Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Beyond All Parody

First of all, as someone who was having kind of a frustrating day today, I'd like to thank Richard Comerford and friends for providing so much entertainment to everyone who was reading this set of comboxes today in which Comerford engaged in a behavior that was beyond parody in his comparing the Coalition to a secret society and demanding to know who was funding us. Victor, thank you for saving that whole exchange for future reference. And while Mark now claims that he didn't find anything particularly disagreeable with the notion that the Coalition is engaged in some faustian pact with the Bush administration, I think at this point even he is willing to concede that there is something more than a little flaky about the internal reasoning of his preferred "expert" on all things relating to interrogation. The charge that Victor and I are running the Coalition in the hopes of becoming part of the American ruling class (to whom Mark Shea, no doubt, is regarded as a dire threat) smacks of a rather bizarre species of paranoia that I haven't seen since So I Married An Axe Murderer.

In answer to Comerford's latest lunacy, my name and my occupation are my own. The name Torquemada was chosen by Victor as a parody of Mark's willingness to demonize of those who disagree with his fundamentalist view of Gaudium et Spes (though not Jimmy Akin or Dave Armstrong or any other Catholic apologist he happens to know, since it appears that some animals are more equal than others when it comes to disagreeing with Mark on matters of theology) more than any real knowledge of the man outside his article in the Catholic Encyclopedia. It is intended as irony, though I never expected that so much paranoia would surround my true identity.

Moving right along from there, I see that Mark, once again displaying his paleocon paranoia, fears for the possibility that Bush might order an attack on Iran. How exactly this is supposed to happen given how hard-pressed the administration is to order an offensive in Baghdad at this point is beyond me, but leave it to the Buchanan Brigade to be concerned for Iran at a time when it is actively complicit in supporting the Iraqi insurgency, acts that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of American troops and thousands of Iraqi civilians. Now maybe Mark doesn't have any problems with that, just like he apparently doesn't have a problem with all the Iraqis (let alone Americans) who have to die for Quds Force's designs so long as they aren't Chaldeans,* but I do and unlike Mark I choose to blame the people who are actually doing the killing for their deaths rather than go through all kinds of tortured logic in order to blame it all on Bush and the neocons. If applied to a domestic setting, this reasoning is the equivalent of blaming the police getting tough on a bad neighborhood for crime.

Mark writes:
I expect reaction among the war supporters will range from "Bush will never do that! Thos media panic-mongers are crazy!" to "Bush must do that! Those media-panic mongers are cowards!" If Bush does do it, then the former folk might wind up choosing between saying "All the deeds of the President are righteous, just, and wise. Blessed be the name of the President." or saying, "If Buchanan and Geyer were right here. What if they have been right about other things too." Of course, there are other possible reactions to action (assuming it happens) but I think those two might be prominent ones.

Anyhow, we'll see. Given the way the administration has prosecuted the war so far, I'd like to say they wouldn't do a half-hearted "surge" with inadequate troops and then dramatically expand the war with overstretched resources and make the Middle East spiral even further out of control beyond the wildest dreams of Osama bin Laden, but given the track record, I'm afraid that Bush will do exactly that.


To which I respond:

Get a clue. Regardless of the paranoid fantasies of the Buchanan Brigade, Bush is literally at the bottom of the barrel concerning his domestic political support. His speeches have done nothing to prepare the American public for what it will actually take to restore order in Baghdad (read: several months of very nasty street fighting), though Petraeus is far more candid in this regard. If Bush is barely able to sustain an offensive in Baghdad, how he is supposed to be able to mount a full-blown invasion of Iran is beyond me. Particularly since, according to Mark's paranoid worldview, the attack on Iran is supposed to come about after the surge ends (read: fails). It would certainly be nice if someone decided to do something about Iran's role in the deaths of both American troops and countless Iraqi civilians, but that prospect doesn't even occur to Mark. But not to worry, Khamenei and Ahmadinejad's vile regime in Tehran is likely to be secure for the immediate future and Mark can derive whatever comfort he desires from that.

