In addition to buying weapons (in defiance of UN sanction) from North Korea, Ethiopia has also decided that starving rebel regions is appropriate behavior:
The Ethiopian government is blockading emergency food aid and choking off trade to large swaths of a remote region in the eastern part of the country that is home to a rebel force, putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk of starvation, Western diplomats and humanitarian officials say.
The Ethiopian military and its proxy militias have also been siphoning off millions of dollars in international food aid and using a United Nations polio eradication program to funnel money to their fighters, according to relief officials, former Ethiopian government administrators and a member of the Ethiopian Parliament who defected to Germany last month to protest the government’s actions.
While I’m sure that “More Rubble, Less Trouble” Reynolds and Ralph Peters believe that this is a great (the only!) way to deal with rebel groups, I’d like to think that the US should be reluctant to support countries that intentionally starve significant elements of their population. Maybe I’m overly hung up on moral clarity, but sending weapons and investing in a quasi-alliance with a state that would engage in such tactics seems, well, bad.
I mean, really, it doesn’t occur to anyone that it might be a bad thing to support a country that invades its neighbors, brutally oppresses ethnic minorities, and defies the international community? Or should we simply think of this as laying the groundwork for a US led “war of liberation” in 2020, or so?
Steve nails it. For some reason, the Politics of Resentment wing of the Bush-dead-enders club seems to think that poking holes in the arguments of celebrities is some sort of major coup. (Glenn Reynolds has written at least 6 posts about Sheryl Crow this week.) What they don’t seem to realize is that the only people who give a rat’s ass what Rosie O’Donnell or Sheryl Crow or Sean Penn have to say about anything are conservatives. You’re really not sticking it to anybody; you’re just demonstrating that you’re incapable of engaging with serious arguments. (Which, if you’re still an uncritical defender of the Iraq War at this late date, pretty much goes without saying.)
Recently, I wondered about the reliability of Glenn Reynolds’s claim–invoked yet again–that Talleyrand 1)said that “you can do anything with bayonets, except sit on them,” and 2)that he actually meant this as an endorsement of the Green Lantern Theory Of Geopolitics. Jim Henley answers:
What bayonets are genuinely good for is stabbing people and threatening them, unless they’ve got a bayonet and a longer reach or, worse yet, ammo. The thing is, stabbing people and threatening them is a very tiny subset of all possible human actions and interactions. The internets are not good for getting the full context of Talleyrand’s remarks, but he appears to have meant it as a caution against overreliance on military power. He was foreign minister of a government conceived in high ideals, birthed in terror and ruined, at the end, by the conviction that attacking, and attacking first, was the only appropriate response to every foreign risk. In his own way, Talleyrand himself was trying to point out how little bayonets are good for. He was talking to Napoleon, but he might have been talking to Glenn Reynolds, albeit no more successfully.
This isn’t surprising. But, at any rate, it’s all beside the point; even if Talleyrand did mean that military force can accomplish anything, it means that Talleyrand once made an exceptionally stupid argument, as the Iraq War is demonstrating so tragically.
Shorter Glenn Reynolds: Coming up with kooky schemes for illegal death squads and casually accusing political opponents of hating America for disagreeing with your idiotic foreign policy preferences represents a Serious Interest In Ideas as long as you don’t swear.
And for bonus serious ideas, John Quiggin documents how Reynolds has Very Seriously repeatedly touted George W. Bush’s masterful outfoxing of Moqtada al-Sadr. Thank heavens he didn’t curse and deprive us of these profound insights!
…And I forgot to mention–InstaPunk says that we should also take the comments sections of the blogs into account. Given that most top 20 liberal blogs have comments and a majority of Top 20 reactionary blogs don’t, that’s a nice hedge!
For no especially good reason, I happened to be listening to Rush Limbaugh this morning and overheard one of the most remarkable rants ever. For starters, while on the subject of Moktada al-Sadr, Limbaugh implausibly claimed that the failure of the US to “level Fallujah” in April 2004 somehow “strengthened his hand.” Sadr, of course, is Shi’a, while Fallujah is a Sunni city. So that was a moment of high comedy that was utterly lost on the caller who wondered — Rubble Boy-like — why we weren’t “quietly” assassinating people who were causing trouble for the US in Iraq.
Limbaugh then proceeded to explain that if history taught us anything, it was that the US managed to win the second World War because it decided — wisely, in his view — to target civilians and collectively punish them for the crimes of their governments. The rules of war, he explained, are “different” now. (This is of course not true; while the conduct of war has changed, the rules of war have not. Or, rather, they have — in response to the senseless atrocities of World War II. But this is a niggling point to someone who believes that rules follow conduct and not the other way around. So much for law and order, I suppose.)
I’m not sure who Limbaugh would urge us to “target,” though I’m utterly fascinated at the short distance that Limbaugh and his listeners traveled from the assassination of a cleric to the “leveling” of Iraq’s civilian population.
I wish I knew how to retrieve transcripts for talk radio programs so quickly after they air, but I’m assuming the good people at Media Matters will be on this soon enough.
Radley Balko (click through for a summary of all the evidence of how much violence has dropped because of the surge) on the Instapundit-approved evidence-free assertions of Patrick Ruffini:
I wish I could say that it’s merely amusing to watch politicians and war supporters play with other people’s lives to save themselves the embarrassment of having wasted so many lives already. “If only we send a few thousand more other peoples’ kids into harm’s way, this whole “remap the Middle East” plan will finally start to materialize. Then you’ll see. We were right all along.”
Alas. It’s not amusing. It’s horrible. And infuriating. And sad.
…Roy also points out Ruffini’s claim that the media is devoting wall-to-wall overage of Anna Nicole Smith…as a way of deflecting attention from the success of the surge! Yeah, that’s plausible.
Glenn Reynolds uses some somewhat prose-like stylings (“beclowned“?) to defend his crackpot assassination scheme. Alas, he doen’t explicitly defend his farcical claim that the U.S and Iran have been at war since 1979, although his analogies and tu quoques implicitly depend on such an assumption. I did enjoy this part:
Nor would such action be illegal. Assassination is forbidden by executive order. Nothing prevents the president from rescinding that order, or amending it.
Heh. Indeed. Similarly, kidnapping someone and taking them across state lines isn’t really illegal, since nothing could prevent Congress from repealing the law if they wanted to!
Anyway, what’s more striking and important is that whether or not such a plan would be legal, Reynolds has yet to offer any substantive argument for why it would work. Could anyone be dumb enough to think that the American assassination of Iranian clerics, scientists and/or political leaders would help liberal forces in Iran? That killing a couple scientists would make Iran less determined to acquire nuclear weapons? That these kinds of covert ops are remotely viable? The whole thing is nuttier than a Planters factory, and Reynolds can’t even be bothered to begin an argument on the merits. This should be irrelevant to his job, of course, but that anybody takes anything he writes about foreign policy seriously is remarkable.
Shorter Verbatim Glenn Reynolds: “He hurts his credibility up front by saying that Iran is not at war with us — when, in fact, it has been since 1979.”
As Blue Texan asks, when does Reynolds start agitating for some Reagan administration officials–some his Pajamas Media colleagues–to be tried for high treason for selling weapons to a country we are at war with?
Anyway, as BT says make sure to check out Paul Campos’s decimation of Reynolds’s dishonest advocacy of war crimes.
…I should say, lest I be seen as endorsing everything in Campos’s column, that I also agree with Glenn Greenwald about this:
I would strongly oppose any efforts to have Reynolds academically sanctioned or punished in any way for the views he has expressed, as toxic and destructive as I find both those views and him. And the idea that there could be any criminal liability arising from such comments is absurd, and itself somewhat toxic.
Academic freedom does apply equally to tenured radicals left and right, and certainly Reynolds’s employment should never be at issue because of something he writes on his blog.
…UPDATE: Terry had this three years ago. (via AL, who has more.)
…Mona has more on the academic freedom issue.