May 19, 2005

Can't We All Just Get Along?

There's an increasingly nasty spat brewing between Andrew and Glenn. As these are my two favorite bloggers, all told, I'm a tad saddened they are quarreling so. Andrew today calls Glenn a "shill" for the Bush Administration. Meanwhile, Glenn simply writes: "I find the question of what Andrew thinks less pressing than I used to." Ouch. What's a pity here is that, deep down, I suspect Glenn still does value Andrew's opinions and that, similarly, Andrew doesn't view Glenn as a rank patsy for the Bushies. But here we are in this escalating war of words. What to make of this internecine blogospheric fracas?

Putting aside the silliness regarding whether Andrew said or didn't say that wrapping someone in an Israeli flag constituted torture, what's really going on here? First, let's take a look at Glenn's beef with Andrew. Sullivan appears to have raised Glenn's derisive ire, somewhat fairly in my view, partly because he is being a bit too easy on Newsweek, perilously flirting with the "it's fake but accurate" meme, busily linking the Kos-site and such to find examples of ostensibly corroborating Koran-abuse, etcetera (As it turns out, there seems to have been all kinds of things going on with Korans--with detainees reportedly defiling them too). Yes, Andrew has a point. The abuses and torture that have occurred through Iraq and Afghanistan and Gitmo and rendition-points-beyond certainly lend credence to Koran desecration having perhaps occurred on occasion. But the bottom line here is that Mike Isikoff, as is his wont, was looking to nail a big story. He rushed, he sourced it too thinly, Newsweek was irresponsible to run with the copy as hastily as they did, showboat Imran latched on to it so as to appear Defender-of-the-Book, in the process riling up varied Islamists thus setting off a chain of events that resulted in, you know, people dying and such. This strikes me as a pretty big deal, no? Doesn't Newsweek merit a comeuppance for this sloppiness? And a good deal of criticism indeed? (Yes, Andrew does say they should not be "let off the hook," but in the context of a post mostly devoted to skewering misguided blogospheric hysteria about the Newsweek error).

I also understand Glenn's frustration with a MSM that appears so intent on always assuming the worst about the government. But this is a post-Watergate phenomenon that has been a thorn in the side of both Republican and Democrat administrations. The rosy, care-free days of a press corps "in the sack with Jack" are long gone. Worth noting too, of course, Isikoff did his damndest with hounding Clinton on the Monica going-ons. He's somewhat of an equal opportunity pain in the rear end. Yes, this latest is about a likely decades long conflict of utmost import--not Oval Office fellatio and civil suits from the wilds of Arkansas. People died. Still, you get my point. Also, of course, it is silly to ignore the larger context in all this. Not only that abuse and interrogation tactics specifically designed to humiliate Muslims (the fake menstrual blood and such grotesqueries) has occurred often since 9/11, but also that there are deeper reasons those listening to an Imran Khan were happy indeed to believe the very worst they could about the U.S. We do have a major issue with public diplomacy in the Middle East and, incidentally, Glenn appears on the record so agreeing. So, bottom line, Glenn is right that Andrew is not taking l'affaire Newsweek as seriously as he might. But, that said, mightn't Glenn take some of Andrew's concerns (on detainee abuse and torture, for instance) more seriously?

Which leads me to Andrew's gripes re: Glenn. Andrew received an E-mail from a social scientist reader who compared Glenn's posting activity during Abu Ghraib as compared to the Newsweek fiasco. The E-mailer concludes:

Reynolds' treatment of the real torture story was almost indistinguishable from his treatment of the fake torture story. For Reynolds, a false report of torture represents the same, basic problem as its demonstrable, photographic truth: namely, the subordination of the media's liberal agenda to that of the U.S. in wartime. This, it seems to me, is the real implication of the notion of "the press's Abu Ghraib": the tendency to view The News, not by the criteria of empirical validity, but by the patriotism and political pragmatism of its consequences.

To which Andrew added: "I think the emailer is being too kind. Instapundit's coverage suggests that he believes that the erroneously-sourced Newsweek story is actually more offensive and important than what happened at Abu Ghraib."

This is really what gets Andrew's goat, isn't it? That Glenn doesn't give two shits, really, about prisoner abuse and torture. But that he will get all hot under the collar about a Dan Rather, an Isikoff--whatever leftist MSM-scalp du jour the blogosphere helps take down. Does this simply mean Glenn has to blog more about torture to make the Andrews of the world happy? No, of course not. It's silly to count posts a la social scientist and draw, er, conclusions, about one's world-view on such a flimsy basis. Still, is Glenn downplaying the torture/abuse issue somewhat? Look, like Glenn wrote, I agree that every war will have its Abu Ghraibs and, yes, even worse, its Atlantas and its Dresdens. War is hell. Grown-ups get that. Nasty things happen. They always will. But what bothers me about Glenn is when he writes a sentence like this:

"When Andrew was a champion of the war on terror, writing about martial spirit and fifth columns composed of the "decadent left," did he believe that nothing like Abu Ghraib would happen, when such things (and much worse) happen in prisons across America (and everywhere else) on a daily basis? If so, he was writing out of an appalling ignorance" [emphasis added]

"Much worse" happening on a "daily basis" in "prisons across America"? C'mon Glenn. Let's call a spade a spade, shall we? Here's some of what happened at Abu Ghraib:

Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees;

Threatening detainees with a charged 9mm pistol;

Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair;

Threatening male detainees with rape;

Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell;

Sodomising a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick;

Using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.

Oh, and someone was beaten to death too. Call me naive, but I doubt Martha Stewart witnessed such going-ons during her time in an American prison. Maybe it's worse at Rikers, though I doubt people get beaten to death there either. Certainly not by the guards. Imagine the law suits! Or have wounds stiched up without proper anesthesia after being slammed into a wall (again, by guards!) Or get sodomized with chemical lights (those dastardly guards again!). And so on. Make no mistake. It's effing disgraceful such activities have occurred at U.S. detention centers--whether we are going to call it abuse, felony abuse, torture, or whatever. And it's disgraceful, if in a different way, that many on the right speak of just-a-few-bad-apples-on-the-graveyard [no pun intended!]-shift in Abu Ghraib (I don't count Glenn among this sorry crew of torture and abuse deniers; but we all know who they are). To deny that the problems were not more systemic is to not be serious or to be in denial or to be purposefully spinning. So yes, Glenn has said that torture and abuse is bad and wrong--but his seriousness in so condemning is put into question somewhat when he says "much worse" prison abuse happens daily in American jails. Much worse than what Glenn? Than beating someone to death?

In closing, a few final thoughts as I presumptuously play umpire between these two blog titans. Glenn criticizes Andrew for being too monomaniacal when it comes to things like Abu Ghraib so that the wider war on terror becomes viewed through an overly myopic prism. There he goes again. "Excitable" Andrew as "Emoter-in-Chief". But in defense of Andrew and as a regular reader of his, I don't get the sense he's ever been so monomaniacal when it came to Abu Ghraib that he's lost sight of the Big Picture. I thought his Kerry endorsement was reckless in the extreme, yes, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a major disapointment. But has he really gone soft on the war on terror, as Glenn intimates? I don't think the evidence really bears that out. And, in defense of Glenn, I'd say that he has every right to focus on the topics he wishes to broach more energetically, that it is unfair to call him a shill for the Bushies (he's criticized this Administration's policies in the past more than once; witness the Schiavo madness, most recently), and that he is at least on the record condemning torture and abuse of detainees (but yes, not as loudly as B.D. would like, though I certainly won't start number-crunching his posts anytime soon; just as I'd suspect Andrew wouldn't like such lame archive searching done to him, I'd suspect...).

Andrew writes about the entire Koran-flushing brouhaha:

"Three factors interacted here: media error/bias, Islamist paranoia, and a past and possibly current policy of religiously-intolerant torture. No one comes out looking good. But it seems to me unquestionable that the documented abuse of religion in interrogation practices is by far the biggest scandal. Too bad the blogosphere is too media-obsessed and self-congratulatory to notice.

It's seems a good deal of the Glenn-Andrew discord is born of the respective weight they are putting on two of these variables. So I'd close by saying, I guess, that Andrew might have helped himself by more loudly making the case that the media error was quite a doozy indeed; and Glenn might have helped himself by acknowledging that it's not just about disproving the specific Koran-flushing tale and cheerleading on the Newsweak! gotcha brigades--that all this occured amidst a larger context and backdrop of religiously intolerant detainee abuse and/or interrogation tactics. (Oh, please spare me the comments about how no one got decapitated at Abu Ghraib just for being Christian. And that Abu Ghraib was worse (so much, dude!) when under Saddam's stewardship. And that we treat 'their' Holy Book better than they'd ever treat 'ours'. And so on. We are better than our heinous, barbaric enemy; and so must have hugely higher standards). Finally, I think we can all agree there was much Islamist paranoia in all of this too, as Sully points out. Paranoia made worse by the Imran Khan's of the world--so Holy and God-fearing--when not tut-tutting about Knightsbridge, that is.

All this said, is it just me, or is there really not that much really separating Andrew and Glenn re: all the above? Might (gulp) a little ego be intruding a bit into all the to and fro? I mean, can't we all get along? There's a war on, right? The goal is to defeat extremist, jihadist terror. Newsweek screwed up. Rumsfeld's Pentagon screwed up too, in fostering insouciance about Geneva norms, in allowing overly aggressive and humiliating interrogation techniques, in not exerting appropriate control of poorly trained junior staff charged with the handling of detainees. There's enough blame to go around. Let's stop the carping and point scoring and move on, OK?

Posted by Gregory at May 19, 2005 01:29 AM | TrackBack (9)
Comments

One other thing that seems important is that Andrew Sullivan sees the torture as not only bad in itself, but also as terrible P.R. for the war on terror. I'm not exactly sure what Glenn's opinion on this issue is, but from some of the things he's said he seems inclined to say that the Arab world would have found something to blame America for no matter what, so it's not such a big deal that we provided the opportunity--bad certainly, but not a massive change in the way America is seen abroad.

Posted by: Alex at May 19, 2005 05:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg: well said on all points.

I must say that I'm surprised how quickly this disagreement devolved into ad-hominem.

Posted by: Bitter at May 19, 2005 05:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Anne Applebaum, in yesterday's Post, is quite right on this subject.

Posted by: Doug at May 19, 2005 06:04 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Americans' faith in the efficacy of our good intentions is touching.

Also pathetic. This latest muslim uproar should finally convince naive Americans that there are indeed drivers of muslim behavior that have nothing to do with US actions. For those who wish to research the matter, muslims in recent years from Nigeria to east Asia have been decapitating, shooting, burning and maiming those suspected of defiling their holy book, long before PissKoran, Abu G, or the Iraq War. Likewise, it makes no difference that this latest fable has already been retracted. Militant islamists will still demand heads, and moderate muslims will do nothing to stop them.

The vast majority of muslims care not a whit for our intentions. Even when the US military, with the purest intentions possible, without the slightest concern for material interest, intervened on the side of a muslim insurgency in Kosovo, a region of zero strategic significance, it earned us nothing in the account of muslim goodwill. In fact, our recompense for defending muslims in Kosovo was to be attacked in NYC and DC by muslims from across the middle east, as millions of muslims cheered.

As for Abu G, I defy anyone to produce solid evidence indicating that Abu G produced a change in the opinions of more than a few percentage points among Iraqis, or as much as a percent of a percent of muslims worldwide.

For once, let's get beyond our extreme, and extremely absurd, American self-absorption. Start by recognizing that the only AMerican actions that can produce a lasting change in the attitudes of the holy ones toward us unclean ones are either a) withdrawal from Iraq, a complete abandonment of Israel and a corresponding adoption of the Palestinian cause, or b) the complete trouncing on the battlefield of Zarqawi's thugs and any other islamist nutters. Note that changing the cover of Newsweek and providing clean, shiny happy media reports about US-muslim friendship do not figure on the above list.

Posted by: thibaud at May 19, 2005 06:36 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The test for media reporting on something that doesn't show America in a particulary noble light should not be, 'does this help America' but rather 'is this true'. Glen and his accolytes have travelled from, 'the media is liberal and thus biased' through, 'the media is unpatriotic', all the way to, 'the media is treasonous'. The media test they want is, 'there are many truths, which ones help America'

Posted by: cynical joe at May 19, 2005 08:37 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Doesn't Newsweek merit a comeuppance for this sloppiness?

that really is the question here --- and the bottom line is that Newsweek's standards were as high, if not higher, on this story than most of the "pro-war" reporting that has been done by the mainstream media at the urging of the Bush regime.

