Commentary on the so-called Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design Debate and Right-Wing nuttery in general - and please ignore the typos (I make lots!)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Response to Aaron

Over on Operation Yellow Elephant - a blog established to point out the hypcritical positions of many Iraq-war supporting Republicans who themselves refuse to enlist for various (usually lame) reasons, I posted a few innocuous comments here, and became the target of a hysterical 'radical libertarian', Aaron, who seemed unable but to engage in the antics he accuses me of engaging in. As I did not want to take up too much space at OYE, I thought I would reply to Aaron here. To save space and for readability, I have edited some of Aaron's statements (e.g., removed multiple examples supporting a claim).


Aaron said...
Oh, Doppelganger, I’m going to have a field day with this response. Ant it'll be loooong, so set some time away from your otherwise pressing World of Warcraft tournament to read this, because I am interested to read your response:

Isn't that clever? A little personal dig there. Not that I mind - I often employ self-deprecating humor and don't mind taking a hit as long as it is actually funny. That one wasn't too bad. A little trite perhaps, but not bad. What is ironic, however, is the fact that Aaron takes me to task for getting 'personal'. More on that later.

“What is your opinion on, say, Ann Coulter’s writings and statements, Aaron?Just curious”…” ... Unless you find the opinions of these people repulsive and you are willing to condemn them for the inflammatory nature of the lies and msrepresentations they spew, again, your implicit claims to the ‘high ground’ are without merit.”

First, my friend, you guess wrong about me.
Fair enough. Considering the rush to defend the president of the Orange County Young Republicans in question, I suppose I could have jumped to a sensible, albeit incorrect, conclusion. But let's see where Aaron goes with this, long-winded fellow he is...

My opinion of Ann Coulter, “Hannity, Limbaugh, Savage, Ingraham, etc.” is this: I think they are polarizing, deconstructive, pompous and sometimes downright wrong... Angry, loud people are present on all political sides. But it does not give you or “The General” a speck of permission to spread the fight to all Republicans and moderate Democrats.
That is all well and good, but this is Aaron's extrapolation, not my intention. I was not 'justifying' what he erroneously perceives as an 'attack' on all Republicans and Moderate Democrats (I can scarcely understand where that one came from). It has been my experience that "mainstream Republicans" find the inflammatory gibberish of the Coulters and Hannity's of the country to be 'funny' and meant as 'humor' and they will often say that if one is offended, then they just don't get the jokes. Yet actual 'liberal' comedians are villified and labeled 'traitors' and the like. To fend off the predicted 'response', no, I don't have statistical data for this, as I stated, it has been my experience, and that comes from reading blogs, letters to the editor of several newspapers (both local and national), television and radio interviews, book reviews, etc.

You are only fanning the flames of ignorance and factionalism.
For asking your opinion? I had no idea that I wielded such power!

And for that you should be ashamed.The long and short of it: do not use thea ctions of one, two or ten idiots to justify your own idiotic actions.
Now I - one who has but a low-traffic, seldom updated blog - on occasion posts comments on blogs like OYE - am being equated in influence to people like O'Reilly, Coulter, etc. And 'idiotic actions'? Making offhand comments in a blog comments section is an 'idiotic action'? Well, then I guess Aaron engages in idiotic actions, too!

You, and you alone, are responsible for your motives and doings, not Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly or anyone else with whom you disagree.
I will ask the point what the top of your head looks like...

“Fago’s associations were merely pointed out, his own self-assessment was indicated, and it was openly questioned when he would be enlisting to serve as he appears to support the militaristic goals of the administration.”

Why? What is “The General’s” point/goal/motive?
I think his motivation is made clear by the subtitle of his blog: "It's their war. Why aren't they fighting it?" I think there are many, many more people out there that feel this way than you seem willing to admit.

