Saturday, May 03, 2003
SOMERBY GETS HIS IN:
It does bear repeating:
Just like that, Sully became the fourth Dixie Chick for his intolerable behavior.
But in answer to Sullivan�s question: Yes! Yes, our politics are that �polarized� � and Sullivan has done everything he could, for the past several years, to create the corps of crackpots who turned on him for his mild comments about Bush.
posted by Sully 5/03/2003 11:23:00 PM
OFF THE RESERVATION:
Atrios on Sullivan�s surprisediscovering there really is a Bush Cult of Personality.
As we posted in the comments section there, a commentator at Truth Laid Bearsees the Blog Queen for what he is as a result:
Odd. Glenn is whining that Andrew is whining about �hate mail� with respect to their take of the president�s arrival on the USS Abraham Lincoln.
So now our expressed disappointment with them is considered �hate mail.�
I expect legislation or some court ruling soon that will allow them to have those who disagree with them hauled away.
Too bad Glenn won�t allow direct, public communications. Maybe they should get a REAL blog. One that allows interaction with their readers.
This led to us discovering Jeff Cooper�s observation:
Given the aggressive, absolutist way in which Sullivan wrote about the war, his impatience for and intolerance of nuance, it�s a bit rich for him now to complain about the unfairness of being pilloried for expressing a mildly critical thought about the president.
Indeed, as another overhyped Internet commentator would say.
posted by Sully 5/03/2003 11:04:00 PM
IT�S NOT, OF COURSE, BENNETT HE�S DEFENDING:
Infuriatingly, Sullivan deploys the same self-serving concept of privacy in defense of Bill Bennett that he tested on himself:
This invasion of his privacy and attempted smearing of his character have been perpetrated for transparently political reasons and are yet another sign of how our culture is making it increasingly difficult for any actual living, breathing, fallible human being to function in public life, without profound personal costs.
In other words, you are supposed to pay no attention to embarrassing things public people do in private life, no matter how poorly they bother to conceal them. No matter how this conflicts with a public persona that they have made loads of money selling.
Sully, how many times can we say this to you before you finally understand:You got caught. All you have to do is admit you�re not perfect ... the world will keep turning.
Unfortunately, he fails to regain his intellectual clarity:
Yes, he has hob-nobbed with the likes of James Dobson and other theocrats. I hope this episode might open his eyes to the extremism of their agenda.
To the extremism of an agenda he has done so much to shape? Not bloody likely.
Bennett deserves privacy; he deserves whatever means he can legally use to relax when he is off duty.
�Off duty�? So being a self-promoting moral huckster is some sort of military position or something?
Maybe, now that his spot in the slots has been blown, Sullivan can do something really radical and introduce Bennett to the joys of unprotected anal sex with the HIV positive. Hey, if you want to change minds in the conservative movement (and, as we�ve said before, movement is entirely too apt a word for the right these days) on this issue, be audacious.
His smearers on the left merely show what has happened to our politics. When the Washington Monthly does in this decade what the American Spectator did in the last, you can see how widespread the rot has gotten.
Uh, the American Spectator didn�t do this to a former Cabinet Secretary turned foundation head turned best-selling author. It did this to a sitting president.
If the Washington Monthly had any guts, it would respond in kind.
And, speaking of which, as Josh Marshall notes:
I cannot think of a public figure who has been exposed over some private embarrassment in recent years � save a few political allies, perhaps � for whom a self-satisfied Bennett has not happily hopped on to Larry King or Tim Russert or Chris Matthews and droned on with shallow, grandstanding moralism, eagerly wrenching this or that person�s private embarrassment into some cheap political point.
This isn�t a matter of payback or two wrongs making a right, just treating Bennett to the standard he�s made a living off setting for everyone else.
Now, two key points have been made in B(2)�s defense. One is that he didn�t lose so much money as to endanger the well-being of his family. Or, as Bennett himself said, that he can �handle it.� (Isn�t this what we hear from recreational drug users, who hold down jobs and have intact families?) I guess this is so. But it sounds precisely like the sort of explanation or excuse the old Bill Bennett would never stand for. More to the point, money is a relative thing. The virtue racket has evidently made Bennett a very wealthy man, wealthy enough that he can apparently afford to lose millions of dollars on slot machines and still maintain a high standard of living for himself and his family. Good for him. But how much of your family�s money is it responsible to play away on the slots? Bennett would have to be astoundingly wealthy for $8 million in losses to be an insignificant dent on his family�s net worth.