Indeed, one need only look at the "Oil for Food" scandal stories that came out of the US Senate prior to the release of their report --- much of that information was inaccurate and/or based on dubious sources, but it was published nonetheless. Or the Valerie Plame outing. Or any number of stories that the right-wing approves of.

As Sullivan has pointed out (and I can't believe I'm defending him) the Koran desecration story represented merely the confirmation of a relatively minor detail that had already been widely reported (and attested to under oath) that was wholly consistent with a far larger strategy of religious humiliation as a means of psychological torture. The desecration story was not considered "absurb" or "inconceivable" or even important enough to get anyone's attention --- it wasn't the kind of story that screamed out 'we have to triple check to make sure that every "i" is dotted and every "t" crossed' before publishing it. And the fact that the "confirmation" of the Koran desecration recieved virtually no media attention for 11 days bears this out.

That this particular Newsweek story was exploited by a Pakistani politician is irrelevant --- that same politician could have used any number of CONFIRMED stories about the disrespect shown to devout Muslims by US personnel to make his point, and gotten the same results.

The real problem here is the secrecy, dishonestly, and craveness of the Bush regime --- these people have degraded the reputation of the USA to such a degree that not only is a story like "Koran desecration" considered possible, it is treated as a "dog bites man" story by the American people and the mainstream media.

Indeed, those who believe that "everything has changed since 9/11 " would approve of such methods of psychological torture, and cite it as evidence of our "humanity" by pointing out that we aren't beating detainees or putting clamps on their genitals and administering electric shocks to get information, but "merely" breaking them down psychologically.

Andrew Sullivan is apparently waking up from his protracted 9/11 hangover, and seeing what is really happening in the US and throughout the world for the first time in years. He recognizes Glenn Reynolds for what he is --- not merely a shill for the Bush regime, but an apologist for the worst abuses of Bush and his subordinates.

When Glenn Reynolds and his ilk goes back and examines how the Bush regime used unidentified sources to disseminate lies and disinformation to gain popular support for the War in Iraq, and then compares that to what appeared in Newsweek, he will have something significant to write about. But all of this handwringing because a "reliable source" partially retracted a statement he made to Newsweek after a story based on that statement wound up being exploited by a Pakistani politician is pure nonsense. Far greater journalistic crimes have been committed at the behest of (and with the full support of the Glenn Reynolds of the world) to advance the agenda of the Bush regime --- and have not resulted in a media firestorm. The real question here is why Judith Miller still has a job...

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 19, 2005 11:28 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The vast majority of muslims care not a whit for our intentions. Even when the US military, with the purest intentions possible, without the slightest concern for material interest, intervened on the side of a muslim insurgency in Kosovo, a region of zero strategic significance, it earned us nothing in the account of muslim goodwill. In fact, our recompense for defending muslims in Kosovo was to be attacked in NYC and DC by muslims from across the middle east, as millions of muslims cheered.

First off, despite the fact that FoxNews ran pictures of a small group of mostly children apparently celebrating the 9/11 attacks, the Muslim world was overwhelmingly horrified by 9/11, completely disassociated themselves from the attacks, and made it clear that the attacks could not be justified by Islamic law. The very fact that you believe that "millions of Muslims cheered" shows how detached you are from reality.

As to the "Kosovo" stuff....the US was praised in the Islamic world for our efforts there, and we received a considerable amount of goodwill as a result. That goodwill (and the extraordinary sympathy and support of the muslim world as a result of 9-11) was squandered by the Bush regime.

Kosovo is no more relevant at this point to how the US is perceived than the fact that North Korea shut down its plutonium processing plant in 1994 to your perception of North Korea's intentions. That you seem to believe that American intentions should be judged by Kosovo, but that NK's intentions should not be judged by what it did in the past, is a demonstration of precisely how twisted right-wing thinking is.

As for Abu G, I defy anyone to produce solid evidence indicating that Abu G produced a change in the opinions of more than a few percentage points among Iraqis, or as much as a percent of a percent of muslims worldwide.

Opinion polling in Iraq and throughout the world is not done with the obsessive rigor and frequency shown in the USA. Thus, no one can "prove" any specific effect of Abu Ghraib on Iraqis or the muslim world in general.

And it may well be true that Abu Ghraib did not change a lot of Islamic people's minds, because unlike in the United States, the international media, including the Arab/Muslim media, was covering reports of torture and abuse long before Americans were finally confronted with the incontrovertible evidence of it. Iraqis already knew about how the US was abusing those it captured, because Iraqis were telling other Iraqis what they saw and experienced when they were "rounded up" and then subsequently released. The real "Abu Ghraib" scandal was the anti-Muslim bigotry of the American media shown in the months before the proof of abuse was finally released ---- it didn't matter how many allegations of abuse came from former detainees, those accounts were not considered "reliable" because they came from Muslims.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 19, 2005 12:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Funny. I tend to agree more with Sullivan on the basic issues, but think he's the responsible party when it comes to this spat. The torture issue is a real black eye to our Democracy promotion effort, (as well as appalling, sickening, vile, and repugnant to our nation's founding principles).

But. Sullivan tends to argue issues in an ad hominem fashion with those he disagrees with. (Remember his fifth column comments, anyone? There's a reason the Left developed such a firey hate for the guy.) Because Sullivan's good writer, sometimes those insults get really offensive, because he knows how to wield words as weapons. On the torture issue, he begins to sound like a Daily Kos diarist with a better command of sentence structure.

Despite his blogging addiction, it might be time for Sullivan to take those months off he promised to take. Blogging brings out his tendency towards personal polemic and tunnel vision that just clouds his message. (Oh dear...sorry for the Fridmanesque metaphor mixing) It's time for some New York Times Magazine articles on just what torture is doing to the American ideal and our Democracy promotion. It's also time for him to consider -- why doesn't America seem to care about this issue? And give us an explanation of why it should?

And, yep, Sullivan probably owes the Insta-guy an apology for labelling him a shill for Bush (and, by implication, his torture policies).

Posted by: Appalled Moderate at May 19, 2005 01:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There's a war on, right? The goal is to defeat extremist, jihadist terror.

Actually, no. It should be rather obvious by now that the goal, much to the glee of the average jihadi, is to defeat the Bush administration by any means necessary. And to hope, perchance to dream, to see America defeated and/or humbled and/or bankrupted to achieve this goal.

And since this virtuous goal, this end justifies the means, lies have become truth, paranoia has become prudence, irresponsibility has become ethical, insanity level-headedness, and villifying America patriotism.

And all too many Democrats seem to believe it all to be good politics. Along with commendable values.

But there is, ultimately, a price to pay for such perversity: for propagating, promoting and encouraging a culture of lies. Nazi Germany, for example, discovered what that price was. So ultimately did the Soviet Union. And there are several others that seem eager, for whatever unfathomable reason, to learn the lesson.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at May 19, 2005 01:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think Sullivan has allowed himself to become overly personal in the way he framed his basically good points. In all the time I have been reading both these men -- whom I both admire greatly -- Glenn has not, as far as I can tell, been a "shill" for Bush (look at his beating up of the GOP on things like the Dept. of Homeland Sec.). Anyway, the sheer ghastliness of the Democrats means anyone with half a brain has supported Dubya.

Sullivan has written on a narrow range of subjects for the past year: the torture issue, gay marriage and Bush's abandonment of small govt conservatism. I agree with him on all main points but Glenn has covered a much broader canvas of issues. It is silly for AS to beat up on Mr Instapundit for not sharing his obsessions to the same extent.

Time to chill, gentlemen

Posted by: Johnathan Pearce at May 19, 2005 02:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The problem is that Andrew is a jackass -- he was a jackass when he loved Bush and he's still one now that he hates Bush.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at May 19, 2005 02:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think one of the main points most people seem to be missing is that even if these stories are true, there needs to be a little common sense exercised in whether or not to publish them. It is obvious that items such as these will be gleefully used in a wildly out of context fashion by the Muslim extremists, to foster support for their cause. The irony in this is that if the extremists are successful in their attempts at defeating the U.S. in the mid-east, it is the policies that the left claims to champion that will end up losing out the most.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at May 19, 2005 04:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There were a number of excellent points made both in the post and in the comments, but being at work, I can't take the time to cite them all. I would like to point out this, however:

(Oh, please spare me the comments about how no one got decapitated at Abu Ghraib just for being Christian. And that Abu Ghraib was worse (so much, dude!) when under Saddam's stewardship. And that we treat 'their' Holy Book better than they'd ever treat 'ours'. And so on. We are better than our heinous, barbaric enemy; and so must have hugely higher standards).

Thank you! Every time I hear/read someone use this "we're still better than they are" defense, I want to either explode or hang my head. The fact that we don't line people up and shoot them en masse may make some people feel morally superior, but it doesn't make us morally right. And never mind the standard that the rest of the world holds us to, shouldn't we hold ourselves to a higher standard?

Furthermore, when we do screw up, shouldn't one of the tennets of the American standard be to hold those responsible accountable? Isn't that one one of the biggest problems we cite in our criticisms of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc - that even when their leaders may say, "This act was terrible," they then don't follow it up with accountability and punishment for the perpetrators and their support systems.

I also think that Sullivan is absolutely correct in his oft-stated assertion that these actions do vast harm to the nation's ability to further President Bush's stated foreign policy goals. And I say that as someone who, while I agree with the high-minded ideal of freedom across the globe, completely disagrees with the means used thus far in furtherance of that goal. Yet it seems clear to me that if the President's goal is using America as a shining example of freedom and democracy, then not only the abuse and torture itself, but also the complete lack of accountability after the fact, can only be doing harm to that plan.

Posted by: NYCmoderate at May 19, 2005 04:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

OK, no one's picked up on this, but Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan are your favorite bloggers? Instapundit is generic. Sullivan is very readable but rarely thought-provoking. You - and 3000 others - are much better.

Posted by: Jeff at May 19, 2005 04:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg, Newsweek does not "nail big stories" in the Periscope section.

Posted by: Anderson at May 19, 2005 04:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

This might be a big story, if one is the least bit inclined to believe any of it (Fouad Ajami, Norman Geras. You know...).

But don't forget about Abu Ghraib, eh? Or is that Andrew Sullivan's, "But we mustn't forget about Abu Ghraib?" As though A.G. was American policy.

Hat tip: Norman Geras.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at May 19, 2005 05:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Having recently gained some experience in this area, I'll give my opinion that Glenn Reynolds is admirably energetic but spreads himself so thinly that many of his posts are not deeply considered. I do not read Andrew Sullivan, and so cannot comment on his writing.

In general, though, I see little good coming of bloggers engaging in personal disputations with other bloggers. Compared, say, to the impact of Abu Ghraib on Muslim opinion or its influence on future American military doctrine toward enemy prisoners, the quality of any blogger's thought on these subjects is of minor importance. If Reynolds and Sullivan are trading charges with and about each other, this may be entertaining to some but it is hardly informative or useful. I will grant that whether they get along isn't that important either. I'm just saying that if I do read Blogger A it isn't likely to be because I'm anxious to learn his opinion of Blogger B.

Posted by: JEB at May 19, 2005 07:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

But don't forget about Abu Ghraib, eh? Or is that Andrew Sullivan's, "But we mustn't forget about Abu Ghraib?" As though A.G. was American policy.

So if, say, Chinese troops have Americans in custody and do to them what we did to the Abu Ghraib victims, we'll all just shrug and say, "well, hey, it's not like it was Chinese policy"?

Permit me to doubt.

Posted by: Anderson at May 19, 2005 08:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Glen,

re Isikoff being an equal-opportunity pain to power, I think you should go one step further, as Ann Coulter does ['NEWSWEEK DISSEMBLED, MUSLIMS DISMEMBERED!], and see that Isikoff only digs the stuff up. His politics are irrelevant. His editors are the ones who, as Coulter points out, passed up scoops on Monica, Paula and Kathleen Willey. But when presented with an item that any fool could see defiled the American military and hence was catnip to Zarqawi’s and Zawahiri’s recruiters, Newsweek rushed to print. Also, I’d like to read your thoughts on the shifting sands of torture. Is standing for eight hours, being wrapped in an Israeli flag, etc. as sinister as bone-breaking, fingernail pulling, electrocution and other forms of what was generally understood to be torture before Abu Ghraib put physical humiliation and psychic pain in the same category? And, do we demean those who have lost vision or the use of limbs because of torture when we liken their suffering to the pain of having menstrual blood wiped on you? Walt.

