I sent this around to everyone at the Atlantic, but only Fallows took it:
I am here to dispute the groundless claim that Goldberg’s Iraq reporting was flawed…
WMD were not found, but there is no reason to believe they were not simply smuggled over the border into Syria or Iran. There are those who say there was no connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda but Goldberg and others have argued — convincingly, in my view — that indeed there were. (Here, for example.)
And the other claims? Saddam was every bit the mass murder we thought he was. The oft-mocked “sweets and flowers” line? Chris Hitchens saw soldiers greeted with sweets flowers first-hand.
By many measures, Iraq was more of a threat than expected. Some say we caused a near civil war, but if that near civil war had happened under Saddam rather than under coalition rule, imagine what might have happened: poison gas, anthrax, genocide on a scale not seen in this generation.
It’s easy to lament the things that went wrong in the Iraq war and there is no denying that the planning was poor, in some ways. But Niall Ferguson has taught us we must think counterfactually to truly understand history. And in this case, a sharp counterfactual analysis makes it clear how much worse things might have been had we not invaded Iraq.
I’d support it again and think claims of inaccurate pre-war analysis are badly overblown.
Update. Fallows explain why he thought he was fake.
Something about Poe’s Law.
I think he double spoofed you back dude.
@General Stuck: Yep.
Wow, well done. I read that yesterday and thought it really was the work of a real crazy person. It actually gave me chills. I’m glad it wasn’t real.
Jones. Seems fitting.
I lol’d so hard at manfully without comment.
That is the understatement of the millennium.
I really don’t see why it’s so much to ask from the Universe that it provide us with politijoes that are even just a little self-aware and, gulp, savvy. Fallows is one of the better ones, too, but I can’t imagine what legitimate purpose is served by giving greater prominence to the narrative you’re (unknown to him) facetiously presenting.
I sadly already know the answer to this question but does this mean we need to spend more time talking about Watergate, too, because we can assemble a team of ideologues and hacks who are capable of presenting an unto itself intelligible story of how Nixon’s only crime was loving America too much?
(Cue new Slate article: The Watergate Trials – Bad for America?)
Hilarious. And what the hell is with the “manfully”?
“WMD were not found, but there is no reason to believe they were not simply smuggled into Wink Martindale’s basement.”
Just as good.
Also, Hitchens hates being called “Chris.”
Time for a nom d’idiot, if you will.
Very funny. I wonder if Fallows will acknowledge this post.
No kidding. Hey Doug, are we related?
Ha! I suspected that was you, Doug.
Yer th’ best spoof artist around, but you know that already.
I think you got double spoofed by that George Friedman guy (or maybe he is spoofing himself):
The idea that Iran has the ability to impose its will on Iraq seems more an example of another misconception of the “intelligence community” than anything real. We just never learn.
Perhaps when they receive email putting forth the same arguments, they’ll say, “Nobody’s really that stupid. I’m not falling for it again.”
When Bloggerwood gets its walk of fame, I nominate DougJ for one the first stars.
I stand in awe.
Apparently Goldberg was taken to task by Pam Gellar. She thinks he’s soft on Muslims and she labeled him a “Jewicidal Jihadi”.
Add on that Joseph Farah has opened up an assault on Ann Coulter for talking to gays as though they were human and we have the wingularity entering a black hole.
Arguing with these neo-cons is like arguing with the family member who insists that evolution is “just a theory.”
“Really, you think dinosaurs were around millions of years before us. Well prove it. Show me the video and prove it. And if you can’t prove it. Then shut up. Because I won’t have my religion insulted in this manner.”
Nice crank call.
What was Fallows’ point in including it do you think?
So the collapsing Saddam Hussein regime was able to pack up all these WMD and smuggle them into a Iran, an enemy which they had a brutal 9 year war with; or over barren desert (easily detectable by satellite and aircraft) to rival Syria, which itself broke diplomatic relations with Iraq in 1990, fought against Iraq in the First Gulf War and only restored diplomatic relations in 2006?
Yup. Makes absolutely total sense to me. Also. too.
Yeah. Your comment wasn’t a successful spoof, Doug — Fallows thinks you’re an idiot.
