The New York (behind the) Times
In today's (Sunday's) Times, there is an Op-Ed by Nicholas Sambanis whose headline reads, "It's Official: There Is Now a Civil War in Iraq". Now, my loyal readers know that I proclaimed the same thing in the early hours of 7/21/06. Wouldn't it be interesting to compare and contrast our opinions? I'd love to give you a link, but alas, the "Gray Lady" has opted out of the conversation. I also just want to point out that the NYT wants you to pay for an opinion that you could have gotten for free right here at least a day or so earlier (I don't know when Sunday columns go live).
Of course, Mr. Sambanis' article has a lot more on the history of civil wars, what makes them end or not end, and what might contribute to peace afterwards. I was just quoting one statistic and rendering a verdict. I think that's illustrative of the difference between blogs and the New York Times: The people whose writing gets in The Times have more credentials, bigger research budgets, and more experience. But things happen slower there, and you can't post a comment on the Op-Ed page calling David Brooks a deluded Republican shill for supporting the administration's Middle East policy. Whereas on a proper blog (i.e. one with comments, like this one) you can. We can respond quickly, and you can easily call us on our shit (if you can read the spam filter image and type the characters in, that is). And we get to use more naughty words.
Bottom line: The Times is useful. Blogs are cool.
Of course, neither what I say nor what the NYT Op-Ed page says matters much unless someone in a position to do something about things actually reads these things and is persuaded.