November 01, 2007

What the Army Wants You to See

Here's another piece of mine over at Commentary:

Some colleagues, readers, and friends have suggested the dispatches I published from Iraq as an embedded reporter might not be reliable, even if true, because I only saw what the United States Army wanted me to see. CBS news anchor Katie Couric said as much about her own coverage when she first arrived in Baghdad in September.

I’ve had the same thoughts myself, and I quietly wondered if I should disclose them. I chose not to, though, because my experience, as it turned out, didn’t actually warrant it.

The Army hooked me up with the 82nd Airborne Division in the Graya’at district of Baghdad in July. There hadn’t been any violence there since early in 2007. The soldiers hadn’t suffered a single casualty—not even one soldier wounded. How convenient, I thought, that the Army sent me to such a place. I appreciated not being thrown into a meat grinder and shot or blown up, but Graya’at did strike me as a dog-and-pony-show sort of location. Maybe it was. It could certainly function as one, if that’s what the Army intended.
Read the rest at Commentary.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 1, 2007 09:27 AM

Comments

Michael,

Thanks for posting this, it should work to attenuate the idiot flow through the comments section. I'm pretty sure the J-school types would never think to post this kind of self-examination.

Hot Air linked you and posted an anti-Phelps diatribe in the same 24 hours. "...dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria!"

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at November 1, 2007 09:57 AM

This is a strong case you make, at least for yourself, using information - I think, anyway - you haven't previously disclosed.

I don't know if every reporter's experience is the same as yours, but it would be nice if it was.

To whatever extent the Army's desire to look good influences presentations to the press in other circumstances, they certainly do less control / manipulation than many other countries. That's an important of why press coverage has consistently been fairly reflective of actual conditions in Iraq, for the most part. There have been shenanigans on both sides, but they haven't been the rule. USA deserves credit for this.

Having said that, I think the "journalist effect" is still in play. Both Iraqis and Americans present the most media-friendly and organizational-message-aligned sides of their opinions when they're Speaking To The World.

The best journalism is observation of people that don't even know you're there, but this is pretty hard to do in Iraq.

I'm waiting for the day when micro-UAV's leak into civilian mainstream and news organizations acquire them. Maybe George Soros can fund it :-D

Posted by: glasnost at November 1, 2007 10:14 AM

I don't know if every reporter's experience is the same as yours, but it would be nice if it was.

I don't know either, but here's another data point. I know a photographer who asked to be placed in the most violent neighborhood in Baghdad, and his wish was instantly granted. He needed war photos, so they helped him get them.

I have never heard of any place in Iraq that's off-limits.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 1, 2007 10:18 AM

Very good article, Michael.

Posted by: Joe at November 1, 2007 10:20 AM

Michael, any criticism of the not-completely-doomed-to-fail outlook you've given to us is attributable to two things: one, the mainstream media are far behind the times when it comes to the state of Iraq, as evidenced by the rather jarring recent reports that violence in Iraq is down some 50-60%; and two, many people in the mainstream media (and elsewhere) refuse to believe that something good could come out of this war. The problem is that they are conflating the outcome of the war with their political dislike for the current US administration, possibly out of a fear that a more optimistic outlook on Iraq a year from now would make things tougher for people whose entire political campaigns have depended upon Iraq being an unrecoverable disaster for the next year.

Posted by: Barry at November 1, 2007 10:34 AM

Good commentary MJT.

Thanks again for your work.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at November 1, 2007 10:46 AM

Hot Air linked you and posted an anti-Phelps diatribe in the same 24 hours. "...dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria!"

Posted by Patrick S Lasswell at November 1, 2007 09:57 AM

What do you mean? Those of us politically right of center despise Phelps as much as anybody, and also appreciate the honest, informative and balanced articles that Michael (and you) write.

Posted by: Hollowpoint at November 1, 2007 03:31 PM

Mr. Totten,

I'm sure I speak for many others who have read your blog for the last several years in saying that you aren't the type of journalist who would spew Army propaganda per their request. Anyone who has read your dispatches from Lebanon or other places in the mideast could testify accordingly.

It saddens me that people would doubt your commitment to the truth considering the immense personal risks you continually take in the name of getting the full story. But what saddens me more is that you are a minority in the field of journalism right now. I can only imagine how different the current political debates would be concerning our military involvement in the middle east were there an entire legion of Michael Tottens running around the Ramadi's of the world.

