Saturday, December 20, 2003
ARE YOU THINKING WHAT WE’VE BEEN THINKING?:
Quiddity Quack is the first person we know of, anywhere, who dares put the insuggestible, the blue dress of the Bush administration, into print, even between the lines, with this examination of W.’s unusually lost weekend.
To put it another way, maybe the “dry drunk” theory is, well, about half right.
We’ve wondered about this too, ourselves. Something like this might be the real reason Bush stayed out of sight and flew around across the country on 9/11 ... hell, quite a few Americans reacted to those day’s events by throwing a few down the hatch too (of course, they didn’t do it on the job right after it happened).
And, with all this on the table, do you really think it was really a pretzel that knocked him out “briefly”? Why the hell is the President of the United States watching a football game all by his lonesome? As Mickey Kaus might tell you using the crack investigative technique of “come up with a wild, salacious gossipy theory with absolutely no evidence to support it but none to refute it either and then consider it the operative truth from then on based on the infallibility of your deductive powers,” because his wife is mad at him. Taking a phone call in the next room? Yeah right ... “‘Mother Bush, he’s drinking again. What do I do?’ ‘HIC ... ask him if he’d like his refill HIC! on the rocks, of course, dearie! HIC!’”
Of course, this means Dick Cheney, far from being a usurper, may actually be doing the country a service.
posted by Sully 12/20/2003 12:23:00 AM
A MATCH MADE IN GAY NEOCON HEAVEN:
Jo Fish (a man himself, whatever you may have recently read to the contrary) finds a woman who’d make a perfect mate for Sullivan ... former LA NOW chairwoman Tammy Bruce.
In one of his infrequent items on Sullivan, Capozzola serves up a variety of dish on the Dish. Best one:
Hate to get super-cynical, but is Sullivan no longer a Catholic because the media, with an assist from a Catholic blogger or two, or more, is now aware that he doesn’t know half as much about Catholicism as they thought he did?
Should link Amy Welborn, openbook.typepad.com, from the “more”, Jim.
As far as “let’s unpack this” goes, it isn’t a Sullivanism per se, rather an ’80s academicism. But we agree it does sound rather silly in the context of a blog.
posted by Sully 12/20/2003 12:05:00 AM
Friday, December 19, 2003
THE MOST REVEALING TYPO EVER:
The best Dean critique i've read so far ...
posted by Sully 12/19/2003 11:58:00 PM
NOT THE RIGHT BA’ATHIST HERE:
Uh, if we refer to Saddam as “father of the lion cubs,” isn’t that appellation more appropriate to the Syrian ruling family? (Note: pun requires some knowledge of Arabic).
posted by Sully 12/19/2003 11:57:00 PM
YES, THERE IS LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SHARK:
He used to be too snarky for my taste.
In other words, he used to be good.
posted by Sully 12/19/2003 11:55:00 PM
DEVILS IN PROVINCETOWN:
John Kusch really gives Sullivan what-for about Angels in America:
Comparing Angels’ 4.2 million viewers to the 13 million who watched the Trista and Ryan’s Wedding is like comparing ratings for competitive men’s curling versus the Superbowl.
Only a right-wing barebacker would use such a paper-thin argument in an attempt to minimize the airing and audience of such a work. Maybe if you had any journalistic skills or intellectual integrity, Andy, as opposed to a fine ear for partisan rhetoric and the circular argument du jour, you would fess up that this is all just sour grapes and that you’re happy Tony’s play tanked on national television since he and his friends snicker at your shoulda-been hair and are never going clubbing with you. While I’m awed at how you thrive as a pariah, you’re still a pariah; and if you showed up on my door on a cold winter’s night with engine failure, I’d give you $0.50 for a payphone, a bottle of cheap Chianti for your courage and a face full of sputum for everything else.
If Angels is nothing but a pretentious left-wing screed, Andrew, then where is the sweeping cinematic conservative answer to AIDS in the 80s, praising the swift and decisive measures taken by the Reagan administration to thwart this newest threat to humanity? Well? Where is it? We have the same conservative response today to AIDS we had in the 80s: silence or judgement.
You hadn’t even tested positive yet when the first square of the AIDS memorial quilt was sewn — you were still bent over whatever you were bent over. First AIDS, then conservatism, then post-Catholicism, then the “Bear” thing (since the only thing worse than getting old and puffy is doing so with dignity), and now, finally, 80s AIDS revisionism. You’re ever the tardy scenester, signaling to everyone else that it’s time to move on.
You lazy twat. I’m quite done with paid writers who can't even be bothered to review the material they’re panning for partisan gain. I’ve known other men blinded by a combination of politics and viral load. They’re all dead now, and one remembers them, because they didn’t save anyone but themselves.
posted by Sully 12/19/2003 12:51:00 AM
MAIL IT IN:
Jo Fish on Sullivan’s calling the Dem race early:
What Sybill doesn’t understand is that the competition within the Democratic Party is as much a competition of ideas and ideologies as it is candidates. The monolith errr ... republican party has only one ideology ... pander to the highest bidder on behalf of one candidate ... He Who Shall Not Be Named. After all, how else can Sybill’s psyche survive the dissonance surrounding the Commander Codpiece candidacy; the FMA is excluding gay Americans, there is certainly no fiscal conservatism anywhere in sight and by definition, the “southern strategery” has no catholic base with the good ol’ boys (who hate gays too, BTW).
So let’s see if I get this, the Democrats will lose because all the non-gay, christo-fascist, republicans will line up and put the Putz back in office. And there has not even been a primary yet. Ah, prognasticating pundits ... love ’em.
posted by Sully 12/19/2003 12:32:00 AM
Thursday, December 18, 2003
STALIN’S HEIRS, TODAY:
Saddam Hussein is now prisoner No. 1 in what has developed into a global detention system run by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency, according to government officials.
It is a secretive universe, they said, made up of large and small facilities scattered throughout the world that have sprouted up to handle the hundreds of suspected terrorists of Al Qaeda, Taliban warlords and former officials of the Iraqi government arrested by the United States and its allies since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the war in Iraq.
Many of the prisoners are still being held in a network of detention centers ranging from Afghanistan to the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.
The C.I.A. has quietly established its own detention system to handle especially important prisoners. The most important Qaeda leaders are held in small groups in undisclosed locations in friendly countries in the developing world, where they face long interrogations with no promise of ever gaining release.
– James Risen and Thom Shanker in today’s New York Times, front page, above the fold.
And this Archipelago crisscrossed and patterned that other country within which it was located, like a gigantic patchwork, cutting into its cities, hovering over its streets. Yet there were many who did not even guess at its presence ...
How does one get to this clandestine Archipelago? Hour by hour planes fly there, ships steer their course there, and trains thunder off to it — but all with nary a mark on them to tell of their destination. And at ticket windows or at travel bureaux for Soviet or foreign tourists the employees would be astounded if you were to ask for a ticket to go there. They know nothing and they’ve never heard of the Archipelago as a whole or any of its innumerable islands.
Scattered from the Bering Strait almost to the Bosporus are thousands of islands of the spellbound Archipelago. They are invisible, but they exist.
– Alexander Solzhenitsyn, from the introduction, Part I Chapter I (Arrest!) and Part II Chapter I (The Ships of the Archipelago), in The Gulag Archipelago, Volume I.
We’d like to think this is just an unfortunate coincidence in metaphor. But we know better.
Give the neoconservative tree enough room to grow, and the leaves will eventually betray the roots.
posted by Sully 12/18/2003 01:38:00 PM
THE SOUND OF THE MAD DOGS NOT BARKING:
Roger Ailes has conclusive proof that the chickenhawks know, deep down low, that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.
Jo Fish also sees that we’re apparently not concerned about a clear-cut outrage Iraq committed against the U.S. 15 years ago, either.
posted by Sully 12/18/2003 01:16:00 PM
GLASS HOUSES DEPT.:
Via Billmon, we learn that Jose Maria Aznar, Prime Minister of “New Europe” Spain (huh?), has some rather uncomfortable associations that make his denunciations of Saddam look rather hollow:
... [T]here’s something particularly revolting about a politician like Aznar, who’s willing to prance and posture as a tribune of human rights in Iraq — all the while knowing that back in his own country, thousands, if not tens of thousands, of war crime victims lie rotting in mass graves, their deaths shrouded by a cult of secrecy he’s doing his best to protect.
posted by Sully 12/18/2003 12:56:00 PM
THE LATEST CANARD TO GET ITS WINGS CLIPPED:
Courtesy of Josh Marshall we learn that the Telegraph piece about Atta supposedly getting training in Iraq in summer 2001 has been convincingly debunked in Newsweek.
Marshall also, as usual and unlike Sullivan, has some original thinking to add, carefully reading William Safire’s latest attempt to pass this off as something remotely resembling truth (does anyone think he’ll cop on this one, either?) to show how he omitted the one detail which makes it too obvious that the forger tried too hard to bolster the administration’s case.
