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]


Friday, May 31, 2002


Shoutout for some of the best anti-war bloggers:

dack: Links articles from wire feeds and mainstream news organizations to point out how pointless the war is.

Brendan O'Neill: Intelligent articles from an intelligent guy. The fact that he's continuously under fire from Gland Reynolds

Blowback: Although a YABB (Yet Another Blogspot Blogger), the minimal commentary and maximum links makes this a blog an information mine of the best kind. Warbloggers like this are anti-warbloggers best friends. With the mixed up domain name, expect a porn site here shortly.

• • • • •


Hey fucker, you forgot me. Not that I've posted anything yet, I've just had a hard time finding anything written by warbloggers wasting the bandwidth to comment on.

• • • • •


"The new thing is to care passionately, and be right-wing." -- ad executive to George Harrison, A Hard Day's Night.

I seem to be walking in rhythm, as the Blackbirds used to say, with the Zeitgeist. Right after I began to notice the tendency of warbloggers to respond to their elders and betters with childish insults, Michael Kelly migrated the annoying habit to the traditional pundit press:

"Susan Sontag and Noam Chomsky and Edward Said and Harold Pinter got their names in the papers again... You're still here? You're still talking? Why? The most obvious fact about the people who bravely -- oh, so bravely, so bravely -- dared to tell truth to power in the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books, and the Cosmic Review of Blah-Blah, was how old they were... Old, old, old. Also tired, tired, tired. These people -- precisely these people -- have been saying these things -- precisely these things -- since, in many cases, the early Dylan years (Bob, mostly, although in some cases Thomas)... How interesting, gramps, how interesting; did you really know John Reed..."

This is a little wordier than the adolescent flip-offs used by the blogbrethren (e.g., Matt Welch to Gore Vidal: "Whatever, freak!"), but the animating spirit is the same: we are the New, you are the Old, so let's not even bother with you, gramps.

This can be an amusing approach when you're talking about fashion faux pas and such like. But if you're talking about war and peace, I should think that age and achievement would warrant more respectful attention.

I mean, Pinter wrote several of the 20th Century's best plays; Kelly wrote this stuff. You tell me who's irrelevant.

• • • • •


I'll admit I've been a bad host thus far. Too many drinks before dinner. Here (in no particular order) are those gracious enough to accept the invitation to participate in the public works project that is Warblogger Watch:
Dr. Menlo of and American Samizidat.
Roy Edroso of and Crank Watch.
Franklin Harris of and Implausible Deniability.
Grady Oliver of Like Father, Like Sun.
Philip Shropshire of and
Marriage proposals and death threats to the above authors will be forwarded if sent to the email address at the bottom of the page.
- Eric A. Blair

• • • • •



Today you will learn to watch your mouth . . . If you want to leap to unfounded conclusions, if you want to slander the good names of my copatriots. Because I will call you on it, Jimmy.

Dr. Menlo

Now you listen good ole boy, ‘cuz I’m going to tell you how it’s going to be: I am the voice of the future, and you are the voice of the past. When it comes to war, and peace, the peacemongers will not lessen your fall.

You think that loudly calling for war makes you a man? It makes you a pea. Your boosters are peas. Real men know the value of peace. Real men know the horror of war.

What man or woman alive out there today can cast their eyes upon that Capa pic and not shiver inside? What does it say about you if you can’t?

In a move apparently too elegant for you to construe, I said “avoid getting shot/avoid the horrors of war.” I did not say, “Avoid being a loyalist soldier circa. ‘30’s Spain.”

I did not say anything about Bush. I did not say anything about 9-11. What voices in your head are you listening to?

And furthermore, Jimmy, what makes you think you can be so goddamn obnoxious? What makes you think your opinion is worth the possible expulsion of hundreds or thousands of lives? Who the hell do you think you are?

You wanna play God, midwest-boy, go and whip out a game of D & D. Nestled safe inside Minnesota, do you look upon the land to the right and left as nothing more than convenient slabs of protective fat from which to lob out your sophomoric blood-cries to the delight of every man-child everywhere?

“If these people had their way--” Jimmy cries!

“These people.”

You come and get these people, Jimmy.

You come and get me.

I will accept nothing less.

Dr. Menlo
International Art Machine
Central Labs, Seattle

• • • • •

Thursday, May 30, 2002


Last Friday, I put forward this idiot as the most repulsive and least informed of the active warbloggers. Alas, I did so incognizant of the existence and output of James Lileks. Fortune decreed that I should live elsewhere than Minnesota, largely sparing me exposure to the dullard. The Washington Post, which I do read, has in the past run Lileks's column. I certainly read it somewhere along the line, though it made so little an impression on me I cannot recall the occasion. I've done some reading - midway between cursory and comprehensive - this afternoon, and have concluded that it wasn't merely the case that the Post (and, by extension, myself) caught the Minnesotan on a bad day. The man's output is comprehensively bad, and never does he cut a figure that is anything more than futile.

He was always a bad writer, but he was not always the war mongering, cave-scouring scaredy-cat he is at present - at least not fully. The earliest Lileks offering catalogued by Nexis is an overwritten January 28, 1988 paean to football and male bonding. The piece sounds innocuous enough, and it in fact is, though troubling signs of what was later to come can be divined. Lileks says that male bonding shares little with bonding as conceived by campus feminists, and that only "drunk" or "Russian" men hug. Real men like Lileks, who later tells us he brings croissants to the gathering when he and his manly men buddies assemble to watch football, are content to "fist fight" and "hit one another." Any third-year psych major could tell you that someone so profoundly alienated from his fellow men and so uncomfortable with his sexuality as to eschew all non-violent interpersonal contact with other males is in for serious trouble at a later date. Why even in that very piece Lileks allowed that recently "some random drill bit in [his] psyche hit a gusher of testosterone." That testosterone would continue to gush, occasioning Lilek's aggravated male-pattern balding and war mongering fury in later years.

By May 9, 1990, Lileks was filing pieces on his feats in the weight room, perhaps readying himself for "the Iraqi dustup" at that remote date. He mostly offered advice to prospective gym members, though he did spend a few paragraphs pondering "The allure of muscle men." Inoffensive material on the face of it, though a closer reading and the boon of hindsight again find suggestions of the rage that would characterize Lilek's later career. "A couple of years ago," he allows, "I spent every day at the gym," though he tells the readers he has lapsed. "When I stopped going to the gym, I began to feel myself shrinking." His physique no longer impressive and his strength departed, the columnist's sense of personal impotence mounts. It's impotence of that sort, as Edward Said has noted, that drives those damn towel heads to detonate themselves outside Israeli discothèques, though Lileks is no Israel Shahak, and the obvious goes unrecognized.

I must remind my readers here that the above symptoms presaging Lileks later homicidal mania were evident only in certain writings. He was able to repress his various psychoses against outward detection, and was even able to commit several wholly sane - if remarkably dull - thoughts to paper. It must be stressed that he was not the twisted psychopath he is today. This, after all, is a man who spent the years immediately before and after the Gulf War wowing readers with such non-bloodthirsty pieces as "WHEN IT COMES TO THE CHOICE FOR TIES, WIDER IS BACK 'IN'" and "TOPPERS: RECALLING AGE OF HATS." A patient fully yielding to dementia would be unable to meditate at any length on these pedestrian subjects, though a classical Freudian would no doubt rub their hands over Lileks's admission in the hats-themed piece that he finds his "small feet lost in Dad's big shoes." Not a Freudian myself, I will let that pass without comment.

By 1993, though, Lileks had grown markedly deranged. In an August 15 Plain Dealer article he bitterly denounced Texas authorities for forbidding patriots in and around Austin to own "spud guns," improvised weapons that use potatoes as ammunition. He was just a few short years away, as will be seen, from discoursing on Black Helicopters.

Later that same year the Newhouse News Service which syndicates Lileks would foist upon the innocents of the Times-Picayune one of Lileks's more Unabomber-like efforts. In "BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE HITLER," Lileks breaks into song, modifying the words to a popular Christmas carol to instead describe Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Lileks does more than that though. Thinking deep, he explains the appeal of Zhirinovsky to the Russian electorate (called, in part, "certified idiots"), and in doing so anticipates his own post-September 11 persona: "Like any country that has had its keister whipped to the consistency of frothed milk, Russia is full of people convinced that some innate national greatness has been thwarted by the cruel trick of history. They cry DADDY MAKE THEM STOP BEING MEAN [emphasis in the original] until some cozening swine crawls out of the sewers and kisses the national owwie." The line between prophet and madmen has seldom been as blurred as it is here.

On October 13, 1994 Lileks came out of the closet as an advocate of the casual slaughter of sand niggers. In wondering "WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IRAQ?," Lileks tells us in the most direct fashion what was "central failure of the Bush administration: insufficient bloodlust." He would pen additional pieces in the same vein that year, including a notable one in which he slipped into Strangelove mode and explained Yugoslavian indifference to American opinion on how their country should be ordered by saying that less-than-total war was irresponsible and that "the only way to send a message is not to leave anyone alive to hear it."

