March 01, 2005


Today we revisit our friends at Democratic Underground, who are furiously masturbating in anticipatory glee over the 1,500th U.S. military fatality in Iraq.


Here, for example, we have a thread titled "Sometime today we will reach 1,500 Americans killed in Iraq." How does the poster know? Does he have a crystal ball? Is he in touch with the insurgency? Or is he drawing an unwarranted inference? Then we have this thread, titled "1,499." You can almost taste the poster's disappointment that the magic number hadn't yet been reached. One gets the sense that they have fireworks on standby, and a giant banner ready to unfurl, like a supermarket congratulating its millionth customer. Whoever the unfortunate casualty will be isn't even dead, and already they're waving his body bag like a flag. I don't know who will be the 1,500th fatality, but I'd be willing to bet that if you asked him today, he'd express horror at the knowledge that his death will be shamelessly exploited by these people.

If any of you happen to be reading this, pay very close attention to this. 1,500 deaths is tragic. A single death, in fact, would be tragic. It is terribly sad that so many brave young men and women have had to pay the ultimate price. But what I want you to do is, for the sake of argument, assume that we will achieve our goals. Assume that we will depose Saddam and supervise democratic elections. Assume, again just for the sake of argument, that Iraq becomes a flourishing, free ally. Is 1,500 deaths worth it? Let's try to look at that figure in perspective.

In 1415, some 8,500 men died in the Battle of Agincourt. In 1945, 7,000 Americans died just to take the island of Iwo Jima. Approximately 360 times more Americans died in the Civil War than have died in Iraq. 1,500 is the number of Americans who die of motor vehicle accidents every ten days. 1,500 Americans die from smoking every thirty hours.

Every single American casualty in Iraq is a tragedy, and we do all we can to avoid them. But historically speaking, this has been one of the least costly wars ever. If we succeed, I have no doubt that history will judge the success to have been worth the cost. Those who whine about this blessedly low casualty rate would undoubtedly whine just as loudly had the number of fatalities been a tenth as high. They are not opposed to the casualty rate, they are opposed to the war. Which is of course their right and is an arguable position... but they're abusing American war dead to make their point. They are shameless, but shame on them.

March 1, 2005 in Democratic Underground | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

January 25, 2005

Yet another response to DU

In this post (warning: disturbing images), DUer NightTrain invites "right-wing lurkers" to view images of injured or killed children, and then asks, "Still think the War On Terror will make America safer in the decades to come? For chrissake, how fucking delusional can you be???"

Answer: I'm not delusional, I'm logical. And as such, I recognize argumentum ad misericordiam as the logical fallacy it is. Undoubtedly, one could find similar pictures of German and Japanese children in World War II, and had color photography had been invented, such sad pictures could be found from the Civil War or American Revolution. Does that mean that we should have rolled over for the Axis? Does it mean that the Union should have been allowed to break apart, or British rule should have been endured?

No, it does not. The morality of the war in Iraq is a valid question, but the display of these pictures adds nothing to the debate. They're a cheap appeal to pity, nothing more. And if you allow them to persuade you, I'm afraid it is you who is not being rational, not your opponents.

January 25, 2005 in Democratic Underground | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

December 13, 2004

The secret to great comedy

I didn't intend to turn this blog into a critique of DU, honest. But I'm having fun with it, so let's see how far it goes. This post in particular had me chuckling:

I've just been shut out of!

Yesterday for the first time I checked out what these guys are talking about, and decided to join so that I could have an ongoing discussion with them. Call it an argument if you like - but I never attack somebody who hasn't attacked me first.

I just tried replying to the latest comments in our ongoing discussion, and WHOOPS - my priviliges have been revoked. Not only that - ALL MY POSTS WERE DELETED from the thread! I feel like I've been mugged.


So it turns out that only Republicans are allowed to post at Simple as that. No debate allowed. Tell me - am I dreaming? I honestly didn't think it was this bad in the "free world". Check out the thread, and note the deleted posts. My comments appear occasionally when someone quotes me, but they left out the best parts(!) I wrote LONG and carefully worded mini-essays...all gone. What a waste of time. I was honestly expecting them to enjoy calling me names and such, but I guess they can't handle serious debate.

As I've said before, one of the main reasons I read DU is for the comedy. And what's the secret to great comedy? Timing. In this case, it couldn't be better.

A few posters in that thread tried to kill the fun by pointing out that DU itself is hardly a free speech zone, but the original poster kept the entertainment alive:

Maybe I'm REAL naive since I didn't spend much time on political forums before recently, but I was really surprised to see that NOT ONLY I was shut out their forum for simply debating them, but that my posts were removed by the moderator! It's like wearing a sign on you back saying 'WE WILL NOT TOLERATE DEBATE IN THIS FORUM!'. My point is that the situation concerning free speech and healthy debate is FAR worse than I imagined. I figured they'd LIKE debating me, but I guess not.


Are you telling me there's actually a RULE stating that if you're a Republican then you can't post here? That would be just as bad.

As a matter of fact, the DU forum rules have this to say about "Who is welcome on Democratic Underground, and who is not":

We welcome Democrats of all stripes, along with other progressives who will work with us to achieve our shared goals.

This is a "big tent" message board. We welcome a wide range of progressive opinion. You will likely encounter many points of view here that you disagree with.

We ban conservative disruptors who are opposed to the broad goals of this website. If you think overall that George W. Bush is doing a swell job, or if you wish to see Republicans win, or if you are generally supportive of conservative ideals, please do not register to post, as you will likely be banned.

"Just as bad". I look forward to DUer thephaseshift's post castigating DU as an example of what's wrong with the quote-unquote "free world".

December 13, 2004 in Democratic Underground | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack