Sunday, July 30, 2006

Greg Djerejian -- Morality and War-Fighting

Embarrassing. Downright embarrassing that I took this long to read Belgravia Dispatch. I should have known because a lot of people I respect have made reference to him, but being the stubborn type I just didn't let that affect me. Friday's post made me a fan. Gregory Djerejian is a clear-headed thinker with a well-calibrated moral compass and both feet on the ground. He discusses the careless manner in which several people are writing about this war. Having summarized several commentators he concludes...

This speculative dribble isn't only amoral and outrageous. It's also just plain stupid, and shows an abysmal lack of understanding regarding the most basic tenets of counter-insurgency doctrine, as even Rich Lowry feels compelled to write...The fact that any of this passes for hifalutin' commentary, and indeed gets debated in NRO as being even close to the realm of seriousness is, it must be said, rather disturbing.

And making him a man after my own heart he articulates plainly the reason that I don't read Glenn Reynolds.
Cue then Glenn Reynolds who, as is his wont, breezily links to this heady fare with a pithy comment, seemingly blissfully unmindful of the import of what Podhoretz is asking us to contemplate: "JOHN PODHORETZ WONDERS if Israel is too nice to win." Glenn then writes: "This reminds me of Josh Marshall's 2003 worry that we weren't killing enough Iraqis and that this would come back to haunt us. I think they're both probably wrong. I certainly hope so." And herewith the usual pattern with Glenn when he links to something prima facie absurd. Preserve plausible deniability that these are not his views, of course, ("I think they're both probably wrong"), and throw in a good leftist too, when possible, so people don't think it's just a Republican brown-shirt kinda thing or such. And so, another neat little blog-post, you might say, but of course thousands of readers in places like Knoxville and Peoria and Omaha read this, and they see a nice guy, Yale lawyer, and ostensibly serious personage wrestling with, when you cut through all the bullshit and fog, whether Israel, basically, should march into Lebanon south of the Litani, and kill on the spot any Shi'a male between the ages of 15-35, or something like that. Cuz they're Hezbullies, or Hez-lovers, or Gonna-Be-Hez-Soon and Big Things Are Afoot, and sometimes a mega-ass-kicking is just the thing to set the world aright. And while it's convenient to fold in Josh Marshall to the 'genocide-lite' aficionado brigades, much as Glenn likes to enlist Duncan Black as a fevered Ledeenite when it comes to Iran, it's just not accurate.

I have disabled some hyperlinks in case you are wondering. I don't really want to go there. I simply like the snapshot. It captures a moment I don't want to forget. If you want more, they are at the link.

Oh, and before I forget, do go read the rest of the post about morality and the war. Here is a blogger I can respect. He is discerning enough to see between the cracks and secure enough in his own analytical vision that he doesn't need anyone to suck up to him. I have the feeling that if the rest of the world thought he was a nutcase it wouldn't trouble him a bit. But if that were to happen, he might be the only man in the crowd pointing to a naked king and saying something out loud.

When you're done with that, go read this morning's post as well. It's so good that I can't think of anything to add.

Spot. On.

I particularly liked the opening quote from Roger Cohen.
A victory for Hezbollah is a victory for Hezbollah, which is not Al Qaeda, which is not the Palestinian national movement, which is not the Iraqi insurgency, which is not homegrown European Muslim suicide bombers.

Trying to turn the problems of the world into a single undifferentiated issue - the war on Islamic terror - does nobody any good. [Hello...]

Witness the current mayhem, a reflection of a terrible American failure to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in any serious way over the past five years.

Problems must be fixed one at a time, which requires the curiosity to understand them, and to come up with particular solutions. Not everyone in the Middle East wants to be Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, a man generally ready to do America's bidding. Siniora, who is understandably furious, certainly does not
want to be. Nor, of course, does President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. But nor do these leaders want to be in the pocket of Iran. The United States has room to probe this ambivalence. But first, of course, it must stop giving a green light to Israel to, in the current parlance, smash terror.

Bush, however, is very unlikely to change course, especially in an American election year. His stance is popular not only with many Jewish Americans, but also the Christian right.

"The United States has been more a party to this conflict than an arbiter," said Mourhaf Jouejati, director of Middle Eastern Studies at George Washington University. "Lebanese democracy, a supposedly cherished American aim, has been sacrificed for the Israeli ally."

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