About that Warblogger Vibe

Sullivan, a little over an hour ago:

2003 Again

Some stragglers on the left do not seem to have gotten the message. Check out this defense of Ahmadinejad’s victory and warning about “the birth pangs of Obama’s new regional order.”

Yeah. I was just imagining things when I talked about sensing a 2003 warblogger vibe in the coverage of the events in Iran.

*** Update ***

A commenter claims he is referring to Crowley’s discussion of his 2003 comments from an earlier post, and that is what “2003 Again” refers to. I’m not convinced.

35 replies
  1. 1
    Johnny B. Guud says:

    I almost want Sully to get back to digging into the Trig Palin conspiracy…

  2. 2
    Comrade Stuck says:

    The Great Wingnut Wulitzer is back on line, Mr. Peabody.

  3. 3
    Jim-Bob says:

    Now can we be done with Sullivan, John? Pretty please. And I don’t mean that we spit on the ground at the mention of his name, but that we can expect fewer of his posts to be held up as paragons of sensible thought on the Right.

    I mean, shit, not to make this personal, but the guy fucking replied to an email of mine accusing me and others of siding with the terrorists over “those who would protect Americans.” And this was a few years after he accused those of us who urged caution before going to war of being coastal fifth-columnists.

    Sullivan is a fucking charlatan. A stylish writer with absolutely NO substance or integrity. And at times he’s batshit insane.

  4. 4
    Comrade Stuck says:

    Some stragglers on the left

    Straggled Turnips would have had more panache.

  5. 5
    Brachiator says:

    I guess I can never quite understand the fondness that some British leftists have for authoritarian regimes in other countries. The way that Milne dismisses the protesters as “gilded youth,” as though they were Cambridge students having fun during their gap year, is quite remarkable in its foolishness, and not much of an antidote to any supposed Warblogger vibe.

  6. 6
    Delia says:

    You know, for a while there I thought that Sully had actually learned something from from his tragic struggle with the Great Satan that was the Bush Administration. But alas, no. It appears that the big problem was that the Bushies are just not overly fond of Sully’s kind and that got on his nerves after a while. And, to be fair, it did shock him to find out that imposing democracy at the point of a gun involved the copious use of torture by the World’s Greatest Democracy.

    But anyhoo, that’s all in the past, it appears, and he’s off on another Heroic Quest, bringing Democracy and the Free Market to benighted parts of the world, using his, um, biting wit and talent for changing the colors on his website.

  7. 7
    b-psycho says:

    Um…why the fuck is Sullivan invoking the run up to the Great Iraqi Snipe Hunt if he’s realized it was a mistake?

  8. 8
    John Cole says:

    @b-psycho: Exactly what I was thinking. When I invoke 2003, I use it to urge caution about what is going on in Iran. I mean, after all, everyone knows Saddam has WMD, amirite?

  9. 9

    Maybe Amnesty International should shut up about the crackdown, too.

    If you don’t want opposition to what the Iranian government is doing to feed into the warmongers’ narrative, then don’t make denunciations of the crackdown the sole property of the warmongers.

    Otherwise, you’re acknowledging that they – that you, John, come to think of it – are right when they claim that only people who support regime-change wars are interested in democratic reform in the Middle East. They love that talking point, and I see no reason to give it to them.

  10. 10
    Shalimar says:

    2003 Again

    Why does Sullivan seem to think this is a good thing we should all get on board with? I thought most sane people now agree that 2003 was an unmitigated disaster for US foreign policy?

  11. 11
    Comrade Stuck says:


    I thought most sane people now agreed that 2003 was an unmitigated disaster for US foreign policy?

    Like a junky contemplating their next fix. It’s the rush, man, the RUSH.

  12. 12
    br says:

    While I agree that Sullivan waltzed into loony town days ago with this Iran obsession, that Guardian article he links to is pretty atrocious as well. But I agree that referencing 2003 makes no sense and only makes the guy from the Guardian seem more reasonable.

  13. 13
    JenJen says:

    Just like 2003, John. Sully was right to begin with!


  14. 14
    burnspbesq says:

    Who is Simon Milne, and who dropped him on his head when he was an infant?

  15. 15
    Lyle4 says:

    I imagine tons of people have been e-mailing Sully about the irony involved in all this crap he’s spewing about 2003, but he’s probably too busy painting his face green and screaming ALLAH AKBAR!!! to read them.

  16. 16
    John Cole says:

    @br: The content of the article is immaterial. It is the taunts at “the left” and the invocation of 2003 I am talking about.

  17. 17
    Comrade Stuck says:


    that Guardian article he links to is pretty atrocious as well.

    I thought it was spot on in pointing out the ideological contradictions of internal politics in Iran, and what we are fed in the media, right and left. Achmaniajob = bad,, Mousavi =good with no context of the motivations of voters for their respective candidates, and the numbers in the actual voting blocs in Iran.

  18. 18
    dslak says:

    @br: And the reason that Guardian article is atrocious is due to how poorly-informed it is. How many middle-class university students collect garbage? How many of them work at auto plants? How many of them are doctors and nurses? How many of them are regular imams?

    All of these are groups which have also come out in support of the protests, so decrying them as mere bourgeois clamoring for more subsidies is thin gruel. That kind of analysis was at best excusable a few days ago. It’s pure hackery at this point.