The other point made in Bennett�s defense is that he may have been an offensive sermonizer on all sorts of vices, but this is the one vice he left alone. So you can hardly charge him with hypocrisy. To me it seems just the opposite. Bennett goes off on every �vice� there is, save the one he seems to indulge. That seems very much like cutting himself the break he cuts no one else. I�m sure everyone would like to have their own weakness excepted from the list. But which of other Bennett's other targets gets that chance?
Actually, Josh, who says it�s his family�s money?David Brock, we recall, mentioned that while Bennett and Empower pocketed the grant money for Bennett�s books, he left the actual writing to flunkies. On now wonders what he did with the money? You don�t think he paid those people a living wage, do you?
posted by Sully 5/03/2003 10:55:00 PM
Friday, May 02, 2003
To make a long-overdue comment about his Sunday Times of London column, what we find outrageous is that Sullivan, as indeed with many commentators, even those on the left, seem to buy the spin that the State Department was undermining the Administration before the war. At best there�s the implication that it was unfounded.
Leave it to Josh Marshall, in his original coverage of the speech, to take the appropriately skeptical tone. As his reporting from before the war showed, so much that we think he didn�t think he needed to restate it, it�s closer to the truth to suggest that the opposite happened ... that the White House and Pentagon combined to undermine State behind its back. They�re calling it incompetence, but we give the administration more credit than that.
Why aren�t we looking into this more closely?
posted by Sully 5/02/2003 03:28:00 PM
DAYS, DOLLARS ... IT ALL ADDS UP:
Atrios was there first on the Canadian gay-marriage story.
posted by Sully 5/02/2003 03:09:00 PM
So Sully is so surprised that there are plenty of people on his side of things (and, whatever he said post-Santorum, he is a Republican ... scroll yourself back to the election and read his crowing about �52-48 America�) that have converted to wholesale Bush worship as their religion.
He then bemoans this phenomenon, in an apparent bid to even out his frequent equation of left-wing Bush-haters like ourselves with the right-wing Clinton-haters of the last decade.
But he only has himself to blame for this. He gave that wagon a big push with his calling Bill Clinton (welll, himself really, as it turns out) a sociopath on national television. He has forfeited all right to complain.
And he and Insty ought to bring their readers� attention to this little nugget that Jo Davis (Democratic Veteran) wanted to show us.
Nor was the fixed-wing landing even necessary.
posted by Sully 5/02/2003 02:53:00 PM
WHAT TONY REALLY THINKS:
Hesiod has a necessary corrective.
NICE TO HEAR YOU SAY IT:
Frankly, anyone who expects consistency from politicians is asking a little too much.
Then go apologize to Clinton. Now.
All I worry about is the damage being done to the long-term health of the economy by the administration�s fiscal recklessness.
Has it ever occurred to you that might be symptomatic of a general recklessness?
posted by Sully 5/02/2003 02:36:00 PM
When he gushes about W�s speech, he forgets he�s not sending out an email.
i deeply admire his determination and clarity, and felt goosebumps at certain moments.
i mean like god, he�s so totally gorgeous! brb.
But even he may still be capable of seeing the same Bush the rest of us see ...
It made it look as if the president was using the military for partisan purposes - and that's not right. It is probably effective politics; and great visuals. But less is often more. This president used to exemplify that kind of restraint. I hope this war hasn't gone to his head and we see more of the old Bush self-effacement soon.
Made it look? It did look.
Of course, the real scandal connected to this that neither Sully nor Insty will touch on is here.
posted by Sully 5/02/2003 11:42:00 AM
YOU CAN�T DO THIS IF YOU WANT TO ACCUSE THEM OF BIAS:
To the principle that readers of Sullivan must always click on the link, we add: The less discussion on the blog accompanying the link, the more likely he�s trying to blow smoke up his readers� asses.
The Guardian story about alleged pro-Israel BBC is a case in point.
Click, and you�ll see by the first graf that the complaint is merely about a documentary about last year�s occupation of the Church of the Nativity (you know, the church that Sullivan misnamed until a stealth correction last year when it was actually happening) relied too much on the viewpoint of the Israeli military and not at all on the viewpoint of the Palestinians who occupied it.
