Friday, November 04, 2005

The Counter-Counter-Counterpoint

As many of you know, it’s often as much as (and often more than) I can do to keep the blog completely current. I often don’t have much time to spend on it, and that often results in me getting behind a few days and not responding to the kind comments made by readers (especially those of you who give me regular and enthusiastic encouragement). For that I apologize.

I sort of make up for things this time around, although it means taking a slight detour from my Hyman-centered writing. I’ve finally gotten some posted comments from someone who’s a big Hyman fan! I have been a bit surprised not to hear more from “Point” apologists, but a recent reader has made up for some of this by posting a lengthy commentary on my most recent posting. He even apparently has his own blog, “Sick of Spin,” which has a playful, Orwellian irony that emerges from a comparison of the blog’s title and its contents.

Unfortunately, it’s enough to keep up with Hyman that I doubt I will have time to get into long debates with Mr./Ms. Sick-of-Spin (assuming he/she chooses to become a regular reader and comment maker). But I appreciate the readership, and acknowledge the gumption it takes to wade into the fray when you’re outgunned and on hostile territory (even if you do it anonymously). I’d love to have Sick-of-Spin and other Hymanites out there contribute to the discussion, and I apologize in advance for not giving you the personal responses your time and effort deserves.

Having said that, I can’t resist the temptation of what we in the education biz call a “teachable moment.” “Sick of Spin” offers a cavalcade of fairly common conservative points, and does so in a way that more or less typical of conservative rhetoric. Given this, I thought I would devote just one commentary to responding to Spin’s lengthy posting. By going through the posting point by point, I hope to help Spin tighten up his/her persuasive skills a bit, and offer some responses to what are probably commonly held ideas among those in the Hyman camp.

So thanks again for taking the time to comment, Spin, and my apologies if this is the only time I have to really give you your due in terms of feedback. I hope that doesn't dissuade you from coming back regularly to read and post. Please let me know if any of my comments or suggestions are unclear.

[I have excerpted some of Spin’s text below and responded point by point beneath each excerpt. If you haven’t yet, you might want to read the previous Counterpoint for the sake of context.]

Ted fabricates: Both the Vietnam conflict and the war in Iraq were based on
faulty information, if not outright lies, that policy makers refused to
acknowledge (Gulf of Tonkin, WMDs).

While I would agree on the
faulty intelligence, the claim of 'if not outright lies' is outrageous,
unproven, unsubstantiated, without a basis in fact when it comes to the war on
terrorism. You folks like to pretend Bush lied, but you have no evidence, all
you have is black helicopter theories. The 9/11 commission didn't uncover any of
these so-called lies and neither did the Senate Intelligence Committee
investigation. Quit spinning!

Please make note of the language I used--I chose the words I did for a reason. I said "if not outright lies" precisely because we don't have any memo that shows us the president saying, "Yes, we know they don't have any WMDs or links to terrorism, but we will say they do so we can go to war." What we do have, however, is a memo (courtesy of the British) that tells us that intelligence was being "fixed" around the desire to invade Iraq. We also know from former Bush administration official Paul O'Neil that literally before the smoke had cleared at Ground Zero, members of the Bush administration (notably Donald Rumsfeld) were actively pushing to find connections between 9/11 and Iraq to fit into their longstanding goal of ousting Saddam Hussein. Whether administration officials knew what they were saying was factually false, or whether they simply refused to acknowledge or consider any evidence that contradicted what they wanted to believe, they acted unethically and immorally.

Ted fabricates: In both conflicts, American politicos equated imposing
American-style democracy on a people with allowing them the freedom to govern
Iraq now has its own Constitution, structured as THEY see fit,
they've debated, protested and held elections. Their culture, their rules, their
ballots, their creation of laws - how is that NOT an example of freedom and

It's not an example of freedom when the entire political apparatus used to create the constitution was put in place by Americans, not Iraqis. The current constitution (to give just a couple of examples) is open-ended when it comes to U.S. occupation and pointedly makes Iraqi oil fair game for foreign companies. The constitution itself mandates a sort of federalism which is in many ways antithetical to Iraqi culture.

But you don't need to take my word for it. Ken Pollack, an expert in Mideast affairs at the Saban Center recently gave a talk at the Brookings Institution outlining the pitfalls a hastily-constructed constitution based on a time table that serves American, rather than Iraqi, interests could cause. The Asia Times recently ran a piece detailing how the Iraqi constitution was systematically mutated in its construction from a truly Iraqi document to a neo-conish work of nation-building. Joe Conason has written a brief but insightful commentary on the problems the current American-styled constitution may bring. Too liberal? How about conservative stalwart Charles Krauthammer? He's also recently noted the problems of mandating a slap-dash constitution on Iraq. Too American? How about Haifa Zangana, an Iraqi novelist and a woman who was imprisoned by Saddam Hussein? In a recent article in the Guardian, she noted that the constitutional process has largely disregarded women's rights and that the process has always been based on U.S. interests, not those of the Iraqi people. Perhaps all of these people are wrong, but to suggest that questioning the wonders of the Iraqi constitution is simply a matter of empty political spin is not a tenable position.