  19. 19
    br says:

    @John Cole: Agreed.

    @Comrade Stuck: I think Larison has been pouring plenty of reasonable cold water on the Western party line, but this Milne dude is yet another pompous Englishman talking out his ass. The crap about “The western media focusing on Iran’s gilded youth” is just insufferable.

    EDIT: like what dslak said.

  20. 20
    demimondian says:

    @Brachiator: Is Milne associated with old labour?

    Ahmadenijad reminds me of nothing as much as some of the old up-from-nothing union executives in some of the trade unions. These guys were tough, smart, and clever — and thuggish to their hearts of their hard cores. Old labourites remember the time in which those dinosaurs ruled with nostalgia.

  21. 21
    El Cid says:

    I asked last week what people thought that enthusiast solidarists as Sullivan would do if it should be the case that their revolutionary allies of the moment didn’t win. I certainly do hope for the best, the Iranian regime is a bunch of backwards shitbags, but the question remains — what are the principles and guidelines of the liberal hawks’ solidarity with Iranian activism, and what will their calls be for the U.S. foreign policy establishment to do to Iran if Mousavi doesn’t prevail and the regime doesn’t fall, neither of which is looking set to occur.

  22. 22
    Comrade Stuck says:


    I think Larison has been pouring plenty of reasonable cold water on the Western party line,

    And Larison being our go to Iranian expert. Sorry no sale. That said, it seems apparent that fraud occurred in favor of Achmeninojob, but most actual experts agree the race would likely have been close one way or the other.

    And further, that the general outline in the article of each candidates supporters was generally accurate, with no doubt plenty of exceptions. My point is an effort was made to look under the hood, that so often falls short in our sound bite US media.

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Maybe Amnesty International should shut up about the crackdown, too.

    Not shutting up about the crackdown is Amnesty International’s job. Not even the most right-wing mullah can make the case that they’re American stooges.

    Shutting the fuck up lest we make things worse — again — in Iran is America’s job.

  24. 24
    Duckrabbit says:

    If you scroll down on Andrew’s blog, there is a post called “Deja Vu” where Michael Crowley reminds Andrew of his mistakes on Iran in 2003. That’s what “2003 Again” was referring to, not Iraq. Here’s the link:


  25. 25
    br says:

    Alright, John wins. Sullivan posts the question: “Could Iran Do What Iraq Could Not?”


  26. 26
    MattF says:

    Sullivan’s political and behavioral repertoires haven’t changed. He’s still, for lack of a better word, excitable. And if this all comes to a bloody end, we’ll probably see some regrets… in a few years.

  27. 27
    Jon H says:

    Well, at least he’s not using “the Left” to describe some center-left moderate blogger.

    Milne is probably more like the English Left types Sullivan contended with at school, farther left than American liberals.

  28. 28
    Jon H says:

    @br: “Alright, John wins. Sullivan posts the question: “Could Iran Do What Iraq Could Not?”

    At least he’s not suggesting we have to do it for them. Progress!

  29. 29
    Duckrabbit says:

    @br: Win he does. What the hell is wrong with Andrew?

  30. 30
    srv says:

    What Larison said. Sullivan and the fanboys enable the neocon narrative and help Ahmadinejad at the same time. These people are double-down fuckups.

  31. 31
    John Cole says:

    @Duckrabbit: I don’t like to frame it that way, because I do think he is on the side of the good guys on this one.

  32. 32
    John Cole says:

    Plus, he is pissing off all the right people- Goldfarb is jew-baiting again, even after Sully approvingly linked to him the day before.

  33. 33

    @ Mnemosyne:

    Shutting the fuck up lest we make things worse—again—in Iran is America’s job.

    That’s good advice for Obama, but as you say, “not shutting up about the crackdown” is a job for private parties.

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    @John Cole:

    The content of the article is immaterial. It is the taunts at “the left” and the invocation of 2003 I am talking about.

    The problem is that the linked article is so bad that it spreads its taint over everything else.

    Similarly, Sully’s reference to 2003 is so pointless, so unnecessary that it taints his point as well. So it’s not so much that it returns to a warblogger vibe as that even Sullivan is unaware that the Iranian context is very different from that related to the Iraq mess.

    demimondian – Is Milne associated with old labour?

    Good question. A unsourced note in his Wikipedia bio claims: “A member of the Labour Party, Milne was a member of the national executive of the National Union of Journalists between 1989 and 2000.”

    Mnemosyne – Shutting the fuck up lest we make things worse—again—in Iran is America’s job.

    Yes, because even the Iranian people must pay for Kermit Roosevelt’s sins. Screw these ungrateful wretches if they ask for our assistance in any way, and appear to welcome efforts to keep Twitter and other outlets operating as the government tries to shut them down. To hell with them if they seem to be willing to endure the worst.

    I got no problem with saying that the official US government position needs to be cautious and non-interfering. But I can’t go along with any kind of absolutist position on this.

  35. 35
    Bobby Thomson says:

    To learn from the mistakes of others means you have above-average intelligence.

    To learn from your own mistakes means you have average intelligence.

    To repeat your own mistakes means you are Sully.

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