News & Politics

A Letter of Complaint from Matt Welch, Editor in Chief, Reason


Received today:

Re: Roy Edroso’s Rich Fantasy Life

Readers of Roy Edroso’s piece on “Why This Decade Sucked, Reason #10” (Dec. 18) may understandably be under the mistaken notion that the “phenomenon of warblogging” arose “with the rush to war in Iraq,” that I in particularly not only supported the war in Iraq but possibly “denounced all foot-draggers as traitors,” and that my “Farewell to Warblogging” piece in 2006 was really a lament “that some people” who had initially “joined” my allegedly pro-war “bellowing” eventually “grew hoarse and unsure.”

All of these claims are false.

The phenomenon of “warblogging” — a terrible term that I indeed share guilt for coining — dates not to late 2002 and early 2003 but rather to September 2001, for reasons New Yorkers can surely understand. As for my pre-war punditry, while it was (and is) certainly ripe for criticism, never did I advocate for war, nor blanketly condemn those against it (for a long list of relevant links, see here). And as for my Farewell to Warblogging piece, I invite all interested parties to read the column, then re-read Edroso’s description of it, before ever taking another one of his descriptions seriously again. That he has termed this all “a slight misunderstanding” on his personal website should give even further pause.

Again, there is plenty enough to criticize and condemn about warbloggerly output from 2001-2003, including my own. It is not necessary to make shit up in order to do so.

Matt Welch
Editor in Chief

Edroso’s reponse: Welch is certainly correct that warblogging started in 2001 rather than later. My reference to “online belligerents who hollered for invasion and denounced all foot-draggers as traitors” should not be applied to him, but to other warbloggers, like Andrew Sullivan (“The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead — and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column”), Instapundit, who accused John Kerry (!) of “making statements that are not merely anti-war, but that are deeply destructive and useful to our enemies,” et alia.

Welch spent much of his early warblogging days (and some of his later ones) beating up opponents of the war(s). (“I understand today — really, for the first time in my life — why for much of Middle America the word ‘liberal’ is a pejorative,” etc.) I suppose you could say this is not the same thing as being an “advocate for war.” I think it’s a distinction without a difference.

As to “ever taking another one of [Edroso’s] descriptions seriously again,” coming from him that’s pretty fucking rich. But you don’t have to take them seriously — you can always click through the links and check them out yourself. That’s why we put them in.

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