Someone who knows when it's time to stop talking
Posted by aogFriday, 02 May 2008 at 09:45 TrackBack Ping URL

Gosh, where have all the Mehdi Army victorious! posts gone over at Brothers Judd? Did he finally run out of dodgy sources to cite, because even the most blinkered couldn’t support that meme anymore? Discuss!

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Brad S Friday, 02 May 2008 at 10:59

I guess some folks let their man-crush on Mookie Al-Sadr get the best of them.

Ali Choudhury Friday, 02 May 2008 at 12:59

List of things I disagree with oj on:

  1. Nuking China and Russia from the get-go would have saved lives.
  2. Oil is artificially expensive.
  3. Hispanics are going to behave just like Irish Catholics and not at all like blacks.
  4. Large-scale unskilled immigration will be beneficial to the economy.
  5. People who argue against illegal unskilled immigration are racists.
  6. India is dying to be America’s loyal ally.
  7. The Chinese, Japanese etc. are not very creative by nature.
  8. Everything he’s ever said about Darwinism\intelligent design.
  9. 50-0\60-40
  10. Mass transit is fantastic ; the car needs to be abolished.
  11. Everything he’s ever said about soccer.
  12. I don’t why he’s so enthusiastic about Shiaism.
  13. Being too soft on Europe is the prime reason the Conservatives lost power.
  14. Europe would be better off as a Muslim entity.
  15. Eric\Julia

Still, I’ve learned a huge amount from him and his site. I’m amazed at his Herculean blogging and he seems to be getting wittier with age.

cjm Friday, 02 May 2008 at 13:03

from what i have read, the mhedi army has about a month left and then it ceases to exist. and that will serve as a material lesson for the other shite militias. things are wrapping up nicely in iraq, and we are already moving resources into afghanistan — probably in preparation for dealing with pakistan. we have done a great job in training up the iraqi army which gives the iraqis a decent shot at staying free.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 02 May 2008 at 14:08

Mr. Choudhury;

I was with you until the Eric/Julia dispute.


I hold to the analysis that the action was a demonstration more to the Sunni leadership than other Shia militia. If the Iraqi government can take the Mehdi, they can take any of the other militias, so their opinion is not terribly important. Having the Sunni leadership in the government, so as to co-opt them and make the Americans happy, are the important things.

cjm Friday, 02 May 2008 at 18:11

aog: re: getting the sunnis on-board that too

do you sense action on iran is imminent? this is kind of on-topic as iraq just sent a high level delegation to iran laying out evidence of iranian interference in iraq. added to this is the recent firing of admiral fallon — replaced by (a promoted) general petreus — and the release of information regarding the syrian incident involving israel. maybe these are all unconnected data points but there seems to be movement, something large rising up from the depths.

Robert Duquette Saturday, 03 May 2008 at 10:35

You forgot a few:

  • nothing ever gets more expensive (especially gold & oil)
  • except real estate, of course, which never goes down in value
cjm Saturday, 03 May 2008 at 11:09

why would you expect mr mom to have realistic views on anything? he is a kept man and therefore has magical beliefs.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 03 May 2008 at 12:48


No, actually the opposite. The smashing of the Mehdi army is a big loss for Iran, and if the Iraqi government is going to keep the pressure on, it’s probably best to keep on with that kind of attritional approach. We have our problems, but it’s wrong to overlook the fact that our enemies have problems as well. Like East and West Germany, there are few things more dangerous to the mullahocracy in Iran than a successful liberal democratic Shia dominated Iraq. OJ dreams of a Shi’a Crescent, but while religion binds, nationalism and ethnicity push the other way.

Further, An Iraqi government that’s sending delegations to complain of mullah meddling is one that’s likely to overlook any American or Israeli adventures in Iran.

Robert Duquette Saturday, 03 May 2008 at 13:35

I think the idea that religion is a uniting force has to be one of the greatest all time fallacies. History just doesn’t bear it out. What good has Christianity done for Europe? How many wars has it prevented?

cjm Saturday, 03 May 2008 at 15:20

it helped a hell of a lot in throwing back the muslim invasion circa 1300. maybe you don’t draw a distinction between religions but that doesn’t mean there are none. i suspect that we will see a resurgence in european religoun — if only because many of the muslims there will be converting :)

h-man Saturday, 03 May 2008 at 16:00

He’s back

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 03 May 2008 at 16:47

Mr. Duquette;

Christianity prevented quite a lot of wars, particularly during the Holy Roman Empire and the secular maximum of the Vatican. It also helped quite a bit in reducing many of the barbarities of war (cf., chivalry). Just because it wasn’t 100% effective doesn’t mean it can’t be a uniting force.

But if you want a more recent example, consider the opprobrium that the USA has received in the Islamic world because of its fighting with Muslims. Why do Indonesian care what the USA does in, say, the former Yugoslavia except for religion?


