Wednesday, October 15, 2003


yesterday atrios wrote about the following post on andrew sullivan's blog:

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? It seems to me that the anti-Bush crowd has been missing the real story, as usual. Instead of attempting to parse the administration's arguments before the war, they'd do better to focus on the Pentagon's massive incompetence after the war. Two things spring to mind: why weren't forces directed to secure all possible WMD sites immediately? And why were troops not sent to secure Saddam's conventional weapon sites immediately? The Baathist resistance is now fueled primarily by those weapons. The fate of WMDs is unsure - a critical reason for the war in the first place. Did Rumsfeld even think for a second about these post-war exigencies? Why were these objectives not included in the original war-plan as a whole? I have no idea. The pre-war and the war were executed as well as we could hope for. The immediate post-war was a disaster. Shouldn't someone take responsibility? It seems to me that since the left is so hopeless at constructing rational criticism, some of us pro-war types need to get mad and ask some tough questions.

atrios is justifiably miffed by the idea that "the anti-Bush crowd has been missing the real story" since, as he points out, the pentagon's failure to secure w.m.d. sites has been raised repeatedly by blogs on the left for the past 6 months. as atrios writes:

One of Andrew Sullivan's favorite little games - and he's been doing it his entire career as a propagandist - is to suddenly "discover" an issue, pretend he was the first one to have thought of it, wrap himself in his new "contrarian" clothing, blast his mythical opposition for not having discussed the issue previously, use at as evidence for his moral/intellectual/sexual superiority, and do a total 180 degree turn from his prior position while pretending he hadn't.

while atrios' criticism is right, i still see sullivan's post as essentially a good thing. the blogisphere is a pretty polarlize place. i don't read sullivan on a regular basis–i not only disagree with him, but also get infuriated by his unwillingness to address any of the huge gaping holes in logic in his posts. i could spend all my time writing rebuttals to each posting, but why bother? others are already doing that, and there are even some blogs that are dedicated almost entirely to responding to his site (e.g. sullywatch and smarter andrew sullivan). as much as i don't like sullivan, he does have a large following on the other side of the political spectrum. and it is highly significant when a person who is usually a mindless bush sycophant posts something that is critical of the bush administration, much less call its post-war planning a "disaster." so what if he claims that he thought of the criticism first. the point is, the other side generally does not read atrios or other who have raised such criticism. they do read sullivan and so, for once, this particular criticism of the bush administration will finally filter to an audience that it has not had before. if we actually want to convince people of our positions rather than simply preaching to the choir, something like this has to happen. i, for one, am glad that it finally did.