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, “What’s in a Name? (Al-Qaeda edition)”

In my submission for this week I muse about the present state of the al-Qaeda brand and what the inclination to attribute it may mean.

The Colossus of Rhodey, “North vs. South”

Hube considers several post-apocalypse science fiction novels, seeing some common leitmotifs emerge, among them Costa Rica.

Done With Mirrors, “Independence Day”

Callimachus reflects on empires for Independence Day—the Incan, British, and, presumably, American.

Big Lizards, “High Noonan”

Dafydd ab Hugh analyzes the difference between Republican conservatives and Reagan conservatives using a comment about a column of Peggy Noonan’s as a stepping-off point. His judgment is harsh. Extra points for cleverest title of the week.

Soccer Dad, “High Class Terror”

Soccer Dad notes the prominence of doctors and engineers among violent radical Islamists. There are lots of other reasons than the ones he point out. The dissociation that’s part of the contemporary education of physicians doesn’t help.

‘Okie’ on the Lam, “Baqubah Update from Michael Yon”

Okie is horrified and properly so at something (not for the squeamish) reported recently by Michael Yon in his regular updates from Iraq. I haven’t pointed it out lately but anyone who attempts to make an equivalence between us and our soliders and those our soldiers are facing in the field is a dolt. I hasten to mention, however, that Michale’s report on this matter is a second or thirdhand report and we should treat it with some skepticism. Concern that we’re engaging in the process of dehumanizing our opponents is appropriate. They do make it easy, though, don’t they?

Rhymes With Right, “Another Human Rights Atrocity in Malaysia”

It’s hard to say which is more troubling in Greg’s report of a woman the Malaysian religious authorities are attempting to reconvert to Islam: that they are doing so with imprisonment and reeducation centers or that they believe that it is the province of human beings to enforce the proscription of apostasy. Do all Muslims believe that what these “religious authorities” are doing is right?

The Education Wonks, “Army Recruitment and the Influencers”

Yes, what people do is affected by the opinions of their parents, teachers, other authority figures, and peers. That influences military recruitment just like everything else. I also think that failure is an orphan.

Bookworm Room, “Bad Medicine”

Bookworm attributes the higher cost of America’s healthcare system to America’s doctors being better-trained. That’s probably at least partially true but I’d like to offer a few other points for Bookworm’s consideration. First, I believe she’s overgeneralizing a bit about the medical training. It varies from place to place in the world and I think that English-trained and French-trained physicians are probably about as well-trained as American docs. Second, 20-30% of American physicians are foreign-trained. Much higher in some places in this country. The percentage is even higher when only physicians under age 50 are considered. Third, the percentage of foreign-trained physicians is highest precisely where the cost of healthcare is highest. At the very least the connection between domestic training and cost is more complex than Bookworm is suggesting.

Cheat Seeking Missiles, “Hillary’s Grand, Failed Cover-Up”

Laer suggests that campaigning on the issue of presidential pardons probably isn’t a winning strategy for Hillary Clinton.

Joshuapundit, “The NYT—’Run Away!’ ‘Run Away!’”

Freedom Fighter takes on the recent New York Times editorial proposing immediate withdrawal from Iraq. The only points I would add is that leaving a force substantially reduced in number (which some Republicans have suggested) makes no more sense than it did when it was proposed nearly 40 years ago in Viet Nam and if we withdraw from Iraq, we’ll remove all of our forces and we won’t go back however bad things get. If you believe otherwise, imagine you’re the president and you’re giving a speech to the American people telling them of your intent to re-invade Iraq. See what I mean?

Right Wing Nut House, “Success in a Vacuum”

Rick Moran is quite right in his analysis of the situation in Iraq to home in on the failures of the Iraqi government. That’s why, in my own thinking on the subject, I try to consider the objectives of staying in Iraq independent of the Iraqi government. It’s pretty clear that, at least in the near term, there will be no robust viable liberal democratic government in Iraq.

Well, I’ve decided what posts I’ll vote for this week. Which would get your votes?

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