The Watched

Gene Expression
Tim Blair
Scott Ganz
Glenn Reynolds
James Lileks
The Corner
Andrew Sullivan
Little Green Footballs
Stephen Green
Doctor Weevil
Pejman Yousefzadeh
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler

They Like Us

". . . a monumental disappointment."
- Pejman Yousefzadeh

". . . simply pissing in to the wind."
- Weekend Pundit

". . . misguided passivists."
- Craig Schamp

". . . shares Ted Rall's fantasies of oppression."
- Max Powers

". . . pathetic waste of pixels."
- Daily Pundit

" . . . anarcho-leftist cowards."
- DC Thornton

". . . a good read, apart from the odd witchhunt."
- Emmanuel Goldstein

". . . quite insane."
- Richard Bennett

"There's many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell." -- General William T. Sherman, Address, 1880

Keep Laughing

White House

(Note to literalists: the Watched column presently contains only a smattering of 'warblogs' because the facilitator of the template-change--Dr. Menlo--is not very familiar with them, and will be adding more as they are sent to him. Also, this blog may contain areas of allusion, satire, subtext, context and possibly even a dash of the surreal: wannabe lit-crits beware.)


[Watch this space for: Pentagon and Petroleum, The Media is only as Liberal as the Corporations Who Own Them, Wash Down With, and Recalcify]


Tuesday, June 18, 2002


• • • • •


PENIS WARS CONTINUE: Glenn Reynolds continues to discuss the length of his cock, despite his constant remarks that he doesn't care about it. Glenn has this latest gem:

Extreme Tracker, which counts only the main page, reports 226,916 unique visitors so far this month, for whatever that's worth.

So, what is it worth?

According to the quoted figures, Instapundit gets about 15,000 unique visitors each weak. Of these we need to work out how many are one-hit-wonders there are [floaters] and how many regular visitors there are [repeaters]. The big problem is that floaters will use several IPs over the course of a day, with the impact growing over the period of a month. For instance, an AOL user who logs on the internet and surfs to Instapundit twice a day will show up as two unique visitors on one day, 14 across a week, and 60 unique visitors across a month because of the roaming AOL IP addresses. In other words, the Instapundit unique figures get worse and worse as time goes on.

So let's mess with the maths as an example.

Assuming the figures are correct, if Reynolds is getting ~211,000 uniques a month, then about 6,800 of his 15,000 average visitors/week are floaters, with the remaining 8,200 his actual loyal audience ((6,800[floaters] x 30[days]) + 8,200[repeaters] = 212,200). This, of course, is only accurate if the repeaters only count once. The problem is, they don't.

So looking at the weekly figure, the breakout is more like 11,500 of the 15,000 are floaters, with the remaining 3,500 repeaters ((11,500[floaters] x 7[days]) + 3,500[repeaters] = 84,000). This, again, is only accurate if the repeaters only count once.

This is radically different - the monthly figures showing 8,200 repeaters, the weekly figures showing only 3,500. The fact of the matter is that the repeaters have a massive impact on the unique figures due to changing IP addresses.

Which figures are more accurate? It's hard to say. At best we can say that the loyal Instapundit audience is somewhere between 3,500 and 8,200 loyal readers, with the remaining views borne of people floating in on referral, web searches or simple spidering and never come back to Instapundit.

With 8,200 loyal readers at best, the New York Times need not fear Reynolds just yet.

• • • • •

Monday, June 17, 2002


Though no formal alliance has been concluded, we learned last week that the mighty Max Sawicky, one of our go-to guys for stats and studies over at Like Father Like Sun, was referring readers of his Weblog to this very site. Noted and appreciated. The man today tosses his hat into the Warblogger-watching ring along with this entry, the first of five promised necropsies of a corpse interred down Tennessee way. Our enterprise acquires further dignity. How about yours?

• • • • •


I hate to harsh on Joshua Treviño, since he has been a respectful opponent (May 29), but there's something in his current edition (June 10) that begs to be addressed:

"A John Walker Lindh makes for a freak case. A Richard Reid makes for a disturbing coincidence. A Jose Padilla makes for a trend. What will it take to shut them down? At what point does an ideology, a belief, or a faith become incompatible with the very idea of our America?" [italics mine]

While the headcount on Muslims in America is notoriously fungible (so much so that the State Department would rather talk about the number of mosques in America than the number of Muslims stateside), it's safe to say there are at least a million Mecca-facers hereabouts.

Is three out of a million a trend? If you think so, consider that there are about 45,000 Catholic priests in the United States, and at least 70 Holy Fathers have been caught molesting children over the past ten years in the Boston archidocese alone.

If three per million is, by JT's logic, a trend, what's (numbering conservatively) 1,556 per million? A tipping point? And should we not then carpet-bomb the Vatican?

• • • • •

Sunday, June 16, 2002


Does WorldNetDaily fall within WBW's bailiwick? Well, we do monitor National Review Online and OpinionJournal and other lunacy disseminators that are not technically warblogs. If you need a McGuffin, RightWingNews (prominent on the linkbar of the Central Scrutinizer himself) has spoken favorably of the WorldNetDaily item in question. In any case, this one is too good to miss.

Referring to a Zogby poll that claims most Mexicans believe their country is entitled to take back parts of the U.S., WorldNetDaily columnist Joseph Farah sees stateside Mexicans as "America's Palestinians." "The leaders of this movement are meeting continuously with extremists from the Islamic world," says Farah, and bolsters his claim with quotes from the website of the Aztlan movement.

"This is a story about a movement to create a new state within the borders of the continental United States," warns Farah. "It is a column designed to alert you and your elected officials to vital national security issues."

I've seen the Aztlan site, whose members indeed believe that they have been gypped out of their birthright. And I've seen FreeRepublic, many of whose members... well, let's hear them tell it:

Regarding the "South Carolina Sovereignty Flag" (sic till further notice): "I don't see why all South Carolinians do not embrace this flag - it a sovereign flag of freedom."

Freepers on other recent topics:

"I wouldnt call the souths attempts to secede 'treasonous rebellion'. Nor would i call it a 'civil war'. It truly was a war for 'Southern Independance.'"

"May the
South rise again! Put that on your list."

"There was no rebellion or treason except that of Lincoln and the radicals. Crawl back under your rock, communist."

"As long as freedom lives in our hearts, Dixie will never die, nor will our heroes be forgotten!"

"The governement was disobeying its on laws through out the War for Southern Independance. The South if not legal, had a moral right to secede."

And many like this: "God Bless the Confederate States of America!"

<"sic" tag off>

Add to these Freepers' many loving references to Jeb Davis, Confederate anthems, Confederate flags, and such like, and you'll notice that Aztlan isn't the only, or even the most troublesome, bellwether of secessionism in our country today.

When will Joseph Farah "alert you and your elected officials to vital national security issues" regarding these folks? When will he report that they are "meeting continuously" with like-minded Southrons while Homeland Security sleeps?

My money's on Never.

• • • • •

Saturday, June 15, 2002


If John Ashcroft can arrest somebody for planning something--and by planning meaning allegedly not having gotten past the looking-it-up-on-the-internet-stage (no physical materials attained, etc.)--and file them away into military jail whilst simultaneously stripping away their constitutional rights as American Citizens (at first it was just the 'them'--the non-American citizens, and civil liberties groups warned . . . ), and stage and orchestrate the release of this information just so to really get the American public going--that is, AFRAID . . . who's to say it can't happen to you? I mean: in a totally trumped-up way--is what we think.

. . . further FEAR.

Remember, this is the Frog Boil here, as propagated by Bush & Co., and if we look at the direction of things, who's to say that the remaining dissenting voices in America (larger than advertised?) won't get clipped? Filed away?


To further my potentially future legal (political) case, I plan to append my email with this:


• • • • •


Murder, Incorporated
While retailing some of his experiences during the much ballyhooed "Operation Anaconda," [Army Private Matt] Guckenheimer artlessly spilled what was surely meant to be a secret order from his superiors.

"We were told there were no friendly forces," Guckenheimer said. "If there was anybody there, they were the enemy. We were told specifically that if there were women and children to kill them."

Let that sink in for a moment: American soldiers were told to kill women and children. "Specifically." To kill a child. To put a bullet in the brain of, let's say, a two-year old girl. To hold the barrel of a rifle to her tiny temple and pull the trigger. To watch as the tender plate of her skull, the delicate bones of her face, her large bright inquisitive eyes were all obliterated in a burst of red mist. "We were told specifically to kill them." "Women and children." "To kill them."

So that's the kind of warfare being waged by those notorious two cowards, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. When their own generation was on the firing line, in Vietnam, both men ardently supported the war--but disdained to fight in it. For his part, Cheney was too busy with his long bootlicking rise to power: "I had other priorities," he has loftily proclaimed.

Meanwhile, Bush's daddy got his drink-addled little boy a cushy stateside berth in the Texas National Guard--but even then, Junior couldn't stick it. He bugged out for an entire year of his duty--desertion in wartime, a capital offense, if you're not rich and well-connected. Fortunately, his service records for that period were "scrubbed" by General Daniel James, former head of the Texas National Guard, who is now head of the entire nation's Air National Guard -- courtesy of his appointment by a grateful George W. Bush.

Now these two armchair warriors, Bush and Cheney, ensconced safely behind the greatest phalanx of personal protection ever seen in history, are sending out a new generation of young people to kill and die. Like their predecessors in the Vietnam War, they are twisting the faith and idealism of patriotic young soldiers and turning them into instruments of murder.

And the Warbloggers cheer them on! "Go Georgie! Go Dickie! You can do it! Kill Babies! Go Georgie! Go Dickie . . . "

• • • • •

Friday, June 14, 2002


Warblogger-watching grows tiresome. The lummoxes at OpinionJournal are hauling off on the Lebanese, insufficiently outraged journalists, and a poor Ukrainian fellow for not raising an appropriate furor over the Lebanese Daily Star's failure to include the IHT as an insert, as is customary. The reason? The IHT "had an ad from the American Jewish Committee deploring anti-Semitic incidents around the world." As Taranto explains (partly) "Under Lebanese law, a foreign publication distributing in the country cannot publish items deemed propaganda for Israel." He cribbed that explanation from the AP, but neglected to include the sentence that followed: "Lebanon and Israel are technically at war."

Despite an earlier court case occasioned by the Daily Star's inclusion of an IHT insert which carried an ADL insert, Taranto's characterization of the Star's decision not to sell the IHT as "censorship in the Arab world" is questionable. The IHT's agreement with the Star provides the IHT be included without modification. It is curious indeed that an advocate of businessmen's rights of the more rebarbative sorts calls a publisher's decision not to accept an advertisement (with the unfortunate extension being his contractual obligation to refuse the remainder of the paper) "censorship."

Like Lebanon, we, too, are at war. Unlike Lebanon, we enjoy numerous God-given freedoms (at least nominally and at least before the ascension of that man so awful to contemplate Missouri voters affirmed their preference for a dead man over him). Like Lebanon, we have a press that is unable or unwilling to give us the true story. Taranto: Where's the outrage?

• • • • •


Jonah Goldberg is at it again. He admits that "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla's rights are being violated, but he just doesn't care.

He writes:

[T]he issue isn't "can" Padilla's rights be violated, but should they be violated. I ask two questions to come to my conclusion. What does Padilla deserve? And, what should Americans expect their government to do?

As for what Padilla deserves, the short answer is nothing. Al-Qaida rejects the Geneva Convention and the rules of war because its aim is mass murder for mass-murder's sake. Its operatives are all essentially plain-clothes spies and saboteurs (who can be executed according to the Geneva convention, by the way). Those who say Padilla should get a civilian trial are essentially saying that if you reject the rules of civilized nations, like those inscribed in the Geneva Convention, you therefore deserve to be treated better, not worse, than those rules require.

Goldberg has tried this argument before, when he admitted that he is "not a well-versed student of the Geneva Convention." He doesn't know, I guess, that even accused spies and saboteurs get trials. So, need we remind Jonah that the accused dirty bomber isn't getting a trial at all, military or civilian? Ah, but he probably doesn't care about that, either. Nor, it appears, does he care about the notion of the United States being better than the terrorists.

• • • • •

Thursday, June 13, 2002


I offer two hastily typed notes forthwith and hope that you will pardon the lack of connection between them:

1. I feel bad for poor Andrew Sullivan in that history has already laid claim to the title "Sullivanians," robbing him of one of the more euphonious terms with which he could describe his devotees. A loss for Andy, but a gain for Warblogger Watch. The similarities between the original Sullivanians and the new crop are remarkable: a shared belief in the fundamental evil of maternal love (manifested in the warblogging Sullivanians as a determination to prevent the Palestinians from realizing a Motherland, or, in a corrupt form, as indifference to dead Iraqi children); a common organizational form with a collection of pathetic followers arrayed around a megalomaniacal leader who fancies himself infallible; the theater figures in both movements, though information supplied Warblogger Watch has it that Andy's turn as Benedick was even less enjoyable than the dismal stagings of the Fourth Wall Reperatory Company. "I'll be back Monday with guns blazing. See you then." We can't wait, little Andy.

2. Lileks delights over his own graceless bangings on the keyboard today. He introduces his daily Bleat, an apt word for so enthusiastic an adherent of prevailing orthodoxies, by saying "Having reread today's bleat, that's all I can say: hooooboy. I bring this up just because I think it's . . . unusual, and reveals a different aspect to a place I pass daily and patronize once a week. It's an interesting story you might have heard, but I've not seen it discussed anywhere in blogland." You can almost hear the blood rushing to and engorging his penis.

He has found that a director of an Islamic investment concern whose U.S. arm holds Lileks's local coffee chain in its portfolio is a wild fundamentalist. He makes much of a now deleted webpage (though, supersleuth he is, he tracked down its Google cache) that lists the members and mission of the Shari'ah compliance board on which the director in question serves. It states the company is "committed to providing financial products that conform to Shari'ah, as well as ensuring that all of the Bank's operations conform to Shari'ah." Lileks apparently misunderstood this as stating the company's U.S. holdings must accept the Koran or something (the financial product would be the fund, not the portfolio company), as he then dredges up some of the writings of the director in question that expand on some of the Koran's nuttier and more misogynistic passages. It seems he's saying First Islamic Investment Bank would like to force Shari'ah on us stateside.

Lileks grants Muslims their "right in America" to proselytize, and he indulges his similar right to ridicule them. I hope Lileks would permit us an exercise of our not-yet-taken-away American right to follow his lead. I could have guessed by his narrow-mindedness that Lileks is a Christian, though he allows in his current column that he is a Lutheran. Of course Lutheranism, whose founder wrote that "the Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows seven times higher than ordinary thieves," and that "we ought to take revenge on the Jews and kill them," is a wholly sensible body of doctrine. Lileks, a man who seconds Ariel Sharon's realistic fear that the Palestinians are threatening to push the Israelis into the sea, is merely following Church precedent in abiding the campaign against the Palestinians, just like Luther abided the German Peasant War with such brio: "They [the peasants] should be knocked to pieces, strangled and stabbed, secretly and openly, by everybody who can do it, just as one must kill a mad dog...Therefore, dear gentlemen, hearken here, save there, stab, knock, strangle them at will, and if thou diest, thou art blessed; no better death canst thou ever attain." Man, is that ever some nutty shit my American ass is completely incapable of relating to.

• • • • •

Wednesday, June 12, 2002


InsideEuropeIberianNotes (June 9) writes "We had a look at Warblogger Watch. It's actually rather well-written (better than at least 75% of blogs) and pretty funny, though we think the contributors are a bunch of jerks..." There's the pull-quote! Call our agents!

The remainder of the entry slams WBW (a collective entity in IEIN's reckoning -- crikey, does that make us anarcho-syndicalists?) for being "anti-Jingoes," then goes on to defend the jingo nomenclature with thoroughly expected quotes from George Orwell.

One could argue the etymological point, but why bother? Between WWI and WWs II through whatever, IEIN draws a distinction that is, in this case, truly without a difference. The word in question has retained, through various conflicts, an unambiguous meaning. While conservatives have become pretty good at trifling with neologisms, older usages are harder to manipulate.

In my own postings (pushing aside here the groupthink attributed to my colleagues and myself by IEIN), I have concerned myself with online lunacies inspired by the present conflict. As I am not an exalted thinker, I have been content to call certain malefactors on breaches of common sense and logic, not ideological deviation. Thanks to the high volume of gibberish polluting the Internet these days, I haven't wanted for targets.

We can always debate the sanity of certain actions and ideas, and IEIN, which is better-written than at least 76% of blogs, has a place at that table. But let's not waste everyone's time with patriotic word-games. (P.S.: "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" predates the Pogues' version.)

• • • • •


Reprinted via dangerousmeta!:
the new york times article on blogs. 'inherently political'. hmmmph. a rift? if the warbloggers believe they were the first to look 'outward', then yes, there's a rift ... or maybe a reaganesque 'common sense gap.' surely they must realize that political discussion has been a constant thread even in tech and diary weblogs. the journalists who write these articles have no history with weblogging, and neither the journalists nor the newer 'pundit-style' [to use their terminology] bloggers seem to read archives or old discussion group postings ... and that, my friends, is a crying shame. even webloggers must take in their own history. at american samizdat, it's instructive to go back in the archives of each site of the the alliance of world-weary webloggers to read about september 11, and the approaching war. the alliance page was set up ten days after the attack, pointing to weblogs who had shelved their 'normal' postings to cover this crisis ... and our power as aggregators of varied news sources in association with first-person accounts, and off-the-cuff emotion is staggering. it would also be instructive to go back and read postings from these same folks in the pre-2000 election season, because everyone needs to understand that punditry has been no stranger to weblogging. the clinton impeachment was before my time [early 1999], but search scripting news for 'impeachment,' and that will probably lead you to other weblogs discussing the issue. you might even try some 'o.j. simpson' searches on the older blogs. these are only a few examples. i really don't understand, i guess, what 'warblogs' are supposed to be doing that's 'new' or 'different,' other than having their narrow classification being portrayed by the media as a divisive element in the weblogging world. "we're new! we're great!" how many times have we 'older' webloggers heard that one? we smile, remember our time in the sun, and let the youngsters have their fun. more will come, replacing these in the limelight. divisive, my foot. we all learn some things, and life goes on. -permalink-

• • • • •

Tuesday, June 11, 2002



A few inaccuracies on your part to address, shouldn't take long. First, when I stated that the majority of the big names remained unaccounted for, I was referring to our inability to put a dent of significant size in the list of 22 Most Wanted Terrorists, a high priority of any War Against Terror worthy of the name. You write "as of 15 January, one third of Pentagon's 36-odd Taliban most wanted, and 8 of its 20 Taliban most wanted, had been reported dead or captured, according to Carl Conetta." Ignoring the doubling-up of "Taliban most wanted" (you meant to type al Qaeda in the second instance), 8 of 20 works out to less than 50%, at least according to my abacus. You also stated that Abu Zubaydah's capture, which "was only possible once the war had rendered him a fugitive." This ignores both American suspicions against him for his part in the thwarted Millennium Attacks as well as his March 27, 2000 indictment by the Jordanians.

You also took issue with my statement that an undetermined number of Afghan civilians had died. True, the Los Angeles Times piece did reckon the number ("conclusively" in your telling) at 1,200, though theirs was just one of a number of estimates. Even ignoring the work of Marc Herold, the warblogger's go-to guy for dubious stats just a few days back gave a range of "between 600 and 1,500," which suggests that the statistics are anything but conclusive.

You further state that the Shlomo Ben Ami quote is off topic. Please re-read the piece, this time noting that Ben Ami's words are reproduced immediately after a sentence stating Arafat "never turned down '97 percent of the West Bank' at Taba." "The pressure of Israeli public opinion against the [Taba] talks could not be resisted" can be readily translated as "No such offer was made." Sadly for you and others unable to comprehend the import of so matter-of-fact a statement by an Israeli official, the times did not include any helpful onomatopoeia at the conculsion of Ben Ami's quote.

If you tabulate my score as "0 for 3 on his factual challenges" your innumeracy rivals your illiteracy in its severity.

And I thought I had been pretty fair to Hitchens.

• • • • •


Here's Thomas M. Holsinger on, quoted approvingly by Instapundit:

"...failed and failing states which have served as terrorist sanctuaries will be conquered and occupied by a friendly country (us if necessary) with the means and ruthlessness to root out terrorist infrastructure. This is a fundamental change in the post World War II order. Borders will change and whole countries cease to exist."

We all know what this means: watch out, terror haven Canada! You hoseheads have already come under fire from the American Association of Concerned Taxpayers. ("The days of Americans rolling their eyes at the angry angst of our maple leaf neighbors are over. Listen up Canada: Either you are with them, or us. You decide.") Now Mark Steyn has inserted the thin edge of the wedge, proposing the annexation of Alberta ("The Albertans would be up for it, and, to be honest, they’re the only assimilable Canadian province, at least from a Republican standpoint"). Soon we will come for the whole shebang.

One wonders if the old dream of a U.S.-Canada-Mexico common market will someday be obviated by a North American superstate. Tom Ridge is worried about Mexico. Why not just annex it? The concept is already has its early adopters.

Think of the benefits. Goodbye border patrol! Southerly security issues could be treated by whatever measures Homeland Security has in store for the rest of the U.S. And annexation will make it easier for Vicente Fox to prosecute his own local troublemakers without having to split hairs over whether they're really terrorists or not.

Cross-referencing our terrorist list with Mexico's might prove a little dicey -- theirs includes Taiwan, for one thing -- but that's nothing a crack team of negotiators couldn't work out.

In time we could start working our way further down the map. We could make Venezuela the new Texas, and without resort to the politically unpopular means heretofore used to pacify our fractious hemispheric homies.

We can't let this get out of hand, of course. Some nations must remain independent, so that U.S. corporations might retain their convenient tax havens.

But the idea has promise. Since we're not too good at making friends, let's eliminate the middleman and make other countries parts of us. Then we can go back to our pre-9/11 pastime -- squabbling among ourselves -- but on a much grander scale.

• • • • •


"Attention Warbloggers! You are condemned. Did you know that? The instant the terrorists you support took over our government, you sentenced yourselves to death. Warblogger Watch is here to seek justice for our dead. Highly trained soldiers are coming to shut down once and for all Glenn Reynolds's ring of terrorism, and the Taliban that supports them and their actions.

"Our forces are armed with state of the art military equipment. What are you using, obsolete and ineffective weaponry? Our Brad Olson will rain fire down upon your camps before you detect him on your radar. Roy Edroso's bombs are so accurate he can drop them right through your windows. Our infantry is trained for any climate and terrain on earth. Warblogger Watch soldiers fire with superior marksmanship and are armed with superior weapons.

"You have only one choice ... Surrender now and we will give you a second chance. We will let you live. If you surrender no harm will come to you. When you decide to surrender, approach Warblogger Watch forces with your hands in the air. Sling your weapon across your back muzzle towards the ground. Remove your magazine and expel any rounds. Doing this is your only chance of survival."

• • • • •

Monday, June 10, 2002


The War Street Journal, as usual, thinks that Washington isn't hawkish enough. Assistant to the Publisher Richard J. Tofel wants the Democrats to out-hawk the Republicans: "The Pearl Harbor of our time -- the moment that truly changes everything -- was not last Sept. 11, I fear. It lies ahead. And that looming threat requires us to choose between becoming the America Firsters of the 21st Century and returning to being the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy."

It isn't enough that the GOP has abandoned its anti-war (i.e., "America First") history and become, on foreign policy, the party of Roosevelt, Truman and JFK that Tofel wants. There must be no opposition party whatsoever. And if Democrats like Joe Lieberman get their way, the Democrats will try to out-hawk the Republicans.

• • • • •

Friday, June 07, 2002


The earliest manifestations of Peggy Noonan's war-related madness were chronicled here and here. Shortly thereafter she settled back into her usual, less troubled hagiographic state. But on Friday she relapsed horribly.

"I think of the comment of a friend whose sister lives in an ashram in Washington state," Ms. Noonan writes. "Her swami, a follower of an Indian form of astrology, has announced that June 10 and 11 will be cataclysmic for the world. She called her brother, my friend, to tell him that she loved him. My friend tells me all this and we look at each other and know what the other is thinking: I don't believe in swamis and I don't believe in Indian astrology, but June 11 is nine months after 9/11, and the enemy seems to like nines. We both sort of breathed in and out again. Should we avoid cities on those dates?"

Her previous Catholic mysticism was weird enough, but now Noonan is attending numerology and followers of swamis.

What has caused this relapse? Perhaps it was precipitated by Bush's new Homeland Security initiative -- or the security fiasco that (one could be excused for suspecting) led to it; Noonan does warn, late in her ravings, that "The longer we obsess on the systems failure that contributed to Sept. 11, the more we contribute to the next systems failure."

The latter explanation would offer some hope for Noonan's sanity. Once a Republican operative, always a Republican operative, and it would be less worrisome to imagine that the Riefenstahl of Reaganism is merely pulling a Cheney in the service of the Administration's approval ratings.

Alas, her column offers further evidence that Noonan has indeed flipped:

"As you read this I want you to do something. If you think that another bigger, more terrible shoe will not drop in our time, stand up right now.

"You're still sitting. Because just about every sane and sentient adult knows that more shoes will drop, some with a deadening thud.

"If you think New York City will not be a target, or the target, of the next big shoe or shoes, stand up.

"You're still sitting..."

This reverse-Howard Beale exhortation goes on for a while, and one imagines Noonan typing it out and envisioning millions of readers proving her psychic powers by dutifully remaining in their seats.

Her real call to action, though, is to "Think dark... be dire... We are living in a time when it is one's patriotic duty to be imaginative." And what must we imagine? "On the same day, New York and Washington are, say, dirty-nuked."

And what must be done to prevent this? Scrutinize Arabs and Muslims, she says (at least as carefully as she did last October). But above all, we must fear. "Why isn't our government telling people, through television and pamphlets and speeches and announcements, what they need to do to survive a potential nuclear attack?" asks Noonan. "What should mom and dad in the suburbs do if they see a flash of light and a two mile high cloud in the city 22 miles away?"

For some, the answer will always (or in times of psychological distress) be to live in terror. Me, I live in an apartment in Brooklyn. I have no backyard in which to build a bomb shelter, and no inclination (or money) to purchase one. If a nuclear device strikes New York, I figure, I'm screwed. More to the point, if the combined might of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies can't prevent such devices from striking, we're all screwed, and all the preparedness plans in the world won't unscrew us.

Rather than bunker ourselves, how about we find a better way to deal with the rest of the world?

Is that too crazy? Or too sane?

• • • • •


And now for something completely different part two: A nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. Or: The Larch.

What’s that? Liberals don’t know how to respond to the nuclear exchange according to Victor Davis Hanson? Actually, the prospect of a possible nuclear exchange highlights quite graphically the limitations of bombing and terror campaigns. It also highlights how incredibly banal your average Warblogger’s position on war is. Does it encourage or deter nuclear exchange when the US announces that it will initiate first strikes on its alleged enemies on its own? Does it encourage or deter nuclear exchange when we act unilaterally and kill civilians and then declare victory? Does it encourage or deter nuclear exchange when we withdraw from the World Court (Please explain how this gets Pakistan and India back to the negotiating table?)? In fact, what I’ve found is that the average Warblogger hasn’t commented on this too much because if Pakistan and India were to follow the Warblogger’s mantra—

(Those mantras are, in no particular order: Your opponent is evil and evil only and nothing rational could describe their evil evil evil acts of evil , negotiation is useless (they are, afterall, subhuman and quite evil), there are no root causes to disputes, force works and people don’t mind our civilian casualties because we’re the good guys, blowback doesn’t exist and my favorite: We don’t care what the world thinks. Bombs away and that Ted Rall/Noam Chomsky/Mike Moore he’s no good…)

--then a nuclear war is inevitable. We have to hope that both sides in this dispute are more intelligent and more sensible than Americans and the sillier monarchy worshiping Warbloggers (Figures. During a particulary nasty debate over at Plastic that we had some time back I wondered aloud whether his family was allied with the Shah. I’m still wondering…) amongst us. Of course they can’t quite bear to face up to their own logic, that is: if our policies are encouraging nuclear holocaust wouldn’t it be better for us to change our policies? If, sigh, there was only a Decent Right as Mike Walzer might say. That would mean doing the opposite of what I mentioned earlier and I’ve probably said this before but what could the United States do to prevent nuclear war? Well we could join the World Court enthusiastically and propose an arbitration process for nations if it doesn’t already have one. We could ask that Israel and the PLO immediately join that process and then turn around and ask Pakistan and India to do the same. That would be consistent. We could also ask for United Nations troops in both Kashmir and the Mideast. That would also be consistent.

Speaking of Israel, I have been accused of being anti-semitic because I didn’t approve of the IDF using tanks to roll over homes. To be honest, the reason I don’t approve the Israeli tactics is that I’m firmly of the belief that their use of force creates more problems for them than it solves. But here’s another question for you Warbloggers: is it in the interest of Israel for there to be a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan? I’ve looked at those dispersal patterns and they look like they’re coming awfully close to Israel. Of course, these are wildly optimistic dispersal patterns that don’t include either side developing hydrogen bombs or stores of chemical weapons or what happens when you have multiple nuclear plant explosions or what if China or the Stan countries decide to intervene with their own weapons or in the confusion al-Qaeda gets its hands on a couple of nuclear weapons and aims a plane toward Israel…Well, to me, it just seems a lot simpler to work toward peace.

You could even make a capitalist argument for peace efforts. I know the prospect of 20 million brown people (They're justiable causalties they'll bravely intone.) does nothing to move the hearts of the hardened Warblogger, allegedly safe in his or her comfy chair. (How many of you have enlisted for this noble and just war effort? You’re only 30 Pejman “Never Takes an Israeli War Crime/Atrocity Seriously” Yousefzadeh. When will you sign up?). So try to think of it this way. Nuclear war could be bad for Israel, in that a there may be a Pakistani bomb with their name on it. Nuclear War could turn the mideast oil reserve into a radioactive wasteland—but, in an optimistic silver lining behind every radioactive cloud Glenn Reynolds moment (“I’ll be fine after the nuclear exchange,” sez my strawman Instapundit. “A fellow blogger told me I’d be okay and…Ted Rall sucks!”), I guess we would move toward alternative fuels at last. And, last but not least, nuclear war could be bad for the stock market and that could even hurt the economy."How dreadful" as Andy Sullivan might say in a fit of manly exasperation.

Afterall, what’s more important: choking on your war lust or doing everything you can to prevent the deaths of 20 million people? Wouldn't it be better if the War on Terror, whatever it is these days, be put on hold not just for Israel but for the world? Better not ask the Warbloggers. They’re probably busy stocking up on Iodine and thanks to their administration cohorts we probably should too….

Philip Shropshire

• • • • •


Just a minor correction to Grady Olivier's entry below: The Chicago School of economics has nothing to do with the Austrian School, aside from both tending to be free-market, the latter more so than the former. Austrians, in fact, are critical of the Chicagoites for the very reason Grady cites, i.e., because the Chicago School "examine[s] equations instead of actually existing economies." Furthermore, most Austrians are firmly anti-war.

• • • • •


At National Review Online, Victor Davis Hanson says liberals are unserious about the burgeoning India-Pakistan crisis. Why would that be? Because they can't use it as a stick to beat Israel.

"While our elites can vent the full range of their anger and self-righteousness at Israel -- as the symbol of Western 'colonialism' using its superior power and wealth to 'oppress' the 'other' -- Kashmir offers no such romance or glorification of the noble, indigenous anti-Westerner, and almost no opportunity for the political correctness of the morning latte or the evening seminar," he says.

Reverend Al Sharpton does say he's going to the region -- or, as links site RightWingNews puts it, "Sharpton Copies Jessie Jackson's Useless Trip To Israel And Decides To Try Draw Press By Going To India/Pakistan." But I suppose this doesn't count.

"Kashmir is very deadly business," Hanson goes on, "where the lives of millions may well hang in the balance -- and where easy and smug proclamations pale beside the specter of vast cities in ashes."

So one would assume the warblogbrethren -- no Jenin obsessives, they -- would have brought a Hansonian seriousness to the discussion. Here's Instapundit on the latest developments:

"JOE KATZMAN has a linkfest of resources on the impact of an India/Pakistan nuclear war. He also has an extended analysis of Al Qaeda's likely reasons for actually wanting a nuclear war between the two. Sadly, he's pretty persuasive. Of course, if there are nukes flying around, an extra nuke or two in the right place might go unnoticed..."

If I'm reading this right, the Professor thinks nuclear war in South Asia would make an excellent cover for nuclear strikes against Al Qaeda. Is this a joke, or a "ha ha only serious?" Perhaps Hanson knows.

(Instapundit's Katzman link is more serious, but equally fanciful, offering scenarios for Al Qaeda mischief in the region, including the assassination of Donald Rumsfield.)

Later, same page: "UPDATED FALLOUT MAPS for an India / Pakistan nuclear war are available through Shoutin' Across the Pacific. As long as it's not 'irradiating across the Pacific.' Actually, the fallout generated by Hiroshima-size nuclear weapons appears to be relatively minor anyway..."

Other recent examples of warblogger high seriousness on this subject:

"In the meantime, looking for a fair fight in Lakers-Nets, Tyson-Lewis ... and India-Pakistan?" (LagTime)

"Like nine other people who watched the news over the sleepy post-Memorial Day week, I noticed those Pakistanis and Indians
are still real excited about having a war.... Will you people quit this garbage? It's 2002. You all need to work on your image, right?... Turns out it's more fun to be alive than to be crisped by a crude nuke due to some jackalope's big idea about national pride." (Ken Layne, at FoxNews)

I hardly blame them. Given the high noise level emanating from the War on Whatchamacallit, it's hard to focus on this new threat. Even good sources such as Indian Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar don't give us much to go on ("We have convinced ourselves that we are a nice set of people. Nice guys have no place in this world today. I am not saying that we must all be bad guys...") So why wouldn't a weary warblogger prefer to scan pictures of Hollywood starlets?

Still, there are places you can go to get more informed analysis on the subject. Here is one. You can also read papers situated nearer the hot zone and get other angles, like this interesting Pakistani POV.

But let's not pretend a lack of seriousness on such subjects is a liberal phenomenon. Why, I bet some of Hanson's colleagues even take morning lattes.

• • • • •


• • • • •

Thursday, June 06, 2002


Warblogger Watch has come under fire from a woman reporting "Live from the World Trade Center." An unemployed MBA alumna of the University of Chicago - that place where interned academics examine equations instead of actually existing economies, and enjoy their Austrian fantasies in cognitive dissonance-free comfort - takes us to task endlessly. Allow me to register a few words in our defense from my station beneath the "slush pile at a third-rate college newspaper."

"Jane Galt's" principal complaint against us is our juvenile refusal to give proper hearing to the arguments of our opponents. Given that nearly every posting is deals with a specific instance of warmongering on someone else's behalf, I find this assertion curious. If we don't engage the quote thoroughly - and for my part, I emphatically do not - it is likely because the words before us are from a yabbering ass, offered at maximum volume and with minimum acquaintance with both fact and logic. How, I wonder, did those encountering Lee Perry respond when they found him walking backward and striking the ground with a hammer?

She is spot on re: some of her other charges. My shop teacher told me back in 1976 that I was perhaps the most competent builder of strawmen he had ever seen in practice, and I feel I owe very little the way of courtesy to someone who delights in other peoples' sufferings and indulges in the truly scatological. If admirable conduct these days demands quiet deference before the perpetrators of one of the grossest crimes against public discourse since the enactment of the Sedition Act, I proudly inscribe myself among the uncivilized.

Though insufficient to land her a paying job, Galt seems to have read all the required management texts and Paul Samuelson books. She's got the telltale arrogance. Noam Chomsky and Edward Said et al., she says, have been saying the same thing for thirty years, and have been overtaken by history in the interim. If she had actually familiarized herself with either the works of Chomsky and Said or with history itself, she would probably not have ventured this statement. But then again, the disdain required by the boardroom impressed upon her sputtering brain by Chicago, she probably would have. Chomsky is profoundly anti-theoretical, and what he has been doing for the past thirty years (in addition to that little side job he's got redefining linguistics and dethroning the behaviorism that so enamored conservatives) is cataloging the misdeeds of the American government. If your appreciation of history is so minimal as to not apprehend the fact that we have put down almost every secular, progressive indigenous movement to rise, then it seems pointless to continue. Likewise, if Said has been saying the same thing for thirty years, perhaps he was writing in response to an unchanged constant, viz. the unremedied wronging of the Palestinians.

Galt, while projecting a reasonable enough persona at times (though wrong nearly always), is just as flawed as her warblogging brethren. Convinced of her own heroism in defending the status quo, she is best left alone to contemplate the perfection of markets and the moral beauty of Richard Perle.

• • • • •


In one of the more commonsensical judgments rendered by the warbloggers recently, a gentleman styling himself "Max Power" asks why collaborative "blogs" such as the present Warblogger Watch aren't more popular. He cites "Volokh" and "Oxblog" as demonstrations of the strategy's validity. We didn't need convincing, and we believe Power's recommendations to be so correct as to be patent. Contemplating the warbloggers as a whole, it is certainly obvious that they should consolidate operations to reduce redundancy. There are also issues of synergy and ready relief; Power allows that with amalgamation, the newly allied warbloggers "can feed off of each others' ideas," and when sheer battle fatigue overtakes a heroic combatant, "one blogger can pick up another blogger's slack." Lord knows, there's slack aplenty!

• • • • •

Wednesday, June 05, 2002


The kudos keep rollin' in. Now La Blogatrice is mad at me for some of my comments at this venue:

Roy, being concerned about terrorism DOES NOT equal being cowed. It is common sense. When a bunch of vicious America-hating killers say that there might be an attack on something, WE PAY ATTENTION, for the very simple reason that we have already been attacked. Does that mean we are giving in? No! We just don't particularly care to die that day. Ellis Island can wait until the threat is reduced. And the more Al-Qaeda we capture, the more information we will get and the safer we can all be.

You go ahead, Roy. Be macho and "refuse to be cowed." Then take a walk to the giant pit at the corner of Cortlandt and Church streets. Take a good long look.

THAT is why we are more careful now.

Some observations: first, Mademoiselle Blogatrice, there's no telling where or when or if terrorists will strike. Planning one's daily itinerary around possible terror attacks seems like a short route to madness. I mean, we keep begging tourists to come to New York and sample attractions like Ellis Island, even though they'd be much safer (by your logic) staying away. Is that "macho"? Should we instead tell them, "Don't come here -- you might get blown up. Stay in Topeka"?

Recall the London Blitz. Those folks were being shelled constantly. Yet heed this first-person account:

But I found that people that were attending dance halls and theatres did not become as scared during the air raids as those individual families sheltering in their back gardens. Even if they were ushered into the theatre's basement shelter they remained happy and entertained themselves and often joked about any 'close hit,' and the same was to apply to shoppers that were suddenly moved down to the basement until the air raid had passed.

Given their valor in the face of daily attacks, I grow weary at being lectured sententiously on "the giant pit at the corner of Cortlandt and Church streets." Citing the World Trade Center does not give instant moral authority to your message, especially when it boils down to "stay scared."

It's irritating enough to hear this kind of thing from rubes, but to get it from a fellow citizen is just depressing.

• • • • •


I'd like amplify Comrade Blair's comments on Armed and Dangerous' tribute to fully-loaded airline passengers with a few of my own:

A&D isn't the only venue to consider this plan. The Libertarian Party of Hawaii floats such a proposal as well, though without that coarse, preemptive derision of opposing viewpoints ("The anti-gun bien pensants of the world wet their pants at the thought of flying airplanes containing hundreds of armed civilians") typical of warbloggers and adopted by A&D.

I am sympathetic toward the People of the Gun on Constitutional grounds, as I have previously written. But universal gun suffrage would not, even in a perfect world, mean universal gun presence. Even Wild West saloon-keepers required that firearms be checked at the door, and airlines are within their rights to do the same.

A&D says guns were once upon a time considered less of a problem on passenger flights. Once upon a time, we could also get into nightclubs and concerts without being frisked or routed through metal detectors, as we are now. But times have changed, and more people in more situations now seem inclined to express their dissatisfaction with services, restrictions, or glances at girlfriends with explosive violence than in days gone by. Given the uptick in non-terrorist-related violence on passenger aircraft, I would think twice (at least) about sharing a small, sealed space several thousand feet in the air with a lot of strangers holding loaded guns.

• • • • •


Quite often, after having beset upon a hapless warblogger with what seems to them fury disproportionate to their journalistic crimes, my mailbox fills with denunciations, calls for apology, and demands to know exactly why I was so damn mean. It amazes me as a delete their messages en masse that never have they realized that their graceless bangings away offend Enlightened folk endlessly. One appearance in blackface was enough for the remarkably boorish Ted Danson. The warbloggers, however, don't seem to get it. They continue to show up, Beta Theta Pi membership cards in hand and stage makeup on face, to wonder why polite society shuns them.

On balance we here at warblogger watch are neither overly excitable nor quicker than most to indignation. Why Roy Edroso has been giggling over James Lileks's idiocy for what seem to be years, and I myself continued to read The New Republic long after gold-digger Marty Peretz spent his wife's money to convert it into an anti-Arab brickbat. Brad Olson helped someone in George Wallace's motorcade change a flat tire circa 1968. But what we cannot abide are uninformed idiots setting up shop as "pundits" and discharging the most obnoxious opinions imaginable. And with the belief that they deserve an audience.

When you take on one, whether over the demonstrable dissimilarity of their preferred version of events to authentic history or over the poverty of their "thought," you end up taking on the whole lot. They may be different individuals working independently of one another but we see no reason to believe this is so. Why, give them a nominal democracy under which to operate, some of the most generous lending libraries anywhere, and uncensored access to the Internet, and the best they can do is the homogenous and fetid baygall we have before us. The idiots are only able to differentiate themselves from the mass by venturing increasingly idiotic statements, a trend that if not stanched will certainly carry Rich Lowry to the White House or Reichschancellery by decade's end.

Today one of the more asinine warbloggers, Stephen Green, links to Laurence Simon, possibly the only man rivaling him in the stupidity stakes. Simon had rejoiced after reading this BBC story on a failed Syrian dam. I reproduce his glee-finding below:
That's one, you hummus-eating terror-monkeys. You have nine more plagues left to go.

I don't know what Yahweh has in the back of his vicious mind for you scumbags, but I'm sure that the last one'll be a bitch. You can count on it. With all new Modern Plagues of Jehovah, folks, people will be asking "Syria? What's a Syria? Is that some sort of new breakfast food or something? Wasn't that a boy-band in 2010?"

God made a mistake leaving enough of Pharaoh's legion of Egyptian-assholes around to kick his Chosen People around through the centuries. He won't make that same mistake twice.

Now quit fucking with Israel through the Hizbollah in Lebanon. God can see through your middlemen as easily as he can see through the hair in your noses. Go back to killing your own resident minorities and you might just earn a lukewarm pit in Hell instead of an endless field of rotating spits. Sure, you earn 72 virgins in the afterlife when you martyr yourselves in attacks on the Tribe... they rotate on flaming spits and sear for all time as well!

Think about that seriously as you paddle around your pathetic pool of tears.
Man, is that ever rich! Green calls Simon's site funny and characterizes the above as "righteous rage." How delight at the imperiling of a civilian population is at all righteous Green does not say. He seems to be doing nothing so much as claiming the role of Andrew "Dice" Clay for himself. Absent talent, wit, significant neural horsepower, self-confidence, and simple decency, the only way he can attract page views is by turning up the ill-bred amperage. Could he have picked a more shopworn formula? Isn't this what you're doing?

I hope one day Green realizes one day how atrocious his post-September 11 actions were, and I hope that wife-to-be he's always talking about isn't demanding in the Betty Shabazz manner. I doubt he'll be able to compensate for his lack of adequate equipment in the sack in the same way he does on the Web.

• • • • •


It appears that libertarian and open source software advocate Eric Raymond has jumped on the warblogging bandwagon. With all the pro-gun blabbing that happens around the warbloggersphere the forty-something gun nut fits right in. Eric has a brilliant solution on how to deal with making planes safe from terrorists and hijackers: don't bother increasing airport security or giving the pilots guns, you should arm the passengers instead:

"Now, as a terrorist, you would be facing an unknown number of guns potentially pointed at you from all directions. Go ahead; take that flight attendant hostage. You can't use her to make people give up weapons neither you nor she knows they have. You have to assume you're outnumbered, and you dare not turn your back on anyone, because you don't know who might be packing."

Of course there might be a few problems, like shooting holes in the plane. But don't worry, the plane with crash slowly:

"And, about that stray-bullet thing. Airplanes aren't balloons. They don't pop when you put a round through the fuselage. A handful of bullet holes simply cannot leak air fast enough to be dangerous; there would be plenty of time to drop the plane into the troposphere. To sidestep the problem, encourage air travelers to carry fragmenting ammunition like Glaser rounds."

And of course some passengers will get caught in the crossfire, but no biggie, it's all for the greater good:

"The worst realistic case from arming passengers is that some gang of terrorist pukes tries to bust a move anyway, and innocent bystanders get killed by stray bullets while the passengers are taking out the terrorists. That would be bad -- but, post-9/11, the major aim of air security can no longer be saving passenger lives."

Just think how cool that would be!:

"Think of it. No more mile-long security lines, no more obnoxious baggage searches, no more women getting groped by bored security guards, no more police-state requirement that you show an ID before boarding, no more flimsy plastic tableware. Simpler, safer, faster air travel with a bullet through the head reserved for terrorists."

Sounds great! And if granny gets her head blown off in the crossfire because a couple air rage jerks have had one too many drinks, well, that's the price you pay for efficiency!
- Eric A. Blair

• • • • •



And my name is "Captain Scott," aka Scott Ganz! I host Captain Scott's Electric Love Bunker! Isn't that a great name! It kind of says that I'm wacky (I'm so nutty, if you asked me what my nickname was, I'd probably say something funny like, "My name is not Nick"!), but also that I'm kind of kitschy and hip, like a lava lamp! I'm not a big fan of ragheads! Also, like I say on my site, I'm not gay! That doesn't make me a homophobe, I just want to preemptively defend myself against charges that I'm a gay! Life is rough since Sept. 11--I've even been forced to work for a C-grade director! Why can't dad get me work with someone good, like Uncle Ron? Jesus, even Uncle Garry would be better than this! Maybe I should call Uncle Babaloo.

• • • • •

Tuesday, June 04, 2002


A kindly reader was both diligent enough to ferret out this lesser virtuoso and possessed of large enough a stock of promethazine to get through a couple dozen of the man's (self-doniminated "The Commander" and shown here exhibiting his many war faces; you can almost make out the faux wood paneling in the furnished basement in which he no doubt lives in the pictures' background) postings (called poepjes in the native tongue of The Commander's progenitors).

The Commander provides his biography for inspection and we accept heartily. He is, it seems, an unemployed dropout, making him far from alone in warblogging circles, and was at some point - he does not give a precise date - promoted from Dungeon Master to full Commander. A lifetime spent shunning real learning and pursuing fantasy behind him, the Commander presumes to tell the people of Palestine what they deserve and why.

In one of his most recent entries, The Commander nearly catches light after working himself into a frenzy over Hosni Mubarak's suggestion that, just maybe, the suicide attacks undertaken against the Israelis have something to do with Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. "Yeah, right. It's all about the occupation; it has nothing at all to do with the fact that the Palestinian militants want to push all the Jews into the sea," he tells us. Perhaps this is what those filthy Arabs want, though it's little more than the pathetic and wholly unrealistic longing of a people dispossessed and repeatedly humiliated.

In the earlier days of the Zionist project, when honest confrontation of reality was both possible and desirable, it was acknowledged by most that if the Arabs wanted to push the Jews into the sea, the Jews wanted to push the Arabs into the desert. Moshe Shertok wrote "We have forgotten that we have not come to an empty land to inherit it, but we have come to conquer a country from a people inhabiting it..." In all likelihood it is not that The Commander has forgotten this (written in 1914) but that he never knew it to begin with.

Commander, are you even able to see that the Jewish state has been achieved, and that the desire to push the Arabs into the desert has been realized? Israel, despite Ariel Sharon's fear- and warmongering, is in no danger of disappearing as an entity. The Arab fantasy remains precisely that: the indulgence of a beat-down people resigned to squalid concrete hovels that is as pregnant with possibility as those hopes of yours for marriage volunteered in your biography. I put you to such rough usage here because I'm still angered by these words you wrote on a timetable for the establishment of a Palestinian state and the cessation of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people: "How's this for a timetable? After two continuous years without any attacks against Israel and I mean none, or when hell freezes over [My italics]." You go, big guy! I always love to see people put their humanity on conspicuous display.

Between your above suggested timetable and your essential instruction to Palestinians seeking the right of return to go fuck themselves, you are asking the Palestinians to surrender completely and share complicity in their furthered humiliation. Have you considered at all what it is you are saying?

• • • • •

Monday, June 03, 2002


Just took advantage of a free moment to finally visit the most celebrated female warblogger, Asparagirl.

It's a parody, right?

Asparagirl goes to see two wonks discuss globalism:
First things first: Brink Lindsey is a dead ringer for Adam West (minus the Batman cowl but plus glasses). I just had to get that out of the way and mention it, because it was really pretty unnerving to listen to him talk about emerging economies and trade barriers and the like while also constantly imagining him saying "to the Batpole, Robin!"...

Michael Hardt seemed very unsure of himself, almost intimidated to be there... Hardt seemed mostly uncomfortable throughout the hour and a half and wasn't as engaged either with Lindsay or with the audience as one might have thought.... Hardt seemed much more to be responding to Lindsey's opinions and viewpoints than giving much differing ones of his own. It was hard to believe that he is a professor...

One needn't be a devotee of pop gender psychology to guess whose argument Asparagirl finds more compelling.

Asparagirl appears to live in New York, and to be one of those citizens (like Peggy Noonan) constantly worried about terror attacks: This very afternoon, I read on the Drudge Report that New York landmarks were mentioned by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay as being likely targets; so much for Scott and me paying a visit to Ellis Island later this week.

Please, friends, tell the world: many of us who live in the Big Town (as I have for many years, though some analysts affect not to notice this, even when it is plainly mentioned in the texts they are dissecting) have chosen not to be cowed by terrorists foreign or domestic.

• • • • •


Byron York has no less than three articles at National Review Online related to intelligence failures prior to the World Trade Center attacks. One of them focuses on James T. Caruso's Congressional testimony last October, which York's subhead says "appears to be intentionally deceptive." The article's headline is "The Clintonian FBI."

Deception = Clinton, it seems, wherever it is found and to whomever it may be attributed. Making the choice of words doubly ridiculous is a December 2001 article by York highlighting the terrible relationship Clinton had with his FBI Director, Louis Freeh. Cribbed largely from Elsa Walsh's New Yorker article, the relevant section details how Freeh, dissatisfied with the lack of cooperation he was getting from Clinton on the Khobar Towers bombing, passed information on the case to former President George Herbert Walker Bush, who used it in secret discussions with the Saudis. (Freeh then sat on his hands, having "decided to wait for a new Administration.") This bit of diplomatic privateering was indeed "deceptive" on a nearly treasonous scale, but it was Clinton who was being deceived.

York follows up on his own story in this article, which somehow fails to mention Clinton, though the author does suggest in this one that Democrats have a "hypocracy problem" pertaining to terrorism gotchas. They're not the only ones.

• • • • •


Allow me to put forward a corollary to Godwin's Law - call it the Law of Olivier - and postulate that the more indefensible one's position becomes, the more likely one is to try to invest it with decency by associating it with Martin Luther King. Earlier in the day, I found one of the more disreputable hunt-and-peckers posting a quote from The Great Man on Zionism. It has since been removed, though I recall it being the following: "And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-Semitism."

Reading the above I was moved to consider the other Great Men who have promoted the Zionist cause, and came up with this nowhere near exhaustive list:

Jan Smuts: The Boer are a cheery people fixed tight to their Old Testament. Jan Smuts, colonist, general and South African Prime Minister, supported Zionism hugely. His level of humanity can be gauged by his assertion that the indigenous San were to be "looked upon as vermin and exterminated on contact." Would the warbloggers denigrate those who questioned Boer apartheid as anti-white?

Franklin Roosevelt: The conservatives' favorite president, Roosevelt II urged the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which "should be for the Jews and no Arabs should be in it."

Claude Pepper: The Florida Senator who though a Democrat presaged Katherine Harris and said of the then (and still) massively disenfranchised blacks in his state that "Whatever may be placed upon the statute books of the Nation, however many soldiers may be stationed about the ballot boxes of the Southland, the colored race will not vote, because in doing so under the present circumstances they endanger the supremacy of a race to which God has committed the destiny of a continent, perhaps of a world."

Richard Meinertzhagen: Whatever energy he didn't expend in his ruthless slaughter of Kenyans he applied to the promotion of Zionism.

• • • • •


Thanks for the invite to join--at the urging of my boss, the incomparable Grady Olivier, I gladly accept.

Dipping my toe gently into the world of the warblogger, I find myself almost immediately distressed. I stumbled into the world of one Christopher Cross, who ID’s himself as “a soon to be law student in Los Angeles.” That’s all well and good, Chris, and while even that scant description manages somehow to make your life sound slightly more interesting than (judging by the site) it apparently is, you are far too modest---not even one mention on your blog about your previous career. Otherwise, an unimpressive collection of pointless, underwritten crap; a story on gay Afghanis allows Cross to use the term “Al-Gayda” and query, “Do we call them the ‘TaliMAN’ now?” Yo, that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard since the big Jim Teter show at the Prairie Capital Convention Center. For a guy who makes bad gay jokes, Chris also makes a lot of references to his fiancée. I’m not saying he doth protest too much, I’m just saying.

Chris, is this the best that you can do?

I fear this is all I can take right now. I must rest; further, the lights in one of the tanning beds have burnt out, a situation calling for my immediate attention.

• • • • •


Anti-War’s Justin Raimondo Gives Foppish Andy Sullivan Just a Dreadful Bashing! Dreadful I say, With My Buttered Scones and Tea…!: Since we’re bashing the loathsome Sullivan—and bashing Andy certainly does constitute good times—readers should take a look at this recent column by Justin Raimondo which really gives it to ol’ Andy. Now take it away Justin:

"First out of the gate was, naturally, Andrew Sullivan, whose womanish lament had the ring of my old Auntie exclaiming "Oh dearie me, it's simply dreadful!" "Is Bush surrendering?" he demanded to know, on hearing the "dreadful news" that tens of thousands of living human beings would be spared:

"If true, then those of us who have supported the war on terror need to revise our assessment of this president. He told the German press yesterday that there is no plan to invade on his desk. He said it almost proudly. His military leaders, in a sign of their determination to risk nothing and achieve nothing, are now leaking to the Washington Post that they have all but scotched a serious military option in Iraq."

To have to listen to this puffed-up poofter (and British immigrant) bloviate about the implied cowardice of our military leaders is part of the price we have to pay for our de facto policy of open borders. For all the whining he's doing about being supposedly "banned" from the pages of the New York Times Magazine, imagine how he'd react to bullets whizzing past his ear. Why the poor thing would run shrieking from the battlefield, rationalizing his cowardice every step of the way. The closest Sullivan has ever gotten to the military is Uniform Night at the local gay dive. When did our gay Napoleon ever risk his life for a cause greater than a moment's satisfaction in the dark?”

Justin, who is a hardcore libertarian who logically enough questions the motivations of the wars of nation states, beats up on the left to, but that's consistent. His columns are always eye opening and original.

Philip Shropshire

Breaking News: Occasional Warblogger Godless Capitalist (The Race Elitist Who Has No Name) Notices That Bush is Dumb!: Arguably the most arrogant blogger alive, Godless Capitalist came to a shocking conclusion some time ago, President Bush isn’t a smart man. Imagine that. And yet this is the man who’s leading our war effort, we think. (Who knows really.). I don’t always find myself in agreement with the Original GC, but I do think he’s a good writer, despite between utterly seduced and sodomized by the Dark Side. In fact, if you’ve ever wondered what kind of blogs that Magneto or Dr. Doom or Bond villains or Zod would have, then go right on over to Godless Capitalist’s site. I mean, who knew that Dr. Doom could write well? Recently he came to a conclusion about Bush that I thought has been obvious: that Bush is a bit of a moron. I’ve always wondered how any self-respecting intellectual could support Bush, arguably the most incompetent president that we’ve ever had in our lifetimes. Godless apparently regained his respect and said:

What a moron

Bush is really just a waste of oxygen. Check out this unbelievable piece on his response to a reporter who asked him about anti-Americanism in Europe. Now, it may be that the report is putting Bush in a bad light. But unless this entire exchange is fabricated, I doubt it:

"I wonder why it is you think there are such strong sentiments in Europe against you and against this administration?" the reporter said. "Why, particularly, there's a view that you and your administration are trying to impose America's will on the rest of the world, particularly when it comes to the Middle East and where the war on terrorism goes next?"
Turning to Mr. Chirac, he added in French: "And, Mr. President, would you maybe comment on that?"
"Very good," Mr. Bush said sardonically. "The guy memorizes four words, and he plays like he's intercontinental."

There are two issues here:

1) Bush is an anti-intellectual and an idiot. Yes, the reporter is fluent in French. Is that a reason to make fun of him? It's one thing to be an's quite another to be an idiot and disdain others for their accomplishments.

2) The larger issue is that Bush is in denial about anti-Americanism in Europe! As my mouth dropped to the floor, the only thing I could think of was Ford's infamous declaration that "Eastern Europe is not under Soviet domination". I mean, how ridiculously, moronically blind can Bush be?

There are some of you who think that he said such things for diplomatic reasons, and that Bush actually believes that anti-Americanism is a problem but cannot say it out loud. If true, Bush is a rank coward who has sacrificed whatever moral clarity he had in his Axis of Evil speech. But I don't think that Bush is quite so sophisticated...certainly the tone of his response indicated that he was genuinely annoyed with the questioner.

Thank the heavens that we are halfway through Bush's term. The sooner he's replaced, the better.

Well, darn it all, GC. I agree 100 percent. But why won’t he share his name with us. Now, we know that he’s a student at Southern Cal. We also know that’s he probably a higher level grad student in biology and he’s hinted that he’s Eurasian. There is a way to figure out who he is. Or at least his department heads could probably figure it out. Simply take what GC has written on his blog and compare it to term papers that have been turned in by using David Foster’s writer recognition software. Foster is the person who figured out that the author of Primary Colors was in fact Joe Klein. The software could also be used to determine who in fact Godless happens to be. I might point out that the reason for anonymity that Godless has given us are kind of weak. I think he mentioned tenure, which any self-respecting competent capitalist shouldn’t want anyway. That’s like being in a union for God’s sake…

Philip Shropshire

• • • • •


Where's it all going to end, I ask of Lileks's impossibly hypocritical gym buddy. In linking to a "fantastic column" by Peter Hitchens's brother. Hitchens the Elder closes that column by referencing "a ridiculous recent book titled The Clash of Fundamentalisms" in which author "Tariq Ali begins by saying that 'there exists no exact, incontrovertible evidence about who ordered the hits on New York and Washington,' and then goes on to state, exactly and incontrovertibly enough, that with these hits, 'the subjects of the Empire had struck back.' Wrong. Wrong twice. As wrong as could be. These attacks came from the servants and satraps of the Empire, and the Empire's managers are culpable for a little bit more than their failure to foresee them." Putting aside the fact that Hitchens here states some of the very same things he so loudly took the "Chomsky-Zinn-Finkelstein quarter" to task for last autumn when he was of the belief that "murder was their only motive," you can say what you will about or against Hitchens (his simian appearance and fondess for rain coats more often seen on exhibitionists and child molesters, his numerous attempts at drinking dry well-stocked taverns, etc.), but the man's appetite for work must be acknoledged as colossal, and any opinion he puts forward, no matter how contentious, is thoroughly informed. Sadly, this cannot be said for his barebacking compatriot.

The Hitchens piece that enthuses Sullivan the Magnificent (in his own self-conception, anyway) so merely points out the venality and incompetence of two of our nominal allies, as well as our leadership's refusal to acknowledge the same publicly. And what does Sully take away from it? He asks the crazily worded question, "Is there a consensus building that we cannot win the war on terror until we have secured regime change in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?" and then to proceeds to answer it in the affirmative: "Not before Iraq, but surely after." I'm sure many Pakistanis and Saudis are thirsting for a regime change in their respective lands, though I doubt they would endorse the means Sully has in mind to effect it. His appetite for war rival's Hitchens's for work.

Musharraf may not be the wunderkind that you'd like him to be, Andy, but you seem to have an understanding of his Pakistan that is tending toward nil. In being refashioned as a marionette in The War Against Terror, Musharraf had to unceremoniously betray the extreme Islamist element, which we ourselves supported when convenient to our heroic war on global communism. The Islamists are now resentful in the extreme and Musharraf is reduced insane games of appearance management to demonstrate his (actually non-existent) independence. You may certainly get your regime change, Sully, and it might come at the expense of several hundred thousand Pakistanis - which probably wouldn't trouble you all that much. And with regard to Saudi Arabia, only fringe loons have advocated war (what Sullivan means by his "regime change" euphemism) against the land of Mecca and Medina, though after Sharon's siege of the Church of the Nativity, the world seems more receptive to the idea of using someone else's holy land as a war theater.

Sullivan would do good to acknowledge the complete and total failure of the war(s) to date. As the news trickles out (much like the urine trickles down James Lileks's pasty leg when he contemplates Saddam Hussein) that the violence perpetrated against America on September 11 was due to massive systemic failures in our own intelligence services, conscientious onlookers will be forced to conclude our brave President - focused on harvesting campaign dollars and abetting fraud down Houston way - is unable to protect his constituency from terror. At least as long as he keeps fighting the war with the limited and antiquated weaponry he insists upon.

The bombing in Afghanistan was successful in killing dozens of shepherds, many of whom, if pressed, would likely have voiced some sort of anti-American sentiment, thus justifying their slaughter. An undetermined number of civilians lie - blown apart, actually - dead. Bin Laden is nowhere in evidence. Ayman al-Zawahri similarly found non est when troops searched caves after first bombing the area. Nearly all the bigger names still unaccounted for, and the bulk of the foot soldiers dispersed into surrounding countries. Orange alerts, increased anxiety, and Bono assuring us of our righteousness during halftime back at home. Innumerable warbloggers knelt in reverence before a Daisy Cutter. Frenchmen insulting us with impunity. With such success in our present operations, Andy, why not expand this thing endlessly!

What is the biggest victory in The War Against Terror to date? Probably the thus far prevention of additional attacks, a victory most attributable to heightened awareness and better policing. Similarly, the biggest victory abroad was a police action on the part of the Pakistanis, the capture and capitulation of Abu Zubaydah, later named a Time person of the week for spilling the beans in so satisfactory a manner. Understandably, many here wanted a campaign of vengeance fought against someone; less understandably they simultaneously ridiculed lawful police actions abroad to mitigate the terrorist threat. The bombs that fell failed objectively, and the mundane and maligned police action triumphed. We won't bother waiting for an apology from Sullivan and his allied mimics, as that would presuppose a revelation on their part, namely that decreeing the slaughter of untold persons was ineffective and is likely to be ineffective in the future. They seem unlikely to achieve it any time soon.

• • • • •

Sunday, June 02, 2002


Has Daddy Warblogs gone wobbly? First, he tells us not to take James Lileks seriously. Well, who does, really?

Second, and more importantly, he questions the invade-the-world mentality adopted by the rest of the warbloggers, Andrew Sullivan in particular: "There's some kind of weird moral slippage going on here, whereby just because it was right to oust the Taleban it's now right to oust anyone and everyone." Well, that's the problem with the War on Terror, isn't it? It's a "new kind of war" with no defined enemy, no timetable and no territorial constraints. Slippage is inevitable.

And while I'm at it, I agree with Daddy Warblogs on all that annoying "rope-a-dope" talk. There is nothing more pathetic than warbloggers inventing excuses for why President Bush said there is no plan to invade Iraq. Lying about an invasion of Iraq in order to lull Saddam into a false sense of security is absurd. Any such invasion would take weeks, if not months, to mount. Saddam would see it coming.

(Thanks to the wonderful chaps over at Airstrip One for the heads up.)

• • • • •

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