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Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's called accountability

St.George of Greenwich

TWO LIBERAL BLOGGERS POLITICIZE A SUICIDE. In a guest post on Eschaton, the blog of Duncan Black (aka Atrios), the blogger Avedon Carol quotes approvingly from a Suburban Guerilla post that uses the tragic suicide of an American Airlines ticket agent to take a swipe at President Bush:

The American Airlines ticket agent who checked in Mohammed Atta on 9/11 later committed suicide - unlike the man in charge who, being briefed on the potential threat, told his briefer, "Okay, you’ve covered your ass."

Is nothing sacred? And do they want Bush to commit suicide out of remorse, as the post suggests? This is just vile.

Update: In a comment on this post, Atrios writes:

Leaving aside your other usual reading comprehension issues, I didn't write the post.

God you're an idiot Brendan.

Ironically, in a comment attacking my "reading comprehension issues," Atrios falsely suggests that I said he wrote the post, when I actually wrote that he "quotes approvingly" from it (which he did). I misunderstood -- it was a guest post by Avedon Carol; I apologize for the error, which is corrected above. Regardless of who wrote the post, however, my point about its content stands. Note that Atrios offers no substantive response to my criticism, but instead named me wanker of the day. It's classic.

(PS Someone else objected to the title of the post, so I updated it to "Two liberal bloggers...")

Update 2: Just to wrap up this tiresome debate, Atrios wrote on his blog, "Jeebus, he never learns. I don't know why I'm supposed to respond substantively to totally inaccurate criticism" without saying why what I wrote is inaccurate, and Avedon Carol has posted this comment below:

You know, I've been feeling guilty because I did not defend Gore or critique Bush forcefully enough during 1999-2000, and if more of us had been on the job then, we might not be here now.

Normal people always wonder what they could have done to prevent something bad that happened. To this day, I still think of what we could all do differently if only we could turn back the clock.

Bush assures us that he never does. He and Laura had a good laugh that night, he and Laura had a great year. Now, watch this drive. We hit the trifecta.

It breaks my heart to know that poor kid committed suicide for something that was Bush's responsibility.

You really are a jerk if you don't get that, Brendan.

In short, neither addressed my central claim about the politicization of a suicide. I do "get" that Carol is upset because she thinks the agent "committed suicide for something that was Bush's responsibility" (a claim for which we have no direct evidence). But that doesn't make it appropriate to use the suicide to attack the President.

--Brendan Nyhan (

Brendan, didn't Spinsanity cause enough embarassment for you Mr. Trees for forest. Mr, please hire me New Republic?

Well, here's my free speech moment.

It's inaccurate becuse you imply malice where there is none. In this case, it was the sense of accountablity, unfair and insanely burdensome that an ordinary person felt for something they could not stop or were even aware of, versus the refusal of the president to admit any error for anything.

Brendan, it's really simple: George Bush has spent five years avoiding accountability for his actions. He wants Congress to make the illegal wiretapping and torture go away. He doesn't even want these people to sue for their maltreatment in US custody.

Yet, the burden of guilt on this person was so great, they couldn't live with it.

Have you ever seen a suicide? I've seen three. It is an amazing thing. I don't think most people would trivialize it.

But you have to wonder how Bush can go from speech to speech, constantly scaring the shit out of people and raising the stakes aparently without care or concern.

This was a political suicide, it was caused by politics and has a political fallout. But I don't think they were blaming Bush, they were making a comparison, like a debate with the Iranian President in which Bush does not look good in the end. But that does not mean they are waving the bloody shirt.

I do wonder though, were you this upset when Republicans said Casey Sheehan would be spinnng in his grave if he knew what his mother was doing? Talk about a vile politization of a death.

posted by Steve @ 6:51:00 PM

6:51:00 PM

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