Posted by: walter owen at May 19, 2005 08:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I earlier wrote:

Indeed, those who believe that "everything has changed since 9/11 " would approve of such methods of psychological torture, and cite it as evidence of our "humanity" by pointing out that we aren't beating detainees or putting clamps on their genitals and administering electric shocks to get information, but "merely" breaking them down psychologically.

walter just remarked

Is standing for eight hours, being wrapped in an Israeli flag, etc. as sinister as bone-breaking, fingernail pulling, electrocution and other forms of what was generally understood to be torture before Abu Ghraib put physical humiliation and psychic pain in the same category? And, do we demean those who have lost vision or the use of limbs because of torture when we liken their suffering to the pain of having menstrual blood wiped on you?

thanks for proving my point!

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 19, 2005 09:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Glenn and others on the right are looking at the koranflushing in isolation from the rest of the torture issue. Sullivan, like many on the left (though he is not on the left) , tend to look at the torture scandal in isolation from the WOT in general.

Of course we need to hold ourselves to higher standards. There is a legitimate question as to how much higher those standards need to be. As Glenn reminds us, in World War 2 we killed tens of thousands of German and Japanese civilians in single firebombing raids. War is hell. Nothing that happened at Abu G or Gitmo comes CLOSE in terms of suffering to Dresden or Tokyo. Is the return in information from the overall admin interrogation policy (and not just the abuses that seem to be generated as a side effect of the policy) worth the suffering? Compared to the material value of firebombing Dresden? I dont know. I dont think either Glenn or Andy or anyone else in the blogosphere knows either.


Of course on much of the left comparisons of the WOT to WW2 are considered laughable - 9/11 was a one - off, best handled via Law enforcement, and the whole idea of a "war on terrorism" just an excuse for quasi-fascism. Fine. Thats why I dont usually read those guys, and DO read Andy. Andy HAS taken the WOT seriously, as a war, and as something crucial to western civilization. That is why is focus on Abu G out of the larger context of the WOT is so puzzling. Which is NOT to say hes wrong in, say, wanting, Gonzales and Rummy fired. Its just that the amount of posts, the attention to this, and ignoring of everything else seems so extreme. Does Andy have any opinions about the withdrawl from Gaza? About the Egyptian elections? About the capture of Al Libbi? damned if I know, since all he seems to blog about is Abu G. the evil of the religious right, and occasionally the evil of the economic left.


Glenn still does need to explain just what the hell he means about what goes on in American prisons.
Thats one hell of a throwaway line. But then Andy still needs to explain why being wrapped in an Israeli flag is unacceptable, except to people filled with hatred.

Posted by: liberalhawk at May 19, 2005 09:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

P Lukasiak wrote

"First off, despite the fact that FoxNews ran pictures of a small group of mostly children apparently celebrating the 9/11 attacks, the Muslim world was overwhelmingly horrified by 9/11, completely disassociated themselves from the attacks, and made it clear that the attacks could not be justified by Islamic law. The very fact that you believe that "millions of Muslims cheered" shows how detached you are from reality."

Pot/Kettle/Black alert people

So now its the fault of "Fox news" ( cue sinister Darth Vader music ) that they showed muslims celebrating 9/11

BULLSHIT

9/11 was widely cheered in the arab world - dancing palistinians and candy given out in Lebanon and Iran in celebration

The Muslim world ( is that here on earth too? ) was "overwhelmingly horrified" by 9/11

BULLSHIT

They got over it pdq if they ever were

They still think it was the JOOOOS who did it

They still celebrate OBL as a hero

They still fail to turn in these thugs


Why don't you open your eyes for a change and recognize the truth

Go on some arab blogs and ASK - were they horrified by 9/11? Do they think America had it coming?

Go and learn - go to MEMRI and see what Arab media is saying IN ARABIC - not the english snippets produced for your gullible sort

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at May 19, 2005 09:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak uses the term "Bush regime".Why don't you just conceed the discussion and go straight to equating President Bush to Hitler. Any comment / argument you make are framed in that light. Any valid point you may have thought you made will be treated as Newsweek reported flushed down the toilet.

Presiden Bush was elected. Regime change is what occured in Iraq.

Posted by: Peter V at May 19, 2005 09:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well you're close, Owen. But as others here, dismissive of the "Periscope" section of NW, have pointed out, this wasn't some massive scoop. Nor was it a new story.

Here's the point: As the energization of P-luka and Anderson have demonstrated, the important thing is to write and place anything, anywhere, that will keep AG in the news. They hate the accusation, but are willing to trade American blood and treasure for the return of liberal Democrats to the head of our governing organizations. They believe themselves to be in a "war" as well. And those of us that find American exceptionalism (hell, Anglo-exceptionalism) important are left wondering at the hostile media and their gleefull supporters.

But here Thibault resonates more true that even our host: Those in power in Islamic League care not a whit for our intentions. This was simply the most recent excuse (See Austin Bay at strategypage for more on 21st century war) in an on-going effort to undermine western concepts of liberty.

Once again, Greg, this was an abberation, and one that was promptly pounced-upon. It was also American Soldiers that reported, prosecuted and were punished for these crimes. Without-which there'd be no "Abu-Ghreb" to report on (let alone mis-spell)

Your absurb neutral, scoldy, "referee" postioning holds as much credibility as your constant predictions of Sec Rumsfelds sacking.

Posted by: Tommy G at May 19, 2005 09:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I am glad to see you specifically condemn certain actions. Certainly almost all of the actions you posted are going too far. (Sadly, some of those do occur in prisons all over the US and other countries; well, at least if Amnesty and other organizations are to be believed.)

Is threatening with a pistol (as opposed to hitting with it) going too far? It's easy to imagine that without firm rules and guidelines, someone could easily convince themselves that it wasn't so different from what was allowed. And there is indeed a slippery slope, particularly when dealing with some of these terrorist monsters, particularly when the imprisoned have murdered innocents and friends of the people holding them in prison. Without absolutely firm guidelines indicating what line to not cross and what is allowable, people will go too far.

That's why rules spelling out in detail what is and is not allowable are absolutely necessary, and prevent things from getting out of hand. Without them, without direction, things will get out of hand. Anyone who opposes such rules and discussion is, I think, fatally mistaken. The infamous memos discovered are, on balance, a good thing, not bad.

Posted by: John Thacker at May 19, 2005 10:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

liberalhawk wrote: Of course on much of the left comparisons of the WOT to WW2 are considered laughable - 9/11 was a one - off, best handled via Law enforcement, and the whole idea of a "war on terrorism" just an excuse for quasi-fascism.

But what of those of us who don't accept either premise? I don't think the WOT and WWII are comparable, but I also don't think 9/11 was a one-off best handled by law enforcement.

The WOT and WWII are different for any vast numbers of reasons that I don't really want to go into, but start with rationale, strategy, nature of the enemy, the fact that there isn't a specific nation involved. And while I believe that a military solution to 9/11 was necessary and proper, I don't accept that it ran through Iraq nor that being arrogant and less than fully honest was the best way to go about it.

I also take issue with your justifying the torture/abuse by comparing it to Dresden and Tokyo, for three reasons. One, as I said, it's a completely different situation as a whole. Two, there is a difference between how you treat POW's (whatever name you choose to give them) and what your bombing targets are. And three, just because we did horrible things in the past, should we really use that as justification to do maybe-not-quite-as-bad things in the future?

We interned Japanese citizens during WWII. Should we now say to Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans, "Well, we're not locking you up, so discriminating against you is okay because it's not as bad." [for the record: I'm only using that as an example, not as a suggestion of what may or may not actually be happening.]

Your other justification for the abuse/torture - do the benefits of information outweigh the downsides - is a more significant one, but that's not the discussion we're having in this country, or largely in the blogosphere. It would be a hugely uncomfortable argument to have, nearly impossible to have honestly, but it is at least, to my mind, a valid issue to consider. I'm not, to be honest, entirely sure where I would come out with it, because while I abhore torture, how do you get information from people who have known nothing but violence their whole lives? But on the flipside of that, what becomes of us if we sink to their level in order to protect ourselves?

I don't know the answers, but I do know it's a far more complicated question that shouldn't be blithely dismissed or lowered to accusations of "softness" and "unpatriotism". [that's not, I realize, a real word]

Posted by: NYCmoderate at May 19, 2005 10:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The "dispute" between Reynolds and Sullivan is a proxy for the dispute over the war and, even more so for Sullivan, the Bush Administration.

They simply have different priorities - Reynolds the war; Sullivan Gay marriage.

Reynolds never dismissed the seriousness of the A.G. abuses (few of us have), but he does not dwell on them as emblematic of the U.S. or its efforts in the war. He clearly believes the media's absorption with A.G. and highlighting the insurgency in Iraq over-emphasizes U.S. problems and terrorists’ success demonstrates the media's culpability in delivering the enemy's public relations efforts. These, ultimately, calls into question the media's bias and trustworthiness. I think he is right, and I think most Americans would agree with Reynolds as well. A.G. clearly did not seem to have cost Bush much in the election, nor did the media's constant pounding of a defeatist message on Iraq.

Sullivan, having a grudge against Bush over the Gay marriage issue, has been waging his own jihad against the Administration ever since. Like Kos, Sullivan has taken whatever arrow is available to him to skewer Bush. A.G. certainly provided that to him. In short, I think Sullivan's agenda is to discredit Bush; I'm not convinced he wants to win the war as much as he wants to defeat Bush, and I'm not sure he's even convinced anymore the enemy is that much a threat, or as much as a threat as Bush.

We certainly do not want to lose any sense of our values and principles in fighting this war, and it is important to protect against that erosion, but I think abuses at A.G. and allegations of same at Gitmo fall short of that risk. We need to examine ourselves and protect against that risk with a clear eye while still fighting the war aggressively - we cannot let an obsessive fear of our intermittent sins undermine our political will or stop us from winning. I do not think Sullivan understands that, at all.

Posted by: Tim at May 19, 2005 10:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well said, Tim. I think Glenn has fewer posts on AG because he figured the MSM was covering that just fine, thank you. Not to speak for Instapundit, but that's always been his main beef: Where's the perspective? Where's the balance? Was AG bad? Of course! But to obsess about it like Andrew (and the lefties) do is to totally lose all perspective.

And I have to take serious issue with the likes of p. lukasiak (sp?) who take their multiculturistic/PC/relativism to the point where they see moral equivalence between AG and the depravities of the Islamists. Human beings being what they are, they (we!) will do appalling things, esp when under stress. That's why our institutions, our sense of justice, and our moral underpinnings are essential to civilization, and, sadly, all of those things are lacking in the "modern" medieval Middle East. There IS a difference between AG and the depravities of the Islamists. The perps at AG were brought to justice; those who made people choose between incineration and jumping 100 stories to their deaths have not.

Posted by: JABBER at May 19, 2005 11:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think a major reason Americans don't care that much is because what the media has focused on tends to be not much different from what we watch on Fear Factor. As many have noted, far more egregious violations and abuses have occurred; but also, these have been reported, investigated, and their instigators prosecuted or due to be prosecuted.

But good on you, Greg, for speaking up. Sure, we're a niche community, but every community is going to have conflicts, and every conflict's going to need resolution. Keep up the excellent writing!

Posted by: Bruce at May 19, 2005 11:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I used to be a daily Sullivan reader, but ever since he came back from his August break essentially declaring the Vietnam War to be the personal property of John Kerry and demanding that any veteran who wants to talk about his experiences defending his country must first have his statements vetted by the Kerry campaign, I've found him largely unreadable, and I increasingly rarely try.

I tend to agree with Andrew in general with many of his issues, but it seems almost that it annoys him that he even has to argue his point. That he's right, he's obviously right, and if someone doesn't see it his way, they're not acting in good faith.

Sullivan's new attitude tends to be match what I've been seeing for years in the attitude of the left. And I generally don't read them either. And I'm poorer for it, but I just can't deal with how they present their positions.

In short, I totally agree with Glenn's statement that Andrew's opinion just isn't as valuable as it used to be. Which is a shame, but true nonetheless.

