Friday, June 09, 2006

Nodding in the Direction of Solemnity Lest the Blog Become Entirely About Pixar Movies and Songs That I Like

I don’t want to ignore the news of the day, which was the killing of Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It’s just that writing about the war seems to require: a) the space to deal with pretty complex issues, and b) some shred of knowledge that makes what you are saying worthwhile. Mostly, I feel that I have neither. (I could create a., I suppose, but without b., that would seem more like a punishment to my reader(s) than a boon.)

Even a little knowledge might be acceptable if it was yoked to a strong opinion, but I don’t have one. Like most observers, I’m bone-tired of the war. Unlike most people who live near me, I hesitantly supported it at the start. And like most sentient creatures, I’ve been disappointed/baffled/angered by how the administration has handled many elements of it. I think both sides of whatever argument remains have gotten to the point where they’re mostly trying to score rhetorical points against their opposition, which means no one is saying anything of substance. When something like today’s news happens, everyone can feint in the direction of substantive discussion again, but it’s impossible to gauge the meaning of such events on the fly. As the Times reports:
American officials themselves offered an immediate warning against overstating the impact that the death of Mr. Zarqawi, the most wanted insurgent in Iraq, would have on prospects that American and Iraqi forces can gain the upper hand in the conflict.
Andrew Sullivan, from whom I get a lot of my war news, stays in form and doesn't shy away from the moment’s lack of clarity:
Perhaps the biggest reason to rejoice at his demise is not that he represented the core of the Sunni insurgency, but that his strategy of fomenting sectarian mayhem helped unleash the most destructive force in the nascent state. Maybe his removal will help abate that force. Or maybe it now has a momentum all its own. We'll see.


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