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How Can You Discredit Cold-Blooded Killers?

I'll keep this short. It's far too beautiful a day to dwell on things that set my teeth chattering -- like Naomi Klein. But alas, Klein -- who has been a respected luminary among a young generation of dissidents-- now seems to be headed defintively around the bend. After her piece of a few weeks ago flakking for Moqtada Al Sadr which I and and others spent some time fisking, Naomi's back this week with another whopper. This time she and co-author Jermy Scahill write in The Guardian that the recent Baghdad kidnappings of two Italian peace workers were likely carried out not by the good guys in the Islamic resistance, but rather by the bad guys in un-named "foreign intelligence services" whose operatives apparently speak... English. One problem with Naomi's story. It has no sources. And no facts. If one of my USC journalism students had dared to turn such a thread-bare piece of unsupported reporting I would have him or her thrown out of the school. Hurry Up Harry does a quick and dirty job of dispensing with this piece. Take a look. But allow me to join in his amazement over Klein and Scahill's staggering assertion that the motive for such a kidnapping by CIA agents would be to "discredit the resistance" and "justify the brutal occupation." What?? The Bush administration has been justifying the occupation now for 16 months and hardly needs to invent the kidnapping of two peace workers to continue. But the really scary part is that, apparently, in the eyes of Scahill and Klein, the resistance's penchant for blowing up dozens of civilians at a time with car bombs and carrying out beheadings of other innocent workers doesn't already qualify them for "discrediting." My God, we've come to this? Scahill already has an established record of producing blatantly pro-Saddam and pro-Milosevic pieces for his Democracy Now! employers. No surprise that this new nonsense comes from him. But from Naomi Klein I would expect more. At least, I used to.

70 Responses to “How Can You Discredit Cold-Blooded Killers?”

  1. steve Says:

    your criticiism of their not having any ‘sources’ seems like a rather cheap cheap shot. Is the piece a journalistic article or is it a commentary? Hint: the latter.

  2. also steve Says:

    What’s the big deal about Naomi Klein omitting facts? You yourself told your blog readers that Muqtada al-Sadr had no significant support in the country, when polls indicated only a couple of months ago that he was Iraq’s second most popular leader. Physician, heal thyself.

  3. santo Says:

    Oh dear — yet another attack on Klein. How brave and absolutely necessary. Methinks that Marc’s balance has been severely affected, by what I can’t say. But when he tees off on Klein for being pro-Sadr (and I’ve yet seen a clear and unambiguous statement by her making such a claim), yet glosses over his “bud” Totten’s calls for murdering al-Sadr (in language that would make Saddam smile, given that Saddam had the same opinion when in power), one is tempted to surmise that Marc’s hearing in his right ear is fading fast, while the hearing in his left ear has become amplified to the point of distortion and buzzing. I know that saying this on Marc’s blog will push him to write, once again, that he’s sorry he’s not radical enough for me, that his hair shirt’s at the cleaners, etc. But one must state what one sees.

  4. santo Says:

    What what’s with this “formidable foe” description of that Scaife-drenched nut Horowtiz? Hellllllooo, Marc! I’m speaking in your right ear — can you hear me????

    POP. BUZZZZZ. CRACKLE.

  5. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Santo,

    Go ahead and argue that killing Moqtada al Sadr would be counterproductive, would only make him a “martyr,” or whatnot. You may be right. But killing the enemy in war is not “murder.” You do know that Moqtada al Sadr is an enemy of the United States, right? He’s not a neutral. And he certainly isn’t an ally.

    If Moqtada al Sadr really does decide to lay down his guns once and for all and morph into Iraq’s Pat Robertson, that’s fine with me. Somebody has to be Iraq’s Pat Robertson. But when he’s killing our boys he is a legitimate military target. He is not a head of state that has any kind of immunity.

  6. santo Says:

    Totten — you have the same opinion of al-Sadr as did (does?) Saddam. Also, the same prescription. That’s telling. What happened to all the lib hawk tears for the Shi’a when Saddam was steamrolling them? How is it that, overnight, those Saddam had targeted for elimination became our targets too? Because they won’t get with the privatization program? Because they bristle under a violent, foreign occupation? Funny how this “liberation” has become a version of Saddam Lite, while the original, in his cell, laughs to himself and wonders what the fuss was about.

  7. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Santo,

    I advocated killing al Sadr only in the heat of battle when he vowed to fight to his “last drop of blood.” That’s hardly a Saddamite prescription. If Sadr wants to be an anti-American dissident, fine. He shouldn’t be killed for *that*.

    If you declare war on someone you have to expect that you’ll be shot at for your efforts. That’s just the way these things work.

    Saddam Hussein bulldozed people for being born Kurdish or because they rolled their eyes at one of his statues. Go ahead and lump me in with him if it makes you feel better, but I think most people are well aware that returning fire differs pretty substantially from committing genocide.

  8. steve Says:

    If you declare war on someone you have to expect that you’ll be shot at for your efforts. That’s just the way these things work.

    –it’s easy for armchair warriors to talk this way. this is especially so if your immediate relatives’ lives are not on the line in a war fought to help a president get reelected. but if you really wanna see troop deaths reduced, calling for al sadr’s murder is hardly the way to accomplish that.

    furthermore, in what way is al sadr an ‘enemy’ of america? you mean he’s an enemy of the occupation? well, that makes most iraqis enemies i guess. if the US left tomorrow, al sadr would be back to dealing with Iraqi problems minus having the US around to deal with. there is no indication that al sadr comes from a long line of hating americans or has in any sense indicated an interest in expanding his leadership to a broader agenda of challenging the US in the international arena. So, I’m curious, outside of doing what the majority of Iraqis do, resisting the occupation, how is Al Sadr an ‘enemy’ of the US and if he is an ‘enemy’ of the US, why is the US negotiating with him? ditto the US appointed mayor Allawi?

  9. steve Says:

    If you declare war on someone you have to expect that you’ll be shot at for your efforts. That’s just the way these things work.

    –it’s easy for armchair warriors to talk this way. this is especially so if your immediate relatives’ lives are not on the line in a war fought to help a president get reelected. but if you really wanna see troop deaths reduced, calling for al sadr’s murder is hardly the way to accomplish that.

    furthermore, in what way is al sadr an ‘enemy’ of america? you mean he’s an enemy of the occupation? well, that makes most iraqis enemies i guess. if the US left tomorrow, al sadr would be back to dealing with Iraqi problems minus having the US around to deal with. there is no indication that al sadr comes from a long line of hating americans or has in any sense indicated an interest in expanding his leadership to a broader agenda of challenging the US in the international arena. So, I’m curious, outside of doing what the majority of Iraqis do, resisting the occupation, how is Al Sadr an ‘enemy’ of the US and if he is an ‘enemy’ of the US, why is the US negotiating with him? ditto the US appointed mayor Allawi?

  10. santo Says:

    Totten — Ha! What thin slicing of a distinction. Saddam lived with those who hated him — if not, he would have slaughtered tens of millions. But he did not take kindly to those who rose against his rule, as the Shi’a did in ’91 (at the urging of GHWB, who then sat back to watch his old ally do what originally endeared him to the West). Those mass graves that the likes of you used as justification for this invasion are evidence of that, just as the mass graves we are helping to fill this minute are evidence that we, and our puppet Allawi, have taken a bloody page from Saddam’s playbook. Fool yourself all you like, but you and the Beast have more in common than you’ll ever admit.

  11. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Santo: “Fool yourself all you like, but you and the Beast have more in common than you’ll ever admit.”

    Nice logic and moral equivalency there.

    “Saddam used force. And Saddam was a genocidal fascist. Therefore everyone who uses force is a genocidal fascist.”

    You think our soldiers shouldn’t fight back when they get shot at? What would you have them do instead? Play Ghandi? Run away? Surrender?

    There is an argument for not killing Sadr even in the heat of battle, but you have not yet figured out what it is.

  12. santo Says:

    “Saddam used force. And Saddam was a genocidal fascist. Therefore everyone who uses force is a genocidal fascist.”

    Wow — this is dumb. Think past cliches for a second and look at history. Saddam slaughtered the Shi’a because they raised arms against him. The US is slaughtering Shi’a because they raise arms against us. There’s your equation, and a pretty obvious one at that, especially when you add in that we supported Saddam’s slaughter of the Shi’a — till it was useful for propaganda purposes — then, in retrospect (erasing our approval) we denounced it. Do you hear the music yet, Totten? Do you hear anything?

  13. Marc Cooper Says:

    Santo.. what a simple world you live in. I think you know very well that the view of the Shia toward the U.S. is infinitely more complex than you portray it. Indeed, one of the reasons that the immensely more popular (than Sadr) Ayatollah Sistani has been playing a nuanced and skillful game of footsie with the occupation is that precisely because of Saddam’s record the Ayatollah backed his overthrow. He also knows that the instrument of that overthrow — the U.S.– presents a whole set of new problems for the Shia, but in the meantime at least cracks open the door for their self-determination and some real, if not dominant, quota of political power. But I know this is a pointless debate with you.. your anger and rage is palpable. Which is certainly your right… but why not try dialoguing with those you oppose rather than just slinging accusations at them?

