Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Council Has Spoken 

Last week's results from the Watcher's Council are now available at the Watcher of Weasels site.

In another amazingly tight contest, the week's winner among council members was Gates of Vienna with Empire and Apocalypse, in which Dymphna takes an uncomfortable look at the worst-case scenarios:

The tipping point may have been reached — one cannot say until after the fact. Will it be failure in Iraq — a failure devoutly prayed for by many Americans who need to see us fail in order to justify their own belief system? Will it be Iran’s unleashing of the nuclear-weaponed apocalypse that proceeds to immolate others, like a group of carefully-placed dominoes? Will it be the delirious fantasy vision of watching an entire American city suffer the same fate of the Twin Towers while its enemies dance in the streets?
One can only hope her words are heeded, and that the tipping point has not yet been reached.

In a tie for second place are Soccer Dad and JoshuaPundit. Soccer Dad wrote about targeted killings, moral considerations, highlighting some important facts many of Israel's critics may not know about the deliberations that go into the actions taken to defend Israelis:

What's most important about the article though, is that it demolishes the idea that "targeted killings" are "extrajudicial" in the parlance of the enlightened. Israel has strict rules for these actions and the determining factor, legally, is always whether the target presents a threat in the future. Revenge is not a sufficient reason for the targeted assassinations.
JoshuaPundit looked at Darfur and the UN's failure to take any meaningful action there in his post, Meanwhile in Darfur...:

It amazes me that we will spend billions on people in Iraq and Lebanon who hate us in the name of `Arab democracy' while ignoring our friends in places like Darfur and Kurdistan.

Big, big mistake.
The non-Council competition was equally close, with the eventual winner, Kobayahi Maru, prevailing in a tie-breaker. His post was an insightful search for the right questions we should be asking as the West confronts the growing challenge of militant Islamofascism (the term used, obviously, to identify a problem within Islam and not to label all Muslims):

It's finally hit me: we're stuck. Seriously stuck. We have been for years and are only starting to realize it - and only at the margins. In a very real sense, we've been check-mated by Islamofascism, and specifically Iran.

Let's play out a few scenarios, albeit from 50,000 feet:

Iran continues to take action towards building a nuclear bomb and doesn't even work very hard to try and hide the fact. Oh, they continue to dissemble in public statements, but only enough to keep the useful idiots fired up and the world divided.

They continue to act by proxy through Syria and Hizbollah (as they have for decades) and to send out conflicting signals, knowing that it would take something utterly outrageous to get the U.S. (much less the UN or the world) to support decisive wholesale (i.e., D-Day level) action to stop their nuclear activities and/or to depose the mullahs. [...]

We (finally) won the Cold War by forcing an acceleration in the undeniability of the internal contradictions in the Soviet system. One of the advantages that Greater Islam has been able to exploit in the West is our internal contradiction of tolerance for intolerance.

The tenets of Islam, by contrast, tend to drive away from moderation or compromise, defining them as the most egregious offenses against the almighty, punishable by death. [...]

So what are the internal condradictions of radical Islam?

I don't mean the ways in which they offend our Judeo-Christian-enlightenment reverence for life, democracy, gender equality, love for freedom and all that. [...]

So, where can we find these [vulnerable internal contradictions] in Islam when it altogether eschews our Western reference points for validity? What if any internally critical aspects of Islam can we in the West force to the surface - force to be recognized - that would accelerate an implosion of Islamofascist ideology? Answering that question may be our last best option when Iran has already baked success scenarios based on our attacking... and our not attacking.
I've highlighted a few of his key points, but you really should read the whole thing.

By the narrowest of possible margins (i.e. 0) second place goes to an entertaining "Back to School" post from A Shrewdness of Apes, When teaching school is like... a divine comedy:

For me, the school year is back in full swing-- inasmuch as one can be when Labor Day still hasn't rolled around yet. For those of you who have forgotten, or who now look back upon your high school years through the rosy mists of fondness for that halcyon era when your head, not your back, was covered with hair and your tricep didn't flop around like a Tibetan prayer flag in a good stiff breeze, high school is organized into concentric circles of despair and Sisyphean drudgery which align quite nicely with the Nine Circles of Hell our friend and eternal optimist Dante Alighieri described so fully.

Circle 1- Limbo, the Home of the Innocent: The freshmen have already had most of the pranks pulled on them-- like looking for a swimming pool on the roof, or looking for the smoking area, or being told that we have open campus for lunch, and so on. They've lost a bit of that dazed look-- unless it's a permanent condition.
There are eight more circles, but you'll have to read the whole thing to get them all.

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