Sunday, November 20, 2005

# Posted 3:40 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SULLIVAN ON MURTHA: Given that Andrew's stance on the both the war and its politics tends tends to defy easy categorization in terms of left and right, I thought it would be interesting to see if he has come down in the same place as I have on the Murtha story.

Well, not exactly the same place, but close. First of all, we agree on two major points. The first is that Murtha has the wrong plan. As Andrew writes:
It's not intellectually easy to continue supporting a war when you've lost faith in the honesty and competence of the president who's leading it, but what choice do we have? There are other good people struggling to make this work: Casey, Rice, Khalilzad, McCain; and the thousands of troops who are risking their lives in this project. They key is to grasp how little we know, how badly we've screwed up, but also not to throw in the towel when, in fact, there is still a chance for leveraging the current situation to our and to Iraqis' advantage.
The second is that certain Republicans (think Jean Schmidt) have launched apalling attacks on Murtha's integrity. Andrew differs slightly on that second point, since is he is more inclined than I am to believe that Schmidt's attack is typical GOP behavior.

I'd say the one major point of disagreement between myself and Andrew is that he seems to reject the idea that all of the hype about Murtha is a manufactured story. For example, Andrew criticizes Glenn for trying to spin the Murtha story as old news. Well, that's my spin as well, so I guess Andrew and I will have to disagree on this one.

But what matters more is our agreement on the substantive issue of what to do about Iraq.
(20) opinions -- Add your opinion

Yeah. All but the honesty and competence part.

Oh, and what's really going on in Iraq vis-a-vis the insurgency faltering and al Qaeda embarrassing itself and the political process moving forward in leaps and bounds.

Other than that, well, you may have a point.
Okay, sorry. Let me address your bottomline:

But what matters more is our agreement on the substantive issue of what to do about Iraq.

Which is? How does Andrew's and yours differ from the basic Democrat and Bush positions which are almost identical? their only difference, apparently, is that Bush wants the option not to commit to a calendar.

The end result may be the same. Unless Biden succeeds in getting the French and Arab League to interfere.
Who reads Sullivan anymore?
Slightly (okay a bit more than that but within reason) off topic but hasn't it been stunning that Bin Laden has not been out more encouraging his follows to take on the infidels?

His great skills were in making these moving speeches connecting great historic events and past Islamic victories and losses into a modern narrative.

Here he has the Great Satan, the great infidel entrapped (as he sees it) in Iraq, in a situation where he could rally his supporters to follow the great victory of the Soviet Union with an even greater victory of the United States.

And we hear nothing from him? No audio tapes, no videos dispersed to his followers?

Very odd.
I used to read and respect Andrew Sullivan, but then I lost faith in his honesty and competence...
Sullivan went south on Bush's conduct in the war (indeed, his entire Administration) as soon as Bush decided he'd support a constitutional amendment to ban Gay Marriage, if necessary. All else from Sullivan is ever-too-predictable noise, vanishingly dissimilar from the constant noise one hears from freight trains and freeways close by.
All things considered, it is my impression that the campaign to pacify the Sunni regions of Iraq has been going quite well. It appears that a critical mass of the Sunni population is willing to participate in the political process and, more importantly, does not appear to be willing to provide substantial and active support to the various "insurgent" groups, as opposed to passive support (which is bad enough).

Rather it seems to me that the very continued existence of an insurgency is what angers folk like Mr. Sullivan. US troop fatalities is remarkably low and as a percentage of national income the war is remarkably cheap - the US could probably maintain the occupation of Iraq in spite of the insurgency indefinitely. Needless to say, it would appear that the insurgency is becoming increasingly desperate (which is a pretty good sign that the insurgency is weakening) and I suspect that the Iraqi government will be able to handle most of the counter-insurgency activity within a year.

Despite all that, there is an increasingly loud chorus who are unwilling to have pictures of carbombs and explosions on their nightly news. Rather than change the channel, they demand an end to the war.:) Apparently, a short war is ok, but a prolongued police action isn't.
"leverage the situation"!? leverage the goddamned power back on 24/7! leverage the farking road to the airport!

oh, you're too damned corrupt and unsuccessful to do that? nevermind leveraging some recovery of face for abu ghraib and the white phosphorus--that ain't happening. this truly inept "cabal" (i didn't say it) and its fleet of brownies can't even commit to a "timeline" for repairing the fresh water and electricity infrastructure they've destroyed in this tragic, immoral, unpopular, unsanctioned, unwinnable fiasco, financed by the american taxpayers' sons and granddaughters, pushed through without reasoned debate by manipulation of and by the media, anonymous citation of disreputable sources, and a host of other disinformation tactics, all washed down with a feel-good but completely uninclusive, unsuccessful round puppet show elections.

two purple thumbs down for you idiots. we need to get out now and prevent the next fiasco here.

oh yeah, to those of you who sincerely bought condy & co's WMD hype or the promises of douglas feith and the other intellectual giants behind the self-financing war and slam dunk intelligence fix--another thing:

we told you so.

-the patriotic, unsubmissive, pro-democratic (small d) anti-war crowd

Relax and smell the roses. Your comments are starting to sound like the "running dog imperialist" comments usually associated with the extreme ideology of the North Koreans.
My comments should have been under Davod not annonymous.


Relax and smell the roses. Your comments are starting to sound like the "running dog imperialist" comments usually associated with the extreme ideology of the North Koreans.
The whole "at least Saddam kept the power on" trops is getting more than a little worn. Sure under the Saddam Baghdad always had power, but many other towns and cities (esp Shia ones) were deprived to make that happen. The new government has been distributing it more fairly, which means that previously favored areas are losing out. Also, after the end of the sanctions millions of Iraqis loaded up on new fridges, ACs etc - and thereby substantially increased the load on the grid.

