Friday, April 01, 2005

Picking Up the Slack

Some of my blog-friends have been on an absolute tear lately. They're putting me to shame. After two weeks of soaking up sun, margaritas, and seafood, I'm struggling to get my mojo back. Fortunately they're putting out the kind of work I wish I was doing.

Judith has a great wrap on the charges of anti-Israel bias at Columbia University, and the university's astonishing response to it. If I were writing the headline on it, it would have read "Columbia clears Columbia of bias." But I'm not writing the headline. In part because the "New York Times" arranged to get an exclusive on the results of the investigation -- by trading away the rights to talk to students about it. That's got to be a new low for them. I don't think even the "National Enquirer" would cut a deal like that.

Tigerhawk attended a lecture "on al Qaida's grand strategy" by Princeton professor Michael Doran, who has insightful views that are contrary to much of the conventional wisdom. Tigerhawk gives an extensive summary of his talk, all of which is fraught with though-provoking observations that should discomfort right, left, and center in different ways.

In addition, al Qaeda wants to force Americans to carry the war into the heartland of the Middle East [We have obliged them in this. - ed.] There are two reasons why al Qaeda sought an American invasion in the Middle East. First, it will be very costly for the United States and will therefore drain our treasury. Second, bringing the war to the heartland will have a polarizing effect within Muslim society. Doran believes that they borrowed this “polarization” idea from Palestinian organizations of the 60s and 70s. Americans striking back “without precision” will polarize Muslim society between supporters and proponents of jihad.

It is not necessary, according to al Qaeda, that they get the great masses on their side. The goal is to win over “an important segment of the youth.” Their propaganda is directed to young men. One of their propagandists says that “if we can win over only 5% of one billion Muslims, we will have an unbeatable army.”

But what most impressed me is the blogger's coverage itself. I imagine my newspaper's coverage of the same event, if it had happened here. Maybe 10 paragraphs tops, including one wasted on listing the sponsors. Three or four quotes, some generic (and probably inaccurate) paraphrasing. A byline. That's it. If they'd even cover it at all.

Everyone under the sun is linking to this piece, and rightly so.

American Future, meanwhile, is just busting out all over, and getting a congratulatory post from Daily Demarche in the process. His posts pile up so fars that good, chewable pieces tend to get buried after a few days. If you have time, go back and read the series on The EU and the Arabs.