Saturday, January 12, 2008

Aaro under attack!

Thanks to an anonymous commenter for the heads-up - Aaro is apparently the subject of a MediaLanche. Mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I am not a fan of MediaLens; in my view there are far too many Chomsky cultists there and they really haven't got the memo about the unproductiveness of mass email campaigns. I am not sure that there is such a fine line between what MediaLens do and more conventional spam.

On the other hand, the ML article does make what looks like a fair enough point; that Aaro was in the vanguard of the "You lot don't care about the poor ickle Iraqis! See, that one just died and it's your fault!" tendency among the Decents and it is a bit sus, therefore, that he's gone so quiet on the subject over the last couple of years, apart from that bleat about what might have happened if "General Petraeus had been there in Baghdad in surge numbers in 2003" (ie, 2005 troop levels, thanks to Alex for this point).

On the third hand, though (I am an economist after all), does it make any sense at all to encourage the Decent Left to give us more of their opinions about Iraq? I take the Attlee/Laski line on this one.

24 Comments:

Blogger Nathaniel Tapley said...

I feel sorry for the poor bastard who had to wade through half a decade of Aaronovitch's columns...

1/12/2008 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Malky Muscular said...

Is the On the third hand... device a sign that Friedman-ese is creeping into AW commentary? Or is it just that economists have a love of such things?

Incidentally, BB, if you didn't read it at the time I can heartily recommend Flathead, Matt Taibbi's review of The World is Flat. It'll be right up your street.

1/12/2008 03:39:00 PM  
Anonymous gastro george said...

The saddest thing is the recurrent theme that Aaro takes Blair "at face value".

Now it's just about excusable that ordinary non-sceptical punters do this (although in my experience most punters don't).

But I always thought that it's the job of journalists NOT to take politicians at face value, but to research the background and challenge them.

The Paxman quote "why is this lying bastard lying to me" comes to mind here.

1/12/2008 06:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the third hand, though (I am an economist after all), does it make any sense at all to encourage the Decent Left to give us more of their opinions about Iraq?

No. We should immediately cease this infantile obsession with "Decents" and concentrate on refining, clarifying and communicating our own opinions on Iraq.

We are right, were right, always have been right about Iraq. But maybe, now, we should think about saying something that we believe will be right about Iraq.

We all agreed (didn't we?) that the Surge would be a complete failure? Given its success and popularity amongst Iraqis - what is our suggested policy?

Those Decents were fucking vile in the way they suggested there was a Liberal Humanitarian Interventionist argument to support the Iraq war - but we showed them otherwise with our clearly defined and broadly popular alternative policy.

Those Decent cunts taking the moral highground with us when none of them had been attacked on a personal level in the slightest for their stance.

WE should never refer to them again and focus solely on promoting our own principles and policies.

1/13/2008 02:52:00 AM  
Blogger Malky Muscular said...

Please, please don't delete the anonymous comment above.

I urge you to let it stand as a testament to the zeitgeist.

1/13/2008 03:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone ready to deconstruct the Cohenbabble in today's Observer?
There's so many holes in it but just enough provocation to keep you skimming the first line of every paragraph and to dream of punching his smug mug.

Honestly, I couldn't face reading it thouroughly, life is to short and sweet. Can someone give us a low down and it a beating for me please?

A. Lazy B'stard.

1/13/2008 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous fatbongo said...

"We all agreed (didn't we?) that the Surge would be a complete failure? Given its success and popularity amongst Iraqis - what is our suggested policy?"

BAGHDAD, Aug. 23 — The number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has soared since the American troop increase began in February, according to data from two humanitarian groups, accelerating the partition of the country into sectarian enclaves.

"http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/24/world/middleeast/24displaced.html?hp

More directly assessing the surge itself - a measure that necessarily includes views of the United States, which are highly negative - 65 to 70 percent of Iraqis say it's worsened rather than improved security, political stability and the pace of redevelopment alike.

"http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3571504"

"Those Decent cunts taking the moral highground with us when none of them had been attacked on a personal level in the slightest for their stance."

You Decents supported a war which has been a disaster and has killed hundreds of thousands of people, and then when people pull you up on it you have the gall to act as if you are being treated unfairly!

And then you wonder why we think you are cunts?

1/13/2008 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous dsquared said...

as always for Decent Mr Angry anonymous commenters (hi Marko), the United Nations and international law as it currently stands don't either of them count as policies. Only war counts as a policy.

1/13/2008 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous darkhorse said...

"Success of the Surge" is rapidly becoming the most keenly touted and exciting turning point ever since Uday and Qusay bought the farm.

Now, as then, I await the new dawn of peaceful democracy in Iraq with bated breath.

1/14/2008 10:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right. So Daniel Davies doesn't like Chomsky. We get the message.

You're a stockbroker. You're not supposed to like him. He doesn't like you. But maybe next time actually give some reasoned criticism? You know, like he does? The affectation of languid superiority is tiresome.

they really haven't got the memo...

That would be which memo? The one that contradicts all sorts of empirical evidence? What do you suggest they do?

To me you sound Decentist in your repeated and thinly relevant efforts to dissociate yourself from the radical left. It is tediously predictable.

1/15/2008 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

they really haven't got the memo about the unproductiveness of mass email campaigns

Perhaps if you got a lot of people to send it at once...

1/15/2008 08:48:00 AM  
Anonymous dsquared said...

actually I do like Chomsky quite a bit, but not his wannabes.

1/15/2008 10:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since you have been known to be a smartarse, I can't really feel very guilty in pointing out that in March 2006 you didn't like Chomsky.

Here and here you said this:

This is true, and it is one of the reasons I don't like Chomsky is that there is some gravitational force which brings him to say "well what about East Timor" at some stage in any conversation, usually when his back is up against the wall about some other idiot thing he has said.

The more important question is why you dismiss Medialens as Chomsky wannabes. They have explicitly adopted his analysis of the media, and their efforts to promote this analysis have received his endorsement. What is your problem with them? That they aren't world-renowned linguists? That they don't have quite the same encyclopaedic knowledge of US foreign policy?

1/16/2008 02:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Yeah, Dan, what do you think you're playing at with this "having an opinion and expressing it" crap? If you carry on like that you'll end up refusing to justify yourself to self-righteous anonymous trollers, and nobody wants to do that.

("Don't even mention Chomsky" is a blogging rule of mine (along with "stay clear of HP"); I break it from time to time and always end up regretting it. Les extremes may not actually se touchent, but they don't half se semblent sometimes.)

1/16/2008 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

That's not the most convincing posting ever written.

1/16/2008 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger StuartA said...

That is astonishingly feeble, Phil.

Are you against all debate in these comments, or just that provoked by anonymous commenters that you unilaterally declare to be "trollers"?

I recall that you previously insisted that Chomsky had misrepresented Moynihan before you had even read Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Your response to my argument that he had not, in fact, substantively misrepresented Moynihan was that you "trusted" your "own powers of interpretation". No counter argument was given, just as none has been given here.

1/16/2008 03:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Are you against all debate in these comments, or just that provoked by anonymous commenters that you unilaterally declare to be "trollers"?

'Unilaterally' is an odd word in this context - I don't usually consult widely before posting anything in a comments box.

But no, I generally don't think it's worth replying to people who seem to me to be trolling (by which I mean 'trying to score points and provoke anger in the guise of debate'), still less so if they're trolling anonymously.

I recall that you previously insisted that Chomsky had misrepresented Moynihan before you had even read Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

We've been through this, so I'll just repeat what I said last time. I often feel that way about Chomsky's summaries & paraphrases; the hostility of his tone makes me suspect the person being summarised isn't getting a fair treatment. A view of the text confirmed that impression.

Your response to my argument that he had not, in fact, substantively misrepresented Moynihan was that you "trusted" your "own powers of interpretation". No counter argument was given, just as none has been given here.

No counter-argument was given at that point because we'd just spent five days been exchanging arguments. You didn't persuade me and I didn't persuade you. I'm prepared to live with that.

1/16/2008 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger StuartA said...

You say you based your opinion of Chomsky's alleged misrepresentation on disliking his tone, rather than actually reading what he was said to have misrepresented. That is a poor foundation for making or endorsing factual claims.

Having finally read an excerpt of the text, you persisted in claiming that, for instance, Chomsky was wrong to assert that Moynihan was "aware of the nature of his success" in preventing the UN intervening in East Timor. I pointed out that he was indeed aware of the nature of his success: he told his readers all about it, as Chomsky and other writers have pointed out. You responded with nothing except an expression of faith in your "powers of interpretation". This after claiming that "the point about what Chomsky wrote isn't the interpretation but the direct assertions".

You say Chomsky made "incorrect" and "misleading" statements regarding Moynihan because the "the ordering of the argument makes a difference". How does it make a difference? You don't say. And so on.

None of this is convincing, and it indicates why you have trouble when you mention Chomsky on your blog. It's because you are foolish enough to take at face value the dishonest and largely false accusations of Oliver Kamm. Anyone who can describe Kamm et al.'s desperate letter to the Guardian as "a devastating case" is, I'm afraid, bound to come in for some flak. It comes with being credulous and wrong.

Now you are hilariously suggesting that somebody challenging an opinion you favour is somehow (the mechanism, like so much, is unexplained) impinging on or at least implicitly questioning the right of "having an opinion and expressing it". And apparently whenever convenient, a person who disagrees with you is a "troller" who is "trying to score points and provoke anger in the guise of debate", and not worthy of a reply. Given your feelings-based explanation for believing Kamm, this policy is understandable: engaging with evidence would be harder.

1/16/2008 10:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Stuart, I know you're not convinced by what I said about what Kamm said about what Chomsky said about what Moynihan said. I know because you've said so. I don't think there's any point me trying to persuade you one more time.

