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Sarah, smile!

Since I've started posting here at Wizbang, I've found some of my favorite pieces have been inspired by those with whom I disagree. (Yes, David, I'm including you. Hell, I count you at least three times.) It seems that the competive instinct in me isn't as dead as I had feared -- when challenged, I rise and meet it. Something in me won't let them win without a fight. And now it's happened again.

Yesterday I wrote a rather provocative piece about the inevitability of civilian casualties during the battle for Fallujah. I expected some response, but nowhere near the avalanche it received. I was surprised (and grateful) to get as much support as I did, but I did have my critics. Most of them were rather supercilious, but one commenter in particular -- Sarah -- really struck a nerve. Here is her first comment, in its entirety:

"I'm a liberal, but I'd be willing to give up my First Amendment rights if it meant that people like you would not be allowed to speak.

One word: Moron.

Keep up the hatred - hopefully it will get you killed someday."

I'll skip the second line, as it's pure invective. And I'll only point out the dichotomy of the third one in passing -- I'm filled with hatred, but she's the one hoping I'll get killed. It may happen, Sarah, but I'm hoping not. And I hope you live a long and fruitful life, with enough time to grow and mature and learn beyond your current limits.

It was her first line that got me thinking, though.

She followed up with a few choice quotes denigrating my intelligence, so my first response was to dig out the old trusty saw frequently attributed to Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

But unlike Sarah, I'm going to use my own words. She's offering to give up her right to free speech in order to squelch mine. It's a safe offer; neither her rights nor mine are up for negotiations. But let's look at that a little further. What I had to say was so disturbing, so terrifying to her that she would trade away her right to ever speak out on any issue ever again for the rest of her life just to keep me from further traumatizing her and other "sensitive," "compassionate" people like her. And my discussing political matters in the abstract is more wrong than her hoping for my very concrete, individual death.

So, Sarah, feel free to stop exercising your rights any time you like. Just don't expect me to follow your example. Too many people have paid in blood for my right to exercise my Constitutional rights, and for me to disavow those would be to dishonor them.

Go back to your books, Sarah. You'll find them much more obliging than real people. Your books will only tell you what you want to hear, and you don't have to be afraid of them actually having the gall to argue with you.

J.

(Author's note: Sorry, James, your comments were simply more of the "same old same old." I did read what you wrote; it was just that Sarah managed to find something new to say that set me off. I always give more attention to original stupidity over recycled stupidity. Better luck next time.)

Update: Link corrected to actual piece. Thanks for catching my error, Adam...


Comments (27)

Jay...I found your piece ye... (Below threshold)
Debra:

Jay...I found your piece yesterday a very compelling read and shared it with many.. I took no offense whatsoever. The fact ot the matter is collateral damage is part of war. Sad as it is, it is what it is.
The people of Fallujah were given every opportunity to leave as the US coalition made their battle plans to take back the city for the diaper head brigade that has been terrorizing it for months.. Those who chose to stay behind knew the ramifications of their choice.
People like Sarah don't even deserve a response. Clearly she lacked and understanding of your intent when you posted the article.
I hear France is in the market for a few disgruntled americans. I'll trade her a one way ticket for her right to speak and use it as a tax write off as a political contribution.
You are a most gracious person to have posted an additional response to her. Me? I would have simply told her to F&%$ off.
(snicker)
Please, for the sake of those of us who are interested in your thoughts, continue to post articles that are controversial to some. They are all thought provoking and educational. Those who clamor loudest for world peace are for the most part idiots to think that it will ever happen.
(did I wake up a tad bit pissy this morning or what?)
I keep going to other blogs and reading and truth be told I just can't seem to find the niche anywhere else that Wizbang offers. You, Kevin and Paul.....that's good reading!


Sarah confirms what I've kn... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Sarah confirms what I've known all along: Liberals have no respect for the US Constitution. They simply find it useful at times to further their agenda. Heck, even the communists find parts of the Constitution useful... as a weapon. And when a sleazebag like Larry Flynt is held up by the Libs as a defender of American's constitutional rights, you know it just doesn't pass the smell test.

Jay.....I wasn't expecting ... (Below threshold)
James:

Jay.....I wasn't expecting a response nor was I looking for one, but appreciate the mention all the same. You obviously have all bases covered or so you think. This is little more than psuedo-intellectual masturbation. I just dont know who gets the greater kick, the authors of these highly spun vanity pieces or the intended audience?

Pity Sarah, she does not, a... (Below threshold)
Margo:

Pity Sarah, she does not, and never will, have a clue. Her representation of the touchy-feely sensitive party speaks volumes. Liberal politics lost last week, and have no technical issue, no conspiracy, no miscount to blame it on. This is the party that called for healing (as long as it's on their terms). I say they are spewing the same old crap. It's very easy to sit back and criticize; what is Sarah doing to change things? What is she doing to help her fellow mankind? Writing ugly words to weblogs? How about supporting a soldier in Iraq or Afganistan? I support three of them, sending letters and packages every few weeks. Liberals are so quick to judge...did you notice that you never saw a Kerry-Edwards sticker on a car that also had a "support our troops" sticker. Around here, troop supporters also sported a Bush-Cheney sticker. Sarah and people like her should put their money where their mouth is.

Umm...Your "rather... (Below threshold)
Adam Wood:

Umm...

Your "rather provocative piece" that you've linked to involves a wager, and it has nothing to say about Iraqi civilian casualties. You might ought to check that.

That having been said, and not having seen the provocation in question, it sounds to me like Sarah lives in a dream world. Face it, girl: civilian casualties happen. We are at war. No one (and I do mean no one, not even Halliburton, despite the claims of the left) wants to be at war. But here we are, and there isn't a damned thing to do about it but get through it as quickly as possible and get the hell out of there.

The United States armed forces spend far more time, money, and effort in avoiding civilian casualties than any other country's military. No one wants civilian casualties, and I believe that they have been greatly reduced by our efforts. But, they are always going to happen, and nothing can stop that.

Grow up, Sarah.

"This is little more tha... (Below threshold)

"This is little more than psuedo-intellectual masturbation"---from James

You gotta wonder at that thought process. Someone is spending too much time at porn sites.

In the liberal world, free ... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

In the liberal world, free speech means "speech that agrees with how I think." Hate speech is everything else.

- Its gotten to the point w... (Below threshold)

- Its gotten to the point where the best that can be said for the yammering spiteful giberish of the left these days sounds more like distorted narrowly focused educated ignorance more than any sort of comprehensive world view or ideology. When you completely intermix your personal issues with your politics, no amount of debate can satisfy your self imposed angst, so you are forced to resort to personal attacks, impossibly contrived arguments, and twisted logic bordering on manic delusion...

- Fortunately for people like Sarah, others that have the moral certitude and character to fight and die for her freedoms understand her mental challenges and fight for her rights, in spite of her confusion and limited maturity....

- From the ranks of people such as her are drawn the early "sacrifices" of the criminal factions calling themselves political movements. These are always the saddest among our people who sit in circles of peace and love, shreeking their clamouring rants against anyone who fails to carry their message, devoid of any semblance of reality, that suffer the most when the door is kicked in and their throats are cut as they reach out to their killers.... Sad....just sad.....

seems that I recall James b... (Below threshold)
Debra:

seems that I recall James being asked on more than once whre he's from....I had deduced that he was candian at one point..Not that it matters ..he's a sniveling stick his nose in where it doesn't belong self apointed judge and jury combo sorta armchair quarterback anyway.
James is a mere speck of dust on the surface of the vastly large and greater scheme of things.


'original stupidity over re... (Below threshold)
Tim:

'original stupidity over recycled stupidity.' I like that...

'recycled stupidity' is the reason I rarely watch the evening news. Just the same ole same ole...

Who is this "Sarah" person... (Below threshold)

Who is this "Sarah" person? Never heard of her.


SarahW..she's about ... (Below threshold)
Debra:

SarahW..
she's about as random as they come...I place her right along side James.
~sheesh~

The funny thing is if she h... (Below threshold)
LargeBill:

The funny thing is if she had the intellectual honesty to actually read your piece and take the time to understand it she should have been able to see you were talking about a policy which would reduce collateral damage by eliminating the perceived benefit of using them as shields.

"james" is from down under.... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

"james" is from down under.

Jay, I am a liberal and hav... (Below threshold)
patrick:

Jay, I am a liberal and have served the country to protect your right of free speech I still would die to protect it. I appreciated your piece and would like to chime in as a liberal who does not have to name call to get my point across, who reads the facts, and finally as one who listens carefully to all sides of issues. I have to listen to all sides because I make my living teaching American Government to high school seniors and feel that it is my duty to teach them to think about these issues using their convictions and yes if they don't agree with me I encourage them to cancel my vote. I also see in some of your commenters on both sides arguements that have been made without considering both sides of an issue and little basis other than emotion on how they view the world. This is the reason why the founding fathers wanted an electoral college instead of direct popular vote. I don't want to get too wordy let me make my point. Jay, in spite of your views I have read this blog long enough to know that you have considered both sides of the topics you write about and I respect you for that. I feel that we are in this war for the wrong reasons and that is where we part company. Where we meet again is what you said no matter how I feel about this war our commander in chief has made a decision to go there. Now that we are there the only way out of this mess is to win!!! I would rather see our soldiers going to do what they thought they were sent there to do than stand around as targets. I respect the president (choke that's hard for me to say) for going ahead with this now that he has won the election and am saddened that politics would not let him start sooner. If a few civilians have to die, or refuse to leave an area then oh well, those are the costs of war. Please keep writing and giving your convictions I will read them even when they make my blood boil and will respect your right to your views. Just as long as you listen to the unspun truths on both sides before you decide on an issue.

So, Sarah, feel free to ... (Below threshold)

So, Sarah, feel free to stop exercising your rights any time you like. Just don't expect me to follow your example. Too many people have paid in blood for my right to exercise my Constitutional rights, and for me to disavow those would be to dishonor them.


Jay, I agree with you 100%. I'd would love to see the reception Sarah would get from the vetrans on November 11th by voicing that whe was revoking her right to free speech. It would be a spit in the face to everyone there as well as the ghosts of those who have gone before. She'd be lucky to get out of there without injury.

jhow66..thanks...James is d... (Below threshold)
Debra:

jhow66..thanks...James is down under something!!! That's for sure.
I may not have been in Iraq/Afghanistan but I am still one veteran in a long line of those who will respond to Sarah with pity for her own self indulgence. I pity her for being so ignorant. I pity her for her own inability recognize the importance of the article that Jay posted and the clarity that it brings.

Patrick...Thank you ... (Below threshold)
Debra:

Patrick...
Thank you for not following the main stream in the teachers union. You are a minority in your field.
Having been invloved in the public school system for the past 20 years I think I have a pretty good handle on how the NEA views things and it "ain't pretty." Too many of our educators today force feed youth to prop up their own agenda..If you are not one of those then I wish my children had been in your class.

I have plenty of room for r... (Below threshold)
Elisa:

I have plenty of room for respect for differing opinions on this war - whether we should be in it in the first place, about how it has been executed, etc. What I don't understand is how anyone can expect a war to NOT have civilian casualities, or expect a war to end when there are civilian casualities. In effect it is total pacifism. Can any pacifists reading please explain to me how pacifism is supposed to work in the real world? I can only see it as the road to subjugation of the peaceful by the violent. That's a real question, by the way. I don't understand that line of thinking and I'd like to know how one reaches those conclusions.

I suspect James has been da... (Below threshold)
Jim:

I suspect James has been dating his right hand -- and sometimes he cheats on his right hand with his left hand.

In defense of SarahW, I loo... (Below threshold)
chad:

In defense of SarahW, I looked at her webpage and I don't think it is the same Sarah that was being refered in the post. Sarah W seems at least halfway sane.

Chad...right you are ..not ... (Below threshold)
Debra:

Chad...right you are ..not rhe same Sarah.
If you hold your mouse over the name of the contributor you can se the e-mail address below.
Sarah W is Sane..

Ahh. OK Debra I misread yo... (Below threshold)
chad:

Ahh. OK Debra I misread your post, I thought you were accusing SarahW of just changing her name to continue posting. My mistake.

Maybe, SarahW shd change he... (Below threshold)
julie:

Maybe, SarahW shd change her moniker to Sarah the Sane One?

I saw the "damn the civvie ... (Below threshold)
Jumbo:

I saw the "damn the civvie casualties" as a provocative concept; a "what if" or "why don't we" thing, and thus an elemental and obvious first step in approaching an alternative solution to the problem of burrowing terrroists in Fallujah. This is how adults think, and how plans of any kind get made, changed, polished or canned entirely. Sarah's response was an excellent example of what has happened to free discourse and intellectual curiosity not omly in academe, by the legacy media world as well: any expression at variance with good-leftist socio-political orthodoxy brings out the harpies (or is that "witches passing over"?).

I hope Sarah checks back in. I'd like her to comment on whether the following is close to correct, because I think I can predict, based on her one excessive repsonse, what her attitudes on a plethora of hot-button social issues are.

I would bet money Sarah thinks that...
1. The barely-literate creationist woman-hating homophobe racist Christers somehow managed to luck up and out-vote the enlightened and benevolent intelligentsia, who are actually in the vast majority;
2. The Electoral College is unfair and unconstitutional, and even if it's not, it should be, because we're modern and just plain smarter and better people than those racist, sexist "Founding Fathers";
3. Donations to The Swift Boat Vets should be banned because the Swifties are such liars, but MoveOn and Michael Moore just want to get the truth out, and should have full rights to fund and express themselves in whatever way they see fit;
4. It's okay for government-funded NPR to lean left because they're just trying to keep it fair, but no tax-supported school should EVER be permitted a traditional, Christian prayer at Commencement, especially if the entire community wants it, because "separation-of-church-and-state" is in the Constitution in Article something-or-other;
5. The Second Amendment applies to "well-regulated militia(s)" only.
6. It's evil to hunt whales or kill baby seals, but a woman has the right to do whatever the hell she wants with "fetal tissue" up until the time she has to buy it Pampers.
7. Israel is an evil Nazi state (don't be so sure the irony will be detected), but the PLO, Hamas, etc., are "Freedom Fighters".
8. The US, because of its brutal policies on (pick one) is as much to be blamed for 9/11 as the poor Muslims who were so desperate that they were compelled to do it;
9. If John Kerry were President the world would love us;
10. "Rich people" should carry the tax burden of this country becasue it's "fair", and they got their money from oppressing the working man anyway.
11. America's fighting men who have been killed in GWOT got what was coming to them because they didn't have to join, unless they were a minority, and they were forced to join the military to avoid starving, or unless they were a woman, and of course she had to join because her ex-husband wouldn't pay the back child support and domestic-abuse restitution he was ordered to.
12. Jimmy Carter is not a bitter, passive-aggressive old fraud of a feckless hypocrite, who would insult and betray his own country if he thought it might get him a few more votes for a Nobel Peace Prize, or to piss on Republicans.
13. The very best medical treatment available should be given to every American, regardless of whether they pay for it, and no matter what "lifestyle choices" an individual makes; same for Social Security, whether they have contributed a penny or not.
14. Evil, greedy, icky old men bent on world domination make wars; "the people" would make world peace blossom overnight if it weren't for Haliburton and Enron.
15. 70% of Americans think Saddam Hussein had soemthing to do with 9/11.
16. Piercings and tats are cool and a ownderful method of individualism, and it's laughable to think they might have some adverse consequence years from now.
17. The lives of people who commit murder are more valuable, and much more worthy of protection and support, than the lives of those people they murdered.

Oh, the list is endless; try it.

Sarah needs to move to Belg... (Below threshold)

Sarah needs to move to Belgian. She'd fit right in there.

Come on ya'll; what happene... (Below threshold)

Come on ya'll; what happened here was obvious: Sarah didn't read the whole piece. Her reaction was sort of like mine during the first 2 paragraphs. However, in addition Jay Tea was sneaky to title it "In praise of civilian casualties". Jay Tea, I'd go as far as to accuse you of baiting poor Sarah. Indeed, no one reasonable could not agree with your post's conclusions. However you did not title it "In Defense of Not Giving In to the demands of the Enemy", (I'd imagine that you might make it more pithy) as you should of. Clever Jay Tea... quite clever. Know that I'm on to you.




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