July 29, 2006

"Condoleezza Rice: Midwife from Hell."

Speaking of magazines, here's a lovely piece from a little magazine from Madison, Wisconsin.
Her description of the conflagration in Lebanon as the “birthpangs of a new Middle East” was about as callous as it gets, matched only by Bush’s remark that the conflict represents “a moment of opportunity." ...

Rice’s cruel opposition to an immediate cease-fire has left the whole world outside of Israel (and Tony Blair’s kennel) aghast.
This is the kind of talk one hears around Madison. If the U.S. or Israel does something violent, you speak only in terms of your horror and righteous anger that we have killed people. If our enemies do something violent, you call attention to their understandable frustration and outrage and our role in making them feel that way.

76 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I'm familiar with what you describe, and I don't dispute it. But I'm wondering if you also notice the tendancy of those who support this war to romanticize our fighting, who are outraged at any criticism of civilian deaths, of any discussion about atrocities committed by rogue troops or in official holding centers. After all, they attacked us so our rage is justified.

This phenomenon of being outraged only the violence that conflicts with your sympathies is not restricted to the far left.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't see any cheering over the violence by people who support the military actions of Israel and the United States. I think we feel very bad about having to do it, and I think the leaders who are making the call feel bad about it too. It's pure delusion to think we're into violence as violence. Our side strives to avoid civilian deaths, and the other side behaves in a way that makes civilian deaths more likely, and they do it cleverly, knowing it works to undermine support among people who do agonize over these deaths.

Editor Theorist said...

Speaking from past personal experience, the "extreme left/ liberal" perspective on foreign affairs comes from an absolute refusal to recognize that there is a different morality in relations between nations than there is for relations between people.

The way that foreign affairs are conducted (including war, but also trade and immigration) seems monstrous if regarded in terms of the behaviour and consequences for individuals.

With more knowledge and experience, I would now say that it is both inevitable and desirable that relations between countries have different rules from those of individual morality. It is part of the modern condition, and modernity is better for most people most of the time.

There is nothing new (indeed, it is centuries old) that we feel the psychological alienation of a dis-integrated world where different aspects of life are increasingly fractured. It is necessary, it is intractable, but it is still painful.

Articles like this express the pain. In effect the article is an inarticulate howl against the contradictions of the human condition.

If the author were more insightful (and less addicted to advertizing his own moral superiority) there would be a recognition that Condoleezza Rice may be doing a job that needs doing, and doing it very well - but it _is_ tragic that the job does need doing, and CR would probably be the first to acknowledge the fact.

Troy said...

I would think that Hezbollah would be the abortionist from hell -- trying to kill the new Middle East before it is birthed.

"Criticism" is not the right word. Civilian deaths are taken completely out of context. If Hezbollah would come out and fight, civilian deaths would be nil -- except for the ones they are causing in Israel -- and those they are killing in Lebanon who won't obey. When Hezbollah holes up among the civilian population -- and they continue to fight -- they become legally and morally responsible for the civilian deaths.

An odd thing (an aside) is I've lived in some pretty red cities -- I've never seen a right-wing version of Madison, Austin, Santa Fe and Taos, NM, San Francisco, Boulder, CO. Even Orange County, CA is not as red as the bluest blue region. Not even close. Maybe out in the sticks in White Settlement, TX (I kid you not), but not any city of any size or repute. Are there any right-wing lunatic fringe cities or does it take a large state university or capital.

me said...

I'm not a regular reader of the Progessive (don't like newsprint), but I think the magazine is doing pretty well these days in terms of circulation.

As for the Israeli-Hezbollah situation, it does underscore why committing our troops was a mistake. We can't even supply peacekeepers to Lebanon.

As a person with Jewish heritage, I have some sympathy for Israel. However, I also think Israel is a product of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Had the Zionist movement not taken over 100 years to resettle Israel, it might have had a different outcome (maybe not). You don't park a brand new BMW in a poor neighborhood.

Elizabeth said...

Ann, I don't see cheering either, but that wasn't the tone you identified in the Madison story; it was more of a sympathy, to "call attention to their understandable frustration." I don't share your faith that we do all we can do to avoid civilian deaths. I think we're better at it than most. What I'm struck by is the sense of obligation. The Madison talk you cite comes from people who feel obligated to excuse inexplicable violence by blaming it on our provocation. We excuse the enormous civilian death rate in Iraq by pointing to 9/11, to justify our belief that we were obligated to go into Iraq.

Elizabeth said...

What I may not be making clear is that I don't share the view expressed in the Madison magazine; I simply see the frame of mind it comes from in views expressed by some supporters of our actions in Iraq.

I don't know that from our perspective here, relying on news reports for most of our information, that we can judge Israel's response to Hezbollah fairly. It's obvious that Hezbollah violates rules of warfare by hiding within civilian neighborhoods. There's no question that they set up rocket launchers within civilian areas, and that they keep weapons caches in or adjacent to schools, mosques and hospitals. So when Israel targets those sites, it's not a crime on Israel's part, but on Hezbollah's. Moreover, unlike Hamas--and this is not an endorsement of Hamas--Hezbollah is not even a legitimate resistance movement. Israel doesn't occupy Lebanon.

Nonetheless, as much as I see Israel's right to take on Hezbollah, I have to worry about Lebanon, and its hopes for a more modern democracy. I don't really know to what degree Hezbollah has the support of the average Lebanese citizen (surely they will gain some support after the civilian death count in this engagement, whether that's logical or not), or to waht degree Hezbollah is able to frighten Lebanese citizens' into compliance. Is it wrong to want the U.S. and Israel to take those concerns into account as they pursue Hezbollah?

CorgiMom said...

Hey, Troy! I live in Fort Worth and I can assure you White Settlement is no longer considered "the sticks". But even when it was there wasn't the corresponding red to the blue you've mentioned in Austin, etc.

Sloanasaurus said...

The left sees itself as champions of the victim. Thus, no matter how ruthless or immoral the terrorists are, they are viewed as weaker and therefore victims by the left. The Left does not care how one became weaker or stronger, they only care what is. As long as the terorists are weaker both culturally and economically the Left will excuse their actions of murder and terrorism.

If a poor man worked all day and night to dig a ditch, therefore making twice as much as the poor man who only works 1/2 the day, the Left would view the 1/2 day worker as a victim in the context of the harder worker. Then the Left would work to take down the harder worker in pursuit of equality.

It has to be a mental illness.

Sloanasaurus said...

I agree Elizabeth. The war waged by Israel should have as its end goal the replacement of Hezbollah by the Lebanese authority.

As such, Israel needs to tread carefully to achieve this goal. However, it may be impossible unless Hezbollah is completely wiped out.

CorgiMom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gerry said...

"who are outraged at any criticism of civilian deaths"

Just speaking for myself, I am not outraged of any criticism of civilian deaths. I think that pretty much everyone thinks those are a bad thing which should be minimized.

However, I for one think it is incredibly naive to think or to expect that there will not be those during a war. In fact, the amount of it in this war so far has been impressively low. Remember what we needed to do to Japan to bring WWII to an end.

And I think that those who try to paint us, or the current administration, as evil due to any civilian deaths that have occurred in our battles, or who try to paint Israel (and us, as allies, and the current administration for their stance) as evil due to any civilian deaths that have occurred are simply off their rockers. They have forgotten that the war was brought to us. They have forgotten what war is.

Bissage said...

Rothschild's piece was unintentionally comic, just like Pacino's over-the-top performance in "And Justice for All."

"Don'tcha care, Condi?! Don'tcha even CARE?!!!"

Elizabeth said...

Sloan, I have to disagree on your victim analysis, at least from my position over on the left. I have no problem distinguishing the individuals who are victims of more than a century of colonial and post-colonial governments and economies in the Middle East, and the terrorist organizations who recruit from those ranks, and easily convert justified anger into murderous rage. If our only response to this pattern in Islamic cultures, in the Middle East and in Europe, is violence, then we're going to lose.

We are in agreement on the tightrope Israel and the U.S., as Israel's main supporter, have to walk in crippling Hezbollah while not pushing Lebanon to the point where the Lebanase military takes up arms beside Hezbollah.

It's a scary situation. Lebanese people managed to demand the ouster of Syrian authorities in their Cedar Revolution, but then they vote into office Hezbollah-backed candidates. Which way will they tip now, given Israel's decision to go full bore after Hezbollah?

PatCA said...

If you want to read about Lebanon and Hezbollah, read Michael Totten, Elizabeth. He spent quite a bit of time there.

I also do not see any cheering or even indifference over civilian deaths by this government, or people like me. We brought in food and housing to Afghanistan, and would be rebuilding Iraq as well if the militant Islamists were not attacking and killing and destroying their own people! And our rogue troops are arrested, shackled, and tried when they do wrong--as individual soldiers have for eons--not set up as icons.

As for their being "victims of more than a century of colonial and post-colonial governments and economies," what was the excuse before 1918?

So, yes, I am outraged by violence. But our silly 'peace' of the 80s and 90s has been proven to be only an opportunity for the bad guys of the world to armor up. By the moral calculation of the left, we should just be peaceful until Iran or Pakistan decide to nuke someone.

Elizabeth said...

Ah, dangit. Just when this is getting good, I have a full day of housework ahead of me. Contractors have finally finished repairing and painting our crumbling plaster walls (it only took 11 months after Katrina!) Our books and other belongings are boxed, and our furniture was scattered from room to room, so we have much to do to put things right. Remember those little handheld slide puzzles? That's my house right now.

It's good to see dialogue snapping along here again. I hope that can last.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the reference, Pat. I do read Michael Totten.

As for pre-1918, who cares? I mean that, I'm not being flippant. If you can't address the point I was making, then don't. But don't change the subject.

I agree, if not for the civil war in Iraq, we'd be going great things there. Who coulda foreseen problems? Well, Bush I did back in the first Gulf War. And lotsa folks warned that it wasn't going to be a cakewalk after the initial invasion. You should ask Rummy about that, but don't expect more than an exasperated, "Oh, I don't know!"

Elizabeth said...

Pakistan is our ally, Pat. We're officially expecting them not to nuke us, or any of our allies.

PatCA said...

You brought it up--you blame terrorism on colonialism, Elizabeth, so why stop at 1918?

As for Pakistan being our ally, consider, for instance, A. Q. Khan. Are you really that sure about the radicals in that country being our allies?

Why don't you give us some examples of some supporters of Iraq to back up your claim that the villification is equal?

As for for the "where was Condi when" questions of the progressive article, I would answer that our government and Condi and other diplomats have been trying to mediate between Israel and Islam for decades. To date we have paid over $1.5 billion to the Palestinian Authority--enough to compensate every dispossessed Palestinian-- too bad it was swallowed up by the crooks who run the place.

vnjagvet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vnjagvet said...

It seems to me that Hezbullah is disproportionately at fault for the civilian body count.

First, they cynically use civilians as "cover" and don't wear uniforms, dressing for battle disguised as those who they use for cover.

This tactic almost assures that anyone fighting these avowed terrorists will certainly kill or injure a certain number of civilians. This fact, in turn, can then be exploited for maximum propaganda purposes.

Second, Hezbullah has been firing rockets into Israel which have no military objective because they are not aimed or guided, but are equipped for maximum killing power by loading them with ball bearings. These have no objective but to kill and terrorize civilians.

I submit that these are cynical inhumane tactics that, under any International Rule of War are war crimes.

My question of you is what is the most effective and legal tactic that should be used by Israel and its allies to stop these war crimes?

vnjagvet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daryl Herbert said...

Elizabeth, you only discredit yourself when you treat our foreign policy with such unwarranted disrespect:

"Pakistan is our ally, Pat. We're officially expecting them not to nuke us, or any of our allies."

You know full well that the government of Pak is our ally, but that the government could fall. You know this full well. In fact, lefties don't even like the Pak government. It's a right-wing theocracy that's in league with Dubya on Afghanistan.

So which are you pretending it is today? The Pak government is good and super-reliable (ally, helps with Afghanistan) or the Pak government is bad and cannot be trusted (helped the Taliban, got nukes)?

Which is Bush to be blamed for today, too much or too little trust in them? Maybe a little nuance is in order.

James Quigley said...

It was quite interesting to see Anderson Cooper reporting in Lebanon, and showing how Hezbollah sends out ambulances with sirens just so cameras can see them. Not because anyone is hurt(this instead is during moments that hit a bit of a lull), as they just drive around with sirens on, but just so they get the effect they are looking for broadcast to the drones who believe it.

Troy said...

Corgi Mom... I love Ft. Worth -- one of the best cities... real Texas. Yeah I knew White Settlement, et al. are being swallowed up. I lived in Arlington when it used to be a quasi-rural drive to either Ft. Worth or Dallas and had a friend in Burleson hen it was completely separated too -- and not all that long ago.

Actually the smaller towns in Texas were almost all "yellow dog" until the switch --- starting with the Phil Gramm switch in the 1980s.

Aspasia M. said...

Condoleeza Rice & the admnistration does not support an immediate cease fire.

The question thus becomes, what wdoes the continuation of violence achieve, and is this continuation of violence in the interest of the United States?

I would hypothesize that the violence may weaken the fragile democratic state of Lebanon and may also strengthen the support of Hezbollah within Lebanon.

These are some of the potential risks of the violence.

History's judgement of Condoleezza Rice's midwifing abilities will be evidenced by the result of her (and the administration's) foreign policy.


In the case of the Lebanese war historians will ask:

Did Israel accomplish something that is in either their own or the US interests?

Was it a good foreign policy choice to not support an immediate cease fire?

Why didn't the US support a 72 hour cease fire for the evacuation of civilians & what are the political repercussions of that choice?

And if nothing productive is accomplished - then the deaths of both the Lebanese and the Israelis will have been in vain.

Andrew Graff said...

"We excuse the enormous civilian death rate in Iraq by pointing to 9/11, to justify our belief that we were obligated to go into Iraq."

Frankly, I think that that statement is ridiculous on several levels.

First, pardon me if this thinking seems 'nuanced', but I think there is a vast difference between stating that 9/11 gave us an imperative to go into Iraq, and that 9/11 justified our going to Iraq. The Iraq war was not justified by 9/11, any more than Operation Desert Fox was justified by 9/11. For one thing, 'Operation Desert Fox' occurred in 1998 and if you will recall, 9/11 occurred in 2001. It was the official policy of the United States of America that we should do something about the situation in Iraq before 9/11 even occurred. 9/11 was only involved in the decision in that it forced us to stop procrastinating.

But perhaps even more importantly, I don't know of anyone who supports the Iraq War that thinks that the killing of 60-90 innocent Iraqi's each day in Iraq is justified by anything. No one that supports the Iraq War excuses that at all. Quite the contrary, those of us who support the Iraq War are utterly outraged by those deaths. The difference is, those of us who support the Iraq War blame the deaths on the suicide bombers, car bombers, and death squads of the terrorists who are responcible for the vast majority of civilian deaths that occur and have occured in Iraq. We don't blame the US for them. Even those deaths caused by the coalition forces in Iraq we for the most part blame on the practice of the insurgents of blending into and hiding amongst the civilians. It's this practice which leads an innocent American soldier to shoot up a car containing an innocent Iraqi family whenever a miscommunication and a lapse in concentration occurs, not any bloodthirstiness on the part of the soldier.

But the opponents of the war don't see it that way. They are more likely to excusing the tactics of the insurgents and blame the Americans. The argument of the Left tends to run along the line that most of the insurgents in Iraq are 'freedom fighters', and tends to focus on the moral equivicating question, "If you're country was invaded, wouldn'ts you hate the invaders too."

Similarly, the Left excuses Hizb'allah with the same sort of argument.

But this sort of thinking breaks down, or ought to break down, when you consider the reality of the situation. First, lets engage in a little disambiguation here. Civilians in the context of both wars technically refers to both non-military armed groups and unarmed noncombatants. Killing a 'civilian' who happens to be an armed member of, for example, Hamas is not the same as killing a civilian who is only a child caught up in the conflict. So, I'm going to use the more precise term 'noncombatant' to refer to what we normally think of as 'civilians'. When Americans or Israelis kill noncombatants, it is because we have missed (or misidentified) our target. When Hiz'ballah or the terrorists in Iraq kill noncombatants, it is because they have not missed thier target. That is what makes the difference, and this is the view we use to 'excuse' the death of civilians.

Andrew Graff said...

"I would hypothesize that the violence may weaken the fragile democratic state of Lebanon and may also strengthen the support of Hezbollah within Lebanon.

These are some of the potential risks of the violence."

Yes, I agree. I also agree that they were some of the risks of non-violence. Israel was in a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't situation'. After 9/11, so were we.

"And if nothing productive is accomplished - then the deaths of both the Lebanese and the Israelis will have been in vain."

Yes, absolutely. Which is precisely why we must resist premature calls for a cease fire. The violence has to drag on for a while, otherwise the combatants of neither side will see a reason to avoid violence in the future. Right now, if you look at the conditions of the cease fire, the calls for a cease fire are simply calls for Hizb'allah to unambigiously win. The war has to go on long enough that the side that is losing this war (which ever side you think that is) realizes that it has been defeated so that they are tempted to do this again in 2-3 years - or 2-3 months as the case may be.

Johnny Nucleo said...

What the hell is Israel supposed to do? This crap has being going on since before most of us were born. "Crises in the Middle East," CNN says. It's always a crises in the Middle East. The first memory I have of television is this goddamn never ending crises in the Middle East. Caused by what? Itty-bitty Israel?

This crises will end in one of two ways. Israel will be destroyed or the enemies of Israel will finally come to accept that she is not going anywhere. How will they come to accept this? Maybe another sixty years of ass-kicking will do the trick.

And what will Hezbollah or Hamas or Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (Gotta love that name. So self-righteous. So ridiculous.) or the next pathetic Death to the Jews group do with the land once they drive the Jews into the sea? They'll turn it into another hellhole, that's what. (Does anyone out there doubt this? I'll go even further: Does anyone out there doubt that if the Middle East could be magically isolated from the West, a thousand years hence it would be anything other than a hellhole?) Maybe that's what they want. Maybe they don't like that there is one corner of that miserable place that is not a hellhole and it pisses them off.

I am sick of this constant equivocating. There are not two sides to this. There is Israel, a democratic state that turned that lifeless desert into something worth fighting for, and evil men who use her as a foil.

One more thing. Over the past few years I've sensed a great disturbance in the Force. When once it was whispered, "Maybe Israel shoudn't exist," more and more it is not being whispered. Soon, I fear, it will be shouted.

David said...

There is no moral equivalence between Hizbollah and Israel. Hizbollah hides behind women and children and the U.N. observation posts as it fires on Israel. Israel is justified in returning fire and risks death/injury to it's people in trying to minimize collateral damage.

Lebanon allowed Hizbollah into their government after failing to disarm Hizbollah. They reap what they sow.

The only reason there is a call for cease fire is to allow a battered Hizbollah to rest, regroup, rearm, and reattack. All at the expense of Israel.

The only way to win the war against Hizbollah is to attack them mercilessly where they live and wage war. Reference World War II and the near total destruction of Germany and Japan i.e. Dresden, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Okinawa.

War is sad and savage. To believe that the Lebanese civilians so many are boo hooing about didn't know the Hizbollah were hiding in their midst is ludicrous. Now is the time to hunt down the terrorist Hizbollah and put an end to this cycle of insanity.

Force is the only thing these people understand!

Remember 9/11, Khobar Towers, U.S.S. Cole, Bali, Spain, Britain, France, German Olympics, Theodore Van Gogh, Leon Klinghofer, Salmon Rushdie, and the list goes on.

Johnny Nucleo said...

I used the word "equivocate" incorrectly, didn't I?

Aspasia M. said...

Lebanon allowed Hizbollah into their government after failing to disarm Hizbollah. They reap what they sow.

A big question is whether IDF can and will disarm Hizbollah.

IDF looks reluctant to go into Lebanon on the ground right now. And air strikes alone will not disarm Hizbollah.

I think the present danger is that this situation will strengthen Hizbollah. In fact, it looks like Hizbollah is getting pretty everything it ever wanted in this situation. Every day that Hizbollah gets to face off against the IDF increases their status.

All Hizbollah has to do to win in this situation is remain standing at the end of the day. Israel should know this, as they are experienced in gorrilla fighting and tactics.

Lebanon, however, loses. Israel, looses. The fragile democracy in Lebanon could collapse. Everybody looses, except for Hizbollah.

Hope I'm wrong.

Pogo said...

Ah, the Progressive. I used to read it in college. I have to admit, it really did appeal to the angry adolescent in me, the one convinced that someone needed to DO something, and that daily suffering must be somebody's fault.

I graduated, got a job, had kids, and grew up. The Progressive began to seem, well, juvenile. I started arguing with it in my head, then I quit reading it altogether when I noticed there was never any shade of grey in their world. There are good guys (the left) and bad guys (everybody else), but nothin' inbetween. Not much like the world I actually lived in.

I see nothing much has changed. They can't even muster a feeble wrist slap at Hezbollah for starting this damned chapter. All I learned from this is that the mag is from Madison. Wonder when Barrett will get his own column?

Elizabeth said...

you blame terrorism on colonialism, Elizabeth

No, I didn't, Pat. I can't respond to this because you misrepresent what I wrote. Shifty, that.

Elizabeth said...

daryl,

Pat asks if we should just be peaceful until Pakistan nukes someone. My answer to that was to remind her that right now, Pakistan is our ally. It's a troublesome ally, but as she asks, can we be anything but peaceful with Pakistan if we're asking their government to help us in the fight to contain al Queda there and in Agfhanistan?

One thing I absolutely frigging hate about this blog is when rightwingers pile on me or some other person with the temerity not to be a conservative, shouting a variety of irrelevant, tangential, and strawmen issues and ending with "what about that, huh, lefty, huh?" They don't read what I post, they just take off on some jag about whatever they imagine my position might be because I'm not conservative. I don't feel obligated to answer bullshit accusations and rants. Just saying.

Elizabeth said...

daryl and andrew, are you guys French? What's up with the nuance? Or is that supposed to be little pointy-headed dig at liberalism? Whatever.

I don't defend insurgents in Iraq, Andrew. I read alot of blogs, left and right, and on the left blogs, I don't find what you allege to be true, no impassioned defense of freedom fighters and such. What many people who oppose this war realize is that until we invaded Iraq, with no plan for the peace other than to be greeted with flowers in the street, those insurgents and terrorists from other Islamist states weren't in Iraq, blowing up Iraqis and servicepeople. Deciding to invade a country without have some clue how to keep it from falling to ruin is a bad thing; we should be held accountable for that. Saying that isn't defending terrorists. But maybe I'm not nuanced enough for y'all.

Anyone who thinks I'm not in favor of Israel defending its borders and people hasn't read a thing I've written here. To argue for something like a 72-hour cease fire to allow civilians to get out of the firing range isn't arguing that Israel shouldn't exist, or that is has to put up with aggression from Hezbollah. There are two sides to should Israel exist, yes or no, but there are always more sides to questions about how anything should be accomplished.

The Mechanical Eye said...

To argue for something like a 72-hour cease fire to allow civilians to get out of the firing range isn't arguing that Israel shouldn't exist, or that is has to put up with aggression from Hezbollah.

But I would say its a naive suggestion.

Hezbollah exists and continues to exist only because it hides behind civilians as cover. It would never volunteer to, in effect, step out of the dark and wear a bright red bullseye for Israel to tear it to ribbons.

This is what's wrong with asking for any such "cease-fire" - it only gives Hezbollah more precious time to build up its recourses and find more civilians to shield itself with.

godfodder said...

I'm sorry, but ascribing all the problems of the Middle East to the fact that it was once colonized by Western powers is facile and pointless. Half the freakin' world was at some point a colony of either the English or the Dutch or the French or the US or the.... So what? So why isn't Jamaica or the Congo or China, etc roiling with ethnic strife? Why? Because the colonial past has very little to do with current day political realities. Yes, the present is connected causally to the past, but could there be a bigger tautology than that?? It is a pointless truism, and it explains nothing.

Not a soul alive in the Middle East was around when the colonial powers were active there. I propose to you that all this harping on the entirely un-unique colonial past of the Middle East is meant to achieve only one thing-- exaggerate the "blame" and "responsibility" that the current citizens of Europe and the US should feel for the horrible events that occur daily in the Middle East.

Sorry, Elizabeths of the world, but the insane hatreds of the Arab world is a primarily a creation of the Arab world. If you want to know where it comes from just look at the modern day "culture of hate" that is ubiquitous in the Middle East. Why did the non-Jews of Nazi Germany hate the Jews-- enough to participate in genocide? Because they were told, over and over in a million explicit and implicit ways, that to hate and murder Jews was not just OK, but was actually the highest good. There is precisely the same machinery at work in the Arab/Persian world.

Yes, the Palestinians have legitimate grievances, but what exactly did Israel do to Iran or Iraq? What did it do to Iran that would cause Iran's president to vow to completely eradicate Israel from the map?? To, in effect, incite all out war? Oh, it probably has something to do with Western colonialism in 1900. Whew, thanks. I knew it was our fault, but just didn't know how. And as for the Palestinians, well, wars have been fought over territory for ever and ever. Some day they will have to accept the fact that the war for Palestine was fought and they lost. Or not. And they can continue to fight it, and continue to lose it, and continue to live in a battle zone. Is it explicable? No, not to me. Why doesn't Mexico continue to attack the US, over and over, for Texas? And lose, over and over, and chose to live in a state of eternal war and loss? Why not? Because it had more mature, decent and responsible leaders than the Palestinians have had. Instead of accepting the loss and moving on, building a future, Arafat and his clan of clowns decidecd to behave like fools, and agitate for the eternal war. Well, fine. They have what they asked for.

Here's the facts: It is hatred-- irrational, black/white thinking, scapegoating, paranoid, sadistic hatred that motivates all too much of the Arab world. It is a hatred that they have been steeped in since childhood. It is also a culture filled with brittle anachronisms. religious fanaticism and absurd hypocracies that then directs its frustrations outward, in the paranoid direction, toward the Other, who is to blame for everything that is wrong. It is a sad human tendency for people to need to blame other people for their own mistakes. And there are such things as paranoid cultures-- the Soviet Union had one, and the Nazis, and Pol Pot, and on and on. The Arab world has its own version of a paranoid culture. It also has a choice. Leave the self-justifying, paranoid, self-righteous rage behind, accept loss, move on, create a real future, not a delusional one. OR... don't. And wallow in the the imaginary shame and hatred until you can't stand it any longer, and fight the war until you are all dead, or the losses are too horrible to bear any longer, then quit. I don't know what they will choose. (But I do know one thing-- the fate of the Arab world was NOT written a hundred years ago when the British drew some lines on a map!)

Elizabeth said...

but ascribing all the problems of the Middle East to the fact that it was once colonized by Western powers is facile and pointless

I didn't ascribe all the problems to colonial history. But the things you cite, the incessent teachings of hatred and external blame, enjoy exploiting the West's history with the Middle East, to recruit. You and I are in complete agreement about the irrational hatred for Israel in countries that have no complaint other than a deep belief that Jews should not exist in the Middle East.

But as for addressing the "Elizabeths of this world," that's exactly the kind of idiotic rightwing ranting I despise. I don't represent anyone else other than myself. Your need to build some icon of the left to joust with is strange, but apparently endemic among the godfodders of this world.

Aspasia M. said...

This is what's wrong with asking for any such "cease-fire" - it only gives Hezbollah more precious time to build up its recourses and find more civilians to shield itself with.

1) Aside from the cost of lives - there is a political cost for both Israel and the United States for the death of civilians.

2) A legitimate question is also: Does the IDF have the capacity and/or will to disarm Hizbollah? (And if it does, why didn't it disarm Hizbollah during it's earlier occupation of Lebanon?)

If the IDF does not suceed in disarming Hizbollah, then the killing of civilians and that political cost will be for naught. The more civilians who are killed, the higher the political cost.

-------------------------------
3) In terms of my personal morality - I'm not ready to accept the cost of these civilian lives if they can be saved by a 72 hour cease fire.

(However, I have no power in this situation or in our foreign policy. Those who hold power in this situation will determine what happens with humanitarian aid and/or a cease fire for civilians to escape.)

Aspasia M. said...

Why doesn't Mexico continue to attack the US, over and over, for Texas? And lose, over and over, and chose to live in a state of eternal war and loss? Why not?

Well, the people living in areas who were Mexican citizens were allowed to become US citizens.

The Californios became Americans.

Part of the problem in Israel is that a a population living within the country is not entitled to Israeli citizenship rights - yet these permanent residents (and their children) are not entitled to any citizenship rights from any other country.

This situation creates a problem that will not go away - and as new generations are born, these children are born without a state and without citizenship rights.

The article cited in the post below, about Israel, discusses the problem of permanent residents living in a country where they are not citizens of that country. It creates a permanent class of people who can never be assimilated into that country, and who will never be entitled to 1st class citizenship rights. Furthermore, the children of these people will also never be given citizenship rights. By birth and by blood these children are disenfranchised from 1st class citizenship.

godfodder said...

elizabeth:
I ask you, which is more unkind, hostile and disporportionate? My oblique, and bland, reference to "the Elizabeths of the world," or your reference to me as an "idiotic right wing" ranter whom you "despise."

I think it is obvious who among us is the "ranter," and who starts slinging the wild personal attacks at the drop of a hat.

(The reference to "elizabeths" did indeed refer to you, in case you didn't know. It is also true that your viewpoint is not unique.)

godfodder said...

geoduck2:

Somehow I'm thinking that the Palestinians would not have been satisfied with being made Israelis. That alone would probably have started a war!

Pogo said...

Funny thing is,Hezbollah has always had the unilateral means by which to force a cease-fire:

1. It can stop lobbing missiles into Israel.
2. It can return the kidnapped soldiers.

Both would stop the civilian deaths from Israeli missiles. Why hasn't hezbollah done so yet then? Because it knows the world press better than the rest of us.

Hezbollah is never, ever blamed for anything. I just watched the news this morning. CNN, MSNBC, Fox. All are shocked, shocked at Israel for killing 50 civilians (oh, um, there were bombs being shot from the location into Israel -from a location chosen precisely because it's surrounded by civilians- but no fair, Israel! Bad dog, Israel!

Gahrie said...

Why doesn't Mexico continue to attack the US, over and over, for Texas? And lose, over and over, and chose to live in a state of eternal war and loss? Why not?

Given the actions and rhetoric of Mexican activists and politicians on both sides of the border, this might yet be in our future. Many Mexicans (and Americans) do consider there to be an undeclared war waged by illegal immigration that the Mexicans are currently winning.

RogerA said...

Seems to me Pogo's point is spot on--Hezbollah can end this with two very simple actions. So why don't they?

I believe personally that Hezbollah cares less about both the Lebanese people and Lebanese democracy than do the Israelis--Hezbollah continues to operate in violation of all the "laws of war." They are using Lebanese casualties to achieve their ultimate end of eliminating Israel. And, for those seeking a "diplomatic" solution, precisely how does a sovereign state negotiate with a non-state actor? Can someone please provide me with some details on that?

Those believing a cease fire would somehow solve anything, I think, are sorely mistaken--the best it would do is prolong a miserable situation.

James Quigley said...

Pogo:
You forgot that Israel also dropped leaflets and told residents to leave. The majority of those killed were 4 families who stayed behind thinking they would be fine. Smart people, eh?

Aspasia M. said...

Somehow I'm thinking that the Palestinians would not have been satisfied with being made Israelis. That alone would probably have started a war!

It would have created a situation of equal political and civil rights. Their children would have had the right to vote and the rights of citizenship.

For example - they would have received, among other things --

1) Freedom of movement.

2) The right to civilly contest the ownership of land in Israel proper.
---------------------

And, most importantly, a permanent underclass, determined by blood and birth would not have been created in Israel.
--------------------
Imagine in California if for three or four generations a permanent class of people were stateless. They had no citizenship rights, no state, unequal political and civil rights, and the knowledge that their children would be in the same situation. It would have created a lot of problems in California.

Something America has always done very well is assimilate new residents. We give out citizenship rights to all children born in the US. This prevents this situation from happening.

AlaskaJack said...

Suppose Israel is succussful in disarming Hezbollah. Does anyone out there really think this will be the end of the matter? In five, ten or fifteen years a new Hezbollah will have arisen. Only this time in all likelihood it will be armed with tactical nuclear weapons. And then what?

It's time to start thinking about an imposed settlement of this whole mess.

Elizabeth said...

godfodder, unkind is not the word I'd use for your rhetoric, just silly. And I didn't say I despise you, but what you said. Our friends Daryl and Andrew would urge you to be more nuanced.

Aspasia M. said...

James Quigley,

Did you ever consider that they may have been unable to leave?

There has been no time or ability for humanitarian organizations to send bus convoys or a way to evacuate the South.

And it is hard for women with children to travel, particularly on foot. That is probably why many of the people killed were children.
--------------------------

I think this is a "festival of stupid." At this rate we're going to end up with a Christian Maronite wing of Hezbollah.

(I'm cribbing Steve Gilliard here.)
---------------------------------

If Israel had been able to disarm Hezbollah I would have thought they would have done it at some point durring their occupation of Southern Lebanon.

The Mechanical Eye said...


I think this is a "festival of stupid." At this rate we're going to end up with a Christian Maronite wing of Hezbollah.


At this rate, I can only nod my head in agreement. Israel's modern preference of air power over infantry is counter-productive.

This link explains perfectly Israel's "fallacy of air supremacy", where, thinking it can convince the civilians to rise against Hezbollah, only creates a rally-against-Isreal attitude that independent journalists like Michael J. Totten have noted.

This is not to take away from this post's general point - that it's deeply misguided to condemn Israel for reacting to a thanksless situation, where attempts to defend itself are roundly criticized by intellectual "betters," while Hezbollah gets a relatively free pass.

Stephen said...

For example - they would have received, among other things --

1) Freedom of movement.

2) The right to civilly contest the ownership of land in Israel proper.
---------------------

And, most importantly, a permanent underclass, determined by blood and birth would not have been created in Israel.
--------------------
Imagine in California if for three or four generations a permanent class of people were stateless. They had no citizenship rights, no state, unequal political and civil rights, and the knowledge that their children would be in the same situation. It would have created a lot of problems in California.


Roughly 15% (about a million people) of Israel’s pop is Muslim – not the West Bank, but Israel proper. This group, with some exceptions has the same rights, you can vote, move, own land, etc.

This is the group that stayed in Israel after 48. The other group didn’t get those rights immediately after 48 and couldn’t have gotten them because they left Israel. Argue over settlement conditions, but after ‘48 the settlements were on Jordanian turf; they were in Lebanon; they weren’t in land controlled by Israel.

There were 20 years when they lived outside of Israeli control. The Palestinians were granted more rights afterward than they received when the West Bank and Gaza were occupied by Arab countries.

So why the focused animus towards Israel? I don’t think it’s just anti-Semitism, but the fact of the matter is Israel, the British, the U.S. etc. didn’t just stick guns in the Palestinians faces at the time and tell them to get out of homes so a Jewish family could move in. The people that left did not want to live in a country with a majority of Jews having power.

What groups like Hamas also ought to have realized by now is that when they’ve sent bombs to Israel, it's resulted in concessions. When they did the same thing in Jordan, they got massacred by the thousands.

Israel really isn’t that unique in attracting violent militants, the groups that are attacking it have done the same thing, getting into wars with the governments of all of Israel’s neighbors. In the 70s the PLO was fighting with Lebanon and Jordan the same way they fought Israel. The difference is there it was recognized for what it is: a power grab. Turn around and shoot at Israel and all of a sudden it’s a 2,000 year old conflict that needs detailed and heavily negotiated talks to be resolved.

Israel is being attacked right now for the same reason that campers who give out food in a forest will keep getting harassed by bears while a hunter who kills for sport will get left alone. That says nothing about who is originally in the right, but it doesn’t mean one party should be presume guilty here. Assuming the Palestinians merely wanted rights-wouldn’t you expect the violence and protests to be proportional to that? This is what I don’t get, wouldn’t you expect those to decrease as Israel becomes more reasonable?

If they wanted to live side by side, they’ve had the opportunity many times. There’s no need to be hypothetical about all of this--they explicitly state it: they don’t like a state where Jews are the majority, they don’t like a state where Jews would have the same rights as they do. You don’t need to guess here about their intentions, you merely need to take them at their word. There’s no need to run the risk they’re telling the truth.

knoxgirl said...

This is the kind of talk one hears around Madison.

eh, not just in Madison, apparently. This thread has some doozies.

When once it was whispered, "Maybe Israel shoudn't exist," more and more it is not being whispered. Soon, I fear, it will be shouted.

Yeah, it's getting ugly. It really feels like the shit's about to hit the fan. And it's shocking and scary how many people conodemn the U.S. and Israel when they take any action. It really baffles me. The implication is that everything would be fine if we just do nothing? Should we have just joined in on the oil-for-food-fun with everyone else? Really, it's just ridiculous.

PatCA said...

"The implication is that everything would be fine if we just do nothing?" I know--I don't understand their thinking. As if the jihad movement was doing nothing, being peaceful, during the '80s and '90s!

Elizabeth said...

This thread has some doozies.

Knoxgirl, how about some examples? I think this has been an extraordinarily thoughtful discussion, and not a single person has said anything even remotely implying Israel has no right to exist, or to defend its borders and people. What are some Madisonian "doozies" in the thread?

Elizabeth said...

I've re-read this entire thread, and nowhere is it implied that Israel should just do nothing. Nowhere. Of course, anyone reading this can see that statement for a lie, so I suppose there's no point disputing it, other than to call bullshit on principle.

Freder Frederson said...

War is sad and savage. To believe that the Lebanese civilians so many are boo hooing about didn't know the Hizbollah were hiding in their midst is ludicrous. Now is the time to hunt down the terrorist Hizbollah and put an end to this cycle of insanity.

Force is the only thing these people understand!


So much for Ann not "see[ing] any cheering over the violence by people who support the military actions of Israel and the United States."

You must consistently ignore the entire rightwing blogosphere for you to make such a statement. I see you are guest blogging at Instapundit this week. Glenn Reynolds just glories in the pain we can inflict on the the Islamofascists and has gone as far as to contemplate genocide of the entire Arab people. Little Green Footballs entire editorial position seems to be one of wholesale slaughter of anyone of the Muslim faith and reading their comments is like descending into a Nazi party rally. RedState is more circumspect, but they have recently become ever more strident in their calls for wholesale slaughter of innocents.

Do you ever bother to read or listen to Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, or any number of the more prominent right wing pundits are saying or writing? Their only gripe with this administration seems to be that we are not killing, torturing and detaining enough Muslims.

Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Freder Frederson said...

please list every quote of Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Reynolds, and Althouse advocating the murder of Muslims.

I wasn't accusing Ann of cheering violence against our enemies, just wilfully ignoring a significant chunk of the right wing that not only cheers it but advocates wholesale slaughter of civilians in the Middle East and advocates the U.S. using terrrorist tactics against our enemies.

As for listing of quotes, that would be entirely too tiresome. If you don't think that Rush (who passed off the atrocities at Abu Gharaib as "frat boy pranks") et. al. cheer violence by our forces then you are apparently as obtuse as Ann.

But in honor of Ann being at Instapundit this week, here is Glenn Reynolds obliquely countenancing genocide. Of course, if it comes to that, it will be the Muslims' faults, just like the American Indian had it coming.


http://www.instapundit.com/archives/005598.php

Stephen said...

As for listing of quotes, that would be entirely too tiresome.

That's cool Freder, I'll amend it.

List any quotes

at all

As far as Reynolds,

here is Glenn Reynolds obliquely countenancing genocide.

he's doing nothing of the sort. Like I said, you're looking for stuff to be outraged about. He says in the post if it came down to what Bin Laden wants, one side not being able to live with the other side--we'd be the side that wins.

He specifically says: "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.""

This isn't a statement of someone who looks forward to total war, but someone who's specifically saying we need to go a different route to avoid it.

We can make some kind of deal--for every quote you cite of O'Reilly, Limbaugh, or Reynolds advocating violence against Muslims, I'll delete a post of mine from this thread-how's that?

Gahrie said...

Their only gripe with this administration seems to be that we are not killing, torturing and detaining enough Muslims.

That's pretty much my position, and I spent the last twenty years being pro-Palestinian.

We are in a clash of civilizations here, a war for survival. Our civilization avoided destruction once, at the Battle of Tours a thousand years ago. We are now involved in that struggle again.

Half measures are seen as weakness, mercy as the act of a fool by our enemies. They will not only sacrifice our civilians, they will slaughter their own.

Freder Frederson said...

He specifically says: "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.""

Now if you read this and don't see this Reynolds as saying we will be "forced" to resort to genocide--especially since he directly uses the example of the Native Americans as a group of people who wouldn't stop fighting so we had to take harsh measures, then I really don't think any quotes I can show you are going to convince you otherwise.

Honestly, look at the post after yours for a poster who is advocating genocide.

Stephen said...

Freder, yeah I cringed, but the poster isn't Glenn Reynolds and saying the guy advocates genocide won't change the fact he doesn't. For that matter, the post dates from 2002--if Reynolds was clearly advocating violence against Muslims, don't you think you could come up with something more than this in the past 5 years?

While you're at it, why stop with posting them on a message board? Call the police...seriously. if you have links to Reynolds, Limbaugh, or O'Reilly advocating violence, you can have them put in jail for this. The deal still stands--for every quote you can cite advocating violence, I'll delete a post on this thread. Now, maybe you think it's futile to get me to do it, but if I'm being unreasonable here and if they're clearly doing it--you can at least post enough quotes to make me look foolish.

Make me look like an idiot here, Freder. "Obtuse" doesn't win arguments. This does. I'm sure you can come up with some better ad hominems....maybe, if I'm not careful, you'll even call me "foolish." But that doesn't win debates. Go for the Gold.

knoxgirl said...

Elizabeth,

you have a tendency to *demand* proof, evidence, etc... You are not the host of this blog! If you disagree with me, fine; I will respectfully cite your suggestion that people on the right find "atrocities committed by rogue troops" "justified" because of their "rage" as an example of a doozie.

I will totally agree with you that at this point in time people on the right tend to be more resigned to the horrible necessity of civilian deaths and perhaps impatient with people who question Israel's actions. Some of us still might even harbor some "rage" about 9/11.

But I think lumping in the torture stuff with civilian deaths was very unfair and inaccurate.

Freder Frederson said...

Well, get ready to remove a post because here is a quote from Rush:

"The one thing that you just don't do these days is kill civilians. It used to be the name of the game in war. And it was done on purpose. Now, it was done to end wars, and it was done to achieve decisive victory, and it was done to save the lives of your own troops in the field. . . .Until civilians -- frankly, I'm not sure how many of them are actually just innocent little civilians running around versus active Hezbo types, particularly the men, but until those civilians start paying a price for propping up these kinds of regimes, it's not going to end, folks. What do you mean, civilians start paying a price? I just ask you to consult history for the answer to that."

Is that clear enough for you? That's off his website from yesterday.

Oh, and calling Hezbollah, "Hezbos" is a nice touch. Manages to slur gays and moslems in one word.

Oh and pull another one, Here's a quote from O'Reilly on June 27 advocating the U.S. use the tactics of Saddam Hussein and ruing that we are constrained by those whimps at the ACLU:

"If we wage the war the way Saddam handled Iraq, then we would have already won." Specifically, O'Reilly mentioned "martial law, torture, murder, kicking in doors" as tactics employed by Saddam. O'Reilly continued: "[W]e could do it. But as soon as you look at one of these guys cross-eyed, the ACLU's [American Civil Liberties Union] got you sued."

Stephen said...

Freder:

Here's a quote by me.

If you ever to make the same argument about me for whatever reason feel free to. Just link to this post.

"If we were willing to use nuclear bombs, we would have won this war by now."

How many people do you think would disagree with the statement?

I assume you wouldn't, but I could be wrong. Anyway, do I want us to use nuclear bombs? Am I advocating that we use them?

Of course not. I'm merely stating plain fact.

Again--to make the arguments you're making, you're going from the simple unarguable fact of the matter - that if we'd use fiercer tactics, the war would be over - to the person that's saying it actually advocating we do it.

Assuming you don't actually think I'm advocating nuclear war, edit that sentence to what it should look like if I were advocating nuclear war, and you'll be able to see the difference between to.

If you can see the difference between

"If we wage the war the way Saddam handled Iraq, then we would have already won."

and

"If we were willing to use nuclear bombs, we would have won this war by now."

Sorry, buddy. I can't, please explain.

Rush is closer to the mark of what I'm looking for, though. And to show good faith on my part, provide a link to the entire quote (I don't trust ellipses) and I'll delete a post.

Freder Frederson said...

There's your link to
Rush .

I don't know what the purpose of contemplating all these horrible tactics are if you are not endorsing them. It's kind of disingenuous to say, well, "of course if we wiped all the Moslems off the face of the earth and stole their oil our problems would end, but of course I would never advocate such a thing [wink, wink]"

Stephen said...

Done.

The point is moral equivalence between the two sides. If we actually were no better than Saddam Hussein or Hezbollah it would be a wholesale slaughter. Given U.S. firepower, deserts would be turned into glass. When critics of the war and Bush focus on Abu Ghraib and call Guantanamo a concentration camp and yet you don't hear them getting as outraged about the other side, you'll point out what this war would actually look like if we were no different.

Freder Frederson said...

Stephen,

The point is not moral equivalence. The point is we are supposed to be better than the other side. Just because I hold the Bush administration to the requirments of domestic laws and treaties and standards of treatment that this country has freely entered into--and has spent the last century creating, advocating, and promoting, doesn't mean that I sympathize or endorse the tactics of terrorists.

I complain loudly and virulently when we torture detainees, violate their rights or are cavelier about the deaths about non-combatants because we not supposed to do that. If we resort to those tactics, how on earth can we claim the moral high ground? If civilians become legitimate targets, well then how can we gripe that Hezbellah targets civilians? Because "they started it?" That is fourth grade playground logic and morality.

On top of that, short of using extremely severe tactics--the kind that the Soviet Union used to use--I don't think that constantly elevating the level of violence even works. Even the Soviet Union couldn't maintain peace in Afghanistan using scorched earth and absolutely brutal tactics. Twenty years later in Chenya, the Russians, using similar tactics, can't stop the civil war there.

The British fought the Irish Catholics on and off for 700 years, at one point letting one-third of the population starve or emigrate but finally found a negotiated settlement was the only solution.

Elizabeth said...

knoxgirl, it's just damned uppity of me, is it, to dismiss wild generalizations with no evidence to accompany them? What has that got to do with this not being my blog? If you care to take a moment, you'll see many, many instances of other commenters doing the same thing. Since this isn't your blog, why are you making up bogus rules?

I see your point about putting torture and civilian deaths in the same list. That isn't coherant. But you overlook my point about the atrocities and torture: too often defenders of this war are angry that the topics are raised, rather than at the fact that there are atrocities being committed, or at conditions at Abu Ghraib. If you want evidence, browse back to the threads last month on McCain, and before that, on Abu Ghraib.

knoxgirl said...

You scare me! I'm just not going to reply to you anymore for fear of you ripping me a new one...

Stephen said...

Freder, you posted - I don't know what the purpose of contemplating all these horrible tactics are if you are not endorsing them.

When I say "the point is", this is the point I'm getting at.

I'm saying why. These points are brought up for other reasons than that. It's cool you don't see us as no different than Saddam, but I've been in debates with too many people who gloss over the guy as a mild benevolent dictator ("Authoritarian? Sure, but not that bad as tyrants go"). That's one area where statements like this come up.

I've gotten into a number of arguments over whether Iraq was actually better with or without Saddam and in that context you're going to find me and anybody familiar with this saying these same sorts of things.

Elizabeth said...

You scare me! I'm just not going to reply to you anymore for fear of you ripping me a new one...

I honestly have no clue what you mean, knoxgirl. My reply to you was direct and civil. You seem to be opposed to dialogue. That's a shame.

knoxgirl said...

Elizabeth,
I said I wouldn't reply, but I will explain since we're both long-time Althousers. Basically, I feel like you have been increasingly biting and disrespectful for a while now. To me and to other *regular* commenters who don't deserve it--I'm not talking about random trolls who pop on just to agitate--for them, go to it, and more power to you.

It really bothered me today when you went medieval on *reader* of all people, who's been posting here forever, and who deserved miles more credit than you gave her before you went off. Then you took out the big guns on another regular for bringing it to your attention.

it's just damned uppity of me, is it

If you care to take a moment

this is what I'm talking about: direct, certainly, but not civil. I don't want that directed at me anymore.

Elizabeth said...

knoxgirl, thanks for taking time to respond. I apologized to reader for my tone, and had no argument with the need to do so. icepick, on the other hand, has been in it toe to toe, with as nasty and condescending tone as any I've ever encountered here.

I'll take your words as sincere, and give them thought. I suspect you and I will disagree again in the future. I'll try a different approach in responding, if it seems appropriate. As one of the people on the left side of things here, I encounter more than my share of overgeneralizations demonizing liberals, and some of them have come from you. I'm not likely to just let that pass when I think it's unwarranted, misleading, or unfair. But I'm all for a shift in tone, and will keep that in mind.