Posted by: byrd at May 19, 2005 11:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

GD: Might (gulp) a little ego be intruding a bit into all the to and fro?

Who cares what either of 'em think? They're both hacks.

Posted by: fling93 at May 19, 2005 11:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What torture? I saw photos of college fraternity hazing. Nothing else. Andrew's seen worse in the Greenwich Village Bathhouses. Come on!

Give the leash to a blond chic from Arkansas, and snap some photos. Then go get the shaved sheep. That'll get the terrorists talking. Meantime, if you want to see real torture, check into a Turkish or Pakistani prison for a fortnight!

Andrew's a wuss on this one, and added to his whiny idea of giving the WOT to the Dems for training purposes, it renders his intellect incontinent. I de-bookmarked him around July of '04.

Shame, he used to be my first blog-read.
-Steve

Posted by: Steve at May 20, 2005 12:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I have been coming to this blog less and less, and now it's clear why.

It's not Andrew OR Glenn, it's Gregory.

I've taken this site off of my bookmarks and I won't be back. Life's too short and there are too many good blogs.

Posted by: Gary S at May 20, 2005 01:46 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Nice post and attempt at giving respect to two good bloggers.

But I have to confess, I can barely read Andrew Sullivan anymore even though it was his blog that got me started on reading blogs in the first place (I read about it in one of his London Times columns while I was living in the UK). I was hooked right away, visited his site daily, contributed to one of his pledge drives, etc.

But long before I ever heard Instapundit was in any kind of tiff with him, I had stopped visiting.

Here's my take, as honestly as I can put it: Whenever the Gay Marriage issue broke in Mass and soon followed by SF, he began to lose perspective and, frankly, his reason.

From then on, that issue seem to color a slant against Republicans in general, GWB in particular. His whole months long charade on whether he would endorse Kerry or Bush was sad. It was painful to read someone routinely twist logic in knots and slant everything, finally, absurdly, self-justifying a mind every reader knew had been made up for a long time on the idea that a Kerry election would force the Dems to get serious about the WOT.

He's been so whacked on the torture thing now, that I forget what the word actually means when I read his stuff (which I only do infrequently these days). I still have the feeling even that is somehow related to the gay thing.

In my opinion he's lost believability. There was a point when the Sadr thing was going on in Iraq where I half thought that if Sadr had "come out" as a gay terrorist, Sullivan would have thrown his support behind him and his movement.

I think that is basically where he's been for going on a year and a half now.

Sorry. I may be wrong. But I think he needs to get the gay deal out in the open, as ironic as that might sound. I don't think he is telling just how much that one issue is influencing opinions on everything.

Posted by: Michael at May 20, 2005 02:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

One last comment on this subject: I don't think conditions at any domestic American prison, or class of prisons, or all prisons together are relevant to abuse of prisoners at American-run facilities in Iraq, Cuba or other foreign sites. These sites are not an extension of the American criminal justice system, and treatment of prisoners there is a matter of policy determined by the Department of Defense in consultation with Justice and other relevant federal agencies, not by the states, which run most prisons in this country, or the federal Bureau of Prisons.

But, for the record -- and as a law professor Glenn Reynolds may have adequate sources for his views on this subject -- treatment of prisoners in many American jails and prisons is in fact abysmal. Prisoners are subjected to overcrowding in some facilities, abuse by guards in others, and are at continual risk of assault or worse from other inmates in many facilities across the country. Are conditions worse than those at Abu Ghraib in November of 2003? In any given month, in most any facility, probably not. But most prisoners in the United States are incarcerated for longer than a few months, and many of them -- meaning hundreds of thousands of people -- will experience things while in prison that were not part of the sentences for the crimes of which they were convicted. Some of these will experience things no human being should.

As I say, I don't think these two subjects are necessarily related. But no one should think that Glenn's admittedly offhand remark about what goes on in the American prison system was something he just made up.

Posted by: JEB at May 20, 2005 03:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I also used to read Sullivan but no longer do.

I used to think it was refreshing and honest to see a man almost literally "wrestle" with the issues. He is truly torn by contradictions (quite understandably) in politics and in life. Considering both sides of the issues as openly as Andrew does is a sign of intellectual honesty and integrity.

However, there comes a point where judiciousness turns to waivering. And while it's one thing to struggle with the decision on, say, which party to support when both parties embody conflicting impulses, the war is another thing entirely. If you support a war, you must realize that it will be a bloody mess, even if you consider the means and the ends to be just.

In the end, Sulli went wobbly and I don't find it interesting anymore to read about his emotional roller-coaster rides or his back and forths. Even back in the early days of the Afghan campaign when he was an eloquent and full throated supporter, I noticed that the bad news days seemed to hit Andrew especially hard - as if he were not prepared to endure the inevitable setbacks that occur in war. In other words, he was always prone to panic. Our enemy's lethal terror campaigns and our own screw ups like Abu Ghraib and Al Qaqaa drove him over the edge.

Posted by: John in Tokyo at May 20, 2005 03:45 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

John in Tokyo,

Agreed. Sullivan's emotions have evolved from being reasonably steady to outright hysteria. Given his medical condition, I first attributed this inconstancy to his meds - now I wonder if its his condition.

Regardless, I almost never read him anymore.

Posted by: Tim at May 20, 2005 04:31 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sullivan and Reynolds were the first two bloggers I ever read, and I owe both of them my gratitude. It's no fun to watch, but it's completely natural that a new and powerful medium like blogs engenders this type of confrontation.

Their debate, however, did not begin with this Newsweek issue. During the Terri Schiavo affair I wrote a post that linked to a post by Instapundit. In the last paragraph Reynolds addresses a disagreement with Sullivan over the dangers of Christian extremism. Their exchange was more polite than their current one, but a divide seemed to be forming back then, if not before.

While both my post and Instapundit's lamented the sadness caused by such bitter disagreements between friends, that's part of the cost of the free exchange of ideas. Sure it hurts, but many have paid a far greater price for this freedom.

Posted by: G. Hamid at May 20, 2005 04:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yeah Tim,

His shrillness and gratuitous swipe at Glenn for not denouncing Abu Ghraib loud enough and often enough, plus Glenn's silly concern for Newsweek's minor blunder seems to imply that anyone not consumed with horror and indignation at Abu Ghraib every waking moment, as Sulli is, must automatically be a denier or an apologist for abuse and torture.

As Glenn noted, there is something appalling about a war supporter who cannot deal with setbacks. It's one thing for an opponent to harp on Abu Ghraib. And Sulli is free to his opinions and to change his mind and his heart. But there is something really wrong about a supporter going wobbly and obsessing over this one black-eye amidst all the other horrors and atrocities going on in the world at a time when support is critical.

Posted by: John in Tokyo at May 20, 2005 05:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jabber,

You accuse p. lukasiak of relativism, yet you proceed to justify immoral acts relative to your enemy.

Morality and ethics are supposed to transcend culture and personal feelings, yet you use your membership in Western Civilization and/or your feelings for the United States to justify American troops sexually molesting other men and women.

Since they were not brutally raped and only sexually humiliated…that’s OK?

When did Republicans start using Hippie morality?

Posted by: Neodude at May 20, 2005 05:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

This is not the first time Andrew has gone after Glenn, and when he does, he makes it personal. Frankly, I think he has a pretty major chip on his morally superior shoulder. The incredibly mean spirited addendum to the email he chose to post is the kind of gratuitous "suggestion" that finally put this former fan & early supporter off for good.

It's the ego-centric hubris as much as the histrionics that I find offensive. Andrew takes enormous advantage of his readers, whose opinions he freely and copiously quotes without being willing to divert the spotlight by giving credit to the authors, and I suspect that there was more to his long coy maneuvering over his Kerry endorsement than he was willing to admit.

Would B.D. be kind enough to clear up what seemed be deliberately studied language on that score by asking Mr. Sullivan if he actually votes in the U.S.? I personally believe he turned himself into a rhetorical pretzel to avoid indicating that he doesn't.

Posted by: JM Hanes at May 20, 2005 06:05 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Now, Andrew's purposely misunderstanding past Reynold's comments to make his argument. I think my disgust is complete.

Posted by: marie at May 20, 2005 07:14 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Dear lord, anybody who believes that 9/11 would have been best dealt with by law enforcement have clearly not learnt the lessons of the first WTC bombing. 'Wedge: From Pearl Harbor To 9/11, How The Secret War Between The Fbi And The Cia Has Endangered National Security' by Mark Riebling is an excellent read concerning the perils of such an approach.

"So if, say, Chinese troops have Americans in custody and do to them what we did to the Abu Ghraib victims, we'll all just shrug and say, "well, hey, it's not like it was Chinese policy"?" Anderson


I could say that when a rogue Chinese fighter pilot downed an American spy plane in International waters (2001 iirc) only a fool would claim that was obviously Chinese policy. I feel their is a parallel to Abu Ghraib.

Posted by: Andrew Paterson at May 20, 2005 10:53 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I stopped reading Andrew Sullivan when he decided to vote for John Kerry. I still don't understand how a person who claimed to believe in the primacy of winning the "War on Terror" could have supported such a self-absorbed candidate from such an unserious political party.

What bothered me the most, however, was not Sullivan's lack of sound political judgement on defending civilization as we know it, but his last minute switch. How many "undecided's" did he take with him?

Like (former Republican) Jim Jeffords, I'll never trust Sully again.

Too bad. I used to read his blog regularly.

Posted by: R. Simpson at May 20, 2005 12:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As usual, the right consistently mischaracterizes the concerns of the left on stuff like "Abu Ghraib." The left does not consider "Abu Ghraib" emblematic, but symptomatic, of the stupid and amoral policies of the Bush regime.

What is really being discussed is the contempt of the Bush regime for international standards of behavior that have evolved over hundreds of years, and which the USA greatly contributed in the past from its emphasis on "inalienable rights" as described in the Declaration of Independence, to work done to promote Human Rights as the foundation of international law begun by President Carter, and followed through on by Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton.

So, when the left talks about "Abu Ghraib", what we are really talking about is the consequences of the perversion of international law to create the means by which the Bush regime ignores international standards of conduct. We are talking about the creation of completely ficticious category of prisoners of war ("unlawful combatants"), the bogus "legal" justification of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the assertion that the President is empowered by the Constitution in his role of Commander-in-Chief to ignore prohibitions against torture and abuse of prisoners found in both domestic and international law, the assertion that Guantanamo represented some sort of legal "Twilight Zone" where anything goes because Cuban had ceded administrative responsibility to the US for that base, but it was not part of the US mainland, etc. etc. etc.....

"Abu Ghraib" represents, and symbolizes, what happens when this sort of "above the law" mindset is ingrained in the consciousness of military personnel who are trained to kill "the enemy" without any regard for their basic humanity. In terms of "the enemy" soldiers are (rightfully) required to forget about the "moral" issues of killing another human being --- and it is only the law which constrains the behavior of soldiers toward those designated "the enemy." When the leadership signals that the law which constrains that behavior is flexible to the point of non-existence, "Abu Ghraib" is the result.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

as to the question of whether "terrorism" should be treated as a "law enforcement" issue, again the right-wing mischaracterizes their position.

Many of us do believe that terrorism should be treated primarily as a law enforcement issue. There are times when such an approach is inadequate --- and I had no problem with the fact that the Clinton administration was ready to use military forces based in Pakistan to take out Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan (Clinton had gotten permission from the Pakistani government for those raids -- but Bush's new-best-friend Musharrif overthrew the elected government of Pakistan, and forbade the use of Pakistani territory for the raids.)

I think its possible to argue the question of what degree of military involvement is necessary to combat terror. But there is no question that the way in which the Bush regime has "militarized" the "war on terror" has been a complete and unmitigated disaster that has turned a relatively minor problem involving a couple of hundred criminally insane religious nutcases into a movement that has the sympathies of millions of people throughout the world.

In fact, terrorism itself is still being treated primarily in the same fashion as it was before 9-11 with the exception that we now feel free to torture anyone we are pretty sure is involved with "the terrorists". The issue here isn't the militarization of the "war on terror", its the exploitation of the "war on terror" to achieve ends having nothing to do with the threat that terrorism represented.

Using "the war on terror" as a pretext for invading Iraq (especially within the context of the "for us or against us" rhetoric of the Bush administration) has lead much of the Islamic world to see "the terrorists" as the people standing up for the rights of Muslims in the face of military agression by the USA.

One can sit around and say that smearing someone with menstrual blood is far preferable to subjecting them to physical torture --- and you'd be right within a certain context. But the "war on terror" was a war against a radical fringe of fundamentalist Islam --- and the vast majority of fundamentalist Muslims abhorred the terrorist methods of the radical fringe while sharing most of their beliefs.

And it is within this context that desecration and degradation of Islam must be considered, because it provides absolute credibility to those who claim that the USA represents "The Great Satan", for only "The Great Satan" would dare to defile Islam in this fashion.


Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 20, 2005 01:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Michael wrote: "Here's my take, as honestly as I can put it: Whenever the Gay Marriage issue broke in Mass and soon followed by SF, he began to lose perspective and, frankly, his reason.

From then on, that issue seem to color a slant against Republicans in general, GWB in particular. His whole months long charade on whether he would endorse Kerry or Bush was sad. It was painful to read someone routinely twist logic in knots and slant everything, finally, absurdly, self-justifying a mind every reader knew had been made up for a long time on the idea that a Kerry election would force the Dems to get serious about the WOT."

I concur with most of what Michael wrote. I also stopped reading Andrew several months ago.

But seriously folks. I expect bloggers to write about what interests themselves. The fact that Andrew is obsessive about Abu Ghraib and US torture is OK with me. The fact the Glenn is more likely to post aboout digital cameras than the latest torture allegation is also OK.

I still have great respect for both of them, but read what is of the most interest to myself.

Posted by: pilsener at May 20, 2005 02:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

NYC moderate writes:


And three, just because we did horrible things in the past, should we really use that as justification to do maybe-not-quite-as-bad things in the future?


My point was that we did horrible things in the past, and that we were STILL better than our enemies, and that was ENOUGH. I realize that this is a DIFFERENT war - the Islamists dont represent an imminent threat to takeover the world, nor are there atrocities equivalent to Auschwitz - I wouldnt accept a mass bombing of a city that killed 100,000 in THIS war. But thats not what we're discussing. We're discussing a deliberate policy to use pressure, isolation, physically uncomfortable positions, sleep deprivation against several hundred prisoners/unlawful combatants/alleged terrorists. And the (inevitable?) abuses on the nightshift, which went to sexual and religious humiliations, beatings, and in a few cases deaths.

I certainly want everyone associated with the abuses prosecuted. Glenn and all sane people on the right agree with that. What Andy seems to be saying, is that because these abuses were the inevitable fruit of the policy of sleep deprivation, pressure, etc the whole policy should be tossed, and EVERYONE (Gonzales, Rummy, etc) associated with the policy should be tossed, and everyone (like Glenn, forex) who doesnt see that that WOT is fundamentally be fought the wrong way is morally blind.

Well I just dont buy that. While i realize this isnt WW2, Im not sure it isnt serious enough and dangerous enough to justify some very tough policies, like sleep deprivation of prisoners to get info. And if that is inevitably going to mean that bad apples will go farther and do stupid things, it may be that all you can do is prosecute them when you find them, and try to manage things tight enough to minimize that. It doesnt mean youre morally obliged to toss the original policy - (just we're not going get rid of side arms cause someone shot a prisoner, or get rid of Napalm cause someone burnt a village).

As for the the morality/wisdom of going into Iraq, thats not what this is about. Andy supported going into Iraq, and apparently still does. In any case the issues at Gitmo, Bagram, would still come up, Iraq or no. I presume the folks who think this is a war, but on prudential grounds we shouldnt have gone into Iraq, still recognize the need to extract maximum info from unlawful combatants taken in afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. This IS a war, and in a war INFO is key, and is more important than a clean prosecution.

As for the argument that while its true that flushing a koran, or messing with fake menstrual blood is morally trivial compared to the horrors of war, or even routing imprisonment, but because of the nature of the hearts and minds struggle here this is particularly self-defeating
A. Thats open to argument - yup i know there are no solid polls - but there are serious arguments that most of the people likely to get most excited about this hate us anyway, and that plenty of the others are satisfied to see the direct perps prosecuted, which is something new and unique in their own societies - and that they see the terrorists doing far worse desecrations every day - like, er, blowing up mosques in Baghdad with hundreds of worshipers inside - etc
B. It really does, Im afraid, lean to the "Newsweek shouldnt have published, true or not" meme.
C. It is still only ONE aspect of the "hearts and minds war" - there are MANY others, including the Gaza withdrawl, the question of cracking down on opium production in Afghanistan (which is likely a much bigger hearts and minds loser there than the koran flushing or menstrual blood) the issue of various aspects of Pakistani politics - will Perv reach out to Bhutto, etc. I DO NOT see Andy blogging on the question of what to do about Afghan opium, or about the details of Pakistani politics. Which leads me very much to believe that his concern is NOT with a prudential approach to the hearts and minds struggle, but rather with his own emotional response to the nasty pictures and stories, his sense of being dirtied. Which would be fine I suppose, except that in a world where 450 muslims have been murdered in a couple of weeks by Jihadis in Iraq, where several hundred muslims have been killed by the troops of a dictator we support in Uzbekistan, in a world where we killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in WW2 (allbeit that was a very different war) it just seems to me that the focus on the Abu G and Gitmo humiliations and beatings is excessive, and really makes Andy less worth reading.

and no one (or at least no one sane) is saying the abuses were g

Posted by: liberalhawk at May 20, 2005 02:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Using "the war on terror" as a pretext for invading Iraq (especially within the context of the "for us or against us" rhetoric of the Bush administration) has lead much of the Islamic world to see "the terrorists" as the people standing up for the rights of Muslims in the face of military agression by the USA."

Well, of course, that's simply false.

Seruisly, Luka, what's the point of typing all of those words - because in the end, that's all that you're accomplishing - if your enitre premise is faulty. It's pathetic.

1. UN resolutions were the Pretext. This fact has never been in dispute.

2. The "Muslim World" is a fiction, and there is plenty of evidence that citizens of the Republic of Iraq do not see the Jihadists who kill their women and children as "standing up for the rights of Muslims". Not the least is that you just made that argument up out of thin air, anyhow.

So much for your credibility.

Posted by: Tommy G at May 20, 2005 02:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There are men and women being sexually molested by American soldiers...and the self-rightious Right can only argue "I've seen worse."...

According to you guys, the children who were sexually molested by Roman Catholic priests should shut-up and feel blessed, since it wasn't a Muslem or murderer who did the molestation?

Posted by: Neodude at May 20, 2005 03:01 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Uh, Neodude... How did you manage to misconstrue my earlier posts into JUSTIFYING the Abu Ghraib abuses? I did no such thing. I was as appalled as anyone about what our soldiers did there, and I fully support an appropriate investigation and punishment. What I'm simply saying is that to obsess about AG is to lose all sense of moral perspective when compared to the grotesqueries of Islamism. Why does the Left obsess about AG but say nothing about those Islamist grotequeries? Why does our wonderful balanced press feel the need to parade those disgusting AG photos but not show 9/11 pictures/the beheadings of innocents/the mass graves, et al for fear of disturbing our "sensitivities"? We are at war with an enemy that wears no uniforms, that uses retarded children as suicide bombers, that riot at the "desecration" of a BOOK, but sees nothing wrong with using mosques as firing positions... And you on the Left stand there and judge the whole of American society by a handful of soldiers that parade a bunch of nude Iraqi terrorists around with panties on their head? Sorry...that's an obscene lack of perspective in my opinion.

Posted by: JABBER at May 20, 2005 03:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Neodude, our two postings passed like ships in the night. I just had to respond to your latest and say, "Your last post just proved my point...you have completely lost your sense of perspective."

Posted by: JABBER at May 20, 2005 03:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Can we clarify the "completely ficticious category of prisoners of war ("unlawful combatants") issue.

I honestly wonder what those against such a clarification have in mind on this issue. What do they desire?

First and foremost, men on the battlefield who do not follow the rules of war, commit perfidy, plan suicide bombings and other such outrages do not meet the requirement of 'guerrillas' under the Geneva conventions. Therefore it would not be accurate, nor indeed in any way just, to ascribe Taliban or Al Qaeda fighter's POW status upon capture. Due to the fact that such fighters have never met legal 'combatant' status, Protocol I, Art. 44, Sec. 2 does not apply (ie Although all combatants are required to comply with international laws, violations do not deprive the combatants of their status, or of their right to prisoner of war protections if they are captured).

In the event of the capture of individuals such as those described above there are two choices left open: detain them despite their illegal behaviour on the 'battlefield' (whether that be in a marketplace or a mountain) and grant them a status, while not identical to that of a POW, ensures their survival... for of course what is the alternative to this approach? Why it is indeed summary execution, the fate befallen thousands of mercenaries operating outside the law since the inception of the Geneva codes. So I ask, what is the alternative? Unless anyone believes a bullet in the head is better than detention in a camp.

Posted by: Andrew Paterson at May 20, 2005 03:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And, it is legal under the Geneva Convention to summarily execute un-uniformed combatants. (i.e. There was nothing illegal under Geneva in that famous picture of the South Vietnamese general executing the captured Viet Cong.)

Posted by: exhelodrvr at May 20, 2005 03:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

First of all, I'd like to thank GD for this post, as it seems to have given a lot of us a chance to vent about Andrew Sullivan (or Glenn Reynolds). They were the two bloggers who got me into reading blogs in the first place. They both deserve kudos for the hard work and courage they demonstrate daily in putting their views on display for the world to see (and often criticize mercilessly). Andrew is a very gifted writer, and a smart man whom I feel has his heart in the right place, but I feel the same way Michael (and pilsener) do about about Andrew, in that the gay marriage issue kind of enraged him against the Bush administration and that he came back from his August 2004 hiatus in high dudgeon and spent the next few months turning himself into an intellectual pretzel trying to justify his support for Kerry. [Of all the lame Kerry endorsements of last fall--and there were MANY--his was easily the lamest.]

In addition to what others have noted here, what irritated ME the most about Sullivan during that period (and since) is the way he spoke in such unequivocal terms about military matters and how Iraq was going. When he returned from his hiatus, he had totally bought the whole MSM-Iraq-is-a-disaster theme hook, line, and sinker, ignoring other evidence that showed that the Iraq story was just a tad more complicated than that. And for him to criticize military planning and strategy, both strategic and tactical, like he actually knew what he was talking about struck me as ridiculous. Of course, he is entitled to his opinion, but for him to speak so unequivocally ("we should have taken ______ a year ago" blah blah) about such complicated issues that he doesn't know squat about made him sound like a fool to me.

While I believe Bush and Co could have and should have done a far better job in Iraq to say the least, like every war, Iraq has been, ghastly, costly, messy, and full of mistakes and miscalculations, many of which simply could not have been avoided. But one person's fatal mistake sometimes turns out to be a wise move in the end. (Remember how everyone was saying we shouldn't have disbanded the Iraqi Army? Not everyone agrees with that meme anymore.) Speaking unequivocally about such matters in the middle of a highly fluid situation can flush your credibility in a hurry.

You could sum up in a simple way by saying that Glenn wants to believe the best about Bush/the WOT/torture etc. while Andrew is eager to latch on to the worst. From there, one's thoughts can drift to the opinion that Glenn clearly wants to see Bush succeed while one wonders if Andrew wants to see Bush fail. I'm not saying the latter is true, but he sure comes off that way sometimes. That's why I don't consider Andrew relevant anymore. In fact, I read him more for laughs and to see what idiotic thing he is going to write next.

I suppose this is what will happen in the blogworld in the years and decades to come. Bloggers will rise and fall, come and go.

Posted by: JZ at May 20, 2005 04:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Indeed exhelodrvr. Although I take no pleasure from the thought of the execution of a human being there is a logic to this lack of protection for un-uniformed combatants. Why should treachery be rewarded?

I feel much of this debate comes down to 'multi-laterlists' and the like trying to effectively wish what they believe is right into being, no matter what the reality is, what is written on paper. Keep saying the same thing over and over and people will start to believe you, unless they happen to actually read the convention in question.

Posted by: Andrew Paterso at May 20, 2005 04:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

today andy has called Glenn for an approving quote of a Volokh post about the flogging of a CONVICTED MURDERER, implying that this calls into question Glenns opposition to torture. I really think this is intellectually cheap (belief in revenge as a valid consideration in the design of punishment for convicted murders is NOT necessarily related to the use of torture as interrogation of prisoners who have not been convicted of anything) and really shows Andy at his obsessional worst (I note Glenn also sometimes quotes people out of context, but usually not as part of an obsesstion like this)

Posted by: liberalhawk at May 20, 2005 04:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Using religion against religious fanatics who are supposedly dessecrating said religion isn't torture, and never will be.

