Monday, June 20, 2005


Leading up the Iraq invasion, there was a really stupid right-wing argument (obviously one of many) that went a-something like this: "You oppose the war? Saddam Hussein opposes the war too! So that makes you a Saddam supporter!"

The fact that this line of thinking was, and is, manifestly stupid and transparently dishonest did little to keep from being repeated ad nauseum by wingnuts as if it were a most clever and agile riposte. But, of course, if manifest stupidity and transparent dishonesty were any kind of barrier to political success, the Republican Party would number in the dozens and hold its meetings in Karl Rove's mom's basement.

Though liberals generally do better with avoiding manifest stupidity and transparent dishonesty, there is unfortunately a leftie version of this ridiculous argument, and it goes a-something like this: "You don't think the U.S. should immediately withdraw all troops from Iraq? Neither does George W. Bush! That makes you a chickenhawk-war supporter!"

Here's Steve Gilliard using that argument, such as it is, against Erik Loomis. Unfortunately not satisfied with merely holding an unserious and indefensible position, Gilliard goes one worse by making his argument almost entirely ad hominem, always a sure sign of intellectual insecurity.

I'm a reader of both Loomis and Gilliard. Both are usually good, thoughtful writers. I've met Loomis before, he's taken money from me in poker and I've taken money from him, so maybe I'm a little biased, but the fact is that Erik's opposition to the Iraq war is a matter of blog record, and his suggestion that maybe complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq isn't the best thing to do at the moment was made in good faith. I've never met Gilliard, and though I usually appreciate his no-holds barred style, I think his post ably demonstrates that there is a very thin line between style and schtick.

There is, of course, a vigorous debate to be had among liberals about where to go from here in Iraq, and about the implications for future military interventions. But Gilliard's rant against Loomis is unwarranted, counter-productive, and frankly embarrassing for Gilliard, who in the future should probably think twice about blogging while drunk.

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