Monday, November 06, 2006

My offer still stands, Mark

Free copies of Neoconservatism, Universal Hunger, and An End to Evil so you actually understand what neoconservatism is before you go off your meds again. I'll even throw in a free copy of War Against the Terror Masters (provided you are not still fearful of his evil emanations) to boot.

I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those days over at CAEI.

God only knows what'll happen over there if the GOP by some miracle (that's about what it'll take at this point IMO) retains both the House and the Senate on Tuesday. Now near as I can determine, Mark is mad at the neocons because some of them dared to question the implementation of the policies they advocated with regard to the Iraq war. He then links approvingly to Daniel Larison (another trend I will put down towards his creeping paleoconservatism), who is mad because nowhere in their criticisms of the Iraq war do they perform what he and apparently Mark feel is a fitting act of self-flagellation for their own role in advocating the conflict. While no doubt the desire for flagellation, self-inflicted or otherwise, runs strong among the neocons' many enemies these days (with the exception of those among Mark's fellow travelers who would just as soon see them hung or shot as undeclared Israeli agents), what both Mark and Larison fail to grasp here is that the reason that the neocons granted that interview to Vanity Fair, the same reason they are now mad that these comments were used as pre-election fodder, is that they still believe in the policies that they advocated and want them to succeed. They are attempting to offer constructive criticism, just like the generals like Eaton or Batiste who want Rumsfeld to step down, because they actually give enough of a damn about Iraq and all the blood and treasure that we spent there that they don't want to see it all lost for naught. Unfortunately, most of their enemies have already decided that Iraq and its inhabitants need to burnt on a sacrificial pyre for America's perceived sins so that we can feel more secure in our own self-righteousness again. It's that exact trend that leads Mark to blame supporters of the war for the damage done to Chaldean Catholics by the insurgency while simultaneously arguing that we should abandon all those who remain to the tender mercies of that same insurgency.

One other point I think needs to be made here is that Mark himself reluctantly supported the war and then changed his mind. Why does he have this perogative and not others?

Mark's other (rather disjointed) points in that post involve the calls for Rumsfeld to resign, but if he actually bothered to read the editorials in question he would see that these calls (like those by Eaton, Batiste, and others) are primarily based around the arguments that we need new leadership, new policies, and a new strategy to win in Iraq, an end that near as I can determine he now at least tacitly opposes. After all, an actual success in Iraq might inspire some to use military force against other state sponsors of terrorism (Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan) and the desire of many opponents of the war to preserve the current Iranian regime at all costs appears to be of paramount importance, so success in Iraq is not a desireable outcome as long as the current administration or the neocons might somehow get credit for it. In my own opinion, Rumsfeld needed to resign as soon as it became clear that the benefits of transformation and lack of dependency were not worth the price we're having to pay in Iraq. The problem is that it is individuals like Mark whose desire

His other blogs today are of a similar bent to the point of caricature: he holds the Bush administration responsible for a suicide (All of them?), blaming Israel for civilian casualties in Lebanon and Gaza, and arguing that the American political class has no ideas except for the bad neocon ones (again, all of them?). Apparently he's missed all of the debate that has occurred over Iraq over the last 3 years as well as that his own idea of taking flight from Iraq as quickly as possible in the manner of Brave Sir Robin is in of itself an idea that came from the political class. I'm also still waiting to hear how he jives this with his apparent absolutist view of Vatican foreign policy, or does he only apply that particular club when it comes to defending his current opposition to the war?


roger h. said...

The neocons strike back at Vanity Fair.

Has Mark ever bothered addressing the 48,000 boxes of documents that were recovered in Iraq, and the fact that much of which has been translated suggest that Saddam was in the process of rebuilding a WMD program?

After doing a quick glance, I don't see anything on his blog about the New York Times this weekend unwittingly confirming that Saddam was within a year of having nukes.

paul zummo said...

And did you see him ban a commenter for his "mind reading lies" when said reader accused Mark of wanting Leahy and Kennedy to be in charge of the Judiciary Committee? So when Mark does the same to people like Ledeen, it's okay because Mark is just so damn smart that he's capable of gleaning Ledden's true intentions. But anyone who does the same to him is banned from his site.

I find Mark's downward spiral to be particularly sad because Mark and I have had several pleasant exchanges. He helped me out when someone I know was thinking of converting, and he guided me on what to do and what litterature to offer. He was until about a week ago the only blogger I ever contributed money to. And as I said, we've had pleasant exchanges over e-mail, and he's generally shown himself to be a very decent guy.

So that's why this pisses me off so much. Mark can be such a great guy, but then he turns around and is so intellectually dishonest and smug that I just can't read him anymore (except when you guys link to him).

This is just intellectual bullying, and Mark just can't seem to take the time to really review these issues on his own. You know how I asked Voctor the other day for him to define what he views as neoconservatism? Wouldn't it be nice if Mark took the time to do that just once? Just once.

All right, I really want this to be the last time I write about Shea, because it's probably not the most Christian way of going about things. I really just wish Mark would take a step back and maybe think before he writes and learn what it is he's talking about.

Victor said...

Are you talking about this, Paul?

If so ... what a perfect example of Mark's intellectual dishonesty/deficiency. It's all there: the self-justifying framing; not realizing there is another way of reading (joeh could have been using the generic "you" not the specific "you," in other words, "one," not "Mark P. Shea"; the refusal to acknowledge unpleasant unintended consequences; the use of the term "lies" not a few days after he got all huffy about my using that term; Marty Helgesen and Kevin Miller making the same points (admittedly a bit more elegantly) without producing the banning threats.

What a maroon. What an embezzle.

paul zummo said...

Actually, I was referring to this, but that'll do as well. Amazing.

Christopher Fotos said...

Let's see. Vanity Fair lied to Frum, Perle, et al about their not being quoted until after election. Then they mischaracterized what they said--that's in Shea's wheelhouse right there--they mischaracterized what they have said and in at least one case the author of the piece, David Rose, has admitted the press release did so, that case being the evil Michael Ledeen. In other cases what the teaser says is demonstrably false because it portrays the criticism as recent turnabout when, in fact, some of those folks have been criticizing some aspects of how the war has been conducted for months if not years.

Knowing the latter would require some familiarity with the material. Okay, not Mark's strong point.

To recap, as regards the teaser Mark is linking to:

1. Vanity fair lied to the sources about when their comments would be published

2. It mischaracterized what the sources said

3. As admitted by the author and

4. As shown by the public record of the sources.

Effect on Mark's assessment: None.

Because that is what Mark Shea does. Misrepresenting what people say has a nice comfy feel to it.

I'm also reminded in this case of another basic, recurring problem that has grown in the last 18 months as Mark aspired to become an alter ego of Andrew Sullivan: It is almost impossible for a single individual to competently pronounce on every single public issue. This is a lesson that Mark now teaches us almost daily.

In his latest post Mark asks, who are you going to trust.

Uh huh.

And paul, I understand where you're coming from about this "not being the most Christian way of going about things." But one of the lessons I have learned in life is that bullies have to be confronted or they keep right on bullying. Whether those confrontations ever have any effect depends on circumstances, including the legal or social justice systems in place (and in that connection I'll observe that whatever channels of fraternal correction might exist are failing utterly). But one way to guarantee a continuation of the lies and slander and bullying is to do nothing.

Victor said...


In that other post, the possibility of "you" meaning "one" rather than "Mark P. Shea" is pretty much gone. It is never good to personally mind-read (though that Shea's recommended course of action is objectively, rather than subjectively, pro-Pelosi and thus objectively pro-abortion is still true). And everything else I said stands.

One other thing: I wouldn't trumpet my post from the other day as giving a very comprehensive definition of why I consider myself a "neocon," in large part because it never alluded to foreign policy. But FWIW, I'm in the pay of the Elders of Likud, as you know.

paul zummo said...

Understood, Victor. My main point was at least there was an honest exchange of ideas and an attempt to clarify a set of beliefs. Mark doesn't even attempt this modest step, and it really drives me nuts.

But enough on that for now.

Anonymous said...


Gentlemen, most of you now know what I had to put up with during the past four years (I know that Victor knows and empathizes). It's quite unfortunate that Shea has been engaging in such behavior but that no Catholic seems to want to call him on it (until now). Perhaps it's because Shea is "one of us (Catholics)." Well, if that's the case, then the Catholic blogging world has learned nothing from the clerical sex-abuse crisis.

Mark Adams said...

It's quite unfortunate that Shea has been engaging in such behavior but that no Catholic seems to want to call him on it (until now).

Such a tired act Joseph. People have been calling out Mark Shea on a wide variety of topics for some time now.

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