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lileks calls it like it is

I was never a big fan of Salam Pax. Something about him just turned me off from the get-go. Ok, I was taken in by his plight for all of about two days before he just rubbed me the wrong way and I stopped linking to him.

James Lileks says what I should have said days ago when it was on my mind, but didn’t have the balls to write; that, basically, Salam Pax is an ungrateful, smug bastard.

Hey, Salam? Fuck you. I know you’re the famous giggly blogger who gave us all a riveting view of the inner circle before the war, and thus know more about the situation than I do. Granted. But there’s a picture on the front page of my local paper today: third Minnesotan killed in Iraq. He died doing what you never had the stones to do: pick up a rifle and face the Ba’athists. You owe him.

There’s more.

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Comments

I like to see James get all fired up like that! Neat.

No kidding...he's great when he's all revved up.

It's past time Salam was smacked down, and trust Lileks to do it in style. I'm still not over Nick Denton calling him the Anne Frank of this conflict. Anne Frank! He later retracted it, but still . . . as Kelly used to say on Married with Children, the mind wobbles.

What was that 80s saying? Oh, right:

Word.

Pax's sense of Iraqi identity is limited to anti-western bigotry.

That his people had been badly oppressed, that people were tortured that they had no rights didn't bother him except as an inconvenience. That they now have the potential for freedom and prosperity matters not at all to him...

But despite the fact that he isn't even a Muslim (as far as I can tell), he has picked up the belief that Infidels are dirty... That it's an insult to deal with them as equal or to be helped by those who (some believe) God finds only fit for jihadi conquest.

So he doesn't care about his own people at all. But he does notice that there are now westerners in his country and he hates us for being outsiders.

Still, there seems to be nothing practical in any of his attitudes - and no sense of perspect. I imagine that he'd find a reason to complain about any situation.

I think this is the result of totalitarian rule. Everyone is reduced to the helplessness of an infant. And many, having grown up with no responsibility, will never learn think like an adult with responsibilities.

"I'm still not over Nick Denton calling him the Anne Frank of this conflict. Anne Frank!"

I know. For one thing, Anne Frank never had sex with a man.

Darn the typos:

Pax's sense of Iraqi identity is limited to anti-western bigotry.

That his people had been badly oppressed, that people were tortured that they had no rights didn't bother him except as an inconvenience. That they now have the potential for freedom and prosperity matters not at all to him...

But despite the fact that he isn't even a Muslim (as far as I can tell), he has picked up the belief that Infidels are dirty... That it's an insult to deal with them as equals or to be helped by those who (some believe) God finds only fit for jihadi conquest.

So he doesn't care about his own people at all. But he does notice that there are now westerners in his country and he hates us for being outsiders.

Still, there seems to be nothing practical in any of his attitudes - and no sense of perspective. I imagine that he'd find a reason to complain about any situation.

I think this is the result of totalitarian rule. Everyone is reduced to the helplessness of an infant. And many, having grown up with no responsibility, will never learn think like an adult with responsibilities.

Just finished reading that and wandered over here. SHould have figured you'd have covered it already. ;]

Way to go, Lileks. Nicely put. Wonder if Pax will have an angry, scornful whine up about it on his blog soon?

Salam isn't the only Iraqi blogger out there.

Omar at Iraq the Model blog

Ays at Iraq at a Glance

Alaa at The Mesopotamian (who wrote a post thanking an American mom for sending her sons to a foreign country to help people she doesn't even know...it's very moving)

and at least 5 others. They differ on some things but the majority is damned glad we're there and damned happy to get their country up and running.

Ironbear: I imagine that he'll ignore it pretty much. He seems pretty self satisfied these days.

Does anyone even read his blog anymore?? From someone who did during the war, I don't anymore. I find the others to be much more genuine.

I've gotten the impression for a long time that Salam wasn't exactly ground under the heel of the Saddam regime. Whether he had "connections", or whether he was just rich enough to pay the right bribes I don't know, but he always came off as Bhagdad's answer to the West's effete chattering classes. The ones to whom war and oppressions are such "tedious" topics.

I dont know if the following comment is "to be fair" or merely another example of mental inconsisntancy by Salam... but..

Salam HAS been grateful in the past, he wrote about a taxi cab driver complaining about the bombing and pining for Saddam and how very much Salam disagreed with said cabbie. Salam noted all the same things that your or I would about the chance for freedom and how no one moved to oust Saddam on their own.

But Salam's schtick, if you can call it that, is that he is "independant" and able to criticize whoever is in power. Thus he simply HAS to criticize "georgie" in order to maintain his "street cred".

So, is that to his credit here, or only more hypocracy?

Oh, puh-leeze. Salam Pax showed plenty of "stones" simply by posting criticisms of the government from Saddam-era Iraq. James Lileks, on the other hand has spent his career pushing his toddler through the Apple store while pontificating at the top of his tiny lungs about how much I personally love Saddam Hussein.

"Like all Iraqis, Salam was familiar with the dangers. At least four of his relatives had gone missing. In the past year, for no apparent reason, one of his friends was summarily executed, shot in the head as he sat in his car, and two others were arrested; one was later freed and another, a close friend, has never returned."

Tell me which hroic acts of bravery Lileks has performed to give his snarky, self-righteous b.s. the first shred of legitimacy. Oh right - three soldiers from the very same state he lives in have been killed. What a joke.

By definition, anyone who cares about "street cred" is a complete phony.

Try to imagine Mark Twain twisting his moral judgements in order to be more popular. There's the difference between someone with dignity and someone lacking.

Apostropher, I've been reading Pax, and the only one of your incidents I remember reading about is the guy who was arrested and freed...

Do you have links, or are you making stuff up.

Joshua, Apostropher was quoting Lileks.

Never mind Apostopher. I just read it in Lieks... It was in a Guardian article, not in the blog. It's too bad the Guardian article is so damn vague.

You're probably right, Joshua.

"But Salam's schtick, if you can call it that, is that he is "independant" and able to criticize whoever is in power. Thus he simply HAS to criticize "georgie" in order to maintain his "street cred".
So, is that to his credit here, or only more hypocracy?"
- SBLafren

Ahhhh... tough call. Street cred or no, if it's based on consistently critiquing anyone in power, then it's not hypocracy(sp?). Not neccessarily a position I agree with, but not hipocritcal - consistency in it is at least integrity.

I "don't agree" in that I can't say I ever cared much for "Street Creds": I prefer to look at what authority figures are doing, and critique their actions based on my views, rather than kneejerk critique just to maintain creds with "my set". More important that I maintain creds with me, if that makes sense. Independant means that I think for myself, and form my own opinions, it doesn't mean I maintain creds with anyone.

shrug Not important to me to blast Pax... and it doesn't prevent me from appreciating Lileks for elegant and well crafted phrasing.

I felt the exact same way. Can't really tell you why exactly but yah, I linked to him (Salam Pax) for about a week and something just bothered me. I have not visited since.

Lileks is right. For a guy who lost so many family members friends to the Ba'athists, you'd think he would be more supportive (or supportive at all) of our efforts to get rid of them. Salam Pax's attitude reminds me of the Comic Book Guy on the Simpson's. Whenever I read his stuff I expected him to close with, "Worst liberation ever."

Scott: "worst liberation ever" in CBG's voice is ringing in my head now. I'm going to have to practice that voice so that I can spring that on people. That's hilarious!

Salam Pax's comments remind me of Howard Dean's "I suppose it's a good thing ..." on getting rid of Saddam.