    I would also urge you (but not require you) to affix ur email address. Doing so would reveal a bit more of a stake in the discussion.

  14. steve Says:

    Indeed, one of the reasons that the immensely more popular (than Sadr) Ayatollah Sistani has been playing a nuanced and skillful game of footsie with the occupation is that precisely because of Saddam’s record the Ayatollah backed his overthrow.

    –you seem to overlook that he has been playing a game of footsie with al sadr. in fact, he’s played more of that game with al sadr, with whom he’ll meet [yes, sistani the good shiite will meet with the 'enemy' of the US], while he refuses to meet in person with the US occupation forces.

    Possibly it’s Totten who lives in a simple world, believing against all the thinking of the US military and politicians that killing Al Sadr would somehow bring peace to Iraq or move it toward peace. I mean, if there ever were a simplistic stance to take, or even, dare I say, naive as can be, well…there ya have it.

    Actually, there’s the irony again, Totten loves to go after people who disagree with his odd interpretation of the ongoing US occupation of Iraq as being “against the troops”…yet can ya think of a better way to guarantee more troops being killed than setting off a civil war in the aftermath of killing Al Sadr?

  15. GMRoper Says:

    Totally OT, well, maybe not. A great read on Chomsky. Should be read by every leftist, centrist and rightest. http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/23/sept04/keith.htm

  16. steve Says:

    He once supported the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, claiming the genocidal evacuation of Phnom Penh in 1976 was due to a failed rice crop and “may actually have saved many lives.”

    –wow, this guy just makes stuff up after starting the article out with insult after insult. he supported Pol Pot, what a joke. It’s more like the president during the 80′s, whom the author of this attack supported, was directly supportive of Pol Pot [for realist reasons surely...].

  17. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Steve: “Totten loves to go after people who disagree with his odd interpretation of the ongoing US occupation of Iraq as being “against the troops”…”

    I do? Since when? Quote me. And I don’t mean paraphrase me, quote me.

    I’ll help you out. Go to my blog. Type the phrase “against the troops” into my search box and see what you come up with.

    I’ll help you out even further. If you enter that phrase in quotation marks you will come up with absolutely nothing. I have never typed that phrase in print. Ever.

    If you type those three words into the search box without wrapping them in quotes, you will find a few posts that happen to have those three words in them somewhere, but those words do not appear in the same sentence let alone consecutively.

    Then broaden your search. Go to Google. Type the phrases “against the troops” and “Michael J. Totten” into the search box. Enjoy the search results. I *assure* you it won’t take you very long to sift through all four of them or to notice, once again, that I never typed those three words in a row until just this minute while quoting you back at yourself.

  18. steve Says:

    oh great, i’ve been ‘gotcha’d’. yes, you’ve not printed those exact words, as though that is the point. how about ‘anti-US’, ‘anti-american’? would it be a stretch that you’ve characterized people as anti-american who have supported the right of Iraqis to armed resistance against the occupation? Or that if you support the right to resistance that you don’t ‘support the troops’?

    And I remain utterly amazed that someone who insists that ‘support for the troops’ is so important would call for something so incredibly dangerous for the troops remaining ability to live–namely the killing of Al Sadr.

  19. steve Says:

    Liberals support the troops. Leftists support the Iraqi Baathist resistance and put “terrorism” in sneer quotes.

    http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/000222.html

  20. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Steve: “would it be a stretch that you’ve characterized people as anti-american who have supported the right of Iraqis to armed resistance against the occupation? Or that if you support the right to resistance that you don’t ‘support the troops’? ”

    No, that is not a stretch. That is an accurate representation of my view. And I stand by it.

    You can’t support the troops if you support the people who kill the troops. And you can’t be pro-American if you are a cheerleader for people who kill Americans.

    You’ll notice that I made a distinction between liberals and leftists. I very specifically stated (in the quote you excerpted) that liberals DO support the troops with the full knowledge that many if not most liberals do *not* support the war in Iraq.

  21. steve Says:

    –And you can’t be pro-American if you are a cheerleader for people who kill Americans.

    –Mussolini would have been proud of you if you were an Italian speaking to Italians during WW 2. Hate to tell ya Michael, it might break your heart, but being a member of a democracy means being a citizen with the capacity to criticise your government’s participation in wars of choice and pointless death and destruction. So, possibly an Italian under Mussolini could be reasonably expected to oppose uneqivocally the right of Ethiopians to resist Italians through armed resistance. That an American, free of the constraint of a fascist government in power, should feel so inclined to insist on thinking is astounding.

    Guess what Michael, gasp (!) I also think that Vietnamese had the right to resist American occupiers in their battle for sovereignty. Supporting that right was also the best guarantee that American troops would be sent home earlier to their kids alive. Ditto Iraq.

    You’ll notice that I made a distinction between liberals and leftists. I very specifically stated (in the quote you excerpted) that liberals DO support the troops with the full knowledge that many if not most liberals do *not* support the war in Iraq.

    –calling for the murder of Al Sadr is not liberal nor does it support the troops in any serious fashion outside armchair warrior sloganeering, 1, and 2, your distinction is bizarre. Martin Luther King was a leftist. And hate to break it to you, Kucinich is a dye in the wool Roosevelt Liberal.

  22. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Steve: “calling for the murder of Al Sadr is not liberal”

    Maybe not, but let me explain War 101 to you.

    Intentionally killing unarmed civilians during war is murder.

    Killing a self-declared enemy on the battlefield is not murder.

    That’s why the first is a war crime and the second is not.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    GMRoper — The critique of Chomsky’s work is interesting to read. It’s not very specific. Perhaps the book is. But the critique does get one thing wrong — Chomsky really DID do fundamental work of the highest order on transformational grammars in the 1950s. The two basic papers are -

    “Three models for the description of languages”, IRE Trans. on Information Theory, vol 2 no 3, 1956.

    “On certain formal properties of grammars”, Inform. and Control, vol 2 no 2, 1959.

    They’re math papers, so assumptions are stated and theorems are proved — the results are not open to later re-interpretation by liberals or conservatives. ;-)

    There was a major flowering of mathematical work on abstracted transformational models for language (e.g., computer languages) in this period, and Chomsky was one of the main figures. The idea was to define several classes of models (there turned out to be four) and explore what machines (i.e., computer capabilities) would be needed to parse sentences (e.g., computer programs) generated by these four model classes. Some of the best mathematicians of the last century, such as Alan Turing and Alonzo Church, contributed to this theory.

    These papers and the related work is used by computer scientists and engineers, who need to build real parsers for computer languages (including HTML). It is also the starting point for the speech processing and automatic translation software that you’re starting to see.

    Chomsky’s later work on “natural language” — like English — is not familiar to me. But the article you reference is dead wrong in missing these fundamental contributions to mathematics.

    I just googled and found the following link which summarizes these achievements:

    encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Chomsky%20hierarchy

  24. Michael Turmon Says:

    The above Chomsky commentary is mine — somehow the link was omitted.

    Mike

  25. steve Says:

    Intentionally killing unarmed civilians during war is murder.

    –but dropping god knows how many tons of bombs on residential neighborhoods, illegally invading countries to help a president with his reelection chances, shooting into crowds of unarmed demonstrators,…that is ok. I see.

    And are you saying that Sadr is involved in the kidnappings? I haven’t heard that from the US military. So, now I’m to believe that Allawi, the US chosen mayor of Baghdad, who couldn’t last a day without US approval, is knowingly negotiating with a person who has been involved in the kidnappings of Americans and Iraqis and other nationals? This war only gets more bizarre with every passing day.

    Killing a self-declared enemy on the battlefield is not murder.

    –hmmm…I’d say it’s murder. It’s knowingly acting in a fashion that will result in many more unnecessary deaths of the very people you claim to support, namely US occupying troops in Iraq. It is for this reason that most military disagree with your calls for murder of Al Sadr, which would only result in more unnecessary and pointless deaths of Americans.

    But, I’m glad to get a ‘war 101′ lesson from a person who has had exactly the same amount of experience in actual warfare as myself: Zero.

  26. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Me: “Killing a self-declared enemy on the battlefield is not murder.

    Steve: “–hmmm…I’d say it’s murder.”

    Sigh.

    Murder is a crime in this country. If killing the enemy in war were murder every single one of our soldiers would stand trial for it.

    Not only do soldiers *not* stand trial in this country for killing the enemy, they do not do so in any country. Ever.

    I’m real sorry if this bothers you, but that’s just the way the world is and it’s the way it always has been. We don’t say “war is hell” for nothing, you know.

    I swear, Steve, it won’t kill you to break out of Peacenik Studies for a few hours and read a little military history.

  27. Josh Legere Says:

    How on earth can anyone try to justify this dreadful piece of crap that Klein and Scahill wrote?

    But this is not about stale New Lefties like Chomsky and Herman; this is about Klein and Scahill making absolutely unfounded and absurd claims.

    First off. Is the resistance by any of these Jihadists the least bit legitimate? The answer is NO. They are Islamo Fascists that will bring much more misery to Iraq than the US could hope to bring. Lets hope that Steve and his ilk will not affirm the Jihadists and drift into never never land. I hear a lot of Arabic music on Democracy Now! Will lefties be chanting “Al Sadr, Al Sadr” at protests? Is this the road to go down?

