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April 26, 2004

Your Monday morning dialogue. Andrew Sullivan quotes a letter from “a military chaplain in Fallujah”:
This country became a welfare state under Saddam. If you cared about your well-fare, you towed the line or died. The state did your thinking and your bidding. Want a job? Pledge allegiance to the Ba’ath party. Want an apartment, a car, etc? Show loyalty. […]

So, we come along and lock up sugar daddy and give these people the toughest challenge in the world, FREEDOM. You want a job? Earn it! A house? Buy it or build it! Security? Build a police force, army and militia and give it to yourself. Risk your lives and earn freedom. […] We don’t want to be plantation owners. We make it clear we are here to help, not own or stay. They get mad about that, sometimes.

Now let’s hear from one of our leading foreign policy intellectuals. Giblets, of Fafblog:
Damn straight! Giblets for one is sick of these pampered Iraqi welfare moms and their “ohhh feed my family” and their “ohhh rebuild the infrastructure you blew up.” Learn some gratitude, Iraqis! We come halfway around the world and take the time to give weapons to your dictator, start a war with him, crush your economy with sanctions, start another war, blow up your power plants and your cities and disband your police, and we did it all for you, so you could grow up to be as mature and developed a nation as we have become. And this is the thanks we get!

Freedom is not free, Iraqis! It has a price. And that price is being invaded crippled and occupied by a foreign military. If you cannot handle freedom we’ll just have to hand you over to a “democracy-minded strongman.” And this one might not be the sugar daddy that Saddam was.

Can there be any doubt that Fafblog is increasingly the crucial public-affairs website of our day? It is the best blog. It is the Fafblog. [08:59 AM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Your Monday morning dialogue.:

Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2004, 09:27 AM:

It's the New York Times op-ed page to The Daily Show's Face the Nation. --Satire isn't dead; it joined the chattering classes.

And those ID folks say we've never witnessed evolution in action.

Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2004, 12:42 PM:

Not to denigrate Fafblog! (which is indeed, as advertised, truly the whole world's only source for Fafblog), but there's even more silly stuff in the letter -- like the assertion that we can be sure that the lurkers support us in Falluja because that's what they tell "our psyopers".

I have a bit of fun with that here, albeit in the middle of a much longer post...

Jane ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2004, 01:10 PM:

You know not to trust anybody who would start a socio-political discussion with the ignorant misuse of an idiom:

If you cared about your well-fare, you towed the line or died.

Note to world: You do not "tow the line" as in Saddam Hussein the swordfisherman in a trawler; you "toe the line" as in Saddam Hussein as the worst gym coach in the world making you do sprints down a basketball court.

Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2004, 01:22 PM:

You know not to trust anybody who would start a socio-political discussion with the ignorant misuse of an idiom

I don't trust Andy Sullivan because he's a nitwit.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2004, 01:24 PM:

"well-fare" is an unusual usage as well

Thinks: maybe a new 'Survivor' or 'Big Brother' or 'Frontier House' franchise - set down a bunch of typical USA &/or UK &/or Aust citizens (with interpreters) in a couple of typical Iraq houses, then put some Iraqis similarly, perhaps in a 'difficult' neighbourhood, in one of the western countries. Then see how each set deals with the different challenges.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2004, 01:50 PM:

My opinion... (this will be a shocker, I'm sure of it) Sullivan made that letter up.

Forget the, "towed the line," error, the whole thing lacks the right sort of rythmn. The reference to Los Angeles murders, and then to Northeast Minneapolis gangs, death rates by automobile, and the polemical talk to, "America," are not the style of soldiers, nor evan of army chaplains (who can be some pretty blood-thirsty types, sad to say. The Church militant had nothing on some of the guys I've seen with crosses on their collars).

The whole bit about the relief in place, the crack houses (I don't know where that came from... an attempt to make this seem relevan to cleaning up the bad parts of town, so the reader will , "identify" with the poor SOBs who have to go into Fallujah) battle rythmn, the caricature of the opposition, all that rings false.

The part I found most false is the, "psyopers." One: It's properly psy-op, and often psy-ops, but never (and this isn't the same as helmet vs. kevlar, it's more like boat vs. ship, and he's calling it a dinghy. No one, and I mean no one, in my experience, calls them psyopers {which wants another 'p']).

Two: That isn't psy-op's job. They don't monitor opinion at that level. Tactical Humint Teams (interrogator, counter-intelligence agents and an interpreter) do that, and they bring back a far more nuanced picture of the local mind than, "they come up and tell us they want to help, but dare not for fear of reprisal." Heck, if I was in a place which was as Iraq was, I'd know how to tell the powers that be, what they want to hear, so that sort of commonplace would be taken with a grain of salt.

But Hey! That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Mustapha ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2004, 04:04 PM:

They get mad about that sometimes

That line alone made me want to do something unpleasant to the condescending arrogant imperialist.

Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2004, 06:02 PM:

Mustapha, do you hear echoes of Rudyard Kipling in that phrase? I know I do, although Kipling's language was a bit more, um, high-toned.

Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2004, 06:19 PM:

Linkmeister, I hear echoes of Kipling in a lot of the news out of Iraq.

Unfortunately, the US Government is wearing earplugs. It didn't listen to Kipling when he was alive.

Kevin Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2004, 07:34 AM:

I still don't believe a connection between Al Qaida and fafblog has been proven. That meeting in Hamburg was just a blind date set up by his semi-Jewish aunt and the veal marsala was undercooked.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2004, 08:41 AM:

Per section 5,271,009 of the PATRIOT Act, we're not permitted to comment on that. As I'm sure "Cousin Kevin" is well aware.

Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2004, 06:09 PM:

Want a job? Pledge allegiance to the Ba’ath party. Want an apartment, a car, etc? Show loyalty.

And George Bush was green with envy, too.

(I hear Democrats are still allowed to work for small left-wing publications. Or Wal-Mart.)

Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2004, 07:45 PM:

Terry: My opinion... (this will be a shocker, I'm sure of it) Sullivan made that letter up.

Alternatively, perhaps someone sent it to him via e-mail. Perhaps the subject line started with FW: Fw: Fw: FW: Fwd:....

It hasn't shown up on Snopes.com yet, but it may......

If I get it forwarded from my freeper father (oh, the shame), I'll let you know. Everything - bar none - that he has ever sent me of this nature has been listed as urban legend on snopes.

julia ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2004, 11:54 AM:

Oh my.

Thank you for Fafblog. I can't imagine where I've been.

I got a good ten minute giggle out of Ariel Sharon's To Do list.

Michael ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2004, 11:51 AM:

Yes, it is the Fafblog! And we are grateful. But it is the whole world's only source for Fafblog! And what happens if this source runs out?! Where will we go for Fafblog then? Will we have to invade some other country where more Fafblog may be obtained to satisfy our demand? Is there a suitably Fafblog-containing country also suitably populated by oppressed brown people who will welcome us as liberators (as brown people are supposed to) and fail to notice (as brown people are supposed to) when we help ourselves to their precious, lifegiving Fafblog? These are the questions I ponder as I lie awake at night.

rps ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2004, 05:56 PM:

And can there be any doubt that Andrew Sullivan is the most overrated idiot in the blogosphere? And that the world is in a sad state when his blog is 5th ranked in traffic?

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2004, 12:54 AM:

How many are there is classified, but let me tell you this: there are more people in the northeast Minneapolis gangs than there are causing havoc in Faluja. Surprised?

Last I heard the cops didn't have to call in fire support from AC-130 gunships to control the gangs in Northeast Minneapolis. For that matter, I hadn't heard that the gangs of northeast Minneapolis had fought the Marines to a standstill.

"We are not going to do a pell-mell rush into the city," Kimmitt said. "It's going to be deliberate. It will be precise and it will be overwhelming. We will not rush in to make things worse. We will plan our way through this and we will re-establish control of that city -- and we will pacify that city," General Kimmet said on 01APR04. Here we are, thirty days later, "repositioning" outside the city. Guys, this is not good.

This is not what "winning" looks like.