Ted fabricates: In both conflicts, those who opposed or even questioned the war
were labeled as "un-American" by supporters.

Those who fly
flags upside-down, slander our military, stereotype our forces as 'inherently
evil', call the administration stupid while ignoring the obvious fact of success
that we haven't had another 9/11 like attack - ARE un-American.

Even if we grant your point, the problem is that it doesn't address what I said. Many supporters of the Iraq war (Mark Hyman among them) suggest that those who oppose or question the war "hate the troops" and are un-American. The problem is that, according to
every poll on the subject, most Americans now question the wisdom of the war. Perhaps those who fly flags upside down or call our forces "inherently evil" are un-American, but to suggest that everyone who objects to or questions the war is un-American is not a valid claim. Remember that many of those who are most vocal in their objection to the war are families of servicemen, veterans, and those who have served in Iraq themselves.

Perhaps most disquieting is your statement that those who call the administration "stupid while ignoring the obvious facts that we haven't had another 9/11 like [sic] attack ARE un-American."

Do you really believe this? Since when did thinking the current administration were right, smart, or even competent become a litmus test for being a good American? You might say that people who believe this are wrong or deluded (and, for the sake of argument, let's say you're right about that), but to say that criticizing the president and his administration is by definition un-American is the sort of over-the-top rhetoric that's not going to help your credibility. Keep in mind, for example, that had the same test applied in the 1990s, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, and most conservatives would have been considered un-American. As much as I disagreed with these folks and thought their words and actions were damaging to the nation, I would never say that simply criticizing the administration makes them un-American. Criticism of those in power is about as American as it gets. You need to be careful of making your argument in a way that is inconsistent with your own beliefs or that could easily be turned around on you. It communicates weakness and/or sloppiness of thought to your audience. (As does, by the way, making regular use of all caps to emphasize points. This seems to be a common problem--all my freshman composition students love doing it for some reason.)

Ted fabricates: In both conflicts, opposition to the war started out small, but
grew as casualties mounted and the truth about the motivations and
rationalizations for the war emerged.

Where is your TRUTH in the
motivations for the war against terrorism? Hmmmm? I haven't seen any coming from
you. And regarding casualties, this war (remember, it IS a war after all) is
being managed quite well and casualty rates are WAY below the rates for Vietnam.
You want to play the numbers game with the truth right? Why won't you do a
number by number comparison if you care to be intellectually honest?

I'm not sure what you mean by asking, "Where is your TRUTH [sic] in the motivations for the war against terrorism?" That's a grammatically unclear statement. On a logical level, it also is presuming facts not in evidence. You seem to assume that the war in Iraq (the topic under discussion) is part of the war or terrorism. For many of us, one of the big problems with the war in Iraq is precisely that it is taking away from the war on terrorism. There are no links between Iraq and 9/11, and as we all know now, there were no WMDs that Hussein was somehow going to smuggle to al-Qaeda. While Osama bin Laden is still free, we continue to be bogged down in a war we chose to start. Unless you provide evidence that the war in Iraq should be seen as being part of the war on terror (rather than providing the perfect recruitment and training tools for terrorists, which is what it seems to be doing), the question doesn't seem germane to the topic under discussion.

On the casualty issue, notice that all I said was that in both Vietnam and Iraq, opposition to the war grew along with the numbers of casualties. I did not state that as many soldiers had died in Iraq as died in Vietnam. I didn't even suggest that as many soldiers *will* die in Iraq as in Vietnam. Complaining that I didn't acknowledge the lower casualty numbers between Iraq and Vietnam is not a compelling point, given that I made no comparison between the raw numbers.

But if you want to do a number by number analysis (as you suggest), we can. But if we do such a thing, we have to be technically accurate and compare apples to apples (again, this is something you seem in favor of, and rightly so). Given that, it would be distorting and inaccurate to compare casualty rates for the first few years of American occupation in Iraq to the casualty rates of the Vietnam conflict at its height. To be fair, we have to compare numbers starting at the beginning with each conflict. The first American military casualty in the Vietnam conflict was in 1957. It wasn't until late 1965 that the number reached the current number of U.S. military fatalities we now have in Iraq. That's 8 years vs. 2.5 years. Even if you decide not to start counting until a significant number of U.S. personnel were sent to Vietnam (1961),
we are still ahead of the Vietnam schedule in terms of raw numbers of casualties. I stress that this is unrelated to the point I made in my post, but since you want to make this comparison, I thought it would be helpful to really do an honest, side-by-side analysis rather than just talking about it.

The larger point is that any number of young people who are killed in a war waged for misguided and less-than-honest purposes is too many. I certainly hope we don't need to get to 58,000 dead before we are willing to consider the possibility that the invasion was a mistake, and I hope you would agree.

Ted fabricates: In both conflicts, when the majority of the American people
disagreed with government policy, apologists for the policy still attempted to
portray those who were against the war as an out-of-touch

You don't debate honestly, so it's a fair statement to
say you and your ilk are out-of-touch.

In response to my statement that supporters of the war still attempt to portray those who oppose it as an "out of touch" minority, you say, "You don't debate honestly, so it's a fair statement to say you and your ilk are out-of-touch." Two problems here: first you haven't given a valid example of me not debating honestly. In fact, as I've shown, most of your criticisms are straw-man appeals that misinterpret or misrepresent my argument and then attack the misrepresentation that you've constructed.

But let's say for the sake of argument that you're right and that I haven't debated honestly. How does that make all of those who question the war "out of touch"? Have all people who disagree with the war not debated honestly, including those who have fought in it themselves? Or are you saying that it might not be fair to say that all people who disagree with the war are "out of touch," but that since I don't debate honestly, you don't have to either? This isn't made clear. In either case, you're running the risk of being unintentionally humorous given the fact that your statement itself is an unfair generalization.

Ted fabricates: In both conflicts, those who advocated sending young people do
die in large numbers also claimed that they were "supporting the troops" and
that those who advocated bringing troops home were "giving comfort to the

Perpetuating and exaggerating Abu Grahib WAS giving comfort
to the enemy. Putting all military members into an 'inherently evil' pot IS
giving aid to the enemy. Liberal Dick Durbin putting the U.S. military in the
same class as Nazis and Russian death camps WAS aid and comfort to the enemy.
Never mind his statement was posted on Al Jazeera huh?

You're committing the same logical fallacy here that you did earlier with the comments about people being "un-American." Hyman and other right wing commentators suggest that to question the war is by itself helping the enemy. In your statement, however, you choose very specific examples: people who were "perpetuating and exaggerating Abu Grahib," an unnamed source whom you quote as saying that the U.S. military is "inherently evil," and Dick Durbin. Even if one were to grant that all of these people are giving aid and comfort to the enemy, it doesn't justify the vastly larger suggestion that anyone who voices opposition to the war is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Picking a specific example or two doesn't prove the larger point.

Moreover, even the specific cases you identify are problematic. I would humbly suggest that what gave aid and comfort to the enemy with regard to Abu Grahib was not those who reported on it, but those who committed it ( a group that goes far beyond the men and women who have been scapegoated by the administration, but includes those who have tacitly and/or explicitly condoned such practices, including our current Attorney General and current Secretary of Defense). Through actions of this group of individuals, Islamic extremists were given the best PR they've gotten since, well, the U.S. unilaterally invaded an Islamic country. Shooting the messenger doesn't help. It's the actions themselves that are despicable, damaging, and that dishonor America, not the reporting of them. It's called accountability.

In the case of Dick Durbin, you seem to be referring to a statement where he read a description of the treatment of inmates under U.S. control and said that the description would seem more at home in an account of Nazi or Soviet prison camps. Simply as a matter of grammar, Durbin was not, "putting the U.S. military in the same class as Nazis and Russian death camps [sic]." Durbin compared the specific events in the account with what we might assume were commonplace events in Nazi or Soviet camps. His point (as clumsily as it might have been worded) was that we could and should expect more from our military than we would expect under such regimes, and that when such aberrations occur, they need to be roundly criticized and dealt with. How is protecting individuals who dishonor the military and their country by participating in immoral acts a good thing? How is criticizing such people slandering the entire military?

As far as those unnamed voices who you claim say the U.S. military is "inherently evil," I agree that saying such a thing is both immoral and factually wrong. I certainly have never said it, nor would I. I know people (including several former students) who are currently serving in the military, some of them in Iraq as we speak. Not only do I not believe the U.S. military is inherently evil, but I know that the overwhelming majority of those who serve are decent, patriotic people to whom we owe a great deal. It is exactly because of my respect, admiration, and love for those who wear the uniform and serve our country that I find the decision to send them into harm's way for no just reason a horribly immoral and personally infuriating act. No, the U.S. military is anything but inherently evil, but war (even when it is justified) is inherently evil, as is the act of starting one preemptively.

Ted fabricates: In both conflicts, the media paid relatively little attention to
the horrible toll civilians were paying in the course of their

That's blatantly false. The left leaning media has
done everything it can to paint a negative picture of the war despite the many
successes such as new and/or rebuilt houses, schools, hospitals, roads,
community centers, etc. Don't get me wrong, civilian tragedy has occurred, but
we are talking about war after all. Why do you totally ignore how the U.S.
military goes out of its way to avoid the very thing you're crying foul on?

As you might say, "examples please?" In fact, a study by the Project on Excellence in Journalism (a creation of the Columbia School of Journalism) has done a detailed content analysis of the media coverage of the war and determined that it was overwhelmingly neutral, and that positive and negative stories were roughly equal.

Of course, the study said nothing about the fact that the supposedly liberal media (and the supposedly ultra liberal New York Times) actually played a key role in supporting the war by unquestioningly mouthing administration talking points about the issue of WMDs. This was done to such an extent, that the Times actually had to issue an apology for its limply acquiescent coverage of the build up to war.

In any case, you are again making an apples/oranges comparison. My statement specifically dealt with the issue of civilian casualties. Perhaps I've been missing the regular tributes to the Iraqi civilians killed in the war airing on TV, but I honestly have not seen a single mention of the overall death toll on network or cable news. The only place I can find such numbers are at the websites of human rights groups and other organizations devoted to cataloging this information. If you can cite examples of mainstream news outlets paying significant attention to the number of Iraqis killed (beyond the occasional body count figure for specific attacks), I'd be happy to stand corrected, but I honestly don't think the average American has even a vague sense of the human cost to innocent Iraqis of the war.

I also never suggested the U.S. military doesn't do everything it can to minimize civilian casualties. Again, you're creating a straw man to knock down. I feel confident that as a rule, the military does what it can to minimize civilian deaths. But when you start a war, you know that it will be messy (or, at least, you should). No amount of precautions is going to keep innocent men, women, and children from dying horribly. If we are going to honestly discuss and decide what to do about Iraq, we can't pretend that this isn't a reality. As far as blame goes, I don't blame the U.S. military--I blame the Bush administration for starting the war and the rest of us citizens for letting them do it.

Ted opines: In both conflicts, policy makers and their supporters argued that,
once all other rationales for the conflicts had disappeared, we needed to stay
the course in order to "honor" those who had already

'Rationales'for the war against terrorism have disappeared?
Folks are saying we should stay the course simply to 'honor' the dead? Examples

You say you want an example of war supporters using "honoring the troops" as a rationale for continuing the war? How about the number one war supporter himself?

"[N]ow we will honor their sacrifice by completing their mission"

-- President George W. Bush, August 24, 2005.

Of course, he couldn't be bothered to honor the sacrifice of Cindy Sheehan's son by explaining to his mother why he died, or even attending a single funeral of a fallen soldier, but that's a whole other matter.

As far as disappearing rationales go, a recent study cataloged no less than
27 different rationalizations for going to war in Iraq that were offered up by various administration officials and their supporters at various times, all of which have been revealed to be suspect to some degree or other.

Ted fabricates: In both conflicts, members of the Bush family vocally supported
the war, but no one in their family actually served.

George H.W.
Bush served his country and did so with honor as a fighter pilot in WWII. He
left the service nearly two decades before heavy U.S. involvement in Vietnam. To
say 'members of the Bush family did not serve' is a bogus charge. George W. Bush
was in the National Guard during the Vietnam era and it is simply intellectually
dishonest to say he didn't serve. Oh, and never mind that he is currently the
Commander In Chief huh? That to, is serving. Your distortions are

I understand the point you're trying to make, and I apologize for disgusting you, but I have to point out yet again that you're constructing a straw man here. I never questioned George H.W. Bush's service in World War II. What I said was that no member of the Bush family served in the Vietnam War or the war in Iraq.

George W. Bush, as you point out, was in the Air National Guard (well, sort of). Even if we ignore the mountain of evidence that shows he got in to the guard via family connections and didn't fulfill his minimal obligations while there, it's still the case that he didn't serve in the conflict in Vietnam (unless there were MiG sightings over Texarkana that I'm unaware of).

To say that being president is "serving" in the same way as a uniformed soldier in a combat zone is stretching awfully far. I don't remember Clinton getting much acknowledgment for serving as commander in chief by the folks who liked to call him a draft dodger. But I'll concede your point: President Bush should be honored for his valiant service, risking life and limb clearing brush in Crawford for five weeks at a time.

By the way, I can't help adding in a tangential point here. Yes, Bush Sr. served in WWII. But do you remember that when he was running for president in 1988, a gentleman who served in the same unit as Bush and who was on the same mission as Bush when the former president was shot down (and for which he was given a medal) came forward to say that he had seen Bush abandon his stricken plane and bail out while his two crewmen were still trapped inside, allowing them to plummet to their death? Someone rightly pointed out that Bush should be honored for his service and that it was ridiculous and wrong to try to discredit his record to score political points. That someone was Michael Dukakis. Given what we saw last year, I can't help but wonder why the Bush family seems to think honoring those who served for their service only applies when they are on your side politically.

