government, big business, and big media, and the happy chatter from the contemporary political Right that celebrated this transformation and identified public morality almost exclusively with flag-waving, prayer in schools, invoking saccharine and platitude about �family values,� and constant ranting about any and all movies that contained sex.

Politically, the leadership of the Right evolved from Robert Taft in the 1940s and �50s, who, as Scotchie writes, �cared more ... about the survival of the shoe-making industry in America than whether American consumers could someday buy $125 sneakers made by twenty-five cents an hour labor in Indonesia,� to Newt Gingrich, who babbled about a laptop computer for every school child and doted credulously on the most bizarre New Age banalities. Culturally and intellectually, the Right moved from the radical conservative cultural criticism of men like Donald Davidson, Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, and Bernard I. Bell to the post-Reagan triumphalism that chortled over the �end of history� and the arrival of the world democratic imperium.

When rightist despondence over the end of the Cold War and the lack of a uniting foe was ended by the rise of the Limabugh-fueled Angry White Male of the early '90s that swept Republicans to congressional majority for the first time in decades, these massed voices spoke not with the measured tone of the Old Right but with the fervor of the neocons. (See how Freepers responded to paleo Paul Craig Roberts� antiwar column in last week�s Washington Times, for example ... twenty years ago most of them would have been supporting him).

This, more than anything else, is what motivates the paleos. One thing you could say about the movement they grew up in was that conservatives told it what to do, not the other way around.

Neocons had always resented paleos because they were what liberals thought the conservative movement was composed of, the stereotypes they employed. Naturally they were going to push them out the door at the earliest opportunity.

But they�ve decided they�re not going gently into history�s good night. And this war, neocon to its teeth, is a target of serious opportunity for them.

posted by Sully 3/25/2003 10:21:00 AM


Just remember, it�s one thing to take open desert with determined though spotty local guerilla resistance ... and another thing to take a city which is as close to the enemy�s home turf as possible (Cf. Moscow, Stalingrad).

And remember, after Baghdad, there�s still Tikrit ... Saddam�s hometown.

posted by Sully 3/25/2003 09:10:00 AM


I also think that we hawks might have under-estimated the Iraqis� sense of national violation at being invaded � despite their hatred of Saddam.

Well, duh! We were wondering if the reason some of those Iraqi soldiers are fighting back rather than �surrendering at us from all sides� might be pure professional pride.

And make that �we chickenhawks.� Somehow, we think, bloggers and other commentators with military experience understand this implicitly.

posted by Sully 3/25/2003 09:04:00 AM

Monday, March 24, 2003


If Sullivan needs some genuine military expertise, he could rely on his (supposed) friend Josh Marshall:

Now, in this case, it�s very important to give some context to words like �failure� or things going better or worse than expected. Over the last year I�ve spoken to many US military planners. And what�s happened so far seems well within the range of what they considered expected outcomes. It�s only that the best case scenario does not so far seem to be materializing.

Let�s take Basra first. Part of the lightning approach the US is following here is to set everything aside in pursuit of getting to Baghdad and decapitating the regime. On that thinking, it�s fine just to seal off Basra � and its military capabilities � and move on to Baghdad. One needs to be sure that it�s sufficiently secured so as not to allow Iraqi units to circle back and attack the relatively vulnerable US supply lines on the way to Baghdad. But that's probably not too big a worry. The Iraqi Army�s real bite, if it has one, is going to be in defensive actions, particularly in urban settings. The issue is not that Basra's resistance is a problem in itself. It�s what it may portend for Baghdad, Tikrit and other Iraqi cities.

Basra is in heavily Shi'a southern Iraq. And it's garrisoned by the regime's least reliable troops. So if the regime's military were going to fold quickly or be overwhelmed by restive civilians, you'd expect it to be there. The fact that it hasn�t makes it much less likely that that sort of happy outcome will happen in Sunni central Iraq, among the Special Republican Guards, Saddam�s Tikriti tribesmen, and others closely associated with the regime. In short, Saddam seems to have a good number of troops who are willing to fight and die for what appears to be a doomed regime.


Now, the failure of a rapid capitulation in Basra doesn�t necessarily mean the Basrans want to fight the US soldiers. It may mean there is a sprinkling of Republican Guards and still-fearsome security forces in the city who have been able to keep a reign of terror in place which has prevented any slide toward capitulation. In a sense, though, the fact is more important than the �why�

In a similar vein, Atrios makes the same point we did that we may not be protecting our supply lines adequately.


Hesiod reports on who is gamely using the club of denial of EU membership to keep Turkey from invading Iraq.

posted by Sully 3/24/2003 09:40:00 PM


It is important to remember, I think, that the war isn�t just between the West and Saddam. There�s also a political and ideological war within the West.

As we always suspected, this war has as much to do with discrediting the domestic left as it does with backing the Palestinians into a corner.

The anti-war crowd have lost the argument about going to war; so they are determined to win the case during and after it. They want this war to be regarded as a disaster.

A lot of these same people wanted Gulf War I to be regarded as a disaster. It wasn�t.

