Friday, July 13, 2007

Council Winners

[posted by Callimachus]

Watchers Council winners for the week of July 13 have been posted.

First place in the Council went to High Noonan by Big Lizards, which explains some of the difference between Reagan conservatives and pure conservatives.

Votes also went to The NYT -- "Run Away! Run Away!" by Joshuapundit; Bad Medicine *BUMPED* at Bookworm Room; and Independence Day from right here.

My vote this week went to Army Recruitment and the Influencers by The Education Wonks, which I thought was poignant and powerful, drawing from the writer's personal experience and reflecting the sort of quiet anguish that churns inside many honest patriotic people these days.

The writer is a veteran, and one who recognizes the opportunities the military offers. He is a classroom teacher who, when his students approach him about the idea of a military career, has tended to encourage it. Several have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But recently that has changed.

With the mission in Iraq becoming ever more muddled and still with no end in sight, (and seemingly no plan for Victory in place) it's become clear that the maiming and killing of (mostly) young Americans will continue for the foreseeable future.

The Bush Administration is unwilling to concede defeat and order the withdrawal retreat of our forces from Iraq.

The Administration is also unwilling to raise the large number of troops needed (and untie our military's hands) in order to allow them to defeat the enemy's forces in the field as well as utterly destroy his will to fight.

Still.... as one of my students' "influencers," I cannot find it within myself to actively discourage young people from serving in our country's armed forces.

To do so would undermine our War Effort, and I simply cannot do that.

But to advise students to enlist in order to go into battle and possibly be injured or killed when our own government doesn't seem to know what it wants to do over there would be disingenuous on my part.

So ... for the time being, I'm sad to say that I'll no longer be able to say, "yes!" without hesitation when asked by students about serving in our military.

From this point forward, I'll have to say, "I don't know. Please talk it over with your parents."

Little sea changes. They mean more to the future of the country than all the Cindy Sheehan marches or Tom Friedman editorials in the world.

Outside the council, first place went to Interview With Todd Bensman at View From a Height. Bensman is a newspaperman (San Antonio Express-News) who has written about potentially disturbing cases of people from Middle Eastern countries sneaking into the United States across the porous southern border which so many Latin Americans daily cross.

Votes also went to Anti-American July 4th, a photo essay from Zombietime. I nominated that one. But I ended up casting my main vote for Human Pre-History at Sake White, which is written by "ymarsakar," who I believe also is one of the most insightful commenters on a number of blogs I read regularly. I'd buy him away from them if I could afford him. If so, I didn't know till now he had his own place.

This post in particular touches on a couple of themes that are looped into my head, including the fundamental, if ephemeral, differences between Americans (people who in most cases chose to leave or were expelled from every other country in the world, and weren't missed) and, well, people from every other country in the world who chose to stay there, or who got along well enough with the mass that they weren't kicked out.

A vote also went to Appreciating Snark at The Paragraph Farmer, which was, amusingly, a refutation of a piece I wrote, and submitted, the previous week. My response to it (written before this week's nominations were announced) is here.