Monday, November 19, 2007

Council Winners

Watchers Council winners for the week of Nov. 16 have been posted.

First place in the council went to 'Land For Peace', American Style by Joshuapundit.

Votes also went to School District & Cops Agree -- Ignore The Law by Rhymes With Right; Racist Talk About Education by Bookworm Room; Behind the Anger from right here; Hollywood's KoolAid Fest Continues: Wimps for Lambs by Cheat Seeking Missiles; and Poverty and Terror, Again by Soccer Dad.

Outside the council, the winner was A Conversation in Bagram, Afghanistan at Austin Bay Blog. I knew as soon as I read this one that looking at the rest of the list would be a mere formality. It's a calmly passionate rallying cry and a reminder that, however messy and ugly the work being done in our names in Afghanistan and Iraq is, it's got to be finished, and no one has really articulated a better alternative to the answer we've chosen to give.

The carping and bickering about it at home -- and the general ignorance about it on all sides -- have taken their toll on those doing the heavy lifting. That is more or less true in all wars; it is perhaps true to an unnecessary degree in this one.

There are those bearing the burden — for example, him — and those who don’t. Unfortunately, with a few stellar, brave exceptions, only the US military has shown up for this war, and you’re one of those who’ve shown up and shown up again. But show me the alternative? You show me the alternative, given our circumstances, and we will do it. But consider our circumstances, our planetary circumstances. Afghanistan is a desperate, dusty hellhole with altitude, poverty, and little else. An Afghani expatriate — an LA millionaire in the engineering business who went back as a translator in 2005– told me that his “old country had been poor but beautiful until 1973. '73– that’s when the civil war started. Thirty years of war — the worst courtesy of the Russians and the Taliban — had savaged the place. You know, ash and dust.

Now, once upon a time we could ignore those suffering in the planet’s hard corners. Oh, we could send them a few bucks and the Lefties could bitch about colonialism and capitalism but the hard corners were isolated. A threat to security? Only nuns and missionaries and you are your brothers keeper types thought so. Well guess what — the nuns were right. 9/11 changed that deceptive calculus. Distance? Colonel, there isn’t any distance. We learned that the destruction of New York and Washington started in the backwaters, of Afghanistan, of Somalia. Technology has done it. We can’t escape one another, for good and for bad. Jet transports, like the ones out on the runway at Bagram, put you on the other side of the globe in 14 hours. The internet doesn’t require description. East Asia shares diseases with Africa within days, if not hours. And special weapons? Nukes and nerve gas make every tribal war an international crisis. Goodbye Tokyo, Moscow, or Miami— because a sophisticated tribesman at war with his eternally despised neighbor decides that demolishing the global economy would make everyone pay attention to his neglected, forgotten grievance. Tyrannies keep breeding this insanity.

The only solution is consensus, wealth-producing societies, where everyone gets a say and everyone has a buy-in. If it sounds like democracy then call it that. It’s sustainable stability, ever evolving sustainable stability when people police terrorists and don’t promote them. That’s a long struggle, and struggle may be a more apt word than war. But achieving it is so difficult. It takes more than military power, we know that. he politics and economics will be decisive, but as long as the thugs are willing to kill we must fight. Is there a substitute for courage? If there is, show it to me.

Votes also went to November 1947 and Annapolis Déjà Vu by The Elder of Ziyon; and Stereotyping 101 by American Thinker.