Friday, February 06, 2015

No, Mr. Saletan Did Not Go Nuts. But Very Careless

I interrupt my relatively post-free week to ridicule some nonsense.

William Saletan at Slate, who usually writes about technology, has a piece on the latest Islam State atrocities in which he writes:

“Japan’s prime minister is trying to amend the constitution to expand his authority to use military force. In that domestic campaign, the ISIS murders of two Japanese hostages in the last two weeks have become his most effective weapon.”

My first thought: has the normally cogent and lucid Mr. Saletan gone mad? But then I click through and find the following passage:

“Many observers suspect that Abe sees the events of the past two weeks as an opportunity to push ahead with his ambition to drastically amend the pacifist Constitution for the first time since the war, although the government denies it.”

So who are these “many observers”? Well, I assume that Reiji Yoshida, the writer, has two thumbs, so that makes it three, including his head. I am willing to begrudge Mr. Yoshida’s big toes, which makes it five.

I leave it to you to decide whether 5 = many.

Beyond that, though, Mr. Saletan fails to take into account the impact on the street, recruitment, and the IS troops on the ground. My call was based on what I understand of the local culture, is that, revenge is first and foremost on the pilot’s family, tribe, Jordanians, and local Arabs in a concentrically declining vector of rage—they’ll deal with grievances against King Abdullah later. I couldn’t see the other two being moved by much. He either missed these talking points, or omitted them because he didn’t know how to treat them. Either way, bad journalism.

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