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. Here’s what the Council members nominated this week.

The Glittering Eye, “The Iraqi Insurgency Has No Central Command”

In my submission for this week I responded to an ad hominem attack with what I hope was dispassionate analysis. Whether what’s going on in Iraq is a campaign in the War on Terror or a war in its own right, its end will not come through capturing or killing its leaders although that may speed the conclusion which in my opinion requires a change in incentives for the opposition that goes beyond beating it into submission.

Dr. Sanity, “Exit Stage Left”

Pat Santy uses a Michael Barone article as a springboard for noting that one explanation for the behavior of Democrats is paranoia. It’s not a novel observation. Back in the 60’s Richard Hofstadter wrote a famous aricle called “The Paranoid Style in American Politics”. Although Hofstadter devoted his analysis to the far right, the John Birth Society, and so on, it certainly looks to me as though the same claims can equally be made against today’s far left.

Note, too, the quote from Barry Goldwater in the footnote to the cited Hofstadter article. The different between adaptive behavior and maladaptive behavior is whether the behavior is successful in helping you deal with the situations you face or merely appearing to do so. Are vitriol and venom working?

Done With Mirrors, “Über Alles”

Callimachus reflects on the history of the German national anthem, particularly its notorious first stanza.

Joshuapundit, “The Heartbreak of Dhimmi-itis…Work for the Cure”

Freedom Fighter gives some telltale warning signs that you may be knuckling under to browbeating from Islamists and gives some suggestions for fighting temptation in what I take to be what me auld mither used to call “serious in jest”. I don’t completely agree with him on either the diagnosis or the prescription. I think, for example, that there’s a difference between Islam and Islamism. The former is a religion with ahherents some benign some vile. The latter is an ideology and it’s solely vile. Consider, for example, Aziz who posts at his own blog, City of Brass, and also at Dean’s World. Aziz is simultaneously a pious Muslim, a committed liberal, and a patriotic American. I can direct you to dozens of other bloggers just like him and I have no doubt that there are millions of Muslims, pious and not particularly so, who despise what’s being done in the name of their religion as much or more than Freedom Fighter does.

To my mind the prescription is a little different: know your past and be proud but pragmatic about it. And then, of course, the Christian commandment: love one another.

ShrinkWrapped, “They Can’t Help Themselves, Its Their Nature”

ShrinkWrapped comments on a post from one of the Muslims I was thinking of, Ali Eteraz of Unwilling Self-Negation, and the NYT article to which he was responding.

New World Man, “Early OT 2005 Court stats”

Matt Barr does some interesting analysis of the 2005 Supreme Court decisions from the standpoint of voting coalitions within the Court. Based on what Matt reports it seems to me that the characterization we heard during the confirmation hearings of now-Justice Alito as outside the judicial mainstream was, at the very least, premature. Matt’s post raises question that’s interesting to me: will the Roberts Court exhibit more philosophical coherence than the Rehnquist Court? I’m willing to bet “No”.

The Education Wonks, “The Spellings Report: An Open Invitation for the Secretary”

I agree with EdWonk: fact-finding trips to the Imperial Valley or the Mississippi delta would be more relevant to the mission of the U. S. Department of Education than to Egypt or Russia. Leave the foreign relations to the State Department.

Right Wing Nut House, “”A Grand Old Flag””

In his Flag Day post Rick Moran weaves together Gettysburg and the Star Spangled Banner in a tribute to one of our few real symbols of national unity (other, of course, than the Superbowl), the flag.

Rhymes With Right, “Border Jumper Care Costs Harris County Taxpayers $97,300,000 Annually”

Greg tallies some of the costs the taxpayer is shouldering due to illegal immigrants down in his neck of the woods. I’ve got to admit that I don’t understand the argument of those, whether economists or no, who believe that illegal immigration is a net economic benefit to the country as a whole. I do see how you could arrive at that conclusion if you’re willing to ignore enough factors.

Gates of Vienna, “Children in Danger From the UN”

Dymphna considers UN programs to assist children in recognition of last Friday’s “Day of the African Child” and I agree that the track record is very mixed. The need is great but I doubt that largescale plans are likely to help much. The greatest assistance program for children on that troubled continent would undoubtedly be decent governments but somehow I can’t see the UN getting behind that program.

The Sundries Shack, “# We Have Guarded Iraq Well”

Jimmie Bise analyzes the function that U. S. forces are serving in Iraq and characterizes it as “bodyguard”. I’d say it’s a combination of that and referee.

The Strata-Sphere, “Truthout Fantasizes Again”

AJ Strata fisks an article from Truthout.org which claimed that an indictment of presidential advisor Karl Rove was imminent as a consequence of the investigation being carried out by Patrick Fitzgerald. As we’ve seen the claim was, shall we say, highly exaggerated.

Well, I’ve made up my mind on which posts I’ll be voting for. Which would get your vote?

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