September 3, 2004

INTERESTING PICTURE from the scene of schoolhouse slaughter today. Note the t-shirt. More information here.

This is what we’re dealing with, for those who have forgotten.

UPDATE: GayPatriot asks: “First NYC/DC, then Madrid, now Russia faces its own “9/11″. How many more will have to die until Europe, and ostriches here in the US, wake up and realize we are in a World War?”

Beats me. But David Kaspar has some helpful advice on how to think about acts of terror.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Oliver Willis sees this as some sort of attack on Democrats’ patriotism, full of “slander” and “bile.” To me, he seems awfully, well, defensive. When pointing out that we’re at war, as a remedy to September 10th thinking, is considered partisan, well. . . .

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Don’t worry — there’s a solution: “The situation, clearly, can only be resolved by Russian concessions on the underlying political issue in Chechnya.” David Kaspar’s advice is already taking hold!

MORE: Matthew Yglesias emails to say that I’ve misquoted him above, and demands an apology. Er, except that the quote — done via cut-and-paste, natch — is accurate. Here it is again, cut-and-pasted, again. “The situation, clearly, can only be resolved by Russian concessions on the underlying political issue in Chechnya.”

I guess that Matthew means it’s out of context, or misrepresents his post. Maybe it misrepresents what he meant to say. Follow the link and decide for yourselves. But I can’t figure out what Matthew could have meant that would make the statement above a misrepresentation of his meaning.

Chechnya, of course, is a mess, and there’s lots of blame to go around. But the news reports are that quite a few of the terrorists in this incident were Arabs, not Chechens, and this seems to me to fit quite well into the general Al Qaeda assault on, well, everybody else — especially after the two airliner bombings, etc. Does Matthew really think that this is something that can be negotiated away via Russian concessions to the Chechens? Judging from his email, I guess not. So why did he write the above? I guess you’ll have to ask him, as his email didn’t provide any guidance on what he did mean.

In a later post, Yglesias writes “Fuck you, Glenn.” And he still says I misrepresent him. I don’t think I did — at least, it’s hard for me to figure out what he meant that would have made my (accurate) quotation misleading. And Yglesias doesn’t tell us, preferring to substitute profanity for clarity, I guess.

I will note, however, that I managed to respond to Yglesias’ implications that I was a Nazi who was inciting “mob violence” against the New York Times without resorting to profanity.

I’m guessing that Matthew’s comment in the section below — which I believe appeared after my post — contains the best clarification he’s got:

Pardon me, but I’m not advocating capitulation to the terrorists. As I wrote: “in the wake of this sort of outrage there will not only be no mood for concessions, but an amply justified fear that such concessions would only encourage further attacks and a further escalation of demands.”

I’m not advocating anything, that’s why I wrote that “I don’t see any way out for Russian policymakers nor any particularly good options for US policymakers . . . no one should claim it’s obvious what the right way to proceed is.”

Does that clear things up? Not to me. The only solution is concessions, which we can’t make? Okay. Except that I don’t think concessions — even if we could make them — are any solution at all, because I don’t think the people involved care about concessions in Chechnya.

Obsidian Wings also says I misrepresented Matthew’s post, though there at least I’m given credit for it not being intentional (Matthew’s initial post, he observes, “was not a model of clarity.”) There’s also this observation:

From this post, Yglesias seems to suggest that he doesn’t believe that he’s in a debate. If that’s his belief, then he’s wrong — and, since I don’t want to be told to do the anatomically impossible (as Yglesias has instructed Reynolds), I’ll explain why. The notion that the “underlying problem” can be solved by Russian concessions is based on a fundamentally incorrect premise. The “underlying problem” is that of terrorism directed at civilians, and it can only be solved by making terrorism an unacceptable method of political action. No “concessions” on this point are possible.

So if I understand Matthew’s post better now — and I’m not at all sure that I do — my understanding is that it translates as “Jeez, what a mess.” True enough, and I certainly don’t disagree. My own sense is that the way this mess will be resolved won’t be through actions at the periphery — such as concessions involving Chechnya — but by addressing Islamist terror at its sources, which chiefly mean Iran and Saudi Arabia. I don’t know what Matthew thinks about that. Perhaps he’ll manage a non-profane post on that subject.

At any rate, I honestly didn’t think my quotation was a misrepresentation of Matthew’s position — which I still don’t understand. But anyone who wanted to read the whole item had only to follow the link and — as it was presented — wouldn’t even have known it came from Matthew unless they followed the link, in which case they would unavoidably have read the whole thing. So I don’t really see how I can be accused of mistreating him here. Certainly, if his meaning was so clear that I shouldn’t have misunderstood it myself, that couldn’t have left any misimpression on the average reader.

MORE: Maybe this is another case of “‘misleading-without-lying’ in the sense that someone, somewhere, might have misunderstood him?”

Eric Muller emails:

The trouble is obviously that Yglesias contradicted himself in his own post. In the sentence you quote, he asserts what the solution “clearly” is, and in the last sentence, he says “no one should claim it’s obvious what the right way to proceed is.” I guess he wanted you to post his full self-contradiction.

Yeah. I wasn’t trying to misrepresent his view — I just thought that the concessions bit was the key point because, well, it looked that way to me.

Pierre Legrand has further thoughts.

FINAL NOTE: Armed Liberal, who started all this, has thoughts here.

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