an in-between move

Cool kids read The Bellman.


Don't read this blog!

I mean, thanks for dropping by my little corner of the blogospheric backwaters, but the blog you should be reading is The Bellman. The stuff I post there is much, much less likely to be imbued with dormitive powers.


[German, from zwischen, intermediate + zug, move

Literally an "in-between move". A move in a tactical sequence is called a zwischenzug* when it does not relate directly to the tactical motif in operation. |source|

image copyright TWIC

From this position, black played a zwischenzug: 19…d5
(Linares 2002, 1-0)


about your blogger

David Rowland studies philosophy at the University of Illinois - Urbana / Champaign, where he's an active member of the Graduate Employees Organization. He used to play a lot of chess, but wasn't all that good. He has a blog. And email.



DeLong keeps the data coming...
Noncompliant browsers
Zwichenzug media watch...
State of the Union
The Nation's (best?) Newspaper
Grocery strike update
Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with D
Interagency co-operation
Cry yourself a river, but it don't take much to dr...
A rich man with a tendency to believe in his own l...


error log

January 2004  
February 2004  
March 2004  
April 2004  
May 2004  
June 2004  
July 2004  
August 2004  
September 2004  
October 2004  
November 2004  
December 2004  
January 2005  
February 2005  
March 2005  
April 2005  
May 2005  
June 2005  
July 2005  
August 2005  
September 2005  
October 2005  
November 2005  
December 2005  


$zwichenzug$ sell-out zone





Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.

Union Label

Direct Action
Gets the Goods!


some folks I know

Mark Dilley
a daily dose of architecture
Safety Neal
January Girl
mimi jingcha
Hop, Skip, Jump
ambivalent imbroglio
Brooke & Lian


some blogs I read

strip mining for whimsy
It's Matt's World
School of Blog
Fall of the State
Dru Blood
Echidne of the Snakes
Colossal Waste of Bandwidth
Running from the Thought Police
Bionic Octopus


some philosoblogs

Fake Barn Country
Freiheit und Wissen


some labor blogs

Confined Space
Working Life
Dispatches From the Trenches
Labor Blog
Eric Lee


some A-list blogs

This Modern World
Matthew Yglesias
Andrew Sullivan
Political Animal
The Volokh Conspiracy


some other links

Rule 33
This Week in Chess
War Nerd
National Priorities Project
Bible Gateway
Internet Archive
A Weekly Dose of Architecture
Orsinal: Morning Sunshine
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Safety Sign Builder
Get Your War On


some philosoblogging

Six views about reasons
Seidman on reflection and rationality
And another thing
Tiffany's argument for strong internalism
Internalism v. Externalism
What do internalists believe anyway?
Rationalism and internalism
The experimental method in philosophy
Advertising to children
On moral skepticism
A linguistic argument
More on Williams
Williams on reasons
General and particular
Normativity and morality
Political intuitions
What it is, what it was, and what it shall be
Objectivity and morality
Thinking revolution
Abortion and coercion
Moore on torture
On the phenomenology of deliberation
Even more Deliberation Day
more Deliberation Day
Deliberation Day run-down
He made a porch for the throne where he might judge, cont.
He made a porch for the throne where he might judge
Every shepherd is an abomination
Droppin' H-bombs
ad hominem

Friday, January 23, 2004


Warmongers of Mass Deception (WMD)

It's been widely reported that in an interview aired on NPR yesterday, Dick Cheney claimed that "the jury is still out" regarding Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction. It's also been widely reported today that David Kay, who led the American search for banned weapons has, "concluded there were no Iraqi stockpiles to be found."

(you can listen to Juan Willams' interview of Cheney here or read more about it here)

What caught my interest in the Cheney interview, though, was the emphasis he put on three claims. Those claims were:

(1) In concluding that Iraq had WMD, the Bush administration was relying on the work of the CIA.
(2) Others who had relied on similar information had reached similar conclusions.
(3) In pursuing 'regime change' the Bush administration was merely continuing a policy begun under the Clinton administration.

These claims aren't made in support of the headline grabbing assertion that the "jury is still out." Instead, they're a hedge against the day that the Bush Administration is forced to admit that there were no banned weapons. What they hope to say is something like, "hey, we were misled by the CIA, but so were lots of folks. We acted on the information we had at the time, and took only those actions our intelligence warranted. If you have any doubts, all you need to know is that the last administration had the same policy as we did."

None of this, of course, is particularly new (except maybe blaming it all on the CIA which, you've got to admit, is a stroke of evil genius). And each of the claims, viewed in a certain light, has a grain of truth in it. It's worth noticing again, though, because of the way Cheney's proposed narrative fits in with one of the narratives Bush offered in the State of the Union address.

The Bush narrative I'm thinking of is the contrast he drew between those who believed that our fight against terrorism was a 'war' and those who thought terrorism was merely a criminal matter. As has been widely noted, the point of stating the issue in this way is so that you'll be able to define everyone who disagrees with you as subscribing to a position you feel comfortable arguing against. You won't fool anybody who's really paying attention, but that's not who you're talking to.

In Cheney's suggested narrative, the point is to blur the difference between a reasonable view -- say, "Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, and dangerous, and we ought to pursue some kind of containment policy" -- and the kind of cowboy craziness exemplified by the Bush administration.

The idea is to pull all nuance out of political discourse, and to do it in a way that makes it seem impossible that anyone could disagree with you. If some pesky Democrat tries to criticize you, then they have the choice of either falling into the category you've carefully prepared for them or sounding as if their criticism isn't motivated by actual disagreement but, instead, by some sick desire for personal power.

Frankly, I don't have the slightest idea what can be done about this. One possibility is to do it better, to define the issues before your opponent, or in a way that swamps you opponent's attempt. I think that the Democrats often try to do this, but meet with limited success for a variety of reasons. But even when the Democrats succeed, I'm not satisfied with the result.

Sometimes, and this may be one of those times, I find myself in the grips of profound skepticism about the possibility of building a functional democracy. Either people want to participate actively in the process of self-government, or they don't. If they did, they'd pay enough attention to keep people like Cheney and Bush from manipulating them. But they don't pay enough attention. So they don't really want democracy.

But this is just the line of thought that leads you to turn into a Dick Cheney or a George Bush.

+ - + - + main + - + - +