This does deserve some comment, though:

it indicates why you have trouble when you mention Chomsky on your blog. It's because you are foolish enough to take at face value the dishonest and largely false accusations of Oliver Kamm.

I was taking flak for critical comment on Chomsky years before I'd ever heard of Kamm, I can assure you.

Oh, and:

apparently whenever convenient, a person who disagrees with you is a "troller" who is "trying to score points and provoke anger in the guise of debate", and not worthy of a reply.

Where does this come from? On what basis do you reject what I said about what I wrote, viz. that I genuinely judged when I wrote that comment that the anonymous commenter was trolling? Come to that, on what basis do you extrapolate from a sample of one to "whenever convenient"?

To put it another way, what kind of conversational opener is "stop lying to me, you lying bastard"?

1/17/2008 12:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Incidentally, ejh - you have a point. It was late and I was tired (I don't think 'semblent' is the right word), and I was feeling bruised and pissed-off after dealing with an attack from 'brownie' on another blog. I probably provoked that too.

1/17/2008 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger StuartA said...

I don't think there's any point me trying to persuade you one more time.

There isn't if you continue to provide no argument and no evidence — indeed, when you imply that one need not even bother reading what is under discussion to form a worthwhile opinion.

I was taking flak for critical comment on Chomsky years before I'd ever heard of Kamm, I can assure you.

I apologize for not noting your other flak-taking occasions, even if you are now expanding the scope beyond blogging. The point stands, however, that you are bound to take flak if you endorse things like that absurd letter.

Where does this come from? On what basis do you reject what I said about what I wrote, viz. that I genuinely judged when I wrote that comment that the anonymous commenter was trolling?

You're right: I'm not privy to your mood swings. But given that you simultaneously moaned about Chomsky, I judged — and who are you to doubt me? — that your judgment was not unrelated to the commenter's apparent view of Chomsky.

Come to that, on what basis do you extrapolate from a sample of one to "whenever convenient"?

I said "apparently". I based it on your attitude here, and the "capricious" comments deletion policy on your blog.

To put it another way, what kind of conversational opener is "stop lying to me, you lying bastard"?

I don't quite see how this was a conversational "opener". But I don't see how it's an accusation of lying either. I just think your "feelings" and "powers of interpretation" have, as before, stood in for argument and evidence.

1/17/2008 02:15:00 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

I like and dislike Chomsky. What I like about him is that he does have a pretty solid analysis of the role of the USA and imperialism generally. What I don't like about him is that the volume of his published output has clearly massively outstripped any possibility of quality control, meaning that he regularly offers up open goals, and then embarrasses himself trying to pretend that his mistakes weren't mistakes.

Also, he (and the wannabes really exaggerate this) has the same flaw with respect to the Decents of being constitutionally unable to disagree with anyone in a vaguely normal manner. I just don't really get anything from Chomsky that I can't get better anywhere else.

1/17/2008 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Decents supported a war which has been a disaster and has killed hundreds of thousands of people, and then when people pull you up on it you have the gall to act as if you are being treated unfairly!

Yes! As Dsquared has oft remarked - "Every death in Iraq, not just those caused by anti-democratic forces, are attributable to all Decents for their support of the liberation of Iraq from the racist minority Sunni Arab elite.
However, I shall never be held to such accountability for my position on Darfur as that would be the most vile form of... asking me to address the consequences of my choices"

Or, to put it another way Fatbongo - you can't exploit Iraqi corpses (most of whom supported the liberation you reject) much longer before YOUR policies make YOU accountable for the death toll.

as always for Decent Mr Angry anonymous commenters (hi Marko), the United Nations and international law as it currently stands don't either of them count as policies.

This sentence doesn't make sense. Is there a fullstop missing? Or a question mark?

Presumably both.

Anyway, as Dsquared very well knows the UNSC decision was made by a Russia and France which had massive oil contracts with the Baath -

SO if he declares himself sympatico with TotalElfFina and GazProm in THEIR policy of the removal of all sanctions against the Iraqi regime - then he could at least have the fucking guts to admit as such...

Or perhaps he might cease invoking the "UN" as something he "believes in" -

Now, as then, I await the new dawn of peaceful democracy in Iraq with bated breath.

Now, as always, you miss the point.

YOU HAVE WON THE ARGUMENT.

Whatever the success of the Surge there will NEVER BE PEACEFUL DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ.

You've won.

You were right.


So...


You're in charge now.

What happens next?

the same flaw with respect to the Decents of being constitutionally unable to disagree with anyone in a vaguely normal manner.

This, written on a site obsessive in its loathing for its chosen nemesis ("Decents") and contempt for anything that challenges the existing echo chamber mentality of the comment boxes.

1/19/2008 01:54:00 AM  
Anonymous ichomobothogogus said...

anonymous goes for the jugular and sneers about a sentence made clumsy because of a lack of punctuation. dont you think theres something wildly ironic about doing so in the middle of such barely readable subliterate drivel? seriously, i've known dead badgers that can write better than you

1/20/2008 04:58:00 PM  

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