Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Council Winners

Council winners have been posted for the week of Feb. 22.

Appropriately for the date, the winner in the council was Make Washington's Birthday a National Holiday Again from Right Wing Nut House. I've been on board with that for a long time.

Also getting votes were Iraqi Political Progress Leaves Few Places For The Left To Move The Target at Wolf Howling. He rightly picks up on the importance of the CSIS Cordesman report (PDF). It's interesting to watch the reaction to this in the commentariat, as everyone seems to think it fulfills his own version of the Iraq narrative.

I'm cautious talking about the recent changes for the better in Iraq, in part because I have a superstition about bragging on things that are yet fragile. If you look at page 2 of the Cordesman report, you'll see the list of things that still need to be done. Which were the things that needed to be done in 2003, too. So, basically, we're where we were when the Saddam statue got pulled down. And with public patience in the war pretty well worn out. The last 5 years has been a diversion -- perhaps unavoidable, perhaps even necessary to long-term success (certain enemies had to prevail long enough to show their nature; certain people had to get the martyrdoms they sought; certain Americans in country had to learn more about Iraq). But it wasn't something anyone seems to have anticipated -- it doesn't fit either "quagmire" or "cakewalk" narratives. Reality has that quality.

Votes also went to Muslims and the Right Not To Be Offended by Joshuapundit; and Anti-Terror Fantasies by Soccer Dad.

Outside the council, the winner was Michael J. Totten's The Dungeon of Fallujah, an account of his visit to an Iraqi prison. If you want an essential read for determining the state of things in Iraq today, in the essential areas of police and military competence and Sunni confidence, you've got to read these.

Votes also went to How Rachel Corrie Really Died (Hint: Not Protecting a House) by Israel Matzav; Feels Like the First Time at Captain's Quarters; U.S. Rewarding Palestinian Terrorism at The Terror Finance Blog; and Dear Paperlicious -- Stamping and Politics at Paperlicious.