Monday, June 18, 2007

Council Winners

[posted by Callimachus]

Watchers Council winners for June 14 have been posted.

First place in the council went to Judging People By Their Friends and Their Enemies by Bookworm Room, about the "certain sneering tone to the coverage about Bush’s visit to the Albanians — along the lines of “can you believe that those primitive yahoos admire President Bush (guffaw!!)."

Yes, that was there. It reminded me of the mockery of the countries in the "colaition of the willing" back at the start of the Iraq war, by Michael Moore and others, in which some formidable military powers were lumped in with the "mee-toos" on the mockery list by observers who didn't understand much and who seemed to have forgotten that "repsect for the rest of the world" was supposed to be one of their values. And it gave away the game that that respect, in their minds, stops short at any nation or government that lends a hand to an American project or president.

Votes also went to “And the Wall Came a Tum-ba-lin' Down...” by Right Wing Nut House, about Reagan's great Berlin speech; Steering Away from the Shoals by The Glittering Eye, which traces a line from the ancient Greeks to Joe Klein; Something Wicked This Way Comes -- A Democrat Congress Tryin' To Fix the Alternative Minimum Tax by ‘Okie’ on the Lam; A Modest Proposal for Middle East Peace by Joshuapundit; and my Diplomacy.

I thought Joshuapundit's piece was particularly interesting, and not necessarily the pure satire he intended:

Since much of the EU and non-EU countries like Norway continue to be so enamored of the Palestinians, I suggest they issue visas and take these people in forthwith. After all, the countries of the Middle East are pretty much tired of them, especially their `Arab brothers', who've killed and expelled more `Palestinians' then the Israelis ever did., and the Palestinians obviously are lining up to go there. With a little luck, the `Palestinian' leaders can go with provide guidance and political representation, as it were. Thus, the Europeans who have such high regard for these folks can experience the joy of living next to them firsthand.

And the Europeans would get the chance to do what they've always advocated for Israel ... make a Sacrifice for Peace.

The plight of the Israeli Palestinians after World War II was not unlike that of the Sudeten Germans or the Romanian and Hungarian minorities in western Ukraine: Their leaders arguably took the wrong side in World War II, and partly as a result the whole people was partially dispossessed by the victors. In each of those other cases, European nations managed to absorb the refugees and integrate them into the broader society; not without some pain. So, too, the Americans have made room for Vietnamese and Hmong refugees, not without some grudging and foot-dragging.

Outside the council, the winner was Death or Glory Part II of IV by Michael Yon. It's almost not a contest when Yon enters the fray. His work is so relevant, indispensibe, and unique that little can compare. He is a media of one, and where we write in armchairs, he writes it in the shadow of a machine gun.

Also getting votes were Why the Pew Study of American Muslims Is Dangerously Incomplete at Family Security Matters; my nomination Moving Violations at Guernica (I should qualify that; I've learned that Dave Schuler and I sometimes nominate the same pieces without realizing it); Iraq: Consequences of Defeat by our friend Marc Schulman at The Moderate Voice:

History isn’t a sequence of unconnected chapters. World War I set the stage for World War II; the second of the two world wars prepared the way for the Cold War. While I don’t question the motives of those for whom defeat in Iraq is acceptable (or even desirable), I do question their wisdom. Opposition to our military intervention in Iraq isn’t a justification for countenancing defeat. Unfortunately, this is a widespread sentiment, as these excerpts from letters to the New York Times editors attest[.]

Votes also went to Female Genital Mutilation: An Islamic Practice at Tao of Defiance, which I thought made a strenuous, but ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to prove its case, foundering in the murk that claims every effort to lay a clear wall down between "religion" and "culture."