Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

September 18, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

FAIR AND BALANCED....One of my longtime sparring partners insists that I post some good news about Iraq. Here it is:

The Baghdad hospitals are emptier. The Sunni Triangle — remember the deadly Sunni Triangle? — has been pacified to an amazing degree. Been following Totten at all in Ramadi? T. E. Lawrence might approve. Similar efforts are taking place among Shiites in the south, although that's going to be harder.

This is all good news, but the problem is that I'm not sure any of it really counts as new. We all know that violence is down in a few heavily-patrolled neighborhoods of Baghdad; the question is whether we can get similar results elsewhere without the same troop concentrations (and whether it will last when we redeploy elsewhere). Likewise, the Anbar Awakening has been extensively (and favorably) reported for months; the question is whether the Sunni tribes are really cooperating with us or are merely accepting our help temporarily until they've eliminated their internal enemies and are ready to start killing Americans again. And, sure, there are some efforts to replicate the Anbar strategy in the south; the question is whether we're making any serious progress on this. I haven't seen much evidence of it.

But, look: these are all potentially positive developments, and they've all shown up in various mainstream news reports. War critics shouldn't ignore them. The problem is that tidepools of encouraging news like this just don't seem very meaningful compared to the tsunami of violence we still hear about every day, the lack of any change in the underlying dynamics driving the violence, and the complete absence of any sign of political reconciliation. And that's not to even mention the growing refugee crisis, the massive sectarian cleansing ongoing in Baghdad, the continuing meltdown of Iraq's infrastructure, the intra-Shiite civil war picking up steam in Basra, the lack of improvement in the Iraqi army, and the conclusion of the Jones commission that Iraq's police force is so hopelessly sectarian it ought to be completely disbanded.

But click the links and decide for yourself.

Kevin Drum 5:32 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (82)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

If you can point to any number, about anything anywhere, The War Must Go On!

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on September 18, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Everything's comin up roses now . . .

Posted by: Doofus on September 18, 2007 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Please stop using the phrase 'Anbar Awakening'.


If nothing else, think of the religosity filled people who will be offended by the trivialization of miraculous happenings.

Posted by: gregor on September 18, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

You forgot to mention the painted schools.

Posted by: Tyro on September 18, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

No doubt, the level of violence in Los Angeles County would be similarly alleviated, if ever 1.3 million of its residents would flee for their lives to refugee camps in Bakersfield and Barstow.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 18, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

"refugee camps in Bakersfield and Barstow"

...How would you know the difference? :-)

Posted by: RobertSeattle on September 18, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Next up: Empty Streets and Cafes of Baghdad and Basra offer hope.

You can't make these things up.

Posted by: gregor on September 18, 2007 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK
No doubt, the level of violence in Los Angeles County would be similarly alleviated, if ever 1.3 million of its residents would flee for their lives to refugee camps in Bakersfield and Barstow.

To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 18, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Be optimistic--96% of Iraqis are still alive! Think positive!

Posted by: Jim Lund on September 18, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

It's easy to dismiss the situation in Anbar, I guess. Before you do entirely, read the last two dispatches from Michael Totten at www.michaeltotten.com. It sure doesn't sound like the relative decrease in violence is due to ethnic cleansing or depopulation. It appears to be due to a nearly complete rejection of Al Qaeda Iraq.

Posted by: pidgas on September 18, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! Those really are good news items.

Okay, I'm in for another Friedman Unit. This time for sure!

Posted by: bobbywally on September 18, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

If there is nothing being done to bring the region together to stop the violence and create a REAL government, even a caretaker, temp gov, then anything going on is pointless ultimately.

And Bush won't talk nice with the other kids, so forget it.

Posted by: lilybart on September 18, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

I saw a headline about the government of Iraq cancelling the certification of a murderous organized crime syndicate to operate within its borders. That was good news and it was commented upon at Political Animal.

Complaints about reporting the news in Iraq from public restroom 'sparring' partners should be ignored.

Posted by: Brojo on September 18, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with any "good news" coming from Iraq is that it doesn't usually hold up upon closer inspection.

Either it's a case of Bush lowering the bar (see: Iraqi troop redeadiness, governmental 'benchmarks' being met, etc), or there's some dark caveate behind the "good news": Hey look! Civilian deaths are down! ... because there's only so many people left to kill since they're either already dead or have fled, prefering homelessness to death. The Baghdad hospitals are emptier? ...have the morgues been emptying just as rapidly?

It's not so much that the MSM is reporting only the bad news from Iraq, it's that there's not a whole lot of good news to report. There's only so much spin you can put on events in Iraq without turning into Pravda...

Posted by: raff on September 18, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

At no point in the war has there been a shortage of small-picture good-news items that war critics were urged to not ignore.

Posted by: Max Power on September 18, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

It sure doesn't sound like the relative decrease in violence is due to ethnic cleansing or depopulation. It appears to be due to a nearly complete rejection of Al Qaeda Iraq.

Which has long been the case. Most insurgents had no use for AQI, who are just getting in the way. To think, however, that just because Sunnis in Anbar are now targeting AQI means they are our allies is pretty witless. How long do you think armed-to-the-teeth Sunnis will accept our continued occupation?

Like everything else in this stupid war, "success in Anbar" will be a chimera and will eventually turn back on the Americans.

Posted by: Jay B. on September 18, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Never stop reminding the wingnuts that the progress they're so proud of in Anbar is the result of the United States negotiating with terrorists -- or at least people the wingnuts used to insist on calling "terrorists" whenever the lefty's tried to call them "insurgents."

And also remind them that the continued success of the Anbar Awakening depends on these "terrorists" being trustworthy when they promise not to use the weapons we're giving them against us or the Shiites in the future.

Posted by: asdf on September 18, 2007 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

I can't recall the blog where I read this, but last week someone compared a map that Petraeus showed depicting lower levels of violence in Baghdad with a map showing dramatically lower levels of mixed Sunni/Shiite neighborhoods. The extra forces may be doing something, but if a lot of the neighborhoods have been cleansed, then that could explain the empty hospitals.

Posted by: Chris on September 18, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK
Most insurgents had no use for AQI, who are just getting in the way. To think, however, that just because Sunnis in Anbar are now targeting AQI means they are our allies is pretty witless. How long do you think armed-to-the-teeth Sunnis will accept our continued occupation?

As long as we keep supplying them with cash and arms.

However, there is a limited amount of us doing that for the Sunni militants that the Shi'a will put up with...

Posted by: cmdicely on September 18, 2007 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK
Never stop reminding the wingnuts that the progress they're so proud of in Anbar is the result of the United States negotiating with terrorists

"Negotiating" is talking. The shift among the Sunni tribes in Anbar is the result of the US providing cash and weapons to groups that were, in many cases, responsible for attacks on US and coalition forces and labelled "terrorists" for that by the administration; so, "sponsoring and arming" rather than merely "negotiating with" the "terrorists".

Posted by: cmdicely on September 18, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Negotiating" is talking. The shift among the Sunni tribes in Anbar is the result of the US providing cash and weapons to groups that were, in many cases, responsible for attacks on US and coalition forces and labelled "terrorists" for that by the administration; so, "sponsoring and arming" rather than merely "negotiating with" the "terrorists". Posted by: cmdicely

Yes. I'm not sure I'd term that "negotiating." I think that's called bribing.

Now, where was it that we did that before with decidedly long-term negative consequences?

Posted by: JeffII on September 18, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Breaking;
Violence down in Hurricane ravaged New Orleans. 2 witnesses were quoted as saying "the three other people we saw today seemed pretty peaceful, if not hungry and tired".

Posted by: ed on September 18, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Hey don't pander. Iraq is news because of the discord that was foisted upon these people. The story is: Iraq is going poorly and has been for a long time. The story is that Bush failed to take action years ago to try and secure Iraq. The story is the lies that led to the invasion at all. The story is some American's want to fight there rather than here, I am sure the Iraqi's are pleased by that - open up Iraq so AQI can flood in aren't we so kind. The story is we had no idea how to handle the post Sadam Iraq.

The story is failure upon failure upon failure with Iraqi's dying every day for GWB's failures - nice man - ever so compassionate - NOT!

Reporting is not about reporting everything it is about reporting the story.

Posted by: George on September 18, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Gregor: "Please stop using the phrase 'Anbar Awakening'."

That's the English translation of Sahawa al Anbar. If you don't like the phrase, take it up with the Iraqis. Kevin Drum didn't invent it, neither did I, and neither did any other American.

Thanks for the link, Kevin.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten on September 18, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

You forgot to report the best news of all -- that the State Dept Inspector General is a GWB hack who blocks all investigations into waste and fraud in Iraq.

The gravy train continues!

Posted by: Disputo on September 18, 2007 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

With a backdrop of hundreds of thousands of dead and millions displaced, I'm sure you will forgive me for being less than overwhelmed by the good news coming out of Iraq.

The problem is that we still haven't brought Iraq to the level of stability that it had under Saddam Hussein. Think about that. This American occupation is worse than a brutal dictatorship.

And before some clueless twit misreads this, the blame doesn't go to the soldiers who are doing the best they can in George W. Bush's disaster. This enterprise was bound to be a disaster from the word "go."

The job of the military is to defend our nation. Not to build the nations of other people. That they aren't qualified to do something that isn't their job isn't a slur, it's a recognition of the substantial differences in the tasks.

Posted by: heavy on September 18, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

This is from a UN refugee agency in August, 2007 and it may explain why "hospitals are empty:" Displacement

Incessant violence across much of Iraq's central and southern regions has forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes every month, presenting the international community with a humanitarian crisis even larger than the upheaval aid agencies had planned for during the 2003 war.

UNHCR estimates that more than 4.2 million Iraqis have left their homes. Of these, some 2.2 million Iraqis are displaced internally, while more than 2 million have fled to neighbouring states, particularly Syria and Jordan. Many were displaced prior to 2003, but an increasing number are fleeing now. In 2006, Iraqis had become the leading nationality seeking asylum in Europe.

This is good news?

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 18, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

If you don't like the phrase, take it up with the Iraqis.

Hey Iraqis! Wake up and fight your real enemy, the foreign invader.

Posted by: Brojo on September 18, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Please stop using the phrase 'Anbar Awakening'.
Posted by: gregor

That's actually the name that the Sunni tribes gave it, not the coalition.

"Negotiating" is talking. The shift among the Sunni tribes in Anbar is the result of the US providing cash and weapons to groups that were, in many cases, responsible for attacks on US and coalition forces and labelled "terrorists" for that by the administration; so, "sponsoring and arming" rather than merely "negotiating with" the "terrorists".

As was discussed here already in thethread on the Aussie advisor, the Anbar Awakening was pretty much a surprise to the coalition. Being opportunists they are trying to take advantage of it, but they didn't cause it by their actions. New counter-insurgency strategy meets fortuitous circumstance.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 18, 2007 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

NY Times, end of August, 2007:

"The new findings suggest that while sectarian attacks have declined in some neighborhoods, the influx of troops and the intense fighting they have brought are at least partly responsible for what a report by the United Nations migration office calls the worst human displacement in Iraq’s modern history.

The findings also indicate that the sectarian tension the troops were meant to defuse is still intense in many places in Iraq. Sixty-three percent of the Iraqis surveyed by the United Nations said they had fled their neighborhoods because of direct threats to their lives, and more than 25 percent because they had been forcibly removed from their homes."

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 18, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Iraqis! Wake up and fight your real enemy, the foreign invader.

I am going to assume this was a handle hijack. While I understand why the Iraqis attack the occupation troops, I'm not like George W. Bush and won't encourage them to do it.

Posted by: heavy on September 18, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, better what you and MJT et al are reporting than worse (a tautology, oh well) but have you already forgotten the "Blowback" post just a few hours earlier? And then there's the Maliki government, which Krauthammer keeps drumming to topple. BTW, what's up with this attack on Iran buzz?

Posted by: Neil B. on September 18, 2007 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Totten?

What's next, Michael Yon and his fables of Iraqis eating children?

Posted by: Wingnuts Awankining on September 18, 2007 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps "hospitals are empty" but morgues and graves are full:

The December 2006 report of the Iraq Study Group (ISG) found that the United States has filtered out reports of violence in order to disguise its policy failings in Iraq. A December 7, 2006 McClatchy Newspapers article reports that the ISG found that U.S. officials reported 93 attacks or significant acts of violence on one day in July 2006, yet "a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light more than 1,100 acts of violence." The article further reports:

"The finding confirmed a Sept. 8 McClatchy Newspapers report that U.S. officials excluded scores of people killed in car bombings and mortar attacks from tabulations measuring the results of a drive to reduce violence in Baghdad. By excluding that data, U.S. officials were able to boast that deaths from sectarian violence in the Iraqi capital had declined by more than 52 percent between July and August, McClatchy newspapers reported."
From the ISG report itself: "A murder of an Iraqi is not necessarily counted as an attack. If we cannot determine the source of a sectarian attack, that assault does not make it into the database. A roadside bomb or a rocket or mortar attack that doesn't hurt U.S. personnel doesn't count."

"Hospitals are empty" doesn't count as data.

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 18, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

When he asked for you to report some good news, I hoped you asked if he would start reporting some (just a little bit) of the truth.

Posted by: DA on September 18, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Where did rdw's post go?

A little heavy on the delete button tonight, moderator.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 18, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair, or balanced, or neither, you may as well link to Marc Lynch's review of the interview with Shammari of the IAI.

In response to a question about the Petraeus report and the role of the surge in Anbar, Shammari replied that the Islamic Army of Iraq saw nothing new in the report. It claims to see progress in the tribal areas, but, he said, the American forces haven't done anything in those areas. ,/em>

The two problems facing Iraq, he said, are Iran and the occupation, and in the absence of the occupation the Shia would turn back to their natural affinity with other Iraqi Arabs rather than to Iran

Finally, he repeated the IAI's frequently articulated position of refusing to negotiate or sit with the Americans until there was a clear and binding commitment to withdrawal - at which point, the IAI would naturally be willing to talk to the Americans about the terms of the withdrawal. He said that there was no political process in Iraq to join right now, anyway. It had come to its end, collapsing on itself, and everyone was looking past the failed institutions

Posted by: TJM on September 18, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

There is room for diversity of opinion. Even sociopathic goons aren't don't get their posts deleted merely for expressing a different view. That those views are usually wrong also not sufficient to have them removed.

Given rdw's history of trolling, I suspect he is, like mhr and Charlie, simply not welcome.

Posted by: heavy on September 18, 2007 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, empty link, here's Lynch

Posted by: TJM on September 18, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

If the hospitals are empty, I would guess it's because of the recently reported news that the lack of medicine, surgical supplies, etc., etc., have doctors and hospitals in Iraq pleading for help. Disgraceful. Obscene. I'll go find a link.

Posted by: nepeta on September 18, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

BBC's words are better than mine would be. This was published in March 2007. I'm sure things are worse now, if that's possible.

"For the people of Iraq, it may be the ultimate nightmare.

Iraq's remaining doctors face a lack of basic medical equipment
The ordeal continues for victims of Iraq's violence when they are taken to hospital.

Most of the best medical staff have left after being targeted by insurgents. Many have fled the country just in the last few months.

Drugs and equipment are almost non-existent. The notorious militias target patients inside hospitals, and doctors inside the health ministry."

Iraq Medical Crisis As Doctors Flee, BBC

Posted by: nepeta on September 18, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure no one cares, but ugh...aren't don't? "are not deleted" or "don't get their posts deleted." Pick one edit and decide. And what happened to the word "is" in that other sentence?

As for the rest, the humanitarian nightmare that is George W. Bush's assault on the people of Iraq speaks for itself. Bringing hell's temperature down by one tenth of one degree, even if real, does not make plans for opening up an ice rink feasible.

The sickest thing is, if Saddam Hussein had inflicted the damage to Iraq that the United States has then every liberal in the US would be clamoring for the world to step up and take action. Unfortunately such action is pretty much impossible in occupied Iraq.

Posted by: heavy on September 18, 2007 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, that was really worth half a trillion dollars and 30,000 US casualties.

I was wrong.

Good move, Bush! On to Iran!

Posted by: chuck on September 19, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

There is room for diversity of opinion. Even sociopathic goons aren't don't get their posts deleted merely for expressing a different view.

There certainly seems to be room for hate-soaked ranters that make fact-free accusations of sociopathic goonery and equate Americans who are providing security to European food agencies to "wastewater from toilets". I see you are walking that fine line between avoiding getting deleted and expressing your true, heartfelt hate. The fact that you were confused as a freeper plant (maybe you are one?) is hilarious. I'll never read your posts the same again.

The commentor rdw left out the insults, brought the facts, and expressed a narrative that, while differing from the norm here, fit the facts. Deleting him to maintain the purity of thought ought to embarrass the people here, in fact it ought to disgust you as being Stalinistic, or bore you because who are you going to spar with? But instead it gets applause (except for cmdicely). Rather than a diversity of opinions expressed with respect you get a spittle-flecked echo chamber circle jerk vortex of groupthink.

Party on...

Posted by: SJRSM on September 19, 2007 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Totten is a smarmy wanna be. He sees what he wants to see and writes like a 12 year old comic book fan. I wouldn't put much credence in anything he writes about.

Posted by: Onward on September 19, 2007 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Um, hospitals are emptier because they're run by violent factional gangs for their sect only. Sunnis and the wrong kinds of Shiite know that showing up at most Baghdad hospitals is a stellar way to wind up in a ditch with power drill holes in your head.

Posted by: Tim F on September 19, 2007 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Just another day at the local Muncie, Indiana farmers market.

16 dead in four separate car bombings - Many more wounded.

Farmers bringing in fresh apples, had to move nine bodies.

Apples are getting rave reviews.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 19, 2007 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Aren't we giving the guys who were blowing us up last week, the same guys who won't mind blowing uus up next week, guns and money to be our friends?

Posted by: Boronx on September 19, 2007 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Aren't we giving the guys who were blowing us up last week, the same guys who won't mind blowing uus up next week, guns and money to be our friends?
Posted by: Boronx

First, they didn't do it for the guns and money, although it helps cement the relationship. Second, in return for joining The Guardians or whatever they call the particular groups, the insurgents/new friends all submit biometric data which gets tossed into the Big Database of People. I'm surprised to agree to do this. It certainly reflects on their commitment. This is no small deal, and it is something we should have done years ago, if we'd been thinking counter-insurgency back then.

In some ways, there is no going back to the way it was before, whether they want to or not.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 19, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Look Mary, the fact that you spent your life killing people and told us all how much you, and your buddies who were still in, wished you could be the one who dropped a bomb that, sure killed a suspected bad guy, but also killed a woman and child is what got you labeled a goon - not by me, but by a moderator. If you don't remember, why are you carrying around the 2/3 of the Swaggering Jingoistic Goon that makes you proud in your new handle?

You are, of course, welcome to wildly misrepresent my comments about a company of hired killers and say that I compared individuals with wastewater. It won't make it true, but truth isn't really your thing.

I have to admit I was amused by the freeper thing. Go back Mary, read as many posts of mine as you can find. See if I have ever called for anyone's death. Ever. See if, like you, I have ever mocked the death of an individual. You will find that the furthest I have gone is to call you names referencing serial killers/terrorists. That may have been over the line, but in my defense, you have claimed to have killed an unknown number of people and you've been a cheerleader for the unprovoked slaughter of the Iraqi people. I, on the other hand, don't want people killed unless there's no other way to prevent something far worse. Oddly, that makes me the bad person in your mind.

Unlike you I don't have to walk a line. And unlike you I remember rdw's history of trolling. See, there's a certain point where a poster has such a history of bad behavior that they are removed. It doesn't matter what rdw's post said. You notice that the one directly above mine pointing out that he had a history of trolling was also removed (frankly, I didn't see the first one - I have no idea what it contained).

Again, it wasn't the content that was censored, it was the poster. If you want to make the exact same post it will stay. While I can't guarantee it, if the post is as you said, post it.

Posted by: heavy on September 19, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I am disgusted at the way temperature-taking has replaced real thought about this war.

Here it is, almost five years on, no compelling purpose enunciated for the conflict, our brave citizens dying, Iraqis dying, and we are wondering about hospital occupancy in parts of Iraq.

Stop taking the temperature and diagnose the disease.

Posted by: searp on September 19, 2007 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Jingo: There certainly seems to be room for hate-soaked ranters....blah blah blah.

I didn't notice cmdicely commenting on the moderation policy. Perhaps I missed it.

My god, your capacity for whining like a teenage girl is apparently bottomless. Are you this much of a crybaby in real life? (Rhetorical question.)

Many of us would do the moderation policy differently if this were our blog. It's not our blog. We said our piece once or twice when the moderation policy changed, and then, recognizing that this is a private, free-market enterprise (of the type staunchly defended by wingers until the moment they don't get what they want from them), we moved on and made the decision to keep posting here or not.

You, on the other hand, can't let it go, and keep wailing in a tellingly unbalanced tone about your and other trolls' terrible victimhood. As I pointed out before, and as you were forced to concede, you can always go post at a winger site, most of which don't allow comments and all of which are heavily moderated if they do. You have a choice of accepting the moderation policy here or not posting here. Save the tears and melodrama for next time your points are taken completely apart in a debate. You won't have to wait long.

Posted by: shortstop on September 19, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, they didn't do it for the guns and money, but getting guns and money will certainly help minimize the Civil War aspect.

Get out now. There is zero chance we are going to make Iraq into a stable nation and every stupid move like this just helps Bush kick the can down the road so cowards and morons can blame that president rather than the one who created this disaster.

Posted by: heavy on September 19, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, perhaps more telethons for finding a cure to Shrubitis.

Posted by: stupid git on September 19, 2007 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

a suspected bad guy...

Zarqawi was just a suspected bad guy???

You are, of course, welcome to wildly misrepresent my comments about a company of hired killers and say that I compared individuals with wastewater. It won't make it true, but truth isn't really your thing.

I'll let the viewing readership form their own level of disgust at your comments. Your squirming under questioning from PR was positively Clintonesque, and your arrogance at his non-apology was a thing of hate-filled beauty. Here's the thread.

You will find that the furthest I have gone is to call you names referencing serial killers/terrorists.

No, you accused me of specifically targeting innocent women and children, and doing so with glee. That was what the moderator deleted. Forget already? Remember calling me "War Criminal Mike"? Here's a nice one...

Poor Red State Dahmer...What's wrong? Didn't get to murder anyone today?
Posted by: heavy

See, there's a certain point where a poster has such a history of bad behavior that they are removed. It doesn't matter what rdw's post said...Again, it wasn't the content that was censored, it was the poster.

And you think that is A Good Thing???

Posted by: SJRSM on September 19, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK
Second, in return for joining The Guardians or whatever they call the particular groups, the insurgents/new friends all submit biometric data which gets tossed into the Big Database of People. I'm surprised to agree to do this. It certainly reflects on their commitment.

A biometric database is a threat to their ability to act freely only if it is in the hands of an effective, powerful central government with a viable monopoly on the use of force.

Identifying who dun it isn't particularly useful if you lack the capacity to do anything about it.

So, while you could read their agreeing to the database as evidence of their commitment to a peaceful, integrated Iraq and working with the central government, you could just as reasonably (if not more so) view it as them not caring about the database because they are firmly convinced that no government competent to use it against them will ever exist in Iraq.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 19, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Swaggering Jingoistic...whoever...:

The commentor rdw left out the insults, brought the facts, and expressed a narrative that, while differing from the norm here, fit the facts.

Clearly, you are remembering a very different rdw that I recall posting here. The one I recall was long on insults and short on anything resembling facts.


Deleting him to maintain the purity of thought ought to embarrass the people here, in fact it ought to disgust you as being Stalinistic, or bore you because who are you going to spar with?

There is a difference between eliminating abusive trolling and "maintaining purity of thought"; whatever criticisms might rightly be aimed at the moderation practice here (and certainly I've levelled plenty of criticism in that direction), there is no reason to believe it has the aim (and it clearly doesn't have the effect) of "maintaining purity of thought".

There is no absence of diversity of views here. There is no shortage of people to spar with.

But instead it gets applause (except for cmdicely).

I'm hardly the only one who has criticized the moderation practice here, and I certainly don't recall making any particular criticism of moderation directed at rdw.

shortstop:

I didn't notice cmdicely commenting on the moderation policy.

I've commented on it a few times; probably the best summary of my view being here (in response to the moderator taking on SecularAnimist for no clear reason):

There isn't a policy, there is a rather inconsistent moderator (or set of moderators) that edits comments willy-nilly, replacing some or all of the content in edited comments with their own commentary, set off in square brackets, on the edited posts.

Its not quite the worst moderation system imaginable, but its not at all good. Given the range of better options, including ones that empower readers, available and practical, its a horrendous choice of ways to handle it, even though for the most part the moderations has, until recently, focussed on the well-established trolls and thus generally not detracted from the conversation too much.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 19, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

My god, your capacity for whining like a teenage girl is apparently bottomless. Are you this much of a crybaby in real life? (Rhetorical question.)

I enjoy pointing the hypocrisy and cowardice here. How many of you venture outside the echo chamber of left blogs and forums and actually engage in discourse with the rest of the world? What's the matter, afraid of being called a name, or maybe having your cherished meme disassembled before your eyes?

Many of us would do the moderation policy differently if this were our blog. It's not our blog. We said our piece once or twice when the moderation policy changed, and then, recognizing that this is a private, free-market enterprise (of the type staunchly defended by wingers until the moment they don't get what they want from them), we moved on and made the decision to keep posting here or not.

Squeakly wheels get the grease and silence is acquiescence. Think this place is richer for having disappeared dissenting thought? You must, since you don't complain. Again, Stalinesque.

You, on the other hand, can't let it go, and keep wailing in a tellingly unbalanced tone about your and other trolls' terrible victimhood. As I pointed out before, and as you were forced to concede, you can always go post at a winger site, most of which don't allow comments and all of which are heavily moderated if they do.

Uhh, no. You're welcome to point to my concession. But I do post at "winger" sites, and more often post at sites that are none of the above. And comparing your own behavior to a winger site is the poverty of low expectations.

I like to come here because arguing/commenting with people you agree with is a joke. It generates groupthink. It results in an echo chamber. I learn plenty by debating here. Along with everything else I learn, I learn the lefties have every bit as much hate in them as righties (of which I'm not one. You get that wrong every time).

There is no middle gorund. Silence is agreement. Do you really want heavy being your poster boy for lefties?

You have a choice of accepting the moderation policy here or not posting here.

I have the choice of doing what I am doing, which is to change it from the inside, not "lying down ahd enjoying it". I care open diversity of thought. The Mod can feel free to delete me, and does so.

Save the tears and melodrama for next time your points are taken completely apart in a debate. You won't have to wait long.
Posted by: shortstop

In your dreams. Bring your ad hominems, strawmen, moving goalposts, fact-free proclamationss and non sequitors. I am ready.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 19, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

The one (rdw) I recall was long on insults...

OK, didn't see it. Worse than heavy?

Posted by: SJRSM on September 19, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Mary, I have continually remarked upon your glee at the deaths of a specific woman and child. Call me strange, but your mocking of that innocent woman offends me greatly. To add insult to injury, you have killed people. There's no evidence she did, and there certainly isn't any that her child had. It is quite possible that I have generalized that glee combined with your unwavering support for more death in Iraq to suggest that you don't really care about who your victims are. You've never demonstrated otherwise.

You are the one who has made it a beacon of pride that you placed bombs in cities. Sure, you did it from the comfort and relative safety of an airplane, but you have demonstrated pride in your killing. You call those who cut off heads barbaric, but not one of them can cause the destruction of a single bomb dropped from a cowardly height.

The fact is that the reason Iraq is a disaster is that Bush invaded. The fact that it was an unprovoked assault on the innocents of Iraq makes it a War Crime. You supported it. That's why I called you a war criminal. Hell, knowing that it has made Iraq a hell on earth hasn't stopped you from continuing to support it.

Here's a little secret Mary. When someone has their head chopped off, it kills them. When some thug bombs a city, they don't even know how many victims they've created.

And everyone is welcome to read what I wrote in that thread. All they will find is a repeated comparison between the jingoistic outrage over four deaths and the cheerful support for the far more numerous deaths of Iraqis. Yes, the notion that a few armed mercenaries in Iraq are worth razing a city offends me. The fact that 500+ bombs were used as an assassination tool offends me. I called them killers, murderers, and mercenaries based on the company that employed them and the certainty that they went, armed, to Iraq to make money off of the war and with a willingness to kill others. Find the post where I said they deserved to die. Where I mocked them. It doesn't exist.

Posted by: heavy on September 19, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

I enjoy embodying the hypocrisy and cowardice here.

Fixed it for you.

Seriosuly, Red State Mike's defense of the lunatic rdw is the funniest thing I've read all day. But his continual whining about the fact that bullshit Republican talking ponts -- the product of a much more Stalinist echo chamber than this blog could ever aspire to be -- is beyond pathetic. As a porpagandist, you're a piss-poor one -- probably because you're at least capable of embarrassment.

You know who I'd like to spar with? Honest conservatives -- they just don't post here. Instead, we get the likes of you, rdw, "ex-liberal" and the rest of your slimy ilk. QED.

Posted by: Gregory on September 19, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

I recall vividly the day that Secular Animist got reined in. He and RDW were shouting past one another,and about the third thread they set in to strangle, I deleted them both.

Secular Animist has been posting again, and he is welcome to do so, so long as he doesn't fall back into the pattern of behavior that got the comments deleted in the first place. RDW has not similarly evolved. He still engages in threadkilling, brings nothing to the discussion and is simply not welcome.

Posted by: Mod Squad on September 19, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Bring your ad hominems, strawmen, moving goalposts, fact-free proclamationss and non sequitors. I am ready with my own endless supply.

Fixed that for you too, Mike.

Your presumption that your style of debate is worthy of respect is an assertion not at all in evidence; in fact, you've demonstrated the contrary. As with rdw, we remember your bullshit, Mike.

Your complaing about "ad hominems, strawmen, moving goalposts, fact-free proclamationss and non sequitor" is the height of hypocrisy, Mike, and it, along with your unabashed membership in the Bush Cult of Personality, is part of what makes you a laughingstock.

Posted by: Gregory on September 19, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Mary, I have continually remarked upon your glee at the deaths of a specific woman and child.

Link to it and prove it or STFU.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 19, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Point of clarification -- I was under the impression, somehow, that SecularAnimist is a woman. Was I mistaken?

Posted by: Gregory on September 19, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

If there was one place where I differ from many on the board is my complete lack of deference to the notion of the military. I look at the last four decades of military action and see none taken in defense of our nation. I see precious little done in an attempt to make the world better.