Whether the current incarnation also will be is entirely up to what happens in-theater. That means our generals, and, most importantly, the man in the White House bear all the responsibility for making sure it isn�t. So far, they have had to admit they underestimated the enemy.

And it's up to the rest of us to fight back, expose them, and keep people focused on reality, not pro-Saddam and anti-Western spin. I need your help in this, so keep those press clips coming. Blogs are another weapon. We should use them.

As Atrios says all too often these days, Neal Pollack should just give up ...

posted by Sully 3/24/2003 09:29:00 PM


Without Saddam�s sponsorship of Palestinian terror, the leaders might actually have some incentive to reach a peace agreement.

�Without foreign sponsorship of Palestinian resistance activities, the leaders might have no way of keeping Ariel Sharon from imposing terms most favorable to Israel on them.�

No, we don�t like that one either. But please explain what "incentive" for the Palestinians to reach a peace agreement exists in the absence of any foreign sponsorship.

Or how about putting it this way?

�Without U.S. military aid to Israel, their leaders might actually have some incentive to make a peace agreement.�

Didn't like the sound of that? Neither do we.

posted by Sully 3/24/2003 09:22:00 PM


�Half-brained actors�? Oh, we forgot that real actors choose to waste a good, solid Ivy League education on half-assed Internet punditry, and should only do the odd stage production of Shakespeare for no pay (unless you count shaking down your readers several months later as a way to make up for it as hard-earned money).

posted by Sully 3/24/2003 09:16:00 PM


A post like that one about the flamboyant guy at the antiwar protest really makes us wish our pal Smarter Andrew Sullivan were still able to be on the beat, because one really has to note another instance where K�pitan Behrbach expresses or implies obvious distaste at behavior by homosexual men that fails to meet his standards of gay masculinity.

posted by Sully 3/24/2003 09:12:00 PM


Atrios also punctures Sully�s logic:

You see, Saddam is trying to kill us because the anti-war folk make our country wimpy because they care about casualties. If only we didn�t care about casualities, Saddam would have no reason to kill us so he wouldn�t.

posted by Sully 3/24/2003 09:06:00 PM


Atrios sends us to Bob Somerby, who lets loose on Sullivan as he hasn�t had to in a long time:

MUST BE SEEN TO BE BELIEVED: To see the idiot Sullivan in full Saddamite glory, go to last Friday�s Try to believe that this strange, crippled man wrote the three selections titled JUST READ CONASON, CAN DASCHLE GET ANYTHING RIGHT?, and SADDAM�S DOUBLE REVEALED. Can human beings get any dumber � and can they get any more pre-Enlightenment? (Almost too perfectly, in his second item � CAN DASCHLE GET ANYTHING RIGHT? � Sullivan rushed a �hoax� to the world.) Did we really have to go to England to come up with a person like this? Readers! Can�t we find enough crippled minds right here among our own native people?

Of course, watch Smalltown Boy try to make a claim that �crippled� is a slanting reference to his HIV status and act all hurt and call Somerby a left-wing homophobe.

posted by Sully 3/24/2003 09:03:00 PM


We had to finish something urgent today, but we�re grateful, so grateful, to the rest of the Left Blogistan community for more than taking up the slack.

Roger Ailes wins, hands down, the Meritorious Service Award. So total was his domination of the field that we thought we were reading ourselves:

On little white lies about watchiung the Academy Awards

the chemical weapons plant ... not! (A fine example of the �always follow the link� rule).

On his failure to blog around the clock and missing an opportunity to smear leftists with the actions of a few.

And putting the perceived objectivity of The New York Times over the welfare of the Iraqi people as his top priority for moral outrage for the duration.

Buy yourself a cold one on us, Roger. You�ve earned these links.

posted by Sully 3/24/2003 08:51:00 PM

Sunday, March 23, 2003


From Atrios, we learn that James Joyner has set Sullivan straight about his latest reach to try to hang some sort of bogus charge of moral equivalence on Howell Raines and the newspaper he edits, this time with the implied comparison of 9/11 and the bombing of Baghdad this week.

Strangely, I get nothing of the sort from the article. It seems like what they�re saying is that seeing buildings blown up reminds New Yorkers of 9/11 and renews fears that they will be hit in a retaliatory strike. Am I missing something?

We�d like to second that with the notion that, although they indeed are and were significantly different, having seen the collapse of the towers live on TV as it was happening (something we suspect Sullivan, who should consider how lucky he is that he has arranged for himself a lifestyle whereby he can live quite well yet sleep in most mornings, did not), we cannot but watch ths blasts leveling Saddam�s palace without at least sparing a passing thought for what effect witnessing such awesome destructive power unleashed in their own backyards by a foreign power has on the average Baghdadi.

posted by Sully 3/23/2003 02:57:00 PM


As Sullivan is cheering from the safe confines of Adams Morgan, Hesiod turns in exemplary service this morning in reminding us that ...

... al-Qaeda apparently doesn�t need Saddam�s help in getting bioweapons.

... neither weapons of mass destruction nor prohibited missiles have been found yet.

... even Dubya has to tell us this isn�t going to be easy, folks.

