Sullivan and “civilians” Updated

posted at 12:38 pm on January 29, 2007 by Bryan

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.


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Seems to me (not being an international law guy, just a layman) that the fact that they’re not wearing uniforms makes them unlawful combatants. They’re not civilians; they’re worse than enemy armed forces. One important idea behind the Geneva conventions is to require combatants to be identifiable. If they’re not, how are legitimate armed forces supposed to distinguish real civilians to protect them?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on January 29, 2007 at 12:43 PM

Yup. In civies and actively engaged in combat = unlawful combatants. The Iraqis would’ve been within the law if they simply shot them.

mojo on January 29, 2007 at 12:47 PM

Sullivan exists in a persistent state of exasperation, which appears to have disabled any ability he may have once had to produce a reasoned and logical argument.

-phil (a civilian without mortars)

phile on January 29, 2007 at 12:49 PM

Andrew Sullivan = Owned

Verbal Abuse on January 29, 2007 at 12:50 PM

So their “rules of engagement” are intended to stifle ours? No!?!?!?
Did they check Pelosi for toxic chemicals when she was there?

bbz123 on January 29, 2007 at 12:54 PM

Andrew Sullivan = Owned

Verbal Abuse on January 29, 2007 at 12:50 PM

No sir. That’s what we in the gaming universe call “power owned” or … PWNED!

Personally, I prefer the massive L337 speak of “Pwnd1zz73d!!!one1!eleventyoneone!!1″

One Angry Christian on January 29, 2007 at 1:01 PM

They’re not combatants, they’re just misunderstood. If only we had sat down and talked with them…

dalewalt on January 29, 2007 at 1:02 PM

Please try to refrain from using Sullivan and bone in the same sentence. My breakfast thanks you in advance.

mattshu on January 29, 2007 at 1:08 PM

I suppose that the fact that the Geneva Conventions provide for such “civilians” to be summarily executed is lost on St. Andrew of the Bleeding Heartache.

Pablo on January 29, 2007 at 1:11 PM

Andrew Sullivan = Owned

Verbal Abuse on January 29, 2007 at 12:50 PM

he really owned himself.

sullivan has taken a turn toward deliberate, bald-faced distortion. remember when he “accidentally” distorted the lyrics to “hajji girl”? then corrected in a post which linked, as a postscript, to another blog which reiterated and amplified his original distortion?

in any case, i nominate, as a new word, “sulvilian” in place of any militia member or terrorist killed in the theater of war. e.g.: the 250 dudes we popped in najaff this sunday was a sulvilian massacre.

jummy on January 29, 2007 at 1:12 PM

I Did Not… Have Sexual Relations With That Woman…

unless cigar tweaking and oral sex and humping and jacking are included in the description of sexual relations.

Griz on January 29, 2007 at 1:15 PM

I believe that under the Pelosi Doctrine those Iraqi soldiers were required to determine if each “civilian” had been hugged enough as a child. While blinking at a rate of 60 cycles/minute, of course.

ReubenJCogburn on January 29, 2007 at 1:23 PM

You also forgot, that these “civilians” are also….

IN VIOLATION OF THE GENEVA CONVENTION

I am outraged!!! Outraged I tell you that there are no protests against these Geneva violations!!!

HarryStar on January 29, 2007 at 1:25 PM

I guess that explains why the IDF was/is always being reprimanted for targeting and killing “civilians”.

taznar on January 29, 2007 at 1:26 PM

I guess that explains why the IDF was/is always being reprimanted for targeting and killing “civilians”.

taznar on January 29, 2007 at 1:26 PM

SUL-vilians

jummy on January 29, 2007 at 1:42 PM

I’d like to see Sullivan go to Iraq and interview these “unarmed civilians” himself…..unarmed.

.

GT on January 29, 2007 at 1:50 PM

I Did Not… Have Sexual Relations With That Woman…

If this quote is from Billy Boy I don’t believe it.
If this quote is from Andrew I DO believe it.

I wonder if that stuff has spread to his brain and is affecting his ability to write rationally.

Although I have not agreed with Andrew on most things I thought he was a fairly good writer but something has happened. I wonder if his medication is not working any more.

BTW – just what is a civil war? I always thought it was when two different factions in a country fought one another. I didn’t realize that it included chopping off the heads of foreigners and defenseless women and children. I guess I’m just dumb.

OBX Pete on January 29, 2007 at 1:55 PM

So the IRA were all ‘civilians’ too, I reckon.

Mr. Bingley on January 29, 2007 at 2:22 PM

Sullivan might want to bone up on it.

Bryan, are you flirting? NTTAWWT…

Hoodlumman on January 29, 2007 at 2:27 PM

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.”

You write that as if he doesn’t know that’s what he’s saying. That is exactly what he’s saying, and he means it. Sullivan and his ilk hate America, America itself is the lead terrorist, not Atta and al-Zaqawi. They are civilans in Sullivan’s world.

JustTruth101 on January 29, 2007 at 2:42 PM

What about this ‘gentleman’? Or Ayman Al-Zawahiri?

Stating the obvious – Sullivan’s head w/b first to be ‘surgically removed’ under these “civilians”‘ rule.

HuffPoo is #6 and Daily KPOS is #8?

Entelechy on January 29, 2007 at 2:57 PM

Street clothes ARE the terrorist uniform. And guess what, Sullie – that’s a more blatant Geneva violation than anything we’ve done.

mikeomatic on January 29, 2007 at 3:02 PM

U.S. is an “international pariah” — J. Kerry

“insurgents are civilians” — A. Sullivan

“wars must end when administrations change”, or something to that effect — Hillary Clinton

“Mothers have the ultimate moral authority and only women can lead”, or similar — Pelosi, H. Clinton, Boxer

“H. Clinton is Margaret Thatcher” — T. McAuliffe

Cindy Sheehan and Jane Fonda are war experts.

I’m nauseated by spin, while the electorate is enthralled by American Idol, the View and Oprah…

Entelechy on January 29, 2007 at 3:10 PM

Technically Sullivan is right. However, since they are indeed civilians, the Geneva Convention does not apply to them. They can be shot as spies on the spot….

Natrium on January 29, 2007 at 3:22 PM

Technically Sullivan is right. However, since they are indeed civilians, the Geneva Convention does not apply to them. They can be shot as spies on the spot….

Natrium on January 29, 2007 at 3:22 PM

If only the ROE would be returned to this far more effective approach, this war would be over in no time.

And to add one more to Bryan’s list — wasn’t Saddam in civvies when pulled from his rat hole? Using Sully’s logic, should the soldiers have thrown up their arms and said “Damn, he’s a civilian now. We have to let him go.”???

lan astaslem on January 29, 2007 at 3:34 PM

Sullivan, with his perverse logic, proves that he is a liberal.

right2bright on January 29, 2007 at 3:35 PM

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.”

Actually, by that (amazingly insipid) definition, many of the Viet Cong were civilians; in fact, most of the Colonial irregulars in our own Revolutionary War weren’t wearing anything you could seriously call a uniform … were they civilians, too?

Hell – depending on how long one has to “live” in a region to satisfy Sullivan’s dim-witted definition, our own Special Forces soldiers must be civilians. Right? They camp out with a local population, don’t wear uniforms most of the time, dress like the locals …

There you go. In Sullivan’s world, Green Beret’s and Navy SEALS can qualify as civilian. Next time a jihadist fires at them, we should probably file a formal complaint at the U.N.

Professor Blather on January 29, 2007 at 3:36 PM

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

Yes — which means they are not following the Geneva Conventions and are, therefore, not subject to the protections of same. OOps — inconvenient argument, that.

Claire on January 29, 2007 at 5:50 PM

I want a t-shirt that says “Andrew Sullivan doesn’t speak for me.”

When Log Cabin Republicans gave him an award last year, it made me sick. This is a guy who believes we torture people at Club Gitmo. He also has the audacity to write a book about how the GOP can win back the majority of Congress. His solution? Abandon religion.

I was once on an e-mail list-serve called “BQ-Friends” with him . Whenever I expressed a view supporting a conservative Republican viewpoint, Andrew would chime back, “I wonder if this list is a ‘good fit’ for him.”

My point is: there are logical conservatives in this world who happen to be gay. Feel free to view their blogs and show your support! We’re not all apologists for the GOP or raving moonbats.

I’d suggest you visit this blog first.

Lothar on January 29, 2007 at 9:27 PM

That’s a great blog, Lothar. In a saner world, Gay Patriot would be writing for Time and Sullivan would be…not writing for Time.

Bryan on January 29, 2007 at 9:45 PM