Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Watcher's Council Nominations, 12/06/06

Every week, the Watcher's Council nominate two posts each, one from the Council members and one from outside for consideration by the whole Council. The complete list of this week's Council nominations can be found at the site of our fearless leader, Watcher of Weasels

We have something new in store for you this week...blogger Andrew Olmsted has been selected to fill the vacant seat on the Watcher's Council. He has a fine site, provides a unique perspective and will, I'm sure, be a worthy and most welcome addition to the Council..check him out.

1. J O S H U A P U N D I T: Hiding behind the wall... An old friend sent me last week's Tom Friedman's latest from the NYT, in which he epitomizes the neo-isolationist, `realist' position. Of course, people like Friedman are not `realistic' in any sense of the word.

His latest proposal? In one sentence: let's get out of Iraq and the Middle East as soon as possible, become energy independent and build a `virtual wall' between the region and ourselves.

What's even more grimly humorous is that he cites what he refers to as the `successful' Israeli tactics of retreating from Gaza and building a wall to hide behind and suggests we emulate them!

No joke.

In this weeks' piece, I examine Mr. Friedman's ideas, which have become very fashionable in the wake of the problems and mismanagement in Iraq, and explain why he and those that think like him are living in delusion.

2. Gates of Vienna: The Latest Chapter of The Incredibly Shrinking Church In her fine essay, Dymphna writes about the wit n' wisdom of the newly elected Presiding Bishop of the Epicopal Church, Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, as revealed by Mark Steyn's take on an interview with her.

As Dymphna points out, `The choice of this particular person to lead this particular church at this particular time demonstrates to perfection how and why The Incredibly Shrinking Church is showing all the signs and smells of rigor mortis.'

3. Done With Mirrors: Who loses Calimachus has an extremely well done piece this week on the perceptions of `who lost Iraq' here in America as opposed to among our enemies. He talks about the phenomenon of lost national will and it's supreme importance in victory and defeat.

4. Soccer Dad: Carter slanders, russert defers Soccer Dad writes about the recent appearance of anti-Semite and ex-president Jimmy Carter on Tim Russert's `Meet the Press' and does a superb job of eviscerating Carter's slanderous and dissembling replies to Russert's questions and takes issue - rightly so, from the clips and transcripts I've seen - with Russert's softball handling of this interview.

If Jimmy Carter was talking about Muslims or Arabs instead of Jews, would his reception have been the same? One wonders...

5. Right Wing Nut House : A WELCOME DIVERSION: LET’S TALK COFFEE Hey, Rick's a coffee lover! Me too. Everything you ever wanted to know about G-d's gift to Monday mornings. And well written too, I might add.

6.The Sundries Shack: Meet the New Strategy. Same as the Old Strategy. Jimmie takes on the Iraq Study group report in his usual entertaining and straightforward style.

I'd would only say that the Iraq Study Group did in fact come up with a couple of new wrinkles - like bribing Syria and Iran with concessions to allow us to leave and getting a lot of those concessions by pressuring Israel to endanger its security, in exchange for `security guarantees' and a UN peacekeeping force.

The Israelis will only go for this if they've forgotten their history. Aside from the more recent fiasco in Lebanon, there was a UN peacekeeping in Sinai as part of the `security guarantees' to Israel as part of the settlement of the 1956 war. In 1967, the UN force pulled out in less than 24 hours when Nasser ordered them out..without even bothering to inform the Israelis that they were leaving!

7. Rhymes With Right: Dennis Prager Dead Wrong On Ellison & Koran Here, Greg writes about the flap caused by talk show host and author Dennis Prager's crusade to get newly elected Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison to swear his oath on a Bible rather than a Qu'ran
`out of respect for America's traditions.'

I know Dennis personally, and he's a brilliant man,but he could not be more wrong on this one. Aside from the constitutional issues,which Greg points out beautifully, there is the little issue that, according to the Qu'ran, no oath made by a Muslim to a non-Muslim is binding anyway.

As a matter of fact, if it's a matter of promoting Islam, Muslims are encouraged to practice taqiya (dissembling)towards infidels!

As an ex-member of the Nation of Islam and CAIR's own congressman, Ellison is unlikely to be overly solicitous about niceties like oaths, if it comes down to a choice between sharia and the Constitution.

8. ShrinkWrapped: The Road to Hell ShrinkWrapped writes about the selective parsing and interpetation of the First Amendment by activist judges like Justice Breyer. Is some freedom of speech more protected? All animals are equal, but are some animals more equal than others

9. The Glittering Eye : How to lose support for a war Dave also writes about the necessity for civilian support for war. here, he uses Walter Russell Mead's classic political/historical divisions to show how each of these groups perceived the Iraq War..and how the support of the members of each of these groups was lost. A fine analysis by Dave, and one I agree with for the most part.

10. The Education Wonks: Suspending Disbelief In Oregon Here, EdWonk writes about a student who was expelled for telling another student that leprechauns don't exist.

Of course they exist...I saw the movie!

11. AMERICAN FUTURE - On Negotiating with Iran and Syria — Part II In the second part of a twofer Marc writes a fine piece on the so-called `realists' and the stupidity of trying to enlist parties to stabilize Iraq thathave absolutely no interst in doing so. Well done.

12.Andrew Olmsted : What the U.S. Needs from its Armed Forces: Major Andrew Olmsted's debut piece concerns the purpose of our armed forces and how the method and mission have changed to emphasize counter-insurgency:

`American interests, at least according to our actions of the past century, stretch well beyond the borders of the United States. As long as we determine our national interests in that fashion, the ability to defend ourselves alone will be insufficient. That means we need armed forces capable of fighting and winning against insurgencies as well as in high-intensity conflict. That means we need to make some significant changes in how we construct our armed forces'.

I agree with Major Olmsted..but I would add one small point. Some wars are fought as `counter-insurgencies' when what they really are is wars against a foreign power with a counter-insurgency element - like Iraq.Go to the source and interdict the supply routes and the logistics and the counter-insurgency takes on a more manageable character, in my view.

That's this week's lineup..enjoy!

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