Who are the extremists?

Amanda is a bigot and an extremist because she uses coarse language to criticize the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion, birth control and condom use — a stance which kills and injures hundreds of thousands of women every year.

Glenn Reynolds, the most popular conservative blogger on the internets, promotes assassinating scientists and religious leaders, and he’s backed up by other popular right-wingers. And there’s nary a peep from the religious right about the religious bigotry of assassinating religious leaders.

Reynolds writes:

This has been obvious for a long time anyway, and I don’t understand why the Bush Administration has been so slow to respond. Nor do I think that high-profile diplomacy is an appropriate response. We should be responding quietly, killing radical mullahs and iranian atomic scientists, supporting the simmering insurgencies within Iran, putting the mullahs’ expat business interests out of business, etc.

Basically, stepping on the Iranians’ toes hard enough to make them reconsider their not-so-covert war against us in Iraq. And we should have been doing this since the summer 2003. But as far as I can tell, we’ve done nothing along these lines.

I know the word “mullah” is really scary and all, and there are certainly some mullahs — like some Christian leaders — who have thoroughly fucked up views. But I’m pretty sure that government-sponsored assassinations are not the answer.

Mullahs are, after all, simply Muslims who are seen by their communities as religious leaders. They are not on par with priests of rabbis or religious leaders from other Abrahamic traditions. There isn’t a formal institutional structure to Islam the way that there is in Catholicism or the Anglican church or just about any other comparable religion. A major tenet of Islam is that all people have equal access to religious knowledge, and that no practicing Muslim is holier than another. So assassinating mullahs just won’t have the same institutional effect as assassinating, say, a Cardinal. Except that it will really, really piss people off.

As for assassinating nuclear scientists, there’s another brilliant idea. Scientists and religious leaders are not politicians. Not that political assassinations are justified, but at least they’re targeting the people who are behind the policies that we dislike. Scientists and religious leaders are civilians — some of them may have radical views, or be working on projects that we don’t want their government to gain access to, but they are civilians nonetheless. While the idea of Iran having nuclear weapons is terrifying, those of us with halfway decent reasoning skills can understand why Iran wants nuclear weapons, and why it looks a wee bit hypocritical for us to block their efforts (not saying we shouldn’t block their efforts — just that, to an Iranian, we look like assholes). Killing scientists is probably not the best way to win hearts and minds, and will send the message that the U.S. is indeed a direct and active threat against the safety of the Iranian people — another reason, Iranian politicians will say, that Iran needs the bomb.

There’s also all the war crime/international treaties/executive order business that Glenn Greenwald covers. In other words, this is the worst idea ever.

What the hell is going on when people in the mainstream right are suggesting civilian assassinations in a country we aren’t even at war with, and their putrid arguments aren’t being challenged — and are even being backed up by other conservatives?

Now, the genius plan to murder anyone who ideologically opposes you isn’t exactly a new concept for the American right, so I shouldn’t be surprised. And yet even I can’t believe that conservatives — mainstream, well-connected, popular conservatives, not the cherry-picked fanatics — have become this depraved.


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110 comments for “Who are the extremists?

  1. February 13, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Warning to all authoritarians: just as you would forego swimming for at least 30 minutes after eating, refrain from posting for at least 30 minutes after jacking off to the latest episode of 24.

  2. Una
    February 13, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Mark “WE NEED MORE WHITE BABIES” Steyn, another extremist and darling of the right wing blogosphere.

    The man is simply sick. In his new much-publicized and fawned over book, American Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, he says this about the Bosnian genocide:

    “Why did Bosnia collapse into the worst slaughter in Europe since World War Two? In the thirty years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 percent to 31 percent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 percent to 44 percent. In a democratic age, you can’t buck demography — except through civil war. The Serbs figured that out — as other Continentals will in the years ahead: if you can’t outbreed the enemy, cull ’em. The problem that Europe faces is that Bosnia’s demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.” -Steyn

    When I read this, it sent a chill down my spine. The “War on Terror” has corrupted our sens of history, as well as morals. If the wars of the Former Yugoslavia were takiing place in this decade, we would be fighting on Milosevic’s side, no question.

    Pamela Oshry of Atlas Shrugs even goes to far as to say we joined a “jihad” in Kosovo.

    Hmmm, I’m not a frequent reader of Pandagon, but I suspect that, while Amanda Marcotte can be called a lot of things, a genocide apologist isn’t one.

  3. February 13, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    “those of us with halfway decent reasoning skills can understand why Iran wants nuclear weapons”

    Let’s suppose that someone lacks the “halfway decent reasoning skills” you speak of, could someone explain the rationale behind a sympathetic understanding towards the nuclear armament of Iran?

  4. February 13, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    Oh please Jill. I thought you’d already been told that nothing with a white penis is capable of extremism.

  5. February 13, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Let’s do the time warp and go back to when Reynolds was attempting to justify genocide against Muslims.

    Civilized societies have found it harder, though, to beat the barbarians without killing all, or nearly all, of them. Were it really to become all-out war of the sort that Osama and his ilk want, the likely result would be genocide — unavoidable, and provoked, perhaps, but genocide nonetheless, akin to what Rome did to Carthage, or to what Americans did to American Indians. That’s what happens when two societies can’t live together, and the weaker one won’t stop fighting — especially when the weaker one targets the civilians and children of the stronger. This is why I think it’s important to pursue a vigorous military strategy now. Because if we don’t, the military strategy we’ll have to follow in five or ten years will be light-years beyond “vigorous.”

    Indeed.

    Reynolds is considered the mainstream face for bloggers. Now that’s scary.

    Bill Donahue screams about bigotry towards Catholics and then shows his hatred for others.

    Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It‘s not a secret, OK? And I‘m not afraid to say it. That‘s why they hate this movie. It‘s about Jesus Christ, and it‘s about truth. It‘s about the messiah.

    Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost.

    You have got secular Jews. You have got embittered ex-Catholics, including a lot of ex-Catholic priests who hate the Catholic Church, wacko Protestants in the same group, and these people are in the margins. Frankly, Michael Moore represents a cult movie. Mel Gibson represents the mainstream of America.

    We need the expose people to Reynolds and Donahue more. I’m positive people will be revolted by their views.

  6. February 13, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Okay, Kyle, I’ll bite on your troll, though it’s against my better judgment. We’ll try a hypothetical.

    Let’s say that you’re in a country–call it Ameran. You’re reasonably powerful for your region, you have solid exports of flern, which other nations use for power, but you’re still a developing country in a developing region. Also, your nation is a strong believer in Pastafarianism (Orthodox), which is the compulsory state religion.

    Now, next door to you is the nation of Amerak–which is also rich in flern, but also developing. It’s more secular than you are, but it’s led by the Pastafarians (Conservatives), a minority. There is a majority of the nation that’s Orthodox Pastafarian, and they have close ties to people in your nation as well.

    The Ameraki leader has a long and contentious history with the Imiericans, the most powerful nation on Earth (and a bunch of heathens to boot–they’re Unitarians). Imerica invades Amerak and topples its leader. They establish a troop strength on your border of over a hundred thousand troops.

    Now, things don’t go so well for Imerica, but that’s not really the issue–they’re still a lot stronger than you, and they still could hurt your nation’s infrastructure pretty badly–especially since elements in your government have been helping the Orthodox Pastafarians in their sectarian struggle. You need to have some way of keeping the Imericans from invading. Some sort of deterrent that would make the cost of war with you so high that they wouldn’t try anything. You’re not going to be able to do it with conventional arms, that’s for sure–Imerica is far too strong.

    But a nuclear weapon–that’s a different story. Once you have one of those, it’s a new ball game. Imerica can’t invade, or you blow up half of New Amsterdam. Now, you don’t particularly want to blow up New Amsterdam–Imerica has lots of nuclear bombs, and they’d be able to blow up your country several times over if you did that. But Imerica is also led by sane leaders (this is a hypothetical, after all), and you know they would be loath to sacrifice a city to attack you.

    So, here’s a few questions, countryKyle:

    1. Does Ameran’s quest for a nuclear weapon make logical sense?

    2. Does it in any way involve a desire to blow up Palestal, the home of the hated Presbyterians?

    3. Does it in any way mean that Ameran desires to destroy Imerica? Or Amerak?

    4. Does this hypothetical have any real-world parallels you can think of?

  7. Henry
    February 13, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    I’m not going to get into the whole article, but I will say that Iran is absolutely at war with us, whether we’re reciprocating or not. If covert war against Iran is wrong, then perhaps overt war is a necessity. Of course, I’m sure nobody wants to hear that either.

  8. ellenbrenna
    February 13, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    It is not a sympathetic understanding it is the simple understanding that if you are a small country and you do not want to be bombed or invaded by the US (or your regional rivals) you get yourself some nuclear weapons.

    Understanding that and supporting it as a course of action are two very distinct ideas.

  9. February 13, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    Just speaking off the cuff – I’m no expert on Iran – perhaps because they feel that the US is an active threat to their continued existence as an independant country, and think that possessing nuclear weapons is the only way to get us to back the hell off?

    Which considering our history in the region, and in Iran itself, seems an eminently understandable view.

