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

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


Friday, April 16, 2004


We’ll be away this weekend and not likely to get the chance to post. See you Monday.

posted by Sully 4/16/2004 12:11:00 PM


So Sullivan is damning The Guardian (again) because someone on one of its chat-boards used a term with racial overtones to refer to Condoleeza Rice? Here are some of the followups to that comment he declined to print:

I’d be wary of making any comparison between a particular black person and a monkey because that excites both the knee jerk racists and anti-racists.


[A] more enlightened analogy could have been used to display your displeasure.


Ignoring racial overtones has a pleasing ring to it, if you’re white.


Hmm, using the word “monkey” to describe Rice. Not cool at all ...


This thread is disgusting.

Ms Rice is an African-American. Refering to her as a ‘monkey’ is deliberate and demeaning racism.


There is no excuse for overt racism.


Coparing Rice to a monkey is very telling about the bigoted outlook many of you have. Why didnt 88 call her a trained bush lapdog for example? Equating Black people with Monkeys shows this threat is more about racial attitudes of the poster and than politics.


I think you really owe an apolgy for use of the word “monkey” to describe Condi Rice. I mean, what the heck were you thinking?

Get a grip & try to think before you post. For the Love of Mary.


IMHO, this has been an extraordinarily offensive thread. I agree with the many posters who think that the “trained monkey on a chain” metaphor is racist. Certainly it is so, from a US point of view ... to refer to a black woman, who is the national security advisor, as a “monkey on a chain” goes past all common political norms.

Might our Brit friends remind me: how often are Anglo-Saxon white (superfluous part, I admit) males (almost ditto) called “monkeys”?


Ms Rice is an African-American. Refering to her as a ‘monkey’ is deliberate and demeaning racism.


You don't think the metaphor is racist. Hmm ... Perhaps you speak from a perspective other than an American one (as per Mr. Calvin.)

Let me offer you an invitation you should never accept. I invite you to come to Manhattan, and to walk into a bar at about midnight on a Saturday, on 125th Street. And I invite you to say, in a very nice way, that a lot of folks in that bar look like monkeys.


it was a bit daft of you to say the least referring to a black woman as a monkey, whatever the context


This is absolutely the most racist thing I’ve ever seen on these boards ... What next? A thread saying “Let’s lynch a black person”?


Why the FUCK has the Guardian not removed this disgusting and offensive thread? It can’t be that they haven't noticed it: the racism leaks from the very title.

Of course, Sullivan does have a better point if he’d written in more detail about the sort of posters on that thread who argue that since Bush is likened to a chimp it’s OK for the original poster (who does eventually realize the error of his ways) to liken Rice to a monkey, and breezily take offense when reminded of the extremely unsavory associations of that image, complaining that the complainers don’t appreciate their cleverness. Thanks, guys, for being on our side!

But perhaps now he understands where PCmight have been coming from?

UPDATE: Logan Circle Guy adds:

Andrew does have a habit of picking random, inane online chatter and attributing to anyone he doesn't like; he’s been picking the most insane anti-Bush comments off of various online forums and presenting them as mainstream Democratic views for some time.

posted by Sully 4/16/2004 11:59:00 AM

Thursday, April 15, 2004


It’s been a while since we or anyone else caught Sullivan in the act of surreptitiously editing his posts after putting them up, but we noticed that, in his current lead item about Oliver Stone, “my friend Anne-Louise Bardach” of this evening has become “my friend Annie Bardach” (apparently he believes friends don’t call each other by hyphenated first names).

DEVELOPING UPDATE: Jo Fish, in the same post linked to below about Capt. Yee, says that it seems Sullivan may have paid another homage to Orwell, as the post from last September where he had Yee pretty much convicted cannot be found.

Ailes and Jo may be talking about this post, which is mainly directed at media coverage of the arrest. We suppose a very expansive reading of it could conclude that he was implying Yee was guilty.

Yet it sounds as if he was alluding to having posted about it earlier, which he may well have, but if he did it may have been a throwaway item.

All this, of course, should not exonerate Sullivan from any and all charges that he rushes to judgement. Remember a couple of weeks ago when bombs were found on Spanish railway tracks and he posted a drive-by about suggesting it was the wages of “appeasement”? Nothing we could find on Google traced it to al-Qaa’idah save the fact that the bomb used the same type of dynamite as the Madrid bombs — the most widely sold dynamite in Spain. In fact, Fox News quoted a military analyst at the time as saying it didn’t seem like an al-Qaa’idah thing.

But nothing we could find on Google (save this, which says Spanish police have “no doubt” but quotes no officials to that effect) since April 2 has suggested a linkage or given clearer speculation as to why. Sullivan has not bothered to retract or clarify the original item.

posted by Sully 4/15/2004 11:45:00 PM


Speaking of the Washington Times, we read over at TAPped that Washington City Paper editor and media columnist Erik Wemple has decided to play Ira Stoll to the folks there (In fact, he’s doing Stoll one better by doing both of these at the same time).

We’ll see if we can establish a strategic relationship.

posted by Sully 4/15/2004 11:41:00 PM


Ailes also has a slightly belated, but good, take on what Sullivan’s tantrum about the Post’s reportage on a romance shows about how Sullivan is not only a first-degree hypocrite on the subject but woefully misinformed:

Oh, to return to those halcyon days of respect for seclusion, when paper correspondence burst into flames if anyone tried to pass it on; when persons never repeated what they were told in confidence; when people stood around the water cooler and gossiped for eight hours, tops. You know, the days when the police could arrest adults for engaging in intercourse in their own beds. Those days.


This is the same Sully whose obsession with President Clinton’s extramarital activities is legendary, who champions his pal Drudge, the originator of the bogus Kerry affair story, and who blogged on the bogus Kerry rumor himself. And his concern for marital privacy wasn’t much in evidence when he was blabbing about Posh and Becks last week.

posted by Sully 4/15/2004 11:36:00 PM


Well, just after we post that George Cerny link, Sullivan up and apologizes to James Yee (as long as you can swallow “leaping to that tentative conclusion” as meaning “got it wrong in a rush to judgement”).

Of course, TBogg has a good idea what Yee might say in reply, and notes that Sullivan seems mainly to have seen a chance to horsewhip the military for its treatment of gay members. We see it as going deeper than that — what really bothers Sullivan was that they wanted to nail him for downloading Internet porn. Again, d’ya think Sully would have noted the dismissal of charges if that hadn’t been a factor?

Roger Ailes is far harsher, noting that, as usual, Sullivan fails to remember when he says no one gives a damn that many left-wing bloggers, himself included, did, and making this challenge to the Blog Queen:

Yes, the Moonie Times was behind the most scurrilous “reporting” of the charges against Captain Yee. If Sully wants people to give a damn about the mistreatment of Captain Yee, he has a perfect platform from which to correct the record: His Weekly Dish column in the Moonie Times.

Name some names, Sully — starting with John Leo and Moonie Times columnists Gaffney, Charen and Malkin — and detail your employer’s disgraceful, foul and malicious role in Captain Yee’s persecution. It’s the right thing to do.

UPDATE: Jo Fish adds his opprobrium:

... he is after all, a Muslim and all, so Andy figured, why not go for it?

I think that one it’s one of the more self-serving screeds that the Duchess has written in a while. To cover for herself she babbles about the Oppressed Military Homosexual and their treatment in the Military Justice System. Nice try, yer majesty. This is one of those times when you can’t put the words back in ... you have proven that no matter how much you write, no matter how smart (you think) you are you’re just as intolerant and bigoted as any good ol’ boy who embraces all them “good fag-hatin’ family val-ewes.” Except you directed all that vitriol towards a defendant whose presumption of innocence was automatic, so tell us, who adores Tyranny again?

posted by Sully 4/15/2004 11:30:00 PM


George Cerny with a comprehensive, well-documented look at many of Sullivan’s flaws, particularly as they relate to his perceptions of Bush and his knee-jerk optimism.

Some choice quotes:

Since Sullivan doesn’t have the vaguest memory of much of what he writes, it takes only a little patience in the Daily Dish archives to find his ’nibs biting his own tail.


Sullivan has surrounded his more sensible observations with bursts of sunny optimism that diluted any impact that his warnings might have had.


Over and over again: all is well, God save the President, and damn the press.


Sullivan is Winston Smith, yet also his own Big Brother.

It’s not that Sullivan isn’t capable of touching on the truth; it’s that his relationship to the truth is like a moth’s relationship to a lightbulb. Battered and no wiser, Sullivan blogs on, growing ever more frantic. His ravings and wild oscillations are outside the realm of foreign policy discussion. They belong to the psychologist.