Sullivan hasn’t mentioned this, of course, and probably won’t.
LATE UPDATE: TBogg notes this too.
posted by Sully 12/18/2003 12:50:00 PM
“I WORK HARD FOR THE MONEY ... OH SO HARD FOR THE MONEY ... SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING ... SO YOU BETTER TREAT ME RIGHT” (WITH APOLOGIES TO HOMER SIMPSON):
Without even doing a word count, today’s posts are the clearest example of how anyone who contributed to Sullivan’s recent (or is it still ongoing? He has not taken down the stuff up top yet?) pledge drive might as well sign the check “John or Jane Q. Sucker.”
There is quotation aplenty, of Hillary Clinton, Derrick Jackson, two New York Times editorials. The three original complete sentences are a pro forma link to the Kelly Award (Yuck! Didn’t we ask when he was still warm that this not be done?), a link to a cutesy joke on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and a link to Dan Drezner’s admittedly pretty good Slate piece. Of these, only the last has anything that might be considered original content.
No wonder he hasn’t shared how much he made yet.
posted by Sully 12/18/2003 12:39:00 PM
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
HOW RIVERBEND FEELS ABOUT AMERICANS:
Brief time out from Sully.
As you may know, we’ve begun reading and quoting the Iraqi blogger Riverbend a lot and, if you look, she’s now on our blogroll.
Since she took a great deal of time to respond to the capture of Saddam due to electrical problems in her part of Baghdad, and when she did she didn’t write in all capitals and exclamation points, it is now going around the rightwing blogosphere that she is some sort of Baathist mouthpiece who hates Americans (This, of course, wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that she is highly critical of how the occupation is run. Real Iraqis, after all, slavishly adore George Bush).
We, of course, see that the highly developed American English she writes her blog in suggests otherwise. But if you need a clear statement of her feelings on the matter ask her:
I’m going to set the record straight, once and for all.
I don’t hate Americans, contrary to what many people seem to believe. Not because I love Americans, but simply because I don’t hate Americans, like I don’t hate the French, Canadians, Brits, Saudis, Jordanians, Micronesians, etc. It’s that simple. I was brought up, like millions of Iraqis, to have pride in my own culture and nationality. At the same time, like millions of Iraqis, I was also brought up to respect other cultures, nations and religions. Iraqi people are inquisitive, by nature, and accepting of different values — as long as you do not try to impose those values and beliefs upon them.
I feel terrible seeing the troops standing in this merciless sun- wearing heavy clothes… looking longingly into the air-conditioned interiors of our cars. After all, in the end this is Baghdad, we’re Iraqi- we’ve seen this heat before.
- I feel bad seeing them stand around, drinking what can only be lukewarm water after hours in the sun- too afraid to accept any proffered ice water from ‘strange Iraqis’.
- I feel pity watching their confused, frightened expressions as some outraged, jobless, father of five shouts at them in a language they can’t even begin to understand.
- I get hopeless, seeing them pointing their guns and tanks at everyone because, in their eyes, anyone could be a ‘terrorist’ and almost everyone is an angry, frustrated Iraqi.
- I feel sympathy seeing them sitting bored and listless on top of their tanks and in their cars- wishing they were somewhere else.
So now you know. Mixed feelings in a messed up world.
I talk about “American troops” because those are the only ones I’ve come into contact with- no British soldiers, no Italians, no Spaniards… I don’t know- maybe they feel the same towards the British in the south.
Someone wrote that I was naïve and probably spoiled, etc. and that “not one single American soldier deserves to die for you”. I completely agree. No one deserves to die for me or for anyone else.
It always saddens me to see that the majority of them are so young. Just as it isn’t fair that I have to spend my 24th year suffering this whole situation, it doesn’t seem fair that they have to spend their 19th, 20th, etc. suffering it either. In the end, we have something in common- we’re all the victims of decisions made by the Bush administration.
posted by Sully 12/17/2003 09:30:00 PM
ANOTHER DUBIOUS EMAILER:
Legal Memo-Random picks apart the anti-Gore emailer:
Appeal to fear? Which is worse, Andy, appealing to fear because there is a real danger out there (oh, but when the Bush administration tells us every few days that we are about to die from a chemical or bio attack, thats not appealing to fear at all! Thanks!), or lying and misleading people about the help you are providing? Evil wearing a smiley face is still Evil.
posted by Sully 12/17/2003 08:40:00 PM
OTHER LESSONS OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS:
Avoiding some of the potentially troubling aspects of the Rhys-Davies interview (like, the unspoken assumption that a Netherlands that is half-Muslim in less than 20 years will somehow be one in which women must wear veils, never mind the fact that children who grow up as Dutch-speaking Muslims might find a way to reconcile both cultures to the exclusion of imposing shariyah on everyone ... after all, British Muslims have found a way to be), we can see a different yet equally applicable lesson of The Lord of the Rings to today:
Sauron lets much of his power pass into the One Ring. The wearer gains much of that power, including greater abilities to perceive. Knowledge is power and power is knowledge.
