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Wednesday, March 05, 2003

For the "Don't Get Cocky, Kid" File-Kevin Holtsberry's got a good piece on warblogging
Some bloggers seem to see themselves as adjuncts to the CIA, State Department, or the National Security Council the way they pour over news accounts and grandly weave their strategies and marshall their arguments. I think that this is all a bit silly. As if one can simply read a half-dozen papers and watch CNN and suddenly you know what is really going on.
I remember the old Will Rogers line- "All I know is what I read in the papers." However, that didn't stop him from humorously pontificating on the issues of the day. People still use zingers of his like "I don't belong to any orginized political party, I'm a Democrat." All most bloggers know is what they "read in the papers," modified to include TV, radio and the Web. That's not to say that we're all as witty as Rogers (some make a good run at it), but we're all pontificating with limited information. We don't have access to CIA breifings or other inside information, but collectively the Blogosphere has a knowledge base that is very respectable. We've got space experts, national security experts, lawyers up the wazoo, economic wizzes and people with knowledge of most countries of the world, not to mention some killer generalists like Kevin that can put it all together in a coherent form.
In the end I think the argument must happen at a higher level, conceptual, level. Should Saddam continue to defy the international community or not? The choice is between continued containment and UN debate or military action. The arguments are not that hard to lay out. The general public is really not equipped to know or understand the vast array of competing facts and contingencies on the ground in Iraq. At a certain point you must trust your elected officials to do what they think is best for the country. You can voice your opinion and seek to influence the debate but at some point action is going to be required and government officials with the knowledge and experience necessary are going to control those actions. The public will then have ample opportunity to judge whether those actions were responsible and in the nation's interest.
Amen. It's not my job to micromanage Tommy Franks; that's Den Beste's job. Our job as citizens is to debate the macro issues, occasionaly making forays into intermediate levels. This is a republic, not a pure democracy; we elect good and competent people and let them run things.

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