Please don't let any of the naysayers discourage your work, you don't deserve it and you've never given anyone any reason to believe otherwise.

Posted by: Tman at November 1, 2007 04:58 PM

Tman: It saddens me that people would doubt your commitment to the truth considering the immense personal risks you continually take in the name of getting the full story.

It's our civic responsibility to hold MJT accountable if we are consuming his news. "Trust, but verify", as Reagan put it. Fortunately, MJT makes it easy to do so.

What pisses me off is the movement to build a cult of personality around our host and protect his pwecious wittle hide from the likes of mean ol' glasnost. MJT doesn't need coddling, and he'll go weak and soft if he's never challenged. You'd think that the commenters on a right-of-center blog would understand that.

But then the American "right" today is authoritarian and statist; accountability is passé.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at November 1, 2007 06:00 PM

What pisses me off is the movement to build a cult of personality around our host and protect his pwecious wittle hide from the likes of mean ol' glasnost. MJT doesn't need coddling, and he'll go weak and soft if he's never challenged. You'd think that the commenters on a right-of-center blog would understand that.--CG

I don't defend MJT for any reason (when I do) other than that some of the 'meanies' annoy the living **** out of ME. I personally have issues with them. MJT can and does take care of himself as he has repeatedly said. He don't need me.

If and when I take issue with glasnost who also just pontificated on 'civic responsibility' in a recent comment it is because I don't agree with what he said. Which I confess is pretty much all the time, but that's neither here nor there.

In fact, I have not really 'defended' MJT on the very issue addressed by this particular posting. I frankly don't see why he went to this extent to 'defend' his work and have said so. My issues are solely with the colleagues, readers, and friends . These things should not be conflated as you appear to have done.

By the by and completely apart from anything else, that glasnost commentary on his 'civic responsibility' to speak truth to power was nausea inducing in its absurdly overwrought pretentiousness. I trust that you are not now singing from that same playbook. One is more than adequate.

Posted by: dougf at November 1, 2007 07:15 PM

What pisses me off is the movement to build a cult . . .

When did showing respect become synonymous with coddling?

And when did writing snarky comments in the blogosphere become part of a US citizen's civic responsibility?

Posted by: markytom at November 1, 2007 07:28 PM

Honestly, guys, Glasnost doesn't bother me. (At least not very often.) His criticisms are worth those from ten other people at random, at least.

Echo chambers aren't for me. Argue with him all you want (I do), but be cool about it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 1, 2007 09:06 PM

Calling the right "authoritarian" is the pot calling the kettle black.

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at November 1, 2007 10:03 PM

"What pisses me off is the movement to build a cult of personality around our host"

You shouldn't criticize Uncle Totten. He is the Bringer of News and Destroyer of Men.

Posted by: mikek at November 2, 2007 08:12 AM

"The best journalism is observation of people that don't even know you're there, but this is pretty hard to do in Iraq."

Unless one has cloaking device a la Startrek it is pretty hard to do everywhere.

Even by going undercover one would still be forced to play some kind of role and eventually become part of the report even if not so obvious.

Posted by: leo at November 2, 2007 09:07 AM

Calling the right "authoritarian" is the pot calling the kettle black.

Well, not exactly...

Its more like the pot calling the porcelain black, after a particularly nasty dive by the porcelain into a bucket of tar.

We expect the pot to be black, thats what it is... thats the color it is and it has value being a pot. We expect the porcelain to be white (or off white, or bone... maybe some hand painted periwinkles or something) and it loses its value once it's black and tarred, until it gets cleaned up again.

Liberals, particularly of the socialist stripe, accept a level of authoritarianism as part of their political philosophy. The Government is the authority on issues X, Y and Z. Conservatives, on the other hand, traditionally reject the idea of government as authority and prefer that authority fall to the individual whenever possible.

Posted by: Ratatosk at November 2, 2007 10:07 AM

Liberals, particularly of the socialist stripe, ...

Liberals of a socialist stripe? There ain't no such beast, Rat. Socialism is a distinct political philosophy from Liberalism.

Or were you joking?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 2, 2007 10:14 AM

Calling the right "authoritarian" is the pot calling the kettle black.

Authoritarian is a tactic of elements of both the left and the right. There's certainly a segment of the right that is comfortable with nanny-statism just as there's an element within the left that does the same. But both have anti-authoritarian elements as well.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 2, 2007 10:18 AM

Calling the right "authoritarian" is the pot calling the kettle black.

Since I'm a small-l libertarian, it's arguably the kettle calling the kettle black. But that depends on whether or not you think libertarians belong on the "right".

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at November 2, 2007 11:33 AM

But that depends on whether or not you think libertarians belong on the "right".

Where else would they be? Left-wing anti-authoritarians are called anarchists.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 2, 2007 12:08 PM

Well, DPU, they could belong to some Anarcho-syndicalist commune, who take it in turns to act as sort of an executive authority. But all the decisions of that executive have to be approved by a majority vote, in the case of purely internal affairs, or a 2/3 votes, in the case of external affairs.
"Oh Dennis, there's some lovely filth down here"

Whatever happened to DennisThePeasant? Got rejected by PajamasMediator Roger Simon (Michael's friend)...

But then the American "right" today is authoritarian and statist; accountability is passé.
In fact, it is the Left's anti-white (Duke rape lies), anti-American (Columbia accepts Iranian gay killing America hater, but not ROTC), anti-Christian (ACLU filing suit to delete Christian emblems, like the cross, from official state insignia) that supports authoritarianism in the world, and in the USA.

Pro-life, big-gov't Christians are not exactly conservative -- but they vote Republican (with conservative power-lovers and small gov't lib types) because they've been driven out of the Dem Party by femi-nazis.

I wish there was more intelligent and constructive criticism of Michael. But I guess I'm too mired in deep cult adulation to provide it myself -- especially since he avoids pontificating on silly Dem Party economic issues.

I would like to challenge him to review his own 2003 / 2004 positions on Iraq, and what he expected "victory" to look like.

Today, I suggest that victory will look like some twice as many murders in all of 25 mil. person Iraq, as in (greater) New York, Wash DC, and LA combined. I wish the pro-Freedom folk would track such murders.

Afghanistan should be leading to more talk about the need to legalize drugs in order to avoid losing the WoT.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at November 2, 2007 03:24 PM

Where else would they be?

In the US, we're not welcome in either the party of the left or the party of the "right".

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at November 2, 2007 03:35 PM

Afghanistan should be leading to more talk about the need to legalize drugs in order to avoid losing the WoT.

Amen to that. Now, which anti-freedom party stands in the way?

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at November 2, 2007 03:39 PM

Calling the right "authoritarian" is the pot calling the kettle black.

No kidding.

A perfect example. Modern university? or Leftwing reeducation camp; hard to tell sometimes:

Leftards still trying to create the "New Man":

http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/8564.html?PHPSESSID=470f1c92c6040c4251437c6301c4eec6

Posted by: Carlos at November 2, 2007 05:26 PM

CG, would be nice if you put quotes around the "left" as you are so wont to do for the "right". BTW, both the "Democrat" and the "Republican" parties are "anti-freedom"; depends upon which "freedom" one is speaking of.

Jeez, talk about agendas and labels.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at November 2, 2007 05:51 PM

Ron,

On the crucial test of supporting a "government which governs least", neither party does well. The Democrats don't claim to; the Republicans pay lip service to the idea, but are actually worse in practice. On spending, the parties are approximately the same and both reasonably conservative in the the larger world context; the main difference is which generation they stick with the tab. On social policy, the Republicans top priority is apparently limiting the rights of our gay citizens. On foreign policy, the Republicans are considerably more interventionist than the Dems.

Measured on the "freedom" axis, both parties end up left of libertarianism. Hence, left is left, but "right" gets quotes.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at November 2, 2007 10:48 PM

CG, thanks for your comments.

Politically, I am unaffiliated, though I usually do vote conservative. As you point out, I think there is great merit in "...that government which governs least governs best."

"Gay Rights"? Of all the challenges facing our Republic, this is not even on the radar. I do agree that the current Democratic Party is in favor of "Gay Rights" (and my quotes are meant to indicate that this is topic that has not been fully defined IMO). And, so sorry, sexual behaviour is on the fringe of what is important to the continued viability of my country. I know that it is "cool" to be PC on this topic, but again, so sorry, it is not on my radar.

Important Topics: Taxes, government growth, military strength, Federal vs State Rights, Judicial Activism, and other similar issues, yep. "Gay Rights", nope.

