Friday, March 29, 2013

Iraq and right and wrong

Here March has really turned into reflections on the Iraq War as we include various people's reflections and take a look at various groups.  Going through the e-mails quickly this morning (in the public account and ones from community members in the private e-mail account), there are questions about what will get noted and what won't?

Kevin Horrigan offered "A lot of us fell for the Iraq War song and dance" (Columbus Dispatch):

But anniversary stories are useless unless there’s a larger point to be made. Here it is: We got had, and some of us were complicit in it. The war went so sour, so fast and for so long that these days, it’s hard to find anyone who’ll admit to supporting it. True confession: I did. For a while.
I bought the whole “Saddam has weapons of mass destruction” argument. There may have been people saying, “He’s just running a bluff,” but nobody paid any attention to them.

I don't know Horrigan's work other than this week's column.  This week's column?  I have no problem with it.  I wouldn't have spent the time I have speaking out against the illegal war if I felt it was all about which of us were right and which of us were wrong ten years ago.

20 years from now if someone who supported the Iraq War in 2003 realizes it was wrong, I take that as a good thing.

The law of averages means that we will all be wrong at some point.  Please note, politicians can be wrong as well but they get more information (including classified information) and get less sympathy from me so these comments do not apply to politicians.  But I'll be wrong on something today, I'll be right on something today.  Probably most people will have better odds than me on any given day when it comes to being right about something and good for them.

And you can be right or wrong in any tone and I really don't care -- sincere, sarcastic, run with it.  I don't forgive efforts at public stoning.  So Andrew Sullivan can be embraced and swallowed by all the ridiculous idiots in the world, he'll always be trash to me because he repeatedly led the public stonings to shame people into silence.  He's disgusting and he's anti-democracy.  He doesn't deserve to be welcomed by the left because he has nothing to offer but hatred and he'll infect everyone around him he can.  That's what Media Matters has already done to much of the left, turning us into a tired photographic negative of what we loathed about the right wing.  [See John Stauber's ""The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats" (CounterPunch) for more on that.] 

Sullivan didn't just disagree with people, he took part in organized efforts to destroy people because he didn't like what they were saying.  He doesn't get the concept of democracy or support a marketplace of ideas.

But people can be wrong -- including me -- and that's part of life.  If someone was wrong about the Iraq War and they realize it, that's a good thing.  There's not a purity test on you must have been right from the beginning.  The media and politicians worked awfully hard to trick and deceive people in the lead up to the Iraq War.  Even without all of that, as humans we're going to be wrong, we're going to be fallible.

One thing that has changed for this site and for me is that we're not worried about a right wing voice being heard here.  This site started at a time when the left had no voice in the media and still doesn't.  There's a pretense that it does but it doesn't.  These aren't voices against war and for the people.  These are little whores on MSNBC who shake their asses for the corporations tucking dollars into their g-strings.  As Chris Hedges noted this week at Truthdig:

The celebrity trolls who currently reign on commercial television, who bill themselves as liberal or conservative, read from the same corporate script. They spin the same court gossip. They ignore what the corporate state wants ignored. They champion what the corporate state wants championed. They do not challenge or acknowledge the structures of corporate power. Their role is to funnel viewer energy back into our dead political system—to make us believe that Democrats or Republicans are not corporate pawns. The cable shows, whose hyperbolic hosts work to make us afraid of self-identified liberals or self-identified conservatives, are part of a rigged political system, one in which it is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, General Electric or ExxonMobil. These corporations, in return for the fear-based propaganda, pay the lavish salaries of celebrity news people, usually in the millions of dollars. They make their shows profitable. And when there is war these news personalities assume their “patriotic” roles as cheerleaders, as Chris Matthews—who makes an estimated $5 million a year—did, along with the other MSNBC and Fox hosts.

But because there's money to be made in pretending, the left point of view -- though not really voiced in the media -- isn't demonized by the media the way it was in 2003.  A good argument can be made that the media now works overtime to demonize the right-wing point of view currently.

The other change is that if someone's got something worth saying, I often overlook certain things that I wouldn't have before.  For example, an e-mail noted Eric Alterman's piece here.  And he can and has been a pain in the ass in the last years.  For starters, see  Elaine's "From the Mixed-up Mind of Eric Alterman" -- a response to one of his piggy e-mails to her.

But people can change.

That they can change doesn't mean that they do.

I was eager to see what great point Eric Alterman had made and was honestly glad he had made one.  Then I made the mistake of reading.

Has Alterman ever had a minute of  true happiness in his life?  If so, it's not evident in his writing.

Some right winger gets the title of his book from a decade ago wrong (his very bad book, very sexist book) and he has to respond with four lenthy paragraphs in a letter to the editor.  No surprise, the right winger responds in kind.

Which leads to another letter from Alterman that Alterman has to reproduce in the same bad column.  In the second paragraph, he kicks things off with "I’ll be as brief as I can" and you know he's going to prattle on for six paragraphs more.  Which he does.

And then he's done with the second letter to the editor but not done with the topic.

Let it go, just let it the ____ go.  People are going to disagree with you.  Learn to handle it.  Every opinion does not require a response.

I loathe Twitter and don't see the point.  I have too many friends who are destroying their careers with Twitter -- forgetting that you can't piss off a large portion of the audience and then trot out your new movie or your new album or your new TV show and expect the same people you've been insulting to now give a damn.  If the realization that we're not all alike didn't kick in, you'd think at least a drive to survive would.  (To be clear, I have no problem calling out sexism, homophobia, etc.  But demonizing people because of how they vote or where they shop or other nonsense is just petty.)

However, though I strongly oppose Twitter, Eric Alterman is the type of person who would benefit from Twitter.  Instead of having the space to repost all those paragraphs of his own letters to the editor, he'd be forced to limit himself to 140 characters.

And that might be a good thing.

The following community sites -- plus Media Channel, the Pacifica Evening News, C-SPAN and -- updated last night and this morning:

The e-mail address for this site is

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