Monday, August 28, 2006

The Council Has Spoken 

It's been another great week at the Watcher's Council, with some truly great posts nominated. I hope you follow the Council every week because its another way to find some of the best on the web all in one convenient location. You can check out the full results of this week's voting, but I'll whet your appetite first with a little taste of the top posts in both the Council and non-Council categories (that is, posts by members of the Council, and the broaded category for posts from anywhere on the web).

In the Council section, for the first time since I joined the council a little over a month ago, a post has won by a full point. This didn't surprise me though, because Iraq: Quit or Commit by Right Wing Nuthouse was one of the deepest and weightiest posts I've seen in awhile. Without wallowing in the reflexive tropes of either side in the debate, Rick Moran fearlessly explores what is working in Iraq and what is not and offers his advice. To quote a small piece doesn't do it justice.

The second place post is from Gates of Vienna's Dymphna, The Nation-State vs Anarchy and Imperialism:

I used to be sanguine about the pseudo-intellectuals' takeover of our academy, the press, an exponentially expanding governmental bureaucracy and an activist judiciary concerned with a "living" Constitution -- though the death of this document had escaped the notice of most of us.

I thought this change was a generational thing brought on by the silliness of the sixties and the historically, economically, and philosophically ignorant -- i.e., those who swallowed the Soviet line about the triumph of Marxism. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the implosion of the Soviet Union, like many others I thought it was simply a matter of time before peculiar people like Ward Churchill and Noam Chomsky aged out and left the field to those who has seen the mistakes socialism had wrought, even in this country.

Of course, that was before 9/11 and the steep rise in the national consciousness of militant Islam, and the national argument about whether or not it represented a "real" threat to our country or to its sovereignty.
Gates of Vienna is one of the most consistently thought-provoking blogs I know of, and Dymphna's post is no exception. When you read the rest of her post, I hope you'll consider it an introduction to a blog that is worth your time on a regular basis.

In the non-Council section, the winning posts were also quite worthy (as were many of the others that were nominated).

The winner was the Buzzwords Blog from 3AM Magazine with an article called Bad Faith. Well written, well reasoned -- I have a feeling it wasn't actually written at 3AM:

This pretence of equivalence has come to define much of the ongoing debate on freedom of speech and the testing of ideas. But to assume moral parity between, say, the publishers of cartoons and the unthinkingly destructive reaction to them, and to assign equal responsibility for the deaths, intimidation and violence that resulted, is evasive and grotesque. It is, more to the point, a way of denying the moral incontinence of those who threaten to kill on the basis of a cartoon, or a film, or, of course, a novel. And it is a way of avoiding any serious analysis of Islamic theology in particular and religious hysteria in general.

Cultural equivalence also underlies the current fashion for religious protectionism, whereby reason and scientific methodology are depicted as equivalent to faith and merely a matter of lifestyle choice, as if logical enquiry had no attributes that set it apart from religious ideology and a priori belief. But to equate these very different phenomena requires one to flatten values and empty the mind in the ostensible interest of 'fairness' -- perhaps to spare the blushes of the less capable among us.
The second place post was Michael Totten's look at Israel's North after the war, Terror War:

Throwing high-speed ball bearings at random around an urban area is a great way to terrorize people and get them to hide in their shelters or seek refuge somewhere else. You can empty entire cities this way, and that's exactly what Hezbollah did. No Palestinian terrorist group had ever been able to accomplish so much. But forget trying to use Katyushas against an army, especially against a properly outfitted and trained Western army. While Northern Israel's civilian population retreated to the south, the military surged forward straight into Lebanon. [...]

Missile war may be replacing terrorist war. It's more effective than using hijackers and suicide bombers. Only missile war caused hundreds of thousands of Israelis to flee.

This war was a transition, the testing of a new doctrine. It's a disaster for Israel, but in the end it will be an even bigger disaster for those who think it's a terrific idea.

I don't know about some of the unhinged Lebanese Hezbollah supporters, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere near Lebanon if ten Iranian-made Zelzal missiles crash into the sides of Tel Aviv apartments and skyscrapers every hour.

War is coming again, and it's coming like Christmas. It will not resemble the Middle East wars we are used to.
Unless of course Kofi Annan and Jacques Chirac can save us all. Then, if we're lucky, it will just resemble the Middle East wars we are used to.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: