It’s actually not pronounced mänster

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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63 Responses

  1. Will Truman says:

    Hmmm. Someone I knew from college – a colleague at the student newspaper – is a journalist that went missing last year. A video of him in captivity was released last year. Nothing since.

    As far as I know, he did not write glowing things about George W. Bush. So I guess I can be relieved that DougJ is probably not glad he is probably dead. Then again, he did join the military (prior to being a journalist) to fight in Bush’s wars. So maybe it’s okay.Report

  2. Mike Schilling says:

    I liked what TNC wrote, which was pretty damning without crossing the line.Report

  3. Stillwater says:

    I don’t think DougJ is saying that to appear edgy. I think – and you obviously disagree – that he’s saying it because he’s being honest about it. Even if it’s dickish. The fact he cites Establishment Media Elites dancing on the graves of their ideological opponents doesn’t mean he’s playing a game of tit for tat. He cited it to demonstrate what hypocrites they are.Report

    • RTod in reply to Stillwater says:

      I sincerely hope that I am right and you are wrong. Because while I find the “trying to be edgy” thing worthy of criticism, I find sincerely rooting for Rs and their pundits to get a bullet in the head to be something else altogether.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to RTod says:

        He isn’t “sincerely rooting for Rs and their pundits to get a bullet in the head”. He said he’s glad the guy is dead. He said that after the fact. He’s not grieving over the loss.

        He might be a dick, but let’s keep this in perspective Tod. He’s not rooting for Republicans to get shot. And he might even reconsider what he wrote. But let’s remain clear about what he actually did right.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

          “did write“, of course.Report

        • RTod in reply to Stillwater says:

          Fine. Go back and replace “rooting” with “applauding.” It still is far worse than saying something assinine to be edgy.

          Choosing not to mourn a death or celebrate a life is not actually the same thing as being glad anyone got shot in the head and died. Celebrating a life cut short by violence because that guy was red state and you’re blue state (or whatever) is a pretty sure sign that you’ve lost all perspective and need to go have a nice lie down.

          And I’m going to go out on a limb and say in whatever alternative universe Obama was assassinated in his first term that any post by some NRO jagoff saying they were glad he was dead would have made DougJ’s head explode – and rightly so.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to RTod says:

            Well, what he said was pretty rude, I’ll give you that.Report

          • Miss Mary in reply to RTod says:

            Yeah, not not being disappointed isn’t really the same as dancing on their grave, or publicly announcing that you are happy they are no longer with their loved ones.Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to RTod says:

            Celebrating a life cut short by violence because that guy was red state and you’re blue state (or whatever)

            “(or whatever)” does a lot of work there if you’re trying to get that statement to apply to the guy DougJ wrote. I can’t speak for DougJ, but there are things that distinguish rabid Iraq war advocates from “people I disagree with politically.” Please see my comments in this thread. They needn’t persuade you; just read them. Nowhere does DougJ say he’s glad of the death because the guys was “red state.” To be fair, he doesn’t say what it is, but it’s still a slander to say it’s that. Look at what the guy (Kelly) wrote and ponder what the reasons could be. Does DougJ have any history of generally wishing Republicans dead?

            Perhaps what threw you off was “Of course, when some establishment asshole dies, the serious people tell us that we’re monsters if we say we’re glad they’re dead.” but that doesn’t imply that DougJ’s reason is that Kelly was some establishment guy. That’s what what he’s saying distinguishes for some people the category of people you can say exactly what DougJ said about from those about whom you can’t. You can agree or disagree with that, but it’s not a statement that he’s glad Kelly’s dead because he liked George Bush. Michael Kelly was a pretty specific case. DougJ should have given better reasons, but that doesn’t mean we can assume they are those which would make him the most monstrous version of a person who could ever have this sentiment.Report

            • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

              Also, if Obama was assassinated and an American said he was glad he was dead because he deserved to die given that he condemned additional Americans to die in by ordering the expansion of a war that should not have been expanded, while I’d disagree, I’d say, fair enough. Presidents do take risks. (Never mind the fact that it’s the president’s job to make that call [and it was a necessity that someone would be president when that decision had to be made, even if it didn’t have to be Obama], while Kelly voluntarily took it upon himself to advocate for a war that could have been avoided, and the fact that no one in this instance is glad of a political assassination of Michael Kelly, only saying that it’s fitting that given that he chose to endanger himself to cover the war he advocated for, that his advocacy amounted to willing other Americans to die who had volunteered to be put in danger during wartime but who correctly thought this war was not wise for the country, and that some of those other Americans would inevitable die in said war, that he did end up dying in that war – I’d still say, fair enough. Obviously, I can’t speak for DougJ. But I think that advocacy for war of the kind that Michael Kelly undertook is a serious enough deed that it’s reasonable for some heads not to explode if it’s suggested that it’s fitting, and indeed if some people are glad, if some such advocates happen to die in the wars for which they advocate, given that, if those wars are going to happen, some people absolutely will die in them.)Report

    • DougJ in reply to Stillwater says:

      Yes, Stillwater is right, that is exactly where I was coming from.

      (I can see how it might have come off the way Tod suggests, though, as edgy for the sake of being edgy. )Report

  4. BlaiseP says:

    See, there’s BF and AF.

    Before Fallujah, the Iraqi fighters were just a collection of scaredy-cats: fire a few HEAT rounds at them and their tanks blow up like some cheap video game. They’d line up, with their little moustaches, hands in the air, surrendering to anything sporting a US flag.

    After Fallujah, where we got our asses kicked pretty soundly, where the enemy suckered our military into fighting his war, room by room, Stalingrad style — we learned to respect these sons of bitches.

    Michael Kelly was a useless creature, a cheerleader for a war he didn’t understand. I thought he was a chump. I said the Iraq War would only uncork the djinn of civil war, the Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds had gone rotten in the Tupperware of Saddam’s refrigerator and it would stink like hell when we opened it and it wouldn’t end well. But then, everyone at the time thought I was just being my usual pedantic orientalist self, yeah, that was the exact phrase some otherwise-respectable military types called me at the time. I have lived long enough to rub that particular bit of cheap talk up their nostrils.

    BF thinking. If Michael Kelly is dead, he was the first journalistic casualty of BF thinking. He’d never soldiered. He hadn’t learned to fear war. War is the continuation of politics by other means, so Clausewitz tells us. I might rewrite that a bit, having seen a bit more of it than was strictly good for me. War represents the failure of other political means. War is the death of reason.

    Truth is not the first casualty of war. The façade of lies which got us into each of these wars is the very first casualty. Poetic justice, really, that Michael Kelly was the first journalist to die in the Iraq War, that the première teller of the Noble Lies which got America into that shithole should die in a ditch, run off the road. within sight of Baghdad. The only man I mourn in that situation is Army Staff Sgt. Wilbert Davis, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor, 3rd Infantry Division, a fifteen year veteran, the guy who drove Michael Kelly to the end of the line. He deserves some respect. A few people will remember his name, the people who served with him, his family. He’s just an item, early on in a list which grew much longer. SSGT Davis, well, who’s going to write much about the tenth anniversary of his passing…

    BF and AF. Lots of the cheerleaders for the Iraq War, the greatest military blunder in American military history, are still among the living. Some have repented, most have not. I don’t wish any of them dead. I do wish they’d shut up, though.Report

    • marcel in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Strange, horrifying actually, that Iraq is the biggest military blunder in our history. I was a child during the Vietnam War (turned 11 10 days before the start of the Tet offensive) but was very aware of the war because of my parents’ (and aunts, uncles, etc.) passionate opposition. I thought that I’d never live to see such a mistake, much less a bigger one. You might well be right, not certain, though.

      Something about the water or the whisky that Texas politicians drink.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to marcel says:

        Nobody understood the Tet Offensive. Truth is, it was Pickett’s Charge for the Viet Cong. It’s up there with Passchendaele and Cannae as one of the most disastrous offensives in military history.

        Everyone remembers the murders at My Lai, Calley and all that, and rightly so. My Lai is a stain which will never, ever wash out. It remains a lasting disgrace to the USA. But the VC were routinely vindictive. They’d murder anyone who even spoke to the American soldiers. Seriously sadistic incidents. Terrorism, up close and personal, torturing people to death in plain sight. The VC extorted rice and pigs and whatever they wanted. They didn’t rob people outright, though there were some rich people they would murder and rob. And they didn’t abuse women though there’s always a bit of that. But the VC would couch their murders and extortion and general assholishness in horrible Orwellian Newspeak,

        Bad as the Americans were, which was often very bad indeed, up close, Americans weren’t vindictive. They were mostly pretty good guys in a horrible situation, a few soldiers hated all the Vietnamese, sure. But we didn’t go into a village and burn them alive, castrate men, cut the fingers off children. The VC did. That is no lie or exaggeration. Calley only shot his victims.

        The VC were bastards. And Tet was the VC’s war. They came out of the woodwork like so many snakes and for a while, things got very hot. But when they did, the VC found no allies among the ordinary Vietnamese people. In fact, the VC found a great many people hated their guts.

        And they were racists. Nobody knows about the Dak Son massacre, where the VC murdered 252 Montagnards with flame throwers. On the first day of Tet, in Cho Lon, Saigon’s Chinatown, the VC murdered dozens, at least 100 ethnic Chinese, I don’t have exact numbers but there was a mass grave of them. The Chinese cornered the VC on one city block and burned the whole thing down with all the VC inside it. But the VC weren’t above murdering thousands of ordinary Vietnamese in Hue when Tet began.

        By the end of Tet, there weren’t more than a handful of VC alive. They never put in a military presence again. The ones we didn’t kill — the outraged victims of all those atrocities in the early 60s did kill. After Tet they were hunted like rats and killed like rats.

        The NVA troops were somewhat more respectable. It was a long time ago. But Tet wasn’t our blunder. That was the VC’s blunder. While they could bully and extort and murder the ordinary people of Vietnam, hiding among them, they thought they were tough shit. When they came out in the open, they found their mouths had outrun their asses.

        Vietnam was a long, costly, bloody exercise in futility. But Iraq was actually more expensive and if we didn’t lose as many men, that’s because soldiers these days have so much better medical care and body armour and weapons and information. There’s some truth in saying Vietnam was sorta inevitable: if it hadn’t been Vietnam it would have been somewhere else. We had no business backing the corrupt regimes in RSVN. Afghanistan, equally inevitable. And the Afghan government is equally corrupt. Some things never change.

        But Iraq? That war was by far the stupidest thing we’ve ever done as a nation.Report

        • Ezra in reply to BlaiseP says:

          If Lee had occupied Washington DC, then New York, then Boston, in the 4-5 years after Pickett’s charge, then you could make that analogy.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Ezra says:

            No. The NVA came in, not the VC. Victor Charlie is a sore subject with me and an embarrassment to the Vietnamese. If we really must make a comparison from the Civil War, the VC were Quantrill’s Raiders.Report

  5. Michael Drew says:

    In retrospect I respect Kelly for putting his life on the line reporting on the war he so badly wanted to have happen. (In fact, not just in retrospect, but at the time as well. I was against the Iraq war, but not as angry about it at the time as I later became and to some extent remain.) But given that his enthusiasm helped bring about an unneeded, unwise war that brought the death of many of his countrymen and women who had pledged to defend their country in whatever war it was decided must be fought but who privately thought this was not one that did, I have no sadness that Mr. Kelly similarly lost his life. In fact, yes, I’m glad he did, given that so many other innocent Americans had to die, of necessity to grant his wish that a world event he wanted to have happen could happen. I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to say it the way DougJ did, but I have no problem saying it. It balanced the loss ledger of those who who did nothing to make the war happen but had to lay their lives on the line to fight it as next to those who made the war happen but were never personally endangered by it ever so slightly back toward the latter. I’m sorry for his widow’s and children’s loss, but orders of magnitude less than I am for the loss experienced by the family of of any single on of the four thousand American service members who lost their lives fighting an unnecessary and unwise war they did nothing to bring about.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      I will add a couple of caveats to make explicit where I do disagree with Doug. I don’t wish he’d died sooner (least of all so that he could have advocated for the war less; that amounts to discursive eliminationism). I merely think it is no tragedy that he lost his life in a war he advocated which was profoundly against the interests of his country, in light of the fact that so advocating willed that others lose their lives who a) understood that the war was indeed not in the country’s interest and privately opposed it, b) had nevertheless pledged to put themselves in danger of losing their lives in any war they were ordered to fight, and c) therefore relied on us to make good judgements about what wars to fight. Further, i only view this as a fitting end for Mr. Kelly given that *he decided* to place himself in jeopardy to cover the war (which was optional for him, but which decision i do respect him for. Since he had a wife and children, despite his advocacy, I wouldn’t have called on him to make that decision nor condemned him for not doing so; I merely would have condemned (mostly the tone of) his advocacy. But given that he made that decision, that he used rhetorical bullying to advocate that the war happen, and that that implies that he willed that others who did not so advocate had to die to make it happen (because people die in war, always, on all sides and on no side), I simply can’t see it as anything but fitting that he died when and where and how he did. Honestly, I can’t see how anyone could disagree that it is fitting, though I allow that there are ways and don’t judge anyone for seeing it differently. And given the givens, I am glad (not gleeful, simply satisfied) that that fitting thing happened, though I certainly understand how others wouldn’t share that feeling about this fitting thing.Report

  6. krogerfoot says:

    I used to read Balloon Juice, and DougJ is one of the reasons I stopped a few years ago. John Cole clogged the page with hourly posts by bloggers who shared his impulsive outrage but not a fraction of his wit and style. No amount of either will let you pull off expressing pleasure at the early death of someone who never knew of your existence.

    You don’t get points for trying, either – it just raises the question of whether being the kind of person who can’t help blurting out any goddamn thing that bubbles up into his brain differs in any way from being an asshole.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to krogerfoot says:

      There are things that it takes someone being willing to be an asshole to get them said, that it is good for someone to take that bullet and get them said. I don’t think there’s much doubt that DougJ knows saying this makes him an asshole. But (see my argument above), I think there is a decent argument this is one of those things worth someone taking it upon themselves to be the asshole who’ll get it said. I’m glad you have to live in a world where you have to deal with an asshole like DougJ saying this rather than being allowed to live in a world where you get to entirely avoid having to deal with seeing it get said.

      So what I say to you is this: why do pussyfoot around calling DougJ the asshole that he is? He’s the asshole who said it. You and I and the rest of us are the guys who have to deal with that fact. And that’s the world we live in. And I’m glad of it.Report

      • krogerfoot in reply to Michael Drew says:

        I don’t think there’s much ambiguity in what I wrote about my feelings regarding DougJ, and I’m not quite sure I grasp your other point. We should be glad that someone is willing to say that he’s glad Michael Kelly is dead and wished he’d died sooner? Why, is there some particle of insight or profundity in there that I’m missing? In an alternate universe, would we look back and say, “We wish one of us had only been brave enough to stand up and exult that a man we hated had been killed in a cause he supported and we opposed”?

        I mean, I can appreciate the rhetorical shortcut of saying that sometimes you have to be an asshole to say what needs saying, but this doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Assholery is defined by what you say and what you do. Blunt talk can look like assholery from other angles, as can tenacity, commitment, and single-mindedness. When I am called to account for my awful deeds, I hope my attorney is be willing to be an asshole in my defense, because that’s a lawyer’s job. Great artists are often, to varying extents, complete assholes – whether this is correlation or causation is a side question that interests me quite a bit. People are properly evaluated on their accomplishments. That Kelly helped to start a war that was a tragedy for the US and a catastrophe for Iraq makes him colossally and horribly wrong. That he did so through bluster and bullying makes him an asshole. That so many of the people who actually knew him felt real admiration for the man in spite of the preceding shows that life is complicated.

        Saying that I’m glad that someone I disagreed with is dead – that’s not a deed, or a point, or barely even a thought. It’s the sound of a slightly noxious puff of air. Like a fart.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to krogerfoot says:

          it just raises the question of whether being the kind of person who can’t help blurting out any goddamn thing that bubbles up into his brain differs in any way from being an asshole.

          It absolutely is ambiguous whether you’re calling him an asshole there. Indeed, it’s closer to it not being the case than to being the case.

          And yes, we should be glad someone was willing to say it, otherwise we would be quite unlikely to have a hard discussion about whether we should feel it.Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

            …To be more precise, what I am saying is that I am glad he said it (even though I disagree with a major part of it, namely the wishing he’d died sooner). What you describe is exactly what I considered – the other world in which it didn’t get said and you didn’t have to deal with it having been said, and decided I was quite glad to be in this world. How you feel about it, that’s up to you.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to krogerfoot says:

          By the way, I think I am far more clear on the asshole question than you. I made a simple point on the term; agree or disagree. I have no idea what your final point in that long paragraph about assholery is. Nor do I care.Report

    • George Turner in reply to krogerfoot says:

      I used to read Balloon Juice (and sometimes chat online with John Cole) back during the run up to the Iraq War. He was a huge backer of the war back then (otherwise he wouldn’t have been popping in to chat with conservative bloggers and wouldn’t been listed among all the right-wingers on our sidebars).Report

    • George Turner in reply to krogerfoot says:

      And checking his archives for April 4, 2003, he praised Michael Kelly and ripped liberals who celebrated his death, so in that he is consistent.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to George Turner says:

        To this day, in fact.

        I certainly think that celebrating in the immediate aftermath of anyone’s but Truly One of History’s Greatest Monsters’ death is completely gauche and uncivilized. Indeed, celebrating untimely death at all reflects poorly on anyone. But I think there is a time limit on how long it ought make someone a pariah to say what his true thoughts are in a sober way. Ten years seems fair to me. Saying you’re glad someone died (which is never the same thing as wishing a living person would die) ten years afterwards doesn’t seem like celebrating to me. It’s a statement of a view. At some point I think it has to start to be within the bounds of civil acceptability to say what we think or thought about things like this if it’s done in a sober way. I guess we can each judge DougJ’s soberness for ourselves.Report

    • Ezra in reply to krogerfoot says:

      ” let you pull off expressing pleasure at the early death of someone who never knew of your existence.”

      What, you can only express pleasure at the deaths of people who know who you are? That’s the dividing line? So if someone like, I dunno, say, Erin Burnett, had years ago expressed pleasure at the death of Saddam Hussein, that would be no good, but if Ahmed Chalabi did the same thing, it would be okay, because Saddam knew who Chalabi was.Report

      • krogerfoot in reply to Ezra says:

        What? I am glad that Michael Kelly is dead. And I wish he’d died younger. I can imagine blurting that about some bitter personal nemesis, or, okay, History’s Greatest Monster, or Kenny G (but I repeat myself). Otherwise, “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” would be a bunch of gibberish.

        What I don’t understand is how I could say it in most other circumstances. Is this not an obviously contemptible sentiment? Does I really strongly disagreed with him excuse writing and posting publicly that his violent death brought me pleasure?Report

  7. BlaiseP says:

    Let’s not mince words. If Liberals now piss on Michael Kelly’s grave, it doesn’t have much to do with the Iraq War. It’s about the way Michael Kelly went after Bill and Hillary Clinton — and Al Gore, especially. Michael Kelly really was an asshole.

    John Cole has lived long enough to repent but I don’t believe a word of it. Now watch him ride in to stomp on the grass fire DougJ’s lit, saying I am fully aware I am a total hypocrite and how I feel about things changes at a moment’s notice, Yes, John. Your opinions did change but not on a moment’s notice.

    I quit reading Balloon Juice years ago. My visceral contempt for John Cole and all those now-disenchanted assbiters is boundless. Summer soldiers and sunshine patriots the lot of ’em. When Tom Paine wrote that, Washington had it read to the troops at Valley Forge, he wasn’t all that far from occupied Philadelphia, full of just such summer soldiers. Tyranny like hell is not easily conquered, yeah. I’ll tell you why, and for free. Tyranny always has its toadies and cheerleaders. Michael Kelly was a toady, a liar and an editor of liars.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Comments at BJ indicate you are right about some of the motivation here. That’s disgusting and foreign to me; I have no context to put this man in beyond what he had to say about Iraq. That’s the first I ever heard of him, and it’s all I’ve got in mind in everything I’ve had to say above.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Michael Kelly was, simply put, a liar and a shit-flinger. Bill and Hillary Clinton managed to wash it off. Al Gore’s reputation never recovered from what Michael Kelly et al. did to him.

        John Cole should just shut up for a while. All his mealy-mouthed mea maxima culpa is more than annoying — it bears all the hallmarks of his intrinsic shallowness. Want to know what Michael Kelly would sound like if he’d lived long enough? Read John Cole today.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to BlaiseP says:

          As I say, I’m not familiar enough with him to say he wouldn’t have had that kind of a change in attitude (and who knows?), but I can say that’s not the vibe I get from what I’ve read by and about him. But who knows.

