Bryan Preston of Junkyard Blog has popped up on Michelle Malkin’s front page. (Ms. Malkin decided to go on vacation while the Sheehan uproar dies down to spend some time with her family. Henchlings are running the Malkotron until she returns.)

We went looking for a photo of ‘Bryan Preston,’ and they all look good; this one is chosen at random.

Bryan Preston of JunkyardBlog

Preston does what the wacky right oddly persists in calling a ‘Fisking’ to that brief Stephen Bainbridge essay that’s been making the rounds — the one that has all the conservativ-o-blog war dopes booing and throwing Chee-tos, while liberals wipe their brows with relief that conservatives might not all be as nuts as we feared. Bainbridge is a conservative who’s now saying much of what the war’s critics, and the President’s critics, were saying two or three years ago. The essay deserves a reading.

Preston’s thing is interesting in the way it shows how isolated the stubborn, sneer-inclined branch of the intellectual right is now becoming. Mutinies are breaking out at the National Review, not to mention the Pentagon, on whether the Iraq war is sensible, or was ever realistically conceived. Revolts are hatching over the deficits, over the White House’s snuggling with creationists, the Leviathan of GOP corruption now (to conservatives) surfacing by the foot and inch.

And what’s coming clear with essays like Preston’s is how desperately some GOP fans will cling to the fairy stories that’ve haunted their discourse these past few years — and indeed in some ways back to the Nixon era and beyond. What I was going to do, honestly, was ‘Fisk’ his piece (or, rather, ‘Malkin’ or ‘Drudge’ it, or what-have you). But here’s a common problem when you try to disentangle that sort of echo-chamber-enriched, arrogantly loyalist conservative argument: You can’t get at all the wack-ass, silly nonsense that lies like bedrock under the claims, the wrong shit running from one idea to the next, the untrue facts and debunkables, the tin-weight truisms and outright Wha? without spending ten words to each one your quarry emits.

They can simply outrun you.

So here’s an executive summary of sorts. Obviously wrong or completely dodgy stuff that was written with a bold face, is marked in boldface. And yes, I know I’ve missed a lot. A few things, as well, require further explanation or expansion, none of which I’ve provided (debate is, as always, welcome). But there’s enough obvious, bare-ass wrongness here to please all. Ladies and gentlemen and Yosef, Our Man Preston goes Fisking:

The essence of the Prof’s argument is that by taking us to war in Iraq, President Bush squandered a “conservative moment” and has done lasting damage to the cause of conservatism. I think that argument’s conclusion has some merit, but arrives there by taking mostly wrong turns. Two lefts don’t make a right, but three do I guess.

The Prof writes:

[I]f Iraq’s alleged WMD programs were the casus belli, why aren’t we at war with Iran and North Korea? Not to mention Pakistan, which remains the odds-on favorite to supply the Islamofascists with a working nuke. If Saddam’s cruelty to his own people was the casus belli, why aren’t we taking out Kim Jong Il or any number of other nasty dictators? Indeed, what happened to the W of 2000, who correctly proclaimed nation building a failed cause and an inappropriate use of American military might?

This is straight out of the WhyCan’ playbook–all the left’s anti-war canards are there. WMD weren’t the only cause for war, as the Prof surely knows by now–human rights and the attempt to break the back of tyranny in the MidEast were part of the deal from the beginning. A little event that happened in September 2001 in NYC, DC and PA had a little something to do with changing lots of right minds on the subject of nation building, mine included. And we didn’t go after North Korea because a) all signs pointed to North Korea already having nukes by 2003; and b) Seoul’s proximity to the North’s artillery batteries–about thirty miles or so, within easy range of Kim’s probable NBC weapons–made attacking North Korea problematic to say the least; and c) North Korea didn’t have a decade of UN sanctions against it, the violation of which should have triggered a resumption of the Gulf War by 1998 at the latest; and d) North Korea isn’t in the Middle East, the swamp from which the monsters of caliphascism rise to menace us. Similar arguments can be used for Pakistan (notably the lack of UN sanctions against it that carried war implications), plus the fact that we didn’t know about the AQ Khan network in 2002 and 2003, when the Iraq war was on the table. And we only learned about the AQ Khan network thanks to the hard work of nuclear anti-proliferation under the Proliferation Security Initiative aegisa Bush initiative that helped lead to the disarmament of Libya without actually having to attack that rogue state directly. Isn’t there something to be said in the positive for that notable triumph of Bush foreign policy? Then why am I the only one who ever says it? Even conservatives do a dismal job of assessing Bush foreign policy in any context other than the Iraq war within Iraq’s own borders. The fact is, that war helped wake Ghadaffi (your spelling may vary) up to the new reality. His nuke program sits in Tennessee today as a tangible result.