Of course, my opinion is worth what it costs to read it :)

Regards,

Posted by: Ron Snyder at November 3, 2007 04:41 AM

Ron,

Leaving aside the justice of the gay rights cause, the point is that Republicans expend enormous amounts of time and energy trying to limit the freedom of a minority group. They're so spooked, they even want to amend the frickin' federal Constitution -- state's rights be damned if your state is Massachusetts.

It's also terribly important to the Republicans to boot honorable and desperately needed soldiers out of our military simply because of sexual orientation. This despite the fact that homosexuals have been serving without incident in other countries' armed forces for years, most notably those of the UK.

Freedom for gays to marry who they want and to serve in our military may not be important to you personally, but the Republican agenda for limiting those freedoms is painfully at odds with libertarian principles, as are the tactics the Republicans are willing to deploy in service of that agenda.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at November 3, 2007 07:47 AM

Since pots these days aren't black, could we just not use that metaphor anymore?

Posted by: maor at November 4, 2007 01:17 AM

Measured on the "freedom" axis, both parties end up left of libertarianism. Hence, left is left, but "right" gets quotes.

This makes no sense to me. Left and right axis refer to economic ideology (collectivist vs individualist), and have little bearing on individual freedom. The left can be statist or anti-statist as much as the right can. Libertarianism is an anti-statist right-wing ideology, and its equivalent on the left is anarchism.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 5, 2007 12:04 PM

Left and right axis refer to economic ideology (collectivist vs individualist)

Looks like Wikipedia needs your editing chops.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at November 5, 2007 12:34 PM

Looks like Wikipedia needs your editing chops.

It looks to me as though most of the definitions agree with my statement. And regarding more vs less government, anarchists are advocates of no government at all, yet are socialists, and made up a significant portion of the First International.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 5, 2007 02:08 PM

'Since pots these days aren't black, could we just not use that metaphor anymore'

African American then?

We will have to check with the PC police..... But since the color 'black' exists in the world regardless of any implied (or not) pejorative, I don't think there is a case to be made.

And I have several black cast iron pots FYI. They are the BEST when properly seasoned.

Posted by: lindsey at November 5, 2007 02:36 PM

CG, it is the anti-Christian pro-homosexuals who want to shove gay-sex and the promiscuous gay lifestyle down the throats of pro-religious folk who have, like A. Sullivan, the promotion of gay marriage as the main social policy.

US Federal Law, signed by Dem Pres. Clinton, stated that marriage was between a man and a woman -- and gay men have an equal right to marry a single woman as do straight men. (Of course few gays want to.)

But, like the non-legislative US SC Roe "amendment", the Mass. SC decided, without a popular vote, to create a right for gay marriage.

I'm convinced the main anti-gay rights emotion comes from the pro-life people, who are stuck in an elitist decided, not democratic vote decided, pro-abortion society. It's the pro-life folk, who now mostly vote Rep but are often not small gov't types, who expend effort on the gay issues.

Because "Gay rights" battles are surrogates for the cultural abortion war -- and as so many "pro-choice" (but not on education, social security, drug use, or prostitution...) folk have one or no children (like Michael), but the pro-life folk often have many (we have 4), the demographics are likely to create a more "pro-life" society in the future.

This is one place I disagree with my cult hero -- but it most often shows up in his comments section, not in his posts.

I wonder what Iraqis think about abortion rights and gay rights -- Michael?

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at November 5, 2007 05:16 PM

I wonder what Iraqis think about abortion rights and gay rights -- Michael?

Well, we know what the Iranian mullahs think about them, don't we?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 5, 2007 05:18 PM

Also Michael, thanks for your comments on other sites you read -- like yours on Rand Simberg's blog:
"I didn't think that studying Shakespeare would lead me to Fallujah, but life is funny sometimes."

Did you even know about Shia and Sunni and Kurds when you were studying? I know I was surprised at the difference between Slovaks and Czechs when I arrived in ex-Czechoslovakia 16 years ago.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at November 5, 2007 05:41 PM

Because "Gay rights" battles are surrogates for the cultural abortion war -- and as so many "pro-choice" (but not on education, social security, drug use, or prostitution...) folk have one or no children (like Michael), but the pro-life folk often have many (we have 4), the demographics are likely to create a more "pro-life" society in the future.

Because children always turn out to be political clones of their parents?