One minor point to be made about this whole "playing into bin Laden's hands" thing. Bin Laden is not omniscient nor is he indestructible. He did not attack the United States because he believed it to be strong but instead because he believed it to be weak and degenerate. Moreover, while his strategy of bleeding the US to the point of defeat in Iraq seems to be proceeding apace, this is largely due to the twin factors that the administration has largely failed (at least publicly) to recognize the Iraq war as a theater in a broader campaign against al-Qaeda and then to act accordingly. Mark would no doubt be aware of this if he actually bothered to read Michael Ledeen or the Weekly Standard for anything other than polemical value. The latter publication in particular has recently published some very good articles on the rise of al-Qaeda in Waziristan and the US role in defeating the ICU in Somalia, two key issues that have been more or less ignored by the American press. I guess the difference is that the neocons, warts and all, are more interested in learning about the war in order to win it rather than to criticize it.

Lastly, I note that Mark is now blaming the Iraq war for the failure to repeal Roe vs. Wade, even though if that issue is going to be resolved it is likely to occur where it began, that being the Supreme Court. Josiah correctly notes that Mark's claim that "the GOP had five years of unrestricted power and did just a little short of jack--because they don't care about abortion and are only interested in exploiting the pro-life vote" is simply speaking, factually untrue and provides ample evidence to the contrary. Not that it matters, since I think Mark already demonstrated that he actually knows very little about the political movement to which he belonged when he started conflating neocons with libertarians. IIRC, Christopher Blosser dealt him fairly solid rebuttal to his assertion that Bill Kristol doesn't care about pro-life causes, though he continues to make it periodically. I don't hold it against people for not being able to appreciate the finer points about the political movement to which they belong, but I would appreciate it if Mark exercised a little bit more refinement when issuing his anathema sits against the entire GOP. Somewhat amusingly and disturbingly, Father Frank Pavone is derided for ideological impurity and seriously compared to the anti-Semitic Father Coughlin in the comments. Then again, the invasion of Iraq is also equated with the Nazi invasion of Poland (are the Kurds to be equated with Stalin since they assisted us, one wonders?).

* To those who will accuse me of engaging in demonization or hyperbole here, one of Mark's consistent criticisms with the Iraq war has been how it has affected the Iraqi Christian community. While I agree that their fate should definitely be of concern, I don't subscribe to the hideously amoral and absurd notion that Saddam should have been free to murder his own people to his desire so long as he left a couple of Chaldeans alive to serve as museum fixtures. This is essentially one of the arguments that Mark has been making on a number of occasions to use as a rhetorical and emotional club against the war, albeit inconsistently because he doesn't take understand the intellectual ramifications of his own arguments.

16 comments:

Donald R. McClarey said...

"But not to worry, Khamenei and Ahmadinejad's vile regime in Tehran is likely to be secure for the immediate future and Mark can derive whatever comfort he desires from that."

Perhaps. Or perhaps Bush will read the following article by Benny Morris leftist, yes that is not a typo, Israeli historian, notoriously sympathetic to the Palestinians and opposed to the Israeli government. This article appeared on January 18th in the Jerusalem Post.

"The second holocaust will not be like the first. The Nazis, of course, industrialized mass murder. But still, the perpetrators had one-on-one contact with the victims. They may have dehumanized them over months and years of appalling debasement and in their minds, before the actual killing. But, still, they were in eye and ear contact, sometimes in tactile contact, with their victims.

The Germans, along with their non-German helpers, had to round up the men, women and children from their houses and drag and beat them through the streets and mow them down in nearby woods or push and pack them into cattle cars and transport them to the camps, where "Work makes free," separate the able-bodied from the completely useless and lure them into "shower" halls and pour in the gas and then take out, or oversee the extraction of, the bodies and prepare the "showers" for the next batch.

The second holocaust will be quite different. One bright morning, in five or 10 years, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day or a year or five years after Iran's acquisition of the Bomb, the mullahs in Qom will convene in secret session, under a portrait of the steely-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini, and give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by then in his second or third term, the go-ahead.

The orders will go out and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off for Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Haifa and Jerusalem, and probably some military sites, including Israel's half dozen air and (reported) nuclear missile bases. Some of the Shihabs will be nuclear-tipped, perhaps even with multiple warheads. Others will be dupes, packed merely with biological or chemical agents, or old newspapers, to draw off or confuse Israel's anti-missile batteries and Home Front Command units.

With a country the size and shape of Israel (an elongated 20,000 square kilometers), probably four or five hits will suffice: No more Israel. A million or more Israelis in the greater Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem areas will die immediately. Millions will be seriously irradiated. Israel has about seven million inhabitants. No Iranian will see or touch an Israeli. It will be quite impersonal.

Some of the dead will inevitably be Arab - 1.3 million of Israel's citizens are Arab and another 3.5 million Arabs live in the semi-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Haifa have substantial Arab minorities. And there are large Arab concentrations immediately around Jerusalem (in Ramallah-Al Bireh, Bir Zeit, Bethlehem) and outside Haifa. Here, too, many will die, immediately or by and by.

It is doubtful whether such a mass killing of fellow Muslims will trouble Ahmadinejad and the mullahs. The Iranians don't especially like Arabs, especially Sunni Arabs, with whom they have intermittently warred for centuries. And they have a special contempt for the (Sunni) Palestinians who, after all, though initially outnumbering the Jews by more than 10 to 1, failed during the long conflict to prevent them from establishing their state or taking over all of Palestine.

Besides, the Iranian leadership sees the destruction of Israel as a supreme divine command, as a herald of the second coming, and the Muslims dispatched collaterally as so many martyrs in the noble cause. Anyway, the Palestinians, many of them dispersed around the globe, will survive as a people, as will the greater Arab nation of which they are part. And surely, to be rid of the Jewish state, the Arabs should be willing to make some sacrifices. In the cosmic balance sheet, it will be worth the candle.

A QUESTION may nevertheless arise in the Iranian councils: What about Jerusalem? After all, the city contains Islam's third holiest shrines (after Mecca and Medina), Al Aksa Mosque and the Mosque of Omar. But Ali Khamenei, the supreme spiritual leader, and Ahmadinejad most likely would reply much as they would to the wider question regarding the destruction and radioactive pollution of Palestine as a whole: The city, like the land, by God's grace, in 20 or 50 years' time, will recover. And it will be restored to Islam (and the Arabs). And the deeper pollution will have been eradicated.

To judge from Ahmadinejad's continuous reference to Palestine and the need to destroy Israel, and his denial of the first Holocaust, he is a man obsessed. He shares this with the mullahs: All were brought up on the teachings of Khomeini, a prolific anti-Semite who often fulminated against "the Little Satan." To judge from Ahmadinejad's organization of the Holocaust cartoon competition and the Holocaust denial conference, the Iranian president's hatreds are deep (and, of course, shameless).

He is willing to gamble the future of Iran or even of the whole Muslim Middle East in exchange for Israel's destruction. No doubt he believes that Allah, somehow, will protect Iran from an Israeli nuclear response or an American counterstrike. Allah aside, he may well believe that his missiles will so pulverize the Jewish state, knock out its leadership and its land-based nuclear bases, and demoralize or confuse its nuclear-armed submarine commanders that it will be unable to respond. And, with his deep contempt for the weak-kneed West, he is unlikely to take seriously the threat of American nuclear retaliation.

Or he may well take into account a counterstrike and simply, irrationally (to our way of thinking), be willing to pay the price. As his mentor, Khomeini, put it in a speech in Qom in 1980: "We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah... I say, let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant..."

For these worshipers at the cult of death, even the sacrifice of the homeland is acceptable if the outcome is the demise of Israel.

DEPUTY DEFENSE Minister Ephraim Sneh has suggested that Iran doesn't even have to use the Bomb to destroy Israel. Simply, the nuclearization of Iran will so overawe and depress Israelis that they will lose hope and gradually emigrate, and potential foreign investors and immigrants will shy away from the mortally threatened Jewish state. These, together, will bring about its demise.

But my feeling is that Ahmadinejad and his allies lack the patience for such a drawn-out denouement; they seek Israel's annihilation in the here and now, in the immediate future, in their lifetime. They won't want to leave anything up to the vagaries of history.

As with the first, the second holocaust will have been preceded by decades of preparation of hearts and minds, by Iranian and Arab leaders, Western intellectuals and media outlets. Different messages have gone out to different audiences, but all have (objectively) served the same goal, the demonization of Israel. Muslims the world over have been taught: "The Zionists/Jews are the embodiment of evil" and "Israel must be destroyed."

And Westeners, more subtly, were instructed: "Israel is a racist oppressor state" and "Israel, in this age of multiculturalism, is an anachronism and superfluous." Generations of Muslims and at least a generation of Westerners have been brought up on these catechisms.

THE BUILD-UP to the second holocaust (which, incidentally, in the end, will probably claim roughly the same number of lives as the first) has seen an international community fragmented and driven by separate, selfish appetites - Russia and China obsessed with Muslim markets; France with Arab oil - and the United States driven by the debacle in Iraq into a deep isolationism. Iran has been left free to pursue its nuclear destiny and Israel and Iran to face off alone.