As promised, the Black Helicopters began appearing in Lileks column on June 1, 1995. Lileks pondered Bosnia's plight and NATO's stubborn refusal to kick ass, as well as the question "WHERE'S A BLACK HELICOPTER WHEN YOU REALLY NEED ONE?," which is also the piece's headline. Even the most conservative clinician can see the development of dementia praecox, and continued monitoring of Lileks until 1997 would certainly have resulted in his institutionalization on filing November 13's "SADDAM MAY BE PREPOSTEROUS BUT HE'S DEADLY, NOT LAUGHABLE." Lileks stages an extended telephone conversation therein between George Bush I and the Iraqi strongman, at the conclusion of which Hussein would "laugh, hang up, and get back to thinking of names for his chemical-weapon bomber. EBOLA GAY [I wish Lileks hadn't provided the emphasis himself, but he did]." This would disturb the hospital wardens supervising Lileks endlessly, as it not only demonstrates his morbid contemplation of the grotesque and fantastic, but also because he introduces the word "gay" in so curious a context. Anyone else and it would have been an obvious play on words. For Lileks - he who bonds with his fellow man by "hitting" them as noted above - the name is telling.

My readings in the Lileks canon took me only as far as April 1, 1999. The man should go back and re-read the piece, though his demonstrated inability to make proper sense of an unambiguous photograph leads me to believe that the task is beyond him. Other morons practicing the ignoble art of the warblogger may want to have a go at "ORIGINALITY IS THE FIRST CASUALTY OF WAR," which despite its dateline seems to be anything but an April fool's joke. Lileks, the least original warblogger in active practice, chastises his fellow members of "the chattering class" (how novel!) for endlessly invoking Hitler, questioning the virtues of isolationism, their general ignorance of history, and their unwillingness to send American ground troops in to be shot full of bullets. I trust that when Lileks says he is saving himself for the coming skirmish in Iraq that he intends to land his ridiculous ass in Baghdad to practice what he has been preaching for years.

• • • • •


Andrew Sullivan has taken it upon himself to add Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to the Axis of Evil: "It seems to me Pakistan is slowly moving toward the axis of evil" and "Is there a consensus building that we cannot win the war on terror until we have secured regime change in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?" (Sorry, I can't link to his specific blog entries. Sullivan hasn't fixed his permalink problem yet.)

• • • • •


If the purpose of the captioned photo below was to uncork some warblogger rage, mission accomplished; see the May 30 Lileks bleat. I have to confess that the graphic confused me a little, too, but my reaction was simply to shrug and move on, while Lileks' was to emit blasts of white-hot, incoherent rage spectacular by even his standards of intemperance.

According to him we all posted the (clearly bylined) photo, we all suck Chomsky's feet (who's this Chomsky fellow, anyway?), we think Bush "masterminded" 9-11, etc. Normally I try and parse Lileks' prose and find the through-line, if only for laughs, but his latest tangle of stinkweeds is just too tough to sort out.

Lileks says, "I’m saving myself for the Iraqi dustup." If this is his idea of marshalling his strength between bouts, he'd better have a serious talk with his trainer.

• • • • •

Tuesday, May 28, 2002


avoid this.

• • • • •


HELP WANTED: I have conceived of a project that seems at first through third blushes highly feasible. On reviewing the Web logs maintained by those who are regularly fallen upon Warblogger Watch, my Marxist sympathies were excited and I could not but marvel over the increasing misapplication of human effort. Why there must be several hundred persons now responding in real time to the same articles, linking to one another, and proffering the same point of view. It is redundancy of this very type, I suspect, that has prevented the country from undertaking any of the grand scale public works projects that are so conspicuous abroad but so embarrassingly absent stateside. The purpose of my plan, in the simplest of terms, is to free up labor, returning those presently engaged in Web-based war mongering to the unskilled manual labor which they are better suited to by birth. Here is a moron asking for help with his homework; Here's another, admitting that her underpowered brain finds itself taxed to the point of failure in attempting to apprehend the day's newspaper; Here is a third, this one adhering to the "Cubs are going all the way" mode of prophesy, and telling us we must attack Iraq because Saddam Hussein is going to try to derail our God-granted right to USPS delivery of Christmas presents. Can any man who has given the labor marketplace unbiased study tell me with a straight face that these people wouldn't better serve society by manually transporting cut stone overland?

As for the plan itself, it can be summarized thusly: I require someone versed in computer science to modify the Dada Engine and write a script that would scan the AP wire for items of concern to our political leadership, compare those items against a list of regimes our leadership has previously assured us are some seriously bad mo-fos, and then, finding a concern-worthy item that mentions an unpopular state, recommend sanctions or massive preemptory bombing (weighting heavily toward the latter) against the country mentioned. Like the monomaniacs, the program would be steered solely by the force of circumstance, and as it would yield essentially the same output issued by the above three, it would largely obviate their needs to tire us with their interminable repetition of the same solution to every conceivable problem.

Interested parties are encouraged to contact me via the editor.

• • • • •


John O'Sullivan over at The National Review thinks the warbloggers are getting worried over nothing re: President Bush's recent statements hinting that an invasion of Iraq isn't going to happen any time soon, if at all. Alas, he may be right, but not for the reason he gives. O'Sullivan says Bush "will not be reelected if Saddam Hussein is still ruling in Baghdad in 2004." I doubt most voters are as obsessed with Iraq as the neocons and warbloggers are.

• • • • •

Saturday, May 25, 2002


My readings in the Right Reverend's Washington Times ordinarily confine themselves to Bill Gertz's latest seizure of intelligence. The emetic opinions page is a positive no-go area. Reading the below effort by Roy Edroso, I felt a certain compulsion to confront the object of my aversion directly, particularly the writings of Larry Kudlow.

Kudlow, you may know, is the groundbreaking Wall Street economist who fearlessly blazed the trail later navigated by Marc Weill and others too numerous to count. The world owes him a debt, though Kudlow is not content to rest on his laurels and passively await collection of the same. No, sir. In a colossal feat of reinvention, Kudlow has been reborn hard - this time as an Opus Dei nutter and CNBC tie model. He finds spare time enough to commit the choicer bits comprising his manic stream of thought to paper, much to the benefit of the readers of the Times and other outlets where his column enjoys syndication.

In a recent outing (it points to the actual column; I already squandred the Brock-Drudge link elsewhere), Kudlow impatiently awaits the day "Israel inflicts a crushing military defeat" on the Palestinians, a prerequisite in his and an allied historian's estimation to peace. "This is the right position," Kudlow assures the readers, as those omnipowerful Palestinians are waging an economic war against Israel. Though Kudlow does not make specific reference, it is presumed that contained somewhere within one of the dusty compilations of refutable prejudice that Kudlow lives in accordance with is a passage that gives Divine assurance of 4 per cent per annum growth of the Israeli GDP. Following His and Larry's leads, "lets add economic progress to the list of must-defend freedoms" and wage war wherever investors are paid sub-par dividends, if we're not doing so already. Amen, Brother!

• • • • •


The "girly-boys" over at the NRO must be pumping up on steroids judging from the testosterone-drenched tirades they've been publishing lately. Former Marine Adam Mersereau calls for TOTAL WAR! against Iraq:

"By 'total' war, I mean the kind of warfare that not only destroys the enemy's military forces, but also brings the enemy society to an extremely personal point of decision, so that they are willing to accept a reversal of the cultural trends that spawned the war in the first place. A total-war strategy does not have to include the intentional targeting of civilians, but the sparing of civilian lives cannot be its first priority. By contrast, 'limited' war is the use of surgical military force to accomplish discreet foreign-policy goals without mobilizing the entire nation, and while minimizing casualties. The purpose of 'total' war is to permanently force your will onto another people group, while the purpose of 'limited' war is to temporarily deter or discourage an enemy, or to impede the policy of another country long enough to accomplish particular goals. Limited war pits combatants against combatants, while total war pits nation against nation, even culture against culture."

Go get 'em tiger! But it's too bad that real soldiers, not the laptop Clausewitzes that have been polluting the blogosphere with their offensive emissions post-11/9, don't think TOTAL WAR! is such a great idea.
- thanks to another Eric for the link, Eric A. Blair

• • • • •


As Fyodor Dostoyevski and Jerzy Kozinski knew, the best way to make a dumb man look smart is to imply that he's playing it cagey. Thus, back in April, many warbloggers were saying that Bush was playing "rope-a-dope" with Saddam Hussein and Yassir Arafat.

Instapundit, as always ahead of the curve, was using the term on Bush's behalf in a domestic context months ago ("I've always noted Bush's predilection for rope-a-dope tactics..." he said on November 18). But it really took off during those recent, heady days when the belligerati saw fresh chances for armed engagement in desert fiefdoms. And, being a boxing reference (as VodkaPundit, an early adopter, explained at length to his dimmer blog-brethren), "rope-a-dope" appealed to their butch sensibilities.

Some used the term in a spirit of cautious optimism. Little Green Footballs hoped Colin Powell's unwarlike excursion to Israel was "all part of some diplomatic rope-a-dope."
Craig Schamp prayed that Bush's "asking the Israelis to back off was just a diplomatic rope-a-dope maneuver."

Others were more confident. "Let's take the Rope-A-Dope strategy to it's conclusion," cried PhotoDude, "all the way to Iraq." "IT'S THE OLD ROPE-A-DOPE," hollered the charmingly named WarNow!, "George Bush is giving Sharon as much diplomatic cover as he thinks he can get away with."

"Rope-a-dope" became shorthand for OPP (Other People's Punditry) on Bush's evasive actions. Ed Driscoll cited a Bush-approving Washington Times story as "LARRY KUDLOW ON THE ROPE-A-DOPE." Quoth Fredrik K.R. Norman: "I vote for rope-a-dope."

But now May is drawing to a close, and the warbloggers' patience is wearing thin. "I've been really willing to give Bush a lot of room," sighs James Morrow, "in believing he was maintaining a 'rope-a-dope' strategy in the Middle East, but now I'm not so sure." Justin Adams despairs at Curmudgeonry, "Now I don't trust President Bush to go to war with Iraq" -- and you know he's serious, because he doesn't even cite the r-a-d word. And Instapundit warns, "It better be rope-a-dope." Or else what? one wonders.

But GedankenPundit has the answer: A new neologism! "I think that rope-a-dope covers only what needs to be done to keep the region quiet until Saddam is gone," he says; "Call it descope-a-dope, perhaps."

Somehow it doesn't have the same ring.

• • • • •

Friday, May 24, 2002


It seems the warblogging blogoverse, blogorama (or whatever that stupid term Slick Willie coined) is going up in flames. First it was the battle between Richard Bennett and The Commander, then it was General Sullivan vs. Eric ( "ladies - let me assure you he is hot!") Olsen, Virgin Postrel vs. the General, and now Jonah Golberg vs. the entire warbloggerthing:

"But the idea that the blogosphere will overpower the establishment media is batty. Imagine a bunch of students in large classroom. If one student rises up and shouts his disagreement with the professor, that's lively and interesting. But if 50 students do the same thing, it's just noise. And, besides, there's a reason most students are paying to hear what the professor thinks, not what their fellow students have to say."

This must be sad day for the warbloggers, who worship every well-paid word that comes from the lips of "nice Jewish boy appeal" Goldberg. But don't be sad, dear warbloggers, there are other, more positive, things going on in the warfloggerverse, such as the Mr. Warblogger contest being held over here. Since it seems that Dawn is adding contestants to the list-all you have to do is bitch and whine I see-I have my own nomination, the lovable rogue behind Like Father, Like Sun, Brad Olson (seen sketching Ariel Sharon's midriff).
- doing my part to divide and conquer, Eric A. Blair

• • • • •


I am here owing to a solicitation sent by the present site's chief proprietor seeking volunteers to supplement the regular army in its fight against the hysterical war mongering of, well, just about everybody. I was not outfitted with an official list of enemies, and was for some time unsure as to where to direct my fire. The names of persons who have previously come in for a fustigation on this page were largely unknown to me, but after due reconnaissance, I chose this idiot as the most offensive of the lot and hence most deserving of assault. Why? He seems to insist that all outlets publishing his work accompany his text with a photo of himself in a cowboy hat. A smarmy Californian in a cowboy hat, the most anti-Enlightenment article of clothing this side of a Waffen SS tunic or Klan robe.

In these sad days, even nominal liberals are applauding The War Against Terror (TWAT, with apologies to Bill Bonner) for averting a possible famine in Afghanistan, as if bombing the piss out of a country were the most obvious, direct, and desirable manner of aiding it. With self-identified leftists subscribing to such a pitiful doctrine, you can only imagine the obscenities emanating from the right. Particularly obscene was an outing of Young Matthew's in Reason, a journal that champions "free minds and free markets." One day Young Matthew may come to realize the irony of his habituation of a self-referential swamp of groupthinking ignoramuses while simultaneously promoting "free minds," though I doubt he'll ever perfect his appreciation of classical economics enough to realize the stupendous market failure that has rendred a "pundit" out of material better suited to the cosmetics counter at Bloomingdale's.

The piece that irritated me so mightily was titled "The Politics of Dead Children," in which Young Matthew casts doubt on the judgments of UNICEF, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN proper, the World Health Organization, "virtually every U.S. newspaper," and that damnable Noam Chomsky. Hereto, nobody has been able to provide an accurate reckoning of Iraqi children whose expiry is attributable to the current US-led (administered by the UN) sanctions. While all the preceding agencies and individuals squandered their appreciable resources only to yield flawed counts, Young Matthew managed to get it right - all by his lonesome and from a distance of 7666 miles.

The "Reason" for Young Matthew's David Irving-style tussle with the numbers is given in the second to last paragraph, and can be summarized as follows: the sanctions, insofar as they have killed far fewer babies than is commonly thought, have failed, and with "Bush set to go to war over Saddam's noncompliance with the military goals of the sanctions, there has never been a more urgent time to confront the issue with clarity." The inefficacy of the sanctions must be recognized, and the thus far insufficient death toll must be augmented with a steady delivery of ordnance lest that evil towel-head rule for another ten years.

The above "noncompliance with the military goals of the sanctions" on Mr. Hussein's part amounts, in the plainest of terms, to his failure to off himself in a manner satisfactory to Young Matthew and Paul Wolfowitz. Plain terms, however, are offensive, and the closest Young Matthew comes to broaching them is when he states that Iraq has not been cooperative with weapons inspectors and that there "have been no weapons inspectors in Iraq since 1998." This, of course, is largely untrue, though since the destruction of Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981, greatly exaggerated estimates of Iraq's nuclear capability have enjoyed currency without challenge.

But what about those chemical and biological weapons those wacky Iraqis are making here there and everywhere? They may actually may be producing the stuff, though even unlimited, unchaperoned, unannounced inspections could locate every last clandestine lab, each diligently manufacturing as much America-bound weapons-grade Bacillus anthracis as possible. That's what they're doing, right? No? Aw, fuck it, let's just bomb Cuba. They've just got to be behind something.

And that's the problem not just with this piece but with Young Matthew himself and his allied scribblers as a class. A profound lack of engagement with the real world leaves them unable to do much beyond proposing the same mono-solution to every problem of international affairs that introduces itself. Reason is never applied in an inquisitive manner, and nobody can be bothered to ask why exactly it seems the best option to Mr. Hussein to go the plainly suicidal route and "launch more wars against his neighbors." And people actually pay money for this bilge?

• • • • •

Thursday, May 23, 2002


And now for something completely different: a nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India.

While we're wondering what George knew and when he knew it, or whether he ever knew anything (a point open to vigorous question), you might note that there are a million troops at the borders between India and Pakistan. It looks like they're about to launch their nuclear warheads at each other. Let's all pray, even us athiests, that they choose peace and cooperation and diplomacy. However, if you look at the language of India and also Sharon you might notice that it's the same language of vile uncompromise being spouted in Washington after 9-11. Those Bush memes include, but aren't limited to: The "other" side is evil and "evil" only. Massive retaliatory force will work, even though there's much evidence to show that it won't work (And hasn't). And last but not least: diplomacy and treating these acts as criminal as opposed to problems between nation states (Except Saudi Arabia. They have oil.) is for pussies. Thanks George. It would be nice to know that the US could go to both sides in this horrifc conflict and argue how rational we were after 9-11, about how we strengthened and supported the World Court, or demanded that Pakistan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia initiate democratic reforms, or insist upon a multinational force in Israel...but no. And as the bombs fall and the massive death toll becomes obvious, it will be clear that the leaders (soon to be extinct if the weapons fall) will have in fact mirrored the very violent policy of the United States with one small difference: only pick on weaker nations that don't have nuclear arms.

Philip Shropshire

PS. I noticed that our favorite warmonger Glenn is wavering between optimism and pessimism about this situation. Here's a hint Glenn: Pessimism is the place to be my friend. Here's a quote from a story where the implications of fallout are discussed with defense analsyt Paul Beaver:

"Environmentally we don't really know, to be honest, because nobody's done it. We know what happened when the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine exploded... it sent radioactive particles into the atmosphere... they came down in places like northern Finland and Norway...even here in the United Kingdom, Welsh hill farmers could no longer sell their lamb because they were contaminated by fallout... That was a nuclear reactor, that was a reasonably small escape of radioactive material. If there was an exchange of nuclear weapons...and the Indian sub-continent.. we don't know what would happen to the climate for a start...El Nino in the Pacific, and the problems that that's caused, I think would be considered to be child's play compared to what would happen. There's not only that, but the huge death toll on both sides, and the risk of bringing in other nations... it could well be something which would strat a third world war - any exchange of nuclear weapons is a doomsday scenario because we don't know how controllable it would be."

• • • • •

Wednesday, May 22, 2002


The latest Crank Watch is up: "Are Republicans Conservatives? Are Liberals?"

• • • • •

Monday, May 13, 2002


The Commander thinks that the Robert Fisk assasination threats are no big deal:

"ROBERT FISK IS WALLOWING IN SELF PITY. Lots of Americans died on 9/11, and Israelis are killed by terror bombers on a regular basis, but he's getting nasty email. And people are saying mean things about him on websites! The horror. The horror."

Compare this reaction to the warblogger's wailing reactions to the assisination of racist creep/warblogger martyr-hero Pym Fortune and one begins to wonder about the personality and character of the warbloggers. Just a sec, I'll let warblogger-old nerd Richard Bennett comment on that:

"In the example he cites, Katie Granju, we find the first Instapundit link (4/28) brought her maybe 100 new visitors; the second (4/30) about 800, and the third (5/6) about 2000. The variation is about days of the week and content - a Saturday Insta generally doesn't register. The first Granju cite was to the effect that kids are good, no big deal; the second said that kids should play with guns, which catches the attention of Glenn's NRA crowd; and the third was about adults sleeping with children, which did indeed bring an avalanche of 2,000 hits. From this we can draw certain conclusions about Glenn's audience, in case you hadn't noticed the frequent and adoring references to hot young babes who blog on his site."

- someone who cares, Eric A. Blair

• • • • •


A couple from the Warblogger Watch mailbag:

As a former Air Force officer with 10 years experience, including 5 in special operations, I want to congratulate you on your site. There are many men in uniform who agree with most of what you say. As you have pointed out, the most hawkish voices come from the least military bodies. RE: Jphn Hopkins: I suppose his plan would work. The blood and iron strategy worked for the Nazis against the Jews, and the Serbs in World War Two, didn't it? Keep up the good work.
Mike Taysom
Former Captain, USAF

Is Walter Shapiro the victim of faulty editing, poor
reading comprehension, or the trappings of being a
cheap liar? This question is raised as one compares
his account of MIT professor Noam Chomsky’s latest
book with the actual text. Shapiro believes it is “far
wiser” to “point out inconsistent arguments and shrill
assertions” than to continue the implied policy of
“malign neglect” to which Chomsky’s writings have been
treated by the top tier media. The latter policy was
confirmed days earlier in the May 4 New York Times as
a similar article stated that editors “commonly regard
[Chomsky’s books] as too extreme to merit comment.” We
should expect that Shapiro will treat the reader to
reasoned counterarguments that will rebut Chomsky and
others on the “outer extremes of left-wing thinking.”
Instead, Shapiro snarls about the “repetitive format
consisting of naïve questions followed by self-serving
answers. . .” Since Shapiro does not include an
example of a question he finds to be naïve, the reader
must assume the nature of the question from the
content of the answers. A naïve question, apparently,
is one that is asked by journalists outside of the
“elite, agenda-setting media” and which digs at an
uncomfortable history people like Shapiro are
unwilling to address honestly. For example, Shapiro
scolds Chomsky for his “armchair pseudo-certainty” for
pointing out that “Wanton killing of innocent
civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism.”
This is not merely Chomsky’s opinion, it is the
definition employed by the United States code:

“[An] act of terrorism , means any activity that [A]
involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human
life that is a violation of the criminal laws of the
United States and any State, or that would be a
criminal violation if committed within the
jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; and
[B] appears to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce
a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of
a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to
affect the conduct of a government by assassination or

This footnote and its reference is found on page 16 of
Chomsky’s book, and given the “repetitive format” it
is unlikely Shapiro missed it by accident. Another
example of Shapiro’s critical negligence is his
confusion of evidence for two different lines of
argument. The passage states:

At the beginning of 9-11, Chomsky briefly puts aside
his virulent anti-Americanism to label the Sept. 11
attacks as "horrifying atrocities." But pretty soon,
he declares that bin Laden's "call for the overthrow
of corrupt and brutal regimes of gangsters and
torturers resonates quite widely." And rather than
pursuing bin Laden, Chomsky suggests that it would
"make a lot more sense" to "consider realistically the
background concerns and grievances, and to try to
remedy them."

Chomsky's grievances have little to do with al-Qaeda's
purported agenda. Justifying his explosive claim that
America is a "leading terrorist state," Chomsky trots
out everything from the near-extermination of American
Indians to the conquest of northern Mexico. But his
real fury is directed at Ronald Reagan's intervention
on behalf of the Nicaraguan contras, a proxy war that
he describes as "extraordinary in scale and

The “declaration” that bin Laden’s motives resonate
widely is confirmed by the Wall Street Journal (Sept.
14, 2001) in a survey of wealthy Muslims in the Middle
East. They express much of the same resentment against
U.S. policy that bin Laden exploits for his fiendish
cause. Yet, the “concerns and grievances” Chomsky
alludes to in the first paragraph are not to be
confused with the examples of United States terrorism
given in the second. Shapiro establishes only his
duplicity by suggesting a connection with this
“So what if bin Laden is not exactly obsessed with
Latin American history? So what if Reagan left office
13 years ago? In the Chomsky lexicon, everything is
"blow-back" from the CIA's prior excesses.”

Noticeably absent from Shapiro’s account is another
“repetitive” fact: the United States stands convicted
of “unlawful use of force” by the International Court
of Justice for the terrorism committed against

Amid Shapiro’s flaccid critique is the usual charge of
“false [moral] equivalence” levied against any and all
who demand that we adhere to the same principles we
implore others to uphold. That is to say it is a smear
against those who refuse to indulge in hypocrisy.
Shapiro uses here Chomsky’s comparison of the
destruction of the Sudanese pharmaceutical plant with
the September 11 atrocity to demonstrate this outrage
of consistency. Of course, the fact is that the
Sudanese attack remains a much worse crime. The tens
of thousands of deaths that resulted from the attack
is an estimate, as Chomsky readily concedes. It is
only an estimate because there is no interest by the
powerful to account for the damage caused by their
violence. That many more died in the Sudan than in the
World Trade Center is not in doubt. Further, when
listing the crimes of official enemies, the body
counts comprise all who perished as a result of the
enemies actions, not only the instant toll.