Sauron assumes that all his enemies are after the Ring and would never want to destroy it, so he launches wars intended to subjugate them before they do so. Gollum is so utterly corrupted by years with the Ring that he will do anything to get it back (wonder if Tolkien knew any junkies, because he made Gollum a perfect addict)
Only through the destruction of the Ring can Middle Earth live in peace and the imaginations of pudgy teenagers throwing eight-sided dice around.
Is the Ring not an excellent analogy for the kind of Straussain knowledge neo-conservatives claim?
posted by Sully 12/17/2003 08:23:00 PM
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
Jack Shafer, by way of appreciating the late Robert Bartley, makes this observation that is so totally relevant to the warblogger triumphalism over Saddam and Sawicky�s observations earlier in the week:
... [T]here�s something about victory that drives conservatives insane � they are the sorest winners ever recorded in history.
posted by Sully 12/17/2003 01:37:00 PM
A DIFFERENT KIND OF PROJECTION:
Jo Fish wonders if Sullivan didn�t tell us more about himself when praising Howie Kurtz than he thinks.
posted by Sully 12/17/2003 01:31:00 PM
WHAT FOUCAULT REALLY SAID:
OK. This one�s been with us for a while.
Several days ago, while discussing Louis Crompton�s Homosexuality and Civilization, Sullivan made, or repeated, the simplistic characterization of Michel Foucault as putting forth the notion that �homosexuality only really emerged as such in the late nineteenth century,� primarily to smack it down.
That struck us as too reductivist even by the notoriously Foucault-hating standards of Sullivan�s friend Camille Paglia; anyone familiar with Foucault�s thinking knows that he said more or less that the idea of homosexuality as an identity rather than an action is what he�s talking about.
And indeed he was. Pulling The History of Sexuality off the shelf, we find this on page 43:
As defined by the ancient civil or canonical codes, sodomy was a category of forbidden acts; their perpetrator was nothing more than the juridical subject of them. The nineteenth-century homosexual became a personage, a past, case history, and a childhood, in addition to being a type of life, a life form, and a morphology, with an indiscreet anatomy and possibly a mysterious physiology. Nothing that went into his total composition was unaffected by his sexuality. It was everywhere present in him: at the root of all his actions because it was their insidious and indefinitely active principle; written immodestly on his face and body because it was a secret that always gave itself away. It was consubstantial with him, less as a habitual sin than as a singular nature. We must not forget that the psychological, psychiatric, medical category of homosexuality was constituted from the moment it was characterized � Westphal�s famous article of 1870 on �contrary sexual sensations� can stand as its date of birth � less by a type of sexual relations than by a certain way of inverting the masculine and feminine in oneself. Homosexuality appeared as one of the forms of sexuality when it was transformed from the practice of sodomy onto a kind of interior androgyny, a hermaprodism of the soul. The sodomite had been a temporary abberation; the homosexual was now a species.
This is important, because, Foucault suggests on page 101, without this discursive creation of the homosexual we might not have the gay rights movement as we know it today, and all that such identity politics that Smalltown Boy misses no opportunity to deplore has made possible for him:
There is no question that the appearance in nineteenth-century psychiatry, jurisprudence and literature of a whole series of discourses on the species and subspecies of homosexuality [Did they include bears in that? � SW], inversion and pederasty and �psychic hermaphrodism� made possible a strong advance of social controls into this area of �perversity�; but it also made it possible the formation of a �reverse discourse�: homosexuality began to speak on its on behalf, to demand that its legitmacy or �naturality� be acknowledged, often in the same vocabulary, using the same categories by which it was medically disqualified.
Actually, we do know that there those who dispute the timing of this, arguing that there is evidence of identity formation around homosexuality before this in some places. But no one really seems to argue with the idea that such identity formation eventually takes on political dimensions.
Except Sullivan, maybe. That he seems here to equate homosexuality with the mere act of having sex is very revealing, and dismaying.
Enough with our postmodernist interlude for today.
posted by Sully 12/17/2003 01:26:00 PM
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
AS ALWAYS, ASK AN IRAQIYAH ...:
Riverbend on Saddam�s capture:
The question that everyone seems to be asking is the effect it will have on the resistance/insurgence/attacks. Most people seem to think that Saddam's capture isn�t going to have a big effect. Saddam�s role was over since April, many of the guerilla groups and resistance parties haven�t been fighting to bring him back to power and I think very few people actually feared that.
Political analysts and professors in Iraq think that Saddam's capture is going to unite resistance efforts, as one of them put it, �People are now free to fight for their country�s sovereignty and not Saddam.�
The rumors have been endless ever since yesterday � and they all seem to be filtering in from Tikrit. Some of the rumors include people claiming that Saddam was actually caught a week ago, but the whole thing was kept quiet. Another rumor is that some sort of nerve gas was used in a limited sort of way on the area he was hiding in. Another rumor goes on about how he was �drugged� � something was added to his food� Others say he�s being interrogated in Qatar � and on and on.
The GC seem equally confused with the commotion. Talabani claims it was a combined effort between the Bayshmarga (the Kurdish militia) and the troops, Chalabi, on the other hand, insisted the whole thing was completely an American effort. It�s hard to tell who has the story right and who�s getting it wrong �
As you can see, clearly more grist for the rumor mill. But also note this, �The communist party were scary � it�s like they knew beforehand.�
God knows what deals we�re making now.
Speaking of which, Hesiod has fun with Sullivan sounding like the Iranian media. Or the other way around.
posted by Sully 12/16/2003 05:00:00 PM
WHILE WE�RE ON THE SUBJECT OF TALKING LIKE RUSSIAN POLITICIANS ...:
TBogg roots through the Google trash to remind Sullivan it isn�t just Joe Wilson who can curse it like Eminem ... it was his heroes, too.
And he also links to Sebastian, who again audits Sullivan and shows just why freeloading is the best strategy.
And, by the way, we totally agree with the conclusions of this Sebastian post which started the subject and would even if it weren�t us doing this.
But here�s his best point, worth quoting again here:
But when a blog becomes mostly quotes and insipid commentary, frankly we have to ask whether it is reasonable to tell your readers they should give you money. And when these quotes are from Democratic Underground, we have to ask �are you fucking kidding us?�
posted by Sully 12/16/2003 04:46:00 PM
ONE HAND JERKS OFF THE OTHER:
Well, he can�t say enough nice things about the most toadying media whore of our time, Howie Kurtz, can he?
Not after this classic piece of fawning.
posted by Sully 12/16/2003 04:40:00 PM
IT HAS TO BE ASKED ...:
Sullivan would be truer to his warblogger neocon soul (such as it is) if he just asked the inevitable question regarding the Vatican�s positions on matters near and dear to his heart and id.
posted by Sully 12/16/2003 04:24:00 PM
IS THE MOSSAD NUTS, TOO?:
Hesiod has the scoop that suggests the growing theory that the U.S. may have had some idea of Saddam�s whereabouts for longer than we have been led to believe.
Not only is there the offhand remark of a blowhard Illinois congressman to his local paper a couple of weeks back, there�s this analysis from Debka, the Israeli-intelligence�connected website, which concludes Saddam was really being held for ransom and we used the negotiations as the final intelligence to get him:
A number of questions are raised by the incredibly bedraggled, tired and crushed condition of this once savage, dapper and pampered ruler who was discovered in a hole in the ground on Saturday, December 13:
1. The length and state of his hair indicated he had not seen a barber or even had a shampoo for several weeks.
2. The wild state of his beard indicated he had not shaved for the same period
3. The hole dug in the floor of a cellar in a farm compound near Tikrit was primitive indeed � 6ft across and 8ft across with minimal sanitary arrangements � a far cry from his opulent palaces.
4. Saddam looked beaten and hungry.
5. Detained trying to escape were two unidentified men. Left with him were two AK-47 assault guns and a pistol, none of which were used.
6. The hole had only one opening. It was not only camouflaged with mud and bricks � it was blocked. He could not have climbed out without someone on the outside removing the covering.
7. And most important, $750,000 in 100-dollar notes were found with him (a pittance for his captors who expected a $25m reward) � but no communications equipment of any kind, whether cell phone or even a carrier pigeon for contacting the outside world.
According to DEBKAfile analysts, these seven anomalies point to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein was not in hiding; he was a prisoner.
After his last audiotaped message was delivered and aired over al Arabiya TV on Sunday November 16, on the occasion of Ramadan, Saddam was seized, possibly with the connivance of his own men, and held in that hole in Adwar for three weeks or more, which would have accounted for his appearance and condition. Meanwhile, his captors bargained for the $25 m prize the Americans promised for information leading to his capture alive or dead. The negotiations were mediated by Jalal Talabani�s Kurdish PUK militia.
These circumstances would explain the ex-ruler�s docility � described by Lt.Gen. Ricardo Sanchez as �resignation� � in the face of his capture by US forces. He must have regarded them as his rescuers and would have greeted them with relief.
From Gen. Sanchez�s evasive answers to questions on the $25m bounty, it may be inferred that the Americans and Kurds took advantage of the negotiations with Saddam�s abductors to move in close and capture him on their own account, for three reasons:
A. His capture had become a matter of national pride for the Americans. No kudos would have been attached to his handover by a local gang of bounty-seekers or criminals. The country would have been swept anew with rumors that the big hero Saddam was again betrayed by the people he trusted, just as in the war.
B. It was vital to catch his kidnappers unawares so as to make sure Saddam was taken alive. They might well have killed him and demanded the prize for his body. But they made sure he had no means of taking his own life and may have kept him sedated.
C. During the weeks he is presumed to have been in captivity, guerrilla activity declined markedly � especially in the Sunni Triangle towns of Falluja, Ramadi and Balad � while surging outside this flashpoint region � in Mosul in the north and Najef, Nasseriya and Hilla in the south. It was important for the coalition to lay hands on him before the epicenter of the violence turned back towards Baghdad and the center of the Sunni Triangle.
While some of Hesiod�s commentators are skeptical, suggesting that it would have been really easy for Saddam to remove the Styrofoam block on his own, and pointing to other Debka stories that have not turned out to be true, we believe this one in particular cannot be totally dismissed, not in the least because Debka is not generally known for pouring cold water on American achievements in Iraq.
And, if the rest of their analysis holds, we�re about to get a rude reawakening yet again on the question of �will the resistance refuse to accept its futility?�
posted by Sully 12/16/2003 04:13:00 PM
WE USED TO BE AMUSED; NOW WE�RE TRYING NOT TO BE DISGUSTED:
Sullivan has finally gone too far in going after Kushner. He absolutely has to disclose that this is all just payback for that Vassar speech.
posted by Sully 12/16/2003 04:01:00 PM
Monday, December 15, 2003
SHORT BUT SWEET:
Juan Cole says it all with two sentences:
The capture of Saddam is probably more important for US politics than for the Iraqis.
What happened Sunday was that the Republicans captured a former ally, with whom they had later fallen out.
posted by Sully 12/15/2003 01:56:00 PM
THE HIDDEN CELLPHONE:
Max Sawicky on warblogger chest-thumping:
Once again, the Morale Police are braying. If you don�t display unalloyed euphoria at the capture of Saddam, there is something wrong with you. If you do but are anti-war, there is still something wrong with you. Unless you�re President Bush. He is allowed to say �Yes, but ...� and point out that violence and U.S. fatalities will continue, notwithstanding today�s good news.
To reinforce the notion that anti-war means pro-Saddam, we get anonymous quotes dredged up from Democratic Underground, or otherwise out-of-context phrases lifted from a smattering of liberal blogs. Lies and the lying bloggers who tell them. This is what used to be called scoundrel time.
The purpose is obvious: to win an argument about the wisdom of the war without recourse to the merits of the case. The main theme is the demonization of those who disagree. The secondary line is deference to the implied march of history. It must have been a good idea because we have won. But Saddam�s capture does not create weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist. It does not generate some collaboration with Al Queda that has yet to be demonstrated. Most important, it does not support the claim that Iraq was a threat to the U.S. The inescapable fact remains that the war was prosecuted under false and hypocritical pretenses.
Saddam is a brute without whom the Iraqis are better off, but his brutality was supported by the U.S. government. Why does that matter now? Because as we speak, brutality in other countries is being enabled by the U.S. government, in our names. Accountability for brutality here is incomplete. Most important, the U.S. commitment to set things right in Iraq is problematic. All you have to do is look at Afghanistan.
There are respectable arguments for the war, and reasonable people advancing them. That�s not what this post is about. After all, the capture has no bearing on the merits of the whole enterprise, one way or the other. U.S. military victory was never in doubt.
