The Blogger at War

James Lileks used to be content with writing about his toddler's toilet training. Then Iraq gave him the chance to become the state's most famous conservative.

But Lileks's conceit, which is widespread in the warblog domain, is that this particular moment is in fact unique. That because al Qaeda desires to impose a 7th-century theocracy on others means they have the power to do it to us (Lileks likes playing the It's Their Terms or Ours card, as if we're down to house-to-house fighting). That Saddam Hussein was a real and tangible threat to our very existence, or might've been down the road, or whenever. In any case, we are presumably "safer" now that we're bogged down in Iraq. And so on. To Lileks, it seems that 9/11 exists outside of history (except for World War II, images of which have adorned many a Lileks rant). Therefore those who try to view subsequent events differently are guilty of either liberal naïveté or abject anti-Americanism.

The invasion of Iraq has set a course that could well prove dangerous to us and the rest of the world, but happily it has provided fresh meat for the warbloggers to chew in the public square. That's a plus, I suppose. And even though, in moments of doubt, Lileks confesses that he'd rather "shut up and write about Bounty towels" than have to deal with the sordid complexities of war and occupation, there's little chance that Lileks will stay penned in behind the Backfence. Like his fellow swivel-chair commandos, Lileks is too self-absorbed and gung ho to ever stop waving his water pistol. Remember, in 2003 the Bleat tied for Fourth Best Warblog on the web.

Ryan Kelly

This year, Number Three!

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