Monday, January 5, 2009

Goodbye Quagmire, Hello Quicksand: Champions of Relevance Catch Up

Here's the headline:

"America's 'good war' turns into quicksand"
Media Monitors Network (A service of MMN International Inc.) (January 5, 2009)

The article itself is unremarkable. It's more of the usual:

"...US and NATO forces are adding to his problems by killing innocent civilians in the thousands...."

"...Obama’s announcement to send 20,000 additional troops to the .good war. in Afghanistan has been greeted by the Taliban with glee. They regard it as an opportunity to attack a .bigger army, bigger target and more shiny new weapons to take from the toy soldiers....."

What stands out is the use of the word, "quicksand" as a metaphor.

The author, Zia Sarhadi, seems to be aware that there are very few rice paddies in the Middle East - which makes use of the traditional "quagmire," so beloved of American champions of peace, love, and grooviness, rather inappropriate for today's political rhetoric.

Attention, Traditional American Liberals and Peaceniks! Vietnam is Over!

"Quagmire" was a useful metaphor, back when all right-thinking collegians believed that the American military were baby-killers - or worse.

That was then, this is now.

Today, people who like to think for themselves face a real threat from an enemy whose spiritual home, and major bases of operation, are in some of driest real estate on Earth. Calling efforts to stop outfits like the Talban and Al Qaeda a "quagmire" is not only debatably prudent: considering the Middle East's climate, it's downright silly.

But then, so is nostalgically clinging to a set of assumptions and preferences that were already passing when Disco died.

Related post: Related posts, on censorship, propaganda, and freedom of speech.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.