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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Watson: "Matt Taibbi on Iraq, Viet Nam, Warmongering, and Thomas Friedman"

Moustache Rides - 5ยข

Thanks to Watson for finding this great Friedman takedown by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone - THANKS WATSON!

Matt Taibbi has landed at Rolling Stone after getting bounced from the New York Press because not enough people saw the humor in his 2005 piece 'The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope' (not for the squeamish). Taibbi's explanation of that story is here.

His latest article 'Right War, Wrong Tactics' is inspired by Thomas Friedman's 3/7/07 NYT column 'Don't Ask, Don't Know, Don't Help'. It contains some interesting observations, and a well-deserved takedown of Mr. Friedman.


'What we have to remember about America's half-baked propaganda machine is that, dumb as it is, it always keeps its eye on the ball. The war in Iraq is lost, everyone knows that, but there are future wars to think about. ... we always have to make sure that the excuse for the next war is woven into the autopsy of the current military failure. That's why to this day we're still hearing about how Vietnam was lost because a) the media abandoned the war effort b) the peace movement undermined the national will and c) the public, and the Pentagon, misread the results of the Tet offensive, seeing defeat where there actually was a victory.

'After a few decades of that, we were ready to go to war again [in Iraq] -- all we had to do, we figured, was keep the cameras away from the bloody bits, ignore the peace movement, and blow off any and all bad news from the battlefield. And we did all of these things for quite a long time in Iraq, but, maddeningly, Iraq still turned out to be a failure.

'That left the war apologists in a bind. If after fixing all of the long-held Vietnam excuses Iraq could still blow up in our faces, that must mean that we not only misjudged Iraq, but we were wrong about why Vietnam failed, too. Now, if we're ever going to pull one of these stunts again, we're going to need to come up with a grander, even more outlandish excuse for why both wars were horrible, bloody failures.


'[According to Friedman] both Vietnam and Iraq failed not because they were stupid, vicious occupations of culturally alien populations that despised our very presence and were willing to sacrifice scads of their own lives to send us home. No, the problem was that we didn't make an effort to "re-evaluate tax and spending policies" and "shift resources" into an "all-out" war effort.

'We're talking about one of the richest men in media, a guy who in recent years got still richer beating the drum for this war from his $9.3 million, 11,400 square-foot mansion in suburban Maryland. He is married to a shopping mall heiress worth nearly $3 billion; the Washingtonian says he is part of one of the 100 richest families in America. And yet he has the balls to turn around and tell us that the pointless, asinine war he cheerleaded for failed because we didn't sacrifice enough for it.


'[T]rust me, the myth is going to be that you didn't cough up enough for the war. It's your fault we failed, not Tom Friedman's.'


- posted by Watson

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