Saturday, January 20, 2007

To answer your question, Mark ...

After all, whatever Rod's opinions on the administration or conservatism in general (and I think the Claremont Review of Books did a pretty good job of dealing with the latter), he never to the best of my knowledge sought to pass off agreement with his prudential judgements with allegiance to the Catholic Magisterium. I suspect that he will adopt a similar view with regard to distinguishing his views from those of the Orthodox hierarchy. I still disagree vehemently with Rod on entire his NPR commentary, but he doesn't seem to me to be arguing from a position of strength.

You, by contrast, have repeatedly conflated your own opinion with that of the Magisterium and used that to demagogue against your opponents, which is one of the reasons why Victor started up the Coalition for Fog in the first place. I think that you are a good apologist when it comes to theology, but it is quite clear to me that your Bush Derangement Syndrome, need to triangulate above all else, and a host of other views have led you to the position of sacralizing or borderline sacralizing policy positions on issues of war and peace that the Magisterium itself regards as still open to prudential judgement.

Now, as to Rod's statement that he was a fool to trust the administration, it is increasingly appearing as though this may in fact be true due to the fact that the administration currently in existence in 2006 is quite a different animal than the one that came into being with great fanfare after 9/11. There have been a series of major US-led successes in the last month, such as the defeat of the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia and the renewed sense that we are actually going to do something more than complain about Iranian complicity in killing our troops in Iraq. Even so, the situation remains very fluid and I'm not holding my breath at this point. Near as I can tell, the long discrediting of President Bush started in the summer of 2005 when he was basically put under seige down at Crawford for a month by a woman who has long since been exposed as a lunatic. He didn't fight back then, he didn't fight back after Katrina, and he barely fought back against Murtha's offensive. And, much like al-Qaeda's strategy in Iraq, the long build-up of gaping wounds finally taken their toll on Bush to the point where he has now been fairly thoroughly emasculated in the arena of foreign policy. This hasn't stopped the usual ranks of conspiracy theorists from claiming that we're planning to mount a full-scale attack on Iran any day now, though given that even James Baker admitted in his report that Iran was complicit in killing American troops in Iraq, a reprisal would strike me as common geopolitical sense at this point. However, at this point it is quite clear that the Bush doctrine as it was articulated after September 11 is long since dead, due in part to his own ineptitude at communication and unwillingness to fight back either with words or weapons. In the absence of this, the foreign policy establishment's views that best personified by the posts and comments at Belgravia Dispatch are stepping to the fore, and I would suggest that Mark check back in the archives for the author's comments about the "Dobsonites" if he believes that these people are going to support the worldview of his creeping paleoconservatism that holds we have to become morally acceptable in his eyes before we have the right to defend ourselves against al-Qaeda.

At this point, absent another major terrorist attack, I do not believe that the American political establishment is capable of or interested in mounting a major response to the threat of an al-Qaeda that, far from crippled, is revived and growing stronger. And lest anyone think that the war in Iraq is the reason for this, I would note that events in Pakistan and their essential creation of a Taliban 2.0 over their northern border with better infrastructure has a lot to do with this. Short of invading Pakistan, there isn't much we can do at this point, and anyone who thinks that a US that had its ass handed to it in Iraq is going to do anything militarily in Pakistan is living in a fool's paradise at this point. That's really too bad, because as I said after the elections, a lot of people are going to die, many of them Muslims. I think that lot of Americans are likely to die too, certainly more than the 3,000+ that have everyone ready to surrender in Iraq. One of the reasons that I support John McCain is that he strikes me as one of the few national politicians who actually understands this, but that's probably a dispute best left for another day.

There's been some discussion in the comments about why Victor and I don't branch out to encompass more topics than Mark Shea. To that I would answer that I think we actually do, but that the focus on Mark for me has more to do with time than anything else. As long as he is going to be engaging in the cheap demagoguery that he does from his platform as a Catholic apologist, I am going to continue to try and refute him with the ultimate goal of correcting his errors more than anything else. I do not want to see Catholics who go to his website seeking counsel on matters of theology leave there with bad theology (as in the torture debate) or politics that I believe to be prudentially nutty.

In addition, Mark and some of his admirers have made much of the fact that Joe D'Hippolito posts here. I have my own disagreements with D'Hippolito as I think anyone who compares our two worldviews side-by-side, but he has never done or said anything that would make me ban him from the blog. Certainly I haven't seen anything as objectionable from him as I have from Marv Wood, who seems to basically feel that there's nothing terribly wrong with Osama as long as he's going after Amerikkka. Besides, Joe comments regularly on any number of sites around St. Blogs (including Jimmy Akin) and Mark doesn't feel compelled to condemn or label them together with him. So I guess I'm really not seeing what the problem is here.


roger h. said...

Mark Shea "leaves" for a few days and self-affirms that he is The Man.

somewhereinSouthAmerica said...

Hilarious post in the combox from Comerford -- he rails against cowardly bloggers who post anonymously. You just know he has a claim ready for service but no one to serve it on!

This supposedly "good" Catholic would like nothing more than so draw as many as possible into his twisted world of lawsuits over imagined wrongs. Self-righteous, self-involved, this failed soldier's only excuse is that he is too deranged to understand how malignant he is.

Christopher Fotos said...

It's so embarrassing.

Shea, responding to a commenter who notes that some other noted bloggers do not have sites devoted to criticizing them (which hadn't occurred to me, good point):

Thanks for boldly standing up for the obsessive and nasty and courageously daring to slam the people they spend post after posting blasting.

Only Mark can attack people, remember that. This is key. Only Mark can spew invective, month after tedious month. Rubber Hose Right, Apologist for Satan, Torture Apologist, "Chris Fotos doing his Catholics for Free Choice imitation"--ah, but when the targets of his venom respond, including my use of this blog because Mark banned me for repeatedly pointing out he was lying about Michael Ledeen--well, then, restrain yourself. Let's not be nasty and obssessive.

Phillip said...

somewhereinSouthAmerica ,

At least Commerford has dropped his most outlandish claims about his service. But this should serve as a reminder to Mark that he has put his trust in very unreliable sources.

This is in part why CFF exists. Not as a site for those who hate Mark, but rather as a site to correct multiple and blatantly false claims.

Correcting lies Mark, is not hate.

Diane said...

I think what some people don't get--Rod in particular--is that other people have every bit as much right to voice their opinions as their blog-host does. So. when the blog-host responds to dissenting opinions by vilifying and demonizing the comboxer, calling him or her nasty names, deleting his or her posts, etc., well, that means the comboxer must seek another venue in which to express his or her views. It's a free Internet. Those who attempt to silence and shut down critics have no cause to complain if the critics refuse to be silenced or shut down. The blog-host may be kingpin of his own blog, but he sure in heck cannot control the entire Internet. If he won't allow dissent on his own blog, fine. But the dissenters still enjoy free-speech rights, same as the blog-host does, and it is perfectly appropriate for them to ventilate their dissenting views at a venue of their own.

Again, the blog-host has no cause to complain. If he does not want the dissenters to maintain an opposition blog, then he should not have demonized, vilified, and silenced them at his own blog.

Simple as that.

I say this as someone who generally agrees with Mark's views. Just not with his methods.

And don't even get me started on Rod's methods. OR his views, for that matter.


Phillip said...


Nicely put. I have not bothered much with Rod's blog but have read a bit about his cunchy con thoughts. They overall seemed a list of personal preferences and not related to what most of us live with on a daily basis.

Anyway, thanks for your contribution.

paul zummo said...

Another thing with Rod is that he's basically the godfather of an entire political ideology or movement. He developed the "crunchy con" thesis, so he stands out in a way that would mean he would draw more attention and, thus, have a blog dedicated to him. And I think Diane succinctly identified why there is an "anti-Mark Shea" weblog.

Anonymous said...


Torq, there are reasons why Shea makes much of my posting here. First, Shea cannot confront anybody who passionately disagrees with him without demonizing that person. Second, Shea has been obsessed with me because I refuse to knuckle under to his bullying. Third, Shea believes he has the right to influence other Catholic bloggers to adhere to his agenda of banning the Emmanuel Goldsteins of the Catholic Blog Asylum.

Remember, friends, Shea is nothing but the Hugo Chavez of Catholic bloggdom. He deserves to be treated with the same respect.

Phillip said...

Don't know if he's the Hugo Chavez of blogdom but he does have a habit of deleting posts that point out his foolishness. He just deleted a long stream of Comerford paranoia.

Guess hard truth is too much for the Mark to handle.

Anonymous said...


All is not lost. That thread still exists in its intact form. Look for it later tonight.

paul zummo said...

He just deleted a long stream of Comerford paranoia.

Actually, considering some of Rich's writing, that is actually a credit to Mark. In total seriousness, someone needs to sit down with RC and maybe get him to stop writing on blogs. It would be for his benefit.

Pauli said...

I've saved that comment thread every few hours since it appeared as well, just FYI.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that Mark's deleting that thread has less to do with covering for Mr. Comerford than with his desire to avoid anything having to do with Mr. Comerford's threatened lawsuit.

On a slightly related note, Mark keeps saying that this blog is dedicated to making "excuses for Bush torture and it's constant pillorying of those who protest it" and that the men of FOG have contempt for anyone who holds that torture is intrinsically evil.

Needless to say, this hasn't been my impression of this blog. To be sure, certain individuals are held in contempt, Mark being chief among them. But I've never got the sense that there is contempt here generally for anyone who thinks that torture is always wrong, or who condemns the Bush administrations practices in this regard. But it never hurts to ask, so:

I believe that torture is intrinsically immoral. Is there anyone out there who holds me in contempt? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?


Anonymous said...

Anathema sit

Anonymous said...

More seriously ... you could be right, I suppose. But Shea is a published author, so he has just as much professional reason as I do to know the law on slander/libel/defamation. Plus as much avocational (i.e., blogging) reason as I do to know that you can't sue someone for others' comments merely on the basis of providing an Internet forum (admittedly the law here is necessarily young and this not firmed up, but still ...)

Shea has to know that Comerford's threatened lawsuits are frivolous rubbish.

Phillip said...

Paul Zummo,

Mark's deleting Comerford's comments may be appropriate at some level. However, Mark's continuing to provide Comerford a forum for his less obviously deluded comments is not. It merely enables Comerford to persist in his delusions - something that will not be helpful in ultimately breaking them down.

Looking at the court case that he consistently cites, Comerford is quite in need of help. But a blog or an email will not accomplish it.

Ultimately what Mark needs to do is stop enabling and ban Comerford.

paul zummo said...


I agree. Maybe this latest incident will spark just that.

Piraeus said...

I demand to know who the owner of the "Documents" blog is!!