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So I said something pretty stupid last week. I served up the wingnuts a big, juicy softball. They went into a tizzy, led by Instapundit.

And for a while, I was actually pretty worried.

But the final tally was -- about 30 hate-filled emails, about 15,000 hate-filled visitors, and the pulling of three advertising spots that are going to be replaced in less than a week. (I had two emails today about people wanting to advertise despite the controversy.)

That was it. Oh, they're doing their best to turn me into the devil, and they're making racist comments about my heritage and family and threatening to kick my ass -- you know, typical right-wing shit.

But if that's the best they can throw at me, I'll simply echo Kerry.

Bring it on.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 12:55 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Defending Markos (3.94)
    They are only going after this site and its community because it raises money for Democrats And because they know that Iraq is spinning out of control.
    •  Yes (4.00)

      Exactly, this is the Blog version of MoveOn's "Hitler Ads."
      •  Speaking of MoveOn... (none)
        That's where my next donation to the glorious cause is going, not to the wimps who run when yelled at by freepsters.

        Not to Kerry.
        Not to Frost.
        Not to any of the dang fools who run when a Republithug threatens them with a secondary boycott.

        Damned pansies, the lot of them.

        - Superskepticalman

    •  You can tell the right wing's gutless scared... (4.00)
      When they attempt resort to the secondary boycott.

      They don't boycott Daily Kos; after all, they keep coming back to want to see you squirm.

      They go after your advertisers. Although if Frost is as pansy-assed as he would appear to be, maybe Texas Democrats need a progressive with guts more along the lines of Jim Hightower.

      Still, the shorter Tacitus should be:

      "We were mercenaries once and young."

      - Superskepticalman, seven years active duty Navy, not a "contract soldier"

    •  Threatened to kick your ass? (none)
      Markos Zuniga vs. freeper thugs: I know who my money's on!  The 32-year-old Salvadorian gun-bunny, of course!  

      By the way, I noticed your birthday.  The coup in Chile as your second birthday and the tragedy here as your thirtieth!  Wow.

      Born in '87 with a Hart for President button on!

      by teenagedallasdeaniac on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:13:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  wingnuts (none)
      Is there anything more pathetic than wingnuts when they're desperate.  This administration is falling apart and there is nothing they can do about it but spit, sputter and flail their arms.
      Keep up the good work kos and everyone here.  People are listening.
    •  I hope you feel flattered (none)
      you're in very distinguished company. although, if you include condemnations by anne coulter, it isn't a hugely EXCLUSIVE group...i think she's probably consigned about half the U.S. population to the innnermost circle of hell by now....

      Every cow occurs twice, the first time as milk, the second as steak

      by gracchus on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 03:00:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pulled ads (none)
      Who were the three who pulled their ads?
    •  our Kool-Aid acidtest ?? (none)
      They are only going after this site and its community because...

      You may have pegged their motives correctly, but Kos has handed them a the kind of weapon they know how to use expertly.  

      A read of the wingnut blogs shows they are taking that weapon to many battlefields beyond this site and our community.

      You are a highly perceptive analyst, Stirling. I'd ask you to analyze our Kool-Aid drinking habits on this one.

      Also, at the risk of sounding brash (even rash?), I'd like to request that you read my longer posting approx. 150 comments down. I'd sincerely appreciate your response, because you know politics better than I do.  Hope this request ain't too cheesey, but I taste Kool-Aid, and would like to hear from your pallette.

      Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

      by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 04:00:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What Happened? Is It True?, Is it True?? (3.00)
      ...that Kos exposed an NOC Intelligence Agent, working the field of WMDs, and her network of contacts, on WH orders?

      ..then Kos accused Richard Clarke of being a racist against condi?

      ...then Kos started to suggest, without evidence, that Richard Clarke as gay?

      ...then he recommended cutting combat pay, making troops pay for the return home from iraq, make the wounded pay for their hospital meals, and send them into hell's inferno without enough body armor, food, shelter, and armored vehicles?

      ooops, no that was right wing nuts/traitor bob novak on the first two, and neo-con stooge Wolfie on the 3rd, and shrub and dumbsfeld on the last.

      We know who the traitors are.

    •  Conspiracies (none)
      Okay, I think I am losing it for sure. Hillary has finally taken hold of my brain. It's X file stuff.

      Hey, Truthout got hacked. They've been down for days. Humm..any relationship?

      Regime Change Begins at Home. Prune the Shrub and Cut the Dick.

      by oofer on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 05:21:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Theatening to kick your ass.. (none)
      Well, this has been interesting.  I'm actually growing more and more concerned about the sheer volume of flat-out bloodlust and hatred on certain sites, and am analyzing some of it, maybe I'll do a write up when I get the chance.

      Kos, seriously, if you're getting blatently threatening messages and I don't doubt that you are, keep careful documentation on that shit.  I'm guessing 95% or more of it comes from bloviating armchair commandos who couldn't kick Jimmy Hart's ass, but you know, the more I see arguments on blogs turn into threats of actual physical violence, the more I think it is necessary to draw the line before it escalates any further.  It's not just uncivil and unethical, it's probably illegal and they have absolutely no business doing it.   As a woman perhaps I'm less likely to brush threats of violence off than guys are, but well, bad shit has happened to friends of mine, and I'd much rather take threats overly seriously and get called names for that.  So if I got a message that I determined was crossing the line I would not hesitate to contact the authorities.

      Supporting the establishment of a cabinet-level Department of Civility.

      by daria g on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 08:22:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One of America's grievances about the British (4.00)
    In 1776, straight from Tom J.:

    "He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation."

    Mercenaries, totally unworthy of the leader of a civilized nation since 1776.

    •  Hey, You! (Who, Me?) (4.00)
      A lot of prominent Brits weren't happy about this practice either.  Employing the Hessians and other German mercenaries was a matter of great controversy in Britain at the time, and was deplored by a number of prominent British statesmen.  Here is what the Earl of Chatham, William Pitt, a/k/a Pitt the Elder, had to say about it in the House of Lords on November 18, 1777, when the news of the disaster at Saratoga had not yet reached London:

      "You may swell every expense and every effort, still more extravagantly; pile and accumulate every assistance you can buy or borrow; traffic and barter with every little pitiful German prince that sells and sends his subjects to the shambles of a foreign prince; your efforts are forever vain and impotent--doubly so from this mercenary aid on which you rely; for it irritates to an incurable resentment the minds of your enemies--to overrun them with the mercenary sons of rapine and plunder; devoting them and their possessions to the rapacity of hireling cruelty! If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms--never--never--never!"

      Using mercenaries is simply wrong, period.  I might also add that I think Washington's Trenton victory had some personal score-settling behind it.  The commander of the Hessians had apparently committed some atrocity after the Battle of Long Island, killing a number of Washington's men who had surrendered.  That seems so often to be the case when mercenaries are involved.  As I mentioned when I posted this link yesterday, if anyone has any details about this, please correct me, or fill in the blanks.  I'd do some Googling myself, but we're going on vacation this afternoon, so my computer time is limited.  Thanks in advance.

      "Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together." - Edmund Burke

      by JJB on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:16:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The American Revolution and British Politics (4.00)
        The best History Professor I ever had (Walter Simon -- evolution of English Constitutional Government was his specialty) offered a perspective on the Colonial Rebellion that is not widely known.

        George III was not only a tyrant on this side of the ocean; he tried to use the war to defeat his enemies in Parliament, and re-assert the all powerful Imperial Crown. Just like George AWOL Bush.

        The American Revolution was Britain's Vietnam -- a war of national liberation for the natives, and a war of colonial domination for the invaders.

        But the most interesting part of the story, is that the British Partiamentary Opposition used the War as a vehicle to defeat the King and Tories. Both Lord Howe and Lord Cornwallis were sympathetic to the opposition -- and while they were loyal Britions, their hearts were not with the King. There are tales of Lord Howe dancing the night away with an innkeepers wife, while General Washington and his troops dragged their cannon across the frozen rivers to escape from New York. My Professor said these stories miss the point -- if Lord Howe really wanted to destroy the rebels, he could have done it; but time and again, defeat after defeat, the Continental Army survived to fight again.

        When Burgoyne was defeated at Saratoga (American Hero -- Benedict Arnold) it gave Ben Franklin what he needed to persuade the French to join the war. (Message to King George -- you have screwed up royally.)

        When Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, the power of the Crown and the wing nut Tories was broken, and the power of the British People and their Parliament was restored.

        May the same fate befall the Tyrant in the White House.  

        •  LeftCoaster -- The New And Improved Hessian (none)
          Pessimist has a great post at LeftCoaster, that riffs on the British use of Hessian Mercinaries in the American Revolution.
        •  First Civil War (4.00)
          I think it is more accurate to describe the "revolution" aas the first civil war.  It pitted neighbor against neighbor, families were split, etc.  It was a civil war based on ideology, economy, and political representation.  It was not Us v. Them, Everyone was "Us/Them" in terms of being rooted in Brittish culture.

          Civil wars are the most brutal, every casualty is on the same "side"

          We have portrayed the founding fathers as being "American" but they were Brits who happened to think differently.  The military actions and "terrorist activities" if you will by groups like the "Sons of Liberty" and the "Green Mountain Boys," and later the use of guerilla tactics, were indeed revolutionary in terms of warfare and viewed as "cowardly" by European standards.

          This line of thought opens us up to the ghastly possibility that - gulp - our country's roots are firmly planted in the soil of "Cowardly acts of terrorism."

          •  Addendum (none)
            On this last thought, we will remember that history is written by the victors, that rebels are morphed into "freedom fighters" and so forth.  Studying US history from a European perspective is fascinating.

            What is absent, however, from this discussion, usually, is how the indigenous population was treated by both "sides" in this first war.  That Sam Adams et al. dressed as Native Americans when perpetrating the "Boston Tea Party" is telling.  They wanted to divert "blame" for the incident onto another population rather than taking "credit" for their defiance.

            •  tea party (none)
              not that it really matters, but my understanding of history is that it was pretty clear at the time that the perpetrators of the "tea party" were white new englanders, not native americans, and the costumes were just a symbolic gesture. so "blame" wasn't diverted at all.

              - marc

        •  That's Interesting (none)
          Thanks for posting that view, it's new to me.  Well worth considering.

          Well, my wife, son, and I are off on our Holy Week pilgramage to Las Vegas (and Death Valley -- day trip).  I won't be back for a week, must say I'll miss the give and take from this fascinating place.  Give 'em hell, Kos!  See you all on Easter!

          "Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together." - Edmund Burke

          by JJB on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 06:30:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No Worries (none)
          We are all gonna see the Moron in the Whitehouse do the perp walk.

          And those toasted mercenaries were seriously stoopid.

          Wonder which one of them decided to go cruising in Falluja.

          They should make sure in the future that their hired guns have IQs bigger than their sock size.

          Darwin was right.

          You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

          by mattman on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 11:00:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No Worries (none)
          We are all gonna see the Moron in the Whitehouse do the perp walk.

          And those toasted mercenaries were seriously stoopid.

          Wonder which one of them decided to go cruising in Falluja.

          They should make sure in the future that their hired guns have IQs bigger than their sock size.

          Darwin was right.

          You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

          by mattman on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 11:00:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  More history (none)
        Post from yesterday: 14th-century mercenaries were replaced by Europe's first standing army.
    •  The American Revolution (none)
      The commonalities between the Tories and the Right are those of a shared mission of despotism, treachery, and self-interest. Even James Madison, not to mention James Otis would have given Scalia a tar and feather outfit and a one way ticket to Canada.
      •  We wouldn't want him (4.00)
        As a Canadian, I can say that in today's Canada, there is no room for Scalia.  Send him elsewhere, thank you very much.

        It is amusing to see the Canadian right distance itself ideologically from the American right.

        •  Absolutely (4.00)
          Although I have to point out that Canada wouldn't be the country it is without the United Empire Loyalists (that is, the losing side in the Revolution -- which as you point out, was really the first American civil war) settling in so much of Southern Ontario.

          We've actually made a pretty good thing over the years out of taking in American dissenters. They usually turn out to be very high quality immigrants. The last big group were Vietnam draft-dodgers.... we may need to do it again pretty soon; let's hope we still have the nerve.

          Er, we'd really like you guys to go back to being a GOOD influence on us.

          by Canadian Reader on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 04:22:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Can we come, too? (none)
            My wife and may want to get in line...  How much room do you have?  I played rugby in BC for three years, and developed a somewhat utopian idea of Canada.  I am worried that if I lived there, the romance would disappear.  I am trying to balance that with the possibility that it is as good as I thought.  In any case, I feel like the last set of battles to save our country from radical conservative idealogues is being fought right now.  It's nice to know that there may be another option besides paying into a society that models itself after the worst qualities of every empire the world has ever known.

            I got this spam email the other day...  and notably, I saved it.

            Immigrate to Canada

            An immigration company has ten years history of immigrating to Canada with rich experience, good reputation and the most reliable guarantee: No charge for any unsuccessful case and even no down payment. Is there anything to guarantee more reliable than like this?

            Canada is a beautiful and peaceful country.  Think of that, all the citizens and immigrants can have free medical insurance in this country.   Canada is a dual nationality country.  You can keep your nationality even you become a Canadian citizen.  You can get more information about Canada and Canadian immigration from Canadian government website:

            The categories undertaken include: skilled worker class immigration, investor, entrepreneur and self-employed class immigration, foreign students immigration, family's reunion, visa of studying abroad, etc.

            For free consultation, please call 905-415-1728, or fax your resume to 905-415-1750 . Also can send e-mail to:  
            Company's address: 7100 Woodbine Ave. Suite 110 (Steels and Woodbine), Markham, Ontario,
            L3R 5J2, Canada


            ÖÐ×ÊÔ´¹«Ë¾""> ÌṩÓòÃûÏÈ×¢²áºó 4;¶¿î;Ö÷»úÏÈ¿ªÍ¨ºóÊ& #213;·Ñ·þÎñ,

            1. ;Ƽö£ºÓòÃû+100MÖ÷»ú²¢
            2. ;½ËÍ5¸ö10MÆóÒµÓÊÏ䣬
            3. ;¿ÄêÖ»Ðè350Ôª£¡£¡
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            2. ;Æ÷£¬Ö±´ï¶Ô·½ÓÊÏä
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            •  Plenty of room (none)
              And all in all, it's a pretty good place to live.

              But, you know, it's a real country. Populated by real people. Which means... it's not a romantic utopia. Those only exist in people's imaginations. Nobody gets to live in a utopia.

              If you do come to Canada, bring your determination to make the world you live in a better place with you. You'll still need it -- and we need it too. We can always use more people like you. Any country can.

              But right now, I think the US needs you more.

              Er, we'd really like you guys to go back to being a GOOD influence on us.

              by Canadian Reader on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 08:25:33 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Please take back David Frum!! (none)
          This despicable piece of Tory bullshit needs to go back to Canada, where they know what to do with him.

          William Goldman was right when he said the three rules of Hollywierd are "1) Nobody, 2) knows, 3) anything." Works in the real world, too.

          by HollywierdLiberal on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 04:29:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Cruel and unusual (none)
        AND as an American, I object to the practise of tarring and feathering.

        So there!

        •  It's cruel (none)
          to the chickens who provide the feathers for the chickenhawks.

          The penalty good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. -- Plato

          by ogre on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:34:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Tar and Feathers - Fine But (none)
        don't you dare send that scumbag to Canada.  It would be tantamount to a declaration of war on that decent nation.

        You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

        by mattman on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 11:00:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excuse my ignorance... (none)
    ... but what are you talking about?
    •  Mercanaries. (none)
      On either Thursday or Friday Kos basically said that he cares about our troops, but he doesn't care about the fate of mercenaries who make their way to war zones in order to earn $1000 a day doing dirty work.  A sentiment I agree with completely, but one that's easy to distort.

      This was in the context of those 4 mutilated American mercenaries, whom most of the media kept referring to as civilians, as though they worked for the Red Cross or something.

      "The longest journey begins with the first step. And that first step is electing John Kerry." -- Howard Dean, 3/25/04

      by Go Vegetarian on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:07:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks (none)
        I read that. I was not aware of the attacks. I read this site all the time. I didn't realize it had such a high profile.
      •  Or Like They Were Defenseless Tourists (3.62)
        Like poor Leon Klinghoffer, cruelly murdered by terrorist psychos.

        I'm disgusted by what was done to the corpses of these men, but they were legitimate targets for the guerillas who killed them.  It's a war, people get killed.  And unlike the Marines and Army soldiers, these guys chose to be there.

        "Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together." - Edmund Burke

        by JJB on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:20:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  We invaded them ... (4.00)
        What did we expect them to do? That is what is so amazing about the media and the administration. Hey, I have family in the military. I don't want any of them to die. I don't want the Iraqis to die. But our military invaded them. They have every right to defend themselves by whatever means necessary - the same way we are doing in Afghanistan trying to find bin Laden.
    •  A mini shit-storm blew up (4.00)
      At this hour it is the topic of the moment at Atrios, but the emotions are bleaching out and the questions mounting up?  What were these guys doing that put them where they were?  And most striking, why are the Marines essentially ageeing with Kos?  If you know anything about Marines, you know they do not leave their dead behind.  Never.  And they will take great risks recovering them.  Their response to the "contractors"?  Oh well, dead is dead.

      At a minimum this suggests something less than a "Hey we are all in it together" attitude.

  •  Another Silver Lining (4.00)
    This is a great boon for Jane Mitikides, the one advertiser to ignore a right-wing smear campaign.  Now, apart from John Kerry, she's the one direct recipient of kossacs' largesse.

    And she deserves it.  Apart from helping the Kerry campaign and parties, why shouldn't that extra financial boost go to those who have the integrity to stand with their friends?

    "The longest journey begins with the first step. And that first step is electing John Kerry." -- Howard Dean, 3/25/04

    by Go Vegetarian on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:03:42 PM PST

    •  Bingo- (none)
      And I seem to recall a reported drop-off in donations taken in per blog ad after things "opened up" and there were lots of different candidates advertising for the first time.  The Freepers are just causing us to concentrate our donations.
    •  I get to vote for Jane! (none)
      I was so pleased to see that her ad was still up after the Essentially Empty Kerfuffle (EEK) over Kos's feelings about mercenaries.  I guess we can't express anything but great love and concern for all Americans, unless they're slighly liberal, like Colin Powell, and then it's alright to suggest blowing them up.
      Robertson wants to bomb Foggy Bottom
      Of course I would have voted for Jane anyway, even if she hadn't been brave enough to continue her ad. She's running against Mike Turner. Bleah!
  •  I admire both your comments & articles (4.00)
    It's easy enough to make statements that you know will be accepted.  But to share ideas and feelings that go against the grain, is very brave.

    You stood up for those beliefs and feelings, clarifying them in your powerful article in a way that proved why this blog of yours is so successful.

    Thank you.

    I just want any candidate who takes the National Health Crisis seriously. Seriously enough to fix it.

    by katiebird on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:04:02 PM PST

  •  Kos and Communism (4.00)
    I actually thought you might get some praise from some right-wingers, for going after the Communists in El Salvador.

    I guess now that Islam is the offical enemy, they've forgotten about the bolsheviks. My, how times change.

    "Think critically and take risks." - Eqbal Ahmad

    by benwaxman on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:07:44 PM PST

  •  Kos, You're Funny (1.24)
    Kos, you're funny. You try to deflect the issue of what you said about 4 dead men. You said, "Screw them." That is why you have people upset. Don't try to use the race card. I was born in Honduras and I find what you said to be despicable. So, don't be using my Central American heritage as your shield. You still have not apologized to the families of the 4 men who were brutally murdered. At least many of us were able to post your disgusting comments because you deleted them. Have some intellectual honesty, Kos. Don't try to hoodwink your many readers.
    •  Murdered? (3.87)
      I thought Iraq was a war zone.  I thought the four men in question were part of an occupying force.  If you want to talk about murder, what about all the innocents being killed by the foreign occupiers in Iraq and the death that waits around the corner due to exposure to DU.

      That, my friend, is murder.

    •  Dude (4.00)
      Did you read the post?  He said he's gotten e-mails.  Have you read them?  Didn't think so.  I've visited some of the sites bashing Kos and they are indeed taking cheap shots at Kos' family, so it wouldn't surprise me at all that some of the guys in sheets are also sending more private messages.
    •  On the first day of the war (4.00)
       We dropped a bomb on a residential neighborhood restaurant on the off chance of nailing Saddam.  Didn't work.  But they were able to pull out a teenage girl in pieces.

      I have thought about that girl a lot.  I suspect you haven't.  At no point have I seen a single war-supporter shed one tear or express a minute of regret for the 'collateral damage' we created by turning a crowded city into a 'free fire zone' - free fire at least if you are US.

      If someone had shot an RPG at those four, and missed, they would have returned fire and by almost every single report I have seen would not have been overly concerned by stray rounds taking out innocents.

      People/US soldiers are burning to death almost everyday in Iraq.  Supporters of the war could give a shit - until it gets shoved in their faces on TV.

      Kos has nothing to be ashamed about, still less apologize about.  But everyone who thought, and still worse, still thinks this clusterfuck of a war is worth it should be hanging their heads in shame.

      Its war, people die, people die in really horrific ways.  If Kos feels more badly about some soldier who has no choices, as opposed to a veteran freely choosing to put his body into harms way in a very well paid gig, well good.  I feel the same way.

      •  Absolutely right (4.00)
        War is hell and should be avoided.  Now we are learning that lesson again at too high a cost.  The Iraqis will have decades of coping with the aftermath of DU exposure and two generations of wounds to heal, not only from the cruel dictatorship of Saddam, but also from the reckless "liberation" and the selling off of thier assets, industry and economy to American mega corporations.

        Yet again we see that we are doomed to repeat history.

        The horror of war is imbued in every fiber not only of the civilian population, but in the hearts and souls of the returning US military.  The Guardian sheds light on how the Pentagon is treating the men and women who are risking their lives in Bush's illegal war.  And we have heard how the wounded are treated at home:  having to pay for their meds, prosthese and hospital rooms out of pocket.

        And people laughed and continue to laugh and ridicule us protestors - the "peacenicks."  Nick Lowe has is right:  "What's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding?"

      •  ambiguity (none)
        I feel the same way.

        Please clarify, Bruce.

        Do you feel nothing for the four killed in Falujah?

        Do you say "screw them?"

        Kos said above that his comments were "pretty stupid" -- showing his nobility winning out, imo.  Do you agree with Kos's original comments, or the sense he expresses now that they were stupid?

        (I've developed a respect for you.  This is a sincere question.)

        Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

        by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 04:34:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's more nuanced than that (none)
          But a guy that freely chooses not to reenlist, who takes his hugely expensive training, and walks away leaving his buddies behind, then subsequently chooses to return to that very same environment, so he can be a hireling for Halliburton?  Let's see "I could take that training and climb around the mountains of Afghanistan trying to locate and kill the guy that killed 3000 Americans" or "I could take that training and jump on the gravy train of a very dubious private company so I can protect a company that is openly ripping off the US for billions".  Lets just say that my feelings are a little different than they are for single-mother Lori from Arizona who is equally dead.
          •  thx for responding... (none)
            Thanks for responding.  You're not being totally clear about my exact questions, but I understand and appreciate what you did write, and don't feel it right to ask for any more specificity.

            Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

            by Civil Sibyl on Mon Apr 05, 2004 at 12:48:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No I wasn't responsive (none)
                because I wanted the heat to die down a little.  But I thought about this all day.  The initial reaction to the "comment" was to demand a black or white answer to what is a gray question.  And what I see on subsequent threads is giving some validity to the notion that the challenge to Kos was entirely unfair.

              The best counter-example I could come up with was Rachel Corrie.  Since she was run over by an Israeli Defense Force bulldozer the near unanimous response from the Right, and certainly the people at sites like LGF was that "she knew what she was doing, she went there as a volunteer".  And you didn't have to go far into the threads to find something stronger than "screw her".  Well we are talking about an American, a young American woman from my area who was by my lights deliberately run over by a bulldozer seeking to tear down the house of a pharmacist who had not been linked to any terror activity, simply to clear a security corridor.

              Until every war apologist that ever lived crawls up to me apologizing for bombing wedding parties in Afghanistan, dropping bombs on Canadians in that same country because some hot dog was flying well below where he should have been and couldn't be bothered to read a map, cutting through an Italian gorge and cutting a ski gondola cable and sending a dozen people to their deaths, or repeatedly running a bulldozer over a young American girl, all without any real consequences at all, they can pretty much take their selective outrage at this incident and shove it up their orifice of choice.

              People die in war.  Accept it or reject the war.  Don't expect me to share your outrage about a single incident.

              •  selective: outrage? assumptions? moral feeling? (none)
                I asked you those questions because your true feelings about the Falluja Four's deaths were not apparent.  I wanted to understand where you were coming from.  I didn't want to make assumptions or impute attitudes/opinions/feelings onto you.  Your last message is a very clear explication of your feelings about the men's deaths and desecration, and I appreciate the time you took to write it.  

                Still, I have to say, you have (rashly, perhaps?) imputed attitudes onto me that I simply don't feel.

                1. I don't expect you to feel what I do.
                2. I don't feel outrage per se over that single incident.
                Also, to clarify, I've been strongly opposed to our invasion of Iraq.  Bush is a cancer.  His invasion is wrong, gross, and stupid.

                More details on #2:
                I never expressed, nor do I feel -- great outrage over the men's deaths in Fallouja.  As for the killings themselves -- they sadden me somewhat, but they are far less tragic than thousands of other deaths there: of American uniformed soldiers, innocent Iraqi civilians, and Iraqi conscripts.  The Fallouja Four took their chances (for money) with wide-open eyes, and lost.  Sad but not outrageous.

                Their desecration is sickening to me, and is to any feeling person who views it without an attitude of intense demonization towards the men.  Any desecration violates a liberal or soulful conscience, whether in a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, athiest, Iraqi, American, Jew, Palestinian, etc.

                I'm sickened but not outraged by the Fallouja desecrations.  I'm not outraged because Americans have done the same and worse repeatedly throughout our history.  I know of dozens of atrocities much worse even than the examples you mention -- which are outrageous more for their heedlessness than their deparvity.  Even your Israeli example, while illustrating depraved malice, pales in comparison to some other American atrocities.  Like you, I put the bodily desecration of the Fallouja Four in that context.  Still, it's nasty, no good, and breathes bad voodoo for the killed, for the perpetrators, the cheering mob, and any unenthralled bystanders.  It's sick.


                I think we agree in points of fact, and in tempering outrage with context.

                Here's where we probably disagree fundamentally, however: I don't let the moral cretinism of the Neocons influence my own moral feelings or sense.  (Or at least I try not to.)  I agree with your principle that selective outrage is disingenuous.  But selective non-compassion is likewise twisted.  The liberal heart feels natural disgust at bodily desecration.  It's also natural for my anger at our hypocritical opponents to overwhelm my heart and moral sensitivity.  But I refuse that.  I won't hold my sense of disgust at desecration hostage to whether some rightwing fools see the light and come apologize.  I choose not to give them that power over me.

                Our interaction has been worthwhile, Bruce.  I not only understand your thoughts and feelings better, I also see more clearly some things I only vaguely felt before.  Thanks for conversing.

                Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

                by Civil Sibyl on Tue Apr 06, 2004 at 10:37:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You should note (none)
                    that I don't directly impute those motives to you.  And I will allow that your belief that:

                  "Their desecration is sickening to me, and is to any feeling person who views it without an attitude of intense demonization towards the men.  Any desecration violates a liberal or soulful conscience, whether in a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, athiest, Iraqi, American, Jew, Palestinian, etc." is authentic.

                  But without much more evidence I will not extend any credit to the scum that inhabit LGF.

                  Blowing up a wedding party in Afghanistan and excusing it with "maybe there was a terrorist there" is just as despicable as anything done in Fallujah last weekend..

                  I am not religious.  I believe dead is dead.  You have a different belief.  Fine.  But most of those people who are attacking Kos on this have posted numerous laughing comments on Rachel Corrie being run over by a bulldozer.  Because she chose to be in the place where she was, therefore it was okay.

                  Well anyone who feigns distress over what four volunteer mercs endured after they were dead, and yet aligns themselves with those who laugh about what Rachel endured after she was run over alive with an IDF bulldozer deserve nothing.  Disavow that in the strongest terms.  Demand that every politician that refused to condemn Rachel's death delink from every right wing blog ever.  Or otherwise I will unlinquish some strong language.

                  Because you are lying down with the swine here.

                  •  descent to piffle (none)
                    Because you are lying down with the swine here.

                    That's a bit much Bruce.  I have nothing but condemnation for the various American and Israeli incidents you've cited here.

                    Do you say such because I may share some shred of an opinion with with them -- that what Kos said re "screw 'em" was questionable?  

                    By that token, you lie down with genocidal dictators.  E.G.: Like you, Pol Pot didn't believe in God.  

                    You don't wallow with Pol Pot and I don't with those LGF imbeciles.  It's ludicrous to paint people with such a wide brush based on selective shared opinion.

                    The conversation has turned ridiculous.  Not worth it.

                    Also, you're imputing when you make statements about my beliefs re god and death.

                    Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

                    by Civil Sibyl on Wed Apr 07, 2004 at 09:58:52 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Black and white (none)
                      You were sharing a logic with the LGF folk.  That by condemning the use of paid mercs with a certain indifference: "screw em", in the face of a war that has killed untold innocents in horrific incidents that resulted in fragmentary babies and burnt schoolgirls Kos has somehow committed an offense that required an apology.  Kos is far down the list of people who need to apologize.

                      You reacted to one act captured on video with outrage.  Kos and I have been reacting with outrage since before the first bomb dropped.  Because we know, me from reading, he from personal experience what war means.  It means people being blown to bits and being burnt to death.  In your personal belief code there is a huge difference between being torn to bits before and after death.  To me dead is dead.

                      That mob has four deaths on its conscience.  Bush has thousands, or would if he had a conscience.  By continuing on this tack you are playing into the hands of the warmongers.  That may not be your intent.  But that is the result.  You have been played by those who would use selective outrage at one incident to attack the anti-war Left.

                      And you need to wake up.

                      •  feeling frenzied lately, Mr. Webb? (none)
                        The rabid cannot hear, and hence cannot converse.

                        Reading this or that simplistic accusation can be humorous, but wastes time.

                        Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

                        by Civil Sibyl on Thu Apr 08, 2004 at 09:41:21 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

      •  Mercs (none)
        I feel grief and rage at the killings of the 4 mercenaries.  The deaths are tragic in many ways.
        It's tragic that we're so understaffed we have to resort to using mercenaries in the first place.  Their deaths were awful and unnecessary.  They knew the risks and were payed well, but they didn't deserve the desecration.

        I agree that the American media treats American deaths as much more important than Iraqi civilian (or Afghani) deaths.  I don't think we'll ever know the true toll this war has taken.

        Kos was right to apologize for his words.  I believe they were taken out of context, but his clarification was needed.

        •  Really? (none)
          The death of four men who take money to kill is tragic? Will the eventual death of Saddam be tragic? There are 6 billion people in the world and more than enough greif and suffering to go around.  My heart doesnt really go out to Mercs.

          Don't blame me....I voted for Kodos!

          by coheninjapan on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 10:30:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Grief and rage? (none)
          I have posted enough here but one final thought.

          If there had not been video of this would we have even known? or Cared?  Would the simple story, in print, have had any kind of impact? We know now that over 60 of these armed civilians have been killed to date, they drew exactly zero coverage.  You can bet that if the Americans had been able to secure the scene and confiscate the video you would have seen nothing.  And these four would have just been another paragraph in a news story - just like the five soldiers killed in one incident on the same day.

          I hope you are filled with grief and rage, I know I am, but it didn't start with these four contractors, and if it comes right down to it their deaths didn't really add much.

    •  deleting (4.00)
      Why do people keep saying Kos deleted this comment. It's still there. It disgusts me that people are accusing Kos of re-writing history, when he clearly didn't.

      "The goals for this country are peace in the world. And the goals for this country are a compassionate American for every single citizen." -G.W. Bush

      by Bundy on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:27:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "race card" (none)
      Saying you grew up in a war zone and therefore may have different opinions about them than others isn't "using the race card".

      He explained that he said what he said out of anger and that he thought it was stupid of him to say. But we all think what we think and I don't think any of us need to appologize or explain any further than he already has for what we think. No matter how distastful it might be to others. Just because someone hurts your feelings doesn't mean you should expect to get an appology out of them.

      We already have enough people out there trying to be thought police. We don't need any more.

    •  Povracito (none)
      You think that what Kos said is despicable?

      Go join the mercenaries and express your rage on Iraqis. Don't sit there posting your umbrage, computer warrior.

      Call Blackwater today.

      Getting toasted is IN the job description. But it does pay well.

      You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

      by mattman on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 11:10:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Go Kos! (4.00)
    Whether or not you felt that remark was stupid, you said it from the heart, with passion. That's what this is all about. That's why the rethugs are so scared this time.  We are not the old limp liberals.  We are not going to back down from a fight.  We are pissed at what they have done to our country.
    Fight on Kos!
  •  ridiculous (3.60)
    that this got the amount of attention it did...but this was a good test to find out how many people and who has been paying attention.

    I've said this elsewhere. The only careless thing about this was "screw 'em" and I've seen kos say "screw 'em" about just about everything. I bet he says it a lot in real life. Just be careful with that--a lot of us thought the Dean scream was treated reprehensibly too, but we couldn't change the outcome.

    Why am I so darn rational?

    by JMS on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:09:36 PM PST

    •  Kerry dumped dKos? (none)
      Well, did he read EVERYTHING?

      If he did, did it make him THINK?

      I hope Kos publishes it!

      This is the BEST WAY to get things out in the open, on the table, vent, spew, run out of steam...but stick it out.

      I mean, I saw that threat. It was chilling. About the photo of Kos.

      But I've really learned a lot from all this, and expect to keep learning from it.

      Put it somewhere special, Kos.

  •  Your courage (4.00)
    I stand by you and your advertisers.
  •  Nice Mea Culp (none)
    I'm sure I spelled it wrong.

    However, glad to see that you admitted to a misstatement. However, since the wing nuts are having little to pin on Kerry of any substance, they are reaching for anything they can to make fellow American citizens look unamerican.

    Just keep up the good fight.

    Guy Andrew Hall a.k.a. Rook

    by Rook on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:11:18 PM PST

  •  Bring it on (4.00)
    Amen!  Kos stood tall, Jane stood tall, and we are right.  I'm in all the way- time, spirit, and money.  Let's roll.
  •  ...And those who allowed these deaths are Patriots (3.95)

    Now, having read Kos for a year and a half, I'm pretty confident that his comment was an emotional reaction that didn't reflect his true underlying thoughts.  I think the comment was not well thought out - but as I noted in a thread earlier, not so easy to judge:

    1. This is more a symbol of the much more difficult format of blogs over other news media, than anything else.  Kos was responding, emotionally, in a thread.  It's the kind of thing you might do without much thinking.  He responded with anger, and directed his anger in the wrong direction.  But it's not like this is a medium with editors and much official scrutiny.  Not only was there nobody to give Kos a nudge and suggest he should rethink his emotions, but also, it was such a minor comment (in terms of the setting, not the content) that he might not have felt the need to think it through himself.  

    2. Kos is in the infuriating position of having to defend himself, while the people who made the decision to attack Iraq pretend to be patriots.  Kos is clearly angry that this war happened at all, that people died unnecessarily.  If he'd had the ability to stop this war, these mercenaries still be alive today.  And yet, the people who sent them to die can accuse him of being insensitive in reacting to their death.    

    Infuriating in that light, no?

    •  power of a meme, re-memed against one (4.00)

      It's like the Dean scream meme.  

      • the outpouring of a single emotion, untempered by broader considerations of fact or feelings
      • its intended meaning highly tied to local context
      • easily "re-memed" by opponents for viral and media spread to huge additional audiences
      • disturbing to a majority of objective people encountering it outside the original context, including to swing voters and Democrats
      • potential for damage to cascade and multiply
      • engenders Kool-Aid quaffing among many supporters*
      • raises questions of leader's judgment, among non Kool-Aid drinkers
      • leader admits error, more or less, but hasn't sufficient reach to contain its damage in other venues
      (*Do I risk a stoning for saying this? Non-Greek Sibyls and other wannabe prophets sometimes ain't loved in their own country, as a Hebrew prophet once said. No matter, Kos knows I love him -- Platonically -- to reference another Greek.)

      Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

      by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 05:04:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  remember.... (none)
    Commercial interests will eventually consume all the blogs like yours. The money pull wins every time. That is what has happened in American politics.

    I wish it were not so.

    •  Not so (3.93)
      I bid the advertisers a gracious adieu. I don't fault them for pulling out.

      But like I said, I have two new advertisers this morning alone to replace those three. And it's only 8:30 a.m. There are lots of progressive advertisers willing to stick it to the right wing.

      And ultimately, I don't NEED the advertising. It's nice. It's helping me get out of massive debt and put something away for Aristotle's college fund. But I don't need it. And that gives me the freedom I value above all else.

      •  All Hail Kos! (3.75)
        I commend you for (among other things) your gracious attitude towards those who pulled out.  I doubt I could have managed to remain so calm about it, particularly since they probably got thousands of dollars they would not otherwise have received from your regulars (and I'm sure they were so outraged by your remark they returned all the money in addition to pulling the ads).

        At any rate, congratulations for having weathered the tempest in the teacup.  And if the ads are to be jettisoned, please let us know so we can make the needed contributions.

        "Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together." - Edmund Burke

        by JJB on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:35:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Screech Monkeys (3.33)
        I understand the pragmatism of pulling ads. The right wing screech monkeys can make things difficult for any candidate, let alone one fighting for his/her life. It's not as simple as just setting out the facts with these people.

        The screech monkeys take something, spin it in unison, then shout it at the top of their lungs until it becomes larger than fact. My guess is that this will blow over pretty quickly though.

        That said, I hope you have a nice little waiting list for the advertisers who return once the heat dies down.

      •  Protecting Themselves (3.33)
        I also have been impressed by your understanding of the advertisers who pulled.  Of course, as I'm sure you're aware, the sh*tstorm isn't entirely over, because this is precisely the kind of thing that the other side will use as a cudgel over those who do stick with you.  Expect it to appear in opposition ads from Mitakides's opponent and anyone else who stays (or comes) here.  That's just how they work, as you know better than anyone.  I truly hope it doesn't hurt the growing relationship you have with Dem higher-ups.

        Needless to say, if you are ever put in a position of need by advertisers pulling, there are plenty of folks who post here who would be willing once again to support you directly.

        •  Double edged sword (none)
          Expect it to appear in opposition ads from Mitakides's opponent and anyone else who stays (or comes) here.

          How many right-wing candidates are advertising on the right-wing blogs? Without even following the RW blogs I can assure anyone that if they really want to play Snip-The-Quote, "Oh The Horror" they'll lose that game.

          The polls don't tell us how a candidate is doing, they tell us how the media is doing.

          by Thumb on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 04:06:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  muck game (4.00)
            They'd lose due to vulnerability, but only if we had the energy and interest to play that game.  They have the personality for it, and have done so, won so.

            Such petty tactics and shrill malignance feel mucky and wearisome to me.  Can people of liberal heart long fight in that way?  Hard to fight ignobly.  Yech.  Gotta...find...a better...method.

   win swing voters.

            As for firing up our base, Bushco gives plenty of ammo w/o the need to muck about the wingnut blogs.

            But you were talking about denying blogs funds, and Repubs donations from rightBlogs.  Maybe others here would have the stomach for that fight.

            Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

            by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 05:20:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, let us help too (none)
        Is there a way to halp support this site?  I don't know what your audience size is like, but a few bucks from even a couple hundred people ought to help, and I bet you'd get a lot more.
      •  How do we give to your site? (3.50)
        I have never paid much attention to whether you can voluntarily "subscribe" to this site.  I would gladly pay for the privilege of reading and participating in this community.
        •  I don't need the money (3.66)
          Thanks for the offers, but I'm doing just fine. I'll let you guys know if it becomes an issue, but I doubt very much that it will.

          And for the record, I love you guys for offering.

          •  Good man! (none)
            Don't retract. You just print a snail mail addy and we'll respond.

            What we need to understand is that those scumbags make the most ourageous LIES about people who won't walk in lockstep with them.

            You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

            by mattman on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 11:31:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  public figure (3.93)
    Well, it did make WSJ's Best of the Web. It might get to Hannity yet, and we have yet to see whether the GOP opponents of your sponsors make use of the free ammunition ornot. I'd be a bit more cautious before declaring victory.

    The real impact of this is that you're the highest-profile Democrat on the web, and you gave your own opponents an easy shot. The fact that this site WILL raise over $1m for Kerry and the DNC by November is part of the equation.

    Your response to it has been as a blogger, which I think ignored the fact that you aren't one anymore. As the apex of the grassroots, you're in the gray area of the Establishment itself (especially given your visionary goal of the blogsphere as a medium for influence on the political process as a whole).

    As such, you don't have as much room to maneuver as you used to. Martin Frost's rationale for withdrawing his ad is obvious to you and this is why you bear him no ill-will. But what you've failed to recognize from this affair is that your position is closer to Frost' than to a typical influence-less blogger like myself.

    I don't think anyone should "watch what they say" because "theres no time for comments like that, there never is" (to quote Ari Fleischer). But neither do I think that you can invoke the "I'm just a blogger" defense any longer. At the very least your comments may yet prove damaging to Jane Miktikades etc, at worst they could be integrated into the evolving smear campaign against half of America that the GOP is drafting in BC04's undisclosed location.

    And unlike Atrios or Tacitus, you don't even have the cover of pseudonymity. I've been on the receiving end of a rightwing-pile-on myself - so I  know and share your instinctual feeling that free speech means free speech - but public figures don't have as much free speech as the rest of us.

    •  at the end of the day (3.50)
      I think kos has a better grip on the realities of his situation than some of the other people around here who don't want to acknowledge that there might have been something offensive about A) the content of the original post, and more importantly for the situation at hand B) the tone of the post. I don't fault kos on his reaction. I think some of the people around here are showing the sort of naivete that gets "liberals" in trouble all the time.

      Why am I so darn rational?

      by JMS on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:29:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  neither do I (none)
        Kos has a right, as do we all, to have an emotional reaction, and post it to his blog (the original was a comment, after all, not a frontpage post - comments are supposed to have a lower threshold).

        I just wanted to go on record as disagreeing that the impact has been zero. There are costs. I fundamentally agree with Instapundit said about the affair:

        "Free speech: His blog, his choice on what to write -- and your choice on what to think about it."

        As liberals who want to win, we cant pretend that there aren't consequences to what we choose to do within our rights.

        •  Never ever (3.00)
          cite Instahack and expect any respect from me.

          Find someone else to support your point - coming from that punk weakens your argument, which was fairly marginal anyway.

          Of course people draw their own conclusions - duh.

          •  low expectations (3.33)
            •  Flogging (2.00)
              on behalf of Instahack puts you on suspicious ground - as you say, you write and I draw my conclusions.

              Your point, whatever it may be, lost potency.  Physician heal thyself.

              •  quoting Instahack? (none)
                "as you say, you write and I draw my conclusions."

                actually, that's as Glenn says. Are you also quoting InstaHack?

                •  You got me (1.80)
                  Good one.  Boy, do I feel stupid.  Sort of like Kerry when he says 'bring it on.'

                  Score your cheap points, tells me a little bit more about your motivations.

                  •  Misdirected (none)
                    Armando, I think there's some misunderstanding here. Aziz is the guy who founded Dean Nation, the first Dean blog.

                    He's one of us, one of us!

                    •  Well Didn't Dean Say (none)
                      something about saying anything to win means you lose?

                      Did aziz miss that one?

                      You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

                      by mattman on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 11:41:02 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Why take your lead (none)
                      from Instahack?

                      For the record, I criticized kos for his original comment, stting I expected a clarification and expression of regret.  kos, to his credit, stood up and corrected his remarks.

                      aziz, citing instahack, said it wasn't good enough.  I responded, and continue to believe, that citing instahack for your source of disgruntlement was a grievous error, and frankly, not likely to convince, at least me. Instahack is a pathetic idiotic GOP whore.  I for one will not play his game ever.

                      I leave it to you guys if you want to join aziz in playing the instahack game.  Include me out.  

                      •  Huh? (none)
                        When you said, "Score your cheap points, tells me a little bit more about your motivations," I got the impression you had mistaken Aziz for a RW troll. That's all I was talking about.
                        •  I did (none)
                          and that's why.  To me, it seems worse if aziz is being duped by instahack into joining the all-out assault on kos.

                          He (kos) said he was wrong and stupid.  Need he say more?

                          BTW, aziz was not exactly kind and gentle with me, so the outrage at my language seems a little one-sided.  

        •  Yes but (3.50)
          constantly apologizing for having a set of beliefs that fall outside of an easy "conventional wisdom" (and especially one like this that is easily demonstrated to be WRONG,)is worse than saying I believe something different; I have had a different set of experiences and I stand behind them.

          What gets "liberals" in trouble is not their beliefs, but the fact that they don't stand up for their beliefs when the right demonizes them for them.

          The people who are saying Kos is/was wrong are the cowards in all this to me; being willing to say something uncomfortable but true; isn't that the kind of "straight-forwardness" that the rethugs like to say the right wing has, they don't like "pc" talk.  Well, the positions saying we should all be outraged at the deaths of those 4 military vets for hire is about the pc-est of pc that I can imagine.  Its EC, emotional correctness, or GC, grief correctness, OC, outrage correctness, or maybe just NIC, National-identity correctness.