Jingoist chicken-hawks are having their day. But it is a certainty that this week, another American will die in this war of choice. Some may see that as an acceptable price for Saddam's date with the executioner. I don't. You see, when you buy the capture, you buy the whole package. You buy the ongoing toll in American lives. You buy the kids in Walter Reed missing assorted limbs. You buy the war profiteering. You buy the Federal budget mess. It�s not like a cafeteria where you can skip the broccoli and head straight to the dessert tray. It all goes with the territory.
And an obvious question ...
Why, in the wake of an event that could be interpreted, albeit by stupid people, as an ideological victory, does the Right get even more vicious towards those who reject their point of view?
posted by Sully 12/15/2003 01:50:00 PM
WE NOMINATE THIS GUY FOR A GALLOWAY, TOO:
From a Reuters story linked to and quoted by TBogg we learn that one Iraqi, at least, has not had his day made:
�I hope that we get the chance to try him our way, to let everyone who suffered make him taste what he had made us taste,� said Ali Hussein, 29, a stationery shop owner who said he was still dizzy with joy.
�But whether he�s in a hole or in jail, it does nothing for me today, it won�t feed me or protect me or send my children to school,� he said.
Hmm. Sound a lot like a Democratic Underground poster? Perhaps that person has their priorities straighter than Sullivan realizes? Hell, straighter than Sullivan.
posted by Sully 12/15/2003 01:45:00 PM
PLEASE IGNORE PREVIOUS REPORTAGE:
Jesse stops that Telegraph story in its tracks:
There�s news about Mohammed Atta potentially having been trained in Iraq by Abu Nidal in the Telegraph.
Problem is, the Telegraph printed a story at the beginning of this year that said Saddam killed Nidal because he wouldn�t train Al-Qaeda fighters.
posted by Sully 12/15/2003 09:02:00 AM
THE BETTER PART OF VALOR:
Jo Fish has a different take on Saddam�s going down without a shot:
Sullivan writes that Saddam not firing a shot when captured, despite the possession of two AKs and a pistol proves that Saddam the Tyrant was/is a coward underneath ... perhaps. But since he saw what happened to his sons who �resisted� perhaps he figured that the old thing about �live to fight another day� made more sense. It�s not like he's a pauper, it�s not like he has no bargaining chips. So maybe Sulllivan (again) needs to think it through before putting fingers to keyboard. Saddam did not survive by believing in the ethos of the Wild West, there�s no reason to believe he would have gone out in a proverbial �blaze of glory� just because ... but it sure would have made Andy happy ... wouldn�t it? Sick Prick.
And TBogg has a little fun, too.
posted by Sully 12/15/2003 08:56:00 AM
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN ... :
Sullivan�s trimuphalism exceeded even our expectations. Has he slept at all? He even tagged Juan Cole with a Galloway for one of the most sober, academic analyses we�ve read.
But one guy he ignored and probably will for a while is the always well-informed Steve Gilliard, who now has not only permalinks but this take:
Is his capture good news? Of course it is. All murderers and dictators should be in jail. But it�s not the kind of good news which will matter much in the end. Even if he was involved in the resistance, he was more icon than planner. And this resistance has a strong military cast to it, complete with infantry-type attacks. So the people running it remain ghosts.
In 1957, the French captured Ahmed Ben Bella, the former French Army sergeant turned Algerian guerrilla leader. Tossed him in jail and thought his removal would end the war. They then built the Morice Line, a series of strong points along the Algerian-Tunisian frontier. Most of the NLF stayed in Tunisia, training and launching raids for six years and not getting anywhere. But the war continued. Units inside Algeria were hunted down and killed. But still the war continued. In fact, the French had numerous successes, but the war continued.
By 1962, the French Army had launched a coup, the war was bitterly opposed by French society and they had to negotiate with Ben Bella to end the war.
And also here:
A lot of people are going to wish they found Saddam dead.
Besides the fact that his testimony stands to embarass the US Government in any proceeding, his capture will do little, if any, to halt the resistance to US occupation. Maybe if this had happened on April 10, it might have delayed the growth of the resistance, but to everyone but the neo-con ideologues mismanging Iraq, the resistance flows from the occupation and our actions, not any real desire to see Saddam come back and rule.
In reality, he�d already been turned into a martyr and his living, corporeal being is less relevant than Saddam myopic US planners would think. He wasn�t running the resistance, he wasn't directing any operations and he wasn't any kind of military leader. What stands to be exposed, however, is the depth and breadth of resistance to US occupation which exists in Iraq.
While no one, including myself, is shedding the slightest tear for Saddam�s internment, I think his capture, instead of causing people to support the occupation, will, instead liberate people to oppose it. They know if they oppose the Americans, they won�t be working to return Saddam to power, even indirectly.
