The Politics of Bad Faith

Let me make a disclaimer right now, and one I have made before, but it seems to be necessary, bad faith is a bipartisan exercise, no let me say it is a multipartisan exercise. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are famous examples on the right, today I am discussing libertarians for the most part, but for those keeping score, I don’t care if I am lopsided.

So what do I mean by bad faith? It can take many forms, often it is just unconscious and deserves no special mention, other times it is willful misrepresentation, the erection of straw men or a lack of any real basis for criticism other than they are the other side. Any argument will do, no matter that it has no basis or belief behind it, all that matters is destroying the other side or whoever you have decided to disagree with.

Radley Balko takes on Greg Sargent’s attempt to turn John Tierney into a right wing partisan shill for a relatively mild example. The King of bad faith however, is Rick Ellensberg, uh, Glenn Greenwald or as he is readily conceded to be, the King of Sock Puppets. I have discussed Greenwald and Ann Coulter’s particular brand of bad faith before, and if you want a thorough dissection of their rhetorical tricks you should certainly start there, but some things deserve regular attention. So we should begin with a few links to some of the petty, but nevertheless telling ways the man works, whether it is misrepresenting a sequence of events and calling someone a stalker or intimating that someone you don’t respect is a pedophile. The high minded, morally above the herd, King of Sock Puppets can do these things and still beat the drum of his moral superiority because, well, I guess it is because he hates Bush. That seems enough for some people.

I think we should start the discussion today with a silly, but corrupt, attempt to paint a person as a know-nothing warmonger. Who is this know-nothing warmonger? Why one of The King of Sock Puppets favorite targets, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit. How surprising. What is Glenn’s offense? Why he responded to this quote from Mark Rubin:

Let’s be fair: To condemn the Axis of Evil speech is to condemn Bush for prescience. He didn’t create the Axis of Evil; rather, he voiced the problem. And if that shocked European diplomats, well too bad. If it’s a choice between national security and enabling European diplomats to remain secure in their illusions, I’d hope both Republicans and Democrats would favor the former.

Clinton administration attempts to engage the Taliban and the North Korean regime were folly. Any attempt to do likewise with Iran would be equally inane. Certain regimes cannot be appeased. Dialogue is no panacea.

Part of Reynolds’ response was:

diplomats tend to overvalue dialogue

and of course that is all that was quoted from that portion of his response. Here is the full response:

Yes, though diplomats tend to overvalue dialogue. I listened to former (Bush I) Ambassador Gregg’s Diane Sawyer interview on XM yesterday, and it made me very grateful that he no longer has a hand in formulating U.S. policy. Some excerpts from that interview can be found here.

It isn’t long so why wouldn’t he quote the whole thing? Because The King of Sock Puppets wishes this statement to be pregnant with all kinds of meaning way beyond what Mark Rubin claims or Reynolds endorses. The statement merely acknowledges the truth in what Mark says and notes what is certainly true, which is that diplomats are all too often (which for those looking to exaggerate does not mean always or even most of the time, it means too often) more focused on talking and getting an agreement than focusing on whether that agreement or the talking actually accomplishes anything. The words Reynolds used of course were “tend” and “overvalue” not always or that talking has no value. This would be a rather unremarkable statement in most hands, and the subtle shift in tone is seemingly irrelevant, but it sets up the strawman that the King of Sock Puppets wishes to erect. That is that Reynolds doesn’t believe it is ever justified to talk to certain types of regimes. Let us see what the clever sock puppet does next:

In response, Reynolds says that the Gregg interview “made me very grateful that he no longer has a hand in formulating U.S. policy.” Thank God that someone who thinks we should negotiate is out of government. After all, refusing to negotiate with North Korea has worked so very well.

It is this “reasoning,” as much as anything else, that has placed us in the weak and vulnerable position we are now in. Where a country like North Korea is engaged in conduct that we would like to stop, we have three options:

(1) wage war against them;

(2) engage in diplomacy and attempt to reach a negotiated solution; or

(3) do nothing.

If we remove option (2) from the list — as Bush followers want to do in almost every case and as the administration repeatedly does — it means that only options (1) and (3) remain. And where option (1) is not viable — as is the case with the U.S. vis-a-vis North Korea (mostly because we already chose option (1) with two other countries and are threatening to do so with a third) — then the only option left is (3) — do nothing. That is exactly what we have done while North Korea became a nuclear-armed power, and we did nothing because we operated from Rubin’s premise that diplomacy and negotiations are essentially worthless, which left us with no other options.

I am sure Mr. Reynolds is bewildered at the idea that he was endorsing “This toxic notion that hostile countries can’t be negotiated with-” Tendencies have now become never or more precisely can’t. All notions of the particular circumstances Reynolds might consider relevant about when negotiations should be held (such as the notion of whether bilateral versus multilateral negotiations are best) are swept aside, it is talk or don’t talk, that is the question. Glenn Reynolds has now been stuffed with straw. Of course, the implication is since we will not talk and Reynolds does not want to do nothing, then Reynolds wants war. This is the syllogism the King of Sock Puppets wants to establish. The other side are warmongers and simplistic in their beliefs to boot!

What is silly or pathetic is the reduction of this question by the sock puppet himself to only three options. The idea that we have been refusing to talk or have been doing nothing is just plain factually wrong, but I would never dare to construct so silly a straw man as this three option choice which the sock puppet has constructed for himself! If this is the “reality based community’s” foremost polemicist they have some work to do. I suggest the rest of that community sit him down and explain the complexities of this kind of thing. They might point out the desire, due to the failure of bilateral negotiations to work in the nineties, for finding a forum where we might have more leverage.

But wait, while Mr. Reynolds was being fitted for his straw hat, someone else entered the fray. Yes, that ever reliable regurgitator of all things from the mouth of sock puppets, Mona:

Given the abysmal record of the Bush Administration when it comes to diplomacy — indeed, it’s contempt for the very notion (emphasis mine, Lance)– one cannot be hopeful it will meet the challenge of the only possible means of bringing some stability out of the chaos it has unleashed in Iraq and the Middle East. Not when die-hard Bush loyalists like Glenn Reynolds contemplate the North Korea situation, and glibly toss off:

…diplomats tend to overvalue dialogue. I listened to former (Bush I) Ambassador Gregg’s Diane Sawyer interview on XM yesterday, and it made me very grateful that he no longer has a hand in formulating U.S. policy.

The same straw man is now enclosing the Bush administration. Reynolds and the administration don’t see diplomats as merely “tending to overvalue diplomacy,” they have contempt for the very notion! The word tend is rendered an absolute once again. The word overvalue now means they feel it has no value. I will not even address at length the ridiculous notion that Reynolds is a “die hard Bush loyalist.” Given the huge list of criticisms and disagreements Reynolds has with Bush his mere supporters obviously voted for Kerry.

