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Tuesday, August 09, 2005



So the debate goes, one side pointing to the mass graves, the other asking where the WMDs are; one side seeing a democracy emerging from dictatorship and war, the other side seeing only the war.

Well said, Frank. Meanwhile, the Iraqi people have become a global football for ideologues, both left and right. For the record, I like Hitchens, and aside from the usual "he lost his way" chestnuts I have seen little to change that view. While I agree with Marc that Michael Kazin's article is (at least) refeshingly devoid of personal attacks, this line drips with irony :

The author might also have been speaking about himself, a self-made patriot who has added to his love of fearless rebels a fierce apology for the neoconservative crusade.

Ironic because some on the far left (perhaps even a few Michael Kazin might agree with) can just as easily be accused of being little more than "apologists" for Islamic extremists.

jim hitchcock

"Randy: The coalition forces aren't setting off the IEDs. It's your pals the "freedom fighters" setting off the IEDs."

That's not only stupid, it's patently offensive. But it did give me reason to not bother whith whatever else Bob had to say.

"There is, quite simply, no reasonable or logical way to oppose this war based on the facts. "



"Taylor - You should be embarrassed by the claim that democracy was the argument for war in Iraq."

He didn't say it was "_the_ argument" for war against the Ba'athists in Iraq. He was saying that the case for the liberation and democratization was being made _well before_ the first Coalition soldier crossed into Iraq, not merely grasped for _after_ things differed from expectations.

He didn't say it was the only argument made either.

Jay Byrd

One can be sure, from that high pitched sound, that this is no longer rosedog blogging.
A complaint about demonization from the prince of demonizers? Well, it's not the first time.
What's remarkable is that Philion's article isn't even about Cooper; he is mentioned only once, as one of two opposite ends of a scale. If Philion was actually claiming that Cooper was a DLCer, then he used the wrong example. But it should be clear, to anyone who does not make a habit of "deliberate and intellectually dishonest smear"s, that Philion was making no such claim.

> More sophisticated minds, fortunately, can readily accept that some of their opponents can be quite principled

But such a courtesy mustn't be extended to Steve, or Hugo Chavez, or Ed Herman, or Noam Chomsky, or any of a number of other people who have been trashed by someone who has made a career of attacking the motives of people on the left, especially on the "hard" left, which is apparently anyone who doesn't run everything through a U.S. nationalist filter.


Misterpundit - you're on ice so thin with that last analogy, I'd back it up if I were you. Hitchens is an explicit apologist for Wolfowitz and supported Bush for re-election. I'm sure there are some folks, somewhere, on "the left" who are explicit apologists for Islamic extremists, but the suggestion that Michael Kazin - or other anti-war types at dissent - would agree with them on anything is complete and utter horseshit. Or that anyone who's pro-Islamic extremist is representative in any sense of folks who believe this war was sold on false premises and that, even on the best of its terms and on the only rationale left standing for anyone who isn't delusional, it's still been an irresponsible, bungled venture from Day One, thanks not to its critics but to the very folks who pushed for it so zealously - not to mention dishonestly (a negative view of "the war that actually exists" and the "actually existing pro-war arguments" which is no longer minority opinion in this country, incidentally.)

You guys really are a sorry bunch. Shameless crap seems to be your stock in trade.

michael yates

Dear Marc,

I am Associate Editor of Monthly Review. And very proud to be on the "hard left." It sounds like an insult in your post responding to Steve Philion. I'd like to think you didn't mean it as one. At any rate, you might want to tell your readers in more detail what you mean by it. Also, your description of MR read like a putdown to me. Again, I hope you didn't mean it a one.

Monthly Review has a webzine, just begun, at www.mrzine.org I think it is a very fine one and recommend that your readers check it out. Lots of hard leftists will be found there, including Marge Piercy and Adrienne Rich.

One final point: do you think ther is a better way to understand capitalism than that of Marx? If so, what is it? If not, does that put you on the hard left?

Michael Yates


Reg : "Fucky you...one need read no farther than that despicable bit of rhetoric to realize what a bunch of thugs certain pro-war types have become."

Yeah, that comment spoiled an otherwise reasonable post, on par with :

Reg : "we were sold a bill of goods by a cabal of zealous ideologues, opportunistic incompetents and outright liars"

And so it goes ...


"Pacifists are either sincere and perfectly contemptible, or else hypocritical liars and therefore imperfectly contemptible.... Both are vicious swine who'd love to see me enslaved."

Here's a partial swine list: Martin Buber, Bartolome de Las Casas, Maria Curie, Dorothy Day, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi, Jane Goodall, Thich Nhat Hanh, Immanuel Kant, Martin Luther King, Alfred Nobel, Leo Tolstoy. Oh, and I suppose we should add Jesus Christ to that list of contemptibles. In all seriousness, I found the above quote contemptible and unworthy of this blog. To each his own, I guess, swine and swine alike.


"You guys really are a sorry bunch. Shameless crap seems to be your stock in trade."

Yeah see, I may have replied at length, but you're just too much of a one-trick pony to make it worth my time. Sorry.

"He didn't say it was the only argument made either."

More to the point, he didn't say that, while it's the only argument that's left, it was also the only argument that wouldn't have had a chance in hell of flying if Americans thought it was actually why we were going in. If you think that's a small point, you're...well, maybe Christopher Hitchens or some other delusional "left-wing hawk" for whom ideology trumps politics. And who has contempt for "the little people" who don't dream the big dreams when it comes to "armed struggle" and "internationalism". Hogwash - typical of the worst that the left's ever offered and the cases where Cold War liberals over-reached in ways we're still paying for.

(Cue a contorted, inapplicable Rwanda "humanitarian intervention" reference or an unabashedly false WWII analogy.)

As for your second comment, pitching rather wildly an equation between my comment characterizing the Bushniks and the earlier sleazy suggestion that Islamist terrorist are Randy Paul's "friends", I'll just let it stand to be judged on it's own "merits" or lack thereof.


sorry that was me

"I may have replied at length"

It's okay...you've shown your hand. Personally, I'm not interested.

jim hitchcock

"Yeah see, I may have replied at length, but you're just too much of a one-trick pony to make it worth my time. Sorry."

That's pretty funny, seeing it's meant for Reg. Boy, is this guy setting himself up to get his clock cleaned, or what?

Sean F

To Michael Yates -
Ayn Rand presents a fine understanding of capitalism. And for the most part, yes, Marx's view of capitalism puts an individual on the hard left. The left and right of the political spectrum are continually evolving and difficult to define - but being anywhere near agreement with Marx throws and individual far leftward.

To Marc Cooper - nice article. Also enjoyed reading the piece by Cohen.

One thing I've noticed, which was pointed out by Cohen, is that open-minded lefties often become racist bigots. They know what is best for everyone and there's no place for a black or jew to tell them otherwise. When Saddam was killing Kurds, Kuwaitis and Shiites there was nothing to be concerned about. It simple isn't proper for an American or Brit to have any reason to care about such things.

For some reason you have attracted a horde of vicious lefties, far from their home on daily kos. Good luck.

Steve White

Mr. Yates, a better way to understand capitalism (than that of Marx) would be that of DeSoto, Friedman, Adam Smith and Hayek. That would get you off to a decent start.


Also, Misterpundit...why am I required to be polite when somebody makes the suggestion that guys like Randy Paul or Michael Kazin are in league with terrorists or their apologists. Special pleading on your partt.

If you can't stand the heat, don't make patently offensive comments and then whine when somebody tells you to fuck off.

jim hitchcock

"When Saddam was killing Kurds, Kuwaitis and Shiites there was nothing to be concerned about. "

Really? So, no `leftists' saw justification in the first Iraq war, or cried bloody murder when the first Bush administration urged the overthrow of Saddam by the Kurds and Shiites, and then failed to support them?

Man, you need to get an argument.


"If you can't stand the heat, don't make patently offensive comments and then whine when somebody tells you to fuck off."

I'm not easily offended by people I find intellectually boring. If a monkey told you to "fuck off" would you be offended? No, you'd be laughing your ass off.

Now, you have yet to call me a "thug". I'm waiting...

Michael J. Totten

Bob to Randy Paul: "The coalition forces aren't setting off the IEDs. It's your pals the "freedom fighters" setting off the IEDs."

Whoa there, Bobster. You might want to figure out who you're talking to before slinging around that kind of crap. Randy ain't Gallloway.

Jay Byrd

I've read the Cohen article, and it's no wonder Marc thinks it's a good piece, as it is filled with one "deliberate intellectually dishonest smear" of the left after another:

"Today's middle-class left is made up of the same types as 70 years ago. The faults of small-mindedness and self-righteousness ... I'm sure that any halfway competent political philosopher could rip the assumptions of modern middle-class left-wingery apart...But his criticisms would have little impact. It's like a religion: the contradictions are obvious to outsiders but don't disturb the faithful. ... My mortal sin had been to question 'harshly the motives of the anti-war movement', and to that I had to plead guilty....The least attractive characteristic of the middle-class left - one shared with the Thatcherites - is its refusal to accept that its opponents are sincere....What he and a large part of the mainstream liberal-left don't and won't confront is that they have become the fellow travellers of the psychopathic far-right.... there's little doubt that few apart from George Galloway and others in the gruesome leadership of the anti-war movement were keen on saluting Saddam Hussein. The reason why one million people marched through London without one mounting a platform to express solidarity with the victims of fascism was that it never occurred to them that there were people in Iraq who shared their values....when confronted with a movement of contemporary imperialism - Islamism wants an empire from the Philippines to Gibraltar - and which is tyrannical, homophobic, misogynist, racist and homicidal to boot, they feel it is valid because it is against Western culture."

However, the article goes far beyond this, and far beyond Marc's genuinely left views. I for one don't know where Cohen stood before, whether he has taken a leap, or what his motives are, but his piece is quite clearly a rightist screed, so I find his and Marc's complaint to be off the mark. Their view seems to be that Cohen can't have moved to the right if he is taking a principled stand, because there are no principled rightist stands. I think there's something to that, but my conclusion isn't that Cohen hasn't moved to the right, but rather the other side of the equation, and those smears of the left quoted above support that view.


You've yet to make a decent defense of your suggestion - or the other fellows - as regards Kazin or Randy Paul being somehow in league, politically or ideologically, with terrorists or with their "explicit apologists". It's obvious why you haven't. There is none, so I'm not waiting.

Sean F

jim hitchcock: if you want a better argument regarding racism, then refer to the relevant passage in cohen's article: "Auden noticed a retreat..."

Good point on the Kuwaitis/Shiites, but my thoughts on the matter remain, I've seen evidence of it everywhere, including a racist anti-war Euro snob who lectured me in Spain while I was on vacation. So Cohen's passage struck a chord with me.

jim hitchcock

Fair enough, Sean. There are idiots everywhere...just a little sensitive to being painted with such a broad brush.

Marc Cooper

Let's lower the temperature of the posts, please.

To Michael Yates:

Ive read MR on and off for more than 30 yrs. My description of it was neither derogatory nor laudatory. It was meant to be accurate. I used the term "hard left" to distinguish it from those more moderate left currents closer to the Democratic Party-- with which MR has never had any truck. I suppose another way of describing it would be as part of the "socialist left."

I am pleased to see u have started a webzine and as this post of mine has been linked to by Instapundit I suspect it will cause a rush of traffic to you. Much of it will be from conservatives who have never heard of MR and that will be fortuitous for all.

I wish ur zine well.

I hardly think this is the forum in which to answer your hanging question regarding Marx. I make no apologies for Marxist influence in my understanding of the world. Whether or not Marx best understood the dynamics of capitalism, however, awaits historical validation. Certainly his explanation of who profits and who does not was accurate. His notion of where class conflict would lead, nevertheless, has so far been not fulfilled.


"You've yet to make a decent defense of your suggestion - or the other fellows - as regards Kazin or Randy Paul being somehow in league, politically or ideologically, with terrorists or with their "explicit apologists". It's obvious why you haven't. There is none, so I'm not waiting."

Boy, you're pretty good at making stuff up, and then throwing tantrums about it. Sad. Anyway, I didn't say that Michael Kazin is a "terrorist supporter". Here, let me spell it out for you - "I don't think Kazin is a terrorist supporter". I even said I thought his article was well written. LOL! What more do you want? I don't know who "Randy Paul" is, but I'm sure he's a fine fellow.

Anyway, let me restate what I said earlier, and I'll rephrase for the benefit of "Reg". Try to keep up. There are some people on the far left who are acting as apologists for terrorists. Some out of ignorance, others explicitly. Some of these people may have views that overlap with Kazin's. It may be views about global warming, perhaps it's free trade. Whatever. That is the irony I was referring to.

Now, I'm off. G'night.


I would say that MR's designation as "hard left" is fair, not so much because of their marxism, but because of their tendency since birth in '48 or so to apologize for the USSR, China - even Albania (Sott Nearing used to write totally embarrasing crap on his travels there), as well as the kneejerk Castroism/Guevarism, mostly uncritical revolutionary Third Worldism, followed by hard-core "cultural revolution" Maoism (Charles Bettlehiem was one of the more elegant - or baroque, depending on your taste - apologists for Maoist mania as an antidote to Soviet "revisionism" in Western intellectual circles). Sweezy, Leo Huberman and Harry Magdoff were decent guys with the best of intentions, but their political judgement was rather ridiculously poor and consistently so. Michael Harrington - or for that matter, Sidney Hook, a "proto-neo-con" - were as philosophically "marxist" by their lights as the MR guys, but hardly hard left. Don't hang the "hard left" handle on reverence for a dead guy who never made it past the industrial revolution. I think it's the decades of apologetics for "actually-existing-socialism-or-at-least-we-wish-it-were" that puts MR in the vanguard of a leftist tradition that's veered mostly between leading nowhere to leading in the wrong direction.

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