I wonder, when in the next month, when the shootings and car bombings continue, what the US will say then? That the dead-enders are still around? That the leaders of the resistance were looking to have Saddam return after he blew it? This removes the figh leaf of Saddam from the Iraqi resistance. The fact that Viceroy Jerry will not be able to blame him, that the generals won't be able to use him as an excuse, will turn Iraq from policy quagmire into policy nightmare.
Of course, we�ll see Bush gloating, but that will not last long.
Because the resistance is a natural occurance of occupation and not some madness driven by loyalty to Saddam. Only a few ideologues ever bought into that. And while his capture may make Iraqis sleep easier, the Shia and Kurds seemed oddly unperturbed by his continued freedom. There were no demands by the Kurdish parties or Sistani that he be captured immediately. No offer of men to effect this. One would think if the spectre of Saddam hung over Iraq in a serious way, more would have been done to round him up earlier.
All this does is set the stage for the real battle of Iraq, and that's elections on who runs the country. Not fear of Saddam resurgent.
Of course, plans to have Iraqis try Saddam are a horrible mistake. It will reak of revenge and little else, if the trials actually come off. The logical thing to do is to send Saddam to the Hague and have him tried by the UN. But little logic has applied to this war so far.
Too many Americans, blind to the utter failure of the CPA, which should be called the Young Republicans Abroad, and the brutality of the US occupation, will be shocked when the dead and wounded continue to come home. We're not talking about party fantatics anymore, but a decentralized, organic resistance to a Western power mismanaging and occupying Iraq. Remember, there was no single leader in Iraq in 1920. So the fact that Saddam is now in jail somewhere is not going to make the islamicists or the former military stop killing Americans.
The right-wing hacks will be filled with glee for a day or so, maybe even less, considering the resistance doesn�t have to do much more than they normally do, which is fire mortars and rockets and set IEDs. We are now engaged in what is shaping up into a battle to control Iraq and the Baathists didn�t need or want Saddam to play a role in that. So let the Americans feed him, they could care less.
Iraqis can now say, with clear logic: you got Saddam, hell, you made him, now go. We no longer need you here. Thanks for the work, now go home. I don�t think Viceroy Jerry quite gets that yet. The majority of the people killing Americans, would, if given the opportunity, would kill Saddam with their bare hands. They weren't setting IED's for Saddam yesterday, and they won�t set them for him tomorrow. We are way, way past Saddam here. We have started blood feuds with the Sunni tribes, after killing their children, jailing their men, humiliating their women. The trigger happy ways of the 82nd ABN and the West Bank tactics of the 4 ID have made few friends and many, many enemies. The idea that the people of Samarra and Fallujah, places where Saddam's hand was heavy, fight for his return, is ludicrous. They fight Americans because we occupy their country. That is a central truth which eludes the generals, the politicians and the White House.
Like with the last stand of Uday and Qusay, the Iraqis were happy at the outcome, but the resistance only grew exponentially afterwards.
The capture of Saddam may end the war, may cause people to cease resistance, but I doubt it. I hope I�m wrong, but given the fact that they found Saddam in a freaking hole, I think we can say he�s spent the last few months on the run and not running anything. All of the problems Iraq had yesterday, they have today. The issue of who runs the country remains. The Americans are swearing that his capture means he can�t come back. Which is good. But, does that bring back the dead killed by American bullets? If it doesn�t, the people who resist Americans still have a reason to, no matter how much we�d pretend it doesn�t.
And given his intimate dealing with the Reagan and Bush Administrations, any trial could come during the height of the American election campaign, raising all manner of nasty questions about the past, starting with any dealings with Al Qaeda.
This is not to say that Saddam�s capture is a bad thing, it isn�t. It�s just not going to solve as much as people hope it will.
posted by Sully 12/15/2003 08:48:00 AM
Sunday, December 14, 2003
�THE JIG IS UP, THE NEWS IS OUT, WE FINALLY FOUND HIM ...�:
There is no way the capture of Saddam Hussein is not good news.
Of course, Sully, exulting in Provincetown�s snowy streets as we knew he would, might want to ponder the fact that Chirac and Galloway haven�t as much to lose, some suspect, from Saddam talking as George H.W. Bush does.
And, really, a generation of Arabs told that Saddam would be the next caliph? In Iraq, probably, but in Syria they thought it would be Hafez Assad, in Egypt Nasser and in Libya Qaddhafi. You get the idea.
posted by Sully 12/14/2003 06:29:00 PM