May 07, 2004


"Can't the hawks who dragged us into this hideous unholy war at least pay attention to a crisis of American credibility that's exposing Iraq and the world to more dangers every day?" asks Maureen Dowd, before being quarantined for tests to discover if the disease consuming her brain stem is infectious.

Talk about your lack of nuance. If Dowds views were reversed, wed be reading something like this:

Can't the pussies who denounced this beautiful God-given war at least acknowledge the American bravery that's making Iraq and the world more perfect every day?

Run that line and youll be condemned as a tabloid simpleton. Dowds view is exactly as sophisticated, but redeemed somehow by being anti-war. Her latest column features a rare MoDo journey away from her NYC office, to the White House Correspondents' dinner in Washington:

When a beaming Mr. Wolfowitz stopped at my table to greet an admiring Republican, I wanted to snap, "Get back to your desk, Mr. Myopia from Utopia!"

Snap away, Dr. Seuss. Ms. Maureen of Predictable Routine next demonstrates her fabled awareness of 12-year-old pop culture:

Most Republicans seemed in a "party on, Garth" mood, less concerned with Humpty Dumpty Iraq or Unjolly Green Giant John Kerry than with the unfairness of a world where Jeb Bush would probably not be able to succeed his brother. "By 2008," a wistful Republican fund-raiser said, "there'll probably be Bush fatigue."

By the seventh paragraph, Im suffering Dowd fatigue. The Times should hire Cathy Seipp.

UPDATE. Peggy Noonan provides a Dowd antidote:

This is a cover-up? Unlike the Catholic bishops, some corporate boards and the editors of the New York Times or USA Today, the military brass did not dismiss early allegations of bad behavior. Instead, it established reviews and procedures that have uncovered the very details that are now used by critics to indict the Pentagon "system." It has done so, moreover, amid a war against a deadly insurgency in which interrogation to gain good intelligence is critical to victory--and to saving American lives.

Posted by Tim Blair at May 7, 2004 12:30 AM

"Can't the hawks who dragged us into this hideous unholy war at least pay attention to a crisis of American credibility that's exposing Iraq and the world to more dangers every day?"

Would that be the hideous unholy war that the US was dragged into when the Islamists attacked the US on 9/11? Or would that be the hideous unholy war that the US was dragged into when Iraq attacked Kuwait?

Posted by: R C Dean at May 7, 2004 at 01:15 AM

Coincidentally, Maureen Dowd means ripe toe cheese in Dutch. O.K., I really dont know Dutch but I bet its still something weird and yucky.

Dowd, like PCBs and uncooked hamburger is not for human consumption. Yet, add a sprig or parsley and garnish with lemon peel and you have a quite satisfactory meal for the odd nematode that happens to drop by unannounced. With potting soil and some vibrant geraniums she also makes a lovely planter. Attach an antenna, adjust her fillings and she channels aliens from distant galaxies. With all these constructive uses, one should not actually read the mumbling rants that arise from the barbaric rituals she performs with a typewriter, grain alcohol, and a dead chicken.

Im sorry if this isnt a scholarly point by point refutation of her column but this is more fun.

Posted by: Hudson at May 7, 2004 at 01:45 AM

Peggy Noonan is good, but what you linked to was the unsigned lead editorial in today's Wall Street Journal. It makes a number of good points (for example, the whole mess was already being investigated by the military before the pressies got hold of it). Also this zinger:

``Note to those who want to revive the draft: If this could happen in today's highly trained volunteer force, imagine the risks in Senator Chuck Hagel's Army of conscripts.''

I was wondering when someone was going to make that point.

As for Maureen Dowd: think snotty 13-year-old middle schooler and clique member, looking down her nose at the uncool kids.

Posted by: Annalucia at May 7, 2004 at 02:28 AM

We went to war - wasn't that a CREDIBLE threat?

Posted by: Joe at May 7, 2004 at 04:05 AM

Yep -- "Party on, Garth!" -- that's right there on the tip of that old current culture tip, so it is... please God, don't let her find out about Adam Sandler movies, or we're all TRULY fucked!

Posted by: geezer at May 7, 2004 at 05:04 AM

I stopped reading Dowd and her ilk eons ago. It's broken-record whinging.

Posted by: cicada at May 7, 2004 at 05:43 AM

RC Dean, I think she probably means the invasion and occupation of Iraq a year or so ago. Does that much make sense?

The unholy war that has turned Iraq into a breeding ground for Al Qaeda and which represents a massive diversion from the war the US was dragged into on 9/11.

Did someone mention Saudi Arabia?

Posted by: bongoman at May 7, 2004 at 08:26 AM

Ever notice how you never see MoDo and Margot in the same place at the same time?

Posted by: Mike at May 7, 2004 at 08:47 AM

The height of the stupidity on this blog is truly inspiring. Uh, we weren't dragged into the war against Iraq by 9/11. Remember what shrub said? There is no evidence whatsoever that Saddam Hussein was involved with al qaeda. So what does shrub do? Divert $700 million from the real terror hotspot, Afghanistan, for his quagmire in Iraq -- without telling Congress. Tell me if a democrat did that he wouldn't be impeached.

Oh, by the way, while you're trashing Ted Rall for sliming Pat Tillman, why don't you trash the republican smear machine for it's lack of support for another American hero, John Kerry. He only won the silver and bronze stars along with three purple hearts. You can't have it both ways.

And one other thing. Taste that Kool-Aid before you drink some more of it.

Posted by: dsmith at May 7, 2004 at 09:33 AM

And if you think American doesn't have a crisis of credibility, as Dowd correctly points out -- and that this folly in Iraq isn't exposing the world to more danger -- you really have your head in the sand ... or somewhere else.

Come on. Stop spouting the company line and wake up.

Posted by: dsmith at May 7, 2004 at 09:37 AM

dsmith, to address one of your points, the difference between Kerry and Tillman is that Pat Tillman didn't come home from Afghanistan, throw his medals away, and make disgusting, totally unsubstantiated claims that his colleagues in arms were bloodthirsty war criminals.

Kerry brought his own war record up. It's only right that his later actions also be brought to light.

Posted by: Crispytoast at May 7, 2004 at 09:59 AM

Great post tim. The fact that leftist fundamentalists constantly decry the right's lack of 'nuance' is an irony that is seldom dragged into the light.

Posted by: fidens at May 7, 2004 at 10:06 AM

No, no. Our troops would never do anything like mistreat war prison-- .... oops.

Posted by: dsmith at May 7, 2004 at 10:09 AM

I wish Dowd had said that to Wolfowitz. Bet you he would have laughed for half an hour. "Mr. Myopia from Utopia!" Damn, I just had a flashback to junior high.

Oh -- and "dsmith": using terms like "shrub" for the president and presenting John "Have I Told You I Was In Vietnam?" Kerry as a hero along the likes of Pat Tillman immediately brands you as a Leftover parrot. Into the cage with you.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 7, 2004 at 10:09 AM

Ha. Keeping someone off your site who's the least bit critical. Typical right winger -- work for Disney or something? No, Sinclair. No, CBS.

And by the way, all Kerry was doing was telling the truth. And you right wingers should be the last ones to talk about "unsubstantiated". Take a look at the WMD.

The difference is, Bush plunged our country into WAR over it. Kerry got us out of war.

Now, our men and women are dying -- not to mention the 30,000 or so Iraqi civilians that have been killed. It's death, death, everywhere with this president and you fools are still hung up on trivia.

Kerry is a good man and the what the republican slimsters are doing is despicable. Just as what they did to McCain, a war prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton, and Max Cleland, who lost his leg to a grenade, was despicable.

I think what Tillman did was admirable, to say the least. You act like there's some kind of shame in a war hero returning home disillusioned. And by the way, read a few history books on Vietnam. If you don't think soldiers committed atrocities then you don't know what you're talking about.

Posted by: nicetry at May 7, 2004 at 10:17 AM

Nice try, nicetry. Too bad you aren't up to the fight. However, you have provided me with nanoseconds of amusement.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 7, 2004 at 10:21 AM

By the way, "nicetry" and "dsmith" seem to be using the Chicago Tribune's internet connection to access this website. That would be IP range - Roger Ebert, is that you?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 7, 2004 at 10:30 AM

Noonan is right with her comments about the lack of a supposed cover-up, perhaps the media mix this up with the publics right to know how their tax dollars are being spent?
however she fails to highlight that there was no operational change that occurred after these "reports" were made. Apparently the situation wasn't at "crisis point" yet [so why change anything]. The Taguba report is NOW investigating the type of abuses mentioned in the previous reports, abuse/torture that was happening while the Ryder report was being completed.
So, no cover up, just a lack of any substantial action. Atleast they "filed" them, right Peggy?

Posted by: contrapunctus at May 7, 2004 at 10:33 AM

G'day dsmith,

You see what happens when you stray from your nice little DU bubble - you read people with opinions and attitudes that (horror of horrors!) differ from your own. This must be a terrible experience for you. Perhaps if you have a nice lie down in a darkened room your panic attacks will pass.

Posted by: Russell at May 7, 2004 at 10:43 AM

Andrea, how about a system so we can automatically post old responses to trolls. They always need to be reminded about WMD and almost every event and context over the past couple years.

Sure, Kerry helped get us out of war... at a cost of: no victory, the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, and millions of people's freedom.

Posted by: aaron at May 7, 2004 at 10:43 AM

Kerry spent 4 months in Vietnam, and used the regulations to get out of combat early. He then went home and trashed his fellow soldiers and sailors by openly lying, and then went into politics. Oh, and don't forget, he was in Vietnam.

That's not a hero, that's a bottomfeeder. That's not disillusionment, that's deception. That's not a good man -- that's John Kerry. But he must tell the truth. Since he changes his position so often, simple probability tells us that some of his statements must be true. The trick is to catch him at the right time to get the answer he wants you to here.

And I remember the Chicago Tribune! When I lived in that area, they had a longterm printers union strike going on, for a year or more as I recall. Some people used the term "union busting" at the time. Maybe the Tribune didn't recover from that financial crisis, and had to hire second rate people afterwards?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 7, 2004 at 10:55 AM

Dammit, Andrea -- ya scared the buggers away!

I find it amusing that the one knucklehead had byebyebush in his email addy. Must be left over from 2000 or something... Lileks has these churning, peevish kids pegged, but good!

Posted by: geezer at May 7, 2004 at 11:33 AM

Let's see, this stuff was going on in October and November, it was discovered and stopped in December, the BG in charge relieved in January, and investigations begun. This was announced in March, but the media, slavering over the public's right to know, didn't let the public know until they had salacious pictures to show. The ones about the Brits were faked, it seems.

The people who come out looking best are the Regular Army, who shut down what some reservists had been doing illegally as soon as the higher command found out about it. No coverup, and if the liberals want a scandal they'll have to invent one. This is something they are good at and will do.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at May 7, 2004 at 12:05 PM

An articulate, knowledgeable ex-officer caller on Melbourne radio this morning painted an interesting scenario. It was possible, he said, that remnants of Saddam's or Uday's rape and torture squads would be in captivity. If so, he asked, how would a modern American female soldier treat them? And how would critics on the home front react to the humiliation -- not torture -- of those who had raped and brutalised?

Posted by: slatts at May 7, 2004 at 12:41 PM

I thought the suggestion from some other bloggers was ludicrous, in that the guard unit should be disbanded. As if the UCMJ does shit en masse...crap, that's french, ain't it? Sorry.

Hopefully, the blog world will rapidly heal itself, come to it's senses, and put this whole bad thing in the worldly context it deserves and move the fuck on.

The Arab street and our trolls will just have to suck it up... good practice for Dubya's victory in November.

Posted by: geezer at May 7, 2004 at 12:44 PM

After reading these profiles from Best of the Web of the prisoner abusers, I'm inclined to disregard the points raised in my earlier comment on this post:

Specialist Charles A. Graner Jr. is a guard at one of Pennsylvania's most heavily secured death row prisons, accused by his former wife of violent behavior.
Pfc. Lynndie R. England was married and divorced before she was 21, worked at a chicken-processing plant in West Virginia and wanted to attend college to become a storm-chasing meteorologist.
And Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick, another prison guard, planned to quit the Army Reserve this year to spend more time fishing near his rural home in central Virginia. But he did not get out soon enough. . . .
Specialist Graner, who wears a Marine Corps eagle tattoo on his right arm, served in the corps from April 1988 until May 1996, when he left with the rank of corporal, according to military records. He went to work immediately at the State Correctional Institution Greene, in southwestern Pennsylvania, where he has held an entry-level corrections officer position ever since.
Two years after he arrived at Greene, the prison was at the center of an abuse scandal. Prison officials declined to say whether Specialist Graner had been disciplined in that case, citing privacy laws.
Inmates and advocates for prisoner rights asserted in 1998 that guards at the prison routinely beat and humiliated prisoners, including through a sadistic game of Simon Says in which guards struck prisoners who failed to comply with barked instructions.
After an investigation, the warden was transferred, two lieutenants were fired and about two dozen guards were reprimanded, demoted or suspended.
Specialist Graner was involved in a bitter divorce. In court papers, his wife, Staci, accused him of beating her, threatening her with guns, stalking her after they separated in 1997 and breaking into her home. Since 1997, local judges have issued at least three orders of protection against him, records show.

Posted by: slatts at May 7, 2004 at 01:06 PM

[The whining, spitting, drooling post that was here has been removed by the Management and the IP address has been banned.]

Posted by: unbelievable at May 7, 2004 at 02:11 PM

Nice stuff slatts.

Yeah, I mentioned the possibility on another blog that the problem was that some of the officers were guards in prisons back home where this stuff is more common.

Posted by: aaron at May 7, 2004 at 02:27 PM

MoDo disgusts me. She is obviously on the NYT editorial page to give the "woman" take on the news. The rest of the columnists may be wrong, but at least their not out there babbling like idiots and scribbling vacuous nonsense. Dowd is a walking woman-as-frivolous-airhead stereotype. Who could forget the schoolgirl's crush metaphor she used to describe meeting Howard Dean?

Having Dowd as the sole woman columnist on the editorial page is like having a black columnist who goes on about his basketball prowess and great love of Cadillacs.

Posted by: Elizabeth at May 7, 2004 at 06:28 PM

Unbelievable unbelievable.

Posted by: Jacko at May 7, 2004 at 08:32 PM

"Can't the pussies who denounced this beautiful God-given war at least acknowledge the American bravery that's making Iraq and the world more perfect every day?

Run that line and you’ll be condemned as a tabloid simpleton."

Well said, Tim. But...isn't this an eloquent summary of your career for the past two years?

Posted by: tim g at May 7, 2004 at 11:12 PM

Yet again, I'm astonished that you've all been taken in by those fun-loving practical jokers at the New York Times.

The only logical explanation is that there is no "Maureen Dowd." It's a parody of a stereotypical "woman writer," who focuses on pop culture, cute nicknames, and fashion references.

"Maureen Dowd" has even written a couple of columns suggesting that Bush is under the spell of a group of neoconservative you-know-whos (rhymes with "you know whos").

The Times may not be what it once was, but hey, it's the New York Times. They wouldn't really give prized op-ed space to such a flibbertigibbet.

So relax, folks, and enjoy the joke.

Posted by: Alex Bensky at May 7, 2004 at 11:31 PM

I think the opposite of "Hawk" is actually "Dove", not "Pussy".

Although a tabloid simpleton such as yourself would go for the more sensationalist choice of course.

Posted by: Tom at May 7, 2004 at 11:33 PM

"Dove" is the polite antonym of "Hawk", although I suppose that a simpleton would fail to see that "nuance".

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 8, 2004 at 03:57 AM