December 18, 2007

Why I Moderate the Comments Section

The reason I moderate the comments section (when I can and don't have to outsource it to others while traveling) is so it doesn't turn into a sewer like the one here. (You have to click the comments link over there before you can read them. And if you leave a comment of your own, please be nice to those who live there even though they do not deserve it.)

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 18, 2007 05:53 PM
Comments

Its no secret that commenters on liberal blogs are horrible, terrible people. They have no real knowledge of what they talk about and refuse to ever cede any supposed intellectual high ground. No matter how much more intelligent their debate opponent is, they will maintain that they are right. If they are proven wrong with facts, then they resort to calling conservatives racists, nazis, or part of the NeoCon propaganda machine. Its a pretty pathetic common denominator, and a reason why intelligent debate with them is impossible.

Posted by: james at December 18, 2007 06:08 PM

Don't EVER send me to something like that again.

Unclean. Unclean.

Now I have to wash-up. It is the closest thing to an active intellectual vacuum that one might normally encounter. I felt my IQ beginning to decline merely in the time it took to read the first few comments.

No amount of 'moderation' would help those 'people'. It isn't the lack of 'moderation' that is their problem. If only that was the issue. But it does sort of reinforce my beliefs on the efficacy of the 'free exchange of ideas'. Or maybe not. Real ideas would probably expire due to lack of a sustaining environment.

I blame the educational system. And the media.

I wouldn't have gone there had I been you. 'Reaching out' is VASTLY over-rated. The inhabitants clearly are all insane with some variant of the BDS infection. Which infection as we all know at this point is invariably fatal.

That site and its fellow 'progressive' travelers are the intellectual equivalent of 28 days . I just hope that I am not now at risk.

Posted by: dougf at December 18, 2007 06:21 PM

Mike,

He's right. No room for intelligent debate with these knobs.

Room for ridicule? Absolutely.

Posted by: Edgar at December 18, 2007 06:21 PM

BTW who the hell called them "pathetic, terrible people."

That's weak.

Posted by: Edgar at December 18, 2007 06:25 PM

BTW who the hell called them "pathetic, terrible people."
That's weak
--Edgar

"Anyone find it ironic that you pointdexters are calling Totten a coward from behind your computer screens?---Edgar

I think your 'poindexter' jibe more than made up for the possible weakness of comment 'A'. I imagine their stubbly little fingers are even now wearing themselves down typing abuse aimed at YOU.

Way to take one for the team ----.

Posted by: dougf at December 18, 2007 06:29 PM

Yeesh! That WAS a terrifying, bad, bad scene over there, goodness!

Posted by: Scott Moshen at December 18, 2007 06:35 PM

"BTW who the hell called them "pathetic, terrible people."

That's weak."

That was me. Weak like how? Like I should've gone further? Or that I shouldn't have sunk to their level.

Even if there were intelligent people there (which I saw no evidence of), they didn't come out and denounce those who told Michael to kill himself, and are just as bad in my book. Its the same logic I use to pretty much denounce any Palestinian authority because they refuse to denounce suicide bombers and rocket attacks. If you want me to take you seriously, you need to show me that you do not approve of what extremists on your side of the fence do. If Palestinians are actually concerned with their own starving people, they would take action to stop Hamas, but they do nothing.

Posted by: james at December 18, 2007 06:37 PM

No offense intended, James.

I just think more contempt was in order. You sounded genuinely upset/outraged. Plays into their hands.

Posted by: Edgar at December 18, 2007 06:43 PM

No offense taken. Unlike those crazies, I like hearing out people who might disagree with me or my methods.

If I had the energy to or if I thought even one person over there would change their mind, I would remain ambivalent and attempt to debunk their idiocies, but it just isn't worth my time.

Posted by: james at December 18, 2007 07:01 PM

I haven't visited a site like that for a while. As I said, the reactionary left started with the junior high level insults sometime around the last election season, maybe inspired by Howard Dean.

As far as I can tell, things haven't changed since then. Years have gone by, and they're still like a pack of monkeys, hooting and throwing poop. At least junior high kids get older.

Posted by: mary at December 18, 2007 07:06 PM

Thank you for what you do. It is very much appreciated when the truth gets a fair hearing.

Posted by: bill-tb at December 18, 2007 07:20 PM

After reading the first few comments on this thread, my first thought was maybe MORE moderation is in order here. (snark) Frankly, I see similarly slimy comments coming from both wingtips, so to speak, in a lot of the blogs. It really gets in the way of honest discussion of real issues.. So maybe a little less holier than thou attitude from the commenters here would go a long way? or not?

Also, from another thread, I am glad to hear you are planning to go to Afghanistan in the near future. We all need to hear reports from real reporters, like you & Michael Yon, from the forgotten war there also. Thank you for what you are doing. This left of center moderate appreciates your honest reporting.

Posted by: bob in fla at December 18, 2007 07:37 PM

Whew...just read all those comments. Some real sick people in need of medical attention. Fortunately, most of them probably aren't old enough to vote.

Now, I guess, calling Patrick Lassy wasn't really so bad. BTW, did he mean Lassie?

I enjoy reading Michael's comment section, but that crap over there gave me a headache.

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at December 18, 2007 07:41 PM

Tom in South Texas: Now, I guess, calling Patrick Lassy wasn't really so bad.

Yeah, as the original source of the "Lassy" pseudonym, and a strong proponent of ridiculing people like Patrick when they step out of line, I'd have to agree.

Look at that blog. That is good example of morons/trolls ruining the overall discourse.

Posted by: Edgar at December 18, 2007 07:57 PM

I tried to visit the link but apparently it is banned in China. That's ok though, I don't need to step into a shit hole to know what shit smells like.

Posted by: Kevin China at December 18, 2007 08:17 PM

Someone needs to go back & copy the best quotes & post them here for Kevin. Any volunteers?

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at December 18, 2007 08:29 PM

No problem Michael. Keep up the good reporting.

Posted by: dawnsblood at December 18, 2007 08:35 PM

You wanted a volunteer, Tom?

"You morals-free fuckwad--if you come around here again peddling that monstrous horseshit, I will personally rip your tonsils out by way of your eye-sockets."
"Fucking moral reject."
"These "warbloggers" should only do one thing now if they were honorable men. They could go kill themselves, quietly, out of the way of their families and associates."

Just a lot of extremists demonizing the opposition. Hardly unique to the leftist extremists, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't criticize/ridicule them for it.

Posted by: Math_Mage at December 18, 2007 10:32 PM

I've been reading your work for quite some time now. I am very disappointed with the liberal voices (shrill and foul) and their lack of rationale. It is interesting to hear what their point of view is. Emotion and not logic. Their opinions would carry weight and have validity if it weren't for their vitriol.

Keep up the good work.

A former infantryman (1st Inf. Div.)

-Ethan.

Posted by: ethan at December 18, 2007 11:28 PM

Edgar,

Hardly original. People called me "Lassy" in second grade, but they pulled it off with more panache because they were seven and were supposed to be childish. Why exactly is it acceptable for you to be out of line and deliberately offensive? Why do you think your behavior is different from theirs? You just haven't gotten as lazy, yet.

I can take criticism and correction, but not when the introduction is something that would draw a punch at a bar. I wouldn't take that in the military, I wouldn't take it as a civilian job, and I don't have to take it here. If you want to correct me, take the sneer out, and address me as an adult with some respect. This is how decent people who want to accomplish something act.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at December 18, 2007 11:50 PM

Patrick and I argue over beers a lot. Somehow we avoid getting pissed off and acting like jerks while we do it.

