micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2002
Andrew Sullivan’s Attack Iraq Pool of Paranoia
Columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan is adamant that the United States attack Iraq. In fact, his blog gives one the impression that Sullivan sees attacking this particular country as an acid test on whether a person is anti-American or not. He also sounds as if he is swimming in a pool of paranoia, hence earlier today he wrote this entry:
STOPPING THE WAR I: Why is it front page news that secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld thinks air-strikes alone can't disable Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction? [All links in the original]
1)Rumsfeld’s comments usually are frontpage news.
2)Rummy said it in response to reports such as this one.
Hasn't this been obvious for ever[sic]?Well it would seem logical but that hasn’t stopped reports such as the one mentioned above.
We've been treated to several competing alleged leaks for ground invasions of Iraq over the past few weeks, as Jack Shafer has noted. Does the Times think that ground troops of 50,000 to 250,000 will be deployed from the air?1)Say what you will about the New York Times, and it most certainly deserves criticism, but when their REPORTERS write stories they are supposed to REPORT things. Rumsfeld said it and the authors of this piece, Eric Schmitt and James Dao, reported it.
It’s a tad comical that Sullivan has far more experience working at publications than most bloggers and yet falls into the common blogosphere trap of not seeing a difference between a commentator, such as Sullivan or Glenn Reynolds, and a reporter, such as Dao or Schmitt.
2)Given what happened three years ago in the former Yugoslavia and so far in Afghanistan, it is unclear if the American public does realize that massive military actions by ground troops are necessary. Rumsfeld was saying that they are and the New York Times was reporting his comments.
Shafer asks the question of why these leaks are occurring but misses an obvious one: the doves in the Pentagon are allying with the doves at the major papers to wage a public campaign against the necessity of war against Iraq.So there is a conspiracy going on? Sometimes conspiracies do happen but in a case like this, a more logical explanation is that a number of military officials have doubts about invading Iraq and reporters are also raising questions about an invasion. Military officials are no doubt talking with reporters about this but so what? Under Sullivan’s definition, any time a person with a point of view talks with a reporter, the two are engaged in a conspiracy.
It is also strange how Sullivan has labeled some military officials as “doves” because they don’t favor a particular military action. Should members of the armed forces uncritically support any military action by the U.S. that has happened, is happening or someone else thinks should happen? If Bush, and this is a ridiculous if, proposed invading China tomorrow would generals and such have a duty to not express concern?
The point of the Times story today is simply to get the following sentence on the front page: "A growing number of lawmakers from both parties are voicing concern that the administration is heading precipitously toward war."It beats me how exactly Sullivan knows this.
The Los Angeles Times chimes in as well.What?!? How dare both papers report on a press briefing by the Secretary of Defense! They must be conspiring.
Come to think of it, there must be a really big conspiracy going. Here is a story at latimes.com on terrorism in Israel today and here is a story on the New York Times site on the exact same subject. Are they trying to weaken Israeli resolve or could it be something even more sinister?
Wait a second, I’m scrolling through the websites of both papers and I notice a lot of stories covering the same events. There must be some sort of evil effort on the part of the two papers. Sullivan must be the greatest investigative reporter ever!
Hearings begin today. But the campaign to protect Saddam's weaponry began a long time ago.When exactly? I have to believe Sullivan has at least as much proof of this as he does that the point of an entire story is to get one sentence, variations of which are hardly rare in the media, onto page one of the New York Times.
Those of us who think the majority of Americans decided last September that war with Iraq was essential to our present and future security had better be prepared.Since Sullivan acknowledges that it is personal belief that a “majority of Americans decided last September that war with Iraq was essential to our present and future security,” I can’t argue with the principle behind this.
1)There are going to be criticisms of this proposed military action and those who favor invading Iraq, i.e. those who Sullivan is speaking to in this passage, might want to be prepared to justify their position. Since attacking Iraq is a positivist action, the burden of proof lies with those favoring the attack so they might want to respond to the points in Jon Basil Utley's "Eight Washington Lies About Iraq" and my own "Eleven Questions for George W. Bush" and "Illogical Warmongering with Ken Adelman."
They might also want to answer why Iraq says more 180,000 people in Iraq died last year as a result of diseases that could not be treated properly because of sanctions.
They should explain why they are not like Glenn "Those who take anti-American stances should realize that there's a price to pay" Reynolds who, as I noted on July 28, wants “factions sympathetic to Al Qaeda” to take over Saudi Arabia so that the U.S. can more easily justify taking over that country as well.
Or maybe to make things easier here the questions that should be answered:
1)What specific threat does Iraq pose to the U.S.?
2)How will attacking Iraq make the U.S. any safer?
3)The U.S. has done tremendous damage to Iraq and yet, according to you, Iraq is still a dangerous threat, that more needs to be done to neutralize this threat?
In all likelihood it won’t make a bit of difference whether advocates of war answer these questions or not. Reports by the Associated Press, Justin Raimondo and Voices in the Wilderness all indicate that the purpose of today’s congressional hearing is justifying war not raising questions about it.
The opposition is determined and organized, and they are passionately opposed to using American power to defeat the forces of state terror.
Elected officials, mainstream journalists and military men and women raising questions does not necessarily constitute "opposition" to "using American power to defeat the forces of state terror." In this case it reflects questions about the best means of "using American power to defeat the forces of state terror."
Few in any of the three above groups are raising as radical of questions about the "war on terror" as I have and yet it appears as if Sullivan believes that any opposition to any particular military action constitutes being opposed to the "war on terror" on the whole.
So the question for Sullivan becomes, who gets to decide what attacks get to be litmus tests? Sullivan? Rumsfeld? King Bush?
I found this entry by Sullivan via a link from Matt Welch, who now appears to be updating his thought provoking blog on a regular basis. Welch is a talented writer who has some interesting things to say on this topic.
What if the U.N. opposes it or doesn't endorse it?Somehow I doubt this will stop Bush since the United Nations has not absolute authority over U.S. actions and Bush has no problem with current military campaigns by the U.S. that are in violation of existing American laws.
Many visceral doves in Washington will rally.Somehow I don't see a million journalist, politician and soldier march getting off the ground.
(I'm in agreement with O'Neill's post about the U.S. and other countries having no right to interfere in the affairs of Iraq and how many opponents of bombing Iraq don't share that position:
They just want America/the UN/the international community (select according to how 'radical' you are) to do all their interfering and dictating without spilling too much blood. In short, they want a new, polite imperialism.What O'Neill, myself and everyone else who takes this position have failed to do, however, is finding a way to present this argument in a manner that those who think a lot about the war will take seriously and not dismiss out of hand. My recent attempt to showcase how the attacks of September 11 might have been justified shows that this is not the way to do this and eventually I gave up on trying since I realized that those I was discussing with, all intelligent people, lacked the ability to see the U.S. as anything but benevolent.)
If they can isolate the administration from the allies and the Congress, then there's a good chance appeasement will gain even more momentum.THE HORROR!
STOPPING THE WAR II: A central enabler of Serbian genocide opposes the war in Iraq. Figures.1)The piece Sullivan links to is by General Sir Michael Rose, a British General who Sullivan would classify as a "dove." Rose, like a lot of people, including a number of conservatives, criticzed NATO's 1999 military campaign against Serbia but it preposterous to say Rose enabled Serbian genocide. It is possible to be opposed to something and not favor military action in response. Sullivan, for example, is a strong supporter of legalizing gay marriage but he does not call for bombing supporters of Defense of Marriage Acts.
2)Sullivan's makes an additional logical leap in implying that opponents of attacking Iraq favored Serbian genocide.
3)Sullivan does not bother to engage with Rose's arguments but just dismisses them out of hand. Figures for a guy as devoted to attacking Iraq as he is.
STOPPING THE WAR III: King Abdullah of Jordan tells the British prime minister he mustn't support the Bush administration's war against Saddam. The pressure on Blair - internally and externally - is getting truly intense.Yeah it is pretty outlandish for leaders and citizens of countries other than the U S of A to be speaking their mind to the leaders of other countries or pressuring their own leaders to not do something. Don't they know that all non-Americans are supposed to follow the lead of British citizen Sullivan and support whatever Bush and hawkish elected officials, journalists and military officials say that America should do?
Just think of what is at stake here. If the U.S. doesn't attack Iraq, Sullivan won't be happy.