But an ultimately isolated Israel will prove unequal to the task, like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an onrushing car. Last summer, led by a party hack of a prime minister and a small-time trade unionist as defense minister, and deploying an army trained for quelling incompetent and poorly armed Palestinian gangs in the occupied territories and overly concerned about both sustaining and inflicting casualties, Israel failed in a 34-day mini-war against a small Iran-backed guerrilla army of Lebanese fundamentalists (albeit highly motivated, well-trained and well-armed). That mini-war thoroughly demoralized the Israeli political and military leaderships.

Since then, the ministers and generals, like their counterparts in the West, have looked on glumly as Hizbullah's patrons have been arming with doomsday weapons. Perversely, the Israeli leaders may even have been happy with Western pressures urging restraint. Most likely they deeply wished to believe Western assurances that somebody, somehow - the UN, G-8 - would pull the radioactive chestnuts out of the fire. There are even those who fell for the outlandish idea that a regime change in Teheran, driven by a reputedly secular middle class, would ultimately stymie the mad mullahs.

But even more to the point, the Iranian program presented an infinitely complex challenge for a country with limited conventional military resources. Taking their cue from the successful IAF destruction of Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, the Iranians duplicated and dispersed their facilities and buried them deep underground (and the Iranian targets are about twice as far from Israel as was Baghdad). Taking out the known Iranian facilities with conventional weapons would take an American-size air force working round-the-clock for more than a month.

At best, Israel's air force, commandos and navy could hope to hit only some of the components of the Iranian project. But, in the end, it would remain substantially intact - and the Iranians even more determined (if that were possible) to attain the Bomb as soon as possible. It would also, without doubt, immediately result in a world-embracing Islamist terrorist campaign against Israel (and possibly its Western allies) and, of course, near-universal vilification. Orchestrated by Ahmadinejad, all would clamor that the Iranian program had been geared to peaceful purposes. At best, an Israeli conventional strike could delay the Iranians by a year or two.

IN SHORT order, therefore, the incompetent leadership in Jerusalem would soon confront a doomsday scenario, either after launching their marginally effective conventional offensive or in its stead, of launching a preemptive nuclear strike against the Iranian nuclear program, some of whose components are in or near major cities. Would they have the stomach for this? Would their determination to save Israel extend to preemptively killing millions of Iranians and, in effect, destroying Iran?

This dilemma had long ago been accurately defined by a wise general: Israel's nuclear armory is unusable. It can only be used too early or too late. There will never be a "right" time. Use it "too early," meaning before Iran acquires similar weapons, and Israel will be cast in the role of international pariah, a target of universal Muslim assault, without a friend in the world; "too late" means after the Iranians have struck. What purpose would that serve?

So Israel's leaders will grit their teeth and hope that somehow things will turn out for the best. Perhaps, after acquiring the Bomb, the Iranians will behave "rationally"?

BUT THE Iranians are driven by a higher logic. And they will launch their rockets. And, as with the first Holocaust, the international community will do nothing. It will all be over, for Israel, in a few minutes - not like in the 1940s, when the world had five long years in which to wring its hands and do nothing. After the Shihabs fall, the world will send rescue ships and medical aid for the lightly charred. It will not nuke Iran. For what purpose and at what cost? An American nuclear response would lastingly alienate the whole Muslim world, deepening and universalizing the ongoing clash of civilizations. And, of course, it would not bring Israel back. (Would hanging a serial murderer bring back his victims?)

So what would be the point?

Still, the second holocaust will be different in the sense that Ahmadinejad will not actually see and touch those he so wishes dead (and, one may speculate, this might cause him disappointment as, in his years of service in Iranian death squads in Europe, he may have acquired a taste for actual blood). And, indeed, there will be no scenes like the following, quoted in Daniel Mendelsohn's recent The Lost, A Search for Six of Six Million, in which is described the second Nazi action in Bolechow, Poland, in September 1942:

A terrible episode happened with Mrs. Grynberg. The Ukrainians and Germans, who had broken into her house, found her giving birth. The weeping and entreaties of bystanders didn't help and she was taken from her home in a nightshirt and dragged into the square in front of the town hall.
There... she was dragged onto a dumpster in the yard of the town hall with a crowd of Ukrainians present, who cracked jokes and jeered and watched the pain of childbirth and she gave birth to a child. The child was immediately torn from her arms along with its umbilical cord and thrown - It was trampled by the crowd and she was stood on her feet as blood poured out of her with bleeding bits hanging and she stood that way for a few hours by the wall of the town hall, afterwards she went with all the others to the train station where they loaded her into a carriage in a train to Belzec.

