Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Someone else on Maureen

After blogging about Maureen Dowd of the NYTimes this morning, I found this article at The Weekly Standard website. Really good stuff... the author (Josh Chafetz of OxBlog) lists Maureen's Five Immutable Laws For Writing a Column. My favorite? Number two:

It's easier to whine than to take a stand or offer solutions. Consider this: In her many columns to date lobbing stinkbombs at the "Whack-Iraq'ers," she has yet to come out and say that she opposes war in Iraq. The reason, presumably, is that she would then have to actually confront and argue against the administration's reasons for attacking Iraq. Instead, she offers this commentary on Bush's U.N. address (from her September 15 column): "But there was no compelling new evidence. Mr. Bush offered only an unusually comprehensive version of the usual laundry list. Saddam is violating the sanctions, he tried to assassinate Poppy, he's late on his mortgage payments, he tips 10 percent, he has an unjustifiable fondness for 'My Way,' he gassed his own people, he doesn't turn down the front brim of his hat."

When confronted with a passage like that, it's hard to know where to begin, but we must be brave. First, notice how she trivializes not only Saddam's violation of U.N. sanctions but even the massacre at Halabja, by including them on "the usual laundry list" along with a joke about being a stingy tipper. Second, notice how she leaves out a few of the more important "laundry list" items--like the fact that Saddam continues to stockpile and build weapons of mass destruction and the fact that he funds terrorism. Finally, observe that she tells us there is "no compelling new evidence" without telling us why the old evidence--"the usual laundry list"--is insufficient. To do that would require considering policy arguments and offering alternative ways to combat Saddam's litany of abuses. Into such territory, Dowd is loath to stray.

Amen, Brother Josh... it's very easy to criticize someone else (and easier yet to do so poorly), but it's a little tougher to come up with solutions yourself. The Democrats and others who have been opposing the Bush stance on Iraq have been finding that out; OTOH, I'm not sure if Maureen is even aware of the fact that she never offers any solutions. Maybe someone should clue her in.

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