The Heart of the Problem

If you wonder why things are so bitter between the left and the right, you need look no farther than this statement from Max Sawicky:

“If you had your way, Saddam would still be in power.” Yes, if I had my way, Saddam would probably still be in power. And ten thousand American families would not be suffering. That’s an easy call.

When you disagree so completely about the way the world works and our role in it, arguments and disagreements are not a result of partisan politics- we simply disagree, and there is little that will gulf that chasm. Anything that happens in Iraq is going to upset one of us, and with such widely divergent viewpoints, it is near impossible to find a middle ground.

And no flaming of Max- he is one of the few members of the left who I believe has survived the last 5-6 years with his integrity intact- he just has a fundamentally different viewpoint on most issues than I do. While I think he is wrong, I respect his opinion and the fact that he rarely ventures into the absurd nastiness you see every day on Oliver Willis’s or Atrios’s sites.






23 replies
  1. 1

    I respect his opinion and the fact that he rarely ventures into the absurd nastiness you see every day on Oliver Willis’s or Atrios’s sites.

    Or balloon juice? This is one of those perception things, I guess. It doesn’t seem to me that lefty sites are more nasty than righty ones. Most bloggers are nasty towards the people they disagree with. The few places that allow for thoughtful discussion as opposed to snark are, in my opinion, Sebastian Holdsclaw, Jim Hensley, Arthur Silber (on the libertarian side) and Matthew Yglesias and Kevin Drum on the left.

  2. 2
    John Cole says:

    I would argue that Oliver and Atrios blog with a degree of viciousness that far surpasses what happens here- and mainly, my viciousness is elected for public officials. Not so for the aforementioned two.

  3. 3
    Hank Scorpio says:

    It’s fundamentally dishonest of you to snip the last two sentences of his statement without giving the context– yet another attempt by Glenn Reynolds to smear the entire left with cherry-picked statements from fringe figures, out-of-context quotes, and simple idiocies. (Jimmy Carter was the last Democratic President?) Congratulations for being part of the problem you decry.

  4. 4

    John,

    My point was that it isn’t a left-versus-right thing. Individual bloggers have different nastiness factors.

  5. 5
    M. Scott Eiland says:

    (Jimmy Carter was the last Democratic President?)

    Read it again, idiot. It says “the last Democratic President but one.” Is English a second language for you, or are you still getting the kinks out of it as your first?

  6. 6
    John Cole says:

    Hank-

    I was not, as you claim, “fundamentally dishonest” in any wayshape or form. MY comments did not take his position out of context whatsoever- that is his position, that given the option between US military intervention or not, he would opt for not, and Hussein would still be in power.

    I am in no way, shape, or form, asserting that he would not pursue other options to get Hussein out of power, I am simply quoting his precise statement, without getting into his spat with Reynolds.

    I even hyperlinked it so you could read what Max wrote for yourself. Jesus, you people.

  7. 7
    M. Scott Eiland says:

    If the metric for the justifiability of a war is “suffering American families,” a telegram sent by FDR to a certain address in Berlin on or before December 8th, 1941 saying “leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone” would have probably let a few million families rest easy. Until, of course, the problem that FDR thereby ignored blew up and resulted in even more American families getting bad news.

  8. 8
    Kimmitt says:

    There are two things I love about this post:

    1) It implies that the security threat from Iraq was anything like the security threats from Imperial Japan and the European Fascist states.

    2) It implies that the suffering and death of American soldiers should be irrelevent to the decision-making of our leaders.

    If I had my way, Saddam would still be in power . . . and, hopefully, Osama would have been long since captured and/or killed. In addition, US troops would now be deployed in the Sudan and the Republic of the Congo, and I’d be listening to the screeches of right-wing blogs about how the US is not the world’s policeman and how the willingness of US, French, and Russian corporations to give Saddam kickbacks was allowing him to fund terrorism. Then I’d find out about international banking reforms which would have solved that problem.

  9. 9
    Hank Scorpio says:

    My mistake, Scott. I read it on Oliver Willis instead of Max Speak. I see you’re as big of a prick here as you are at the Tacitus (I loves me some dead Palestinians!) circlejerk. And your statement on Roosevelt makes absolutely no sense, especially since Nazi Germany declared war on us first. It’s just another idiotic warblogger attempt to pump up everything into WW2 redux. Typical.