That�s a lack of balance by any standards.
posted by Sully 5/02/2003 11:34:00 AM
Thursday, May 01, 2003
DREAM ON ...:
Democratic Veteran on Sully�s Times of London piece:
He actually believes that somehow, the republicans will somehow love and accept him if he�s either a willing lap-dog or a quiet money-donating gay man. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT. Sorry Sully, don�t you get it yet? They hate you, they hate your friends, acquaintances, straight friends who hang out with you (republican or not), and anyone you even remotely know, they probably hate unless they�re famous republicans who they can excuse by virtue of celebrity ( i.e. anyone from the Moonie Times).
posted by Sully 5/01/2003 06:01:00 PM
JUST WHERE DID THAT WORD COME FROM:
Steve again on Sully being haunted by his own words.
posted by Sully 5/01/2003 01:11:00 PM
ALL OF THE PEOPLE CANNOT BE FOOLED ALL OF THE TIME:
No More Mister Nice Blog with the poll numbers.
(remember, Sully has no problem with these when they seem to go his way.
Steve also reminds Sullivan he�s a johnny-come-lately on the protest zones issue.
posted by Sully 5/01/2003 01:06:00 PM
THE MARKET HAS SPOKEN:
Gee, all of the Blog Queen�s fatwas against the BBC had so much effect:
TV ratings for BBC News in the US have rocketed since the outbreak of the Iraq war, even as mainstream American network bulletins have lost viewers.
Audience figures for BBC World News bulletins on US public service channel PBS increased by 28 percent in the three weeks after the start of the conflict.
In New York the viewership for the evening news programme has jumped by a third while in Dallas, Texas, it has quadrupled, according to PBS.
At the same time two of the main US networks lost viewers on their flagship nightly news broadcasts, with CBS down 15 percent and ABC down nearly 6 percent.
Jonathan Howlett, the director of airtime sales at BBC World, claimed more viewers were tuning in to the network for its �balanced and impartial� reporting.
�Coupled with the flood of very positive viewer comments we have been receiving via email over the past few weeks this paints a very strong picture for BBC World as the international news source of choice for global TV audiences,� he said.
Many US viewers said they had switched to the BBC because of the apparent pro-American bias of some local networks.
One viewer from New York wrote on the PBS website: �The BBC seems to be the only decent source for news on this conflict. American networks are just appalling.�
Another viewer from Norwalk, Connecticut, commented: �I cannot trust any of the other stations to be truthful. They appear to omit what could be seen as critical of the US.�
Stick that in your glutes and milk it, Smalltown Boy!
Link via Altercation and Media Whores Online.
posted by Sully 5/01/2003 12:40:00 PM
IT�S SNOWING DOWN SOUTH:
Sullivan has admitted that, even during the game, he moves the goalposts:
I never stinted in supporting [the war], but my concern about weapons of mass destruction was eventually overtaken by my moral concern with the sheer evil of Saddam�s regime.
But, we think, even he would admit that an aggressive war is not justified simply because a regime mistreats its people (In fact, we seem to remember a lot of condemnation for Vietnam when it used the Pol Pot�s killing fields as a pretext for invading Cambodia). If so, we are committed to invading Zimbabwe and Myanmar next (not North Korea, incontestably the cruelest government on the planet, because they have nukes).
The idea that Saddam had huge stockpiles of WMDs just ready to be used was what was used to give the war not so much its moral underpinning as its urgency: we need to do this now, we can�t wait. The assumption was that we would find the evidence for this just after the war.
It should be no surprise, then, that suddenly hawks are adopting the position of most extreme conspiracy theorists: that, far from not being evidence of absence, the absence of evidence is the most damning evidence, since it merely proves how effective the alleged conspirators are at covering their tracks. If the defenders of this war are indeed embracing such circular reasoning, we are all in trouble.
Except, of course, for Sullivan, who suddenly seems to be channeling Jacques Chirac:
We need to interview scientists, piece together documents, investigate sites that might have been destroyed to remove evidence just before the war, and so on. This takes time and expertise and patience. I�m happy to wait until a real assessment is possible and credible evidence put together into a coherent whole. Then, we'll see ...
posted by Sully 5/01/2003 12:21:00 PM
GUESS WHO HAD IT FIRST?:
You got it ... Sullivan�s former stomping ground, The New York Times Magazine.
