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September 10, 2007

Where Do These People Get The Idea We're Indifferent To Human Life?

George Packer, writing for America's most prestigious magazine:

Even in narrow strategic terms American interests would be harmed by large-scale slaughter in Iraq. The spectacle, televised around the world, would deepen the feeling that America is indifferent to human, especially Muslim, life.

Andrew Sullivan, writing for America's second most prestigious magazine:

I'm not sure that a wider Sunni-Shiite war, however unpredictable, is against the West's interests.

Posted at September 10, 2007 05:53 PM | TrackBack

Is the first-most-prestigious the New Yorker or the New York Review of Books?

Posted by: Adam Kotsko at September 10, 2007 07:30 PM

I'm saying the New Yorker. The New York Review of Books has such a specialized audience it doesn't really register, at least these days.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at September 10, 2007 07:58 PM

Trouble is, like a lot of other people, they would REALLY CARE if it was them gettin' shot.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at September 10, 2007 08:36 PM

Large-scale slaughter really does reflect badly on us. Better that death squads round up people at night. And having people displaced and starving is better than fighting in the streets.

I'm sure the Nazis didn't allow much picture-taking at Auschwitz.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at September 10, 2007 11:08 PM

So much propaganda, so little time.

Posted by: rob payne at September 10, 2007 11:38 PM

Personally, I'm touched by Andrew's including the whole West in his little calculation. I detect a hint of cosmopolitanism here.

Posted by: abb1 at September 11, 2007 04:29 AM

Not having read him in a while, I forgot what a schmuck Sullivan was-- and clearly still is. It reminds me of a TNR piece he wrote years ago in which he explained how high prices for AIDS and HIV drugs was good for people in Africa.

Time and again I wish we had a pundit brigade we could send to troubled hotspots to start our unnecessary wars for us. Unfortunately the current president would send them the massive reinforcements they'd request, completely negating their purpose.

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at September 11, 2007 05:35 AM

The Sullivan quote ruins the first. You should have stuck with Packer.

By paging the ghost of Dr K, Sullivan is making it too obvious.

Packer is more subtle. If I were a social scientist, I would try this experiment. Ask 1,000 Americans whether Packer's quote supports their views that we Americans are:

1. A decent, well-meaning bunch who try hard in our own clueless ways.

2. A bunch of stinking, navel-gazing, self-loving scumbags.

A neat self-referential poll: a majority vote of X (ie, 1 or 2) proves that the truth is 3-X (ie, 2 or 1).

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at September 11, 2007 11:31 AM

"Most prestigious" - I guess it depends who you ask. Not being connected with the cool kids who know these things, I wonder which magazine is

a) most selective - which is hardest to get published in

b)most expensive - which gets highest rates per page view from advertisers

c)most cited in writing, and public discussion generally (e.g. on tv, radio, etc.)

decades ago, I lived in one of the less-prestigious neighborhoods of cambridge, ma
I read in the supermarket tabloid "the national enquirer" that steve mcqueen (a movie actor of the time) had cancer

then within the same week i read in the most prestigious daily paper of the boston area, the globe, that steve mcqueen did not have cancer

then, months later, i read in the globe that steve mcqueen had died of cancer

so it goes

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at September 11, 2007 11:40 AM

That was cool, Bernard. You should drop the computer science nonsense and take up polling full time.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at September 11, 2007 01:15 PM

and televisions hate america. sheesh this is a long list.

Posted by: hapa at September 12, 2007 04:10 AM