Friday, October 21, 2005

Another Watchers' Council, A Little More Wisdom

Watcher's CouncilA polyglot collection of essays this week at the Watcher’s Council.

In first place for Council members was The Glittering Eye’s A sketch history of U. S. military bases in the Middle East: the Overthrow of Mossadegh
     At the end of World War II the United States was left with something like 15 military bases in the Middle East and North Africa. Despite this military presence the United States was apparently not regarded as an occupying power or as a colonizer. Two factors seem to have changed this: the state of Israel and the overthrow of the Mossadegh government in Iran in 1953.
This is important not only for its run down on important dates, but for his analyses regarding how we came to be involved in Iran. Definitely a stellar post.

On the non-Council posts, there was a clear first place winner followed by three blogs tying for second place. I’ve not been a member for very long, but I don’t remember such an even-handed breakdown of the count before.

First place went to Iraq the Model for his take on the historic events that have occurred in his country in the last few years. He wrote his essay on the eve of the election, so he didn’t know how things would turn out:
     Only hours separate us from a major historic day for our nation (too many historic days for Iraq in these two years!). Tomorrow will draw a line that would mark the beginning of a new era in Iraq; a constitutional Iraq will become reality.
It’s only a beginning since there will be more steps to go but it’s the right beginning because it’s a transition from temporary laws to a permanent-though amendable-constitution on which the people will assume control through their elected representatives and through their own direct votes.
It is really amazing how things have changed in Iraq; three years ago Saddam “won” 100% of the votes in a pathetic referendum that he designed in order to give legitimacy to his reign while yesterday even security detainees were allowed to express their opinion on the constitution through voting and the government and parliament are almost begging the 15 million plus voters to say ‘yes’!
And although many signs indicate that the document is on its way to be ratified, no one can say it is until the people decide which checkbox to tic tomorrow.
Some people would say “Is that all you won, after more than two years of war and violence? That’s only one basic right” well, that is the point; we’ve secured one key right that can help us secure the rest.
It is fitting that he ends with a prayer and a blessing:
     Tomorrow will be another day for Iraqi bravery. May God protect you my people…you have suffered so much and you will still be suffering for some time but I am sure the future will be bright.
God bless you my people and all the freedom lovers who keep sacrificing to make this world a better place.
And then there are three second place winners.

The first in line is The Quando Blog’s “Steps to Limited Government.” He says there are three steps to halting the current mess, then enumerates and explains them. The first is transparency, the second is some kind of price mechanism, and the third is consequences. From his blog to God’s ears, please.

The next second place tie is Armies of Liberation’s "Chemical Weapons, Drug Smuggling, and Other Crimes of the Yemeni Dictator."
Why does he bring up Yemini now? Here’s why:
     Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is scheduled to visit the United States in November for a round of meetings with President Bush and other high ranking US officials. As the representative of the Yemeni people, Saleh deserves a great deal of respect and hospitality. Yet it has become increasingly apparent that the regime, under the total domination of President Saleh, is engaged in a wide variety of criminal activities to the detriment of regional stability and the Yemeni people themselves.
As he points out in his summary:
     Yemeni civil society has been fighting for years for democracy and against extremist ideologies. Numerous Yemenis have detailed, workable, concrete solutions to the myriad of issues facing Yemen. The international community can trust in the capacity of the Yemeni people to craft a workable state out of the ruins left by Saleh. And it should look beyond the comfortable familiarity of a manageable tyranny to see that the citizens of Yemen, more than any other aggrieved party, are the primary victims of President Saleh.
Well, let’s see how the Bush administration approaches this, shall we? The national mood regarding Bush’s decisions of late will make this meeting one to watch….by the way, this post is worth visiting just for his footnotes.

The last of the second place winners was’s interview with Andrew Bostum, M.D.
     Dr. Bostom is a physician specializing in Epidemiology. Since 1997 he has been part of the full-time medical faculty at one of the two major teaching hospital affiliates of Brown University. His current research focuses on the relationship between kidney and cardiovascular disease. Bostom is also the editor of the newly-released book, "The Legacy of Jihad"…
Dr Bostom relates the etiology of his new book:
     September 11, 2001 shocked me out of the complete absorption in my career in medicine and an accompanying uninformed complacency about world affairs. I grew up in New York City, spending the first 34 years of my life there, and the wife of one of our nephrology fellowship trainees barely made it out of the second World Trade Center tower before it collapsed. The cataclysmic events of 9/11 had very little context for me, so I set out to learn about Islam, reading voraciously. Starting with the writings of Karen Armstrong and John Esposito (how naïve and ironic it seems in retrospect!), I became thoroughly dissatisfied, in short order, with the entire genre of thinly veiled, treacly apologetics, sadly characteristic of modern popular and “academic” works on Islam. So I began what has become a ceaseless endeavor to educate myself, making liberal use of the vast research resources of the Brown University system. Learned, patient mentors, in particular Bat Ye’or and Ibn Warraq, facilitated my efforts. They encouraged me to complete what became The Legacy of Jihad, sharing the view, expressed so appositely by the prominent Middle East Studies Professor, Dr. Raphael Israeli, that the book filled a “yawning gap” in the literature on jihad. That is why in one rather large volume I combined a comprehensive analysis of both jihad theory and practice, the latter being a detailed survey of the brutal way jihad campaigns have always been waged — using a physician’s favorite learning and teaching tool, the mnemonic, in this case “MPED” — massacre, pillage, enslavement, and deportation.
Remember that: M.E.P.D. Nothing like medical training to give you the ability to be succinct.

Lots more at The Watchers’ Blog. Go here: The Watcher of Weasels and enjoy the riches.