Rick Moran placed first for a fine essay on a thorny and distressing subject — Iraq: Quit or Commit. Rick says:
…many readers who have been following my evolving position on the War in Iraq know how pessimistic I have become over the last six months about the chances of that bloody land achieving anything like a stable, democratic government. For them, it may come as no surprise that I have reached a point where I believe we must make a decision as a nation about whether we want to continue our involvement – which would mean an increase in resources and a direct confrontation with Iran and Syria over their massive support for the terrorists and insurgents – or whether we should pack up and go home. In other words, escalate or leave.
Why now? And why bother writing about it?
Simply put, the reason I have come to this conclusion now is that the enemies of Iraqi democracy have established a clear upper hand in the country and it is uncertain at best whether the situation can be retrieved at this point.
I suggest you read the whole essay. It may portend a coming wave. And The Sundries Shack agrees with him. See Bring Them Home. Now.
Gates of Vienna was second for The Nation-State vs Anarchy and Imperialism.
ShrinkWrapped’s On Meaning is, as usual, a tightly-woven essay covering many aspects of our current cultural malaise. Sometimes he reminds me of Karen Horney, who, if you haven’t read, you should. Just google her name.
And now the Non Council posts, which were exceptionally fine this time around, though I do have a philosophical difference with those who nominate professional writers or very prominent blogs. I like greater variety and most of us read the prominent blogs anyway. That said, here are the winners:
The first place essay was excellent. 3AM Magazine writes about one of my pet peeves, cultural equivalence, titling the article Bad Faith:
To recap briefly, cultural equivalence is evident when Tariq Ramadan depicted those who criticise religious intolerance and intimidation as “extremists”, thereby suggesting some parity of derangement between those who published the cartoons of Mohammed, or argued for the right to do so, and the believers who made homicidal threats and set fire to occupied buildings. (This echoed Karen Armstrong’s reference to “aggressive” cartoons, published “aggressively” — again, attempting to suggest parity of motive and blame, as if one excused the other, or shared the same moral gravity.)
Tariq Ramadan is sounding more like himself since he had to settle for the London School of Economics when his attempt to get a visa to teach in the US failed the smell test. His granddaddy was one of the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood and Tariq didn’t roll far from the family tree. In fact, he’s still hanging in there, only more discreetly.
But Notre Dame ought to have its wings clipped for ever inviting him here in the first place. I hope any alumni reading this reconsider their pledges to this turncoat institution.
Terror War by Michael Totten is an compelling chronicle — or part of it — of his visit to the war zone in the latest incursion attempt into Israel. He also has some informative photos along with explanations of what he’s showing you:
There is a lot of talk in the media and the blogosphere about Hezbollah’s targets in Israel. Some insist that Hezbollah does too aim its Katyushas at the Israeli military. The “proof” is that 12 soldiers were killed by a rocket just before I arrived on the border.
Here’s the thing, though. Hezbollah hit a little of everything in Northern Israel: houses, trees, streams, grass, apartments, roads, vineyards, and cows. Thousands of rockets crashed and sprayed shrapnel inside their shooting gallery. The odds that none of the rockets would hit a single IDF soldier were microscopic. Hezbollah couldn’t have achieved zero Israeli military casualties no matter how hard they tried unless they didn’t fire those rockets at all.
I was far safer on military bases, in open fields, and on tiny kibbutzes than in cities during Hezbollah’s terror war. Katyushas are nearly useless against an army but are devastatingly effective as terrorist weapons against civilian population centers even as they cause relatively light damage. Shrapnel may not hurt your apartment building too bad, but it will tear you to pieces if you’re in the way.
Totten is required reading, just for his perspective.
Reason, in The Kurds Go Their Own Way, covered a part of Iraq we’re going to hear from more and more as time goes on. Though the essay doesn’t say so, I think one of the consequences of the Middle East conflicts is going to be the establishment of a Kurdish state. Not right now, not tomorrow, but when the dust settles, they may finally get their way.
No wonder Kurds are so genetically close to the Jews. They sure do share a number of traits — like tenacity and making order out of chaos, and fighting impossible odds.
All the rest — and some excellent ones, including a great satire — are at The Watcher’s Place. Enjoy!