Apparently Hot Air, currently #26 on Technorati and bigger than Andrew Sullivan’s own blog (he’s at #73), does not exist in Andrew Sullivan’s universe.

Along with Mickey Kaus I swiped Sullivan for calling captured insurgents in Iraq “civilians.” Sullivan responds to defend himself, but only to Kaus. I won’t take it personally.

Sullivan’s defense: the depths of laughability.

I referred to them as civilians because they are residents of the neighborhood, not in uniform, and unarmed, as compared with the soliders in Iraqi army uniform. Mickey protests because the video clearly shows the beaten men had mortars in their car. So they’re not civilians, right? That depends on who is or is not a civilian in a messy civil war like the one we’re now policing. The insurgents are civilians in as much as they are not in the Iraqi army, not in uniform, and often residents of a neighborhood. But they are not civilians in as much as they are engaged in a violent insurgency – actively or passively.

Ya follow all that? Sullivan asserts: a) they’re residents of the neighborhood where they were captured (an assertion of fact he can’t back up with, you know, evidence) and that b) they’re civilians because, well, because he says so. He says c) they were unarmed, when in fact they had mortars in their car. Not mortars and pestles, but actual mortars. The kind that fly out of a tube, land elsewhere and explode. Mortars are military weapons. Google is your friend, Andrew. He further asserts that d) Iraq is in civil war when the troops over there, the men and women Sullivan smeared in his initial post, say it isn’t and aren’t fighting the war from that military doctrine point of view. He’d know that if he’d talked to any of the troops there himself. Email could get him that far.

This line is so good it bears repeating:

The insurgents are civilians in as much as they are not in the Iraqi army, not in uniform, and often residents of a neighborhood.

By that definition, Mohammed Atta was a civilian on 9-11. Osama bin Laden is a civilian now (if he’s still alive). So is Adam Gadahn. All of the gentlemen captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan were also “civilians.” Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a “civilian,” and a “surgeon” and an “urban engineer.” And a “pharmacist.”

They don’t wear uniforms. It’s called “terrorism.” Sullivan might want to bone up on it.

(via Ace)

Update: Maybe Sullivan should just cop out and try abject ignorance as a defense. Matt Yglesias can be his guide.