  10. February 13, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    There isn’t a formal institutional structure to Islam the way that there is in Catholicism or Orthodox Judaism or the Anglican church or just about any other comparable religion.

    FFS. Could we please point out the ignorance of paleobloggers without making ignorant statements ourselves?

  11. February 13, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Well, if he had said “fucking assassinated,” then that would have been a problem.

    But, really, what other choice do we have? It would be nice to live in a world where we could rely on competent intelligence instead of roving transnational death squads, but keeping gays out of the military is obviously more important than having sufficiently trained linguists in the military.

    As for why Iran might want these nukes we keep hearing so much about, one might suggest that the fact that Israel illegally acquired nukes years ago and has never been punished for it plays into it. But the person who said that would be blasted as an anti-Semite, and this is clearly a case where ideology and identity politics should win out over a basic grasp of reality. If Iran wanted to use nukes against the US, they would just acquire the material for a suitcase nuke or dirty bomb from one of the former USSR sites. Although securing and destroying that nuclear material would probably cost less than one one hundredth of one percent of the what the Iraq War has cost us (to say nothing of the future), it still hasn’t been done. Iran wants nukes to increase their regional power, and perhaps to become a permanent member of the security council.

    Why would Iran be at war with the US? We only invaded the country next to them on the most cooked up pretenses, thereby aggresively menacing them while also leaving our military overextended and vulnerable, especially with it’s criminally incompetent civilian leadership. Iran will do what every nation will do, seek to defend itself and then to expand its power and influence. It would be nice if we were mature enough to accept this, but apparently we’ll have to make due with an assortment of absurd and jigoist fairy tales.

  12. Mnemosyne
    February 13, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    Let’s suppose that someone lacks the “halfway decent reasoning skills” you speak of, could someone explain the rationale behind a sympathetic understanding towards the nuclear armament of Iran?

    Since everyone else has answered the immediate question, here’s my question to you, Kyle: do you feel Iran has the right to self-defense?

  13. zuzu
    February 13, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    I’m not going to get into the whole article, but I will say that Eastasia is absolutely at war with us, whether we’re reciprocating or not. If covert war against Eastasia is wrong, then perhaps overt war is a necessity. Of course, I’m sure nobody wants to hear that either.

    There. Fixed that for ya.

  14. February 13, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    We have always been at war with Eastasia.

  15. Henry
    February 14, 2007 at 12:06 am

    Why would Iran be at war with the US? We only invaded the country next to them on the most cooked up pretenses, thereby aggresively menacing them while also leaving our military overextended and vulnerable, especially with it’s criminally incompetent civilian leadership. Iran will do what every nation will do, seek to defend itself and then to expand its power and influence. It would be nice if we were mature enough to accept this, but apparently we’ll have to make due with an assortment of absurd and jigoist fairy tales.

    Leaving aside the pointless partisan argument, my question is: So? Of course Iran will do what it can to increase it’s power. Does that mean we should just sit back and take it? Iran is commiting acts of war against the US on a daily basis in Iraq, and the justification for those acts is irrelevant.

    As for Israel having nuclear weapons, the idea that there is some sort of moral equivalence between Iran and Israel having nukes is ridiculous. It’s so silly as to be almost not worth commenting on. And perhaps Iran feels that’s unjust, but I can’t see why we have to make allowances for it.

  16. February 14, 2007 at 12:08 am

    Jeff,

    A little hyper-dramatic, but nonetheless entertaining. thanks.

    4. Does this hypothetical have any real-world parallels you can think of?

    yes.

    1. Does Ameran’s quest for a nuclear weapon make logical sense?

    No. Given Ameran’s military shortcommings, their quest for nuclear weapons, particluarly if they are succesful, would be damning. As you eloquently pointed out, blowing up a new amsterdam would predictably do nothing more than bring about the nuclear demise of Ameran. If they cant create an adequate miltary deterrent, they should look to either diplomacy or economic avenues to achieve their desired end.

    The sane leaders of Imerica are currently bogged down in a war in the region that has created indecisiveness and ideological tears throughout their unitarian country. Troops are dying, their unitarian president is in his final term, and their legislative body is voting on the military budget in the near future(?).

    If I were the president of Ameran, the last thing I would do is proceed with a nuclear weapons program that could possibly unite a divided country and simultaneously offend the International community by ignoring their demands set out by the UN and the IAEA (The Int. community wouldnt like the overt threats towards Palestal coupled with nuclear weaponry either).

    Militarily, I would get out of Ameraki. Withdraw, In any and every sense of the word. Stop funding, supplying, and encouraging violence towards Imerica’s troops. Such actions are demonstrating, on some level, a desire to damage Imerica.

    I would proceed economically by creating a stronger strategic alliance with other countries in the region to utilize the flern market against the unitarians.

    Will this work? Probably not. In my humble opinion however, it would be their best chance.

    My question to you is this:
    Does any and every non-nuclear power have a right to develop a nuclear program in an attempt to quell hostilities with a nuclear rival?

  17. Henry
    February 14, 2007 at 12:09 am

    There. Fixed that for ya.

    Yup, it’s all Orwell, all the time. Of course, I’ll bow to your superior knowledge about what is or is not happening in theater.

  18. Maureen
    February 14, 2007 at 12:11 am

    When I first read Reynolds (on Steve Gilliard), the first thing I noticed was the call to kill atomic scientists. See, I grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, home of quite a few atomic scientists, about a half-hour’s drive from Reynolds’s office at UT Law School. So I’m wondering just how Glenn’s neighbors, and his colleagues in the Physics Department, are going to react to Instacracker*’s latest. I suspect he may be disinvited from the next “law and technology” conference.

    *I’m a white girl from Tennessee. I can use that word.

  19. February 14, 2007 at 12:11 am

    Mnemosyne,

    of course Iran has the right to self-defense.
    Are they under attack?

  20. February 14, 2007 at 12:19 am

    I was going to say that unless they are under attack, their quest for nucear arms is a violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. It turns out that any attempt to acquire such weapons under any circumstances are a violation (Iran is a signatory). Please disregard the previous “are they under attack?” comment.

  21. Tony
    February 14, 2007 at 12:52 am

    I sympathize with Amanda. But what the hell do you expect? You can’t move from some no-name blog on the internet directly to a presidential campaign without getting hit. The real target here was not Amanda, it was the Edwards campaign, it was more their failures than her “bigotry” that has gotten her into trouble.

    Now this douche nozzle Reynolds, he walks the wilderness of the internet as well. There’s a reason he is a nobody: because he is loser hater, and no presidential campaign in their right mind would hire him. If they did, we’d jump down their throat.

    Amanda makes some good points, and although she could never be equated with a loser like Reynolds, she uses extremist language to do make some of her points. That works on the internet, not in presidential politics.

    She’s lucky that she got torpedoed now, and not towards the end of the campaign where Edwards could have been hurt by this. She would have felt really shitty then, not that it was her fault, but anyone would feel bad.

    A word from the wise: delete blog posts when public career begins.

    Otherwise you will have little filthy rats like Donahue sniffing out whatever garbage they can find.

  22. February 14, 2007 at 12:58 am

    I think only a very silly person would base their vote on two lines in a blog post by Edwards’ campaign blogger. But Edwards’ cowardice in the face of lying bigots like Malking and Donohue is significant, at least in my opinion.

    I don’t think there’s any comparison between Reynolds advocating roamong death squads and Amanda mocking Catholic theology. Instead of droning on about here, I’ll just link to the post I wrote about it.

  23. Mnemosyne
    February 14, 2007 at 1:29 am

    of course Iran has the right to self-defense.
    Are they under attack?

    Do you have to wait to actually be attacked before you are allowed to have a weapon to defend yourself?

    I guess you want to take my dad’s gun away, since he shouldn’t have a weapon if he’s not under attack.

  24. tara
    February 14, 2007 at 2:10 am

    It’s galling the extreme/ly (polarizing, nonsensical, distasteful, repugnant, you name it) language that now meets the standard of acceptable public discourse, not just in the blogosphere (where you’d accept many differing standards) but also on the airwaves, in political speeches, in academia. For certain speakers, like we’re talking about here. (We can’t imagine any lefty getting away with the bile coming out of Ann Coulter’s mouth.) Media deregulation is one factor — in the U.S., the eclipsing of TV’s Fairness Doctrine in the late 1980s, has definitely contributed (as seen during the 2004 election, TV networks can show highly-partisan pseudodocs and not present any other side). Another, of course, is renewed McCarthyism, however its present form might be called.

    I am struck by how news media, in particular, are moving away from any semblance of objective reporting to something much more partisan and commentary-driven. (We may be returning to the standard from a century or two ago.) The O’Reilly Factor embodies this: He has all the signifiers of a network anchor (which, to the popular imagination, is neutral, authoritative, paternal, dispassionate), but he’s a vociferous opinionator.

    I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to see this 2004 documentary, Outfoxed, about ‘Rubert Murdoch’s War on Journalism,’ but it is helpful in giving context to, and explaining how, ‘Fox News’ emerged and became so influential. It also discusses the ‘Fox Effect’ and how other news media have been spurred by Fox News’s success to move further to the right, establishing a new standard for what the ‘mainstream’ is.

  25. Z. M. Davis
    February 14, 2007 at 4:57 am

    Tony wrote:

    A word from the wise: delete blog posts when public career begins.

    I don’t think that’s wise at all. Don’t you think it would be disingenuous to sneakily delete one’s writings in an attempt to avoid criticism?–people would find out and criticize one for the deletion as well as the remarks. And if one deletes something in an open, nonsneaky way, one gets attacked for that. If one wants to retract something one writes in a blog, the only good option is striking through the text.

  26. February 14, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Mnemosyne,

    I think there may be a difference between firearms and a nuclear weapons program. If your father was publicly calling for the death of his neighbor while simultaneously stock piling firearms, yes, I would most likely want to take his firearms or, at a minimum, prevent him from acquiring any more.

  27. Kali
    February 14, 2007 at 9:19 am

    He doesn’t actually believe it. It’s so that when the war with Iran begins, he can be all like “well, if pantywaisted political correctness and lily-livered liberal whiners and human rights law and liberal-biased reality hadn’t prevented something like my perfectly reasonable and realistic multiple assassination plan from happening, we wouldn’t be in this mess now, would we? It’s the fault of the left we’re at war!”

  28. D
    February 14, 2007 at 9:21 am

    And if those neighbors already had a huge stockpile and were spouting similar calls to death? I guess we should take their weapons away too.

    If only…

  29. February 14, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Do we have to sit back and let Iran get nuclear weapons, simply because it’s understandable that they want them – no. But it would be helpful if we didn’t keep thinking of them as irrational about their desire for them. We already overthrew their neighbor’s government, and we’ve overthrown theirs in the past – why the heck would we expect them to be sweetness and light towards us now?

  30. February 14, 2007 at 9:55 am

    There isn’t a formal institutional structure to Islam the way that there is in Catholicism or Orthodox Judaism

    I can’t speak for Christian denominations but Orthodox Judaism doesn’t have a formal institutional structure, dispite the many attempts to create one.

  31. Frumious B
    February 14, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Leaving aside the pointless partisan argument, my question is: So? Of course Iran will do what it can to increase it’s power. Does that mean we should just sit back and take it?

    Does Iran have to sit back and take it while we do what we can to increase our power?

    As for Israel having nuclear weapons, the idea that there is some sort of moral equivalence between Iran and Israel having nukes is ridiculous.

    Is it? Isreal engages in genocide against an ethnic minority, mounts attacks against its neighbors and regularly violates the Geneva convention. If a wingnut nation like that can have nukes, why not Iran?

  32. ako
    February 14, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Does that mean we should just sit back and take it?

    First, it’s not something they’re doing to us. It’s something they’re doing that may negatively effect us, depending on how we deal with it.

    Second, what do you want to do about it? I’d merely moving to aquire nuclear weapons justifies continued diplomatic efforts to encourage and pressure nations away from nuclear power. Yes, diplomacy is uncertain. You don’t always get results, especially if you’re a country that’s just used up all its international goodwill and political capital justifying and defending an unprovoked invasion.

    However, I’d say that the country with the most weapons does not have an inherent right to forcibly disarm any potentially hostile country that’s trying to get weapons. Even in international law, “might makes right” isn’t an actual rule, and having the most weapons doesn’t mean your country gets to unilaterally decide and enforce your particular idea of how other countries should behave. It also doesn’t mean you can cherry-pick from treaties and UN resolutions, claiming moral authority to attack people who violate UN resolutions in ways that affect your foreign policy while declaring all the ones you don’t like “irrelevant”.

  33. February 14, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Tapetum: exactly. Understanding their motivations makes a whole lot more sense than pretending “they hate us for our freeeeeeeeedom”.

  34. Deadeye Dick Cheney
    February 14, 2007 at 11:03 am

    How bonkers would the wingnuts be going if Ahmadinedjad announced a program to assassinate Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson?

  35. Henry
    February 14, 2007 at 11:10 am

    I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear, but my statement wasn’t in regard to the nuclear weapons program, it was regarding Iran’s actions in Iraq. Iran’s nuclear ambitions are problematic, but are less a justification for direct miltary or covert action than the fact that Iran is killing us in Iraq.

  36. Mark
    February 14, 2007 at 11:20 am

    We have regimed changed two countries that border Iran, our foriegn policy leaders have signed off on Project for a New American Century papers stating we should also regime change Iran, and we have leaders who have torn up our nuclear non-proliferation treaties when they came into power.

    What the hell is Iran supposed to do? What would you do in their shoes? They can see what we are doing to their neighbors, Google PNAC and hear our leaders threaten them. It be negligent on their leaders part not to protect their country from a very aggressive nation that has them on their regime change list. Who is the aggressor here?

  37. rea
    February 14, 2007 at 11:23 am

    As for Israel having nuclear weapons, the idea that there is some sort of moral equivalence between Iran and Israel having nukes is ridiculous. It’s so silly as to be almost not worth commenting on

    Quite right. Two rival powers–one acquires nuclear weapons, the other follows suit a couple of decades later. The first power has a record of starting wars; the second does not. Clearly, there is no moral equivalence between the two.

  38. February 14, 2007 at 11:31 am

    Don’t forget Saudi Arabia! What do they have to do not to get forgotten?

  39. February 14, 2007 at 11:35 am

    What do they have to do not to get forgotten?

    Insist that US oil interests give back the other half of the BFF necklace.

  40. TurnaboutExpected
    February 14, 2007 at 11:36 am

    countryKyle: Are they under attack?

    Do you mean that a country that believes that they are under attack can justify all kinds of preemptive self-defense preparations and attacks?

    Bush has been attacking the “axis of evil” (TM) with his sham diplomacy for years. If our anti-“speak softly and carry a big stick” misreasoning president starts threatening a gunfight, one sane thing to do is to prepare something more than a knife.

    The right things for #2 on our shitlist to do is to make sure we spend as much time as possible quagmired with #1, to prepare for an attack, and to make someone else more attractive as a #2.

    What do you think Iran should do? Bend over for Bush?

  41. pbg
    February 14, 2007 at 11:45 am

    Iraq: no nuclear weapons.
    Invaded, infrastructure destroyed, citizens tortured by invading troops, state fails and falls into civil war.

    North Korea: nuclear weapons.
    Long boring negotiations, ending in being left alone, offered aid, nice things said about it, government remains intact.

    And is Iran at war with us?
    Would you sell your enemy half a million barrels of oil a day?

  42. ABloom
    February 14, 2007 at 11:47 am

    I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear, but my statement wasn’t in regard to the nuclear weapons program, it was regarding Iran’s actions in Iraq. Iran’s nuclear ambitions are problematic, but are less a justification for direct miltary or covert action than the fact that Iran is killing us in Iraq.

    Not to be a wet blanket, Henry, but I’m pretty sure Iran’s weapons have been sent to the Shiite militias — those very same militias that are nominally on our side. The “insurgency” that we’re fighting, the “terrists” that keep bombing us, are the Sunni militias. So you might want to amend your last sentence there to read “…the fact that Iran is killing our enemies in Iraq.” Which kind of makes them our allies.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t trust those Shiite militias further than I can throw them. I fully expect them to turn on us in a heartbeat one of these days. But for the moment, they’re the horse we’ve chosen to back. So let’s think for a moment… We fight with the Sunnis, because they hate us. We’re sparking a fight with the Shiites, because they’re likely to betray us. We can’t back the Kurds, because not even the Bush administration is stupid enough to spark a war with Turkey. This leaves us with approximately zero allies. What, exactly, are we hoping to accomplish, and for whom?

  43. DAS
    February 14, 2007 at 11:52 am

    There isn’t a formal institutional structure to Islam the way that there is in Catholicism or Orthodox Judaism or the Anglican church or just about any other comparable religion.

    Just to follow up on Mythago’s point regarding this comment: while there is more of a formal institutional structure in terms of granting Rabbis authority to make decisions on Jewish law (Rabbis are magistrates of Jewish law first and pastors second: indeed, my gf’s Rabbi runs into a lot of tsuris trying to teach Rabbinical students pastoral skills at the seminary where he’s a professor — because some view the seminary not as being a training ground for pastors but as a training ground for magistrates of religious laws), especially in Orthodox Judaism (Chassidism is yet another ball o’ wax — it has a hierarchy very similar to that of the 12ever Shi’ites: an Ayatolla is much like a Rebbe, nu?), while some Rabbis are recognized as having more authority than others (and hence serve, so to speak, as appealate judges of Jewish law), there is no organized hierarchy of Rabbis in any way comparable to the structure of Catholicism or the Anglican Communion. Organizationally, Judaism is a lot more like Islam (or Congressionalist or Baptist or even Presbyterian Christianity) than Judaism is like any Christian Church with an Episcopal polity.

    Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism do have Rabbinical Assemblies with various committees having the authority to speak for the movement as a whole within a committee’s area of competence, but Orthodox Judaism doesn’t even have that unified of a voice. And even in the Conservative movement, if, Hashem forbid, a particular Rabbi or even a powerful committee chair were to meet an untimely death, it wouldn’t really disrupt things or change things much.

    To adapt Will Rogers’ statement of political allegiance to religion: I don’t belong to an organized religion, I’m Jewish.

  44. DAS
    February 14, 2007 at 11:55 am

    The first power has a record of starting wars – rea

    I agree with your comment up to this point. What record does Israel have of starting wars. While it is true, Israel is no angel in terms of how it goes about conducting its foreign and domestic policies, and it has taken key steps in escalating conflicts which could have been diffused, pretty much everything Israel does militaristically has been in response to provocations that are tantamount to acts of war (even if Israel provoked those provocations with acts not quite tantamount to acts of war).

    When Israelis claim Israel’s never started a war, they are at worst being disingenuous in a definitions game, but they are hardly making a complete untruth.

  45. kilfarsnar
    February 14, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Iran may not be playing the role they have been accused of in Iraq:

    http://www.juancole.com/2007/02/nyt-falls-for-bogus-iran-weapons.html

    We need to be careful of which “unnamed sources” we chose to believe.

  46. February 14, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Iran is killing us in Iraq

    Hm, not really. We are primarily being attacked by the Sunni in Iraq. First it was ‘Al-Qaeda’ and their “types”, and “terrorists” that were the main problem according to conservatives, now its Iranian militias which are friendly with the puppet government we’re propping up there. Makes NO SENSE conservatives! Can some of you at least PLEASE study the situation so you have some idea of what you’re talking about? The people in the Bush administration, and whoever that new loser Dem. in charge of intelligence is, don’t know the difference between the Sunni and Shia. They just regurgitate what the piece of paper in front of them says. This time around its saying “Iran is killing us in Iraq”. No reason, its just what they want to say today, and for the next few weeks until we are either actually bombing them or they move on to some other mistaken strategy based on willful ignorance, greed and racism. Also, people, the “suitcase bomb” nuke is now and always has been, a hypothetical. There is NO SUCH THING. Nobody has one, nobody can go buy one. Dirty bombs of that size, maybe, but their effectiveness would be puny.

    But really, on the whole, since we have NO legal standing to be in Iraq ourselves in the first place, and since we are acting menacing towards Iran and have a strong military presence on their border, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they are extremely wary of us. Not because they “hate us” or not, their population is largely sympathetic to the US. But they know how ignorant and random our death machine is and they want it gone. And I don’t blame them. If China invaded Canada and was threatening us…what would you do about it? How would you feel about playing nice with them?

  47. gussie
    February 14, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    I came here via atrios. I’m a long-time poster on Kos. I’m a committed leftie. And if anyone on the left thinks there’s a genuine equivalence between Israeil and Iranian possession of nukes, they’re idiots. They’re also drifting pretty far afield.

    Look. I completely understand why Iran wants nukes. If I were Iran, I’d want nukes too. But I’m not Iran. I’m American. I don’t want Iran to have nukes. I’m also a realist, so I absolutely know that anything this administration does to prevent Iran from developing nukes will absolutely serve to further destabilize the region and the world, and endanger my country. Further, as I’ve read the newspaper a few times in the past few years, I find anything this administration claims about as convincing as anything the Iranian administration claims about the US.

    Finally, this is a wonderful example of how the right manages to change the subject, and how some lefties fall into the trap. The original post isn’t talking about how to deal with Iranian nukes. It’s talking about one of the most prominent right-winger bloggers endorsing government-sponsored assassination of foreign religious leaders. And how that stacks up against someone on the left -not- attacking Catholics, but attacking policies of an institution of Catholicism. (With a potty-mouth. And she’s a girl, too. Nice girls don’t talk so naughty. Welcome to the subtext.)

    Marcotte should call for the assassination of extremist Catholic clerics who deny condoms to AIDS-ravaged regions, just so we can compare apples to apples.

  48. John
    February 14, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Just to note, while I agree with the basic point, my understanding is that in the Shiite community, there is a much greater degree of ecclesiastical hierarchy than among Sunnis, and that killing, for instance, Grand Ayatollahs and Ayatollahs would be roughly comparable to killing cardinals or archbishops, or what not.

  49. bartkid
    February 14, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    >And there’s nary a peep from the religious right about the religious bigotry of assassinating religious leaders.

    I am sure one of the 10 Commandments is “do not kill” (or “do not murder”, depending on your translation).

    Hmm.

  50. El Cid
    February 14, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Are you suggesting that it’s not okay to just kill as many foreign brown people as you like?

    I mean, it’s not like dude was recommending assassinating real human beings, which include white conservative U.S. citizens of wealth.

    I mean, if he recommended killing any white conservative U.S. citizens of wealth, then it might be sort of controversial.

  51. not the senator
    February 14, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Now I’m not a lawyer, but if I was in a Bar Association that had members calling for Death Squads, I’d think that just might violate an ethics clause and be cause for disbarment, wouldn’t you?

  52. February 14, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Hmm…interesting that all this “evidence,” like Iranian weapons with English writing on them rather that Farsi, is appearing in the same week, isn’t it? And now we see that, in fact, Iran tried for a comprehensive peace deal with the US in 2003, including acceptance of Israel’s right to exist, but was rebuffed by our lovely and always competent administration.

  53. jimmiraybob
    February 14, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    I haven’t finished reading all of the comments yet but from what I have read there appears to be at least tacit agreement that Iran either 1) does have nuclear weapons or 2) is actively working on and will have nuclear weapons. Can someone please enumerate the evidence [excluding supposition, wishful thinking, otherworldly revelations, unsubtantiated assertion, Judith Miller reporting, gut feeling, blind acceptance of Iranian bluster/propaganda, and/or blind acceptance of Bush administration bluster/propaganda – (i.e., Judith Miller reporting)]?

    Thanks in advance,

  54. Bolo
    February 14, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    My question to you is this:
    Does any and every non-nuclear power have a right to develop a nuclear program in an attempt to quell hostilities with a nuclear rival?

    I don’t understand where “rights” come into this. States will either try to develop nukes or not in response to aggression from a nuclear rival. Once you have nukes (and a delivery system), you’re pretty much guaranteed not to be attacked. So, a lot of states that see themselves in the gunsights of America are currently scrambling for nukes to protect their sovereignty.

    It’s a very rational decision at this point considering we fabricated our charges against Iraq before invading. Iran (and North Korea) are both thinking “What’s going to stop them from doing that to me? It doesn’t even matter if I’m not developing nukes! They could still accuse me of it and attack.” So, the only way to prevent an attack, in their eyes, is to demonstrate that they have nuclear bombs. That’s really the ONLY surefire way to prevent an invasion.

  55. Nathan
    February 14, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    I know this is not going to be popular, but what Amanda said was not “coarse language to criticize the Catholic Church.” In fact, it wasn’t coarse language at all, but that the Catholic church forced women to carry babies to term so that there would be more people to tithe to the church. Essentially she said that they were oppressing women for money. That’s not coarse language, but an offensive mischaracterization of the Church and its position.

    I’m 100% pro-choice and not Catholic, and I think that the Catholic view on procreation is terrible and causes terrific pain and suffering throughout the world. I have no problem with being strident in support of contraception, abortion, fertility treatments and all other access issues for women to have control over their ability to conceive and carry a child.

    I like words like fuckwad and dipshit and asshole and jerk face and other strident and aggressive words. I like strong language taking on the other side, and strong opinions.

    But Amanda’s comment was offensive, and that should not be forgotten. Essentially Amanda offensive comment did nothing to push the discourse or the argument forward, but instead did nothing more than offend and hurt people on all sides of the choice issue. Heck, she was talking about the Catholic hierarchy’s position, but many Catholics — even pro-choice, progressive Catholics — view attacks on the church as attacks on themselves.

    In her follow-up piece on the assholes who wrote her vile and disgusting things, Amanda said that the bible was Ancient Myths, this time insulting all Christians who look to the Bible for inspiration and understanding, even those of us like myself who don’t take it literally.

    This kind of Christian baiting does nothing to further progressive values or goals, and in fact gets us into stupid and distracting fights that hurt our efforts. It doesn’t change the opinions of our opponents and irritates and offends our friends. It’s just not helpful to our causes.

    We cannot dismiss Amanda’s offensive comments by pointing out, as this post attempts to do, that the other side makes offensive comments, too. We’re supposed to be better than they are. We’re supposed to be the ones on the side of the right, but when — as this post does — we set our bar for acceptable discourse at the right wing’s lowest common denominator we belittle ourselves.

  56. February 14, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    51: Probably not. Or the Reagan Administration wouldn’t have had any lawyers.

  57. Mnemosyne
    February 14, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    I think there may be a difference between firearms and a nuclear weapons program. If your father was publicly calling for the death of his neighbor while simultaneously stock piling firearms, yes, I would most likely want to take his firearms or, at a minimum, prevent him from acquiring any more.

    If you think the U.S. and Iran are “neighbors,” you need to take a look at a map.

    Even then, your analogy is not quite there. It’s more as though armed militias have taken over the neighbor’s houses on either side of my dad. Is he still not allowed a gun, because he’s not directly under attack?

  58. Mnemosyne
    February 14, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Look. I completely understand why Iran wants nukes. If I were Iran, I’d want nukes too. But I’m not Iran. I’m American. I don’t want Iran to have nukes.

    I don’t want them to have nukes, either. But, unlike countryKyle, I’m not willing to pretend that it’s irrational for them to want nukes.

    Iran has completely rational reasons for wanting nuclear weapons. That doesn’t mean they should have them, but it’s no reason to pretend they’re all wild-eyed craaaazzzy people who want nukes for reasons no one could possibly understand.

    (Shorter me: I agree with you!)

  59. eve
    February 14, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    “As for Israel having nuclear weapons, the idea that there is some sort of moral equivalence between Iran and Israel having nukes is ridiculous.”

    um, yeah? and how are these morally different? Oh, let me guess your answer: “Oh, of course Israel is morally superior to Iran. It has never attacked other countires” It has never occupied other people’s land. IT’S FUCKING LIGHT UNTO THE NATIONS!”

  60. Dianne
    February 14, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    If I were the leader of a small, third world country, I’d be doing my best to get nukes. Because that’s the only thing that will protect you from an invasion by the US. Which member of the axis of evil did the US invade? Iraq. Which has the craziest leader and the most oppressed, impovrished, and otherwise troubled populace? I suppose one could debate the point, but I’d say that North Korea comes out ahead. Which one has made overt threats and launched test missles capable of hitting close allies, if not the US itself? North Korea again. But which did the US invade? Iraq: not the craziest, not the most threatening, but the one least able to hit back. The message is clear: If Hussein really had had WMD, Bush probably never would have dared to invade. So any leader wishing to have any level of independence from the US must get WMD, preferably nukes, or risk an unanswerable invasion. It’s not just that it’s rational for the Iranians to want nukes, it would be downright irrational for them to not want them.

  61. DAS
    February 14, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    I am sure one of the 10 Commandments is “do not kill” (or “do not murder”, depending on your translation). – bartkid

    Considering the Bible sanctions certain forms of killing (and uses a different phrase for killing in general) and distinguished between manslaughter and murder — and the word used in the Decalogue is the word for “murder” — it’s pretty clearly “do not murder”.

    Actually, I dunno about the Christian folk, but in Judaism you are allowed to kill (required if necessary to stop the crime, actually) person X if X is persuing person Y in order to murder or rape Y (in certain cases self-defense is allowed, even if it’s lethal, nu?). Those in Judaism who justify targetted assisinations claim that these people are such “pursuers” as they are themselves ordering others to pursue people to kill them (they are ordering or contributing to, e.g., terrorist acts).

    To me this doesn’t hold water (unless you are targetting someone who is just about to order a terrorist action or a WMD attack), but that’s the argument that’s made.

  62. February 14, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    FFS. Could we please point out the ignorance of paleobloggers without making ignorant statements ourselves?

    I realize that not every Abrahamic religion has a formal structure like the Catholic Church, but most of them do have structures that are more formal than the way Islam is structured. Orthodox Judaism lacks the structure that many other forms of Judaism and Christianity do, and may indeed be closer to Islam than to Christianity in that sense, but as I understand it there are some formal requirements to being considered a rabbi — in many Islamic (particularly rural) communities, a mullah is simply a well-respected religious man who also knows the Qu’ran very well. This differs regionally, but my point was that there isn’t really any sort of established Islamic leadership, or vested meaning in the word “mullah” as there is in “rabbi” or “priest.” That doesn’t mean that “rabbi” and “priest” have the same kind of meaning, or that all other religious communities are structured the same way. Hope that clarifies…

  63. February 14, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    That’s not coarse language, but an offensive mischaracterization of the Church and its position.


    hhhmmmmm. not unlike, say…, let me see… the video that Malkin minions did last summer video called “It’s in the Koran” (all about how Muslims want to kill infidels and slit their throats, etc) that got yanked off YouTube, causing Malkin herself to complain because there was nothing in it that could have offended “anyone other than muslims who couldn’t accept criticism”?

    If it hadn’t been Amanda picking on the church, they would have found something else to hook into and exploit.

  64. February 14, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    And because in hindsight what I was referencing was very unclear, I took out the reference to Orthodox Judaism.

  65. February 14, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    whoever it was that was saying there is such a huge difference between Israel and Iran acquiring nukes you are sadly wrong. americans’ blind love and acceptance of anything and everything that Israel does is part of what is undoing us now. we should have sanctioned them heavily with the rest of the world when it was learned that they had them, Israel has CERTAINLY acted as a rogue state before and certainly will again at some point. just because they’ve been our strategic bitch in the area doesn’t make someone like bibi netanyahu deserving of having his nasty finger on the fucking button. him and ahmadinajahd are cut from the same, YES the same cloth. they are both violent right wing religious extremists – only Israel has much more of a history of invading other countries and instigating violence than does Iran. its true, stats don’t lie. a large part of the reason, aside from the US’ obvious intentions to bomb the shit out of anyone who messes with them, that nobody has driven Israel back out of the occupied territories are those nukes they have. they allow the injustice of the occupation to continue unabated and completely on Israel’s terms.

  66. Bob
    February 14, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    I completely agree re. the hypocrisy of the right, and Instapundit has officially left civilized world, as far as I am concerned. I would like to see Amanda held to account for her rush to judgment on the Durham lacrosse players, however.

  67. February 14, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    55 – I don’t agree that “we” have to “remember” this or that about amanda marcotte’s writing about anything. she can say whatever the hell she wants, she doesn’t speak for anyone but herself and doesn’t claim to. i don’t walk around apologizing to thin-skinned losers for shit other people said that they don’t like, why should any of us start now over something so silly? also, just want to crumple up & spit upon the idea that saying that Catholics believe in extreme views re: birth control is part of the church trying to create more Catholics is some horrible or libelous accusation. what the hell? why would it be? what other purpose could there be to their nutty beliefs other than that they want to perpetuate the church and have ever increasing numbers of members. duh? who the hell would even argue this point?! of course they want more people to tithe, now, a century ago, 5 centuries ago. i don’t even understand what argument there could be to the contrary! “we believe in the preservation of all life as we define it at all cost!” “why?” “oh, no reason really. we just do, you know, for the hell of it.” right….

  68. zuzu
    February 14, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    In fact, it wasn’t coarse language at all, but that the Catholic church forced women to carry babies to term so that there would be more people to tithe to the church. Essentially she said that they were oppressing women for money. That’s not coarse language, but an offensive mischaracterization of the Church and its position.

    You gotta be kidding. Women in the Church are told that it’s their duty to have children and raise more Catholics. Maybe it’s the profit motive you’re inferring that’s got you upset, but honestly, don’t you think that it’s the oppression part that’s the problem, whether or not money enters the picture?

    As for those who are hyperventilating about Iran violating the NPT: they wouldn’t be the first to disregard it. And let’s not forget Bush’s abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

  69. Henry
    February 14, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    The nukes, really? I thought the reason no one’s driven them out is because every time someone tries they get their asses kicked. Muslim states couldn’t realistically conquer Israel even without the nukes.

    Not that this is relevant to the larger discussion.

    I think that the position Reynolds was operating from is that Iran is waging covert and/or low-intensity war against us in Iraq, and therefore retaliatory acts of war are justified. It follows then, in this theory, that the assasination of nuclear scientists isn’t the murder of civilians so much as it is the destruction of weapons program infrastructure, just like dropping a bomb on a facility but in a more targeted manner. As for assasinating specific religious leaders, the only justification for that would be if it could be shown that said religious leaders were acting in a command and control capacity for covert action against us. So naturally, if you don’t believe that Iran is in fact waging war against us in Iraq, his statement makes no sense.

  70. February 14, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    I really miss the days when the USSR was there to contain us.

  71. everstar
    February 14, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Amanda said that the bible was Ancient Myths, this time insulting all Christians who look to the Bible for inspiration and understanding, even those of us like myself who don’t take it literally.

    The Bible is ancient myth. It’s over two thousand years old (half of it, anyway); ergo, ancient. It’s a collection of traditional stories that describes the gods, heroes, and legends of a people in such a way as to outline their beliefs; ergo, myth. Being mythical doesn’t mean “unimportant” or “trivial.” On the contrary, something that’s reached the status of myth often transcends its own cultural boundaries and reaches out to touch present lives.

  72. February 14, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    Off topic:
    My infintesimal blog’s somehow ended up hosting a (very small) debate thread about feminism vs. Catholic theology of the body (which opposes birth control, gay marriage, etc.), gender roles and work ,and etc. – a couple of folks have come over from gsk’s feminine-genius blog, but our side’s almost unrepresented, and I’m stuck at work and mostly incoherent to boot, so if anybody wants to pitch in . . . (in a boringly polite debate-y way, an’ all . . .) – it’s in the open thread comments . . .

  73. February 14, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    I love the blog that you have. I was wondering if you would link my blog to yours and in return I would do the same for your blog. If you want to, my site name is American Legends and the URL is:

    http://www.americanlegends.blogspot.com

    If you want to do this just go to my blog and in one of the comments just write your blog name and the URL and I will add it to my site.

    Thanks,
    Mark

  74. W. Kiernan
    February 14, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    So you believe that Iran is supplying weapons to the insurgents in Iraq, eh? That’s what the Washington Post and the New York Times seem to be telling us. But did you personally see Iran supplying these weapons to these insurgents? Did reporters from the Post and the Times witness these arms shipments themselves? No, I don’t suppose they did. Well then, who is telling the Post and the Times that Iran is supplying these weapons? The exact same guys who told us:

    1.) Prior to the 9/11/01 attack on New York and Washington, Mohammed Atta had a conference with top Iraq intelligence officials in the Czech Republic.

    2.) In 2002, the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq possessed 500 tons of VX nerve gas.

    3.) Iraq also had anthrax factories installed inside semi trailers – canvas-sided semi trailers.

    4.) To deliver that weaponized anthrax, Iraq had a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles, which could reach the capitals of Western Europe with no more than forty minutes early warning.

    5.) In defiance of IAEA directives, Iraq had secretly imported several hundred tons of uranium ore from Niger for their secret atom bomb project.

    6.) To process that illicit uranium into bomb-making materials, Iraq imported aluminum tubes with which to make isotopic separation centrifuges. (That’s a good one; I suppose they also use aluminum crankshafts in the motors of their battle tanks.)

    7.) To hide that secret atom bomb project, Saddam’s government ejected the IAEA inspectors from Iraq.

    I’m sure I missed a few other stories from that bunch of guys which turned out, after the invasion and occupation, to be counterfactual. It’s so hard to keep up with all the fabrications.

    Now you people actually give credence to the latest blast of accusations by the very same guys concerning Iran’s arms shipments. To their inveterate enemies, the Shiite-hating Sunni extremists, the die-hard Baathists of Iraq. You know, the guys who attacked Iran and killed a million Iranians between 1981 and 1988.

    Well! As a world-famous politician once said, “Fool me once, your fault. Fool me twice, I, I, er, uh, der, um, won’t get fooled again!” But I see you credulous ones have inferior judgment to that world-famous politician.

  75. tubino
    February 14, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Hey residents of the United States of Amnesia: Does anyone recall a country bombing Iranian facilities? Maybe a Middle East power with nuclear weapons?

    Anyone?

  76. tubino
    February 14, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    I put Iran when I should have put Iraq.

    June 1981: Israel bombed Iraq’s Osirak Nuclear Facility.

  77. Shankar Gupta
    February 14, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Virgotex:

    hhhmmmmm. not unlike, say…, let me see… the video that Malkin minions did last summer video called “It’s in the Koran”…

    You’re right, the two are quite similar. But are you comparing Amanda to Michelle Malkin and her minions? I’m sure there are some people in this thread who would take issue with that equivalence.

  78. tubino
    February 14, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    So naturally, if you don’t believe that Iran is in fact waging war against us in Iraq, his statement makes no sense.

    If you think Iran is causing the US trouble in Iraq, just wait till the US openly attacks Iran, by bombing nuclear facilities. THEN you’ll find out what the combination of a Sunni insurgency AND an anti-US Shiite force aided by Iran can do.

    Considering what would happen to the US forces there, and the time it takes to train the additional soldiers the US would need, you can say for certain that at the time Bush leaves office, the US military would be weaker than it has been for many, MANY decades.

  79. February 14, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    Shankar:

    Nice try. Given that it was Malkin and her minions spearheading the initial anti-Amanda bullshit, pointing out their craven hypocrisy is perfectly appropriate.

  80. gsk
    February 14, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    I am perplexed why you attack Mark Steyn, who has a particular stance towards underpopulation (true or no) and then defend the second Rwandan genocide undertaken by the UN. Are you people for choice or not? Then why do you tie development dollars in the third world to Norplant shots? Sounds like you don’t like brown babies any more than you say Mark Steyn does.

    (Btw, lack of access to condoms doesn’t kill; but telling people that using condoms is safe when they carry the virus is irresponsible. AIDS is one of the few diseases that is so politicised that no one is allowed to use strictly medical protocols to curb the spread. But hey, we’re back to “people of colour” a lot of the time. Who really cares about people — the whole person?)

  81. February 14, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    gsk, I know you’re a little slow on the uptake, but how is supporting access to contraception anti-choice? We support contraception access for all women — but countries like Sweden and Norway which are very white have the money to provide that access.

    And lack of access to condoms does kill, although you are so frighteningly stupid that I’m not sure how to explain it to you. So read slowly: No one says that condoms are 100 percent effective. We do say that, when used correctly, they drastically reduce the chances of disease transmission. Women all over the world have no ability to refuse sex, especially if they’re married. Negotiating condom use may be the only option for these women. Not giving them access to condoms does kill, plain and simple.

    As for strictly medical protocols, since when is “simply refuse to partake in a natural human activity, even if you don’t have the ability to not partake in it” standard protocol in response to a disease? Standard medical protocol, as I understand it, tends to be risk-reduction, at least when it comes to infectious diseases. Is the solution to mosquito-transmitted illnesses “don’t go outside”? Is the solution to cholera “don’t drink water”?

  82. February 14, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    And by the way, comparing family planning counseling to the Rwandan genocide that killed millions is so beyond offensive that I’m banning you. You are a truly soulless human being. Fuck off, do not come back, and I hope you rot.

  83. February 14, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    This has been a really depressing week (and, ess, it’s only Wednesday). The hate, the ugly, the crazy, the arrogance, the ignorance, the stupid, the all caps. Insert lifting up rock metaphor.

  84. Regina
    February 14, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    And by the way, comparing family planning counseling to the Rwandan genocide that killed millions is so beyond offensive that I’m banning you. You are a truly soulless human being. Fuck off, do not come back, and I hope you rot.

    *applause!* *applause!*

  85. ether
    February 14, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Ace at Ace of Spades Headquaters justs said recently that he thinks liberals view themselves as pious angels, soaring above the nationalistic group think of the dullard masses.

    This thread proves it for me.

    All of the nuanced discussion and moral equivalency.

    It’s funny when members of the “reality-based community” start seriously arguing that Iran has a moral right to nuclear weapons.

    It speaks volumes on the logic behind all of their other pontifications.

  86. February 14, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    It’s funny when members of the “reality-based community” start seriously arguing that Iran has a moral right to nuclear weapons.

    um… what?

    I can’t speak for everyone on this thread, but all I said is that I can understand why the Iranians would want nuclear weapons, and that their desire for nuclear weapons is a rational desire. That doesn’t make it a moral right, and that doesn’t mean that I want them to have those weapons. Reading comprehension, my friend. It’s amazing.

  87. SixtiesLiberal
    February 14, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Z.M. Davis said,

    Tony wrote:

    A word from the wise: delete blog posts when public career begins.

    I don’t think that’s wise at all. Don’t you think it would be disingenuous to sneakily delete one’s writings in an attempt to avoid criticism?–people would find out and criticize one for the deletion as well as the remarks. And if one deletes something in an open, nonsneaky way, one gets attacked for that. If one wants to retract something one writes in a blog, the only good option is striking through the text.

    True. Blog postings, particularly pungent ones, are like toothpaste out of the tube. Amanda did delete the protested Duke lacrosse comment, but it had been copied already and was quoted anyway. Plus, some folks complained she was trying to sanitize her old site. Had someone from the campaign read her site, they could have inoculated her from the right-wing attacks by disowning in advance “some” of her prior postings.

    But it still would have been hard to recover from the “sticky Holy Spirit” comment. I am agnostic/atheist myself and I found that one offensive and certainly recognized that many reasonable religious folk would find it offensive also.

  88. Tony
    February 14, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    SixtiesLiberal/ Z.M. Davis

    I think you both have valid counterpoints here.

    However, you are both still dealing with the issue in a “cat-outta-the-bag” context.

    Had the Edwards campaign simply gone through her blog and seen some of the things she has written (which is not to say they are wrong things things, just inflammatory things), they would have realized that before they could offer her a job, she would have to get rid of some of those posts.

    So before she even took the job, she would have “sanitized” her blog.

    I think it is terrible to have to do this, because she has every right to her opinion. However, as I eluded to before, the point in presidential politics, for a blogger with Amanda’s particular writing skill-set, anyway, would be to provide substantial jabs against one’s adversary, without causing any blowback to her boss, in this case Edwards.

    Amanda could have been used as a strong rhetorical weapon with which the Edwards campaign could have inflicted some heavy damage into right-wing rats like Donahue, and other clearly sexist policy positions the right has to offer.

    I think the cost of giving up some of her prior writings would have been far outweighed by all the good Amanda could have done for the Edwards campaign–and for women.

    Instead, it all crashed and burned . . .

    How easy would it have been to just copy the SQL file onto her hardrive, delete it off the server and save it for another day before taking the job, and before the ensuing shit storm erupted.

    Not that hard at all.

    Just something to think about.

  89. ether
    February 14, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Jill:

    I never singled you, or anyone, out directly.

    “Reading comprehension, my friend. It’s amazing.”

    I’m sorry if I mistook utilitarian musings as moral rationalizations.

    I noticed you left my observations of blatant moral equivalencies out.

    I will take exception to this…

    “Mullahs are, after all, simply Muslims who are seen by their communities as religious leaders. They are not on par with priests of rabbis or religious leaders from other Abrahamic traditions. There isn’t a formal institutional structure to Islam the way that there is in Catholicism or the Anglican church or just about any other comparable religion. A major tenet of Islam is that all people have equal access to religious knowledge, and that no practicing Muslim is holier than another. So assassinating mullahs just won’t have the same institutional effect as assassinating, say, a Cardinal. Except that it will really, really piss people off.”

    Which completely ignores historical context.

    While what you say is true, and touches the nicey platitude part of my soul real nice, it is also true that Islamic leaders gain respect, and in turn power, from their actions, and from a general concensus of support from the Ummah as a whole.

    Mullahs are political, religous, and social leaders, and in turn, should be treated as such.

    They aren’t just random, spiritual consultants that any Muslim who wishes can magically be.

    In many regions they are the equivalent of warlords.

    Afganistan and Northern Africa are good examples.

    Assassination has been used within Islam for centuries to change the institution as a whole. To argue these assasinations had no effect on the history of Islam itself runs counter to over a thousand years of history. While there is no institutionalized hierarchy within Islam, dominance through might is, and has been the rule since the conquests of the prophet himself, and the inception of the caliphate.

    To argue that assassinating respected leaders would have no institutional effect is to be ignorant of history.

    Whether willfully, or not?

    Only you know.

  90. February 14, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    I realize that assassinating mullahs will have an effect — and that effect will be to really make people angry. It will not, however, do anything to cripple the institution of Islam, since there is no institution. Of course it will have an effect on religious communities. But that effect will only be bad.

    Perhaps you can explain what, exactly, assassinating religious leaders will accomplish, other than to turn them into martyrs and further radicalize their followers?

  91. ether
    February 14, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Eliminating them from the equation is accomplishment enough in of itself.

    I disagree that someone such as Sadr’s followers can be radicalized any more than they already are. It doesn’t matter to me what martyr they choose… Sadr, his father, Ali himself… when your ideology is based on ideas of divine supremacy it’s not very hard to come up with failed “martyrs” to use as evidence of righteousness of your divine struggle.

    It’s called delusion, and in this country you can get pills for it.

    I’m for eliminating the enemy, I could care less what failures they use as moral justification for their deeply flawed ideology.

    I could care less if they’re angry. According to them, I am an infidel, one to be killed. Not even a “person of the book,” just fit enough for religous subjugation.

    I don’t have the longevity of life to reason with someone the virtue of freedom.

    Unfortunately for Iraqis, people like you feel they do have the time to reason this out with those who seek to kill them.

    I’m sure those Iraqis who wish to be free would appreciate the help of someone like Sadr dead.

    Those who wish to subjugate their fellow human beings, not so much.

  92. zuzu
    February 14, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    It’s called delusion,

    Well, someone’s deluded.

  93. February 14, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    when your ideology is based on ideas of divine supremacy it’s not very hard to come up with failed “martyrs” to use as evidence of righteousness of your divine struggle.

    Is Bush’s ideology of divine supremacy really all that much different?

    I could care less if they’re angry. According to them, I am an infidel, one to be killed. Not even a “person of the book,” just fit enough for religous subjugation.

    To a tiny, tiny minority. Not to the majority of Muslims or Iranians or Iraqis. But if we start going in and assassinating civilians, they will begin to see us as evil, as as direct threats to their safety. It’s not rocket science.

    Unfortunately for Iraqis, people like you feel they do have the time to reason this out with those who seek to kill them.

    Because it’s only Sadr who’s been slaughtering Iraqi civilians, right? Not us…

  94. February 14, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    Sadr and his followers represent a tiny, tiny minority of Iraqi Shia. He has power because the US failed to deal with him in the early days of “freedom is messy” — in fact, Maliki is more dependent on Sadr than on Bush for this position. If you want to know why he’s powerful, look to the incompetence of the Bushies, not to crude and cliched stereotypes about how crazy Shia Muslims are for martyrdom.

    The Shia in Iraq generally were the religious majority who were brutally suppressed by Saddam, especially after they were encouraged to “rise” by Bush 41 after Desert Storm and then left completely unsupported.

  95. February 14, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    just to briefly follow up on a point that means a lot to me, but not to belabor it, a rabbi, in the jewish tradition, is essentially a teacher, not an intermediary between the people and God. The equal access for all people to the religious law/rites in islam is in judaism too, and it was first. any authority given to rabbis is entirely contingent on their community. to dffer with the commenter above, orthodoxy has a much more rigid authoritarian structure, because one is expected to have a rabbinic authority to whom (s)he is responsible. orthodox judaism also has a number of centralized organizations of rabbis. the more liberal movements (of which i am one) do have central bodies of authority, but ultimately the decision lies with the individual communal rabbis, and they are responsible to their community, so…
    in sum: mullahs are pretty much the muslim equivalent of rabbis (or vice versa)
    trust me, i am a religion major ;-)

  96. Henry
    February 14, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    To a tiny, tiny minority. Not to the majority of Muslims or Iranians or Iraqis.

    Not to start a huge fight , but I don’t think that minority is anywhere near as tiny as you think it is.

    He has power because the US failed to deal with him in the early days of “freedom is messy

    That is definitely a point of agreement. We should have stepped on his neck immediately. Making deals with people like that isn’t diplomacy, it’s mental weakness, and immediately recognized as such.

  97. ether
    February 15, 2007 at 1:30 am

    Jill:

    You’re deluded.

    Yes, Bush=Sadr

    Do you have anything beyond moral equivalency to offer?

    Also, you still label mullahs “civilians” when I named two regions: Afghanistan and Northern Africa, where mullahs clearly are not civilians and actively orchestrate military attacks, set social policy, and coordinate local jurisprudence.

    You seek to defnine them under terms more appropriate for your anti-any U.S. action position.

    Would you really argue Khomeini was a civilian?

    Again, i’m not sure if it’s willful, or not, but clearly you don’t understand that Islam intentionally blurs the lines between religion, politics, and social practice.

    You speak as though you know the “major tenets” of Islam yet you try and brush the “major tenet” of religous subjugation under the rug as if it were an idea of some far-off sect rather than a central belief itself.

    As a feminist, you of all people should be willing to confront any assault on personal freedom.

    However, considering taking this position would put you in the same camp with those Christians you so love railing against, it’s not hard to see why you, and many on the left, are so unwilling to join in the battle against theocratic fascism.

    Personally, while I despise Christians, I often find the WOT a great springboard into conversations on the illogic of rule by divine authority.

    It’s often amusing finding Christians critical of Islam for the very things they do themselves.

    Back to the point:

    While I don’t find political and ideological assassination very palatable, and probably not very helpful in these specific circumstances… It’s quite the stretch to spread your pious angel wings and label those who would go along with it as somehow morally inferior or evil for taking a very real approach to a growing, and very real problem.

    Morally repugnant: yes.

    Morally permissable: yes.

  98. ether
    February 15, 2007 at 1:41 am

    Also, another disturbing thing in your post:

    “Because it’s only Sadr who’s been slaughtering Iraqi civilians, right? Not us…”

    Like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, motives and context are everything when considering this subject.

    Do you really refuse to differentiate between civilians and insurgents when we talk about who the U.S. is slaughtering?

    Do you really posit that the U.S. is intentionally slaughtering civilians? Or do you mean civilians are being slaughtered inadvertanly through collateral damage?

    Huge difference, and one you don’t acknowledge or clarify. However you do draw an equivalenecy with JAM who are slaughtering Sunni civilans in cold blood as part of neighborhood cleansing and general terrorizing.

    With that equivalency, I am forced to assume you mean U.S. troops are intentionally slaughtering civilians as the JAM do.

    Pretty despicable allegation to cast upon the military as a whole.

    Just thought i’d point that out.

  99. nobody
    February 15, 2007 at 2:37 am

    Iran is an honest to godbag theocracy; it’s run by mullah’s. There are mullah’s who could justifiably be considered civilians, but not all of them can be. The scientist part of the equation I have a lot more trouble with, but I don’t like anybody screwing with scientists, for any reason.

  100. February 15, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Yes, Bush=Sadr

    Not what I said, genius. I said that Bush also has a moral philosophy which dictates that his religion is the best. Doesn’t mean that Bush = Sadr. Are you really this dumb, or are you being purposely irritating?

    Also, you still label mullahs “civilians” when I named two regions: Afghanistan and Northern Africa, where mullahs clearly are not civilians and actively orchestrate military attacks, set social policy, and coordinate local jurisprudence.

    The mullahs who lead military attacks are not civilians, just as Christian religious leaders who join the marines are not civilians. But that does not mean that all mullahs aren’t civilians.

    As for coordinating local jurisprudence, if you’re referring to Islamic judges, then yes, they’re still civilians, unless you’d like to make the argument that legal scholars give up their civilian status.

    You speak as though you know the “major tenets” of Islam yet you try and brush the “major tenet” of religous subjugation under the rug as if it were an idea of some far-off sect rather than a central belief itself.

    Is the idea of religious subjugation only an Islamic concept? Is it not present in Christianity?

    However, considering taking this position would put you in the same camp with those Christians you so love railing against, it’s not hard to see why you, and many on the left, are so unwilling to join in the battle against theocratic fascism.

    I am against theocratic fascism. I think Iran is a godbag theocracy. I think their laws and their leadership are abhorrent. I just don’t think that the solution is to go in and start assassinating scientists and religious leaders.

    Do you really refuse to differentiate between civilians and insurgents when we talk about who the U.S. is slaughtering?

    Do you really posit that the U.S. is intentionally slaughtering civilians? Or do you mean civilians are being slaughtered inadvertanly through collateral damage?

    I think we invaded Iraq preemptively when they were no threat to us, with the knowledge that thousands of civilians would be killed. Is it US policy to purposely kill civilians? No. Would I bet my life that there are US soldiers who have purposely killed civilians? Yeah. Most soldiers? Many soldiers? No. But some. And regardless of intent, those people who we write off as “collateral damage” are still pretty damn dead. And we knew that a whole lot of them would die if we invaded. That’s war. Yet we invaded anyway, for no good reason, and now we’ve killed off a substantial percentage of their population and pissed off an entire region, and now we’re setting our sights on a more powerful Islamic nation.

    50,000 Iraqi civilians have died. We’ve killed a lot of them. Those who were killed by insurgents probably wouldn’t have been killed if we hadn’t invaded — remember, those insurgents are a response to our presence, not a static factor.

    With that equivalency, I am forced to assume you mean U.S. troops are intentionally slaughtering civilians as the JAM do.

    Pretty despicable allegation to cast upon the military as a whole.

    Well, then you’re dumber than I thought you were, and if you continue to intentionally misread what I write, I’m going to ban you.

  101. llewelly
    February 15, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    So before she even took the job, she would have ‘sanitized’ her blog.

    Amanda has a popular blog.
    Supporters and enemies alike save, quote, and screenshoot blog posts.
    Someone would notice the deletion, and get excited.
    That is a basic reality of popularity on the internet – there is no private or reliable deletion. None.
    People who think after the fact revision of websites can ‘sanitize’ their image have been getting egg on their faces since at least 1994. Granted, it didn’t get much past the regular internet users until around 2001 – but that’s still some years ago.
    I must say it troubles me that otherwise intelligent people continue to misunderstand relatively straightforward side-effects of technology.

  102. DAS
    February 15, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    I don’t like anybody screwing with scientists, for any reason.

    Speaking as a scientist, I happen to disagree with you. I think the idea of screwing with scientists is wonderful. As long as the people planning to screw said scientists are teh hawt ;)

  103. ether
    February 15, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    There’s really no need for insults.

    I just wanted further clarification.

    You’re going to ban me for my alleged misreading of your remarks, while at the same time, calling me names and questioning my intelligence?

    Look, you still haven’t addressed the jist of my point:

    Islam blurs the lines between religous, social, and political leaders… with this FACT, mullahs take on many roles within a community including: religous leader and warlord.

    Labeling someone a “civilian” just because they mask their actions in the robes of divinity, doesn’t make their actions any less war-like. Sadr is a great exampleof this line being virtually non-existent. This PC bullshit is the same crap the prevents U.S. troops from firing on attackers holed up in Mosques and schools. We are having our own tolerance and cultural respect shoved down our throats.

    “The mullahs who lead military attacks are not civilians, just as Christian religious leaders who join the marines are not civilians. But that does not mean that all mullahs aren’t civilians. “

    I don’t recall anyone advocating killing all mullahs. I have specifically singled out those who act as warlords or orchestrate attacks. Are you intentionally misreading me? You say “the mullahs who lead military attacks are not civilians,” but somehow simultaneously hold that it is morally wrong to kill mullahs and people like Instapundit are evil for suggesting it.

    WTF?

    So with a label of “mullah” it is now morally wrong to kill someone who orchestrates attacks against civilians?

    That, or it is ok to kill mullahs, if they orchestrate attacks against civilians, as Instapundit suggests.

    “I am against theocratic fascism. I think Iran is a godbag theocracy. I think their laws and their leadership are abhorrent. I just don’t think that the solution is to go in and start assassinating scientists and religious leaders.”

    I agree.

    But, i’m not jumping into moral hysterics over suggestions I don’t find morally preferrable.

    I’m not generating traffic by pimping my moral high-horse.

    “I think we invaded Iraq preemptively when they were no threat to us, with the knowledge that thousands of civilians would be killed. Is it US policy to purposely kill civilians? No. Would I bet my life that there are US soldiers who have purposely killed civilians? Yeah. Most soldiers? Many soldiers? No. But some. And regardless of intent, those people who we write off as “collateral damage” are still pretty damn dead. And we knew that a whole lot of them would die if we invaded. That’s war. Yet we invaded anyway, for no good reason, and now we’ve killed off a substantial percentage of their population and pissed off an entire region, and now we’re setting our sights on a more powerful Islamic nation.”

    I understand your position, and in fact, agree with it. What it leaves out is motives and context. You speak of the U.S. action criminally, yet you fail to point out a malicious intent… something that never existed.

    That is why I always take exception to vagure equivalencies such as:

    Because it’s only Sadr who’s been slaughtering Iraqi civilians, right? Not us…

    This is a very cold-hearted and damaging statement. It fails to even acknowledge the reasons most Americans begrudgingly went to war. Yes, Bush and his cronies had ulterior motives for invading Iraq, but many good senators and Americans went along with it on good principle. The motives of Americans and the motives of people like Sadr shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath. While it’s a tragedy many Iraqis have died, there is a difference in the way and reasons for each death. Those need to be recognized, not used as political weapons.

    Thanks for clearing that up, without the clarification, the statement sounded really cold.

    “Well, then you’re dumber than I thought you were, and if you continue to intentionally misread what I write, I’m going to ban you.”

    I’m sorry if you take my objections as intentionally irritating or disingenous, that wasn’t my intention. I read this site because I like opinionated people. If you choose to ban me because I present a disagreement, that’s your right, and to be honest, it’s not really a suprise.

    I never called you names or questioned your intelligence, I simply sought clarification on your intentions, which you provided.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  104. nobody
    February 15, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    The mullahs who lead military attacks are not civilians, just as Christian religious leaders who join the marines are not civilians. But that does not mean that all mullahs aren’t civilians.

    So, Reynolds is only an extremist if he meant civilian mullahs, right? Is there any reason to believe that is what he meant? I’ll admit, I’m generally inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, but what sense does what he wrote make if it’s read as an any-handy-mullah extermination project? He specified scientists working on the bomb, not just any Iranian scientist. Do you really think he wants the CIA going mosque to mosque killing anything that moves?

  105. February 15, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    No, but I do think he wants the CIA killing any mullah who promotes anti-American sentiments, or violence against American invaders. Those people are still civilians, just as Christian leaders who promote invading Ira are still civilians.

  106. February 16, 2007 at 1:24 am

    ether, you say you’re not trying to be irritating disingenuous or insulting, then you say you won’t be surprised if you’re banned for disagreeing? Do you really think we’re that stupid? I’ve read all your comments to Jill, and they were all clearly insulting, written in a tone of (assumed) intellectual and moral superiority. That by itself isn’t the worst thing in the world, but at least be honest about it, rather than trying to slink away and play the martyr when you’re called on being an asshole. (And I’m an asshole like every second of every day, so that’s not meant as some kind of ultimate put-down. I’m just saying don’t be as snotty and insulting as you can until someone calls you on it, at which point you pretend you don’t know what they’re talking about and they must be unfair and overly confrontational.)

  107. nobody
    February 16, 2007 at 1:25 am

    If he wants the CIA killing any mullah who promotes anti-American sentiments, that’s a pretty long list. And it doesn’t seem to square with specifying Iranian mullahs. Why only Iranian anti-American mullahs? It would, presumably, be easier for the CIA to kill anti-American mullahs in France. Or Michigan.

    Anyway, you could be right. But that’s not the way I read him.

  108. February 16, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    The funny thing about killing any mullah who hates you is that you guarantee you’ll never run out of mullahs-who-hate-you to kill.
    It’s almost like, oh, turning a country into a terrorist factory so that your War On Terror will never run out of enemies, and can be declared a Grand, Generational Struggle.

    (Can I just say how tired I am of that, now I’m hearing it come out of Congress? As far as I’m concerned, fighting terrorism is a tiny piece of the real Grand, Multigenerational Struggle–getting the world fed, clothed, housed, and listened-to, and standing in the way of those who’d do others harm on all fronts. Put food in everyone’s mouths, and maybe they wouldn’t need guns in their hands.)

  109. February 17, 2007 at 5:02 am

    Lemme get this straight. The weapons that this Admin is saying are new Iranian weapons are the ones that we saw in theatre two years ago! But that was before an election, and the same talk that promoted war against Iraq wouldn’t have worked at that point. And, yeah, so Iran is aiding and abetting the Sunnis?

    I sure am glad I have all these wingers to tell me what’s going on.

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