What Am I Missing Here?

Atrios mocks Andrew Sullivan for writing the following:

But the years since, and the atrocities still committed by the Jihadists, have not diminished my or, I suspect, many other people’s desire to fight our enemy with vigor and precision. My spine hasn’t softened against al Qaeda. If anything, I want to defeat what they represent more now than ever.

I’m not a knee-jerk Andrew Sullivan defender by any means, but I don’t see what’s particularly wrong with this sentiment.

Al Qaeda are a bunch of murderous fundamentalist scumbags who, contrary to the opinions of the genocidal goobers at LittleWhiteGoofballs, are largely shunned in the Muslim world. The Boston Globe had a good editorial about this today. Here’s the relevant exceprt:

THE LATEST Osama bin Laden audiotape is striking for what it implies about the Al Qaeda leader’s growing alienation from even Islamist currents in the Arab and Muslim world. Both the National Islamic Front regime in Sudan and the Hamas government of the Palestinian Authority were quick to reject bin Laden’s pretense of solidarity with them by declaring that they have nothing in common with Al Qaeda.

Because the roots of the Al Qaeda cult are in its simplistic yet grandiose ideas about a global conflict of religious cultures, bin Laden’s public statements need to be understood not merely as threats but also as attempts to justify an ideology that offers no real solutions to the challenges confronting Muslim and Arab peoples. The tape broadcast Sunday reflects an effort to overcome the damage done to Al Qaeda’s reputation by last November’s bombings of hotels in Amman, Jordan.

And this is something we Americans largely forget: the views of Al Qaeda are simply not very popular in Middle Eastern societies.

The mistake our government made after 9/11 was thinking that Al Qaeda reflected a sickness in the entire Islamic world. In reality they were (and are) a bunch of nihilistic wackos who are greatly disliked by the vast majority of people in the Middle East, even those who sympathize with fundamentalist outfits like the Muslim Brotherhood. If we had kept our focus on fighting Al Qaeda instead of trying to forcibly remake the entire Islamic world in our image, we would have garnered far more sympathy from Middle Easterners than what we currently have.

So really, I don’t see why Sullivan said anything wrong when he said he wanted to defeat what Al Qaeda stood for. Most people do, I think.

UPDATE: Yosef writes:

I see what everyone is saying that Atrios was going after, but I agree that it was nitpicking a little bit.

Yeah, I mean, if you wanted to make fun of crazy stuff Andrew Sullivan said in the past, you could do a lot worse than this. And yes, I understand why he pissed so many people off after 9/11 when he started blabbing about “fifth columnists” and whatnot, but to be fair, he’s gotten a lot saner since then. Sure, he still has his tragic relapses into wingnuttery (i.e., anytime he discusses The Bell Curve), but overall I don’t think he deserves the same derision and scorn as other bloggers I could mention.

Also, it’s a little silly to expect Sully to enlist in the Army, especially since they wouldn’t accept him anyway.


Comments: 48


Atrios is mocking Sully for sounding like he’s in the fucking war zone, is what it is.

Sure, we all want to defeat them, but Sullivan and all the others make it sound as if they’re in the middle of the action rather than clacking away at the keyboard.


I think Atrios was saying that what is Sullivan doing to “defeat” the enemy, and why does it matter that his spine hasn’t “softened” (and also that he is implying that other peoples’ spines have softened – let’s guess who).

I agree with him. Sullivan’s spine is irrelevant to the destruction of Al Queda. His comments just serve as so much Fighting Keyboarder nonnsense.


Having just read the post in question over at Atrios’ place, I think the harshness is related to the idea that Sullivan is saying that HE wants to defeat them, and HIS spine hasn’t softened.

On the contrary; I would think after all these years fighting the war from a keyboard, his spine probably has softened a bit, and maybe curved a little, too.

Not that I am against everything he says — this post just seemed a little over-the-top 101st.



I think it might just be the point you made here, Brad….if Sully was so serious about undermining al Qaeda, he wouldn’t have supported us wasting time dicking around in Iraq.

It’s like the logic of the people who say they want to reduce teen pregnancy….by making schools teach abstinence only sex ed.


I guess we all had the same idea…


“I’m not a knee-jerk Andrew Sullivan defender by any means, but I don’t see what’s particularly wrong with this sentiment.”

Atrios doesn’t care about fighting al-Qaeda. He’s in the wing of the Democrat party that opposed strikes on Afghanistan.


The Fact Is Atrios has no spine. He is a jellyfish that can type, like the jellyfish wing of the Democrat [sic] Party. The fact is I have seen it.


Atrios’ message IS the mocking.


I see what everyone is saying that Atrios was going after, but I agree that it was nitpicking a little bit.

Tak, the Hideous New Girl

I also thought he was mocking Sully because it sounded like he was actually doing something other than pontificating.


Of course, it does seem to me that Sully is still kind of equating aQ with everyone in Iraq.


Atrios thinks he is actually doing something. That gives him special powers of not having to actually do anything.


Well it looks as if the above posts said what I was going to say (Andy talks as if he actually does something other than talk) so there’s not much to add other than Andrew Sullivan is a douchebag of the highest order and nothing he says should go without derision of some sort.

Gary Ruppert, Sr.

Gary, your mother wants to know if you have taken your clothes out of the dryer yet…she needs to do some laundry.

Please clean your room. The last time I was in there, it was a sea of Cheetos and fast food bags.

You said you would mow the lawn, and its going to rain soon…you better move soon if you want me to update your tracphone.



Now that was funny!


On a slightly related note, did anyone check-out the comment link to Sullivan’s 4/11/03 Von Hoffman Award schtick on people cautious about Iraq? So wrong its stunning.



I think this explains it:

“The Democratic party has no room for someone who opposes gay marriage, and the Republican party has room for people who support it, and that’s why we’re in Iraq.”
Caitlin Flanagan, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC (April 20, 2006)


And yes, I understand why he pissed so many people off after 9/11 when he started blabbing about “fifth columnists”

You don’t think that assault on public discourse was bad enough to leave deep wounds? You have a point about the nit-picking, but Sully is part of the reason why we’re all in the terrible situation we are now…he helped demonise dissent after 9/11, polarise American society and contributed to ruining the world-wide, post 9/11 solidarity that doesn’t exist at all now.

The Sullies of the world need to be mocked right out of public debate so they’re never allowed to ruin it again.

Besides, it’s the Muslims who’ll solve the Jihadi problem eventually, not Anglo-American Catholic sophists and apologists like Sully.


THAT’S RIGHT! We are in Iraq because the Democrats can’t tolerate those that can’t tolerate gay marriage!


To say nothing of the fact that the people Sully loves to figuratively fellate in his masturbatory pontificating wouldn’t know vigor or precision if it came up and slapped them on the ass.

To be certain, it is their lack of precision (and clues) that has turned things like Iraq into something that resembles an ongoing clusterfuck




Jesus H. Christmas, I get tired of listening to people on the wrong side of the Looking Glass sometimes.

Not that the Democratic party *shouldn’t* support gay marriage, mind you – just that it *doesn’t*.

There are probably a lot of people in the Democratic party who do support gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean the party itself supports it.

I know a lot of married Catholic wommen who are on the Pill, but that doesn’t mean the Catholic church supports oral contraception.

It does make me wonder what those people are doing in the Democratic party, though.


that doesn’t mean the party itself supports it.

whereas this party does support it – wedge or no.

Pronoun, Meet Antecedent

“The Fact Is Atrios has no spine. He is a jellyfish that can type, like the jellyfish wing of the Democrat [sic] Party. The fact is I have seen it.”

The jellyfish wing? You’ve seen it? Aw, damn. I always miss the good stuff. Was the jellyfish doing anything else while it was flying and typing? Shrieking as it wielded a golden coathanger, perhaps?


Gary Ruppert, Sr. is a fraud.

Sr.’s actual name is Phil.


Sr.’s actual name is Phil.

Is he from the Greater Punxsutawny Metropolitan Area?


Sullivan is using a really annoying “holier than thou” attitude – like he’s one of the few people in the world who have not stopped hating Osama.

See, Sullivan has amazing powers of inference. He’s able to infer, for instance, that if you don’t like Bush, you sent Osama some throw pillows to decorate the cave.

Only Sullivan truly understands the war on terror, and that’s why he feels the need to point out that he hates Osama more than you do.


The other subtext is Sullivan’s quote from a year ago to the effect that the military are his “servants” and that they are doing work that is somehow beneath him.


My spine hasn’t softened against al Qaeda. If anything, I want to defeat what they represent more now than ever.

I’m sure that this is the worst news Zarqawi has heard all day.

