Monday, September 10, 2007

Burkean Truth

It all started with the post: Burkean Reflections: Antiwar Forces Paint Petraeus as Lying Traitor

As I've noted many times on this page, the hard left has become desperate in its attempts to discredit the administration, the military, and any other pro-victory contingents in American politics determined to see our efforts through. Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos has even put up a post telling Petraeus to f--- off.

Isn't that great? Leading antiwar forces have nothing remotely substantive to add to this debate, so they resort to name-calling, allegations of treason, and vulgar profanity. Remember though, we're not talking about fringe groups. Moulitsas himself has proclaimed many times that his movement is the future of the Democratic Party, and has become one of the party's biggest sources of unofficial "issue advertising" attacks

So, I followed the Kos link, really expecting to find Markos telling Petraeus to fuck off, like Donald said. (I didn't doubt it might be true... From what little I know of Markos, he does occasionally tell folks off in no uncertain terms.) Here's what I found:

by kos

Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 09:43:30 PM PDT

Six months. It's always six months.

(from NYT): The top American commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, has recommended that decisions on the contentious issue of reducing the main body of the American troops in Iraq be put off for six months, American officials said Sunday.

And check out this graph. How many bets that Petraeus will show that one in his upcoming congressional testimony?

Update: After his congressional testimony, where will Petraeus go? Straight to Fox News for an "exclusive" one-hour interview, apparently to shore up the support of the dead-enders.

If he wanted to build credibility as a "serious" and "non-partisan" military leader, he'd have chosen legitimately non-partisan news outlets. But that's not what he is.

Nary a fuck anywhere in the post. Two references to six months, though... (Three, if you count the NYT quote.) ((& I suspect that Markos might've been trying to reference the line from Raiders of the Lost Ark : "Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?"))

So, I posted the following at Burkean:

Just a quick correction... The F.U. in Kos's post stands for Friedman Unit, that ubiquitous six month timeframe until "we find out...whether a decent outcome is possible" in the Iraq War. Thomas Friedman has been making these "six months more" predictions since 2003, and many others, particularly among those who support the occupation, have joined him in kicking the can just another six months (give or take) further down the road.
repsac3 | 09.10.07 - 12:09 pm | #

And Donald's reply:

Repsac3: No offense, but are you daft? FU stands for one thing for the majority of Americans who would see a post title like that. Of course it's a take on Friedman, but there's no doubt in my mind where Moulitisas would like Petraeus to stick his report.

These guys are the worst, and here you go defending this bull! I've said this many times in my exchanges with lefties, but this time takes the cake. Is there no low to which you'll stoop in defending the most vile activities and statments of the hard-left?
Donald Douglas | 09.10.07 - 1:59 pm | #

So then I says:

Of course it's a take on Friedman, but there's no doubt in my mind where Moulitisas would like Petraeus to stick his report.

In other words, you knew what he actually meant, but decided that he really would like to say FU (in the more offensive meaning) to Petraeus, so even though you knew his post refered to those Friedman Units, you made it seem otherwise in your post here...

That seems dishonest to me, Donald... You did nothing to correct the incorrect assumption of all those poor Americans who read Kos, but don't already know about FUs (I kinda doubt there are many. Those that read Kos've probably heard of FUs, and those that haven't heard of 'em probably don't read much Kos); in fact, you helped reenforce that misunderstanding... So much for truth...

Since when is clarifying the facts defending anyone? Both of us know that F.U. meant Friedman Unit. Seeing as how you knew what I said was true before you made the post, how is it "defending Kos" for me to say so? And why isn't it propaganda for you not to've said so in the original post?

(For the record, I actually thought you were making an honest error yourself, and would welcome the clarification, as you did when Tuggle corrected your Lincoln quote. I'm more disapponted to know you intentionally misunderstood, just to make your point.)

If telling the truth about what the guy actually wrote is stooping to any kinda low, you might want to rethink your relationship with the truth. No offense.
repsac3 | 09.10.07 - 2:31 pm | #

And Donald's rejoinder:

Repsac3: It doesn't matter what I knew. FU is FU, and you won't denounce it.

And you argue with me about truth? If Kos wanted to write a post about the "Friedman Unit" he should have. He's disgusting, and frankly, you're on the wrong side on this one.

Donald Douglas | 09.10.07 - 2:39 pm | #

I tried to reply at Burkean several times, but could not wrap my head around the fact that Donald knows he intentionally left the actual meaning of F.U. out of his post, and instead wrote about that which he read from the mind of Markos.

(Donald seems big on reading into "the intent of the poster (or author)," particularly when criticizing those with whom he disagrees. It isn't always what you actually write, but what Donald believes was in your head when you did so that counts.)

Donald admits he knew what Markos meant by titling his post F.U.. If there was any doubt, those three references to six months in the Kos post are a big clue. Donald just doesn't care, and doesn't think anyone else should, either. Like he says, "FU is FU," so even though he was able to understand it for what it actually meant--puting the lie to that "If he meant Friedman Unit, he should've said Friedman Unit" spin. Donald read & understood it, perfectly--it was his duty to pretend otherwise, and denounce Markos for something he didn't say.

I'm gobsmacked, because I really thought Donald was an honest broker for his position, and have said so to other lefties. (Hell, I've been linking to him on my blogroll, claiming he is a part of "the rational right.") While he generally is more polite than many of the other right wing bloggers I've spent time reading, some of his recent posts have called other aspects of his character into question.


UPDATE: As is my habit--I prefer not to talk about others behind their back, I let Donald know I posted this:

I don't suppose this'll go over well, but I'm stumped as to how to get through that kinda "FU is FU (no matter what I know)" logic...

Wingnuts & Moonbats: Burkean Truth

I look forward to your reply.

I hope he doesn't ban me, but I can't say as I'm sure he won't. I'm finding him unpredictable, of late...



Repsac3, several weeks ago, Mr. Douglas trolled Echidne’s blog, leaving a series of comments under at least 3 separate posts where he knew his comments would annoy Echidne’s liberal readers (shameless self-promoter that he is).

I followed the links back to Burkean Reflections to read what he had to say. Sure enough, he did attract a smattering of Echidne’s readers but, instead of engaging them in dialogue, he treated them derision and scorn. Kind of like the schoolyard bully who invites the nerdy kids to his house only to beat them up. That is his style.

In case you haven’t noticed, sooner or later, Mr. Douglas will dissemble and decompensate. I have never disguised my disdain for his behaviors and have enjoyed annoying him as much as he enjoys annoying others. After awhile, however, it gets old; so I don’t go there anymore. It is a total waste of time.

I’ll give Mr. Douglas credit for at least one thing: It was at Burkean Reflections where I discovered your site. Since then, I check here from time to time to read what you have to say.

repsac3 said...

As far as Donald, I'm really beginning to think that what you say may be all too true. I saw his willingness to play around with opinion as fact in our first encounter (I was largely a spectator, but we did spar, slightly), so I'm not all that surprised to find he goes in for a variety of rhetorical tricks & faulty argumentation techniques.

I did think he treated people (even those with whom he disagreed) with more respect than so many I've encountered on the right. (Most I've met seem to've gone to the Ann Homenym School of Political Discourse, and start making fun of your name or calling you a Commie within their first few sentences.) I thought he lacked that rightwing meanness gene... But recently (perhaps about the time you first posted on his blog) he began these attacks on leftwing bloggers that at the very least, make me wonder whether I was mistaken about him. Only time will tell.

I find that I enjoy reading a few rightwing blogs to get their perspective and (try to) understand where they're coming from. Once they get too vicious or lose all sense of logic (& Donald is doing a little of both, of late), I stop commenting, but I tend to keep reading, if only for the "car wreck" fascination of seeing them do the things they do...

As far as your stopping by regularly, I'm honored... You're the first person to say (or admit to doing) so... I should actually write more of my own stuff, but I tend to get too wrapped up in reading the work of others, and aggrigating some of it back here with those quick (Digg, mostly) posts. Now that I know you're coming, I'll try to keep you in mind, and actually write something once in awhile... 8>)


Good Evening Repsac3,

Thank you for your comments last night. This will be a quick reply (I started a “clean and paint the garage” project earlier this week and lost myself in the clutter).

A few thoughts to share with you tonight. I have a preference for liberal blogs, in part, because I find them less contentious. Yes, liberal bloggers can and do engage in snark and smear and sometimes make the same illogical and emotionally charged assertions as conservative bloggers. On the whole, however, I find more scholarship and circumspection in the liberal community.

Nevertheless, there is no challenge in seeking echo chambers for one’s own thoughts, so I visit conservative blogs in search of constructive dialogue. Perhaps there is always a bit of self-skepticism that says: “Maybe so-and-so is right after all.” At least I am willing to explore and listen, but I have not yet found a comfortable forum.

Some qualifications: I make a distinction between “conservative” and “neo-conservative.” I find myself having more shared beliefs with moderate, mainstream conservatives than the neo-con community. In fact, I do not understand neo-cons at all. To me, they are a swarm of angry bees at war with everyone else. Even the neo-cons smear William F. Buckley whom they regard as a “dried up has-been” and whom I regard as “my kind of conservative.”

Which brings me back to the subject of Mr. Douglas. He labels himself a “moderate conservative’ yet acts like a neo-con; and I believe this is his con.

Echidne, one of my favorite bloggers from the left, defines various levels of trolling. The most crude, she says, is the drive-by shooter who leaves behind invective, scatology, or irrelevancies to stop the comment thread. The more sophisticated troll employs stealth and guile. On Echidne’s scale, Mr. Douglas qualifies as an advanced-degree troll. (I’ll look for the link and sent it to you.)

In my last comment here, I did admit to deliberately pushing Mr. Douglas’ buttons “annoying him as much as he enjoys annoying others.” That is only part of it. The other part is testing where his “lash out” threshold is. The garden-variety narcissist will lash out and devalue those who thwart them or do not mirror the kind of adulation the narcissist thinks he/she deserves. Mr. Douglas, in my opinion, has demonstrated a rather low threshold.

Well, enough of Mr. Douglas. I am excited that you intend to take more interest in your own blog. You have worthy things to say, and I shall return (visiting my youngest daughter for a few days so it won’t be until Monday).


Hi Angel: Know your enemy - one of the first principles of battle...
Donald Douglas | Homepage | 09.30.07 - 6:29 am | #

repsac3, I am parking this comment here for a later discussion.