In the next holocaust there will be no such heart-rending scenes, of perpetrators and victims mired in blood (though, to judge from pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the physical effects of nuclear explosions can be fairly unpleasant).

But it will be a holocaust nonetheless."

The writer is a professor of Middle Eastern history at Ben-Gurion University.

Hopefully Bush understands the following propositions:

1. The Iranian government will obtain nuclear weapons in the relatively near future, certainly prior to the end of his term.

2. After Iran obtains nuclear weapons it is merely a question of when, and not if, the weapons are used.

3. The two prime targets for nuclear Iran will be the Great Satan, the U.S., and the Little Satan Israel.

4. That the opponents of Bush have no alternative to a military solution to this clear and present danger.

Phillip said...

Nice piece Donald. But unfortunately for us and the US, I think its too late to do anything. Our "Allies" have never really wanted to stop Iran and our enemies (include Russia and China here) will only benefit from the chaos.

I think we will be left to reap the whirlwind.

Anonymous said...

I saw the Morris article. I wasn't impressed. The author clearly doesn't know much about the Iranian system of government. If he did, he'd know that the Iranian Presidency is term limited, and that the Supreme Leader, not the President, who is the commander in chief.

More fundamentally, the scenario Morris describes is only plausible if we assume that the Mullahs don't care about being obliterated in an Israeli second strike, and so far I've seen no evidence of this. The current Supreme Leader of Iran is dying, and the likely next Supreme Leader, Rafsanjani, is a technocrat more interested in making money than in martyrdom.

That's not to say that Iran isn't a threat to us. They are doing their level best to subvert us in Iraq and to send Lebanon spiraling into another civil war. But over-hyping the threat that they pose will, in the long run, be almost as damaging as under-playing it.

-Josiah

Donald R. McClarey said...

"Rafsanjani, is a technocrat more interested in making money than in martyrdom."

From a Rafsanjani speech in December 2001:

"If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world", Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani told the crowd at the traditional Friday prayers in Tehran."

Anonymous said...

"The president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be wiped off the map." -Shimon Peres

Rafsanjani's statement no more proves that he wants to nuke Israel than Peres' statement proves he wants to nuke Iran.

-Josiah

Donald R. McClarey said...

Beg to differ Josiah. There is a world of difference between Peres stating, in effect, that Israel would not die alone, and Rafsanjani musing that Israel could be obliterated by a nuclear strike while the Muslim world would escape with "damages".

Andy Nowicki said...

Torque, you're probably familiar with Hadley Arkes's article in FIRST THINGS, in which he basically admits that President Bush, while probably at least to some degree opposed to abortion in his personal beliefs, has done very little to advance the pro-life cause in his years as president. Arkes, an ardent Bush supporter, notes that Bush has never stuck his neck out for the unborn the way he has for various War on Terror initiatives. Instead, he's sought consensus and compromise in the abortion debate.
It's clearly not the hill he wants to die on.

As a result, legalized abortion continues unabated, largely without challenge, and sometimes it even gets a helpful push. Planned Parenthood still gets a ton of federal money, to take just one example (I think the total funding has actually increased from what it was under Clinton during the Bush years).

One might reasonably conclude that abortion doesn't mean a lot to most of the GOP elite, except as a useful campaign issue to galvanize religious voters. Or is Arkes (again, no paleocon Bush-basher) totally off-base in his assessment?

(I hate to agree with Mr. Shea, lout that he is, on this matter or on anything else, but so it goes...)

paul zummo said...

Andy-

If I may answer, I don't see that there are many measures the federal government could take to further restrict abortion. Even if the President devoted more attention to the topic - and I do believe that he has not been nearly vociferous enough on this issue - what more could he have done? Stripping away funding from Planned Parenthood is one course, but what else. Some person in Mark's combox suggested that the feds make it a crime to coerce someone to have an abortion, but I don't see how that would past constitutional muster.

On the pro side, he did sign the partial birth ban, and he has appointed two Justices that could - though it remains to be seen - vote to overturn Roe. We'll see strongly they value stare decisis.

