May 07, 2004

Timothy Burke on the Sitch in Iraq

Timothy Burke gives a Primal Scream:

“Stop with the hindsight”, says one writer. “Be patient,” says another.

Oh, no, let’s not stop with the hindsight. Not when so many remain so profoundly, dangerously, incomprehensibly unable to acknowledge that the hindsight shows many people of good faith and reasonable mien predicting what has come to pass in Iraq. Let’s not be patient: after all, the people counseling patience now showed a remarkable lack of it before the war.

One of my great pleasures in life, I am ashamed to say, is saying “I told you so” when I give prudential advice and it is ignored. In the greatest “I told you so” of my life, I gain no pleasure at all in saying it. It makes me dizzy with sickness to say it, incandescent with rage to say it. It sticks in my throat like vomit. It makes me want to punch some abstract somebody in the mouth. It makes me want to scrawl profane insults in this space and abandon all hope of reasonable conversation.

That’s because the people who did what they did, said what they said, on Iraq, the people who ignored or belitted counsel to the contrary, didn’t just screw themselves. They screwed me and my family and my people and my nation and the world. They screwed a very big pooch and they mostly don’t even have the courage to admit it. They pissed away assets and destroyed tools of diplomacy and persuasion that will take a generation to reacquire at precisely the moment that we need them most.

Noah Millman, for one example, is a very smart person who says many useful and valid things, but I find it impossible to understand how he can give George Bush the credit for being right on “big principles” like the principled need to defend liberty, while conceding that Bush appears unable to understand the complicated constraints of real life. The principled defense of liberty is nothing if it cannot be enunciated within the terms of social reality. It’s just an empty slogan, and worse, one that makes no distinctions between political actors. Does Millman really think John Kerry—who he sees as inadequate to the task of leadership—is a principled critic of liberty? Just about everyone besides Robert Mugabe, Kim Il-Jong, ANSWER and Doctor Doom believes in the principled defense of liberty. George Bush gets no credit for being right in this respect, and deserves to be soundly rejected for being so, so wrong where it really counts, in the muck and mire of real life. That’s the only principled defense that counts: the one whose principles can be meaningfully reconciled with human truths. A policy that insists on living in a squatter’s tent in Plato’s Cave is a non-policy.

There is a struggle against terror, injustice, illiberalism. It is real. It will be with us all our lives. We must fight it as best we can. The people who backed the war in Iraq, especially the people who backed it uncritically, unskeptically, ideologically, who still refuse to be skeptical, who refuse to exact a political price for it, who refuse to learn the lessons it has taught, sabotaged that struggle. Some of them like to accuse their critics of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Right back at you, then. You bungled, and you don’t even have the grace or authentic commitment to your alleged aims to confess your error.

After 9/11, I wrote about my disenchantment with one very particular and relatively small segment of the American left and its dead-end attachment to a particular and valorized vision of sovereignity and national self-determination, seeing those as the only moral aims of international politics. I criticized the need to see the United States as a uniquely demonic actor in world affairs. I still hold to that criticism, and I still think it addresses a real tendency. I’m sure I’ll say it again in the future. I do regret saying it as much or as prominently as I did. That was about my own journey, my own arc of intellectual travel from my origins, not about a national need to smack down a powerful ideology. The subject of my criticisms was not especially powerful or widespread in general, and is even less so now.

I regret it because I and others like me helped the blindly naive Wilsonian proponents of the Iraq War to caricature their critics as Chomskyites all. The Bush Administration had its fixation on WMD; Andrew Sullivan, James Lileks, Michael Totten and a supporting cast of thousands had a fixation with “the loony left”. That allowed them to conduct echo-chamber debates with straw men, in which the proponents of the war were defenders of liberty and democracy and opponents were in favor of oppression, torture and autocracy.