Ted boasts (false sense of bravdo [sic] ): And that's The Counterpoint.
really, you don't seem to have a valid point and with such weak rhetoric I can
see why Hyman exposed you for the fake you are.

Mark Hyman has exposed me? Where? When? Did I miss something? As far as I'm aware, the only time has Hyman uttered my name was when he attacked me for being soft on plagiarism by taking something that I didn't write out of context (and not saying a thing about the true motivations behind his words).

Oops, my mistake--he did mention my name one other time:
when he was forced to retract what he said about me on the air because it was a lie.

And that's the Counter-Counter-Counterpoint.

Spin Index: Enough strawmen to populate a Ray Bolger fan convention.


At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My, my, my - yer an arrogant, spinning, cherry pick'n critter aren'tcha?

Amid your preference for personal attack over substance, I found countless examples of spin, re-directs and manipulations of reality. Is this the kind of stuff you teach our youth? That's a problem is so which needs to be addressed. And it will.

Here's where I'm coming from. Those of you like Ted here who choose to spin, manipulate, distort, and lie to forward some kind of misguided agenda - deserve my scorn, and you WILL get it.

So here we go, another round of exposing Ted's spin.

Ted's first four or five paragraphs were written to basically give himself an out, adding a few digs while excusing himself from not being able to address any counter-points made against him in the future due to 'time constraints.' How *nice*.

Now let's go over some of Ted's responses shall we?

Ted fabricates: Both the Vietnam conflict and the war in Iraq were based on
faulty information, if not outright lies, that policy makers refused to
acknowledge (Gulf of Tonkin, WMDs).

Ted, why did you completely FAIL (all caps DO work and are quite appropriate for such venues by the way) to properly address my initial response to you? That neither the 9/11 commission nor the Senate Intelligence Committee investigations found any evidence let alone an 'inkling' of "if not outright lies."... Instead you chose to go with the lame helicopter theories, heck, you couldn't (didn't want to?) even provide a reference link of any kind to support your position. The 9/11 Commission and the Senate hearings are a matter of record. Where's your's? Your "They lied because I say so, therefore they are also immoral" crap simply doesn't fly. Here's some common sense for you which always seem to elude you for some reason. If the Downing Street Memos had ANY credibility, the left leaning media would have been ALL over it, pressing it, pressing it, pressing it. The liberals in Congress would have taken the reins and tried to make some political hay of it. That simply didn't happen. There's no there there. So it's quite irresponsible of you to perpetuate these liberal black helicopter theories. You're supposed to be some kind of educator right?

Ted fabricates: In both conflicts, American politicos equated imposing
American-style democracy on a people with allowing them the freedom to govern
Iraq now has its own Constitution, structured as THEY see fit,
they've debated, protested and held elections. Their culture, their rules, their
ballots, their creation of laws - how is that NOT an example of freedom and

Wow Ted, you totally ignore my point. The Iraqis could have thrown our suggestions out the window, they didn't. In fact, they embraced it. You even went so far as to provide some references saying for example that the likes of Conservative Charles Krauthammer doesn't like the Constitution at issue.

Here's the last paragraph from Charles (he's one of my favorite pundits), from the link you provided:

"We went into Iraq knowing that we were going to overturn the political order. The introduction of democracy would inevitably take power away from the former ruling community -- the 20 percent of the population that ruled with uncommon brutality -- and transfer it to the other 80 percent. That the previously victimized 80 percent should not wish to be held hostage to the political demands of their former oppressors should hardly be a surprise. Nonetheless, they still managed to produce a perfectly reasonable constitutional document that deserves far more respect than it has received from the knee-jerk critics here at home."

You're guilty of spin again Ted. You implied that Charles corroborates your stance and while Charles objects to the time frame involved and some of the debate involved, the title of the article in reference is 'A Sensible Iraqi Constitution' and Charles doesn't corroborate your stance at all. Further, if you were truly a regular follower of Krauthammer, you wouldn't even considering using him as a rebuttal reference.

Your reference of Ken Pollack, same thing, it does nothing to corroborate your stance.

The Asian Times reference, I'll give you that one, however it's not hard news.

I can go on and deconstruct all your references one by one, but basically what you've tried to do is put a bunch of references out there, cherry picking a few details for each with the intent that most of your choir folks won't truly check out those references or will most likely take them at face value because they came from 'Ted'. LOL! Is that all the better you can do? Throw a bunch of references out there that don't really say as you imply or lack credibility? Amazing.

