A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Thursday, January 13, 2005 :::
This writer, frankly, does not understand this world--the world, that is, of the conservative intellectual elite, or of some of it. Tom Donnelly, usually a fairly clear-sighted man, has a piece this morning on the Weekly Standard's website decrying the "conventional wisdom" on Iraq, which is that a civil war is inevitable. It's not the President's supporters who are blinded by ideology, but the holders of the "conventional wisdom" who are--you know, such as former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft (Gen,U.S.Army-Ret), renowned the world over for his devotion to ideology and his irrational, impulsive behavior. That incident where he danced naked in Lafayette Square still inspires giggles in foreign policy circles. Oh, yeah, and he never learned how to read. Or so you'd think.

And the Journal--just to make it a perfect morning for this kind of thing--had a piece on how great the Iraq economy is doing.

What's with this "black-and-white" stuff? If one wants that, one can always be a liberal. Why can one not believe in a "forward strategy of freedom" and still be thoroughly depressed at how that strategy is being implemented? Why can one not believe average Iraqis want freedom and democracy and not watch fearfully for signs that they might not get it?Mr. Donnelly simply does not have his facts right--dreams of a pan-Shi'a state are old and entrenched, not a product of the Iranian revolution, and those dreams are held by current Shi'a leaders, perhaps even the leader of that unified slate that is supposed to make us all happy.When he asserts that the wide array of people running demonstrates a pluralist society, he overlooks the US government's own polls showing the religious parties to be ahead. There're a lot of people running, but that doesn't mean they all have any kind of electoral base, or that they all think pluralism is anything more than a useful tool to be discarded on Feb. 1. The Journal itself reports this morning that the Shi'a have given up on finding a way to get the Sunnis to the polls. There is, as usual in this kind of piece, an overload of assertions, and a paucity of facts to back them up. He may be right, but conservatives are supposed to like words like that--the tentative ones. He makes cold hard predictions.

As for the economy, the Journal has tons of people that know full well that people profit enormously under ephemeral booms as they do in a solid economy. All the op-ed piece did was spin off positive stats. Not a good argument.

Missing from Mr. Donnelly's piece is any discussion of what is being proferred by those political parties, and the only run-down this writer has seen--from the indispensable MEMRI -- states clearly that the unified Shi'ite-plus-some-other-folks slate is running on no platform whatsoever, meaning its members could not agree on one. Yup, that's a great sign.

These pieces read exactly the way liberals talk: if you disagree, you don't know the facts and you are deluded and irrational. At least they don't include insinuations about how you must secretly hope to gain from your positions, but that's probably coming. There is a reason this writer doesn't read the New York Times, and fortunately many other writers at the Standard do a much better job.

The job of an intellectual is to criticize, to seek the truth. That includes criticizing one's own position. When will our elite return to that sacred task?

This writer is prepared for things to go well in Iraq, but does not expect it. Are "believers" in Iraqi democracy preparing themselves for what will happen if the "realists" turn out to have been realistic?

Pop quiz, here: has anyone seen an explanation of what a "Grand Ayatollah" is? Explanations exist, but most journalists--right, left, or center--clearly have no idea. Here's a hint: no journalist has bothered to go find out what the other ones think. Yup, there are other ones.

Oh, and that thing about Gen. Scowcroft dancing naked? Didn't happen. And he can read.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 11:53 AM



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