So long, Kos

by Steve, July 17th, 2006

politicsI’ve never been a huge fan of Markos Moulitsas Z˙niga, but I’ve tried to like his mega meta blog. I’ve even posted a diary entry on his site. I’ve had Daily Kos linked from here since I started this blog, but today I’ve removed the link.

Today, under the title Why I won’t write about Israel/Lebanon/Palestine fighting”, Moulitsas writes:

It’s clear that in the Middle East, no one is sick of the fighting. They have centuries of grudges to resolve, and will continue fighting until they can get over them. And considering that they obviously have no interest in “getting over them”, we’re stuck with a war that will not end in any forseable future…. It doesn’t matter what the President of the United States says. Or the United Nations.

This is, of course, ahistorical bullshit. Of course it matters what the POTUS says. With Israel as the single largest recipient of US military aid, the president has enormous influence over the Israeli war machine. We don’t have to pay for this!

I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to read a little history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but suffice it to say, Moulitsas is taking the easy way out and showing his stripes as a main-stream Democratic Party operative, unwilling to take a stand on issues that really matter. “I just hope that war-fatigue sets in at some point,” writes Moulitsas, washing his hands of the whole matter. Tell that to the children dying by bomb, bullet, and lack of clean water. If you can’t take a stand against war, what can you stand for?

Alex Cockburn, in the July 3, 2006 Nation (subscription required), pegged this before me:

Beyond raising money swiftly handed over to the gratified veterans of the election industry, both MoveOn and Daily Kos have had zero political effect, except as a demobilizing force. The effect on writers is horrifying. Talented people feel they have to produce 400 words of commentary every day, and you can see the lethal consequences on their minds and style, which turn rapidly to slush. They glance at the New York Times and rush to their laptops to rewrite what they just read. Hawsers to reality soon fray and they float off, drifting zeppelins of inanity.

I’m not quite so quick to dismiss blogging’s effect in general, but I’m pretty sick of Daily Kos. Other than raising money for Democratic Party candidates, I don’t don’t see much purpose there.

But it’s hard to imagine getting through the day without reading Juan Cole or David Corn. I also love reading Dan Froomkin for a daily look at White House goings on, and occasionally Steve Clemons has something good to add to the conversation. But Kos? Blah. You’re off my list.

Edited July 17, 3:40 pm: Here’s another journalist with the stones to write about what’s going on. Rami G. Khouri, editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper, writes in Agence Global:

You need to understand the relationship among four pairs of actors to grasp the meaning of the escalating attacks by Hamas, Hizbullah and Israel in recent days. The four pairs are: Hamas and Hizbullah; the Palestinian and Lebanese governments; Syria and Iran; and, Israel and the United States….

It is no coincidence that Israel is now simultaneously bombing and destroying the civilian infrastructure in Palestine and Lebanon, including airports, bridges, roads, power plants, and government offices. It claims to do this in order to stop terror attacks against Israelis, but in fact the past four decades have shown that its policies generate exactly the opposite effect: They have given birth, power, credibility and now political incumbency to the Hamas and Hizbullah groups whose raison d’etre has been to fight the Israeli occupation of their lands.

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