Small wonder that they won that debate—but constructing it as such allowed them to miss the very substantial arguments by other critics, who said, "The war on Iraq cannot accomplish what you would like it to accomplish in producing a democratic and liberal state in Iraq, no matter how noble your aims are. The war on Iraq will not enhance the war on terror, in fact, it will severely damage it. The war on Iraq cannot be justified on humanitarian grounds without arbitrarily and inaccurately defining Hussein’s Iraq as a worse situation than many comparable others—and an arbitrary humanitarian claim damages the entire edifice of humanitarian concern".

There were plenty of people making arguments like these—perhaps even within the Administration--and they were shouted down or completely ignored before the war and even early in the occupation. From these arguments, most of what has come to pass was predicted. Not because of mismanagement—though there has been that, in spades. Not because of the misdeeds of individuals—though there has been that a-plenty, both within the Beltway and on the ground in Iraq. Not because the Bush Administration lacked a free hand to do what it wanted—it has had that, more than any US government in memory. But because of deep, irreparable flaws in the entire enterprise.

A war on Iraq where the build-up was handled much more intelligently and gradually, with much more attention to building international consensus steadily. An Administration not addicted to strident purity tests and not irremediably hostile to both internal and external dissent. An argument for the war that took pains to build bridges rather than burn them, and that accepted gracefully constraints on its own claims and objectives. An occupation that was methodically planned and clear about the challenges ahead. These are the preconditions for even imagining the ghost of a hope that the war could succeed in its humanitarian purposes. In their evident absence from the first moment, the war could not overcome its handicaps.

Liberalism and democracy do not come from formalisms slapped down on top of social landscape: they come from the small covenants of everyday life, and rise from those towards formalisms which guarantee and extend their benefits rigorously and predictably. Constitutions, laws, procedures: these are important. But they cannot be unpacked from a box alongside a shipment of MREs and dispensed by soldiers. They do not make a liberal society by themselves.

To be midwives to a liberal and democratic society, occupiers have to blend in to that society, to become a part of it, to work from below, to gain a rich anthropological sense of its workings and everyday logics. To do that, occupiers must become vulnerable to insurgents and terrorists; they must hesitate to use violence. The two imperatives pull in opposite directions, as they must do so. Smart management can ameliorate or cope with that tension for a while, and there have been success stories of individual American commanders who effectively straddled for a while. But the whole enterprise has not, could not, and DAMN IT, some of us knew that it couldn’t.

So now the oscillations grow more extreme. To fight insurgents, one must sabotage liberty, become not just occupiers but oppressors. To promote liberty, one must be vulnerable to insurgents, and even risk losing the struggle outright to them. You can have the rule of law—but if you do, you can’t have prisoners kept forever as “enemy combatants” or handed over to military intelligence for reasons of expediency. The law must bind the king as well as the commoner or it is worth nothing, teaches no lessons about how a liberal society works. Yes, the enemies of liberty will use that freedom against you. That’s where the real costs of it come in. That’s where you have to sacrifice lives and burn dollars and be vulnerable to attack. That’s where you take your risks.

That this administration, and most of the proponents of the war, would be risk-averse in this way was predictable, inevitable, and not altogether ridiculous. It is hard to explain to military commanders why their troops cannot defend themselves behind barbed wire and walls. It is hard to explain to soldiers why they have to do jobs they’re largely untrained to do—to administer, to anthropologically investigate and understand another society, to bow to the cultural norms and sensibilities of others, to advocate and practice democracy. To be risk-averse about liberty is to lose the war, as we are losing it. Not just the war in Iraq, but the broader war on terror. You can achieve liberalism only with liberalism.

Hindsight is 20/20, but some of us had 20/20 foresight. You could have it, too—it would just take joining us in the difficult messiness of social and historical reality.

Posted by DeLong at May 7, 2004 07:44 AM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
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Abu Ghraib as Symbol

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, May 7, 2004; Page A33


On Sept. 11, 2001, America awoke to the great jihad, wondering: What is this about? We have come to agree on the obvious answers: religion, ideology, political power and territory. But there is one fundamental issue at stake that dares not speak its name. This war is also about -- deeply about -- sex.