... the Iraqi hierarchy suffered less damage than we had hoped (perhaps, Sullivan, Saddam is simply laying low since he realizes how well we can track him after the near-miss Tuesday night ... we seem to recall that you and others heavily criticized the Clinton administration for taking, and losing, a similar gamble with Osama bin Laden back in 1998? What of that now?)

... even the U.S. Army, in a combat zone, isn�t immune to the sort of grudge-motivated workplace violence that became all too common in this country in the last decade.

... and quite a few Iraqis are actually shooting back, giving our guys, God bless �em, more combat experience in one day than their Commander-in-Chief had in his entire military career (yes, even on those days when he felt like reporting for duty).

Hesiod also posits another still-possible scenario from the Ways Things Might Not Happen The Way Richard Perle Had Always Imagined It Would department: Coalition forces reach Baghdad � as Saddam intended. Then they get into a long and vicious stalemate, � la Stalingrad or Grozny (anyone still wonder why the Russians were counting themselves out?) � as Saddam intended. Meanwhile, a guerilla/terror campaign pokes at our supply lines as well as striking at the civilian population in the freed areas.

Given Saddam�s order of battle and our advantages, this would be the best chance he has. There would eventually be no way out save for a negotiated political solution which would likely leave Saddam either in power over a smaller area of the country, or in exile with no fear of punishment for his crimes against humanity.

An all-around embarassment for the Bush administration ... and the United States of America. If it happened before 2004, it would likely, as Hesiod suggests, torpedo his re-election chances. But we don�t think that�s a price worth paying. Especially at this juncture.

posted by Sully 3/23/2003 02:17:00 PM


First up, a piece by Johnny Freedland (why do I know all these guys?)

Besides the namedropping, two other things to note:

�Patchouli parades�? That is so Rush Limbaugh! Need any further proof he�s going downmarket?

And on that note, what the hell is �Krazy Kantians� supposed to mean?

Nor does he give Freedland any credit for suggesting that the military planners actually took heed of the peace protesters.

And as far as that goes, we refer you to Hesiod, who notes that the �revenge effect� (as Edward Tenner would put it) of having such accurate weapons is that you have less of an excuse when they hit the wrong targets.

In fact, Saddam or no Saddam, the Iraqis are not being terribly forgiving on this score.

posted by Sully 3/23/2003 01:33:00 PM


I�m somewhat thrilled my little obsession of the past couple months has begun to find new converts.

Ugh. Never before has our mental picture of Sullivan included beady Beavis eyes.

At least there�s some truth in the phrasing, though.

(And just remember that Googling can sometimes lead you to someone with a cooler perspective on the issue. Or yet another person who sees things very differently).

posted by Sully 3/23/2003 01:18:00 PM


Orwell must be spinning in his grave over his Number One Fan�s latest politically-motivated misuse of the English language, especially disturbing because it comes in the form of a lecture to Thomas Friedman on usage, a lecture in which he accuses Friedman of deliberately misusing a word.

�Trilateral� means, plainly and simply, having three sides. Or as the dictionary puts it:

having three sides or parties.
(trilateral business ventures, trilateral discussions)

Three parties on the same side in a conflict, with the same goals does not make something trilateral. By that logic, a basketball team could be described as �pentilateral.�

Our first impression is to implore the heavens, as we so often do, �This man got an undergraduate degree from Oxford? And a master�s and doctorate from Harvard?�

But then we realize that there was no mistake. He knows this. So why lie?

He has truly crossed the line into full-time professional propagandist.

posted by Sully 3/23/2003 12:43:00 PM

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Also worth checking out


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The Alaskan climate graph examined

Proof positive that Sullivan cannot, and should not, be trusted as a journalist to get his facts right.


The fisking of Norah Vincent

How we drove her out of Blogistan almost all by ourselves.


Excerpts from Lee Siegel's 2001 Harper's piece

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Why we blog the way we blog

A reply to some legitimate and friendly criticisms from Andrew Edwards


Why we blog the way we blog, Part II.

A reply to some of the same criticisms from the less friendly (back then) Arthur Silber


Bush-hating and proud of it

Our response to David Brooks.


Who Was That Masked Man?

The Horse remembered.


How the media lynched O.J. Simpson

Off-topic and our most controversial post ever.


Journalists behaving badly, updated.

Our wedding gift to Ruth Shalit, former TNR It Girl




Eve Tushnet's classic zinger

Sullivan has never quite been put in his place like this. Even Mickey Kaus thought it was funny.


"Bush reveals his poisonous colours"

Diane E. goes digging through the memory hole and finds a Times of London column Sullivan would prefer be forgotten.


The Datalounge list of potential titles for his memoirs

As reposted by Atrios


"The Princess of Provincetown"

Jim Capozzola goes further in that direction than we would ever dare.


Sullivan urges the Bush Administration to lie to the public

Brendan and Ben catch him in the act.


The Washington Times: An irredeemably left-wing rag

Bob Somerby shows the consequences of Sullivan's own logic of media bias


The Central Tenets of the Blogosphere

Derived from Sullivan’s blogging by s.z. of World O’ Crap and posted as a comment at Sadly, No!