As the Afghanistan debate heats up Stateside, one of the casualties seems to be not so much truth, but civility. It’s a shame, because there are currently about a half-dozen very talented, insightful online analysts of the war — who I, for one, depend on to challenge and inform my thinking — that are increasingly getting caught up in personal blog spats, or else responding to everything that varies at all from their opinion with a very insulting tone.
I’m not going to call anyone out by name, because half of them don’t necessarily read this blog and the ones that do know who they are anyway. But hopefully the word will get picked up and spread:
Gentlemen, more light, less heat. There’s more at stake than personal reputations. And if you don’t agree with someone, challenge their assumptions, challenge their arguments, challenge their reasoning, but for goodness sakes, don’t challenge their good faith and intellectual honesty. Seriously, if you don’t show respect for an analyst who disagrees with you, how do you expect to convince a reader who disagrees with you?