Friday, April 28, 2006

Council Winners

The latest Watchers Council winners are up.

First place within the council went to Rick Moran for "Defend Dissent: Punish the Leakers," which looks at the CIA leak problem through the lens of John Kerry's recent rhetoric, and finds -- surprise, surprise -- there's politics afoot here.

And this brings us back to John Kerry and his idea of “dissent.” If the group of leakers at the CIA were so hell bent on “dissenting” from the President’s policies in Iraq, they, like the group of retired generals who recently came out calling for Secretary Rumsfeld to resign, had other options open to them. Since it is difficult to believe that Mary McCarthy is unaware of the existence of others at the CIA whose views reflect her own, they could have and should have done the honorable thing and resign their positions. I daresay a bevy of resignations at the CIA coupled with a very public, very loud denunciation of the President’s policies would have had a far greater impact on the public than sneaking around in dark corners and furtively handing envelopes containing state secrets to liberal reporters.

Along the way he points out the obvious (or at least it ought to be obvious) situation of those whose ciriticism of Bush is that "he never admits mistakes": "it is not 'admitting mistakes' that the Massachusetts Senator is after but rather evidence for an impeachment trial that he and his fellow partisans will seek to bring about if they achieve majority status in November."

Also getting high scores this time around was Tired by The Glittering Eye, an excellent post that expresses Dave's frustration with the amount of short-sighted, selfish, unthinking, lazy hack work that goes into the modern world.

He notes the number of bloggers who have just walked away from it after a while. Who can blame them. You pour your heart and brains and hours into it, and it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. The same stupid shit keeps happening every time the sun comes up. Better to sit in a pine tree and play jazz saxophone.

Other vote-getters included Defining Terms: The Left by ShrinkWrapped, which takes on the perennial confusion over what people not-on-the-left mean when they say "the Left."

The short answer is: "Any position espoused by the New York Times is liberal; any position espoused by Michael Moore (or Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Cindy Sheehan, et al) is left." The longer answer is an interesting exploration of postmodernism, political correctness, cognitive egocentrism, and moral perfectionism, and an attempt to pin down just how "the left" is objectively anti-American. I think it works.

My review of Bruce Bawer's book also got some votes, as did Joshuapundit's Time To Do the Mullah Dance (check out the illustration), and Back to Sleep. Nighty Night by The Sundries Shack which is agog over "the left's" pride in being "over" Sept. 11.

You know, the first thought I had when I read Ace’s post was, “They’re not over the 2000 election. They’re not over the 2002 election. They’re not over the 2004 election. They’re not over crap that happened during the Vietnam era for goodness sake.

But they’re over 3000 dead Americans. ”

I can’t help but agree with Ace. If 9/11 had been caused by white American male Republicans, they’re still be on this like Michael Moore on a ginormous bowl of pudding.

All of which reminds me of my co-worker who asked me on Sept 13, 2001, or so, "Aren't we overreacting to this whole thing?" He was over it then.

There, I've just done two things I'm scolded for over at another place I post: referenced DKos and talked about my co-workers.

First place outside the Council went to The McCarthy File by In From the Cold. Of the many observations on the McCarthy story during the past week, this was one of the most worthwhile, if for no other reason than that the author is a retired employee of the U.S. intelligence community. He's speculating like everyone else, but his speculations are particularly informed.

Also getting votes were The Tragedy of George W. Bush by The Belgravia Dispatch. I may have voted for this and even nominated it (my memory is not so good), but I don't consider it a perfect post.

It is however, the kind of damning indictment of the Bush Administration's performance that is starting to be heard, and ought to be heard, from people who essentially believe in the idea of the humanitarian justification for overthrowing Saddam and the principle of spreading democracy.

The comments in the thread are particularly good, if you skip over the usual trolling.

Also getting votes were What Went Wrong? by Augean Stables, a blog new to mee but well worth reading. This post takes on the Walt-Mearsheimer study.

To put it slightly differently, the power of the Israel Lobby lies not in its money (Arabs have much more) or its numbers (there are already many more Muslims in the USA than Jews, and Jews don’t vote in a block for pro-Israel candidates), but on the compelling logic of the case, on the deep similarities in values and commitments between Israelis and Americans. Not only is Israel the only reliable ally in the Middle East (something W-M seem to have no clue about), but it is America’s only ally not subject to the politics of resentment.

Other votes went to Passing the Baton by Democracy Frontline, an Australian blogger. The post is a moving tribute on the occasion of ANZAC Day to the writer's grandfather's service a Galipoli, which progresses to a call for renewed dedication to the struggles at hand:

Our troops are deployed from the Pacific to the Middle East – in East Timor, the Solomons, Israel, the Sinai, the Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

They are trying to restore order and keep peace in areas where the civilities we take for granted have disappeared.

Though it was hoped after World War I and World War II that nations would agree to mechanisms which would see the threat of war disappear, it was not to be.

There will always be optimists who believe their own better angels are abundantly evident elsewhere, but it is not so.

For various reasons, ranging from the criminal to the ideological, there are those who are determined to bring about chaos to impose their will.

Sometimes I hesitate to use the noun "writer" in reference to a blogger. This isn't one of them.

Other votes went to Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 318 -- Black Gold, Texas Tea by WILLisms and The Peanutbutter Conspiracy by Protein Wisdom, always a good read. Like Rick Moran (see above), he goes at the Mary McCarthy story armed with John Kerry's worldview and finds some interesting angles:

Ah, but there’s the rub, isn’t it: confidentiality. Evidently, an emerging trial balloon being floated by some on the left (and some civil libertarians who, like their throwback hippie brethren, have gone off their nut) is that confidentiality itself is the problem: in short, a government that has something to “hide” is a government that must necessarily be engaging in illegal and immoral activities. Therefore, it is the duty of national security officers and employees to leak secrets in order to undermine the war in Iraq—at least, according to the Truth Telling Coalition, a group formed by famed “whistleblower” Daniel Ellsberg.

A more egregious example of self-righteous lawbreaking justified by blinkered question begging ("the Iraq war is wrong, therefore anything leaked that helps put an end to American involvement in Iraq is patriotic and good") you’re unlikely to find anywhere (except perhaps in a textbook on fallacies of argument). But what should also be apparent is that such actions are inherently anti-democratic, as they attempt to effect a soft foreign policy coup against the elected leadership by way of promoting lawbreaking based upon their beliefs about how US foreign policy
should be run.