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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: "War Nerd on Hezbollah"

He's tough

Thanks to Watson for this grab from War Nerd - thanks Watson!

War Nerd is the nomme-de-blog of foggy Fresno's Gary Brecher. His
work appears in the eXile, Moscow's alternative newspaper.

Like Steve, he's a military history buff, and he regularly offers an
alternative critique to the strategery of our neocon Napoleons.

I'm a bit hesitant to recommend him because his cold-blooded,
shock-the-bourgeois writing style is insensitive, to mankind in general and
to ethnicity in particular. His advice to those offended would probably be
'Don't study war'.

The excerpt below contains an IDF/Wehrmacht comparison. I think it's
benign, but I refer readers to Wes Cheek's 3/18/07 News Blog guest-post 'The
Problem with the Problem with Nazi Analogies', and the comments thereto.

Here's War Nerd in July 2006 on the IDF-Hezbollah dustup in Lebanon:

'The IDF doesn't deserve its rep. It did once, back in 1948
and during Suez, when it was manned by double-tough survivors of the
European Jews who were determined to show up the book-nerd stereotype by
kicking ass from Haifa to Damascus. Those dudes were truly tough. But we're
talking demographics again, dude. Passage of time, plus difference in
birthrate, means that by now the IDF has a thin, real thin, crust of
Ashkenazi brains'n'brawn on top and a bunch of flabby mama's boys under

'The IDF was safe in its F-16s and Merkavas, facing
Pal[estian]s with nothing but rifles and old RPGs. It's easy to look tough
rolling through refugee camps in the world's most heavily armored tank. But
as you may recall, those tanks got a real different reception when they
chased Hezbollah's raiding party back into Lebanon after the Hezzies killed
three IDF soldiers and kidnapped another two.

'It was a good plot twist: one minute the IDF is stomping
around Gaza blasting amateurs, when something taps it on the shoulder, and
there's Hezbollah, looking like Godzilla in a headscarf. Pretty funny
moment, something almost Abbot & Costello about it. No army enjoys getting
invited to a second front just when it was starting to enjoy itself on the
first one. Even the Wehrmacht rank and file was bummed when they heard they
were getting shipped from the beaches of the Mediterranean to Russia.

'Nasrullah may look like a fat social studies teacher who
needs a shave, but you don't claw your way to the top of a bloody world like
that one without brains. The men who run Hezbollah attacked because they
finally figured out that they literally cannot lose. The IDF can never expel
Hezbollah from South Lebanon, because it's a genuine mass movement, as
committed and crazy at the roots as at the top. ... If Israel retaliates by
blasting every target of value in Lebanon, every TV tower and shopping mall
and freeway...well, that's the beauty of the plan: the Shia are the poorest
of the poor. They don't own any of that shit anyway. They sit back and laugh
watching their neighbors' stuff that they've envied all their lives get
blown away -- and it's the Israelis who get the blame. So call'em crazy if
it makes you feel better, but don't call'em stupid. Better yet, get used to
calling'em "Sir."


- posted by Watson

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