Sunday, March 12, 2006

Watcher of Weasels Council Winners for March 3rd

 
Watcher's CouncilI have a good excuse for being this late. It’s SigCarlFred’s fault. I couldn’t figure out how to snip a piece of his post in the non-Council section. Finally, the Baron showed me how to view the source, word wrap, and take what I needed. Of course, I would’ve been late anyway, just not as bad…

Council Winners

First place went to “Done With Mirrors” for “Our George”. His excellent essay makes a case for the restoration of Washington’s place in our country’s mythos:

Washington is beginning to recover his reputation; he deserves it. He was the steady hand on the tiller when we set sail as a nation. Steadiness, not reckless innovation, was the thing America needed at the time. It's to his credit that we forget the serpents of tyranny and mob rule that slithered about the American cradle. To remember, read the history of the French Revolution.

The painter Benjamin West wrote that when he talked to King George III during the Revolutionary War, the monarch asked him what he thought George Washington would do if he prevailed.

Return to his farm, West predicted -- accurately, as it turned out.

"If he does that," King George remarked, "he will be the greatest man in the world."

I've said this before. George Washington's birthday should recover its original place in our national calendar. In the early 19th century, it was one of the two great national holidays -- along with the 4th of July.

Notably, President Washington is mostly ignored now. He has had the kind of calumny heaped upon him that, say, Lincoln has borne.

“The Breach” by New Sisyphus takes on the military/political cant that surrounded our entry into Afghanistan and our subsequent tactics there. Here’s what should have been done:

Afghanistan should have been invaded and occupied by a very large all-American army. Unlawful combatants, including Taliban spokesmen, should have been summarily shot, as is proper under both international law and the law of warfare as it has evolved. The war should have gone through Pakistan, laying to waste a government and a country that was the Taliban's main enablers. The entire area should have been laid to waste, destroyed completely and utterly; and then, having delivered the short, sharp punic lesson, we should have withdrawn en masse.

I thought so then, I think so now. Instead, what we got was PC cant about how we were "liberating" the Afghans. What was sold as an unrelenting war instead became a long-term occupation, with us playing at teaching a traditional, hide-bound Muslim society about multi-culturalism, tolerance, love, peace and harmony. We installed a government and backed it with power so weak its writ barely carried into outer Kabul, let alone the badlands. We issued press releases patting ourselves on the back about how many women attended the constitutional convention, as if such a thing would be happening were we not there with guns…

New Sisyphus’ robust response might have led to a greater peace in the long run. Read the whole thing…’cause we’re going to be talking about this for years to come.

Shrinkwrapped tied for second with “The Information War.” No one in the blogosphere explains perception better than he does. Linked with New Sisyphus, there is a kind of synergy that allows us to see America’s great virtue as her great failing. We are always hesitant, we want to be seen as “the nice guy”. It never works:

…it is important to recognize the importance of "authority" in shaping perceptions; second, the plasticity of perception and memory requires constant vigilance to safe guard reality.

The Vietnam War was arguably lost 38 years ago today, when Walter Cronkite, "the most trusted man in America", during the CBS Evening News broadcast, declared, after the Tet Offensive in 1968, that our war effort was " mired in stalemate."

[…]

Cronkite was not anti-American, however, his error was instrumental in turning a terrible defeat for the North Vietnamese into a disaster for America. By virtue of his unassailable authority, he turned himself into the best weapon the North Vietnamese Communists would ever acquire.

[…]

Cronkite was not anti-American, however, his error was instrumental in turning a terrible defeat for the North Vietnamese into a disaster for America. By virtue of his unassailable authority, he turned himself into the best weapon the North Vietnamese Communists would ever acquire.

[…]

It occurred to me that while many people have assumed that the MSM have "chosen sides" and are in opposition to the West, there is really no particular evidence for such a claim. How is it that so much of the MSM reporting is inaccurate, slanted, partially accurate, and seemingly almost designed to damage our war efforts, not only in Iraq, but throughout the entire sphere of the Information War against Islamic fascism?

Go see which four groups he names as most damaging to America.


Non Council Winners

The Beginning of the Universe is Michael Totten’s fascinating look at an ancient people. After reading his post, you are left wondering, “why them? Why did these people survive being conquered by Islam— even revered by it — and keep their identity?

Totten explains why he went and shows us what he found when he got there. His pictures are worth their load time, his observations carefully anthropological:

In Northern Iraq there is a place called Lalish where the Yezidis say the universe was born. I drove south from Dohok on snowy roads through an empty land, seemingly to the ends of the earth, and found it nestled among cold hills.

I went there because the President of Dohok University told me to go. “I am a Muslim,” he said. “But I love the Yezidis. Theirs is the original religion of the Kurds. Only through the Yezidis can I speak to God in my own language.”

Yezidis are ancient fire-worshippers. They heavily influenced Zoroastrianism, and in turn have been heavily influenced by Sufi Islam. The temple at Lalish is their “Mecca.” Hundreds of thousands of remaining Yezidis — those Kurds who refused to submit to Islam — make pilgrimages there at least once in their lifetimes from all over the Middle East and Europe.

Seeing this post, you can understand why the Yezidis are attractive, but you’re still left wondering how in the world they survived so long when so many other cultures were obliterated. Strange.

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred has some parting words for the graduates of Stupid University… come to think of it, I know a few of these students. At any rate, SigCarl gives it his usual subtle interpretation:

Think about this, morons. For decades, Arab countries have tightly controlled the movement of people within their borders. No one left, no one came in, unless allowed to. How is it that so many 'foreign fighters' are managing to make their way across borders, to make their way into Iraq, 'without the knowledge of their governments'? Why can't the ancient communities of Jews and Christians seem to make their way out of regimes that persecute them and effectively hold them hostage? Jews and Christians cannot escape to find refuge, while terrorists seem to have travel passes to wherever they wish to go.

Ah, the liberties a terrorist can take. Almost makes you wish you could don the nail bomb jacket, eh?

All the rest of us are over The Watcher’s Place. See you there.

1 comments:

Dave Schuler said...

How did the Yezidis hold out? Same way the Swiss did: nobody else wanted what they had and they defended it savagely when challenged.