What have they got that I ain’t got?
Lileks on Cindy Sheehan:
Might as well get it out of the way: This is a cruel, false, chicken-hearted attempt to smear Cindy Sheehan, the protesting mother who lost a son in Iraq.
That’s not the intent, but that’s how some will respond. Some people think that any time you argue back, you’re Stifling Dissent. For them, merely discussing Ms. Sheehan’s views is the rhetorical equivalent of sending her to Abu Ghraib.
Just for the record, then: She has the right to her opinions, she certainly has the right to her grief, and she has the right to say provocative things. She even has the right to ask for a second conference with the president in order to accuse him of killing her son. This is not about that. No one is suggesting she be stripped of the First Amendment and forced to sing patriotic Irving Berlin tunes.
Well, I’m glad that Jim-Bob has finally come to accept that someone who has has been personally affected by Operation Inigo Montoya has the right to, you know, say something about it. Damned whitebread of him.
So much better than when he was downright shrill about all these whiney war-whiners back in November of 2003:
Finally: the Guardian ran letters welcoming Bush to Britain. Everyone piled on stupid old Harry Pinter, but I didnâ€™t see anyone note this contribution from blogosphere star Salam Pax:
I hate to wake you up from that dream you are having, the one in which you are a superhero bringing democracy and freedom to underdeveloped, oppressed countries. But you really need to check things out in one of the countries you have recently bombed to freedom. Georgie, I am kind of worried that things are going a bit bad in Iraq and you don’t seem to care that much. You might want it to appear as if things are going well and sign Iraq off as a job well done, but I am afraid this is not the case.
Listen, habibi, it is not over yet. Let me explain this in simple terms. You have spilled a glass full of tomato juice on an already dirty carpet and now you have to clean up the whole room. Not all of the mess is your fault but you volunteered to clean it up. I bet if someone had explained it to you like that you would have been less hasty going on our Rambo-in-Baghdad trip.
To tell you the truth, I am glad that someone is doing the cleaning up, and thank you for getting rid of that scary guy with the hideous moustache that we had for president. But I have to say that the advertisements you were dropping from your B52s before the bombs fell promised a much more efficient and speedy service.
Hey, Salam? Fuck you. I know youâ€™re the famous giggly blogger who gave us all a riveting view of the inner circle before the war, and thus know more about the situation than I do. Granted. But thereâ€™s a picture on the front page of my local paper today: third Minnesotan killed in Iraq. He died doing what you never had the stones to do: pick up a rifle and face the Baâ€™athists. You owe him.
Let me explain this in simple terms, habibi. You would have spent the rest of your life under Baâ€™athist rule. You might have gotten some nice architectural commissions to do a house for someone whose aroma was temporarily acceptable to the Tikriti mob. You might have worked your international connections, made it back to Vienna, lived a comfy exileâ€™s life. Whatâ€™s certain is that none of your pals would ever have gotten rid of that â€œscary guy without the hideous moustacheâ€ (as if his greatest sin was somehow a fashion faux pas) and the Saddam regime would have prospered into the next generation precisely because of people like you. People who would rather have lived their life in low-level fear than change your situation. I understand; I would have done the same. Iâ€™m not brave enough to start a revolution. I wouldnâ€™t have grabbed a gun and charged a palace. I would lived like you. Head down, eyes wary. When the manâ€™s too strong, the manâ€™s too strong. But let me quote from a Guardian story on your life:
â€œLike all Iraqis, Salam was familiar with the dangers. At least four of his relatives had gone missing. In the past year, for no apparent reason, one of his friends was summarily executed, shot in the head as he sat in his car, and two others were arrested; one was later freed and another, a close friend, has never returned.â€
The rug was soaked before we got there, friend. Cut the clever cafÃ© pose; drop the sneer. That â€œRamboâ€ crap is old. Iraq needs grown-ups. Be one.
and with that:
Cowardly Lileks: All right, I’ll go in there for
Dorothy Salam. Wicked Witch Saddam or no Wicked Witch Saddam, Republican Guards or no Republican guards, I’ll tear them apart. I may not come out alive, but I’m going in there. There’s only one thing I want you fellows to do.
Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow: What’s that?
Cowardly Lileks: Talk me out of it.
…and the rest is history.
You can look it up.