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You Think Al-Jazeera’s Bad?


One of the cable news nets today held up the front page of a Pakistani newspaper, which asserted that the United States used an atomic bomb on Baghdad, and that it was coming after Pakistan next.

This Is Bad. Really Bad.


Sky News/Fox reporting that the US soldier now under suspicion for the grenade attack on American officers is a Muslim.


Read It Again, Steve


UPI correspondent and antiwar blogger Steve Sailer read my piece on Friday, and concluded the following on his blog:

In contrast, at certain other outlets, tempers are on edge and friendships are being destroyed: ‘Ex-Friends: Casualties of This War’ by Rod Dreher is all about how much he and his political allies now hate their old friends who disagree with them about the war, demonizing them as ‘irrational,’ and vice-versa. This struck me as bizarre, especially because Rod’s much more of a human being than some of the names that make modern opinion journalism resemble ‘Attack of the Ideological Clones.’ I couldn’t imagine breaking up with an old friend over this war, especially because it’s so easy to see that everybody has at least one good argument on his side. Boy, you must have to have whipped yourself into a real frenzy to let this interfere with your friendships.

This is quite wrong. My piece in no way said I, or anybody who agrees with me, now “hate” our friends who are antiwar. I certainly don’t, and find it hard to imagine hating anybody I’d otherwise come to call my friend because we disagree on political matters. In fact, any fair reading of my article would see real sadness over the fact that we can’t talk to each other about the war any longer, because in some cases, the anti-war friends have become emotional and irrational. Calling them irrational is not “demonization;” it’s true.

Being against the war is not evidence of irrationality. I do believe there are rational arguments against the war, by which I mean arguments based on reasonable premises. I don’t happen to find any of them convincing, but they are certainly there. My complaint is about friends I know and care about who become very angry when talking about the war, and start fulminating about Jewish and/or capitalist conspiracies, who start talking about what an inherently evil country America is, or who start yelling about the “rush to war” (yeah, 12 years of sanctions, and months of debate in Congress and in the media, to say nothing of fooling around in the UN Security Council for weeks and weeks). Regrettably, to these friends, one simply has nothing useful to say — and one fears that the friendships may be permanently damaged, and perhaps even abrogated, by the rancor.

I plainly stated in that article that I have chosen not to discuss the war with most of my antiwar friends, for the sake of preserving friendships for which I care a great deal. Yet somehow, Steve concludes that I’m so obsessed with the war that I’m wanting to abandon friends for not agreeing with me! I’ve written him about his errors, and he’s promised to correct his blog entry. I hope he will.

UPDATE: He did. Thanks, Steve.

Web Briefing: August 20, 2014

Do The Right Thing


Former Communist general implores Iraqi generals to surrender, get themselves new lives–like he did.


Nfl to Iraq?


Pat Tillman, who left the NFL to joing the Army Rangers, is being deployed.

Oh Goodness


I’m watching streaming video from al-Jazeera. They just ran a package going from quiet Baghdad to pounded Baghdad to ablaze Baghdad to gruesome photos of a child whose head was blown in, dead bodies lying in pools of blood, and the like; then to an upset mother, etc. The U.S. station won’t run them because they are so awful and the source is, well, al Jazeera. But legitimate or not, this is the face of the war to people in the Arab world.

The Mystery Deepens


MSNBC reporting that suspicion for that terrorist attack is falling on two translators. But Fox, relying on a Sky News reporter in the camp, says the translators appear to have been cleared, and now military authorities are looking for a soldier based in the camp, who has gone AWOL. Also, two grenades may have gone missing from the weapons supply case. Two grenades, as you’ve read, were used in this attack on the officers’ tent.

UPDATE: Fox no longer indicating that translators might have been cleared, only that they are being investigated.

UPDATE.2: NBC reports that the soldier is in custody now, and is a suspect in the attack. It is not being considered a terrorist attack any longer, but is a criminal investigation. Brokaw speculates that it might turn out to be a case of a soldier going nuts and turning on his own kind.



A few people has asked why the Camp Penn. attack is being called terrorism. It’s because the early reports were saying it was an al Qaeda operation. Sources seem to be backtracking on that now. I’m not sure though, if the terrorist label will stick. it might very well.

As The Adc Said to The 2ic


I am glad to see that the military has lost none of its fondness for
acronyms. Watching these military types briefing the press, they have to
keep pausing to translate. I have picked up two new ones just today: “ISR”
(Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and “MEZ” (missile
engagement zone). From the way these guys shoot past them, then backtrack
to give a translation, you can see they think in acronyms. That’s good–no
point wasting brain cells on unnecessary syllables.

Getting The Numbers Right


Here’s a useful post from the folks over at Oxblog on the civilian casualties incurred in recent US military campaigns.

Terrorist Attack in Northern Kuwait


at U.S. camp, 101st Airborne. Jim Lacey, a good guy a bunch of us know, was just on CNN reporting on it (he’s embedded for Time). Agrenade attack, and things were still going on when he was on the line.

With The Kurds


Kurdish fighters reported helping Coalition efforts in the fight against Ansar-al-Islam, the Al-Qaeda surrogates holed up in an enclave near the Iranian border. That’s another reason to stand by the Kurds.

Trouble Brewing in Nyc


As I write this, a large throng of anti-war protesters are massed in City Hall Park, just two or three blocks from Ground Zero. Police are ordering them to disperse, telling them their demonstration is over. They are ignoring the cops.

Beverage Leverage


’Peace’ demonstrators in San Francisco seem to have turned violent. There’s a nice comment from police sergeant Rene Laprevotte on the struggle:

“After 16 hours of fighting communists and anarchists, a Red Bull can help us go another 16 hours. We’re here as long as they are.”

Red Bull? Good choice. Dr Pepper certainly wouldn’t do the trick.

False-Dawn Factor


The “false dawn factor” seems to be significant. Been hearing about it all
day on the TV reports. Iraqis saying: “We’d like to help you, but are you
really going to see it through? We know people who helped you last time,
and we know what happened to them.” Yet another case for not leaving wars
. And against giving in to “international pressure” for a
premature ceasefire. Let’s finish it.



Here’s a good account from the Guardian of the liberation of Safwan.

“You just arrived,” he said, “You’re late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious. I want to say hello to Bush. We came out of the grave.”

Note too the concern that this too is another false dawn. The memory of 1991 lingers on.

The Heirs of Petain


Rod, like you I read that story from France with disgust. The heading doesn’t do it justice, however, except, I suppose, ironically. It refers, of course, to Au Revoir, Les Enfants, a brilliant (and heart-breaking) movie that tells the (true) tale of some Jewish children sheltered by the astonishingly brave staff of a Catholic school in war-time France.

Now read how their successors are said to have behaved:

“When [the Jewish child] broke free from his tormentors in the shower, he ran for help to the teachers’ lounge but none of the faculty rose from their chairs to help the disheveled and distraught boy.”


My Couch


from which I have been working for a few days now, is starting to resemble Jonah’s. I am frightened.

Casuality Figures


It’s a bit ghoulish, and perhaps not a hundred percent proper at this stage
of the business, but casualty figures, both civilian and military, need to
be set in context against ordinary peacetime life. For example, the
pictures we have been getting of Baghdad show streets nearly empty of
traffic. It is entirely possible that civilian Iraqi deaths from our war
actions, horrible and regrettable as they are, will be numerically less than
the number that would have died on Iraqi roads in an equivalent peacetime
period. Along the same lines, I recall seeing it pointed out somewhere that
U.S. military casualites in Gulf War I were actually negative. That is,
the military lost fewer personnel than they would normally lose over an
equivalent period due to training accidents, traffic accidents, and the
like. This is of course no comfort to the loved ones of the brave service
personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice this past few days, but it is
something to keep in mind none the less when people throw cold numbers

Shifting Opinion


From the UK Press Association:

“ [British] Public opinion has rallied sharply in support of the war against Iraq now British forces are in action, according to two new opinion polls. A YouGov survey for The Sunday Times found that 56% thought Britain and the US were right to take military action, with 36% opposed. The figures were almost the exact reverse of a similar poll before the outbreak of hostilities when 36% backed military action with 57% against.”


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