It makes sense that Sullivan would defend a president so incapable of admitting error.

Really, go read it.

posted by Sully 4/15/2004 10:28:00 AM


Hesiod carefully reads foreign news reports and suggests that it, contrary to Sulli-spin, it is we who are backing down on as-Sadr and not the other way around.

Sadr has already achieved his aims! He is now one of the top two or three most powerful men in Iraq, behind only Bremer and Sistani (not necessarily in that Order). And, unlike Sistani who disdains taking political power for himself, Sadr is positioning himself to be the leader of Iraq. Thus, he’s concluded that continuing the “uprising” at this time would be counterproductive from not only a military standpoint, but from a political standpoint.

By standing down, he becomes more of a “statesman” in the eyes of the Iraqis. That makes it exceedingly difficult for the U.S. to use any force against him. Especially since he’s stopped attacking us, and is making moderate sounding proposals.

He’s manipulating the situation brilliantly. FEAR THIS MAN!

posted by Sully 4/15/2004 10:07:00 AM


This was a persopnal vendetta that deeply corrupted a news organization.

Leaving aside the typo that suggests he should go to bed a little earlier (along with “the point of press conferences is not to naswer every question in full”), this sounds like he knows what he’s talking about.

ADDENDUM: And if you read the link, to an Evening Standard story not online, you'll find that Greg Dyke reacted that way only because, it seems to us, he had good reason to believe Tony Blair was trying to intimidate him. Sullivan says nothing about this. Apparently personal vendettas are A-OK when launched by powerful figures in government against media operations over which they are legally supposed to have no control.

posted by Sully 4/15/2004 02:36:00 AM


It seems clear to me that indigenous forces have to construct the new government.

We sleep better knowing there are pundits like Andrew Sullivan out there with such firm grasp of the obvious.

posted by Sully 4/15/2004 02:32:00 AM

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


We’re glad to see that someone besides us noticed Dorothy Rabinowitz’s craven and cowardly attack on the 9/11 victims’ families who dare to criticize the Bush Administration and its appointees and designees for missteps that, taken properly, might have prevented the attack, and in particular the four widows from New Jersey Gail Sheehy has been following in the New York Observer without whose constant pressure the Bush administration might never have had to follow the historic example and appoint a commission in the first place.

We’re especially glad that that someone is the talented Steve Mussina, who deals quite effectively with the specific outrages and lapses of logic that have long been Rabinowitz’s stock in trade.

But there’s an equally overarching meme in it that really needs to be addressed by the blogospheric left. To wit, as stated several times in more or less the same way by old Dotty, that only one party is “responsible” for 9/11: al-Qaa‘idah. (To relate this to Sullivan, look for him to start employing this one soon)

Really now. That relies on a semantic sleight of hand that does a great deal of violence to the concept of responsibility. Of course al-Qaai’dah is the only one responsible for the attacks themselves. What the victims are asking about is whether responsible for preventing such attacks and defending the United States and its citizens and interests against them lived up to that responsibility. Richard Clarke, in his now-immortal “Your government failed you,” moment, showed he understood this in a way we fear Rabinowitz never will (outside of the Clinton administration). That’s why it will be remembered.

In the eyes of the law, those who perpetrate a crime are not just responsible, they are guilty. Those who enable it through dereliction of duty are responsible, and while it may not even result in them being sued it should not but have adverse consequences (unless they work for the FBI, in which case they get promoted).

Let’s put it in terms Rabinowitz may more easily understand: a football metaphor.

Imagine that next fall, in a tight NFL game, the offense on third and 8 lines up with two receivers wide and only one running back. Defensive coordinator Clarke reads this the way most of us would: they may well be throwing the ball. Because he reads Gregg Easterbrook’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback, he knows that the average NFL passing attempt yields only six yards and thus if most of the linebackers and all of the DBs stay home, his team’s chances of forcing an incomplete, pick or coverage sack will be better than usual. He calls for a defense that recognizes this. As Easterbrook says many times each fall, “Stop Me Before I Blitz Again!”

Instead, at the snap, outside LB Louis Freeh and CB John Ashcroft blitz, leaving a whole side of the field uncovered. Opposing QB Osama “The Base” bin Laden sees this and, as helmets are inches from being buried in his chest, tosses to SE Mohammed Atta, who waltzes (they always “waltz,” don’t they?) unmolested down half the field for six, after which he spikes the rock, shouts “Allahu Akhbar!!” and joins the rest of the receiving corps in bowing down in the direction of Mecca. Ultimately this score decides the game.

On the sidelines, Coach Clarke is furious. Veins popping in his bald forehead, he screams over the crowd noise “WHY THE *&^*%$( DID YOU BLITZ?” But he knows the answer: contract negotiations are coming up for both, and they know that it’s always good to be the lead highlight on SportsCenter with the monster hit.

In the locker room after the game, with microphones and lights jammed in their faces, the towering All-Pros account for their collapse in curiously similar sound bites that amount to: “It wasn’t my fault. They scored the touchdown.”

Question: Will these guys be starting next week? Will they even have masking tape with their names on it? Will it be remembered by the general manager after the season during negotiations?

UPDATE: P O’Neill on how the Journal slightly amends the hed of the piece for the Web.

posted by Sully 4/14/2004 02:13:00 PM


We hope Sullivan is aware (and maybe he is) that when he offhandedly talks of “two decades” of appeasement of Islamist terror as a way of pissing all over Bill Clinton (and we suspect that when neocons say, in that connection, “appeasement of Islamist terror,” what they really mean is “protecting the U.S. and its citizens against Islamist terror while assuming Israel can take care of itself,” and in fact Hanson tips his hat on that score when he includes “isolat[ing] Yasser Arafat” among Bush’s accomplishments (as if Ariel Sharon hadn’t had the IDF pin him down in Ramallah for two years)), that he’s also indicting Reagan and the older Bush as well.

Hanson’s list of supposed Bush accomplishments deserves a stout fisk of its own, too:

Since September 11, he has removed the Taliban and Saddam Hussein

Question: Had September 11 not occurred, does anyone really think that George W. Bush and his cronies would have shown any interest in regime change in Afghanistan? We sure don’t. From the start they treated that country as an annoying diversion necessitated by events on the way to their real Disneyland, the place where Donald Rumsfeld, sounding for the all the world like a 14-year-old boy expressing his preference for one PlayStation title over another (God! We do Maureen Dowd better than Maureen Dowd does Maureen Dowd!) said there were better targets (Witty rejoinder: Really, Don? Did the little bonus points pop up in 256-color graphics after those K00L D000D! explosions? Sobering rejoinder: Yes, there have been ... for Islamists).

begun to challenge the Middle East through support for consensual government

Yup, sending in thousands of soldiers to impose a bunch of corrupt plutocrats really meets our definition of “consensual”

isolated Yasser Arafat

See above as to credit. And also, one asks if there has been any discernible effect on the I/P peace process.

pressured the Europeans on everything from anti-Semitism to their largesse to Hamas

“Pressured” sure sounds nice, but one again asks, to what effect?

removed American troops from Saudi Arabia

As per Osama bin Laden’s request, yes. So nice to see we don’t give one inch on these things.

shut down fascistic Islamic “charities,”

The Israelis reportedly differ with that as to whether we have effectively followed up.

scattered al-Qaida

Again, to what practical effect? Many of us think that the al-Qawaa‘id are a more serious long-term threat. We started the right way, but did not follow up because Ahab had to have his whale.

turned Pakistan from a de facto foe to a scrutinized neutral

[coke on the monitor]

rounded up terrorists in the United States

Yeah, OK, if you count guys who went to terrorist camps but really decided it wasn’t their scene as terrorists.

And let us not forget that they could have, but did not, round up the three or four terrorists that counted.

pressured Libya, Iran, and Pakistan to come clean on clandestine nuclear cheating

While letting North Korea get away clean with very overt nuclear cheating.

so far avoided another September 11

You can almost hear Hanson down on his knees on this one.

and promises that he is not nearly done yet

Because he hasn’t started yet.

posted by Sully 4/14/2004 01:25:00 PM


As we all know, Sullivan has his own reasons for attacking what he sees as online invasions of privacy. And we actually do agree that the item he links to from his TNR piece has no journalistic justification other than a desire to report something titillating.

But all the same, why does he refer to “an egregious act of outing” when this does not involve someone’s homosexuality being disclosed by someone other than themselves? Granted, the term is starting to embrace meanings beyond that original sense, as in the “outing” of Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative

Do you think it’s possible that he knows that most people will click on the link expecting something like the narrower sense ... and whether or not they’re disappointed by what they read, by the mere act of clicking they will have added one hit to Sullivan’s piece? In other words, did he do this on purpose to artificially boost his hit count?

One would hope, vainly in all likelihood, that Sullivan’s editors, such as they dare, at The New Republic would call him in for a chat about this sort of inappropriate promotional practice. Certainly a lesser light would be. For it’s exactly the sort of conflict raised by a journalist having his or her own blog while simultaneously publishing on- and offline under other auspices that Sullivan so pig-headedly refused to recognize back in the days before the world was created afresh (i.e., to him, before 9/11) when he was called for not thinking it would be any great problem if PhRMA (the drug manufacturer’s lobby) funded his blog while he failed to disclose that relationship anywhere else.

Over and above all that, of course, there’s the issue that Sullivan, by writing a lengthy piece dissecting and denouncing the Post item, compounds the breach of privacy of its subjects that he decries. Why call attention to it? We didn’t know about it until we read Sully’s screed, and we’d hazard a guess that our world wouldn’t have been too greatly rocked if we never had.

posted by Sully 4/14/2004 12:51:00 PM


Hesiod links to Iraqi blogger Zeyad, someone Sullivan has been enthusiastic about linking to in the past when he needed some local cheerleading, who suggests that the As-Sadr situation is indeed on the verge ... of exploding.

(NOTE: We’re getting 503 errors on the link right now, so we can’t see the context of Hesiod’s quote ourselves).

posted by Sully 4/14/2004 12:34:00 PM


TBogg on Sullivan’s take on the news conference:

It’s 2 am, the bar is closing, and Bush is the only thing left standing for Andy ...

We’ll add that, if that was Bush at his best, Sullivan needs to review that Meet the Press interview again.

We actually didn’t think it was bad as that, but the inability to find some mistake to admit to and the weird slip about some “must-calls” followed by a softball, perhaps pre-scripted but definitely reassuring question from Bill Sammon of (surprise!) The Washington Times (author of a book that can assert that Al Gore almost stole the election only by grossly distorting the facts) would definitely not warm our hearts if we were conservatives.

posted by Sully 4/14/2004 12:27:00 PM

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


A while back, Sullivan talked about what we see as an interesting phenomenon — the almost-certainty that an outspoken “pro-family” anti-gay advocate will have a gay child in the family (not necessarily out). It’s almost as reliable as so-called “ex-gays” turning up in leather bars, hitting on people they mistakenly take to be ex-straights, and posing in articles in gay magazines some time after the initial burst of publicity.

We’re not really in the habit of suggesting things for him to cover, and this isn’t one of those things where he needs to be shown up, God knows.

But guess who the latest person to come out and join this particular parade is? Or, more accurately, who his father is?

Yup. Randall Terry, founder of the loathsome anti-abortion terror group Operation Rescue (We got your PFLAG membership right here)

Randall Terry! We almost fell out of our chairs laughing! (Can you tell we have some personal experience with this ... man, we guess you would have to conclude? We couldn’t wish this situation on anyone more deserving).

But wait ... it gets better!

How did Mr. RICO-Patrick-Henry-Congressional-Candidate react to this? With the sort of pained, pro forma statement of how he will always love his son and pray for him ... and nothing more?

Nope. Randall wrote a hit piece on his son for the Washington Times (We guess you could say it’s the Christian thing ... in the modern American political sense of “Christian”).

Sure, he gets all goo-goo about how he loves his son and has “poured ... 16 years of his life into him” (sure, in this context, you want to use that particular word, Randy?). But that doesn’t stop him from disclosing, to a newspaper and Internet audience of perhaps millions, the son’s financial and legal woes in great detail ... a mere few grafs after lamenting how the son “prostituted my name for $5,000; he sold out our family’s privacy for cold cash.” (after, of course, he accuses the boy of lying and implicitly molesting his friends as a teenager). Hey, boy, turn that other cheek so I can slap you across it hard!

Of course, perhaps Mr. Randall should look in the mirror. He keeps using the first-person plural to refer to matters concerning his home and family ... hmm, Randy, could you be talking about the woman you live with after your first marriage went down the tubes because, as even your own pastor at the time put it, you were too busy with “dragons to slay and funds to raise” to notice that dear Cindy was falling apart and slipping away? When you talk about the house that you “thought” was “safe” for your children’s friends to play in, do you mean that big ole one on Farm to Market Road outside Harpursville, NY, that you had to sell after you got divorced?

