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« Moer Airline Insecurity Stupidity | Main | Jack Henry Abbot, Killer »

Bloviation From Toronto

I assume that our weblogging friends from the Great White North will have this cretin for breakfast, but I'll take my shots at his latest Pilgeresque offering from my location in the more temperate latitudes anyway.

America's allies and friends were initially reluctant to openly criticize Bush's philippic, but in recent days the president's aggressive, triumphalist policies have come under fierce attack around the world, and particularly so in Europe.

Ummm....yes. So? You say this as though it's a bad thing.

Bush administration spokesmen reject all foreign criticism.

No, not all. Just ignorant, America-phobic criticism. Like this opinion piece.

Secretary of State Colin Powell increased war fever by blasting Iran for "meddling" in Afghanistan. This is rich, coming from the U.S., which just invaded Afghanistan, overthrew its government, installed a client regime in Kabul, and is setting up permanent military bases there.

Well, why don't we ask the Afghan people (you know, the ones who are no longer being crushed under walls, or having their nails pulled out, or who can once again listen to music or watch a soccer game without executions as half-time entertainment) which country they would prefer to be meddling in their affairs?

Threatening war against Iran for seeking to advance its interests in neighbouring Afghanistan shows just how irrational and imperially arrogant the Bush administration is becoming.

Yes, it's most important that we allow the people who chant "Death to America! Down with the Great Satan!" to pursue their interests...

India and Russia are also deeply involved in Afghanistan; in fact, Russia has virtually taken over the north. Yet there was not a peep from Washington about these interlopers.

I know that this may be an intellectual concept far beyond your meager neuronal capacity, but have you ever considered the possibility that it might be because neither Russia or India have ever funded people to fly airplanes into American skyscrapers?

Fifty years of painful efforts to build a framework of international law are being swept away by the Bush crusaders, who seem to have convinced themselves they are re-fighting World War II rather than dealing with a dangerous criminal conspiracy made up of a few thousand individuals.

Which "international law" would that be? The one that says that people who hide among civilians to avoid retribution, or who skulk amongst a peaceful people in civilian clothing so that they can deliberately murder thousands of innocents are entitled to POW status? Sorry, I'm not aware of any international law like that.

And what do you propose that we do when those "few thousand individuals" (sounds like an army to me, or at least a division, even if they can't be bothered to put on uniforms and insignia) are sponsored by foreign governments? Ignore that fact? In your bizarro universe, I guess so...

While most Americans continue to cheer Bush's bellicose, adolescent rhetoric and crusading zeal, quiet opposition is developing, particularly among the thinking classes.

Is the nonsense being regurgitated in this piece representative of "the thinking classes"? If so, please assign me a seat in whatever other class is available.

Given the current climate of war fever, hysteria, fear and anti-Muslim paranoia being whipped up by the White House and parts of the media, few Americans are ready to criticize government actions.

Gosh, do you think it's possible that it's because we'd like to hew to the status quo with our remaining skylines? Do you, in fact, think at all?

This loud silence and war fever have unbalanced the U.S. political system, allowing a coterie of ideological super-hawks to monopolize policy and drive the U.S. toward highly irrational behaviour. Congress and the media have become mere cheerleaders for the so-called war. Critical analysis is urgently needed:

Indeed it is. But based on this spew, we can husband our resources, and not search for it from anyone named "Eric Margolis."

remember the disastrous consequences caused by lack of public challenge to America's entry into the Vietnam war.

Yes. People like bin Laden learned the mistaken lesson that America will not respond when attacked.

America has suffered mightily and grievously; but pain and suffering are no excuse for acting foolishly, dangerously, or dictatorially.

No, that is apparently a privilege reserved unto idiotic Canadian editorial writers, who are not responsible for the lives and property of Americans.

Wiser heads abroad are cautioning their American friends.

Thank the heavens for those "wiser heads abroad." What would we do without them? Well, actually, we seem to be doing just fine, based on the war effort so far. While we appreciate the help from the British SAS, most of the rest of the European aid seems to have consisted of sending celebrity philosophers.

To many foreign governments, the real danger is not Bush's preposterous "axis of evil," nor "rogue states" like Iran, Iraq, or North Korea. They are far more worried about a rogue America running amok and igniting conflicts around the world.

Yes, since many of those foreign governments oppress their own people, they should be rightly worried about conflicts being ignited. Particularly when they're likely to be on the losing end. However, Mr. Margolis doesn't explain why this should worry us evil Americans, or anyone who is interested in human freedom. Or why he is more sympathetic to those governments than ours, or even his own.

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 11, 2002 11:28 PM
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Given the current climate of war fever, hysteria, fear and anti-Muslim paranoia being whipped up by the White House

Anti-Muslim paranoia?

