Coming in a respectable second

The Watcher’s Council results are in, and I’m pleased to report that I came in a very respectable second, behind Big Lizards’ excellent The “Don’t Make Waves!” Theory of Iraqi Politics. That post argues that Americans should focus on important military objectives, and leave the sectarian squabbles alone, unless they clearly affect the military objectives. The idea behind the post reminded me of the Rev. Sydney Smith’s little story about Dame Partington and the storm in Sidmouth:

In the winter of 1824 there set in a great flood upon that town. The tide rose to an incredible height—the waves rushed n upon the houses, and everything was threatened with destruction. In the midst of this sublime and terrible storm, Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach, was seen at the door of her house with mop and pattens, trundling her mop, squeezing out the sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic was roused. Mrs. Partington’s spirit was up; but I need not tell you that the contest was unequal. The Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington.

Here’s Big Lizard on the loss of focus in Iraq:

Contrary to conventional wisdom, I believe the most important elements of the Iraq democracy project are military: denying the enemies of freedom and democracy the ability to enforce their ideology by gun and bomb. Political “reconciliation” is academically interesting but ultimately non-essential to our victory conditions… an Iraq that is no longer a threat to the United States, not a haven for terrorists, and more or less free and democratic, at least enough so that Iraqis feel themselves a part of society, not apart from society.

It doesn’t matter whether the society to which they feel a sense of belonging is Iraq as a whole or just their region. In only matters that they realize that they must defend against invasion and infiltration in all parts of Iraq in order to safeguard their own, just as Texans would still fight against an invasion of New York, knowing that if NY fell, so eventually would Texas.

Thus, we must work closely with the Iraqi security forces (ISF) on security issues, defending against both al-Qaeda and affilliates in the Sunni areas and against Iranian-backed militias in the Shiite areas (and against Turkish incursion into Kurdistan, which means stopping Kurdish separatists operating out of that region to avoid giving provocation)… while at the same time, allow political “settlement” and “reconciliation” to spontaneously arise at the local level and percolate upwards from individual to tribe to province. Only then, years down the road, should we worry about parliamentary laws… if they’re even needed.

In other words, don’t waste your time sweeping the Atlantic back with a mop.  Put your energies in preventing flood situations, and the Atlantic will eventually take care of itself.

My post, which took second place, you already know. It was Political Fairy Tales, where I argued that our modern media retells ideological myths rather than conveying actual facts.

On the non-Council side, the first place winner was the Small Wars Journal’s General James Mattis — Attacking the al Qaeda “Narrative”, which urges the West, in word part of its war against Islamists, to use their words, not our Western terminology. Second place was from the Captain, writing about Progressive For Racist Smears? (Update: Progressive Wises Up A Little Late), the story of a “progressive” who tried to use the KKK to besmirch Fred Thompson.

And as I always say, don’t stop with just the winners.  Read all the entries.  They’re good stuff.


2 Responses

  1. Without power, there is no security. Without security, there can be no liberty. And without liberty, there is no chance for human progress.

    The question then becomes, what is power and how do you acquire it. Some believe power comes from political agreements and deals made with everyone or anyone; since they believe that anyone can be bought. Others believe that power comes from the people. And still others believe power comes from ideological movements that force the masses to rise up in order to create historic inevitability. It all depends upon the beliefs and perspectives of the user. But in essence, power is the ability to control life and death, both for yourself as well as for others. Cutting through the illusions and the various disagreements, that is what power is in essence.

    Often, I like to think that the Democrats do not understand what power is, thus causing them to abuse it so much and undermine it in themselves or others. Other times, people give the Islamic Jihad power, such as the media, in which the power only exists to the point where the media is left uncensored and undestroyed. If a person believes that he is not giving power to the Islamic Jihad because people are not motivated in acquiring power to kill for religious motivations but instead kill for socialist indoctrination reasons concerning Western Imperialism and resource exploitation, then to that person power is something he does not know nor can see. Yet he still has it or gives it, because just because he does not know what true power is, does not mean he can’t abuse what power he has. For certain media organizations, individuals, and editors this is fundamentally true. In addition, Congress critters have even more power and they abuse it with the excuse that they are not giving anything to the terrorists that the terrorists do not already have.

    I speak only of things that if you can see, you can grab and manipulate. Power is like an entity in this sense, it has physical and meta-physical dimensions. The Left and their Democrat ally do not truly believe that power comes from the individual. That you have to ask, rather than coerce, individuals into loaning you their power in a true worthy civilization. People should not give you power because they have no choice in the matter, rather people should be convinced to give you their personal power because it benefits everyone, including themselves. The Islamic Jihad says that if you don’t do what they tell you, they will take your power and your life for such disobedience. The Left says if you do not obey them, they will take from you whatever the law allows and whatever they can corrupt the law into allowing. Philosophically, their views on power are very similar, which is why they often talk about how they are not allies, but rather mortal enemies. The Islamic JIhad talks about Leftist and Western decadence, as if they are fighting such enemies that indulge in too much sex with Islamic polygamy and sexual abuse of children. And the Left acts as if they fight religious fundamentalism by establishing their own state mandated church complete with a Shariah law based upon political correct thought and behavior.

    The point is in essence, that there is no real point talking about military objectives in Iraq to those that have never believed that it matters whether an individual dies or lives. The Left has never cared about individuals. Certain individuals on the Left cared about individuals, but you would expect this of individuals, but you cannot expect this all the time from institutions or religious movements. They do not believe you can make a difference. Rather, it is more important to disarm you and forcibly take away your power for the common good, since it does not matter whether you can defend yourself or not, so long as the community (meaning the political elite masters) are protected. They do not believe Petraeus can make a difference.

  2. I worry that we Americans are The Dame Partington, futilely sweeping back the storms of Sidmouth. Book, your post supports the idea that New Yorkers would resist the invasion of Texas, and that Texans would resist the invasion of New York. I believe that is true.

    However, I believe that the tribalism in Iraq does not equate to any provincialism in New York or Texas. We are ALL AMERICANS, hell yeah! – but the same cannot be said for Iraqis about Iraq. How in the world did we forge this implicit understanding that we are all Americans? And will it persist? I do not believe there is any such Iraq, as there is this wonderful America.

    We had our worst. in our Civil War. What Iraq is facing is even worse, due to religious strife.

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