Saturday, March 11, 2006

"Leftist Feel-Good Hand-Wringers are Shown Reality"

When the four Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq were kidnapped by terrorists, Rush Limbaugh expressed glee that his fellow Americans had been taken hostage. "I like any time a bunch of leftist feel-good hand-wringers are shown reality," he said. "[A]ny time a bunch of people that walk around with the head in the sand practicing a bunch of irresponsible, idiotic theory confront reality, I'm kind of happy about it, because I'm eager for people to see reality, change their minds, if necessary, and have things sized up."

Well, Limbaugh must absolutely be wetting himself with excitement today, because one of the peace activists was just "shown reality" in a big way. He was executed.

Media Matters has the transcript and the audio clip of Limbaugh's rant. While the transcript gives you a sense of Limbaugh's contempt for his fellow Americans and his delight at their suffering, you have to listen to the audio clip to get the full flavor. Limbaugh uses a lisping, mincing voice to represent the peace activists who were over there risking their lives while he sat on his ass in the radio studio mocking them. It's pathetic.

(Both links stolen from Digby.)

15 comments:

sideshow bob said...

You know what else was great? When that hippie from Nazareth always talking about turning the other cheek got His reality check!

Otto Man said...

Good point, Bob. That uppity Martin Luther King got what was coming to him, too.

On another level, I love Limbaugh's criticism of people who embrace an "irresponsible, idiotic theory." I wonder if that applies to similar idiotic, irresponsible theories like supply-side economics, the Star Wars missile defense scam, the Saddam/al-Qaeda "connection," Social Security privatization, and the Medicare prescription drug boondoogle.

I'd also like to hear his thoughts on the "idiotic, irresponsible theory" that prescription drug abusers should have the book thrown at them. I think he might have recanted that one.

Tokyo Joe said...

I thought it was pretty much agreed on by everyone that limbaugh was an asshat. But this really shows the true shallowness of his nature.

However, I do have to question the whole point of this guy dying. while I feel bad about him losing his life, I feel worse for his wife and children. this was for all intents a suicide mission and he should have known better. While it's great that he was willing to risk his life for something he believed in, he still had other responsibilities and should have thought some more about what would happen. I don't want to sound like I'm blaming the victim (because it ultimately was the fault of the terrorist) but he should bear some responsibility for walking into such a potentially dangerous situation.

Pooh said...

[A]ny time a bunch of people that walk around with the head in the sand practicing a bunch of irresponsible, idiotic theory confront reality

Like the neocons, asshat? Have another oxycontin, you Orca sized blowhole.

Otto Man said...

Well, I can understand concern for his family, Joe, but there comes a point in every activist's life when they have to decide if their cause is worth dying for. And in many instances, it's only through the death of an activist that the cause gets the recognition they seek.

For instance, civil rights activists put their lives (and their families' wellbeing) on the line all the time. The violent murders of people like Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman in Mississippi; Liuzzo and Reeb in Selma; and leaders like Medgar Evers and MLK himself did a great deal to make the evil of what they opposed apparent and prompted ordinary folks to demand it come to an end.

Now, that was a movement that sought to do away with segregation, a racist practice that hadn't killed anyone, while these folks were trying to stop a war that's caused tens of thousands of civilian deaths. If putting your life on the line in a struggle that's not literally life-or-death has merit, then I think it certainly does in a real life-or-death cause like war.

Tokyo Joe said...

OM, agree that there are some things worth risking your life for, but there's also the idea of throwing your life away. civilians going to Iraq on their own is just about a suicide attempt. While you mention Civil Rights leaders, I don't think the analogy is quite right. While they did many dangerous things, it wasn't quite as suicidal. Besides, the Civil Rights leaders didn't think there was anything else they could do.

I think for me it comes down to risk vs potential outcome. For the Civil Rights Leaders the risk was great, but they were talking about the very lifestyle of their children. While for these guys, it's virtually a death sentence with only a minimum impact on the whole scene over there. For me the math just doesn't work out.

As for the idea that they died soley to bring more attention and recognition to the cause, then I would take back any kind words I've said about them and just call them fools. There are better ways to get attention then leaving a wife and children behind.

Otto Man said...

OM, agree that there are some things worth risking your life for, but there's also the idea of throwing your life away.

Well, that's the heart of it, but ultimately it all boils down to an individual's sense of what's worth dying for and what represents throwing your life away. You and I can talk all day long, but it's that's guy's life to live, and his life to forfeit too.

While you mention Civil Rights leaders, I don't think the analogy is quite right. While they did many dangerous things, it wasn't quite as suicidal. Besides, the Civil Rights leaders didn't think there was anything else they could do.

Read some of the histories of people fighting for voting rights in Mississippi. They knew they were risking their lives, and many of them did in fact lose them while there.

And I'd argue that an antiwar activist could see this as their only choice, too. Both political parties were in lockstep on this war, so what else could they do? Seriously -- I can't think of anything more effective than this. We're talking about it, it's on the news, etc. I doubt a bake sale in the suburbs would've gotten this kind of attention.

I think for me it comes down to risk vs potential outcome. For the Civil Rights Leaders the risk was great, but they were talking about the very lifestyle of their children. While for these guys, it's virtually a death sentence with only a minimum impact on the whole scene over there. For me the math just doesn't work out.

Again, I think the math here is a personal one. If you look at it in terms of risk/reward, I think you could make the case that giving your life so your kids would go to integrated schools makes less sense than giving your life to stop a war that's killing tens of thousands of people. The second cause is actually nobler, in my mind, because it implies sacrifice for others and not for our own selfish reasons.

Anyway, if we look at any of these things from a practical point of view, I think we're missing the point. Were Buddhist monks in Vietnam going to stop that war by setting themselves on fire? No, but their deaths served a larger purpose in making the American people uncomfortable with the war. Did the guy in front of the tanks in Tianamenn Square have a chance of beating them? No, but he surely inspired other Chinese democrats to continue fighting for the cause.

I think this is an attitude that's largely missing from America these days. Not only are we unwilling to risk our lives for a cause, but most people aren't even willing to question authority in the slighest. (I heard a comedian the other day say that most Americans wouldn't know how to question authority if it were on the other side of a knock-knock joke.)

Would I have done it? No way. But I'm not sure if that reflects poorly on the wisdom of what they did or the courage of my own convictions. Probably the latter.

sideshow bob said...

Regarding the suicide mission...one could make a similar argument for anyone who joined the arm forces post-Operation Iraqi Freedom (Operation Iraqi Freedom? What a lame operation name. Desert Storm sounds way more badass!).

I realize being in the army, one would have a better chance of defending themselves than this activist guy did, but you would also be gong into hostile territory with a target on your back. I think anyone, military or non-mlitary, going into this shitstorm with the intention of making things better for the citizens of Iraq deserves much respect, and deserves to have the lives they gave honored.

Tokyo Joe said...

OM, I think you summed up the points just right and it does come down to personal values and judgement. Now personally I respect the Civil rights people a lot more (that's just a personal opinion based on feelings). And I don't mean to say that we shouldn't respect him at all, just that he should realized that there was more than just his life at stake and maybe been a bit more responsible.

However, i find the opinion of his group somewhat loopy in the fact that they blamed his capture solely on the US and British govt. That's a bit of crazy and just plan wrong in my opinion.

As for the idea that anyone (military included) going over is also suicide, I think it's more a matter of math. In the fact that the odds of a heavily armed military person being captured vs an unarmed civilian. That's part of the whole risk calculation.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

"Shown reality"?? That's strange. I thought "reality" is that everything is just peachy over in Eye-rak. I would assume that a guy wandering around over there experiencing reality would be nothing but sweets and flowers.

Otto Man said...

Heh. Great point, iRod.

S.W. Anderson said...

Great discussion with many good points.

I tend to agree that beyond some point risk taking, even for a cause a person believes in, can be a matter of virtually throwing their life away. I also wonder just how much good those on humanitarian missions within the Iron Triangle of Iraq can actually accomplish.

S.W. Anderson said...

Now for a two-steps-back observation.

What do you suppose Rush Limbaugh is really doing? What do you suppose guttersnipe Ann Coulter really has in mind? Throw in Neanderthal Neal Boortz, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and of course, Bill O'Reilly.

Consider this one fact: Last time I heard, which was a couple of years ago, Limbaugh's net worth was about $180 million. He probably up around $200 million by now.

Now consider that William F. Buckley, who's been a conservative deep thinker and opinion maker since Barry Goldwater was knee-high to a New Dealer is worth . . . what? Is he even a millionaire? I'm not so sure.

Similarly, David Gergen has plowed those conservative fields for ages. Is he filthy rich? Comfortable, yes, but filthy rich, no.

What Limbaugh is doing is pumping out garbage for knuckle-dragging lowlifes and fringe loonies. You probably knew some of them in junior high or high school. They were the ones in the back of the room, mumbling obscene wisecracks while carving their initials into their desktop.

Obviously, there's no shortage of these people. They form a lucrative market. But to keep on top them, Limbaugh has to say mean-spirited, ugly, hurtful and stupid things. Just so they're outrageous.

I sometimes think the sane, decent rest of us play into Limbaugh's hands, and Coulter's and all the rest, when we take them seriously enough to bother to express disgust and outrage about their ranting.

Not that they should be ignored. To the contrary, they earn the scorn and condemnation they get. I just don't think going after them about specific outrageous things they say does any good — and may serve to grow and strengthen their franchise.

We're dealing with a group of people , their most ardent fans, whose primary concern isn't politics and public policy so much as it's spite, name calling, dirty tricks and poking a sharp stick in the eye of all the many others they see as enemies. Freeper types, in other words.

The one thing neither Limbaugh nor his listeners can stand for long is being ignored.

Mr Furious said...

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the EIB Building."

Thrillhous said...

I mostly agree with you, SWA, that the limbaughs of the world rely on decent folks getting outraged at their antics.

But as iRod noted, lordy is it rich for Limbaugh to admit that the reality in Iraq is violence and mayhem. He probably didn't realize he was doing so, such was his glee to be dancing on the grave of an American.