          That's pretty cowardly: refusing to move one iota and demanding a perfectly clear-cut and inflexible set of emotional responses. What could be more doctinaire? You must "feel" this way or else there's something wrong with you???  That's where indoctrination really begins.

          "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

          by a gilas girl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 06:49:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, But Then (4.00)
        "I think some of the people around here are showing the sort of naivete that gets 'liberals' in trouble all the time."

        While you definitely have a point, the real s**tstorm should be over Bush's remarkably tasteless "where are those goshdarned WMDs?" joke.

        And that's the fault of the media, and the American public.

        "Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together." - Edmund Burke

        by JJB on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:38:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (3.87)
        The wingnuts don't care that kos expressed regret, said he was wrong and that he made a stupid remark.

        Frankly, they don't care about the four security contractors who died, they care more about ripping the creator of the leading Dem blog.

        What I hope is that this ends it.  kos, leave it after this entry - there is nothing more to say.

          •  Good (3.50)
            FWIW, I think you handled the aftermath just right.
          •  Hey Kos (none)
            I beleive in the long run this will be a blip on the screen. Of course you have had to deal with the B.S. of sucess. All in all some people will look here to find there own conclusions and I would not doubt that you increase traffic. I remeber reading the post and must have just assumed you were on a rant like most of us. I was on the same page as your clarification. All loss of life Is Bad. Some we relate to more but it is a natural thing for many people to value American life more than innocents in other lands. This is one difference between most of us and the freepers. And in my view is why frost pull his ad. Texas being the poster child for the ME ME its all about Me theme.
            I was just generalizing my impress of the majority and hope I don't upset any of our friends from Texas. If I am wrong on this assumption please clarify what the majority tx. mind set is Brent...
            •  An Un PC comment from a liberal (none)
              The loss of all INNOCENT life is a tragedy. One less asshole is fine with me...BTW...if you accept money to kill you fall into the asshole category in my book.

              Don't blame me....I voted for Kodos!

              by coheninjapan on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 10:55:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Kos' predicament (4.00)
      I do think there is much truth in this post by azizhp.  DailyKos is bigger than Markos now, bigger than any of us.  The trade-off for having this kind of influence is a loss of privacy and, to some extent, a loss of the ability to control the message about oneself.  And, power and influence draw those who want to pull people down even apart from the vitriolic campaign we are involved in.  That just makes it doubly bad.  As we are all read now by a wider audience, maybe we do all have some responsibility not so much to watch what we say, but how we say it.

      Whatever you can do or dream, begin it, for boldness has power, and genius, and magic in it. -Goethe

      by Mimikatz on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:36:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  well said (3.71)
        I saw on Steve Gillard's blog that he sees the response from teh right as an assaulton Kos' free speech. That's simply untrue. Kos has and always WILL have a right to free speech. But Kos' speech has more power than, say, mine - and with great power comes great responsibility. It's NOT my call as to whether Kos should "watch what he says" - and frankly I prefer Kos uncensored.

        But it's also NOT Kos' call to declare victory and that the entire affair had zero consequence.

        Free speech, like all rights, is encumbered by responsibility.

    •  The Right (4.00)
        feels free to call me traitorous lying un-American liberal scum - and that's just in the book titles "Slander" "Treason", but apparently are also free to lecture us on insensitivity.

      I don't see that Kos is obliged to do anything at all to satisfy his critics.  Fuck 'em, they don't like the tone, don't drop in.  Kos owes something to his family and maybe his business partner, that is all.

      As for the  "evolving smear campaign against half of America that the GOP is drafting", check out the titles above: Rush et al have been framing the debate in those terms for a long time.  We are fighting back the way we know - with fact-based counterattacks that are winning the voters back one at a time.  A little more name calling doesn't offend me - I am self identified with the worst term the Right can deploy.   LIBERAL.  Yup.  And the FRENCH were right on Iraq.

      •  neocon's preferred ammo, on a platter (none)
        We are fighting back the way we know - with fact-based counterattacks that are winning the voters back one at a time.

        But these few rash words from Kos, weaponized by wingnuts against our cause, can be used to incite exactly the kind of outraged emotions that shut down people's rational analysis of fact-based counterattacks.  

        We shouldn't hand them their favorite ammo.  Rather, we should try to shape the battlefield so that facts become the deciding factor.  They lack that kind of ammo, and can't find it as easily as they found Kos's nugget here.

        Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

        by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 05:48:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But you sound like Joe lieberman (none)
          crying "they can't smear me on ..." and they "can't say I'm weak on defense because..."  but of course they could!

          "they" can and will say absolutely anything to bring down democrats and democracy. They will accuse a mute of screaming "fire."  They will accuse a deaf man of eavesdropping. They will accuse a blind man of being a peeping tom. To get bent out of shape, to begin self censoring, because of what "they" will say and their ability to shape the discourse is absurd.  The right wing prefers us absolutely silent and they will attack anything but silence. Kos wrote what he wrote, (I happen to agree with it) and he has handled the outcry.  There will be more such "incidents" because it is in the right wing's interest to manufacture them and blow them out of proportion. Our only defence is to demand that people actually read the entire discussion and to have confidence in the ultimate reasonableness and rightness of our viewpoint. Not to self censor.


          •  You'll find your point refuted on page 547... (none)
            Our only defence is to demand that people actually read the entire discussion and to have confidence in the ultimate reasonableness and rightness of our viewpoint. Not to self censor.

            There's no way that we can demand that people from outside read the entire discussion. Okay, we can demand it, but it will never happen. Period.

            And we all self-censor, whether we call it that or not, and it's a good thing that we do, because no one has the time or inclination to read a policy paper on every statement we make to find out what we really meant to say.

          •  something's missing (none)
            they can't smear me on

            Damn aimai.  Tryin' to smear me with the specter of Lieberman?  Folks that know me here would laugh at that one. (I hope!)

            But no matter. It gave me a chuckle too.

            I agree with you that some right-wingers will say anything to degrade us.  It felt degrading enough just to delve deeply into the threads of their blogs on this one.  Speaking of reading the entire discussion -- have you done that on any of their blogs re this matter?

            Your missing a key element here: the swing voters, not the R-wingers.  Swing voters are much more likely to ignore crap that the right wing spews with zero basis.  And we can reason with swing voters in such cases, on firm ground.  But in this instance, Kos wrote something that raises concern, and even outrage, among regular middle-of-the-road Americans.  Swing voters.  In this case, Kos gives traction to the spinning, screeching Neocon attacks.

            Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

            by Civil Sibyl on Tue Apr 06, 2004 at 11:27:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Little Green Football (none)
            guys are lost anyway.  They drip with hate and lie and distort our positions no matter what we do.

          When 2003 opened there was one overriding question.  Was the Democratic party going to take it right to the otherside, including blazing away at a "popular war-time President"?  Or were we going to triangulate DLC style and argue that we were a better Bush.

          A lot of the commentary here could have come right out the DLC last year - "Dean's in your face style would backfire, we don't give ammunition to the enemy".  In the end it only backfired on Dean, but also has allowed us to carve an amazing 44% points off Bush approval.

          The Bush people will go negative.  Real negative, real soon.  Kos let down his guard a little and got a black eye.  Fine, put some steak on it and lets get back in the fight.  But this is not karate, we don't apologize to or congratulate the enemy for letting him get a shot in.  This will fade.  And when the emotions die down people are going to think about the implications or relying on hired guns whose primary loyalty is to Kellogg-Brown-Root.

          •  the highest good is like water: the Yin case (none)
            One can admit a mistake, and apologize for it, without congratulating one's opponent.

            Making a clean break from a mistake allows one to proceed w/o baggage.  To fight unencunmbered.

            Bush & Co. are the main players these days to champion the tactic of never admitting or apologizing for a mistake.  (Or, more to the heart, never recognizing their mistakes.)  In their brittle pride (hubris) they neglect "damage control" -- and just try to brazen things out.  

            Foolish to copy them in that, because that's gonna be a big part of their downfall.

            Rather than follow Bush's example, we can learn from the ancient strategist Sun-Tse.  (The Art of War.)  Life includes Yin and Yang.  Good leaders, and good warriers, figure out when each is appropriate.

            Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

            by Civil Sibyl on Tue Apr 06, 2004 at 11:57:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  you nail it (none)
      well said azizhp.  it's what I took more time and too many words to say later on down thread.

      Kos has risen to become an important Dem Voice, making any of his initial words or potential retractions...


      Leaders are more burdened, and less free than the rest of us.  But in Kos's case, the moral and tangible support for the leader is also huge and heartfelt.

      Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

      by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 05:32:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Consequences (none)
      One of the consequences (and to me the most important one) of Kos' comment was the deep and serious discussion it generated on this site about how we respond to casualties/atrocities in a war, selective justification, the morality of using mercineries etc. This is the reason why I come to the blogosphere. This kind of discussion is no longer available in the mainstream media.

      The mainstream media is reluctant to put forward unpolular views or ones that challenge convensional wisdom and judging from the the reaction to Kos' remark I begin to see why. They face backlash from those who hold the conventional/popular view, boycott by advertisers - there is great pressure to conform to the norm. They are tied by financial responsibilities.

      While blogs are free from financial responsibilities, you mentioned a different kind of responsibility - one that comes from representing a community. To consider the harm that will come to that community if  you air your opinion. But this is exactly the sort of thinking that led the democrats to support the war in Iraq. What will it do to the democratic party if its leaders oppose a war that most people support?

      I think it is harmful for a community to speak with one voice. My initial reaction was different from that of Kos. But our experiences determine our reactions and Kos' experiences are very different from your's and mine. When I read his explanation, I understood where he is coming from and his reaction made perfect sense to me. His reaction is a valid one and there will be many in the world, with similar experiences who will react in the same way. The world is not a homogenious place and if we are to understand the reaction to US  action we need to hear voices informed by different experiences. The mainstream media is tied by money considerations, our political leaders are tied by considerations of electability. I think it is the responsibility of the blogosphere to provide these different views.  There need to be voices that provide  different perspectives. That show that what is considered moral from a popularly held perspective can be viewed as immoral from a different perpective.

      The right wing reaction to both the Fallujah incident and Kos' comment shows the path to Israel/Palestine type of escalation of conflict. A vicious cycle of violence that begets more violence. The Koses there that may have doubts about their own sides actions are increasingly marginalised as more people shut their mind not only to the opposite sides viewpoint but to any viewpoint but the one that promotes revenge against the atrocities of the other side.

      Mostly, we need the kind of discussions that Kos' remark has sparked. A provocative remark that gets peoples attention followed by a reasoned discussion of different positions. If dkos'  popularity gives it a high profile then we'll be all the better for it. If we don't have these different views out in the public consciousness we are doomed to repeat Vietnam and Iraq in the future. The long-term consequences like Mess-o-potamia is something we cannot afford.

  •  Keep on keeping on! (none)
    and read what one mom has to say after visiting her paratrooper son in Iraq, in today's SF Chronicle at

    "Whoever is fundamentally a teacher takes things---including himself--- seriously only as they affect his students." Friedrich Nietzsche

    by AlBerkCA on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:15:00 PM PST

  •  As we were saying... (4.00)
    From Fox News:


    March 31, 2004 Wednesday

    ...GIBSON: OK, let me ask you about these contractors. Who is driving around in unprotected SUV's in Fallujah?

    PETERS: I have to give you a painful answer on this. Either the most foolish contractors in the history of mankind or frankly it may have been intelligence people doing intelligence work. I don't know. I was talking to a colonel friend of mine who is over in the Gulf right now, today, about this. And he said, if they're contractors this is Darwinian selection at work.

    GIBSON: Yes, but it's just kind of astonishing because Saddam Hussein got along apparently for months driving around in an old beat up taxi. Nothing could be more obvious than an American or European SUV driving around the middle of Fallujah. And you have to ask, what where these people thinking?

    •  Kos has opened the breach. (4.00)
      Now that we have the world's (ok, the blogosphere's) attention, we need to backfill it with facts.

      Just like when Howard Dean said we were no safer with the capture of Saddam Hussein -- oh, they raged and they raged but you can't find one honest debater who'll challenge that point now.

      1. Who were these people, realy?   What was their job?
      2. Why were they riding around in an unarmored, lightly armed SUV in downtown Fallujah in the middle of the day?
      3. Who gave them orders to expose themselves to that level of danger and why?  What could possibly have been so important?  It wasn't food, that's for damn sure.
      Heads should roll, and the families of the 'contracters' should be screaming bloody murder for the truth.
      •  Hmm... (none)
        Frankly I didn't agree with kos, and thought his statement was out of line.

        I also didn't agree with Howard Dean and thought his statement was unbecoming of a candidate.

        But a point I have been making for many years is that those outside of the candidacy should make the outrageous claims, to get them out there, as you say.  But make sure to distance yourself from the candidates and let them be seen as more moderate.

        The key here is to respond appropriately when attacked.  Make sure you're saying "Well that's my opinion." and make sure you say "I never heard Kerry say that." when they try the smears.

        •  I'm tired (none)
          of living in a country where exposing dangerous lies told by an incumbant are considered "unbecoming of a candidate." And where being passionate about doing good for your country and it's people are considered "unbecoming of a candidate."
      •  One plausible account (none)
        Blackwater specializes in bodyguard work.  I have read (no don't have the link) when escorting a protectee they tuck him in the heavier, armored vehicle, while they themselves ride around in a nimbler, faster vehicles that are by that token more at risk (armor is heavy).

        This would explain the basic question, why were they in those vehicles.  But if fails to account for how these highly trained guys could have been ambushed like that.  Stores that would normally be open were closed, busy streets empty, these guys should have been at the highest level of alert, locked and loaded.  Still lots more questions than answers.

      •  Who were those people?? (4.00)
        Who were those people?  They were idiots is who they were.

        There are fools who join the military looking for glory and for public certification that their otherwise-useless lives are worthy of being called Great American Heroes.  In wartime, these people usually do stupid things as a result of their "pot-hunting", and "doing a stupid thing" is the leading cause of death in combat.  Most reasonable people, once they identify these morons, stay well away from them, so they don't get taken out as "collateral damage" when the inevitable happens.

        Real heroes in combat never go looking for it, and when you ask them (as I have in interviewing them), they'll tell you if they had any choice in the matter they'd have preferred to be well away from the situation, but had no choice but to do as they did.

        These punks and fools, if they survive, keep looking for their external validation wherever they can, and they are the ones who see being an armed corporate thug as a "good job."

        When they named the Hollywood wannabee, Steven Helvenston - who is being made out now as a Great Hero in today's LA Times - I did some checking around in the stunt community.  It takes a certain amount of ego to involve yourself in that, but there is ego and then there is stupidity, as most of these people know, and Mr. Helveston has popped up among people I know aren't talking to each other about this as a "moronic asshole" frequently enough that it's highly likely to be true. This from people who don't want to speak ill of the dead, but know why they wouldn't hire him on any of their crews.

        That doesn't justify his becoming "all the barbecue you can be," but calling these idiots Heroes is an insult to the real ones.  

        These people died because they were too fucking stupid to know better.  Shit happens in war, and war is frequently Darwinian that way.

        For all the right wing psychopaths: go get the chaplain to punch your TS card.

        William Goldman was right when he said the three rules of Hollywierd are "1) Nobody, 2) knows, 3) anything." Works in the real world, too.

        by HollywierdLiberal on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 04:56:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  WOW! (none)
      I hadn't read THIS when I posted upthread.

      Sure nice to know others share my feelings.

      Darwin lives!

      You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

      by mattman on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 12:29:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Power to you (4.00)
    Damn, no kos tip-jar post here, too bad. Even if it's pointless, I would've liked to pull a 4 just for the sake of it.

    Whatever, good for you, and congrats to all your courageous advertisers.

    I think there's also a more mundane reason for some wingers to go after Kos - though the other reasons are very valid -, and this reason is basically that Kos is kicking Instapundit's ass in the hits per day, and "the most famous anonymous gym teacher" is also closing on Reynolds.

  •  Don't troll rate the nay sayers! (4.00)
    I think we should let this one air out openly and let posters like tgalvin be seen for what they are and respond to them:  like this response to tgalvin's description of the "brutal murder" of the 4 "contractors" which is now not visible:

    I thought Iraq was a war zone.  I thought the four men in question were part of an occupying force.  If you want to talk about murder, what about all the innocents being killed by the foreign occupiers in Iraq and the death that waits around the corner due to exposure to DU.

    That, my friend, is murder.

  •  we got your back (4.00)
    Kos - I totally support you.  I agree with you.  
    And I'm glad you stood your ground.  We got your
    back dude and if anyone wants a fight, bring it
    on 'cause I am one angry liberal and I won't back

    If you don't already read MyKeru.Com, you should
    give it a spin.  Talk about a liberal with
    fight!  His motto is "Serenity through
    viciousness" and he doesn't disappoint.

    He posted on a similar subject re: the bloggers
    and "civilian security contractors" (PC for

    Here's the lede paragraph from yesterdays post:

    Americans -- not all of us, but enough--tend to
    think of ourselves as living in a city on a hill,
    perched up on high-priced property while everyone
    else on the planet builds at a 45° angle on the
    slopes or, more likely, squats in hovels on the
    foothills. It goes without saying, if you buy
    into this image, that everyone elsewhere wants
    nothing more than to be just like us. And if
    there's any grumbling down below, well, fuck,
    it's because they're jealous and not because
    we're pitching our trash out of the windows on
    their heads.

    This attitude, that regardless of culture and
    religion, we're what everyone's goal is to be,
    has become so pervasive that it masks from us the
    true attitude the rest of the world has in which

    1. Wonder why we are so goddamn fat
    2. Wonder why we are so goddamn stupid
    and increasingly,

    3. Wonder how we will look burnt, beaten and
    hanging from a bridge.

    And if we want to go around the world kicking ass
    and taking names, preferably from people who
    can't kick back too hard, well, who's to say it's
    not right?

    Hey, it's us.

    And no one is as confident as the truly ignorant.

    Work for justice, peace will follow.

    by jefff on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:17:29 PM PST

  •  This is not all about you.... (3.25)
    You know I love this blog and respect you tremendously, kos - I've been here since the very beginning. And I agree with you FAR more than I disagree.


    This isn't about YOU. You took on, through this blog and through your professional work, a certain responsibility as a representative of a certain constituency. No, you weren't elected, and you aren't obliged to serve, but, nonetheless, you enjoy the status of, and enjoy the benefits of, being something of a spokesperson for a certain political agenda.

    Again, I happen to support that agenda, but the issue here is NOT how much of a "hit" you personally took, or how much hate-mail you personally got. Don't let the pats on the back go to your head

    Please don't think that, because you personally are unscathed, this doesn't matter.

    The issue is that you provided unnecessary ammunition to the enemy. The issue is that, responding emotionally, you equivocated and strayed from the high consistent standards you have usually applied on matters of morality and humanity.

    The issue is that you (temporarily) seemed to forget that the difference between us and the Right is not just which victims we gloat about, and which victims we mourn.

    The issue, above all, is that you seem to have difficulty unequivocably and clearly admitting error and apologizing. The issue is that you, not for the first time, seem to be reluctant to simply take responsibility for your words. No ifs, ands or buts.

    We all make stupid comments -- even our favored candidates.

    Some of us understand the consequences, recognize where, as flawed human being, we stray from our standards, and accept personal responsibility. Some of us have more difficulty doing so.

    •  The issue is (4.00)
      kos understands that, as his diary entry here, and his previous diary entry also demonstrated.

      He expressed his regret.  He explained himself.  I can understand why the wingnuts won't let it go, what's your excuse?  Why do you want to keep flogging this?

    •  I understand the sentiment... (3.33)
      Look, these guys, whatever they were doing should not have been treated like that. Since Achilles and Hektor 3,000 years ago the Western World has had a prohibition on mutilating and defacing the corpses of your enemy. And when an opposing army does it to your side the purpose is clear, it's to make you angry and draw you into a fight, make you lose your cool, take a stupid chance and get yourself killed.

      And I knew this would happen too. It was only a matter of time and Stephanie Herseth was the trial balloon. After Chandler won, due in no small part to the fundraising the blogsophere helped with, people were going to try to, as Tacitus politely puts it, to "divest" candidates from these funds.

      However, the hypocrisy on the other side of this is maddening. First, the support of mercenaries...ugh. We're fighting a war against Al'Qaeda because there is a significant threat to our nation and to humanity when the state loses its monopoly on power. Whether for profit or religion this idea is dangerous to all of us. Second, when commentators are saying to level Fallujah in response, to commit a war crime for a war crime how can they claim moral superiority? Lastly, look at the attacks on Kos, racist, bitter, physical. That's wrong no matter how much you dislike what he said.  

      •  But miss the point (4.00)
        You have just asked us to concede the central argument here - that desecration is more important than death.  Well it isn't.  In war losts of people get torn to bits and burned.  That's exactly what happens when you drop a cluster bomb.  I am not claiming moral equivalence here, just asking for recognition that killing is what a wartime soldier does - and sometimes getting killed.  And while no one likes seeing this kind of thing I also would not want to see a closeup of some GI shoving his bayonet up and through some guy.

        And this is simply not true: "Since Achilles and Hektor 3,000 years ago the Western World has had a prohibition on mutilating and defacing the corpses of your enemy" You need to read a lot more history.  You can start with the definition of Draw and Quarter  Then maybe spend some time reading up on the French and Indian War Or maybe Google on "Vietnam necklaces of ears" where you might find this article:
        Tiger Force
        with this charming excerpt: "the paper said the Army's investigation of Tiger Force found 27 soldiers who said the severing of ears from dead Vietnamese was an accepted practice. One soldier told the newspaper that troops would wear necklaces of ears to scare Vietnamese civilians."  


  •  That's good news (4.00)
    Hate filled visiitors and e-mails sounds like a pretty normal demographic. Now let's stop using the m word, the one that ends in y, and move on.

    Let's not forget the reasons for attacks like this:

    Blogs supply origiinal research product, news and journalistic insight to the mainstream press and political pros, who are increasingly using it. (Bush flip flops for example)

    They raise big money for candidates, part of the huge money raised through the internet.

    They attract and unite the like minded and bring great focus to the presidential race and hundreds of others.

    <"Do not seek the treasure!" >

    by moon in the house of moe on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:18:59 PM PST

  •  Hmmm .... (4.00)
    Why do I keep thinking about what happened when Rachel Corrie died?  There were cheers from the right side of the blogosphere when that tragedy happened, and all she was trying to do was save some homes.

    I don't completely agree with your comment about the mercenaries in Falluja, but I think a lot of the folks attacking you are total hypocrites.

    •  I thought about Rachel Corrie, too (4.00)
    •  good point (none)
      The Rachel Corrie parrallel is an excellent one.

      American citizen in a dangerous place.  Why should one event pull our heartstrings but not the other?

