Friday, April 01, 2005



Update: Welcome Daou Reporters! I hope you're enjoying your preview of Malkin's new book.

Well, I should clarify - she hasn't announced anything about it yet, but I've got a strong feeling that it has something to do with this and this.

I'm just disappointed she didn't use my idea.


Infamous? Or just incredibly disingenuous?
A year ago today, left-wing blogger and Democratic strategist Markos Moulitsos Zuniga of the Daily Kos cheered the brutal murders of four American civilian contractors in Fallujah--all of them war veterans with distinguished records, three of them fathers--with the following infamous words:

"Screw them."

...April Fools' Day lesson: Bashing murdered veterans pays. No joke.
Okay, not that Markos (himself a military veteran) needs me to defend him, but here's what he actually said:
That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.
And the next day, he explained: (emphasis mine)
There's been much ado about my indifference to the Mercenary deaths in Falluja a couple days ago. I wrote in some diary comments somewhere that "I felt nothing" and "screw them".

My language was harsh, and, in reality, not true. Fact is, I did feel something. That's why I was so angry.

I was angry that five soldiers -- the real heroes in my mind -- were killed the same day and got far lower billing in the newscasts. I was angry that 51 American soldiers paid the ultimate price for Bush's folly in Iraq in March alone. I was angry that these mercenaries make more in a day than our brave men and women in uniform make in an entire month. I was angry that the US is funding private armies, paying them $30,000 per soldier, per month, while the Bush administration tries to cut our soldiers' hazard pay. I was angry that these mercenaries would leave their wives and children behind to enter a war zone on their own violition.

So I struck back.

Unlike the vast majority of people in this country, I actually grew up in a war zone. I witnessed communist guerillas execute students accused of being government collaborators. I was 8 years old, and I remember stepping over a dead body, warm blood flowing from a fresh wound. Dodging bullets while at market. I lived in the midst's of hate the likes of which most of you will never understand (Clinton and Bush hatred is nothing compared to that generated when people kill each other for politics or race or nationality). There's no way I could ever describe the ways this experience colors my worldview.

Back to Iraq, our men and women in uniform are there under orders, trying to make the best of an impossible situation. The war is not their fault, and I will always defend their honor and bravery to the end of my days. But the mercenary is a whole different deal. They willingly enter a war zone, and do so because of the paycheck. They're not there for humanitarian reasons (I doubt they'd donate half their paycheck to the Red Cross or whatever). They're there because the money is DAMN good. They answer to no one except their CEO. They are dangerous, hence international efforts (however fruitless they may be) to ban their use.

So not only was I wrong to say I felt nothing over their deaths, I was lying. I felt way too much. Nobody deserves to die. But in the greater scheme of things, there are a lot of greater tragedies going on in Iraq (51 last month, plus countless civilians and Iraqi police). That those tragedies are essentially ignored these days is, ultimately, the greatest tragedy of all.
I quoted the entire post, because context is ultimately vital in this situation. That's why Malkin's failure to provide it is a joke.