Listen, your personal commitment matters when, say, you’re on a diet. When your nation is at war, it couldn’t possibly matter less unless you’re one of a small handful of people, and none of those people are Andrew Sullivan.


I think Mr. Black’s mockery of Sully the Pooh was due to silly Pooh’s failure to take any action with his stiffened backbone by partaking in real combat, except from his keyboard.


I concur with the “overly nitpicky” assessment.
Sully may be a douche a fair amount of the time, but he does have his moments of reasoned lucidity, and while he may be being too cheerleady for Atrios’ case, there ain’t nothing wrong with that particular statement.


Without falling into the trap of letting the right dictate our “need” to denounce al-Queda to “prove” where our allegiance lies, I’m happy to second what Brad says here about al-Q. No matter how AS says it, or whether Atrios is right in what he says, it is important to state and restate that we all want to defeat al-Queda and stop terrorist attacks and work toward peace and justice. (“What’s so funny …” as Elvis C once sang.) How to do that is the question. That we can’t do it in Iraq is I think the consensus here (Gary Ruppert being the exception).

p.s., I’m thrilled to see the new annieangel commenter persona, and I love her blog. Go new annie!


Is he from the Greater Punxsutawny Metropolitan Area?

Can I just say that as a resident of Pennsylvania, I really fucking hate those lottery commercials with that stupid groundhog?


The fact is, my middle name is Phil.

Gary, have you taken your clothes out of the dryer, yet? You mother REALLY needs to do some laundry, and what about the yard?

That trash had better be out of your room by dinner or this will be the last time you get pigs in a blanket.


Oneiros Dreaming

Oh, I missed that context. I read it and thought ‘Where exactly are we fighting them, again?’ Didn’t Sully support the Iraq Adventure?


I think the point Atrios is making and mocking is that Sully talks awfully tough for a bloviating ninny who will never have to get his hands dirty.


Gary Ruppert: Atrios doesn’t care about fighting al-Qaeda. He’s in the wing of the Democrat party that opposed strikes on Afghanistan.

So to make sure I remembered correctly, I went to Atrios’s archives, where the very first mention of Afghanistan, on 4/22/2002, was in the following sentence:

…As in, we’re right to bomb Afghanistan, but we’re wrong to pay inflated prices for those bombs to enrich our cronies…

Yes, this proves that Gary Ruppert is a moron who pulled that stupid accusation right out of his ass. Gary Ruppert, you are a lying piece of shit. Shut up and fuck off.


I get annoyed when people call him Sully the Pooh.

And actually, I think Flanagan is right in a way – if it weren’t for teh Gay Marriage issue, Bush loses and we are no longer in Iraq…


Whenever I hear Andrew, something goes soft, but it’s not my spine.

I’m sure most gay men have that reaction whenever he opens his mouth, which is why he is so child-like. Which means, like children, he should be seen and not heard.


I think everybody above misses the point. Sullivan says two things:
One, the passage of time hasn’t dimmed his desire to fight al Q. Well, why in the world would a few years of age change an important policy goal or signature rhetorical stance? Not unless one’s initial desire was based on unconsidered emotion, which one might be loath to admit.
Two, the atrocities committed by terrorists haven’t dimmed his desire to fight them. Well, duh. And by the way, what have al Q. and ilk done to upset the Sullivans out there compared to 9/11? Most of our casualties in Iraq have been to people upset that we waltzed in and turned things upside down, not Jihadists. This statement would make much more sense phrased as, “The _lack_ of a follow-up to 9/11 hasn’t changed my belief in the importance of getting al Q.” But it still be dumb because al Q. is either supposedly largely rolled up (we’ve caught about 20 of their third-in-commands, haven’t we?) or has metastasized into something new.


al Qaeda was never a very large nor particularly coherent organization.
Terrorism 101 – cause fear and panic. al Qaeda is very good at this because they carry out well planned and coordinated attacks generally with multiple teams hitting one area at a time and they do it throughout the world. The group also has a leader/figurehead who is very good a propaganda.
Look at what al Qaeda has done – Africa, Bali, 9/11, Madrid and now perhaps Egypt – and what the US has done in response. Al Qaeda would kill you if they had the chance but that isn’t their/its goal. There goal is to get us to overreach, go bankrupt and to take action s which lead to more terrorism. (Apparently the report on the London bombings will state those nutjobs had no links to any organization.)