      •  Not quite parallel (none)
        one US citizen in a war zone committed to non-violent action, putting her life on the line for peace; other US citizens in a war zone, committed to militarization of not just the war zone but also the private sphere, putting their lives on the line for..., well, we don't exactly know do we?

        But we do know what these folks (and even some of the ones here who are just chastizing Markos for his insensitivity) think about people who work for "peace", and what they think about people committed to non-violent struggle.

        "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

        by a gilas girl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 07:18:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I Thought About Her Too (none)
        And nobody was PAYING her to follow her conscience.

        Rachel Corrie is a hero.

        Much as I hate metioning them in the same post - those others were just hired guns and not too smart either.

        You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

        by mattman on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 01:16:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh but Corrie is different (none)
      She's an anti-American flag-burning terrorist symphathizer.  According to the righties, of course.  It's okay to be indifferent to her death.  Heck, it's okay to hold a party celebrating it.
  •  Pray Tell.... (none)
    what is a "hidden comment"?


    "Whoever is fundamentally a teacher takes things---including himself--- seriously only as they affect his students." Friedrich Nietzsche

    by AlBerkCA on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:22:28 PM PST

    •  A hidden comment is... (4.00)
      A comment that has its average drop below 1.  Trusted users are allowed to rate comments 0 and to see hidden posts.  It isn't much of a right, but I like the shallow elitism.

      Born in '87 with a Hart for President button on!

      by teenagedallasdeaniac on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:42:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hidden comments (none)
      If the rating of your post ever drops below 1.0 it becomes "Hidden" that is invisible to non-Trusted Users.  Your post becomes rated when it has drawn two ratings.  Your rating is (or was when I typed this (none/1) ) that is you had drawn a single rating.

      Some might say - But Kos, with a range of possible ratings from 1 to 4 you never can obtain an average below 1.0.  True enough but for Trusted Users the range is from 0 to 4.   Given the right circumstances, an initial rating of 1 or 0 (which would not display), a comment could disappear without ever showing a rating at all if I dropped a zero on it.

      Hidden comments aren't really hidden.  Trusted users can still see them (with an option to hide).  And all hidden comments are put into their own special thread, where you are able to see all the stupidity lined up end to end.  And if you want bring it back to life by rerating.

      Seldom happens.  Relatively few comments get hidden and it is mostly outright trolls.  A few regulars get swept up once in a while, but we are talking ten posts total since March 25, about half from diaries.

      •  Wow! Love it! (none)
        Won't anthropologists have a field day with THIS!

        Thanks again.

        "Whoever is fundamentally a teacher takes things---including himself--- seriously only as they affect his students." Friedrich Nietzsche

        by AlBerkCA on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 03:02:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A Little Perspective (none)
    It's only because your popular.

    I have a blog..but if I said something in the heat of the moment no one would care.. because I don't get readers. You do... which makes you an obvious target in this fight this little mind control experiment were all going through.

    After all, these are blogs. they are meant to be like online dairies and they should never be expected to be as accurate as the major news media. That their job (which they aren't doing because they would rather make money than tell the truth).

  •  Kos rocks (none)
    100% behind Kos. Now lets get him a spot on Letterman's show.
  •  Go Kos! (none)
    The publicity is good for you and your site. For every idiot who was already unalterably close-minded and Republican anyway, there will be someone else who is inspired to think a bit and question some of what the media has been feeding them.  And a DOZEN who get curious and drop by here just to see what's what...and find they like it.

    "ultra-liberal." Ha. Spoken like someone who's never been here but feels qualified to pontificate about it.

  •  who cares... (none)
    what the mouth breathers on the other side of the sphere have to say? - this is not about KoS or his opinion of mercenaries - it's about American kids being in harms way for no good reason -
  •  Death Threat (4.00)
    Here's a gem from Little Green Footballs:
    #46 Greg 4/2/2004 07:15PM PST #28 Chet Rhoi...thank for the hyperlink with Mr. Zumiga/Kos's face.... Anyone want to pass it on to a Navy Seal (retired) or Airborne (retired) about his name and whereabouts... It will come time to hang traitors and his name is on the some of the retired military men who this Kos has great "love" for....
    Lovely. To see this you'll have to paste the link into your browser because Charles Johnson is such a humble guy and doesn't want people linking to his posts.
    •  More proof that Niewert (Orcinus)... (none)
      is right.

      The Right is sliding into fascist behavior.  Intimidate, threaten and commit acts of violence to shut up their "enemy".

      Not here.

      The penalty good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. -- Plato

      by ogre on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:43:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  well well well (none)
      LGF put me in their "killfile."

      Thanks, morons, I needed that!!  :-)

      William Goldman was right when he said the three rules of Hollywierd are "1) Nobody, 2) knows, 3) anything." Works in the real world, too.

      by HollywierdLiberal on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 05:16:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Allegiance (none)
      So now we are traitors if we don't support corporate armies.

      There is a larger issue to this.  That, although on some symbolic levels this is like Mogodishu, this is in no way equal.  The soldiers desecrated in Somolia were American soldiers.  They wore the American flag on their arm.  The flag I pledge allegiance to.  They were held accountable for their actions by their superiors.  And they are held in a unshakable honor eternally for having served their country, and made the ultimate sacrifice.

      When an American soldier takes that flag off their arm, and picks up a gun for a paycheck, and puts themselves in harms way, and are accountable only to their employer, they lose my loyalty.  All fallen soldiers should be treated humanely, and the mobs of Fallujha have shamed themselves, their families, their tribes, and their country.  But anyone who says questioning these hired soldiers is "traitorous" is a dangerous person.

  •  from the NY Times; their headline reads: (4.00)
    Modern Mercenaries on the Iraqi Frontier

    IN his own way, Stevie is a modern soldier-of-fortune, paid by a private security firm to lead a 44-man unit that is protecting American officials in charge of rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq. He left his native Glasgow, Scotland, to join the British army at 16, served for 24 years in conflicts around the globe, about half that time as a member of the special forces. In the shadowy tradition of his trade, he asked that only his first name be used and declined to say much about the wars he has fought.

    "That is one topic I'd rather not talk about," he said in his rich brogue, speaking by phone from the Baghdad villa run by Kroll Inc., the company that employs him.

    Now where have I heard the term "mercenaries" before... oh, yeah, now I recall...

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:33:28 PM PST

    •  Basic question time (none)
      Are US forces not capable of protecting Americans in Iraq?  If not, why?  If they are, why are they not performing that role?
    •  scary photo (none)

      I'm posting this as a question/ comment for you, since you strike me as one of the more reasonable folks around here, who seems to at least read a post before disagreeing with it.

      The whole privatization of armies issue is well worth discussing. I basically agree with Kos's emphasis on the distinction between private and public armies, but I made it pretty clear what I thought about his original post at the time.

      But I think this whole episode also raises a different question-- which is about blogging versus traditional news media.

      In traditional media like newspapers, views that cross certain lines are aired internally, but they tend to get filtered before they make their way onto the page.   It's less a matter of censorship than about the fact that things are discussed carefully BEFORE they get published.  So the best foot is put forward.  Usually.

      Here, on the other hand, ideas are printed long before they're fully developed.  But unlike a conversation, every line here is also being recorded, and can be re-broadcast out of context.

      So the lesson people ought to take home from this episode here on Kos IMO is that It might seem like a free-for-all, but in fact, greater self-reflection is needed here than in traditional media. And A) some speech takes you outside the larger conversation in this country in a way that's self-defeating.  And B) that that sort of speech really ought to be avoided if at all possible.

      But you wouldn't want people to self-censor or it would become boring.  So nobody writing on a blog should ever feel embarassed about having to amend an initial statement as poorly worded or what have you.  It's the nature of the medium.

      IMO, that ought to be the message both here and to the other side -- that because this is a blog, mistakes are sometimes made -- rather than, we're always right, so fuck you. Second, that this is a community, and not a one-man show.  Many in the Kos community in this case came to a different conclusion than Kos himself, so why shouldn't advertisers continue to support it?  

      Excess of insularity makes a Briton an Imperialist. -- G.B. Shaw

      by markymarx on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:15:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  your thoughtful post deserves a proper response (none)
        when this issue has run its course. I didn't comment on the original thread and won't now.

        Kos and Zachary Roth (Columbia Journalism Review) have also previously addressed other aspects of blogging (vs journalism). See link, which you might find interesting, as there are many angles here.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:34:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  interesting! (none)
          thanks for the link.  it pre-dates my involvement here and really any great interest on my part in blogging.  

          may boil down to a couple questions:

          are there alternative blogging ethics?

          if so, is a community blog such as this one different than a personal web log?

          Excess of insularity makes a Briton an Imperialist. -- G.B. Shaw

          by markymarx on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:45:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  others including MattS and Kevin Drum (none)
            also commented (links from above link)... and JMM from TPM has had his own out-loud dialogue re ads and their influence on the site (as has Markos, with a poll and discussion before accepting ads).

            This a a very deep topic, with lots of nuance. Think about a diary on it if it interests you. I've never been a journalist (unlike Meteor Blades, for example, amongst others) so I've never seen it from that side. But it's a great topic for another day.

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:53:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Journalistic ethics (none)
            Here's my piece on journalistic ethics, with the challenge that blogs present:


            •  thanks (none)
              Great article, and in particular your comments how blogging interrupts (almost two centuries) of "one-way" journalism (or mass media), And Steve Lovelady seems to miss the point entirely.

              Before reading through all of the links and commentary -- no time now -- I wonder if you think the challenge blog's present also includes the self-searching questions I've raised above?

              I'd like to flesh out those questions in more detail.  But probably not for now...

              Excess of insularity makes a Briton an Imperialist. -- G.B. Shaw

              by markymarx on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 09:06:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Some history (none)
      Apparently, the privatization of war crimes has been going on for a while now, though I was unaware of it in Clinton's Balkans adeventure:

      According to the Web blog Spark, "In recent years, the presence of military contractors in U.S. wars and military operations has increased significantly. During the Persian Gulf War of 1991, one in every 50 people on the battlefield was an American mercenary, fighting under a contract. In Bosnia in 1996, that ratio was one in 10."

      This is from a very good article by Bill Berkowitz, with lots of charming little facts about our private armies. Did I vote for this? Not knowingly.

    •  Kos wins the meme war (none)
      You say 'contractor escort', we say 'mercenary'
      You say 'Alabama', we say 'aWol'
      You say 'war president', we say 'liar'
      You say 'Mars', we say 'deficit'

      And now we have Air America. And yesterday all I heard was 'mercenaries, mercenaries, mercenaries'.

      "The entire world is a very narrow bridge, and the main thing is not to be afraid at all" Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

      by Patch in Bklyn on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 05:33:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Uh Oh. Little Green Goofballs (none)
      will just have to put the NYT on their "kill the traitor" list.

      Well, a jerks gotta do what a jerks gotta do, eh?

      You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

      by mattman on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 01:35:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  time to let this subject go (4.00)
    The more we debate Kos' comments, the more the blog news cycle will continue and distract us from the true message about Iraq - the most tragic foreign policy blunder since Vietnam.

    Let's just leave it as:

    1. All deaths in Iraq are tragic, soldiers, Iraqis, civilians, missionaries, etc. I may not agree with why they are there, but there deaths are tragic and their families are hurting.
    2. The Iraq invasion was a terrible deception by a dishonest administration and has undermined our war with Al Qaeda.
    Let's get the debate back where it belongs.
    •  Correct!!!! (none)
      I gave you an 8 (ok just a 4)
    •  The Subject Will Go When It Is Time (none)
      Kos' comments, the responses and the critiques, the photos on the front pages, the reactions to them and so on have their own time and pace.

      Some people are enraged and very anxious about what happened in Fallujah and how others felt about that. They need to work out what the hell happened and why they feel what they feel.

      Blogs can help us do that. They don't have to restrict themselves to some commercially or politically ordained news cycle.

      Trent Lott was fired because the blogosphere would NOT move on when the media thought it was time.

      This thing is important, it may turn out to be essential in the education of America, it may be just another brick in the wall; time will decide that. But while people want to chew it over, the blogosphere, and Kos, can afford the channel to let that happen.

      Kos is a place where people gather to talk, if this is what is top of the mind now, that's what will get talked about till the topic is done.

      This is not news, its a conversation, an analogue of a human mind, trying to shift it with a "now now, lets all move on there's work to be done", will make no difference.

      "Till the last dog dies"

      by Deep Dark on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 11:19:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My son is a Marine (4.00)
    and served six months in the war on Iraq.

    These "contractors" earn in a couple of weeks what my kid, and all the other young Marines who fought, earned in there entire 6 month tour.

    It is probably even worse for the Guard. These people are taking a financial hit in lost wages while doing their mission.

    I might have not been as provocative as Kos, but I agree with the point made.

  •  A thought on the matter (4.00)
    Kos -

    Hats off to you.  Stick to your guns.  You believe what you believe, regardless of what the wingnuts say you SHOULD believe.

    This silly back 'n' forth, in my mind, obscures a larger issue, one that places the human issue aside and asks a basic policy question:


    Here are a couple early thoughts (and sub-thoughts) on the 3rd largest force count (Behind the US and British armed forces) in Mess-o-potamia:

    1. We're stretched way too thin to supply our own troops.  
    2. a. BushCo may have thought that the world community would blindly jump on board and send hoardes of troops, fulfilling the Republican chickenhawk goal of getting other people to fight their ideological goals for them.  If that's the case, I'd have to say they have another miserable failure on their hands.
    3. The US troops ain't stoopid - they know a hellhole when they see it and won't touch portions of Iraq.  Which means that BushCo, to fulfill its ideological goals, has to pay a premium to accomplish its objectives.
    4. a. Has anyone thought about the cost of using mercenaries over standard issues soldiers?  Reports are saying that the mercenaries are pulling down $1,000/day.  At the same time, BushCo has agrgessively moved to cut veterans benefits, active duty hazard pay, and other basics while irresponsibly cutting taxes for the first time during an American war.  
    5. b. Countless Americans are looking at military recruitment or reinlistment straight in the eye and, when confronted with the thought of spending time in Iraq, are saying, "The cheap wages and benefits are not worth it."  So BushCo has to hire mercenaries.  But what happens when the war money runs short?  Do we look at replenishing the supply of cheap US soldiers and - gasp - reinstating the draft?
    6. c. In the interim, are we witnessing the outsourcing of our military costs?  Are mine eyes deceiving me?
    Rather than succumb to a knee-jerk reaction from wingnuts, let's use this board to have a rational, reasoned discussion behind the premise we're facing.  

    So let's answer some questions that attack the premise:

    A. Should we be hiring mercenaries to fulfill our war goals?  

    B. If we should hire mercenaries, should they be the third largest force contingent in Iraq?  

    C. Should America be the sole source of funding for a mercenary army?

    D. What does the presence of so many mercenaries say about the support for the war, both globally and domestically?  

    E. Can America afford an outsourced military?

    Just some basic questions.  I'm sure that the more learned among the Kossacks can add to this.

    •  Excellent questions, too late for this firestorm (none)
      Those are all excellent questions, worthy of debate. But they are absolutely not questions that should be bound up with the fate of the four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah.

      It's loopy to believe that all security contractors in Iraq are steely-eyed killers. Blackwater may be engaged in dirty deeds--although there is no concrete evidence for that--but even so, it beggars belief that every single one of their employees is secretly an atrocity-loving baby rapist.

      We should express empathy and revulsion for the deaths of four Americans at the hands of a bestial, hateful mob. Once it's clear that we are not crazy, and that we understand that Fallujah was an unmitigated tragedy, undeserved by the slain, we can hold a reasoned debate over whether the presence of private security forces harms the American cause in Iraq. But not before.

      To continue on this strange, confused path only reinforces the worst stereotype about liberals, which is that we have no sympathy for victims unless they are weak and helpless, and no loathing for murderers unless they are powerful and strong.

      •  ERROR! (none)
        They didn't die at the hands of a mob.

        They died in a planned, prepared ambush.  Now, where did their ambushers get the information?  There's a question that Bush ought to add to all the awkward questions about WMD, yellowcake, Plame's outing....

        The angry mob simply abused the dead bodies.  Which IS repulsive and barbaric.

        But keep the story straight, please.  The Freepers do enough distortion on their own, with invisible, ambush-proof food convoys that teleport out of battle.  Don't add mobs swarming mercenaries and overrunning them.  There weren't any Iraqi casualties reported.

        The penalty good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. -- Plato

        by ogre on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:50:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep (none)
          Let's try to keep the tone civil. I'm not trying to attack anyone, and I'm surely not trying to invent things that never happened.

          You're right; it appears that these men were caught in an organized ambush. However, it's far from clear who ambushed them, how many people were involved in their deaths, or how those killers knew where to set their ambush. I presume that we can blame the Iraqi resistance or foreign terrorists. I also willingly associate the mob with the killers, and consider both complicit in the victims' deaths. If nothing else, the mob's desecration of the victims' bodies clearly declares their political affiliation.

          But I do feel this is a bit of a detour from the debate at hand.

          •  Your presumptions (none)
            however are false.

            You can presume those things all you like, but should be open to the fact that they are "presumptions" and can therefore be challenged.

            The mob is not complicit in the victims' deaths.  Even if they "wanted" them dead; they didn't kill them, an ambush did.

            Unless, of course you are willing to extend the "complicity" beyond the immediate cause of death and consider also the US military leadership that provoked the population of Fallujah the day before and then was unable/willing to provide military cover/protection; the botched US occupation as a whole, the fact that we invaded the country and the fact that neither our elected officials nor our citizenry chose to or could do anything to stop it.  If your categories of "complicity" expand that far, then yeah, I'll grant you the mob's complicity in these guys' deaths.


            "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

            by a gilas girl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 04:15:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Media (none)
              Is there media permanently stationed in Fallujah?  If not, how far away?  If yes, which media organization was in Fallujah to shoot the video?  American, European, Arab?  Doesn't seem like the safest place in Iraq for foreign media to hang out in wait of a story.
            •  Quick Cure For Hired Guns (none)

              Make it ILLEGAL for them to be paid higher than the lowest paid grunt.

              See how fast they run for the exits.  See how far their "altruism" takes them.

              You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

              by mattman on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 03:22:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Kos and being "wrong" (4.00)
        Given who he is - someone who grew up in Reagan's proxy war in El Salvador with for-pay death squads and the like - the only thing Kos did that was "wrong" was to provide ammunition to his morally repugnant enemies.

        I will wait to see what these "civilian contractors" were actually doing. Perhaps it was benign security, defense rather than offense. Perhaps they individually had done nothing to people in Fallujah to provoke the ambush that killed them before their bodies were mauled. Or perhaps the much-deserved bad name of "mercenary" did mean something dark in this case, that they were there to torture or assassinate people in a city that has seen unexplained deadly force by US troops against what seem to have been unarmed civilians.

        It was not the fault of these men - and certainly not of their families - that this nation allowed Bush to make this war, or that many Americans care nothing for the rule of law or the rights of other nations or the lives of anyone who opposes their self-gratification. And it was not their fault that Rumsfeld wants to exploit and undermine real soldiers or that the Bush economy offers little hope to many of us. What happened to them was horrible. It's not for us to say whether they "deserved" death or posthumous violation of their bodies - what we have to do is keep some realistic sense of what these men may well have been doing for their money and the corrupt situation we drew them into. Anything else is a vicious distraction.

        Shorter 4 Gospels: Don't Be Cruel

        by jlb on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:59:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well said (none)
          I agree with everything you say in your post, except that I also feel Kos was wrong to offend the surviving families of the dead without any concrete evidence of wrongdoing. I can't imagine what it must be like for the survivors to read descriptions of their loved ones as hired killers and assassins, when they (probably/possibly/conceivably) were not. That was rash and ill-considered.

          But you are also right that sympathy for the dead should not translate to tolerance for the policies that led to their deaths. More than anything else, I would rather be having a debate over the wisdom of employing armed contractors in Fallujah, rather than an argument over whether the four dead men in Fallujah were vicious killers who deserved our scorn. The former argument would have given no ammunition to Kos's morally repugnant enemies.

          Thanks for the well-reasoned response.

          •  And I thank you too (4.00)
            This is a very hard thing to think or talk about, particularly with the perpetual bad faith of the pro-war faction. I grew up in a military family (Marine) and share many of Kos's feelings about the clear slighting of the deaths of our real soldiers, just part of staying the course and all that ... And I'm old enough to recall the obscene rationalizations made when hundreds of our men were dying any given week in Vietnam - "they'd be killing themselves anyway in car accidents" for example.

            I think in general that the use of mercenaries to make resource imperialism palatable to the public is a corrupt and corrupting practice, one that will just add to the hatred we're earning all over the world. In this case, the outrage is being used cynically to stoke up the public either for an atrocity like My Lai or Dresden or to demonize those who oppose the war, or both - I also recall how Lt. Calley was a "hero" to many for killing women and children who were ungrateful for our "favors" to them. Many of my radical friends didn't want Calley punished because "he wasn't the real villain and they're all doing what he did" whereas with my family background I was ashamed of Calley wearing the uniform and wanted him cast out of society. One of the worst things about Vietnam was what it did to our idea of ourselves as honorable. The use of mercenaries may be innocuous - even given that they're needed because Rumsfeld wanted to prove what flyboys have always wanted to prove and that taxpayer money is going promiscuously to these no-bid "contractors" - but it makes me suspect that once again we may be throwing away what's left of our honor.

            Shorter 4 Gospels: Don't Be Cruel

            by jlb on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 03:56:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Correction (none)
      Second largest contingent.

      Britain is reported to have ~ 8,000 troops.

      The openly billing in the Coalition of the Billing, the formal mercenaries?  ~ 15,000

      Do the math.

      Roughly 10% of the forces the US government has there are mercenaries.  And Still Growing!

      The penalty good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. -- Plato

      by ogre on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:47:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I stand corrected (none)
        I was going from media reports - never looked into the stats.  

        Thanks for the clarification.  Makes my point even more pertinent.

      •  Cost Ratios (none)
        Given the salary discrepancy between mercenary and enlisted solider, how does your ratio translate into cost-of-mercenaries vs cost-of-troops?
        •  I have no idea (none)
          I assume that the cost/benefit analysis would take into account:
          • Long term benefits costs (US gov't won't pay a nickel to support the veteran mercenaries or their families)
          • Budgeting advantages (the mercenaries don't care how they're paid, so long as they're paid--Bushco can funnel money to them however is convenient)
          • Profit -- hey, there's no off the top profit margin for sending in the military.  No donors get to skim off the top of that (well, Halliburton's close... but...).  Renting soldiers from supportive companies means profits are up.  Heck, I'll bet that the 15,000 show up as new jobs in the US economic figures, too.
          • Political benefits (an extensive list)
          • Military advantages (equally extensive)
          The last two blur into each other, particularly with this administration.

          I'm sure there are more.

          The penalty good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. -- Plato

          by ogre on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 09:40:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I've only read about this (4.00)
    In the comment you have posted on this, kos, but I will throw out my $.02 on the matter.

    I think the reason for the vitriol about your comments doesn't really come from the mercenary vs. soldier question of who desrves more sympathy, whose presence is more morally correct and so on.  Obvously you have your take on the matter, and people will disagree with you, and it will be a debate that won't end with this event until there is a Geneva Convention-style public debate on the issue, similar to the discussions on the use of land mines.  But the issue won't be settled in the blogosphere.

    I think the real reason for the blowback all comes down to the power of those horrific images.  This Iraq war, despite the embedded journalists, has been invisible to most of the country.  Images of war, particularly photographic images, form (or perhaps reinforce)people's conceptions of what a war is about, how it is being conducted, who is on the good side and what they stand for.  Examples- Matthew Brady's photos of dead bodies on the battlefields of the civil war, the image (a re-enactment) of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, the image of the napalmed naked twelve-year-old girl, screaming with her arms out in a crucifixion-like pose.  These images establish the emotional context within which people can consider the acts and conditions of war.

    The images of those bodies hanging from the bridge are some of the few images of this distant, remote, and sighly suspect conflict that will embed themselves in the hearts and minds of Americans.  

    The message recieved, as I read it, is "These people- the Iraqis- truly hate us."  This is a message which does not inherently support or conflict with the administration's official line (other than "they will welcome us with open arms") on how we are all supposed to think about this war. Depending on your inclination, you can take it as a reason to go in there and kick some ass in retribution, or as reason to cut our losses an pull out of an impossible situation.  

    However you take it, as Americans, the first impulse will be to identify with those people hanging from the bridge. "If I was there, I wouldn't be the ones cheering, I'd be the ones hanging from the bridge."  There is no way not to become emotionally involved in the photograph on that level, at least for most.

    So your criticism of the position of these people as mercenaries first has to be filtered through this emotional layer of "It's me hanging up there" and that's why the vicious response.  Your well-articulated reasons for questioning the use of mercenary forces are then lost on someone who, on some level, percieves themselves as the next potential victim of this kind of unimaginable violence.


    •  There is a 'Geneva Convention-style debate' (4.00)
      Before I get into a "Geneva Convention-style debate" here, I just wanted to say, I agree nearly 100 percent with your analysis of the situation of why people reacted the way they have to the brutal killing of those folks in Iraq, and why people reacted the way they have to what Kos had to say.

      However, I just wanted you and everyone to know, an FYI really, that there has already been a "Geneva Convention-style debate" on the issue. As a matter of fact, mercenaries are clearly defined right in the Geneva Conventions themselves, as has their role been defined. That role is defined as not being legitimate, at all. Although, it really doesn't say much about mercenaries. Just a few, clear paragraphs.

      The Geneva Conventions basically defines only one single, combatant role as being legitimate in a war -- being a uniformed soldier who is part of an organized army. There are other categories of people to be found in a war, of course, like medical personnel and clergy, and they are to be treated the same as civilians, which is to say they are not supposed to be shot or blown up or gassed or stabbed. Civilians are off limits in a war.

      Everybody else in a war -- spies, saboteurs, guerillas (non-uniformed guerillas), mercenaries -- are illegitimate. They are not regarded as legitimate combatants. The Gevena Conventions on the treatment of prisoners do not necessarily apply to them, and their summary execution is not out of the question.

      So, really, what we had in Iraq the other day was two sets of illegitmate combatants, and one group of them -- the mercenaries -- were torn apart by another group of illegitimate combatants -- non-uniformed guerillas, and, yes, that includes the mob.

      That said, from a moral -- forget legal-like perspective -- was it right? What about why we feel the way we do about this which was so clearly ugly? For that, I defer to your post, Scott. I think it's right on the money.

    •  I agree - (4.00)
      this seems like a Howard Dean moment (ie - we're not safer with Sadaam Hussein being caught) and that Kos is being punished because people are having a hard time getting past these horrific images.  He had the guts to give us a little more information about his own background and the use of mercenaries in the war.  He took a risk and the results of taking risks can often be painful.  I'm sure he/we all feel badly for these men and their families.
    •  Quibble (4.00)
      There is no way not to become emotionally involved in the photograph on that level, at least for most.

      There is a way, in fact there are several ways, but we here in the US, we who are comfortable, have to be willing to take up those ways, and we have to be willing to be made uncomfortable.  And we are mostly too cowardly (collectively) to do that.  That's where our real collective weakness lies, not in the fact that we are less tolerant of US casualties.  

      We have to stop identifying with private corporate interests as "Americans".  And we have to stop privelging American lives as the most important, regardless of who they are or how they die.  Its safe in the US to put US lives first, but its not always the right thing to do.  Its not even always the politically smart thing to do.  But it is the easiest thing to do, and Americans generally do what is easy, especially when they find themselves in groups.  Individually its often a different matter, but a group of Americans is not normally attuned to self-reflection, moral or ethical discomfort or even emotional hardwork.

      Why should we be, we live in a culture that cultivates and rewards exactly the opposite?

      "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

      by a gilas girl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 04:32:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Emotional Hardwork (none)
        I think we all have the responsibility to take on doing emotional hardwork to improve our lives, but some people have more access to these resources than others.  For some it is extreme poverty and neglect, for others it is emotional poverty and neglect.  I think our leaders and the media need to make more of an effort to provide truthful information so that the average person has more to go on.  It would be really helpful if images of the coffins and wounded soldiers were given air time/more coverage.  Look at the impact the images of 9/1l had.  I don't have cable so I don't know what images are being shown of the devasation in Iraq of both people and the country, but I haven't seen much. I think they would have a powerful impact on most people.
        •  Good point (none)
          Note to self: avoid all lumping together of Americans too, differential resources to do that kind of work.



          "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

          by a gilas girl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 11:00:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Bring it on aside (4.00)
    Oh, they're doing their best to turn me into the devil, and they're making racist comments about my heritage and family and threatening to kick my ass -- you know, typical right-wing shit.

    Um threats should be taken seriously. These people are crazy. At least let the police know about it, give them a paper trail if, God forbid, something does happen to you.

    My blog The Washington State Political Report.

    by Carl Ballard on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:42:55 PM PST

  •  Only Human (none)
    Preview, re-read, then Post! ;-)
  •  Again? (2.50)
    Kos, you're smart, but you're also proud and stubborn. You're in the wrong, and you're hurting your cause. Can you not see this?

    There is no reason on Earth to spin conspiracy theories about the Blackwater employees who were killed. There's no evidence to suggest that the Americans in Fallujah were anything more than hired security. Not a shred of it. Nothing but fantasy and prejudice. Rationally, you must know this. You may suspect whatever you like, but voicing baseless suspicions is stupid, for the simple fact that you are likely to be wrong.

    Now you have just issued your second false apology, and for the love of God, you've started quoting Kerry in this misguided fight to avoid humbling yourself? What in the world are you doing? Do you not realize what conservatives will make of that cute parallel?

    And it's still so easy for you to climb out of the hole instead of continuing to dig for China. You can still apologize for dishonoring the lives of dead strangers about whom you know nothing--sincerely, this time. You can say, "I strongly oppose the presence of private soldiers in Iraq, but I also regret my earlier words against the victims of Fallujah. Every casualty in Iraq is a tragedy, whether Army or civilian, American or Iraqi. I let my anger over this tragedy cloud my judgment, and I'm sorry."

    So apologize. Stop talking through both sides of your mouth. Be humble and move on. Or at least--and I don't say this lightly, because I have a lot of respect for you--at least, stop digging. Just let this deserved scandal, which has basically stopped your site and its work in its tracks, die a natural death.

    "Bring it on" is a Bush quote, too. Kerry adopted the phrase in order to mock Bush and his destructive, foolhardy pride. I'm sorry to be harsh, Kos, but you're not echoing Kerry this time.

    •  There is no hole to dig out of. (3.66)
      None at all.

      The most merciful thing in the world . . . is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. H. P. Lovecraft

      by Cheez Whiz on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:10:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mercenary is a dirty word... (3.22)
      Yes, those Blackwater mercenaries raised lambs, bunnies and kitties, made the desert bloom, tended the date palms, ran a holistic healing center, sheltered the poor and the homeless and nudged the locals towards a sovereign democracy. Nice fairy tale.

      They were probably experts in breaking bones and heads, slitting throats, kidnapping the locals and participating in roundups and death squads on behalf of an occupying power. Does this reflect well on America or cast the mercenaries in a favorable light? Obviously, being experts in stealth and quiet death, they were hired for these reasons...which doesn't suggest a food train escort now, does it?

      Mercenary is a dirty word (ask any Angolan) and use of them is an insult to our honor. We should all be ashamed that our government has sunk so low [again].

      Congress gave Bush permission to bring about regime change, not to wipe out every rebellious village and town. It's time to go.

      •  No, despite the consensus here, that's not likely. (none)
        I'm sorry, but they probably weren't all those things. They were probably hired security guards whose misson was to escort a food convoy.

        I have not heard a single report of hired security forces performing house-to-house sweeps in Iraq, or rounding up dissidents, or even any rumor of such activity. It's the Marines who were engaged in running gun battles throughout the lawless, miserable ghettos of Fallujah all week. And when the Iraqis want to slander the American occupation forces, they slander the Army or the Marines. These amazing, apocalyptic images of roving death squads and ninja killers haven't cropped up anywhere but in dKos, and on conspiracy-mongering sites we should really strive to exceed in the quality of our debate.

        The people who murdered the Americans in Fallujah accused them of nothing more than being "spies." Hey, guess what--I want Iraq to be flooded with our spies right now. Positively brimming with them. The more we know about the situation on the ground, the fewer innocents we're likely to kill.

        Even the Iraqis in Baghdad are disgusted and frightened by what happened to the Americans in Fallujah.

        •  You sure know (none)
          alot about what the mercenaries are doing.  Frankly, this is not what the folks who actually do this said on Crossfire Friday.   What's your source of info?
          •  My source of info... (2.00)
            My source of info is NONE. Ditto the pundits on Crossfire and everyone on this thread. The closest thing to evidence I've seen against these four men amounts to, "It sure seems like they were up to something odd." That's absolutely pathetic evidence on which to launch a diatribe against the victims of a lynching.

            The correct order in which to disparage the dead Americans' memory is this: turn up specific evidence which links any one of those four men to any wrongdoing. Then accuse them of being murdering baby-rapists or death ninjas.

            It doesn't work the other way around.

            •  I don't pretend to know (none)
              I called these men nothing.  I express regret that they were in Iraq in the first place, because it was and is a terrible mistake.

              As I see things, kos made a mistake in his original post, I condemned him for it and expressed confidence that he would express his regret for his original entry - he did.

              Frankly, I, as opposed to most others here, do not have a strong opinion on the use of mercenaries for security purposes.  I would need to know more.  That said, my biggest complaint about the complainers here is their refusal to accept kos' regrets and move on, be it to the issue of the mercenaries or other aspects of the Iraq Debacle.

        •  Probably not (none)
          These American contractors were about as likely escorting a food convoy in the hot zone of Falluja as Jessica Lynch was blasting away at Iraqi's until she ran out of ammo and was over run.

          Its emotionally soothing to believe that.

          What they were doing isn't really important.  So I resist the spin that they were escorting a food convoy to try to sugar coat the story.

          I think that takes away from the simple fact that, after they were killed in combat, their bodies were desecrated.  Which is fundamentally despicable.

    •  Not exactly... (none)
      Bush said, "Bring 'em on.  The difference is crucial.  Kerry, by using the singular, has turned it into an in-your-face challenge rather than the idiotic formation used by the President.

      Born in '87 with a Hart for President button on!

      by teenagedallasdeaniac on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:50:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fantasy... (4.00)
      There's no evidence to suggest that the Americans in Fallujah were anything more than hired security. Not a shred of it.

      There's no reason, and no evidence either, to suggest that the American mercenaries in Fallujah were hired security.  Not a shred of it.

      Security for what?

      Food convoy?


      You believe that?  Where is it?  Where was it going? (Regency doesn't exist, any more than the yellowcake did)  

      Why were they in Fallujah, of all places?  In vehicles that marked them as "other" and "the enemy"?

      General Custer was as stupid.  And paid the same price.

      The penalty good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. -- Plato

      by ogre on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:54:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. We are in the dark. (3.00)
        I don't particularly believe anything about these security contractors, or what they were doing. I would not at all be surprised to find out they were gathering American intelligence. (Hope they were, our current intelligence-gathering efforts are pathetic.) I would be surprised to find out they were assassinating dissidents, though not as surprised as some on this board.

        But in the face of terrible tragedy, and being as totally unenlightened as we all are, it's unbelievably foolish to speculate against the victims of a grisly lynching. We should be cautious, measured, and above all empathetic towards the victims' memories and their survivors. If we believe there's dirt to be found about these men, we should dig it up, not make it up.

        And yeah, it seems like the Blackwater guys were pretty stupid about ensuring their own safety. But that has absolutely no bearing on any of this, does it?

        •  Now, (none)
          That's a better answer

          Shorter 4 Gospels: Don't Be Cruel

          by jlb on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 03:10:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Lynching? (none)
          I'm encouraging you--and others--to keep the story straight.  It doesn't do any good (at least from our perspective) to distort this.

          There was no lynching.

          Those killed were killed in their vehicles in the initial attacks, or by the fires that immediately ensued.

          Their deaths are regretable--as are all the deaths in Iraq, those that have made the front page, those that have made the papers somewhere, and those that haven't even been given a moment's notice.

          What's been so damned convenient to the wingnuts is the graphic abuse of corpses.


          The penalty good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. -- Plato

          by ogre on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 09:32:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  so high minded! (3.00)
      Dude, you are the Lieberman of the dKos boards.

      You've got Joementum!

      This is true liberty, when free-born men / Having to advise the public, may speak free. Euripides

      by dcdanny on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 03:16:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ha! (4.00)
        Are you kidding? I'm getting rated like a Jenna Jameson flick. I've got No-mentum!

        ...or wait, that's the same thing, isn't it?

        Anyway, that's the hardest I've ever laughed at being insulted, and the only laugh I've gotten out of this whole thread. Kudos. :)

        (Wait, am I being high-minded again? I mean... screw off, you... you... um, dirty hippie? Dang, I'm bad at this.)

    •  He already apologized twice (3.60)
      He not only apologized twice, but did so while preserving what he believes--that mercenaries are unethical, that he has a right to worry more about people who are getting killed involuntarily than people who assume risks.

      It wouldn't matter if he disavowed both his methods and his beliefs--his detractors would still hate him and he would have been untrue to himself in the process.  

      What damage there has been has been done.  There's no reason for him to amputate both arms to appease people who just won't let it go and look at the big picture.

      The amount of energy and emotion spent on style over content in this country and in our culture--the sheer outrage of "insensitivity" while we have none for unecessary bullets and bombs just astonishes me sometimes.

    •  No, Binturong! YOU apologize! (none)
      Apologize for telling someone else what to think, do or say.

      Apologize and do it now! Who the flock are you to tell anyone how to think or what to think or what to FEEL?

      Leave that to the Rethuglicans because that way, fascism lies.

      You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

      by mattman on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 03:49:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  watch and listen (4.00)
    Kos, Just read what the Weekly Standard had to say about your mercenary thread.  You are a young man and you spoke from your heart.  Sometimes, you still need to write it down and edit, before putting the message out in cyberspace.  I'm not saying to self censor.  I'm saying to rethink how you say it to be sure your message is safe, but the focus isn't on you.  They really can come down on you like a ton of bricks, so I'd give up on "bring it on."  Stick with what's important to you, getting your message out there.  I was a whistle-blower, so I've got some expertise on this sort of thing.  

    Winning without Delay.

    by ljm on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 01:58:25 PM PST

    •  But but but (4.00)
      this is the second post where he admits he was wrong, he was stupid, he basically retracted the statement - what more should he do?

      Isn't that enough?  I mean he didn't advocate killing mercenaries.  At the time, I said it was the wrong thing to say and that I trusted kos would realize this - he did.

      IF the wingnuts were honest, they would declare victory and move on.  But they are not.  They don't care about the dead security contractors, they care about attacking kos.  That is his point here.

      •  if wingnuts were honest.... (none)
        Sorry I just can't stretch the imagination enough to encompass that possible scenario....

        hola Armando!!

      •  "Bring it on" = "I was wrong?" (4.00)
        The wingnuts correctly perceive that Kos hasn't admitted that he was wrong, and hasn't repudiated the sentiment behind his indefensible first words.

        In his last post on the topic, he explained that he said those words because he was so angry about the mercenaries' very presence in Iraq, explained that they were probably murderous scum, then wrapped up his 'apology' by saying that the deaths of American soldiers are more heroic than the deaths of American security contractors.

        In this post, he admits that what he said was 'stupid'--not wrong, mind you, which is very different--and then takes obvious pride in his position and the firestorm surrounding it, inviting conservatives to "bring it on." Are you detecting a lot of remorse there? I'm not, and neither are Kos's enemies.

        You don't end fights with the words, "Bring it on." Which was Kerry's entire point in stealing the phrase from Bush and making it his own.

        As usual, I end this post by affirming my respect for Kos. He's a brilliant guy, but nobody who praises his conduct in this particular fight is doing him, or dKos, or the liberal cause, any favors.

        •  No "I was wrong" (none)
          means 'I was wrong."  From kos' earlier entry -

          "So not only was I wrong to say I felt nothing over their deaths, I was lying. I felt way too much. Nobody deserves to die."

          So what do you think, did kos admit he was wrong?

          •  Fuck the apologies... (3.00)
            Who gives a fuck what the "wingnuts" think? Let's all dance to their little fascist tune now, shall we?

            They are screeching away cause they see their criminal, illegal invasion becoming another Vietnam, and they want to forestall this by intimidating anyone not goosestepping along. This is part and parcel with the Bushites hiding casualties, and feeding Bremer's bullshit disguised as cotton candy to the American public on a daily basis.

            The mutilation of the merc corpses broke through this crap, and the warmongers don't like it that the American public may be moved to ask questions, such as, what the fuck are we doing in Iraq in the first place?

            Couple this with the fact that more and more are asking questions, like who benefits (ask Philip Zelikow and Dickie Cheney about this) and who dies (hint: it ain't the warmongers) and you have the explanation for warmonger hysteria.

            Apologise? Fuck that.

          •  The excerpt works, but there was plenty more. (none)
            If that had been the only sentence Kos posted, it might have served as an apology.

            Couched in a post about the evils of mercenaries, the higher value of soldiers' lives, Kos's disgust over the dead men's choice to willingly go to Iraq, and so forth, it serves only as an excuse for us to pretend we're on the high ground.

            Likewise today's post, which gets off on the right foot by admitting his previous words were 'stupid,' then goes on to strut before his detractors and encourage them to 'bring it on.' (Was this such a wise time to quote Kerry?)

            That's just the way I read it, but I don't think I'm alone. And I'm biased towards Kos.

            •  Bullsht... (none)
              If anyone should apologise, it's those criminal assholes who ignored the terrorists and went after Iraq. As argued by Clarke, O'Neil, Bush himself, and countless others.

              They are responsible for this criminal enterprise, and the ones engaged in it are war criminals, pure and simple. The moral and legal authors of this, like Kristol, Perle, the WSJ--the bureaucratic criminals, like Wolfowitz, Feith, Rumsfeld--and the political criminals, like Cheney and the chimp. The soldiers...well, they do as they're told.

              Never mind all the high falutin bs about desecrated bodies. They've destroyed a country on behalf of oil and American Likudniks, killed thousands of people, hundreds of Americans, for what?

              Ask Richard Clarke. He'll tell you.

        •  You are absolutely right... (1.83)
          This is the first smart response on the subject.  Kos would do himself a favor to think about what you have so aticulately said.

          Kos, are you listening?

          When someone, anyone dies and their mutilated bodies are shown on TV, you don't say "screw them."

          For the truth:

          by EricNYC on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 03:04:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Be better, not more careful (3.50)
    As the blogosphere grows in influence, we'll get more attention from those who wish us ill.   It's no use editing ourselves or asking Kos to edit himself;   this space thrives because it is a model of open and vigorous discourse.  Wingnuts will always be able to find "ammo" here, just as they were able to find "ammo" in a couple of the self-created Move On ads a few months ago.   Given the viciousness of our adverseries, we will not lack ammo to hurl right back.  

    The only issue is whether controversy costs Kos the revenue he needs to keep the site going and growing.   In fact, controversy is the very thing that will fuel growth.   It may get too hot in here for candidates to advertise, but as we grow  there will be no shortage of progressive orgs and merchants to take their place.

    We are seeking the same level of cultural and political influence as Rush and his ilk.  Do those guys edit themselves?  We don't want to be more careful than the wingnuts;  just better.

    This is true liberty, when free-born men / Having to advise the public, may speak free. Euripides

    by dcdanny on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:07:08 PM PST

    •  Let's not become the mainstream media. (none)
      This space thrives because it provides an outlet for  things that need to be said. The major media have dropped the ball (intentionally or not) and won't even tread into areas uncomfortable for the establishment.

      Self-censorship and careful word selection only lead to the mealy mouth postioning that had the democratic party adrift pre-Dean (Where sadly it appears to be heading again).This "controversey" forces us all to confront issues (e.g. role of private soldiers/mercenaries) that would otherwise be overwhelmed by discussions of Iraqi barbarism.

      Kos and others need to keep saying what's on their minds. This community has already undermined many of the lies that make up the accepted version of reality in Iraq and in this country. This site has and will continue to force the broadening of the public discourse.   These attacks only reinforce the power of what is going on here.

      Onward! No turning back!

      •  Power (none)
        As the Daily Kos grows in power and influence, it will become part of the mainstream media.  Kos will have to be careful not to give wingers more ammunition.
        •  If we don't give them ammo they'll invent it. (none)
          I am one of those who just isn't very good at playing defense. I don't think our actions or more importantly expressed viewpoints should be constrained by how we think our opponents will use them.

          I don't mean to suggest there are no limits or strategic considerations but there are some who are far too fearful. Given that years of anti-communism followed by liberal bashing have moved the terms of acceptable discourse further and further to the right it is in the interest of liberals, progressives and leftists to promote a widening of discourse that pulls the "mainstream" back. to the left.

          After all look how marginalized expressions of oppostion to the Iraq fiasco have been even though pre-war public opinion opposed the adventure. Or how we have reached the point where Kerry feels the need to show he's just as much of a tax cutter as Bush instead having a real debate about the need for govermnment expenditures and the requirement to finance them responsibly.

          If Kos or others stretch the outer limits of the discussion it only widens the space for ideas to be considered. This becomes more important as "Daily Kos grows in power and influence," because the sites stature is what gives credibilty to the viewpoints on its page.

  •  Quote collection time (2.66)
    "Let's not pretend otherwise: Kos speaks for many, perhaps most Democrats nowadays."

    "I dreamed that the LLL media in this country would have the integrity to confront the Dem. establishment, Kerry et al, & ask them if they were willing to disassociate themselves from these Kos sentiments"

    "Kos is a disgusting human being. I'm not a vengeful person but I'll be pleased if Kos suffers the consequences of his revolting sentiments."

    "Why would his parents move with their child to a country at war? Was there perhaps a job to do there? Could it be that poor, peaceful, misunderstood Kos is the child of mercenaries?"

    "I was wondering why everyone was agreeing with Kos - especially with such a slanderous `apology'. Then I realized that I couldn't post a comment. As usual, the Left stifles dissent."

    I'm expecting more quotables, since LGF never ever gives in when it comes to this. So expect more 'Arabic language experts' and all those other delightful people.

    •  Ha ha ha (4.00)
      "Then I realized that I couldn't post a comment. As usual, the Left stifles dissent."

      "Having purchased the Campbell's soup, I then realized that the can was impossible to chew through. As usual, the supermarket was trying to starve me."

  •  All you did was speak your opinion (none)
    Honest opinions and freedom of discussion scare the bigots and the warboners more than anything. They have lashed out at you and you're showing them to be the tiny little men that they truly are.
  •  Bet they're the same people (none)
    who are telling the 9-11 widows to "get over it" or describe Kerry's Vietnam service as "yada yada."  

    Let's face it.  Before the end of this year, a few punches need to get thrown.

  •  I Still Believe in a Place Called dKos. (4.00)
    We can't be fucked with, and that's the only reason they are coming after us. Fuck 'em.

    Bring it on, Kos.

  •  Wow...sorry I missed this firestorm (none)
    FWIW, it's bad when anyone dies, especially like that.  But given the amount of civilian casualties the "Coalition" and the goons-for-hire have been inflicting on the Sunni triangle, it shouldn't be surprising to anyone that what happened happened.  Sad, yes.  Tragic, no.  

    I can't really understand either why anyone would express much sympathy for mercenaries, or whatever they prefer to call themselves these days.  Maybe the warbloggers watched too many "A-Team" reruns in their formative years.  They all fancy themselves to be Col. Hannibal descending into the bush to tame the naughty natives.

  •  KOS FOREVER (none)
    KOS YOU RULE.  The days of the spineless liberal are OVER.  We will never back down.


    fate is the name the irresponsible give to their misfortunes

    by kennyc on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:55:04 PM PST

  •  Dude you said something stupid... (1.33)
    don't now say Bring It On.

    Jesus, what's wrong with you.  Sometimes I gotta wonder, man.

    For the truth:

    by EricNYC on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:57:47 PM PST

  •  name calling... (none)
    is what the right does best - worse, the bastard mouth breathers always suck us into reponding in kind, and then things get really ugly. Pity. the right never seems able to engage in actual debate - He apologized, accept that - and maybe move to a debate about mercs and their role on things - I'm a lefty, and I can think of a few good reasons to use mercs - it's really, really dirty work you should know - not glamorous at all - they know the risks, they wouldn't want your sympathy -
    back to discussing mercs and their usefulness, this now cancelled fair in Baghdad would be one good reason to use mercs -

    providing security for those first seeds of real capitalism -

    Unfortunately the Iraqis hate us, as does the rest of the now even more inflamed Islamic world, things are degenerating in the Iraqi streets as we blog (go digging at news sites for reports from embeds), the Bushies alienated people whose help we could have used all along to make this adventure's success more likely, and that's going to make it tough for capitalism to take root -
    They lied, they bungled, they propogandized in a way that would make goebbels proud (the bigger the lie), they were arrogant -
    the worst thing is that failure in Iraq is not an option, and Bush and co. have made it near impossible - democracy at the point of a gun! neo-con adventurism - with American kids footing the bill

  •  I went... (none)
    ...and fought the good fight for us all, recounted in my diary here.

    I don't think I'm going back. I really am interested in having a substantive dialogue on this, but if you read through the thread, it becaomes pretty clear that they don't. As much as I want to go back and continue, I don't think I feel like subjecting myself to the abuse.

    I've said that I think Kos' comments were over the line. what? I can truthfully tell you that I've never made comments that were out of line in a moment of great pique or passion. I have no stones to throw. While he hasn't retracted, he has clarified his views, and it's obvious that the "Screw them" remark that has generated the most bile was not truly representative of what he felt.

    This is a bump in the road. We all learned that we are being watched here. And in politics, that's a big double-edged sword.

    And I firmly believe that in 2 weeks, this will be a memory.

    I support Brett Wagner for Congress because Elton Gallegly must go.

    by Devin on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:58:32 PM PST

  •  I went... (none)
    ...and fought the good fight for us all, recounted in my diary here.

    I don't think I'm going back. I really am interested in having a substantive dialogue on this, but if you read through the thread, it becaomes pretty clear that they don't. As much as I want to go back and continue, I don't think I feel like subjecting myself to the abuse.

    I've said that I think Kos' comments were over the line. what? I can't truthfully tell you that I've never made comments that were out of line in a moment of great pique or passion. I have no stones to throw. While he hasn't retracted, he has clarified his views, and it's obvious that the "Screw them" remark that has generated the most bile was not truly representative of what he felt.

    This is a bump in the road. We all learned that we are being watched here. And in politics, that's a big double-edged sword.

    And I firmly believe that in 2 weeks, this will be a memory.

    I support Brett Wagner for Congress because Elton Gallegly must go.

    by Devin on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 02:58:51 PM PST

  •  You cheapen the deaths of Americans (1.07)
    and they say rascist things about you.  No matter how bad what they say is, what you said is worse.  Don't get so caught up in your own liberal hubris that you forget how stupid it was for you to say, on the day these fine Americans died "screw them". OK?

    For the truth:

    by EricNYC on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 03:00:21 PM PST

    •  Worse than this? (3.66)
      #46 Greg 4/2/2004 07:15PM PST #28 Chet Rhoi...thank for the hyperlink with Mr. Zumiga/Kos's face.... Anyone want to pass it on to a Navy Seal (retired) or Airborne (retired) about his name and whereabouts... It will come time to hang traitors and his name is on the some of the retired military men who this Kos has great "love" for....
    •  Slow down (none)
      Yes "screw them" was too harsh.

      But these men were hired soldiers.  When they took the American flag off their arm and started taking orders from a corporation in exchange for a paycheck, their emotional connection to me, (as an American), changed.

      After they were killed what was done to them was barbaric.

      But Kos has a right to resist being badgered into honoring these freelance soldiers in the same way as we honor American soldiers.

  •  You go Kos . . . (none)
    They wouldn't even bother is you didn't scare the f*cking sh*t out of them.

    "Freedom is Everyday Low Prices" Graffiti 2003/Anonymous

    My newsgroup.

    by dbratl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 03:00:51 PM PST

  •  Mock outrage (4.00)
    As I said yesterday, I was uncomfortable with Markos' original comment but accepted his reasons and clarification. 99% of the country, and probably 100% of the outraged, don't have a clue what it is like to grow up as he did. I've talked to many people who have fled countries in those types of situations, from WW2 to Iran and a few African countries. One thing that you can't see in writting is the look on their face as they try to explain what it was like. The depth of the tramma is impossible for most of us to know because there is no refrence point from our own world. We think we can understand because we have seen the footage or because Spielberg, Stone or someone else made a really powerfull movie about it. But until you actually sit across from someone as they tell you their story you won't understand the true toll it takes on people. And you still won't truly understand what they went through.

    The bulk of the "outraged" people don't really care about the people who are dead. It's just another talking point for them. They're reacting with anger, not sorrow. These are the same people who showed no remorse for the van load of pregnant women who were cut in half at that check point, nor the horrific feelings those poor kids who had no choice but to fire on the van must have felt. They just tack these things up as "shit happens."

  •  4 out of 45,000 are somehow special? (none)
    About 45,000 people killed by the U.S. in this latest round in Iraq, and we're supposed to tear our hearts out over 4 guys who wanted to be there?  Get some perspective!  Yes, no one deserves to die.  Killing people isn't good, but let's move on.

    Moreover, these deaths and their aftermath isn't even surprising.  We intentially invade a country held together and held in check by one strong man.  We remove the strong man, and the place goes up for grabs.  You had to be pretty dumb to expect something other than incidents like this.

  •  The limiting factors to amazing good (4.00)
    Kos, you are also echoing Bush, though his comment was "bring 'em on" -- rather than, "bring it on."

    About year ago, I saw the seeds of greatness in you.  I've been your occassional financial supporter, and frequently your verbal defender, since the "leaner" times of Legacy dKos days. So please take the following critique and suggestions as those of a friend.

    Your dismissal of repercussions, like Bush's, is likely premature.

    I spent an hour wading through the muck on some right wing blogs last night.  I can tell you this:

    As the wingnuts fulfill your request to "bring it on" -- they aren't just going to send more angry emails to dKos and work to get more ads pulled.  Hardly.  They will use your comments on a hundred local battlefields both within and beyond the blogosphere.  Battlefields where our side may have a weak or nonexistent presence. They will use your comments to raise money, to fire up their base to work harder against progressives, to inflame anger that derails reasoned thinking, and to impute guilt-by-association onto good politicians who hearken to you.

    It's too early to tell what further damage your comments will empower, nor how negative they will be.  

    Also, you only acknowledge the repercussions to yourself, and to dKos.  You don't mention that this has caused angst, embarassment, and the potential for vote or donation losses to the worthy campaigns that advertised here.  I salute you for writing yesterday that you  won't begrudge any campaign for pulling ads, given their own local politics.  But to my knowledge, you you haven't said anything about the potential harm your published words might inflict upon them.

    The most important thing you've said about those comments is your recognition in this thread that they were pretty stupid.  That's your nobility showing through.  As more and more good people hear of you and consider you a leader and wise counselor, please let that nobility give pause to your pen, when you feel anger -- or flipness -- surging forth.  I understand your sensitive feelings that prompted your insensitive comments.  I get them too, and sometimes act rashly upon them.  But anger and judgment, however legitimate, are only part of any reality.

    More compassionate emotions, "higher law," potentially mitigating facts, and total unknowns intermix every situation -- including the killing and desecration of the Fallujah Four.  We are prone to neglect these when we get riled.  For natural leaders on the rise, such neglect carries broader consequences, and becomes a limiting factor to their effectiveness.  (Well, truly nasty types like Bush, Rove, and Limbaugh can brazen/intimidate their way past the social limits of mere angry judgmentalism -- but that's not a path your soul would cherish.)

    Plus, as I wrote in another thread, a riled reaction often misdirects our attack away from the true targets, which in this case are the policies and politicos that put the four hired guns in Fallujah.  Such a mistargetting is a perfect weapon in the hands of our our opponents to misdirect the debate away from the reasoned analysis that so indicts Bushco.

    Bottom line, it's premature to feel cool about your comments' effects.

    A year ago, I saw in you the seeds of a great leader, with truly empowering attitudes.  I also noted a couple flaws along the way.  We've all got flaws.  Among citizens of talent, energy, and heart for the people, it's ultimately our flaws that limit our impact for good.

    Your impact for good, fast as it has grown, is but a tiny fraction of what it will grow to, absent two limiting tendencies:

    • occasional but disturbingly insensitive words (i.e., disturbing to potential allies and swing voters)
    • occluded vision about how such words may be leveraged and ramified by our opponents against our cause and comrades
    (OK, maybe there are other limiting factors, but I can't see them.)

    You're in the big leagues now, Kos my compadre.  Anger is a legitimate, powerful tool -- easily mishandled disastrously.  You'll have to decide whether to transform your testiness, or limit your impact.  I'll respect either decision, but hope for your growth, and and continued skyrocketing capacity for good.

    Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

    by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 03:42:55 PM PST

    •  Well said (none)
      Well said indeed.

      There are times to be stubborn and fight and there are times to admit you were wrong and rash, and do so openly.  This is an instance of the latter.  It's called damage control and it's central to smart politics.  You just can't give these kind of weapons to the other side by saying things that make you look like a jerk.  And you definately can't refuse to defuse the weapons by stubbornly declaring victory.

      The best course here would have been to admit error, but promote a discussion, LATER, about the "mercenary" issue.  Then, use this as a learning tool on the tactics of the right-wing smearers and then employ those tactics next time one of them says something stupid.

      There's a fine line between being a tough, pricipled leader and being a rash, counterproductive one.  This is political war.  Headlong rhetorical charges towards the enemy, while emotional and exciting, only get us slaughtered.     We need to be employing the other sides tools -- like the special forces types of campaigns they've currently rolled out against Kos.

      Bush Business Plan: 1) Steal the Presidency, 2) ???, 3) PROFIT!

      by emjaycue on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 04:47:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  These lessons will be --- Historical (3.66)
        Indeed.  There's tons to learn from this skirmish.  We need to watch how this plays out, even if it means monitoring the rightwing blogs and media for awhile longer.

        There's some completely novel learning to be done.  This is, I believe, the first time in history that a high-profile grass-roots leader, responding not as a leader, but as a community peer deep within a weblog -- got his comment ripped out, re-memed, and virally weaponized by the opponents.

        BTW, I think your recommendations are spot-on.

        Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

        by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 06:04:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Good points (4.00)
      as always, but I don't agree.

      The impact of kos' comments, I think, will fall off with the square of the distance from the events - both as people forget about Fallujah and forget about kos' comment.

      To an extent I think we miss the point too when we make this about kos. This is really more about a comment on a left-leaning blog being used to tar the entire left-blogosphere and by association Democratic candidates. If tacitus, instapundit, charles johnson, et al had chosen to, they could have picked a random comment from you, me, or anyone else to focus their villification on.

      kos simply provided a convenient higher profile target, but I sometimes cringe when I see some of the diaries and comments posted here and it would be simple enough for troll to drop by and establish the necessary offending diary (which can easily be distorted to be a "story" posted by kos).

      I suppose I could suggest that we all "watch ourselves", but if we do that we end up being the pre-Dean Democratic party. If anything, we need more passion and more agressiveness. Randi Rhodes getting Nader to hang up the other day is another example of the kind of thing we need more of. Not that I want us to turn into Little Green Footballs or smarmy posters like tacitus or instapundit, but I don't want us to watch every word and be constantly worrying about "what other people will think".

      Stuff worse than kos' post shows up on Little Green Footballs or Rush or Hannity or O'Reilly or any number of rabid right blogs, media programs or op-eds. Hypocritically, we're going to be attacked again by these people in the future in just this way and in other ways (Luskin's attempt to sue Atrios, for example). We need to stick together and develop defenses.

      There are two general approaches to computer security: security through obscurity and intrinsic security. With security through obscurity, you try to hide all the ways that attacker can compromise you; with intrinsic security you design a system that's impervious to attack no matter how much an attacker know's about (you can even hand him the source code and he still can't compromise you).

      Self-censorship strikes me the same as security through obscurity, and just as with computer security, I'm an adovocate of openness in political discourse. Microsoft uses security through obscurity and open source software like Linux tries to be intrinsically secure. You can judge from that and the number of worms and viruses which successfully attack Microsoft software which approach is likely to provide real security. I think being intrinsically secure simply means we stand up for ourselves and fight back when attacked.

      So yeah, you're right, it would be better if this kind of stuff didn't happen, but the only surefire preventative is something analogous to passing the Patriot Act in response to terrorism: you begin to wonder whether what's left is really worth defending.

      •  People (4.00)
        keep confusing passion and recklessness.

        Nobody said passion was bad.  You just can't be reckless.

        You need to be passionate and SMART to be effective.  

        And it's a fine line to tread.  Passion, for better or for worse, tends to clouds one's strategic judgment.  One needs to balance passion and clear thinking, otherwise the passion starts working against you.  (See, e.g., Dean's misteps in late 2003).

        Passion and recklessness (or as Kos put is, stupidity) is just shooting yourself in the foot.

        Bush Business Plan: 1) Steal the Presidency, 2) ???, 3) PROFIT!

        by emjaycue on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 06:49:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  All things being equal (none)
          I'd agree, and the distinction between passion and recklessness is a good one. I'm really advocating a position that's not risk averse, but not one that's foolish and reckless.

          Both you and Civil Sibyl did a great job on the "caution" side of the line and there's a lot to be said for that position, depending on what your ultimate goal is.

          I think as group or a party (not being one to overgeneralize or anything) we tend to err on the side of caution rather than erring on the side of passion. Either way, being human we're going to make errors, and it's just been my observation that errors on the side of passion or optimism or risk carry greater rewards.

          Errors on the side of caution tend to be more socially acceptable, but they carry a greater opportunity cost and squelch innovation.

      •  pragmatic balance (3.50)
        Ever thoughtful badger, and I especially appreciate the insights about intrinsic security.  (Do you subscribe to Schneier's Counterpane emails?  They're fantastic.  See

        I hope your "inverse square of the distance" prediction proves out.  Maybe that will depend on what other fodder the wingnut blogs find elsewhere.  It bears watching.  Hard to know what will happen with viral memes that happen to also be great ammo for obfuscators of the rabid right.

        I too cringe at some community comments on dKos -- sometimes even my own! -- but I think Kos's have 100 times the potential ammo-value as those of the hoi poloi like you and me.  The guest bloggers' comments would be somewhere in between.  So I think it's fallacious to infer that because we can't control all posters, there's little value in Kos exercising a bit more circumspection.

        I certainly don't want censorship here, beyond our existing community moderation process.  The only self-censorship I'd champion for all of us is to take a deep breath and reread our own comments when we're feeling hot and huffy, to see if they represent what our "total self" wants to say, not just what our "pissed-off self" of that particular passing moment wants to spit out.  Plus, for posters who consciously try to be of good will (most of us, most of the time), we should attempt to examine possible insensitivities in our thoughts or words.  I do this for example, whenever I write about race, because even though my family is multi-racial, I can be tone-deaf to the sensitivities of some minority groups I don't understand well enough.  (BTW, I don't mean should we refrain from ridiculing neocons or Bush.)

        I recommend Kos be even more careful than the average Kossian -- but only that he take a bit more time than most to review his words, and see if they represent his best, multi-faceted self.  Kos realizes his "screw 'em" words do not represent all the wisdom he's capable of mustering.  He doesn't have to routinely censor all of himself.  Rather, when the riled reactive (or excessively flip) self jumps to the center stage of his thoughts, he needs to have it boogie with the other parts of him.  I trust his full self as much as that of the best humans.

        Also, in very rare occasions, Kos might be wise to even self-censore what his full self feels like saying, because he's in the spotlight of a fractious world, with lots of toxic people eager to misuse his words. But that's a burden that only he can can decide about.

        Do these suggestions strike you as feasible and worthwhile?

        Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

        by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 07:00:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Balance is it (none)
          I haven't been following Bruce Schneier much lately. I think he gets it right, but even there, you don't hand out your passwords or advertise your firewall settings unless you're a fool.

          I think your advice to kos is good too. I certainly wouldn't want to run for office or be in the public eye knowing someone could go over to google and look up my past Usenet posts (many under my real name) - that's beyond cringing.

          I was really trying more to balance your post than to disagree with it. I didn't like kos' post much from a "political viability" perspective. It seems though that someone with the creativity to start a community like this is likely to be more of a risk-taker or more impulsive and the occasional flare-up seems almost inevitable. If that's the case, then we need to know how to clean up the messes as well as trying to avoid them without being too stifling.

          I'd like us to not make it easy for others to attack us, however hypocritical the attacks, but I'd like us to continue to speak out forcefully too. Since discovering blogs 6 months ago or thereabouts, the openness and expressiveness has done great things for my mental health even when it doesn't reinforce the things I believe in. I suspect most people start as I did by reading the front page and not getting heavily into the comments or posting, so even our "leaders" can't back off too much.

          But you're right too that it's a lot easier and more effective if they can attack the "names" like kos or atrios than people like us (unless you're anonymously famous behind your nickname - I'm certainly not). It isn't good to make it that easy.

          emjaycue nailed it farther up-thread with the distinction between passion and recklessness. If kos takes your advice (which I suppose depends on where he wants to take this and how), that would be the distinction I'd recommend he consider.

          •  risk v. reward (none)
            You're so damn cogent, badger.

            Yeah, I can see your point about tradeoffs of being too risk averse.  In my non-virtual life I'm an entrepreneur, rock climber, and mountain biker.  I embrace risk, though not as recklessly as in younger days.  I know "corporate/office" politics, but don't know "regular politics" well enough to assess risk accurately.  Maybe it makes me too circumspect in this arena here.

            In rock climbing, once you're knowledgeable you can assess the danger and climb at whatever level of risk you want, by varying style and type of routes.  In mountain biking or mountaineering, you can't control the risks so tightly.  It seems politics is more like these two.

            Maybe like good business people, Kos and other "stars" should try to consciously assess the political rewards vs. risks their words run.  I bet a few people intuitively know how to do this (Meteor Blades, for example?).  Maybe it's an instinct that can be developed.

            It's great conversing with you.

            Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

            by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 10:35:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Politics (none)
              My background is more corporate or faculty politics too, although even that's a while back. I risk my own money now and I'm probably less risk averse than I was before. I think some of that comes from more experience and a lot of it comes from having good support.

              The nice thing about rock climbing or mountain biking or business (mostly) is that you don't have people gunning for you constantly like you do in politics.

              It's great talking to you too. It was nice to find a subject where we only agree about 90% so it was worthwhile saying something rather than just giving you another 4.

    •  Oh, gimme a break (none)
      Kos' remark, while intemperate, is not enough to bring down the Democratic Party.

      Don't be such a drama queen.

      •  that's the spirit! (4.00)
        You read perhaps, too much into my comments?  I don't cry the demise of the Dem party.  Only of Bush.

        Does the lady protest too much?

        But your spirit, while prone to fulminations here and there, is a hot good one, imo.  Glad for your voice, and outrage, even against me.  I'll reflect some on your critique.

        Also, can a man be a queen w/o being gay?  
        In a drama, yes I'd say.

        Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

        by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 07:07:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  But flawed characters make for high drama (4.00)
      And high drama can elevate the issues most Joe's & Jane's would rather not confront. (I'm thinking of another fool's war in another time and place.)

      Your cautions are well taken, Civil Sibyl ... but I'm more intrigued by the larger-context potential of accelerated revulsion than I am concerned regarding the potential for dubious guilt by tenuous association.

      Ugly exchange comes with the ugly territory, and the territory gets uglier 3 months from now, and again soon thereafter, and again around this time next year (no matter who is elected here or there).

      As several have noted, there's a lot to learn here ... and a lot to improvise on the road.

      Hang onto your handbaskets!

    •  On the lighter side ... (none)
      ... I love the way one of the whinging wingers calls us an "organization".
      •  organized KaOS? (none)
        Now that's a rich one.

        We are evolving into a "social organism" though -- but please don't ask me to define what the hell I mean by that.

        Hear it? The Oracle cries the demise of He-Who-Lies. And the rise... of civil America.

        by Civil Sibyl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 10:39:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  stay on message, Kos (none)
    yeah, don't take their BS.  People don't know your story, Kos, who you are, what you've been through.  

    You have to hammer your message through. You ARE your biography in your new celebrity.  People like Glenn Reynolds have probably never seen 1/8th of what you've seen, and never let them forget it.  Use all weapons at your disposal.

  •  Hang In There (none)
    Hang in there Kos.  While I might quibble with the harshness of your first post, your intentions were clear and the message provocative.  The rest is nothing more then a tempest in a teapot - a naked attention grab to blow out of proporotion one line to increase your competitor's web traffic in my opinion.
  •  self-congratulatory bullshit (4.00)
    Let's hope our new leader John Kerry gets them to "bring it on" about something worth fighting for.

    Meanwhile, I am thoroughly unimpressed with the great rally around defending Kos' "screw them" about four charred, desecrated human beings.  What an asinine place to stake our ground.  

    Sure, Kos has free speech--but we spend our time writing little notes to each other because we think speech matters.

    Don't try to glorify this into a general battle about whether we can criticize the mercenaries.  People are doing that all over the left blogosphere.  Kos is being criticized for a more narrow issue--crossing the line with his "screw them" comment about the four.  Funny he didn't repeat that important piece of background in his call to arms, here--the exact little comment that's inspiring folks to rally 'round.

    Sure, the wingnuts have rotten motives--but their attacks have some force in this area b/c people widely accept the premise that there should be a certain baseline respect for the humanity of every person.

    And most importantly of all, let's remember--that premise helps OUR side.  Working with that ground rule--of respecting every person's humanity--will help our side, in the end, as we try to highlight ALL the casualties of this war--especially innocent civilians.  It's why many of us are against the death penalty.  It's why we try not to react emotionally to every confrontation, and take a moment to understand the whole story.

    •  Exactly (3.50)
      People here are making the mistake of converting this into an intellectual policy discussion, when that's the last thing the other side cares about.

      They're taking political cheap shots based on an ill-considered argument made in anger that forgot the targets of the comments were human beings.  

      They could give two shits about the whole "mercenary" issue, and the smokescreen people are trying to put up, if anything, is making things worth.

      We're just sitting and babbling about policy issues, while they kick our ass in the rhetoric and spin categories, which are where modern politics is fought.

      But liberals still haven't figured that out yet.  We think that long issue discussions alone can beat hardball, and yes cheap, political tactics.  They can't, and frankly, politics trumps good policy most of the time.

      Our Job #1 should have been defusing and apologizing for the insensitive comments.  That's purely a rhetorical/spin problem, which is the real issue here.  Job #2 should have been discussing the issue of private war contractors.  That's an issue problem, but that issue problem can't and shouldn't be addressed until the rhetorical/spin problem is fixed.  Otherwise, we allow ourselves to be spun and then that spin taints the reasoned issue discussion that follows.  The result?  The issue discussion just throws fuel on the fire and you end up convicing nobody except the choir.  I'm not saying this isn't an issue that needs to be discussed.  I'm just saying you have to fix the spin/rhetorical problem first.  Repeat after me:  Good politics THEN good policy.  

      Bad politics just makes good policy look bad.

      We need to be smarter about how politics works people, and we've been getting it exactly bass ackwards.

      Bush Business Plan: 1) Steal the Presidency, 2) ???, 3) PROFIT!

      by emjaycue on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 04:58:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good politics leaves voters home (none)
        So many people in this country are sick of spin from politicians. They want someone with the courage to stand behind their words and actually take a stand for something! That was the appeal of Howard Dean for many of us - I digress -  anyway, I respectfully disagree but I tend to be more passionate instead of practical in my politics - but the one true fact is that the people who vote year after year, I'd say about 95% have already made up their mind for whom they are voting. This election will only be successful for John Kerry if he can arouse the passion of the people that normally spend their election nights watching sitcoms. 50% of our country doesn't vote. Get them energized! Fear is a great motivator but in the end hope is what will get them off the couch.

        Give 'em hope Kerry!

        •  Well (none)
          Arousing passion and discussing issues are completely different things.

          I'm not saying people shouldn't be passionate.

          They should be passionate and smart.  Not passionate and reckless.  Passion alone doesn't win you votes.

          That is what spin is -- packaging your side so that it takes positive advantage of people's passions or packagine the other side so you can exploit passion to hurt them.  And frankly, very few people are TRULY passionate about politics or what they really think, so it doesn't take a whole lot to push the undecided one way or the other.

          If voters weren't ruled by passionate then reasonable policy discussions would dominate the political game.  They don't.

          I'm sorry.  But you're not going to be the guy winning the passion game if you shun politics and instead insist on wonkish discussions.  That's not going to cut it in the passion department or in the political one.

          Bush Business Plan: 1) Steal the Presidency, 2) ???, 3) PROFIT!

          by emjaycue on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 06:45:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Respectfully disagree with (4.00)
        the following assessment of "the other side":

        They could give two shits about the whole "mercenary" issue, and the smokescreen people are trying to put up, if anything, is making things worth.

        They give many many shits about the whole "mercenary" issue, part of their politics are precisely that "we", i.e. the US, should be free to do whatever we want not bound by any principles of international law or humanity higher than "Americans are the greatest" and any American who dies in the service of that kind of an enterprise is a "hero".

        While I agree with you that's not a "policy" issue to them, its a passion issue, but its misplaced passion, dangerous passion.  Its also important passion to them, a key and central point.  They aren't angry because those folks are "human beings" and Markos's comment was disrespectful to them as human beings, they are angry at him because those folks were "Americans" and Markos' comments (in their eyes) disrespected them as "Americans".  Disrepecting human beings is perfectly fine with those guys, depending upon who the human beings are.

        Let's not forget that the fact that those guys were mercenaries IS part of what the right celebrates. Its as important to them as it was to MarKos, but for entirely different reasons.

        "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

        by a gilas girl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 07:06:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wingnuts value life--American life, that is (4.00)
    And merc life most of all.

    They've become very sensitive lately!  I don't like to see anyone murdered, but where were the wingers when thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians were slaughtered in Bush's war?

    •  Not all American life, unfortunately (none)
      only very specific slivers of it.

      In that sense they don't have values for lives, but for particular identities.

      "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." -- Martin Vanbee

      by a gilas girl on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 04:20:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just be sure they spell it right, Marco :) (none)
    "Any publicity is good publicity"
  •  Don't back down, Kos! (3.33)
    Earlier, upthread, I tried to be detached about this whole thing. I even tried to add a little factual information.

    After finally getting to the bottom of this thread, and checking out what LGF and Reynolds was saying and some others, too, I can only say: Fuck these people!

    Kos, stick to your god-damned original opinion. Don't apologize. Don't back down. Not one iota. (Although, as someone else mentioned, it's probably a good idea to contact authorities about threats you have received.)

    These "patriots" are making me sick.

    These "security guards" in Iraq were mercenaries -- MERCENARIES. They're not soldiers in our army. If somebody out there -- right or left -- thinks these people legitimately represent American interests, then you're just plain wrong, and I don't think you have a fucking clue about what's right or wrong or even legal.

    As a fellow human being, do I feel bad for what these four men went through, being torn apart by a mob? Yes. It was horrific. I grieve for them and their last pains, and the pain of their families and friends.

    As mercenaries, do I give a flying fuck about their removal from Iraq? Shit no!

    These people were professionals. They knew the risks. They paid the price for their chosen profession. They were paid for their services, too, and paid dang well, with my damned money to boot. Nobody asked me if that's how I wanted my tax money spent.

    If they were our boys, our soldiers, I'd feel a lot worse. But they weren't. They were hired guns. Fuck 'em.

    Last night, I saw some of the friends and relatives of one of the dead men on Faux News, talking about how one of the dead guys wanted to "help" in Iraq, about how he wanted to do good for the Iraqis. What a sick and twisted joke. You want to help in Iraq? Give some time and money to any number of non-governmental organizations doing good, rebuilding and humanitarian work in Iraq, like the International Rescue Committee or the Red Cross or Catholic Relief Services. I'm sure these organizations could actually use experienced guards in Iraq, but of course that wouldn't pay any riches. Or, re-up -- re-enlist in the services as an actual member of the U.S. forces. That's legitimate, but again, you won't get rich doing that. Strapping on a weapon and hiring yourself out as a prostitute for a deranged Uncle Sam ain't helping. You want to cry about the death of your loved one? Fine. I feel your pain. But, don't, DON'T come crying to me about what a great thing it was that your family member had a war fetish and wanted to get rich feeding it. You twisted fucks!

    The other thing that is just ticking me off here is our definition of patriotism has now been so expanded that we are now to grieve and salute at the fine work our mercenaries are doing?!?? Is that right? WTF?!? I must have missed that memo. And heaven forbid we point out that these stupid hard asses are not actually wearing an American uniform.


    Also, why all the nit-picking? What is this fixation with whether or not these were actual "soldiers of fortune-types" or worked for some corporate front? What is the difference? There is NO DIFFERENCE!

    Kos, I support your original opinion, and then some. To everyone else, quit the friggin' hand wringing.

    •  Don't back down is right! (none)
      Although I disagree with Brian Bell on why Kos, and those who share his views, should refuse to be browbeaten into silence or self-flagulation by an embittered and extraordinarily disingenuous right-wing.

      Look, I disagree that American mercs deserve the "Fuck 'em" attitude. I know people who've been contacted by these companies for recruitment. They're real top-of-the-line types, every one of them. So either I know every outstanding retired soldier they're trying to recruit or the companies that have contacted these guys have got a standard for excellence that some of you would prefer not to acknowledge. It doesn't matter. We can agree to disagree on that point because under the circumstances it's among the less pressing issues that need to be addressed.

      Kos should stand his ground and I, for one, will be standing with him because:

      A) We live in America where all of us have the right to voice our honest opinions - period. The first amendment makes no stipulation about there being a majority approval that, thus, warrants first amendment protection. In fact, the first amendment was specifically designed to protect Americans who give voice to unpopular sentiments as a way to prevent the majority from quelling dissent in a democracy that needs honest and passionate discourse more than it needs comfortable majority agreement.

      B) The issue of using for-profit "security guards" (contractors, mercs, hired guns, etc.) is a legitimate policy discussion that quite obviously needs to take place, right now, for a myriad of reasons.

      C) The right-wing is using threats of violence more and more often to mute liberals and Democrats in this country. That simply should not be tolerated, no matter how frustrating the discourse between us becomes. If people want to disagree with Kos, it is their prerogative to do so publically, but the minute they threaten to kick his ass they start playing with fire that the first amendment no longer protects. I think it's very, very important for right-wingers to know that no liberal walks alone in this country - that for all of our passionate disagreements when it comes to debate, we will absolutely mobilize to protect each other in the face of physical threats.

      D) There but for the grace... We're all part of the same continuum, the same fight for the foundations of this democracy. If our dishonest and ignoble American brethren get to one of us - they've gotten to us all. The rest becomes a mere formality.

      E) I'm Irish. I'd swear it's in my blood to love a good fight and be good at it too. But I never fight without just cause - never, ever without good reason. Protecting the honest expression of an important liberal voice among us is, undoubtedly, a good reason.

  •  hmm... (none)
    I appreciate Kos admitting he said something stupid ... I understood his sentiment but thought he crossed the line ... but it's his blog, free speech and all that ... and that is life. ...

    So, point being, I am critical of Kos sometimes, praise other times ... and I keep on coming, because on the whole, this is a great place. He made a great point - and made an error (if free speech can be considered an error) - and life moves on.

    I do agree with the people who say that, when you gain more respect and higher profile, it comes with it some more responsibility, because what you say does have the ability to hurt others that you didn't intend to hurt.  Whether that SHOULD be the case is irrelevant, it's just the fact of the matter.

    Nevertheless, after all is said and done, the optimist in me says his may work out for the best. It has opened a dialogue about the use of merecenaries in Iraq.  Are we, arent' we? Etc...  And I love the stuff up at the top of this thread using the Revolutionary War as a reference.  Someone should save that stuff.

  •  Just another note of support (none)
    for the honesty of Kos' initial expression of feeling and his subsequent second thoughts. We all need to watch what we say publicly at a time when anything that can be twisted and used against us will be.
    •  Why Should We Watch What We Say? (3.40)
      For at least the past twelve years of my life, and probably a little longer than that, the left is always trying to watch what it says.  Oh, don't be too angry.  Don't be too insensitive.  Don't say something politically embarrassing.

      Meanwhile, commentators on the right accuse the Clinton's of murdering Vince Foster, call Chelsea Clinton ugly when she's 13, putting up pictures of apes next to pictures of welfare mothers and saying it's the same thing--and these are the people who have been kicking our asses in politics.  Why?  Because in addition to having no shame, they have no fear.

      I didn't like what kos said.  I was glad he explained himself.  I was glad he had some shame.  But nothing kos said even approached the slimebag, gutterskum approaches I've listed above.  It was a matter of policy and personal feeling and he's taking some heat for it. And he has no fear.

      Fine.  Good.  We have to learn to take the heat and fire back.  

      In being honest, we're taking risks.  We're going to make some mistakes.  But for the love of all that is holy, kos is not running for President.  He's a pundit.  He and the rest of us, more than anyone, need to stop watching what we say, and start saying what needs to be said.

  •  please see my thoughts (none)
  •  you rock (none)

    I admire you.

    And I wonder why you, or others with Left of center politics, should be expected to apologize for online comments when Right Wingers say all sorts or bigoted irrational stuff and never apologize.

    I posted an email to my US Naval Academy class listserve saying that I was going to take the taxation discussion that started on the listserve and continue it on my show. Somebody who disagreed with my politics called me a "dick" for using the listserve to promote my show and requesting people respond to me personally and not the listserve to keep traffic down. (I did not take a position on taxation in the email; I merely said it would be the topic of the show.)

    The same Right Winger countered my statements about fairness in the tax code by saying fairness didn't matter. I of course was left wondering how one discusses trade-offs of different tax schemes if one rejects the idea of "fairness" at the beginning of the discussion

  •  Jesus General (none)
    Don't miss General J.C. Christian's fervent rallying of the chickenblogger troops against Kos. He does so with admirable honesty.

    Better ways to attack KOS.

  •  who pulled their ads? (none)
    Bush nominated and the GOP confirmed John Bolton for the #3 position at the State Dept and he said some pretty whacked out things that trump what Kos said about mercenaries.

    If Dems can't live with blog banter are they tough enought to cast hard votes in Congress?

  •  After reading the thread (none)
    I think Kos may have been too harsh, but...

    Markos your Patriotism doesn't extend to Mercenaries.  But your Empathy goes out to all people.  Let them attack you on your empathy, but if they attack you on your patriotism fight viciously, don't surrender it to them.

  •  To me the $64 question is... (none)
    Why does Paul Bremmer need to be protected by mercenaries private contractors?

    I understand that civilian businessmen might need to hire security guards, but why can't the military protect Bremmer? Is the military incapable of protecting it's leaders? Are they too busy doing other things? Are the mercenaries private contractors better at providing protection? Is it more cost effective to use $1000/day hired guns than soldiers? Is this a shortcoming of our military training? Has it been recognized that we need to train soldiers in the art of protecting our leaders?

  •  Dumb dumb dumb (1.66)
    You made a stupid original statement and I think everyone can agree on that, even yourself apparently.  Problem is, you compounded the problem by removing your original post and inserting it with that non-apology/rationalization.  Now you're digging yourself deeper with this post by your sheer unrepentance and pigheadedness.  Pretty sad.  You're revealing a side of your character that is not pretty.  You could've sidestepped this whole thing with a prompt, simple and heartfelt apology.
    •  Get over it. (none)
      They were hired guns, not saints. Save your false piety for church.
      •  Nice deflection (1.33)
        I said not one word about the contractors, who happened to also be your fellow Americans.  I take it you agreed with Kos' original "screw them" statement?
        •  Spin, spin, spin (3.00)
          It's obvious what Kos meant. We had five soldiers and four mercs killed that day. The soldiers' deaths were virtually ignored while the hired guns were praised for their "volunteerism." It's sickening.

          Certainly, the mutilation of the bodies was a horrible act, but they weren't heroes. They were people who kill for money. I'm ashamed that so many of my fellow countrymen honor them. It disgusts me.

          Kos is a patriot. He's served his country as a soldier and he's serving it now. It's a shame that you would spin his heartfelt words about the disparate way the media treated the deaths of mercs and soldiers into sedition.

          Get over it. Don't you have a blow job or something for you to wring your hands over?

          •  Obvious? (1.33)
            If it were so obvious, why the multiple follow-up posts trying to explain himself?  Let's replay his words.
            Let the people see what war is like. This isn't an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush's folly.

            That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

            His words stand on their own and they're odious.  But hey, if you agree with what he wrote, by all means defend him, but your personal insult tells me you don't have much of an argument or a defense.  Meantime, both you and Kos just end up marginalizing yourselves.
            •  not odious bird dog (none)
              if my fellow americans choose to take a job outside of the military fighting in a war zone, and they get killed, i have no sympathy for them.

              they volunteered for it.  they were making $1000 a day doing it.  they made a career out of war, not a nice thing for humans to do.

              if you say all americans are worthy just because they are americans, i say you are crying crocadile tears out of both sides of your face.

              •  War zone (1.00)
                One, this is not a war zone.  This is post-war rebuilding.  Two, were these contractors actually in combat?  No.  I take it you agreed with Kos' original 'screw them' statement, and I find your words just as odious, skippy.
            •  Bird Dog! (none)
              Blast from the past, oh yeah... It's not like you've ever written anything totally over the top in a blog, right? And if you did, you never once tried to explain why you'd written it. Like, oh, this recent excerpt on Tacitus:

              In an attempt to show he was serious about fighting terrorism while at the time withdrawing troops from the front lines in the War on Terror (that would be Iraq), Zapatero uttered these immortal words:

              "My immediate priority will be to fight all forms of terrorism," he said in a victory speech on Sunday night.

              So are these words truly reassuring to those fighting against Islamo and ETA terrorists? Not to me. The phrase "all forms of terror" is codespeak for pacifists, anti-war types and those who would like to see Israel relocated approximately fifty miles west.

              That's a fairly odious accusation, right there, because fifty miles to the west of Israel is in the Mediterranean. You're implying that the phrase "all forms of terrorism" is codespeak used by people who advocate genocide, so anyone who uses it is tarred with guilt by association. That's a really nasty argument. Odious, in fact. It's also not supportable... because lots of important people you agree with, like Bush and Blair, have also used the exact same phrase. Oops.

              Of course, you backed down immediately, right? Apologized to all the people you'd insulted, especially the new Spanish PM?

              Not quite. See, if Bush and Blair say it, that's one thing, but if a socialist says it... (Riiiight.) Well, but that's what you thought, and you were entitled to explain what you really meant: that you, personally, don't trust someone who wants to withdraw from Iraq to be all enthusiastic about fighting terrorism. That's your opinion, and you aren't disqualified from expressing it more clearly just because you used intemperate, inflammatory language the first time.

              So -- you just might want to cut Kos a little bit of slack, and remember that this is a blog. People say stuff. Sometimes that stuff is not thought out as well as it might be. Sometimes it doesn't express what they really meant to say, and they come back and try again. That's how blogs work.

              Er, we'd really like you guys to go back to being a GOOD influence on us.

              by Canadian Reader on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 10:02:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Are you serious? (1.00)
                If you think my statements are in any fashion morally equivalent to Kos', then you must reside in some alternate universe.  

                But hey, don't believe me.  I'm just an anonymous guest-blogger.  But you really should listen to the standard bearer of your party.

                In light of the unacceptable statement about the death of Americans made by Daily Kos, we have removed the link to this blog from our website. As John Kerry said in a statement earlier this week, "My deepest sympathies are with the families of those lost today. Americans know that all who serve in Iraq - soldier and civilian alike - do so in an effort to build a better future for Iraqis. These horrific attacks remind us of the viciousness of the enemies of Iraq's future. United in sadness, we are also united in our resolve that these enemies will not prevail."

                That has got to hurt.

                •  Not *my* party, BD! (none)
                  Look at my user name again, Bird Dog. I don't get to vote in your elections -- I'm part of that cheering section called the "rest of the world"... hoping against hope, like most everyone else, that you guys come to your senses.

                  So gee, Kerry isn't going to just stand there in the middle of a shitstorm? Big surprise.

                  But yeah, sure I'm serious. I do think your statements were exactly "morally equivalent" to Kos's. By implication, you accused the new Spanish leader of being like those who want to dump Israel into the sea. That was a totally indefensible remark. You were entitled to say it, though. It reflected something you honestly felt -- and guess what? Saying it didn't instantly turn you into some kind of leper who should never again be allowed to associate with civilized people. It was a blog. On blogs people say stuff, sometimes stuff they wouldn't say if they, for instance, thought about it for a day beforehand. Same situation exactly.

                  See, since I'm Canadian, I've got different premises than you're expecting. For one thing, I haven't been conditioned to cringe when people wave that "moral equivalence" club. It's a stupid accusation. As used on the net, it generally translates to nothing more than, "Shut up, shut up! I don't even want to think about the parallels in the comparison you just made, because (yikes!) that might force me to alter my preset opinion."

                  And -- since I'm Canadian -- I'm also not too impressed by arguments that begin, "They were Americans..." Well, yeah, so? Like that automatically makes them saints? Sorry, we've been your neighbors for too long, and we don't have the red white and blue blinkers that you do. A lot of Americans are very good people, yes. And some of them... aren't.

                  Look, I don't know anything about these particular mercenaries. Neither does Kos -- he's admitted as much. He had valid emotional reasons based on his own experiences for what he said. If you'd lived through what he had, chances are you'd have felt pretty much the same way. But after reflection he realized that he hadn't expressed what he felt very well.

                  And, my opinion? Those mercenaries died the same way hundreds of American soldiers have died for the last year: in a carefully set ambush. What makes them different? Well, a mob moved in after they were dead and did gruesome things to the bodies.

                  Mob psychology is not civilized. It's ugly anywhere it happens. Humans in groups will combine to do things that no individual in the group would ever dream of doing on his - or her - own. And Americans aren't magically immune. Nor are Canadians. It comes with being human. I've noticed, um, more than a few Americans who appear to be in denial about this.

                  Er, we'd really like you guys to go back to being a GOOD influence on us.

                  by Canadian Reader on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 12:08:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Your party, in spirit (1.00)
                    By implication, you accused the new Spanish leader of being like those who want to dump Israel into the sea.

                    That was an egregious misreading of my post.  Alternate universe AND alternate reading comprehension do not mix well.  If you're so completely unable to make moral distinctions between my comments and Kos', I can't help you.

                    Go ahead and defend Kos for his statements and non-apologies and muleheadedness.  For a political operative, it's strange that he's showing a political ear of unalloyed tin.  No skin off my nose.

                    By the way, calling them 'mercenaries' is misleading.  From ABC News:

                    The four contractors left the Iraqi city of Taji on Tuesday to escort a convoy of several flatbed trucks full of goods. The plan was to spend the night at a U.S. base called TQ, west of Fallujah. Instead, the convoy ended up at a base east of Fallujah.

