Friday, February 25, 2005

Blogging Jumblatt

Suddenly, there's a lot of blogging interest about Walid Jumblatt.

It all started when David Ignatius wrote a piece for the Washington Post on Wednesday (that's right - four days after Newshog ran the post on "the next Chalabi") about Jumblatt. Various right wing pundits picked up on a key sound-bite:

Writing in the Washington Post on Wednesday, David Ignatius offered up this quote from Lebanon's paramount Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who, after siding with Syria for decades (he didn't have much choice; they killed his father) and opposing the U.S. war in Iraq, has become the leading figure in the anti-Syrian Lebanese opposition: "It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world . The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com then made pretty much the same observations I did, and in the main the right wing either chose to ignore the obvious or to gloss over it by insisting that this callous killer and political manouverer has seen the light and is, almost against his own will (the "It's strange for me to say it" bit), falling in line with US successes in Iraq and the Middle East. This is surely the most amazing naivete and credulity. If you know anything at all about Jumblatt's history his words can only be viewed as a cynical attempt to get on America's good side for his own self -furtherance, and a shift that would be abandoned as soon as the wind changed. Allies like Jumblatt the US most certainly does not need.

Here's where I get to bang a drum about the failings of kindergarten politics, where we all yell childishly at each other from opposite ends of the playground. I have to say that the gleeful and almost hectoring tone in which Raimondo and his colleagues at AntiWar.com pointed out the right's error, while playing well to their own peanut-galleries, was almost bound to result in intransigence and retrenchment from those they were putatively trying to convince. The response from the big rightwing blogs has been admittedly weak, but they were being told exactly the kind of thing they wanted to hear and in their joy forgot the best line Reagan's speechwriters ever gave him - "trust but verify" and in the face of belittling attack it is always difficult to admit an error.

There is a better way.

While wandering around my usual reading, I noticed John Pike had also picked up on the Jumblatt story as promulgated by the big rightwing opinionmakers such as Powerline and Vodkapundit. I respectfully left a comment to John's post suggesting he might like to read my own earlier post on Jumblatt's sordid past and perhaps re-evaluate his opinion. Today, John dropped a comment on Newshog leading me to a new post on his blog in which he graciously acknowledges that the evidence suggests that Jumblatts motives should be questioned.. He also tells me that he has forwarded his misgivings to Israpundit with a link to the Newshog post. Which goes to prove that right and left can talk to each other in ways that actually work as shown by the recent addition of rightwinger 'Hark' to our '3 lefties'team here at Newshog.

That's the way to do it, folks. I can only wish that Glenn, Duncan and everyone down the ecosystem would take note instead of playing to the lowest common denominator of their readership. That's the politicians' job, not the bloggers.

Thanks for listening, John.