Posted by: Cutler at May 20, 2005 04:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And JABBER you proved my point…you are the relativist here.

Your moral universe is relative to your tribal loyalties.

Posted by: NeoDude at May 20, 2005 04:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You think these things do not go on in US prisons? What was the peacetime profession of those doing the torturing at Abu Graib? You’ve not heard about the California guards who used to set prisoners to fight each other? You’ve not heard of the incidence of male rape (not threats of) in prisons?

Posted by: Tim Worstall at May 20, 2005 05:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

First and foremost, men on the battlefield who do not follow the rules of war, commit perfidy, plan suicide bombings and other such outrages do not meet the requirement of 'guerrillas' under the Geneva conventions. Therefore it would not be accurate, nor indeed in any way just, to ascribe Taliban or Al Qaeda fighter's POW status upon capture.

first and foremost, anyone captured on a battlefield is automatically covered under the Geneva conventions. If there is ANY question as to whether someone who has been captured is covered under the Geneva conventions, they are covered under the Geneva conventions until such time as it is determined by a competent tribunal that they are not covered.

The simple fact that the Taliban fighters WERE Taliban fighters made them eligible, because they answered to a central authority on the battlefield. (You seem to be reading the Conventions as if the descriptions of who is covered is "exclusive" -- its not. The enumeration of who is covered was done to make sure that everyone caught in a war zone was treated appropriately. "POW" is a special designation which allows captives to be imprisoned as "soldiers", and they are provided specific limited rights. Those NOT designated as "POW" are considered civilians/non-combatants, and are provided even more rights.

What we are talking about here is basic human rights . You can't just assume that someone caught on a battlefield is a "terrorists" because they don't have a uniform.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 20, 2005 05:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak, for once in your life, think about what you are saying: "What we are talking about here is basic human rights . You can't just assume that someone caught on a battlefield is a "terrorists" (sic) because they don't have a uniform." So, the terrorists can wear civilian clothes, kill indiscriminately, and then get a pass because "they don't have a uniform"? You're a moral idiot.

Oh, and Neodude, I'm the relativist? I want our bad guys and THEIR bad guys brought to justice. In that way, I'm a relativist. I want them both held to the same "relative" justice. What about you? Or are you, like Lukasiak, such a moral idiot that you'd give the Islamists a pass?

Posted by: JABBER at May 20, 2005 05:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Anyone still here? Check out American troops torturing a man to death, even though most of them believed him to be innocent.

Why did they think they could do this?

Because Bush said Geneva didn't apply to Taliban & Qaeda detainees, says one soldier.

Self-serving CYA? Maybe.

The kind of excuse that couldn't even be made, if we had a decent human being as President, one who made it clear that we treat all prisoners as entitled to Geneva protection because we are Americans, dammit? Definitely.

Posted by: Anderson at May 20, 2005 05:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Whats the total number of muslim prisoners who have been died in US custody?
Whats the total number of muslims who were killed in the koranflushing riots?
Whats the total number of muslims who were killed by "insurgents" in the last 4 weeks in Iraq?
Whats the total number of muslims who were killed in the last two weeks in Uzbekistan?
Whats the total number of muslims were killed in the last year in Darfur.

Not making an argument, just trying to get some Harpers Index type perspective.

Posted by: liberalhawk at May 20, 2005 06:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Andrew,
There was a really excellent column on the subject of treatment of non-uniformed combatants on the "ejectejecteject" blog, under the May 18 heading. It is pretty long, but well-worth reading.

http://www.ejectejecteject.com/

Posted by: exhelodrvr at May 20, 2005 07:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak, for once in your life, think about what you are saying: "What we are talking about here is basic human rights . You can't just assume that someone caught on a battlefield is a "terrorists" (sic) because they don't have a uniform." So, the terrorists can wear civilian clothes, kill indiscriminately, and then get a pass because "they don't have a uniform"? You're a moral idiot.

let try this again....

What we are talking about here is basic human rights . You can't just assume that someone caught on a battlefield is a "terrorist" because they don't have a uniform."

do you see the distinction?

oh, and btw, "terrorists" don't "get a pass" under any circumstances. If we have proof that they have participated in, or are planning, a terrorist attack, then the law concerning murder/conspiracy to commit murder provides all the leverage we need to keep these people locked away indefinitely without disappearing them into an American Gulag.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 20, 2005 09:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

well, it looks like Sullivan hit the nail on the head with regard to Glenn Reynold's and the fact that he really doesn't give a damn about torture and abuse by Americans.

While still posting obsessively about the minor error made by Newsweek, he minimizes and mocks the horrifyingly detailed account of the torture and murder of two Afghanis that appeared in yesterday's Times. His first notice of the piece is introduced with the snarky line... "I HOPE THIS REPORT of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan is better-sourced than Newsweek's." His update to this post emphasises the fact that the torture took place two and a half years ago, and that the Times story is based on a "government report" --- but does NOT note that the Bush regime was keeping this report -- and the confirmation of this torture -- a deep secret and that the report had to be leaked to the Times. And his only followup starts with the line "Yes, they're old news...."

One would have hoped that Greg would have taken notice of the Times story as well (and the just-released Red Cross report that details the use of degradation of Islam as an interrogation technique) .... clearly the right, even the "moderate" right, needs to look into their hearts and ask why they are so obsessively concerned with whether a paragraph in a minor Newsweek story was properly sourced, but have little or nothing to say about the two-and-a-half year coverup of the most egregious torture of innocent "detainees" by the United States military.

If nothing else, the Times story demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt why the Geneva Convention covers those captured as a result of the "war on terror." The idea that somehow, international law does not forbid the torture and murder of an innocent cab-driver is so completely and nauseatingly disgusting that words cannot express my revulsion for those who have defended the efforts to find a legal rationale for ignoring the Conventions with regard to those "captured" as a result of the "war on terror."

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 21, 2005 09:04 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sullivan's site lost a lot of traffic when he started campaigning for Kerry. He tried to claw back his audience by linking to Instapundit (Sullivan would always refer to the punditman as "Glenn" - as if they were best buddies). Glenn H Reynolds does like to be noticed and started linking back to Sullivan's site. But Sullivan is essentially jealous of Instapundit's popularity and he started making snide comments. The current spat is probably generating most of the traffic at Sullivan's site. Reynolds should just ignore him.

I stopped reading Sullivan months ago. I'm gay and I'm less irritated by his endless 'Gay marriage' posts than most people. But the guy has lost it and should take a break from blogging.

Posted by: J&T at May 21, 2005 01:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Get off your high horse, P.Lukasiak. You are sounding as hysterical as Andrew Sullivan.

Original quote from the ICRC on the "use" of degradation of Islam as an interrogation technique:

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=domesticNews&storyID=8548212

The International Committee for the Red Cross told the Pentagon "multiple" times in 2002 and early 2003 that prisoners at Guantanamo said U.S. officials showed "disrespect" for the Muslim holy book, said Simon Schorno, an ICRC spokesman.

"The U.S. government took corrective measures and those allegations have not resurfaced," Schorno said.

Emphasis added. So to summarize: This, problem was brought to the attention of your government, which addressed it more than two years ago. But now, this is being used to continually discredit your government which is fighting people overseas, on their own turf, who routinely desecrate not just books but murder innocent people, of their own and other faiths.

How does the NYT spin this? From Andrew Sullivan's choice quote:

After the Red Cross submitted its reports, he said, complaints from detainees stopped.

Note the slight difference in tone. Maybe intended to bury this major finding? And give the reader the impression that the desecration is still ongoing?

Posted by: Kevin P. at May 21, 2005 01:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/20/politics/20newsweek.html?

Link for the NYT quote above

Posted by: Kevin P. at May 21, 2005 01:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree with the majority of the commenters on this forum about Andrew Sullivan. I used to read him regularly, and I think that he became unhinged about the time of the SF illegal gay marriage snafu, and the consequent pressure for DOMA as a constitutional amendment.

More fundamentally, though, he has no historical perspective. Whatever difficulties we are facing in Iraq are minor compared to the huge hurdles we have faced in WWII and earlier struggles. Our nation will handle and overcome these provided that we have the realistic self-confidence to do so - not the knee jerk worrying and manic depression of Andrew. This is a serious war that has to be fought and won by serious people. We have to learn from our mistakes, not slander ourselves as being our mistakes.

Posted by: Kevin P. at May 21, 2005 01:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Note the slight difference in tone. Maybe intended to bury this major finding?

what major finding? That after about a year of constant complaints, the US finally stopped trashing the Koran? The most important "finding" from that article is that the US continues to deny that anything happened.... and refused to even look into the allegations solely because the allegations were coming from Muslims, and nobody bothered to write "desecrated the Koran" in the log book.

The only reason the US even seriously investigated the murder of the two Afghanis at Bagram was that a New York Times correspondent stumbled upon a coroners report concerning one of the deaths.

Sullivan has your number....

THE SPIN ON TORTURE: It has gone chronologically something like this: "It's not true. It's not true. It may be true but it's not torture. Okay, it's torture, but isn't official policy. It may be true and official policy, but we changed the policy and we uncovered the abuses ourselves. It may be true, it may have been widespread, but we've punished the culprits. It may be true, it may have been widespread, it may still be happening, but all these reports are old news."

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 21, 2005 01:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Who cares about Glenn and Andrew?

Andrew is a one-trick-pony: everything he writes eventually seems to get back to the same subject.

Glenn, on the other hand, has several tricks, e.g., nanotech, digital photography, the 2nd Amendment.

Posted by: George at May 21, 2005 04:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Many on the right seem to forget, of have never shared our principal war aims: to get people in the ME to adopt a worldview more in line with ours.

Comparisons to our conduct when we did not have this as a principal aim -- bombing Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima -- or the conduct of other who are not trying to accomplish similar goals -- attacks in Darfur, suppression of dissent in Uzbekistan, attacks on Shia clerics by Zarqawi's group -- are thus completely irrelevant.

Posted by: CharleyCarp at May 21, 2005 04:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Liberalhawk writes:
I certainly want everyone associated with the abuses prosecuted. Glenn and all sane people on the right agree with that.

Prosecutions thus far have been limited to the specialists and sergeants who did the actual laying on of hands. The officers who, the report says, often wandered by, so far have been charged with nothing.
Perhaps this has to do with whom they reported to, and who those they reported to, and so on, ending up in Oval Office.
Consider simply this: did not the President at his televised news conference a couple of weeks ago virtually attest to the necessity of torture? Did he not at the outset of the GWOT distinguish POWs from unlawful combatants and suggest (and then ostensibly retract the suggestion) that the latter might not be protected by standards of law and humanity? The message was received; three dozen detainees are dead; thousands have been tortured.
(Or consider the progress of the man in the White House who superintended the writing of the memos that rationalized and justified torture. Or the fate of the one cabinet officer who opposed a policy of torture.)
If you're for Bush you're for torture. It's naive to suppose otherwise.

Posted by: KnowaHawk at May 21, 2005 05:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg with all due respect you simply have no idea of what you're talking about and Glenn is dead right.

At Pelican Bay, one of the BETTER RUN prisons in California, inmates were boiled alive, beaten into a coma (and permanent injuries), killed, and sodomized with batons. At other prisons in California, guards staged "gladiator fights," killed inmates with shotgun slugs, and arranged punishments by housing small and vulnerable prisoners with large and powerful rapists.

The fallout? NOTHING. Because the Guards union is policitally powerful in California and has both parties in their pocket.

Meanwhile, the press complains about illegal aliens being run into walls and yelled at in detention centers in Brooklyn, after the guards had personally picked through the rubble of the Twin Towers looking for body parts of their buddies. Or makes the torture for amusement by Grainer (who had similar charges against him as a civilian) which was punished by the Army severely (20 years hard labor) look like lopping off hands. Hard core killers get lesser sentences than that in this country.

By your standards Greg we should be relentlessly pursuing surviving WWII vets who shot prisoners out of hand on the battlefield, because they didn't act PC enough, or apply the standards of West End of London to the battlefield.

We are at war. The public expects and demands that the Media support the overall goals and objectives of the war, not act as journalists first and Americans second as Mike Wallace claimed. This means exercising judgement not political gotchas in the vain attempt to replay 1968. The abuses covered are ticky-tack for the most part, or asinine exaggerations. The "fake menstrual blood" incident which wasn't that but a female guard marking a prisoner who spat on her with a marker and telling him it was his own blood ... who really cares about that?

The Media sacrifices credibility by openly having an anti-War, anti-Military, anti-Bush agenda and breathlessly focusing on whatever they can to discredit the US and get as many people killed as possible. Thus when REAL foul-ups happen and the public would need the Press to report disasters to correct them, it will never happen because the Press will be viewed as a reflexively anti-American moonbat parade. You won't win the war against jihadi terror by sending in the ACLU.

Note: The Media is hostile and clueless about the Military. WSJ reporters asked if the Marines fought in WWII; and the NYT was impressed that the Rangers were organized in Rifle companies, and wrongly labelled them the most heavily armed group in the Army (Rangers trade firepower for mobility, they are a light infantry scout group). The willful ignorance of the Media is appalling.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at May 21, 2005 11:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p. luksiak pretty much epitomizes the general cluelessness of the Left and the Media. Sorry to pick on you P but it has to be done.

"Indeed, those who believe that "everything has changed since 9/11 " would approve of such methods of psychological torture, and cite it as evidence of our "humanity" by pointing out that we aren't beating detainees or putting clamps on their genitals and administering electric shocks to get information, but "merely" breaking them down psychologically."

OF COURSE everything HAS changed since 9/11. Among other things, every American is on the front lines. Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan face danger and death at every moment, but in another sense so do we in a new, boundary less war that will kill 3,000 innocent New Yorkers in a heartbeat. At a time when Muslims in obscure places like Kabul can journey to the US, cut the throats of flight attendants, kill pilots, and crash planes into buildings killing thousands (only the bravery and sacrifice of flight 93 passengers and Firemen and Policemen kept the toll out of the tens of thousands) I'd say EVERYTHING has changed. There is no reason to suspect that "clapping hard for fairies" ala Peter Pan will make the threat of something WORSE than 9/11 go away.

History shows (unless you are a delusional utopian) that murderous killers of innocents are only stopped by force or the very credible use of force, not being pure of heart and making people love you. When Hitler and Tojo and Mussolini threatened our very existence our response was to flatten their cities, war machines, and invade their countries to end the threat once and for all, no matter how many people, many of them innocent, we killed in the process. What mattered was victory not utopian idealism. We didn't concern ourselves with how many died at Dresden or Tokyo. Only how quickly we could win the war and end the threat. Liberals before they became Berkeley maniacs used to know this.

The Left is delusional because it simply can't process that brown people with a different religion will actually do their best to cause mass murder in the US and thus are a threat. This threatens their ideology and religion, which has the root of all evil in Western Civilization and straight white men. They believe only acting by the rules of the ACLU and Amnesty International will stop people who'd be comfortable in Pol Pot's death squads.

Our problem has been that we haven't been brutal enough, in the right way, to decisively win. Bush has conducted the wrong war, a half-hearted effort designed to appease the lunatic left instead of seeking victory. This doesn't mean lopping limbs off in gulags, but invading Pakistan to find bin Laden, capturing him, shooting him and hanging him upside down by his heels, naked, ala Il Duce. Doing the same to the Saudi princes who support terror, and the Mullahs of Iran. Shooting Saddam as well. Destroying the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan and Iran. Making it VERY clear that killing 3,000 New Yorkers, or support for the same, will get those behind it very very dead very very quickly no matter who they are. And keeping the threat of the same open should things happen again.

Or we could hug a thug. That's pretty useless but Leftists like it because it fits their religion. Like thinking the Muslim World did not overwhelmingly celebrate 9/11, Beslan, and every other atrocity they cook up. The way to success is not sticking nightsticks up someones butt (that demeans us) but killing as many of the brutal jihadis as possible. As Le May once said, kill enough of the enemy and they stop fighting.

"What we are talking about here is basic human rights . You can't just assume that someone caught on a battlefield is a "terrorist" because they don't have a uniform."

Again the willful ignorance of the Left about all matters military. The rules of War and the Geneva Convention REQUIRE LAWFUL combatants to wear identifying insignia or devices MARKING THEM AS COMBATANTS, following an organized command, and carrying arms openly. This gives them Geneva convention status. If "the Republic of Moonbat Berkeley" decided to secede from the Union and followed those rules they'd be deserving of Geneva Convention Status, because they followed the rules of war. This is the whole point, Soldiers identify themselves making themselves targets to shoot at and follow basic rules in exchange for some baseline of theoretical decent treatment.

Among things EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN is pretending to surrender then attacking, pretending to be a non-combatant (thus the importance of a uniform or other identifying mark and insignia) or not following an organized heirarchy (as opposed to an armed mob). The Taliban and Al-Qaeda did ALL of these EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN acts and therefore did not deserve in the LEAST any Geneva Convention consideration (though they did deserve general humane treatment).

This protects ALL SOLDIERS in all combat (not just our own), including say perhaps the forces of Nigeria versus Sierra Leone because it requires adherence to the rules and produces real penalties for flaunting them. The soldier's life is miserable enough without degenerating all conflict into an armed mob. Only someone who hasn't bothered to actually READ the Geneva Convention would make the above 100% clueless statement. The Geneva convention has NOTHING to do with preventing torture of combatants by the United States which is outlawed by other measures; other treaties and the various laws of the United States expressly forbid that.

If there is any question about the Left being the enemy of all soldiers everywhere (as noted, not just our own) this is it.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at May 22, 2005 12:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I have just read all of the posts on this subject. I have two, hopefully succinct comments:

1. The tenure of the discussion keeps descending into name calling and the creation of "facts" in support of ill-tempered positions. Making up "facts" is called poisoning the well, and there are a number of posters who seem adroit at this tactic.

2. A little perspective is called for. I doubt whether many of the commentators have been in a war zone or have experienced what it means to be under fire. It tends to bring out extreme emotions. Love thy enemy may well be a Christian ideal, but it isn't real nor should it be realistically expected. Neither our soldiers nor the insurgents can be expected to perfectly abide with the standards of civilized society at every moment. I would point out however, that the Americans take prisoners whereas the insurgents execute their prisoners on the spot. An executed prisoner cannot be abused.

There is no question that there have been incidents of abuse toward prisoners held by the American military. There is no question that it is wrongful. There is also no evidence anywhere that these incidents are a reflection of policy or direction from the civilian administration. They seem to be the product of "free lancing" perpetrators. These perpetrators are being investigated and punished. When is the last time anyone has heard of a Jihadi being punished for abusing prisoners? They are punished for not abusing or killing prisoners.

Critics of the President are embued with almost a blinding hatred which wants to attribute every deviation anywhere from perfect morality to the very top as if the President spends his time picking out prisoners for the "treatment." Anyone who has a reasonable knowledge of WWII or even the Civil War knows that mistakes are made, aberations occur, and in the chaos of war, things go in unexpected ways. If perfection were the standard, every general from Ike on down would have been cashiered during WWII. If gentility were the standard for the conduct of warfare, than Patton would have been imprisoned after the destruction in the Falaise pocket.

Finally, the notion, expressed several times above, that the WOT turned a few hundred Muslim nutcakes into tens of millions of Islamic warriors hostile to the US and the West is a "make weight" fabrication. The Arab world in particular and much of the rest of the Islamic countries have lived in squaler and oppression by their own rulers who have managed to blame the West for these conditions. One of the consequences is that the centuries that have intervened since the last Crusade have merely marked time in the minds of many until the battle can be rejoined. And by the way, I saw much of the footage of the Islamic celebrations of 9/11 and the celebrants were not a few children, but were thousands and thousands of adults.

There are tides of democracy ebbing and flowing in the Islamic world. Where they will end up is impossible to predict, but certainly they give cause for hope. My only regret is the almost complete absence of support for these movements within the American Muslim communities and the silence with which the so called moderate Muslim world exercises it's crocodile tears condemnation of the suicide bombings, killing of fellow Muslims, beheadings, etc. It will certainly take considerable time before these attitudes change and the path will not be smooth. However, change will occur or we will find ourselves in a game of "last man standing."

Michael

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at May 22, 2005 01:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Regarding Jim Rockford's "Glenn is dead right" comment above: I'd like to know what Greg thinks about this point. I recall several times over the last couple of years when Glenn pointed out terrible stories of abuse taking place in U.S. (and other) prisons. He's been actively following the issue and I think he's right. I did a quick search for "prison torture" on InstaPundit, and here's one example that came up; I could probably dig up more:

http://instapundit.com/archives/011546.php

This sort of thing changes the "spat" equation to favor Glenn a bit more, no?

I was surprised by the -- relative -- vehemence in Glenn's dismissal of Andrew recently; his first swipe was just cutting and funny, but the second one was quite unusual. Most of the time he's incredibly mild. But seeing the whole argument laid out in Greg's post, I have to say Glenn's annoyance is justified. (I'm another former Andrew reader/donor who gave up on him maybe a year ago.)

Posted by: Eve M. at May 22, 2005 03:28 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

One last add on the failure of the terrorists in Iraq to follow the Geneva Conventions.

Military.com has an HTML version of a terrorist Powerpoint presentation urging jihadis to target chaplains, doctors, and journalists for psychological warfare.

THIS is an explicit violation of the Geneva Convention; it is no different than the SS massacring surrendering US soldiers at Malmedy. The media plays Jihadi advocate at it's peril (which is ultimately the rejection of any legitimacy by the public).

http://www.military.com/ppt/iraqi_insurgent_sniper_training.htm

See the above link for the terrorists in all their Geneva Convention violating glory.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at May 22, 2005 03:43 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jim R,
Realistically, we don't have the military capability to do what you suggest (i.e. invade Pakistan, Arabia, etc.) by ourselves, unless we drastically increased the size of the military. And there would not be enough support domestically to do that at this point, which is required in our system (for long-term military actions.) To say nothing of support overseas. There is no way we could take those military actions without the support of the local nations, and there is no way we would get that. Like it or not, that is the reality of the situation.
I do think that this administration needs to do a better job of pointing out the inhumane actions taken by the terrorists, and making the comparison between the two, and asking the general Muslim populace "Which do you choose?"

Posted by: exhelodrvr at May 22, 2005 03:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Enough!

Who -- Glenn? Andrew? Newsweek? NYTimes? Belgravia Dispatch? -- is going to stop talking peripheral nonsense and put into perspective that Americans in Abu Graib have recourse to a system of justice and have used it, while Saddam's precursor Abu Graib prison and the zealots rioting and killing based on the ostensible Koran debacle did not?

Who is going to remind people that terrorist car bombers don't care about justice and don't want any system that will?

The rest of the pontificating is simply pointless blithering, and I, for one, am tired of it.

Posted by: sbw at May 22, 2005 07:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Kevin P. is exactly right. I'd know, I was there. So was the IIRC, who debriefed us before we even entered the camps. Navy Brass saw to it that they ran there own part of the briefing. And while it shocked some of our people to have some euro-civilian lecture us on the courtesies that we were expected to extend the detainees - he was immediately joined at the end of his brief by the Base Commander who said that any one of us caught mistreating "our guests" - by which we presumed we met the detainees (hah) - would be subject to immediate punishment IAW the UCMJ.

We weren't very happy about it, especially a lot of our ex-AD guys, considering the relative nearness of the Attacks of 2001. Did some copies of the Koran get not treated IAW their intrinsic worth? Sure, Who the hell had ever even seen one before? Certainly not my Georgians, not even the college kids - (be honest, had you?) But when someone complained about it - and by someone, yeah, that's right, I mean the ever-loving detainees - The IIRC would come to the local commanders and let us know about it.

And we'd say, "OK, cool - sorry, didn't know."

End of story - I mean, for God's sake, they had the run of the camp. So our college kids would practice their french with them, while the non-coms tried to pick-up as much pigeon-arabic as they could as they walked the blocks and dealt with the fearsome islamic hypochondriacs of Camp Delta.

Love those non-coms : Very Clever.