Oh, and regarding Haifa Zangana and her objection to the lack of women's rights in the process? Are you at all familiar with the culture of that region? It is in fact a very male and I'm talking very old school male dominated society. You're not trying to impose American standards on your pseudo argument are you?

Ted fabricates: In both conflicts, those who opposed or even questioned the war
were labeled as "un-American" by supporters.

Wow, talk about straw men.... Spin, spin, spin.... Such a generalization you make.... And you accuse me of such a tactic.... That's rather pathetic of you Ted. Then you go and throw out the polling reference for people who disagree with how the President has handled the situation in Iraq. Relevence? None. For you to suggest that everyone who opposes or even questions the war
have been labeled as "un-American" by supporters is blatantly false. I specified, you glossed over that. Then you went on a holier-than-thou rant trying to tutor me in emotionally based rhetoric. Sorry 'teach' I prefer fact based reasoning in reaching an informed opinion and conveying that opinion.

Ted fabricates: In both conflicts, opposition to the war started out small, but
grew as casualties mounted and the truth about the motivations and
rationalizations for the war emerged.

I asked you to be truthful in response, you have yet to provide any. Further, you state: "You seem to assume that the war in Iraq (the topic under discussion) is part of the war or terrorism."

Um, it most certainly is Ted. That's undeniable. Spin that fact all you want, but Iraq is in fact the main theatre of fighting against terrorists. You can state as all liberals like to that Iraq is a distraction, that it took away from Afghanistan (which is a false claim) all you want, but the fact remains that we are killing terrorists every day. Terrorists that will no longer be able to threaten the life, liberty, and freedom they choose to pursue.

By the way, your analysis of numbers (Casualties - Vietnam vs. Iraq) were EXTREMELY bogus and cherry picked. You didn't like the true number vs. number so you altered the time frame for the sake of your response to make yourself look good. That's pathetic. You apparently don't give a rat's rear end about the truth and intellectual honesty.

For the period (starting in 1957)you cited without reference I might add, you claim Iraq is outpacing Vietnam casualties. That's blatantly false. U.S. casualties in the interal civil war period of Vietnam (1960-1965) prior to heavy U.S. involvement and 'official' conflict start date for the U.S., there were approximately 2,500 soldiers killed. That's a five year period vs. the about 2,000 and 2.5 year period for Iraq. Do try again wont' you?

Well, I'm done for the time being, I do have to run. But it has been fun exposing your b.s. I will come back again to finish up. Thanks for the invite!

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Zeno said...

Good try, Ted, but "sickofspin" does not seem to appreciate how effectively you took him apart. He's like the dismembered knight in Monty Python's Holy Grail, yelling "Come back, you coward!" while he bleeds to death. Not pretty.

At 11:11 PM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

Nicely done, Zeno--gotta love an apt Python reference! Yes, this had lost cause written all over it, but he's honestly the first Hyman-head who's bothered to say anything (I know that some of the suits at Sinclair lurk on occasion, but they never actually post). I sort of felt I owed a response to someone who spent so much time venting. But there's not much place to go with someone who calls anything he disagrees with "spin" and calls you an "arrogant cherry pickin' critter" and then proceeds to say that *you* are the one trading in personal attacks.

Ah well. . .off to wash the blood off me and tend to my kneecaps.

Thanks again, Zeno!


At 12:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting how Ted's choir chooses to kick a man rather than point to substance..... Ted you've got a real bunch of kool-aid drinkers here....

At 1:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 1:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 3:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted, what you did to 'Sick-From-Spinning' was really hard to watch. While he did most of it to himself, it was still like watching someone come to a gunfight armed only with a pair of nail-clippers! I fear that Sickofspin is suffering from a terminal case of headupanusitis!

Sickofspin uses the 911 commission as a source for his argument but does not acknowledge that they found no link between Iraq and 911, and here is another quote that is symptomatic of the above diagnosis - "If the Downing Street Memos had ANY credibility, the left leaning media would have been ALL over it, pressing it, pressing it, pressing it. The liberals in Congress would have taken the reins and tried to make some political hay of it. That simply didn't happen."

Maybe with your head in that position it was hard to see the Conyers hearings (only covered on C-Span), all the testimony and the petition (a nearly endless string of boxes) with over half a million signatures delivered to the White House gate, but wait, I'm sure that the "liberal press", you know, Fox, Sinclair, ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS were all over that story like a cheap suit right? And just how would you expect the minority party in the House or the Senate to 'take the reins'?

The truth is that for the last decade the right-wing corporate media establishment has been doing for George Bush and their Republican party, what Monica did for Bill Clinton, and sadly they're not even the least little bit ashamed of it.

Thanks Ted, and keep bustin' Hyman.

Mike B. in SC

At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Mike B. in SC. You're as bad as Ted. Exaggeration, half-truths, forwarding argument only if it suits your twisted agenda.... The Conyers hearings carry no weight, no credibility. THAT's why it's not forefront material, not because of some supposed squashing of coverage. And as IF PBS, ABC, CBS, and NBC wouldn't in fact have jumped on anything given an opportunity to paint Bush and the GOP in a bad light.


At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's awfully difficult to take seriously a person who, on the one hand, claims that he's "sick of spin," then turns around and directs people towards Little Green Footballs and The National Review.


At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just what do you find so objectionable about the National Review and Little Green Footballs exactly? Do you object simply because they're Conservative, therefore they're somehow 'inherently evil'. You don't like them because they constantly and effectively raise arguments to counter liberal claims? Do you care to provide some example that demonstrates this implied spin of yours?

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By your own admission, the links you've provided are "conservative." Their coverage of social and political issues reflect their ideology. There's nothing wrong-- or "inherently evil," as you might say-- with that; there are sources for partisan analysis skewing to both sides of the political spectrum, after all. I was just pointing out that it was kind of funny that someone who calls himself (or herself-- I don't mean to make assumptions) "sickofspin" would provide links to two sources that traffic entirely in spin.

I'm afraid I don't have specific examples-- I do read conservative analysis, but tend to focus on the columnist my local newspaper carries (George Will, Thomas Sowell, Cal Thomas, Mona Charen, and a few others) and Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Brit Hume on Fox News. My exposure to both the National Review and Little Green Footballs is too limited for me to point out specific examples of their conservative slant. But since, by your own admission, these are sources for a"conservative" point-of-view, I assume it's unnecessary. No sense wasting both of our time by stating what we both already know, after all.


At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


So let me get this straight, because a publication lends itself to either a liberal or Conservative slant, it automatically then equates to spin? That's hogwash! That you don't have an example of spin from either the National Review or Little Green Footballs is noted. Without a substantive example, combined with your admission that you don't have much experience with either publication - all you have then is a 'just because' claim. That's hollow.

At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you seem to be forgetting, ignoring, or are simply unaware that the reason neither the 9-11 comission nor the senate intelligence committee found no evidence of intelligence being manipulated was because neither was tasked with answering that question. in fact, as you may be aware, that was the crux of the closed senate session this week, to force republicans to follow through on their promise to complete the long-delayed "phase II" of the senate intel report which is supposed to specifically look at how the administration used or misused pre-war intelligence. i'm sure you'd like an example of one such intel misuse, so how about when the vp said "there's no doubt" saddam has reconstituted his nuclear program. no doubt means no doubt, as in 100% certainty. but in fact, that proved 100% wrong and there was plenty of doubt within the cia and state dept about the state of iraq's program. so how does cheney arrive at "no doubt?" you'd certainly agree it's a question worthy of an answer, wouldn't you?

At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I think a publication or broadcast that deliberately reports and analyzes news with an eye towards, first and foremost, promoting an ideology, is indeed going to engage in "spin," as the term is defined on

"To provide an interpretation of (a statement or event, for example), especially in a way meant to sway public opinion."

Little Green Footballs, The National Review, Michael Moore, Jerry Springer, Jeneane Garofalo, Rush Limabugh, Mark Hyman, Tucker Carlson, Paul Begalia, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes... all spin artists. A person or organization that reports and interprets the news in an effort to promote political ideology is guilty of spin.

I want to be clear-- I have as much use for Michael Moore as I do for Mark Hyman. I don't feel like either is to be trusted, because I feel like they both have an agenda that leads them to stretch the truth, misrepresent facts, and... well "spin." I genuinely am sick of spin, I suppose you can say. But I'm not the type of person to say that it's terrible when people I disagree with engage in it, but effective and morally defensible when my guy does it.


At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS)properly put the democrats in their place, who have blatantly misconstrued the facts about phase II. Roberts stated matter of factly that plans were well under way to finish the work before the democrats dramatically held up Senate actions.

Chairman Roberts stated in response to the Reid stunt, "It seemed to me a little convenient for all of a sudden to go into a closed session of the Senate, and call for a full Senate investigation of phase II when the committee is already doing its work. And I think that basically is an unfortunate stunt."

Phase I oversight involved the Senate Intelligence Committee's probe into the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate issued prior to the lead-up to the Iraq war. The resulting 511-page investigative report was presented to the Sept. 11 commission. With the report in hand, the commission issued its report in July 2004.

Chairman Roberts correctly stated that phase II of the investigation grew as a result of the phase I work. The second part of the probe began on February 12, 2004.

Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and other Republicans said if democrats had wanted to take issue with Chairman Roberts, they could have just asked him.

