When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

October 31, 2004

We're Still All Americans

Bravo Romeo Delta

I have to first apologize to anyone who reads this site for the absolute lack of posting. Blah, blah, blah, busy, busy, busy. I know you've all heard it before, but consider that I'm taking a break from my research to write a post at sometime after 1 am on a bloody Saturday. Yes - it's been that kind of busy.

So, at any rate, as some of my readers may know, I regard Fred Kaplan as being something between phenomenally clueless and a shameless partisan hack for most of his reporting at Slate. Here's one of his and my response to it, back when I cared enough to fisk him in detail. Here are a few other massively disingenuous and wholly clueless bits that are sorely in need of point by point demolition. Now, to be fair, once in a while, he hits a relatively sane note. But then again, so can Chomsky.

But, in the lead up to this bitterly contested election, I, much to my pleasant surprise, found this article by Mr. Kaplan, which is well worth reading.

Well, to be absolutely honest, I wasn't pleasantly surprised, so much as euphorically gobsmacked. Now, before we get to the substance itself, consider the incredible tone that has dominated political discourse in the days leading up to the election. With folks making noises of the sort we've heard over the last couple of weeks, civility is a breath of fresh air.

So, enter Mr. Kaplan's latest offering. As you may have heard, the British journal, the Lancet, has recently stained its pages with an unbelievable, incredible bit of garbage asserting that the Iraq War has resulted in 100,000 civilian deaths. Being so saturated with the business of debunking nonsense, I opted to let this one slide. So not only was I grateful that of all people, Mr. Kaplan put aside the chance to take opportunistic potshots at President Bush, but that he did so in a very solid, reasonable manner. This isn't to say that I agree with everything in his article, but this is a lot closer to liking everything about a dinner, except for the coffee that went with dessert. Key paragraph:

This isn't an estimate. It's a dart board. Imagine reading a poll reporting that George W. Bush will win somewhere between 4 percent and 96 percent of the votes in this Tuesday's election. You would say that this is a useless poll and that something must have gone terribly wrong with the sampling. The same is true of the Lancet article: It's a useless study; something went terribly wrong with the sampling.

Now, towards the end he does go off to cite the Iraq Body Count page, which you may or may not be familiar with. Essentially, these folks compile data based on press reports of civilian casualties. Being somebody who has measurable experience with open source intelligence gathering, I can tell you that their methodology is questionable at best. Oliver Kamm nicely dissects these folks in the bottom half of this post.

But all of this back and forth about the methodology of the Iraq Body Count site misses the essential point, which is this. No matter how much I may believe a Kerry Administration would not best serve the interests of this country, and no matter how many people feel the same about a second term for President Bush, people still do, on occasion, put the fact that we're all Americans ahead of their political leanings. Hearing this report, I expected Mr. Kaplan to use this as a departure point for explaining how the administration had blood on its hands for this - and yet Mr. Kaplan had the journalistic integrity to call a spade a spade.

Doesn't mean I like the guy, or anything, but hey - when credit is due (and here it most certainly is), point it out. So, in other words, things like this give me hope that we'll still realize that we're all on the same team, come November 3rd, or December 2nd, or any other time in the next four years.

(Simultaneously beamed to Demosophia)

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at October 31, 2004 07:14 AM
The Jawa Report Retaliates with: We're Still All Americans

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