Westerners Who Defend the Iraqi Insurgents:

In response to my recent quote of an OpinionJournal post, some people questioned whether there really are a substantial number of Western commentators who defend the Iraqi insurgents, or at least justify their actions as being a supposed campaign for self-determination, allegedly justifiable rage at Western misbehavior, and so on. I think this is a good opportunity to collect examples of such people, to show that they do exist, and are worth criticizing.

If you have some such worthies in mind, please post the following in the comments:

  1. The name and brief description of the person (e.g., columnist for this or that newspaper, official in this or that prominent organization).

  2. An exact quote in which they defend the insurgents or seek to justify their actions.

  3. The URL of the article where the quote can be found. Please refer to original sources, rather than copies of the sources on other sites, copies of copies, and so on. (If you have LEXIS access and found the article there, but the article is not available online, include the name of the newspaper, magazine, or broadcast, the date, and the name of the article.)

Please also

  • Stick with quotes that are pretty unambiguous — no need to dilute the clear stuff with questionable material.

  • Stick with journalists, officials, or at least famous people; avoid comments by unknown people on others' blogs.

  • Check the thread before posting, to avoid duplication.

Many thanks — this should be a useful resource for people who want to respond to questions about whether such people actually exist. (For a sample of where I've done this once before on another topic, see my page on calls for total bans of handguns or all guns, which I posted in response to the common argument that supposedly "no one is talking about banning guns, so your slippery slope concerns are just paranoia.")

Whoa, whoa, whoa. The Opinion Journal piece referred to "those Westerners who side with the 'Iraqi resistance' against America and its allies." That's a heck of a lot different from the class of people who offer explanations for the insurgents' behavior.

If I offer the opinion that World War II was an outgrowth of German nationalist sentiment following what they saw as humiliation from the Treaty of Versailles, that does not mean I am siding with the Germans!
8.12.2005 1:41pm
Shelby (mail):
The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win.

Michael Moore, his website.

Always a fan of low-hanging fruit...
8.12.2005 2:03pm
Steve, yeah. One more bullet point please: be careful with the explain/justify distinction.

(Even if you think an explanation would be exculpatory if true, it doesn't mean the author is excusing.)
8.12.2005 2:07pm
""I think the killing of civilians is always wrong, all the Prophet Muhammad's teachings said it was wrong, but I think the cause is just."

Clare Short - Former British Cabinet Minister,,2087-1302671,00.html
8.12.2005 2:14pm
"Under foreign occupation and denied the right to vote, denied the right to run your own affairs, often denied the right to work for three generations, I suspect that if it had happened here in England, we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves."

Ken Livingstone - Mayor of London
8.12.2005 2:15pm
David Berke:
I disagree that Shelby's post demonstrates any such thing, by itself.

The rule is "Justify their actions as being a supposed campaign for self-determination"
There is no question that Moore (who is pretty damn far to the left) said that it was a campaign for self-determination. However, you have offered no evidence that he is justifying it as opposed to stating what he believes will occur. Merely calling it a revolution is insufficient.

Moore may well believe that it is justified, but that post by itself doesn't prove it.
8.12.2005 2:15pm
Steve is right, Volokh redefined the WSJ's proposition before trying to defend it. A neat trick. But not one that I usually see on this page.

I guess that means Volokh concedes that the original WSJ position was indefensible.

My challenge is to show us quotes from Americans who say they want the the insurgents to win.

Predicting that the insurgents will win (a la Michael Moore) doesn't count. There's a difference between predicting defeat and saying that defeat would be good.

Saying that some of the insurgents have some legitimate beefs doesn't count. As Steve points out, the Germans had legitimate beefs about the end of WWI, but saying that is a far cry from saying that the Nazi's were right.

The only statements that should count are ones that express the hope that Americans will die or that the insurgents will prevail.
8.12.2005 2:20pm
Wholly apart from explain/justify, it is possible to believe that resisting occupation is a good thing (and occupation is bad) without endorsing either the tactics used in the resistance or the goals that would be pursued once the occupation is ended. Mr. Volokh's argument here really is scurrilous and unworthy of him.
8.12.2005 2:21pm
wonkie (mail):
Steve is right and Shelby is making an error in logic. I read a long guest piece on Winds of Change written by an American officer posted in Iraq who was, without question, a supporter of our involvement there and he wrote that some of the insurgents were inspired by feelings of nationalism. (By the way, he also felt that the "insurgency" was so multi-faceted and derived from so many motivations that it didn't really constitute an insurgency. But his words, taken out of context, could be put on a so-called insurgent support list). Understanding motivation does not mean giving support. Also understanding that the motive is a compelling one, comparable to motivations felt by people here in the past, which might very well that might lead to a victory, does not constitute support--only a warning.
Also I question the motive behind this whole discussion. Are we arguing that understanding the motives of an insurgent constitutes support for said insurgent, thereby making the writer or speaker unAmerican,a traitor, etc? If so let's stop the slide down the slippery slope to McCarthyism right now.
8.12.2005 2:21pm
Mike Lorrey (mail) (www):
L Neil Smith, prominent Libertarian and science fiction writer, publisher of "The Libertarian Enterprise": May 23, 2004: "Saddam Hussein was no paragon, to be sure. But he did head the most secular and progressive state in the Middle East."

On another occasion, Smith said on TLE: "blocading somebody else's borders and letting upwards of half a million kids die for lack of medicine and proper nutrition, invading two countries that never did anything to America, and murdering tens of thousands of pregnant women and ten-year-old goatherds can hardly be considered acts of self- defense"

May 23rd, 2004 TLE editorial, when Smith said, "it was people I called "Europanoids" (to include Americans) who initiated force in the Middle East"

May 9th, 2004 TLE editorial when Smith said that, "Americans and Europeans are the aggressors in this conflict, and what happened in New York on September 11, 2001, was an act of long-delayed retaliation."
8.12.2005 2:24pm
Justin (mail):
But wonkie, we're not at war with Iraq. We're at war with Oceania.
8.12.2005 2:25pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Those are some moved goalposts, from "Those Westerners who side with the "Iraqi resistance" against America and its allies" to "defend the Iraqi insurgents, or at least justify their actions as being a supposed campaign for self-determination justifiable rage at Western misbehavior, and so on."

The former I don't think Moore's comments fit into, the latter they do.

In The Fog of War the documentary about Robert S. McNamara, McNamara lists his eleven lessons learned, the first is "Empathize with your enemy."

It is useful to justify their actions because to defeat our enemies we need to understand where they are coming from, and obviously they don't think their actions are unjustified or they wouldn't do them.
8.12.2005 2:28pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
David Berke, Public Defender:

By your logic, unless the person says, "I think the insurgents are justified and want them to win," you will refuse to accept it as evidence. Moore did not merely "predict" they would win -- which concededly would not satisfy the original critiera. He denied they were insurgents or terrorists, described them as "resisting occupation," and labeled them "Minutemen." (He might as well have said "the moral equivalent of our founding fathers.") If you don't think that's justifying or defending them, then I think you're guilty of willful blindness.
8.12.2005 2:33pm
JoeJack (mail):
Some of these quotes are so far from satisfying even Prof. Volokh's watered-down criteria. Mr. Lorrey, I'm looking at you.
8.12.2005 2:35pm
I have to disagree with Steve et al. The burden is on the journalist to identify those explanations which are merely proffered by other people but that are not generally accept as true.

Therefore, quotes which do not use such qualifiers such Members of the insurgancy claim... or Mr. Minister asserted...

Come guys, its well known that insinuation bias is a very powerful tool. Juxtaposition of factual unbiased information does not make for a neutral unbiased journalistic piece.
8.12.2005 2:35pm
alkali (mail):
The Clare Short quote (which is heinous, no doubt) and the Ken Livingstone quote (which is ill-considered to say the least) are about Al Qaeda, not the Iraqi insurgents. The Livingstone quote is specifically about the recent London suicide bombings, not events in Iraq.
8.12.2005 2:36pm
Shelby (mail):
I think the key thing about Moore's statement is calling "the Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation" Minutemen. He doesn't say they're "like" the Minutemen; he means a closer identity than that. I agree that "they will win" doesn't prove he supports them, but you really have to contort the argument to suggest he's not wholeheartedly endorsing them.
8.12.2005 2:36pm
Justin Kee (mail):
I agree with Steve. It is far too easy to misquote, or to take an argument out of the relevant context or scope and to confuse an explanation with advocacy. For example, one could easily mischaracterize statements in today's NYT editorial titled, "An Iraqi Constitution" as a viewpoint supporting " a supposed campaign for self-determination". While the editorial does not advocate violence or provide moral support for the insurgency, it does speak to the fundamental imporatance of the sovereignty of the Iraqi state, specifically as to the Iraqi governments response to a foreign state operating militarily within Iraq's borders. If this editorial were to be viewed as a justification of Iraqi self-determination and a crticism of Western behavior, would it not fall into the ambiguous category the Eugene has created?

That said, the phrase, "I think this is a good opportunity to collect examples of such people, to show that they do exist, and are worth criticizing." is disturbing. Give me names, quotes and sources? Nothing stifles open debate like a witchhunt.
8.12.2005 2:39pm
alkali (mail):
David M. Nieporent writes:

By your logic, unless the person says, "I think the insurgents are justified and want them to win," you will refuse to accept it as evidence.

Well, the proposition is that there are lots of people who do say exactly that, so that seems not an unreasonable criterion.
8.12.2005 2:41pm
alkali (mail):
Justin Kee writes:

Give me names, quotes and sources? Nothing stifles open debate like a witchhunt.

It may well be a productive exercise if the hunt fails to turn up any witches.
8.12.2005 2:43pm
Shelby (mail):
Nothing stifles open debate like a witchhunt.

Justin, the debate is over whether there are examples of people taking a particular position. It's not over the position itself.
8.12.2005 2:43pm
anonymous coward:
I think it's fair to say that Moore is endorsing an insurgency for the reasons Nieporent states. But the insurgency in Iraq is not one entity like, say, North Vietnam, so it is rather difficult to understand exactly what movements he's specifically endorsing. (Although Moore's probably not too particular.)
8.12.2005 2:44pm
Justin (mail):
Shelby provides a useful example, Justin. The comment of Moore's he takes is right out of a blogpost about how asserting moral victory through "Orwellian" language is futile and doesn't change the views on the ground. All he was saying, IN CONTEXT, was that so long as the people of Iraq view these people as freedom fighters, that Bush tells Americans they are simply "insurgents" is a useless exercise in political power consolidation.
8.12.2005 2:45pm
Mike Lorrey (mail) (www):
Bill St. Clair, libertarian blogger: "Who's my real enemy here, an Iraqi patriot half a world away or the draft board employee threatening to arrest my kid if he doesn't go there to die?"
8.12.2005 2:50pm
anonymous coward:
I think Crooked Timber's parallel thread is likely to be considerably easier to populate.
8.12.2005 2:50pm
JoeJack (mail):
Mike whiffs again.
8.12.2005 2:51pm
Justin (mail):
The Clare quote also fails the original goalposts...though "the cause is just", she's still arguing that the way they are fighting for their cause is wrong. To act like Iraqis have no legitimate complaints with the United States government or face the charge "siding with them" means that one would have to be intentionally foolish and dishonest just to avoid the charge.

But that's okay, as McCarthy tought professor Volokh (whose admiration as a man of intellect has simply just died the last 2 days. For such an unassuming man this is just bewildering vitrol for a man who I hope eerything is right with his personal life because I would normally think such hateful crap is reserved for those who hastily speak out of thoughtless anger), if you can't beat your enemies' logic, start a witchhunt. If the witchhunt turns up no witches, expand the definition of witch at will.
8.12.2005 2:51pm
You know the VC is going down hill when the commenters are debating Michael Moore and Eugene is tacitly encouraging it. Time to start looking for a new blog...
8.12.2005 2:51pm
Mike Lorrey (mail) (www):
RE: the above quote: "realness" to Bill St. Clair apparently doesn't mean the difference between real Iraqi (or nonIraqi) insurgents, and a non-existent draft...
8.12.2005 2:51pm
It is beyond silly to pretend that Moore was using the term "Minutemen" without the positive connotation associated with the term "Minutemen". If Moore wanted to use an example of a movement that would eventually win a war against an "occupier" but that lacked such a positive connotation, he could easily have chosen, say, the North Vietnamese. He didn't. Instead, he chose to associate the insurgents with one of the most positive groups of people in American history.
8.12.2005 2:57pm
Well, the proposition is that there are lots of people who do say exactly that, so that seems not an unreasonable criterion.

No. It seems to me that the proposition was quite the opposite: the group involved, while "substantial" is not large. Eugene expressly states: "Fortunately, the group being criticized is not a vast group."
8.12.2005 3:04pm
JoeSlater (mail):
I agree with those that noted the moving goalposts. I also note that thus far the only quote about Iraq that even arguably seems to sympathize with the insurgents is Moore calling them "Minutemen"--and even his meaning there is not really clear.

I humbly suggest that some history would help here. During the conflict in Nicaragua, a good number of liberals and leftists explicitly supported the Sandanistas against the contras. Whether they were right or wrong, politically/morally to do so is an other issue, but fortunately that's not relevant here. The point is, it wasn't hard to find lots of folks who did explicitly say, "we want the Sandanistas to win, and the U.S-backed contras to lose." Also, during the Viet Nam war, there were some easy-to-find factions of the anti-war movement who explicitly described the North Vietnamese cause as a just campaign for self-determination and hoped at various levels for a communist victory. And to be fair and balanced, there were some relatively prominent right-wingers around the time of World War II who were quite sympathetic to Hitler.

Comparatively speaking, there is practically nothing along those lines going on in the U.S. today. I wouldn't be shocked if somebody found a quote by Chomsky or from some exceedingly tiny radical group. But the interesting story in this war is the *absence* among the anti-war forces of any even arguably significant voices sympathizing with the "other side" against the U.S. Of course, if you believe the WSJ, Bill O'Reilly, etc., even opposing the war is "borderline treasonous," undermining the morale of the troops, etc., but that's another issue too.
8.12.2005 3:05pm
Another example is George Galloway, who recently referred to the insurgents as "martyrs".

Full quote: "These poor Iraqis - ragged people, with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest and most basic of weapons - are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars, with 145 military operations every day, which has made the country ungovernable.

"We don't know who they are, we don't know their names, we never saw their faces, they don't put up photographs of their martyrs, we don't know the names of their leaders."
8.12.2005 3:06pm
First, a disclaimer. Michael Moore is a jerk. He had a funny TV show a few years ago, but he's still a jerk. He's a loud-mouth out to make a buck. His "arguments" are silly at best. He is to political argument what Emeril is to cooking--a talented showman who puts the show above substance.

Moore still doesn't quite get you where you want to go. You can take a few steps from his argument to the point of saying that it would be good for the terrorists to win, but you have to take those steps--his words don't get you there on their own.

His position seems to be that American troops are being killed needlessly and they should come home now.

On the positive side, I can say without reservation that Moore is as fair and reasonable as the other contributors to the WSJ editorial pages.
8.12.2005 3:09pm
Richard Bellamy (mail):
Okay, here's your one. No question of context or interpretation. Maybe it'll get the bar up where it should be:

Nicolas DeGenova, Columbia University Professor:

"the only true heroes are those who find ways to defeat the US military. I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus."

I now intend to post on Crooked Timber's thread the responses that generalized therefrom.
8.12.2005 3:11pm
Shelby (mail):
Thanks, Richard. I'd like Eugene to post at least one example as well. And I see little point in arguing whether Michael Moore is merely a loud-mouth jerk or truly vile. More examples, please!
8.12.2005 3:14pm
Glenn Bridgman (mail):
"the only true heroes are those who find ways to defeat the US military. I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus."

Pretty horrific, but he is still advocating attacks on the military. That s legitimate "Minuteman" behavior, even if we oppose it for obvious reasons. Still doesn't tie in to the Vincent murder.
8.12.2005 3:15pm
gr (www):
A.S.: "It is beyond silly to pretend that Moore was using the term "Minutemen" without the positive connotation associated with the term "Minutemen"."

The problem is that he may have been using it in the sense that the iraqis will see the positive connotation, not that we are supposed to see it. I can have an analysis that says "the insurgency is going to be seen as the worthy cause and will win" that doesn't see that as a good thing.
8.12.2005 3:16pm
DAWeinstein (mail):
" Here's the rub: Iraq's resistance fighters are breaking a lot of eggs to cook their omelet of liberation. They kill other Iraqis. They kidnap and execute foreign aid workers, truck drivers, businessmen, even diplomats and children. Americans, we tell ourselves, would never resort to that kind of terrorism--not even to free ourselves from occupation.

Wouldn't we?"

Ted Tall, "Got Empathy?", August 2, 2005 (and in a similar vein in numerous other columns)
8.12.2005 3:18pm
David Berke:
David M. Nieporent:

I disagree with your analysis of the use of "Minutemen." As you know, the Minutemen were guerrila fighters (by the standards of the day). They also, eventually, won. These are two things that Moore could easily find to be in common with the Iraqi fighters. There is insufficient evidence to back up the assertion that this phrase necessarily means that he was suggesting that they are "justified," and that was the parameter set by Volokh.

He also called them revolutionaries, rather than insurgents or terrorists. However, I would remind you of the following: Revolutionaries are merely those terrorists and insurgents that win.

So, does Moore actually believe that they are justified? Maybe. But this quote, taken out of context, without supporting evidence, is simply not enough to prove it.

I am not a big fan of Moore, and I personally believe that the war in Iraq can be justified on more than one grounds. However, the request was for unambiguous evidence.
8.12.2005 3:33pm
MQ (mail):
This is a real McCarthyist request from Volokh, the kind that shuts down reasoned debate. I personally want the U.S. out of Iraq fairly soon, and out completely, because I don't think we are contributing to helping create a healthy state there and I also think we are harming our own (U.S.) national interests by being there. In that sense I "want the insurgency to win", whatever the "insurgency" is. Since withdrawal of U.S. troops and genuine Iraqi self-determination on their own terms (not our terms) are among the goals of the insurgency, anyone who supports those goals "wants the insurgency to win".

On the other hand, I devoutly hope that Iraq does not end up governed by the kind of people who indiscriminately car bomb the Iraqi civilian population. Such factions are definitely in some sense members of the current "insurgency", but they are also not the only members. Unfortunately, it is counterproductive on every level for the U.S. to try to attain this goal through military occupation and force, since I would argue it is in fact our military occupation that has led to these factions having such power within Iraq currently.

The vagueness of terms like "the insurgency" and "winning" makes this whole thing just an exercise in propagandizing against your opponents.
8.12.2005 3:37pm
anonymous coward:
DAWeinstein: I understand why you might find Rall's (presumably not "Ted Tall") statement offensive. But I don't think it satisfies Eugene's (unfortunately, extremely vague) criteria--unless you believe that "Iraq's resistance fighters are breaking a lot of eggs to cook their omelet of liberation," followed by a list of some of their crimes, to be clearly "justifying" their actions.

Why don't you find one of those "numerous other columns" that better fits the bill?
8.12.2005 3:40pm
An NRO contributor just received this email:

8.12.2005 3:41pm
8.12.2005 3:42pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Okay, all that, and the best you've got is one dumbass Columbia prof?

I think the staggering silence here, and the telltale goalpost-moving, demonstrates the point. Though I'll check back later to see which other traitors have been identified.
8.12.2005 3:44pm
alkali (mail):
Public Defender writes:

[Moore's] position seems to be that American troops are being killed needlessly and they should come home now.

Indeed, that is a major point of Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11.
8.12.2005 3:46pm
My apologies, I glanced over the rule:

"Stick with journalists, officials, or at least famous people; avoid comments by unknown people on others' blogs."
8.12.2005 3:46pm
DAWeinstein's quote does meet Volokh's criteria of those who "defend the Iraqi insurgents, or at least justify their actions as being a supposed campaign for self-determination, allegedly justifiable rage at Western misbehavior, and so on."

The quote Weinstein gave us to includes: "Americans, we tell ourselves, would never resort to that kind of terrorism--not even to free ourselves from occupation. Wouldn't we?"

Ted Tall is justifying the terrorists actions by implying that we would do the same thing if we were in their shoes.
8.12.2005 3:46pm
Noah Snyder (mail):
Given that the only time a large chunk of the U.S. was occupied by any army it produced the Ku Klux Klan and lynchings do you really think it's totally unreasonable for people to say thing like: "Americans, we tell ourselves, would never resort to that kind of terrorism--not even to free ourselves from occupation. Wouldn't we?"

If the U.S. were occupied you really don't think that the fringe elements that produced the Oklahoma City Bombings and the half dozen clinic bombings wouldn't turn terrorist?

Suppose Texas were occupied by France who came in to set up universal health care. You think they'd be happy about it?
8.12.2005 3:48pm
Richard Bellamy (mail):
Seriously guys, as I disassemble Shelby's argument on CT, I have to come to his defense here? Context context context. Read the whole article.

Michael Moore says, "First, can we stop the Orwellian language and start using the proper names for things?" He is clearly saying, "Here is what they really are," not "Here is how the some may view it."

He then proceeds with a litany of "This is not a GOOD/NEUTRAL American thing. This is a BAD American thing."

This is followed by "This is not a NEUTRAL/BAD Iraqi thing. This is a MINUTEMAN Iraqi thing."

There clear, obvious intent of the piece is to say "This is a GOOD Iraqi thing."

For those of you who took the SATs:

Those are not CONTRACTORS in Iraq. . . They are MERCENARIES and SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE.

Halliburton is not a COMPANY doing business in Iraq. It is a WAR PROFITEER.

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not TERRORISTS. They are ZERQUERTS.

1. Pick the best answer. ZERQUERTS is not an English word, but we can imply from the context that ZERQUERTS are:

a. Bad things.
b. Things who may be admired by some, but hated by others.
c. Good things.
d. A neutral term for terrorists.
e. Not enough information.

If you did not answer C, your college career may be in jeopardy.
8.12.2005 3:51pm
The Galloway quote meets the challenge. Congratulations. Of course, the Labour government fired him for his extremism.

It's interesting to see how far to the fringes people have to go for examples. As others have pointed out, in previous conflicts (Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador), many prominent Americans actively hoped that "our" side would lose.

Given how far out of the liberal mainstream you have to go to find people who want the U.S. to lose, this may be a good example of the exceptions proving the rule.
8.12.2005 3:52pm
WHOI Jacket:
I love it. Looking up published statements constitutes a "witch-hunt"...

This is almost like the Scrappleface post: Liberal sues for slander after being quoted.
8.12.2005 3:57pm
Richard Bellamy (mail):
Ah, thank you Tamyoboi, the anonymous letter writer doesn't fit here (being anonymous and all), but the leadin ("This e-mail tells you all you need to know about what has become of the Left in North America") belongs firmly on the CT list.
8.12.2005 3:58pm
DAWeinstein (mail):
TO: Anonymous Coward

Okay. Here are some more from Rall:

"Iraq's natural resources are being raped. Its people are being murdered. Yet it's the patriotic Iraqi resistance, which is trying to stop these outrages by throwing out the perpetrators of an illegal war of aggression, that the Bush Administration dares call "terrorists."

Time to Get Real in Iraq, August 26, 2003

"In this vein we must also take action against our own Iraqi citizens who choose to collaborate with the enemy. Bush wants to put an "Iraqi face" on the occupation. If we allow the Americans to corrupt our friends and neighbors by turning them into puppet policemen and sellouts, our independence will be lost forever. If someone you know is considering taking a job with the Americans, tell him that he is engaging in treason and encourage him to seek honest work instead. If he refuses, you must kill him as a warning to other weak-minded individuals."

Why We Fight: Iraq From the Other Side [written in the voice of an Iraqi insurgent], November 11, 2003

I should note that my initial quotation from Rall does not do his "Got Empathy?" column justice - the column is an unabashed defense of attacks by Iraqi insurgents on what Rall calls "traitors," but because much of it is written as an analogy to an imagined occupation of the US, it is difficult to capture the point in a single quote.

Goalpost moving aside, I don't think there is any doubt that Ted Rall is a defender of the Iraqi insurgents, and all of their tactics to boot. I think he would embrace such a label.
8.12.2005 3:59pm
More Claire Short (former UK minister):

"But I understand the anger and the demand for action, and it's not good enough for the world to say state violence is OK and non-state violence is not OK.

"The American public fought against British colonialism with violence, the Free French fought against German occupation with violence, the Palestinian people are entitled to resist occupation, I mean, it's in international law (and) the Iraqi people are entitled (to resist occupation)."

She also says: "I think the killing of civilians is always wrong . . . but I think the cause is just."

8.12.2005 4:00pm
I second the reference to McNamara above. Most likely, the insurgents react to the fact that the effect of the U.S. presence is to empower the Iran-supported Shia, at the expense of the Sunnis, where both sides are human rights nightmares not appreciably better than a weakened, pre-war Saddam. I don't think the use of violence is justified, but it is somewhat inevitable and also was predicted by a number of people deemed "not serious" about national security. I am NOT justifying the insurgency, in the sense their tactics are wrong, their goals are reprehensible, and they don't speak for even most Sunni Iraqis, but it's clearly a fact of life for which "justification" is besides the point. What is unjustified is the U.S.'s presence continuing to do more long-term harm than good. Like central America, where the U.S. actively supported genocides of indigenous people.

I would say that, of course, I don't want the U.S. to lose, but I don't know that anybody knows what winning is, or how to do it. I want fewer people to experience what Cindy Sheehan experienced, as well as the families of the 5 members of the PA national guard killed recently. And for the U.S. to maintain at least some leverage in the middle east and moral authority throughout the rest of the world. Not to mention, reducing exposure to terrorist attacks. All of which add up for withdrawal. This is something that many people on all sides of the political spectrum feel, so approbation of the insurgency plays zero role.

The page culling together the calls for banning guns refutes Professor Volokh's point more than it helps, I think, as does this thread. The comments all came primarily from people with no real power, discussing what they -- and nobody else -- saw as the endgame. I am viscerally opposed to gun possession, but I wouldn't go any further than banning concealed or assault weapons.
8.12.2005 4:08pm
wonkie (mail):
I suspect that the reason it is so hard to find a suitable quote is that the insurgents are conservative, very, very conservative. No one but another insurgent would really want them to be in charge, making the rules. That's why (althought I can't read his mind) I doubt that Moore actually approves of them, as a political force anyway.
8.12.2005 4:09pm
So far, you have identified:

One odd-ball university professor who was denounced by his colleagues;
One former British minister who was fired for his extremism (or did he quit because he figured out his views didn't fit with the Labour Party policy?);
One former British minister who expressly denounced violence against civilians; and
A cartoonist.

I'm sure American soldiers are shaking in their boots knowing this is the extent of their political opposition in the West.

As to Michael Moore, you all still need to take more steps than just reading his words when you argue that he wants the U.S. to lose.
8.12.2005 4:11pm
Azael (www):
Yea, it's a pretty pathetic list so far. Still, it's a nice window inside the right wing mindset. Quite entertaining to see what bubbles up from below.
8.12.2005 4:23pm
WHOI Jacket:,
I think this is more of a "snipe hunt" than a "witch hunt."
8.12.2005 4:35pm
wonkie (mail):
There is also the question of what winning and losing in Iraq means. The Bush administration is laying the groundwork now for declaring victory next year in time for the 06 elections. By that definition "winning in Iraq" means having enough superficial achievements to put a positive spin on a cut-and-run policy. Under this scenario Americans who want us to leave now have no reason to cheer for the insurgents since the more effective the insurgency is, the harder it will be for Bush to spin a "victory", and the harder it will be to begin pullouts.
On the other hand if one defines victory in Iraq as the creation of a stable government, hopefully working toward democratic principles, and supported by the majority of the members of the diverse groups of Iraq, then the insurgents are the enemy and the question becomes "Who is in the best position to fight them, the Iraqis, or us?" Which is why the nationalism as motivation issue arises. Of course the stable sort of democratic, well-supported government might be a fantasy, but it is an outcome leftists are more likely to wish for than the kind of government the insurgents would put together.
Either way there isn't any reason for someone on the left to view the insurgents positively.
So I guess the right wing assumption that there are lots of insurgent-loving leftists out there wishing for US defeat is wrong, huh? Apology coming ?
8.12.2005 4:39pm
I feel as though we are engaged in formulating an enemies list, parsing a list of anti-war comments to determine if the sentiments expressed therein are sufficiently mainstream or if, in the black hearts of the commenters, they are actually rooting for the other side to win.

There is, of course, a fringe that exists, and I doubt anyone denies it. There is a fringe on the other side, for example, those who advocate solving the problem of terrorism through systematic genocide of Arabs, perhaps including a nuclear attack on the Middle East. For some reason, though, no one suggests that it would be a "useful resource" to identify the members of that other fringe.

It seems to me, if we are going to start making a list of those who espouse anti-American sentiments, there's no reason to impose an ideological litmus test. Let's make a list of those who advocate the murder of innocent Arabs; that's surely not an American value to stand for. Let's make a list of those who support the internment of US citizens based solely on their racial origin. Let's make a list of those who defend or justify the use of torture by Americans. Or are these viewpoints not "unamerican" enough to warrant condemnation?
8.12.2005 4:49pm
"It's interesting to see how far to the fringes people have to go for examples...Given how far out of the liberal mainstream you have to go to find people who want the U.S. to lose..."

This is a non-point, or rather the original point of the OpinionJournal piece that Mr. Volokh posted. To the extent that there are people rooting for terrorists and extremists in Iraq, those people should be condemned.

Mr. Volokh's selection criteria for quotes is doing the discussion a disfavor since it's limited only to people whose status and position are based primarily on not echoing the sentiments of the segment of the population that holds those attitudes, and whose support they rely on.

Proof positive would be the British muslims (and British citizens) who recently carried out the London bombings. I think its safe to say that they're rooting for the Iraqi insurgents, and certainly they should be condemned.
8.12.2005 4:59pm
Ivy League Student supports Insurgency
more America haters!
yet another link here
yet another link
more people that hate America
more people that hate America
more people that hate America
more Insurgency lovers
wow they hate America
yet even more people that hate America
yet another link
more Iraqi insurgency sympathy
8.12.2005 4:59pm
Some of the links above you will have to copy and paste. Sorry for not making them all quick-click links.
8.12.2005 5:08pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Lawbot, what is this mishmash of links supposed to demonstrate?

You wouldn't dump an unannotated string cite like this into a memo, would you?
8.12.2005 5:15pm
spencere (mail):
Wonkie at 3:39 I have real problems with your definition of winning and losing. Yes, if iraq were a functional, peaceful, democracy it would be nice. But is has virtually nothing to do with whetther the US is winning or losing. The job of the president is to advance US interest. He may go to war for that reason -- i.e, to make the US safer and to increase the US ability to influence events beyond its borders. Nothing else is justified. So the question is the war in Iraq achieving either of these objectives? this is the only criteria one should use to judge the war. and the answer is still unknown.
8.12.2005 5:30pm
Noah Snyder (mail):
I think it is worth comparing this thread to Prof. Volokh's link to gun banning quotes. In that case the page is full of powerful officials who aren't in disgrace who clearly fit the bill. To compare that to the above mishmash of fringe agitators, two disgraced officials, and a half-dozen ambiguous quotes is a joke.
8.12.2005 5:32pm
Of the 12 active links provided by LawBot (I'm too lazy to cut and paste),

1 doesn't work.

1 Al-Jazeera report of a group (only two are actually mentioned) of Brazilians protesting in favor of the insurgents.

1 Op-Ed in a Brown University paper by '06 Liz Sperber.

3 obscure blogs by westerners: (Greg's Kables, The World According to Nils, World Prout Assembly)

2 links to people posting on ABC's Online Forums

1 collection of quotes of unknown relevance posted on the message board of APFN (American Patriot Friends Network)

2 more obscure (Islamic?) blogs

1 column by Michael Hasty.

We all know Michael Hasty, right?

I don't think any of these satisfy:

"Stick with journalists, officials, or at least famous people; avoid comments by unknown people on others' blogs."
8.12.2005 5:38pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Great post there Lawbot, go read the rules.

Everyone else: Very impressed with the people you have come up with --- the only one I have ever heard of is Michael Moore. I find Crooked Timber's thread much better and actually picking off wingnuts one by one. Is volokh doing his best glenn reynolds impression here?
8.12.2005 5:43pm
Elliott Davis (mail):
John Pilger, prominent British journalist

Really, check out the entire interview at

But here's a taste.

TONY JONES: Can you approve in that context the killing of American, British or Australian troops who are in the occupying forces?

JOHN PILGER: Well yes, they're legitimate targets.

They're illegally occupying a country.

And I would have thought from an Iraqi's point of view they are legitimate targets, they'd have to be, sure.

TONY JONES: So Australian troops you would regard in Iraq as legitimate targets?

JOHN PILGER: Excuse me but, really, that's an unbecoming question.

I've just said that any foreign occupier of a country, military occupier, be they Germans in France, Americans in Vietnam, the French in Algeria, wherever, the Americans in Latin America, I would have thought, from the point of view of the local people - and as I mentioned, be they Australians in Australia - if Australia had been invaded and occupied by the Japanese, then the occupying forces, from the point of view of the people of that country, are legitimate targets."
8.12.2005 5:51pm
Jeffersonian (mail):
I'd love to see some of these guys sit down with a box full of Lord Haw-Haw recordings. Was he really such a bad fellow? Mostly he just exposed the perfidy of the Jews in Britain, how Churchill was their warmongering stooge propped up to aggress against a peaceful German people. What's wrong with that? He also told how Yank soldiers were back home boffing the Tommys' girls while they fought and died on the lines...all true, no doubt. What a poor, maligned chap, just like Mikey, Kenny and the brave Mr. Galloway. Right?
8.12.2005 6:13pm
Shelby (mail):
As I've noted over at the CT discussion, they've got a lot more names and quotes targeting war supporters -- but nearly all of them are way off-target.
8.12.2005 6:16pm
alkali (mail):
Jeffersonian writes:

I'd love to see some of these guys sit down with a box full of Lord Haw-Haw recordings.

The reason we know that any halfway-to-reasonable thing Lord Haw-Haw might have said was actually meant to be an expression of support for the Nazis is that Lord Haw-Haw was actually working for the Nazis.

So your analogy breaks down a bit there.
8.12.2005 6:22pm
Planet B (mail):
How about Mark Twain?

I am a revolutionist by birth, reading and principle. I am always on the side of the revolutionists because there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute
8.12.2005 6:24pm
Everyone else: Very impressed with the people you have come up with

It seems to me that this shows exactly what Eugene said: that the group of such people is NOT vast, although it is not completely insubstantial either. And it is not the same as the broader group of Iraq War opponents.
8.12.2005 6:26pm
vinc (mail):
Professor Volokh is right about one thing: that "this should be a useful resource for people who want to respond to questions about whether such people actually exist." The lameness of the quotes offered here demonstrates how rare these people are, and does so more convincingly than any essay I've seen.
8.12.2005 6:36pm
Shelby (mail):
Planet B:
Do you consider the situation in Iraq to be a "revolution"? Do you think Twain would've? I don't, but feel free to make the case.

Elliott D.:
Detestable as I think Pilger is, that particular quote doesn't tell us he WANTS the Iraq "resistance" to succeed, or for US troops to die, or what have you -- just that he thinks Iraqis would consider themselves occupied by a foreign invader, and that those who are occupied always consider their resistance justified.

I think that's a sloppy and often incorrect view, but it's not what Eugene's looking for, either.
8.12.2005 6:36pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Checking back, and *still* nothing.

Time for Prof. Volokh to step in and supply us with the examples he already had in his possession.
8.12.2005 6:39pm
David Berke:

Your argument defeats itself on two distinct grounds.

1. The obvious and easy way - Nobody said that Moore definitely did not have such an opinion, merely that the quote alone was inadequate. By introducing further context, you concede the point that the quote alone was inadequate to qualify as unambiguous.

2. Your own SAT example reveals the flaw in your reasoning. Your question is what is the "BEST" answer. Fair point. But by calling it the BEST answer, you admit that other answers may be correct. Because the request was for unambiguous quotes, showing that one answer is superior and more likely to be true is insufficient.
For what it's worth, the comment at the end was simply uncalled for.

Additionally, although I do not claim to know Moore's private beliefs, I find your analysis to be a bit sloppy. It appears to start from the premise that Moore does in fact support the Iraqis. A revolutionary is not a "good" thing; it is in fact an entirely neutral concept - look it up. As I have said, one person's revolutionary is another person's terrorist or insurgent. Referring to them as Minutemen may or may not attempt to say it is a good thing; he could easily be making an analogy to the manner in which the American Revolution took place and succeeded. The context allows for this by the statement immediately following, "they will win."
8.12.2005 6:40pm
Shelby (mail):
David Berke,

Moore did not call them "revolutionaries," he called them Minutemen. Some have called him stupid; I disagree. I think he's pretty smart, and chooses words understanding their meaning. "Minutemen" is not a neutral concept - look it up. You're struggling awfully hard to avoid the clear meaning of what he said: He supports them, and wants them to win.
8.12.2005 6:51pm
alkali (mail):
You're struggling awfully hard to avoid the clear meaning of what [Moore] said: He supports them, and wants them to win.

You're struggling awfully hard to impute an incendiary opinion to someone who is not shy about expressing himself at length on any subject that comes to his mind.
8.12.2005 7:06pm
Mike Lorrey (mail) (www):
by Thomas Harding, defence correspondent of
"Iraqi freedom fighters killed nine occupation war criminals by shooting down RAF Hercules with 'ageing anti-aircraft gun.'"
Dr. Elias Akleh of the Arabic Media Information Network:
"Resistance is led by Iraqi freedom fighters, while terrorism is orchestrated and carried out by American Special Forces and their death squads. "

"The greatest crime since World War II has been U.S. foreign policy." --Ramsey Clark [Former U.S. Attorney General under President Lyndon Johnson]

"The cold war provided the perfect excuse for Western governments to plunder and exploit the Third World in the name of freedom; to rig its elections, bribe its politicians, appoint its tyrants and, by every sophisticated means of persuasion and interference, stunt the emergence of young democracies in the name of democracy." -- John le Carre', The Nation magazine, April 9, 2001, p11

Attorney and convicted felon Lynn Stewart:"I don't think it's quite fair to say right-wing, because they are basically forces of national liberation. And I think that we, as persons who are committed to the liberation of oppressed people, should fasten on the need for self-determination, and allow people who are under the heel of a corrupt and terrifying Egypt—where thousands of people are in prison, and torture and executions are, according to Amnesty International and Middle East Watch, commonplace—to do what they need to do to throw off that oppression. To denigrate them as right-wing, I don't think is proper. My own sense is that, were the Islamists to be empowered, there would be movements within their own countries, such as occurs in Iran, to liberate."
8.12.2005 7:12pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
These are supposed to be the "Westerners" we're concerned with? Keep digging, folks.

(And the Ramsey Clark quote, as evidence in the present context, is woefully inadequate.)
8.12.2005 7:22pm
I'm not sure if Mike Lorrey is trying to make a point, but none of those quotes appear to meet the qualifications.

A.S. said:
It seems to me that this shows exactly what Eugene said: that the group of such people is NOT vast, although it is not completely insubstantial either.

Actually, it seems to me that this group is NOT vast AND completely insubstantial.
8.12.2005 7:23pm
Elliott Davis (mail):

Eugene's looking for "[a]n exact quote in which they defend the insurgents or seek to justify their actions."

Pilger is justifying their actions.
8.12.2005 7:48pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Mike Lorrey, seems to be on the same level as a blog, As any schmo can submit a story. Unless Thomas Harding is some local SF celebrity
8.12.2005 7:59pm
I must say I agree with those who find the quality of discourse here dropping. Come on - this is close to an exercise in inventing your own straw man.

At least Eugene's right on one thing: this will be a great resource to point the next goof ball who pulls out the old "liberals want the terrorists to win" canard.
8.12.2005 8:14pm
JoeSlater (mail):
Entirely insubstantial indeed. And how desperate are those seeking to provide examples? The John Le Carre' quote, right or wrong, has nothing to do with Iraq (it was from April 2001) or with Islamic terrorism -- it was about the cold war against communism. Nobody on Lawbot's list meets the criteria, etc.,etc.

I'll say this one more time: compare this pathetically meager collection of quotes to things said during other significant U.S. military actions, and you'll see that the interesting story here is how very, very few people are actively rooting for the "other side."

And even granting that Michael Moore used the term "Minutemen" which is usually given a positive connotation in U.S. political discourse, does anybody really think that he thinks that the Islamic religious extremist insurgents in Iraq are "good guys," given Moore's liberal-left politics?
8.12.2005 8:25pm
gr (www):
'"Minutemen" is not a neutral concept - look it up.'

Right now its a group attracting fringe hate elements on the border.
8.12.2005 8:32pm
Azael (www):
This is gettin' weird, Mike Lorrey's quotes boil down to a description, a definition, a belief, a world view and the notion that the people of the middle east should cast off their oppressive, totalitarian regimes.

Talk about non-sequiturs. The last one is particularly bizarre, since it's pretty much the very line that the neo cons themselves use.
8.12.2005 8:38pm
David Berke:

The post I was responding to most recently was not yours, but instead someone else who indirectly stated that on two distinct occasions, Moore said that the Iraqi (fill in the blank) were not some bad thing, but were instead some good American thing. Seeing only "Minutemen," I assumed that this person must have meant by using the term "They are the revolution," he was referring to this implicit use of the term revolutionary.

Also, minutemen is not a neutral concept? Wasn't the term coined to refer to those men ready to fight on a minute's notice? Facially neutral. Implication is of the American Revolution, obviously. However, isn't it equally true that the Iraqi (fill in the blanks) are ready to fight at a minute's notice? That they engage in guerilla warfare? That Moore clearly believes they will win, regardless of whether he wants them to?

Again, the request was for something unambiguous, i.e. something which "having or exhibiting a single clearly defined meaning." By arguing that his use of a particular word is meant to invoke a particular meaning for a particular reason, you are essentially admitting that there are other possibilities, if less likely ones.
8.12.2005 8:45pm
Adam (mail) (www):
What I love about that le Carre quote is that (besides the fact that's it's nonresponsive substantively) it's from five months before September 11, 2001.

Now, I know some of my liberal friends believed that the plans for regime change in Iraq came early, but, sheesh.
8.12.2005 9:10pm
Jack (mail) (www):
Here is one that is pretty unambiguous:

The Iraqi people have every right to resist the US-led occupation forces until liberating their homeland, one of two Italian hostages freed in Iraq has said.

"I said it before the kidnapping and I repeat it today," Reuters quoted Simona Torretta as telling Corriere della Sera newspaper in an interview published on Friday, October 1.

"You have to distinguish between terrorism and resistance. The guerrilla war is justified, but I am against the kidnapping of civilians."

Islam Online I originally saw this in a YahooNews article but it is no longer available.

She isn't journalist or official, of course, but she is a Westerner and was briefly famous.
8.12.2005 9:18pm
Jack (mail) (www):
Here's another one, this time from a group of officials:

Barcelona Tribunal says Iraq Resistance is Justified

Penultimate paragraph:

Key organizers of the event, like their counterparts in the United States, are grappling with the tough question of how to revive the massive anti-war movement and how to deepen the struggle against the occupation of Iraq. Many of the issues and debates are similar. How to support the Iraqi resistance? How to bring hundreds of thousands of people back into the streets?

(Emphasis mine)
8.12.2005 9:24pm
David Velleman (mail):
Readers should check out this post at Crooked Timber, where a far more fruitful search is underway. Readers were asked to offer "instances in which commentators make egregious claims that a substantial section of those who opposed the war are, in fact, rooting for the other side." The examples are plentiful, specific, and often linked to the original sources. When does Professor Volokh speak up about the paucity of examples on his side?
8.12.2005 9:47pm
Justin Raimondo (mail) (www):
"Bring it on."
George W. Bush
President of the United States

Regardless of the President's intent, this statement is obkectively pro-insurgent. Our Commander-in-chief is clearly encouraging the enemy to attack: and, it seems, they have complied.
8.12.2005 10:32pm
Professor Volokh:

Do you admit yet that your hypothesis was wrong? And what gave you the impression that it could possibly be right? I'd think you would have known of at least a couple of examples BEFORE you posted the WSJ smear.
8.12.2005 10:39pm
Leftist (mail):
It looks like this dude Volokh is putting together a hit list or at least a black list of those whose expression he diaagrees with, and he wants his readers to help him. Now I know what is meant by the Volokh Conspiracy. I want off this board for fear of guilt by association--with Volokh's nastiness, scarcely hidden by the ridiculous pretext he invokes. How do I de-register?

I don't qualify for the Volokh black list because I'm not well-known and thus am not worth the effort of a witchhunt, but I do hope the so-called insurgents win. I want our troops home today with no further casualties. I want an end to American militarism, adventurism and imperialism.
8.12.2005 11:30pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):
Since most of the comments are not on point but are devoted to questioning the legitimacy of the exercise, I thought this quote from a reader of NRO's Katherine Lopez captures someone's talking points that sound to me like cheering for the gang who leave stacks of bullet ridden countrymen and countrywomen with their hands tied behind their backs in the streets and blow up innocent children receiving candy by cowardly suicide car bombs. Malmedy and My Lai, horrible and infamous as they were, were no worse:

"I recently read your article and was more than apalled at what you have to say. As if those poor people and misguided fanatics would be here in America in droves if we had not mercilessly invaded Iraq. As if the concentration camps scattered by American Imperialists are ANY different from the ones erected by the German National Socialists, or Stalin. Here's some food for thought - If our own self-righteous government and leaders were on the receiving end of a full-blown hoax of a war, the invading army would not only have found tens of thousand of nuclear weapons aimed at every country on the globe, but Bush would look no different from Hussein as he was dragged away, mangy and bearded from his capitol, guilty of thousands of ruthless murders.and there is no denying that our "precision guided" missiles launched from the safe confines of our steel war machine have killed exponentially more women and children CIVILIANS in two years than Saddam ever did over the last 25 years. And have no doubt, although they may be practicing malicious and evil acts, you, WE are much more evil because we allow something much worse to propogate itself in our own country, under our own flag, in the guise of freedom and justice. And that is the idea that Iraq deserved to be invaded, to be occupied, all for lies - kind of like how Hitler iinvaded Poland, and the Germans went along with it why? Because he boldy told them all that Poland had invaded and attacked Germany first. And your friend George Galloway is absolutely right - Bush and Blair are the REAL mongers of terror... even if you choose not believe that they actually instigated both 9/11 and 7/7, they irrefutably have funded these "extremists" for decades, and don't even try to deny it.

You know, in a moment of pure outrage toward you who lack any humanitarian vein in your entire existence, I would have wished that you join your buddy Vincent, but I don't hate you - I pity you more than anyone else, and am endlessly frustrated by you and your cohorts' lack of a soul, and selective memory loss about what this country really stands for and that no amount of liberty should ever be sacrificed to allow the government to say "we are safer". the lie of the century, and deep down you all know it."

This thinking comes from somewhere. The writer is free to express it in our country without being subjected to arrest or violence. But it is not McCarthyism either to condemn it or to abhor the thoughts fervently expressed. Indeed, here's one veteran who has served his country overseas who condemns it and abhors the thoughts expressed. Anyone want to liken me to McCarthy?

Bring it on.

Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet)
8.12.2005 11:52pm
cfw (mail):
Minutemen is also nomenclature for ballistic missiles.

I am not sure "Minutemen" has an unambiguous favorable connotation, like founding fathers.

The term as sued by Moore does indicate an effective force supported by its land base (the countryside) against some larger opposing force.

I take it as descriptive more than normative, as used by Moore.

Know thine enemy is always a good strategy - like Pershing subduing insurgents in the Philippines. Those who will not or cannot empathize (through 360 degrees) are the ones most likely to fail as leaders.
8.12.2005 11:57pm
An anonynous person who got an NRO editor's e-mail address. Now there's a truly prominent person.

You can find anonymous internet screeds supporting almost any disgusting point of view (well, maybe not about Republicans who drink puppy blood, as I suggested above). The weakness of the posted examples in this thread proves that the WSJ smear was indeed just a smear.

The belief that there is any significant number of Americans who want the terrorists to win is just conservative mythology.
8.13.2005 12:03am
Dustin (mail):
Public Defender,

Perhaps you should tone down a bit. Mr. Volokh's hypothesis is that there are those that rhetorically defend the Iraqi Insurgents. That has been demonstrated very easily here, but it was pretty obvious before anyway. So perhaps this is banal, but so what? He is right.

As far as Mr. Volokh misconstruing the WSJ, that might make his point moot, but his point wouldn't be wrong.

But we need not go that far. Re-read Mr. Volokh's post. He was refering to some responses on this blog. He wasn't specific in who he was talking about, but it's clear he's just trying to show that some westerners do indeed support the insurgents in Iraq.
8.13.2005 12:10am
Dustin (mail):
I hasten to add that you do not even know if those responses were emails or grumblings in the hallways at UCLA.

Though you likely could find the stuff in the comments too...
8.13.2005 12:12am
Jim Rhoads (mail):

I of course made clear the reason I posted that email and acknowledged that I did not conform to the prominence requirement. You don't disagree that that letter expresses thoughts given wide credence by a significant number of antiwar Americans, do you?
8.13.2005 12:13am
The Lonewacko Blog (mail) (www):
See the quote here.

A Susan Medea Benjamin assistant doesn't count for much, but Janeane Garofalo is slightly different.
8.13.2005 12:40am
As if it isn't obvious that Galloway, Short, Moore, Rall, and Pilger make a living expressing their political opinions because a significant number of like minded people exist. (Again, I want to be perfectly clear, significant but clearly a minority within Western opponents of the war.)

Let me make it obvious that it would require a fleet of mini buses to seat those who side with the Iraqi resistance.

Each of the following people professors, journalists, public personalities, very clearly wish the Iraqi resistance to defeat the US. Please read the linked to source material.


On the Forthcoming Election in Iraq


Reply to Alex Callinicos


And there

Gilbert Achcar

(Gilbert Achcar lived in Lebanon for many years before moving to France where he teaches politics and international relations at the University of Paris. He's a frequent contributor to Le Monde Diplomatique and is the author of several books on contemporary politics.)

Quotes -

'There should be a clear-cut distinction between anti-occupation acts that are legitimate and acts by so-called "resistance" groups that are to be denounced.'

'Then, "presuming" rightly (isn't it clear enough in my quote above?) that I regard many type of armed activities against the occupiers and their armed auxiliaries as "legitimate," you ask me: "why then warn us at such length against supporting Zarqawi, when only the radical Islamist hard core and a few sectarian-leftist idiots would contemplate doing so?"'

Letter to Gilbert Achcar


Professor Alex Callinicos

Quote -

'I'm sure you want to see the US defeated in Iraq as much as I do. But the way in which you polarize the argument between those who are for or against the elections and, in your discussion of the armed resistance, your focus on Zarqawi, is much too close to the dominant discourse in Washington and London.'

Counter Punch

The Right to Resist Occupation
The Anti-War Movement and the Iraqi Resistance


Sharon Smith

Quote -

'The antiwar movement must not lose sight of the fact that its main enemy is at home--and any resistance to that enemy deserves our unconditional support.'

Democracy Now

Arundhati Roy On the Indian Elections, Her Support for the Iraqi Resistance &the Privatization of War


Peace prize winner Arundhati Roy, acclaimed Indian author and activist. Her most recent book is The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile a collection of interviews by David Barsamian.

Quote -

'You know, we must understand that the resistance movement in Iraq is a resistance movement that all of us have to support, because it's our war, too. And it will not do for them to call people terrorists and thugs and all of that. That time is over now'

Globalise Resistance

Falluja and the Forging of the New Iraq


haunting europe...

Milestone in the Global Struggle against Injustice and War


And there

Walden Bello is Director of Focus on the Global South in Bangkok, a project of Chulalongkorn University's Social Research Institute, and Professor of Public Administration and Sociology at the University of the Philippines.

Quotes -

'Perhaps a major part of the reason is that a significant part of the international peace movement, particularly in Europe and the United States, hesitates to legitimize the Iraqi resistance. Who are they? Can we really support them? These questions have increasingly been flung at the advocates of an unconditional military and political withdrawal from Iraq.'

'But there is never any pretty movement for national liberation or independence. Many Western progressives were also repelled by some of the methods of the Mau Mau in Kenya, the FLN in Algeria, the NLF in Vietnam, and the Irish Republican Movement. National liberation movements, however, are not asking for ideological or political support. All they seek is international pressure for the withdrawal of an illegitimate occupying power so that internal forces can have the space to forge a truly national government. Surely on this limited program progressives throughout the world and the Iraqi resistance can unite.'

International Socialist Review

The Shape of the Iraqi Resistance


Iraqis Have the Right to Resist


And there


Quote -

'None of this should prevent us, however, from solidarizing with the overall aims of the disparate resistance groups—freeing Iraq from colonial domination.'

Centre for Research on Globalisation

Media Disinformation and the Nature of the Iraqi Resistance

Ghali Hassan

Quote -

'The Iraqi Resistance targets Iraqi collaborators, who side with the US led Occupation, because they are rightly considered to be "spies and traitors." (Incidentally, this pattern of executing "collaborators" was also followed by the French Resistance during World War II.)'

Counter Punch again.

The Resistance in Context
An Anatomy of the Resistance to the American Occupation in Iraq



Quote -

'The question we must ask ourselves is what happened to the illegitimacy of the occupation and the legitimate right to oppose it?'

Do Iraqis Have a Right to Resist?
Outside the Spectacle



'This decisive development demands an understanding of an occupied people's right to resist the occupier of their country, for the insurgency has been the main trigger for a renewed anti-war movement. While the anti-war protests and actions carried out prior to the invasion were inspiring, the movement lacked the political and theoretical coherency to survive the likely possibility that war would be carried out. Once the bombs started falling on Baghdad the movement dissipated.'

'Recognition of this basic truth is the foundation of all future anti-war progress. For any number of chauvinist justifications to strangle Iraq-and no small number have already been aired and accepted-can sounds sweet to an ear that is deaf to the inherent right of a people to fight for their own independence.'

But remember you could fit all the people who read ZNet and Counter Punch in a small mini bus. But TownHall is read by legions of conservatives.

Now as the funny but misguided Poor Man might say, My hand is tired and so am I. I am going to bed.

Eugene where is my prize?
8.13.2005 12:40am
Mike Lorrey (mail) (www):
Nicholas De Genova, Columbia University professor: "I would like to see "a million Mogadishus" and "The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military."

Rocker Chrissie Hynde: hopes the United States loses if it goes to war with Iraq ("Bring it on! Give us what we deserve!")

George Carlin: [interview question] You're known as a very liberal comic. Are you trying to change people's political views when you go out there? Do you have an underlying agenda?

A: No. First of all, I'm not liberal. I'm just about (being) anti-United States. I don't like the way this country operates.

Chess master Bobby Fisher in response to 9/11: "Yes this is all wonderful news, it is time that the f*cking Jews get their heads kicked in. It's time to finish off the US once and for all.
I was happy, could not really believe what has happened. I just cant be crying about the US , you know ..All the crimes the US is committing all over the world. This just shows, what goes around, that comes around even to the United States. Thats what happened tonight, what goes around comes around even to the United States."
8.13.2005 12:40am
Adam (mail) (www):
Mr. Lorrey, you do know that Mr. Fisher has severe mental disorders, no?
8.13.2005 12:46am
Raymond Aron (mail):
Note that Mike Lorrey quotes:

1. A Columbia Professor
2. A rock and roll singer
3. A comedian
4. A schizophrenic
8.13.2005 12:47am
John Quiggin (mail):
BigMacAttack, most of your examples fail the test of being Western. What you are left with is a handful of extreme leftists.
8.13.2005 12:52am
Jim Rhoads (mail):
Which makes the point, John. BMA, great job.
8.13.2005 1:04am
Peter Swanson (mail):
"[T]hey're not happy they're occupied. I wouldn't be happy if I were occupied either."

That beauty of an exact quote in which the quotee seeks to justify the insurgents' actions is from...

George W. Bush.

8.13.2005 1:14am
Peter Swanson (mail):
As I said in response to the original offending comment from Prof. Volokh, he should post an apology.

And frankly, since then, Prof. Volokh has shown that he is an intellectual fraud and a political hack. At least in this instance. Making outlandish claims and erecting strawmen used to be for the other contributors to this blog (JNV and TZ, I'm looking at you), but Prof. Volokh has sunk to his compatriots' low with this display. Asking his readers to scramble to back him up with evidence which Prof. Volokh himself obviously lacks is just further evidence of intellectual bankruptcy of Prof. Volokh.

Please make amends. You could still redeem yourself.
8.13.2005 1:19am
Elrod (mail):
One problem here is that the insurgency is multifaceted in some fundamental ways. Clearly, some members of the insurgency are outright Iraqi nationalists who just want foreign troops out. Others, however, want to wage sectarian war with Shi'ites and re-establish Ba'athist-style rule. And still others want to wage war with Shi'ites and establish a Taliban-style Sunni fundamentalist state. All of them want US troops out and all of them view the current government elected in January as illegitimate. So, what might "supporting the insurgency" mean? Supporting the Zarqawiists? Supporting the ex-Baathists? Supporting some sense of national self-determination that exists only be forcibly driving out the US and its allies? What I gather from the Journal article that started this thread is that the author is referring to anybody who doesn't want the US to succeed in creating a stable, liberal democratic state in Iraq. But he doesn't account for the fact that the failure to achieve that may have little to do with the current set of armed insurgenices and more to do with irreconcilable differences between Sunni Arabs, Shi'ites and Kurds over the future make-up of Iraq. The current insurgents certainly contribute to the difficulties of creating a new liberal democracy, but certainly the fate of Steven Vincent in "stable" fundamentlist Basra, the riots in Sh'ite Sumawah, the increasing calls for outright independence in Kurdistan, and the insistence by Sunni constitutional negotiators that federalism be ruled out all render the overall project difficult as is. Are the bit players within Iraq - like, say, the Shi'ites who ejected Baghdad Mayor Tamimi and put in one of their own - also "hoping that we fail", or "siding with the insurgency" because their actions ultimately destablize the country?
8.13.2005 1:38am
Shelby (mail):
It's probably pointless, but I will nonetheless point out the futility of attributing bad motives to one's opponent. Usually their motives are not bad, in which case you (a) appear silly and (b) write off a potential convert. If their motives are indeed bad you gain nothing by the accusation.

Usually on the web I see this error made by leftists (in the comments here, from Kevin Drum, etc.) toward folks like Eugene Volokh. This is probably an artifact of the sites I read; I also sometimes see it from, for example, the Power Line authors toward their opponents. Either way, it is useful only to drum up your own base. If yours is not a highly politicized, base-oriented readership, you are turning your readers away from both yourself and your argument.

Would this explanation did not apply to academia. I'll leave it to the professor-types to comment.
8.13.2005 3:57am
Volokh should not apologize and his post was not outlandish. You people refuse to even admit that Michael Moore's comment reflects a hope that America loses. How unreasonable and irrational can you people get? Of course few of our examples are going to qualify in your book when you refuse to except any of the evidence.
8.13.2005 10:02am
NR (mail):
Professor Volokh's refusal to respond to the very well-reasoned criticisms of this post, in particular those by Steve and Public Defender, is extremely disappointing. Perhaps it's too much to expect an apology. But in the face of arguments as forceful and clear as those lodged here, the lack of any response is disrespectful to a large number of readers.

(And note that the Crooked Timber response completely ignores the substance of most of the objections raised here.)
8.13.2005 10:23am
A desperate appeal to technicalities.

A different last name doesn't make someone non-Western. For instance Ghali Hassan is a resident of Perth Amboy. I think a close inspection of the list would reveal that the majority are citizens of Western nations.

Much more importantly they all cater to Western audiences. The examples are from Western publications. Arundhati Roy might live in India but when she collects the Sydney Peace Prize, we can be pretty darn sure their is a substantial, if minority, audience in the West who agree with her peace loving sentiment that -

'You know, we must understand that the resistance movement in Iraq is a resistance movement that all of us have to support, because it's our war, too. And it will not do for them to call people terrorists and thugs and all of that. That time is over now'

the existence of just such a group is really the issue.

Again the group is far too large to fit into even a rhetorical mini bus.
8.13.2005 10:45am
Davebo (mail):
Why does the song "Careful with that Axe Eugene" leap into my mind?

Regardless, why don't we let this comment stand as a signal that it's now safe for Eugene to come out from under the bed?
8.13.2005 11:05am

Volokh should not apologize and his post was not outlandish. You people refuse to even admit that Michael Moore's comment reflects a hope that America loses.

And you refuse to concede that Republicans drink puppy blood with breakfast, despite all the equally strong evidence that's been presented.
8.13.2005 11:38am
JoeSlater (mail):
I still see practically no people listed that actually meet the original criteria E.V. set out. I would make it less than 10, even giving all the benefits of the doubt to the proponents. Do these small handful really represent fleets of buses full of less prominent supporters, as one poster claims? That's quite doubtful, given the lack of anything like significant anti-war protests that contain contingents of folks supporting the other side -- as, again, we saw in Viet Nam and other U.S. conflicts.

The lack of prominent people or movements supporting the other side is even more notable when polls now show that a majority of Americans think the Iraq war was a mistake; and majorities in other western countries have long opposed it.

Of course it's not particularly surprising that liberals and the left don't, as a generalization, root for the insurgents, because the insurgents, as a generalization, are so obviously illiberal (theocratic, even), and don't claim to promote liberal-left ideals as some guerrilla movements in the past did, e.g. the Sandinistas (the true committment of those folks is another issue).

Finally, however, I don't agree with those who claim E.V. is promoting a blacklist or has otherwise acted shamefully in asking the question. Aside from the fact that an internet blog site -- even as interesting a one as this -- lacks any power to punish anyone, the extent to which people have actually voiced support of the other side is interesting, and if people actually have voiced such support publicly, it seems fair to criticize those views.

So it's a fair question, in my mind, but I think an objective reader would at this point realize the question has been answered fairly resoundingly in the negative. I personally don't need E.V. to officially announce the results of his poll; they are here for all to see.
8.13.2005 12:03pm
EstablishmentClaus (mail) (www):
Let's grant Moore for a second. No one has provided or asserted a quote from:

a) A single Democratic elected official
b) A single Democratic party operative
c) A single relevant official in a progressive national government in Europe (two people who got fired for expressing this sort of opinion refute, rather than prove, the extent of progressive desire to see the coalition defeated)

Yes, Moore made a popular movie and had a good seat at the Democratic Convention. Yes, George Galloway, Ken Livingstone, and Claire Short were at one point relevant Labor figures, but I doubt Tony Blair - the face of Clintonian liberalism in the UK - is having any of them to tea anytime soon. Try this hypothetical: if someone told you these four, a Columbia professor, some comedians, and some female rocker I've never heard of had expressed this opinion, but no one else, would we even have started this conversation?

The remarkable thing, given the paucity of evidence, is that people as high-profile as Karl Rove have been willing to repeat this slander, and someone typically objective like Professor Volokh is willing to take it seriously.

My guess is if you were to compare liberal sympathy with the Iraqi insurgents (who would be objectionable for their reactionary worldview even if they weren't automatically anathema for killing Americans) with conservative sympathy for Operation Rescue, the Montana Militia, and Jim Crow laws, respectively, you'd find more support for evil on the conservative side.
8.13.2005 1:11pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):
Peter Swanson and NR seem to think Professor Volokh owes them an explanation or a comment to justify his posts on his blog. Their arrogance (or ignorance) knows no bounds. Volokh owes them nothing. If they do not like the blog, they need not read it or comment on it.

Obviously neither of them has had the pleasure of dealing with a skilled law school professor employing the Socratic method. Like a good lawyer examining a witness on cross, the professor does all the asking, the students the answering.

In my three years of law school, I cannot remember one professor giving any concrete answer to a student's question.

Does anyone reading this believe that the thugs who killed Vincent, a non-combatant reporter, were justified in any way? I would be extraordinarily surprised if anyone answered yes.

Further, I don't think anyone commenting here is prepared to defend a group of people no matter what their political beliefs who would drive a bomb loaded vehicle into a crowd of Iraqui children and detonate it.

Finally I don't think anyone commenting here has defended any Westerner who tries to justify these atrocities. Rather there seems to be consensus that those who oppose the war do not and should not root for people like those who committed the atrocities like the Vincent murder.

Why this is so upsetting eludes me.
8.13.2005 8:16pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Naomi Klein author of No Logo, etc.:

Later that evening, students and older radicals listened to a Canadian anticorporate author, Naomi Klein, argue that it was in the crowd's interest to "support the Iraqi resistance," whom she described as "fearless and courageous." The message was warmly received.
8.13.2005 10:12pm
Jim Rhoads,

I don't think Prof. Volokh owes me anything personally. Perhaps my earlier comment was overstated, and I apologize if I came across as arrogant. I do think, however, that Prof. Volokh should explain or clarify his thoughts in the spirit of civility and fair-mindedness that he rightly prides himself on and for which this blog is known. Some very forceful and serious objections have been raised. As a longtime and loyal reader, I have come to expect Professor Volokh to address such objections. And I would hope that he would be even more likely to respond when the objections are coming from the likes of Steve, Public Defender, and Frank Cross (not on this thread)--all regular commentors who have earned my respect (as has Professor Volokh) for being informed, insightful, and eminently reasonable.

(BTW, there's no reason you should know this, but I am a lawyer. And a big fan of this blog.)
8.13.2005 11:57pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):

I presume you have not found those opposing Public's and Steve's arguments to have been persuasive to you. Do you share their view that the Taranto excerpt quoted by Volokh was somehow a "smear"? If so, of whom? The thugs who killed Vincent? Those who support Vincent's killers? If neither, what part of the Taranto quote "smears" those who responsibly oppose the war in Iraq? Since you are used to citing support for your arguments, how about quoting that portion of the Taranto article that you find offensive or out of bounds. Should Volokh have omitted it?

And what about my argument that Volokh was quoting the Taranto article for comment and discussion as a Socratic exercise? Why isn't that as legitimate an interpretation of its purpose as the inference of Public and others than that its quoting indicated Volokh's approval?

As a fan of the blog, shouldn't you be giving EV the benefit of the doubt, if any?


Jim Rhoads
8.14.2005 12:46am
This is long. I'm afraid I don't have the patience to read it all. In case he hasn't been mentioned, Fred Phelps, of Westboro Baptist Church, God Hates Fags, and God Hates America fame is a notable Iraqi supporter (effectively). Right on the website is the phrase, "Thank God for IEDs killing American soldiers in strange lands every day." He isn't so much pro-Iraqi as he is anti-gay and, in effect, anti-America. (We're a bunch of heathenistic fag supporters and deserve to die, see.)

He's generated enough controversy over the years to count as a celebrity, I suppose. He's also more than a bit nutty, so his opinion isn't quite shocking.
8.14.2005 1:59am
Lola (mail):
Time for Eugine Volokh to retract.
8.14.2005 3:15am
Jim Rhoads,

This may not answer all your questions, but since you signed off "cordially" I'll give it a go.

First, the Taranto piece accused a dead man of cheating on his wife in order to make a political point. Taranto lacked adequate support for the fact he reported. That was a smear.

Second, the overall thrust of Taranto's piece is to cast aspertions on a large category of war opponents. He invites readers to finish the sentence beginning "An American journalist who was shot dead in Basra last week was executed by Shiite extremists who . . . ." He offers the following options for readers to fill in the blank: (a) "had been worn down by grinding poverty?"; (b) "were angry over Israel's treatment of Palestinian Arabs?"; (c) "resented the presence in their country of foreign troops?"; and (d) sought to avenge the abuses at Abu Ghraib?" (Note that these are all things are commonly cited by war opponents to explain why the insurgency is as strong and entrenched as it is.) Then Taranto delivered the kicker: "If you said any of the above, you're wrong." The real reason Vincent was killed was "to prevent him from intermarrying [with a Muslim woman]."

Thus, Taranto concludes, "Those Westerners who side with the "Iraqi resistance" against America and its allies are defending the equivalent of the murder of Emmett Till." There's not much going on here logically, but there's a lot going on rhetorically. Taranto is mocking anyone who would seek to understand insurgent motives as anything but evil. Just look at these particular insurgents. Were they motivated by the Palestinian situation? By Abu Ghraib? By the allegedly unjust invasion and occupation of their country? By any other explanation that opponents of the war sometimes put forward when they explain why the situation in Iraq is so bleak? No. They were motivated by racism and/or religious intolerance. They were the "equivalent of the murder[ers] of Emmet Till." So those reasons that war critics sometimes cite aren't really motivating the insurgents. The insurgents are bad, and their motivations are purely bad. Moreover, if you "support" the insurgents (i.e., ascribe non-evil, understandable motives to them), then you yourself are no better than an apologist for the KKK. This is a smear against those who think that reasons (a) through (b) do explain insurgent motivations at least to some degree.

It's also a smear in that it posits the existence of a group of people ("Westerners who side with the "Iraqi resistance" against America and its allies") without naming a single person who belongs in that group. As Prof. Volokh's experiment has proven, this is—to say the least—an exclusive club. But many war opponents do think that some combination of reasons (a) through (d) are contributing to the success of the insurgency. Again, it's all rhetoric, no logic, but this is a classic guilt-by-association ploy. The shift from *those who offer explanations of insurgent motives as anything but evil* to *those who support the insurgents against America and its allies* is almost imperceptible in the article. Because for Taranto, those groups are one and the same.

Personally, I am baffled by the premise that if you understand and explain insurgent motives as anything other than evil that you are "defending," "justifying," or "supporting" the insurgent's efforts to kill American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Sadly, Prof. Volokh has played right along with Taranto's conflation of these distinct ideas. I have discussed this in previous comments, as have others, so I won't belabor the point any further.

I don't understand your point about the Socratic method, so I can't reply to that. Sorry.

As for giving Prof. Volokh the benefit of the doubt, I will continue to do that whenever I can. As I said before, I think in general he is quite reasonable and careful in his postings. And I'm still hopeful that he'll post another update that will squarely address the substantive concerns raised in these comments, which his previous updates did not really do.

This will have to do it for me on the back-and-forth.


8.14.2005 4:09am
Jim Rhoads (mail):

By way of explanation, my Socratic method comments were meant to suggest a motive for EV's quotation of the Taranto article other than express or implied support.

In that method, the teacher introduces a topic with a fact situation or an opinion (in legal studies, with a case or a hypothetical situation) and then orchestrates discussion among the students generally with well timed questions of the class.

It seemed to me that EV posted the Taranto column to stimulate discussion. Discussion certainly ensued, as I am sure you will agree. EV kept the comments coming with a few well timed questions as a follow up to his post.

I was encouraging the commenters who were peeved at EV for giving Taranto an additional audience to view the posts as if EV were conducting a class, suggesting that a professor selecting cases for discussion in class does not necessarily endorse the result or reasoning of that case by selecting it.

Thanks for the thoughtful response. BTW, I did not read as much into the Taranto article as you did. I thought the motivation part of it came not from Taranto, but from The Scotsman, a mainline British newspaper.
8.14.2005 5:01pm
Steve J. (mail) (www):
'Good and honest' Iraqis fighting US forces
By Phil Sands, Staff Reporter
Published: 9/6/2005, 06:25 (UAE)
A senior US military chief has admitted "good, honest" Iraqis are fighting American forces.
Major General Joseph Taluto said he could understand why some ordinary people would take up arms against the US military because "they're offended by our presence".In an interview with Gulf News, he said: "If a good, honest person feels having all these Humvees driving on the road, having us moving people out of the way, having us patrol the streets, having car bombs going off, you can understand how they could [want to fight us]."
General Taluto also admitted he did not know how many insurgents there were. "I stay away from numbers how can I quantify this? We can make estimates by doing some kind of guesswork," he said.
He added: "Who knows how big these networks are, or how widespread? I know it's substantial enough to be a threat to the government and it will be for some time."
8.15.2005 9:11am
Jim Rhoads (mail):
UAE must be clairvoyant if the quote is to be made "9/6/2005".
8.15.2005 7:51pm
Mike Schilling (mail):
Jim Rhoads: two points.

1. Professor Volokh said "I think this is a good opportunity to collect examples of such people, to show that they do exist, and are worth criticizing." That's not a Socratic mission to discover whether they exist, it assumes that they do.

2. Surely you are aware that in many countries 9/6/2005 means June 9th.
8.16.2005 3:27am
NickM (mail) (www):
Why has no one mentioned Ramsey Clark, former United States Attorney General?

American "People's Tribunal"

Spanish "People's Tribunal"

Penn State prof Michael Berube provides some good examples of people that even to the American left wing, are recognizable as having gone "around the bend" in support of the insurgents. [The article is an interesting debate when they're not talking past each other.]

8.16.2005 10:24pm
Mike Lorrey (mail) (www):
Actually, I did mention Ramsey Clark, but the apologists here pooh-poohed it.
8.16.2005 10:53pm