Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Austin Bay's "Critique of Fatigue"

A dose of reality as a remedy to pundits' "fatigue," from Austin Bay:

My situation map: I’m west of Baghdad, the afternoon temperatures are punching 125 degree. Every morning I’m seeing 19 and 20 year old soldiers –most of them from either 1st Cavalry Division or Washington State’s 81st Brigade– gearing up for convoy duty or patrols in and around Baghdad. They’re eager, committed, energetic– the new greatest generation doing a tough job that requires steady courage and discipline. Let me repeat that key word: steady. That’s perseverence, what winning a war takes. Then I read a string of “woe is us, we’re tired” commentaries. The lit critic in me couldn’t miss the affected tones, the vague suggestion of Virginia Wolfe. What’s the term? Ah yes– Neurasthenic. Webster: “a type of neurosis, usually the result of emotional conflicts, characterized by a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, depression, worry, and often localized pains without apparent objective causes.” Noonan was on vacation in London and Sullivan’s in a hammock on Cape Cod. Tough duty. In Baghdad we had bombs, but pity these pundits– they’re tired.

[Our soldiers'] smiles break out despite the fatigue– and then the troops buckle up and do it again. Blood, sweat, toil and tears: that’s not simply Churchillian poetry, that’s the price of victory, and it’s the product of spine.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

An excellent reminder from TwoMinuteOffense:
I think it was Charles Krauthammer who first said that the difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans believe that Democrats are wrong and Democrats believe that Republicans are evil.

You cannot really understand the politics of the last quarter century without keeping that thought in mind.

Well put. Ironically, though believing Republicans are, they can't quite seem to bring themselves to believe that Saddam, Pol Pot, Mao, or Joe Stalin are evil.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Blogosphere Abuses

Hugh Hewitt explores some potential abuses of the blogosphere in Black Blog Ops. This is a much-needed start.

Though the blogosphere has been invaluable its end-run around the MSM's gate-keeping and exposing fraud & bias, this has been the work of a very small subset of all the blogs out there. Let's call them the trusted subset. But who should we trust? Hugh explores the unsettling possibility of blogs establishing themselves only to then intentionally mislead.

One can easily imagine a Dan Rather analogy in the blogosphere. A young, idealistic blogger over time becomes a jaded hack. Or the path that some leaders in the Christian community fall into: in the midst of a long and otherwise distinguished career, he slips into some secret vice, then covers it up, then has to live with that cover-up (or the subsequent exposure).

But how does one even distinguish between blogs to begin with? What criteria should we use? Consider the blogosphere analogy to alternative vs. traditional medicine. Traditional medicine's chief goal is to use proven techniques to answer one basic question: does this treatment or medicine really help this disease? I see significant portions of the blogosphere going the way of alternative medicine:

This is all fundamental to human nature, and we see it play out all the time: conspiracy theories about Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld. (Just do a Google search.)

So how does one guard against this? It all has to come back to being on your guard. Caveat emptor: let the blog-reader beware. There are volumes of mis-information out there, and you're going to come across it sooner or later. You need to already know how you'll evaluate it. (The same goes for walking into a movie like Farenheit 911, too.)

So, do you discriminate as you're reading blogs, following links to other blogs? Do you adjust your level of wariness as you go from site to site? It's easy not to. And even with blogs you can and should usually trust, does the post you're reading have flawed thinking?

You need to establish what criteria you'll use to evaluate blogs. These criteria should be discussed, refined, captured and kept toward the front of your mind.

I'd make some suggestions about specific criteria, but I'm out of time.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

A Cover-Up Is a Cover-Up

Hugh Hewitt's column in the Weekly Standard, A Cover-Up Is a Cover-Up, brings together disparate recent scandals in major American institutions to show that there are some startling similarities. The CBS News Memogate scandal fits the bill.
LARGE AND POWERFUL INSTITUTIONS do not react well to internal scandal, especially when that scandal threatens to erode a central pillar of the institution's authority. The first reaction will almost inevitably be denial, followed by various efforts to isolate and minimize the scandal, to protect leadership, and then to adopt only such "reforms" as are forced upon it. Genuine accountability and reform typically only accompany a crash so spectacular that no one can persist in the cover-up.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

CBS' Memogate Report Scrutinized

As you've surely heard, CBS' internal investigation regarding "Memogate" has it's final report out.

Jonathan Last's Weekly Standard column, It's Worse Than You Thought, reveals a serious problem in the CBS Memogate report. This isn't the first or last criticism, but a crucial one.

As Powerline says, "As Last demonstrates, the report labors under limitations that render it laughable in critical respects."

Monday, January 03, 2005

How the Left Betrayed My Country - Iraq

How the Left Betrayed My Country - Iraq by Naseer Flayih Hasan is a sobering view of the logical conclusion of the anti-war movement.

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