Postmodern classic?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

January 2007 links

Mozilla tabs overflowing: time to post, even if just to list links.

Tigerhawk came across this letter to the editor in 'The New Republic' which really articulates my complaints about the mainstream media coverage of Iraq and American engagement overseas (military or otherwise). So I'll reproduce it here before I get to the rest of my links.
Reading the Iraq issue provided a sense of what is going on there. It also provided a sense of the notions held by a few upper-middle-class people who earn their living thinking and writing in comfortable neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.; Princeton; Cambridge; Palo Alto; and other non-war zones in the United States where water, food, rule of law, and utilities are taken for granted. What one wonders after reading the issue is, of the 16 views published, why the editors chose not to publish any perspectives by a) Iraqis -- Sunni, Shia, or Kurd; b) American military personnel who served in Iraq; or c) anybody who lives and works in the neighboring countries. Wouldn't Iraqis and American military personnel be in a position to test the viability of the ideas expressed in The New Republic by writers who have negligible direct experience with the realities of this war? What your magazine does is publish articles by people with fine academic credentials who believe in the superiority of their thoughts and who do not realize how limited they are by the combination of their privileged experiences, their inadequate knowledge of the region and circumstances, and the influence of the safe cities in which they reside. The ability of author after author to reference the terminology of the region is impressive. Yet this capability amounts to a faux authority -- kind of like someone who can weave into his language references to musical terms but cannot play a melody. By publishing this issue, the editors conveyed the message that the only important views are those of people who are like the editors in professional background, temperament, and geographical comfort. Next time, dare to try the unconventional tack of asking Iraqis, American military personnel, and other affected people what they think should be done.

Moreover, it is striking that, in all the essays published, no author wrote a single sentence exploring why none of the recommendations expressed have been put into action. What is the point of holding a dinner party in which you serve dishes to which the guests are allergic? Finally, it is interesting to see the editors apologize for their espousal of the war, because this apology gives rise to the question: If reason alone (in contrast to reason coupled with the experience of people who are confronting the realities directly) led the editors to a wrong conclusion, what basis is there to believe that, this time around, reason alone -- from people far removed from the realities of the war -- will lead to the right conclusion?
It's always sad when an American serviceman dies in a conflict overseas. 2LT Mark Daily recently passed in Iraq, and Hugh Hewitt reproduced some of his last words. It's a testament to his resolve how he articulated the reasoning behind his actions, even with their fatal consequences. Contemplation of death is a part of any service members day-to-day life.

Nick Cohen wrote a very interesting two part (1, 2) piece on the intellectual conflict between left and right and what the present conflict in Iraq means to otherwise ethical protesters. Christopher Hitchens echoes that schizophrenic aspect of the current intellectual contradictions in his review of Mark Steyn's 'America Alone'.

Speaking of those protesters, especially the 'Grassroots'- Mudville Gazette does a little investigating to see why 65 people 'Appealing for Redress' and their complaints over the Iraq War are somehow more important than the hundreds of thousands who've served honorably and are proud of their service.

I couldn't force myself to watch the SOTU this past week. Tired of listening to politicians speak I'm afraid, even if I'm told Bush did a decent job. Nonetheless, Jim 'Copperhead' Webb would've been interesting. Here is an interesting look at one of his writings in the mid-90's that shows why he can be such a compelling figure, especially in regard to the anti-Vietnam War protesters, whom the people in DC today apparently hope to emulate with such 'luminaries' as Jane Fonda (spit) and Susan Sarandon.

Discontent with contemporary politics leads me to question the current batch of politicos and their posturing. My ambivalence over the surge is shared by others as giving in to this sort of popular perception that it's window dressing rather than an effort to change the reality on the ground. But if that's what it takes to get people behind it, or at least get the enemies to stop hiding behind vague rhetoric- hey, drive on.

I ran across this article on gun rights the other day, and it really shows the lack of engagement with a substantial portion of our population on gun control issues- or at least should be grounds for reasonable debate. That 2nd amendment didn't come from anywhere, and there are solid principles behind it.

And always end with humor. The Onions 'American Voices' is always humorous- here's the news on Hilary Clinton entering the run for presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, What do you think? Or Greg Gutfeld of the Huffington Post discussing 'Patriotic Terrorism', haha...


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