Eye on the Watcher’s Council

As you may know the members of the Watcher’s Council each nominate one of his or her own posts and one non-Council post for consideration by the whole Council. The complete list of this week’s Council nominations is here.

The brouhaha over Benedict XVI’s address at the University of Regensburg was clearly the favored subject this week.

The Glittering Eye, “Not Arbitrary or Inconsistent”

In my submission for this week I present a short, succinct history of U. S. diplomatic history with respect to the Middle East.

Done With Mirrors, “’You’ll Never Know What We Did’”

Callimachus reports on the activities of the much-maligned contractors in Iraq.  This is vital reading.  One of the thoughts that this post brought to mind for me had to do with Thomas Barnett’s notion of a “SysAdmin force”, an additional nation-building group distinct from the military.  I believe that in our society as it exists today such a force will necessarily be private in nature.  The Europeans, perhaps, with their different sensibilities about the proper role  of government could implement such a force but, like it or not, we’re very unlikely to do so.

Rhymes With Right, “Benedict Quotes 14th Century Emperor—Muslims Enraged”

Greg issues a series of challenges to Muslims and their defenders relative to the much-ballyhooed address last week.   As I read Greg’s post we differ on this subject mostly in tone.  I had some sympathy with the Muslims who were offended by the Danish cartoons;  this, not so much.  And rioting over it?  How does acting like a bunch of yahoos convince anyone of the benign, peaceful nature of Islam?

I’ve mostly said my piece on this subject but there are two points that bear repeating.  First, Benedict said nothing against Mohammed or Islam.  He quoted a book that quoted a long-dead Byzantine emperor who did.  Second, lots of Muslims, particularly those  who actually read what Benedict said rather than just kneejerking in all directions over it, basically agreed with my take.

Gates of Vienna, “That Was Not a ‘Blunder.’  It’s Just an Excuse to Kill Infidels”

Dymphna seizes the protest signs from the fingers of those protesting in the Muslim streets and beats them over the head with it.  She also makes a very important point that bears repeating:  Benedict is different from John Paul II and the challenges that face the Church today are different from those that faced it when JP II was elevated.

Benedict is extremely well-educated, an intellectual, and a very sharp cookie.  He understood what he was doing.

ShrinkWrapped, “Pope Benedict, Islam, and Reason”

ShrinkWrapped, too, posts on Benedict’s address and I think that he’s caught what Benedict is trying to do:  he’s trying to separate the sheep from the goats.  There are some Muslims who are willing to enter into a reasoned discourse and they’re raising their hands.  Don’t slap them down.

And his main point was a frontal assault on secularism which he, no doubt, sees as the main threat faced by the Church in Europe.
Where I differ from Benedict is that I think that all religions have an irrational core:  “If Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain”.

Soccer Dad, “Between the Canary and the Alligator”

SoccerDad considers &147;respectable anti-semitism” and Israel’s dwindling support in the West.  And what that may mean for the West.

Socratic Rhythm Method, “Where the New York Times is Coming From”

Matt examines the possible reasons behind the New York Times’s reaction to Benedict’s address.  Frankly, I found the patronizing tone puzzling.  There are roughly 1,000,000 Jews in New York City.  There are nearly 1,600,000 Catholics.  If they’re limiting their local market to secularists it might explain why their stock has been declining for years.

AbbaGav, “Muslim Anger Grows Over Pope’s Remarks”

AbbaGav weighs in on Benedict’s address and the reaction that it has evoked.

Right Wing Nut House, “The Pope’s Dilemma”

Rick Moran writes (at considerably greater length and substantially more eloquence) what I’ve maintained about the incident:  Muslims who are searching for outrage will surely find it.  I think there’s a little overemphasis on Islam here.  The real target of Benedict’s address was European secularists.

The Education Wonks, “Students Suspended for Wearing 9/11 Shirts:  A Bad Call?”

While suspending students for wearing T-shirts on September 11 bearing the message “Remember 9/11” may be excessive, I think it should be remembered that bureaucracies don’t pursue justice or good.  They do what’s easy to administer.

Joshuapundit, “Bush & Ahmadinejad—Live in Concert at the UN!”

Freedom Fighter posts a wry musical drive-by in anticipation of the speeches at the UN.

The Sundries Shack, “A Letter to Eugene Robinson”

Jimmie Bise posts the text of a letter he sent to journalist Eugene Robinson on Robinson’s article on the clarification President Bush has requested of Congress on the subject of torture.

Well, I’ve decided which posts I’ll vote for.  Which would get your vote?

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