Why Shawn? Why Hager? And what gives our high-ranking friend the credibility to do such random call-outs?
Well, as is pretty obvious by now, Shawn is the PRESIDENT of the Orange County Young Republians. Orange County is not exactly some rural backwater, and the OCYRs is not exactly some two-bit collection of yahoos who get together a couple time a year to drink beer and complain about city council. As such, he represents an organization that ostensibly supports the present administration's status quo, which seems to be little more than '9/11 gives us the right to ignore the Constitution' and 'war is good because a couple of Big Corporations that donate to us get lots of tax payer money becasue of it'. I don't know who Hager is. As far as 'credibility' for these 'call outs', I suspect it is the same 'credibility' that you have for writing your nearly hysterical response, or the just-as-anonymous-as-me 'Media Lizzy' from making her webcasts and the like. I assume that 'The General' is against the war, and if so, then his not enlisting to fight is at least consistent.

All you two seem to be are liberal computer nerds who want to bully those with whom you disagree, regardless of their desire (or obvious lack thereof) to confront you.

I wish I was a computer nerd - I could probably make a lot more money than I do. But I am not sure how anything that is done here (more precisely, at OYE)- certainly nothing that I have done - can be considered 'bullying.' Posting my opinion on the issue and replying to comments made by people like you is not bullying. If anything, the hysteria being exhibited by you and Media Lizzy in your steadfast defense of Yellow Elephants, by attempting to make us stop pointing out their hypocrisy via insults and laughable attempts at intimidation, is bullying.

Perusing a few of the posts on OYE, I noticed that those that are called out are in some way 'public' individuals. I exhanged a few comments last year in the thread on Antony Mantova, who had written Op-Ed pieces for a newspaper advocating for the invasion of Iran, as I recall. He, of course, had no intention of serving, either. Your friend Shawn, as I reiterated, is the President of a large, politically active, young republican group. Another guy is a former editor of the New Republic, a liberal, who supports the war. And so on. These folks are not "private citizens" just minding their own business. These are people in the business of trying to sway public policy (the Orange County Young Republicans website, for example, states that one of its goals is to get Republicans elected, from local school boards on up).

Also, I don't really consider myself a liberal, at least not in the 'usual' sense. I'm more of a moderate, but I do certainly havemany liberal values.

“The propensity to serve in the armed forces these days seems to be related to the following: one’s family or personal wealth, regardless of one’s position on the war – relationship: inversely proportional; one’s degree of advocacy for not just invading Iraq, but Iran and Syria and anywhere else: inversely proportional. There are other factors, of course, but those seem to be big ones these days.”

Where do you get that information? Is there statistical proof to back up your statements, especially with your reference to “these days”? Unless you can provide some compelling proof using statistically sound and politically unbiased research I can only reason to add Bullshitter to the list of negative terms you represent.

My, so personal! And what terms do you represent to me? Say - I like that little game there - a clever little way of claiming that you are not getting personal by merely associating 'negative terms' with me. Sleazy and pathetic... are the terms you represent to me, but clever, nonetheless.

Anyway, those are merely my impressions. Statistical proof? No. The comment was left on a blog, you might recall. A place for opinion. It is not a peer reviewed publication. It is not a legal affidavit. So please do not treat it like one as a means of gaining rhetorical points. It makes you represent terms like 'cheap' and 'childish' to me.

“Pointing out hypocrisy in Republicans is exceptionally easy. Hypocrisy is not a very admirable quality. Those lacking admirable qualities have a harder time convincing people to vote their way. At least among the rational.”

That’s just insulting. You do not know any of the people you attack personally.

Who am I attacking? It is amazing how you folks can so rapidly elevate a situation beyond any measure of rationality. I - and many, many others - find it hyporitical to support a war but refuse to fight in it. These Yellow Elephants may very well be nice, well meaning folk. But calling out those that do this (advocate war but will not fight in it)- in particular those who are 'public' figures' - can hardly be considered a 'personal attack.' But many on the right seem to use this victim/martyr issue at the drop of a hat. A great exhibit of character, I suppose.

You do not know Shawn. You do not know Mr. Hager. You do not know me. It is appalling that you would so immaturely define a person simply by the political party with which they register
You do not know me, either, but that has not stopped you from attacking me. Oh, wait, I mean posting negative terms that you think I represent...

I am so terribly sorry, Aaron, that you are so appalled by something I did not do. It would make your case a bit stronger if perhaps you could stop engaging in what is known as the strawman fallacy. I'm sure you are familiar with the term, but basically it is 'making up' an opponant's position in such a way as to make it easier to attack. A reasonable person can see that any "attacks" were done as a result of the perceived hypocrisy exhibited by the folks in question (again, I see no reason that Hager was brought up as I have not made any comments about him). Additionally, it should not need to be pointed out that Shawn has both a Myspace site and is the president of the Orange County Young Republicans wich also has a website and upon both of which one can find out more than just what one's political affiliation and position is.

and further stereotype them based on a dumb, statistically anecdotal online survey they took about their political leanings. You just exemplified the epitome of ignorance with that series of statements. Rational my ass.
I am sure that your ass is rational, perhaps more so than your head, but that is another story. What series of statements do you refer to? You mean the ones in which I indicated where and why whoever it was that made the original post (the General) might have gotten their information that they used to formulate their opinion from?

“All true, but then again, the focus of this blog is the War and its supporters that will not serve. Support for one’s country though political activism is not the same thing as volunteering to fight in a war that one advocates. I should think such a distinction would be obvious.”
Your “All true” statement is all I need. Thank you. But in order to dignify the time you must have poured into devising some way to save yourself the embarrassment of actually conceding an argument to me, I will respond further.
I am forever amazed at how arrogant and condesending yet totally clueless some people can be. Let us re-examine what I considered 'all true'. Aaron had written:

In reference to your blog’s overall mission, there are multiple ways to serve your country. The armed services are a few options, but political activism, within administrations, organizations and campaigns, are also equally effective methods of showing support for policy and one’s country.

Those things are all true, but they do not negate the hyporisy of those that advoacte war yet will not fight. I fail to see how agreeing that those things are true is a concession, since those things do not nullify the position that I, the OYE blog, and many, many folks like me, hold. But apparently, Aaron is always right about these things. One often runs into the 'always right' types on the Internet.
As a person who, I’m assuming, advocates the power of diplomacy over violence (let me know if I’m wrong), you should look highly upon those who use the power of words to encourage political policy. Isn’t that the path your ideal administration should take?
I do, and yes. As any rational person can see, the present administration is likely paying lip servoce top those ideals. One can only cringe upion hearing W's latest saber-rattling regarding Iran. I suspect that if a Democrat wins the presidential election in '08 (likely at this opoint), a lme duck W will send troops into Iran or Syria as a parting gift, just like Daddy did when he lost to Bill Clinton.

And I will concede that you are right that activism and fighting in a war are not the same things. They are completely different. Just like multivitamins are completely different from oranges, but they both still give you your daily dose of Vitamin C. Hence, they are just as effective. I think you get where this analogy is going.
Yes, it is going south. It is irrelevant and shallow. Being a political activist is fine. But mere political activism does not necessarily entail war advocacy. And being a war advocate - even if implicitly (e.g., Shawn supports Giuliani in 2008, and Giuliani thinks the war is great!) - should entail a modicum of integrity which includes things like the willingness to serve for what one advocates. Again, there is a real and fairly obvious difference between being patriotic and doing things like volunteering in political campaigns and advocating war but refusing to enlist. To me, these folks are more like the losers in the stands that yell "You suck!" to an NFL player when they drop a pass in the Superbowl than they are like an orange giving you vitamin C. Because, afterall, this Republican administration has also done things like fought against pay raises for troops, cut veterans' benefits, etc., so it appears that their love for the troops ends where their wannabeism begins.
Additionally, you assume incorrectly that all of your targets and respondents “will not” serve in the military, as if it is not an option in their wildest dreams. Personally, I simply have not served. I may never, but it is not an option to be ruled out. And I feel confident in saying that others you so vehemently oppose feel similarly.

Silly me - I guess the fact that they are not serving even though recruitment levels are down, troop deployments are on their second (or is it third? I've lost count) mandatory extension, more National Guard units have been activated and deployed for longer periods of time than they were in WWII, etc., doesn't mean they never will. And I was unaware that I 'vehemently opposed' anyone. Oh, I forgot - if one is not in lock-step with this Aaron guy on the Internet, then you must 'vehemently oppose' what he stands for....

"Do you watch Fox News? ... Is that an attempt to harmonize the nation? When Ann Coulter says when you talk to a liberal you should use a baseball bat, what is that? ... You might want to engage the services of a mirror.”

Hmmm…looks like we’re getting personal now. I love it when a political opponent stops debating policy and starts attacking the person. It really shows the true you. And that I mean in a bad way.

I love it when some dude on the Internet tries to play this holier-than-thou schtick. It usually means that they are covering their own tracks. I 'defend' myself against implicict charges that I am divisive and the like, and I am accused of getting 'personal.' Funny.... Of course, an intelligent person could peruse this blog and see that nobody is really discussing policy, unless you consider the hypocrisy of so many young neocons top be policy... Another red herring from Aaron.

... And again, I’ll reiterate what I said in my first paragraph: the actions of others, especially if they are not done directly towards you, are not legitimate justifications for what you are doing now. You are responsible for the inflammatory crap you write.

So, now it is inflammatory to call out neocon hypocrisy? Is it inflammatory to point out that Larry Craig is either a closeted gay man or perjured himself in a court of law? I guess so, in the world of the always-right Internet dude.

If you are so threatened by them, start directing your blogs at Ann Coulter et al., not
unsuspecting individuals like Shawn Fago.

I am not threatened by them. I find them divisive, inflammatory, dishonest hacks. And again with poor Shawn - he is only the president of one of the largest 'young republican' groups in the scond largest and one of the 'richest' counties in the country.

In reference to your “Is it harmonizing and visionary” rant, you seem to be directing the focus of your frustration on those who do not deserve it, nor want it. Shawn did not shut the other major political party completely out of policy discussions and briefings. Shawn did not hire the administrators. Shawn did not force protestors to stay behind chain-link fences a mile away from political events.

True. He is just the president of the Orange County Young Republicans who supports a candidate for president who supports the war in Iraq but will not enlist, and who - we can only assume - supports the present administration and its policies (for there are certainly no disclaimers on theier various websites). Excuse me - has not enlisted despite the military's obvious need for young healthy heterosexual males.

Nor did I; nor did Mr. Hager. There is no need for mirrors or introspection because we are not responsible for the actions of others, nor did you stay on topic in the least
bit from “The General’s” unprovoked attack on Shawn Fago.

I strayed a bit from the major topic because I was induced to do so. By YOU. You had written:

Shawn, I and the other individuals who commented have chosen that route. We choose to fight you (so to speak)—individuals who try to push our country into unwise, shortsighted policies by polarizing our population, picking fights with those who do not desire a confrontation, and calling your opponents cowards, hypcrites or other heinous names rather than discussing policy like an intelligent human being would.

Remember? Not only did YOU get personal, YOU are the one that brought up policy! YOU are the one that indicated that 'individuals like me' are polarizing the nation by not discussing policy! No wonder you decided to omit that from your reply - keeping it readily available to a reader would have dimiished your attack. Best nix it for rhetorical points! Cheap and sleazy, those are terms that you represent to me.

“Then they should strive to be a little more proactive and visionary, rather than looking to see what they think will win them the next election at any expense – especially if that expense is the blood of real patriotic Americans. And why, I wonder, do war-advocates always seem to think that those that are not pro-war for some reason want weak security?”
Proactive and visionary? What better way to be proactive and visionary than to actively pursue a cause that would guarantee a representative who advocates they same policy as they?

Here is a better way - realize that the status quo is a failure and advocate for real positive change.

Your definition of “patriot” also seems to be a little warped. Patriotism is an ideology—a belief system. It is not an earned badge. “Patriot” and “Nationalist”are synonymous, and do not require military service as a condition to be considered one.

pa·tri·ot /ˈpeɪtriət, -ˌɒt or, especially Brit., ˈpætriət/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[pey-tree-uht, -ot or, especially Brit., pa-tree-uht]

Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.
2. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, esp. of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.