Mona, formerly an ultra hawk who wanted to bomb Afghanistan back to the Stone Age and supported the Iraq invasion is at this point claiming to be a “realist.” Those she despises are the dreaded neo-cons and her work is an attempt to claim that the Bush administration and its neo-con supporters (her term) wants nothing but war and mass death, genocide even, out of little more than bloodlust. Now for those of you not familiar with The King of Puppets’ (who in a barely more subtle fashion is claiming the same thing) good friend you might think that I am claiming something a bit over the top in attributing a belief so cartoonish to her, but I assure you she uses each of those terms and is quite serious. Even in this rather tame piece notice she says that they prefer war. Not that they are too willing or quick to go to war, she believes they prefer war. They literally want blood and to kill Muslims in her world.

So Mona’s argument here is really about finding any way she can to criticize, and the realists versus the neo-cons is her Manichean battleground. The problem of course is that the war in Iraq was supported on realist grounds in its most public form, and all that neo-con idealism was sneered at as a mere fig leaf by many. Many people supported it on realist grounds as well. Many supported it on humanitarian and for democratic reasons. The realist school definitely does not have its hands clean in the Iraq war. Similarly many opposed the war in Iraq on humanitarian grounds; many neo-cons opposed it and many realists as well. In fact, one of the sillier notions is that Rumsfeld and Cheney are neo-cons. But I digress.

What is being attempted here is to claim the administration refuses to negotiate with North Korea. That is false, as noted above, but many realists have in fact been behind the multi-lateral approach of the administration, both as policy makers and intellectuals. This whole realist neo-con argument is in bad faith on this issue. The policy if it has any intellectual roots is a realist revolt against the policies of the Clinton administration.

Which comes down to a little remarked on aspect of many of the war critics of the left, right or libertarian variety, the bad faith in who they use to critique the administrations handling of foreign policy. Certainly there is much to critique, but this whole stealing by the center-left of the realist moniker and grabbing every General and commenter, especially to use as a hammer to attack the administration and nodding sagely at how much better we would be if we listened to them begs a question, which one? That is the irony for me. If I was to take all the public statements of the many sundry figures quoted attacking the policies of this administration I could never put together a coherent policy. I read all kinds of these critics and they all disagree about fundamental aspects of what should have been done. I have no problem with that as long as one is quoting those debates as a way to further discussion, but when you are spending vast amounts of ink in high dudgeon because of all the people not listened to, when those people disagree as much with each other as they do the administration I can only conclude you do not care about the actual policies. You are merely looking for ammunition. That is the very definition of bad faith.

I’ll take two very prominent examples in regards to Mona, but can be applied to a great number of people on the matter of the war. Greg Djerejian of Belgravia Dispatch whose views, if not rhetoric at times, have tracked relatively closely with mine over the course of time is cited occasionally by Mona and others for his dead on assessment of this administration. Greg supported the war on a number of grounds, including realist, humanitarian and democracy promotion rationales. Which in the grand scheme of things makes him somewhat of a neo-con. However, he is now used by many as evidence of the realist strain and its virtues because he approvingly quotes people such as Powell, Armitage, Scowcroft and Holbrooke. So far so good, but where I get into the bad faith side of this is that Greg has been arguing for a long time for increased troop deployments, more emphasis on security, etc. That is hardly an advocate of withdrawal. To be fair, maybe Mona and others are picking and choosing what they like to quote; one need not endorse everything someone believes to find their thoughts worthwhile.

My issue is why that is not characterized as a call for more war, bloodlust and a desire to kill more Muslims to use characterizations hurled at people with similar views? Because in the end, at least according to the logic put forth, that is what is meant. When Ralph Peters, argues for such things he is a bloodthirsty warmonger who wants to kill more Muslims, with Greg the policy denotes him as a hard headed realist. I can only see one difference (not that they are two peas in a pod, there are notable differences, but that their policy prescriptions when it comes to this facet are similar, both advocate more force) from the point of view of someone who criticizes Mr. Peters so forcefully. Ralph Peters might criticize the President and this administration, but not with nearly the vitriol of Greg. If applying more force, increasing troops and combating militias to improve security does not mean Greg deserves the label warmonger, but others arguing for some variation of that who are not as vehement in denouncing this administration do deserve such criticism, then we are talking bad faith. It is not the policy that is the issue it is the political outcome. That is fine and pretty common, just don’t expect me to view such arguments with anything but contempt.

The second example is almost funny. Okay, to me it was down right hilarious. Nothing illustrates my point that for many, including the King of Puppets and his adoring admirer (an admiration he returns,) that they have no real policy issues, because on the matter of Iraq or pretty much any other foreign policy where the way forward is murky they are all criticism, no actual alternative is proposed to guide someone. That of course mean that no matter what one can continue the broadside because you haven’t been proven wrong. Sometime back The King of Puppets adoring friend took a rather hefty swipe at Pejman Yousefzadeh:

Kern’s TCS co-blogger Pejman Yousefzadeh, takes a different path , cavalierly advocating, as if it would be the easiest-wrought solution imaginable, that partitioning Iraq is the thing to consider, and would not — he is clear about this — have to constitute failure. Well golly gee, it is a page from those old Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney movies where we all decide “let’s put on a show!” Head for the barn kids, and break a leg, we’ve got a partition to do!

This was in a piece extolling all the prescient realists and libertarians who are empiricists and devoted to facts, who were not actually so prescient as I said at the time. Anyway, here was my response:

Well, she sure studies the Greenwald handbook. Pejman gives a reasoned argument for why partition may make sense and she reduces it to a joke. I guess she hopes we don’t click the link as it seems Greenwald assumes, a suspicion given more weight by the fact that the link doesn’t go anywhere. So far nobody seems to have noticed who has praised the piece, they obviously didn’t click through(Note: I have checked back, none of her readers ever commented about the fact that the link went no where and the link was never fixed) I suggest you follow my link and consider it yourself. I have always considered it an option; I certainly think it should be on the table. Even if the Iraq War is some kind of a failure, so what? If it is the best option available we should look at it. This objection is just childish. Failure happens all the time. The key isn’t to avoid failure but to adapt to achieve success. If this idea makes sense then we should pursue it. It is especially odd given that a great many of those prescient realists advocate it as well. I guess their empiricism and devotion to facts is escaping them this time. Of course, I guess in the Mona world it is better to have an abject failure than a partial success, say a stable independent Kurdistan, which, by the way, may be the most exciting place in the Middle East.

So why is this funny? Take a gander at this recent, not even two months later, quote from the same post where she has taken Reynolds to task:

For, to quote Col. Lang on diplomacy’s centrality in the Iraq mess, my emphasis (h/t Jim Henley):

What will the partitioned Iraq look like?

-A Kurdish region either completely or nearly independent with massive oil assets and the city of Kirkuk. Will Turkey accept that? Ah. That should be the subject of creative diplomacy on all sides.

-A “rump” state of Iraq extending from (but not necessarily including) Baghdad to the Kuwait border. Wealthy in oil, dominated by the Shia Arabs and friendly to Iran, it may be impossible for this state to maintain its capital in Baghdad. So far, its security forces show no sign of being able to control the situation there.

-An insurgent “redoubt area” dominated by Sunni Arabs and international jihadis will cover all of what is now called the “Sunni Triangle” and perhaps much of Baghdad as well. This “land of insolence” will be poverty stricken but supported by many states and individuals in the Sunni Islamic world as a bulwark against further expansion of the area of Shia triumphalism. The idea has been “floated” of an economic compact between these three successor entities which would provide the Sunni Arabs with considerable oil revenue. This idea underestimates the actual hatred among these groups, but, nevertheless, such an accord should also be the subject of creative diplomacy.

A recognition that this partition of Iraq has now become inevitable and beyond the ability of the United States to prevent is a pre-condition for the adoption of a “reality based” policy which can deal with the vital issue of American relations with the pieces of Iraq. Equally important are the issues of relations among the states which surround, and influence the tri-partite Mesopotamia of the future.

James Webb, now a candidate for the US Senate, has indicated that an international conference is needed for the purpose of “launching” diplomatic efforts to stabilize the region. That is true, but a pre-requisite for that conference would have to be an American acknowledgment that its present policy has failed and that a policy of reconciliation with and among the disputants, including Iran, must take place before anything fruitful can occur.

A sensible American military strategy would emerge from the adoption of such a policy.

Wow. Two months ago such an approach was used to show what delusional characters Bush supporters were. I am sure she meant to write:

Well golly gee, it is a page from those old Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney movies where we all decide “let’s put on a show!” Head for the barn kids, and break a leg, we’ve got a partition to do!

However, if you can use a very similar substantive policy to bash Bush and Reynolds or anyone else who is supposedly in the Bush camp (Do these people actually read Instapundit, I mean for comprehension) then we must assume the attack on Pejman was without substance. My guess is that after slamming ‘ol Pej the details escaped her mind. She never actually thought out the merits or demerits of the idea because she has no real opinion. Take what is offered and bash away. That is bad faith. It gets no clearer than that though there have been plenty of others just as clear as my previous post shows. This one however has a wisp of hilarity to go with it.

Now, let me be clear, I have no problem with changing ones mind, but at the bare minimum it might mean that when we critique somebody we have a little less certainty we were right in the first place. That when we critique people calling them delusional or motivated by faith or Bush worshipers or mass murderers or whatever hyperbolic rhetoric you want to throw out that you make damn sure you know exactly what it is you are objecting to and know exactly what the arguments for or against something are, and make damn sure that you actually will not hold a different view down the road. The King of Sock Puppets and his minion are about bad faith. People confuse stridency and heated rhetoric with conviction. In these two no such confusion should exist. In the end there is no conviction other than moral and intellectual preening, and like most preening the knowledge and principles are skin deep. The only convictions are at the service of their own moral and intellectual vanity.

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39 Responses to “The Politics of Bad Faith”

  1. on 18 Oct 2006 at 12:17 pm A Second Hand Conjecture » Newsflash: Greenwald doesn’t get anything

    […] My previous post on Greenwald and Reynolds was actually written a few days ago, so as I was checking my links I noticed that Glenn Greenwald is now claiming Glenn Reynolds is anti-gay! Unbelieveable! Here is Reynolds discussion of Harold Ford (who he has generally given positive coverage.) I’ll highlight the key “offensive” passage. […]

  2. on 18 Oct 2006 at 12:37 pm ChrisB

    Definitely a pleasure to read. Greenwald’s bad faith reading comprehension problems have always bugged me, with mona being no different.

  3. on 18 Oct 2006 at 6:26 pm docweasel

    Tangentally-
    I waged a war with someone (I’d love to think it was Greenwald himself) with inserting (what I consider to be) a fair assessment of the claims of sockpuppetry in Greenwald’s Wiki entry, with references and links and in proper format and without extreme language or biased or unsourced material.

    Someone kept re-editing and we did this back and forth for about a week until an editor locked his entry and put up a fairly balanced account of the situation. I’m loving it because its essentially what I was trying to put in there, and what GG obviously was obsessively trying to keep out: any mention of sockpuppetry to sully the otherwise hagiographic entry (which sounds so much like GG that he certainly had to write it himself, other than the sockpuppetry). Best of all, Ace and Patterico’s lengthy posts, plus a parody of the matter, all got included in the ‘other references’. I’d imagine GG has lodged a formal complaint and will work tirelessly to have that expunged. In the meantime, HAHAHA GGsockpuppetfarmer! :D WHEEEEEEEEEEE as Atrios says

  4. on 18 Oct 2006 at 6:48 pm glasnost

    Hand-waves to ‘bad faith’ in general, but a laser-like focus on… leftists? Libertarians angry at Republicans?

    Suprise!

    This:

    http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/10/bush-followers-outraged-over-political.html

    is why I like Greenwald: he offers piles of evidence pointing out what I was taking your Foleygate posts to talk for - that Republicans have zero moral credibility to harangue anyone about sexual intolerance, dirty innuendo, and bad faith in general. He’s right.

  5. on 18 Oct 2006 at 7:04 pm Lance

    That Republicans have zero moral credibility to harangue anyone about sexual intolerance, dirty innuendo, and bad faith in general. He’s right.

    Maybe so, but then neither do the Democrats. No skin off my nose. It also does not excuse him for his sins. One could say the same with Coulter, she says some things which are true, though she is far more amusing.

    Hand-waves to ‘bad faith’ in general, but a laser-like focus on… leftists? Libertarians angry at Republicans?

    Suprise!

    Laser like? Pretty much I have confined this kind of thing to Greenwald and Mona and Coulter. Not a Democrat amongst them. That is pretty darn laser like I guess.

    You are right, I should probably do the same for some actual leftists. The problem is that the guys I read wouldn’t deserve it. Yglesias and Drum for example. I am sure I will eventually take on some position of theirs, but they are not obviously and consistently and clownishly arguing in bad faith. They are often wrong in my opinion, or are being unfair, but in what I would call the normal range.

  6. on 18 Oct 2006 at 7:16 pm MichaelW

    … piles of evidence …

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you didn’t read any of the links in that piece, did you? Greenwald is about as acquainted with “evidence” as his sycophants are with intellectual honesty. Tenuous at best.

  7. on 18 Oct 2006 at 7:19 pm MichaelW

    …that Republicans have zero moral credibility to harangue anyone about sexual intolerance, dirty innuendo, and bad faith in general.

    So what? There aren’t any Republicans “haranguing” anyone here. Greenwald and Mona get what they deserve for their faux moral outrage. I don’t see you chiding them for attacking only Republicans.

  8. on 18 Oct 2006 at 7:22 pm Lance

    From Greenwald:

    How can any adherent to the Bush-led Republican party possibly protest tactics of that sort with a straight face? It is truly inconceivable.

    Not really. I have huge problems with the post, but one can support a party and be opposed to its flaws.

    I’ll give you an example. If I were Republican it would have nothing to do with my views on gays. I could protest both my own party and the Democrats. This is the Oliver Willis defense. It is alright to imply Rush Limbaugh is a pedophile because Republicans are meanies too. You and Greenwald can make that argument if you want, I don’t accept it. Have the gay staffers who are being turned into the morality police done anything to deserve this? You and Greenwald and the idiots over at Kos have no idea, but it is okay anyway because they support Republicans.

    Exactly how is driving gays out of the Republican party going to help ameliorate the parties issues with gays? It won’t. Of course that isn’t the point, the point is to harm the party and take revenge on the “velvet mafia.” Well I have had friends in the “velvet mafia” and they were some of the bright spots in the party. It isn’t about who can protest this with a straight face, it is about who will protest it period. I’ll take the hypocrites if it helps protect people who are nothing more than pawns in various people’s games.

  9. on 18 Oct 2006 at 8:43 pm glasnost

    I don’t accept it. Have the gay staffers who are being turned into the morality police done anything to deserve this?

    Possibly not. But it’s like this, Lance: there aren’t any Democrats punishing gay people in any way. If the Republican party was tolerant of gay people, the democrats could put up a list saying, “hey, look at all these gay Republicans”… and…. nothing would happen.

    There’s no one accusing these gay Republicans of any bad behavior. They’re just gay. And social conservatives like the family research council, like in those links I put up yesterday, are angry that there are gay republicans in congress.

    That’s fundamentally not the Democrats’ fault. I’m sorry that gay republicans who may (or may not) be nice people are taking cr*p from their own party for being gay, but you’re not just shooting the messenger, you’re avoiding criticism where it really belongs - at the *masses* of Republican demogagues who demonize gay people to get elected and to run campaigns.

    That’s why the gays in the republican party are closeted, and the gays in the Democratic party are out, by and large.

  10. on 18 Oct 2006 at 9:13 pm Lance

    That is completely beside my point.

    First of all many Democrats are creating an atmosphere filled with innuendo about gay people. They are responsible for that and the left should be calling them out for it.

    Not to mention when you “out” somebody you are exposing them to other peoples prejudices and to do it now is to do it at the worst time for them, and in an atmosphere the Democrats have a part in creating. If they want that, they can do it for themselves. All those people who are prejudiced are not Republicans by the way, but even if they were it would still be wrong.

    As for all the gays in the Democratic party being out, how do you know that? You don’t. It is just that there is no campaign to out them, no list. I know people who are not out, and they are not all Republicans by any means.

    I am not avoiding criticism where it really belongs. I just haven’t posted about the criticism I have about the “masses” as you call them. My criticism was leveled at one of the places it belongs. You don’t get these people off the hook with me by pointing at others.

  11. on 18 Oct 2006 at 9:20 pm Knemon

    “there aren’t any Democrats punishing gay people in any way.”

    I love you, baby. You know I love you.

    What’s that? Support your right to get married?

    Naah, baby. It’s not the right time.

    Now get out there and vote! (slap on the ass)

  12. on 18 Oct 2006 at 9:36 pm Lance

    glasnost, can we confine this topic to the post “the list.” It will make things much easier. For those wishing to join in head over via the link.

  13. on 19 Oct 2006 at 6:09 am A Second Hand Conjecture » Sullivan

    […] Speaking of Pejman, he has read my post on Mona and Greenwald. He is really happy to have her favoring his proposal now;^)Technorati Tags: Andrew Sullivan, gays, Iraq, Milton Friedman, Bush   […]

  14. on 19 Oct 2006 at 6:37 pm glasnost

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you didn’t read any of the links in that piece, did you? Greenwald is about as acquainted with “evidence” as his sycophants are with intellectual honesty. Tenuous at best.

    I don’t know, Mike, it seemed to me like the post I linked to had about ten different excerpted quotations. So, he made those up? That’s what we’re assering? You’re right, I undoutedly didn’t click every link. I felt the point was adequately made quite well without them.

    Bashing Greenwald is a sport among pissed-off right-wingers. You won’t see me sign up.

  15. on 19 Oct 2006 at 7:00 pm Lance

    So, are you saying that what I describe Greenwald doing in this and the piece on Reynolds being ant-gay is alright? It isn’t a sport, it is the truth.

    As for not clicking through, that is what Greenwald counts on. That is no big deal if you can rely on someone to represent others fairly, it isn’t with Greenwald. Take it from us. When we get linked less than 10% of people who visit a site actually follow the link, even if the link is most of the story, like at instapundit. Greenwald and Kos links have follow through of around 1 or 2%. They structure their arguments to discourage it. Go back and re-read my dissection of he and Coulter, I pointed that out then. I routinely follow every link of Greenwald’s and find out that almost always he has misrepresented what was said. Sometimes subtly, sometimes his link has almost nothing to do with what he claims it does. This is a man who claimed Megan McCardle is an inciter of violence, a user of eliminationist rhetoric. Jeez.

    It is also a bit rich to defend Greenwald as being picked on when Greenwald’s entire schtick is the attack, once again, just like Coulter. I doubt you can find one post at his blog that isn’t a rather vicious attack. So spare me tears over criticisms that are completely justified. I have not misrepresented him one bit.

  16. on 19 Oct 2006 at 8:41 pm Mona

    Lance: I’m not going to take on all of your vicious insults, and note only these two things:

    1. As you well know, I admitted that I, like 90% of the population (including David Weigel), wanted to bomb Afghanistan into the Stone Age right after 9/11. For the moral and sane among us, bloody carnage and revenge swimming in our heads passed. You know that was my point, I stated it clearly, but you imply otherwise.

    2. I can no longer access Pejman’s article to quote from it. It was breezy, and made it sound like well, gee, we can just win if we partition, with no indication what a huge and precarious endeavor that would be, but he wanted to assure all that it would still count as “winning.” By contrast. Col. Lang says it would be very tricky indeed, and cannot be done without a heavy component of competent diplomacy — a talent the Bush Administration shows no evidence of having.

    This will be my last comment here, for any reason. I’m moving in a positive direction, joining forces with those who understand with utter clarity how men like Glenn Reynolds, or the Michael Ledeens of this world, have abandoned themselves to authoritarianism and mindless devotion to war as a solution to the problem of Islamic terrorism.

    So, snipe away as you like; my time will be spent continuing to expose what is so wrong with the people you still defend, and also working toward the replacement of them in the halls of Congress, as well as in relative respect among the pundit class. I suggest that the rather excessive preoccupation this blog shows with Glenn Greenwald — and secondarilty with me — is indicative of something about you other than what you might think.

    In any event, me, I’m moving forward to see what can be done to fix the mess the Bush movment has gotten us into, pursuing coalitions to that end and such — and will continue, when necessary, to show the inanity and hypocrisy of Bush’s defenders. So snipe at me here as you like, but please stay out of my comments at Inactivist. You actually creep me out with your zealous and mean-spirited, juvenile discussion of both Greenwald and myself, and if I am to take pleasure in my own blog, I would ask that your disturbing presence not show up in my threads.

    I will do the same, and shall not show up here again.

    So long.
    (I have removed the email notification option, for I am done here.)

  17. on 19 Oct 2006 at 8:50 pm MichaelW

    Ding! Dong! The BWitch is dead!

  18. on 19 Oct 2006 at 9:04 pm Mona

    Addendum: I returned only to secure a copy of this last comment and its url.

  19. on 19 Oct 2006 at 9:18 pm MichaelW

    Addendum: I returned only to secure a copy of this last comment and its url.

    And you felt the need to tell us this because ……..?

    You can’t even leave in a huff without contradicting yourself.

  20. on 19 Oct 2006 at 9:49 pm Lance

    Mona,

    You are welcome to not come here. However, it is really funny to hear you complain about other people criticizing people. I hold no candle in that department to the likes of Greenwald or you. I certainly have mentioned both of you far less than either of you have mentioned Reynolds and numerous other people. I will also point out a another difference. You are attacking people, I am showing how you and the sock puppet misrepresent others. I would suggest those are two rather different activities.

    You know that was my point, I stated it clearly, but you imply otherwise.

    I didn’t imply anything other than at one time you were belligerent. I will say the idea that 90% wanted to bomb Afghanistan back into the stone age is a bit high. I certainly knew few people who wanted to be so indiscriminate. Not that I don’t understand it, I do. I just think given your support for the Iraq war and the above you are rather not the one to be giving people who opposed the Iraq war a tongue lashing over their belligerence. I certainly do not remember Glenn Reynolds desiring such a thing either, but I’ll check and see.

    I can no longer access Pejman’s article to quote from it. It was breezy, and made it sound like well, gee, we can just win if we partition, with no indication what a huge and precarious endeavor that would be, but he wanted to assure all that it would still count as “winning.”

    So if you say essentially the same thing, but it is too “breezy” you are a dunce who deserves ridicule, while Col. Lang is a steely eyed realist. Pejman doesn’t say it would be easy, he thinks it makes the most sense and it is hardly the only time he has posted on it. So maybe before we treat him as a joke we survey his numerous posts on the subject. I predicted you would come back with some “difference” that would make the positions so dissimilar as to deserve ridicule on one hand and high praise on the other. I’ll accept your explanation, but I still argue that the disparate treatment is bad faith.

    Oh, and the link is in the post if you need it. He, by the way, was quite pleased to know you are now a convert to the partition plan. Hopefully you will treat him with more respect in the future.

    I should point out one more thing, in no part of my post did I misrepresent you or Greenwald’s views. In fact, whenever you have felt I should have stated your views differently, I have agreed that it was fair, though you have never made a major complaint in that regard. Notice, if breezy is all you meant, I accept that, but it doesn’t change my main point about your treatment of the two.

    No, our argument has always been over whether your representation of others is correct, not that I am misrepresenting you.I was quite careful not to put words in your mouth. If defending others from your poisonous pen makes me mean spirited, well, I guess I am. You should be glad that nobody here has twisted your words to make you out to be believe something you do not such as vicious smears about desiring genocide, mass murder or other such nonsense. At least our argument is over what you do believe.

    Finally, I have never made a single post criticizing you or the sock puppet morally over a policy belief or anything like that as you two so often do others, though rarely does it seem to be an accurate representation of your victims beliefs. Those are mere disagreements to me. I criticize the two of you for your tactics and your dishonest treatment of others.

  21. on 19 Oct 2006 at 9:57 pm Lance

    Addendum: I returned only to secure a copy of this last comment and its url.

    That was weird. How would we know if she returned or not? Why would we care?

    Mona, you can come back all you want. You don’t have to tell us or comment. It is not as if you are from an ISP in Brazil which sticks out or anything when we look at our aggregate numbers. I mean if you were the only person who visited this site who was from Brazil, well you notice that somebody is visiting the site from Brazil. We wouldn’t know it was you unless we happened to know that you lived in Brazil. You don’t live in Brazil, so we would never attach the ISP to you. No, we would assume that we got lucky and have one fan from Brazil. Of course if you were from the Netherlands that wouldn’t work because we have lots of readers from the Netherlands. Brazil however, it seems only one.

  22. on 20 Oct 2006 at 2:14 am glasnost

    I tell you what, Lance. I haven’t read Pejman. I think the point on Reynolds/Greenwald/North Korea is debatable, by which I mean, maybe Reynolds is a warmonger, maybe he isn’t. I think Greenwald’s interpretation of Reynolds here is certainly in bounds. It’s not a picture-perfect capturing of how of the emphasis and nuance that Reynolds placed, sure - but if the blogosphere is anything other than taking people’s words and putting your own spin on what they imply or mean -

    It’s not. That’s the blogopsphere. In a nutshell.

    I read Reynolds sometimes, and he makes me angry quite a lot. He’s a got a very frustrating style. He’ll link to, oh, forty-five nasty, unfair, and/or tenuous testimonies painting withdrawal advocates as weak, unhinged, or stupid. Some he won’t comment on at all. Others he will post mild disclaimers, like “I’m not sure I agree with all of this, but”, or, “X feels strongly on”, etc. Neither I nor Greenwald are the only ones who don’t understand what the h*ll is wrong with the trash he promotes - both Greg Djerijan and Andrew Sullivan have lamented his role as the genial gatekeeper for a host of obnoxious, insulting, barbarian crap that he pleasantly dissassociates himself personally from.

    I sometimes feel like there’s an arc being formed, spanning across troll liberals like Dean Esmay to troll moderate-indies like Reynolds (and yes, here included, though not deliberately) all the way to out-and-out-hatemonger sites like Malkin, that disagrees on many things but all unites around the theme of bashing liberals, the genuine left blogosphere. I can tell you who is part of the arc or not by a sort of gut instinct.

    This isn’t neccesarily a something I can intellectually defend. It’s just something I feel at times. I see it as a product being marketed. And I see it as an exercise in groupthink.

    Now, sure, maybe Greenwald draws a lot more fire naturally than, oh, Matt Yglesias. Yeah, he’s generally on the attack. Yeah, I believe that Reynolds is pro-gay-marriage, although it’s not something I’d be more than peripherally aware of. It’s not as if he spends much time on his site dealing with the issue, taking on social conservatives, promoting gay rights, etc etc. I know Andrew Sullivan is pro-gay-rigths from casual reading. Like Reynolds’ views on civil liberty, his views on gay marriage from his blog are invisible to the casual reader.

    But the fact is, somehow you and I are both, supposedly reading Greewald regularly, and I think he’s right 98% of the time and very very careful and informed about factual matters, and you think he’s wrong and misleading most of the time. We’re both smart people and neither of us have an agenda. So how does this happen?

    You could explore that question as a genuinely interesting one, and I wouldn’t be posting with irritation - but instead you’re just playing the game. You’re bashing the bashers of the bashers. You’re putting up marginally accurate selective representations of Greenwald’s marginally accurate selective representations of examples of people he considers to be pushing marginally accurate selective represenations. To me, anyway.

    I’m not accusing you of anything specific. I don’t think you’re dishonest or a mendacious researcher, or any of the things you’re accusing Greenwald of, either. But sometimes I look at something you’ve looked at and think you’re wildly off the mark, making a totally unfair case. Who’s right and who is wrong? Is it always so black and white? Or are we squabbling over interpretations of ill-defined rules and semantic interpretation?

    While I might try to tear down that case, I hope I won’t ever cross the line into general demonization.

    I get angry and shoot from the hip as a commenter - I’ve done it from here, and I just savaged Reynolds in vague and possibly, from his perspective, unfair generalizations. Possibly I just did to him what I think you do to Greenwald.

    So what’s the lesson to be learned? I don’t know. But I’m a permanent skeptic of other people’s lessons on these subjects, their pejorative names and selective quoting.

    Everyone’s unfair. Djerijan is unfair. Sullivan is unfair. I like them both. Greenwald, as I semi- agree with you in one of two cases vs. Glenn Reynolds, maybe was unfair. Reynolds, to me, is unfair a lot.
    You’re unfair. Kos is unfair. I’m probably unfair at times.

    But I don’t buy this campaign. I fundamentally don’t. Greenwald resonates with a lot people, just like Malkin. Just like Malkin, he’s tapping into something related to reality.

    By the way, for a token counterpunch, next time Glenn calls for his political enemies to be executed, you can compare him to Coluter. Until then, it’s only an example of ,to me, how flawed your system of comparison is - the right-wing-shading, that arc of bias among everyone that hasn’t been pushing into a (possibly equally biased) leftosphere community of its own - that you compare the two.

  23. on 20 Oct 2006 at 2:25 am glasnost

    Expanding: When Ralph Peters, argues for such things he is a bloodthirsty warmonger who wants to kill more Muslims, with Greg the policy denotes him as a hard headed realist. I can only see one difference (not that they are two peas in a pod, there are notable differences, but that their policy prescriptions when it comes to this facet are similar, both advocate more force) from the point of view of someone who criticizes Mr. Peters so forcefully. Ralph Peters might criticize the President and this administration, but not with nearly the vitriol of Greg. If applying more force, increasing troops and combating militias to improve security does not mean Greg deserves the label warmonger, but others arguing for some variation of that who are not as vehement in denouncing this administration do deserve such criticism, then we are talking bad faith.

    I give you credit for trying to apply another, less blogospherically charged example of your theorem.

    But’s it’s not, Djerijan is not a warmonger while Peters is even though they call for the same policies.

    Djerijan doesn’t refer to those policies along the lines of “Armies are made to destroy things. We’ve become all wussy and sensitive and don’t let our soldiers fight a real, savage, unrestrained fight.”

    That was basically Peters’s article today on the new counterinsurgency doctrine.

    Greg simply says, “We need more troops in Baghdad.”

    While Peters may also support sending more troops, he’s talking about a lot of other things. Sending a lot of other messages.

    When I said that McQ backtracked today - and specified is probably more fair - it’s because his initial post, to me, seemed to be ambiguous. It could have either been “we didn’t kick enough ass” or “we didn’t send enough troops and secure weapons depots aggressively enough”. Djerijan is 2. Peters is 1. In comments, it came to appear that McQ was talking about 2. But who knows?

    The point is that people get the reputations they deserve. Peters - he’s in the new york post, it’s a good hint - is claimed to slaver for the blood of arabs because he mixes sensible military advice, maybe, with a tone of bombastic, apocalyptic rhetoric.

    I suppose you could say the same thing about Greenwald. But that’s not the same thing as writing him off as a huckster because Glenn Reynolds was taking one in a series of 1000 moderately-worded postshots at diplomacy, and Greenwald dared to fail to appreciate how subtle the potshot was.

  24. on 20 Oct 2006 at 2:35 am The Poet Omar

    Not to interject a basically pointless trivia reference into an otherwise interesting debate, but Michael, did you know that the title of your post is also the name of a book by David Horowitz?

    Was this a Freudian slip, a deliberate reference, or a complete coincidence?

  25. on 20 Oct 2006 at 2:56 am MichaelW

    … but Michael, did you know that the title of your post is also the name of a book by David Horowitz?

    Was this a Freudian slip, a deliberate reference, or a complete coincidence?

    This post, and the title, are Lance’s. I’m going to assume that he probably knew of the book. If it had been my post, that would have been pure luck.

  26. on 20 Oct 2006 at 3:28 am The Poet Omar

    Oops… somebody’s been dozing off at the keys. Must be the reduced caloric intake.

  27. on 20 Oct 2006 at 3:29 am The Poet Omar

    Lance, I redirect my trivia question to you.

  28. on 20 Oct 2006 at 3:30 am Lance

    Omar,

    I hadn’t thought of it, but I think I was aware of it.

    Glasnost,

    It is good to see you are being brief again;^)

  29. on 20 Oct 2006 at 7:10 am Lance

    It’s not a picture-perfect capturing of how of the emphasis and nuance that Reynolds placed, sure

    Nuance? Tend is not always. Overvalue is not no value. This is not a subtle difference. Spin is not the same thing as misrepresent. Nor is everyone does it an excuse. Greenwald does it in essentially every thing he does. Do you endorse claiming Reynolds in that post was saying negotiation is never a good idea with a hostile regime? I guess I’ll start reading Coulter, I mean it is just spin right?

    Neither I nor Greenwald are the only ones who don’t understand what the h*ll is wrong with the trash he promotes - both Greg Djerijan and Andrew Sullivan have lamented his role as the genial gatekeeper for a host of obnoxious, insulting, barbarian crap that he pleasantly dissassociates himself personally from.

    He links to all kinds of people, mostly libertarian and conservative, but liberals as well. Most are not obnoxious barbarian crap. One of my first posts was on Sully and Djerejian slamming Reynolds and it was obvious they hadn’t read him because he doesn’t agree with them about a couple of things. So whose word did they take? Greenwald, who of course lied about Reynolds. He is an aggregator blog! He finds views interesting and within bounds that you don’t, so what? He bashes liberals sometimes. Well, that is what people who disagree do. Actually he rarely bashes, he criticizes as gently as anybody around. Compare the vitriol flowing from Greenwald to Reynolds. It is no comparison.

    I have discussed putting together an aggregator page myself and specializing in areas Glenn doesn’t. Specifically the neo-libertarian/libertarian space. If I did I would be subject to the same criticism Glenn gets. It would be just as unfair.

    both Greg Djerijan and Andrew Sullivan have lamented his role as the genial gatekeeper for a host of obnoxious, insulting, barbarian crap that he pleasantly dissassociates himself personally from.

    I could say the same for them, and I could definitely say the same for greenwald who endorses far worse, though you might not notice because they are liberals.

    More to the point, what does that have to do with my post? You don’t agree with Glenn’s politics, so it is alright to misrepresent him, to lie?

    I sometimes feel like there’s an arc being formed, spanning across troll liberals like Dean Esmay to troll moderate-indies like Reynolds (and yes, here included, though not deliberately) all the way to out-and-out-hatemonger sites like Malkin, that disagrees on many things but all unites around the theme of bashing liberals, the genuine left blogosphere. I can tell you who is part of the arc or not by a sort of gut instinct.

    So what? We disagree with liberals. As long as we do not misrepresent them egregiously that is fine. If Glenn Reynolds accuses Greenwald of something along the lines of wanting to set up a harem of teenage boys because he says that having sex with a sixteen year old isn’t a crime then I’ll agree with you. Until then you cannot compare anything Reynolds does to Mr. Sock Puppet. Besides, the Puppetmaster is not a liberal.

    Also, are you saying there isn’t an arc doing that on the left? I have no problem with that, they disagree. I just expect them to not smear and misrepresent. While they are not liberals, Greenwald and Mona do, and from your comment you acknowledge that, you just say it is okay and they don’t really do it in such a bad way. I don’t think it is okay, especially when the charges are as foul as they tend to throw around. That is my opinion.

    It’s not as if he spends much time on his site dealing with the issue, taking on social conservatives, promoting gay rights, etc etc.

    Actually he does. That is why I was so flabbergasted. One of the reasons I enjoy Reynolds is he is a right leaning site that does spend time on the subject. You may not have noticed but this is a big topic with me. You’ll see more on it in the future. I searched his site and came up with lots of citations. He criticizes social conservatives regularly and is a booster of Ryan Sager’s book.

    You’re putting up marginally accurate selective representations of Greenwald’s

    I am going to dispute that. Not one thing I said wasn’t scrupulously accurate about Greenwald. If Greenwald showed up I doubt he would argue with my characterization of his views in this piece one bit. He would argue about my interpretation of Reynolds, my assesment of his logic, etc. He would not say he wasn’t saying Reynolds was anti-gay or that Reynolds rejects all negotiation with hostile regimes. He would not say he was being hyperbolic.

    Nor am I being selective. I could do this with most of his posts. Obviously there are other things i want to blog about. I am using a few pieces for representativeness. I also don’t feel like spending a lot of time defending Rush Limbaugh or many other targets, but he does the same stuff to them as well.

    But sometimes I look at something you’ve looked at and think you’re wildly off the mark, making a totally unfair case. Who’s right and who is wrong? Is it always so black and white? Or are we squabbling over interpretations of ill-defined rules and semantic interpretation?

    Usually glasnost we just disagree. For example on the outing thing. The facts are not the issue, though some of them may be unclear, it is whether it is okay. We disagree on that. Also, you tend to view some things we write through a certain prism which means you read into things I say that I am not intending. I know that fighting the ideological battle can lead to that, but that happens in our conversations at times. I’ll take a bow on that one, because I don’t think you have had cause to note that from me at all. I may be wrong, but I am very careful about what other people are saying, and if you notice, I ask lots of questions, including in this comment to make sure I understand. I try this with Mona, but it is like trying to spear an eel, it is constantly moving around.

    By the way, for a token counterpunch, next time Glenn calls for his political enemies to be executed, you can compare him to Coluter.

    That is what I mean about being careful. I have specifically noted that my comparison is not based on that kind of hyperbole. I am talking about the way they represent their opponents and build their arguments. In that sense they are directly comparable.

    Djerijan is not a warmonger while Peters is even though they call for the same policies.

    Djerijan doesn’t refer to those policies along the lines of “Armies are made to destroy things. We’ve become all wussy and sensitive and don’t let our soldiers fight a real, savage, unrestrained fight.”

    That may seem to be true because of their rhetorical style. There are differences between them as I pointed out. However, he is not just called a warmonger because of his style, he is called a warmonger for the policy. I have tried in the case of Mona to pin her down on that and that is what she says. It is the policy that is offensive and makes him a warmonger. I am not criticizing you (and I think you have noticed, I am willing to do so) but Mona in that piece.
    In addition, Greg’s policy amounts to the same thing. More troops and more aggressive security means doing pretty much the same thing. They can quibble over a few aspects of that, but the gap is small. The soldiers won’t be standing around directing traffic, they will be out attacking the terrorists and other bad actors. To say otherwise is to say they will not be doing anything over there. I understand criticizing his rhetoric, but in this case it wouldn’t make the reality of how those soldiers behave very much. Mona routinely condemns people who advocate more troops whether they use warlike language or not. Why not Greg? anyway I only used peters as an example, I could find others.

    The point is that people get the reputations they deserve. Peters - he’s in the new york post, it’s a good hint - is claimed to slaver for the blood of arabs because he mixes sensible military advice, maybe, with a tone of bombastic, apocalyptic rhetoric.

    Maybe so, but people should read Peters more closely. He caused a near riot amongst those who have been using the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric because he tore into them for acting as if Muslims were our enemy instead of the Islamists.

    To get a more rounded view of peters I suggest you read this.

    You will probably like this quote as will Omar:

    The most repugnant trend in the American shouting match that passes for a debate on the struggle with Islamist terrorism isn’t the irresponsible nonsense on the left - destructive though that is. The really ugly “domestic insurgency” is among right-wing extremists bent on discrediting honorable conservatism.

    How? By insisting that Islam can never reform, that the violent conquest and subjugation of unbelievers is the faith’s primary agenda - and, when you read between the lines, that all Muslims are evil and subhuman.

    I’ve received no end of e-mails and letters seeking to “enlighten” me about the insidious nature of Islam. Convinced that I’m naive because I defend American Muslims and refuse to “see” that Islam is 100 percent evil, the writers warn that I’m a foolish “dhimmi,” blind to the conspiratorial nature of Islam.

    Web sites list no end of extracts from historical documents and Islamic jurisprudence “proving” that holy war against Christians and Jews is the alpha and omega of the Muslim faith. The message between the lines: Muslims are Untermenschen.

    We’ve been here before, folks. Bigotry is bigotry - even when disguised as patriotism. And, invariably, the haters fantasizing about a merciless Crusade never bothered to serve in our military (Hey, guys, there’s still time to join. Lay your backsides on the line - and send your kids!

    ).
    Hardly the words of a man who wants to see the desert run red with the blood of Muslims. I suggest reading the whole thing. I often disagree with Peters, though he may be right in each instance, but most of the outrage is because he is saying things the way they are. He doesn’t hide the truth of what increased security and more troops means in the context of war.

    Look, you and I could discuss the NSA and the suspension of habeas corpus and have all kinds of disagreements. You can find the arguments bad or even offensive, unfair even. What I expect you will rarely see is me saying you believe something you don’t by selectively quoting you. Unfair is understandable, misrepresentation is dishonest. I think I heard someone say earlier today that truth was important.

    Mona and Greenwald are lying or acting in bad faith. I won’t excuse it. I may be wrong about some things, and you are free to feel so, but tend does not mean never nor does overvalue mean no value. Because you tend to favor government programs does not mean I get to claim you want to nationalize our industry and then refuse to correct the view. How productive would our many conversations be if you and I conducted ourselves that way? Could we learn anything?

    I value our conversations precisely because hwen I say something and you take it to mean something different than I intend or assume other things to interpret my meaning you at least attempt to understand where I am coming from. You don’t sit there and say “you do too mean that,” as if I don’t know what I meant. We don’t use the excuse that we disagree with each other to go off and fabricate a diatribe about how horrible the other person is without being willing to let them say clearly what they believe.

    Greenwald is a fabulist, I just think you are often mistaken, as you do me. Those are very different things.

  30. on 20 Oct 2006 at 5:31 pm glasnost

    More to the point, what does that have to do with my post? You don’t agree with Glenn’s politics, so it is alright to misrepresent him, to lie?

    I don’t think it’s alright to lie. I think whether someone misreprents someone is a subjective question, and that it’s impossible to separate interpretation of someone’s statements from drawing of conclusions and inferences about intentions and implications that may at times be considered misrepresentation - with any certainty. Barring clear spoken or written intention from said person expressing their intentions to misrepresent.

    For example, I don’t think Glenn Greenwald was wrong about North Korea and Reynolds. I think Reynolds couched his rhetoric, but the aggregate message I get from his blog is a consistent, steady, near-univeral stream of criticizing diplomacy with unfriendly nations. I wouldn’t testify that as fact beyond any dispute, but it’s the impression I have. I think that’s basically Reynolds’ message.

    I think both I and Greenwald are free to draw conclusions on that. I don’t think it’s bad faith.

    And I think that although you are right that Reynolds is officially pro-gay marriage, I think it’s also fair game to question whether and why he puts up stuff on his site from Rammesh Pomurru, who is definitely not. My personal judgement on Glenn Greenwald’s attempt to paint Reynolds’ as anti-gay marriage - in the sense of the particular instance he used - was that it was a weak and questionable instance. On the other hand, Harold Ford seems to definitely be anti-gay-marriage, and Reynolds, as you mentioned, is promoting him. Democrat or not.

    I don’t think it’s bad faith to ask these questions. I think the difference between a perceived misrepresentation and an insightful teasing out of the real message is a subjective question. I think if and when Greenwald puts out interpretations that I disagree, I don’t assume he’s mendacious or acting in bad faith. I think he either simply has a different interpretation, or else he simply failed to appreciate some nuance of an argument that changes the totality - another constant action.

    You’re trying to draw a line under Greenwald and I don’t think you’ve supported it. So, again, I suppose we just disagree.
    Truth is important. I don’t feel that you’ve demonstrated Greenwald as lying.

    As for Peters.. I have no particular axe to grind against him. But I don’t think it demonstrates bad faith to call him a warmonger. I think it’s an easy impression to get.

  31. on 20 Oct 2006 at 5:42 pm glasnost

    We don’t use the excuse that we disagree with each other to go off and fabricate a diatribe about how horrible the other person is without being willing to let them say clearly what they believe.

    If I ever do start a blog, I’m going to have a no-first-anti-other-blogger-diatribe rule. Other public figures is fair game, though.

    but tend does not mean never nor does overvalue mean no value.

    Yeah. This is true. However, frankly, Glenn Greenwald didn’t say, “Glenn Reynolds has said that negotiation has no value”. You’re interpreting Greenwald’s statements. You’re doing what Greenwald does to Reynolds.

    Here’s Greenwald’s quote:

    In response, Reynolds says that the Gregg interview “made me very grateful that he no longer has a hand in formulating U.S. policy.” Thank God that someone who thinks we should negotiate is out of government. After all, refusing to negotiate with North Korea has worked so very well.

    Reynolds is glad that someone who expressed support for negotiation has been kicked out of governemnt. That’s not a very moderate position in my opinion. In fact, it’s the position of someone I would say holds contempt for democracy. That’s not 100% proof. It’s just a reasonable inference.

    I actually hadn’t looked at your example recently, and I when I looked at it again, I was dissapointed. See, we can’t pin Reynolds down on a clear statement like, “I think everyone who advocates for diplomacy with North Korea should be kicked out of government.”
    Nope. That’s just what his statements logically suggest and infer.

  32. […] A Second Hand Conjecture has an excellent post about arguments made in bad faith. In other words, arguments made by Rick Ellensburg, aka Glenn Greenwald. […]

  33. on 22 Oct 2006 at 8:09 am glasnost

    Am I obsessive? Possibly.

    This is a defining anti-Glenn Reynolds statement….

    http://time-blog.com/daily_dish/index.php?dish_inc=archives/2005_09_01_dish_archive.html

    EMAIL OF THE DAY II: “‘Andrew Sullivan is completing his transformation into a Kos Diarist.’ Don’t you understand yet? You are either ‘with’ them or ‘against’ them! I understood perfectly well from the outset that all you were trying to do was show that the triumphalism of the Bush apologists (including Reynolds) was, shall we say, er… premature. Instapundit has been quoting and linking to triumphalist anecdotes about Iraq for the past 2-1/2 years, wholly unfazed by the fact that the news headlines give the lie to it just about every other day. Only unswervingly partisan hit-men seeking to score rhetorical points would have interpreted what you wrote the way Reynolds and his correspondents did. This is another example of the way your friend has lowered the level of debate. You should not have apologized.”

  34. on 22 Oct 2006 at 4:43 pm Pablo

    glasnost says:

    But it’s like this, Lance: there aren’t any Democrats punishing gay people in any way.

    Unless they’re Republicans. Then it’s open season on them and any salacious detail they can get their hands on is like homophobic manna from heaven.

  35. on 22 Oct 2006 at 5:25 pm bains

    I’m moving in a positive direction, joining forces with those who understand with utter clarity how men like Glenn Reynolds, or the Michael Ledeens of this world, have abandoned themselves to authoritarianism and mindless devotion to war as a solution to the problem of Islamic terrorism.

    No clearer example of why most of the world outside anti-Bush echo chambers ignores this writer. Framing a debate in such absolute terms forces those with whom you might find common ground into apostate status, and whose opinions and inputs might be valuable to be cavalierly discarded merely because they see no evidence that rational centrists such as Instapundit embrace authoritarianism.

    But at least Mona has Ellensburg, Ellers, Ellison and Greenwald agreeing with her.

  36. […] A popular costume for liberals this year is “the True Libertarian.”  Some, however, don’t find the costumes very convincing. […]

  37. on 11 Nov 2006 at 7:10 am A Second Hand Conjecture » Puritans’ Conquest - A Failure of Righteous Indignation

    […] Nevermind for now the general frothiness, distortions and mischaracterizations. Instead focus on the actual charge — Michael Ledeen lied when he claimed that he did not support the military invasion of Iraq prior to the war. If all you knew of Ledeen were from the two quotes above, it sure does look as if the RI Twins are right, and that Ledeen did indeed lie. At best, just judging from the “Yesterday” comment, Ledeen certainly looks to be on the untruthiness end of things. In fact, I’ll do one better than the RI Twins here and point out that the entire interview could easily be construed as Ledeen arguing for a military invasion of Iraq … if that’s all there was to the story. But, as usual with these two, there is much more to the story. I challenge you now to read the remainder of this post and decide for yourselves who is being deceitful. […]

  38. on 26 Jan 2007 at 5:15 pm A Second Hand Conjecture » I think Kevin Drum and I should talk

    […] I have said fairly frequently on this blog that it makes more sense to pay attention to those whom we disagree with who actually have something on the ball and to try and take on their arguments as they intended to make them rather than on the basis of what is easiest to attack. That is why I spend more time reading Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias than say Kos or Jane Hamsher (though I wish her well in battling cancer.) I guess I occasionally take a foray over to the Puppet Masters abode because he is certainly the best at attacking people at their weakest point, misrepresenting them, exaggerating, etc. […]

  39. […] The Politics of Bad Faith […]

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