“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”
Schrifty? Are you sure his real name isn’t Shifty? I’d sooner trust a rattlesnake.
Stephen — How’d you get so smart at such a young age????
I hope you will enter the political arena. We need people like you in public life.
Have a great weekend.
Aw, c’mon, guys — cut the kid some slack. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of pessimism, and Schrifty here is a far, far more civil opponent than most you’ll find.
So he doesn’t like military operations. So he’s uncertain about what kind of insurgency we’re really fighting against. So he thought this would have been better handled as a police operation. So he’d rather we interrogated Tweedle-Dim and Tweedle-Dead before we perforated them. So he’ll be happier when we actually get Dad. So what? These are all points that reasonable people can disagree about.
Don’t put words in the guy’s mouth — it’s unfair, and it’s beneath your standards.
Okay. Sorry. Had to call that one out. Now I’ll go back to 6 more months of lurking.
Yay, Stephen! That schrifty is a vile and ignorant troll and I am SO SO glad that you took him down a peg. Your comments section is usually delightfully free of idiots but his recent comments were a reminder of how bad blog comments can get. Ignore the commenter above — defending a troll is crazy-talk.
Disagreeing makes me a troll? If I thought that were true, I wouldn’t bother posting here – there are plenty of righty blogs where opposition is welcome. Andrew Sullivan lives somewhere in your ideological neighborhood, but takes the time to send me thoughtful replies every now and then.
Having said that, I don’t feel as though I’ve been taken down a peg by Stephen Green at all. Or maybe I have, and I’m just not smart enough to penetrate his witty sarcasm (like yeah, I left an r out of guerrilla, and isn’t he clever for drawing attention to it) but I can’t see any logical flow to his argument. He more or less accurately quotes me before and during the war but his conclusions fail to follow. I was against sending troops into Iraq because I did believe that it didn’t have much to do with fighting terrorism and I was sure it would hurt our standing in the international community. I’m not sure that anything that’s happened since has demonstrated that I was wrong, the killings of the two sons notwithstanding. And I’m not ‘forced to wonder if the whole venture was a big mistake.’ I’m almost positive that it was and continues to be. I’m glad the sons are dead, but it’s not worth the cost.
I’m not sure how Green decides that I now claim “only to have ‘doubts’ about whether it’s really in our interest to continue fighting.” I didn’t want our soldiers in there before, and I want them out now.
I’m no genius, and there are probably plenty of reasonable responses to my various posts that would make me rethink some of my positions (as opposed to the geniuses who read this blog, who are quite certain they’ll never have to rethink theirs) but Green’s response isn’t going to do it. I’m no troll – these are really my opinions. If the blogger wants me to go away, I’ll be happy to. Am I the only liberal ever to post on this blog? I seem to be getting a lot of airtime.
Oh, and fuck you Stephen – I am a patriot.
Or maybe I have, and I’m just not smart enough to penetrate his witty sarcasm (like yeah, I left an r out of guerrilla, and isn’t he clever for drawing attention to it)
No, no, dimwit. quote:
with it’s [sic] guerilla irregulars?
The “sic” is after the “it’s”. Possessive has no apostrophe. Only the contraction of “it is” does.
“Guerilla” is a valid variant of “guerrilla”. But you got it wrong, thinking you’re (note correct usage) clever for supposedly one-upping him.
The third rule of internet chat rooms seems relevant here:
> When you reach the point in the conversation where someone puts down your spelling instead of your logic, you’ve won.
Moron. (note correct usage)
Oh, yeah? Well, so are you!
Since so many people have explained the benefits of the Iraq operation with respect to the war on terrorism, and because we’ve already seen tangible results from it such as in the Palestinian Authority, just how do you defend your ignorance today Schrifty?
But Shrifty…he WAS putting down your logic. (Right along with your punctuation)
Whoa, Stephen, though I’m late to this thread, I can’t let this slide without holding you up to a mirror, of sorts. For I believe that Johnson more likely had in mind not those who express their patriotism in whatever ways they see fit individually, but rather those who would presume to judge the patriotism of others, and would use such judgement for personal gain (or more appropriately here, for debating points).
Given world events during Johnson’s long life–proliferating petty wars, nascent empire-building, bloody revolution and the rise of nationalism–do you honestly think that his aphorism was aimed a someone like Schrifty? The guy’s posts are quite thoughtful; he’s not rude, nor has he questioned your integrity; and he appears to me to be utterly consistent, both pre-war and post. (Plus, he helps relieve your comments board of the inevitable warblog windbaggery.)
Like many of us–and there are more joining us each day, I might add–Shrifty perceived the potential folly in fastening the war on terror to an invasion of Iraq. And for sound reasons: there was little international support in real terms; there was no evidence that Saddam under both sanctions and inspections posed a threat that justified precipitous action at the expense of international comity; and to anyone who was paying attention, there was the fact that the neo-cons had been planning this for years, and appeared to be using 9/11 as cover.
In light of what we are now coming to learn about the Iraqi threat (no nukes, scant WMD, if any, and tenuous links, at best, to the true enemy in the war on terror) and our government’s crass manipulation thereof (for chrissakes, more than 40% of the country believed at one time that Iraqis were among the 9/11 bombers, and 20% now think we have found WMD), nothing about the situation today can be said to compel those of us who opposed the war to rethink our positions. And don’t even start with the liberation rationale, for which we on the left have a soft spot. Remember, President Gump and many others on the right had nothing but disdain for nation-building three years ago, and the initial purpose of proclaiming liberation (when now its about all we have, aside from some convoluted neo-con fantasy of dominos and domination) was to argue that post-war Iraq would welcome us with open arms and would therefore require only, what, 60,000 troops to police it.
So, what is a free citizen to do when he distrusts his government, when he perceives in all the shifting rationales and blatant mendacity that his nation is being harmed by the actions of its leaders? I hope you would agree that, in a free society, love of one’s country is–in fact, it invariably must be–quite distinct from support for the leader. You support the troops, who have no choice but to do their duty; you pray for success, however misguided the venture appears; but you hold your leaders acccountable as well.
What if President Saddam-Wouldn’t-Let-The-Inspectors-Back-In decided to invade China tomorrow? There’s plenty of suffering and little freedom there; we’d have the North Koreans surrounded; and they’re godless commies to boot. A trifecta! Would you mindlessly support that? Did you support all of Clinton’s interventions or were you not yet a nation-builder back then? Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Well, that’s how many of us feel about this one.
Indeed, if Johnson were around today, I wonder what his take would be on the following: an administration–all of whom, but Rumsfeld perhaps, were able avoid war-time military service, in an era of the draft no less–takes a country to war, putting the cream of its youth in harm’s way, on the backs of lies to its people and smears of everyone who disagrees. I wonder.
You know, Robin, you’d have a lot more luck bringing people around to your way of thinking if you could keep a civil tongue in your head.
Nevertheless, your point is (marginally) worth addressing. Even opponents of the war say that Iraq provides some benefits in the war against terrorism. My argument is, and has always been, that those benefits are tangential and inefficient. For the lives, dollars, political capital and goodwill we’ve spent in Iraq, we could have tried to address the real seats of the problem – Saudi Arabia and Egypt. As has been pointed out over and over, Iraq was a secular state in a fundamentalist region, and all the stretches to implicate them in regional terror have been laughable. This, presumably, is why Bush invented a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda – he recognized Iraq’s basic irrelevence (and then obsessed over it anyway).
The Iraq war, despite it’s beneficial side effects, has so many deleterious ones that it was an absurd choice of venue for a war on terror. The largest cost nay be attention span. Republicans like to say that Bush has put the fear of God into Iran and Syria, but we’re stretched so thinly that they can’t be very afraid. That might not be so bad if we could get out of Afghanistan and/or Iraq in the next year, but as many opponents of the war predicted last year – that’s completely unrealistic.
You’re right to mention the potentially stunning changes in the Palestinian Authority, but it’s about 10 years too early for you to use that as an argument in support of the Iraq war. I’m of the opinion that the changes have been brought about by the policy of isolating Arafat more than anything to do with Iraq, but time will tell if anything has really changed and why.
Iraq remains a distraction to our real problems. If you need any more evidence of that than what I’ve provided, then take a look at the 9/11 report that just came out. Of course, the relevent parts about the Saudis have been blacked out by the administration censors. (Those sections are reported to contain info about what Bush knew and when – curious, no?)