Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why I call Shea a liar

Posts like this, where he says stuff like this:
Ralph Peters, who spends his time calling for torture and shooting surrendering combatants
Peters never said the latter and this was pointed out to him at the time. This post here, my first ever here to be devoted to Shea, is mostly concerned with Michael Ledeen, to whom Shea illiterately attributed Peters' words, but much of it applies to Peters' too.

The distinction between "execute" and "murder" is glossed over; there is no understanding of what "rules of engagement" are and how moral ones can have different goals; and the nature of the "kill or capture" issue that Peters is talking about is something Shea quite simply never grasps, tries to, or even indicates he sees. Anybody who knows anything about military strategy and military history knows what Peters means by "kill-or-capture." It is, analogous to any other "game plan" type issue, whether you use tactics designed to kill terrorists (like, say, bombing a building) or tactics designed to capture them (like, say, flooding the same building with tear gas or other asphyxiating agent). Peters isn't writing mostly about the "moment of surrender" issues.

It isn't Shea simply that doesn't realize all this (even Zippy seemed to realize, in his first paragraph here, that Shea was miscomprehending) because of his ignorance of military tactics and history. But also that he's too arrogant, petulant, sarcastic and blustering to acknowledge it. But very quickly Shea got it into his head that Peters did call for cold-blooded murder and that anybody who disagreed was making excuses for torture and so could be ignored or vilified.

By now he's just repeating a knee-jerk unthought like a broken record, as if repeating something often enough makes it true. And then takes offense when people call him a liar over it. Shea is now so marinated in his lies that he repeats them without even seeing them. His lies are his reality. He lies every time he broad-brushedly attributes, e.g., "secular messianism" or "salvation through Leviathan" and "End to Evil" to anyone and everyone who disagrees with him.

UPDATE: Like here. If Norman Podhoretz has ever called for an "End to Evil" ("End to Evil Types such as Podhoretz") I want the cite. The cite. We know that it cannot be based on a deep understanding of Podhoretz's ideas as mapping onto those of Frum and Perle's book for any number of reasons, one of which being that Shea hasn't read Frum and Perle's book beyond the colon separator in the title (his statements on "end to evil" in other words, are 200 proof ignorant).

It is merely amusing, of course, that Shea ends this deranged rant by chastizing someone else for "putting words in my mouth."

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mark's hyperbole aside, Peters does say some disturbing things. For example:

we delude ourselves that mass murderers have rights;

I suppose Nuremberg was a big waste of time? It sounds like Peters would prefer summary executions.

Victor said...

Mass murderers have rights, but they're far fewer than others' and one of them is a punishing, expiating execution.

I suppose Nuremberg was a big waste of time?

Absolutely. In fact, Nuremberg was worse than that. It turned international politics over to lawyers and has played no small role in the sanctifying of international "law" and the reduction of politics to law -- which has had 1,000 baleful consequences, and not all of them internationally. And the spectacle of the USSR standing in judgement of any nation's human-rights record (yes, even Nazi Germany's) is nothing short of disgusting.

Seamus said...

Peters never said the latter [i.e., "calling for . . . shooting surrendering combatants"] and this was pointed out to him at the time.

Well, when his catalog of supposedly stupid things we're doing in Iraq includes the fact that "we take prisoners knowing they'll be freed to kill more Americans," I don't think it's much of a stretch to conclude that he'd prefer that we shot them rather than let them surrender.

Anonymous said...

Peters would certainly rather they were killed in combat, but that's a long way from saying he favors executing surrendering combatants. What Peters is complaining about is running counterinsurgency operations like law enforcement, with an emphasis on "arrest", as opposed to warfare, with an emphasis on killing enemy combatants,while allowing surrenders were practicable. Peters was also complaining about our current "catch and release" policy with regard to enemy combatants.

Phillip said...

Seamus,

You're joining us from Mark's blog. That's great. But where does Peters say that? And if he doesn't, there is certainly a tradition of executing insurgents. The reason insurgents were executed was to prevent ongoing violence such as is going on now in Iraq.

Seamus said...

But where does Peters say that? And if he doesn't, there is certainly a tradition of executing insurgents. The reason insurgents were executed was to prevent ongoing violence such as is going on now in Iraq.

He says it in the New York Post article to which Mr. Shea linked.

You're perfectly welcome to argue that Peters is right to suggest that we shouldn't take prisoners, but you can't at the same time accuse Shea of lying when he states that that's what Peters is calling for.

Peters would certainly rather they were killed in combat, but that's a long way from saying he favors executing surrendering combatants.

*That* may be a long way from saying he favors executing surrendering combatants, but the actual words he used (complaining about the fact that "we take prisoners") aren't such a long way from that at all.

Seamus said...

phillip:

My last post may have created the impression that I was suggesting that you personally were calling Shea a liar. Perhaps I should have used the word "one" instead of "you," or instead of saying "you can't at the same time accuse Shea of lying when he states that that's what Peters is calling for," I should have said "but that argument pretty much disproves the accusation that Shea is lying when he states that that's what Peters is calling for."

Phillip said...

Actually Seamus, he never does say that we should shoot surrendering prisoners. Never. Now you can argue your point but it is speculation and not provided by quotes. I've already offered my intepretation that he is arguing for executin insurgents - which is what has happened throughout history.

This is a different blog. People actually have to say the things that are attributed to them in order for them to be true here. This is in contrast to Shea's blog. People also actually have to address arguments here instead of repeating old lines. And you won't have boy-Shea deleting comments or banning those who point out nonsense to back you up.

Yes, Shea is a hateful liar. He also exploits a son's death to make an anti-war point. Shea is a grotesque human.

If you wish to continue and you have an actual quote where Peters says what is claimed he said, then provide it. But read what Mark links. ITS. NOT. THERE.

I'll be back tomorrow if you want.

Seamus said...

Actually Seamus, he never does say that we should shoot surrendering prisoners. . . . If you wish to continue and you have an actual quote where Peters says what is claimed he said, then provide it. But read what Mark links.

So what do *you* read his complaint that "we take prisoners knowing they'll be freed to kill more Americans" to mean? (That's "an actual quote," by the way.) I don't think he means we should let them escape, which is the only alternative I can see to taking them prisoner or shooting them rather than accept their surrender.

Seamus said...

I suppose I overlooked another alternative: Peters may have been saying "we take prisoners knowing they'll be freed to kill more Americans-- not that there's anything wrong with that." But somehow I don't think that's what he meant.

Anonymous said...

There is "certainly a tradition" of executing insurgents," phillip says.

Whose tradition would that be? I had this silly idea that the conduct of American soldiers is governed by law, not some nebulous "tradition."

Stoning women who wear the wrong clothing is "tradition" to some of the jihadists we are fighting. Why is our tradition better than theirs?

Anonymous said...

Actually, anyone who conducts military operations while dressed in civilian clothes or under a "False Flag" is liable to execution under the Laws of War, as an illegal combatant or a spy. This is why the U.S. Army executed 32 German soldiers captured in the Battle of The Bulge, because they were wearing American uniforms. This has been part of approved military practice for centuries - see the article in the "Catholic Encyclopedia" under "War" (final paragraph) if you don't believe me. Since the "insurgents" in Iraq do not wear uniforms, they are illegal combatants, and hence are liable for trial before a military tribunal and execution. This has occurred in every war we have ever fought, on all sides. It's not just a tradition, it's the law - you can look it up...

Anonymous said...

Ok, so if we catch them wearing American uniforms they can be executed. In the current situation, however, it appears the evidence is far less clear-cut in many cases.

Also, phillip did not say anything about tribunals. He seemed to be favoring summary execution without trial.

Victor said...

Someone who favors a policy of shooting anyone trying to surrender could certainly say what Peters did.

But that does not mean that "what Peters said," i.e., our goal should be to kill terrorists, as many as possible, not to capture them (because, among other reasons, if we capture them, we have to release them and they tend to rejoin the fight) ... constitutes support for cold-blooded murder, as Shea vents.

Becuase of two issues, separate from one another (Shea characteristically conflates the two):

(1) The kill-or-capture choice is a matter of warfighting tactics. I gave examples of how one goal leads to one tactic, the other to another (tear gas-vs.-bombs); both tactics perfectly licit in themselves.
AND
(2) The issue of summarily executing illegal combatants caught red-handed or faking false surrenders. This is a tactical/rules-of-engagement matter and, whatever else might be said of it, such executions are neither "murder" nor a violation of international norms or conventions.

Anonymous said...

Posing as civilians while conducting military operations also make you liable to execution as an illegal combatant - the U.S. also executed numerous saboteurs who landed in the U.S. during World War II, and also executed un-uniformed "Bushwackers" during the Civil War - this sort of thing is also what got Nathan Hale executed by the British, by the way. I can't say what Phillip advocates - he can speak for himself - but Peters says "we take prisoners knowing they'll be freed to kill more Americans", so it's obvious that his objection is not toward the taking of prisoners, but their being freed to kill more Americans. Also, you say "it appears the evidence is far less clear-cut in many cases." What does this mean, that the insurgents actually wear uniforms, and are legal combatants?

Look, one of the central purposes of Just War Doctrine is to spare the innocent, and that's exactly why this distinction exists - so that innocent civilians will not be mistaken for combatants, and killed. Those who seek to blur or hide this distinction are war criminals, and deserve severe punishment, precisely because of the fact that they put civilians in danger. One would think that putative advocates of Just War would understand this.

Victor said...

Right. There has to be *some* consequence to violating rules of war, even good ones, like uniforms, brandishing, et al, that are attempts to protect civilian populaces.

JWT is like all morality: without means to enforce it, make good its admonitions, or have incentives to follow it -- it is just a pious wish.

Indeed, the very purpose of government is to do precisely that in the created worldly realm -- make moral judgements manifest and effectual (la verita effetuale). To say you favor a law or a moral admonition but oppose any means of enforcing it is the cheapest form of mere posturing.

Phillip said...

Looks like Victor and the second anon. have answered Seamus so I won't waste my time on him.

But here is the latest arrogance on Mark's part. He posts today about Christopher Hitchens' screed on Jerry Falwell's death. Now Hitchens seems to be a jerk, but look at what Mark says:

"The fact is, Hitchens is a man of such profound hatred when it comes to religion (and other selected enemies) that he simply does not see any reason why he should pause for a trifle like death. Indeed, he has a curious habit of publicly kicking the corpses of those he despises. Is that plain speech or simply boorishness rooted in hatred? In this case, I suspect the latter."

This from Mark not more than two days after he used the death of Andrew Bacevich's son for political and moral grandstanding. Mark indeed is a hatefull liar.

Mark also got the post right in that he compared Hitchens to Fred Phelps. Unfortunately, Mark is Catholicism's Fred Phelps.

Seamus said...

Looks like Victor and the second anon. have answered Seamus so I won't waste my time on him.

Answered but not adequately refuted. Look, when Peters complains that "we take prisoners knowing they'll be freed to kill more Americans," it's not unreasonable to read that as saying that, under the current circumstances, it's stupid to grant quarter to those we are fighting.

Peters says "we take prisoners knowing they'll be freed to kill more Americans", so it's obvious that his objection is not toward the taking of prisoners, but their being freed to kill more Americans.

It's not obvious at all. If
his meaning was that of course we are obligated to grant quarter to those who are surrendering, but it's stupid to then turn around and release them, then he could have made that point far better (and with less risk of being mistaken for one who thinks we oughtn't take prisoners) if his catalog of follies had, instead of the words he actually used, included something like "we release captured insurgents so they can go back to killing Americans."

Maybe Peters doesn't believe in denying quarter to surrendering enemies, but you'd never know that from the words he used, which naturally point to the conclusion that that's exactly what he believes. Shea may have been mistaken if he drew that conclusion, but given Peters's infelicitous choice of words, you can't fairly accuse him of lying thereby.

Phillip said...

Actually it may not be completely refuted but your point is not completely proven. Now given Mark's penchant for absolute precision in attributcomments to him (see his vacuous denials ing that he ever called Cheney a war criminal after he did) its fair to say if Peters didn't exactly say what is attributed to him then one can't.

But as for lying, can I prove that exactly. No and if you want that point fine though there are people here who would dispute you

But how about Mark's disgusting use of a dead soldier to make his points? Certainly I would be interested in any excuses you have here. Care to comment?

Seamus said...

But how about Mark's disgusting use of a dead soldier to make his points? Certainly I would be interested in any excuses you have here. Care to comment?

Yeah, he talked about what a crying shame it was that 1LT Andrew Bacevich died fighting in a war that his father has been arguing against. I have a hard time finding that disgusting, much less comparable to Christopher Hitchens' gloating over the death of Jerry Falwell and wishing there were a Hell to put Falwell into.

Victor said...

Whatever else might be said of it, Shea's use of the young Lt. Bacevich didn't have the element of animus for the dead person. That distinction is neither nothing, nor a small thing.

Which doesn't excuse Shea's clambering over a corpse to make a broader point that the existence of the corpse did not support. Soldiers in just wars are just as dead as those in unjust ones, and so the death of either a particular soldier or the general fact "soldiers will die" is totally irrelevant and cheap demagoguing.

Victor said...

Seamus:

But Shea repeats his dubious interpretation of Peters as though it were a fact as established as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. (He clearly used it to color his imterpretation of Peters's torture column.)

When others pointed out that his interpretation ("murder innocents") was neither in the text nor logically inferrable from it, he calls them apologists for Satan, complicit in murder, bans them from the site, etc. Without ever exhibiting his having seriously considered the other person's point. And while showing that there are relevant issues (of military tactics and rules of engagement are and are not, in this case) that he clearly doesn't grasp.

Ignorance + sarcastic bluster + uncharitable demonization + rashness + (and this is most important) blind repetition ... I'm comfortable saying that Shea jerked his knee to a position and will not back down in the face of facts, and so makes false statements (in this case about Peters; there are are a score of similar persons) owing to bad motive on his part.

My conscience is clear.

Seamus said...

I'm comfortable saying that Shea jerked his knee to a position and will not back down in the face of facts, and so makes false statements (in this case about Peters; there are are a score of similar persons) owing to bad motive on his part.

"[M]ak[ing] false statements . . . about Peters," even if "owing to bad motive on his part," does not constitute lying about Peters. Statements simply aren't lies unless the person *knows* them to be lies. I've given ample reason why someone might read the statement in question to mean what Shea read it to mean. The fact that his reading may in fact be incorrect doesn't make it a lie.

Victor said...

But at some point, ignorance becomes culpable and good-faith not an "out" from the lying charge. Repetition after constant refusal to listen to counsel, and doing so from bad motive, fits that bill.

Phillip said...

Seamus,

Back from a weekend. I had respect for your arguments until your reply to my question. I you can't see the wrong in using the death of a serviceman (who may very well have disagreed with his father) and list it as a "crying shame" then you are a follower of the true Church of Shea.

Victor said...

Philip:

Keep the punches above the belt.

Seamus said...

Phillip:

Just back from the weekend myself. I have no need for your respect if you find Shea's regret that Lt. Bacevich died morally equivalent to Hitchens' regret that Jerry Falwell lived.