The current sensation at the Battersea Arts Center in London delves into the themes of any number of beloved operas: infidelity and misdirected love, rage and untimely death. An aging diva, cheated by life, sings a heart-rending aria expressing her profound weariness with failure: �I�ve had enough of dying/I just want to dance.� But the gavotte is nowhere in this diva�s thoughts � her dream is to become a professional lap dancer, working the pole in some squalid dive. Such is the seamy lyricism of �Jerry Springer: The Opera.�
Oh, by the way, that was over a year ago.
posted by Sully 5/01/2003 11:37:00 AM
FROM SMAUG TO PUFF:
The item on dragons was interesting:
But don�t we as humans simply need to create terror at the end of the world, even if only to make our everyday fears seem more manageable?
Aside from that, of course, was what this reveals about Sullivan. Maybe he really does have some sort of vision of himself, under the testosterone and creatine, as just another 16-year-old with Stevie Nicks posters on the wall and a shelf full of Anne McCaffrey�s collected works. It�s not without possibility.
Or, maybe (this is hard to imagine) as a teenager himself, crouched around a fold-up table in a friend�s basement, throwing around colored Platonic solids with numbers on them and begging the guy with the lavishly illustrated screens in front of him, �But that broadsword�s plus two! I have to hit something! (and the answer: "One is always a miss").
We do know he likes dungeons, too, after all.
Ah, maybe we�ve got him confused with Stephen Den Beste.
posted by Sully 5/01/2003 12:18:00 AM
Some things need to be said here that Sullivan likely isn�t aware of (hell, he probably thinks it�s no different from netball)
As one of the posters on the Ms. boards correctly points out, the rules for men�s and women�s lacrosse are slightly different. It�s not like soccer.
First, women�s lacrosse is not a contact sport. No body checking is permitted, and only limited stick-checking (and what we allow today in the men�s game is a garden party compared to what the Indians allowed ... their game was as much the Ultimate Fighting Championship as what we see today. After all, they considered it training for war).
So there is no physical issue with this boy knocking all the little girls around. Not if he follows the rules, anyway.
More importantly, one rule � the depth of the pocket � makes the women�s game actually harder in some ways. To account for the effect of checking, a man may carry a stick with a pocket as deep as a standard ball. A woman�s stick may only have a pocket deep enough so that the ball�s edge is even with the top of the head instead of the bottom.
So, a player�s stickhandling skills are actually more important in the woman�s game, where one-handed cradling just won�t work. As you may have guessed we write from personal experience (albeit not recent) and we recall some boys being sent by a coach to go practice with the girls for a while, with their sticks, so they would have to become better passers and catchers.
What we really think schools ought to do is come up with some sort of coed contact sport. Rugby, perhaps (we once played it coed and no one had any problems).
posted by Sully 5/01/2003 12:06:00 AM
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
THE ARMIES OF THE WHITE:
We�d sort of agree that Norman Mailer�s kind of over the hill, even if Sully again sounds like he�s talking about himself ("used to be an actual writer and thinker ... his recent piece in the Times of London gives hackery a bad name.� Although it�s interesting to see that even he can find someone �overswaggering�).
All the same, we think that he misread the Times piece severely. It seems to us that the military still is the bastion of the White Male, in terms of cultural values at least. There is no better way for minorities or women in this country to appease the white man�s fears than to don a uniform and talk like a character out of Tom Clancy. Can it not be part of Colin Powell�s still-considerable appeal to that demographic segment that, having worked his way to the top of the military establishment, he has met the appropriate cultural tests and talks and walks the right way? He has become acceptable in a way that Jesse Jackson never would have been.
Also, isn�t it just horribly funny for Sullivan to bemoan Mailer�s apparent lack of editing? Especially when he�s so loudly and publicly sneered at the idea that he could do better with one?
posted by Sully 4/30/2003 11:49:00 PM
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
RE-LAX ... DON�T DO IT, DON�T COME TILL YOU WANT TO GO THROUGH IT:
If Sullivan had even bothered to read that Post article all the way through, he�d have discovered that this is hardly the first instance of a boy or boys playing on a girls� team due to Title IX (besides the Massachusetts field hockey team mentioned, we seem to recall from years ago a boy who played goalie on a New Jersey girls� soccer team).
It wouldn�t be all that bad if he hadn�t concluded with the kind of boorishly sexist remark that would be right at home at your average drunken fraternity bash. Incorrigible horn dog though he may be, Sullivan cannot assume that everyone else, gay or straight, male or female, is.
At least if he doesn�t want the Rick Santorums and Larry Pryors of the world saying the things they say.
posted by Sully 4/29/2003 06:02:00 PM
Monday, April 28, 2003
MORE ON SPECULATIVE PRE-EMPTION:
HogBlog really lets loose:
The Telegraph reported the discovery of documents in Baghdad that claim an al-Qaeda envoy paid an official visit on Iraq in 1998. Sullivan says that, 'if verified' (a nice ass-covering, there), this would pretty much demolish the anti-war crowd. Speaking as one of them, I don't think this is entirely true. Consider. This visit happened in March 1998, long before 11 September, before even the bombings of US embassies in Africa, as the Telegraph freely admits. There is so far no evidence that this visit was ever followed up. There is as yet no evidence that Iraq materially aided al-Qaeda in any way. There are still strong indications to the contrary. (I.e., Osama bin Laden calling for Hussein to be overthrown and killed.) But let's be generous. Suppose such evidence is found � and it�s genuine: that still will not chance the morality of the war in the slightest. You can�t justify your actions with things you don�t know until afterwards.
Suppose you�re high on pixie sticks and espresso, pulling your car out of the driveway, hungry for blood, when you �accidentally� back over your neighbour�s kid twelve times as an example to the rest of the block. Suppose afterwards you learn said neighbour's kid was actually a cat-molesting neo-Nazi who dealt smack to nuns. (Who knew? Certainly not you. He was always such a quiet boy.) Does that make it retroactively more moral to have pulverised the kid?
Well, no, of course not. Don�t be silly.
Whatever new information may come to light now cannot be used to justify something that�s already been done. Otherwise you aren�t acting on logic at all, but on faith: faith that you�ll find some just cause, after the fact, to rationalise the thing you�ve already set your heart on doing. That�s like killing someone because you believe Jesus told you to do it. Or because you believe your dog told you to do it. It�s not rational. In an individual, we�d call it insane.
Just believing isn�t enough to carry an argument. Otherwise al-Qaeda would win hands-down. They believe.
By any rational standards, the anti-war movement was absolutely in the right. No compelling evidence was presented to justify the government's claims. No just cause was presented that would stand up to scrutiny. Rejecting the war was the only reasonable thing to do. An unjustified war is an unjust war.
Like us, they find the latter part of the post a perfect place for a strikingly similar fisking ...
Which brings me back to Sullivan, saying quite possibly the stupidest thing I�ve ever heard (in the last five minutes)...
My view is that, after 9/11, we have little option but to launch a pre-emptive strike and hope for retroactive justification.
Yeah. That�s really stupid. I mean, that�s so stupid, I�m not even sure how to argue with it. Let�s just cross our fingers and pull the trigger? Why don't we just declare war on everybody? I'm sure they�ve all done something...
But I understand why people demand proof before such action.
What, because the alternative is to live governed entirely by paranoia and propaganda, completely pissing away all the qualities of rationality, objectivity, and free thought that make western civilisation worth living in?
This new finding � and I bet there will be more like it �strengthens my position, I think.
That it�s okay to be as irresponsible and bloodthirsty and rash and arrogant as you want, so long as you can think of a halfway convincing excuse afterwards?
It�s clearer and clearer that we did the right thing. And this debate is even more important to have now when we can look at the evidence than before, when we couldn�t.
Of course. It�s vitally important that we save the debate on whether we should kill some people and trash their cities until after we've killed and trashed. That makes it so much harder for people to dissent.
posted by Sully 4/28/2003 09:20:00 PM
WHO�S THE REAL PHIRST AMENDMENT PHONY?:
MWO unloads on Sullivan once again over his criticism of the �protest zones� reported in (shhh!) the Howell Raines-edited New York Times � in particular, his likening of Bush to a British head of state:
Why would anyone think our glorious leader � who knows he was not elected by the people but persists in ramming through a theocratic agenda rejected by the American people in November of 2000, says he believes �God,� not Antonin Scalia, put him where he is, and believes he has the absolute right to send US servicemen to their deaths absent an imminent threat and without the consent of the American people, the world community � regards himself as a monarch ruling in accordance with the Divine Right of Kings?