Of course one not need have served in the military to be a Patriot, but that is just your latest attempt at redirection. AGAIN, since many seem to have a hard time understanding this, the issue is the advocacy - either explicit or implicit - of military action for purely political or reasons (let's be honest - the Iraq invasion had nothing to do with 'freeing' Iraqis or 9/11 - any rational person who follows politics at all knows that an invasion of Iraq was in the works before 9/11) despite an unwillingness to actually fight. I think this attitude is in part responsible for the cavalier attitde so many neocons have toward war - they are not going to have to fight, their kids will not have to fight, so let's go invade anyone that we don't like! Or has oil!

And why do you clump us into the overall “war-advocate” mold?

Why did you write that I and those like me are liberal computer nerds?

Are you assuming that we just love to send our troops to any old place and kill darker skinned folks? Honestly, my friend, have we become so demonized in your twisted little mind that you cannot fathom a more dynamic though process is going on in our minds?

So, so personal... MY twisted little mind? Ah, the bravado of distance...

Although I cannot answer directly for Shawn, I am pretty sure he shares a similar opinion to my own with the following remainder of this paragraph: I do not advocate war in its general sense. I advocate the use of alternatives as a first resort. When there are none left—that is, when the government in power chooses to remain non-transparent, saber-rattles to the point of suspicion, lends financial support to known terrorist organizations (families of suicide bombers from the Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations in Israel), and has a history of prior megalomania—it is appropriate to consider military action as a viable option.

This is funny. It seems that the policy chiefs in Washington should have actually understood the Arab culture a little better. Maybe actually been experts, instead of just claiming to be. For if they actually understood, they would have known about the importance of saving face and all that for them, and known that brazen public confrontation and threats only makes matters worse. And should we have not been able to understand that Iraq did not actually pose a threat to us? They had no long-range ICBMs. They had no nukes. They had no long range bombers. They did not support Al Qaeda. The saber rattling was primarily ours. ALL of the major predictions by the supposed 'experts' ended up being totally wrong. No statues to Bush (and that one statue of a soldier supposedly made by an Iraqi craftsman, thankful for our 'freeing' them - turned out to have been commissioned by the DoD), no parades, no end after a few weeks, no Iraq paying its own debts, etc. And let us not forget - Hussein was a big pal of ours under Reagan.

The Iraq war was obviously mismanaged during it beginning phases. Our military leaders did not take into account the power vacuum that emerged from the fall of the only political powerhouse there (He killed off any possible opponents).

Let's not blame the military for this. The military did what it was told to do, and did it well. It was the planning and prosecution that was flubbed - those in the military that did not 'fall in line' with the fantasy plans of the Rumsfeld cabal suddenly retired. Remember all that? Shinseki says that it would take 500,000 troops and many years - gone. So much for listening to the commanders. It takes more than bumper stickers and voting republican to actuallu support the troops.

There are very few rational Americans who believe that the tactics used immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein were the most efficient. However, that does not mean we leave. There is still a power vacuum present in one of the most resource rich, regionally central and religiously active states in the Middle East. Republicans do not want to stay indefinitely; they want to stay until Iraq is stabilized. Only then do we withdraw troops and bring them home for good. So when I say mention weak security or shortsightedness, I do not mean that you want it. ...We are in a power struggle with entities that wish to become more powerful than we. It is in our best interests to subvert these opponents in order to preserve our international dominance, and, hence, guarantee our security.

And what better way to accomplish all this than to encourage young, fit, heterosexual patriots to enlist so we can do it expeditiously! I find the whole 'well, we're there, so let's stay and finish it' argument crude and shallow. But it seems to be the best the neocon element and its sympathizers have. We can never guarantee our security. That is a fantasy. We can help to ensure it, and act to do so, but there are no guarantees in life. Iraq was much stabler before the invasion than it is now. Intelligence agencies cite the invasion as a major recruitment tool for terrorist groups. And as for preserving our 'internatinal dominance' - wel, I will only say that we are not an empire and should not strive to be one (though those in 'power' now certainly seem to think otherwise).

You have every right to disagree or even call me heartless, uncaring or the other plethora of words I have already heard. It’s old news. And I don’t think we’re going to convince each other to bend on our ideals, especially in this forum.

Sometimes, heartless acts have to be undertaken in order to preserve a way of life/to protect oneself. I do not think that this is one of those times.

“Ah, the College Republican ‘tough guy’ act. Yes, I am sure that works with the frat boys and freshman, but this former-paratrooper finds it pathetic and it is just as hypocritical as the refusal of pro-war right-wingers to serve. ...What’s nex – you can like the Yankees but not be a baseball player? You can be for tougher laws but not be a policeman?”

Wow, another personal attack.

Funny... A 'personal attack' in response to... a personal attack. It is very common for those making sucvh accusations to be unable to see their own words for what they are or can be interpreted as being. Here is what Aaron did not include or allude to in his quote of me, to which I was responding:

Now that you have our attention, come out of hiding. Let us meet you and discuss your actions face to face—that is, if you’re not "yellow" (or an ass).

In the world of the Internet always-right guy, the above is just words and carries no meaning or connotation.

*snip gibberish about not being rich*

Stop basing your entire arguments on half-assed assumptions. So far you’re doing a great job of providing further proof for the “ass out of you and me” saying. Try asking questions and getting to know your opposition before you make sweeping, ignorant generalizations about them.

All very funny stuff, considering the things Aaron has written about me and others at OYE...

Remember? I'm just some liberal computer nerd, hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet... But, in terms of explanation, I am not basing my comments on assumptions so much as genealizations form experience - and that is what we ll have, right? In my experience, chickenhawks are nearly universally conservative (with a few notable exceptions), and those who defend the same are susually, well, the same (also with a few notable exceptions). I - and everyone else -am clearly not always correct or justified in the use of such genralizations, but speaking for myself, I have a pretty good track record. Of course, the comments section on a blog is hardly the place one goes to 'get to know' one's apparent opponant on any given issue, and I notice that you and the other defenders fo YEs did not ask many questions of us, merely hurled epithets and accusations and defended a fellow YE at all costs.

And, yes, I understand very well now after the 10-20 times you wrote it that you served bravely in our military—and jumped out of planes to do so no less.

Actually, I believe that I have mentioned it only 3-4 times, and only to make it clear that I am also not a hypocrite and am talking from experience. I guess in the world of the neocon and their allies, that is a bad thing.

Lastly, yes to both of your last questions. You do not have to be a baseball player to like the Yankees, and you do not have to be a police officer to want tougher laws. End of story.

Yes of course one need not be a baseball player to like the Yankees. But many YEs have claimed that being a Yankees fan but not being a baseball player is akin to if not identical to advocating for war but not enlisting.

That might have some merit if professional baseball players were tools of the implementation of a president's foreign policy. It might have some meaning if baseball players were required to kill opposing players and/or be prepared to be killed themselves during games. But I don't think even the shallowest neocon or their allies would dare to make such an argument.

The real end of story:

One need not have served in the military to be patriotic. A president need not have served to command the military. But the military should not be seen as a group of expendable pawns through whom incompetent and ideologically driven politicians can implement their fantasy policies. To compare the advocacy of sending troops off to fight and die in wars but being unwilling to enlist and fight to rooting for a baseball team is insulting to those who actually enlisted and do the dirty work of this nation.


Wek said...


This is a great follow-up to that clown Aaron. And thank you for participating in the thread I wrote.

I've had the pleasure of knowing Paratroopers my entire life- My father was in the 101st (2nd/327th) and saw combat in 1966. In no other walk of life is there a stronger fraternity than between the men who have earned their Jump Wings.

Operation Yellow Elephant

Doppelganger said...

Thanks, Wek. That is why Robash141 and remain friends, despite not seeing each otrher for 20 years.