While Sullivan and his ilk have been wetting themselves over terrorist attacks you are more likely to die in an auto accident. Americans ofter forget 9/11 could have been prevented or minimized if – we denied entry to people on the terrorist watch list, if the FBI would have followed up on the flight school memos, if the FBI would have rolled up the San Diego group two of whom were living with an informant, if airport security detained several of those on the watch list at the airport, if the pilots don’t open the cockpit doors. This is just on the micro level let alone the missed opportunities on a larger scale. We had to fail multiple times on multiple levels in order for the 9/11 attack to succeed.

Glad to hear Sullivan is no longer hiding in his closest but that will not make any of us safer. The DHS is a mess (terror alerts anyone), first responders still can’t communicate with each other, our security at ports, chemical plants and nuclear facilities is still a joke and the country has decided to spend its money on a giant wall in the AZ desert. Meanwhile internationally we are creating more terrorist and potential recruits. What is brave sir Sully’s plan – stay the fucking course?


I think it’s the “fighting” part that’s so funny.

gary p ruppert sr

Gary, put your mother’s panties back in the hamper. She needs to wash them.


So really, I don’t see why Sullivan said anything wrong when he said he wanted to defeat what Al Qaeda stood for. Most people do, I think.

Yeah, but I really don’t hear enough people expressing their belief in the cuteness of babies, or in how refreshing ice cream is on a hot summer day, either. It’s kind of like Abu Gonzales says – if you don’t make public declarations on this sort of thing, people forget about it. Let’s hear it for snuggly babies! Lemme hear you guys scream for ice cream!

Come on, Brad, this is the kind of shit Kevin Fucking Drum likes to do – stir up worthless arguments to burnish his milquetoast moderate credentials at someone else’s expense. Sullivan can go fuck himself raw; he doesn’t deserve credit for finally acknowledging the excruciatingly obvious every so often. Some of us were there years ago, without having to use a prominent soapbox to throw around casual accusations of treason along the way.


Sullivan’s an intellectually dishonest jackass and I no longer waste my time reading him.


ok, i realize that many other people have said what i am about to say; but it bears repeating.

first of all, andrew sullivan is not in the military or contributing to the “fight” in any way than to sit on his ass and compose whiney blog posts. this makes the hard nosed military sounding stances he takes incredibly annoying.

but that is hardly the worst of it. he is implying that liberals “have gone soft on al quaeda”. this is just a more politic way for him to denounce “the decadent coastal urban left” for wanting to do such crazy treasonous things as allow him to get married.

and that is still not the worst part. the worst part is that back in 2002 when push came to shove on getting tough on al quaeda or backing bush’s oil war his spine turned into jello gelatin.

now 4 years later with bush swiftly approaching nixonian approval ratings mr. sullivan has suddenly remembered that al quaeda attacked us way back in 2001 and has rummaged through his basement to find the moldy leftovers of the resolve he thought he had the day after 9/11.

a commenter above stated that andrew sullivan is “intellectually dishonest”. that is an understatement. andrew sullivan is a liar and a coward who couldn’t give a shit about this country. and he has made a buttload of money soothing the egos of right wing jackasses with his bullshit.


The point is that Sullivan not only has failed to ever do anything real in the War on Terror, but has not even managed to advocate anything that could concievably win the War on Terror. In fact, he has lambasted those who have advocated positions that would aid in the War on Terror, but happen to not be Republican.

Sully is a joke and a failure, and completely irrelevant to the security of America in even the most indirect analyses. The idea that his “spine hasn’t softened” is just him jacking off through the keyboard, and really, who wants to see that?


Just to hammer home the point, here Sullivan was a couple days ago talking about his current reading: “I haven’t finished yet, but already the evidence is simply overwhelming that this (in my view) noble, important and necessary war was ruined almost single-handedly by one arrogant, overweening de facto saboteur. That man is Donald Rumsfeld.”

Noble, important and necessary, huh? Looks like that cranial-rectal inversion is still going untreated. Fucking moron.

And then here he manages to ignore this point from a reader – “I think you go too far – the problem isn’t only Rumsfeld, but the war itself. Pinning all the blame on one person is simply a way for people who supported the invasion from the beginning to get themselves off the hook for not anticipating the wars failures.” – in favor of more scorn for Rummy alone, plus the usual “Saddam was a BAD, BAD man” tossed on there for garnish. The moronic fucking wanker deserves all the snark and scorn people can dump on him.

And to answer the title of this post, what you missed was the title of Atrios’ post: Battle Cry of the 101st.


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