Today's Blogs

Day of Protest

Bloggers examine this weekend’s anti-war protests, a new report on prisoner abuse in Iraq, and a study suggesting many more women than men are graduating from college. 

Day of protest:Anti-war protesters gathered in Washington, D.C., Saturday, in what the Washington Post called the “largest anti-war protest in the nation’s capital since the U.S. invasion.”

“Watching clips of the Answer Anti-War Rally, all I see are things that I want nothing to do with,” writes NewDem, a diarist at liberal network Daily Kos. “I am a staunch supporter of Israel, and its fundamental right to exist. I bet you that the majority of Americans who are against the war are too. Yet I watch this rally and see people basically supporting the Hamas, etc., and the suicide killings of innocent Israelis in cafes, on buses, etc. … We Democrats have an opening right now. Let’s not squander it. Let’s focus on the one issue that unites us and unites a clear majority of the American people. Skip the subsidiary bullshit.” Liberal blogger Mathew Yglesias shares his doubts about the rally at TPMCafe.

Nevertheless, some liberals look at the motley coalition of protesters and see only volume. “The anti-war moment has arrived,” declares Stirling Newberry at The Blogging of the President. “The demand is simple: ‘Out. Now.’ The lesson of American politics since Korea has been ‘win or go home.’ ” The time to leave, he says, has come. At Informed Comment, Middle East scholar Juan Cole agrees military withdrawal is imminently necessary.

Others are skeptical of simple historical parallels drawn by protestors and fellow travelers. Plenty on the right share the opinion that the protest showcased the looniest leftist elements rather than fostering reasoned debate. “[I]f there were an authentic grassroots anti-war movement, then the rallies wouldn’t be dominated by fringers,” says stalwart libertarian Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit. “I support the war, but I’m not afraid of an intellectually and morally serious antiwar movement. We just haven’t had one of those.”

Many bloggers move quickly from strategic debates over the protests to moral debates concerning the war. “Would a U.S. withdrawal make things better or worse for the Iraqi people?” asks left-of-center Billmon in a popular post of personal reckoning at Whiskey Bar. “My personal opinion is that having started the war, and uncorked the bottle of religious fanaticism and communal savagery, America is morally obliged to do whatever it can to minimize the suffering and death its actions have caused. … I have a strong suspicion that at this point a complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq could be the starting gun (so to speak) for a more conventional civil war, one fought by battalions or even divisions, instead of death squads and suicide bombers. …. Given the chaos and destruction Iraq has already experienced, the result could resemble Somalia more than Lebanon.”

ReadSlate’s Christopher Hitchens on the protest.Read more about the protests; and more about Iraq.

Another Abu Ghraib?:“Three former members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division say soldiers in their battalion in Iraq routinely beat and abused prisoners in 2003 and 2004 to help gather intelligence on the insurgency and to amuse themselves,” according to a study by Human Rights Watch recounted in the New York Times.   

“Needless to say, not all of these detainees turned out to be guilty of anything,” writes a jaded Washington MonthlyPolitical Animal Kevin Drum. “All three witnesses testify that it was their understanding that the US military was not following the Geneva Conventions, and this guided the abuse occurring by their units,” notes Laura Rozen, a correspondent for the American Prospect, at War and Piece. “Will our lame Congress continue to let the White House suppress a proper, timely investigation of this?”

At Belgravia Dispatch, former military adviser Gregory Djerejian also faults a collective failure of leadership for the prisoner abuse epidemic. “What’s become very clear to me is that, techniques that may have worked under the controlled circumstances of Gitmo … failed miserably when they ‘migrated’ to Afghanistan and Iraq,” he says. “In a bygone era, Wise Men would have stepped in and advised the President to sack Don Rumsfeld, and explained to the President the undue harm he was causing the reputation of our Armed Forces, the propaganda gift he was handing to the enemy, the corollary risk of our own forces now being mistreated in the future if captured.”

Read more about the new abuse report.

Where have all the tweed blazers gone?:According to the Department of Education, the ratio of women college graduates to male college graduates has risen to 135 to 100, USA Today reports.

Pajamas Media mogul Roger L. Simon thinks the study merely reveals “the brutal truth” that women are smarter than men. Economics teacher Arnold Kling of EconLog suggests the report is practically an amicus brief on behalf of Larry Summers.

Erin O’Connor, writing at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni’s acta online, chalks the disparity up to another loss in the culture wars. “A generation of young men is losing out in a very big way. But there is no real outrage as higher education becomes a feminized system,” she writes. “Indeed, the outrage is still running the other way—we hear continually about the marginalization of women in the academy, and the difficulties women students face. … But the question of why young men are disappearing from campus is not even being widely asked.”

Read more about the study.