Few on the board will agree that going into Afghanistan with the military was the wrong thing to do. Don't get me wrong. The Taliban should not have been allowed to rule that country and there were humanitarian reasons to remove them. But since we went for revenge it was a bad idea.

The right way? Infiltration and extraction. Bringing Osama bin Laden to justice would have upheld the Rule of Law. Murdering him (accidentally in a fire fight, or assassination - either way) and letting the world know would have been acceptable (yes, Mary, there are people who deserve to die - the certainty that bin Laden was behind the deaths of thousands is remarkably high). Using the entire might of the United States military to fail? That's not just pathetic, it is counter-productive.

It is also unlikely that many will agree with this: The United States military has become an attractive nuisance. Every Republican President's use of the military has gone beyond the bounds of decency. Clinton's did too.

A military willing to commit war crimes is a danger to world peace. Given the complete lack of any basis for invading Iraq, we have a problem.

Posted by: heavy on September 19, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Your presumption that your style of debate is worthy of respect is an assertion not at all in evidence; in fact, you've demonstrated the contrary. As with rdw, we remember your bullshit, Mike.

Heh. I'm still waiting for you to prove that you've ever made an argument here and then backed it up with facts. You're all scaffolding and no foundation. They like you here, I don't recommend venturing out of your little warm, cozy, nonthreatening thought cocoon.

OK, I've blown up the thread, I'll take my own advice and STFU.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 19, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

OK, one last post...

yes, Mary...
posted by: heavy

What's with the "Mary" insult anyway? Are women lower then men? Where's that coming from? Some weird episode in your past?

Posted by: SJRSM on September 19, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

And Mary? Why don't you post the link to it yourself? You know, the one that got you your proud Swaggering Jingoistic Goon label after you posted it in an attempt to justify your behavior on another thread.

What was the phrase you used? Likening her violent death by (as I recall) a 1500 lb. bomb to a "venereal disease?"

Posted by: heavy on September 19, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with you heavy, which is why I consider the military serving W. Bush's missions as part of the bad guys. They do the killing. I admit succumbing to war emotionalism and desiring bad outcomes for those who take up arms for W. Bush's god and country. That is wrong. My only excuse is that I am human, but I would prefer they stop killing people with my freedom and liberty as an excuse.

Posted by: Brojo on September 19, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still waiting for you to prove that you've ever made an argument here and then backed it up with facts.

What are you talking about? In this thread and the one in which you originally tried this dishonest, goalpost-moving tack, I proved repeatdly, with facts, your own dishonesty, to the point that you slunk away in embarrassment.

I don't apologize for calling you and your ilk on your bullshit, Mike. I have nothing whatever to prove to you, and I'm simply not playing your game, Mike. It's your bad behaviour that's in question here, and again, whining and complaining about being called on your bullshit is genuinely pathetic. Imagining you're making some sort of point by demanding I "prove" something is even more so.

It's quite simple, Mike -- while it's true that there's no honest means of defending the medacity, incompetence, corruption and tyranny of the Party you carry water for, no one forces you to do so dishoenstly. Your contention that you're here for honest debate is utterly unconvincing, given your own history here (not to mention your recent proud assertion of the "tit for tat" game you play when you run out of defenses for your own bullshit).

I've acknowledged that you, like tbrosz before, are at least capable of debating honestly, Mike, but that makes it all the more damning when you so often choose not to.

Speaking fo waiting, Mike, I'm still waiting for you to name one action Bush took in response to the august 6 PDB. It's the perfect opportunity for you to prove your own honesty. C'mon -- dazzle us!

Posted by: Gregory on September 19, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

"The commentor rdw left out the insults, brought the facts, and expressed a narrative that, while differing from the norm here, fit the facts."

ROFL.... rdw??? Facts??? Sorry, but not a chance. He's had too long a history here for us to be even remotely confused about his partisan blindness and drivel. His fact-free rants are legendary.

"Deleting him to maintain the purity of thought ought to embarrass the people here,"

LOL.... Tsk, tsk, such a drama queen. If anything like that were happening, you might have a point. Alas, I fear that this is just your usual crap, as was the rest of your post, including the gratuitous ad hominem insults that we have come to expect from you in lieu of any serious commentary.

Do feel free to come back when you've actually got something serious to say and you're ready to engage in the discussion here, won't you?

Posted by: PaulB on September 19, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Re:"The Baghdad hospitals are emptier"

This is the second blog I've read today that makes the same mistake. If you click to the link for this story, you would find that it tells you 'a Baghdad hospital emptier'. It is a story about a single hospital in a section of the city that is pure Sunni. No information about other hospitals. Maybe its emptier because the neighborhood used to have Shiites. Maybe it used to get patients from other neighborhoods, but the American strategy of total neighborhood isolation has cut off this traffic. Maybe it really is true that all hospitals are seeing reductions. There is no information in this reuters report to answer why.

Just to note, the other blog was captainsquarters, but as the captain is notorious for having an elementary-school level reading comprehension, I was not suprised to see the mistake there.

Posted by: memyselfandi on September 19, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

As I said in my comment on your post yesterday, I understand the basis for that sentiment - I am very glad to see you regret the statement.

The notion of American soldiers making the lives of innocents a living hell sickens me. I am also not one of those who infantilizes the troops. They are responsible for their own actions - orders or no. The responsible thing is to refuse orders to commit war crimes. A truly professional military would have refused, to a man, to assault the Iraqi people. The bravest of them are those who now refuse to continue to fight for George W. Bush's vanity and incompetence.

This notion, that the bad acts of the military are a blight on the nation and are to be avoided, is real patriotism. Cheering on the war machine simply because it is "your guys" is not.

Posted by: heavy on September 19, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Heh. I'm still waiting for you to prove that you've ever made an argument here and then backed it up with facts."

Dear heart, since you are legendary for avoiding any and all arguments you cannot answer, all the while ranting about the lack thereof, I fear that we cannot take this insult any more seriously than your others. I particularly loved the recent thread about Petraeus where you ignored all the legitimate criticisms about Petraeus' performance, behavior, and comments, all the while hurling attack after attack. It was a marvelous performance, much the same as your behavior on this thread.

Posted by: PaulB on September 19, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Jingo: Boo hoo tangibly worsening emotional disorder hoo...

That's as far as I got. Where the hell is the waiter with that pie?

cmdicely: I've commented on it a few times; probably the best summary of my view being here (in response to the moderator taking on SecularAnimist for no clear reason):

Hmmm; thought it was fairly apparent that I was saying you hadn't commented on the moderation policy in this thread, and certainly not as it relates to rdw. I couldn't imagine what else Jingo might have been referring to, since there has been no shortage of other posters sharing our feelings on this topic. Why, Mike would have to be particularly poor at reading comprehension and particularly low on honesty to try to claim otherwise. Huh.

The stated policy, per Kevin: "You will be deleted if you sufficiently annoy me or the mods." I can't seem to turn up that exact wording in a search right now. Perhaps someone else can.

Posted by: shortstop on September 19, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Asked and answered, Shortstop.

sufficiently annoyed

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 19, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Point of clarification -- I was under the impression, somehow, that SecularAnimist is a woman. Was I mistaken?

You were.

Posted by: shortstop on September 19, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Then I stand corrected, shortstop.

Posted by: Gregory on September 19, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

It's quite simple, Mike -- while it's true that there's no honest means of defending the medacity, incompetence, corruption and tyranny of the Party you carry water for...I'm still waiting for you to name one action Bush took in response to the august 6 PDB. It's the perfect opportunity for you to prove your own honesty. C'mon -- dazzle us!
Posted by: Gregory

Let me type this s l o w l y so you can understand. I am neither a Bush fan nor a Bush apologist. Said it here repeatedly. The problem you have is I'm not a Deranged Bush Hater either. I think both sides are FOS, and at the core you and heavy are indistinguishable from the worst of the right.

What'd Bush with the PDB? Nothing. Fucking Duh. How'd you like beating your wife last night?

Dear heart, since you are legendary for avoiding any and all arguments you cannot answer
posted by: PaulB

See the above. You act like I'm some answer man for the right. you've been told otherwise and it's stupid of you to think otherwise. I know as much about the right as you do about the pain of childbirth. Sorry, dearest, sweetest PaulB, I ignore your strawmen.

Shortstop: Jingo: Boo hoo tangibly worsening emotional disorder hoo...

Coward. I dare you to venture off the farm and play somewhere where you don't have your fellow groupthinkers to provide you their little huzzas and moral support. Too scared to depart the echo chamber I'm sure. Hey, try it and post a link, so everyone here can see how you "handed them their asses". Heh.

Poor Red State Dahmer...What's wrong? Didn't get to murder anyone today?
Posted by: heavy

You disgust me. But it appears you've found a welcome home here. I'll link to your posts when I want to make a point about the hate-filled left. You provide endless fodder. Thanks.

Then I stand corrected, shortstop.
Posted by: Gregory

You thought SA was a woman? Dumbass.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 19, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Since the moderator came up in discussion, I would like to thank Political Animal for making changes allowing me to post from this evening bot again.

Posted by: Brojo on September 20, 2007 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK
Let me type this s l o w l y so you can understand. I am neither a Bush fan nor a Bush apologist. Said it here repeatedly.

Claiming not to be an apologist doesn't negate the apologia.

Not even if you claim it s l o w l y, or claim it repeatedly repeatedly repeatedly.

I think both sides are FOS, and at the core you and heavy are indistinguishable from the worst of the right.

You claim that in general terms, but your specific criticisms don't bear that out; your criticism of the Right occurs only in either mild or dismissive terms, and only when you are pressed on specific issues. You certainly have the appearance of someone who is posing as nonpartisan solely for the purpose of using that stance to lend credibility to your criticism of the one side you are biased against.

Of course, you could be genuinely non-partisan, but just be selective in your criticism because your a troll that just comes here to get a rise out of people. In either case, the one thing that is very clear is that you aren't interested in productive discourse.


I'll link to your posts when I want to make a point about the hate-filled left.

That's pretty typically brainless of you; how would the unaccountable anonymous postings of someone who could just as easily be you posting under a psuedonym prove any kind of point about the "hate-filled left".

And why would anyone but a desperate apologist for the right want to use such an empty tactic to make any such point about the left?


Posted by: cmdicely on September 20, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?










 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly