Comments: Coming Of Age

It would probably be wiser to close down Iraq before opening up Pakistan.

Posted by Fritz at January 25, 2009 01:17 PM

Realese the hounds, the thrill of the hunt, who knows, maybe Obama will get BIN LADEN. (unlike "Ole Wanted Dead or Alive")

Posted by Mike Meyer at January 25, 2009 02:37 PM

Obama said…

“There is no answer in Afghanistan that does not confront the Al-Qaeda and Taliban bases along the border,” he said, “and there will be no lasting peace unless we expand spheres of opportunity for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Think of it, the opportunity to be blown to bits is certainly one that most can get behind. The Guardian failed to mention that 3 or 4 of the people murdered were mere children.

So far Obama has had no comment just like with Gaza, seems to be a pattern forming here.

Posted by Rob Payne at January 25, 2009 02:50 PM

Well, he didn't waste any time! That was even faster than Clinton.

Posted by Duncan at January 25, 2009 03:31 PM

The Guardian failed to mention that 3 or 4 of the people murdered were mere children.
Rob Payne

It's amazing how many Al-Quaeda and Hamas children there are in the world. I'm so glad we're being kept safe from them.

It's not going to end, is it?

Posted by catherine at January 25, 2009 04:06 PM

The Guardian failed to mention that 3 or 4 of the people murdered were mere children.
Rob Payne

It's amazing how many Al-Quaeda and Hamas children there are in the world. I'm so glad we're being kept safe from them.

It's not going to end, is it?

Posted by catherine at January 25, 2009 04:06 PM

Catherine,

No,I'm afraid it's not going to end, at least not in the near future.

Posted by Rob Payne at January 25, 2009 04:29 PM

"At least Obama didn't give a speech about his heavy heart."

I'm gonna guess his feelings are too deep for words.

Posted by Donald Johnson at January 25, 2009 05:05 PM

Parallels: Zharki, Sderot

No, not quite. In the Wikipedia entry for Sderot we can find that "Studies done in recent years show that the continued rocket fire and the large number of shock victims have led to post traumatic stress disorder among many of Sderot's residents (close to 30%)." Villagers in Pakistan don't experience any stress, or at least no studies have shown them to be at all bothered by sudden missiles.

Posted by fred at January 25, 2009 05:07 PM
"Catherine,

No,I'm afraid it's not going to end, at least not in the near future."

'Pends what you mean by "it" dunnit?
The awfulness will end for many this year. For some others only begin.
The rise of evil continues apace. Pigs multiply like tribbles, even while nice people wake up everywhere in droves.
It hurts, for most of us it hurts more every single fucking day.
Me, I'm gladder each minute that human life, at least for me and the ones I care about, is a temporary thing.
Posted by roy belmont at January 25, 2009 05:07 PM

Every dead child is one less person that can rise up against America.

Posted by ChrisV82 at January 25, 2009 05:42 PM

Unlike the slaughter of innocents brought to us by Bush and Co., the Obama administration gives us Wog Extermination We Can Believe In.

I have to forward this to all my friends who either went to the inauguration or watched the coverage with so much emotion. I'm not expecting much of a reaction.

Posted by Sam Holloway at January 25, 2009 05:53 PM

So it goes.

Posted by Kurt at January 25, 2009 06:39 PM

I have to forward this to all my friends who either went to the inauguration or watched the coverage with so much emotion.

Does anyone else think it's just a little unseemly how some people are reveling in this?

Posted by SteveB at January 25, 2009 10:43 PM

I don't see revelry in what Sam said—just anger and disgust. I think you owe him an apology.

Posted by John Caruso at January 26, 2009 01:00 AM

Maybe "reveling" isn't the right word, but there's something here besides the "anger and disgust" you mention, something like vindication, or even gloating: "Look! He's a killer just like we said he'd be!"

And I'm thinking of Sam's friends - the poor, deluded fools, they allowed themselves to get all emotional about the inauguration. This'll fix 'em!

Posted by SteveB at January 26, 2009 09:37 AM

"Look! He's a killer just like we said he'd be!"

and? your point?

um, 'change'????

Naw, I'm jus' gonna kill some more pakis...

Posted by woody at January 26, 2009 09:52 AM

and? your point?

That turning dead kids into political props isn't the best way to say "I Care"?

