UPDATE: More here, in an excellent post from Belmont Club.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Related thoughts here, and here. And Zach Barbera emails: "The comments only make it worse. Again. It is not that they dissent. They are just on the other side."
Well, some of the comments are sane. But Bush-hatred has clearly turned into America-hatred in some quarters. Or maybe it was the other way around all along. Brendan Loy has more thoughts.
MORE: Jay Reding offers faces and bios of the "mercenaries" whose deaths leave Kos unmoved. Sadly, Kos isn't alone. Reader Ricky West emails to ask "What's up with the left? Have they gone completely bonkers?" Beats me, but there seems to be a lot of hate out there, and it's no longer limited to marginal settings like Democratic Underground.
Back in the Early Paleolithic Period, when I first joined the left, it was this idealism that motivated all of us. I assume it did for Zuniga et al. But some kind of cognitive dissonance set in after those planes came crashing into the World Trade Center. They refused to accept that anything good could happen under another name (Republicanism, conservatism, Bush, etc.). Good only comes from the names they traditionally associate with it. So heinous and barbaric acts are excused by people who under other circumstance would never do that. It's depressing and it's frightening.
MORE: The link to Kos now goes to a different post, replacing the original, which opens:
There's been much ado about my indifference to the Mercenary deaths in Falluja a couple days ago. I wrote in some diary comments somewhere that "I felt nothing" and "screw them".
Some diary comments somewhere? You can see the original post in a screenshot here. You can decide for yourself whether the new post is an adequate response to the old one. Free speech: His blog, his choice on what to write -- and your choice on what to think about it.
Matthew Hoy has a sum-up post here. And this comment from Roger Simon's page is worth reproducing:
Remember, this guy was a major force in helping the web-based insurgency of Howard Dean, which at one point seemed poised to take over the Democratic Party. This is one of the most popular and most respected "liberal" (or whatever the hell he calls himself) blogs out there. Many mainstream Democratic political candidates advertise on it. This is not some fringe, freakshow thing like indymedia. This is one of the biggest voices on the left on the internet.
As I say, the hate has spread way beyond places like the Democratic Underground. Military blogger BlackFive has further thoughts, and addresses the "mercenary" claim. And echoing the mainstream point above, Best of the Web observes:
It's worth noting that the Daily Kos is popular among Democratic leaders. Zuniga is a principal in the Armstrong Zuniga political consulting firm, which touts the Daily Kos as "the most popular political weblog with over 3 million monthly visits." Friedman has a list of congressional candidates who advertise on the site, and in a February posting Zuniga reported that Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, "asked if I would post" a "Message to Blog Community."
I should note that at least one of those congressional candidates appears to have pulled his ad. Sentiments like Kos's are distressingly common among Democrats of the political class, but they're far from universal.
STILL MORE: Tacitus: "I didn't think this nonsense was representative of Democrats as a whole -- good to see some folks who count are standing up to make that clear." There's also more at Winds of Change -- and this observation in the comments: "I think there have always been two lefts, divided between progressives who believe in the essential goodness of American values, which they perhaps even want to strengthen and implement more widely, and those who believe in the essential badness of American values, which they want to combat." I think that's right.
Oliver Willis: "I admire what Kos has done for Democrats over at the Daily Kos, but his remarks about the civilians killed in Fallujah were way the hell over the line."
Kevin Drum: "I wish Kos would just step up to the plate and apologize . . . Bottom line: like it or not, Kos is a spokesman for the left these days, and this kind of stuff doesn't help us. His advertisers are pulling out because of course they can't be associated with statements like this. It's a vote killer."
John Kerry campaign blog: "In light of the unacceptable statement about the death of Americans made by Daily Kos, we have removed the link to this blog from our website." I'm not generally a fan of de-linking, but as Kevin says, it's unavoidable here.
Mark Kleiman: "Any human being not a partisan of the Ba'athist or Islamist resistance to the American presence in Iraq ought, first of all, to mourn the deaths of four fellow human beings. . . . Nor are the ties of nationality entirely irrelevant here; these men were our fellow-citizens, engaged -- though as private employees rather than soldiers or public officials -- in carrying out the policy of our lawful (whatever you think of what happened in Florida) government. Indifference to their deaths strains the ties that bind the country together."