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Tuesday, April 17, 2007


posted by on April 17 at 8:30 AM

Via Sullivan:

Imagine that this kind of massacre happened every day. Imagine a police force that was far too small to even respond to most of them. Imagine this occurring repeatedly for years until the perpetrators and their accomplices became the de facto power-brokers throughout the land. Imagine the shootings also being accompanied by the brutal torture of victims. Imagine families never having finality on whether their own siblings or parents or children have been murdered or not.

This is Iraq today. Now think of the justified rage many feel at the VT campus police chief and university president for misjudgments. Now imagine them presiding over several more massacres in the same place. Ask yourself: why do we not feel as enraged by those responsible for security in Iraq? Are those victims not human beings too? Are they not children and mothers and fathers and sons? Are we not ultimately responsible for them, having destroyed the institutions of order in their country? Now go watch John Bolton tell the victims to go help themselves.

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Thank you for posting this. I couldn't agree more.

Posted by James Gonzales-Meisler | April 17, 2007 8:33 AM


fucking sick.

they haven't even begun to bury the dead and the right's claiming we need more guns, the left's comparing it to iraq.

iraq was a powderkeg waiting to go off before we arrived. it will eternally stay this way.

virginia tech is no powder keg, they just happen to have them for when the hokies score touchdowns. it's a university, for christ's sake, not a war zone.

culture of violence indeed.

Posted by chris | April 17, 2007 8:40 AM

Didn't Sullivan support the Iraq War whole-heartedly? He's a revisionist blowhard.

Posted by DOUG. | April 17, 2007 9:02 AM

DOUG, lots of folks supported the war at the onset, including the Strangers own Dan Savage if memory serves. Realizing the war was a mistake and that the situation is not going to get better is not revisionist and does not make one a blowhard, it makes one a sensible mature adult.

Posted by Giffy | April 17, 2007 9:07 AM

Bullshit, Giffy. People who lived in the "real world" in 2002 and were not driven by personal profit (financial or political) or vengence KNEW that we were stirring up a hornet's nest in Iraq. What's happening now was predictable and predicted.

For an asshole like Sullivan to pretend like the mess in Iraq was simply the result of a few bad decisions along the way is total bullshit. The invasion was THE bad decision. Everything else is window dressing.

Posted by DOUG. | April 17, 2007 9:12 AM

does sullivan support gun control?

Posted by wf | April 17, 2007 9:35 AM

I don't know. He's opposed to gun nuts who start bleating about the Second Amendment before the bodies are even cold, though.

Iraq: 3,309. Can we make 3,500 by the Fourth of July?

Posted by Fnarf | April 17, 2007 9:43 AM

Sorry Giffy, I'm with Doug. Sullivan--and others I could mention--lost a huge chunk of credibility because of their support for the invasion, and that's not something one can just shrug off and decide to overlook. Claiming a moral authority "just because" isn't good enough.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | April 17, 2007 9:43 AM

@8 - bah, get over it already. It's not as if an announcement by Andrew Sullivan (and the others you allude to) in early 2003 that he opposed the war would actually have stopped Cheney et al in their tracks. And it's entirely possible that they didn't expect it to go quite as badly as it did. I mean, I opposed the war from the start and thought it would go badly, and even I was surprised by the level of incompetence involved.

Posted by tsm | April 17, 2007 10:23 AM

Thank you, Mr. Sullivan. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for having some perspective, unlike the rest of the damn country.

Posted by Gomez | April 17, 2007 10:34 AM

Well, if that's how Sullivan or anyone else feels, then you'd support sending about half a million more troops to Iraq to clamp down on the insurgents (which is probably the number we should've had to begin with). Pulling out will cause a big uptick in violence and executions, but will save US lives. Staying at the same level will see the violence slowly go down over the next, oh, 20 years or so.

Posted by him | April 17, 2007 10:52 AM

Sullivan didn't just support the war and then change his mind, which is embarrassing but not uncommon, but also called anti-war protesters a fifth-column of terrorist support and argued that dissent aids the enemy. The man is not be trusted with anything; he shouldn't even be allowed to wipe his own ass.

Posted by dirge | April 17, 2007 10:56 AM

All of you are missing (intentionally?) Sullivan's contrasting point: we don't bat an eye at the dozens slaughtered in Iraq every day or the dozens murdered in America every single day, but we fall to pieces when 32 kids in Virginia are killed by another student.

Posted by Gomez | April 17, 2007 11:05 AM

I agree with Gomez. Our sense of human valuation is stilted. One example of this (besides Iraq) would be 10 to 1 kill ratios in Korea and Vietnam.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | April 17, 2007 11:21 AM

i did not want us to go to war against iraq. but i can easily see how one could have supported the war (given the "info" at the time) but not support the "rebuilding strategy" implemented. i can even see how someone could have supported the war knowing it would be a hornet's nest afterwards.

Posted by infrequent | April 17, 2007 11:28 AM

sorry -- i guess that was a little off topic. i agree that this tragedy gives us a glimpse of the tragedies facing the people of iraq daily. neither should be ignored.

Posted by infrequent | April 17, 2007 11:30 AM

Oh, I "get" Sullivan's point, Gomez. It's just that having him preach to me regarding moral relativity and Iraq is like Alberto Gonzalez lecturing me on the Fourth Amendment. Sullivan needs to take a long look in the mirror.

Posted by DOUG. | April 17, 2007 11:50 AM

Well put, Doug. The "still small voice" in Sullivan's head keeps telling him to change his mind.

Posted by mking | April 17, 2007 12:30 PM

Say what you want about Sullivan's flip-flopping, but that doesn't make his point wrong.

Posted by Gomez | April 17, 2007 2:13 PM

The V-Tech and Iraq situations are blossoms from the same root. Suicide bombers only happen, because they reckon no alternative to alleviate the pain and stress they feel clamping down on them. The issue is not the perpetrator's personal mental instability, but the uber-mental health of this global mentality we exist under. These school shooters are confronted with a future of narrow capitalsist/consumerist margins. They can not hope for a "clear blue sky". Their future can only be one of pyramidic control and only deeper regimentation. What is it to grow up in a world, where your only choices are between being a robot and being a robot? You could be a Stranger staffer and write robotic responses to the robotic culture that encompasses you (except for Charles Mudede), or you could accept the corrosion of stability that comes with some flavor of defiant anarchism. Or you could just say, "Fuck It" and take out alot of middle-class spawned sheep who flex out on campus with Biance on a quadrangle afternoon. Obviously, the solution to this geometry isn't violence or hatred. But we need to own to the sociopathic results of consumerist capitalism sooner rather than later. Across Lake Washington, we have a whole brood of Microsoft kids coming up. What will they be like when they hit the UW? And here we are faced with ecological apocalypse. Good luck, you commercial whores. I'm hunkering down in the Belltown ghetto. Your hipster viability will only last for another decade. Then you will have to make some real decisions. I wish you well. I know you are human. Please, don't go postal.



Posted by Ryan Smilac | April 19, 2007 12:50 AM

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