Who Needs them?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Time for a rant.

Please note the titles from Real Clear Politics this morning:

Israel is Losing This War - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal
The Repetitive Cycle of Violence - Jimmy Carter, Washington Post
Iran and Syria Are Laughing - Robert Tracinski, RealClearPolitics
Olmert's Weakness Led to Qana - Ralph Peters, New York Post
Has Israel Strengthened Hezbollah? - Jon Anderson, The New Yorker
Israel is Playing Us for Fools - Pat Buchanan, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Sometimes I think that all the oped writers and journalists assume that reality is what they say it is. It does not matter who wins the battle, what matters is who looks good on TV or the editorial pages. Well who needs them? Really...if all the socalled experts and talking heads shut up tomorrow would it really change anything in a material way? So Israel does not get support from the Arab world and Europe....so well? When did they? So Arabs become terrorists. Well it seems they are bound and determined to do that whatever anyone else says or does, so what difference does the Arab Street make? Burn some flags, claim they have been abused.... same old same old.

Israel wins or loses based on what the oped writers say? Is this really true?

I think that more and more people in the West are getting fed up, dangerously fed up with all the flag burning, rioting, raving, preaching, vicious antics of the Arab world and I think that more and more of us are starting to feel like the self ordained experts...right and left...feed off this misery and keep it alive for the sake of their own importance. Well who needs them? In truth I have gotten to the place where I don't even listen anymore and what is more I don't feel like I am missing alot.

I doubt I am alone in this.


chuck said...

If I had to write a weekly column I would probably sound like a complete idiot after a week. If I had to form an opinion and pass judgement in an instant I would also sound like an idiot. 'Course, I probably sound like an idiot anyway, but these guys are always going to sound that way because of the nature of the work. It's entertainment is what it is, sorta like passing a Friday evening bs'ing at the bar. Occasionally a tidbit of actual information might float by but that isn't what the job is about. The job is about running off at the mouth for fun and profit.

Stephen_M said...

Seen this?
Good videos on the home page too.

CF said...

Good point. In the meantime, Arabs are raping and beating Blacks in Sudan; the jihadis have overrun Somalia and parts of Nigeria, Aceh Province is under Sharia law; the Muslims are bombing and beheading in Southern Thailand.

Wake up!Dig in!

truepeers said...

I left this quote at Chuck's post from yesterday, but it juxtaposes so well with Terrye, allow me to quote it again.

From Scenic Politics at the GABlog:

"What has gone unrecognized is that the vocabulary selected by the Bush Administration has already gone some ways toward undermining the transnational progressives–the human rights groups have all, as the saying goes, “jumped the shark” in their eagerness to condemn the US, leaving themselves vulnerable to fraud and manipulation, causing them to lose credibility among those helped by America and the American people, reducing, them, in short, to fringe groups. The liberals have been pushed into the arms of the foreign policy “realists” and the repulsive likes of Brent Scowcroft, whom none of them would have touched with a 10 foot pole before the onset of Bush Derangement Syndrome. The surest way of losing all touch with reality, except the virtual one constructed in the never ending dialogues of the international “diplomatic community,” is to become a Realist. While the media is digging itself deeper into border line treasonous activities in the pursuit of stories of interest only to Pulitzer Prize committees.
I am not among those who mourn the decline of the media, the Democrats, the human rights groups, etc.–they are all, more and more looking like institutions and organizations created under very specific conditions and limited to those conditions–the post WWII world in which the sign “Auschwitz” called for new modes of scrutiny upon governmental activity and attentiveness to victims’ claims in particular. Their rapid descent into senility can be tracked precisely, I believe, with the degeneration of the “Auschwitz” sign into unmitigated White Guilt.
The ideal would be to have the major media outlets reporting on the most superficial and irrelevant things, which they will be fed by the elements of the government (the CIA, the State Department) and the human rights groups that are be rendered obsolete by the turn to smaller, more rigorous and smarter groupings who work below the radar. This won’t create an unaccountable secret government because insofar as these groups work effectively, the effects of their work will show up, indirectly, for those with adequately attuned radar–reporters who are willing to follow subtle trendlines, take risks, find ways of getting inside and gaining the trust of the new type of operative, those who can do serious analytical and interpretive work, will be able to piece things together and present them in ways that don’t endanger those operations. And we can leave the writers and readers of the NY Times to sleep in peace, cuddling their Pulitzers."

Rick Ballard said...

"If I had to write a weekly column I would probably sound like a complete idiot after a week."

I would like to take this opportunity to associate myself completely with Chuck's remark.

Always On Watch said...

The headlines I see are disconnected from reality.

Syl said...

What I find interesting, and a bit appalling, is the way these pundits work. One or more decides something is true, then they all jump on the bandwagon and cherry-pick anything they can find to support their position. And they all harden their views and circle the wagons with pre-prepared arguments.

The entire message becomes totally abstract as they reinforce each other. It's always their way or disaster.

It is now almost 3 days past Qana but these doom mongers are dug in too deep to backtrack now.

I wish I were articulate enough to give 'em hell at the Corner because they're indulging in this too.

Barry Dauphin said...

I don't think all of them are cut from the same cloth though. I read Bret Stephens in WSJ this morning. He is no Israel basher, in fact far from it. It was his assessment that Israel has not handled things well. I don't know if he's right, but he's not a looney or a moonbat.

Jimmy Carter and Pat Buchanan are a different story altogether. It's amazing that they essentially end up on the same page with respect to Israel, like two stoopid peas in a pod. They simply want Israel to surrender or just go away.

Michael Totten has also sounded pessimistic, although I've had the feeling that he's too close to the action to bring a measure of dispassion to his analysis. I just don't think all negative press is equal, even though it is important to consider the source and the quality of the analysis.

chuck said...

Oh Barry,

You are so rational ;) Dispassionate analysis is precisely what seems to be missing from most commentary. That, and a certain humility before the future which no one knows. I don't think there is any need to rush to judgement, this is a time of action, not postmortem assessment. If mistakes are made, and they will be, judgment can be passed later and adjustments made. That seems to be happening in Israel and is as it should be. A major problem with pundits is that they have no real power or responsibility, they don't have to deal with political realities, live with the consequences, or actually do anything. Talk is much easier than doing.

chuck said...


I'd be happy to know just what the H*ll is going on. Now *that's* a tough assignment, eh? Especially when we are feeling our way through the fog of war and I have no need to know.

terrye said...


My remarks were intended to be a general sort of thing, for both sides. Such as, how does someone know if Israle could have handled it better, they got a shystal ball? Life is not a vacuum, whatever we do itmakes something else happne...so, even if israle id all the things the experts say she should..how od they really know what would have happened.

I took a detour one day to avoid high water, I ran into more high water. That happens in everything.

terrye said...

shystal=chrystal. sigh. I really need to learn to do that preview thingee.

Barry Dauphin said...


Agreed about the need for humility and that mistakes will be made--and that I'm too rational and will engage in some postmodern analysis ;).

Some of these articles have agendas written all over them. Jimmy (Jimmah) Carter is a dope. He believes that Hezzbollah is as rational as Sadat. Of course, it was just these types that assasinated Sadat. He believes in rewarding Islamofascist violence and finger wagging at the Israelis for defending themselves. I wish he'd simply spend his time looking for that killer rabbit.

Yet, as much as I get discouraged at some of these types of articles, I would rather make some distinctions about their quality or plausibility. I fear the risks of sticking my head in the sand if I don't. If the analysis is pretty good, I want to understand it, even if it's unpleasant news for my side. That doesn't mean I will accept it or agree with it. And, yes, when I see Pat Buchanan and Israel in the same title, I know there is little point bothering reading it.

I understand the concern that many of these folks don't know much and write to make waves. I believe we are wrestling with the openess of our society and we are closer to seeing the sausage making than ever before. I think in the long run, we have to have tough stomachs.

CF said...

Let's see--Israel in a week or so was to defeat an entrenched in civilian towns enemy well-kloaded for bear--without any civilian casualties, while allowing in humanitarian supplies and allowing refugees and foreign nationals to pass thru without harm.

Whateveris going on there, I'm banking on real, not armchair, generals whatever their political stripe.

Barry Dauphin said...

Even as I bloviate, Michael Totten (who has been against Israel's actions) notes Some Small Encouraging Signs.

One line: Hezbollah’s secretary general is a marked man now, and if he comes out of hiding the Israelis will put one in his forehead.

Syl said...

I don't care who is yakking or where they're coming from, it's all the same.

It's too early for hindsight even.
They cannot know what's going on.
They love to hear themselves talk.
They want people to believe that they know something the rest of us don't.

And, worst of all, they actually create public perception.

And that perception boils down to either positive or negative.

They've gone negative.

So when any detail goes wrong they can shout 'I told you so!' and they can ignore any detail that goes right.

Reminds me of another conflict near by.

Eric Blair said...

Yes, there's very little to be gained by reading anybody on that list.

I would have thought that Ralph Peters would know better, but then I realized something, a little nagging thing that no one who hasn't spent time in a Divisional HQ, watching the officers doesn't know: Peters "retired" from the Army as a Lietenant Colonel in 1998, but you can find references to him being a Major in 1997. Hmmm...I'm pretty sure he was a major in 1988 or '89 when his book "Red Army" was published. The guy was an intel staff flunky who I'll bet got 'promoted' upon 'retirement'. The guy got passed over twice for promotion, and they throw him a bone after they tell him to scram. This isn't talked about a lot, and if you didn't spend any time around a lot of officers in the military you'd never know about it.

I've discounted lots of stuff that Peters has said over the years, but remembering this just makes me discount him more now.

I may not know how this war is going to turn out, but I know enough to know he doesn't either.