Posted by mitch at January 26, 2009 01:55 PM

...turning dead kids into political props...

...is an ugly and very serious accusation which is unlikely to apply to the kind of people who read ATR, and I'm disappointed to see it being thrown around so cavalierly.

But if those of you who are doing so feel it's more worth your time to criticize the people who are expressing outrage over these killings (based on worst-case assumptions about their motivations) rather than the person who authorized the attacks or the vast population of his supporters who haven't offered a word of opposition to them, that's your prerogative.

Posted by John Caruso at January 26, 2009 02:39 PM

John:
We're going to have lots of moments like this, over the next four (or eight) years, as Obama proves to be "more of the same" in at least some areas of policy. When this happens, "I'll email this to my friends so they can see how wrong they were to feel hopeful!" isn't the best response, in my opinion.

Posted by SteveB at January 26, 2009 03:07 PM

You fuckers told me he was going to be different. You said he was different. This is your fucking fault. What do you propose to do about it? These children's blood is on your hands too.

Really? That's your message to Obama voters? I don't know about you, but when I'm talking to people, starting off with "You fuckers" usually doesn't work very well.

Posted by SteveB at January 26, 2009 04:45 PM

Sigh. I don't start off with "you fuckers"; I was speaking about tone and about how I feel. I am generally much nicer than my opponents. In fact, those who remember the past few elections will know that a truculent, "you fuckers" tone has been much more characteristic of mainstream Democrats and Obama fans in dealing with criticism of, or even mere skepticism about, the Partei and the Messiah from the left. And I'm not the first person to point out that it's an odd way for them to try to win my vote.

To try to be utterly literal: I do think that people who supported Obama unrealistically need to take responsibility for what they wrought, for the evangelistic language that brought us a new killer in the White House.

Notice too that I was not talking about "Obama voters" in general (what were you imagining, a full-page ad in the Times with "YOU FUCKERS" taking up the whole upper half?), but about Obama fans I know personally, with whom I already have a long history of discussion. Would you find that message less objectionable if I took out "you fuckers", by the way?

Posted by Duncan at January 27, 2009 10:45 AM

Would you find that message less objectionable if I took out "you fuckers", by the way?

Not really. That's because "These children's blood is on your hands too" frames a systemic issue (American militarism) as a moralistic question of individual choice.

Well-meaning liberals (which I assume you're not) do this all the time. The way to "save the planet" is to buy a Prius, which also entitles you to lord it over other non-Prius-buying, non-planet-saving people.

So if that's objectionable behavior when it's applied to consumer choices, why should it be acceptable when applied to political choices. Obviously, the political problems we face won't be solved by having people vote the "right way" within our current political system.

And if we're really concerned about dead Pakistani children (and I assume you are), then we should be trying to build a political movement that's strong enough to put an end to this sort of thing. And the millions of Obama voters should be part of that movement, don't you think? So how we talk to them is important, and worth arguing about.

Posted by SteveB at January 27, 2009 11:45 AM

SteveB: AGREED!

Posted by Mike Meyer at January 27, 2009 12:34 PM

So how we talk to them is important, and worth arguing about.

Yes, but I'm sure you'd agree that how we talk to each other is just as important. And I hope you'd also agree that people who share your values deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their motivations, rather than accusations of "revelry" or "gloating". You seem unaware that you're even making an assumption about motivations in this case, much less that that assumption is the worst possible one and that it very well might be wrong. Ironically, you're doing the same thing about the Prius owners.

Though you're framing this now as an argument about the most effective way to communicate with Obama voters, there was none of that in your original comment. On that new topic, though, let me gently point out that you're also giving very little credit to others for knowing how to talk to non-raving lefties, as though only you've got the Rosetta stone. Even setting aside those assumptions I keep mentioning, I think you can take it as read that the way someone portrays a conversation here—in passing and in a casual (and hopefully friendly) forum—isn't a verbatim transcript of how they'd speak to their Democrat-loving friends.

Posted by John Caruso at January 27, 2009 01:21 PM

Though you're framing this now as an argument about the most effective way to communicate with Obama voters, there was none of that in your original comment.

My first reaction upon reading this news item was to forward it onto some of my favorite Obamaniacs, most likely with some sort of wise cracking commentary. But then I saw SteveB's initial comment and thought about what my motivation for doing so actually was. And I didn't like what I came up with.

You seem unaware that you're even making an assumption about motivations in this case, much less that that assumption is the worst possible one and that it very well might be wrong.

So the plural of anecdote is not data but this assumption was, in my case anyway, actually true. But there is a not insignificant chance that I'm ATR's scuzziest reader so maybe it was just me.

Posted by mitch at January 27, 2009 01:53 PM

there is a not insignificant chance that I'm ATR's scuzziest reader so maybe it was just me

I like to think of myself as ATR's scuzziest reader.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at January 27, 2009 02:05 PM

mitch: That's some impressive honesty. Thanks for saying.

So the plural of anecdote is not data but this assumption was, in my case anyway, actually true.

Maybe, but here's something I'll never forget: I used to have an office mate who always assumed the best about my intentions, whether I deserved it or not. I'd make some snarky comment and he'd laugh it off as though I'd just been joking. He was a smart guy and so he (often) knew that wasn't true—but he chose to respond in that way anyway.

And not only did it defuse the situation, it also taught me a lesson. I'd think about it afterward and be embarrassed about what I'd said, and it made me want to live up to those good assumptions the next time around. I certainly haven't managed it all the time, but I do always try, and given that this was 15 years ago it obviously made a big impression on me.

So I think it's worth giving people the benefit of the doubt even (or especially) when they may not deserve it.

Posted by John Caruso at January 27, 2009 02:42 PM

Yeah, Sam! How DARE you tell the truth to your Obamabot friends! Remember, you want to persuade these gutless, lesser-evil-spewing demotards because they'll just be sooooooooooo useful. Don't be mean to the cringing gutless pwoggie-bloggies, Sam! Frame your talk in mealy-mouthed pundit speak like a fucking civilized member of the Empire.

Sheesh.

Posted by AlanSmithee at January 27, 2009 05:42 PM

John:
You're right. Instead of saying "reveling in this", I should have said "seem to be reveling in this", because I was just reporting my strong impression of the comments I was seeing. And it wasn't really fair to single out Sam for criticism, because, to be honest, the whole thread was giving off a powerful stench of self-righteous "told you so!"

One bad vibe I was definitely picking up was the idea that hope about the potential for change (or even, God forbid, getting "emotional") is some kind of disease that people need to be cured of. I'm sure you've studied enough of the history of social movements to know that real change happens in times of rising expectations, not when people's hopes have been dashed.

And, speaking of assumptions, what assumption are you making about Obama voters? That they expected Obama to stop the U.S. military from killing people? Didn't Obama explicitly say during the campaign that he would continue attacks exactly like this one? Who's going to be "enlightened" by this information?

Alansmithee:
Thank you. Your contempt is all I ask for.

Posted by SteveB at January 27, 2009 07:21 PM

SteveB: ...the whole thread was giving off a powerful stench of self-righteous "told you so!"

You're seeing exactly what you expected to see. And as for "self-righteous", you might want to be careful of that glass house.

I officially give up on this meta-discussion. But I will say that I find it painfully ironic that in the process of attacking others for allegedly using the killing of innocent people to make a point, you've explicitly used the killing of innocent people to make a point ("if you're really concerned about dead Pakistani children you should show it by doing what I tell you to do").

Posted by John Caruso at January 27, 2009 08:37 PM

Thank you, SteveB.

This development, no matter how expected (and I expected it, even if not quite so soon), is disheartening. To those who honestly were not expecting it, or trying not to focus on how likely it was, it has to be even more so.

It's worth holding off and re-reading and re-writing messages to people you care about in order to minimize the chance of beeing perceived as doing a Snoopy dance over what is unhappy, unpleasant news.

Posted by Nell at January 27, 2009 08:49 PM

Nonsense, Mr Caruso! Pwogwessives doesn't really give a rats ass when the Obamessiah blows the guts out of toddlers. It's that people should dare mention it in polite pwoggie company that gets their panties in a bunch. Content is nothing, sir. Form is everything! Harrumph, sir! Harrumph!

Posted by AlanSmithee at January 27, 2009 09:41 PM

John: "...I think you can take it as read that the way someone portrays a conversation here—in passing and in a casual (and hopefully friendly) forum—isn't a verbatim transcript of how they'd speak to their Democrat-loving friends." Exactly.

