October 04, 2006

Forests of the Heart

VDH doesn't think very much of Woodward's latest. I don't recall exactly how many times Woodward insisted, in his interviews on FOX, that his facts were totally accurate and his analysis "tight", but the reality is that he can't verify more than half of what he says, let alone how he interprets it. Of the more controversial evidence, he probably can't verify more than 10%. If someone suggested that he were 90% false, Woodward would be correct in observing that such an the assertion can't be proved, but that's chiefly because the fellow who invented Gotcha Journalism, hasn't provided enough information to allow an objective observer to put his sources to test.

Relatedly, Al Qaeda's own narrative isn't exactly inspired by confidence in their mission. Given this, there are only two explanations for the almost-universal conviction in the media that we're losing the war: ignorance or mendacity. And although much of the consensus is built on ignorance of strategy (or even what strategy means, since it's usually conflated with tactics) I can't help but speculate that some small percentage of the effort is simply a power play, seeking to impose a narrative and thereby demonstrate dominance.

Hence, an effective counter to Woodward's aggressive defense is that the assertion that his book is mostly false in support of its key point, that the White House is in a state of denial about the war, can't be falsified. And more damningly, Woodward's theme reduces to incoherence in light of the enemy's demonstrated opinion of their own status. His narrative might as well have been a subjective religious experience, like Tulsidas' Ramayana, for all we know. Only in the perverse world of mainstream media, and in some dark corners of post-modern academia, is this considered a strength.

Posted by Demosophist at October 4, 2006 04:01 PM