Even so, Patrick, take a look at the monstrous comments over at the blog I just linked to and your frustrations with Edgar will be put into perspective.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 18, 2007 11:54 PM

Look at that blog. That is good example of morons/trolls ruining the overall discourse.

Actually I was impressed by how intelligent they sounded. Completely hysterical (in the literal sense - over-emotional to the point of insanity), but also educated and eloquent.

Too emotional to bother to find out who they are arguing with, too emotional to find out much about the subject they're arguing about. I get the impression of people tortured by their (somewhat mistaken) assumptions.

I've noticed a similar effect among fundamentalists (both Christian and Islamic) - society in no way works the way they've been taught it should. Reality itself in no way works the way the believe it does. The result is constant anger.

These people take the existential discomfort of a failed model of the world to a much higher level of hysteria. They seem to be suffering more than mere resentment.

There's something interesting going on. But I'm not sure I'm quite interested enough to be willing to hang around with people that unpleasant just to try to figure out how they got that way.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 19, 2007 12:20 AM

Was it something that you took lying down when you lived in fascist Spain?

Posted by: wissa at December 19, 2007 12:25 AM

Josh -

A very interesting comment. I reckon this has to do with the socio-political rift in the West - between emotion and reason - which seems to be growing ever wider.

Or maybe I'm just seeing things that are not there.

Posted by: The Raccoon at December 19, 2007 01:14 AM

Eye. Opening.

That's some wild stuff going on over there. I am nowhere near qualified to properly analyze what I read, but there is some serious pathology that seems to warrant attention from proffesionals.

Phew...

Posted by: anuts at December 19, 2007 01:18 AM

I reckon this has to do with the socio-political rift in the West - between emotion and reason - which seems to be growing ever wider.

Raccoon, are you talking about postmodernism, Derrida, Focault and those sorts?

I took engineering in school, so I wasn't much exposed to it, but I've always thought that postmodernism was so elementally silly, irrational, useless and intelectualy self-maming that I can't really imagine what it would do to the mind of someone silly enough to take it to heart.

Maybe the human mind really is fragile enough to become disabled simply by accepting a few really stupid principles.

But this is probably off base. I don't think the exultation of a few incompetent philosophers, among a field of thousands of incompetent philosophers could really have done this much harm.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 19, 2007 02:04 AM

Maybe we just need to start teaching critical thought in schools. Any maybe a few classes in civics too.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 19, 2007 02:06 AM

Its no secret that commenters on liberal blogs are horrible, terrible people.

You have become that which you despise.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at December 19, 2007 02:59 AM

Its no secret that commenters on liberal blogs are horrible, terrible people.

They're also big on the "I know you are, what am I?" style of schoolyard argumentation.

Posted by: Paco Wové at December 19, 2007 04:39 AM

Hmmmmm.......Yes it did become acerbic but I get the impression you folks don't get out much. It was pretty tame compared to some (Protein Wisdom-Just One Minute) but Michael drew first blood with his derogatory schoolyard metaphor. There is a lot of unexpurgated anger out there about the war and it's continuation. Continued supporters should gird up their loins for more of the same.

BTW, I didn't see any trolls migrate here for comments, but maybe they were deleted.

Posted by: Semanticleo at December 19, 2007 05:43 AM

Lasswell,

Yet another under the cuff physical threat.

"I can take criticism and correction, but not when the introduction is something that would draw a punch at a bar."

Now why do YOU think it's acceptable to conduct discourse in this way? You being the all knowing polite police [/sarc]

What Edgar was doing was making comparisons. He didn't address you as "Lassy" or "Asswell" in this thread. For the record, nobody even refered to you as "Asswell", that was all your imagination. I'm curious what a psychologist would determine that to mean.

Anyway, I got a little side tracked there. Bottom line is if you're going to lecture people on how to be polite, the last thing you should be doing is alluding to physical threats, calling people turds, informing women of their stripping rights ecetera.

Just a little suggestion Lasswell.

Posted by: JohnDakota at December 19, 2007 06:36 AM

The extremists of any political persuasion are often the most foul mouthed. I've posted on numerous forums and have been insulted by wackos of all political stripes, not just the left. So the right-wing crowd hardly have much reason to be claim innocence when it comes to insults and ad-hominen attacks.

Posted by: EmbersFire at December 19, 2007 06:39 AM

I got my contempt in.

The last two words of my comment were the spammers refrain:

Nice site.

BTW that was way worse than DU. Way worse.

Posted by: M. Simon at December 19, 2007 07:26 AM

"So the right-wing crowd hardly have much reason to be claim innocence when it comes to insults and ad-hominen attacks."--EmbersFire

No-one is claiming innocence. Just observing that the behavior under review was vile and contemptable. Although I must say that I have never wished that others might DIE or called anyone a "fucking moral reject". That tends to be considered beyond the pale in polite society. Or indeed ANY society worth the name, come to that. Obviously not in the 'Lord of the Flies' sewer that I just inadvertantly visited ,however.

There is a lot of unexpurgated anger out there about the war and it's continuation. Continued supporters should gird up their loins for more of the same.-- Semanticleo

Like anyone truly gives a rat's ass about all that 'unexpurgated anger'. Water off a duck's back. Sort of an annoying form of discordant intellectual muzak. If 'they' think 'they' are angry now ,wait and see how angry 'they' might be next year at this time. And by the by, RAGE is NOT an excuse for behavior. It 'might' be considered a 'reason' but even that is IMO highly dubious. It is well advised not to start down that particular road. 'Unexpurgated anger' tends not to be the preserve of one particular outlook. Lot's of that stuff floating around. You never know just where it might decide to land.

You have become that which you despise.--CG

Ridiculous and frankly 'painful' example of false 'equivalence'. There is nothing on this thread that remotely corresponds to the vileness under review. Complaining about vileness and drawing 'reasonable' conclusions based upon observing that vileness is NOT the same as the initial vileness itself.

"But Michael drew first blood with his derogatory schoolyard metaphor" ---Sematicleo

See. I did say that MJT should not have gone there in the first place. It really was ALL his fault that things went badly. That 'schoolyard' observation was simply intolerable. I can easily understand (and justify) why someone would reply --- "You morals-free fuckwad--if you come around here again peddling that monstrous horseshit, I will personally rip your tonsils out by way of your eye-sockets."

Perfectly understandable. Perfectly.

Posted by: dougf at December 19, 2007 07:28 AM

I thought you banned me because I questioned the neutrality of your Lebanese "friends," Michael.

Posted by: alphie at December 19, 2007 07:28 AM

"You never know just where it might decide to land."

Threats will not be tolerated here.

Posted by: Semanticleo at December 19, 2007 07:38 AM

The extremists of any political persuasion are often the most foul mouthed. I've posted on numerous forums and have been insulted by wackos of all political stripes, not just the left.

Both sides can be pretty nasty, but there is one significant difference. If you look at the rest of the alicublog, you'll see that it's almost entirely devoted to attacking moderate to right-wing writers. For some reason, they're truly enraged by Dr. Helen.

They also despise the Wall Street journal.

I haven't visited these sites for awhile, but there are a fair number of left-wing blogs whose sole purpose is to start fights with popular moderate/right blogs. Some nasty jokes are told, the minions fling their poo, lather, rinse, repeat. I don't think these 'watch' sites are as popular on the right, but I could be wrong..

Posted by: mary at December 19, 2007 08:04 AM

"You never know just where it might decide to land."--dougf

"Threats will not be tolerated here."--Sematicleo

Oh grow up. Please !!

I will try to c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y e-x-p-l-a-i-n-e so that there will be no further 'misunderstandings'.

It was clearly NOT a threat. Why-ever would I threaten someone I don't even know or remotely care about, OVER THE INTERNET ? Firstly, of course, because it is non-conducive to reasoned discourse, and therefore to be avoided at all costs. And secondly because it is simply totally STUPID and UNENFORCEABLE short of having mastered the ability to teleport.

Unbelievable. Risible I grant you, but unbelievable nonetheless.

Please try to keep the paranoia somewhat in check. Medication may help I hear. Just FYI

It was an 'observation' based upon a reasoned review of history. Emotive-based , non-rational, social movements and actions tend very often to have unfortunate and unforeseen results. 'Unexpurgated' ANGER is not the preserve of any one ideology or 'feeling' and once it is accepted as 'perfectly acceptable', things tend to go off the rails in very short order. And no-one can predict how badly they do veer off beforehand or in which direction. No-one should feel immune to its likely iniquitous effects.

Now if you take that analysis to be a 'threat', well ---tough.

Posted by: dougf at December 19, 2007 08:12 AM

Geez Michael, you should have put up an ESRB warning or something. I may have to go to recite the rosary now and cleanse my soul. There is something called free speech, but obviously many have forgotten that freedom doesn't mean free from responsibility. Unfortunately it is a problem I see just about everywhere. Decorum and respect. Sadly it is lacking.

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at December 19, 2007 08:17 AM

Thanks for the heads up, Michael. The site is definetly a knuckle-dragging blog. But I'd swear Bill Maher and his writers left comments all over that blog...

Posted by: Pete Dawg at December 19, 2007 09:06 AM

I guess I've been leading a sheltered life, because I don't think I've ever read such hate filled venom before. How people can hate so much is beyond me, the only thing I felt is pity for those poor souls. I've known people who I would label bigots but even they are moderate compared to what I just read.
And I thought this comment section was a bit colorful.

Posted by: joefrommass at December 19, 2007 09:47 AM

JD: Bottom line is if you're going to lecture people on how to be polite, the last thing you should be doing is alluding to physical threats, calling people turds, informing women of their stripping rights ecetera.

Yeah, Patrick always plays the internet tough guy, but it would be interesting to see him in a real debate at a bar.

First he's in a discussion with a woman about feminism, and he tells her he supports her right to give lap dances.

Yep. That would be a nice, solid slap.

Oh, and then DPU shows up, argues with Patrick for a few minutes, until Patrick calls him a "pernicious turd."

DPU might seem mild-mannered, but I think at an athletic 6'4, he'd probably lay Patrick out with a well-placed jab.

Anyway, I very much doubt Patrick talks to people this way in person.

Posted by: Edgar at December 19, 2007 09:57 AM

JohnDakota,

Yet another under the cuff physical threat.

You are a silly person. Observing that behavior in a different environment would result in different consequences when stated by different people is not a threat. If somebody were to say, "I know where you live", that would be a threat. Saying, "You are an annoying twit who would get punched out if you acted like that in public." is not a threat. You are an annoying twit. You would get punched out in a lot of places for acting like that. There's this place called Ireland, go visit there and give us a report on how you were treated in the pubs when you talked smack.

What is less comforting is your inability to let things drop. That kind of obsessive behavior is indicative of serious problems and represents the potential for a real threat.

Why don't you spend some quality time getting over it. It will make your posts here more interesting and make this comments section even less like the snake pit we are trying to avoid.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at December 19, 2007 10:01 AM

I don't know if it's possible to discuss the war rationally at this point without the conversation quickly devolving. Math Mage made a great post that could be used as a springboard for a conversation about the war, but that didn't go very far.

The best thing I got out of reading that thread was Michael's statement that he will be putting up an anti-war post tomorrow. Perhaps we can use that thread as the basis for a serious discussion of the Iraq War-whether it can be justified, what its potential outcomes are, what "victory" will mean, etc. I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by: MartyH at December 19, 2007 10:02 AM

Semanticleo,

There is a lot of unexpurgated anger out there about the war and it's continuation.

There are a lot of people who define their existence by their anger, that doesn't mean they should be indulged. Exactly the same kind of rage was boiling in Seattle in 1999 and had exactly nothing to do with the war. These people are not looking for a solution or any kind of progress, they are looking for something important to give them attention.

We have allowed a system whereby anger generates funding. There are people who get money for expressing anger and in many ways they are as much a corporate tool as any ad man because they perform exactly the same function, publicizing a product. The difference between Tre Arrow climbing up a tree that results in money for natural resources legal action and Paris Hilton washing a car in a bathing suit to sell hamburgers is minimal. Both are gratuitous acts by self-involved exhibitionists with no sense perspective that they got paid for and somebody else made a lot more money from. At least the fast-food companies pay taxes and get inspected by the health department. The non-profit advocacy groups get little if any oversight for their activities and expenditures.

One reason the US has done a lot better than the rest of the world is that we left the enduring hate back in the old country and got on with our lives. Arguably the Old South did so badly for so long because they cherished their hatred so much. In the last forty years we've seen a lot more interest in the various cultures of the world, and we've also seen a rise in the kind of institutional anger that keeps those countries poor and at war.

Unexpurgated anger should be allowed to die in its own bile rather than converted into national policy. Giving it any attention will just give it more money.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at December 19, 2007 10:24 AM

MJT,

I'd like to make an observation about your moderation policy. As I understand it, personal attacks on the host are cause for banning, while personal attacks on other forum participants earn reprimands. I believe you mean this to be even-handed, but it has the effect of moving this forum to the right-of-center. Here's why:

Personal attacks arise during disagreements. Because you argue a generally pro-war point of view, the people who get into it with you tend to be liberals. The ones that blow their top get the heave-ho.

Meanwhile, there are pro-war forum participants who are at least as intemperate as the liberals you're booting out, but you don't say stuff that pisses them off, so they don't go after you. They go after e.g. Dan, as you may remember from the endless "Is Dan a Traitor?" threads.

As someone who runs forums myself, I know that moderating is a mostly thankless task, and I'm grateful for the time you dedicate to it. Especially so, since your pugilistic personality isn't ideally suited for the role.

However, it's always sort of bugged me that the playing field here isn't level. If it were, then the "Is Dan a Traitor" threads would have been snuffed almost as quickly as an "Is MJT a Traitor" thread, and several regular participants would have been banned.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at December 19, 2007 10:42 AM

The comment : "After this breathtaking admission that, even after four years of US peacekeeping, most citizens of Iraq -- including Fallujah, one of our great "successes" -- can't get fucking clean water, who cares what Totten's charges are against the IPS journo?"

I am wondering if this person knows there are several countries around the world that are NOT Iraq that have this problem?? This is a great talking point, if your knowledge of the world is limited and you do not realize this problem is status quo in some places. Is it a good thing...of course not. But I do not feel it is a total condemnation of the status of Iraq.

My last trip to India I met a gentlemen from Delhi who was forced to quit his job and return home because the water in Bangalore made him ill with even the smallest sip. It cost too much money for him to drink bottled water repeatedly so he had no choice but to give up his "big break" and return to where he was from.

Posted by: Chastaen at December 19, 2007 10:54 AM

I will take the other blog's comments seriously when the author takes off and embeds himself with a unit in Iraq, and reports from front lines as M.Totten has done at his own expense and safety.

The usual armchair generals and critics may wail and dissect their commentaries, but until they are there, and see things for themselves, their words are meaningless and worthless.

Posted by: Mike at December 19, 2007 10:54 AM

Hey, Michael "ha, hah, ah, hah ha" or something childish like that. You were wrong about something. I remember you defending Glasnost after I called him a troll, but this was posted on that knuckle dragging blog read this:

"PS: I'm normally a left-wing troll. I'm not shocked at all by people telling Mike to die, but it really is a message to the outside world that you're narrow-minded infants. If Mike should go kill himself, so should 134 million Republican voters. I'm sure you see the problem.
glasnost | 12.19.07 - 1:32 pm | # "

Straight from the horses mouth... I knew it... I knew it...

Nothing but "love" for ya, Michael ;p

Posted by: Pete Dawg at December 19, 2007 10:57 AM

PS: I'm normally a left-wing troll

left-wing troll = person who argues from a left-wing point of view in places where it is not popular. These people are called "trolls". Get called it enough, and you eventually tend to embrace it. For further information, see "queer", "bitch", and a racial epithet that comes to mind.

The holier-than-thou folk on here who think that the alicublog liberals are some kind of other species are hilarious. Anonymous people on the internet are rude. There's no political variance. If you think there is, that only demonstrates your selection bias. If this place is marginally better, it's because Mike bans the people who show up here applauding violent death. They aren't liberals. If you want the conservative version, stop on by little green footballs.

Meanwhile, on the higher plane, Mike is not very nice to Al-Fadhily. And Glenn Greenwald is not very nice to Mike. Welcome to human civilization. Judge not lest ye be judged, and try not to imitate it, while maintaining enough of an edge not to invite it.

I'm sick of glasnost and all of the attendant bullsh*t. Good thing Xmas is almost here.

Posted by: glasnost at December 19, 2007 11:09 AM

Creamy Goodness,

It is worth noting that the people who go after Michael tend to commit to over-the-top attacks more than the commenter to commenter attacks do.

Although some people on the right have come in and asserted that Michael was insufficiently protective of US military security, the people on the left tend to question Michael's humanity. Many of the commenters on the right have accepted correction and moved on, a lot of the commenters on the left just got more unhinged.

Michael likes to quote that, "The party in power is arrogant and the party out of power is insane." Since Michael doesn't tolerate crazy people in his comments threads very long, the trend you mention does exist. If you want to correct this, I suggest you recruit some tolerant and sane people from the left.

Get a lantern, it's traditional.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at December 19, 2007 11:09 AM

"Perhaps we can use that thread as the basis for a serious discussion of the Iraq War-whether it can be justified, what its potential outcomes are, what "victory" will mean, etc. I'm looking forward to it."---MartyH

I'm not.

This is not like you might say 'to-mah-to', and I might say 'to-may-to'. This is much more like you, for example only, might insist upon white and I am fully committed to black. Now I accept that it is theoretically possible that we might agree on 'grey' and call it a day.

But I doubt it. Hasn't happened in 4 years and I see no reason it should happen now. Either Iraq will turn out 'well' in which case people such as me will be ever so 'happy', or it will turn out 'badly' and others will have been proven prescient. Either way, HISTORY is now in the driver's seat and more 'babble' at this point, isn't going to do anything apart from re-fighting old battles once again.

I'm just about all babbled out. Well except for picking off the wounded and the stragglers here and there as opportunity presents. But that's different. That's just sport .

Posted by: dougf at December 19, 2007 11:17 AM

"Threats will not be tolerated here."

Perhaps you've heard the phrase 'tongue-in-cheek'?

Context is everything. Just so you don't misunderstand AGAIN, I would remind you I am not the host here and have no editing power.

But, let me steal your words;

"I'm just about all babbled out. Well except for picking off the wounded and the stragglers here and there as opportunity presents. But that's different. That's just sport ."

Posted by: Semanticleo at December 19, 2007 11:41 AM

"Perhaps you've heard the phrase 'tongue-in-cheek'?"--semanticleo

My apologies. It is SO hard to know these days. When everyone was more or less sane, it was ever so much easier. As tongue-in-cheek commentary it was none too shabby. Congrats.

Glad you appreciated the other comment however. What else is left at this point? It's literally all been done years ago. Frankly it seems like FOREVER.

We should therefore I guess combine our efforts in a frenzy of nihilism, and obliterate the weakened of whatever stripe. -- :-)

Take care and, Merry Xmas or Happy Holiday should you prefer, in the event that I do not cross your path before then.

Posted by: dougf at December 19, 2007 11:52 AM

Creamy Goodness: there are pro-war forum participants who are at least as intemperate as the liberals you're booting out, but you don't say stuff that pisses them off, so they don't go after you.

Yes, you are right. I have noticed this myself.

Going over the top against the host of any blog should be bannable offense, in my opinion. When I leave comments on other blogs (which is rare) I am always more polite to the host than I am to others even if the host is equally rude to me.

But it does lead to an uneven playing field, yes. I am aware of this. In my defense, I have noticed that those who are rude to others but polite to me are far more willing to accept a reprimand from me than someone who is rude to me personally. So it sort of works, even if it doesn't work perfectly.

You also have to consider that less than half the readers of this blog oppose the Iraq war, so it logically follows that less than half the commenters will oppose it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 19, 2007 12:06 PM

Doug-

History is not in control. The Iraqi people and, to a lesser extent, the American people will determine the future of Iraq. That is why we must stay engaged with each other and the rational opposition, re-examine our own beliefs and goals in light of new facts, and move forward in the way that we believe has the best chance of achieving those goals.

Posted by: MartyH at December 19, 2007 12:07 PM

I remember you defending Glasnost after I called him a troll, but this was posted on that knuckle dragging blog read this

Pete, glasnost was defending MJT on a left wing site, so his actions proved the label wrong.

There are some serious irony-deficiencies around lately. Maybe it's the holiday season..?

Posted by: mary at December 19, 2007 12:09 PM

Semanticleo: I didn't see any trolls migrate here for comments, but maybe they were deleted.

I haven't deleted any comments on this thread.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 19, 2007 12:11 PM

Creamy Goodness:

You wrote: "Because you argue a generally pro-war point of view, the people who get into it with you tend to be liberals."

I don't think "generally pro-war" is fair to MJT. When he is reporting from the scene, I would say that he reports facts as neutrally as is humanly possible. For a long time last year, it was my impression that MJT's opinion was that U.S. troops should retreat to the Kurdish North because the war in the rest of the country was not winnable at an acceptable cost. This is hardly "pro-war" in my book. The partial sucess of the surge may have changed his opinion to some extent, but I am not sure about this.

Your perception that he is "pro-war" is, I think, shared by many who are left of center because they are so used to seeing overlwhelmingly negative reports on Iraq from the vast majority of media outlets. These reports merely serve to reinforce their pre-existing views. Thus, when MJT reports that conditions in Iraq still suck, but have improved a bit, they immediately accuse him of having a "pro-war" bias.

I don't think MJT should have to tolerate such comments on his own blog since they are little more than veiled attacks at his honesty and intergrity. MJT has risked his own life to bring back these important stories; it has to be gauling to him to be challenged by sanctimonius cowards hiding behind keyboards. When more left leaning commentators can keep their cool when confronted with facts that don't fit their doom and gloom narrative for Iraq, this comments section will drift back leftward to some extent. Judging by the reactions of the left leaning that I have seen to date, it could be quite sometime before this will happen.

Posted by: Mark-In-Chi-Town at December 19, 2007 12:18 PM

Edgar- I must confess. (I'm a Catholic, by the way.) I used your True Lies line on the knuckle dragging blog. I did give you credit, though.

Please forgive...

Posted by: Pete Dawg at December 19, 2007 12:31 PM

Mark: Thus, when MJT reports that conditions in Iraq still suck, but have improved a bit, they immediately accuse him of having a "pro-war" bias.

Well, I am pro-surge. I'm not sure if that makes me overall "pro-war" or not. I do have my doubts that invading Iraq was a good idea in hindsight and that it was worth it. But I wouldn't describe myself as "anti-war" because I still don't know if it will end well or badly. At this point I am agnostic on that question.

I am less pessimistic than I was because the surge is producing some good results.

I sympathize with to an extent with the stronger anti-war arguments out there, even if I'm not sure I fully agree, and will publish one here shortly, later today, not written by me.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 19, 2007 12:49 PM

pete dawg: I used your True Lies line on the knuckle dragging blog. I did give you credit, though.

Well, it's really Arnold's line. And I think we can both give him tremendous credit for it.

Time for some moral clarity. We only kill the bad guys.

Posted by: Edgar at December 19, 2007 01:16 PM

I just have one question for all those Left-Wing-Nutcases out on alicublog; Does your Parole Office know you have access to a computer ?
,

Posted by: Ratt at December 19, 2007 01:47 PM

"I am wondering if this person knows there are several countries around the world that are NOT Iraq that have this problem?? This is a great talking point"

Well, it's actually a fair point. The area in question infact HAD clean drinking water BEFORE the war. It was after the collapse of the infrastructure that many of these problems talked about occured. So maybe you're talking point accusation is a talking point? Tough call.

Posted by: Astroninja at December 19, 2007 03:22 PM

The area in question infact HAD clean drinking water BEFORE the war.

Before the first Iraq war, but possibly not after that.

Bill Clinton was asked, right before the Gore/Bush election, about the claim that sanctions had killed a million children.

He responded that the actual problem was the destruction of water treatment (or the power lines to them) during that first gulf war.. And then unsanitary water leads to statistically higher incidents of illness.

One point there, is that even if that were 100% true and not even slightly exaggerated for political reasons - then that's the sort of problem that could have been almost entirely eradicated with a simple public health campaign telling people to boil water. Iraq didn't suffer a lack of fuel that could be used by individuals to sterilize water for formula etc.

There was no public health campaign, no doubt, because the Saddam regime absolutely loved the stories about how sanctions were hurting the little people. A 'leader' willing to gas villages isn't a leader who gives a damn about public health.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 19, 2007 03:38 PM

OK, the comments over there are of mixed value. We've heard the worst. And yes, the average is a bit low. But don't just demonize them. Let's hear some of the better samples:

"If we do not at least acknowledge -- quickly and repeatedly -- that none of this had to happen, that the surge that is "working" is merely the tow truck getting the drunk asshole out of the ditch he veered into, we will have learned nothing from this bien pensant clusterfuck."

"And that's exactly what the rest of the article is about: a "different siege" of deprivation. This isn't exactly some buried metaphor, either. It's pretty clear. Read it for yourself.
Now, if he'd said "Fallujah is enduring a sea of troubles," that would be cause for complaint—the city isn't even on the coast."

"I'm not a pacifist, but I don't believe this war was a necessary, or even productive, step towards making Iraq, the Middle East, or the world, a better place. Unless you can make a really good case that it was both necessary and useful to fight this war, I'd have to say it was not worth the hundreds of thousands of lives that were lost.
I believe that you yourself are honestly concerned about about all the victims of this war. I wish we had been able to discuss this more rationally before we went to war in Iraq (and in the comments sections of our respective blogs :-))"

"You know what would have really been peachy? If we could have had some of that nice "logic, moderation, and cosidering both sides of the issue", five years ago before we got into this disaster. But back then, those of us who thought this was all a monumental mistake were demonized as supporters of Saddam and Osama, intelligence analysts who could supply the "other side" to the scary intel about those Iraqi WMD's were silenced and had their careers destroyed, and nobody who opposed the war could get thirty seconds on the evening news to put forth their logic and moderation."

"Just so we're on the same page, I'm an Army veteran too. So I've been to Iraq twice, once on the government's dime, once on mine. I certainly didn't go to impress any of the posters on this site, but honestly, you people need to dial it down a notch and find a productive way to make known your dismay with current policy - much of which I agree with, but not all.
The current administration is a terrible disgrace and our failed "leaders" led our country and theirs down a rat's hole to disaster and death for no good truthful reason.
Having said that, the surge is working and we have a chance to correct our failures and leave Iraq with some semblance of normalcy. We can't change the past, so you need to start looking toward the future and hoping for the best."

Posted by: Chris Phoenix at December 19, 2007 05:07 PM

Those people were hideous and way over the top. Definitely would be interesting to get a qualified psychologist's take on some of those folks. But reading their unjustified vitriol has inspired me to, for the first time, support the target of their malice in his venture to bring quality reporting on Iraq to the broader public. Michael, thanks for all you do, and my check is in the mail.

Posted by: Petunia at December 19, 2007 05:27 PM

While the vitriol level at Alicublog may have been a bit high, Michael didn't see fit to respond to this posting, a posting which got high marks from other posters. Here it is:

"Iraq was in hell already. I'm sorry it's still there. I would fix it if I could, and I think you know that." [Totten's quote]

Mr. Totten. That earlier level of hell still had a national museum containing irreplaceable artifacts from the beginnings of our civilization. It had drinking water and electricity. People could go to the pet market or indeed any market without fear of being blown up. They could go to the mosque without fear of being blown up. People were not having to go to the overloaded morgues to gather, with their bare hands, pieces of their dead relatives. Women could go out dressed as they like. Bad as it may have been, there were not millions of people fleeing the country to live the marginal, destitute life of a refugee in those vacation paradises, Jordan and Syria.

What the invasion has managed to do is to tear apart that web of connections and relationships, of the ordinary lived business of life, that keeps people living in peace with one another and makes a place home. The death toll will be in the millions before this mess is all over. These terrible things are direct consequences of the invasion. Without the invasion, many brothers, sons, sisters, fathers, families would be alive and living together at home. They might not have had Starbucks in Baghdad, but they would have had each other.

To say "Iraq was hell before" is to elide that rather large and critical distinction. What you mean to imply by it -- that the invasion had no role in this hell -- it is untrue, it is an insult to the dead and all those who have suffered on a scale beyond your imagining. Beyond your imagining even, apparently, after you have gone and looked.

When the consequences of an action are catastrophic on this scale it is time to shut up about how good your intentions were. Our responsibility does not extend only to the scope of our intentions; it extends to the limit of their consequences.

For you to be defending the good intentions of the leaders of this colossal clusterfuck suggests to me, not that you can't manage facts and data, but that your moral compass is bent. To be willing to tell a whopper like the one that I quoted here, and then pose as the nice guy who would like to fix Iraq if only he could, alas, is -- let me see if I can find a nice way to put this: it is utterly immoral, it is obscene.

And then you make big cow eyes at Roy and pay him what you seem to regard as a great compliment: suggesting that his failure to notice your huge and obvious good intentions is a lapse but you are confident you can expect better things of him.

I recommend that you take a pause from contemplating your own nice-guyness for a while and reflect on the implications and consequences of your work. Sooner rather than later.
kia | Homepage | 12.18.07 - 7:42 am | #

Care to respond to Kia's comment, Michael, or would you rather just play the victim and/or talk about how you'd give D's to various posters if you were their English teacher?

Posted by: mistermark at December 19, 2007 07:50 PM

Mistermark,

Kia's comment is fairly easy to argue with (as well as partially agree with) and, in truth, more worth arguing with that the foul-mouthed garbage in that sewer of a comment section on Alicublog. I might do it in a day or so and post it on the main page. No promises, though. I have some real writing to do that must take priority over Internet fights.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 19, 2007 08:56 PM

Indeed, Mister, not that Mike can't speak for himself, but do you dream that he OWES them anything? That he owes YOU anything for that matter?

If you could establish the premise that he owes us, the readers of his website, some kind of response, that might be a horse of another color; but

a) he doesn't
b) such points have been asked and answered here over and over again (search the archives), by Mike and by others. I would be happy to go point by point on that post, but again,

a) you seem to want blood from Mike, not any volunteers
b) it sounds rather like pig-wrestling - you get dirty and the pig enjoys it.
c) it really offers little challenge.

As the refrain often goes in the Talmud, "You have brushed them aside with a reed; what will you now say to us?" That is, 'you fluffed them off with superficial sophistry appropriate to their limited means; now let's you and us consider the matter more deeply.'

In truth I think that IN A SENSE, it may only be able to have real discussions among people on the same side. Not to avoid dissent, but precisely because, for instance, a cadre of all pro-war posters can agree to discard much of the rubbish and question serious issues.

This is probably refuted by the alicublog example, which I have so far spared my eyes, but what I mean is, when you don't have to waste your time explaining that 600,000 deaths is crazy talk and that you probably want to lop off a digit, you can then discuss whether 60,000 deaths is fair, high, low, or what. You can discuss troop levels without BDS and second-guess Rumsfeld without worrying which former employer is raking in the bucks.

In short, if the quality is there, a right-wing echo chamber, maybe with serious left-wing guests a la the old TNR, can seriously tackle issues.

I suppose this presumes it would work better for right than left, which in turn assumes superiority of the right. And as such may not be taken lying down. But tell me whether or not you agree, that people in favor of the GWOT can think of at least as many/as valuable constructive criticisms as the lefty troll types.

And, just for the record:

the Iraqi Museum was not really looted (IIRC), but employees took stuff home for safekeeping;

hundreds of thousands, not to say millions of deaths, under US occupation is not only a crock but even if true, still less than caused by the I-I War and perhaps the sanctions too;

such improvements in welfare or stability as may honestly shake out of that stack of bushwah, were bought at the price of a submission to authority that is difficult for Westerners to understand, and without a doubt, beyond kia's or mister's ability to accept for themselves;

and irrespective of the results of OIF and indeed the GWOT, the events of 9/11 (yes! there I go again!) showed quite clearly, to anyone who would see, that the status quo was no longer sustainable. Even if you lose a battle, that does not mean you should not have fought it.

I often think back to the movie Three Kings with George Clooney, which depicted the plight of southern Iraqis and the US or coalition indifference to their suffering under Saddam's regime.

Aside from wondering if kia ever saw that movie, I often wonder to myself: in what form did the Clooneys of the world ever imagine their prescribed liberation would come? Clooney now speaks against the war. How did he ever expect to help those people?

The fantasy always bifurcates between those who say We never should have gone there, and those who say, in effect, What are you doing wrong with my trouble free product? I.e., that they could have run the war with zero mistakes.

As Yamamoto said to Hirohito:

Rotsa ruck with that!

Posted by: nichevo at December 19, 2007 09:24 PM

Rotsa ruck with that! by nichevo
Damn near busted a gut laughing.

The only thing Michael owes anybody, is for Michael to be Michael. No more, no less. And there are plenty here who respect that whether they agree/disagree. Furthermore, there is no need for a response when the writer is so emotionally involved that they spew a most fowl language. You can't reason with them. They are so invested in their belief that no amount of facts, no amount of reason can change their perspective, or at least provoke intelligent debate. Now just because one enters into a debate, doesn't mean that they will change their position. It just means they take into consideration what is being said.

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at December 19, 2007 11:46 PM

Word up, Kevin. We aim to please. Look at poor Mike, as if he has to apologize for banning people who slag him. Criticize, argue, even maybe overcome in an argument, intellectual honesty may demand some tolerance or at least the hiss of the world will be against petty vindictiveness.

But people who rank on him? He's Rick James, bitch! It's his party and he can ban if he wants to!

Is anybody here saying Mike has an itchy trigger finger? No, I don't think so! (Are you?) I would say his patience level is just fine.

If lefties feel that objective conditions militate against them, well, what can I say but

HAAH-Hah!

Incidentally, Kia Sephia's points were answered on alicublog. But they were more interested in getting Mike to enlist (whereupon no doubt he would have had a total conversion to their way of thinking, or be horribly killed, either of which are acceptable to them apparently) because he's only 37 and thus could theoretically get squoze into the Army.

Posted by: nichevo at December 20, 2007 01:03 AM

Care to respond to Kia's comment, Michael, or would you rather just play the victim and/or talk about how you'd give D's to various posters if you were their English teacher?

Kia's comment was based on the standard series of half-truths and outright lies that are published in biased journals like the Nation and Common Dreams.

Like Kia, the commenters at Alicublog have been kept in dark damp place, shielded from reality by these biased reports.It's no surprise that Michael's efforts to simply describe what he saw when he was there, to take those cherished biases away provoked such outraged barks. They hates the truth.

I posted an short list of those fables and half-truths on the blog, saying:

"what would have happened if we hadn't invaded? According to the Left-leaning press, more than a half million children had died as a result of the horrific UN Sanctions Against Iraq. According to those common Dreams, the sanctions were genocidal. And the evil Madeline Albright said it was worth it!"

"According to the same leftist press, "Arab "street people" supported Iraq and, considered Saddam Hussein a hero."

"And as long as we're talking about crazy stories, remember the millions of Africans who died as a result of Clinton bombing the aspirin factory?"

"But now the history of pre-2003 has been rewritten. Iraq was a museum-goer's paradise. It was even free of malign influences like Starbucks!"

"Too bad for the Left - rewriting history was a lot easier in Uncle Joe's day, before google."

:::::::::

I quoted from a fairly typical article from 2000 called UN Sanctions Against Iraq Only Serve US Ambition.

The 500,000 dead children figure was based on a study by the Lancet, the journal of the British Medical Society. Why am I not surprised?

Posted by: mary at December 20, 2007 08:16 AM

That was a whole blog full of 'Rage Boys.'

I have felt less contaminated after working in the septic tank.

Posted by: lindsey at December 20, 2007 08:58 AM

DPU might seem mild-mannered, but I think at an athletic 6'4, he'd probably lay Patrick out with a well-placed jab.

6'5, actually, with giant long monkey arms. But I'm 50, so my jabbing days are probably behind me.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 20, 2007 09:43 AM

Patrick: I can take criticism and correction,...

I take this as evidence that Patrick does not read his own commentary.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 20, 2007 09:45 AM

However, it's always sort of bugged me that the playing field here isn't level. If it were, then the "Is Dan a Traitor" threads would have been snuffed almost as quickly as an "Is MJT a Traitor" thread, and several regular participants would have been banned.
-Creamy Goodness

IMO, a host is just as within his rights to expel a guest who throws poo at him from his server as he would be to throw out someone who flung feces at him in his own home.

The amount of tolerance shown to guests flinging poo at other guests is entirely up to the host. If he wants to be evenhanded, good for him. If he doesn't, well, nobody is making you read this. Anyone who has a problem with this is welcome to head over to blogger and create a blog bitching about how unfair life, the universe, and MJT is.

As far as I'm concerned, personal attacks are an indication of a weak argument, and a personal attack is not a valid point- it's just throwing poo, and it tells me more about the thrower than the target.

If you want more leftie commenters around here, I suggest you find lefties with an open mind on Iraq who are willing to debate what these firsthand, on-the-scene reports indicate about the situation without making personal attacks against the guy who's in Iraq, providing firsthand reports from the scene.

>>>>>

ps- re clean water and "Before the first Iraq war, but possibly not after that."

The usual chemical used to kill the bad stuff in water is chlorine, which was used as a gas weapon back in WW1. After GW1, nobody wanted to trust Saddam with the stuff anymore, with good reason- the man had a history of using gas weapons against people he didn't like, such as the Kurds.

So around twenty million people were denied safe drinking water for over a decade. Not because anyone outside of Iraq wanted people in Iraq to suffer, but because nobody thought Saddam Hussein had stopped being the same ruthless, brutal thug he'd been for the last decade.

For what it's worth, I've supported getting rid of Saddam Hussein since the first gulf war. Ideally, via assassination or an exile deal that would cause minimal disruption inside Iraq. But if the choices are invasion or leaving Saddam Hussein running Iraq- which are the options Bush had to choose from- I'll take invasion.

>>>>>>>

pps:

Mr. Totten. That earlier level of hell still had a national museum containing irreplaceable artifacts from the beginnings of our civilization.

It still does. Your point is what, exactly?

It had drinking water and electricity.

Not safe, chlorinated, drinking water, for reasons described above. In pre-war Iraq, electricity was rationed, even under Saddam- Baghdad got power, the rest of the country had rolling blackouts.

People could go to the pet market or indeed any market without fear of being blown up. They could go to the mosque without fear of being blown up.

....instead, they feared being picked up and interrogated by the Mukhbarat.

People were not having to go to the overloaded morgues to gather, with their bare hands, pieces of their dead relatives.

How familiar are you with how the Mukhbarat operated under Saddam?

Women could go out dressed as they like.

...so long as Saddam's sociopathic elder son Uday wasn't around.

Check out his wikipedia entry. Free clue: someone with a section labelled 'atrocities' is probably not a nice person.

Here's the most pertinent (of several items)-

  1. Kidnapping young Iraqi women from the streets in order to rape them. Uday was known to intrude on parties and otherwise "discover" women whom he would later rape. Time magazine published an article in 2003 detailing his sexual brutality.6 In one such instance, he ordered a young woman who was walking with her husband, where Uday said her husband was a nobody, despite him wearing a uniform showing him to be a captain in the Iraqi Army. Uday then ordered his men to grab the girl, to which her husband struck Uday in defense of his wife, and was apprended by Uday's bodyguards. The wife was raped and later murdered, and the husband was sentenced to death for "high treason against Saddam".

-----

Bad as it may have been, there were not millions of people fleeing the country to live the marginal, destitute life of a refugee in those vacation paradises, Jordan and Syria.

....I could go on, but really, this person is arguing with their heart, not their brain. Long on passion, short on reason, facts, and knowledge of what pre-war Iraq was like.

Posted by: rosignol at December 20, 2007 11:56 AM

If he wants to be evenhanded, good for him. If he doesn't, well, nobody is making you read this.

I'd gotten the impression from prior discussions on the subject that the intent of the policy was to be evenhanded. The schism between intent and effect was what bugged me, and apparently MJT as well.

If you want more leftie commenters around here,

What I enjoy reading is robust, substantive debate. The poo-flinging distracts.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at December 20, 2007 03:12 PM

...so long as Saddam's sociopathic elder son Uday wasn't around.

Is the implication of this that the majority of Iraq's female population having to live under fundamentalist sharia code is a better situation than having Hussein's rapist son at large?

How many women did Uday rape, abuse and/or kill? Is that number anywhere near the number that have been found tortured and decapitated in Basra recently because of their style of dress?

I don't think that many dispute the fact that Uday was a psychopath, but using him as an example of why women have it better in Iraq today may be stretching things somewhat.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at December 20, 2007 05:37 PM

Is the implication of this that the majority of Iraq's female population having to live under fundamentalist sharia code is a better situation than having Hussein's rapist son at large?

No. The implication is that pre-war Iraq was not a place where women could go out wearing what they pleased without a real chance of something fairly horrible happening.

How many women did Uday rape, abuse and/or kill? [...]

Unknown. The perpetrator is dead, and it's not like the Baghdad PD kept records on how many women Saddam's designated heir raped.

I don't think that many dispute the fact that Uday was a psychopath, but using him as an example of why women have it better in Iraq today may be stretching things somewhat.

Now there is a real possibility of improvement. That was not the case when Saddam was in power.

Posted by: rosignol at December 20, 2007 08:01 PM

It wasn't just Uday who raped Iraqi women. I have stood inside a "rape room" very far from his stomping grounds, where he probably never once set foot, in a place where more than 7000 people were tortured to death.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 20, 2007 08:38 PM

"Someone needs to go back & copy the best quotes & post them here for Kevin. Any volunteers?"

I'd rather get water boarded. You sick b...d!!! :)

Posted by: leo at December 20, 2007 09:27 PM

It wasn't just Uday who raped Iraqi women. I have stood inside a "rape room" very far from his stomping grounds, where he probably never once set foot, in a place where more than 7000 people were tortured to death.

It's important to note that the reason the west is more offended by the American Abu Ghraib than Saddam's Abu Ghraib has no intersection at all to the reason Arabs are more offended by the American version. Everyone misses that fact.

We're more offended because:
1. What our men did was against our own standards and we're ashamed of that.
2. We have higher standards for modern, liberal countries than we do for totalitarian sewers.
3. It was an own-goal and hurt our prestige.

But Arabs (outside Iraq more often than in it, but among Saddam's clan as well) knew all about Saddam's crimes all along, and mostly idolized him, hoping that he could one day be a conquerer.

They didn't mind his crimes because he was a Suni Muslim, and Muslims believe that God approves of Muslims being brutal, even to the point of genocide - it's Muslims not being overlords that offends God. So there is no moral offense to horrific crimes in general, there's only offense when a crime is committed by someone who isn't your own kind of Muslim, or when the crime is committed on your own clan.

The concept of humanity, meaning a commonality between all humans, simply does not exist.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 20, 2007 10:20 PM

Josh Scholar:

The concept of humanity, meaning a commonality between all humans, simply does not exist.

Does your concept of humanity include Muslims?

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at December 20, 2007 10:39 PM

Why would you think otherwise? Just because I've made the effort to understand common, but rather unpleasant attitudes?

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 20, 2007 10:43 PM

It's precisely because I do believe in a common humanity, because I do believe that freedom from oppression is the most important universal human need, that I refuse to become what you apparently are, Creamy.

I refuse to abandon the criticism of evil in any society to some sort of nihilistic form of cultural relativism.

I believe that there is no inherent difference between myself and Arabs. That's why I feel I have just as much of a duty to recognize and fight evil in Arab societies as in my own.

And because I believe in the universality of humanity, of our rights and needs, the only factor I take in prioritizing evils is their effect, their magnitude. I reject 100%, the idea that I should prioritize minor evils in the US over major evils elsewhere.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 20, 2007 10:54 PM

I have both a friend from Pakistan (though he's live in Saudi and other places) and a friend who did food relief in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 70s.

Both agree that those societies lack the concept of common humanity. Acquaintances from the same part of the world I've discussed this with agree.

But beyond second hand accounts, that's also clear from tons of other evidence I've studied (and argument and conversations I've had) that the problem is unfortunately very real, and unfortunately quite acute.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 20, 2007 11:10 PM

And just for the record, whatever the number of civilian casualties, isn't it pretty clear that the lion's share of them are caused by terrorist tactics used by AQ & Co. against the Iraqi people?

It is fair enough to blame us for friendly fire, cultural mistakes, even Blackwater excesses or Redacted rapists, but this is, wait for it, chicken feed compared to the exactions of the terrorists. To blame us for it is to blame the parent for the child holding his breath until he turns blue.

Astounding moral blindness at play.

Posted by: nichevo at December 20, 2007 11:22 PM

Creamy, I think you may be guilty of nothing more than making reasonable assumptions.

But sometimes assumptions fail completely and you have to study the real world to find out the truth which would surprise you.

It's sad fact that if you make what seem like reasonable assumptions about the attitudes of Muslims, world wide, you're going to make massive mistakes.

Study has shown me that, in much of the world, Islamic societies are the odd man out - they're at the antipode to humane attitudes that we see in other cultures.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 20, 2007 11:25 PM

I think it's pretty clear that a frightening percentage of Iraqi society has, shall we say, issues with the idea of a common humanity.

It's probably not as bad as it appears from a far distance (I've met many normal and humane Iraqis, Arab and Kurd alike), but the horrific violence that goes on in that country wouldn't be happening if it were otherwise.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 20, 2007 11:39 PM

The idea of humanity - even the right to live free from genocide runs against Mohammad's example, as former President Mathir of Indonesia made clear when he called that concept "a Jewish conspiracy".

But it's an idea that I believe has the potential to completely transform the Muslim world. Just having a single idea that did not exist before can change a society into something completely different.

That's why people like Creamy, who don't understand the depth of the problem and are afraid of appearing rude and bigoted and thus who would silence such criticism, must be resisted, corrected and if need be, fought. The concept of a common humanity must be promoted. Those who say "shut up" must be put in their place.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 20, 2007 11:51 PM

...Or at least thoroughly ignored by people who care about the human race.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 20, 2007 11:53 PM

Why would you think otherwise?

Because you are consistent, obsessive, and strident in singling out Muslims as morally inferior, as here:

Islamic societies are the odd man out - they're at the antipode to humane attitudes that we see in other cultures.

The antipode, i.e. opposite of humane? That's not constructive criticism, it's just fucked up.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at December 21, 2007 04:07 AM

Reality isn't politically correct, Mr. Goodness.

The state of humanity, the state of many a society in history has been mighty fucked up.

The US had slavery, remember? We fought a fucking civil war, partially to end that. It wasn't easy, it took a fight to end an evil.

I hate to Godwin, but German society was awfully fucked up - remember that?

How about the cultural revolution? Pretty fucking evil. The Gulags...

Well, get to know Mohammad - a man whose legacy has caused more harm than Pol Pot's, and who was in no ways superior.

It's fucked up, but it's reality.

There's no such thing as constructive criticism of great evils, only opposition.

Grow up.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 21, 2007 04:11 AM

Get to know the actual state of Muslim societies.

Once again, this is about the real world, it's not about principle. It's about what's really out there in reality.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 21, 2007 04:14 AM

Josh Scholar: It's about what's really out there in reality.

...in this ever-changing world in which we live in.

Posted by: Edgar at December 21, 2007 04:19 AM

Josh Scholar: It's about what's really out there in reality.

...in this ever-changing world in which we live in.

Posted by: Edgar at December 21, 2007 04:19 AM

The world doesn't change for the better automatically.

And some things, some horrors remain, permanent, well protected.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 21, 2007 04:34 AM

Ah, I see Edgar you were invoking Paul McCartney's "Live and let die"

Ironically, the premier evil I was objecting to was an acceptance of violence, genocide and rejection of common humanity in Muslim societies. So of course I must be an evil person who wants to see death. You couldn't be more immature and facile.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 21, 2007 04:38 AM

Josh,

You're not much of a scholar, are you?

Posted by: Edgar at December 21, 2007 04:50 AM

More pure trolling. Please delete along with this pointer.

Thank you, and sorry for asking the favor.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 21, 2007 04:56 AM

>>Those people were hideous and way over the top. Definitely would be interesting to get a qualified psychologist's take on some of those folks.<<

Michael, perhaps Pat Santy would like a shot at this...

Posted by: odrady at December 21, 2007 10:43 AM

Oh my...talk about juvenile...I quote:

-----

...

PPS kia - is it possible that you object to the words of another on the ground that he or she is a BORE?!? Uh, waiter, mirrors for two. I wouldn't claim that you and your shopworn arguments are the biggest bore ever to crawl across my poor CRT - that would elevate you beyond your station - but you are a pretty colossal bore.
nichevo | 12.21.07 - 2:20 am | #

Gravatar nichevo,

Great pseudonym. It's what you know and what your opinion is worth.
synykyl | 12.21.07 - 4:09 am | #

Gravatar synykyl,

great nick. it illustrates your attitude and your literacy at the same time.

I mean, is that the best you can do? At least kia tries.
nichevo | 12.21.07 - 5:25 am | #

It was more than you're worth.
synykyl | 12.21.07 - 6:39 am | #

DO NOT WANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!1!!!!one!
Oh, I'm so busted. What is that in kidspeak, Neener-neener or I'm-rubber-you're-glue?


The End
larkspur | 12.21.07 - 11:45 am | #

No backsies?!? Is that what you're trying to say? OH NOES!!!!!!!

LULZ!!!!!!!!!!!111!eleventy-one!!!!4

ZOMG u r l@m3rz

this board is self-pwn3d

now I'm gonna go tell the Totten board how lame you really are

MMMMMMmmmmmmuaahahahahahahahahahahahaha...

I gotta stop, this is child abuse

but it feels so GOOD

LOLOLOLOLOLOL ROFLMAO LTIWMP

-----

Stop me before I post again! Oh, they are so lame. Just remember, we're rubber, they're glue.

Posted by: nichevo at December 21, 2007 10:59 AM

nichevo:
When going juvenile I have found "Nannie nannie boo-boo...." to be quite appropriate. It has a sense of finality to it. "I'm rubber, you're glue..." while effective can lead to being used against the user. For obviously the target will state just how great they are and the whole rubber/glue thing is negated. lol

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at December 21, 2007 01:21 PM

actually I feel liberated now. they have proved their objective merit=zero, so I feel free to go there and punk them.

I am on mobile now, too much hassle, but tempted to go back and see how they are choking on it. it's like that old star trek ep where they kill all the adults, the 'grups' they call em. no adult mind can survive there.

why is it I see mostly the left saying the most vile things? I don't mean vile, commies r good, or vile, bush = hitler, but profanity, scatology, grossouts, etc. and if u call em on it u r uncool.

Posted by: nichevo at December 22, 2007 10:20 AM

"why is it I see mostly the left saying the most vile things?"

I think the potty mind comes first, and at present many people with that kind of mind pick Left as a cool thing to be. Their left-wing politics has little to do with the valid left wing politics of people like George Orwell or the Webbs or Attlee. It is more a kind of amoeboid rebelliousness.

If fashions change, the same people can easily turn into neo-Nazis or Islamofascists. Others pollute computer hobbyist boards etc.

Posted by: Don Cox at December 22, 2007 12:51 PM
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