Matthews channels Michael Moore

Scenes from planet MSNBC


From last evening’s “Hardball w/ Chris Matthews” comes this bizarre bit: Shortly after New York Times columnist Bob Herbert condemned the US for forcing democracy on Iraqis “at the point of a gun,” Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen had this to say: “There’s another word for ‘insurgents’ in Iraq, and that’s ‘residents.'”

Not to be outdone, Matthews himself (channeling Brian Williams) then added: “‘Insurgents’ are what the British called us in the Revolutionary War. It’s true”–an observation which, if I didn’t know better, might lead me to conclude Chris was trying to draw some sort of parallel or something.

More at Balloon Juice and Polipundit, plus the video itself at The Political Teen.


The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win. –Michael Moore, April 2004

But DO NOT DARE question their patriotism! (via Malkin)

UPDATE: Say Anything notes the Moore parallel, as well. And, thank goodness, commenters are playing the moral equivalence games:

I don’t see what the big deal is. During the revolution, we WERE insurgents, we DID use the tactics of terror, and it WAS a rebellion. Pretty much the same as in Iraq.

And don’t miss:

What about what our rebels did to loyalists during the American revolution?

In areas under Patriot control, they were subject to confiscation of property and even tar and feathering or worse. They could be arrested for being loyal to the British, some were even blackmailed, whipped, abused, threatened, and attacked by mobs of Revolutionaries.

I think that could be considered terrorism. I’m not saying that the Iraqi insurgents are the same as our founding fathers, but to say there aren’t any similarities is a lie.

It’s the old “panties on the head is mean and removing the head is mean, therefore American guards at Abu Gharib and terrorists in Iraq are both mean–end of story” argument in colonial terms.


  1. I’m not even American, and I know that the Americans were the ones fighting for freedom in the Revolutionary War, and the English were fighting for Colonialism. Kind of like how the Americans are fighting for freedom in the Iraqi war, and the ‘Insurgents’ (i.e. terrorists) are fighting for some combination of religions oppression/mayhem/anarchy/genocide. What do these people have between their ears, a soggy bowl of cornflakes?

  2. Obviously, you’re a freedom fighter if you’re fighting for the right of a nation’s residents to speak freely, to write freely, to have the protections of a independent court system, and to have regular free elections. If you fight against those basic human rights, you’re a fascist or fanatic totalitarian. What those who compare small totalitarian militants to small democratic militias are too confused to notice that it’s not size that matters, it’s the methods and the goals. ‘Freedom fighters’ generally are defined as those who fight fairly and honorably for freedom. The force can be small, the force can be big, but the goal has to be freedom.

  3. Now now folks, we have to quiet about freedom fighters and rebellions and all that jazz. What most people don’t realize, is in the treaty Paris articles IV, V & VI, the ‘loyalist’ were entiled to reimbursement for land confiscated by the states. The US has never lived up to that portion of the treaty. Last I remember, there are several families in Canada that in theory own most of Boston….

  4. James, As a MA resident, crotchety native Yankee, man-whose-favorite-poem-is-‘Mending Wall’, and whose heart is dry-stacked fieldstone, I say this to loyalist Canadians who hold title to Boston: Take it. Good Lord please take it away. Cambridge, too.

  5. Geeklethal: I’ll spread the word to the Canadians, though since Canada secretly invaded North Dakota about 10 years ago, they have their hands full. (Actually they invaded earlier but no one noticed.)

  6. I’ve got to disagree with you in a number of respects here – but I think you’ll see that our views aren’t that far apart after all, once you’ve read through. First, both the Iraqis now and the American rebels then are correctly described as ‘insurgents’. It’s just that that’s not comparing like with like. ‘Insurgent’ is no longer being used as a technical but emotionally neutral term. It was used to mean ‘uprising’ – a callout of armed men to rally to the forces. In Hungary, the ‘general insurgency’ was the normal way of getting the troops out; it relies on the idea of a trained militia that normally stayed at home. So, we’re simply not comparing like with like. Second, something you won’t like. The moral comparison isn’t between atrocities by Iraqis and mild misbehaviour by American rebels. The whole calendar of things done by American rebels included many different very serious atrocities, all documented. It’s just that they don’t make into history books written by or catering to the winners – but try asking some United Empire Loyalists about it. For example, tarring and feathering wasn’t merely humiliating, it was just passed off as that. It was in fact life threatening, with many fatalities and permanent injuries like blinding and wounds that wouldn’t heal (weeping sores). But it didn’t stop there. Depriving Loyalists of property was done in ways that drove them out to die of hunger and exposure, unless they were lucky enough to make it to safety – and sometimes the likes of Harry Lee found wandering groups and massacred them. Lee actually did far worse things than Banastre Tarleton ever did (he merely refused to accept surrenders). Well, that’s what war brings people to. But it excuses neither; ‘these things must come, but woe to him through whom they come’, as St. Paul wrote. But it does show that we aren’t mistakenly comparing an American robust sense of humour with a real set of cruel actions, we are comparing two collections of atrocity mongers. The American rebels were indeed bad guys, at a personal level. I won’t give internet references, but try the historical novels of Robert Graves and Kenneth Roberts for a feel for things, and the recent historical work ‘Redcoats and Rebels’ by Christopher Hibbert for a history less clouded by preconception than most. Roberts wrote novels from the perspective of both sides, so be careful not to stop with those that only deal with the rebel perspective – try ‘Oliver Wiswell’ and ‘Lydia Bailey’ as well.