“INCREASINGLY EFFECTIVE IRAQI TROOPS:” Andrew Sullivan says that’s the line I’m pushing, but as seems to be his wont when describing me lately he doesn’t link to an actual post of mine, and I can’t find that phrase on my blog, though Andrew presents it with quotation marks twice. It is true, though, that we’re hearing from people actually in Iraq, like Michael Yon and J.D. Johannes, that the Iraq troops are generally getting better, though Yon says Iraqi commanders and logistics are still subpar. Still, if Andrew’s going to present something as a direct quote, he might want to point to where I’ve actually, you know, said it. With a link. This is a trivial matter, of course, except for the likelihood that Glenn Greenwald or somebody will start linking to this post of Andrew’s while attributing things to me in a misleading way, kind of like they’ve done with “more rubble, less trouble.”
UPDATE: Reader Gregg Reynolds (no relation) writes:
Because it’s been a few weeks since I’ve visited Sullivan’s site, I was intrigued by your reference to Sullivan today and wanted to get to the bottom of it.
The “increasingly effective” quote comes evidently from a recent Jules Crittenden column: http://www.julescrittenden.com/2007/07/08/genocide-prefered/
Here is Sullivan’s post on it: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/07/continuing-the-.html
Now Sullivan labels you and anyone you cite “approvingly” on still trying to win in Iraq with the moniker “the ‘stab-in-the-back’ right” or some similar construction. I’m still confused about where that label comes from. I’m guessing it’s pejorative, though.
I hope this reduces confusion.
Well, a bit. I followed a link to Andrew’s post and didn’t spend enough time poking around, obviously. The “stab in the back” label basically involves calling me a Nazi, which is of a piece with his behavior lately. But I’ve never rejected Sullivan.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Han Meng emails:
Sullivan’s “‘stab-in-the-back’ right” apparently refers to Stabbed in the back! The past and future of a right-wing myth, which Sullivan seems to think everyone’s familiar with, but makes little sense if one isn’t. And I don’t think it applies to you:
“Given this state of permanent culture war, it is not surprising that the Bush White House trotted out the stab-in-the-back myth when its Iraq project began to run out of steam early last summer. It was first given a spin, as usual, by the right’s media shock troops, and directed at both Democratic and renegade Republican lawmakers who had dared to criticize either the strategic conduct of the war or our treatment of detainees….Critics of the war were not simply questioning its strategy or its necessity, or upholding the best of American traditions by raising concerns over how enemy prisoners were being treated. Instead, they were aiding the enemy, and actively endangering our fighting men and women. They were traitors and “revolutionaries,” individuals who were “conducting guerrilla warfare on American troops,” and “excrement” who could now be safely incarcerated “immediately” or even “eliminated.””
Hmm. I hadn’t read that piece, but I don’t think it applies to me, either: I certainly haven’t called for eliminating or incarcerating war critics. Meanwhile, more on the Nazi angle from Hub Blog