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January 08, 2007

Joe Klein And The Politics of Tone

Sometimes I wonder if Joe's actually trying to soil my surname. His very first blog post (oh what a day!) reads like a parody of the form. By the time the first three sentences wind to their merciful end, he's already accused Democrats of sounding like "ill-informed dilettantes" and accused Paul Krugman of "making a fool out of himself." Ill-informed? Foolish? Tsk tsk, those bloggers and their language.

Klein's actual complaint is staggering in its mendacity: Democrats, who he thinks are right about the uselessness of a "surge" strategy, are being too nasty in saying so. Let's go over that again: In Joe Klein's very first blog post, his initial chance to opine in an instant and high-profile medium, he doesn't choose to inveigh against a dangerous and counterproductive strategy which he admittedly believes would cost thousands of lives and prolong an immoral, grievously wrong-headed war. No, he chooses to toss off a tantrum against Democrats who are too rhetorically dismissive of the strategy he admittedly believes would cost thousands of lives and prolong an immoral, grievously wrong-headed war.

What is wrong with these people?

January 8, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Obviously he wanted to generate a lot of links to his new blog. Looks like it worked.

Posted by: Emma Zahn | Jan 8, 2007 2:45:14 PM

I got there via Anndy Sullivan early this morning and it ruined my day. Absolutely despicable.

If anybody out there was calling for the 50-100k John Keegan is said is needed (I did my homework, Joe! Do I get a gold star?), I might call them delusional also, but different reasons. Joe Klein is conflating three years of saying we don't have enough troops with this desparate "hail-mary pass". The column was an insult, and a libel, and a lie.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jan 8, 2007 4:54:40 PM

If it upsets you so that Klein is focussing on the rhetoric rather than the substance, why are you doing the same thing, Ezra? I'm not sure who's right about the "surge" idea, but I agree with Klein otherwise, and don't see the great problem with his pointing out the poor quality of the rhetoric being used against the surge. Not only is Klein's "mendacity" not staggering, it's not there at all, that I can see. You didn't show any lack of honesty, Ezra. Strong language to use if you're not even going to try to back it up. (Bob, your charge of a "lie" isn't very clear either.)

On the "immoral, grievously wrong-headed war," again, that it is indeed such a war doesn't directly imply we shouldn't stay or surge or whatever. We're there now, and we have a great responsibility there. It may get far worse if we leave.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jan 8, 2007 5:32:10 PM

Perhaps Ezra needs to change how he signs his public posts, here and elsewhere: Ezra (NOT Joe!) Klein.

Klein, like comics of an earlier era, is just doing his shtick . His claim to the public discourse for some time has been his mocking horror at Dems, liberals (DFH) in particular.

Swampland, indeed!

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jan 8, 2007 5:32:26 PM

James Fallows on the "surge", with links to Pat Lang. JF calls it a fantasy, which may differ from a delusion. Colonet (ret.)Pat Lang calls it "Stalingrad on the Tigris"

"And if it’s unlikely that a “surge” would improve circumstances in the short term, it is inconceivable that a relatively small increase in troops, even with leadership that has learned from nearly four years of gross errors, could reverse the situation in the largest sense." ...JF;note "surge" in quotes

The lie is in conflating 20-30k troops with a "labor-intensive counter-insurgency strategy" If Bush were talking 100k I might take it seriously, except I don't know where he would get them. There are other plans possible:i.e. make Baghdad look like Fallujah with air/sea power, that would "force-multiply" 25k troops, but I don't think they would win the war.

Another possibility is a surge with a decision to add new divisions to the force structure, implying a multi-decade committment and determination, and very gradual escalation as needed, and just enough power to fuck Iraq all up indefintely. I don't think Sadr/Sistani and the American people would give that sic months.

Delusional.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jan 8, 2007 8:12:13 PM

Bob, you show a difference in opinion, not a lie. I believe the extra troops are mainly for Baghdad, not the whole of Iraq. It isn't clearly delusional that they could make a significant difference there, though there are good reasons for skepticism.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jan 8, 2007 9:06:46 PM

Joe Klein Updates ...almost like a blogger

"A couple of points on the so-called surge: Ana's right that an increase of 20,000 is not what Gen. Keane and the serious surgers are asking for. She's also right that it probably won't be enough." ...JK

Umm...

"How long will our troops have to be there for this to change Iraq's violent sectarian culture--if it can work at all? Serious surgers tell me...ten years" ...JK

No delusions around here.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jan 8, 2007 9:24:15 PM

Joe Klein ...sorry

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jan 8, 2007 9:26:45 PM

Stop Picking on Me ...hilarious. Klein loses it on the first day.

Nah, I can't quote from it. Despicable piece of garbage.

Shorter Joe:We are all, except sanpete, ignorant traitors. Why, oh why do I hate America and Iraq?

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jan 8, 2007 9:40:25 PM

Ten years. That would be based in part on our experience in the former Yugoslavia, I suppose. Probably a lower limit.

Bob, don't assume that Klein thinks you hate America. He says you should take care not to sound that way. Which is true.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jan 8, 2007 9:55:39 PM

Bob:"The house is on fire!"
Klein:"Here. Use this bottle of Evian."
Bob:"Are you kidding me?"
Klein:"You don't even care enough to try?"

No more throwing away good kids for the sake of bad pundits.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jan 8, 2007 10:35:36 PM

Don't worry, bob. No one's there for the pundits.

By the way, it wouldn't be wise to let a Marine know you compared him and 20,000 of his fellows to a bottle of Evian. Just in case you happen to discuss this at the local pub. Um, saloon. You're in Texas, right?

Posted by: Sanpete | Jan 8, 2007 10:45:27 PM

Bob, don't assume that Klein thinks you hate America. He says you should take care not to sound that way. Which is true.

Right. Because people who LUV America can gaze with equanimity on each new crop of amputees, and say, If their sacrifice helped illuminate the shortcomings of the latest Heritage/AEI/Hudson Institute podium strategizing, by God, it was worth it.

And I'm curious about exactly how much direct experience you have with Marines, Sanpete.

Posted by: sglover | Jan 8, 2007 11:27:18 PM

Jeez, between "Wonkette" and Klein, at least Time chose a good name for the site. How come Sullivan isn't in "Swampland"? He'd fit right in....

Posted by: sglover | Jan 8, 2007 11:30:18 PM

SGlover, I can't figure out how what you say is supposed to relate to what you quoted from me.

I have somewhat more experience with Marines than with saloons.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jan 8, 2007 11:42:00 PM

That actually wasn't JK's first post there -- the first post was on Sunday, and he used it to slag Nancy Pelosi. See this post and this follow-up.

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Posted by: judy | Sep 26, 2007 7:51:36 AM

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