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« What's The Big Deal? | Main | Misleading Concerns »

In The Limelight

Glenn Reynolds just mentioned this post of mine on CNN's Reliable Sources. Roger Simon (the journalist, not the smart blogger), whined in response (and completely missed the point) that WW II was nothing like Iraq.

[Update in the afternoon]

Here's the rush transcript (in which they manage to misspell my name in a new and unusual way):

KURTZ: Glenn Reynolds, is this 2,000 deaths just a bloody milestone that naturally was going to get some media attention, or is there an anti-war tinge to the sudden focus on 2,000 deaths, the press's way of saying, see, this just isn't working out?

GLENN REYNOLDS, INSTAPUNDIT.COM: Well, it's more than that. It's a manufactured event by a press that has largely been anti-war from the beginning, and I think is dogpiling on the Bush administration for as many opportunities as it can find.

Ran Siemberg (ph), who is a blogger, had an amusing parody from World War II of the media making a big deal out of another milestone, the 250,000th death. And I think that provides all kind of perspective, on the difference between the two wars, and the difference between the press' treatment of the two wars.

Too often, war coverage now is just another opportunity to try to go after Bush, who the press has disliked from day one. And I think that's very, very unfortunate.

KURTZ: Roger Simon, you are shaking your head.

SIMON: I just don't find much comparison between World War II, in which we were fighting predatory fascism that was trying to take over the globe, and invading Iraq for reasons that the administration now admits were false.

"...predatory fascism that was trying to take over the globe..."

I guess he's never bothered to read any statements of intent from Al Qaeda.

Which part does he think is untrue of the enemy? That they aren't fascists? Well, admittedly, the term has lost much of its currency from overuse by much of the left to be applied to everyone who disagrees with them on almost any conceivable subject, so let's call it totalitarianism instead (a term that I would hope that Mr. Simon would agree also applies to our enemies in the second world war). If that word can't be applied to people who want to run every aspect of everyone's daily existence, will brook no dissent, and have no apparent value for human life, as the Jihadis objectively do, then to whom does it apply? And even if you want to imagine that the "secular" Saddam didn't support the "terrorists" (one would have to disregard the Salman Pak training camp and the bounties offered for attacks on the Israelis to buy that one), he was as totalitarian (and fascist) as they come.

And part of the totalitarian ideology of Al Qaeda is that there shall be no ideology before theirs--ultimately, all the infidels must convert or die. That we aren't first on the list is a matter of political and military necessity, not an indication of any solicitude toward our ultimate fate. Does he really believe that it isn't their goal to "take over the globe"? From the standpoint of the threat, if they (and Saddam) are not the Hitler of the MSM mind, it's because they're Hitler in 1935, instead of Hitler in 1941. But while he made many strategic mistakes (which were his ultimate undoing, as hopefully will be the case for our new totalitarian adversaries), he didn't make the strategic mistake of attacking New York in 1935, as Osama did in 2001.

It would have been a lot easier to deal with Hitler in 1935, which is one reason why our casualties are counted only in the low thousands after over four years of war, instead of the large fractions of a million that it took to defeat our totalitarian enemies six decades ago, for all that the media would make of them.

Posted by Rand Simberg at October 30, 2005 08:11 AM
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The proper retort would to assert to Roger Simon that has more in common with WWII(a war of liberation) than it does Vietnam(a war of defense).

Posted by Mike Puckett at October 30, 2005 01:51 PM

Actually, Hitler's ambitions were primarily aimed at Europe and western Russia, and the Middle East. He didn't have any plans for world conquest, unlike the radical Islamists who really do want the whole world, if you believe their own statements. WWII was a war of choice for the US and even the UK -- if Roosevelt had given Japan a free hand in China they would not have felt a need to attack Pearl Harbor.

Posted by Jim Bennett at October 30, 2005 07:04 PM

Well, I will say that if Hitler had stopped on the West Coast of France, held off a few years on Russia, and just sent back the bodies and POW's basing out of England for a year then there is every possabilty that the EU of today would be the Third Riech.