          John Cole is what he is; it’s all right there for everyone to see. I admire his openness and beyond that I find that that openness about what and who he is sort of obviates the need to form any opinion of him as far as I am concerned. And I entirely understand why he differs from his co-blogger on this question, and since it is most definitely *his* blog, I fully understand his need to say so clearly. I really respect the latitude for difference he allows among those he associates with over there (even if many here and on the Right see the place as a bunch of people saying the same things to each other; in fact, while they do that about as much as any single blog is likely to do, there is actually a fairly considerable degree of pretty heated, I won’t call it debate exactly, but fractiousness that goes on over there on a number of topics).Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Michael Drew says:

            Well, folks, I am familiar with what Michael Kelly wrote. And I remember John Cole back in the day, too. All those zig-zag wanderers and sunshine patriots can now kiss my wrinkly old ass. I’ve outlasted my critics by taking the long view of these things. I do not forgive any of them. A whole forest of Vermont granite has grown in the graveyards of America, sprouted up over thousands and thousands of good kids. An entire generation of volunteers went to the wars for which John Cole and Michael Kelly thought most wise at the time, mouthpieces for the then-fashionable lies of those times. If those have now gone out of style and those lies discredited, a storm surge of PTSD and traumatic brain injury cases is now pushing onshore, a psychiatric tsunami I predicted at the time. When my old division went over the line into Iraq, I wept. My son and daughter sat on each side of me, frightened, holding onto me. I knew what was coming.

            No I am not going to accept anyone’s apology for the Iraq War, least of all John Cole’s. I don’t have to respect him now. I didn’t respect him then.Report

            • Michael Drew in reply to BlaiseP says:

              Fair, BP. I didn’t intend to say that you should be open to Cole’s mea culpas on Iraq. I’m of absolutely no opinion about that.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Michael Drew says:

                John Cole is what he is, all right. He’s just not who he was. He’s contemptible.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I can’t agree with you there, and though I’m searching for a way to say that you’re fully entitled to that opinion and that I respect your view on the matter that isn’t insufferably patronizing, I’m failing to find one. So I’ll just say, I can’t agree with you there. Have a good Sunday, Blaise.Report

    • HankP in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Blaise, if you don’t forgive people for admitting to making mistakes you’re just encouraging them to double down on those same mistakes. Sometimes it’s wiser to accept “I was wrong” and let it be.

      As for the people who refuse to admit they were wrong, there isn’t a pit deep enough for them.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to HankP says:

        Hey, Hank! Good to see you over here. Look, I’m not going to give Michael Kelly a posthumous mulligan and wring my hands and unctuously declare de mortuis nihil nisi bonum. While he lived, Michael Kelly had nothing good to say and much evil.

        If anyone would honour Michael Kelly’s memory, let us not rewrite history in so doing. Michael Kelly’s legacy is long and memory is tricksy: we have the record of what he wrote. The truth is, I will never forgive the authors and sponsors and rah-rah cheerleaders for the Iraq War and I see no reason to do so.

        No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.

        If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.

        Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.

        But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.

        Well, Michael Kelly is dead and I don’t mourn his passing. The dead cannot be brought back to life. If his legacy is to be of any value, let future would-be wonder boys ‘n girls study him and avoid his evil example.Report

        • HankP in reply to BlaiseP says:

          I was actually talking about Cole. I’m not sure what he could do beyond saying he was wrong about everything. It’s true that he may do another about face in a few years, but until he does I’m willing to give him some credit for being explicit and not hemming and hawing about how things aren’t as bad as the media makes it out to be or that “it’s too soon to say” like some people we know.

          As for Kelly, I don’t mourn him either.Report

        • HankP in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Oh, and it’s good to see you too, Blaise. Hope things are going well for you.Report

      • George Turner in reply to HankP says:

        Actually, many of the people who pushed for the Iraq War expected far more casualties than we actually suffered. Saddam’s Republican guards were still intact, and unlike the sweeping desert operations of the Gulf War, it would be a battle through Iraq’s heavily populated and defended cities all the way to Baghdad, and then possibly into the North.

        The US hasn’t engaged in heavy offensive city fighting since about WW-II, and there’s no reason to think that aspect of combat had improved for us significantly since then other than in regards to flak vests. If the Iraqis were as determined as the Germans at Aachen or in Berlin, or Japanese dug in on countless small islands, we were going to take heavy losses securing the cities, especially is Saddam dug into his remaining chemical weapons stockpiles (which turned out to be a lie on his part).

