Monday, April 30, 2007

Coin in Iraq

NPR reports this morning that the Army has established a Counter Insurgency "COIN" class in Iraq. It studies the insurgency and formulates strategies to counter whatever the insurgents come up with.

Excellent. At last we begin to see a movement away from "bring 'em on" to a more subtle and, doubtless, more effective way to fight an "ideological struggle" than brute force.

We need more of that sort of thinking on many more "fronts" in this war.

We can start by encouraging our Islamic fellow U.S. citizens to begin to defuse those suras which contain verses no longer viable in the 21st centurty.

The "war" has begun to move into a more subtle and difficult phase.

The war hawks must cede their prominence in our thinking to a coalition of ideological, economic, and moral strengths all working with brute force to forge a strategy in which all humanity can thrive.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Is "by any other name" OK?

If a group wishes to name itself, are others with whom the group might disagree obliged to call them by their chosen name? Probably so.

How about if the group chooses a phrase with which to describe itself? Are others to be content to adopt that phrase, although the phrase could easily be construed to seize a moral high ground to which the group is not clearly, totally entitled?

I think not. A "Megan," (Megan McArdle) who is one of a group substituting for Andrew Sullivan on his blog, The Daily Dish (see "States rights" April 20, 7:28am), disagrees. Here are email exchanges between Megan and myself.

Everyone is also "pro-choice"; they are just against this particular choice. Everyone is against some choices, like 45 year olds wearing miniskirts, or killing little old ladies to steal their grocery money. The delusion that the label applied to the other side is a grotesque semantic travesty is prevalent on both sides of the debate; I apply the labels the movements have chosen for themselves.
-----Original Message-----From: grtou@msn.comTo: andrew@theatlantic.comSent: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 9:27 AMSubject: For Megan
Please! Stop already with using "pro-life" as though it is the sole property of anti-abortion choice proponents. Everyone is "pro-life." There are no songs celebrating abortion. "Abortions that bloom in the spring, tra-la!" is not in anyone's songbook. Nor is the sentiment in anyone's writing.
Gene Touchet

OK. So. I question the validity of her opening sentence: Everyone is also "pro-choice"; they are just against this particular choice.

Is everyone pro-choice? Do the anti-abortion rights activists argue for a particular abortion procedure which is acceptable?

Do the anti-abortion rights activists consider "pro-choice" to be "a grotesque semantic travesty"? Certainly some of us on the pro-choice side consider "pro-life" as an apt description of the anti-choice side to be a semantic travesty, if not grotesque.

If the recognizing a semantic travesty when I see one is a "delusion," Ms McArdle and I do not agree on the definition of delusion.

Methinks Ms McArdle is too thin skinned.

What think you, Dear Reader?

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Nappy Headed Hos

"Nappy headed hos" is a reprehensible phrase.

That being said, the brouhaha with Don Imus has a silver lining. Finally, the language of the rapster has come into the mainstream media, and is the subject of a long-overdue discussion by our melting pot of a nation.

I don't care what is "done" with Mr. Imus. I do care, though, that I do not hear enough discussion about the relationship between rapsters' use of derogatory language to describe the women in their lives.

I catch a glimpse of Jesse Jackson carrying a rainbow placard in protest against Mr. Imus; I do not hear him coming up with a Cosby-like condemnation of the language which makes such dissing of women the currency of the rap culture.

I get a sound bite of Al Sharpton (of Tawana Brawley fame, don't for one moment forget) saying that Mr. Imus' suspension of two weeks is insufficient, but I see or hear no sound bites of Mr. Sharpton condemning the virtual wholesale slurring of women in general and black women in particular in rap music.

Once again it falls to the women to take up the burden; the Rutgers women come to their own defense, and in language which shames the bloviators, say simply, "that's not me; that's not who I am."

That's not who most of the women in rapsters' lives are. These women shame them; these women shame the men who ostensibly are defending them when these men merely go after a symptom rather than the disease.

If the nation begins a conversation about propriety and respect, something good will have come of this reprehensible speech on Mr. Imus' part.

Imus should not be fired; he should be given "community service" and required to spend some time on his popular radio show discussing the ramifications of desultory language.

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