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November 16, 2004

Chris Matthews: Terrorists "not bad guys especially, they're just people who disagree with you"

Unbelievable quote on Matthews last night. Matthews committed a gaffe as defined by Mike Kinsley-- accidentally revealing what you really believe.

VERBATIM TRANSCRIPT-- ACE OF SPADES EXCLUSIVE (as far as I know)

Speaking to Col. Ken Allard, Ret., about the shooting of the playing-dead terrorist, Matthews calls a terrorist an "enemy soldier," and is immediately uncomfortable with his belligerent, warmongering terminology. He thus begins to walk back the cat from the hateful term "enemy," employing a series of increasingly-charitable euphemisms for "enemy terrorist killer":

MATTHEWS: Well let me ask you about this. If this were on the other side, and we were watching an enemy soldier-- a rival, I mean, they're not bad guys especially, they're just people who diagree with you; they are in fact the insurgents figthing us in their country -- if we saw one of them do what we saw our guy did to that guy [the playing-dead terrorist], would that be worthy of a war-crime charge?

Kind of a leftwad variation of Glenn Reynolds' "They're not anti-war, they're just on the other side." Now terrorist murderers are "just people who disagree with you," sort of like the guy at the end of the bar who claims that Steven Young was better than Joe Montana.

Let us sum up.

The terrorists who hide among civilians, murder civilians, behead civilians, hang civilian contractors trying to get the power running, etc., are, in Chris Matthews estimation:

1) mere "rival[s]"

2) "not bad guys especially"

3) "just people who disagree with you"

Has any prominent commentator on the left so clearly given away their worldview, despite their best efforts to hide it?

They simply do not accept that terrorists are necessarily "enemies" or even "bad guys." They're just people "who disagree with you."

None of this is to defend what that Marine did. That's a separate issue. I'm only making a point here about the left's rather latitudinarian views on Third World murderers. If their skin is a little swarthier than the typical Anglo-Saxon, or they wear colorful native dress, they're to be given a pass on all that silly Rules of War/respect for human life stuff.

They're not killers. They're not terrorists. They're not monsters. They're always just "people who disagree with you." And it's our fault we haven't done a better job of "communicating" with them, so we can have some "closure" on our various "disagreements."

As Ann Coulter observed in a slightly different context: The heart of this disagreement seems to be that they want to slaughter us and we don't want to die. Thus our perpetual, mutual "cycle of violence."

I've said it before; I'll say it again. The left treats internal political opponents as enemies to be opposed with all tactics short of war (and sometimes even those), while external hostile enemies are treated as fellow-citizens with whom must resolve all issues peaceably.

Or else it's something close to murder.

Matthews isn't guilty of the first prong of that formulation -- that's Daily Kos territory -- but he's definitely a proponent of the second.

Thanks to JohnD.

Update: Over on Hugh Hewitt, Lawrence O'Donnell provides a defense for Matthews.

He claims that Matthews could have been speaking, hypothetically, about a more "normal" enemy, a law-abiding one, like, I don't know-- last enemy we faced that strictly observe the Rules of War when fighting us was the Nazis, oddly enough. So that his point wasn't to say that the terrorists were "not bad guys especially," but that if a Marine did plug a normal enemy who wasn't a "bad guy especially," it would be a war crime.

But check out the end of the quote. He finishes off, still apparently talking about the "enemy soldier," as an "insurgent fighting us in their country." So it seems to me he's talking about the Fallujah terrorists, not some hypothetical future Marquis de Queensbury opponent.


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posted by Ace at 03:54 PM

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