And frankly, I agree with him — at least when it comes to your commenting on SRS BZNS blogs. I’m catching a lot more flies with the honey of sweet reason than you will with the vinegar of pointless jokes.
Possibly OT, but since this is under General Stupidity…
Most US students think Beethoven is a dog
and the already mentioned: Poll: Growing number incorrectly call Obama Muslim
I wonder if the two could somehow be related.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
DougJ, you’re my hero.
J sub D
Yeah. In 2013 they might still be ruled by a typical Arab strongman form of government led by Saddam as opposed to the brand spanking new typical Arab strongman government they’ll be getting.
After 4,000+ US dead, 100,000+ Iraqi dead, too lazy to look up coalition forces dead and 1-3 terabucks flushed down the shitter lets try to justify this monumentally foolhardy exercise in preventive war and pat ourselves on the back for all the good (provable or not) we achieved.
Gen. Jrod and his Howling Army
Nothing was smuggled. The WMDs were there. We found them.
I don’t know how he props up Jeffy as legitimate and then has a troll pointing out all the things Jeffy got wrong in a positive light. Maybe if he’s being held hostage and being forced to write this crap…
So all the hard work Jeffy did? Hard work like Judy? Being the stenographer in the know makes you legitimate?
@MikeJ: I don’t mean on Doug’s part, but, rather, Fallows’. Sorry for being unclear.
Just talk to someone who tried to teach Art History during the high point of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Really? Is that no longer taught?
@J sub D: Ummm, you DO, of course, understand that DougJ’s post was satire, right?
That’s not what it said. It wasn’t a poll or a study. It’s a list of things that young people may see differently from older people. Two years ago college freshmen were born the year Nirvana’s Nevermind album came out.
The author makes no claim about what percentage of students first think of the dog, merely that the dog has existed as a pop culture artifact their entire lives, and so they are equally likely to pick one as the other.
I realise the stupid hed is probably what mislead you. Apparently, today’s J-school grads can’t correctly read a press release.
@Mark S.: It is taught, but not really harped on here.
My son’s handwriting is barely legible, but his teachers all claim to be able to read it.
@MikeJ: Well, that’s what I get for just reading the headline. Shame on me.
On the Internet, you don’t have to keep a straight face.
Say what you want about Jeffrey Goldberg, and I could say a lot, but with respect to the Cordoba Initiative, he’s on the side of the Angels.
Seriously, stop with the spoofing. Our discourse is stupid enough without you adding to it.
This is the best line in the show:
The idea that Niall Ferguson ever taught anyone anything should have been a dead give away.
Really? When did this come about? That certainly wasn’t the case when I picked up an MA in history about 15 years ago. My, how things change.
Yes, and if a few thousand people GET DEAD it’s just an unfortunate limit on our thought.
I’m about fucking done listening to sociopaths who think it was perfectly okay to go to war to make themselves FEEL BETTER, and not only say this with a straight face but expect applause for it.
If you were reading that other John Cole, informedconsent.com, in the early 2ks he was doing a masterful job of explaining the cultural, religious and political crosscurrents of the Gulf region. He very ably predicted just about every outcome of the Iraq debacle. The big winner was always going to be Iran. They had two hostile nations on their borders, and the US invaded both and overthrew their governments. Iran spent the time between its war with Iraq & our invasion building relations with the Shiite groups in Iraq to prepare for the chance to use them.
If Boy Blunder was an Iranian agent working to damage the US and empower Iran he succeeded beyond Iranian expectations. If he was not an Iranian agent he is the biggest fuckup in the history of Western civilization.
Neither can Stephen Hawking. Artistic talent should not be required for accurate communication.
@General Stuck: Yup.
This post has very helpfully allowed me to collect on an in-house bet.
J sub D
Yeah. It’s a good spoof. I’ve heard the same arguments from team red for nearly a decade.
I’m also hearing arguments from both team red and team blue that we are doing something other than wasting lives and treasure nation building in Afghanistan. Delusional thinking abounds in both cases.
God I’m sick of not being able to read posts here. Why the fuck does this keep happening with the fucking margins? It never used to happen, now it occurs randomly every fucking day.
This list comes out every year and bothers me for about an hour before I stop thinking about it. I mean, at best it’s navel gazing “kids today” minutae like “Most students born in 1990 don’t know that IBM used to make typewriters! LOL! Stupid kids, typewriters are very important!” But other times it’s just blatently wrong like “Apartheid never existed in South Africa for the [college graduating] class of 2006” Well, no. The class of 2006 was born in 1984, well before any reasonbale dating of the end of South African apartheid.
Gen. Jrod and his Howling Army
Cursive is garbage anyway. A whole goddam year of elementary school was spent teaching us cursive, and for what? I can write faster and more legibly in plain old standard letters, but both methods are beaten handily by any of the half dozen devices I own with keyboards.
If anything, cursive ruined my handwriting for awhile.
@Athenae: I agree with the spoof that it is important to think counterfactually about history, but only if you start out by getting your facts straight first. And only if you are not biased in your selection and analysis of counterfactuals. On both the Iraq war and the economy, I think the necons and CW economists have some problems with both.
What is the point of a spoof if it is so ridiculous that the only target who posts thinks it is too ridiculous to respond to, and posts it with a sardonic ‘manfully without comment’?
why not try a more credible spoof that makes a better case than the original culprits, and see if you can get a useful response?
Please say it was from Goldberg.
I assume we will hear about any kickbacks to DougJ.
I smell a possible new blogger ethics panel in the offing.
@J Fallows: Yep, time for a nom d’idiot.
OK, so this is what I get for using links instead of actually typing in URLs. John changed is URL to:
juancole.com & the blog is Informed comment. You really should read it as it will depress the hell out of you as he predicts the outcomes of American actions with scary accuracy as all the serious people ignore him & crash onwards to worse disasters.
Awesome. I suspect “scholars” at the Hoover Institution and the American Enterprise Institute are even now writing papers that cite their authors’ use of “counterfactual analysis”.
yeah, informed consent is an ENTIRELY different kettle of fish
I think so too. I like the guy so I’m glad.
J sub D
@Gen. Jrod and his Howling Army:
I’m 55 and can’t even write in cursive anymore (though I can still read it with effort). The typewriter killed cursive and the word processor drove a stake through its heart. We should all be grateful for those two technological innovations.
Actually, with respect to the Cordoba Initiative, Goldberg is on the side of the Constitution.
Of course, there are some who believe that angels were responsible for writing the Constitution (see “Beethoven” reference in the comment #24).
Gotta respectfully disagree. Perhaps it will take something like A Modest Proposal to get some people in this country to see what’s become of the quality of our discourse.
What does the “manfully” part mean?
McMegan did that very thing just today
You’re my hero DougJ. Getting The Serious People(tm) to swallow BS like that. Awesome.
“Iraq; Trump of the counter factual”
OT- Feds to Indict Clemens for Perjury
I never really cared one way or another about Clemens, but I knew he was lying through his teeth when he went on 60 Minutes claiming he never used steroids. His lawyer seems like a total idiot to me as well, but that’s just because I think a good lawyer should try to keep you out of trouble instead of putting you in as many forums as possible to commit perjury.
So, even if Goldberg is getting spun and fed, it was hard work to get all this “new” spin and feed?
That’s the definition of a reportorial achievement? Judith Miller would be proud.
I gotta pile on and say that teaching cursive serves no purpose. I could never understand why I was made to write in it for at least 3 years of school.
I always knew that seeing dogs with wings was a key stage in my spiritual progress.
I got a whole lot of sources of information. Lots. The notion that Iran “was always going to be the big winner” is a bunch of hooey by people who are a lot less informed than they think they are, and who seriously underestimate the degree of nationalism in both Iraq and Iran.
@J sub D:
I kinda miss cursive. But then again, I hate it when somebody sends me a wordprocessor document with a cursive font. Go figure.
Oh please let this be the actual James Fallows. plz plz plz
“The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage” — Emperor Hirohito, announcing Japan’s surrender, August 15, 1945
i.e. We must make shit up, delude ourselves and believe magical fairy tales, but defend the ideological fantasy at all costs.
Good to see we have our national priorities straight.
@soonergrunt: Nope. McMegan is saying that her ideological opponents are making a “counterfactual” argument. ‘Course, she provides no evidence that it is, in fact, “counterfactual”.
Good work Doug.
@freelancer: Bad things exist, therefore we can never do anything about lesser crimes.
@debit: What makes Beethoven (an entertainer from long ago) any more significant that Beethoven (the canine entertainer)? I’ll give you that the Obama is Muslim is a bad bit of being misinformed. I just don’t think that recall of what is essentially the entertainment industry from centuries ago is all that important. As humanity moves forward century after century, is it really that important that school kids know about this composer? I’m more concerned about science and math understanding than rote memorization of trivia.
Just for the sake of kissing some blog overlord ass, I will say that I thought this spoof was pointful rather than pointless. The point goes like this:
1. The Atlantic publishes Middle East reporting by J. Goldberg.
2. People complain that JG is untrustworthy because of his past bullshit on Iraq.
3. Atlantic bloggers offer weak-ass defense of JG by pretending the issue was how he thought the Iraq war would turn out, totally ignoring the main problem which was that he reported straight-up lies about Al Qaeda and WMD without due diligence.
4. DougJ calls attention to these interesting details by pretending to defend them.
To Fallows’s credit, at least he didn’t agree with Doug’s defense; presumably he knows full well that JG was full of shit on Iraq. Of course Doug has left him no graceful way to concede any of this, since he’d be saying “No, you’re wrong to defend our writer, he is actually full of shit.” But posting it without comment actually sort of makes the point, at least to non-wingnuts, which I believe are still the Atlantic’s audience.
This woman just won’t stop with her uninformed commentary.
Thread needs more sammich.
That was some of the best nutshelling I’ve heard this week.
Say that again, but with a Jamaican accent.
Means I’m obviously biting my tongue in putting this up. How I knew:
1) The Niall Ferguson allusion is very artful and an homage/ gesture I appreciate, but an obvious dog-whistle to me. You can look it up. This was not the main episode but was part of the saga: http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2009/08/ferguson-obama-felix-the-cat-and-pluto/23412/
2) The “sweets and flowers” line, which is the last thing anyone in that camp wants to remember. From “Chris” Hitchens no less.
3) A followup email, which went over the line from artful parody to burlesque.
4) I have received enough *actual* mail from this perspective to know it by smell.
Etc. Now, back to a day-job article, on neither Iran nor Iraq but China.
If I had to guess, I’d say your (mostly) proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation gave you away.
Plus, what (presumably) J Fallows said.
That’s some quality spoof.
Don’t forget Lebanon. A couple of weeks before the 04 election a Bush deputy undersecretary of defense claimed Russian special forces spirited the WMDs out to Syria, Lebanon, and possibly Iran.
That the Russkies didn’t leave any behind shows just how good they were.
licensed to kill time
I thought it was very funny, DougJ, and that Fallows was manfully restraining from comment on what was an obvious spoof to the well-informed, which is why we find it funny.
ETA: Aaaaannnnnd on refresh I see Fallows response!
I assumed it was Green. He’s the only one dumb enough to take that bet in the first place.
Completely OT (BTW, can we at least get 1 Open Thread every few hours between the 129 FPs currently employed here?)
But if true….couldn’t have happened to a more arrogant, under-bus-throwing comtemptable fuckstain prick bastard POS CHEATER in all of sports.
And here come the Yanks homers to stand up for their cheating, lying bastard.
Thank you for that explanation. I missed the whole Felix the Cat imbroglio, but quite a read.
@Doctor Science wrote:
Hey I’ve thought DougJ was an idiot for years.
The thing that gets me is how he seems to be SO proud of what he’s doing. Sorta reminds me of Bart Simpson playing his telephone games. But instead of rolling on the floor laughing like Bart does, he dashes off a post here gleefully telling everyone of his latest “antics”.
@Punchy: Tell us how you really f………nevermind, that’s obvious.
Clemens really a bigger asshole than lying Palmero, I-know-nothing McGuire, and I-know-no-English-suddenly Sosa?
