Small Wars Journal

Primal scream? No. Disgust? Maybe.

Let's get something straight.  There's a strong streak of unapologetic

curmudgeon in both Dave and me.  But it's not nearly as strong as the

raging case of validation of preconceived notions that runs in so many

commentators these days.  Latest case in point, some of the reactions to

Dave's recent micro-rant,

It Takes a


For example,

Armchair Generalist says "Small Wars Journal Blog departs from the sane and

analytical evaluation of military issues and sounds off with a primal scream of

disgust on what they perceive as unjust things....Fortunately we have articulate

people on the left, like

Matt Yglesias, who can counter this short-sighted, myopic view."  Both

go on to suggest SWJ has basically drunk the Kool-Aid, buys "completely into the

CheneyBush argument for the Iraqi invasion and justification for continued US

force presence", and "reflects some dangerous trends in American culture." 

Yeah, right.

Take another look at

Dave's post

Intermittent display of personal frustration / disappointment?  Sure. 

Revisionist history or glorifying, fact-distorting, self-justifying neo-con

rant?  Hell no.  That's only there if you want to see it that way. 

Primal scream of disgust?  Not hardly.  Unless you count the one that

rightfully follows from how so many people can spool so endlessly on such random


So we'll continue to toil away here, focusing on the serious work at hand. 

For the most part, we have no Small Wars Journal house opinion, other than that

the opinions of all serious participants should be heard and considered. 

We're trying to facilitate that, and will continue to be equal opportunity based

on substance, credibility, and weight of reason, not ideology.  We'd like

to be better at it, and we'd dearly like greater participation from non-military practitioners of Small Wars.  It will come.

From time to time, we'll flip out a personal opinion.  You don't do this

for as much time as we do without forming a few that you just want to put out

there, pretty clearly standing alone as such and only for what they're worth

(typically not much).  But that happens on SWJ Blog a lot less than most

blogs, and it never interferes with our desire to publish substantive analysis

and personal insights on all sides of unpopular issues, whenever we can find

them presented thoughtfully.  Those are worth a lot more.  We are,

after all, pretty much boring small wars wonks.  And as such, one thing we

really don't like is opinion disguised as analysis, particularly when it's

cantilevered out from extrapolated perceptions.  We'll leave that to the

legions of armchair pundits.


Steve Blair

Thu, 12/18/2008 - 4:03pm

From looking at the comments, I was struck by the number of people who seem unable (or unwilling) to make the distinction between an editorial comment (which is what Dave's post was, really) and an actual news post. Even bloggers are entitled to editorial opinions (and I'd argue that too many bloggers are really just opinion pushers who wrap themselves up in professional-sounding rhetoric and take themselves far too seriously...much like their MSM counterparts). I don't mind an occasional blast on the whistle to release steam pressure, especially since the engine that's being driven is so strong.

Schmedlap (not verified)

Thu, 12/18/2008 - 10:28am

SWJ has significant credibility among those who are serious students of, practitioners of, well-versed in, or otherwise involved in contemporary military affairs. The critics cited are not and their critiques demonstrate as much. I think that you do them an undeserved service by even acknowledging them. The amateur, foolish tone of each speaks for itself and warrants no rebuttal.

Jason Sigger

Thu, 12/18/2008 - 7:20am

Micro-rant, scream, whatever. Dave's small post did seem a little self-focused and small compared to the larger issue. Certainly, I'm guilty of that behavior too. In any extent, I quite enjoy the fine work here at SWJ and look forward to more work based on "substance, credibility, and weight of reason." It's what separates us from the MSM.