                    The sad thing is that all Kos had to was offer a simple apology and this would've been over days ago, without delinking by John Kerry and without lost ad revenues.

    •  uh, he didn't remove the post bird dog... (none)

      if you had read the apology post, you would have seen that his original remarks were made on a diary.

      i don't know what diary, but i did read it.

      if that diary has been removed by kos (and i would be really surprised...i bet kos doesn't even know what diary it was on) then i will apologize.

      but it was not a post and it was not removed.

      please read before you retort.

      know what you are arguing against.

      and he doesn't need to apologize for feeling anger about the us troops being killed and not paid attention to, while mercenaries get the lead story on entertainment tonight.

  •  Keep it up Kos! (none)
    Stand strong, my man.  There's simply no way the media is going to call a halt to the Bush-storylines to air the right-wing smear against you.  And that's the only way they can really hurt you.  And as for sponsors, those democrats who pulled ads must have known they were forgoing the incredible fund-raising powers of the internet by doing so: who will contribute to their campaigns from the blogosphere now?  This proves that the right-wing has really lost a lot of influence.
  •  To add my thoughts (none)
    I don't think I've done this yet.. but.

    It's not to relevant what these people were. It's unfortunate that their lives had to end in such a fashion. It's not to say we know the full story, but death is an unfortunate thing, and the way these people died was one of the more brutal ways to die.

    The comments made were harsh.

    The 'response' hinted at for the town isn't going to be pretty.

    As i've mentioned before, some people will not leave this alone. Some people wish to paint with an extremely broad brush.

    "He (Kos) represents the mainstream left - you can't spin it any other way - so his commentary must be considered representative of the mindset of Democrat politicians."

    "But if Kos, Mr. Mainstream Lefty Blogger, can say it, and if commentors on his blog support him now, and if his advertising revenue isn't affected..... Why SHOULDN'T we conclude that the left and the democrats are in favor of the mutiliation of American civilians?"

    and it's still entertaining to see people claim that the post was removed.

    (just search for Kos!)

  •  Took their best shot (none)
    Hey I agreed with your original post.  Just though I'd give you some support.
  •  With What Solemnity The Right Takes Our War Dead (none)
    Lest We Forget...

    Brit Hume (8/27/2004):

    Two hundred seventy seven U.S. soldiers have now died in Iraq, which means that, statistically speaking, U.S. soldiers have less of a chance of dying from all causes in Iraq than citizens have of being murdered in California which is roughly the same geographical size. The most recent statistics indicate California has more than 2,300 homicides each year, which means about 6.6 murders each day. Meanwhile, U.S. troops have been in Iraq for 160 days, which means they're incurring about 1.7 deaths, including illness and accidents, each day.
    The wingers were complaining about all the undue focus on dead and wounded American soldiers. They wanted to put such numbers in their proper perspective.

    These people have nothing to teach Kos or anyone else.

  •  '8/27/03' not '8/27/04' (none)
  •  They can't stop you, Kos~ (none)
    They can only hope to contain you.  ;-)

    Chin up, this too shall pass.

  •  Posts I left to the Friedman blog (none)
    Markos --

    I left Friedman's blog these two messages:


    Kos is a really good guy. Had you quoted more than those admittedly unpleasant lines, you would have learned that his rationale stems from having grown up in a war zone, and as a result he carries a personal grudge against mercenary soldiers who don't feel they have to obey the rules of engagement. I.e., bullies with guns.

    When he spouted off, we got a glimpse of that anger.

    I agree he should not have said it. He agrees he should not have said it. Beyond that, we are all just "enjoying taking offense" which the Bible says is a sin.
    Posted by: Mike Finley at April 4, 2004 08:34 AM PERMALINK


    I would also gingerly say, there is more thoughtless anger here in one day than I see on Daily Kos in a year. Not that we don't all succumb from time to time.
    Posted by: Mike Finley at April 4, 2004 08:37 AM PERMALINK

    From the home of "Future Shoes."

    by mfinley98 on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 09:36:44 PM PST

  •  After some thought, my thoughts on this... (none)
    Kos, I've read the original posts, the followup posts, Friedman's attack post, Drum's prissy little scolding, other bloggers' takes, and many of the impassioned comments throughout.

    I am not adding anything to the debate here, merely expressing my feelings and opinion on the issue.

    I cannot believe that citizens of this country, forged in bloodshed and defended in many wars, are so squeamish about these photos. Whether or not one supports this war, it is necessary to see what war, hate and mob violence does.

    The fictions of war, the romance of war, the seductiveness of war are what enable people like Bush and Cheney to embrace it so easily. Photos of charred corpses certainly pierce the veil.

    If we had more pictures like these, maybe we wouldn't have so many armchair Rambos.  

    I don't know if it makes me cold-blooded, but I had no feelings upon viewing the photos beyond a certain sorrow for their survivors, as I would for anyone who loses someone violently. The victims made a stupid choice, and they paid dearly, but they were there voluntarily in order to make big money. They didn't work for the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders. They were hired guns, with huge military experience.

    The deaths that provoke my anger are those of our poorly-paid soldiers who have been serving long tours of duty in the same hellhole with no choice in the matter. The ruckus over the mercs drowned out the news of the Marines who died that day. And we never get to see footage of our dead soldiers, or even their arrival back in "transfer tubes" in the dark of night. That provokes my anger. If we can't see what the hell is happening, how can we learn anything?

    I say, "Hang tough, Kos." Somebody needs to be tough enough to see with the unclouded eye. However, enough with "bring it on." It's not good policy to ask for trouble, as Bush has learned.

  •  Tacitus (3.50)
    It is greatly amusing that Tacitus plays the roll of the arbiter of morale rightness in blogland.  Tacitus savagely race-baited Cruz Bustamante in California's special election for governor in October of 2003.  Tacitus is the Bill Bennet of the Blogosphere; a moralizing blowhard who forgives his own sins while sanctimoniously tut-tutting over the failings he perceives in others.

    When I gently pointed out to Tacitus that he was race-baiting in the tradition of Father Coughlin, he banned me.  Tacitus is not only a hypocrite, but also a petty coward and a fraud.  

    Don't give it another thought, Kos.  They attack because they are frightened.  They are frightened of losing power...    

    •  Tacitus (1.00)

      By pointing out Bustamante's policies of amnesty for illegals and his ties to the radical racist group MECHA?

      Would you say the same if someone commented on the history of David Duke when he runs for office?

      •  See what I mean? (none)
        Saying that Bustamante has "ties" to the radical racist splinter element of MECHA is like saying your mother has ties to prostitution.

        After all, your mother evidently had sex at least once to conceive you, and prostitutes are known to have sex.  The slur directed at Bustamante is just as tenuous.

    •  Race-baiting? (1.00)
      No wonder you were banned.  For general stupidity.
  •  What the? (none)
    The warfloggers who joyfully pranced and high fived when the US rained death and destruction upon civilians in Iraqi cities are accusing Kos of what?
  •  No, that wasn't their "best" shot (1.50)
    The "best" shot came from the lilly-livered Kerry campaign. Not only have they removed the link to Daily Kos from their website, they've started a blog thread about removing the link. I guess they didn't want to offend anyone by having a link to a blog where someone actually speaks his mind.

    They didn't want to offend their friend, the "Right to Life" military hawk John McCain, who will help move the democratic party even further to the right.

    I'll still vote for the no-good bastard, but FUCK John Kerry and the mediocrity he stands for.

    •  How Could the Kerry Campaign Not De-Link? (3.50)
      I've been trying to resist the urge to post to this thread, but... really, how could the Kerry campaign not de-link?

      Think about it.  If you did a poll of 500 randomly selected Americans -- showing people Kos's original "screw them" post -- and asked them whether it made them feel positive or negative toward the author, how many do you think would feel positive?  I'd say 5%, maybe 10% or 15%, at the absolute outside limit.  "Lefties" would tend to agree with him, but do you honestly think a majority of mainstream Democrats would?  If they kept the link, they'd be setting themselves up for an easy line of attack from the wingnuts.

      That's what I've always seen as the main problem with the "lefty blogosphere," it becomes an echo chamber, and it becomes pretty easy to lose touch with the views of most Americans, and think that the opinions voiced here represent a much larger slice of the public than they really do.

      Having said all of that, though, I'd like to thank Kos for allowing a free and open debate here on this subject.  A few posters here have been much harsher about their criticism than I would be, and he has left those posts up. That definitely says something positive about his committment to free speech here.


      •  Greg (none)
        You touched on the one reason Kerry's campaign should have exercised some leadership and used the opportunity to encourage healthy, informed debate, rather than break virtual ties with Kos as a result of his controversial post:
        "[C]ommittment to free speech".

        Kerry wants to be the president of the United States of America. Now more than ever, we need leadership that recognizes the inherent strength of an America and its body politic empowered by the Constitution. Clearly, there's a lot of misinformation and a desperate lack of information surrounding the use of for-profit "security guards".

        What better opportunity to take the lead and create a well-informed electorate, provide access to comprehensive and solid information on which people can base their opinions, regardless of political leaning? What better opportunity to open up the public debate about the short- and long-term implications of using such forces? What better opportunity to embrace the First Amendment, while vying with an incumbent who places his critics in holding pens to express their dissent?

        Christ - this was a straight-up gift in disguise for a representative and a campaign looking to do the right thing for the country and immediately illustrate the differences between true Democratic leadership and Bush's crew.

        I'm so damned sick of our representatives puting political considerations ahead of the foundations that this democracy is built on. We're politicking the virtue and vitality right out of our governance for Christ's sake. These jerks are all playing for power at the expense of our ideological underpinnings. If we could just stick to doing what's right long enough, the politics would self-correct around that basic nobility.

        People aren't brain-dead. They know when campaigns lose honor and/or nerve. They know when politicians are too afraid or too damned lazy to address the issues. The "path of least resistence" option to the upcoming election is to leave the current team in play. Now we've got a candidate that asks nothing at all of this body politic's intellectual capacity - gives Americans no reason to think bucking this current system is a worthwhile endeavor. Jesus, what the hell do we think this performance is telling the electorate to do in November? If the electorate is reading the Democratic Party loud and clear, they'll follow the lead of men like Kerry, Bush's most significant critic, and leave the game in play because it can't be that bad or he'd would be all over like white on cheap rice...


  •  Legal Question (none)
    These Mercenaries  represent corporations, not America. They do not wear our flag on their uniform or  take an oath of loyalty.

    When one of them frist shoots or kills or tortures a member of another country on their soveriegn soil they fall outside of geneva treaty and become war criominals, yes?

    And if you think they are really nice and polite, ASK THE G8 SUMMIT IFAA PROTESTERS IN FLORIDA AND  ROME IN THE LAST 2 MEETINGS.

        GUESS WHO WILL BE THE 'SECURITY EXTRAS" at the RNC in the Big Apple?

         Welcome to the police state...

       DON'T TURN AROUND uh-oh!
       Possi Comitatus(1878) has a loophole when private corporations  turn the trick. What Fallejah fought will come here if we stay the course.                                                             It only applies to the  restrictions placed on the United States Army on our own soil.

  •  Keep At It, Kos (none)
    Kos, you have an absolute right to say what you want.  While I disagreed with the tone of your first posting on Fallujah, it did make me think and to approach what was being reported in a more independent way.  Your second post shed much more light on your thought process.  The American presence in Iraq stinks.  The war in Iraq was based on false pretenses and is an excuse to plant U. S. military bases in Iraq that the Saudis don't want to have in their country.  Since our own inspectors are saying WMD does not exist and even President Bush admits there is no direct evidence of a connection between Iraq and 9/11, the Bush Administration now is reduced to saying that the war was based on Saddam Hussein's "bad intent" and the fact that U. S. airplanes in the no fly zones were being shot at.  The war in Iraq is sounding more and more like Vietnam, including the calls to "pacify" Fallujah.
  •  Out of line. (none)
    The original KOS quote wasn't on your site, so I had to google it, and found it on

    My initial reaction to the post is surprise. Yeah of course those people shouldn't have been there, but did you stop to think that perhaps those people are victims of bu$h's economy as well? I saw an interview with a Halliburton contractor who was about to leave for Iraq. He was a father, a grandfather, a husband, had recently been laid off from his truckdriving job and had lost his pension.

    Contractors in Iraq are just working class dicks. Even if they're Republican rednecks, but they're trying to feed their families like everyone else. The thing that separates the left from the right is compassion and empathy.

    I love this site, and am thankful that you are putting so much energy into speaking the good word, but man you were way out of fucking line there. You're damn lucky that the damage wasn't any worse.


    end corporate rule. restore democracy.

    by jaskot on Sat Apr 03, 2004 at 11:40:04 PM PST

  •  and what army? (none)
    This Kossack's got your back.  After the beating I dish out, trust me, the phrase "bleeding heart" will come to have a whole new meaning to them.

    But see Kos, this is what you get when you allow advertizing on your website.  Now you have to self-censor, and that's a shame.  There was nothing wrong with what you said, whether you meant it or not.

    Those guys, to my knowledge, were mercenaries.  They go over there to kill, and I'm supposed to feel bad when THEY get killed?  What am I fucking stupid?

    Not only are they going over there to kill, but there actions potential incite retaliatory violence against ME and MY FUCKING FAMILY.  Fuck em is right!

    Go to Iraq at your own goddamned risk.

  •  For what its worth... (none)
    Kos, I happen to agree with your low opinion of mercs, and I am dissapointed that you now characterize that thought as "stupid."

    Stick to your guns, dude.  Loathing murderers for hire is not stupid...  

  •  Ex-Navy Seals aren't any more delicate (none)
    From an article from the Observer:
    'Almost every foreigner who has been killed here is an idiot,' said one ex-Navy SEAL. Soldiers often show little sympathy for those who fail to follow the right procedure.

    He began listing their mistakes. To start with, they were in Falluja, in an SUV. Next, he guessed they had gone through the city before and had met no problems, but were seen leaving an American base - a routine can kill you. Later, they were followed.

    To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality. -- Hegel

    by Alexander on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 01:07:38 AM PST

  •  behind you at least this far (none)
    Kos, you're this year's Dixie Chicks!  Taken off a lot of radio stations for a while, sure, but their tour sold out and they're back on most if not all of those stations.
  •  Kos, no defense for mercenaries, but the vulgarity (none)
    was excessive. I don't mean "screw", but the tone was way off. Even the local imams are embarrassed by the despicable mutilation of the corpses.

    I suspect you have realized this by now. It just obscures important questions, namely

    1. What are these "contractors" doing in Iraq?
    2. For that matter, what are we doing in Iraq?
  •  Fire back with the smoking gun ... (none)
    Bush knew. 9-11 is the big lie. They planned it and executed it. Smoking gun number #1:

    But before I leave this topic, I would like to provide an example of "news management" that is revealing for what is omitted - that is, the "smoking gun" of Pakistani ISI involvement in the events of 9/11. On October 9, 2001, the Times of India dropped this little bombshell: "Top sources confirmed here on Tuesday that [ISI Chief Mahmud Ahmad] lost his job because of the "evidence" India produced to show his links to one of the suicide bombers that wrecked the World Trade Centre. The US authorities sought his removal after confirming the fact that $100,000 were wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta from Pakistan by Ahmad Umar Sheikh at the instance of Gen. Mahmud." What makes this particular piece so devastating is that only days before, much of the mainstream American media was touting the news of a "key link" in the chain of evidence linking bin Laden to the events of September 11 - namely, a $100,000 wire transfer to the hijackers from a shadowy operative linked to bin Laden. Yet once this operative was "outed" as being linked instead to the Pakistani ISI Chief, any propaganda gains initially made through this evidence would now crumble. One possible reason might stem from this Karachi News item, released only two days before September 11: "[Pakistani] ISI Chief Lt-Gen Mahmood's week-long presence in Washington has triggered speculation about the agenda of his mysterious meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council. Officially, State Department sources say he is on a routine visit in return to [sic] CIA Director George Tenet's earlier visit to Islamabad...What added interest to his visit is the history of such visits. Last time Ziauddin Butt, Mahmood's predecessor, was here during Nawaz Sharif's government the domestic politics turned topsy-turvy within days. That this is not the first visit by Mahmood in the last three months shows the urgency of the ongoing parleys..." In other words, this was a propaganda piece that went disastrously wrong. After October 9, bin Laden's alleged paymaster could now be linked to a U.S. "ally" who spent the days before 9/11 in deep consultation at the Pentagon. The US authorities immediately went into damage control mode by insisting on the quiet retirement of the "outed" ISI chief. Thus removed from the public eye, the ISI Chief's role in all this could be effectively ignored, and an American media black-out could be safely assumed. Pre 9-11

    Don't these guys watch Court TV? Bring the SOB to Washington and put him on a polygraph, with a lawyer present. Homeboy isn't hiding out with Fred and Wilma in a cave. They know where the guy lives. You have the right to one thing in this country when you get caught straight red handed like that, to remain silent.

    Silence is complicity!



  •  All I can say... (none)
    Kos, you have probably written hundreds if not over a thousand posts on this site.  Just by the law of large numbers, you were bound to f-up sometime.
    And you did.
    You've asked for forgiveness, and I will give it to you.
    Do it again, though, and I will kick your ass ;>

    Democratic Meetups Since the netroots are the grassroots!

    by audibledevil on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 10:23:17 AM PDT

  •  Can somebody post a link to the original article (none)
    I haven't read it.
  •  I took their best shot, and... that was it? (none)
    I thought you had it about right the first time, and completely right with your amendments. And your horrific life history excuses you from any apology needed. Especially to the chickenhawks and those who backed the Salvadorean atrocities (also brought to you by the Repugs)

    These were not "civilians." They were Americans, and as always, God bless 'em, I'm sure they love and are loved by their families.  But we are occupying this poor country, and dead is dead.

    The clerics said what needed to be said about unacceptable post-mortem behavior. I'm sorry for ALL THE DEAD. Let's move on, and stay honest, Markos.

    Love and respect.


  •  Stand Tall, Kos (none)
    Hey, Kos - Usually I don't post to your blog because, by the time I get around to it, at least a dozen people have spoken my mind and done a better job of it.  However, I think this issue is one on which redundancy cannot be superfluous but, rather, to the point.

    I support completely your original remarks on the deaths of the American mercenaries.

    I have always hated Hesse because I was taught that Hessians were contemptible MERCENARIES hired by the EVIL EMPIRE (Britain), paid money, to come over here and kill the heroes of our GLORIOUS REVOLUTION.  Naughty, naughty, naughty.

    But, of course, now, the case is different because they were OUR mercenaries.  Why can't anyone see the hypocrisy?

    Next thing you know the CPA will be closing down Iraqi newspapers.  Oh, wait.  That was done BEFORE the "atrocity".

    The only difficulty I have with your expression of outrage is that it may have done damage to the Kerry campaign.  You must remember, things will be so much better under President Kerry, when you will be punished for actually SAYING what you think whereas, under the evil Dubya, you're punished for even thinking it in the first place.  

    Fortunately for the self-righteous, few have a clue about American foreign policy toward Greece over the last fifty years.

    As to the families of the dead "contractors", aren't they just "enablers" in the first place?  There, now I'm worse than you.

    I'm beginning to think that empires are pretty much the same, regardless of "Constitution".

    You done good, kid.  Don't back down.

  •  Bushwa (none)
    All this was news to me.  So I clicked around a lot, read Political Animal, Instapundit, Atrios and sampled the feedback.

    Here's what I think: straw man.

    Not just because bloggers like Kos have begun to attract a lot of mainstream media.  Because of the $$$.  (or as Bubba might've said, It's the fund-raising, stupid)

    They were looking for attack fodder.  They found some.  Could've been anything.

    It's just a warning shot fired across the bow. An exercise in consciousness=raising.  One is now forewarned that they are going to try and bring down any house they can.  They'll always find a reason.  The hard part will be to maintain the special sort of frank personal  expression we value & at the same time resist playing into their hands.

    Kos is great.  He's just not flying under the radar any more.  

    Air America, at last!

    by Tulip on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 04:58:57 PM PDT

  •  I agree with Kos' original comment (none)
    In a slightly muted, "I don't really care" kinda way.

    See, I was offered a job training Iraqi police as a mercenary of sorts and, well, I decided I liked living a little too much to take the job.

    I did some calculations and decided that, based on life expectancy, I wanted about $2.5 million a month to go to Iraq.

    At the time I thought I'd get shot in the back of the head at a market. I mean, it didn't occur to me that I'd be blown up, lynched, beaten, dragged through the streets AND hung from a bridge. But to be honest, after I'm dead I don't really care what happens to the body.

    These guys, who had no obligation of national service, figured that a $1000/day (or whatever they were making) was worth going to Iraq for.

    If I knew that American mercenary/contractors have been held hostage by the FARC in Colombia for over a year, why wouldn't they? The whole point of having these guys is that we DON'T have to save their asses if they become prisoners - they're not POWS, so fug'em.

    Sure, I think there are some considerable risks to national security when guys with TOP SECRET classifications go freelance. But I guess someone up top thinks they've got no secrets to tell once they've quit The Service.

    You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created. (Albert Einstein)

    by opendna on Sun Apr 04, 2004 at 10:16:01 PM PDT

  •  Dick Bell's not to bright, evidently... (none)
    I read the "offensive" blog and a lot of material from the subsequent reaction of the Kerry campaign and that sorry-ass, pussy response from FriedMan (or whatever his name is).

    I believe that Kos made an excellent point, although it is clear that those entities referred to above missed the point, had no idea what Kos was talking about, but felt the need to trumpet their stupidity and incomprehension anyway.

    Bell, in particular, seems out of it...jerking the Kos link from he Kerry website is behavior that I would expect from the White House spinners.  Really pathetic.

    As for "FriedMan"; did he every see actual combat?  Has he ever had anything to say worth listening to?

    The most interesting thing, to me, was that these pundits and campaign minions missed an important point.  Kos pointed out that while the graphic, sickening photos of the mercenaries were all over the papers and news and internet, NO ONE paid much attention to the five American soldiers who were blown up on the same day by a roadside bomb.

    Why isn't their deaths a source of outrage?  Because the regular troops don't matter as much?

    We have an administration that is trying to cut the troops hazard pay, wounded and sick soldiers get less than sub-standard care, they are poorly equipped...I could go on and on.

    And folks are outraged because four mercenaries being paid $20,000-30,000. a month felt that they were so tough and badass that they could deal with whatever arose in Fallouja, and were wrong?

    Again, what about our other soldiers?

    Where Kos is concerned; my sister-in-law survived several decades of the civil war in El Salvador.  She is a terrific person; kind, hard-working and strong as steel.  She is attractive, functions at a high level, and saw and experienced things in El Salvador that she will NEVER talk about to anyone.

    Kos knows what he's talking about.

    And were I in his shoes, I doubt that I would have apologized for anything.

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