SteveB: "And, speaking of assumptions, what assumption are you making about Obama voters? That they expected Obama to stop the U.S. military from killing people? Didn't Obama explicitly say during the campaign that he would continue attacks exactly like this one? Who's going to be 'enlightened' by this information?" I can't speak for John, but I'm not making an assumption: I'm going by what they said, both face to face to me and online in various fora. Yes, Obama explicitly said during the campaign that he would continue attacks exactly like this one. But most of the Obama voters I talked to weren't listening to their man. They had little to no idea what he had said he would do, what plans he had, and when they did, they brushed them aside with "Sure, he has to say that to get elected, but he doesn't mean it." Some of them that I talked to didn't want to know what he'd said he would do: they wanted to have Hope, and Change, and weren't interested in anything that would harsh their vibe, because they had to have Hope. So yes, I think they would be "enlightened" to know that Obama has started killing people, though I also think they would refuse to think about it.

Of course there are also Obama voters who are just fine with killing Muslims, be they in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Gaza. That's another matter.

Posted by Duncan at January 27, 2009 09:52 PM

I officially give up on this meta-discussion.

But things were just getting interesting! I mean, what conversation wouldn't be improved by the contributions of Mr. Alan Smithee, Esq.?

Posted by SteveB at January 27, 2009 11:08 PM

And what about Scarecrow's brain?

Posted by AlanSmithee at January 28, 2009 06:06 AM

Duncan:
Going back to your "You have blood on your hands too" remark, I wonder if you see a parallel between holding Obama voters accountable for missile attacks on Pakistan and Israel's practice of holding voters in Gaza responsible for Hamas rockets fired into Israel?

Posted by SteveB at January 28, 2009 10:33 AM

SteveB: EXACTLY!

Posted by Mike Meyer at January 29, 2009 12:02 PM

SteveB:

Of course they are responsible. As far as I know, the Palestinians who voted for Hamas knew that Hamas would fight back against the Israelis. Which is more than can be said for most Obama voters, who as far as I know did their best to ignore what Obama said he'd do. We're not dealing here with a case of a President who changed course in mid-term; Obama did his best to make it clear what "hope" and "change" would mean, but most of his fans weren't listening.

But then, I also believe that Israeli voters who support the parties that have committed decades of violence against the Palestinians, including this winter's attack on Gaza, are responsible for supporting their government's crimes. Don't you? What sort of concept of responsibility do you have, I wonder?

None of what I've said here implies that the murderous Israeli attack on Gaza is therefore justified. Maybe you believe that, by saying that Obama voters and evangelists share responsibility for the crimes he commits, I therefore believe that it would be okay to take those people out and shoot them, or bomb the cities in which they live, or starve them as Israel has starved Gaza. If so, you're mistaken. But then, I've noticed that many liberals do believe that, if a country harbors terrorists, it must be bombed into the stone age -- which is why they become so hysterical when it is pointed out that the US harbors terrorists. There's no moral equivalence between the Israelis and the Palestinians. When someone has your throat gripped in his hands and is strangling you, you are not required to fight fairly. Nor can he call you a terrorist as he cups his bruised balls after you've kicked him loose.

From your use of the word "parallel," I infer that you share the general American (and Israeli) concept: if a woman gets pregnant, whether or not she planned to, she can only "take responsibility" for her pregnancy by carrying the fetus to term and raising it alone in shame, perhaps with contemptuous charity doled out by the godly. Having an abortion is not, for some reason, a way of taking responsibility. If the Palestinians fight back against Israeli occupation and violence, and manage to inflict some casualties (though far fewer than the Israelis have inflicted on them), that gives the Israelis carte blanche to "defend themselves" in any way they wish. And so on.

Similarly, I've noticed that some people misunderstand Chomsky's famous remark that if the Nuremberg laws were enforced, every American President since 1945 would have been hanged. They think he wants to see every American President since 1945 swinging from the gallows pole; but as far as I know, Chomsky opposes the death penalty. Or again, when Martin Luther King said in 1967 that the United States was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, he did not mean that he thought the US should be invaded, bombed, strafed and laid waste just as the US had done to Vietnam and other countries.

Have I answered your question?

Posted by Duncan at January 31, 2009 09:56 PM