Sunday, November 26, 2006
Awaiting the hour of reprisal, your time slips away:
Anne-Marie doesn't remotely have the worst piece in the most disgraceful issue of TNR in... let's say weeks. That distinction has to go to a blithering idiot named James Kurth. His argument is that in order to "demonstrate the unbearable cost and utter futility of the Islamist dream of establishing a Muslim umma under the rule of a global Sunni caliphate," the U.S. must "inflict a dramatic and decisive defeat" upon the Sunnis, which includes not only a military campaign of mass destruction but a partition of Iraq to leave them "stateless."

This may tickle the prostates of Marty Peretz, Frank Foer and Richard Just, but to everyone else, it's laughable how an argument this idiotic makes it into print. MP, FF & RJ will surely huff that TNR's role is to allow a hundred schools of thought to contend -- open the sluice gates for all that is neoconservative and neoconservativ-ish! -- but really now. First, Kurth is too stupid to realize that the reason why we haven't inficted "a dramatic and decisive defeat" upon the Sunnis is that we, you know, can't. Does he think that Generals Casey, Sanchez, Odierno, Batiste, Petraeus, Chiarelli, McKiernan, et al., are a bunch of pussies? Who wouldn't prefer inflicting defeat on the chosen enemy? Alas, Kurth is too stupid to realize that the war one gets is not always the war one wants.

This is nowhere near the stupidest thing Kurth writes. That would be his proposal to allow the Kurds to declare independence and keep the rest under the control of Moqta -- oh, whoops, Kurth doesn't quite understand that that's what his proposal to allow the Shiites perpetual control of rump-Iraq entails
. No matter -- to forestall an "Islamist regime", he writes -- and what will the Shiites have, retard? --"the Sunnis have to be subordinated so that they have no state at all." Then he spends the rest of the piece talking about other stuff. So, understand this: the thing to do is to ensure the Sunnis have nothing. The U.S. should basically become a janjaweed force of sectarian elimination. On top of that, the U.S. is fighting a broader ideological struggle to convince a billion fucking Sunnis around the world that it has no beef with them, fundamentally. I'm starting to suspect James Kurth is an agent of Usama bin Laden.

One last thing. I learned through four years at TNR that the employees there have quite a curious view of how their magazine is read. Many at TNR believe people read the magazine like TNR staffers do -- that is, draw distinctions between Marty and the staff; and between the right-wing pieces and their own. When it's pointed out that this level of Kremlinology is unreasonable to expect in an audience, they tend to get snippy. It occurs to me that it's a way of avoiding responsibility for these sorts of idiotic pieces, and to avoid ever standing up to the fools who insist on publishing them. Attention New Republic writers: This is a broadcast of Radio Free Liberalism. Rise up against your appointed masters! They will crumble at the first display of force... Let fury have the hour, anger can be power -- d'you know that you can use it?
--Spencer Ackerman
I would just like to say two things:

1. As a liberal reader of The New Republic, I do distinguish between the conservative articles (Ponnurru's article on abortion or anything written by Kaplan or Peretz for example) and the ones that are actually worthwhile (Rieff, Chait, Beinart,Rosen,Ackerman...oops).

2. Although I think it was an obvious mistake to fire you, it seems even more obvious that Peretz's criticism of you as "immature" is spot on. Your denunciation of Furth's ideas (although right they may be) seems clouded and diminished by your name calling ("retard" etc.)
Blogger DevinCarpenter | 1:58 AM

Some people just don't appreciate invective. Personally, I thought it all rather measured. What, after all, is the appropriate word for a man who believes that the group whose secular dictatorship long ruled Iraq should be ethnically cleansed in order to make room for a devout, aggrieved, long-repressed majority, who inexplicably will eschew theocratic government upon ascending to total power. Impolitic, it turns out, is not necessarily incorrect.
Blogger IOZ | 5:02 AM

Devin Carpenter, I'll plead guilty to immaturity. As well, I'll plead guilty to self-righteousness. These are flaws of mine that I probably don't try hard enough to correct.

But I do feel that a certain unbearable lightness when it comes to a war is a far worse character flaw. Especially for people who should -- and, in private, often do -- know better.
Blogger Spencer Ackerman | 8:47 AM

Point taken.
Blogger DevinCarpenter | 9:37 AM