    Klein and Scahill are following the same pattern that many of the fringe New Left did in the late 60′s. Much of the Pacifica types have been heading towards Weatherman territory for a while now.

    Many Leftists I have spoken with justify Klein’s indulgence by blaming the war. The common response is “the war made her crazy.”

    Heindrick Hertzberg had a good quote about the Weatherman that applies to Klein, Scahill, Democracy Now, sadly much of The Nation these days, “They do their own unthinking…. To be thus freed from the responsibility of thought is an exhilarating experience. It is pleasant to ride the tide of ‘history’ without having to worry about the political (let alone the moral) consequences. It is thrilling to give oneself over wholly to mindless action without having to face the travail of doubt.”

    What Scahill and Klein are trying to argue is a moral disgrace. These Jihadists are

    A. Not Legitimate

    B. Are potentially much worse than the current US Occupation

    C. Indeed tried and true Fascists that NO leftist should attempt to defend.

    I am as much of a Leftist as I have ever been and I would whole-heartedly love to see US troops defeat Islamic Fascism. That is a morally consistent position NOT clouded by self-hatred or anti-Americanism.

    The Left SHOULD be critical of the war and occupation. But the left SHOULD NOT become so reflexively anit-American that it takes the side of religious fascists.

    The Left is losing the opportunity to prove that it supports democracy (something that it has not done historically). The Left should support the possibility of secular democracy in Iraq even if it means supporting the US against illegitimate Islamo Fascists. This position is the moral position to take. This does not mean that the Left supports this misguided war. Nor is it support for imperialism or Bush. It is simple. The left needs to oppose Fascism at any cost.

    The left can break the pattern of the Communist Parties support of Stalinism and the New Lefts mindless sectarianism. Otherwise it will continue into the wilderness.

  28. Josh Legere Says:

    Yes Chomsky and Herman did and continue to this day to downplay the genocide in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge. Read “A Problem From Hell” by Samantha Power and it will surely shatter the Chomsky myth on this.

    Chomsky at the very least had downplayed the slaughter by using the lowest death estimates. He also likes to use the highest body counts when referring to East Timor.

    I don’t think it is fair to accuse someone of being “right wing” because they find value in David Horowitz’s work. Every Leftist should read Destructive Generation and Radical Son as well as Tom Hayden’s Rebel and Todd Gitlin’s Days of Rage. What is wrong with reading the other side?

    Marc Cooper, Heindrick Hertzberg, Todd Gitlin, and many others on the Left are trying to save the Left from itself. I urge them to continue despite the onslaught of insanity from the more vocal nuts that take up so much space in left discourse.

    But members of the Chomsky/Pacifica cult cannot read anything that questions their assumptions. That is too difficult.

    One is not Right Wing because he finds fault with someone on the Left. That is silly thinking.

  29. Josh Legere Says:

    Another irony is that many on the left like Steve become pacifists when the US is fighting fascists like Al Sadr but worship the likes of Che Guevara and the Black Panthers who were rather Un-Pacifist.

    When did pacifism become the only position of liberals and the Left? Should we drop Gandhi books on Sadr and ask him not to whip women who do not cover their ankles?

    I am a leftist and see no problem with the violent death of Al Sadr or any other Jihadist in Iraq or Afghanistan who hopes to force women into a subordinate position. That is not an endorsement of the invasion or Bush but rather a choice. Yes the US has many ills but they pale in comparison to the vision of Islamic fascism.

  30. steve Says:

    totten writes: If killing the enemy in war were murder every single one of our soldiers would stand trial for it.

    –sigh. i notice you cut out the rest of what I wrote, taking my comments a tad out of context?

    Murder is a crime in this country. If killing the enemy in war were murder every single one of our soldiers would stand trial for it.

    –as though i’ve even remotely questioned that or consider it an issue at hand.

    —-

    I’m real sorry if this bothers you, but that’s just the way the world is and it’s the way it always has been. We don’t say “war is hell” for nothing, you know.

    –again, banal and utterly uncontested by me.

    I swear, Steve, it won’t kill you to break out of Peacenik Studies for a few hours and read a little military history.

    –non-sequitor. i’m not a pacifist, or I wouldn’t support the right of Iraqis to armed resistance against an illegal and pointless occupation by the US.

    Josh tells us:

    First off. Is the resistance by any of these Jihadists the least bit legitimate?

    –Josh now breaks ranks with countless generals, god knows how many soldiers, corporate news organizations, that indicate quite reasonably that the resistance is hardly isolated to or caused by outsiders. Maybe that explanation is good enough for Rumsfeld, that Legere a leftist buys into is…well…

    The answer is NO. They are Islamo Fascists that will bring much more misery to Iraq than the US could hope to bring.

    –at this point that would be quite a hat trick to pull off, we’ve made that a none too easy feat indeed.

    -

    Lets hope that Steve and his ilk will not affirm the Jihadists and drift into never never land.

    –just who do you mean by jihadist? if you mean the ordinary resistance leaders that people like phil robertson have interviewed for the corporate Time Magazine…well my impression is that that makes up the majority of Iraqis. I sense what you mean by jihadist is anyone opposed to the US occupation and who is Muslim…

    I hear a lot of Arabic music on Democracy Now! Will lefties be chanting “Al Sadr, Al Sadr” at protests? Is this the road to go down?

    –I know, how dare they play Arabic music.

    The Left SHOULD be critical of the war and occupation. But the left SHOULD NOT become so reflexively anit-American that it takes the side of religious fascists.

    –odd, I guess you missed that business about Sadr being a theocrat, wanting an islamic republic,…

    Another irony is that many on the left like Steve become pacifists when the US is fighting fascists like Al Sadr but worship the likes of Che Guevara and the Black Panthers who were rather Un-Pacifist.

    –odd, I dont’ recall ever saying I was a pacifist. i do think tactically it’s the best choice in most cases, but hardly the only one. in fact, what most angers Josh and Totten is that I *do* support the right to armed resistance against pointless and unnecessary occupations.

  31. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Josh Legere: “Marc Cooper, Heindrick Hertzberg, Todd Gitlin, and many others on the Left are trying to save the Left from itself. I urge them to continue despite the onslaught of insanity from the more vocal nuts that take up so much space in left discourse.”

    I am sorry to say that I gave this fight up a while back. I have not, however, joined the Republicans. I just can’t, for reasons that probably don’t need to be explained here.

    It was harder for me to stay because I committed the ultimate sin: I supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and I did so on proper left-wing anti-fascist grounds. But I’m glad you’re still there, Josh. And the same goes for you, Marc. If you two represented the majority on the left I would not have felt the need to go anywhere.

  32. steve Says:

    If you two represented the majority on the left I would not have felt the need to go anywhere.

    —why should the left give up its tradition of opposition to pointless and unnecessary wars of choice that only create more death and destruction and nothing in the way of serious resolutions to real and pressing problems of the day? If the best we can do is to support Bush’s military adventures for the sake of showing our ‘patriotism’, heck we should all vote for Bush and throw in the towel. but surely we can do better than that?

  33. Josh Legere Says:

    I did not say that the resistance is caused by outsiders. But they are undeniably involved.

    The resistance is far from widespread. It is a rather small group of an estimated 20,000.

    You have no proof of what the Iraqi people want in the form of government. Elections will reflect that.

    We do know that Iraq has three distinctive groups (Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis) that will surely fight one another the day we leave.

    Are you under the delusion that the Judaists like Sadr want secular democracy?

    Do you really think that life under Sharia Law will be better than the occupation? Do you think that a civil war between three ethnic/religious groups will not be worse than the occupation? Are you insane?

    Jihadists are not “ordinary resistance leaders.” The “resistance” in Iraq is not being led by ordinary folks. It is being led by Islamic Fascists who are using this occupation as an opportunity to gain power. Once they do gain power they will impose the misery of Sharia Law on the Iraqi people. Those that are resisting the occupation are NOT for secular democracy but rather for a pure Islamic state guided by pure 2000 year old religious law.

    It is good to see that you are at least open about your support for the Islamo-Fascits. Again you are just following in the sad pattern among the sectarian self hating American left of supporting un-democratic forces just because they are opposing the “Amerikan Empire.” Reason has been lost.

    The left has a choice. It might not be a good choice but it is a choice. The left has to decide what is worse for the Iraqi people; American imperialism or Sharia Law via Islamic Fascism. By legitimizing the resistance, Steve is choosing the latter.

    I guess Steve and the Democracy Now brigade will soon take the streets to pour acid in the face of women who are not totally covered while chanting “AL AL AL SADR.” The Arabic music is of course a passive aggressive way of Amy Goodman showing solidarity with Islam. But when one looks at fundamentalist (or even moderate for that matter) Islam and its absolute incompatibility with modernity and secularism it should be evident how counter these forces are to left values. Take a look at Iran. That is Steve’s vision for the future of Iraq. Drifting into the wilderness… Oh how sad it is.

  34. Josh Legere Says:

    Steve – What should the left support the lunatics who behead innocent foreign workers because they are resisting the “Amerikan Empire?”

    Michael – I understand why you gave up. Steve’s reasoning is why the left in the US is so damn marginalized.

    It might make more sense to be a “freelance radical.” Let’s hope that a legitimate democratic left will emerge when the current Klein/Chomsky left totally disintegrates.

  35. steve Says:

    The resistance is far from widespread. It is a rather small group of an estimated 20,000

    –That’s “small”? After how many have been killed by the US already no less? wow.

    You have no proof of what the Iraqi people want in the form of government. Elections will reflect that.

    –elections, under present conditions? sure josh, ok.

    -

    We do know that Iraq has three distinctive groups (Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis) that will surely fight one another the day we leave.

    –without the power of a crystal ball, i turn to people like juan cole, who indicate that is but one of a number of possibilities. you forget that there are ways to leave and ensure that that is not the outcome. and you presume without any real evidence that Iraq is on the brink of a civil war of its own making.

    Are you under the delusion that the Judaists like Sadr want secular democracy?

    –Judaists? well, no, but then again how is that the issue at hand. is it the jihadists (though what do you mean by that anyhow, you mean sunni jihadist, shia jihadist, average jihadist,…just what do you mean by ‘jihadist’–the kids throwing rocks at the soldiers?)

    -

    Do you really think that life under Sharia Law will be better than the occupation?

    –I guess it would depend. It might be strict, repressive, austere,…and without the daily raping, looting, killing that is the routine now in Iraq. Then again, why you think Iraqis are incapable of making something other than a Taliban like society without the US occupying it is lost on me.

    Do you think that a civil war between three ethnic/religious groups will not be worse than the occupation? Are you insane?

    —I’m amazed at your crystal ball powers, but no I’m not inclined to believe that that is the ONLY POSSIBLE outcome of a departure of US occupiers. Nor are most analysts who are serious. And I don’t think Rumsfeld is a serious analyst, sorry.

    Jihadists are not “ordinary resistance leaders.” The “resistance” in Iraq is not being led by ordinary folks.

    –It rarely is anywhere. But you’re quite mistaken in your assessment according to corporate news journalists like Phil Robertson and even the Wall Street Journal reporters that have reported from Iraq.

    It is being led by Islamic Fascists who are using this occupation as an opportunity to gain power.

    –oh gee and occupation has nothing to do with increasing their legitimacy?

    Once they do gain power they will impose the misery of Sharia Law on the Iraqi people. Those that are resisting the occupation are NOT for secular democracy but rather for a pure Islamic state guided by pure 2000 year old religious law.

    —how in the world do you know this? do you read what mainstream journalists in the corporate media have been writing? are you paying attention to their interviews at all?

    -

    It is good to see that you are at least open about your support for the Islamo-Fascits.

    –I have no recollection of the words you put in my mouth.

    Again you are just following in the sad pattern among the sectarian self hating American left of supporting un-democratic forces just because they are opposing the “Amerikan Empire.” Reason has been lost.

    –by “self-hating”, here Josh is using a code for “anyone who disagrees with Josh”. Reason has been lost indeed.

    The left has a choice. It might not be a good choice but it is a choice. The left has to decide what is worse for the Iraqi people; American imperialism or Sharia Law via Islamic Fascism. By legitimizing the resistance, Steve is choosing the latter.

    –No, I would support resistance to both, a possibility you preclude by supporting the occupation. And, well, no, the Iraqis will choose for themselves what they want in the end I’m afraid.

    -

    I guess Steve and the Democracy Now brigade will soon take the streets to pour acid in the face of women who are not totally covered while chanting “AL AL AL SADR.”

    —really? and by keeping the occupation there longer we will somehow contribute to the decline in support for such politics? interesting theory.

    The Arabic music is of course a passive aggressive way of Amy Goodman showing solidarity with Islam.

    —Down with Islam I say!!

    —-

    But when one looks at fundamentalist (or even moderate for that matter) Islam and its absolute incompatibility with modernity and secularism it should be evident how counter these forces are to left values. Take a look at Iran.

    –Iran looks a whole lot better off than Iraq these days. They have elections that are no more shamful than in Jordan or Pakistan…Pakistan good–Iran Bad.

    That is Steve’s vision for the future of Iraq. Drifting into the wilderness… Oh how sad it is.

    –you forgot to correct yourself on your false assessment of me as a pacifist.

  36. Josh Legere Says:

    Let’s clarify Steve’s Pacifism position. For Steve, Pacifism is for United States foreign policy. The US must never use force because anytime it does for empire and to purposely kill innocent people. The US can NEVER do good in the world. But beheading innocent people is and blowing yourself up in a crowded square is legitimate resistance if you are an Islamic Fascist in Iraq. That is GOOD violence.

    20,000 resistance soldiers in a country of millions does not reflect a massive upheaval. It reflects more of a vanguard resistance.

    Read the recent CIA assessments of the situation. Yes civil war is a distinct possibility. Instability is the best case scenario.

    It is safe to assume that Islamic Fundamentalists will bring repressive form of totalitarian rule. Have you seen a moderate Islamic state? If they are moderate it is because they are ruled by a brutal secular dictator like Saddam.

    Yes the occupation is a disaster because the lack of security. What do you think will happen the day we leave? The looting and raping will stop when we leave? Really?

    I have not read one account by a mainstream journalist that believes that the resistance is led by secular democrats. Send the article. What do you think is Al Sadr’s vision? Klein knows. It is to impose a theocracy. She acknowledged that. I believe that occupation is better than theocracy.

    By legitimizing the resistance you are supporting Islamic Fundamentalism. You are supporting the lunatics that behead innocent workers. You are supporting THOSE tactics. You are supporting THAT maligned vision. That is the CONSEQUENCE of supporting the resistance.

    The Iraqi’s will only have a choice with elections. If we left today they would not have a choice. The most powerful forces (even though they have marginal support) will gain power because they have the guns. How can a Leftist NOT support elections?

    By securing the country and having elections is the only real choice that we have. It is the best case scenario.

    The Steve and Klein analysis will only rally more people behind Bush. Steve you are sitting this one out. You are excluding yourself from the debate by taking an indefensible position.

    Do you really think that the vision of fundamentalism and moderate Islam is compatible with left values or the modern world? Women are totally subordinated, even moderate Islam. Arranged marriages, stoning, etc… Sounds real liberating. Yes Islam for the most part IS bad. There is no form of Islam on earth that is compatible with a secular democratic system. Like all religions are bad in my opinion.

    Yes Pakistan and Syria have awful regimes. Pakistan Bad. Syria Bad. Iran Bad. Need we continue?

  37. steve Says:

    Let’s clarify Steve’s Pacifism position. For Steve, Pacifism is for United States foreign policy. The US must never use force because anytime it does for empire and to purposely kill innocent people. The US can NEVER do good in the world. But beheading innocent people is and blowing yourself up in a crowded square is legitimate resistance if you are an Islamic Fascist in Iraq. That is GOOD violence.

    –well, that’s odd, I would have supported intervention against the Spanish Republic in 1937 or against Germany and Italy in that period. Yet, I’m a ‘pacifist’. I’m not sure what you’re getting at other than making up new positions that you claim I’ve taken that I plainly don’t take.

    20,000 resistance soldiers in a country of millions does not reflect a massive upheaval. It reflects more of a vanguard resistance.

    –not according to many journalists that aren’t under the direct control of the military (reference the corporate magazine of record Time’s Phil Robertson) or even many military experts, soldiers on the ground,…

    -

    Read the recent CIA assessments of the situation. Yes civil war is a distinct possibility. Instability is the best case scenario.

    –sure, especially if we stay as occupiers. that is correct. Instability is the best scenario of our occupation, I’d agree.

    —-

    It is safe to assume that Islamic Fundamentalists will bring repressive form of totalitarian rule. Have you seen a moderate Islamic state? If they are moderate it is because they are ruled by a brutal secular dictator like Saddam.

    —I don’t see much moderate about the Saudi Royals, but the US is pretty cushy with them. No hints of preparations to send in the calvary. Ditto countless other dictator friends and fake democracies.

    Yes the occupation is a disaster because the lack of security. What do you think will happen the day we leave? The looting and raping will stop when we leave? Really?

    —well, let’s see, why not? the resistance is primarily aimed at getting the US out of Iraq. Since the invasion was not designed to get rid of a dictator in the first place, nor designed to create real sovereignty…it’s hard to imagine the resistance going away. you can send you own kin to die in Iraq if you’re so inclined. I’ll help mine off to Canada if they’re ever drafted for such adventures. Ditto any other kid who wants my help. You can lecture them about their lack of patriotism and lack of international solidarity with the Iraqi oppressed.

    -

    I have not read one account by a mainstream journalist that believes that the resistance is led by secular democrats.

    –who said that? I said they’re not a monolithic entity–i.e. Taliban sharia, which seems to be your impression. Indeed, here’s the irony, the bogeyman of your narrative is Al Sadr, a theocrat with little in the way of democractic motives [as Klein correctly stated clearly unbeknownst to some] has denounced the kidnappings and beheadings. So just where is this monolithic taliban sharia force that you so believe makes the Iraqi resistance?

    Send the article. What do you think is Al Sadr’s vision? Klein knows. It is to impose a theocracy. She acknowledged that. I believe that occupation is better than theocracy.

    –oh my gosh, i’m wrong, you actually acknowledge that Klein said that. That puts you leagues ahead of those who write sardonic screeds against her.

    -

    By legitimizing the resistance you are supporting Islamic Fundamentalism. You are supporting the lunatics that behead innocent workers. You are supporting THOSE tactics. You are supporting THAT maligned vision. That is the CONSEQUENCE of supporting the resistance.

    –I respectfully disagree. By not supporting the resistance, or the right to resistance better, you show your support for an illegal resistance that only stands to create more and more enemies of the US.

    The Iraqi’s will only have a choice with elections. If we left today they would not have a choice. The most powerful forces (even though they have marginal support) will gain power because they have the guns. How can a Leftist NOT support elections?

    –elections under US occupation conducted under the watch of Mayor Allawi and Viceroy Negroponte would be farcical at best. I do support elections, but not fake ones.

    By securing the country and having elections is the only real choice that we have. It is the best case scenario.

    —you might be right, after all I don’t have a crystal ball. However, my sense from reading people like Juan Cole [and I pray he is not evil in your book] is that the occupation is only going to lead to further trends against democracy in Iraq.

    The Steve and Klein analysis will only rally more people behind Bush. Steve you are sitting this one out. You are excluding yourself from the debate by taking an indefensible position.

    – I disagree, it’s entirely defensible. I need not support the occupation, it is completely unproductive and doesn’t move the issue of democracy one inch forward. And that is the case even with the removal of Sodom from power.

    —-

    Do you really think that the vision of fundamentalism and moderate Islam is compatible with left values or the modern world?

    –gosh, now it’s not just the fundamentalists, it’s moderate islam we’re against. praytell, if there were elections held in Iraq, who do you think would win?

    Women are totally subordinated, even moderate Islam. Arranged marriages, stoning, etc…

    –I don’t recall that being a trend in Iraq under Saddam. If that is why we overthrew him, we really were mistaken.

    Sounds real liberating. Yes Islam for the most part IS bad.

    –wow, now this is really wierd. I don’t even hear Bush talking like this.

    —-

    There is no form of Islam on earth that is compatible with a secular democratic system. Like all religions are bad in my opinion.

    –I’m not big on organized religion, but what you write is really ahistorical slogans at best.

    Yes Pakistan and Syria have awful regimes. Pakistan Bad. Syria Bad. Iran Bad. Need we continue?

    –great. when do we bomb their capitals and send in the calvary?

  38. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Josh: “There is no form of Islam on earth that is compatible with a secular democratic system.”

    Turkey is a secular democracy. And just because the Arabs don’t have a democracy of their own today doesn’t mean they won’t later.

    There was a time not long ago when Latin Americans were pretty short on democracy, too. It looked like “Latin Americanism” could continue indefinitely. Then suddenly the Generals (most of ‘em, anyway) were shoved into oblivion.

    (Did you ever notice, by the way, that Manuel Noriega was hauled off to prison a mere month after the fall of the Berlin Wall? I don’t think the timing of that action was an accident, but it is only a hunch. We no longer had any use for “our bastards” down there, and taking out Noriega could very well have been a signal to the rest of that rotten bunch. I’m only guessing, though, honestly. Very little has been written into the history books about the intevention in Panama, although I’ll bet Chomsky has some sinister take on it.)

  39. Josh Legere Says:

    Michael – Surely you don’t think that religion prevented the growth of democracy in Latin America.

    Radical Islam’s grip prevents the possibility of secular democracy. Turkey is a secular democracy by force.

    Read Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman.

    And Yes Chomsky does have writing on Panama.

  40. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Josh,

    No, of course Latin America’s problems weren’t because of their religion. I only meant to point out that entire regions can be undemocratic until suddenly they aren’t. It happens.

    I agree with you about radical Islam being incompatible with democracy. But there is such a thing as liberal Islam, and even conservative Islam might be compatible with democracy in time. Ayatollah Sistani is strongly advocating democracy in Iraq, and he is using the Koran to back up his arguments.

    I have read Paul Berman’s “Terror and Liberalism.” It is fantastic. I wish more people would read it.

  41. steve Says:

    Very little has been written into the history books about the intevention in Panama, although I’ll bet Chomsky has some sinister take on it.)

    – “The US put the bankers back in power after the invasion. Noriega’s involvement in drug trafficking had been trivial compared to theirs. Drug trafficking there has always been conducted primarily by the banks-the banking system is virtually unregulated, so it’s a natural outlet for criminal money. This has been the basis for Panama’s highly artificial economy and remains so-possibly at a higher level-after the invasion. The Panamanian Defense Forces have also been reconstructed with basically the same officers. ”

    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Chomsky/ChomOdon_Panama.html

  42. Josh Legere Says:

    Oh the Everything Explainer Noam strikes again. I would love to see what obscure sources Chomsky pulled out for that analysis.

    I visited Panama in May of 03. Second to Costa Rica and it is the most stable country in Central America. Life is far from perfect but much better without Noriega. This is not necessarily an endoursment of the invasion but life in Panama has improved (probably slightly) in the last decade without Manuel.

  43. steve Says:

    I would love to see what obscure sources Chomsky pulled out for that analysis.

    –as usual, he pulls out sources from the record, i.e. NYT, Washington Post, Congressional hearings, etc.

  44. Anonymous Says:

    Steve

    You are really holding to the position that our occupation is the sole source of instability? You do not think that the post-Saddam power vacuum is part of the problem.

    Yes the invasion was wrong. But we have NO choice at this point than to try to solve the problem.

    This is what will most likely happen if we pulled out today:

    - Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis will turn on each other and fall into a civil war.

    - The warlords with the guns will assume power – Islamic Fundamentalists that are adverse to secularism.

    We have to give the elections a chance. Again. The best case scenario is that elections are successful, security is regained in Iraq with the help of the international community, and we can create a timeline for a responsible withdrawal.

    By supporting the resistance YOU ARE supporting the tactics they use like suicide bombings that kill innocent people, kidnappings, and murder of innocent people. THAT IS WHAT the resistance is doing.

    Klein does acknowledge that Al Sadr is the theocrat but gingerly blows that fact off a sentence later. This is the only way she can justify supporting the resistance. If she had an ounce of moral consistency than she would NOT align herself with female oppressing theocrats like Al Sadr.

    Show one functioning secular democracy that has a radical Islamist party that respects non Islamic parties. Show one. The GOAL of radical Islam and pretty much Islam in general is to live by Sharia Law. Paul Berman does a great job addressing this honestly in Terror and Liberalism. No matter how you see it Islam is counter to left values like all conservative religions. Yes arranged marriages DO occur even in Mosques in the USA. Arranged marriages are NUTS in the year 2004. I know this might be politically incorrect but it is true. Bush may not have said it but his religious beliefs are fairly scary as well. As a leftist, why do I have to pretend to be tolerant of a religion that is so consistently oppressive even in its moderate western form? The only Muslims that can potentially function in a tolerant left oriented society (that has things like gay marriage) are pretty much passive believers like most modern day Christians. When a strict doctrinal religion is the center of ones life it is pretty hard to participate in a society with values that are counter to the religious doctrine.

    I didn’t say 1 word about patriotism…

    “The occupation, it is completely unproductive and doesn’t move the issue of democracy one inch forward. And that is the case even with the removal of Sodom from power.” The most pathetic claim yet. Saddam getting ousted can be viewed as nothing but positive even if you did not support the war (I did not).

    Yes Saudi Arabia are awful. No we should not invade them. Focus on the Iraq issue. Not Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc… BTW Cuba (your fav) is far from a democracy.

    Klein and Scahill’s article is totally nuts. Read it again. Totally baseless and unproven. Not rooted in reality. You figure THIS fact might lead Steve to question her analysis. But his loyalty is unshaken. If she told you to jump off of a bridge would you do it Steve? Do it for the resistance! Do it for the Islamic Clerics that you so admire. You will get 70 virgins in heaven Steve…

  45. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Josh,

    Here is an excerpt from Nelson Ascher’s blog that you might find interesting. (He is, if you don’t already know, a Paris-based reporter for the daily paper in Sao Paolo, Brazil.)

    When I first read this I thought he overstated the “alliance” of radical leftists and radical Islamists. But the likes of Naomi Klein show that he does have a point here.

    http://www.europundits.blogspot.com/2004_09_01_europundits_archive.html#109522962692432942

    (Begin Quote)

    …[A]pparently opposite groups as the most secularized people in the West and the most religious people in the Middle East have been able to find so much common ground. In principle, an alliance between the Western Left and Muslim fundamentalism would seem absurd or, at best, a tactical move, wouldn’t it? But it is not only tactical: they actually agree in many important ways.

    To understand this, first we have to try and see through the image the Western secularists make of themselves. They think they have outgrown and discarded religion. They don’t think of themselves as religious, but rather as post-religious people. But they are not. And I’m not talking here about their attachment to what are sometimes called “secular religions” (communism, Nazism etc.). What I’m saying is that they, though unaware of this, are still, in a certain way, conventionally religious. Actually, they’ve discarded only half of religion, its theology, but kept more or less intact the other half, its demonology. The demonology of the secular Left and that of radical Islam, despite many terminological differences, coincide, if just for the time being. The leftists do not believe in God, but they doubtlessly believe in the Devil or Devils and their Devils happen to be Khomeini’s Satans, both the big and the little one.

