Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Again "Awaiting moderation"
Excuse me Daniel, I posted a link concerning a war between a nominally secular state (one backed by secularists as a triumph of modernity) and those whom that state has thrown off their land. First came "waiting for moderation," then nothing: gone. Or does a military occupation by the champions of modernity and democracy not warrant a reply?

In a related note: Eric Shinseki writes a letter
I am greatly concerned that OSD processes have often become ad hoc and long established conventional processes are atrophying. Specifically, there are areas that need your attention as the ad hoc processes often do not adequately consider professional military judgment and advice. . . . . Second, there is a lack of strategic review to frame our day-to-day issues . . . . Third, there has been a lack of explicit discussion on risk in most decisions. . . . Finally, I find it unhelpful to participate in senior level decision-making meetings without structured agendas, objectives, pending decisions and other traditional means of time management.
The military isn't run on democratic process, but its a process nonetheless. And Rumsfeld never thought it was necessary. We use processes because no one has a monopoly on reason. I don't give a shit if my neighbors think the moon is made of green cheese. I do give a shit if they think they have a right to barge in my house and put a gun to my head and steal everything I own. Cracker or Body of Christ, neither is the point except to absolutists; and absolutism makes for lousy politics. 300 comments fighting over that obvious point.
On another post at CT Henry Farrell writes
A bunch of Democratic foreign policy types, which once included Susan Rice of the Obama campaign, have come out with a new document, the so-called Phoenix Initiative. Now in one sense, manifestoes like this are ten a penny at this stage of the election cycle – they’re the calling cards that foreign policy elites use to try to sell themselves to a potential incoming administration. But what’s unusual about this one is the near total lack of self-congratulation about the US as the one essential nation, leader of the free world etc. Instead, the document’s main message...
is not the point here. Here the main thing is a question: How would one define "American Exceptionalism" as anything but a faith, now gratefully becoming but not yet a shibboleth?
The best argument for leaving others alone in their bizarre beliefs, for being curious but not contemptuous, is the recognition of your own capacity to believe things equally as odd. That argument -that possibility- never occurs to some people. DD was unable to articulate it.

Rereading. The Painting of Modern Life. Discussion of the Goncourts. Their critical observations of the changes around them being picked apart by Clark through critical observations of their work and what they represented. And me observing Clark: a never ending process of review.

There's a mode of argument that renders one passive and irresponsible before an ideology. If one assumes American exceptionalism one doesn't even have to argue for it, and in arguments on foreign policy one then becomes merely a calculator, objective and neutral, or just indifferent. Arguing for what you believe rather than from it makes you human: reengages you and reminds you that you're responsible for your choices. We're all capable of sliding into unreason. Those who imagine themselves -who analogize themselves- as calculating machines are capable of greater errors, and greater crimes, because they've insulated themselves from doubt.

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