…Because here’s another thing, while we’re on the subject.
We knew that Brian Preston was going to do this at some point, but we didn’t expect that it would A) be so immediate and so redolent of bedside Jergens lotion, and B) that it would occur in the midst of a post in which (on this of all occasions) he’d start jumping up and down racka-fracking about that bunch of flip-flapping hack-a-frag sack-jabbers at Sadly, No!.
Above: Bryan can’t see that we do it out of love.
Still fresh from his four-day trip to Iraq with Michelle Malkin, Preston makes an early bid for the 2007 Dorothy Parker ‘And That’s When I Shot Myself’ Award for the most dreadedly-anticipated statement in English and related languages (including Grogan). He leans into it by dismissing this Andrew Sullivan post on “a disturbing video showing U.S soldiers watching as their Iraqi Army colleagues — Shia — brutally beat Sunni civilians to near-death, as U.S. soldiers hoop and holler in support”:*
He evidently doesnâ€™t understand that war, including the very war he cheered for so loudly a few years ago, can get ugly at times. People break a nail now and then. They get out of line. They have a bad hair day. They smack a guy around when they probably ought not (though how you scare insurgents straight without physically impressing upon them the error of their ways eludes me at the moment).
True enough. Petty, annoying stuff is just a fact of life. Like sometimes the printer runs out of ink or you beat the crap out of some guys in handcuffs.
But like a steam train down the track, here it comes! Preston continues:
Iâ€™m not one to deploy the chickenhawk argument, but there really is something to the notion that unless youâ€™ve seen a thing with your own eyes you may have a hard time understanding it. If youâ€™re writing about a thing as often as Sullivan writes about the war, especially if you spend the bulk of your writings denouncing that thing, itâ€™s irresponsible to stay as far away from that thing as possible. You have to, at some point, examine it for yourself.
To which we can only say: Prost! [shots of vodka downed in unison, simultaneous crossings-off from lists of the item, 'Bryan Preston, solon of Persia, dispenses weary advice to the home-fronters.']
Did Preston’s plane even touch down on the tarmac before he started trying to dine out on his epic four-day junket to Iraq? Sully doesn’t know what goes down in the ‘Raq, man, he doesn’t understand war. He doesn’t know! But Bryan was there, man. He was there!
We promised not to make fun of Malkin as a kitchen-table Clausewitz anymore if she actually went on patrol in Iraq. Word is bond, and that goes for Presto too. But dear God, man, don’t test us like this!
Meanwhile, Bradrocket has dealt with Malkin’s ‘debunking’ of our debunking of her ‘debunking’ of all things Jamil Hussein. As for Preston’s ‘rebuttal’ of our rebuttal (etc. etc.)… Fuck, do I really have to? [sighs] Oh, alright then.
See, Bryan, the mistakes that you and Michelle made in your investigation of the AP burning-mosques story were common mistakes. I think the easiest way for me to illustrate this is to reconstruct the process that led so snowballingly to Michelle’s declaration to the AP (and to the world), “hehe we’re in yr base killing yr jameel hoosaynz!!!!1!” — a declaration which portends much discomfort to herself and to yourself before at last God’s trumpet sounds calling all souls to judgement, and also thereupon and subsequently.
Gavin adds: One Love, yo.
STEP ONE: Be shamed into going to Iraq. Fair enough.
STEP TWO: Actually go to Iraq. This is a creditable advance. None of the WingNet Nancy Drews that came before you ever got past Step One. (Michael Fumento has a different racket going.)
STEP THREE: Go to one of the mosques in the AP story that you’re trying to debunk. Excellent! This is way better than I would have thought, even though the mosque you went to was firebombed and had a hole from an RPG in its dome. But never mind that, let’s keep rollin’ along.
STEP FOUR: Don’t go to any of the other mosques in the AP story. Whoops. This is a bit of a setback. Still, keep moving forward … plenty of time to turn it around.
STEP FIVE: Don’t interview any primary sources about the AP mosque story. Hmm. I won’t lie to you, Bryan. The momentum’s really shifting in this one. It’s looking pretty desperate, but there might still be time to pull it off.
STEP SIX: Do nothing else of any investigative value worth mentioning while in Iraq. To flesh out your story, rely on US Government reports that are available at home via the Internet. Not looking like a winning game here.
Add it all up, and let’s face the truth: You and Michelle didn’t fail at your task of debunking the AP; you botched the task, because you did almost nothing. Again, among the things you didn’t do:
- Visit all or most of the mosques to inspect the damage, or lack thereof, first-hand.
- Speak to any primary sources about the events on the night in question.
- Check hospital records to corroborate or cast doubt on any casualities on the night in question.
- Check morgue records to corroborate or cast doubt on any deaths on the night in question.
- Interview the Iraqi police.
- Contact AP stringers to corroborate or cast doubt on their alleged ties to sectarianism.
- Attempt to interview the man himself, Jamil Hussein, about his statements regarding the night in question. (Of course, I shudder to think what this encounter might have been like had it happened. Is Hussein in jail? Did you check on this?)
As it seems from here, your argument has gained a single new point: “I went to Iraq.” Admirable though that may be (and we do sincerely find it admirable), the subsequent events have been kind of rotten: What little evidence you bothered to gather there ended up hurting your case — which is fine and good for any journalist — but in light of your ongoing WOOT!ing and victory dances and high-fiving and claiming to have proven or disproven things that, you know, you actually didn’t, I’m forced at this point to invoke a timeless question by asking whether you were unscrupulous enough to come back intending to fool people about what you’d accomplished, or whether you’re simply foolish or arrogant enough to believe, apropos nothing, that you’ve actually struck some kind of important blow for journalism.
In any case, you and your supporters have now been reduced to quibbling over the word ‘destroyed.’ I would actually recommend that the AP issue a correction for this — a term that appeared in a raw AP feed for approximately 20 minutes, and which was removed before a single story was published — if only to get you to shut the fuck up.
But you know what? It wouldn’t get you to shut the fuck up. Because honestly, this story has become like a drug to you, and no matter how many times it leaves you miserable and defeated and embarrassed, you’ll be back for more. Until, at last, inevitably, you hit bottom.
That day is near at hand. Evidence: You’re being schooled by a comedy blog.
But there are clearly a few layers of denial left to unravel here, as shown by the most recent update to your ginormous, shifting rebuttal, circa while we were writing this (emphasis ours):
[T]hose are the facts that the AP reported that we have definitively refuted.
* This is Sullivan’s description. The video is in fact not as shocking as one is led to expect. Sullivan and any other right-leaning visitors should watch this one for context’s sake. (UK Telegraph article here.)