Spitting on Marla Ruzicka's grave

How low can you go? Debbie Schlussel, a right-wing political "commentator" and self-proclaimed heiress to Ann Coulter, digs up the recently buried humanitarian activist and kicks her around.

Published April 26, 2005 8:07PM (EDT)

The litany of distortions and petty personal attacks is absurd enough that it's almost comical -- until it is not. Debbie Schlussel, a right-wing political "commentator" and self-proclaimed heiress to Ann Coulter, has a truly nasty piece appearing in David Horowitz's hysteric Front Page Magazine, in which she asserts that humanitarian activist Marla Ruzicka deserved to die at the hands of Iraqi terrorists.

Schlussel just can't believe the amount of media coverage Ruzicka received following her tragic death in Iraq earlier this month -- especially given that Ruzicka wasn't a sports hero, or a victim of sodomy.

"There are plenty of young American men and women Ruzicka's age and younger who've been brutalized or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But none of them got the wall-to-wall fawning coverage that Ruzicka got -- unless they were anally raped or formerly played pro football," writes Schlussel. "While it's a sad day when any American gets killed by Islamic terrorists, it's measurably less sad when that American aided and abetted them -- and belittled our troops."

"For Marla Ruzicka," she concludes, "some might call it poetic justice."

Rah-rah right-wing politics on the war is one thing -- but how low can you go? Apparently Schlussel had no qualms about digging up the freshly buried humanitarian and kicking her around to find out. Nevermind that praise for Ruzicka's heroic work in Iraq spanned the political spectrum and appeared in every major news outlet imaginable -- including the Wall Street Journal's right-wing editorial page, where senior writer Robert Pollock wrote that "America has lost a peerless and unique ambassador."

In its desperately militant attempt to say something big and brave about the war (and whatever that something is, it's ghoulishly muddled enough to deserve its own burial), Schlussel's lonely, twisted post-mortem is about as cowardly as it gets.

By Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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