The Watched

Gene Expression
Tim Blair
Scott Ganz
Glenn Reynolds
James Lileks
The Corner
Andrew Sullivan
Little Green Footballs
Stephen Green
Doctor Weevil
Pejman Yousefzadeh
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler

They Like Us

". . . a monumental disappointment."
- Pejman Yousefzadeh

". . . simply pissing in to the wind."
- Weekend Pundit

". . . misguided passivists."
- Craig Schamp

". . . shares Ted Rall's fantasies of oppression."
- Max Powers

". . . pathetic waste of pixels."
- Daily Pundit

" . . . anarcho-leftist cowards."
- DC Thornton

". . . a good read, apart from the odd witchhunt."
- Emmanuel Goldstein

". . . quite insane."
- Richard Bennett

"There's many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell." -- General William T. Sherman, Address, 1880

Keep Laughing

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(Note to literalists: the Watched column presently contains only a smattering of 'warblogs' because the facilitator of the template-change--Dr. Menlo--is not very familiar with them, and will be adding more as they are sent to him. Also, this blog may contain areas of allusion, satire, subtext, context and possibly even a dash of the surreal: wannabe lit-crits beware.)


[Watch this space for: Pentagon and Petroleum, The Media is only as Liberal as the Corporations Who Own Them, Wash Down With, and Recalcify]


Saturday, October 19, 2002



Now, you have an unprecedented opportunity to witness one man's descent into insanity online. Apparently having begun his 'journey' by dressing up as James Bond and pretending his CD is a gun, computer nerd Eric S. Raymond has been on a slide into insanity ever since.

His descent into insanity is exemplified by a series of posts, so self-evident in their detachment from reality, that they really require no commentary. Over at his site, Raymond has been going through the motions of putting together an Idiotarian Manifesto or some such. He's been trying to get the words right, trying to work out whether the terrorists, who he defines rather broadly, are "feral beasts" or "rabid dogs". This manifesto is the latest in a long line of ridiculous offerings from Raymond, beginning with his series of factually-challenged screeds ranting and raving about the evils of Islam and the hitherto unknown spectre of "Islamofacism".

Start here and read up.

• • • • •

Wednesday, October 16, 2002


"The squares are running it. What we need are hip people."
-- Oscar Brown, Jr.
Oct. 3, 2002 on Democracy Now

Warbloggers are squares, too, aren't they? Take Scott Ganz, for instance--that boy is so square that if he were standing next to Soupy Sales, he'd be cramping his style.

• • • • •

Tuesday, October 15, 2002



Well. It seems that known Chickenhawk and Coward Dr. Weevil has banned me from his blog Stalinist style. (Did we pro-Castro, Stalinist loving peaceniks ever ban anybody yet...?)I can't tell you how hurt I am. Doc Weevil, as you may recall, was the first one to offer the Shropshire Challenge. I want to stress that my earlier post is meant to be taken as an opening position. You are welcome to add your own considerations and additions to any such possible contract. Being that I believe in compromise and negotiation in all things, I'm willing to meet you halfway. Anywho, Mr. Weevil offered a longer rebuttal and I offered some healthy suggestions of my own in his comments section, where I subsequently found out that I was banned. So enjoy.

Hey, let's make it three weeks to get there. (I was planning to go by train, which might take more time and no I won't be bringing any of my blow up dolls...)

Make counter offers fellas. I know you're not into the negotiation thing but that's how the world works--unless you really want and need to blow people up.

Philip Shropshire

PS: How about those Bali bombings...Yet, I was under the impression that bombing Afghanistan had crippled Al Qaeda. Seems like those people were wrong, huh? Now, these id, uh, "people", are telling me that we have to invade Iraq or, what? We won't stop Al Qaeda...hoookayyy. It's not about the oil or anything like that...Posted by Philip Shropshire at October 15, 2002 12:04 PM

Am I the only person reading this who finds Shropshire's gloating over the Bali bombing disturbing?

Maybe he didn't intend it to be this way, but he comes across as being thrilled that al Qaeda is still a threat on the global stage (as if anyone denied this; it is precisely the fear that Saddam Hussein will equip al Qaeda with WMD that is driving us towards war with Iraq).

This guy considers himself a peace activist?

I guess it is all in how you define peace.
Posted by Iron Fist at October 15, 2002 01:51 PM

Well, it's not just Bali, it's also Yemen and what's happening in Kuwait. But let's recap the argument:

The warbloggers claimed that by bombing Afghanistan that we had dealt a severe blow to Al Qaeda.

People on the other side (myself included) argued that you're not fighting a war against states but against an organization that exists in 60 or more countries. We argued that you did nothing to stop terror by attacking one country--and that if you did pick one country you were probably better off picking either Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. Furthermore, not only would unilateral action not be effective against terror cells (As if you could stop the IRA by bombing Belfast...) but the completely opposite tactic, namely compromise and joint actions, would be needed to win the war on terror. However, to mix uses of force, to initiate joint operations with other countries, and use other incentives and punishments (other than killing the other guy) requires deeply intelligent leadership--which is something that we really don't have.

Some conclusions: You were deadly wrong about Afghanistan and you're probably wrong about Iraq. Not only are you not winning the war against terror, your dumb bombing frell the world attitude is making the world a deadlier place. I might note that none of these actions make me feel safer as an American. Posted by Philip Shropshire at October 15, 2002 02:42 PM

One other point: while I'm still waiting for you to come up with a counter offer, keep in mind that the $10000 fine has to be covered. That's because if it isn't covered the finee is probably looking at jail time. That's non-negotiable. Even if I just took the $2300, I'd still have to have that $10000 grand in place...

Where are your counter offers? No wonder you guys have to kill people who disagree with you. You lack the ability to find creative solutions...Pathetic. I will use the word chickenhawk every opportunity that I can...
Posted by Philip Shropshire at October 15, 2002 02:48 PM

You stay snug and safe in Pittsburgh, as you obviously have every intention of doing anyway, admit that you are no more courageous than the average 'warblogger', delete the offensive T-shirt depicted on your latest post on WarbloggerWatch, stop using the terms 'chickenhawk' and 'chickenblogger', and apologize for ever using them in the past. In return, I will keep my opinion of your moral character and intelligence to myself, and encourage other 'warbloggers' to do the same. In short, stop acting like an asshole and you can gradually get your reputation back, though it will take a while.

Alternatively, you may keep on insulting your betters and lying about your own willingness to risk your life for . . . what exactly? Not your country, or your beliefs, or any higher cause, but for a big pot of other people's money. (More money than some warbloggers have made so far this year, by the way.) Do you realize just how greedy, mercenary, and stereotypically Republican that makes you look?

Of course, the $10,000 fine is a red herring. It might apply if you went to Baghdad as a human shield, but you insist that you would only go as a writer. Has the U.S. government ever fined or jailed a journalist for going to Iraq? I doubt it.

Of course, we guys don't kill people who disagree with us, only people who try to kill us. So Shropshire is safe, but Saddam is not. Seems (relatively) fair to me.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at October 15, 2002 03:21 PM

What's that chickenhawk? Gawd you guys make me sick. It's obvious that I'm serious. You send the check and I will go. I'll make another concession being that you're a stereotypical ugly American and think that compromise is for weaklings: If I'm not fined, then let's return that $10000. Here's another offer coward: Of that $13000 remaining, I'll split it with a Warblogger and we'll go someplace dangerous and yes I do think that Israel and the surrounding territories are fairly dangerous places but remember I'm open minded. Please suggest other dangerous places that we can visit. I believe in compromise, negotiation, meeting the other guy halfway...Try it some time:


Philip Shropshire

PS: By the way, my belief in the hypocrisy, stupidity and yes the cowardice of the warblocracy is deepened by your every hollow shrilly exchange...One other point: I explained my thing on the money very carefully. Ted Rall got 8 grand. I'd like some money. There's a very good chance I won't be coming back. You don't mind if I get a paycheck do ya'? I thought you guys were capitalists, ready to invade Saudi Arabia for some oil? Gawd what cowardly pathetic hypocrites, on every frellin' level...
Posted by Philip Shropshire at October 15, 2002 04:08 PM

Philip Shropshire: Fuck you, you greedy lying coward. You are now banned from this site. Go write your filth on your own site.Posted by Dr. Weevil at October 15, 2002

• • • • •

Monday, October 14, 2002


GROTH: Was it dangerous?

RALL: It has its dangers. It's not really so much that as it is -- well, first of all, the diarrhea is just out of this world. It just goes on and on. The first time you go to Central Asia, you'll have it for two to three weeks, and you're completely liquid the entire time. You're just deadly sick. I lost about 40 pounds and I weigh about 200. I was pretty messed up. And also, the climate's extreme. One bus ride I took, I was in shorts and a T-shirt because it was 120 degrees, and that night I was freezing my ass off above the snow line in the mountains. It's very uncomfortable. And because the distances are so vast, you might routinely find yourself going four or five days without a bath because you're stuck on a bus. I guess the biggest hassle of traveling out there is documentation, because it's the former Soviet Union and there are checkpoints all throughout. You're constantly being pulled over and hassled by the police, who are always trying to shake you down for bribes. The first time I went, this just enraged me. I couldn't believe the systemic corruption.

Well, when Ted puts it that way�with the extreme diarrhea and the 120 degree days and the freezing your ass off nights and the systemic corruption�who wouldn�t want to go to no doubt equally Hellish and bowel challenging Iraq?

I have to accept the Shropshire Challenge (with some conditions.) I mean, Frell, Grady already has accepted like 14 times. I figure I can at least accept once. There�s just a few minor conditional details: Instead of $2000, I want enough money to risk my life, at least as much money as my crazed hero Ted Rall got (8 Grand) plus $5000 because I�ll be needin� bribes bribes bribes, and enough to cover the $10000 (1) fine that Americans face for going to Iraq. So, if you�ve got $23000 grand I�ll be taking that trip to Iraq! (Yeah I know sucks to be poor�)(I�m not rich enough to go anywhere for just $2000 for more than a month or so. I won�t have anything left to come back to. Got no trust funds around here.)This also answers another warblogger query: It takes a certain amount of wealth to be a rebel. The upper middle class people who threw their planes into buildings didn�t think like Americans. True, they had wealth and privilege but they didn�t think of themselves as rich because, unlike Americans�the bestest greatest keenest group of folks in the world who wouldn�t dream of killing 1 or 2 million peasants in Guatemala or East Timor�they probably thought I�m not rich unless my people are rich. I know, ker razyyyyy right Misha�

Keep in mind: The full amount has to be collected before I even deign to leave the Greater Pittsburgh area. I want half up front. The other half, including the $10000, should stay in the hands of a neutral third party, or a side or person that both side respects. I suggest the American Prospect. For that, I promise to spend a month in a war zone. Give me six weeks to get there (The only exception is if I�m physically not allowed to enter the country, then I should be given several (three) weeks to go to Dangerous Place option two or three. I choose my own transportation. If I don�t get to Iraq in time for the war, or if I�m not allowed in what may be the radioactive wasteland formerly known as Iraq then I�ll go to two other equally dangerous places: Israel, or the surrounding territories. And my third option is Venezuela. I�m game and I�m ready.

But I have to be honest, Iraq is probably the last place I�d like to be. I think that if Iraq is attacked then Saddam will unleash all the bad stuff that he does have. (I'll probably have to get a smallpox shot at the very least before I go.) Afterall, there would be nothing holding him back except Saddam's good conscience. Now, here's where it gets kind of interesting and it has to do with a point that Noam Chomsky made in a recent interview. Chomsky said that, essentially, Israel had once threatened the oil reserves by force which might yet be another reason the United States is such a strong supporter of Israel. Let's assume for a moment that our country is run by oilman and let us assume that maybe they've concluded that the biggest threat to their Crack-like oil supply is not the Arab countries, but a country that has over 400 nuclear weapons. Now, Sharon has said that he'll retaliate if Saddam attacks Israel with germ warfare. I'm making the assumption that Sharon means nuclear weapons. But what if the US doesn't let him? What if they decide to attack Israel preemptively in order to protect the oil supply? This is a pretty evil administration. The administration would simply have to choose what's more important: the sacred right of Israeli revenge or the pristine health of the oil fields and all the concomitant Bush/Cheney family oil deals tied to them past present and future. I think a sane presidential administration, not in the pocket of the oil industry or led by a guy who can pronounce words, would never lead us to such a point where such a horrific call would have to be made. Personally, I think this administration will always choose the pristine health of the oil fields over Israel.

It's also why I don't think attacking Iraq is good for Israel, unleashed bioplagues notwithstanding.

By the way, I will go as a writer, period. I'd rather not go, but if Ted Rall can go unarmed then maybe I can be courageous like him, at least once. I'd like to talk to and interview as many people as possible. I'll try to blog from the scene. Just like my hero, Noam Chomsky, I'm not under the illusion that Saddam is a nice guy. I just don't think that force creates longterm peace or stability as the quagmire known as Afghanistan would attest to, not to mention that Al Qaeda seems to be well and active. Wasn't Osama Bin Laden the primary threat? Oh, that's changed. I get it. It'll be France next week. And yes I'm open to negotiation. Bottom line: Collect $23000 grand. Write me a check for $11,500. I'll be in Iraq or options two and three within six weeks (If I'm not there, then you get your money back, unless I'm not allowed to enter the country or if there is no country, as I explained earlier.) Why, that's only $100 per venomous warblogger apiece and there's at least 500 of you. Send a commie pinko to Iraq. Come on. You warbloggin' cowards.

(1) This is a story about one guy who has already gone. Here's what I found in the story and here is the link: Neither that argument, nor the $10,000 fines imposed on some activists who've gone to Iraq in recent years without U.S. government permission, sway Mr. Mauger. Well, it sways me. I'm not rich.

• • • • •


(Art by the great great Bill Sienkiewicz)

I actually did a feature story about these cards back during the dark days when I worked for Scripps Howard. There are 35 cards that feature the worst assortment of dictators that we've supported. Whenever the usual heckler suspects show up at Warblogger Watch and talk about how wonderful our occupation will be for the Afghan /Iraqi people I just roll my eyes in disbelief at the screen. I mean, you support bloodthirsty dictators once or twice, then maybe it's not a pattern. You support bloodthirsty dictators 35 (not counting our recent democratic activity in Venezuela) times then, hey, that's a pattern. And an evil pattern at that. Anyway, check them all out. Here's what's on the back of this card.

President of Chile
On July 2, 1986, 18 year old Carmen Gloria Quintana was walking through a Santiago slum when she and photographer Rodrigo Rojas were confronted by government security forces. According to eyewitnesses, the two were set ablaze by soldiers and beaten while they burned. Their bodies were then wrapped in blankets and dumped in a ditch miles away. Witnesses who spoke out about what they saw were beaten and arrested. Such events are not unusual since "Captain General" Augusto Pinochet seized power from democratically elected President Salvador Allende in 1973, and buried Chile's 150 year old democracy. "Democracy is the breeding ground of communism," says Pinochet.The bloody coup, in which Allende was assassinated, was carefully managed by the CIA and ITT, according to the Church Committee report. Tens of thousands of Chileans have been tortured, killed, and exiled since then, according to Amnesty Intemational. A U.S. congressional delegation was told by inmates at San Miguel Prison that they had been tortured by "the application of electric shock, simultaneous blows to the ears, cigarette burns, and simulated executions by firing squads." Despite Chile's bad human rights record, the U.S. government continued to support Pinochet with international loans. Even the state-sponsored car-bomb assassination of Chile's former Ambassador to the U.S., Orlando Letelier, did not convince the U.S. to break with Pinochet. Chileans called for his removal in a 1988 election, but he clung to the presidency until 1990, and remains the commander of Chile's army.

(Note: these cards ended in 1990 so you don't learn about the very just effort to put Pinochet on trial over the last several years...)

• • • • •


There's a lot of good stuff in this Z Magazine interview with Noam Chomsky. One of the things that his foamin' at the mouth critics often miss, aside from the complexity of his arguments, is that he's very funny.

Here's a highlight:

8. How will the Iraqi people react to a U.S. attack on Iraq? What are the likely humanitarian consequences of a U.S. war?

No one has a clue. Not Donald Rumsfeld, not me, no one. One can imagine a delightful scenario: a few bombs fall, the Republican Guards rebel and overthrow Saddam, crowds cheer as US soldiers march in while the band plays "God Bless America," the people of the region hail the liberator who proceeds to turn Iraq into an image of American democracy and a modernizing center for the entire region -- and one that produces just enough oil to keep the price within the range that the US prefers, breaking the OPEC stranglehold. And Santa Claus smiles benignly from his sleigh. One can easily imagine rather more grim outcomes. That's a normal concomitant of the decision to resort to massive violence, and one of the many reasons why those who advocate that course have a very heavy burden of proof to bear. Needless to say, neither Rumsfeld nor Cheney nor any of the intellectuals urging war against Iraq have remotely begun to meet this burden.

Noam Chomsky: He'll be appearing at Chuckles all this week.

• • • • •

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