A Hundred Silly Things

I’m not sure at what point Arthur Silber became unhinged; when I started blogging he was an interesting guy who linked to smart topics; he was one of the first bloggers who reached out for and got public support, and I helped steer a little his way; and then he re-emerged with a chestbeating rant against the war, and now has written the pluperfect bodice-ripping essay about the situation we’re in. The war is ‘the genocide in Iraq'; ‘Most Americans don’t care about the destruction of liberty here at home…’ (I noted in my earlier response to him that if that were true, dissent like his wouldn’t be written on the Internet or in agate type on page A3 of the New York Times, it would be spoken in broken voices in the courtyards of Pelican Bay); he cites with approval an essay that describes the totality of American history thus:

No one should be surprised by the cultural proclivity for violence, of course, because Americans have always been a violent people in a violent land. Once the Europeans had committed themselves to reside on this continent, they undertook to slaughter the Indians and steal their land, and to bullwhip African slaves into submission and live off their labor – endeavors they pursued with considerable success over the next two and a half centuries. Absent other convenient victims, they have battered and killed one another on the slightest pretext, or for the simple pleasure of doing so, with guns, knives, and bare hands. If you take them to be a “peace-loving people,” you haven’t been paying attention. Such violent people are easily led to war.

Here is Silber in full throat:

To return to intervention and its lethally destructive and uncontrollable effects: although an attack on Iran represents the gravest threat facing us in the immediate future, it is a serious error to think that the U.S. and Iran exhaust the list of significant actors in this deadly drama. That list is now much longer than you might think. For this is one of the disastrous consequences of intervention over a period of many decades — and in fact, the Western powers’ interventions in the Middle East have gone on for more than a century: the possibilities for catastrophe multiply in every direction, and the routes to what may literally and finally be a war to end all wars can barely be counted. More than one hundred years of unjustified, unnecessary and uniformly disastrous interventions have brought us one hundred routes to hell.

The West intervenes on the passive objects that make up the populace of the Middle East; history begins a hundred years ago with the Western dismantlement of the Ottoman Empire (I’m assuming); it’s enough to make a fella swoon.

You have to read this. And you have to wonder how it is that ideas like this are so firmly rooted in so many people’s minds who ought to know better.

The sad reality is that – as I’ve said before – thinking like this empowers the ‘nuke Iran now’ crowd, because it drives out sensible thinking about what we might do that is neither insanely self-hating nor insanely belligerent.

fixed typos

Speaking of Blogs – Blogworld Expo Is Here

They’ll be announcing the Blog Awards winners there. It is in Las Vegas next Weds – Fri, and I’ll be speaking.

I’ll be on a panel with marketing maven Toby Bloomberg, talking about “The Importance of Blogging & New Media in Your Organization’s Strategic Marketing” – it’ll be an interesting intersection of my life in work and on the blog.

If you can make the time, and you’re interested in learning about how new media is changing business – and your job within it – it’s worth the trip.

OK, OK, Next Time I’ll Buy Flowers…

The 2007 Weblog Awards are up, and you can vote for your favorite blogs in a bazillion (or Brazilian?) categories.

Sadly, you can’t vote for us – we saw those other sites sending chocolates and flowers, and thought the judges would be strong enough to resist their offers of candlelight dinners. Stupid us…we’ll be OK…sniff…<g>

Seriously, it’s a cool annual tradition in the blogs, and congrats to all the nominees. If you see a blog there you haven’t read, go check it out!

Jack Croddy, Meet Grace Slick

My gut reaction to the State Department staffers rebelling at the notion of having to serve – say, someplace other than Paris – was that they were jerks and ought to be fired. I tempered my reaction, and waited to see what more reasonable people might have to say on the subject.

Phil Carter has weighed in, and says:

However, I’m with Abu Muqawama on this one – suck it up folks. Our nation has been asking an awful lot of its men and women in uniform for several years now, and it’s time for the rest of the government to step up. This illustrates the civil-military divide within the federal government itself! Rarely have we seen clearer evidence in support of the statement that “America is not at war; only America’s military is at war.

Deep down, I think that there are bigger issues than that afoot. I think the State Department is as deeply flawed as the intelligence community; we seem unable to understand or communicate well with other countries around the globe. As much as it would be nice to blame that on the Cowboy in Chief or whatever they are calling Bush these days, the hard reality is that the latest generation of diplomats and spies isn’t doing what needs to be done.

There are doubtless a lot of reasons for it, and there is a blog post or two in it.

For now I’ll suggest it’s watching the video suggests is simple:

Jack Croddy:

“It is one thing if someone believes in what is going on over there and volunteers,” he said, “but it is another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. And I’m sorry, but basically that is a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or wounded?”

Jefferson Airplane w/Grace Slick – Rejoyce:

“…and I’d rather have my country die for me.”

Bob Owens – Journalist

Bob Owens wrote the CFO of the holding company that owns TNR (something I should have done, but work, kids, bla bla bla), and actually got a civil – if corporate and somewhat content-free response from TNR’s publisher…essentially saying “We’re looking into it…”

His response really can’t be improved on.

OK, OK, I think he missed one point that I’d have added:

“The editorial staff lied to your readers by failing to admit that they had multiple – inconclusive – discussions with Beauchamp at a time when they publicly claimed that the Army was holding him incommunicado.”

But it’s a damn good response anyway. Go read it, give him an attaboy, and hit his tipjar. If anyone in this sorry mess deserves it, he does – he’s actually practicing journalism. Something I wish TNR would start doing again.