Andrew Sullivan, unreliable narrator.

A mostly political Weblog.
Jan. 29 2007 5:39 AM

The 'Excitable Embedder'

Plus--How "comprehensive immigration reform" is like the Iraq war!

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The video shows Iraqi troops beating three men who'd been caught with a bag full of mortars in their car. I don't defend the beatings, which at least one American tries fecklessly to stop, but calling people captured with mortars "civilians" is a bit of a distortion, no? Nor do they appear to be beaten "to near death"--that's just a Sullivanian embellishment.** Does he even watch the videos he hosts? ...

**--Nor can the Iraqi soldiers hear the Americans hooping and hollering in their vehicle many yards away--a non-trivial distinction, when you think about it. When I first read Sullivan's description I thought the American's were actually spurring the Iraqis on (as opposed to keeping their distance, doing nothing, and hooping amongst themselves, which may be bad enough). The one American who we're told actually has contact with the Iraqis appears to be the one who tries to get them to stop.

Update 1/27: Sullivan's response--Civilians, insurgents. Unarmed, mortars. Minor details! ("The insurgents are civilians inasumuch as they are not in the Iraqi Army ..." Huh?) I've missed the point:

The whole point of the video and the posting, however, was that it illustrated how almost exclusively Shiite forces are ... clearing Sunni neighborhoods, with tacit U.S. support."

Except the video doesn't show that. It shows Shiite forces capturing and roughing up armed Sunnis, of the sort who are terrorizing civilians in other parts of town. It doesn't show soldiers chasing Sunni residents from their homes. ...

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P.S.: Sullivan declares, of the beating victims, "they are residents of the neighborhood." But of course he doesn't know that. They were in a car, after all (with mortars!)--that's all the video shows. Sullivan also writes that one of them was thrown "into an airless car trunk." The "airless" is another little Sullivan enhancement.  I don't know how much air gets into a HumVee trunk--but neither does Sullivan. The man can't help himself. ...

P.P.S.: Sullivan says that I'm not "much concerned with Iraq." This is not a charge that can be levelled at him, unfortunately. To see Sullivan abjectly apologize for his thoughtless, bullying cheerleading for the Iraq war, see this video. ...

P.P.P.S.: Actually, he doesn't apologize for the "bullying." I added that! ...

More: Is there a structural problem with the use of YouTube clips or rather a problem when you have an "excitable embedder." Leigh Hunt sees both. I see only one. ... 1:51 A.M. link

What Liberal Alterman? Neo-neoliberal Eric Alterman takes on a pro-teachers'-union blogger  who accused him of opposing New York teachers' unions on a "lefter than thou" basis (i.e., because they sometimes endorse Republicans):

[M]y displeasure with the teachers union has nothing whatever to do with political policies. Rather, it is as the parent of a New York City public school child who finds the union's frequent inflexibility and resistance toward what looks to my admittedly non-expert eyes to be common-sense reforms self-defeating in the extreme, as well as a significant barrier to badly needed improvements. This explains why the author is so confused about the citation of my views by the DLC fellow.** I do agree more with the DLC than with the union. [E.A.]