And as for Japan, it was the embargo of oil that finally tipped them into attacking the US at Pearl Harbor. I'm not saying that was the only reason but it was the one that pushed them over the edge into deciding they had to. Despite all that Yamamoto, the former Naval Atatcha (sp?) at the US Embassy who had seen the sleeping manufacturing ability while touring the US.

Posted by Michael Antoniewicz II at October 30, 2005 07:58 PM

Had Hitler held off on his path to conquest, his Reich would have collapsed in the interim. He knew that, which is why he pushed so hard. Think of what was happening as a pyramid scheme, where solvency depended on the next conquest. That's a rough equivalent to what was happening, in a regime that was long on rhetoric and short on substance.

Posted by Mr. Snitch! at October 30, 2005 08:52 PM

Al Qaeda was not tied to Iraq before our invasion.

I'm just going on what the 9/11 commission stated, because I think they are a definitive source, but apparently not.

Posted by Alex Hufford at October 30, 2005 09:02 PM

Your post earlier in the week was fantastic. I am so glad that Glenn brought it up today. He really nailed it. That is one nutty Roger Simon! Your post was right on. The media is outrageous with their reporting. Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs posed the question earlier, "If the media wanted the US to lose this War in Iraq what would they change about their reporting today?" It makes you wonder.

Posted by Jim Hoft at October 30, 2005 09:05 PM

The 9/11 commission did not state that "Al Qaeda was not tied to Iraq before our invasion," it stated that there were no 'operational ties' between Iraq and the 9/11 attackers. Evidently plain English is just beyond the understanding of Lefties.

And Roger Simon got it wrong, too. The statement that he made about "invading Iraq for reasons that the administration now admits were false" is itself false. Perhaps it has been admitted the the WMD reason may have been mistaken. It was not false. It was also only one of 24 reasons given in the Congressional bill authorizing the use of military force in Iraq.

Since I know that at least Roger Simon (the columnist one) is not stupid, he must know that he is perpetrating falsehoods. Is he so sure of the weaknesses of his own arguments that he is reduced to lying about the other side? And why does the Left resort to these particular lies so much? Surely they're not all incapable of reading and understanding the written word.

Posted by at October 30, 2005 09:29 PM

Sorry, that above comment was not meant to be anonymous, and was mine.

Posted by JorgXMckie at October 30, 2005 09:30 PM

" '...predatory fascism that was trying to take over the globe...'

"I guess he's never bothered to read any statements of intent from Al Qaeda."

But Al Qaeda doesn't fit the definition of fascism! So there's no problem.


Posted by Jim C. at October 30, 2005 09:34 PM

Alex stated: "Al Qaeda was not tied to Iraq before our invasion."

Really? Read The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. Passed Unanimously in the Senate. Passed with, I think, 7 Republican "no" votes in the House (Don't hold me on the number, might have been 12). It stated: Iraq harbors Al Qaeda. It also stated: Iraq harbors other International Terrorists. It also mentioned something or other about WMDs in Iraq. Don't believe me? Read it.

Those were two of the seven or eight reasons listed in the Bill and two of the seven or eight reasons why the US Congress passed and Bill Clinton signed that Legislation into Law. It has not been repealed.

It was also why the NY Times and the Washington Post and every other liberal rag and pundit, and all of the broadcast MSM, were in favor of its passage, and clammoring for more confrontation with Iraq. Until the the 3rd week of January, 2001, that is. Then, everything changed. I can't figure out why.

Posted by JohnG at October 30, 2005 09:40 PM

"invading Iraq for reasons that the administration now admits were false."

I'll never understand why the MSM continues to repeat this lie. There were several reasons [firing on US aircraft, logistical & medical support for Al Queda, money for Palestinian terrorists, violation of UN resolutions, etc] we went into Iraq. WMDs were just the one the MSM harped on b/c it was sexy for ratings. Does anyone truly believe that, if left alone, Saddam would have discontinued his quest for WMDs?

The key reason we are in Iraq is to "drain the swamp". Its either that or set up a Police State back here in the US. An Arab Democracy in Iraq will have longterm stabilizing affects on the entire ME region, to the benefit of Israel and the detriment of Wahhabi Islam.

Posted by Fen at October 30, 2005 09:45 PM

Alex: "I'm just going on what the 9/11 commission stated, because I think they are a definitive source, but apparently not."

Able Danger.

The media has been feeding you with a shovel ;)

Posted by Fen at October 30, 2005 09:51 PM

What you fail to realize is that FDR was a warmongering bigot. He called the Japanese "Japs" and put tens of thousands in concentration camps (see, he was as bad as Hitler; shades of Abu Ghraib!), then invaded three countries (France, Italy, Germany) that hadn't even attacked us.

Let's remember too that it takes two countries to fight a war. What FDR should have done was impose sanctions on Germay and Japan, and have the League of Nations issue a stern condemnation of the attack on Pearl Harbor. That's what civilized nations do. Instead, he rushed to war and got 500,000 Americans killed in an unnecessary war.

Posted by TallDave at October 30, 2005 10:16 PM

Just imagine what a different world it would have been if Roosevelt and others took military action against Hitler in 1935 or 1936 instead of appeasing his military build up.

I am uncertain and wary of how the situation will turn out in Iraq and the whole of the Muslim world, though I continue to respect the actions of the current administration to change the status quo.

Posted by dpt at October 30, 2005 10:17 PM

Well, actually FDR's oil and scrap iron embargo on Japan was exactly that, sanctions in repraisal for Japan's occupation of China. As late as November 1941 we could have avoided war with Japan by lifting the sanctions. In other words, the sanctions were the "peaceful alternative to war" we are always being urged to consider. Just as maintaining sanctions on Iraq, plus keeping troops in Saudi Arabia to deter an Iraqi invasion was the alternative to invading Iraq.

Seems like every time we try peaceful alternatives to war we get an attack on our soil and lose three or four thousand people.

Posted by Jim Bennett at October 30, 2005 10:27 PM

Well, Roger Simon, in his narrow way, is right. He is of course focusing soley on Iraq, circa April 2003. One, two, or 10 Al Queda perps over the course of Sadaam's reign does not equal the Taliban or Muslim Brotherhood.

Sadaam was a fair weather dictator. In recent years, he took to building mosques to pass himself off as a righteous Muslim and gave large sums of cash to Palestinian suicide bombers, but this of course ignores his overall reign, in which he was nominally secular, at least as secular as a Arab Muslim can be.

Ultimately Roger Simon's motives are anti-Bush, not obeying the letter of the law, be it American or the UN, which is what he tries to pass his objections off as.

"Really? Read The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. Passed Unanimously in the Senate. Passed with, I think, 7 Republican "no" votes in the House (Don't hold me on the number, might have been 12). It stated: Iraq harbors Al Qaeda."

Okay, I read it. It says nothing about Al Qaeda.

Posted by Rupert at October 30, 2005 11:25 PM

Confine your attention to the Middle East if you must. Taking over the Middle East gives effective control of the world economy and, hence, the world.

The predatory fascism of radical Islam has as much potential to achieve control of the world as the NAZIs, Imperial Japan and fascist Italy had in the mid 1930s.

Would we not, in hindsight, have accepted 2,000 deaths in 1935, to avoid the loss of 250,000 by 1942?

How about 6,000, directed at 3 danger spots, each bearing the seeds of potential global calamity?

Aren't the stakes here, in an era of WMD, greater?

Has it escaped the Left that we're fighting Al Qaeda on the ground in Iraq?

Posted by pedantist at October 30, 2005 11:29 PM

The only retort needed for Simon was that Glenn was addressing a media-manufactured event and not the origins of the war. If Simon has a problem with the origins of the war, he should take it up with Hillary and Kerry.

Posted by Joe Yowsa at October 30, 2005 11:39 PM

Another thing to consider is that the difference between what happened in the 30s and 40s and what would have happened had the Allies attacked in 35 instead of appeased evil for too long would be (besides millions more folks alive) that an insurgency by former Nazis, supported by Italian fascists and Soviets (to destabilize and create a communist state in the chaos) would have been a distinct possibility and resemble the current Al Qaeda and Iranian backed insurgency.

The utter and total defeat of Naziism and Japanese militarism after years of bloody conflict is what minimized the sort of sabotage and low-grade conflict that plagues Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by ryoushi at October 31, 2005 01:26 AM

Exactly Ryoushi.

People forget history too easily.

When you smash a country utterly, when you kill its civilian population by the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions, when you starve it of fuel, materials, and even food, when you defeat its armies by killing nearly all its soldiers on the field, well, then you tend to discourage "insurgency" and support for insurgency by quite a tremendous degree. That's what we did in WWII and Korea and that's why we didn't have substantial insurgencies in the occupied territories after those conflicts.

In contrast, In Iraq we've restricted our destruction to an astounding degree that wasn't even possible, due to technological limitations, even 10 years ago. That means we end up with more opportunity for "insurgency" and such-like, but at the end of the day it means less deaths and less destruction, but more mess and seemingly less order.

Posted by Robin Goodfellow at October 31, 2005 02:19 AM

P.S. When did fascism become the sole definition of "evil"? The Japanese weren't fascist, and we fought them in WWII. The Soviets weren't fascist and we fought them in the Cold War. Whether or not Al Qaeda is fascist is irrelevant to whether or not their ideology is virulent enough to warrant forceful opposition. Radical Islam is perhaps the most quintessential example of such imaginable. Regressive, oppressive, fanatical, revelling in violence, etc, etc. It's shocking, really, that anyone could consider it and think that it didn't warrant substantial concern and forceful response.

Posted by Robin Goodfellow at October 31, 2005 02:28 AM

It's fairly dumb and simplistic to leap from a conversation about Saddam right into talking about Al Qaeda. A better response goes like this: the Baath Party was indeed fascist in orientation, a pan-Arabist variety which advocated expansionist totalitarianism based on Arab racial supremacy (which explains Saddam's treatment of the Kurds). It's true that Saddam only had his heart set on the Middle East (most specifically, the Saudi oil fields.) Not as geographically ambitious as Hitler, but controlling Middle Eastern oil would actually make him even more powerful, since the entire developed and developing world depends on it as their economic lifeblood.

Containing him, however, was no longer an option after 9/11, since the containment policies were indirectly empowering bin Laden and his movement-- US troops in Saudi Arabia, plight of the Iraqis under UN sanctions, concern over which bin Laden constantly exploited.

So, invade Iraq, hit two fascists for the price of one.

Posted by WJA at October 31, 2005 03:09 AM

Strangely, the fact that Hitler actually had a chance of succeeding and Al-Qaeda doesn't appears not to have occurred to any of you as a significant difference between the two.

Posted by Ted at October 31, 2005 03:34 AM

CNN never had a connection to Saddam prior to 9/11 either, did it?

Posted by Rich Willis at October 31, 2005 04:15 AM

I think the Libby/Fitzgerald fiasco should be a warning to all who risk their reputations, if not their freedom, by willingly appearing on any media outlet or allowing themselves to be interviewed by them.

Reynolds has written extensively. If the media want to quote him, let them do the research and find out what he thinks about any given matter.

You can't best those with the power to edit the video tape.

Posted by tefta at October 31, 2005 04:27 AM

Talldave: "have the League of Nations issue a stern condemnation of the attack on Pearl Harbor. That's what civilized nations do."

This is parody, right? Its so hard to tell these days. You're not suggesting that after the 9-11 attacks on WTC and Pentagon, the "civilized" thing to do was ask the UN to issue a stern condemnation and go back to business as usual?

Posted by Fen at October 31, 2005 04:52 AM

Hey Ted:

Would you care to expand on that opinion a bit? I think the ready availability of nuclear materials from the collapsing Soviet Union, nuclear technology from AQ Khan, worldwide demographic/birth trends and the Vietnam precedent of America cutting and running make the victory of al Qaida--absent Iraq-style projects--all but inevitable.

I don't mean to suggest that OBL himself would end up ruling us, but dhimmitude is definitely on the horizon, visible to anyone with binoculars.

It appears to me that the people who care least about winning this wider war (and I don't necessarily mean you, here, Ted) are the same ones who care least about the very set of freedoms which makes the US unique among nations. I am disinclined to trust them.

Posted by Jonathan at October 31, 2005 05:09 AM

> Hitler actually had a chance of succeeding and Al-Qaeda doesn't

I'll bite - other than war, what will stop Al-Qaeda from succeeding? The UN can't even stop a bunch of folks riding around in Toyotas.

Posted by Andy Freeman at October 31, 2005 06:14 AM

The obvious benefit of the war in Iraq--beyond the fact of liberating the Iraqi people from the horrors of Saddam--is that it attracts al Qaeda from around the globe into one compact (relatively speaking) mass. It is much easier to kill them that way.

Posted by Festus at October 31, 2005 06:21 AM

Al Qaeda was not tied to Iraq before our invasion.
I'm just going on what the 9/11 commission stated, because I think they are a definitive source, but apparently not.
Posted by Alex Hufford at October 30, 2005 09:02 PM

Read the 1998 indictment of bin Laden, point #4. It must be true, because the only thing the Clinton administration ever lied about was a blow job:

4. Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

Or is this a Bush lie?

PS. And they never did find those atomic bombs in Germany. Even after Einstein warned Roosevelt about Germany acquiring uranium from Czechoslovakia. Maybe if the O.S.S. had just sent Joe Wilson to check it out, WWII could have been prevented.

Posted by Nobody Important at October 31, 2005 06:24 AM

Communism only killed a hundred million. Let's give it another chance!
Over the millenia how many has Islamism killed? Well, give it another chance!

Posted by Jon at October 31, 2005 06:57 AM

We should have handed the whole problem over to the UN! After all, they have succeeded so brilliantly in Darfur, the Sudan, Bosnia, Haiti... and they could've handled the WMD problem as brilliantly as they have Iran's and North Korea's!

Posted by DaveP. at October 31, 2005 07:15 AM

The comments here echo the American public. Those who believe that a war is being waged against the infidel world by a loosely knit cabal of islamists, salafists and pan arab secularists, and those who think that this is just a small time group of people whose reach is limited. The latter group either ignore the threat, or somehow judge it to be "our" fault and is solved by changing our behavior.
The problem we have is that our President is the most inarticulate leader in our history. He is right on the war and totally inadequate on communicating to the public (here and abroad).
And that is our greatest weakness.

Posted by TedM at October 31, 2005 07:35 AM

I agree that Bush is limited as a communicator, but I have to put some (a lot?) of the blame for his ineffectiveness at the feet of the MSM. Again and again the press has struggled mightly to suppress the Bush narrative and substitute their own. Bush has given speech after speech on the reasons for the Iraq war, but they go unreported. Or when they do get covered, they are slathered in anti-Bush spin.

President Bush has made ALL of the arguments cited above, but the press typically ignores him and harps on WMD, and Joe Wilson. (Speaking of which, did anyone see the NBC interview of Wilson last night? I rest my case.)

Posted by godfodder at October 31, 2005 08:44 AM

Tefka worries that Glenn might be "gotten" by the MSM. I wouldn't worry. After the perfect blogstorm, and the meetings with elected officials on national tv from both parties, and the collapse of the stock of the offending MSM news service by at least ten percent, Glenn might show the mercy lawyers are renowned for, and accept a settlement of several millions of dollars in exchange for dismissing his lawsuit.