Yes, I know you are kidding. But angels [if they exist at all] don’t have to be human.
@arguingwithsignposts: I remember that one, and I think I even sent that post around a bit. Hilarious! Sadly, at no point did I do my humanitarian duty by feeling sorry for Ferguson. Liberal guilt only extends so far.
@HyperIon: What next? You going to bitch about Stephen Colbert?
I get as annoyed as anyone that we often don’t get down to business and try to fix the things we complain about. But humor has value too.
And, yet you subject yourself to it “for years”. Odd, that.
I think if you took a poll of MLB players, they would say that Clemens was a much bigger asshole than any of those guys you listed. I think only Bonds would give Clemens a run for his money in that department.
I’m not a fan of DougJ’s spoofing either, but it gets a pass this time since it led Fallows to post that Niall Ferguson huff-n-puff. Unbelievable.
I consider Trolling to be a valuable way of developing better critical thinking and bullshit awareness. It’s incredible how it aids one’s skill at picking signal from noise.
DougJ … You are my new hero. Seriously funny and frightening.
@General Stuck: While I’d like to think this, this is The Atlantic, you can never be sure.
Relieved to see I didn’t give Fallows enough credit.
@Mark S.: Bulls eye. I don’t know which way I would go with Clemens/Bonds. We’re
venturing into serious scumbag territory here.
Thank you. That was indeed my goal with this.
@Brachiator: Most Shia politicians running Iraq lived in Iran for at least part of the last 20 years. The most charismatic young leader of any Iraqi faction is currently living in Iran. if Iran wanted sh*t to happen in Iraq, it only has to snap its fingers
@Mark S.: You could say that he’s a dushbag (sic).
@Larry Signor: He taught Ayaan Hirsi Ali how to break up a marriage!
Doug, at this point I’m starting to believe that you are lying about teaching. No teacher I know has as much time as you seem to to fuck around.
@Church Lady: Do most teachers work full-time during summer break?
Wow – did James Fallows just comment here today? If he did, I don’t plan to wash this keyboard again/ All The spittle and Cheeto dust will just have ripen like everything else.
Major props to Fallows for weighing in.
And good spoof, Doug. The Niall Ferguson line was genius.
Don’t know why posting this would have reflected badly on Fallows even if he didn’t know it was spoof. It’s pretty obvious from his tone (“manfully without comment”) that he thought Doug’s email was self-refuting. Which it was, and which was Doug’s point in writing it.
Yeah, in the annals of satire, DougJ stands shoulder to shoulder with Swift and Colbert.
Or, y’know, not.
See also, PZ Myers, David Gorsky, Steven Novella, John Cole, Tim F, Juan Cole, among many, many others that are both bloggers and instructors.
Get back to me when that finger snap actually happens.
I love DougJ’s spoofs. No one else can craft a pastiche of pseudo-intellectual conservative BS like he can. Anyone who doesn’t enjoy them is a prig or a Republican.
@Ethan Epstein: @Postlethwaite Windschitl:
Et tu, Michael? I was one of your defenders.
@Brachiator: check the news tomorrow…
@timb: Niall has provided an update in which he claims the marriage was on the rocks for several years before Ali’s entrance…right.
Here is some classic Ferguson slippin’ ‘n slidin’:
Holy crap–when did delicious satire at the expense of the fascist American right become taboo here at Balloon Juice? Part of the appeal of this website is its irreverence and contempt toward the GOP and its propagandists. Now everyone is up in arms about DougJ’s humor?
Next thing you know, commenters will be calling for the Park51 center to move further away from our “hallowed ground.” Fuck you all if you think Doug should be criticized for his post. What the hell is wrong w/you? If you read a little Bork, Sowell, Nordlinger, et al., you might understand why his pastiches are laugh-out-loud funny.
By the way, I don’t know Doug and have never stuck up for him before. But he’s at least 50% of the reason I visit BJ, and his satires are absolute classics.
What I’ve learned is that James Fallows is a very, very smart man. That doesn’t change the fact that DougJ has a unique gift (but Sisyphus has a uniquer one).
How the hell did you get through?
I really like James Fallows.
Actually, that really should be “Christopher”, and not “Chris.”
@John Cole: this
DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal)
Professor Spoof fires off another gem…lol! Good on Fallows for adding to the hilarity of it. The Niall bit was a real laugh!
Cursive is useful for constructing a unique signature for legal purposes (checks, credit cards, legal documents, etc.). I can’t imagine printing your name as a signature for important documents. Our kids are very good at cursive writing and it was worth teaching them it. Like myself, they have three writing styles; printing, cursive and ‘mixed mode’ for quickly writing something down. They write (using cursive) relatives and friends regularly and enjoy taking the time to do it. They are both computer geeks but still appreciate the ‘old ways’.
Skills are nothing to sneeze at.
Um, Lance, you are clearly not very bright. The “Chris” indicates a familiarity and appreciation for Hitchens’ warmongering writings that would not be as readily apparent in the use of “Christopher.” In other words, DougJ used it on purpose.
Jesus–some people just don’t get it.
Seriously, has BJ been infested by Republican concern trolls?
@John Cole: Agreed. Been reading him since he wrote for Washington Monthly.
DougJ, I really like you to the point that I would consider having your terror babies but I think you are being a dick here. Spoofing someone as nice and honorable as James Fallows is a dickishness that I cannot endorse. You cannot treat him the same way you treat the NRO lunatics or the wingnuts who run the WP’s opinion page. He is a serious and thoughtful writer and you could have had a serious discussion with him about his views, instead of this spoof.
Fun stuff, Doug. Thanks for adding to the other threads that do not mention the ‘story of the week’. We need the break.
Fallows’ contribution led me to K-Thug’s commentary on Ferguson. Hilarious.
They wouldn’t scare anyone
I didn’t mean this to be a dick to Fallows. He got the joke and we exchanged good-natured emails about it afterwards. I think Hob described my purpose very well.
@J sub D: Not all of us are. Some people derive immense pleasure from writing artfully, and some derive pleasure reading a well executed document. Others make fluted columns out of wood.
No clue. It was in moderation; someone must have released it on the basis of my ID w/o reading it. Anyway it was originally a joke I decided wasn’t funny, so changed it to ciaIis* to delete it and remove it from the thread.
(*That ciaIis will get through the filter because the small “L” is actually a capital “i”.)
I had a very interesting discussion with him and Bruce Schneier a while ago at Virtually Speaking. The podcast is also available at itunes. Episode 41. Digby on Sunday. Jay Rosen on this coming Thursday. David Brin next month. Froomkin and emptywheel together in September.
Fallows has comments now? I assumed you had emailed him.
I’m obviously so very fortunate to have someone the likes of you to show me the error of my ways. It’s true I hadn’t realized DougJ intended to be rude and dismissive, just as it never occurred to me that you had any cause for the same
That being said, he corrects those who call him Chris, even those “familiar” with him. I’ve met the man several times and attended presentations of his at atheist/freethought and church/state separation conferences. I was not real keen on his war stance but still enjoy his writings and respect his intellect. I pretty much reject all religions equally but his “Muslim menace” push was a bridge too far to my way of thinking, muddled as it is. I’ll be sure to check in with you in the future before attempting to express myself, though I’m sure your concern troll patrol keeps you busy.
It’s too bad he’s the one that’s dying prematurely. Can’t say that I’d miss you.
Lance, you have a remarkable ability to miss the point. Again, you clearly are not very bright. The use of “Chris” in the spoof had nothing to do w/what Hitchens actually likes to be called. Nor did it have anything to do w/whether you like Hitchens or not.
Jesus Christ. Don’t ever read any Swift. You might take him literally.
Christ on a crutch! There I go missing another opportunity to check with you first. And I’m familiar enough with Swift to have learned for myself that babies taste a little like veal.
To not recognize the equally undeniable greatness on par with Swift that the author and you clearly display…well, yet another feather added to the tar of my shame. Any more of your sound drubbings, and I’ll likely be able to take flight.
I feel so low I’m likely to bury my pain with a plate or two of toddler cutlets.
LanceThruster (no space – one word)