Heh. He’s been reduced to “Maliki won, but had to have the Americans help”.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 03 May 2008 at 16:53

And Instapundit immediately supplies the counter-narrative. Given the consistency of how the popularity of hard core Caliphascists like Al-Sadr declines in direct proportion to how long they are in charge, I know which narrative I find more plausible.

Peter Burnet Sunday, 04 May 2008 at 07:17


Surely you forgot: “There is no.….” (Insert any country with more than three dissidents).

David Cohen Sunday, 04 May 2008 at 12:15

My major problem with OJ is his hospitality to (and promotion of) Lou Gots’ “witches and queers” explanation for all the ills in the world.

The rest of these things are mostly annoyances that I suspect OJ doesn’t truly believe. His favorite rhetorical trick, after all, is to accept any Reductio ad absurdum going, and then defend it. See, e.g., there weren’t “any” US casualties in Iraq.

atlatl Sunday, 04 May 2008 at 15:22

I can’t believe you people forgot OJ claim that he would “happily” kill Gays if only the law would let him.

And there was this:

“Persecution of Jews for ideological reasons is justified, but the Nazis exterminated them for Darwinian reasons, which is not.” - OJ

I can’t decide which is more vile, repugnant and (there is no other word for it) evil. Why do you guys waste your time with such a sick, twisted and evil man?

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 04 May 2008 at 16:47

He finds a large amount on interesting material. If you read just his cites and nothing he wrote, it’d be worth it. He also does have some penetrating insights, particularly on the liberty vs. security issue, which I also think is a fundamental tension of human politics.

Bret Sunday, 04 May 2008 at 17:51

I’ll second aog’s reasons for reading brothersjudd. I pretty much ignore what he writes and just read the excerpts which are pretty much a mini-daily-reader’s-digest of the mostly conservative side of the spectrum.

It used to be a good place to debate stuff when he allowed the members of the post-Judd alliance to comment there (without deleting and/or altering our comments), but those days are long gone.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 05 May 2008 at 11:55

I have to wonder, though, why OJ thinks Sadr is the authentic voice of the Shi’a, as opposed to Maliki. Is it his religious zealotry? His alliance with the Iranian mullahocracy? His anti-Americanism of convenience? His love of violence? I honestly don’t understand, unless it’s all of the above and OJ just like anti-American violent theocrats.

h-man Monday, 05 May 2008 at 13:42

His (Sadr’s) anti-Americanism makes him a more authentic Shi’a or more generally muslim in OJ’s eyes. OJ is correct.

Hey Skipper Tuesday, 06 May 2008 at 16:46


I must admit, though, your ambiguous reference left me a little confused. When you say “Is it his …” do you mean OJ or Sadr? Perhaps there is no difference. They both have beards, and are never seen in the same place …

I am going to go with religious zealotry.

OJ so despises freedom of conscience — which inevitably leads to the breakdown of religious authority, that he happily countenances any degree of theological totalitarianism and violence to prevent secularism rearing its ugly head.


Religion is only temporarily a uniting force, and only then by exercising considerable force.

The Reformation could scarcely be considered a time when the religious held hands in mutually respectful spiritual rapture.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 06 May 2008 at 20:01


That argument works just as well for nationalism, as any civil war will indicate. Is therefore nationalism not a unifying force?

P.S. My pronoun was referencing Sadr.

atlatl Tuesday, 06 May 2008 at 20:05

Anyone else notice that OJ seems to think that the world displayed in “Sins of the Assassin” (where Islam takes over America and gays are executed - the local Imam of San Francisco lines Golden Gate bridge with their heads, for example) is a utopia not a dystopia.

He positively drools over the book almost as much as he obsesses over Gays.

OJ is one sick puppy.

Hey Skipper Saturday, 10 May 2008 at 23:58


Is therefore nationalism not a unifying force?

It is both uniting, and dividing: uniting for those within the defined nation, and divides, not unites, them from all others.

Unfortunately, both nationalism and religion create exclusionary moral communities: they allow, or even encourage, actions upon those outside the religion/nation that are prohibited upon those inside.

The exclusionary moral community aspect is, of course, far worse with religion, particularly of the monotheistic stripe. They are, after all, pretty explicit about the horrors to be visited upon other-believers.


I prefer to think many of the positions OJ takes are to be provocative. As for the rest, they paint him as a fairly loathsome human being.

Bret Sunday, 11 May 2008 at 20:27

Without nationalism and some types of religion I think we’d still just be a bunch of small warring tribes. So therefore both are uniting relative to the alternative.

If OJ just wanted to be provocative, he’d welcome commenters who took the other side.

erp Monday, 12 May 2008 at 08:35

Although I also think much of what oj says is deliberately provocative, I’m always surprised at the rather tame comments of mine that aren’t printed. I wouldn’t dream of opining on important issues like Darwin or the Red Sox, but even a rather tame comment of mine about Nixon, the anti-Soviet Socialist, as enduring object of maniacal leftwing hatred, didn’t appear. Go figure?

Hey Skipper Monday, 12 May 2008 at 18:50


Without nationalism and some types of religion I think we’d still just be a bunch of small warring tribes.

I just went on a cruise. The crew alone comprised people from 57 countries. That they all worked together was due solely to the universal solvent: capitalism.

Religion and nationalism are not uniting relative to the alternative.

Bret Monday, 12 May 2008 at 20:04

So, 20,000 years ago, capitalism is what united tribes into larger entities?

That a few thousand rich people managed to not kill each other for a few days isn’t necessarily overwhelming proof that all alternatives to religion and nationalism are more unifying. Except for the capitalism part, you’re sounding a lot like John Lennon these days:

== Imagine there's no Heaven It's easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people Living for today Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace ==

Imagine away. Looks pretty unlikely to me that we would’ve been able to evolve to unite into cultural systems with hundreds of millions of people without the concept of nation or religion.

Maybe. But I don’t find your cruise to be convincing evidence.

Hey Skipper Monday, 12 May 2008 at 23:12


The rest of your previous statement was So therefore both are uniting relative to the alternative.

Capitalism is the alternative, regardless of whether it took 20,000 years to figure it out.

Having figured it out, though, it unifies in ways that are utterly alien to nationalism and religion.

BTW — it isn’t the rich people I was talking about, it was the ship’s crew. One of many ships. Which themselves, as a class, is just one of many examples of people cooperating in ways that both religion and nationalism would do their best to prevent.

After all, wars between liberal democracies, which are all capitalist, are awfully thin on the ground.

BTW — as I type, twenty one more hits and AOG goes over 100,000.

Bret Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 10:59

Hey Skipper,

I’m thinking of the following thought experiment. Let’s say that a virus (or magic fairy dust) suddenly affected every person on earth such that they could no longer feel any sort of attachment to a national entity and no longer believe in any sort of religion. In such a scenario, it seems that you would predict that capitalism would be uniting and the whole world would unite.

That’s not what I see. I believe the world would revert to tribalism and that civilization would collapse in relatively short order (a few generations). I see gangs, mafias, tribes (in other parts of the world), anti-free traders, collectivists (though that’s more like a religion), etc., all of which seems like much stronger motivators than capitalism.

Bret Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 11:00

Damn! Missed being the 100000th visitor.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 11:13

I didn’t even record it! I suspect someone was hitting refresh to make it.

Anyway, Bret, your comment reminds me of Somalia, which was a touch stone for Judd’s war against libertarianism. It’s one of the reasons I am a minarchist and not an anarchist (as I was in my youth). Like you, I think the Somalia scenario is more likely than the cooperative harmony.

erp Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 11:46

Bret, I agree. We’d have to start civilization all over again and capitalism would be the winner again.

Skipper, there are people from all over the world working on cruise liners because someone (the head capitalist?) thought it would be a good PR gimmick to make non-Americans feel more at home. The preponderance of workers we met on a cruise a couple of years ago were hard working Eastern Europeans looking to make something of their lives. Nice kids.

Hey Skipper Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 13:00


I don’t think there is any PR gimmick to it. Working on a cruise ship was a better deal than anything otherwise on offer — capitalism is the perfect solvent.

I’d say a good half of the crew was from former Warsaw Pact countries, or the Soviet Union. Many of the rest were from the Philippines.


Let’s say that a virus …

It has already happened. It is called the Declaration of Independence. It seems to me that Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness has heck all to do with nationalism or religion.

In the US, people could not possibly care less what state you are from, although most are the size of countries, and religion is scarcely of any greater concern. No matter where you go through the Anglosphere, or indeed to any reasonably advanced economy, the situation is the same.

As opposed to when that religion Communism was running the roost, I can’t begin to tell you how little interest, or hostility, I receive in China.

Hey Skipper Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 13:01


It wasn’t me hitting refresh …

erp Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 13:34

Skipper, I agree that jobs with the cruise lines were good deals for the workers, but why did the cruise line hire them instead of Americans? Probably a lot less paper work involved.

Bret Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 19:22

hey skipper wrote: “…Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness has heck all to do with nationalism or religion.

Yes and no.

LLPH may have nothing directly to do with nationalism and religion.

However, I don’t think it’s coincidental that LLPH happened to flourish within a religious (mostly Christian) framework.

Hey Skipper Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 19:30


I’m guessing they hired foreign workers for the same reason our grocery stores would be empty, echoing shells without illegal immigrants.

Americans can’t be bothered.


I don’t think it is coincidental that the Enlightenment, and, in turn, LLPH, happened in the wake of the complete breakdown of central authority following the fall of the Roman Empire. Also, LLPH might have taken a lot longer to come about absent the English Channel.

There are, after all, a fair number of Christian countries for whom the Enlightenment was, and, until fairly recently remained, anathema.

But never mind that. Even granting your point completely, no matter the other contingencies at play, does nothing to negate my point. LLPH has heck all to do with religion, ethnicity, or nation. Therefore, it is demonstrably a uniting force in ways far beyond anything religion or nation could conceive.

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