What bong has this guy been smoking from? If anything, the government -- especially the White House -- have gone out of their way to deflect any criticism of Muslims.

As for "war fever" and hysteria: I don't see it. I see that the American people are mad as hell, and we're not going to ignore the threats coming from the world's madmen. We've learned that the madmen can act out their insane fantasies, and we will not let that happen again.

It's a shame so many "intellectuals" haven't learned that lesson.

Posted by Robert Crawford at February 12, 2002 07:19 AM

Mr. Margolis better by careful playing with fire, given all those strawmen he has surrouded himself with.

I wonder what the atmosphere is like on his planet.

Posted by Charles Austin at February 12, 2002 10:42 AM

Damn, you are good. Nice point by point debunking of this hate and blame America wanna-be. Too bad Eric Margolis baseless and nonfactual ideas and comments will be taken as expert opinion in the media and politcal circles.

Posted by Jon Dorbecker at February 12, 2002 11:14 AM

Actually, it's kind of like shooting a whale in a shot glass.

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 12, 2002 11:17 AM

As a follow up to Mr. E. Margolis' comments, let me offer this:

1. I am Canadian living in the SF Bay Area.
2. Mr. Margolis, as per my recollection, is a left-wing (I'd personally call him pro-communist) writer who capitalizes on insane view of certain Canadian media (such Toronto Star, certain Southam newspapers) that to be Canadian is to be anti-American
3. Based on the info from my friends living in Canada, the instant Canadian reaction to 9/11 was to buy and display American flag - in fact - as far as I know - most stores incl. WalMart, Zellers (Canadian version of WalMart) were out of American flags within hours after attack)
4. Mr. Margolis and his 'establishment' friends earn their living precisely by being anti- American and as such providing 'balanced view' to generally pro-American Canadian public.

Hope this helps.

God bless America and Canada.


Posted by Thomas Janacek at February 12, 2002 11:27 AM

I admit, I like Margolis' use of "thinking classes" - setting up the idea that anyone who disagrees with them is part of the "non-thinking classes". Too bad the worldwide thining-class intellects are the same ones who gave us Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, and "peace in our time".

Please reserve me a seat in the "non-thinking class" section. I am not too keen on having to spend time listening to why the Afghan people should be ungrateful for their recent liberation.

Posted by Steven Schmitt at February 12, 2002 11:30 AM

Well done deconstruction of this vacuous, entirely predictable blather. Despite his smug screed, I pray that Saddam Hussein refrains from 'advancing his interests' in Canada, and Eric Margolis can continue to provide laughs for us all. Look for this silliness on CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, etc, though.

Posted by Bob Cavalli at February 12, 2002 11:49 AM

It's the glory of the blogs. Instead of reading crap like that and just seething quietly, you can rip the morons to shreds. His sort really make me despise the word "we" which they use to cloak themselves in imaginary support.

Posted by Dale Amon at February 12, 2002 11:58 AM

I am disturbed that people are calling this guy an 'intellectual', I consider myself an intellectual and cannot buy that level of stupidity or garbage. You have responded line by line appropriately and sanely. Thanks

Posted by J Nagle at February 12, 2002 12:25 PM

From his book War at the top of the world, a small sample of Margolis' vast knowledge of Asia:

"Just south of K-2, three other towering mountains with raw, serrated peaks stood like attending giants on either side of it: Masherbrun-1 at 25,659 ft. (7,821 meters), Gasherbrun-1 at 26,469 ft. (8,068 meters), and Mt. Goodwin-Austen, 28,265 ft. (8,615 meters).

Posted by Paul Zrimsek at February 12, 2002 12:51 PM

P.S. I should also mention that Margolis had already given the height of K2 as 8,611m.-- so not only is this mountain south of itself, it's four meters taller than itself as well!

Posted by Paul Zrimsek at February 12, 2002 12:53 PM

Mr. Margolis referred to the "thinking class". Now, pray tell, who would these people be? As far as I remember, Canada is a classless society. No one is "in charge" per se. Sounds awfully sovietesque to me.

In short, to Mr. Margolis: PISS OFF, you speak for no one but you.

Your kind were the ones before WWII who were complaining that Britain was provoking poor Germany.

Posted by Glenn Crawford at February 12, 2002 01:00 PM

America is not "running amok and igniting conflicts all over the world." America is putting out a fire that should have been extinguished long before now. And anyone familiar with the events of 9/11 knows that America has fearless firefighters when the real heat is on.

You may have picked an easy target here, but you shot him up well.

Posted by Rob Smith at February 12, 2002 02:21 PM

Of the many idiocies and falsehoods in Margolis' column, my favorite is the one about the government provoking anti-Muslim hatred. Since the attacks the political and religious communities have bent over backwards to placate the Muslim community in the U.S.

Here in Detroit, which has a large Arab and Muslim population, religious leaders of every shade of belief have joined together in assuring us all that Islam is "a religion of peace." And of course it is, although only under certain circumstances.

Meanwhile, I happen to know that privately local Jewish leaders have begged Muslim leaders to say even a casual word about Israel's right to exist or about the filthy river of anti-Semitism flowing out of every Arab country. The next local Muslim statement about either will be the first.

Posted by Alex Bensky at February 12, 2002 02:38 PM

If Canadians like this Margolis twit could think, he would realize that if we were not next door to the U.S. we would be not much more than a third world country peddling our natural resources to the highest bidder.Or,perhaps he does understand this and that's what is really bothering him.
Once more Canada leaves you guys to do our heavy stuff; this time the skewering of our moronic journalists. Well, thanks from a Canadian.

Posted by Lee Gilmour at February 12, 2002 03:04 PM

Excellent destruction/deconstruction of Mr. Margolis. However, I have been a fan of his for many years - and of his many excellent and insightful writings. He has excellent credentials,
experience and a novel world view. These very same strengths seem to have worked against him in this instance and recently. Like many others including Americans (I won't mention Chomdsky), I think Margolis is a victim. Sept 11 was a disaster for many pundits; he is just the most recent example. Others, wisely, have gone into hiding or on sabbatical.

Posted by Andy Jaunzems at February 12, 2002 05:12 PM

"He has excellent credentials, experience and a novel world view."

Well, it's novel to me, but unfortunately it's quite conventional to much of the pseudocognoscenti...

"Like many others including Americans (I won't mention Chomsky), I think Margolis is a victim. Sept 11 was a disaster for many pundits; he is just the most recent example. Others, wisely, have gone into hiding or on sabbatical."

You mean like the people at the following URL?

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 12, 2002 05:26 PM

What more can be said? Collectivists are exactly that: collective. They cannot think. They can only repeat what has been embedded into their disabled minds by their un-teachers.

Every collective society, and even group, is reliant on a benefactor society/group which sanctions the collective's existence.

Posted by warhead at February 12, 2002 08:25 PM

The Internet is truly the friend of the anti-communists and anti-socialists. No longer do we get the one-sided view of the left. We are now treated to the true intellects knocking down the idiots who try to sway us with their lies.

Posted by Cecilia at February 12, 2002 08:36 PM

I did a Margolis take-down last November, when he wrote an incomprehensible screed charging that Putin was secretly smiling since we'd won Afghanistan, only to let Putin's "communist friends" into the government! Of course the Northern Alliance are the remnants of the anti-communist mujahedin, and Putin is an opponent of the Communist party at home, and how the Kremlin could smile at a CIA man running Afghanistan was beyond me. But Margolis seemed intent on getting as much mileage out of playing the anti-communist in that column -- whatever his thoughts may be in private, I don't know. I deduced that the one thing he couldn't swallow was his pal Rabbani being forced out, and he'd heard a bunch of Rabbani-pal-carping that made little sense and regurgitated it all into his column.

I think this, and Fisk, are clear evidence that just having spent time on the ground in Afghanistan doesn't mean you know what you're talking about, or that you'll make sense.

Posted by lakefxdan at February 12, 2002 09:16 PM

I often read a Canadian site comprised of idiots like Margolis. In comparison Margolis is one of many who tip the scale just this side of treason.

They must have some dank gutters up north where they breed.

Your retorts debunked the slime if he had the capacity to comprehend your meaning. Most of these robots do not think, only react.

If you need a jolt: The news and current events section is ripe with American slander. Don't give them too many hits though they don't deserve the publicity.

Posted by david burnett at February 14, 2002 06:40 AM

I often read a Canadian site comprised of idiots like Margolis. In comparison Margolis is one of many who tip the scale just this side of treason.

They must have some dank gutters up north where they breed.

Your retorts debunked the slime if he had the capacity to comprehend your meaning. Most of these robots do not think, only react.

If you need a jolt: The news and current events section is ripe with American slander. Don't give them too many hits though they don't deserve the publicity.

Posted by david burnett at February 14, 2002 06:40 AM

Eric Margolis is not considered to be an intellectual in this neck of the snowy woods. As far as I know he hasn't taken out citizenship yet. Would you like him back?

Posted by Adrian Donnelly at February 14, 2002 07:03 AM

Eric Margolis is an American immigrant to Canada. He went to Georgetown University and served in one of the U.S. armed forces (I'd say which if I could remember). He often wrote strongly against Communist states in earlier years, and was a critic of Bill Clinton on both character and policy levels. His main exposure to the Canadian public is through sydication of his column in the Sun newspaper chain of generally conservative tabloids. It's hard to understand what's happening with him lately. He's definitely having a bad war.

Posted by Chris Joyce at March 3, 2002 07:41 PM

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