For the jihadists, at stake in the war against the infidels is the control of women. Western freedom means the end of women's mastery by men, and the end of dictatorial clerical control over all aspects of sexuality -- in dress, behavior, education, the arts.

Taliban rule in Afghanistan was the model of what the jihadists want to impose upon the world. The case the jihadists make against freedom is that wherever it goes, especially the United States and Europe, it brings sexual license and corruption, decadence and depravity.

The appeal of this fear can be seen in the Arab world's closest encounter with modernity: Israel. Israeli women are by far the most liberated of any in that part of the world. For decades, the Arab press has responded with lurid stories of Israeli sexual corruption.

The most famous example occurred in the late 1990s, when Egyptian newspapers claimed that chewing gum Israel was selling in Egypt was laced with sexual hormones that aroused insatiable lust in young Arab women. Palestinian officials later followed with charges that Israeli chewing gum was a Zionist plot for turning Palestinian women into prostitutes, and "completely destroying the genetic system of young boys" to boot.

Which is why the torture pictures coming out of Abu Ghraib prison could not have hit a more neuralgic point. We think of torture as the kind that Saddam practiced: pain, mutilation, maiming and ultimately death. We think of it as having a political purpose: intimidation, political control, confession and subjugation. What happened at Abu Ghraib was entirely different. It was gratuitous sexual abuse, perversion for its own sake.

That is what made it, ironically and disastrously, a pictorial representation of precisely the lunatic fantasies that the jihadists believe -- and that cynical secular regimes such as Egypt and the Palestinian Authority peddle to pacify their populations and deflect their anger and frustrations. Through this lens, Abu Ghraib is an "I told you so" played out in an Arab capital, recorded on film.

Jihadists, like all totalitarians, oppose many kinds of freedom. What makes them unique, however, is their particular hatred of freedom for women. They prize their traditional prerogatives that allow them to keep their women barefoot in the kitchen as illiterate economic and sexual slaves. For the men, that is a pretty good deal -- one threatened by the West with its twin doctrines of equality and sexual liberation.

It is no accident that jihadists around the world are overwhelmingly male. It is very rare to find a female suicide bomber. And when you do, as with the young woman who blew herself up in Gaza, killing four others in January, it turns out that she herself was a victim of sexual subjugation -- a wife accused of adultery, marked for death, who decided to die a martyr rather than a pariah. But die she must.

Which is what made one aspect of the Abu Ghraib horrors even more incendiary -- the pictures of female U.S. soldiers mocking, humiliating and dominating naked and abused Arab men. One could not have designed a more symbolic representation of the Islamist warning about where Western freedom ultimately leads than yesterday's Washington Post photo of a uniformed American woman holding a naked Arab man on a leash.

Let's be clear. The things we have learned so far about Abu Ghraib are not, by far, the worst atrocities committed in war. Indeed, they pale in comparison with what Arab insurgents have done to captured Westerners, and what Saddam Hussein did to his own people.

The American offenders should surely be judged by our standards, not by others'. By our standards, these were egregious violations of human rights and human dignity. They must be punished seriously. They do not, however, reflect the ethos of the U.S. military, which has performed with remarkable grace and courage in Iraq, or of U.S. society.

The photographs suggest otherwise. Which is why the abuse at Abu Ghraib is so inflammatory and, for us and our cause, so damaging. It reenacted the most deeply psychologically charged -- and most deeply buried -- aspect of the entire war on terrorism, exactly as Osama bin Laden would have scripted it.

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on May 7, 2004 08:01 AM

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Thanks for posting the article. Posting a link might be considered helpful.

Posted by: Charles M on May 7, 2004 08:06 AM

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Charles Krauthammer was KEY in the big lies that backed this recent death spurt.
Critics, or people who simply called the Administration a bunch of shameless liars for death, were not simply "shouted down or completely ignored" they were labelled TREASONOUS, STALINIST or INSANE (See Mort Kondracke).

Krauthammer is on this list, which should be reviled, EN TOTO, by any right minded thinker...

http://BenadorAssociates/experts.php

Can you delete posts, Brad? Putting a Krauthammer article as a comment to this post would be like putting Hitler quotes up at the Simon Weisenthal site.

Posted by: JSN on May 7, 2004 08:24 AM

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As far as I know, none of the opinion-leaders who talked us into this mess have been demoted. I believe it was Salon which published the "Where we went wrong" retrospective, where the ones who had misled us before the war sat around and expressed their regrets, stanced themselves for the future, tried to find a scapegoat, and declared that in The Big Picture they were really right.

Shouldn't there have been a different symposium? Shouldn't all of the people who were ridiculed for being right before the war have been given an opportunity to talk about "Where THEY went wrong"? Shouldn't the discredited talking heads have had to sit and watch, in the awareness that they might have been watching their careers go down the drain? Isn't this what accountability, competition, and all that other good stuff is all about?

As far as I know, nothing has changed. No one's career has been damaged, and no one has been rehabilitated either. (Scott Ritter? Who he?) And as far as I can tell, even if Kerry is elected (and I hope he is) there will be only rather limited changes. Because the same media people who enabled the Iraq War (and who enabled the Clinton impeachment and the anti-Gore smear campaign) will still be in place, and they will still control the public-opinion atmosphere within which Kerry will have to work.

Posted by: Zizka on May 7, 2004 08:26 AM

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Brad -- is there a link to source this story?

Thanks . . .

Posted by: Barry Ritholtz on May 7, 2004 08:26 AM

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Beautifully said. I'd have been harsher on the liberal hawks who I feel should have known better - Josh Marshall, Michael Ignatieff, David Remnick, Jacob Weisberg, etc.

I'd also have emphasized the extraordinary lack of curiousity about Iraq that characterized the debate right across the political spectrum before the invasion. A week ago I did a lexis-nexis search that covered all the major American newspapers and journals of opinion for the word "Sistani" from Sept 11 2001 to March 17 2003. How many hits? Two. St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a sentence on a September 2002 fatwa of Sistani opposing the American invasion and an intrepid San Francisco Chrnonicle reporter actually went to Karbala in January 2003 and had a sentence on the Sept 2002 fatwa. That's it. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of op-eds by Americans and not one appears to have been aware of who the most powerful person in the country was or curious about what his thoughts might be, how he might be approached, etc. It was all about us, not them.

Posted by: angry moderate on May 7, 2004 08:37 AM

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There is a difference between contributing useful links to a discussion, and posting articles in their entirety.

The former can be informative, the latter can only be seen as an attempt to disrupt the discussion.

While I think that you are wrong almost all the time, that is different from saying that you are simply posting to disrupt this discussions.

Regular full postings of articles strengthens the argument that you are simply here to disrupt.

I don't run this blog, but routing behavior of this sort would justify bouncing you from this.

BTW, what is the velocity of a piano at the zenith of its trajectory when launched from a catapult?

Posted by: Matthew Saroff on May 7, 2004 08:59 AM

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While I agree with most of Burke's sentiment, I keep looking at one para that makes me think this is hindsight masquerading as foresight. Burke says that after 9/11 he criticized "one very particular and relatively small segment of the American left and its dead-end attachment to a particular and valorized vision of sovereignity and national self-determination", a group he says "[sees] the United States as a uniquely demonic actor in world affairs."

The problem is that at that time, anyone who raised questions about American behavior, and especially the coming war (and Wolfie was on TV days after 9/11 talking about invading Iraq), was ascribed with the views of this fringe group. It wasn't that the Chomskys and Arundhati Roys discredited the left, it was that supposedly thinking people in the middle (wolf/sheeps, actually) like Hitchens, Sullivan, Buruma etc., said repeatedly(like the extreme right)that everyone on the left, everyone who opposed this march to war, was a flaky, cave-dwelling extreme leftist anti-American. They said that all of us were living in the 1960s. And in doing so they made sure the left had no voice.

Burke contributed to that. None of them wrote something like:
"Ignore the extremists, listen to the mainstream body of the left, they are saying something rational and important about this march to war." Instead, they listened to the extremists, and branded us all as America haters.

(This of course allowed flakes like Hitchens to claim that he represented the new left intellecuals, when he's simply a wine-drinking neocon. Focus on "con".)

One final point: reviewing how we got into this mess is not simply an exercise of hindsight. I hear that from conservative friends and relatives. What I say is this: voters have to know what happened to make an educated choice in the next election. Voters have a right to know, truly, how and why policies are set. Anyone who decries "hindsight" simply wants to deny voters information, to deny democracy at work.

Posted by: paulo on May 7, 2004 09:03 AM

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Paulo - agreed, but note that Buruma, to his credit, opposed the Iraq war.

Posted by: angry moderate on May 7, 2004 09:06 AM

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I really appreciated this post. I resent a lot the frequent posts that liberals somehow take joy in being proven right about the stupidity and unwinability of an occupation of an Arab country. Like Burke, I also take no joy in it. I used to be a news geek, reading both the NYT and the WaPo news sections cover to cover. I can't anymore. I can't stand watching our country descend into the pit of brutality that any occupation is. I hate it. I'd much rather it never happened, and would willingly see Bush with sky-high approval ratings and win reelection than have to read the news from Iraq and from the prison scandal day after day. We're f*cked. The only good think out of this is we know precisely who, in the White House, the media, and the blogworld, f*cked us, and ultimately we -- if we choose -- can hold them accountable.

Posted by: Amitava Mazumdar on May 7, 2004 09:16 AM

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As far as moslem women are concerned, they were freer under Saddam, than they are now. Read Riverbend.

Posted by: big al on May 7, 2004 09:27 AM

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The link to Burke's primal scream:

http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/tburke1/perma50504.html

Posted by: slacktivist on May 7, 2004 09:38 AM

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I saw "economist" Ben Stein on Craig Kilborne's show shortly after September 11th and with his usual great insight he too proclaimed that women 's freedom was the reason they "hate us." Krauthammer is every bit the thinker that Stein is. Banish him.

The main reason the apologists don't want to look back that, as Mazumdar says, they don't want to risk exposure.

Posted by: Mark on May 7, 2004 09:38 AM

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"BTW, what is the velocity of a piano at the zenith of its trajectory when launched from a catapult?

Posted by Matthew Saroff"

I'll bite:

Vertical velocity is zero. Horizontal velocity is the initial horizontal velocity minus that los from friction.

Adrian

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on May 7, 2004 10:02 AM

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Amen.

Posted by: ch2 on May 7, 2004 10:02 AM

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I guess that you are not Lauren Bandler. Good for you.

Posted by: Matthew Saroff on May 7, 2004 10:37 AM

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Adrian, get a grip on reality. Big Al, right on, read Riverbend. <==

The Bircher's in the Bush Administration are
monastery monks. They have no business in the
streets, in lay practice. They can't cope with
the complex reality of existence. Their's is
a falsely pristine, black&white deistic vision.
It has no place in our world's Realpolitik arena.
I'll bet George & Dick's hands are silky smooth.

So as lay folks, we should be laughing at them,
and as tax payers, we should be kicking them out
of the house, and burning their monastery down.
(There's a famous Zen hominum about just that.)
They are deadwood. Boils on our ass. Another $25B? Kiss my *grits*!! The total value of all the oil in Iraq is a mere fraction of $150B,
that we, as taxpayers, will never see again.

Petroleum is the most competitive, free-market,
US-favored commodity on earth. If you have the
US$'s, you can stand in line with the rest of
technologicized humanity for your share. And if
GWBush really wanted to control the world's oil
supplies, he need merely slap a transaction tax
on oil futures speculation in the CBOE markets.
Refinance the SEC. Try to control the bubbles,
like the $42/BBL oil we enjoy today.

(First, kill all the speculators in essential commodities. They are the Vampire. I digress.)

That image of the black cloaked figure standing on the box with the electrodes on his/her hands is the quintessential image of America. Everyone knows it, deep in their belly. Don't you? I do.
That's why it drew so much heat, both here and around the world. America is Jim Crow, land of Lynch the Dark Man. This is a War of Occupation. It's the slimey White Man's Burden underbelly.

This is full-on Neanderthal.
This is George Walker Bush.
This is Richard Bruce Cheney.

As Mumia Abdul Jamal predicted, the Whitehouse
Whitewash is in full battle-rattle, going loud.
They've a lot of work to do before Re-election.

Posted by: Tante Aime on May 7, 2004 11:02 AM

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I can't help but wonder how much of the line of argument he's talking about - the pity their ignorance, it's just the loony left trope - is at least partially careerism on the part of the people who wield it.

If the goal is to improve one's own social standing ("credibility," they call it), it's probably best to treat people in power with a certain amount of uncritical deference, and certainly the right has more funds to disperse. If one's goal is to analyze policy in some sort of realistic and evenhanded way, one might want to take them with a grain of salt.

Oh, one is struggling so hard with the 11th Commandment here...

Posted by: julia on May 7, 2004 11:03 AM

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"That image of the black cloaked figure standing on the box with the electrodes on his/her hands is the quintessential image of America. Everyone knows it, deep in their belly. Don't you? I do.
That's why it drew so much heat, both here and around the world. America is Jim Crow, land of Lynch the Dark Man. This is a War of Occupation. It's the slimey White Man's Burden underbelly.

This is full-on Neanderthal.
This is George Walker Bush.
This is Richard Bruce Cheney.

As Mumia Abdul Jamal predicted, the Whitehouse
Whitewash is in full battle-rattle, going loud.
They've a lot of work to do before Re-election.


Posted by Tante Aime"

Just another typical lefty Kerry supporter

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on May 7, 2004 11:06 AM

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I have only one thing to say to Timothy Burke:

RIGHT ON!!!!!!


Been a long time since I had reason to dust that phrase off.

Posted by: RT on May 7, 2004 11:18 AM

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Excellent piece by Burke; thanks for posting it, brad.

Adrian, shall we post "typical" comments by right-wing Bush supporters? Shall we start with Rush? Shall we then compare the number of people Rush reaches with the number of people Tante Aime reaches?

Posted by: howard on May 7, 2004 11:39 AM

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"Adrian, shall we post "typical" comments by right-wing Bush supporters? Shall we start with Rush? Shall we then compare the number of people Rush reaches with the number of people Tante Aime reaches?

Posted by howard"

Sure, my friend. That would be fun. However,I'd request that you compare Rush to whowever you think your best ideological warrior is to make it fair. I know how much you lefties like being fair.

Adrian of the Right

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on May 7, 2004 12:09 PM

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Andrian,

Is it just lefties who support John Kerry? How many top, counterterrorism experts resigned in frustration or requested a transfer because they found Bush didn't care? It's at least three. Clarke, Beers and a general whose name escapes me now.
(Found it, retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing)

Posted by: KevinNYC on May 7, 2004 12:19 PM

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"It's at least three. Clarke, Beers and a general whose name escapes me now.
(Found it, retired Army Gen. Wayne Downing)

Posted by KevinNYC"

KeapinNYC, They're all just more lefties. They infest our government hack jobs.

Adrian of Brooklyn

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on May 7, 2004 12:41 PM

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Shorter Adrian: anyone who disagrees with George Bush is a lefty, and we need not listen to lefties.

Adrian, I pick Tante Aimee. I'd say there's at least the root of a legitimate idea there, and who knows if he supports Kerry or not.

But Rush - we know he supports Bush, and there is no legitimacy at all to what he had to say ("blowing off steam").

Posted by: howard on May 7, 2004 12:51 PM

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"Shorter Adrian: anyone who disagrees with George Bush is a lefty, and we need not listen to lefties."

C'mon, Howie, would I really be interested in YOUR thoughts if I felt that way? My own son is a lefty, which I can't stand, but I love him to pieces. Some of my best friends are lefties. Let's just have a little fun during this exciting time in our lives.

"Adrian, I pick Tante Aimee. I'd say there's at least the root of a legitimate idea there, and who knows if he supports Kerry or not.'

Tante means aunt in French. Please be respectful. I also quite enjoy her.

"But Rush - we know he supports Bush, and there is no legitimacy at all to what he had to say ("blowing off steam").

Posted by howard"

Well, I really love Rush (surprised)so, let the contest begin.

Adrian

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on May 7, 2004 01:16 PM

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Krauthammer's statement that these actions do not "reflect the ethos of the US military" is -- to put it mildly -- premature, given what everyone from Paul Bremer to David Kay to the Vice Chairman of the JCS is saying. Krauthammer, phowever, is one of the rats who's going to have the most trouble leaving the sinking ship, because he was one of its captains.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on May 7, 2004 01:46 PM

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Another lovely afternoon chatting with Adrian. The Turks under your bed are going to ream your ass in the middle of the night, Adrian! Enjoy!

Posted by: Zizka on May 7, 2004 02:03 PM

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"Another lovely afternoon chatting with Adrian. The Turks under your bed are going to ream your ass in the middle of the night, Adrian! Enjoy!

Posted by Zizka"

I don't know why you're so fixated on Turks. I've visited many towns in that wonderful country and have long time family friends there. I've studied Turkish history extensively and really admire them.

Sissyka, you should try some of their 160 proof Ouzo... WOW.

Your superiour in every way (except maybe spelling),

Adrian the Magnificent

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on May 7, 2004 02:11 PM

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No, Adrian, you're still worried about the Turks at the gates of Vienna forcing your granddaughters and great-grandaughters to wear the burka -- or even worse! You've said is much in rambling, loony posts which I have summarized as fairly and accurately as is humanly possible. They're trying for world conquest, as you have told us many times.

Posted by: Zizka on May 7, 2004 03:31 PM

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Very excellent post by Burke. Why have I never heard of the guy? I consider you, Brad, to be responsible.

His namesake, the founder of modern conservativism is somewhere saying "I told you so" too. He warned us, some time ago, about rabid ideological fanatics who wish to impose their vision on the world and who trust the little bit of wisdom that they have been able to accumulate in a lifetime more than the wisdom built up over centuries.

Odd what modern "conservatives" have done with the word.

By the way, the dictator of N Korea is Kim Jong Il son of Kim Il Sung. I have no idea who Kim Il Jong might be, but I suspect he loves liberty more sincerely than G. W. Bush does.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on May 7, 2004 04:49 PM

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Lovely, Moyers just signed off by playing Limbaugh's rant while showing the torture picutures. Point, counterpoint.

Posted by: Eli Rabett on May 7, 2004 07:00 PM

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"Some of my best friends are lefties."

My god, the classic bigot cliche. Straight from the bigot's speech in '12 Angry Men'.

You are SO typical of your breed, Archie Spittle.

Posted by: Dem on May 7, 2004 07:07 PM

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James lileks!! my god i forgot all about him, i wonder what amusing anecdotes he has about explaining to gnat how sometimes when you want to free a people you gotta torture a few randomly.
I sure hope he doesn't ignore the situation and talk about matchbook covers.

Posted by: bryan on May 8, 2004 10:18 AM

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"BTW, what is the velocity of a piano at the zenith of its trajectory when launched from a catapult?"

A European piano or an African piano?

Posted by: harv on May 8, 2004 09:21 PM

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A good article; pretty much my thoughts, but well articulated.

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