Perhaps Depeche Mode was right:

I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours;
But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humor
And when I die I expect to find Him laughing ...

Thanks to Approximately Perfect (the things you find on technorati searches!) for breaking this story.

You just know Sullivan’s gonna have a field day with this one.

UPDATE: He did mention this, although not at the length we did, and (curious in light of his temper tantrum at the Post gossip column) said nothing in defense of the son’s privacy.

posted by Sully 4/13/2004 03:26:00 PM



What about the kind of leader the Iraqis need? Shouldn’t that be up to them? We don’t think the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction extends that far.

posted by Sully 4/13/2004 02:05:00 PM

Monday, April 12, 2004


I still favor the war; but I cannot excuse the lapses and failures of the administration in the post-war. Yes, this was always going to be very very hard.

We leave it to George Cerny to really have fun with this one. All the same, we really like this next bit

And yes, Iraq was slowly imploding under Saddam and some version of what we are now witnessing was inevitable - and, without the war, it would have happened without our stabilizing presence.

“It was broken when we started playing with it.” Geez, did any of you have parents who bought this?

UPDATE: Jo Fish has his way:

The Duchess has again proved no rationalization too big for her to blog. As she ever-so-gently takes Preznit No Failures Here to task for not “getting it right” in Iraq, she offers that well, the Preznit might, you know in an oblique sort of way, have some eeensy-weeensy littlest bit of responsibilty for the situation in Iraq. You know, not too much after all he has narrow shoulders and suffers from low expectations and all. But the Duchess finds it in her heart to seemingly forgive Fearless Leader, being his first war and all.

posted by Sully 4/12/2004 11:20:00 PM


Most liberals and bloggers as a whole are snarling at former NYT editor Howell Raines’ complaint in his Atlantic Monthly piece (link via Atrios) that “the unsourced ranting of Internet bloggers polluted the journalistic mainstream of the United States.”

Back off, guys. Where Raines says “bloggers,” we know he means “one particular blogger.”

And you know which one.

posted by Sully 4/12/2004 11:56:00 AM


Reports of the permanent demise of Media Whores Online may be premature.

Roger Ailes today sends us to David Neiwert, who tells us almost literally from the Horse’s mouth that the current hiatus is only temporary.

That’s unalloyed good news.

Neiwert is on the same page as us with regard to the impact of MWO:

People have to appreciate just what MWO accomplished in a few short years. Operated simply by a regular citizen, it became the first liberal activist Web site to attract a mass audience — one, it must be noted, that responded to its pleas by sending out thousands of scathing (and, evidently, sometimes nasty) e-mails to various media miscreants.

MWO demonstrated the power of free speech in an open democracy, and in many ways paved the way for the development of the liberal blogosphere. I know that many of us now in the blogging biz were first able, by watching MWO, to see just how much could be accomplished by simply disseminating important information and working it out of the vast wormholes that the nation's corporate media have become.

Call it the democratization of the media, if you will; the Web has become an important way for important information to be kept alive when it might otherwise be buried. The traditional media did not like it, particularly those from the conservative realm. Tucker Carlson to this day makes rueful references to Media Whores Online.

Ahhhh ... how sweet to read.

posted by Sully 4/12/2004 11:50:00 AM


Steve Mussina, continuing an especially good streak of late, reminds us just how optimistic Sullivan was a year ago:

He was morally certain that that downed statue would be the indelible symbol of a victory secured, as long as we damn liberals didn’t use our filthy propaganda techniques to spoil the triumph.

posted by Sully 4/12/2004 11:39:00 AM


We really thought Sullivan would be more prudent than to link to that Easterbrook piece imagining Bush impeached after starting a bloody, unjustified war with Afghanistan as a result of the Aug. 6, 2001 PDB released over the weekend. Since that came out on Friday, it has been very effectively responded by no less mighty figures in the left of the blogosphere as TAPped, Roger Ailes, and Atrios (as well as ferociously mocked by TBogg).

All of them make the same basic point: that there are, in fact, alternatives between either doing nothing or going all-out. Clinton used those alternatives a few times.

But we think other things should be called out about that piece.

For starters, Easterbrook has the attack coming the day after the briefing.

For a journalist who professes to such a high degree of technical knowledge when it comes to environmental matters, and who does indeed have a grasp on the science of the space shuttle to make us respect his opinion, this ignorance about something so basic as military logisitics is astounding.

There is, and was, no way that such a strike as Easterbrook describes could have taken place the day aftyer the briefing. To move all those Special Forces and air assets in place would have taken a couple of weeks at least, as it did in real life a couple of months later during which time it would have become obvious to all the world's military intelligence services that something was up.

But this also lets Bush off the hook on something we think no one has called him on, but discussed in that Jan. 19, 2002, Bart Gellman piece in the Washington Post that still strikes us as the most damning indictment of Bush’s insouciance (and, despite Sullivan’s abuse of this word, none fits better) in the face of al-Qaa‘idah.

Readers of Richard Clarke’s book (as opposed to mere buyers) may recall that he, too, discusses this. In the wake of the 1998 missile strikes on al-Qaa‘idah camps in Afghanistan that were meant to take out bin Laden in response to the embassy bombing, strikes in which the Navy had ignored Clarke’s request for submarines only to be deployed so that the Pakistanis would not be able to pick it up and warn their friends across the border (and, by implication, Clarke suggests, that is exactly what happened ... one of the great unremarked-upon themes of Against All Enemies is just how much the military undermined Clinton’s efforts to take the fight to terrorists), the NSC got two subs stationed off the Pakistani coast at all times so that the US could retaliate quickly and stealthily in the case of a future attack being pinned on al-Qaa‘idah (as, yes, the Cole bombing was ... in March 2001).

Bush stood those boats down (which, in our view, tells you all you need to know about how high a priority al-Qaa‘idah was for his administration). Easterbrook’s little scenario fails to recognize this ... that some sort of surgical strike might have been possible if the Bushies had let well enough alone. Even after 9/11.

But there are so many other ridiculous assumptions he (and, for that matter, Kitty Parker, who to be fair imagines a more realistic timeline, in a similar exercise in euchronia at National Review) makes: that the U.S. public would be that outraged by a bloody, purposeless war in Afghanistan as to demand a commission investigating it (are they not looking around them right now?) and turn on the president who said he was only trying to defend them from terror (again, this example is contradicted by ... current reality); that world opinion would turn on the U.S. that sharply (Clinton survived similar bloodshed in Sudan and Serbia without sustaining serious damage to American influence) and that so many officials would resign (we can’t Clarke stepping down over something like that). In addition, in Easterbrook’s scenario, given that Cheney had as much involvement as Bush did, wouldn’t he be subject to impeachment and removal too? (President Hastert. Not sure how scary that is ... would he be able to go to the bathroom without asking Tom DeLay if it’s OK?)

There is, however, one interesting implication: Easterbrook and Parker both tacitly realize that Bush is incapable of a measured response on this issue and only swings for the fences. If the war on Iraq has made them aware of this character flaw of his if nothing else, it has done some good. Not much, not anywhere near a little, but some.

posted by Sully 4/12/2004 10:58:00 AM

Sunday, April 11, 2004


It is perhaps fitting that on Friday, while we were otherwise occupied, we scored our 200,000th hit since June 2002 ... in about half the time that it took us to get to 100,000 in the first place.

Woody Strode marked the occasion by adding to our notes about how Silly thought he had beaten the left to terming the current Iraqi unrest an intifadah, quoting a story in the Jerusalem Post to that effect which we were unable to get to because you have to be a subscriber, and we don't read the JPost enough to justify doing so.

But he also spoke to his readers about how difficult he sees our task, and posts a pretty accurate depiction of that task. For that we give thanks today.

He's right about some of the limitations. We don't doubt that it has deterred other people who thought they could watch other bloggers or pundits as well as we could. But we really do enjoy what we do, as well as finding it as necessary now as it was in June 2002.

If anything, the most frustrating aspect of this is keeping up. Sometimes we get lucky and can put up a response within minutes of Sullivan (it helps that he generally tends to two times of day, around midnight and early afternoon, for the bulk of his posts), but usually we know at least a few hours will go by with a serious error of fact or logical flaw going undetected or unrebutted. And sometimes a day or two.

But often a particularly productive day on the Blog Queen's part means that, in a period in which we've thought through a response while offline, there will be fresh blogging of his to worry about when we return. And some minor witticism or aside to some lesser post of his that occurred to us often gets lost or delayed to the point of irrelevance.

However, that's the nature of this particular medium. No use crying about it.

And we thank Woody very much for his comments. In return, we just want to ask, when are you going to post the answer to that military intelligence quiz you had up a couple of weeks ago? We're waiting.

posted by Sully 4/11/2004 12:44:00 PM


Happy Easter, for whatever there is to be happy about.

George Cerny is amazed at his predictive powers:

I was sort of trying to be clever when I referenced the old saw that "every cloud has a silver lining"; I didn't think that anyone would be so trite as to use the phrase without irony. But no cliche is below Sullivan anymore. His new post, "THE SILVER LINING"

There is some good analysis and comment, too, of course. After he notes that Sullivan picks the one Iraqi blogger who agrees with him, out of several he's quoted in the past:

[Iraq the Model's analysis is] one possible scenario. It's just as possible as the gleeful predictions of calamity now being broadcast far and wide by opponents of the war, like NPR and the BBC.
(my emphasis)

A safe and free Iraq is now "just as possible" as something like total disaster. A coin-flip, as it were.

For this we fought the war?

And, no, I'm not the least bit gleeful about this.

While he's on the subject, here's our favorite Iraqi blogger, Riverbend, on the events of the past week or so:

Where are the useless Governing Council? Why isn't anyone condemning the killings in the south and in Falloojeh?! Why aren't they sitting down that fool Bremer and telling him that this is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong??? If one of them were half a man or even half a human, they would threaten to resign their posts if there isn't an immediate ceasefire… the people are enraged. This latest situation proves that they aren't Iraqi- they aren't here for the welfare of the Iraqi people.

The American and European news stations don't show the dying Iraqis … they don't show the women and children bandaged and bleeding - the mother looking for some sign of her son in the middle of a puddle of blood and dismembered arms and legs… they don't show you the hospitals overflowing with the dead and dying because they don't want to hurt American feelings… but people *should* see it. You should see the price of your war and occupation - it's unfair that the Americans are fighting a war thousands of kilometers from home. They get their dead in neat, tidy caskets draped with a flag and we have to gather and scrape our dead off of the floors and hope the American shrapnel and bullets left enough to make a definite identification…

One year later, and Bush has achieved what he wanted - this day will go down in history and in the memory of all Iraqis as one of the bloodiest days ever...

posted by Sully 4/11/2004 12:22:00 PM

Powered by Blogger


All material on this site copyrighted by author or authors.



Blogging the Blog Queen


“appl[ying] a magnifying glass to Andrew Sullivan’s performing-flea antics” – James Wolcott, Vanity Fair, April 2004.

Passionate rebuttal to Andrew Sullivan's frequent rants.

The Guardian

sullywatch AT

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More


There Is No Crisis: Protecting the Integrity of Social Security

Also see:

Smarter Andrew Sullivan (on hiatus, alas)

More blogs about Andrew Sullivan.

And for satire:

Neal Pollack (on hiatus as well)

Our inspiration:

Media Whores Online (presently out to pasture, but hopefully to return soon now that they are needed again)

Other watchers:


WarBlogger Watch

LGF Watch




DeCal (Cal Thomas)



The Daily Howler

Media Matters


The small village of bloggers who try to keep Sullivan honest (among other things):


Democratic Veteran

By the Bayou


Best of Both Worlds

Steve Brady

Other blogs of interest:



The Daily Kos

The Rittenhouse Review

Roger Ailes


Max Sawicky

Very Very Happy

Talking Points Memo



No More Mister Nice Blog

Steve Gilliard



Abu Aardvark

Ted Barlow (now at

Crooked Timber)

CalPundit (now at the Washington Monthly as Political Animal)

David Ehrenstein

Brad Delong

World O’ Crap

Tom Tomorrow

Oliver Willis

skippy the bush kangaroo

Public Nuisance

Bruce Garrett

are you effin’ kidding me?

Light of Reason


Onanism Today

The Suicide Letters

The Antic Muse (now Wonkette)

Sadly, No!


Anonymous Blogger

Scoobie Davis


Baghdad Burning

Whiskey Bar

Busy Busy Busy

We Report, You Deride


The Tooney Bin

Adam Kotsko

Nasty Riffraff

A Brooklyn Bridge

Suburban Guerrilla

Dave Cullen

Approximately Perfect

Trust me, you have no idea how much I hate Bush.

Beautiful Atrocities




Also worth checking out


The Cursor

Journal of American Politics

The George Bush AWOL Project

The Daily Kos



Greatest Hits (ours):


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

Online here exclusively.


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!