Posted by: Tommy G at May 23, 2005 12:56 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It seems that Glenn is more aware of the real state of American prisons -- all of which would violate the Geneva conventions. Now, whether we should be ashamed of ourselves because we cannot live up to a higher standard in dealing with prisoners from other countries is a different question: but Sullivan should take the point. I'm a little bit more on the "terrible things get done" side, and I believe that policy is established by viewing the response of the Adminstration to the situation. The policy with regard to prisons: we have no problem. The policy with regard to Abu Graib: we prosecute those who did it and their supervisors. Do we ceremonially dismiss the uninvolved? No. I think that's a strength, not a statement that we don't care.

Posted by: Arnold Williams at May 23, 2005 01:45 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

oops, of course I meant the "ICRC", because I guess I didn't "IIRC"

Posted by: Tommy G at May 23, 2005 03:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Its rather ironic to see all the right-wingers demands for Muslims to be speaking out against terrorism.

If they bothered to read the Arab press (even in translation) they will, of course, see that it happens all the time. And if they had even the slightest clue about Muslims in America, they would know American Muslims also speak out against terrorism.

The problem here is three-fold --- first, the American press marginalizes Muslim opinion --- both American and International --- to an extraordinary extent. (And one did not here demands for expression of Muslim opinions from the right-wing prior to the Iraq invasion --- to the right winger, Muslim opinion is only of value when it agrees with Bush regime policy.)

Secondly, right-wingers are unwilling to actually explore other avenues of information that do not conform to their prejudices --- to them, reading al Jazeera on a regular basis would be the ideological equivalent of immersing themselves in kiddie porn. (These same right wingers also spend lots of time on web-sites that exploit any expression of intolerance that is reported among any of the worlds 1,500,000,000 Muslims. )

Finally, Muslim opinion that is opposed to terrorism is ignored because it usually contains, along with the criticism of terrorist tactics, criticism of US goals and methods. Right-wingers only want to hear part of the opinion of Muslims, and Muslims insist upon expressing the full range of their opinions. To the right winger, one cannot be opposed to both terrorism and the Bush regime, consequently, any criticism of Bush and his policies is perceived as "support for the terrorists."

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 23, 2005 12:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

BTW, Reynolds is still obsessively flogging the silly Newsweek flap --- simultaneously assiduously ignoring the story about torture and murder of detainees. (Oh, he doesn't QUITE ignore it completely --- he actually has the nerve to feature a lettter from a reader who thinks that the Bagram story was the New York Times' way of distracting attention from Newsweek --- and Reynolds agrees with him!)

Sullivan was right --- Reynolds doesn't give a damn about torture and abuse --- he makes a few of the right mewling noises about how its wrong, then drops the subject altogether.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 23, 2005 01:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You should have visited Trafalgar Square the other day p.lukasiak, you would have seen the real problem with the left. A heady mix of Islamo-facists and left wingers, collected together to demonstrate over a number of issues, including the continued existance of Irael. Melanie Phillips has an overview:

"So now the pretence is stripped away. In London on Saturday, an unappetising collection of leftists and Islamists -- including 'Gorgeous' George Galloway, the Mosley of Mesopotamia whose career has been given such a welcome fillip by the US Senate -- called for the destruction of Israel. As the Jerusalem Post reports, there was no more pretence that the issue is the 'occupation' of the territories, or the security barrier, or the 'oppression' of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. They want Israel utterly destroyed.

So Andrew Birgin of the Stop the War Coalition called for 'no more Israel' which was inflicting worse repression on the Palestinians than the South Africans under apartheid. Can people really be so stupid and ignorant, about both Israel and South Africa, as to believe this? (Yes they can).

The Palestinian representative to the UK, Husam Zomlot, said: 'The right of return is non-negotiable! Apartheid no more!". We look forward to this principled opponent of apartheid denouncing the ethnic cleansing of the Jews from Palestine advocated by the Palestine National Covenant.

Galloway declared:'It's about time that the British government made some reparations for the Balfour declaration,' thus pointing his verbal knife straight at Israel's jugular, while Tony Benn called George Bush and Ariel Sharon the 'two most dangerous men in the world' and said 'if this process continues, there will be possibly some sort of a world war' -- which considering that we in the west are currently defending ourselves from a world war being waged by a series of genocidal fanatics backed by genocidal tyrants leaves one not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

And to complete this galere of enemies of civilisation and useful idiots were those pillars of truth, justice and academic integrity, Sue Blackwell of AUT boycott infamy and Paul Mackney, the general secretary of NATFHE which is about to swallow the AUT so that the enite cohort of unionised higher scholarship can feel warm inside to be represented by someone who voices sentiments like these:'Palestinian refugee camps are like open air prisons. The Israeli army frequently invades them. There will be no peace in the Middle East until there is justice for the Palestinian people.'

What an advertisement for this once great country. Londonistan, capital of hatred, ignorance and prejudice in the free world."


http://www.melaniephillips.com/diary/

Has anybody come up with an explanation as to why the far-left has moved on from being allied with Soviet Russia to buddying up with Islamofacism? It's quite remarkable.

Posted by: Andrew Paterson at May 23, 2005 01:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

charleycarp

I cant speak for folks on the right, but i have not at all forgotten our goal of changing outlooks and implementing democratic institutions.

That said, the violence perpetrated by our enemies is a direct threat to the those institutions and changes - therefore, to the extend that policies authorizing things like sleep deprivation, stress positions, etc do result in real intell, there is a TRADEOFF between any abuses generated by the policy, and the benefits of the policy.

Mention of Dresden, etc is not meant to say that these wars are identical - its to point out that in war bad stuff happens. Yes this is a hearts and minds war, and our conduct of it largely reflects that. But its still a war. I find it difficult to beleive, that in the absence of Gonzales memos, etc there would have been ZERO abuses. The conditions of this war are themselves such as to generate hatred towards alleged terrorists. Therefore I have trouble with the assumption that 100% of abuses are attributable to the official policies, and that the official policies should be evaluated on that assumption.

WRT terror attacks in Baghdad, I think that is quite central to the war. I rather think Iraqis main gripe with the US is that we are failing to protect them, NOT whats happened in Bagram or even Abu G. Thats the impression I get from most press reports from Iraq.

As for Uzbekistan, you have misread me completely. I did NOT say that was something the other side did, so it makes what we do OK. On the contrary, I mentioned that WE support the govt of Uzbekistan. And that OUR support for such govts is a real danger to our attempts to change thought and institutions over there. IF Sullivan were really concerned about the things WE are doing that endanger the hearts and minds struggle, I suggest that he would be on top of the Uzbekistan situation, and our ambivalent response, just as Glenn is. That he is not, makes me think that prudential concerns about the hearts and minds struggle are NOT what is driving his concern.

As for Darfur, thats the closest thing to genocide happening on the planet now. I happen to think anyone with a claim to moral seriousness has to put it near the top, WOT or no WOT.

Posted by: liberalhawk at May 23, 2005 03:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I would greatly appreaciate Mr. Lukasiak citing a dozen or so articles in English in the Islamic press, either in the US or elsewhere that wholeheartedly condemn suicide bombings, the killing of Mulsims by the Iraq "insurgency", and the condemnation of the WTC attack, the Bali attack or any of the above. True, I cannot read Arabic, but I assiduously read the English materials and I haven't seen much if any, of any of the above. Listening to talk radio and the Muslim callers, I hear the same endless hatred for Jews, for Isreal, for the US, and support for terror. I am sorry Mr. L, your saying it so doesn't make it so.

Michael

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at May 23, 2005 04:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Note: andy has FINALLY said something about Uzbekistan, approvingly linking to a Krystol column in the WS. However he manages to get in that Krystol is good cause hes been anti-Rummy, etc. Andy makes no mention of Glenns coverage of Uzbekistan.

He also has something on Wretchard that makes no sense. Wretchard says that now Gitmo guards are handling the Koran ceremonially, with gloves, and that this is a victory for the Jihadis. Andy says no, that we are treating Islam equally, is a victory for democracy, or something to that effect.

While Wretchard himself is a little excitable (I rather doubt that OBL is thinking how much hes gained by getting US guards at Gitmo to wear gloves when handling the Koran) Andys response makes no sense. How would failing to handle the Koran with gloves (surely they dont wear gloves when handling bibles, etc) be a failure to treat Islam with equality? Andy is engaged in knee jerk responses, to a far lesser blog, and it does NOT make him look good.

Posted by: liberalhawk at May 23, 2005 06:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I wrote:

Its rather ironic to see all the right-wingers demands for Muslims to be speaking out against terrorism. If they bothered to read the Arab press (even in translation) they will, of course, see that it happens all the time. And if they had even the slightest clue about Muslims in America, they would know American Muslims also speak out against terrorism.

to which Michael replied...

I would greatly appreaciate Mr. Lukasiak citing a dozen or so articles in English in the Islamic press, either in the US or elsewhere that wholeheartedly condemn suicide bombings, the killing of Mulsims by the Iraq "insurgency", and the condemnation of the WTC attack, the Bali attack or any of the above.

Here's one from the AMERICAN press, to which you had easy access...

'In a statement adopted at the meeting, the Sunni leaders called for "liberating'' Iraq from U.S.-led forces "by all legal means.'' The statement condemned "all terrorist acts that target civilians, no matter the reason,'' but said, "resisting the occupier is a legitimate right.'''

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/21/AR2005052100895.html

I'm not going to waste my time finding the innumerable examples of Muslim leaders condemning terrorism, because anyone who is as blind as you are to what has been reported even in the American press isn't going to change their minds. A bigot is a bigot, and it doesn't matter how many contrary facts you bring to the table, a bigot will remained convinced of his own righteousness.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 23, 2005 06:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

the leadership of the AMS has realized that killing Shiites en masse is ultimately a danger to themselves. Very good. Now if only theyd realize that calling the US troops an occupation that its legitimate to resist by force, when said troops are there with the consent, and desire, of the elected govt of Iraq, is a denial of the legitimacy of the elected govt of Iraq, and thus is STILL a slap in the face of the Shiites and the Kurds.

My sesnse is that probably at least 50% of the Muslim world would overtly oppose Osama Bin Laden, for this attacks on 9-11, for his attacks on Muslims, and for his attacks on all non-Wahabi forms of Islam, such as Sufism and Shiism. Given at least 1.2 billion muslims, thats at least 600 million people, so its not surprising there are many statements from muslims denouncing 9/11. OTOH its my sense that there are definitely millions of muslims who sympathize with OBL, and have done so for a while. I would point to the large vote for the MMA in Pakistan, for example, the pro-OBL tshirts and posters in demos in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and in the arab world. Im not sure how large it is, but its FAR larger than those who are actually members of AQ or its affiliates.


And of the 600 million plus who oppose OBL, the number who are willing to make an exception and support the murder of civilians in the Kashmir and Israel is not insubstantial.

Posted by: liberalhawk at May 23, 2005 06:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mr. L, you inevitably resort to name calling in post after post. You wouldn't know a bigot if one bit you unless, of course, you looked in the mirror.
Your quote is not an unequivocal condemnation, it shows the ambiguity that is typical of commentary from such sources.

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at May 23, 2005 07:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think the answer to the title is no.

A great deal of the commenting on this particular post is off topic, full of snide comments, crappy rhetoric, personal attacks and a great deal of ignorance. Much of it from the usual one-eyed right wing lobby but also from the left.

Shame on many of you. Sorry Greg but your readers have let you down on this one.

Posted by: Aran Brown at May 23, 2005 09:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hitchens has an excellent column up in Slate. I recommend it to all.

Posted by: liberalhawk at May 24, 2005 03:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If I was interogating a bunch of Nazis, I would absolutely use Sammy Davis Junior (or any other meterosexual Jewish African-American) as an interrogator, if I thought it would rile them up and cause them to speak out of school. Similarly, in interogating Al Quaeda, Taliban etc, who are motivated by Islam (or at least their own twisted conception of it) it is perfectly legitimate to play off their fears and cultural hang-ups (ie scantily clad women etc - the fake menstrual blood was a bit of a stretch, but still within bounds). Moreover, I think that the "wider Islamic world" is not really going to get too excited about that kind of thing, because it is personal to the individual being interogated.

To desecrate a Koran (At least without first obtaining a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts) is just stupid - it is more likely to enrage than to frighten, and it seems guaranteed to freak out a whole lot of other Muslims. It's not personal like playing off the fear/revulsion of women- it's basically an effront to all Muslims, at least as they see it. It is putting the literal word of god in the toilet, and that's very hard for other muslims to ignore. To paraphrase the French, it is worse than a crime - it is a blunder.

Posted by: holdfast at May 26, 2005 06:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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