The rest of the Prof’s foreign policy arguments are either ill-informed or made in bad faith (it has to be the former, because the Prof is a man of honor), but he could score points on the domestic side of things. Yes, the Bush 43 administration has spent money like drunken sailors (and having been around drunken sailors, I know that like the Bush 43 administration they mostly spend other people’s money). Yes, the Bush 43 administration is terrible to the point of obscenity on illegal immigration. And on affirmative action and one or two other domestic issues, Bush 43 is a little too much of a compassionate conservative for my tastes. Give me a little bit meaner conservatism, thanks.

But on judges–this administration is rock solid, probably better than Reagan. I think from what we know about John Roberts so far, we’re getting a generation of conservative thinking on SCOTUS. And we’ve already gotten a bit of NARAL wreckage as a bonus. On taxes–this administration is rock solid. On the economy–we’re getting 5% unemployment and rock solid growth. Gas prices are way too high, but if you think that the administration has much influence over that you don’t know basic economics.

And on foreign policy, I’ll part from Prof. Bainbridge and other panicked conservatives (and the left, from whom the panicked hawks seem to be borrowing their arguments these days) and say that I still stand with the Bush administration on Iraq, which was not a war of choice but a war of defense undertaken in good faith to rid the Middle East of a menace and provide a chance for some kind of sanity to take root in that beleaguered region. It hasn’t gone perfectly, but wars never ever do. The situation on the ground is proving to be more nettlesome than any of us supporters expected, but honestly it could be a great deal worse. To date we have in more than two years’ fighting in a very hostile environment lost fewer troops than any of us had a right to expect, and the three major Iraqi factions aren’t really on the point of that civil war that might well have happened. They’re drafting a constitution, something it took our founders about three years to pull off–and they had the Magna Charta and a real history of gradual movement toward representative republicanism to guide them, and our founders were an exceptionally experienced and brilliant assembly. Yet their first attempt at something like a constitution, the Articles of Confederation, was a mess. The American founders got things right on a do-over. Of course, they locked the media out of their deliberations.

The Iraqis have distant memories of a short-lived democracy and US, yet they’re managing so far to not threaten suicide belts at dawn over all their disagreements. There are worrisome signs that sharia is going to have some role in the Iraqi body of law, and if sharia forms the basis of that law it will be a very bad thing. But the Iraqi people themselves don’t support that, a good sign that after spits and sputters they may manage to get things right in spite of all our fretting.

The GWOT still seems to be going well in spite of Osama bin Laden’s continued sprints from one Iranian safehouse to the next. For all of al Qaeda in Iraq’s bluster, the job of “top aide to Zarqawi” has to rate as one of the worst gigs on earth–no one seems to last a month in that office before a stray missile or the Iraqi security forces finds him. The best al Qaeda seems to be able to manage in terms of striking at us again is sending a new tape to Al Jazeera showing Osama aping Michael Moore. I guess next time he’ll turn up subhosting for Paul Begala via satellite feed from his shack in the Tehran suburbs on CNN. True, al Qaeda did manage to paint Spain’s spine a nice shade of yellow, but they made the mistake of attacking multi-culti Britian in ways that conclusively demonstrate that multi-culti equals national suicide. Nice move, Mohammed. Now maybe even Cherie Blaire will acknowledge that threats to human rights who aren’t UK subjects but live off the crown’s generous dole ought to be sent back to the countries that chucked them out in the first place. All the jihadis need to do now is attack Japan just to make sure Tokyo jumpstarts its own re-armament and adds its high tech samurai to the mix. I’ve seen the Japan Self Defense Forces up close. They’re good, and they’re a constitutional revision away from returning to superpower status. And this time, thanks in large part to steady Bush administration diplomacy, they’ll be on our side.

Returning for a moment to Prof. Bainbridge’s argument, Japan’s military re-emergence might have an impact on negotiations with the North Koreans, no?

It seems that the Summer of Sheehan has everyone a little on edge. The fact is al Qaeda hasn’t attacked us on our soil in four years. The fact is Saddam Hussein, once the nascent Nebuchadnezzar, will soon stand trial for his thirty years of crimes against humanity. His rape rooms are closed, and his boys have found out that the 72 virgins weren’t waiting for them. Afghanistan and Iraq are still troubled, but on balance less menacing than they were on 9-10-01. AQ Khan is out of business, and Europe is finally waking up to just what a menace a nuclear armed Iran would pose. If only we could get the CIA to see the light on that.

Things could be better, but they could also be a heckuva lot worse. We could have been stuck with Al Gore?


Comments: 22


It just goes to show — you can’t see very much of what happens in the world when you’ve got your head that far up your ass.


That. THAT. THAT is an enormous piece of wankery. I love how he goes through (bogus, lame) reasons why Iraq was a better target than N.K or Pakistan, but simply doesn’t bother addressing Iran. Nope, can’t ever admit that Chimp in Charge fucked up.

verplanck colvin

Sure he addressed Iran. That’s where Bin Laden is hiding, silly!


My moment of amusement mostly came from all the ‘we couldn’t go to war with them, because the U.N. wouldn’t have agreed’ wankery. I kept picturing a diving platform, and as a figure walks to the edge a loudspeaker announces, “And now, Bryan Preston, performaing a no-gainer backflip with a complete right-wing twist.”


You can’t get at all the wack-ass, silly nonsense that lies like bedrock under the claims, the wrong shit running from one idea to the next, the untrue facts and debunkables, the tin-weight truisms and outright Wha? without spending ten words to each one your quarry emits.

With creationists, it’s called the Gish Gallop. Spew out ten BS and half-truths a minute. It takes at least two minutes to adequately address one of those lies. So Gish is always WAAY ahead.


You missed boldfacing a few bits.

Just read JYD, and by extension, Cold Fury: man, are these guys livid, like, all the time? It’s like they’ve got a permanent, burning case of piles…


I realize that practically the whole thing could be in bold, but you missed a big groaner: crediting Bush for Libya’s disarmament. The talks were ongoing for 10 years, led by the Europeans, and were on track for success. Indeed, the only reason they achieved success was… kicking John Bolton (Bush’s point man on WMD, mind you) out.

In other words, Libya dropped its nuke program despite Bush, not because of him.


Hi. I’ve noticed that the fellows, or whatever, that run this site pick on this “Justin Darr” fellow sometimes. I went to HS with Darr–he was a couple of years ahead of me.
He loved this thing that existed then, called “Model UN” and, indeed, organized one at Duquesne University. I went to that session as a representive from a HS team–the HS he graduated from. As I remember, he thought Model UN was great. He was not obviously conservative, and not obnoxiously so, since, if he tried to be obnoxious, he would have gotten himself beaten down. As a HS student, Darr was well, as you can imagine, less than integrated into the social mainstream. I knew his brother a bit, who hated him with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.
He was a bit of a dick, if I remember–but not the obviously horrifically sad and deluded wanker he now is. In fact, he had his moments of wit as a youth.
Now he is fat and balding and lame. Oh so lame.

|kept waiting to catch a current Darr thread here on Sadly, No!, but I keep missing them.


“man, are these guys livid, like, all the time? It’s like they’ve got a permanent, burning case of piles”

Worst one used to be Adam Yoshida, but he seems to have gone a bit quiet. One can only hope he’s seeing the error of his ways, in which case there may be hope for them all.


Holy crap, I’ve been doing the Bataan Death March of scrolling Extended Version to try to catch up from this weekend and now I don’t want to read anything else.


I found a picture of Mr. Preston ….. By the way I also found this great new site with the best conservative humor. Check it out.


And we didn’t go after North Korea because a) all signs pointed to North Korea already having nukes by 2003;
So a war against WMD prolifiration can only be fought against countries that don’t actually have WMDs? And the fact that Iraq didn’t have them retroactively validates this point, right?

There is an obvious reason Iraq was invaded and not N. Korea or Iran or Pakistan. In wars of choice, you want to pick a target that will go down easily. This has been US strategy since the Vietnam war. Pentagon war planners know that the US public will not support a long, bloody war (as can be seen in declining support for Iraq); we can fight the Grenada’s and Panama’s and Serbia’s all we want, but the kind of prolonged resistance we would see in a Pakistan or N. Korea? No way.


This is the end… my only friend… the end.

The cheyney administration isn’t holding water, even with neocons anymore.

And really, Isn’t the good prof. right? Not that I’m for the spreading of any of these ass backwards ideas but what happened to protecting the unborn and destroying social security?

Why haven’t they toughened up immigration laws and knocked down that pesky church/state barrier?
Doesen’t conservatism lean towards smaller government and less intrusion into personal matters? Hmmmm none of that with bushie…

Responsible spending? Har that’s a laugh, bush et al have been spending, well… (I hate to use a conservitave’s metaphore but it fits so well) a bunch of drunken syphillis crazed sailors… or I suppose pirates would be more appropos considering their ethics as it regards to corruption.

So I guess all of that really *was* lip service to the zealous right for their votes. I personally think it’s hilarious they were so duped (and continue to be) but if I were one of those “counting the days until the rapture” nutjobs, I’d be furious with chimpie.


Hmmm sorry for size of last post, first time experementing with html tags and i got a little to excited heh


Reborn Samurai on our side. What a Fuckwit, talk to anyone in Asia (including the Japanese) and they express amazement at what can only be seen as a country ignororant of its own suicide. To Japanese policy makers the biggest question is how to tell the Septics to fuck themselves politly and realign their interests with a resurgent Middle Country with which they have far mor in common. Most agree that the final death of WW2 veterans will allow it to happen


Gavin, you forgot this one: his boys have found out that the 72 virgins weren’t waiting for them

I quit beating my head against the wall whenever people confuse Iraq with 9-11. I nearly gave myself a concussion three years ago.


Greg, RE: the Preston pic: he looks awfully happy slinging them road apples. A bit like Nancy McKean any time she caught Lisa Welchel’s Blair shoehorning herself into a pair of Chic jeans.


Way to f***ing mock our WWII vets, Yosef. My GOd, have you know shame?

I’m goona BAtann Death march all over your ass. and you will lvoe it!

CONTINUE TO SUCK IT11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Note: Added a couple (thanks teh l4m3 and Roth).

A big one: The Founding Fathers locking the media out of their deliberations.

There were these articles later collected as the ‘Federalist Papers,’ published in a newspaper by Alexander Hamilton under the pseudonym, ‘Publius.’


Major Shortssniffer

Holy shit! That Yosef guy has been using that “Bataan Death March” shit every where! Him and his assbudy Pink pUnk!!


Stupid Liberal Sickos can;t think of any thing for themselves. Aslway doing what there puppet masters tell them to do and think. Just the other day Rush was on fire ranting about liberal talking points and how insidious they are. Well I just hadn’t realized how bad it was until Rush explained it to me. That man is a frickin’ Genius.

Major Shortssniffer

Ditto, Asshat! LOL!!!1!!11!!!


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