Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The hair of the dog that bit him

Andrew Sullivan admits that the side of the blogosphere that he used to be on has gone, well, looney:

I find myself having to agree with Glenn Greenwald [also here] on how the far-right blogosphere has jumped the rhetorical shark this past year, aided and abetted by more mainstream conservative bloggers.

But he can't quite let go of some of his old tricks:

By the way, one of his commenters again brings up my infamous sentence a few days after 9/11 when I predicted that small enclaves of leftists might blame America for the attack and become what amounts to a "fifth column." I regret that rhetoric, expressed my regret days after the piece was published, and only ever applied it to those who immediately sympathized with al Qaeda in September 2001. As for my later comments about opponents of the Iraq war being "objectively pro-Saddam," that seems to me to be indisputable. If they'd had their way, he'd still be in power.

The apology seems abject enough, but he's again playing games with that quote: it was never qualified to refer to "small" enclaves, or to people "who immediately sympathized with al Qaeda" after 9/11. [Beyond unverified claims about people on the street in Brooklyn cheering and a few ultra-fringe elements, the Right has never produced evidence of any surge in sympathy for al Qaeda after 9/11, and definitely not in proportion to the rage it generated in their keyboarding].

And then there's the definition of "objectively pro-Saddam" -- not the bastardised innuendo of the old left (well, of Orwell, really), as was clearly intended when first used, but now covering anyone who thinks that maybe leaving Saddam in power wasn't necessarily a bad option. Like George Will, who Sully had just gushingly linked to a few posts back:

[Will] Still, it is not perverse to wonder whether the spectacle of America, currently learning a lesson -- one that conservatives should not have to learn on the job -- about the limits of power to subdue an unruly world, has emboldened many enemies ... As for the "healthy" repercussions that the Weekly Standard is so eager to experience from yet another war: One envies that publication's powers of prophecy but wishes it had exercised them on the nation's behalf before all of the surprises -- all of them unpleasant -- that Iraq has inflicted.

One suspects that Will is probably still stinging more from being tagged as "not that bright" by Kramer than as "objectively pro-Saddam" by Sully.

UPDATE: A reader calls him out on the same point. And [21 June] enclave member Eric Alterman responds directly.

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