Sunday, November 26, 2006

Council Winners

[posted by Callimachus]

Watchers Council winners from Nov. 24 have been posted.

First place within the council went to Our Rules of Engagement in Iraq by American Future. I love Marc's site because while 10,000 bloggers a day are posing and bloviating about something they've heard or seen, he's usually in there trying to answer the unasked, but essential, questions.

And here he's got a whopper:

In the recent avalanche of editorials, op-eds, commentaries, articles, and books on Iraq, there's surprisingly little attention paid to our rules of engagement (ROE), much less to the impact of those rules on the effectiveness of our military actions.

He serves up a detailed presentation of the U.S. rules of engagement in Iraq, and concludes:

Without maintaining that our forces have never deviated from these rules of engagement, it's clear that our intent has been to fight a "civilized" war. From a humanitarian standpoint, this objective is commendable. However, fighting with one hand tied behind our back (to borrow a phrase from the Vietnam era) has undoubtedly resulted in greater American casualties and made it more difficult to prevail against an enemy that obeys no rules. The limitations, by enhancing the ability of the insurgents and terrorists to carry on the fight, have probably resulted in more, not fewer, civilian casualties. If our rules of engagement were formulated, in part, to present a better face to the "international community," they have failed. Nobody has commended us for our good behavior.

Second place went to Media Icons from right here.

Votes also went to Is This How EduCorruption Smells? by The Education Wonks, which examines a news story that starts like this:

To get proper schooling for their severely autistic son, an Irvine couple say they were forced to shower employees at his elementary school with diamond jewelry, Coach bags, Chanel perfume and other lavish gifts worth a total of $100,000, according to a legal claim filed this month.

Votes also went to A Dirty Little Secret by ShrinkWrapped, which is pegged to Pat Conroy's An Honest Confession by an American Coward. Conroy's piece is one I'd like to leave on the pillow of every Old Hippie I share breathing space with. ShrinkWrapped's take on it gets to the gist here:

A generation that was successfully able to avoid conflict is necessarily left wondering how they would have responded to danger. Were we motivated by cowardice in our opposition to the Vietnam War? It is inarguable that fear played a role in the anti-war movement. The proof was that once Congress did away with the draft, the opposition to the war dissipated with alarming speed. Without the threat of being drafted, few were motivated to battle to oppose a war that, until the moment the draft was repealed, was widely characterized as immoral, illegal, and based on lies.

Another vote went to All Your Smoking Are Belong To Us, by Right Wing Nut House, which doesn't quite come out and say, "when they came for the smokers, I said nothing," but you get to the same place:

It is not about health. It is about control. And if you don’t recognize this, if you don’t stand with smokers in opposition to these kinds of draconian, un-American. illiberal, liberty busting laws, then there is little hope for you when they want to take away something that either you like to eat or drink.

Outside the Council, winners concentrated on the new Democratic congressional leaders. First place went to Congressman Conyers and Islam by Daled Amos, which summarizes some of the Michigan Democrat's curious and fuzzy pronouncements.

Votes also went to Democrats' Bait and Switch Election Strategy by The American Thinker, who claims that "Democrats of 2006 were faster in retracting their campaign promises than [Bill] Clinton."

Other votes went to Lost In Translation (Weekend Thread) by All Things Beautiful, in which a site that typical spares no quarter in its rhetorical war against jihadism takes the time to differentiate that from disrespect for Muslims personally. Something that ought to be done more often.

Another vote (I believe one of mine) went to A Countdown to War P2: The Caucasian Tinderbox by Tao of Defiance. This is the kind of thing blogs can do well: Explaining tangled political messes in parts of the world overlooked by the media (because nothing's happening there ... yet) and identifying how they are likely to turn into hot spots; in this case the "overcrowded chessboard" of ex-Soviet republics north of Iran and Turkey. If you've ever played an overcrowded chessboard, you know what tends to happen.

Votes also went to Yes, They Exist. No, They Aren’t the Solution by Our Children Are the Guarantors (the "they" being "moderate Muslims"), and to Indian Muslims Also Pay for Their Jihadist Leadership by Judith Apter Klinghoffer on a History News Network site.