Attacking him unethically would be the closest thing to committing public suicide.

As to Bush, I think he has problems (natch) with speaking, but he gets his point across clear enough. Its only that when people stuff their fingers in their ears and say "Nah-nah, I can't hear you. You have to try to convince me that you are right, Mr. Liar Liar pants on fire!".

Well some people are just not amenable to reason.

Posted by Eric R. Ashley at October 31, 2005 08:46 AM

Yes, TedM, I agree that he is not very articulate, and also that he is right on the war against terror. Considering that the media is trying as best it can to destroy him and his adminstration, and replace it with people who are articulate, but WRONG about the war on terror, to what conclusion does that lead us about the media? I think the media is our greatest weakness, especially since the clearly see themselves as some sort of super-citizens who one the one hand have greater rights than the avergae citizen, but one the other hand have less responsibility to bear allegiance to America. A self-serving and ultimately deadly combination.

Posted by Daver at October 31, 2005 08:55 AM

An articulate Bush? You know what would happen - instead of "Bush = Hitler" we'd have "Bush = Goebbels". Not much of an improvement.

The last silver-tongued devil we had as President was Clinton, and we know how well that worked out. (Personally, I detested C's speeches - windy, confused blather about issues which were hot back when he was a kid and met JFK, after which his development apparently stopped).

What Bush is doing is so obvious I really don't see why he should have to lecture us about it. He's fighting the mortal enemies of American and Western civilization - is that really so hard to grasp? And it's a good thing somebody finally is. Our enemies, no matter how weak they may be, will eventually win if nobody ever gets around to actually fighting them. Hand-wringing, self-flagellation, and whining don't count as fighting.

That will be remembered as George Bush's great accomplishment. Like Churchill, he recognized the enemy, and he never gave in. At least he hasn't so far.

Posted by big dirigible at October 31, 2005 09:35 AM

dirigible. we are on the same page except that i am more worried about Bush losing support because he doesnt have the Clinton b.s. ability. Don't sell the b.s. short. The mass of people are in the middle and need to be sold. You and I are sold. there are others who are on the other side and cannot change. It is the large middle which needs a father figure leader. Churchill could do that. He had a way with words. I don;t think you appreciate how disliked Bush is because he appears stupid when he mangles words and sentences. And we, the people, lose out because of that.
Since Bush's lack of speaking charisma is no secret, I blame his team for not fielding several spokesmen to read the line over and over and over again. That is how the message gets heard. And they have to replace Scott McClellan. He is the worst in a long time.
There are many writers on line who have written what needs to be said over and over and over again in the press and on t.v. the administration is woefully bad at media. And, sorry to say, appearances count in our day and age. Being right, doesn't make you right. Appearing right is important.
We must tell the nature and identity of our enemy over and over. The names are hard to pronounce and remember. The groups and teachers of the enemy are obsure. And yet we have bloggers who follow all of this and know how to put all these groups together.
Tell your friends to read Terrorism and Liberalism by Berman. He is a liberal so wont be rejected as some right wing nut. People have to be taught what is going on in the world. Really going on. Andit is frightening. Most of the commenters above understand this, but the general public doesnt.
enough of this rant.

Posted by TedM at October 31, 2005 11:54 AM

The German battleship timeline that was set part of their pre-shooting revamping of their military should be a big clue that Europe was _NOT_ enough for Germany.

The Bismark was massively delayed, and was intended to be just the first of a surface fleet to match their sub-surface fleet.

It is delusional to think otherwise.

Posted by Al at October 31, 2005 02:29 PM

It is virtually impossible to reason with aggressive solipsism. Roger Simon (the airhead) simply doesn't recognise physical reality as valid; the only effective way to deal with this sort of purposeful idiot is to contemptuously ignore him.

Posted by Brother Bark at October 31, 2005 03:08 PM

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