Oh, and the Airport road HAS been secured - took too long to do it, but it has finally been done.
andrew can be categorized, as an emotional person who walks on all sides of the issue. mainly depending on how mad someone has made him over gay marriage. sorry, but his entire tone about the war changed depending on the Bush administration's volume of opposition to gay marriage. oh yeah, and his fetish with torture is almost odd. too bad, he is clearly a good writer, and a good thinker- but the past year, he seems to be aiming more for the TV people, and trying to make himself out to be someone above the frey. some would call it selling out, others marketing, still others emotionally unstable.
yeah i agree his honesty is questionable, he has made many charges without backing them up. On TV he rarely corrects people who are giving out bad info on the war. besides he has never owned a car! come on, he has not become a part of american culture if he has never owned a car. (only a few new yorkers can claim otherwise.)
I used to read Sullivan daily. I was a big fan. But, and I don't care what Sullivan says, too many people noticed the same thing and came to the same conclusion independently of each other, Sullivan's views suddenly and dramatically changed when President Bush announced his opposition to gay marriage.

When it became clear that gay marriage was the most important thing to Sullivan at the cost of everything else including his support for the war, well, he lost me and a lot of other people. I became sickened by the choice he'd made. Gay marriage trumped everything and if you opposed gay marriage as President Bush did then overnight you became Sullivan's enemy. I saw this happen and lots of other people did too.

I don't read Sullivan anymore and don't care what he thinks. His opinions are colored by who supports (or who may come around as John Kerry was likely to do based on his position as a Democrat and an unprincipled man) gay marriage. If you believe in gay marriage Sullivan will perform amazing feats of intellectual yoga to justify supporting your position.

I just don't care what Sullivan says. He's a deeply unprincipled man who has no credibility left.
Who reads Sullivan anymore?

People who want to win this war, for one. People who are deeply concerned about this administration's blase atitude toward torture. People who believe strongly in the need to create a democratic Iraq and are deeply angry at this administration's incompetence in securing the peace. People who know Sullivan's disillusionment with the administration began with its reckless spending, not gay marriage -- which seems to bother Sullivan's "conservative" critics a lot more than it bothers Sullivan, which is really saying something.
Bravo, Brian!

Sullivan's ideological track record is right out in the open, and he often makes it difficult for unthinking partisans to follow his logic when he makes judgement calls based on principles and not party. Most of the memes repeated in these InstaParrots' comments are straight from Glenn's keyboard, through some of his louder, more empty-headed readers, and out into the ideasphere, where they die slow, stubborn deaths.

Personally, I might take Sullivan's constant harping about torture a little more seriously if he could do a few things:
1. Define torture I think a lot of us grew sceptical of Sullivan's torture critiques when we found him engaged in a bait-and-switch. We're offered up electrodes on the testicles for sport when he asks us to judge torture and bright lights in the face and disrespect from women when he offers up accusations.
2. Treat an accusation as just that The fact of the matter is that recovered Al Queada training material tells jihadis to make accusations startlingly similar to the torture accusations we've seen. Sullivan has given credulity to pretty much any accusation offered up, even treating the dismissal of charges by a court martial as evidence of a conspiracy.
3. Put the issue in context We rarely see any comparison of the extent of torture in the Iraq War versus previous conflicts (where norms against torture would have been more appropriate). Isolated incidents get treated as policy. Policies that do sanction coercive treatment get roped in with these isolated incidents.
I don't think that these are unreasonable expectations for us to demand from someone asking us to be "sickened" or "disgusted" by our national security services.
I began admiring Sullivan's work way back when he was editor of "The New Republic". I then read his blog for several years until I found his tone too shrill and his opinions inconstant. Two things come to mind about Sullivan (given my background in political theory). Firstly, he wrote his PhD dissertation on Oakeshott (whom he admires) which I find ironic given that Oakeshott was a gentle man of a conservative disposition. Oakeshott argues (as others have done) that conservatism consists of a disposition rather than a fixed set of principles. Sullivan's mercurial and occasionally vicious disposition is hardly conservative. Secondly, someone once said of Alasdair McIntyre's various political conversions (Marxist, neo-Aristotelian etc) that it is a sign of wisdom to change your mind, but to change it so often is just careless. swoltze@umich.edu
Uh, "what to do about Iraq" is WIN.

Sullivan the Whiner, and anyone else who thinks wars are fought without casualties, are without clue.

The Iraq war is one of the most successful wars fought in the history of warfare, given the scale of what has been accomplished, and the few allied deaths.

This whole "we were misled" or "the war is run poorly" is total nonsense, and descends into pre-9/11 mindless politics.

The bottom line is: we must transform the Mideast. Over 100,000 Americans died over the course of 5 decades keeping a murderous ideology at bay during the Cold War, and you can be sure that tens of thousands of Americans will die eradicating this latest murderous ideology in the coming decades.

Surrender is never an option, and the Democrat partisan politics we've seen over the last 3 years is a disgrace to the nation, undermines our national resolve, and emboldens our enemies.
Sean wrote: "Gay marriage trumped everything and if you opposed gay marriage as President Bush did then overnight you became Sullivan's enemy."

It's worth noting that Kerry opposed gay marriage as well.

Here's John Kerry during the October 14, 2004 Presidential Debate:

"The president and I share the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman."

"apalling attacks on Murtha's integrity"??

This is an issue, how?

John Murtha is a typical Pennsylvania politician; venal and capable of amazing levels of political viciousness.

"Integrity" is not an adjective I'd apply to any of that lot.
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