    What makes the secular western Left so naïve is the fact that its members truly believe that a common demonology is more than enough to cement a long term alliance. It is not. To be wholly accepted by the fundamentalist (and, likely, the other) Muslims, you have to share both their demonology and their theology. If you don’t accept the latter, you’ll eventually become part of the first. Or, to translate it into more political terms, while the leftists have allied themselves strategically with the radical Islamists, these have only allied themselves tactically with them. Interestingly, the results of such an incongruent alliance could have already been clearly seen (where else?) in Iran, that is, Persia, when Khomeini himself, after being helped in his revolution by secular leftists, turned against them and exterminated them as soon as he got hold of power.

    In short, there has been a pact made with the devil, but it wasn’t the secular Left that made it, but the radical Islamists. When the secular leftists discover that, in the eyes of their soon-to-be former allies, they are devils too, I wouldn’t like to be in their skins.

    (End Quote)

  46. steve Says:

    You are really holding to the position that our occupation is the sole source of instability? You do not think that the post-Saddam power vacuum is part of the problem.

    –no, I’d say it’s the primary source, something so plain these days as to hardly merit much discussion anymore. Surely the power vacuum is part of it, I’d agree. However, no, I don’t think it’s the primary part of it–that’s a problem that could be solved without the US occupation.

    Yes the invasion was wrong. But we have NO choice at this point than to try to solve the problem.

    –Surely “we” have to do something, but I disagree with you on retaining US marines there to accomplish what needs to be done.

    We have to give the elections a chance. Again. The best case scenario is that elections are successful, security is regained in Iraq with the help of the international community, and we can create a timeline for a responsible withdrawal.

    —-

    –well, possibly that is true, though I’m not that optimistic given the US’s well known propensity for NOT allowing other nations to have any real input into its conduct abroad. If an international solution is truly sought, probably the first step to making that possible would be a US withdrawl ironically.

    -

    By supporting the resistance YOU ARE supporting the tactics they use like suicide bombings that kill innocent people, kidnappings, and murder of innocent people. THAT IS WHAT the resistance is doing.

    –I don’t buy that. No less than Al Sadr and many cell leaders in the resistance have condemned that form of resistance.

    Klein does acknowledge that Al Sadr is the theocrat but gingerly blows that fact off a sentence later. This is the only way she can justify supporting the resistance. If she had an ounce of moral consistency than she would NOT align herself with female oppressing theocrats like Al Sadr.

    –I don’t get the impression she supports Sadr in the least. However I do get the impression that she believes that the US presence in Iraq is the best thing going for Sadr, from Sadr’s perspective.

    Show one functioning secular democracy that has a radical Islamist party that respects non Islamic parties. Show one. The GOAL of radical Islam and pretty much Islam in general is to live by Sharia Law.

    –There’s far more variety in the Muslim world than you are willing to concede. On this, for once, I am in agreement with the kind Mr. Totten.

    Paul Berman does a great job addressing this honestly in Terror and Liberalism.

    –I find Tariq Ali’s *The Clash of the Fundamentalisms* a far better informed book on the same issue.

    —-

    No matter how you see it Islam is counter to left values like all conservative religions.

    –again, this is simply a mistaken understanding of Islam and any religion for that matter.

    Yes arranged marriages O occur even in Mosques in the USA. Arranged marriages are NUTS in the year 2004.

    –They occur in India too, your point? Among Hindus I believe…

    I know this might be politically incorrect but it is true.

    –Au contraire, it’s very PC–Patriotically Correct.

    “The occupation, it is completely unproductive and doesn’t move the issue of democracy one inch f orward. And that is the case even with the removal of Sodom from power.” The most pathetic claim yet. Saddam getting ousted can be viewed as nothing but positive even if you did not support the war (I did not).

    I quite disagree, if, as Juan Cole has said today, we are in the business of removing dictators, they’re a dime a dozen in any event. to think that the removal of Saddam by external force was what Iraq needed to move toward democracy is tantamount to denying the potential of Iraqis to make any change independent of US intervention.

    —-

    Yes Saudi Arabia are awful. No we should not invade them. Focus on the Iraq issue. Not Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc… BTW Cuba (your fav) is far from a democracy.

    –I’m glad we don’t have to invade them.

    Klein and Scahill’s article is totally nuts. Read it again. Totally baseless and unproven. Not rooted in reality.

    —yet, you acknowledge that their assessment of Sadr is basically correct.

    You figure THIS fact might lead Steve to question her analysis.

    –Please, it’s not a FACT, it’s an assertion made by you.

    But his loyalty is unshaken. If she told you to jump off of a bridge would you do it Steve? Do it for the resistance! Do it for the Islamic Clerics that you so admire. You will get 70 virgins in heaven Steve…

    –I didn’t know I was busy doing anything for the resistance. Yet what does she say that many other corporate media journalists based in Iraq haven’t said to one extent or another?

  47. steve Says:

    Isn’t it rather odd that Josh and Totten can make bizarre claims about Klein ‘supporting’ Al Sadr, yet if I make claims to the effect that they support Bush, that’s “not correct”…”I never said that”….

    Interesting double standard.

  48. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Steve: “Isn’t it rather odd that Josh and Totten can make bizarre claims about Klein ‘supporting’ Al Sadr, yet if I make claims to the effect that they support Bush, that’s “not correct”…”I never said that”….

    Interesting double standard.”

    I haven’t said I don’t support Bush. I didn’t vote for him last time, but I might *very* reluctantly vote for him this time. What I have said, and I will say again, is that I am not a Republican. I am an independent and a centrist.

    But I would much rather be a Republican than a cheerleader for the religious fascist Moqtada al Sadr.

  49. steve Says:

    But I would much rather be a Republican than a cheerleader for the religious fascist Moqtada al Sadr.

    –yes, you would I believe that. However, how odd, why wasn’t Sadr a ‘fascist’ in your eyes before the invasion? Is this a recent conversion that he has had? Overnight perhaps? Once hero, now villain? Once democrat, now ‘fascist’?

    It’s interesting the way fascist gets thrown around so devoid of meaning. The definition as far as I can tell is about as precise as the one you use to turn a Roosevelt Liberal like Kucinich into an anti-American leftist…

  50. steve Says:

    By the way, you’re right about my getting my belief that Iraq is not in the midst of religious warfare based on ethnic divisions. I get my ideas from a well known source of extreme-leftism in Iraq, who was [and does this not show the LIBERAL BIAS of CNN??] interviewed by Wolf Blitzer today, namely the mayor of Baghdad Allawi.

  51. Marc Cooper Says:

    Im staying out of this except to comment on Panama. I was on the first press plane into Panama during the US invasion.. we even took a bullet in the hull as we were landing. A couple of corrections are in order: Noriega was a thug, a trafficker and a killer. We supported him right up until we turned against hinm. I was not shocked to see the people of Panamma applaud the American tropps because they hated the guy. The guys we put in were equally noxious and the mood was universally sour when I went back a year later. (This is all n my book”Roll Over Che Guevara” in the chapter “Puppet Show.”

    What was shocking however is when I got back to the after the invasion and participated on several panels where lefty morons were nattering about Noriega being a martyr and a black revolutionary (!). The same sort ofr CRAP that Naomi slathers on about Moqtada and his beheaders.

    As to CHOMSKY… to this day he insists on the figure of 4,000 dead (in a country of 3 million). There isnt a single relaible source including the Panama Human Rights Commission that puts the figure higher than 500, maybe half that amount. But that’s snough to really make the Gringos look bad (which they certainly did in this case). 4,000 is so much better. Chomsly, unlike the rest of us, of course has never been Panama. Little does he know — or care– that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to hide 3500 additional deaths in a country so small, so educated, so technologically modern.

  52. steve Says:

    What was shocking however is when I got back to the after the invasion and participated on several panels where lefty morons were nattering about Noriega being a martyr and a black revolutionary (!). The same sort ofr CRAP that Naomi slathers on about Moqtada and his beheaders.

    –that is simply not based on empirical reality I’m afraid. You perhaps found a few oddball sectarians who have little influence on the left in the US and make out like that is the generally prevalent view on the left of Noriega. I’ve certainly, regardless of whether or not Chomsky is right on the numbers issue, heard Chomsky make any assessment of Noriega that differs from the one you just made.

  53. Marc Cooper Says:

    Steve.. you know this is why Im tempted to just block you. Steve, steve, Im referring to SEVERAL panels I PERSONALLY SPOKE AT attended by several hundred people each.Does my eyewitness experience in tangible events count as ‘EMPIRICAL REALITY” !!!!!!!?????!!!!?!?!?!?! I wasnt imagning it. Im not Descartes so I wasnt dreaming it either. Indeed, I can still list the names of the people who spoke on favor of Noriega. And I vividly remember the audience clapping like trained seals when he was applauded as an anti-imperialist.

    And what the hell does that mean that CHomsky’s “numbers” dont matter? He’s a GOD-DAMN SCHOLAR, supposedly. And YES I AM SHOUTING AT YOU. Numbers matter a whole lot..Especially when you exaggerate them by a factor of TEN. Especially when you use them to build a political case. Especially when thousand of little trust-fund doper-twits as dozens of universitiies rever you as a source and a hero. It matters a lot. Ask Dan Rather about that sort of thing.

    And please dont answer me on this. Theres nothing you can tell me about Panama or my personal experience relating to it that I dont somehow already know. Jesus, Steve.. why dont u acquire an “enth” of critical thought asnd stop being such a predicatble zombie? Dont answer.

  54. Michael J. Totten Says:

    Marc,

    Hey, cool, you wrote about Panama. I’ll have to read that. I have tried and seriously failed to find anything, and I mean anything, ever written about that operation by anyone with a clue.

    What do you think about the fact that it happened only a month after the fall of the Berlin Wall? I’m totally guessing when I say it was to send a signal to “our bastards” in the hemisphere that the game was finally up. And the reason, aside from the timimg, that I make that admittedly half-assed guess is because I can’t otherwise figure out for the life of my why we went down there. I don’t buy the drug trafficking argument. I’m not sure why, it just doesn’t seem right to me. I think there was something more, and I don’t buy into the Chomsky line at all.

  55. steve Says:

    m referring to SEVERAL panels I PERSONALLY SPOKE AT attended by several hundred people each.Does my eyewitness experience in tangible events count as ‘EMPIRICAL REALITY” !!!!!!!?????!!!!?!?!?!?! I wasnt imagning it.

    –yeah, I’d still ask, name a prominent leftist who was touting Noriega as an ‘anti-imperialist’, I’d be surprised to hear of many. Certainly not Chomsky, for starters.

    And what the hell does that mean that CHomsky’s “numbers” dont matter? He’s a GOD-DAMN SCHOLAR, supposedly. And YES I AM SHOUTING AT YOU. Numbers matter a whole lot..Especially when you exaggerate them by a factor of TEN.

    –who said they don’t matter? i am saying, given the way i’ve seen you distort what Nation writers write that I’d be interested in hearing from Chomsky on his response to your counterargument. But I’m not sure what makes you think I said or think that numbers don’t matter.

    Jesus, Steve.. why dont u acquire an “enth” of critical thought asnd stop being such a predicatble zombie? Dont answer.

    –you’ve just completely distorted the content of what I wrote. a completely unnecessary overreaction.

    -

    Totten writes:

    I think there was something more, and I don’t buy into the Chomsky line at all.

    –that’s kind of funny, because the “Chomsky line” {as though there were such a thing, one of the things Chomsky is actually very much down on is a ‘line’ of any sort) overlaps with the Cooper line, if you read both carefully.

  56. Marc Cooper Says:

    MJT: What Bush 41 was doing by invading Panama was never clear. It most certainly wasnt about drugs– they guys we put in were buried neck deep in the coke trade. I think the “hemispheric” reasons were secondary. The war in El Salvador had more or less wound down. The contra war in Nicaragua was also over — though the elections that the Sandis lost were still a month out.

    In europe, indeed, the commies evaporated overnight. I always thought Panama was about Domestic Politics. Bush 41 had been in office a year and was truly listless. The newsweeklies were running cover stories on his being a “wimp” and lacking “the vision thing.” SOmetimes it’s funny to remember what a failed presidency that was and how on earth his errant son was able to parlay the name. Anyway, I think Poppy Bush saw Panama as a Splendid Little War that would have very low costs and would take up exactly ten days of history before disappearing. He was right about all that. Noriega was easy enough to demonize and hate. The “invasion” was carried out by troops that had to roll a grand 500 yards from bases just across the linne in the canal zone. In the piece I wrote about it I told of units I was with that were able to “rehearse” assualts in situ, that is against the real targets, a week or two in advance. BY a month after the invasion — and a patriotic bump in the polls– we never heard of Panama again. Let me know if u can scare up a used copy of Roll Over Che Guevara at Powell’s wehere you can read my chapter on it. If not let me know and Ill shoot you up a copy in the mail.

  57. GMRoper Says:

    Wow, Marc unleashed – I’m loving it! (allow me to return the compliment of a few days ago Marc.)

    This is one of the reasons that this blog is the premier blog for me (and I’d guess for quite a few others.) Wide ranging opinions from the right, left, center and ridiculous. (any one want to guess as to who the denizens of the latter are?)(Very Big Grin inserted here.)

    Stimulating like none other. Thanks Marc.

  58. steve Says:

    (any one want to guess as to who the denizens of the latter are?)(

    –people who make unsustantiated claims like “Steve is a pacfist” or “Steve thinks numbers don’t matter”…?

  59. Josh Legere Says:

    Great quote Mr. Totten. It is very true these days.

    There are also cult like aspects of the Pacifica/Chomsky/Zinn types. Steve is a great example of this. Unflinching loyalty no matter how flawed. Nobody can make a sound argument ALL of the time. That includes Chomsky. But his supporters seem to think he is infallible. Now Klein is gaining that kind of following. She isn’t even half the scholar that Chomsky is. So the Steve’s of the world should have a good amount of healthy skepticism. Especially of the claims she and Scahill are making.

    I am actually a former member of the Chomsky cult and I am glad to say that I am “liberated.” I got into Chomsky at a young age and it actually screwed up my perception of the world. I began to believe that anyone with power over me (landlords, bosses) was a greedy demon conspiring to oppress me.

    It is actually a comparable mindset to all of the great killers of the world. They see no margin for human error. Everything is a well organized plot. They give people in power WAY to much credit. They give institutions like the New York Times way to much credit. It is naive and silly. I get more out of reading Hannah Arendt these days.

    Cooper is right about Panama. I actually felt more of a bad vibe in Costa Rica. I was in Southwestern Costa Rica and there are a lot of Anti-American feelings in that region due to land disputes between ranchers and squatters. United Fruit also left the region in ruin economically when the left due to an emerging labor movement.

    Panama was the opposite as far as the vibe. The country has many problems but seems to be moving in the right direction. Noriega being gone has certainly helped the situation. The people did and do indeed hate him. But I did not get any sort of resentment from them.

  60. steve Says:

    Steve is a great example of this. Unflinching loyalty no matter how flawed. Nobody can make a sound argument ALL of the time. That includes Chomsky. But his supporters seem to think he is infallible.

    –that’s odd, i don’t recall saying that either. in fact i even said he might have gotten the numbers wrong, though god knows i wouldn’t want to take marc’s word on it, or yours, given your record of distorting what people have said.

    -

    I got into Chomsky at a young age and it actually screwed up my perception of the world. I began to believe that anyone with power over me (landlords, bosses) was a greedy demon conspiring to oppress me.

    –you can’t blame Chomsky for that, that feeling came from your own mistaken understanding of the world, not anything that Chomsky says in his writing. Chomsky is a structuralist thinker to begin with, he’s not inclined to walk around nervous about individual’s good intentions or evildoings.

  61. Josh Legere Says:

    Chomsky is a structuralist thinker to begin with; he’s not inclined to walk around nervous about individual’s good intentions or evildoings.

    –What kind of Chomsky do you read? He might be a structuralist when it comes to linguistics. But certainly NOT politics.

    Chomsky is obsessed with US evildoings in. I am not going to spend the time rifling through is work but the claims are in print. He claimed that the US was responsible for the genocide in Cambodia by creating the conditions that led to the Khmer Rouge gaining power (lets not blame those that actually DID the killing) and presented the lowest body counts. He rationalized 911 by comparing it to the US bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan where only 1 person died but many more might of (he claimed around 15,000 could have died). He accused the US of all sorts of atrocities in Afghanistan especially claiming that the intervention was going to lead to mass starvation (he mentioned 6,000,000 people were on the verge).

    Chomsky spends a lot of time figuring out ways to accuse the US of evil doing. That is his MO and does spend a lot of time doing it.

    You are obviously in the cult and cannot begin to question any of his analysis. I will say this, he was wrong about Cambodia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

    I am ashamed of not supporting the intervention in Kosovo. The likes of Michael Parenti were claiming that the intervention was an effort to rid Europe of its last Socialist regime. Chomsky was busy of accusing the US of war crimes. In the end the intervention can be viewed as nothing but just. Samantha Power’s book is the best chronicle of the intervention.

    Chomsky wrote a book with Ramsey Clark for god’s sake. Nobody is nuttier than him.

    Check out the Anti Chomsky Reader for more…http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/189355497X/qid=1095899615/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/104-9188075-6976756?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

  62. steve Says:

    Chomsky is obsessed with US evildoings in.

    –no, actually he’s not, he’s obsessed with US capitalism and US foreign policy and its impact on the world, but not with ‘evildoings’. You’re confusing Chomsky with an idealist.

    What kind of Chomsky do you read? He might be a structuralist when it comes to linguistics. But certainly NOT politics.

    –really? He most certainly IS a structuralist in politics. why do you think he’s so critical of conspiracy theory [and check it out, another area that the evil chomsky and cooper agree!!].

    He claimed that the US was responsible for the genocide in Cambodia by creating the conditions that led to the Khmer Rouge gaining power (lets not blame those that actually DID the killing) and presented the lowest body counts.

    –ever heard of Sid Schanberg? Or Shawcross? go read them and tell me if Chomsky is so odd in making that claim.

    He rationalized 911 by comparing it to the US bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan where only 1 person died but many more might of (he claimed around 15,000 could have died).

    –that of course you just make up.

    -

    He accused the US of all sorts of atrocities in Afghanistan especially claiming that the intervention was going to lead to mass starvation (he mentioned 6,000,000 people were on the verge).

    –did he really? he had out a crystal ball and made predictions? another misreading I see.

    —-

    Chomsky spends a lot of time figuring out ways to accuse the US of evil doing. That is his MO and does spend a lot of time doing it.

    –no, that is what you have convinced yourself he does. in fact, his critique of US foreign policy isn’t that far from ,say, a Martin Luther King’s during the Vietnam War…

    —-

    I am ashamed of not supporting the intervention in Kosovo.

    –trust me, your support or non-support was not of consequence. there wasn’t even a strong movement against the war at the time, why would it matter what you thought or did? ditto for me.

  63. Josh Legere Says:

    Anyone who is an Anarcho-Syndicalist is an idealist. Can’t think of anything more utopian than that naive vision of the world.

    Ever heard of Samantha Power? Check out the book. It is by far the definitive book on the subject.

    Salon.Com interview by Suzy Hansen about Sudan and Noam said:

    “That one bombing, according to the estimates made by the German Embassy in Sudan and Human Rights Watch, probably led to tens of thousands of deaths”

    Carroll Bogert of HWR responded:

    “In fact, Human Rights Watch has conducted no research into civilian deaths as the result of U.S. bombing in Sudan and would not make such an assessment without a careful and thorough research mission on the ground.”

    The 6,000,000 claim was made in a DVD tiled DISTORDED MORALITY. E-mail me your address and I will gladly send a free copy.

    To compare Chomsky to MLK is sinister. Chomsky is an insulated intellectual elite living in a bubble. MLK actually got out on the streets.

    It is a matter of trusting the likes of Michael Parenti and Noam Chomsky about Kosovo blindly. Was the old CP not wrong for opposing the US involvement in WW II (that is until Hitler attacked the USSR)? Many old CPers were shattered when they learned that they supported Stalinism. I am ashamed of buying into the line given by the Chomksy/Zinn/Pacifica left because they are the same old sectarian figures that have cursed the left in America.

    You obviously have no shame in supporting Islamic Fundamentalists in Iraq. You have no shame in supporting the “resistance” when they behead innocent people. Well, you have NO shame period. I guess you know you have 70 virgins waiting in heaven along with your comrades in the resistance.

  64. Josh Legere Says:

    After the Cataclysm – Noam Chomsky

    “the deaths in Cambodia were not the result of systematic slaughter and starvation organized by the state but rather attributable in large measure to peasant revenge, undisciplined military units out of government control, starvation and disease that are direct consequences of the US war, or other such factors.”

    Absolutely wrong.

    More Chomsky on 911 and Sudan

    “The terrorist attacks were major atrocities. In scale they may not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton’s bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and killing unknown numbers of people.”

    1 person died in Sudan. Medicine can be replaced. Human life can not be replaced. Comparing the possiblity of death with actual death is lamentable.

  65. steve Says:

    Anyone who is an Anarcho-Syndicalist is an idealist.

    –you thorougly lack the basic sociological sense of the words ‘idealist’ and ‘structuralist’. gosh.

    Ever heard of Samantha Power? Check out the book. It is by far the definitive book on the subject.

    –gee, i have heard of her. you mean the lady for whom the east timorese genocide is hardly worth a mention? oh yes…that expert.

    To compare Chomsky to MLK is sinister. Chomsky is an insulated intellectual elite living in a bubble. MLK actually got out on the streets.

    –no, actually his critiques are quite similar, go read King on the Vietnam War in his speech to Riverside.

    -

    It is a matter of trusting the likes of Michael Parenti and Noam Chomsky about Kosovo blindly.

    –I’m glad you know that I get my main information from either one of them. More evidence of ESP from Mr. Legere.

    —-

    Was the old CP not wrong for opposing the US involvement in WW II (that is until Hitler attacked the USSR)?

    –I’m not sure I see the comparison between Kosovo and Hitler? Ah yes, Milosevic killed millions in concentration camps…

    Many old CPers were shattered when they learned that they supported Stalinism.

    –odd, I don’t remember Chomsky being a supporter of Stalin. In fact, he’s written trenchant criticisms of the old left, or don’t they mention those in the screeds against Chomsky?

    —-

    I am ashamed of buying into the line given by the Chomksy/Zinn/Pacifica left because they are the same old sectarian figures that have cursed the left in America.

    –Well, you bought into a line that doesn’t really exist, but if you believe it exists, ok. I like Doug Henwood’s work myself, which Marc assures me is acceptable on this comment board.

    You obviously have no shame in supporting Islamic Fundamentalists in Iraq.

    –you just make stuff up as you go along now. I also have no shame in having supported Rios Montt in Guatemala or in supporting Mussolini, or Atilla the Hun either…which is probably your next line of accusation without evidence.

    -

    You have no shame in supporting the “resistance” when they behead innocent people.

    –odd, I thought I just referred to Al Sadr’s own rejection of such tactics. Yet you somehow take that to mean that I like beheadings of innocent foreigners in Iraq. hmmmmm

    -

    Well, you have NO shame period.

    –gosh, you’re getting yourself awfully worked up here, I think you need to talk with someone because you’re ascribing a lot of motives to people without anything in the way of evidence. Oh, no. I take that back. When Josh says, “you have no shame”, that means, “you don’t agree with me!”

    —-

    I guess you know you have 70 virgins waiting in heaven along with your comrades in the resistance.

    —those damned unwashed muslims, eh?

  66. josh legere Says:

    Steve,

    You cannot counter Chomsky’s own words.

    Case closed.

    Enjoy the wilderness.

  67. steve Says:

    You cannot counter Chomsky’s own words.

    –The ones he actually used or the ones you imagine him to use? I suspect the latter given the way you have put almost every possible foreign notion into my mouth with no ability to site references to my ever having said such things. Case closed, well, yes, if we’re in a court based on rumor, you’re quite correct.

  68. josh legere Says:

    “the deaths in Cambodia were not the result of systematic slaughter and starvation organized by the state but rather attributable in large measure to peasant revenge, undisciplined military units out of government control, starvation and disease that are direct consequences of the US war, or other such factors.”

    this is in a book Chomsky wrote called After the Cataclysm http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0896081001/qid=1095960800/sr=ka-1/ref=pd_ka_1/104-9188075-6976756

    Salon.Com interview by Suzy Hansen about Sudan and Noam said:

    “That one bombing, according to the estimates made by the German Embassy in Sudan and Human Rights Watch, probably led to tens of thousands of deaths”

    http://archive.salon.com/people/feature/2002/01/16/chomsky/index_np.html

    Shall we go on Steve…?

    Good News:

    I actually find it really comforting that the views of someone like you are irrelevant. You, Klein, Pacifica, Zinn, Chomsky, etc… are all very marginalized. In Manhattan it might seem like you are not in the wilderness but you indeed are in la la land.

    Bad News:

    The sectarians like Steve are preventing the growth of a legitimate left wing democratic movement in the US. Hopefully this will change and we can restore the debate and the possibility of politics in this country.

  69. steve Says:

    “the deaths in Cambodia were not the result of systematic slaughter and starvation organized by the state but rather attributable in large measure to peasant revenge, undisciplined military units out of government control, starvation and disease that are direct consequences of the US war, or other such factors.”

    this is in a book Chomsky wrote called After the Cataclysm

    –doesn’t sound that radically different from Schanberg or Shawcross really, don’t know what you’re getting yourself all worked up about really. They also say that the actions of the US in Cambodia contributed in important ways to the outcome of the Cambodian civil war being catastrophic.

    —-

    Salon.Com interview by Suzy Hansen about Sudan and Noam said:

    “That one bombing, according to the estimates made by the German Embassy in Sudan and Human Rights Watch, probably led to tens of thousands of deaths”

    –by all means, I don’t see where Chomsky is anything but a structuralist in his political perspective, nor how this shows otherwise. But in any event, I”m not sure what you believe you have uncovered in your quote there:

    http://www.salon.com/people/letters/2002/01/29/chomsky/

    I actually find it really comforting that the views of someone like you are irrelevant. You, Klein, Pacifica, Zinn, Chomsky, etc… are all very marginalized. In Manhattan it might seem like you are not in the wilderness but you indeed are in la la land.

    –Really? Odd, we are sure mobilising a lot more people in the streets to oppose the occupation than you are to support the occupation of Iraq. I think all things considered there is quite a lot to be hopeful about as concerns the influence of the left on American politics. Your belief that by being more PC than thou that somehow you will win converts to a left politics is as pointless as your odd habit of attributing falsely a whole host of positions to those you’re attacking. That practice alone is very odd for a self-proclaimed leftist.

    The sectarians like Steve are preventing the growth of a legitimate left wing democratic movement in the US. Hopefully this will change and we can restore the debate and the possibility of politics in this country.

    –ha ha ha! now i’m sectarian, i.e. “does not agree with Josh”. Yes Josh, let’s hope a legitimate left can emerge that hates muslims more than the right-wing. that will show how advanced we are.

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