Not that Sullivan isn�t right to be concerned about this, as indeed we all should be.
But we were rubbed the wrong way by his attempt to diminish the opprobrium hurled at the Dixie Chicks and Sarandon/Robbins. We lack the time to Google and see if any of them claimed their First Amendment rights were violated. If they did, it is true that they overreached rhetorically.
Nonetheless, it�s worth remembering that there were subtle connections to the government in both cases: Clear Channel, as Quiddity Quack illustrates, has connections at high levels to George W. Bush as well as control (and we do mean control) of vast portions of the domestic commercial radio spectra and concert promotion; and the connections between Baseball Hall of Fame director Dale Petroskey and the centers of Republican power have also been well documented.
But leaving that aside, Sullivan�s attitude is emblematic of our definition of a libertarian: One who opposes the infringment of liberties by the government on the grounds that the private sector can do it more efficiently. Just because the government wasn�t officially and visibly involved in suppressing the Chicks or Susan and Tim doesn�t mean it isn�t an infringement of their rights of free speech. Yes, Dixie Chicks fans have their rights to make their opinions known, and refuse to buy their records (well, until they forget this ever happened, in a year or so) or play them. But if that becomes the power to deny them a means of earning a living, it�s no less an abridgement. A government that tolerates censorious behavior in the private sector is, we believe, no better than one that exercises the censor�s black pencil itself.
posted by Sully 4/28/2003 09:06:00 PM
ORANGES AND ABDULLAHS:
What the Sun misses in its editorial, of course, is a key difference: Abdullah left Jordan voluntarily, as the heir apparent to the throne, to be educated. He was never in any sense in opposition to the Jordanian government, as Chalaby, who, the Sun continues to fail to note, is regarded as a fugitive from justice by Abdullah�s government.
In fact, it�s particualr risible to see that reference to the �suffering� of the Jordanian people ...$200 million of which was caused by none other than Ahmed Chalabi.
posted by Sully 4/28/2003 08:43:00 PM
AND THIS IS NEW?:
It may surprise Sully to learn this, seeing as he considers the history of Britain the only non-American history worth his considerable time and intellect, but France has never really acted like a loyal ally. A long time ago it withdrew from NATO militarily (which, to us, is a little like withdrawing from the European Union economically). They also wouldn't let our planes fly through their airspace when we bombed Libya in 1986. If we put up with that, what right do we have to consider the current situation any more egregious?
posted by Sully 4/28/2003 12:05:00 AM
�JEUX ... SANS FRONTI�RES�:
Again, we�d like a better way to read stories in the Daily Telegraph than to take Sully�s word for it. This was the best alternative we could find via Google News.
And it looks like a) when Ahmed Chalabi is giving you followup, you�re in trouble and b) the link was that the two talked about working together. Absent any evidence of followthrough, by that logic the entire U.S. corporate sector is one huge monopoly since they've all talked about joining forces in some way at some point or another. The antitrust lawyers would love it.
The rest of this post is pretty scary, however.
So what does a free country do when confronted with an enemy state, with WMDs, that we strongly suspect is in league with terrorists like al Qaeda, but cannot prove without invading? It's tough. My view is that, after 9/11, we have little option but to launch a pre-emptive strike and hope for retroactive justification.
Never mind that no self-respecting policeman would use this sort of logic before a judge and not expect to see the evidence dismissed for being collected in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
But I understand why people demand proof before such action.
This new finding � and I bet there will be more like it � strengthens my position, I think.
Either it strengthens your position or it doesn�t. The qualifying �I think� telegraphs deep underlying doubt.
The threat was not the weapons as such; it was the regime, its capacity to make and use such weapons and its potential or actual alliance with al Qaeda.
Logic which could be applied to almost any country on the planet.
We had to make a judgment about how likely it was that such a link existed. We bet right.
So a thousand or so Iraqi civilian lives are ... were just so many poker chips?
Bush clearly didn�t create that alliance. It existed long before he came long [sic].
What, exactly, is the alliance that has been proved? All the papers show so far is that Al-Qaeda reached out to Iraq. Whether they got anything out of it has not yet been demonstrated.
Evidence of evidence is not always evidence.
It�s clearer and clearer that we did the right thing. And this debate is even more important to have now when we can look at the evidence than before, when we couldn�t.
This is where it gets infuriating. How can you have a debate when you just indicated that, for you, the question is completely and utterly settled? If you debate the issue, you�re admitting the possibility of legitimate doubt.
posted by Sully 4/28/2003 12:01:00 AM
Sunday, April 27, 2003
SPRING AHEAD, FALL BACK:
Nearly a month after switching to daylight-savings time and Sullivan still can�t correct his computer�s clock the proper direction?
We write this shortly after 11:30 p.m. EDT. The most recent blog entries of his are timestamped after 1 a.m. on a day that hasn't graced the U.S. yet.
In other words, he can change his clock alright (Or his computer�s OS, anyway ... is he still using a Mac? Windows always does it automatically, but we can�t speak for the preemptive-multitasking�challenged). But either he�s so chronically lazy that he can�t be bothered to correct it to begin with, or he wants everyone to think he�s more ahead of the news than he really is.
We strongly suspect the latter.
posted by Sully 4/27/2003 11:39:00 PM
Christopher Hitchens� Slate apologia for Ahmed Chalabi, endorsed by Smalltown Boy, ledes with a classic: �If I was ever to volunteer for the role of American colonial puppet ...� Once you regain your composure the rest can be safely ignored.
Hitch, in a move that would do Sully proud, focuses on trivial charges made against the Great Helmsman-in-Waiting in (and only in) The New York Times while strategically ignoring the biggest rap againt Chalabi, i.e. the embezzlement and fraud charges filed by the Jordanian government many years ago, for a scheme at Petra Bank which cost that cash-strapped country $200 million while the fearless exile slipped into Ba�athist Syria (yes! Syria!) in the trunk of a Mercedes-Benz rather than demonstrate the sort of commitment to the rule of law that we expect of the Iraqis who will soon become subjects of His Imperial Majesty.
Hitch demonstrates Why Orwell Matters by realizing, of course, that this is all a rhetorical construct that, if determinedly ignored, will disappear of its own accord.
posted by Sully 4/27/2003 01:46:00 PM
AND IF HE DIDN�T FEEL USED ENOUGH ALREADY ...:
Just about everybody has blogged this Nightline segment by now, but a little more exposure wouldn�t hurt.
Basically, it turns out that almost everything Andrew Sullivan had held out as moral cudgels against the antiwar movement � the human rights record, the WMDs, � was all subsidiary to what is, in other contexts, referred to as �proof of concept�:
The Bush administration wanted to make a statement about its determination to fight terrorism. And officials acknowledge that Saddam had all the requirements to make him, from their standpoint, the perfect target.
Other countries have such weapons, yet the United States did not go to war with them. And though Saddam oppressed and tortured his own people, other tyrants have done the same without incurring U.S. military action. Finally, Saddam had ties to terrorists � but so have several countries that the United States did not fight.
But Saddam was guilty of all these things and he met another requirement as well � a prime location, in the heart of the Middle East, between Syria and Iran, two countries the United States wanted to send a message to.
Do we live in a cynical age or what? Can you imagine if, after those last helicopters had left the embassy roof in Saigon, the Johnson people had basically come out and said, yeah, Vietnam really wasn�t that strategically important, but we needed to stroke the economy and prove to the Europeans that we wouldn�t abandon them in case of a Soviet invasion? Oh, by the way, sorry about the police beating and teargassing you ... our bad.
And the administration now, according to this piece, tacitly agrees with all those of us who challenged the 9/11 link:
But what if Sept. 11 had never happened? Would the United States have gone to war with Iraq? Administration officials and others say no, at least not now.
The Bush administration could probably have lived with the threat of Saddam and might have gone after him eventually if, for example, the Iraqi leader had become more aggressive in pursuing a nuclear program or in sponsoring terrorism.
In other words, underneath all the hemming and hawing about fighting this war now instead of later, in their cities instead of ours, the current administration was really the same old cold Realpolitikers that neocons felt the first Bush administration was. Did they believe anything they told us? Suddenly we allow ourselves a fleeting twinge of pity for the neocons. Fortunately it passes.
One is reminded of Samuel Goldwyn�s famous exhortation.
posted by Sully 4/27/2003 01:25:00 PM
The Horse seconds Roger Ailes on Sullivan�s willful blindness to entrenched Republican homophobia:
Sully encourages us to �think about� something that anyone with room temperature or above IQ thought about long ago but evidently just occurred to him ...
Think about that: the number three Republican senator wants to allow the cops to police the bedrooms of straight couples to make sure there aren�t any blowjobs. That�s how far out there he is.
�Out there�? Did Sully sleep through the 90s?
Santorum isn�t Out There. He�s typical of mainstream Republicans, most of whom supported the impeachment and removal of the best president of our lifetimes for violating cafeteria Catholic Rick Santorum�s religious code of behavior.
It also suddenly occurs to Sully to question the character of the Unelected Fraud as well as that of Kitty Kevorkian Kad, Bill Frist:
What a relief that some [Republican] leaders are prepared to take this extremism on. And what does it say about the president and Bill Frist that they won�t?
�It says� what liberals and Democrats have been saying for three years, while Sully was swooning like a schoolgirl or Howard Fineman over Bush's nonexistent character, compassion, and �moral clarity.�
George W. Bush will not denounce the remarks. At some point he might say he �sees differences� between incest and homosexuality, knowing the media whores will permit him to obscure the real questions. But he will not condemn or oppose laws criminalizing homosexual behavior.
George W. Bush hates Andrew Sullivan. The Republican Party is irretrievably lost to homosexual-hating theocrats and its leadership will commit itself to preserving that valuable base by crushing equal rights for homosexuals for as long as Andrew Sullivan lives. The Republican Party is as likely to accept equality for homosexuals as the Democratic Party is to support a flat tax.
Andrew Sullivan should stop pretending he�s shocked, stop being the right�s useful idiot, and devote his Weblog to something beneficial to humanity, such as encouraging contributions to Howard Dean's campaign.
Harsh words indeed, but one has to ask our dear Blog Queen what might have happened if he had been demonstrably less timid about confronting the many outbursts of homophobia in state and local political campaigns over the past two years instead of searching for episodes of moral equivalence so he could denounce people for left-wing homophobia.
posted by Sully 4/27/2003 01:12:00 PM
DOES THIS SUIT HIM WELL?:
Sullivan makes Quiddity Quack �s Bush Administration axis of evil playing card deck as the five of diamonds.
Drat. Nothing jumps out on that one.
posted by Sully 4/27/2003 12:54:00 AM
LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS ON READING HIS LATEST POLITICAL EPIPHANIES:
Roger Ailes says all that need be said on Sully�s crisis of political conscience:
Try as I might, I just can�t sympathize with Sully after his painful discovery that the leadership of the Republican Party is full of anti-gay bigots.
Maybe it�s Sully�s unconcealed hatred for certain religions (reflected in his use of the term �Islamofacists� and the sarcastic �Islam Means Peace�). Maybe it�s his willingness to stereotype the citizenry of entire states (California), voting blocs (the �Blue States�), political parties and nations as anti-American, traitorous, immoral, hateful, etc. Maybe it�s the fact that he referred to opponents of war against Iraq as �Saddamites,� a pun also favored by such anti-gay bigots as Eugene Delgaudio. A man who spews such bile so freely should surely be hardened to a little bigotry thrown in his direction.
But the bottom line is line is that I can�t take seriously Sully's argument Bush�s support for Santorum �is beginning to make it simply impossible for gay people and their families � or any tolerant person � to vote for the president�s party.�
In the year 2000, at the Republican National Convention, a large group from George W. Bush�s Texas delegation turned their backs on Jim Kolbe � a long-time G.O.P. Representative, military veteran and gay man � and prayed in protest of his presence at the convention. Bush was silent then as he is silent now. And let�s not forget that Bush, as Governor of Texas, did absolutely nothing to repeal the law criminalizing gay sex which prompted Santorum�s comments. While Sully was smearing Vice President Gore in 2000, every tolerant person � and every intolerant person as well � knew exactly where Bush and his party stood on gay rights and gay tolerance.
Hey, it always makes a good campaign ad.
posted by Sully 4/27/2003 12:51:00 AM