"Senator Reid made a number of charges about Senator Roberts without giving him or me a chance to respond, and then went into closed session. ... It goes a long way to show the level to which politics is dominating procedure here."

Senator Majority Leader Frist was a bit more blunt: "If Senator Reid had come to me and said, 'This is a problem,' which he never did, I would have said, 'Let's talk about it.' I would have said, 'Let's bring in the Intelligence Committee or the leaders, and let's talk about it in a civil, a dignified, a respectful way.'"

It was a stunt, pure and simple.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Zeno said...

I see that sickofspin loves spin as long as it's provided by a Republican. Senator Roberts and Senator Bond must be speaking the truth, but where is the evidence that phase II was going anywhere until Senator Reid put them on the spot? Sure was convenient how Roberts suddenly announced that a substantive meeting on phase II would be scheduled in barely a week. And just how long was that on the Senate calendar before Roberts announced it?

Good for you, Senator Reid. Flush those lying foxes out of the brush.

At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great! Apparently some right-wing think tank has found Ted's blog as possibly influential enough to fund a hired troll!

Congratulations, Ted - (I wonder whose payroll so-called "sick o'spin" is on?)

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sick of Spin (SOS) demonstrates what is troubling about our society... the inability to listen and exchange ideas.

I applaud you for engaging him, but it seems futile. SOS seems to enjoy labeling and assigning his debaters only "un-American" motivations. It looks pretty tiring. Seems that SOS likes to hear himself talk.

Let's see SOS address a very simple question: SOS, do you think it is okay for Sinclair to use its 61 TV stations to broadcast nationwide a smear of an individual -- using documentable falsehoods -- simply because that individual holds contrary views?

SOS, what is so American, honorable, or even functional about that kind of approach? Once upon a time, conservatives USED to hold the torch for human rights, particularly when it came to contrasting us with the Soviets or communist Chinese. Now, the right (and I suspect SOS) are so extremist, they see nothing wrong with using public airwaves to smear people. Karl Rove has been suspected of running the anti-McCain campaign in South Carolina back in 2000. From A.G. Fitzgerald's indictment, it seems that Mr. Rove had his fingerprints all over the Plame leak. All President Bush does is change his "I'll fire anyone guilty of being involved" to "...I meant being guilty of a crime". Now there's ethics for you, all right!

And then there's Cheney. He and his "cabal" (to quote a former Bush staffer) will justify torture to the world... even though Vietname war heros, Senator McCain (R), Senator Graham (R), Senator Hagel (R), Chiefs of Staff, and a total of 90 senators, have told Mr. Cheney that he is dead wrong.

Where are you on this issue, SOS?

When will this extremists see how morally cowardly such behavior is? Does SOS hold Christian values, or does he so bend his value system such that it cannot fit into any category. Jeesh!

SOS, I fear for the kind of America we would have if all debates end up as slanders and name calling. That what we have in Washington, that's what I'm reading from you here. Don't you see how counterproductive your approach is, unless your aim is to divide, infuriate, and inflame?

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you earlier questioned assertion that we we're lied into war. i then suggested cheney's "no doubt" comments were a good example of a manipulation of intelligence, aftreall, there was indeed plenty of doubt about the intel we had. now, per today's new york times:
A high al-Qaida official in U.S. custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained al-Qaida members to use biological and chemical weapons... [Colin] Powell relied heavily on accounts provided by Libi as the foundation for his speech to the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003...
don't you think we're owed an explanation?

At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sos, you do nothing but call names, then tell lies, then direct people towards slanted sites. i could post a dozen blogs or sites with a leftist spin, and would be easily able to dissect any point made from the right...of course, the left will win this one, on merit, because ultimately we are right. i know your response will be to call me a name and demand some kind of proof...just look...reality is spelling out EVERYTHING the left said would happen. there were no WMDs, the place is a complete mess, and once we got past the idea that we would be greeted in the streets as liberators (and anyone who had ever seen footage of muslims on the middle east burning an american flag knew how likely that was to ever happen...) there is apparently no exit strategy...

look, i hate bush, i saw through the man as the fraud he is the secind he attempted to run. i had to laugh...i coulnt believe conservatives were dub enough to embrace this me, you could have done better. in fact, i dont think you could have done worse.

but if middle eatern invaders came in here to overthrow, do they honestly blieve that americans wold greet them as liberators? and they might bthink that, bush's support being low enough to be seen as indicative of our being willing to get him out of office...why did they think theyd go for that? saddam was a demon, but he was their demon. common sense will tell you that...but then again, common sense would tell you that you shouldnt vote for a functional illiterate

eat that.

you are wrong, on every point. ted took you apart clearly, easily, and completely. you lost. give it up


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