Interesting theory. You might want to look at the global figures for support on abortion rights, and then wonder where on Earth all those pro-choicers are coming from.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 5, 2007 07:21 PM

Tom Grey:

gay men have an equal right to marry a single woman

Imagine life if you were only allowed to marry a man, Tom.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at November 6, 2007 12:41 AM

It looks to me as though most of the definitions agree with my statement.

Pff. From the article:

These terms are widely used in the modern United States, but as on the global level, there is no firm consensus about their meaning.

If you insist that "left" and "right" only ever mean what you say they mean, then I suppose that it's inevitable that other people will seem to "make no sense" at times.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at November 6, 2007 01:23 AM

CG, the definition of marriage (one man, one woman) is rather well defined and accepted in this country, except for fringe groups.

The function, intent and purpose of marriage is equally well defined and accepted in this country, again except for fringe groups. Procreation and continuation of the species in its attendant social context.

You are as guilty as any other person of self-defining terms to fit your agenda.

Kind of funny how emotional you seem to be about this topic.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at November 6, 2007 04:40 AM

The function, intent and purpose of marriage is equally well defined and accepted in this country, again except for fringe groups. Procreation and continuation of the species in its attendant social context.

I don't have children, and am not going to have children. And yet I am legally married. Should I not be allowed to be married?

The idea of children didn't come up at our wedding or in our vows, nor are they mentioned on the marriage license.

You say only fringe groups think gay people should be able to marry. In ten years it will be the other way around.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 6, 2007 04:45 AM

If you insist that "left" and "right" only ever mean what you say they mean, then I suppose that it's inevitable that other people will seem to "make no sense" at times.

The same, I imagine, is true of your use of the terms. Or do you not insist that "left" and "right": mean what you think they mean?

Could we move beyond simple tautologies now to what the terms represent?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 6, 2007 07:27 AM

Kind of funny how emotional you seem to be about this topic.

Funny how quickly that thinly-veiled insinuation arose.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 6, 2007 07:29 AM

Kind of funny how emotional you seem to be about this topic.

Wink wink. You clever guy.

When I defended feminists a while back my opponent assumed I was a woman. Curiously, when I defended Muslims, no jackass piped up implying that I had to be a Muslim, but I consider that an aberration.

What I am is an American. I love the melting pot, and I'm deeply proud of it.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at November 6, 2007 07:35 AM

Conservatism -- the nagging fear that someone, somewhere, is enjoying themselves.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 6, 2007 07:36 AM

What I am is an American. I love the melting pot, and I'm deeply proud of it.

This is so obviously emotional code for gay butt sex, CG.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 6, 2007 07:39 AM

Ha!

No, not that melting pot, I prefer the other one.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at November 6, 2007 08:06 AM

CG, if I intended to say that someone was homosexual or bisexual, I would have said so, not implied or insinuated that fact. I thought that my point that a marriage is between a man and a woman was fairly straightforward.

If there was any intent on my part to be, as you phrase it, "Wink wink. You clever guy.", it would have been in the sense that it is very PC to be in favour of "gay rights". Your personal sexual preference is of no interest to me.

MJT, I disagree that in ten years time the fringe will become the mainstream on this topic. I hope not, but I guess we will see. Your desire or lack thereof to have children is immaterial to your being qualified (IAW American tradition, social mores and legal requirements) to have a marriage license; male and female partners, yes.

DPU, thanks for sharing your Liberal POV. Wink wink. You clever guy. If I didn't know better I might think that you were using Conservatives as a code word for Baptists (for whom your attempted pun has been used to describe for decades).

Posted by: Ron Snyder at November 6, 2007 12:27 PM

If there was any intent on my part to be, as you phrase it, "Wink wink. You clever guy.", it would have been in the sense that it is very PC to be in favour of "gay rights".

Sure, people get all "emotional" over stuff that's "PC" all the time.

DPU, thanks for sharing your Liberal POV.

I'm not a liberal.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 6, 2007 12:32 PM

When Canada's conservative government allowed a free vote on whether to overrule the supreme court's judgment allowing gay marriage in Canada, it failed, and same-gender marriage was allowed to stand. I told my fourteen year-old son about the news, and that parliament had defeated the attempt to ban in 175 - 123.

He was outraged that 123 MPs voted to ban it. "What kind of idiot would care if two people loved each other and wanted to marry?" he asked.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 6, 2007 12:38 PM

I can certainly see your rationale for using the reasoning and comments of a 14 year old to justify a position on this topic, based on his extensive life experience and education. Would your son make the same argument for polygamy?

