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 Glittering Eye, “Gone Across Peterson”

In my submission for this week I mourn the passing of a friend.

The Colossus of Rhodey, “What Did I Tell Ya?”

Hube wonders about the likelihood of a double standard in complaints of racism about a Cinco de Mayo party. Perhaps I can help Hube here. The first principle is that you may only consider people as groups not as individuals. The second principle is that racism is only possible if those doing the things that might be considered racist belong to a group that has power. Consequently, it’s just not possible that, for example, Hispanics in this country are racist—regardless of the power of individual members of the group, the group itself has no power. Similarly, “whites” are racists—regardless of the powerlessness of some members of the group, the group has power. Don’t bother trying to identify the inconsistencies in this line of reasoning. They don’t make a bit of difference.

Eternity Road, “Heroes, Memories, and Harbingers”

Francis Porretto muses about the ravages of time and age and, indeed, he’s right: singers are particularly susceptible. Too frequently, driven either by ego or necessity (or both) they continue past their time. For some, like Fran’s example, Gordon Lightfoot, it’s merely sad. For others, like Luciano Pavarotti, it’s outrageous—an affront to their former genius. Once in a very great while there’s a singer like Rosemary Clooney who, althought the pipes are gone, is able to bring a world of experience and hurt to the music of her old age that rises above anything she did in youth.

This is true of poets, too, by the way. Have you ever read the later works of William Wordsworth or William Butler Yeats? They’d become lampoons of themselves. Is anything sadder?

Bookworm Room, “Gaffes, and Why They’re Interesting”

Bookworm considers the sorts of verbal mistakes made by politicians, the slip of the tongue, making a clear error that reveals the sentiments that inform the judgement, and accidentally saying what one believes, then trying to pass it off as a slip.

Frankly, I think she’s cutting Mr. Bush a little too much slack. Has any administration had such a genius for miscalculation? I can’t think of any.

The Education Wonks, “Unprofessional Conduct”

I’m glad that EdWonk commented on this bizarre case of a group of teachers simulating an armed attack on a group of students by a masked gunman. “Prank” doesn’t seem to cover the situation.

Soccer Dad, “Talk Isn’t Cheap”

Soccer Dad doesn’t share David Ignatius’s relish for talks between Iran and the United States and gives the reasons why. For good or ill acknowledging Iran’s status and interests in the Gulf and negotiating with the regime is very nearly the only real alternative we have for securing any favorable outcomes at all. IMO the real challenge is in giving the Iranian regime enough to change its behavior without propping up the regime. It’s a lousy situation.

Joshuapundit, “Cheney’s Chess Moves in the Middle East”

Freedom Fighter tries to read the tealeaves about Vice President Cheney’s Middle East visit. I would genuinely like to see what FF thinks we should do within the realms of practicality. Since President Carter allowed the present Iranian regime to overthrow the Shah and take control of Iran, our balancing act between Sunni and Shi’a in the Middle East has been in a shambles. We aren’t going to bomb them into oblivion (at least not unless something a lot more serious happens) and we aren’t going to quarantine them. The neoconservative plan to spread liberal democracy by contagion throughout the Middle East from Iraq isn’t quite on schedule. We aren’t going to barricade ourselves within our own borders, either. Engagement seems like the only viable alternative.

Done With Mirrors, “You Asked For It”

Callimachus is upset with the Left Blogosphere and wonders what in the world they can be thinking. I believe I can help. They think they want power. It reminds me of nothing so much as an exchange between Radar O’Reilly and Henry Blake on an old episode of M*A*S*H:

Radar (giving Col. Blake a form to sign): “Sign here, sir”.

Henry: “Radar, this page is blank”.

Radar: “Don’t worry, sir. I’ll fill in the rest later”.

Cheat Seeking Missiles, “Positive Thinking vs. the Greenies”

Laer points out the, basically, Luddite view of many environmentalists with a post that can be summarized by something I’ve believed for many years: the solution to bad engineering is good engineering, not no engineering at all. Unfortunately, the fundamental approach of engineering, continuing approximation, is intolerable to many utopians.

Rhymes With Right, “It Breaks My Heart To Say This”

Greg reluctantly rises in opposition to the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act.

Right Wing Nut House, “End of an Era? Falwell Passes”

Rick Moran comments on the life, contributions, and passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell. I haven’t commented on this so far and all I have to say is eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.

Big Lizards, “We Found the ‘Moslem Methodists’!”

Dafydd ab Hugh’s submission this week is a solid post that I agree with wholeheartedly that continues his consideration of moderate Muslims. There are lots of them and an enormous number live in Indonesia. The only thing I’d add is that it’s darned hard to rally a crowd or grab a headline with a call to moderation.

What a great selection of Council posts this week! Well done, gang. I’ve decided which posts I’ll vote for. Which would get your votes?

6 comments… add one
  • Hi Dave,
    (BTW, my heartfelt condolences on your loss…I’ve been there)

    I was a bit surprised to see your assessment this week, since I think I’ve been fairly upfront and explicit on my site as far as practical solutions on Iran go:

    J O S H U A P U N D I T: Operation Mullah Stomp: The military option on Iran

    In the above, I likewise specify why `negotiations’ and `engagement’ with this fascist regime are a non-starter. Particularly an Islamic one, as their understanding of what constitutes a binding agreement or treaty between Muslims and kuffars (non-believers) has absolutely nothing in common with ours.

    We can either deal with this now, at fairly moderate risk and cost or much later, when the stakes are quite a bit higher. And frankly,anyone who sees this as a Cold War `containment’ scenario is deluding themselves. The Russians and Chinese were deterred by the spectre of mutually assured destruction. The mullahs have a a religious imperative to conquer the non-Islamic world for Allah, and might actually welcome the carnage, as a prelude to the return of the 12th Imam.

    We continue to misunderstand the basic nature of the type of people we’re dealing with.

    As I think you know, I agree with you that the Bush Administration’s nonsense about `Arab democracy’ was and is pure horse manure. I think the results of the elections in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine pretty much speak for themselves. In any event, the administration’s and the West’s temporizing and attempts to placate Iran, our backing of a bunch of corrupt, jihad friendly Sunni autocrats and our failure to embrace the Kurds have sent a pretty clear message to those few Muslims in the Middle East that might have favored Western style democracy.

    The real `problem’ in our balancing act between Sunni and Shia is that it it doesn’t really work, as they will always put aside their differences in favor of jihad against the west for as long as we continue to facilitate it. THAT is what Cheney futilely attempted, which was the real point of my piece this week.

    Rather than attempting to push something on these people that they may not want, we need to be concerned with victory, dealing with Islamic fascism ( including here at home) and putting the fear of G-d into the nation-states that finance and promulgate jihad against the west to the point that they realize that it’s in their own interest to cease and desist.

    Dealing firmly with a couple of these regimes would make the others surprisingly agreeable.

    Best Regards,


  • I don’t think that a raid (or series of raids) on Iran will have the result you envision. I’ve posted on this extensively and repeatedly so I won’t restate the reasons now. Suffice it to say that a raid will prop up the regime rather than bringing it down.

    I don’t think that there is a military option to use against Iran that will be effective and is politically possible here.

  • Hi Dave,
    I appreciate what you’re saying. There are no `good ‘ options at this point, thanks to years of neglect on this situation.

    However, since negotiations are a non-starter (IMO) for the reasons I mention and the regime is what it is, the choice comes down to exactly what I said it was – either we deal with it now, at a moderate cost and risk, or later at a much higher cost.

    Which would you rather? That’s the simple question in a nutshell.

    As far as the politics go, I fully recognize the insanity evidenced in Washington today, and I would MUCH rather someone more competent was in the White House as we do this, given this president’s uncanny ability to make excrement out of gold…but unfortunately, President Bush is whom we’ve got, and Iran will be nuclear by the time January 2009 rolls around. We are potentially talking about the lives of thousands of Americans, and perhaps our entire civilization. That trumps domestic politics in my view. And believe it or not, I think the American people as a whole would support a decisive move against Islamic fascism by the Bush Administration, for a change.

    I’m afraid I also have to disagree with you that a US raid along the lines I suggest would shore up support for the regime, especially since most population centers wouldn’t be targeted. Iran is only 50% Persian and contains lots of diverse elements ( Balouchis, Azeris, Kurds, etc.) who have been tyrannized by the Mullahs, not to mention the many Persians who hate the regime. Like all fascist governments, the Mullahs have made lots of enemies.

    With Iran’s fragile economy in freefall, these elements would come out in force and the regime, rather than shoring up support would crumple. The idea of mobs hanging Ahmadinejad and Khamanei, followed by a pigskin burial is one to warm the heart.

    OK, OK…so we agree to disagree, hmmm?

    Take it easy….



  • especially since most population centers wouldn’t be targeted.

    Unfortunately, that’s just not true. There are nuclear development sites in or nearly every major Iranian city as well as in the Iranian oil fields. See this old post of mine
    for the details.

    Further, I think that the Iranians are nationalistic enough that they’d really ’round the present regime in the event of a U. S. attack.

    Which would you rather? That’s the simple question in a nutshell.

    No, that’s not the question at all. The question is what’s politically possible in the United States? The only alternative I see as being possible in the present climate is a (futile) attemp to barricade ourselves within our own borders.

  • Not to get into a flamin’ match, pal…but the attack I outline in my post primarily concentrates on the ports, Iran’s navy, the Kharg Island terminus, Iran’s land based missile launchers, and most importantly, Iran’s oil fields and gasoline refineries.

    The nuke facilities are secondary. As for their civilian population, it may sound bloodthirsty but I’ve no problem with some collateral damage. That’s what war’s about, and better a few dead Iranians than a lot of dead Americans(and ultimately Iranians). Horror of horrors, I put us first.

    Remember Tokyo and Dresden?

    And if that means that the Iranian population rallies around the mullahs, fine…they will have very limited capacity to do anything about it. I still say that the regime would go kaput, and it would be over relatively quickly for the mullahs. Money, after all, is the sinews of war, a quotation I’m sure an old classicist like you recognizes.

    And what’s this from you about what you admit is a futile attempt to create a Fortress America? Where’s your innate sense of crankiness and contrariness?Since when do hairy chested, red-blooded bloggers like us go with the flow merely because of the conventional wisdom, huh?(LOL)

    All jokes aside, the polls show that the American people overwhelmingly consider Iran a major threat. I think the Angry Left would scream bloody murder,but the American people would be just fine with stomping these cockroaches.

    That said, I think, as I wrote in this weeks Council post on Cheney’s Chess moves that Bush will likely pass the buck with some kind of phony face saving `agreement’ with Iran so he can retire quietly.

    That doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

    I’ll let you have the last word if you care to, and put me in my proper place!

    All Best,

  • I only mention the futilty of “Fortress America” because, as I see it, that’s where the Democrats are bound and determined to head.

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