Thursday, July 27

Operation Purple Finger

Always interesting to see the continuing defense of Yellow Elephantiasis continuing to miss the point--the point now being "Why, other than a guilty conscience and no answer for the actual charges are you still concerned about being called a Chickenhawk?" Al Franken brought that up in 1996, fer chrissakes. A century ago!

I'd like to suggest that the political cowardice inherent in refusing to enact a military draft to either increase the numbers of available combat troops or to begin to repair the long-term damage inflicted on military manpower approaches the same level as the physical cowardice of those who intone about WWIII and the Clash of Civilizations but won't put their own mizzable carcasses on the line. Mr. Jacoby? Mr. May? Or is seeming to support conscription you know the administration and the Republican Congress will never enact just a bit too similar to your war records for comfort?

Then there's this other piece of calculated obtuseness, from Sully:

A reader wants to know what the silence is all about:

The radio silence on Lebanon from the left-wing blogosphere (i.e. Kos, Atrios) is fascinating, and your reader from the ' Liberal Blogs and Israel ' post had it about right. To sympathize with Hezbollah would expose these bloggers to a potentially career-damaging backlash. However, to take the mainstream Democratic line of say, Chuck Schumer, would be to seriously alienate a chunk of their readership.

And for sure, Hezbollah sympathizers do exist on the left. One only has to listen to KPFA, the 'free speech network' broadcast out of Berkeley to get a taste of unfiltered Hezbollah propaganda, in which Mullah Nasrallah is characterized as the new Che Guevara. The Weekly Standard might have done better to listen to some of these transcripts, rather than to desperately fish around the diaries on Kos.

Okay, one, I already knew the days when conservatives knew their Latin were over, although the idea that Atrios or Kos would fear to suffer, let alone could suffer, "career-damaging backlash" is perhaps looney enough that we should consider whether A. Reader really does imagine them to be the left-wing blogosphere. Ditto, of course, for the St. Vitus' dance that leads us to the Left end of the Left Coast and the Left-hand side of your radio dial, a spastic non-sequitur Sully leaves in...Why? For verisimilitude? Or out of nostalgia for the Good Ol' Days of Exposing Fifth Columnists?

At any rate--here's a shocker--having quoted the thing in full Sully's just sorta not sure what he makes of it quite:
I've actually been skeptical of beating up on Kos on this. But I just read the last three pages of posts on the main site , and there's only one even vaguely alluding to the crisis with Hezbollah. That's just plain weird. I know we're not supposed to notice silence on blogs - people are free to ignore all sorts of stories. But the silence can be instructive (hey, I studied with a Straussian).

Studied what, exactly? Prestidigitation? Talking out of both sides of your mouth? (I admit, either would have been a good choice).
This would make sense if there were no connections between Hezbollah and Iran and Iraq. Are lefties unable to grapple with complex regional wars? Nah. They're just wimping out. My reader gives one plausible reason why. Is there a more persuasive one?

Okay, lemme answer that quickly: No.

Because, frankly, unless Juan Cole and Billmon have neglected to pay their dues some of the best commentary on the war is coming from the Left, while the most predictable, uninformed and uncaring blather proceeds from the usual sources on the Right--unless you imagine that casting Hezbollah as Hitler of the Week, calling David Ignateus objectively pro-terrorist, or rewriting the whole business as David vs. Goliath II qualifies as clear-sighted, hard-hitting, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may bloggy goodness. Meaning there's no argument at all, let alone a persuasive one.

Just a couple more things: one, this means the next time it's convenient to portray Alan Dershowitz or Joe Lieberman as "lefties" you can stuff it. And two, I'd like to know where exactly the right-wing blogosphere is taking on the sudden Total Disinterest in all things democratic and the Middle East in its own ranks. You're so all-fired eager to talk about wimping out, let's talk about how fast that indelible purple ink washed out.


Anonymous said...

Next up: Google hit counts as meaningful comparisons of something.

As to the failure of the flowering of democracy in Iraq, the two strains of apologetic already in gear are 1. those backward brown people just aren't ready for the benefits of America Brand Freedom™—SUVs, country club membership, and gated communities (AKA "Green Zones") and 2. The compassionate Bush administration just isn't ruthless (i.e., conservative) enough to get the job done. There will never be any admission of responsibility by the neocon fucks who gifted us with the fiasco, and the rehabilitation of their sorry repututations has already begun. The fact that Ken "Cakewalk" Adelman can still get quoted in the Washington Post says it all. (Another amazing display of non-accountability, this article.)

Anonymous said...

Juan Cole and Billmon don't count, obviously, because they both know enough about the subject to provide nuanced analysis on an incredibly complex issue. This is another case of Peggy Noonan's Lament: Why can't the smart people come and give me the answers I want?

An awful lot of lefty bloggers are not saying very much on the subject because they've already said that it's complicated and difficult and they don't really know any more about it than anybody else who reads the news, and therefore could only provide the same muddled, confused, frustrated, angry, horrified, compassionate, worried, grieving thoughts everyone else has.

It's a lot easier to "not ignore" an issue when you can pretend it's black and white and the answers are simple.

"Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" has the benefit of being easy to type and easy to side with or against. It's not, however, a practical or smart approach to world events.

Practical and smart people avoid it, hence the higher noise to signal ratio on the other side of the political fence.

Mudge said...

Like d. sidhe says. Neither Hezbollah nor Israel is worthy of any glory in this. To provide nuanced analysis like Billmon or Juan Cole is unsatisfactory and perhaps incapable of being understood by the right.

What the right wants is to read outright condemnations of Israel. They set the anti-Semitism trap and hope the left falls in. Few lefties are unhinged enough to comply in a general way, although condemnation of Israel for specific actions has occurred. Such comments are inevitably followed by the "but what about Hezbollah" shrieking.

Hence their dis-satisfaction with the response. All they can do is criticize the paucity of comment, not its content.

Anonymous said...

Anyone familiar with Eschaton knows it functions more as a gatekeeper than an original content provider. (The same may be true about Kos; I don't know 'kos the format makes my head hurt.)