Tom Connelly said...

If I may answer, I don't see that there are many measures the federal government could take to further restrict abortion. Even if the President devoted more attention to the topic - and I do believe that he has not been nearly vociferous enough on this issue - what more could he have done?

Here's Hadley Arkes on what more the administration could have done.

Victor said...

Andy:

The First Things site is being screwy right now (or maybe it's my browser -- whatever, it doesn't matter here and now). So I'd like to flesh out the details of what Arkes said. But responding to what you've sketched Harkes out as saying, his argument seems fairly sane to me.

Most obviously, abortion is clearly not the hill Bush wants to die on -- that'd be the War on Terror, for better or worse. And yes, while Bush is clearly "against abortion" and will nibble at the margins against it, he hasn't made it his top priority.

But I don't think one can say he has done little or nothing. There's a list going around the Internet of Things Bush Has Done Against Abortion (too lazy to look it up). Some of them, my memory tells me, were quite marginal. And if it had (let's say) 50 items on it, it's no doubt possible to compile a list of 50 Other Things Bush Hasn't Done Against Abortion. Though many of them would be equally marginal and few would be the subject of broad public debate.

But I think Bush has been very good on the three biggest pro-life issues, in terms of the public consciousness, the political viability and the fuss raised by the pro-life movement: anti-Roe judges, partial-birth abortion, and embryo killing/cloning. In fact, he chose the last to be the first (and still only) veto of his presidency.

I'm not saying the first-named thing is the only one that matters. But frankly it's by far the biggest. Unless and until Roe is overturned, Congress, the president and state legislatures (some of which actually have working pro-life majorities) cannot do very much against abortion except nibble at the margins. They should nibble as much as they can obviously, and one can say Bush hasn't done enough of these sorts of nibblings and/or hasn't made them enough of a priority. But frankly, if one is good on judicial appointments (and the made-up-for misstep on Miers aside, I think Bush has been), that makes up for (in my mind at least) a helluva lot of inadequacies elsewhere.

Pauli said...

No, not your browser; FT's new format has a code-page problem.

Andy Nowicki said...

Some of y'all may think this article is tainted, as it comes from a paleocon site, but I think the reasoning seems sound concerning the failure of the GOP to do much of anything about legalized abortion and the likely strategic/political motives for their inaction:

www.chroniclesmagazine.org
then click on
"Forgotten Strippers" by William J. Quirk (not as racy as it sounds-- it's not about THAT kind of stripper...)

Anonymous said...

Well I've been banned.

Apparently Mark doesn't see a problem with comparing people to Hitler, but if someone objects to his comparing people to Hitler, that's unacceptable.

The exchange in question, if anyone is interested, is here:

http://markshea.blogspot.com/2007_01_01_markshea_archive.html#116957412702417912

I sometimes think that Mark couldn't do a better job of turning people into enemies if he tried. But I'm going to keep praying for him - both for his sake and for mine - and I would encourage everyone here to do the same. To quote Elliot, "the last temptation is the greatest treason, to do the right thing for the wrong reason." It's very easy to lapse from righteousness into self-righteousness or let bitterness and resentment overcome your own better angels. To the extent that I let such factors color my responses to Mark, I repent of it, but I do not apologize for taking issue with the many nasty and indefensible things he's said.

-Josiah

Diane said...

I sometimes think that Mark couldn't do a better job of turning people into enemies if he tried. But I'm going to keep praying for him - both for his sake and for mine - and I would encourage everyone here to do the same. To quote Elliot, "the last temptation is the greatest treason, to do the right thing for the wrong reason." It's very easy to lapse from righteousness into self-righteousness or let bitterness and resentment overcome your own better angels. To the extent that I let such factors color my responses to Mark, I repent of it, but I do not apologize for taking issue with the many nasty and indefensible things he's said.

Well said, Josiah. I too repent, and I too pray for both Mark and Rod Dreher.

Christopher Fotos said...

Well I've been banned.

Apparently Mark doesn't see a problem with comparing people to Hitler, but if someone objects to his comparing people to Hitler, that's unacceptable.


Be prepared to witness more posts by Mark in an injured tone about nasty people who obsessively and inexplicably write about him on other blogs.

Christopher Fotos said...

Be prepared to witness more posts by Mark in an injured tone about nasty people who obsessively and inexplicably write about him on other blogs.

Wow, and I wrote that before I read the thread.