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Wednesday, January 19, 2005




sorry to repost a comment, from an earlier blog of yours, but I was hoping you'd respond to my second comment, about that Iraq article on AlterNet (context, I misunderstood what you said about it being a demi-world):

"OK marc, my misread.

But you misread on Lakshmi's piece, which was pathetic. You quote her on the "vietnam style dramatic about-face" and characterize that as heretical. But misinforming your audience is not heresy for the old left. Ironically, old-lefty New Lefter Tom Hayden shows how pathetic Lakshmi's understanding of Iraq and U.S. history is when he points out that to characterize the u.s. withdrawl as an about-face is preposterous. Vietnamization took more than 4 years. Additionally, Schell's "policy response" to Lakshmi's article was in fact a retort and refutation of her misquote -- and misunderstanding -- of one of his articles. That alternet published that as a response, and not as a letter to the editor which merited an apology and a correction is a testament to how weak alternet's iraq coverage is."

Moreover, I see that you gave an evaluation of counterpunch... I suppose what I'd like is an evaluation of Alternet also, and while you are at it... Salon and Slate. I'm sure all of us would be interested


It will disappoint surely, but I had the same exact reaction as Marc.

Marc Cooper

Alterneter: Im going to give u but a short response. I think what Lahkshmi did was valuable. This is not a nitpick debate about the nature of American withdrawl from Vietnam Instead, it's a debate about how the US should get out Vietnam. Hayden and others are calling for immediate US withdrawal. Lakshi is arguing a different position-- I see no reason to call he reasoning pathetic. There are compelling arguments for the US to not betray the Iraqis a second time and abandon them to drown in a mess we have created.
As to your other question. I used to read Salon a lot.. now very little. I find it too monochromatic and I see no reason why they should charge for content when everything else on the the web is free.
I like Slate which I look at once a day and which seems to have a least one or two pieces of interest per day.
Alter-net is a syndicator of articles from the alternative press and they have frequently purchased and distributed my material. I am grateful for that, but frankly I dont voluntarily go to their site unless some email promo interests me enough to do so. I find such ideologically limited sites to be quite suffocating nowadays. I dont need to read 6 pieces a day about how evil george w bush is.

John Moore (Useful Fools)

Freudian slip in that comment above, Marc? Vietnam?

Marc Cooper

Hardly! just a typo... clearly I meant " a debate about how the U should get out of Iraq."

I save up my Freudian slips for much more important and salacious references.

jim hitchcock

Marc, two for the price of one! Henry Kissinger talking about Condi Rice on Charley Rose.

Marc Cooper

The horror... the horror

Tom Grey - Liberty Dad

Actually Marc, I hope I've infected you a bit with the Iraq IS Vietnam -- if the US leaves than genocide comes. The USA needs to do the "export democracy by force" correctly, er, successfully, in Iraq. 30 January won't be the final test; nor the end of 2005 with an elected set of Iraqi reps creating an Iraqi constitution, to include some top executive who will be elected.

This election will transfer power to an elected leader; some future election will transfer it to another leader (NOT re-election); and some election after that will transfer it to yet another leader. I call democratization a success after 3 different successful transfer from one living democratically elected leader to another.

Your post is nice opposition to torture, important, mostly true. BUT it fails to state how to fight against Death Squads. And not lose.

You lack successful examples of alternative transition strategies, which always weakens your criticism. Doesn't make your criticism not true, merely not true enough.


"BUT it fails to state how to fight against Death Squads"

maybe by not funding them?


Did you hear Condi's response to Chris Dodd on the Cuba embargo ? What an embarrassment. She's giving cynical, disingenuous hacks a bad name...


Correction: I should have said that Condi is giving "craven, brazenly cynical, disingenuous hacks a bad name". The Democrats who vote for her appointment are the ones who will give the "cynical, disingenuous hacks" a bad name.

Mavis Beacon

Hey, since we all agree Death Squads are bad, why can't we get our governement to do anything about Sudan. I'll right a letter if you will, Tom Grey.

John Moore (Useful Fools)

So Reg, should ending the Cuban embargo be one of the causes the left adopts as it tries to persuade people that it is sane and on the side of those who suffer?


Come on Marc...you can check into Salon for free anytime you want. How the hell are they supposed to survive if they don't deal with either ads or subs ? They don't have the Microsoft angel which can diddle with any model on the web forever as a loss leader, R&D or pro bono without any of the kids going without tuition. Slate is useful and I read it everyday, but one reason it's good is because they pay a lot of different writers. Some are great, like Kaplan...some suck - mostly out of the kind of self-indulgence one usually associates with lefties - like Kaus and increasingly Hitchens. (Has the man written a seriously provocative word on Iraq in the last year? If so I missed it. I read Hitchens compulsively starting with Afghanistan on which I totally agreed with him and through the entry into Iraq, on which I totally disagreed. As his Kiplingesque misson has faltered, he's been reduced to periodic and very thin ruminations that are mostly evasions of the reality on the ground. Pro-warriors Tom Friedman and Andrew Sullivan have been far more honest and compelling in the last 8 months or so.)

But back to my point - and I do have one. Salon's content has definitely grown weaker as they have hit economic hard times, as I see it. Their good, original features and provocative columnists have grown fewer and farther between as digests and analysis of stuff generated elsewhere has increased. But their tough times are one reason I subscribed and gave a couple of subs to friends. I'd hate for Microsoft Inc. to put out the only online magazine, much as I appreciate what they do.

I don't know how to succeed in publishing a serious web magazine - and they have been pioneers, literally - but David Talbot has, most likely in the course of making a lot of mistakes, done an impressive job.

Your bitching about Salon charging subs for ad-free content "because everything else on the web is free" sounds more like a Napster-addict's "tude" than a professional journalist who lives by his pen.


John, the Cuban embargo - which isolates Cuba more than we isolate Iran, for example - is one of the dumbest, most counter-productive schemes ever dreamed up. It's more to legitimatize Castro in the eyes of his people than it's done to hurt him economically. Since no other country in the world supports it that I'm aware of, it's a friggin joke. All about domestic GOPer politics. And of course you support it...

I won't debate this with you because it's a no-brainer. You should rename your weblog "Useless Fools".

Tom Grey - Liberty Dad

Mavis, how about a Fantasy speech of Bush on Sudan as Genocide?

You might also (not) like my Fantasy Condi Speech at the NAACP (on who is the House Nigga?)

I think Bush should be using Sudan as club against Kofi and the UN and the EU & French & Germans -- why are they letting it happen?

And I also think, after Iraq has elections and Abu gets turned over to Iraqis trying to stop anti-democractic Death Squads, sometime in 2005 the US Army should "protect" / liberate the Darfur region. Stopping genocide is more important than "respecting" sovereignty; and also more important than respecting current post-colonial borders.

But it's logistically too expensive, now, for the USA to do this.

End dictatorships, one by one. Sudan is the one with the biggest current reason to attack -- though Iran is also close.


Incidentally John, the Lt. Col Tom Ryan who wrote the letter you linked at Blackfive (? - something like that) was involved in a scandal to cover up torture. Apparently he's one of the officers who ordered a soldier/whistleblower be branded as nuts, put in restraints, bound to a stretcher and flown out of Iraq - for opening his mouth about what he had witnessed. They ordered the doc, who initially refused to come up with a negative diagnosis on the guys mental conditon, to comply with their criminal behaviour. You really love the scum, don't you?



Tom - your link seems screwed up. But your "House Nigga" reference already has left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe it's a blessing to skip your little white boy Minstrel Show. Fuck you, you racist asshole.


"So Reg, should ending the Cuban embargo be one of the causes the left adopts as it tries to persuade people that it is sane and on the side of those who suffer?"

A lot of Haitians would be scratching their heads and wondering, 'why cuba and not us?'

Mavis Beacon

Tom, I read your posts. The failure to intercede in Rawanda was Clinton’s fault but the failure to act now is the UN’s? You seem far more concerned with using this tradegy to politically wound Democrats, Human Rights Watch, the UN, and other democratic nations (by the way, it's China and Russia that threatened to veto sanctions-not France and Germany) than asking our leaders to intercede.

cenizo in austin

Marc, the NYT reports
that yesterday's "document dump" by Al Gonzales reveals more
on what is "meant" by "torture." Turns out if the CIA does it,
or if we do it to aliens offshore, all bets are off. This should
have been front page, but the contraption buried it well inside.

Steve Smith

Marc, I too am disappointed that more Democrats on the committee (particularly Biden, whose contempt for the nominee was palpable at the hearing yesterday, and Feingold, who should have learned something from his vote for Ashcroft in 2001) didn't use today's vote as an opportunity to show at least symbolic opposition to this administration's foreign policy. Rice is the least able nominee for the position since Wilson tabbed WJB in 1913, and her track record is abysmal; what exactly is the drawback in voting against her?

But at least we know that John Kerry came through.


I posted this on the other comments blog, it belongs here actually, on Rwanda:



"Rice is the least able nominee for the position since Wilson tabbed WJB in 1913..."

That's very unfair...to William Jennings Bryan.


Rice on whether the dollar should be replaced by the Euro: "No Opinion".
Wow! A genius in action.

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