<![CDATA[Weblogsky: Wikinews Chat:
The collaborative writing project WikiNews invites bloggers to an open IRC chat on how Wikinews can interact with weblogs. The chat’s at 4pm Central Time Saturday, February 5. [Link]]]>
To visit Washington in the fortnight after George II’s inauguration is to know that the chasm separating the US from Europe is vast. Here in the imperial capital, there is talk only of Iraq; Europe, Asia and Africa scarcely exist.
Those who supported the president’s decision to invade Iraq on the basis of taking out Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, now defend it by dwelling on the destruction of Saddam’s regime and the happy outcome of Iraq’s elections. Two former Republican secretaries of state, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, warn that the American forces must be kept there; to leave precipitously would be to court catastrophe in the Middle East – shades of arguments once used to explain why a rapid retreat from Vietnam would lead to disaster throughout south-east Asia.
Because the White House fortress is closed to all who doubt the wisdom of its policies, rumours fly of what at least some in the Pentagon believe is now required: an early retreat from a “war” that cannot be won. These are words no one dares utter in the presence of the true believers, courtiers and pseudo-warriors, who insist that the pledges made by the “elected monarch” – Theodore Roosevelt’s description of the presidential office – must be taken seriously.
George W. Bush, more than Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan – all presidents who tried to reshape the international order – insists there is no time more perilous than the present, no period more propitious for making fundamental change throughout the world. In the president’s skewed version of history, the dangers posed by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin fade beside the far greater hazards created by terrorists.
There’s just so much distance between Bush’s brain and reality, now matter how well he stays on message.
As I reflected on this point — so vividly (or, more to the point, so dully) reflected in daily discourse — I remembered the wounded disclaimers I’ve so often encountered from people who wrote or said clumsy things. Somewhere, somehow, many people have gotten the idea that it should be easy to communicate exactly what they want to communicate. That belief has attained the status of an axiom for these writers, so that the repeated evidence that communicating accurately is not that easy tends not to disconfirm the axiom, but rather to demonstrate that everyone else bears the fault.
I couldn’t agree more. There is no entitlement to being understood if you can’t express yourself clearly.]]>