Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Council Winners

[posted by Callimachus]

Watchers Council winners for the week of Sept. 21 have been posted.

First place in the council went to Is War With Iran Now Just a Matter of Time? by Right Wing Nut House.

Votes also went to Freedom, But From What? by Bookworm Room; "Surge a Failure, Democrats Tell General" by Big Lizards; California Legislature Intent On Violating California Constitution by Rhymes With Right; LA Times: "No Blood For Oil" Lackey by Cheat Seeking Missiles; and Exploitation? by The Education Wonks.

Outside the council, votes heavily concentrated on two posts: Dead Eyes at Acute Politics, which won in a tiebreaker over Iraq the Model by Dean Barnett.

The former is a brief and luminous post in the genre that's come to be called milblogging. Here's how it begins:

It wasn't a good night to have a new LT on patrol. Our LT was was out with us, of course - the new guy would be leading the platoon coming to replace us. We were on a mission that could easily turn bad - as it happened, everyones night but ours was bad. We waited around at a Combat Outpost for hours for our Marine attachments to resolve some equiqment issues, cleared our route, and went home. One of our sister platoons ended up MEDIVACing two men on a helicopter after an IED strike, while another route clearance team out of Falluja was hit multiple times, and an EOD team hit a bomb that flipped a Cougar and sent two techs to the hospital.

The writing is assured, weary, compelling -- authentic. His commenters are right: This soldier needs a book deal.

The second is a rallying cry for continued attention to Iraq, and a reminder of the cost of failure -- but also of the chance and hope of success, something heard less and less even in posts urging sustained effort.

More than anything else, Iraq is ground zero in the current war of ideas. If the Iraqis decide to edge away from modernity and instead embrace genocide and Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, it will serve as a clear signal that the war of ideas is lost and that a real war is inevitable. If, however, democracy and tolerance can take root in Iraq, then quite literally it can happen anywhere.

Partly for its difficulties, the Iraq war is providing a blueprint for winning the war of ideas. That of course assumes we win in Iraq and something resembling a modern, peaceful nation arises from the enormous American and Iraqi sacrifices made to date. If we lose, then those who claim to so piously desire peace will really have something to weep about.

Votes also went to Taking Away Rights and Calling It a "Right" by Classical Values and "al Qaidastan" Rising by ZenPundit.