Debbie Schlussel's Darkness At Noon

Announcing a new feature, on conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel, who seems determined to show she can be coarser and more brutish than Anne Coulter in Coulter's wildest dreams.  We'll call it Schlusselwatch, because there are some folks for whom our "asshats" tag is just too impersonal.

Jason Fischer, in discussing the plight of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, sentenced to eight years' imprisonment by a mullah's court after a one-hour trial, pointed with approval to a post on the subject by Michelle Malkin, agreeing that the Saberi kangaroo court is an outrage which right and left can and should oppose together.  That led me to this comment by Schlussel (who feels Malkin's a sellout to the ayatollahs):

While Michelle links to a site promoting her somewhat “critical” reporting on Iran, that site conveniently ignores all of her apologism, which was the vast majority of her work.

She went there of her own accord to parrot the BBC/NPR line. She knew the risks. Now, we’re all supposed to pay more attention to her than persecuted Iranians who aren’t apologists and didn’t come to the country voluntarily, like Iran’s Jews, who want to get out and aren’t allowed.

That's pretty vile, but it's tame compared to what Schlussel writes on her own site about Saberi, and Laura Ling and Euna Lee, journalists being held without trial in North Korea:

I'm really not too concerned about the fates of Laura Ling [propagandist Lisa Ling's sister] and Euna Lee. Who told them to go to North Korea? Who put a gun to Roxana Saberi's head ordering her to go to Iran?

All of them knew the risks about these countries, Iran and North Korea. Yet, they chose to go to these countries anyway. They aren't like some of the innocent people in those countries, who wish for human rights and want to leave but can't get out. These are women who went to dangerous places and are shocked–shocked!–when those dangerous places are exactly as dangerous as even your average naif knows. You play with snakes, you get bitten.

I won't give it a second thought if all three of them rot in jail forever. Sadly, their lives are "more important" than the lives of innocent victims of Iran and North Korea, those who didn't chose to go there but want to get out.

Schlussel is playing, almost word for word, the "she was asking for it" card that rape apologists were fond of in the paleolithic era from which Schlussel derives her values:

"Debbie Schlussel knew the risks about walking into that dark alley. Yet, she chose to walk into that dark alley anyway.  I wouldn't give it a second thought if Debbie Schlussel is raped repeatedly in the future.  Sadly, her honor is "more important" than the honor of innocent women, those who didn't choose to be raped, but observed curfew and kept to the right side of town."

Next week in Schlusselwatch:  Debbie Schlussel agrees with Malcolm X that the Kennedy assassinations were only "chickens coming home to roost."

Previous thoughts about Schlussel here.

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White


  1. David Schwartz says

    Are law breaking and law enforcement really equivalent enough to justify calling them both the "she was asking for it" card? A person who breaks the law *is* asking for trouble, right? And a person who is a victim of someone else who breaks the law isn't, in a very important sense.

    I don't agree with Debbie Schlussel, but she's not wrong for the same reason saying rape victims were asking for it is wrong.

    And, by the way, if a person does walk down dark alley after dark alley, there is a very important sense in which they do bear some blame for whatever happens to them. I don't walk in bad neighborhoods with $100 bill sticking out of my pockets. (And this, of course, in no way diminishes the blame that should be placed on those who harm them, there is simply more blame to go around when the victim is culpable as well.)

  2. Patrick says

    Are law breaking and law enforcement really equivalent enough to justify calling them both the “she was asking for it” card?

    If you believe that Roxana Saberi was spying for the CIA David, you're the only person in the world who does.

  3. David Schwartz says

    I don't believe she was spying for the CIA. However, there is a massive difference in kind between choosing to go to a country where there is no respect for the law and falling to victim to individuals who have no respect for the law. Debbie Schlussel is absolutely right to point out that on the list of victims of rogue regimes, those interacting with the regime by choice deserve a lower place. Note that this in no way reduces the culpability of the regime.

  4. Victoria Raverna says

    David Schwartz and Debbie Schlussel both has same initials. Maybe they're the same person? ;)

  5. Shkspr says

    The decision to present lists of victims ordered in the rank by which they "deserved" their fate certainly livens up the debates over how to list them. Maybe you could do one of those "Towering Inferno" things where one name is slightly below and to the left of the other one if you decide two people are EXACTLY deserving of the same place on the list.

  6. David Schwartz says

    So you think we should treat all victims of rogue regimes precisely the same? Will you condemn those who specifically ask for Saberi's release then? Or, if we do need to work for release one person at a time, do you suggest we select the people randomly?

    Nobody is arguing that Saberi deserved her fate. And nobody is saying we shouldn't work for the release of everyone held by rogue regimes.

  7. says

    Dear God. One would think that going to Iran voluntarily for a new agency would be considered admirable, even heroic. What bizarre parallel universe does Schlussel inhabit?

  8. Joel Rosenberg says

    One of the things that saddens me is what I think of as the "disempathy creep" that seems to be getting worse. I really do understand folks who don't mind, in terms of a lack of sympathy or empathy for the pains and discomforts suffered, at various times, by Eichmann, or KSM, or the Al Qaeda folks who left those little girls' heads in coolers in Anbar pour encouragez les autres, as well, I'm one of the folks who has no sympathy for any of them.

    But, gee [bleeping] whiz . . . the folks who were gleefully looking forward to Scooter Libby being ass-raped in prison and were disappointed in the pardon because of that are just like Schlussel is in this: jerks. Her criticism of Saberi's writing is right on the money — yes, she's been just as bad a cheerleader for the Iranian thugocracy as Schlussel says (a bit more sophisticated than Schlussel is suggesting, sure, but that's not important, and it's probably worse, anyway). Yup, her plight is not as bad as that of others there who can't get out and didn't choose to go because they were stuck being born there, which Saberi wasn't.

    But so what? If we're going to only care about the freedom of Americans who have sensible opinions, I'm going to get awfully lonely out here with the rest of you in jail.

    Malkin — and all the other folks on the right and left — who are trying to put pressure on the Iranians to let her go are right, and those on the right who don't get it are every bit as bad as those on the left who figured that a bit of nonconcensual buggery was appropriate punishment for being on the other side of their own politics.

    Shame on all of them.

  9. Marc Costigan says

    You all do not know the half of it!

    Schlussel has become intolerant of criticism and vindictive.
    I will not go into details but if you try to warn her about her acrimony, her rancor that she now dishes out to fellow conservatives, she will imply that you are muslim millitant threatening her life.
    Then she will say she has reported you to the FBI!

  10. jb says

    This could easily be turned around to talk about "the troops."

    "They went there of their own accord to fight an imperialist war. They knew the risks. Now, we’re all supposed to pay more attention to them than persecuted Iraqis who aren’t soldiers and didn’t start the war voluntarily."

    I recall people who said far milder things than this being called traitors a few years back (I do think that statement is despicable). What Schlussel is saying is exactly the same thing.

  11. David Schwartz says

    JB: I thought that was something pretty much everyone agreed on. For example, if we captured two Taliban forces on the battlefield, one shooting at US troops but avoiding local civilians and one shooting at both US troops and local civilians indiscriminately, wouldn't we jude the one shooting civilians as being worse?

    There is a sense in which armed combatants are legitimate targets and civilians are not. (Not that this justifies killing troops, of course. If your cause is not just, any killing for it is wrong. But even if your cause is just, it doesn't justify killing civilians as it does justify those fighting against it.)