Intellectuals like Shapiro are successful to the
extent they maintain the illusions required by the
powerful. As Chomsky is a different species
altogether, one who maintains an allergy to hypocrisy
and propaganda, it is quite understandable that any
threat to power be ignored if possible, and
marginalized if not. Perhaps Shapiro’s strategy will
work and discourage people from bothering with Noam
Chomsky, but I suspect it will also ignite curiosity
among those who have tired of received nonsense.

Matt Brown
Boston, MA

• • • • •

Friday, May 10, 2002


It seems that the warbloggers are broke. Check out Matt Welch:

"Ain’t Too Proud, etc.: Just because I’m a “web-renowned” would-be newspaper co-founder, described by some as one of the “best liberal bloggers,” by others as one of “the blogosphere’s great college dropouts,” (thanks Glenn & Virginia!), well, none of that means I’m not broke. This media scheming is fun and all, but so far it’s been all talk, no top-hats. As a result, I’m broker than a three-dollar bill. Shoot, I’m broker than the L.A. Unified School District! I’m more broke than my own shower head, or Andrew Sullivan's plumbing. … Sorry. Anyways, this is my pathetic monthly reminder that just over to your left you’ll find a PayPal button and an Amazon tip-jar. Further below, you’ll see links to some book & CD titles I highly recommend, and if you click & buy, I get a cut (even if you click on the Amazon button and buy a Gnome Chomsky book, I get a small cut of that). With any luck (and a lot of hard work), this will be the last time I embarrass myself like this. Thanks, pals!"

And Charles Johnson:

"Our web host has been going downhill fast, folks; that’s why LGF is loading very slowly of late. I don’t want to get all Jerry Lewis about it, but if you’d like to see our site get faster, you can help by contributing to the weblog fund through our Paypal or Amazon buttons. We don’t need a whole lot more money to afford a better host; any amount you can donate will be greatly appreciated, and will go toward improving the site for everyone. Thank you. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming."

I guess this is what's supposed the replace the social safety net; Pay Pal! Get a haircut and get a real job!
- gainfully employed, Eric A. Blair

• • • • •


John Hopkins over at outlines his middle east peace plan:

"My Middle Eastern Peace Plan: Here's my peace plan for the Middle East. Israel should mount a full military invasion of the disputed territories. They should dismantle the PA, blow Arafat's brains out, and place the entire area under full military rule. Then they should spend the next few months hunting down terrorists, disarming the Palestinians, and crushing every sign of resistance. After a month or two of this the Palestinians will be demoralized and totally incapable of continuing the fight. At that point, the Israelis impose peace on their own terms and they set up checkpoints and barriers between Israel and the new State of Palestinian. They should also make it clear that any terrorist attacks will be met will awesome, overwhelming, murderous retaliation. It should also be made clear that if the Palestinians can't live with that deal, then the Israelis will drive every Palestinian in the disputed territories into Jordan and Syria and the disputed territories will be forever more part of Israel. If any of the surrounding States get involved, Israel should obliterate their armies, take some of their land and make it clear it won't be given back."

Fuckheads like this are mentally ill. Why waste your time blogging when you could be plotting out a happy face on a map of a America, nutball?
- Eric A. Blair

• • • • •

Friday, May 03, 2002


Surprisingly, Reason magazine has a great parody of our war-lovin', black and gay-hatin' chums over at the Corner:

"THE MORE THINGS CHANGE... [Rod Dribbler] An American friend who joined the Aryan Nation has been shocked by the open anti-Semitism he encounters there. My friend, who happens to be Christian, writes, "When you join a fascist youth group, the first thing you notice is a lot of loose talk about the Jews. The truly awful exterminationist sentiments come later. I'm not an anti-Zionist; I just enjoy the butch outfits. But the party line makes it difficult for me to get along - very strange."
Posted 9:16 AM"

"WHY NOT JUST NUKE THE FRENCH?: [Andrew Stutterer] David Horowitz has an interesting observation: If you don't count his anti-tax policies, his zero-tolerance crime prevention plan, his plans to repeal abortion laws, stop immigration, and beef up the military, his opposition to public schools and his support for Israel, there's very little difference between Le Pen's policies and those of the extreme anti-globalization left.
Posted 8:54 AM"

• • • • •

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