  10. 10
    Terry says:

    This Link to a brief post by Glenn Reynolds gets it about right relative to Max and Oliver.

    http://instapundit.com/archives/020826.php

  11. 11
    Oliver says:

    Lectures on decency coming from John Cole are like lectures on marital fidelity from Bill Clinton.

  12. 12
    M. Scott Eiland says:

    Hank,

    You were the one who started throwing around “idiotic” and “fundamental dishonesty,” only to have me demonstrate that the terms fit you better than they did GR. As for Oliver’s inaccurate quote, that’s what you get for using one of David Brock’s paid whores as a source.

    Oh, and do you really think that Hitler would have declared war on the US immediately if he knew that we would stay completely out of Europe? My, aren’t we naive.

  13. 13
    RW says:

    Wow..I went to Max’s site this morning, before your link, and left a comment (he and I have a good relationship, as I do with most folks on the left).

    Looks as though he must’ve gotten a link from one of the places you noted, John, because it’s become infested with the DU-sorts that hang out at the noted places, which is unlike Max’s place.

  14. 14
    HH says:

    And to think Max was one of the last lefty bloggers to defend Cynthia McKinney.. and he still has more credibility than most of the rest of them.

    Interesting to see that suddenly Bill Clinton is no longer defended on that count…

  15. 15
    SDN says:

    Kimmitt,

    The security threat from Iraq in 2003 was about like the threat from Germany in 1936. Bush invading Iraq now is equivalent to FDR invading Germany in ’36.

  16. 16
    Kimmitt says:

    The security threat from Iraq in 2003 was about like the threat from Germany in 1936.

    I’m sorry, how long would it have taken Saddam Hussein to muster the most powerful army on the planet? Your post here seems to imply about three and a half years.

    I’m going to ask my wristwatch, which is a pretty worldly piece of timekeeping. How long would it have taken Saddam to muster the most effective army on the planet, Mr. Wristwatch?

    My wristwatch says, forever. Further, it says that I’m a complete idiot for even asking the question. If you’ve got a problem with that, I think you need to talk to the wristwatch.

  17. 17
    SPQR says:

    Pretty strawman you built there, Kimmitt. Gonna marry it?

  18. 18

    You would think Oliver would know better than to keep inventing silly similes.

  19. 19
    Mr. Bowen says:

    No, knowing Oliver, you wouldn’t. That lad couldn’t think his way out of a paper bag.

  20. 20
    Mr. Bowen says:

    A really big paper bag.

  21. 21
    Kimmitt says:

    Pretty strawman you built there, Kimmitt. Gonna marry it?

    1) Nice handle.

    2) What did I miss? The fellow pretty clearly equated Iraq to a nascent Fascist Germany, capable of launching a world war.

  22. 22
    Richard Aubrey says:

    Okay, Kimmit.
    What would get your attention?
    Half a world war?
    A third?
    Suppose we lose the Great Power model of world war and substitute a bunch of second-rate powers attacking Israel (Samson option, anyone?) under cover of the confusion caused by SH not having the world’s largest army but one large enough to make trouble he erroneously thinks we’ll duck?
    Note that, in 1936, absent your crystal ball, you’d probably have sneered at the French operations against the militarization of the Rhineland.
    Which, of course, didn’t happen when Hitler had far from the most powerful army on the continent.
    Here’s the question:
    How many small fights are you willing to accept if you are convinced that one of one hundred will prevent the next world war, but you don’t know which one?

  23. 23
    Richard Aubrey says:

    Okay, Kimmit.
    What would get your attention?
    Half a world war?
    A third?
    Suppose we lose the Great Power model of world war and substitute a bunch of second-rate powers attacking Israel (Samson option, anyone?) under cover of the confusion caused by SH not having the world’s largest army but one large enough to make trouble he erroneously thinks we’ll duck?
    Note that, in 1936, absent your crystal ball, you’d probably have sneered at the French operations against the militarization of the Rhineland.
    Which, of course, didn’t happen when Hitler had far from the most powerful army on the continent.
    Here’s the question:
    How many small fights are you willing to accept if you are convinced that one of one hundred will prevent the next world war, but you don’t know which one?

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