Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year From The Watcher's Council

The Council has spoken, choosing the first winners of 2010 in this week's competition. And there's some superb weekend reading in in store for you.

In the Council category, the overwhelming winner - I don't believe anyone's ever gotten a higher vote total - this week was Wolf Howling with his excellent essay on the unrest in Iran Ashura - A New Phase To The Revolution:

It cannot be stated often enough that Obama's lack of leadership and his lack of strategic vision in failing to decisively support revolution in Iran are mistakes of the highest order. While Obama plays golf in Hawaii, the people of Iran are fighting, bleeding and dying in the streets for freedom from the oppression of a regime that is every bit as much our and the world's enemy as it is the Iranian people's. While Obama's foreign policy acts of his first year have been one misstep after another, it is this misstep that is exponentially the worst. [Update: Obama has since made a reasonably strong statement in support of the protesters (see here), though he still does not condemn the regime as illegitimate. I applaud Obama's decision to finally speak up. That said, it remains to be seen whether this marks a months late decision by Obama to lend decisive support to the protesters (something which even WaPo, in an editorial, is calling upon him to do) or whether Obama has made merely a pro forma statement that he does not intend to follow up.]

By all accounts, the Iranian peoples' protests against the regime yesterday on the holy day of Ashura (see here) were the "largest," "bloodiest," and most wide spread of the protests to date. There are several things of significance about yesterday's protests that suggest Ashura marks a new phase to the revolution.

In the wake of the mid level cleric-cum-Supreme Guide Khameini's ever more brutal repression, the size of Iran's protests had been dwindling since June. The people of Iran, other than a hard core at the center, appeared to be cowed. That has been reversed. The size of the protests that began earlier this week with Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's funeral and culminated in yesterday's holy day of Ashura were back to, if not in excess of, June levels. Moreover, they involved new and different classes of protesters. The protests now included many religious Iranians outraged at the regime's lack of principals and many of the lower class. The protests show a very much revitalized opposition to the regime that is, as Michael Ledeen notes, "very broad based."

In the non-Council category the winner this week is the always fascinating Robert J. Averach at Seraphic Secret with
his take on th edifferences between airline security in israel as opposed to the rest of the West, Suicide In Slow Motion:

Flying is unbearable.

Not because we're jammed like sardines into a steel tube and frequently treated like cheap luggage by the obviously unhappy flight attendants.

No, air travel is a horror because radical Islam has terrorized the entire planet. If we did not have checkpoints in every airport, in every terminal, death would endlessly rain from the skies.

I'm always amused by those who decry the Israeli checkpoints that are maintained in order to thwart terrorist attacks.

Checkpoints in Israel are not restricted to the movement of Arab Muslims.

No, when you go to a mall in Israel you have to pass through a checkpoint. If you go to the movies, checkpoint. Restaurant, cafe, department store—everyone passes through a checkpoint.

In Israel, checkpoints are a way of life. The citizenry, right wing, left wing, Jew, Muslim, Mormon, Christian, Druze, Coptic, Catholic, Samaritan, Russian Orthodox, whatever, everyone submits because checkpoints are designed to protect, well, everyone.

The PLO pioneered airline terrorism—who says Islam isn't an innovator?—and ever since their reign of terror began in the 60's the world is held hostage by a growing number of caliphate Muslims, creatures who yearn for the 7th century even as they use the technology of the 21st century to bring about Armageddon.

When I move through our airports and observe the TSA workers, I do not feel safe. That's because the TSA workers seem more like the product of some dopey works program. They are interchangeable with the angry bureaucrats at the DMV or the U.S. Post Office.

This is a stark contrast to the intense and eagle-eyed El Al security agents who are actually trained in counter terrorism, and whose methods are mostly invisible and involve vetting passengers before they get to the airport.

Council Notes: If you want to see your blog piece listed on the Watcher’s Council page as an honorable mention, our generous offer of link whorage remains open. Here's how you take advantage of it:
  • Simply make a post linking to this week’s Council winners

  • Send me an e-mail with the subject line ‘link whorage’ at before 5PM next Tuesday, December 22nd. Include a link to that post and a link to the piece you want to appear in next week's Honorable Mentions

  • The resulting fame, glory and increased traffic are yours for the taking.

  • Here's the complete rundown of this week's results. Only the Provocateur and Mere Rhetoric were unable to vote, but only Mere Rhetoric was affected by the mandatory 2/3 vote penalty.

    I can't wait to see next week's exciting entries, and as always, congratulations not only to the winners but to all the participants.

    Have a wonderful New Year, from all of us at the Watcher's Council!

    Council Submissions

    Non-Council Submissions

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