Upon reflection, I think I will give the edge to what I believe Jefferson, Adams, Jay, Washington, Hamilton, et.al. meant when they started this country, and what I have read of their reasoning and beliefs in doing so, and what their hopes were for this country.

Canada can do what she pleases, but I decline the opportunity to follow her path. I truly enjoyed visiting Windsor when I lived in Detroit since it was like a breath of fresh air (o.k., I was able to drink in Canada also).

Apologies for my incorrect use of the Liberal label.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at November 6, 2007 04:40 PM

I'm not a neocon.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at November 7, 2007 12:37 AM

I can certainly see your rationale for using the reasoning and comments of a 14 year old to justify a position on this topic, based on his extensive life experience and education.

What he lacks in experience, he makes up for in head and heart. He doesn't see the point in having a hissy fit over what other people do with their private lives, particularly where love, commitment, and responsibility are involved. He also doesn't seem to see the point in manufactured and tedious reasoning to rationalize being an outraged busybody.

I hope that life experience and education don't change that. It's refreshing.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 7, 2007 07:15 AM

I am unaware that there is a consensus on what exactly a neocon is; lots of explanations, and lots of disagreement. My perception is that the term neocon is most often used as a pejorative.

Plus, if there is an endangered species such as a neocon, why is there not a similar, though polar opposite, neolib? Go figure.

Labels, categories, definitions: funny things.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at November 7, 2007 07:29 AM

Conservatism -- the nagging fear that someone, somewhere, is enjoying themselves.

You've obviously never experienced the Dionysian decadence of a Republican pre-election press party.

Posted by: mary at November 7, 2007 11:07 AM

You've obviously never experienced the Dionysian decadence of a Republican pre-election press party.

Someone else might be enjoying themselves. As we've seen from the recent large number of Republican sex scandals, they don't seem to get bent out of shape about their own behavior, just the behavior of others.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 7, 2007 12:43 PM

As we've seen from the recent large number of Republican sex scandals, they don't seem to get bent out of shape about their own behavior, just the behavior of others

Like everyone else. That's a fairly basic human trait..

Posted by: mary at November 7, 2007 02:20 PM

As we've seen from the recent large number of Republican sex scandals, they don't seem to get bent out of shape about their own behavior, just the behavior of others

Who's "they"? Surely not their constituents who consistently force these perverts to step down from office. That's very different from the standing ovations the Democrats get.

Posted by: Carlos at November 7, 2007 04:31 PM

Hmm, not a Liberal though 'tis just by accident that it is Republicans you choose to say accept aberrant behaviour. Just saying.

Neither Party has much to be proud of though in either the moral or ethical arena, which is why most polls indicate their (Congress) approval rating in the sub-20% range.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at November 7, 2007 04:59 PM

Hmm, not a Liberal though 'tis just by accident that it is Republicans you choose to say accept aberrant behaviour.

(a) Republicans are the one with all the sex scandals.
(b) I'm not a liberal or a Republican. Or a conservative.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at November 7, 2007 10:35 PM

We can certainly go through all approximately 550 members of congress, both houses, and create a matrix showing who has done what, what party they are in, the severity or seriousness of their act (or we could expand this dataset to include all illegal and immoral acts), and what their parties or constintuants have done to those persons.

Performing this task would give some level of quantitative and qualitative data used to making a judgement as to which party is doing what.

Or possibly someone may know that this type of project has already been done for our current Congress.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at November 8, 2007 01:57 AM

Republicans are the one with all the sex scandals.

Nonsense. It's only a scandal because they're Republican. When it's a Democrat it's celebrated as an an alternative lifestyle.

Posted by: Carlos at November 8, 2007 11:52 AM

Carlos,

You'd be hard pressed to find, even the most far liberal, who believes people should have sex with strangers in airport bathrooms, or like Hagan (sp?) who tells people being gay is evil and then turns and is himself. I'd like to know what side lets child molesters out, now they should be condemned.

Posted by: Russ at November 10, 2007 07:58 AM

I'd like to know what side lets child molesters out, now they should be condemned.

I thought you'd never ask:

http://www.onebigdog.net/democrats-reaction-to-studds-different-than-to-foley/

Posted by: Carlos at November 11, 2007 02:40 PM
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The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn