August 19, 2006

Guest-blogging for Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan just left for a two-week vacation, and I’ll be filling in for him at Time with Ana-Marie Cox and David Weigel. Long essays will still be published on this page as usual, and shorter bloggy-type stuff will be posted there.

When I filled in for Glenn Reynolds a few weeks ago I cross-posted some of the same material on my blog and on his. I won’t be doing that this time, though, so be sure to look for my posts there as well as here until Labor Day weekend.

Andrew Sullivan’s was the first blog I ever read. It’s an honor to be asked to contribute, especially now that it has been absorbed by Time magazine. Thanks, Andrew. Enjoy your vacation.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 19, 2006 05:36 AM

Andrew is 'almost' MSN. Now you get will get wider exposure. CONGRATS!!

Posted by: Gene at August 19, 2006 07:51 AM

Welcome to the Dark Side. ;)

Posted by: sean at August 19, 2006 09:16 AM

Sullivan needs a vacation. He's been writing like his hair's on fire.

Congrats Michael.

Posted by: Joe Marino at August 19, 2006 10:58 AM

Congrats Michael!! :-)

Posted by: Renée C. at August 19, 2006 02:29 PM

I question the timing.

Posted by: sockpuppet in training at August 19, 2006 02:56 PM

This is off topic, but Michael you were very pessimistic in the last post expecting a very soon war in Lebanon. I am too not so optimistic simply because the status quo is the same after the war. Can you tell us why you have that feeling.

Posted by: AR at August 19, 2006 03:20 PM

way to go michael

Posted by: a kurd in california at August 19, 2006 06:31 PM

Congrats. I'll be interested to see your output.

Posted by: glasnost at August 19, 2006 10:01 PM

This completly off topic... but what the hell...

A few weeks ago, several readers of this blog saw fit to attack me personally for making the claim that US armed forces were committing far more atrocities that commonly assumed.

I would argue that the link below completely justifies my statement. The Marine officer's laissez faire attitude regarding his unit's horrendous act proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. I would also argue that that it is the leaders and politicians who should be held ultimately responsible.

Voltaire said - "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

When you are a terrified 19-year-old in hot zone facing an undefined enemy, some real bad shit is going to happen. Good people are going to fail. Marines and Soldiers don't commit acts like these unless they are put into an absolutely insane position.

But I'm sure someone will take umbrage and hold any number of terrorist organizations up as an example of the other side committing atrocities.

My response would be "Do we really want to go down the road where we can justify our mis-deeds by using terrorists as an example?"

I think not.

I'm not expecting any apologies. I'll sit back now and watch the fur fly.

Posted by: R. El Saghir at August 19, 2006 10:51 PM

I would argue that the link below completely justifies my statement.

I would argue that you are undermining your claim to be former US military. That Marine officer's attitude was that he did not know anything of significance had taken place- anyone who has served would be aware that officers are not omniscient, and would also be aware that when the chain of command became aware that the initial reports may not have been accurate, an investigation was begun. So far, Lt. Col Chessani, Captain McConnell, and Captain Kimber have been removed from command. This would not have happened if whatever happened at Haditha was SOP.

As far as you are concerned: If you really did the things you imply you have done, go to the press, tell your story, present your evidence, and let the investigation happen.

Posted by: rosignol at August 19, 2006 11:25 PM

Off topic for the post I am replying too, and it may have been pointed out before, but I'm going to do so here.

I saw a commercial on Foodnetwork, some thing from one of my favorite chef shows: Tony Bourdain (well, I probably totally screwed the spelling of his name - I'm dyslyxic so please forgive).

He was doing a show on Lebonese food and was there for some part of the beginning of the war. I don't know how much - food network just had a commercial. Other than the recent commercial I know nothing more than anyone else.

On this monday (Aug 21 2006) the show airs. I, for one, find that worthwhile to watch. I've read MJT for some time because of him giving his truth from where he visits (before that an Iraq hawk liberal was interesting). I'm interested in Tony's (one of the line in the commercials - from memory and a paraphrase (maybe someone knows better, I was ignoring it as a normal commercial) - "I have just been here long enough to care for it") take on it. Even though it is really focused on food - food is one of the great windows into what we beleive. For all I know it is really pro-hizbolla, I only saw the commercial. At the least - he was there on the Lebonese side.

sigh more great info from there. I want to see much more of this type of reporting from many different areas. A while back I made a comment to MJT toward blogging about food, I still do not think he links food to general culture. For me, I see a lot in our food and drink services. It's a meeting of family and friends and reflects on how we view them.

Posted by: strcpy at August 19, 2006 11:43 PM

Oh lord... I'm sorry - what was it I implied that I had done again?

Babies on spikes? I cannot help that people have fertile imaginations...

And it WAS SOP... that is the point the officer was making... he didn't see anything strange about 15 dead women and children...

You are assuming that because there is an investigation that all is well... when in fact it was just dumb luck that someone uncovered the crime in the first place...

What happens in the field stays in the field.

Posted by: R. El Saghir at August 19, 2006 11:46 PM

R. El Saghir, my response is that bad shit happens in times of war. Yup, even by Americans. There are half-American/half-Vietnamese adults right now that I'm sure weren't all procreated via loving embraces. Not to mention Mai Lai.

By all accounts, the Allied firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo were "war crimes" (by the Leftist definition) on a much greater scale than anything the Americans or Israelis could muster today short of busting out WMDs.

Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons on Iranians and Kurds and I'm sure he would have used them on Israel if he could have launched them far enough and/or didn't fear Israeli deterence.

And if you want to posit Abu Ghraib and the Haditha killings against everything else going on in the world today, such as the mass rapes and slaughters in Darfur, go ahead, but I think most people on this board see that these are just your axes that are grinding against the US military, justified or not.

Posted by: jjdynomite at August 20, 2006 12:38 AM

Congrats, Mike. The MSM finally did something right.

Posted by: Patricia at August 20, 2006 09:10 AM

no axes here...
I am on IRR and would report today if I received orders to do so.
I have deep love and respect for the United States Army... for all of our forces...
But it ails me so to see them so abused and misused... it hurts that otherwise moral and good kids are doing horrible things because of the failings of our leaders.

Posted by: R. El Saghir at August 20, 2006 10:30 AM

R. El Saghir, I too have deep respect for the US military; I had two great uncles who served in WWII (one a POW in Germany for 2 years) and they came from middle-to-upper class backgrounds but did what they felt was right.

Vietnam and now the Iraq War is the antithesis of this, with poor kids going off to kill and die to preserve the US Way Of Life. It is Israel who has been carrying the WWII ethic (as a standing army) since 1948, as not only the poor and uneducated serve. Unfortunately, this too seems to be changing, as the IDF has been emulating the US military in targeted strikes, backtracking and (ab)using the military to perform police actions in the territories.

While the US can sustain this dynamic for a number of years (see: Vietnam, and, now, Iraq), Israel does not have this luxury. I am not sure what the alternative is, save for the Israelis becoming as brutal as the Allies were in laying waste to the Axis powers. This means lots and lots of civilian dead, which appears acceptable in the Islamist world but not (yet) to the Israeli and American public and administration.

Anyway, this article posted by Ben "Bueller, Bueller" Stein today in the NY Times summarizes all of this very succintly and I think both you and I would agree on much of his points:

Very worthwhile reading, and sad and alarming, too. But the option is not voting Democrat, the only real option is finding Churchills, Trumans and Rabins to do what Blair, Bush and Olmert are failing miserably at. The question is, are there any takers?

Posted by: jjdynomite at August 20, 2006 11:41 AM

Mark Steyn writes: "We live in an age of inversely proportional deterrence: The more militarily powerful a civilized nation is, the less its enemies have to fear the full force of that power ever being unleashed. They know America and other Western powers fight under the most stringent self-imposed etiquette. Overwhelming force is one thing; overwhelming force behaving underwhelmingly as a matter of policy is quite another. ... The U.S. [and Israeli] military is the best-equipped and best-trained in the world. But it's not enough, it never has been, and it never will be."

Vlad The Impaler had a simple solution. Perhaps it's time to revisit that history.

Posted by: occam whisker at August 20, 2006 12:06 PM

"Vlad The Impaler had a simple solution. Perhaps it's time to revisit that history."

Huh? Tell me you're not being serious...

Posted by: KevinS at August 20, 2006 02:53 PM

Some prefer to dress those jihadi heads with pair of dirty underwear. I would prefer to dress those jihadi heads on a pike. So no, I'm not kidding.

Posted by: occam whisker at August 20, 2006 03:45 PM

This is off the off-topic comments, but I must note the fairly wide differences between attitudes and positions represented by Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan: that both would turn to you, Michael, to fill in for them, speaks reams about your basic fairness and reliability--points not lost on your regular readers. Attaboy! and Best Wishes.

Posted by: Ken Stewart at August 20, 2006 04:16 PM

Ahhh, I knew you when..... Don't forget the little people back home ;) Great job Michael!

Posted by: Lindsey at August 21, 2006 10:57 AM

This is off the off-topic comments, but I must note the fairly wide differences between attitudes and positions represented by Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan:

What would those differences be?

From what I've seen, the main point of divergence between Sullivan and Reynolds is what they think of Bush. Sullivan says 'Bush sucks', Reynolds' opinion seems to be 'the alternatives to Bush suck more'. On pretty much everything else, they're both basically moderates.

(apologies if the characterization o their views is innacurate, this is very much my impression)

Posted by: rosignol at August 22, 2006 12:40 AM
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