Sunday, August 13, 2006

Not A Flame War

I debated whether or not to write this post for about a week, but as it continued, I felt it became more and more necessary. The purpose is not to start a "flame war", but merely to state my opinions in response to another blogger. Please don't bash anyone in the comments.
We were on vacation this past week, a week in which another blogger "called me out" on four separate occasions about different issues. As he rarely reads this blog, he was likely unaware I was away, and was merely trying to get my attention in order to elicit a response and debate in his comments section. That I did not respond (because I was away) probably caused him to repeat this action, thinking I was trying to stay away. It's bad enough that he was implying I had certain opinions with no basis, but what is worse is how someone else pretended to be me in the comments section, making comments which I would never say and don't really agree with. I thank the blogger involved for immediately realizing this and stating that it was in fact not me.

However, I feel compelled to respond to all four* posts which "called me out", as they misrepresent my opinions and lead people to believe that I'm a crazy nut, or, simply a jerk.

* I believe there were five, but I can't seem to find it now - perhaps I was thinking of the number of other posts which refer in the general sense to a group he generally includes me in.

Anyways, on to the five examples:

1) About ten days ago, R' Elyashiv, one of the leading poskim of this generation, stated his support for a ceasefire between Israel & Hezbollah. The blogger stated:
Of course, if the New York Times were to say the same thing, GOP-Jews would trip over themselves to hurl invectives at the paper of record. In fact, last week the Times argued for restraint, and unreflective Ezzie said the paper was "against Israel's interests."

Though GOP-Jews pride themselves on raw intelligance, many seem unable to comprehend a simple fact of life: You can be pro-Israel while also disagreeing with RW policy precriptions. A call for restraint is not a call for Israel's destruction. Advocating for a cease-fire is not code for "I wish Israel would roll over and die." Saying that campaign to carpet-bomb Southern Lebanon runs contrary to Israel's long term interests, is not another way of saying "I hope the terrorists win."
In this case, he simply misunderstands the point completely. Firstly, while I may disagree with R' Elyashiv (or the blogger himself), I don't think that they are hoping Israel loses. They genuinely feel that this is the best approach for Israel. Second, there is a massive difference between R' Elyashiv stating his opinion and the Times slanting their reporting or producing editorials that work against Israel's interests. The Times has a strong effect on opinion in this country as one of the leading newspapers, particularly among those who don't follow what is happening closely. That I think it hurts Israel's interests does not mean I think they are advocating Israel's destruction; they are merely doing as I stated: Hurting Israel's interests. (Of course, so apparently does Israel's own Prime Minister, but that's another story. You know you're in bad shape when Ha'aretz calls for your resignation for being too weak.)

2) The blogger noted a letter that was sent to the EU by the Senate, asking that Hezbollah be added to the list of terror organizations. 10 Republicans and 2 Democrats did not sign the letter.
Now that 10 Senate Republicans (more than 20 percent of the Senate membership) have implicitly stated that they do not consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization, I expect good GOP Jews like Ezzie, and CWY add, yes, even Richard Avrech, to denounce them using the same sort of language I employed on July 21.
I am not sure why I am "expected" to do anything. Do I denounce them? Sure. But I rarely if ever discuss the Senate or House on my blog, and I doubt I've ever mentioned any of those Senators in the past. I am not under any 'requirement' to "denounce" people whom I never discuss, and it is absurd to assume that because I often discuss and agree with conservatives that I am a knee-jerk Republican [I'm actually a registered Democrat who voted about equally for both parties in the last election] and am therefore somehow obligated to make a mention of it.

3) After I and others discussed Reuters' now infamous fake photos, a number of us were made out to have opinions we never stated (strawmen) and then bashed for those (non-existent) opinions:
Unless I'm mistaken, someone (Ezzie? CWY?) is already writing a comment accusing me of obfusication. "Come on DovBear!" RWers will likely write, with their typical shrillness, "Are you saying that Hamas supporters never celebrate when Jews die? Are you saying that Palestenian ambulances never carry weapons?"

Very good! You got the point! Now, listen carefully: Of course Hamas likes it when Jews dies. Of course that fact that ambulances were sometimes used by Palestenians for nefarious purposes is well documented elsewhere. But isn't it also true that much of Beirut is in ruins? Isn't it also true that Lebanese people are dying in the rubble of blown-out buildings? Does a faked picture change any of that?

While I think it’s unethical for anyone to run a fake news photo, I have to ask: Is there really that much of a difference between the photo and the reality? What realy justifies the wingnutosphere’s latest scream fest? And where were they and their exquisite ethics when Jack Kelley was doing the same kind of thing for our side?
Well, firstly, I don't recall anyone arguing that Kelley's actions were okay because 'they sometimes happen'. The "fake but accurate" approach is a notoriously left one (think the forged memos, et al - do a search on OpinionJournal for "fake but accurate" and see what comes up), but not something that I recall seeing from the right. Furthermore, the Kelley incident was over two years ago - well before this blog was ever created - and I was completely unaware of it. The cry of obsufication is perfectly applicable here; what relevance does that have? That people on the right have lied too? Okay, and they were wrong. Does this somehow lessen what Reuters and other news organizations have done or allowed in this war? I don't think so.

4) The worst of them all:
The mighty moralists on the right were not bothered at all when someone used the "Clone Tool" not to add smoke or flares, but thousands of fake Iraqis.

Why is it ok when a right-leaning publication uses photoshop to manipulate news photos? I don't remember Ezzie or Malkin uttering one word of complaint.

Perhaps their silence empowered Reuters.
I don't remember being a reader of a British evening daily in my life, and I don't recall this being noted anywhere for me to have known about it. I'm not sure why I must "complain" about any instance, let alone one that the odds of me seeing are slim to none; particularly when that instance is (according to the paper responsible) a matter of some dispute (though the complaint seems more likely to an observer). To suggest that I am somehow empowering deceit [even as an exaggerated joke] through my silence on an issue I've never seen is simply ridiculous and irresponsible.