        But instead of fighting to the bitter end, the Iraqis rushed out and toppled the statue of Saddam and had a big street celebration. They didn’t put up a serious fight until the battle of Fallujah, months later during the occupation. Even with years of fighting scattered all over the country, mostly aimed at rival ethnic groups, the total US casualties were comparable to just freeing small parts of Europe (Arnheim, Aachen, and other cities that start with ‘A’), or tiny dots in the Pacific with funny names. The total Iraqi casualties were on par with a good night’s bombing raid on an Axis city.

        Even Iraqis agree that Iraq is better off for out intervension, but we’ve learned a bit from the chaos and our approach to Syria is to just stay out of their bitter ethnic civil war.Report

        • HankP in reply to George Turner says:

          I’m sure the Kurds are happy about our intervention, as for the rest of Iraq I’m dubious about your assertion and my doubts grow every time there’s another car bomb – which keep going off with depressing regularity.

          Wars aren’t fought merely to tote up scores of how many people were killed and how efficiently, but to advance political and economic goals – and on that score Iraq is nothing but a disaster.Report

        • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

          The European press covered Iraq pretty heavily for the 10th anniversary of the invasion, conducting lots of street interviews, and the firm concensus was that toppling Saddam and the Ba’athists was a very, very positive thing, although they’re still struggling with violence and corruption.

          There’s more going on in Iraq than just bombings, it’s just that only the bombings make it through the press filters that were erected after Obama took office. In recent knews, the Air Force football club sacked their coach after a tie with Erbil. In Saddam’s day they would’ve just shot him. Here’s a picture of Iraqi sprinter Dana Hussein kissing the Iraqi flag without fearing that her family would be executed if she didn’t. (She was also their flag bearer at the London Olympics.)

          As for problems, although those are many, they now are free to demonstrate and demand a stop to things their government is doing, such as protests in Ramadi and Falluja link. In fact, they protest over lots of things, including for women’s rights.

          And Kurdistan certainly has boomed. When we invaded Erbil had 4,000 cars. Now it has over a million, which park at their multi-story shopping malls or at the Erbil Hilton (although luxury hotel chains are popping up all over the country. Sure beats being gassed and bulldozed into mass graves.

          Sometime try Iraqi Business News or any of the other numerous news outlets. The security situation in much of Iraq is still a major issue, and government corruption is rampant, but now they’re all free to speak their mind in public, and in print. In terms of jump starting a fractious and functioning Democracy, we probably did better there than in South Korea or Afghanistan. As long as their politicians keep screaming at each other and flinging accusations of corruption, and as long as the protesters keep protesting, and the newspapers keep spilling ink, they’ll turn out okay.Report

          • HankP in reply to George Turner says:

            Sorry, George, but Iraq isn’t exactly a huge win. Not to mention that when someone says “the press filters that were erected after Obama took office” I tend to discount everything that follows. I’m sure some Iraqis are doing better, but trading one awful dictator for an interminable ethnic/religious low level war doesn’t look like a big win for the Iraqis. Also, the US political/economic goals have been a complete disaster, as Iraq’s involvement in Syria, friendliness with Iran and commercial contracts to Chinese oil companies show.

            Also not sure why is registered in Leeds, UK. Or that it’s a joint venture between a consulting firm and an insurance company. That seems like a rather slanted view on the news IMO.Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    I remember when we hoped for and celebrated the deaths of political leaders and would get into long arguments over whether it would be appropriate to cheer, say, the death of Pinochet (or the death of Castro, whatever).

    If we’re getting closer to the days where we openly discuss such things about people who disagree with us politically… well. I’ve seen that movie.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird says:

      In my view, enunciating when we do have these reactions and what the reasons for them are over and above simple political disagreement is what keeps the situation from developing where simple political disagreement does come to justify such thoughts. I don’t think anyone is glad Michael Kelly died just because they disagreed with him politically. Over-the-top war advocacy of the kind Kelly engaged in is something quite apart from any other kind of political advocacy. And clearly we are in the days when we openly discuss our honest reactions to deaths that occur because advocacy like that succeeded. So, tell us. What’s ahead for us? If we live in the movie you’ve seen, that is. Or if we don’t, for that matter.Report

  9. Michael Drew says:

    You have?Report

  10. Damon says:

    I didn’t like Kelly, but I’ll give him a small amout of props if he, as suggested by the links, was rebutting Krugman. We need more writers taking on that idiot.Report

  11. And I say this as someone who’s usually wearing pajamas.