Because an argument can start with one subject and then leap to another.
Case in point: This starts out with Alex Massie on April 10th.
Massie is critiquing two posts at Commentary, one by Peter Wehner and the other by Jennifer Rubin:
One nugget in Massie’s piece:
“The priceless part, however, is this notion of spending blood and treasure “in order to defend innocent Muslims in Kuwait, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq”. Does anyone who possesses even a scrap of common sense think the First Gulf War was waged to “defend” muslims? And how have the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, launched as the administration insisted (not without some reason in at least one of those cases) as campaigns of self-defence become wars to defend “innocent muslims”? Many of those muslims, of course are now, rather unfortunately, dead. But happy dead, for sure.
This is nonsense and anyone with any knowledge of these things must know that this is self-serving, delusional bullshit.”
From there, we get Daniel Larison:
In it, Larison augments Massie’s argument:
“Even though this claim about fighting on behalf of innocent Muslims is dubious (not least because several of our wars, especially the war in Iraq, have killed or led to the killing of hundreds of thousands of these people), it reflects something basic to Americanism. This is the idea that anytime the U.S. fights a war, no matter what the actual reasons for it are, whichever group or nation comes out ahead at the end of the fighting must show eternal gratitude to us. It is apparently an additional requirement that anytime the U.S. fights a war that may benefit some Muslims, all Muslims must similarly be grateful, even if the U.S. wages other wars and backs other policies and governments that harm and kill many other Muslims. In other words, Americanists want Muslims to think like Pan-Islamists when it serves Washington’s purposes (i.e., when it is supposed to make Muslims favorably disposed to us), but Muslims must never think like Pan-Islamists when it doesn’t.”
Massie then responds with a new post:
And Matt Y. adds this:
So, we start out talking about President Obama’s trip abroad, with Rubin and Wehner arguing that he damaged America’s interests. Massie responds to the entire premise, as well as to one bit of Wehner’s argument involving other nations involved in American wars. Larison then comments further on that nugget, expanding into reasons we fight wars. Massie responds with the idea that America often tells itself it doesn’t fight wars for its own purposes, only to help others. And Matt Y. continues the conversation.
Agree or not, this is a much more nuanced and deep discussion than a lot of MSM discussion, especially cable news. And it’s another reason to love the blogosphere.
Any futher posts you find on this topic, put them in the comments.
UPDATE: Sully links to Massie: