Thursday, August 18, 2005

Memory Lane 2

One of the forgotten things about Hitler's rise to power was that up until about 1938, many of his foreign policy demands were just. The Treaty of Versailles, imposed by the Allies after the Great War deprived Germany of "about 13.5% of her territory, 13% of her economic productivity and about 7 million of her inhabitants". So when in 1935 the Saar voted to return to Germany, after being a French coalmine for 15 years, many Britons were sympathetic.  German troops marching into the Rhineland in 1936 were greeted by deliriously happy crowds in Essen, Frankfurt and Cologne. When Germany asserted her right to full sovereignty and re-armed, as was the due of every nation, not simply the Germans but many in the world gave three cheers. Auden in his famous poem September 1, 1939 felt it necessary to apologize for Versailles even as the Panzers were rolling across Poland.

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

The return of Gaza to the Arabs, replete with UN funded banners proclaiming "Gaza Today. The West Bank and Jerusalem Tomorrow" underlines the historical parallel. Looking back on the 1930s, at the last moment when Second World War could have been averted, the problem never consisted of whether to return the Rhineland to Germany; but in whether the Rhineland should have been handed to Hitler. The issue of letting Germany rearm without restriction, at one level simply ceding her sovereign due was indistinguishable from giving the Nazis the key to Europe. It was a subtle difference which only a few statesmen, like Winston Churchill, appreciated.  The Popular Front, a coalition of Leftist parties in French power up to the eve of the war, never grasped the distinction.

One wing of the party under it's leader Leon Blum saw early on that the new German Chancellor whose thugs had been smashing windows and brawling in the street for years was a potential threat and argued that France had to get ready to do something about him, the other wing argued against viewing Hitler in black and white terms. They had a more nuanced view of Herr Hitler. The latter faction were so eager to avoid another war that they ended up sabotaging France's ability to fight. It won't surprise those familiar with French history that a number of the anti-war Socialists ended up in the collaborationist Vichy Regime under German occupation. Or that Leon Blum ended up in Dachau.

Leon Blum was a Jew. But he was also heir to the Left's legacy of the search for root causes; it's attachment to pacifism at all costs, even when in Blum's case, it meant abandoning Spanish Communists to Hitler in the Civil War. The British and French policy of the 1930s is appeasement only in hindsight. Back then it was a roadmap to peace -- "peace in our time". Nor was it the case that Hitler compelled concessions from the reluctant statesmen of the West; on the contrary, they fell all over themselves to expiate their own guilt: the guilt of Versailles, the embarrassment of colonial empires. One historian notes:

Premier Blum’s appeasement has sometimes been overlooked by earlier historians. Thomas does not make this mistake, criticizing Blum for offering Hitler’s Economic Minister, Hjalmar Schacht, concessions in the African colonies taken from Germany at Versailles in 1919. The optimistic Blum still professed to believe, as late as January 1937, that Hitler would sign a disarmament agreement with Britain and France ... Yet Thomas also believes that Blum had no choice but to humor the British on the Non-Intervention policy toward Spain. Blum, according to the author, became an appeaser to avoid Chamberlain’s greater appeasement. Blum experimented with peaceful suggestions to prevent Chamberlain from making a bilateral deal with Hitler behind Paris’s back.

The return of Gaza to the Arabs is at one level simple justice -- not to mention a shrewd tactical move by the Israelis. One wishes it were not also a cession of territory to Hamas and Fatah, which unfortunately it is. And yet, as Churchill understood, the question of who one is dealing with is not altogether irrelevant. Pacifists of 1930s who watched Leni Reifenstahl's Triumph of the Will, which "opens with Hitler's plane flying through the clouds ... descending like a new messiah to the waiting throngs of people gathered to meet him" may have felt a moment of unease at dealing with this man -- but only for a moment. But this generation is also unable to see the Nuremberg rallies of its day. Ronald Jones, in his monograph for the Army War College entitled Terrorist Beheadings: Cultural and Strategic Implications warns an agnostic age that we ignore the ritual and ceremony of the enemy only at our peril. It is a window on his soul and a gauntlet in our face.

Taking hostages and ritually beheading them has recently emerged as a popular terrorist tactic for radical groups. ... The terrorists’ actions also have tremendous cultural and symbolic significance for their audience. Killing hostages is not new, but the growing trend of the graphic murder of noncombatants impels us to study this tactic.

And the message in those rituals, in the many incidents like the one in which shows Nick Berg, a "26-year-old Philadelphia businessman in an orange jumpsuit, with his hands tied behind his back" being beheaded under the caption "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Shown Slaughtering an American" is not reassuring. In our search for root causes, we have blinded ourselves to the most basic of all: the content of the human heart.

262 Comments:

Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

Giving Gaza back to the Palestinians is a sad necessity. They will either take the opportunity to build a state (highly unlikely; for more on this take a look at Dr. Sanity's post on the Shame culture vs the guilt culture.http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2005/08/shame-arab-psyche-and-islam.html) or will use it as a base for terror and internecine warfare. The Israelis will have much less constraints in dealing with attacks because they will no longer be occupiers. I believe they already have Bush's agreement that in return for giving up the settlements, they will have more leeway on their miltary response.
I also believe that it is a tactical coup; once the Media has lost the ability to use images of occupation and humiliation, and has more difficulty in framing the Palestinain's plight as solely caused by the evil Israelis, they will lose interest. The rest of the Arab world has no particular love of the Paleos; if they are no longer as effective a weapon against the hated Jews, they will be (further) abandoned without a second thought.

8/18/2005 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger The Machinist said...

It's not so much blinding as looking away at a sight one cannot bear. Think of your Fourth Conjecture. Think of Biblical tales wherein enemy tribes are slaughtered to the last man, woman and child.

What carnage might an Iran, a North Korea, a Taiwan conflict lead to? Especially as the lesson we have relearned once again in Iraq is that too much force is better than not enough.

Whereas we (unbelievably) played nicey-nice with Iraq, viz., dialing down Shock and Awe for no reason I understand except that we hoped to make friends with them later, I see no reason to stay our hand in the above conflict scenarios, nor will the foe.

We will not be invading or occupying Iran, North Korea or China. We will be bombing them into submission. It won't be pretty, especially if the GOP holds power and the usual suspects turn the agitprop up to 11.

So if jaw-jaw is better than war, and war is hell, and all that...why not go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, do everything one can to avoid it or at least not face it.

The costs of this approach are left as an exercise to the student.

8/18/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Ray said...

"In our search for root causes, we have blinded ourselves to the most basic of all: the content of the human heart."

Here is the issue - the blindness that comes from the inability to imagine that someone could really hate, that someone could really decapitate, all out of the will to power. So instead, comfortable people must imagine that they must have caused some offence, and that if that offence were corrected, atoned for, then all, being of fundamentally good will, would get along. Ironically, those who point out the fallacy of this position, those who call us to "Arise and take our stand for freedom, as in the olden time", are held up as the embodiment of evil, the Hitler of this generation, and the irresponsible provoker of Hitler in the time before the Hitler meme. Yet deep down those who echo this shrill cry know the falshood of it all - for it it were true they would not dare speak lest they be struck down by true evil and the violence of the amok state. So the blindness is a natural effect of a deep cowardice and fear of seeing nature red in tooth and claw and wishing instead for Zion (without Zionists), believing so fervently that they will grasp the plowshare, lay down with the lion, and expect the undisturbed sleep of the lamb.

8/18/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Morgan said...

"So instead, comfortable people must imagine that they must have caused some offence..."

Oh, no, never they. Always someone else. If everyone were like they are, the offense would not have occurred.

8/18/2005 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Regardless of the tactical considerations, Israel's withdrawal will act as an unfalsifiable symbol of the efficacy of terrorism. Radical Muslims everywhere will be sold on the utility of barbaric and heinous acts, and around the world blood will flow.

A high price to pay to justify the vanquishing of your enemy, and a meandering road to get to "kill them all."

Whatever Israel has bought, it is not peace. And yet, can you blame them?

8/18/2005 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

The return of the Saar, the Rhineland, the right to full sovereignty and rearmament, were not concessions made by a world eager to redress German grievances, but were acts of defiance and will. As such they could never placate, but only embolden. And that was the whole point and purpose.

The return of Gaza to Palestinian control comes not as the result of a taking fait accompli. It comes not as a result of Palestinian strength, but weakness. The Israelis are the bold transformative movers in this story. And yet, will it matter? The tale can be told whichever way one wants to tell it.

Years down the road the world may not remember a voluntary exchange of land for security and peace; the narrative may instead remember armed resistance reclaiming what should never have been lost. It may well become a story of freedom fighters fighting to free land from a still-too-stubborn occupier. And it will be a lie. But if no-one remembers differently, so what?

8/18/2005 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Israeli street theater plays out on International TV.
Quite a struggle, getting the young folks out of the Synagogue.

The Opfor wins again. The Israelis withdraw in the face of Intifada and demographics.
Lebanon! Gaza!
On to the West Bank!
Then Jerusalem!

For the Iranians, their number 1 terrorist arm, Hezbollah, solidifies it's position after Syria withdraws from Lebanon. There are hundreds of rockets ready to launch at Israel at the Mullahs command.

The Iranians have always managed to dishonor the US without retribution. Those boys in charge have never felt the lightning nor heard the thunder.
If they get a dose it will be either be the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end of the Mohammedans New Millennium Mahdi Uprising.
In either case we will be a long hard slog from the end.

8/18/2005 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Heard the remnants of a Palestinian Family who had lost around a dozen members: The father went on and on about how proud he would be if his remaining sons were martyred, as they sat beneath pictures of the departed which were depicted with blood stains as a reminder of their honor.

I am less sanguine than shrinkwrapped about it being a tactical coup:
The facts on the ground have never before served as a constraint on the left, MSM, or Palis before, and I don't expect that to change in this case. No matter what occurs, the Palis will be portrayed as the wronged party.

Only correction needed for Aristedes post is to change "will" to "IS acting as an unfalsifiable symbol of the efficacy of terrorism."
The Palis are not waiting to let that be known.

8/18/2005 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I would bet the Iranians remember the 'Lessons Learned' from the "Desert One" fiasco as well or better than US do.
It caused a revamping of our entire force structure, our last armed incursion into Iran. Not much to write home about.

"... It began in the evening of April 24, 1980, when a supposedly elite US military force launched a bold but doomed attempt to rescue their fellow American citizens and their nation's honor from captivity in Tehran. In the early hours of April 25, the effort ended in fiery disaster at a remote spot in Iran known ever after as Desert One.

This failed attempt to rescue 53 hostages from the US Embassy in Tehran resulted in the death of five US Air Force men and three Marines, serious injuries to five other troops, and the loss of eight aircraft. That failure would haunt the US military for years and would torment some of the key participants for the rest of their lives. ..."

Desert One

Remember the New President of Iran is reported to be a Hostage Interrogator from the Embassy Hostage struggle.

8/18/2005 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger neuroconservative said...

I would argue that the Israelis have made four unnecessary and strategically disastrous memetic concessions, in addition to the physical concession of the (relatively worthless) land in Gaza:

1) They have demonstrated that terror has successful consequences, as mentioned by Aristides and elaborated by Lee Harris.

2) They have consistently failed to put on the table the issue of Jewish refugees. For example, there were 137,000 Jews driven out of Iraq, primarily between 1948 and 1951, and again after the Baath takeover in 1968. Why shouldn't their "right of return" to Iraq be part of the nascent Iraqi Constitution (obviously this is a rhetorical question, but I am talking about rhetoric and meme wars here).

The Israeli government could make a big PR production over the number of Jews expelled, then inflated that number by their presumed offspring and relatives (as the Palestinians do), and calculated a dollar figure to compensate for seized assets. Then they could make a grand gesture of waiving the rights of return and compensation. That dollar figure (and population total) could then be permanently placed on the scales to balance out competing Arab claims.

3) Every day that goes by is a missed opportunity to broadcast subtitled MEMRI feeds across Israeli and Western television. The Palestinian pledge to eliminate incitement is the most easily-monitored and most flagrantly-violated treaty obligation since the Germans pledged not to invade Russia. The entire Israeli Foreign Ministry could be dismantled and sold for scrap, and the proceeds more effectively used to fund paid broadcasts throughout the US, until the Palestinian terror-muppet was as well-known as Elmo.

4) Most disastrously of all, and a moral abomination, they have endorsed the principle of Judenrein. The Israeli government has ethnically cleansed the land of Jews. Alternately, a trade for the transfer of Israeli Arabs could be (rhetorically) offered and dismissed, given that the Jews of the Palestinian state will of course be offered the same rights of worship, expression, and voting as the Israeli Arabs.

Contra Shrinkwrapped (with whom I normally agree), I don't think the media will cut the Jews any slack on any of these points, when the Palestinians make their next set of demands.

8/18/2005 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

In our search for root causes, we have blinded ourselves to the most basic of all: the content of the human heart.

this is exactly right. But Wretchard, why do you think it is that people, perhaps especially on the left, are so often blind to our evil side? Is the blindness at base the fruit of a rebellion against a strict monotheist religious heritage (i.e. against our traditions for understanding the anthropology of good and evil)? but this might not explain why not just westerners can be blind to evil, or why many in the liberal churches share in the same blindness as secular liberals.

Is the blindness at base one of vanity, caused by a desire to identify with the victim as a means of claiming purpose and centrality for oneself, in the role of one's brother's keeper? To continue the 30s analogy, let's remember that not only was Hitler responded to with guilt and appeasement, he was genuinely admired by many politicians on both the left and the right in the anglophone world well into the late 30s. He was admired as the former victim/loser who had fought his way back and brought with him his people to glory. But Hitler did not only symbolize the victims of Versailles, he also, and perhaps more importantly let's remember, represented victims of the marketplace, which for many meant victims of the Jews.

It is a paradox that identifying with the victims is both a road to apprehending truth and to deluding oneself. How do we know when we have gone too far in seeking truth in victimhood? How can we show others this imbalance in themselves?

8/18/2005 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Towering Barbarian said...

I agree with Shrinkwrapped with this although I would not term it a tactical coup so much as a tactical necessity. Think Hadrian's Wall. I doubt the Palestinians will be as happy once Israel's wall are completey in place. As for the media, who cares? They are very important to themselves but sooner or later reality will intrude no matter how complete the lies that they spin.

8/18/2005 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger neuroconservative said...

In our search for root causes, we have blinded ourselves to the most basic of all: the content of the human heart.

For me (a former Nietzschean), the greatest lesson of 9-11 was that a philosophy situated "beyond good and evil" is an empty fraud. I recently wrote that "any functional philosophical structure must have, at its core, the understanding of evil as a powerful causative agent."

I think that truepeers' final conundrum is critical: How can we show others this imbalance in themselves? I wish I knew the answer. But it takes only 5 minutes of listening to Air America, or reading the Daily Kos, to see that the Left is not blind to all evil -- they clearly see the "evil" of the smirkingchimp bushitler. Shrinkwrapped, Dr. Sanity, and neo-neocon have all written sagely and repeatedly on this seeming paradox.

My take is that the Left, which accuses conservatives of Manicheanism in our approach to the War on Terror ("Only a Sith deals in absolutes!"), actually has a complementary Manicheanism, based on this narcissistic rage at the imperfect Parent. Here, the rage is displaced onto the US Government, which takes on the role of the imperfect parent ("You didn't protect the Iraqi museums!") or even the abusive parent (Gitmo). The compensatory Narcissistic idealization is then directed outward towards the enemies of the US (Castro, Che, Ho Chi Minh, Michael Moore's "Minutemen", etc).

8/18/2005 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/18/2005 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Neurocon, just to add that I agree with your other three points. As for your idea of narcissistic rage towards the imperfect parent. This sounds right to me. I'm still wondering however if we have any strong idea of the good parent in the west and if so what is it? What is the legacy of the Christian calls to leave one's parents (e.g. chimpy McBushitler?) and follow Christ? Could this tradition be behind our inability to find realistic models for ourselves in this world, models that show us both the evil and goodness in us, and behind the left's projection onto figures like Castro or Lenin/Lennon of a semi-divine status?

8/18/2005 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/18/2005 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger neuroconservative said...

truepeers -- I think you are right to call attention to our lack of models for good parents. (although I am unclear on your Christianity reference -- can you elaborate?)

As far as I can tell, today's model parent is ungendered, provides "quality time" on the way to and from daycare, and encourages girls to play football and boys to play with dolls. It is also clear that children must have their own palm pilots to track their busy social and "enrichment" schedule, and should fear solitude and reflection.

I have also heard it suggested, from several quarters, that one cannot serve as a "good role model" as a parent if one is more focused on familial duty than one's own happiness.

Most notably, as has been lamented by many, many conservative writers, the father is expendable if not a downright obstacle to childrearing.

While I can't put my finger on the causal chain, it is clear that there is a correlation between the corrosion of traditional family and gender roles and the post-modern inability to recognize evil that does not carry the last name of Bush. (and I don't think that it is coincidental that the Left thinks that he is on a vendetta for his father). Shrinkwrapped was posting on this issue, in relation to Cindy Sheehan, just the other day.

8/18/2005 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Truepeers,

I have often thought that the muddle over "just causes" stems from an inability to set individual choices against the context of its consequences. Returning a dropped knife to a ginsu chef is both just and courteous; but returning a knife that Charles Manson has dropped is plain stupid. People who can't appreciate the difference in these two outwardly identical acts are doomed to wander in a wilderness of moral equivalence.

Without discernment even the precepts of Christ become another source of confusion. 'A plane just flew into the North Tower, shouldn't we offer up the South Tower as we would turn the other cheek?' Judyth Hill advocated just that because she has banished malice from her world. But by and by she may discover that you cannot exile malice without correspondingly casting out good. Life in the postmodern world 'beyond good and evil' is life in a desert; where both Hamas and Fatah can escape judgment though we cannot escape it ourselves.

8/18/2005 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Neurocon, there are a few such passages in the New Testament, but i'm not good at finding them and so let's just go with Matthew XXIII, 9-10 "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ"

-WHat i was trying to suggest is that western history has entailed a struggle between the authority of the church and its notions of a family in Christ, and the authority of the biological family. THe emergence of the western nuclear family as opposed to the extended clan, encouraged by measures such as the church's proscription of marriage to cousins, its officially celibate priests, and other measures respecting property and inheritance, suggest a cultural struggle in which the call to follow Christ has been at odds with biological kinship and with taking one's biological parents as models or authorities as might someone with, say, a strong Confucian orientation.

As the church has lost its central role in Christendom, the growth of secular civil society has been replete with associations in which notions of brother and sisterhood are prominent. Again, one sees the desire to imagine a "family" defined by shared participation in civic life and ideals, not biology.

I don't want to suggest that this is all a problem. The freedom of western society are to be lauded and they have depended on our ability to see our nations and the global community as a kind of extended family united by common values. But I want to suggest that mayve there is a problem when it comes to knowing how far to go with the idea of following ideal models, as opposed, say, to ordinary and realistic ones. One needs parents in this world and not just brothers and sisters in the utopias we are prone to imagine, usually without strong father figures. Idealizing the brother over the father may leave many unsure of who or what to follow when dealing, e.g., with violence and evil.

8/19/2005 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Wretchard, that poem of Hill's is very disturbing. It shows an inability to distinguish personal from collective conduct, religion from politics. WHen a conflict is strictly personal, just a matter of concern to us (and not others, e.g. innocent children, for whom we are responsible), it may well be a sign of our moral or religious growth that we learn to turn the other cheek. But when we try to make this a principle for the conduct of our societies or polities, we are on the road to barbarism. In the larger world, our goal should be to find the way of the lesser evil; the belief that we can act and organize without evil is just a sure way of committing to some greater evil. I guess this speaks to your point about the inability to relate one's behaviour to the context in which its implications will be determined.

8/19/2005 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

Unless there is something I am missing (which there could be), I think it is a stupid move. Militarily speaking - unless there is land barrier that is superior to Gaza then it's a bad move (the bombings will continue).

Now, politically speaking there are indications of peace. But, there maybe underlying currents which I am not aware of. Is there some underlying security agreement that I am not aware of ?

When Nantyauhau steps down it spells profound disagreement on the security of Israel. To the untrained eye it would appear that Israel has withdrawn to a position which is vulnerable to nuclear destruction should Iran decided to build the A-bomb. I have read his canned statement and know there is something else in it. But, what it is I do not know. If anybody knows please let me know.

8/19/2005 05:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

ledger,
The Palis are expected to disarm the terrorist organizations.
When you read this you may start holding your breath.
In previous threat Wretch comments that it would happen sooner or later anyway:
Perhaps Sharon figures it's better to get it over with while someone like W is in charge rather than someone like JFK2 or Ms Hillary.

8/19/2005 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"thread"

8/19/2005 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

That was pretty unkind:
How was I to remember the name of the author of this?
(Flashback to nightmares past.)
Wage Peace
by Judyth Hill, September 11, 2001

Wage Peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble.
Breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red-wing blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists
Breathe out sleeping children and fresh mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen and breathe out life long relationships intact.
Wage peace with our listening: hearing sirens, pray loud. Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothing pins, clean rivers.
Make soup.
Play music; learn the word "thank you" in 3 languages.
Learn to knit: make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries.
Imagine grief
as the outbreak of beauty or gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.
Never has the word seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Celebrate today.
---
Talk about domestic terrorism.

8/19/2005 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Memo to self:
Remember to make soup.

8/19/2005 05:57:00 AM  
Blogger Oengus Moonbones said...

Wretchard: "…we have blinded ourselves to the most basic of all: the content of the human heart."

A small peek at the contents shows that once they get their nukes, they will use them without a moment's hesitation.

8/19/2005 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

As for the media, who cares? They are very important to themselves but sooner or later reality will intrude no matter how complete the lies that they spin.
towering barbarian @ 10:42 PM

I wish such sanguine dismissal were warranted. But popular perception molds attitude molds action (or inaction). Lies told authoritatively make their own reality.

Addressing the House of Commons on July 13, 1934 (subsequent to an indefinite adjournement of the Standing Committee of the Disarmnament Conference at Geneva) Winston Churchill warned of a twined danger when he said: This is not the only Germany which we shall live to see, but we have to consider that at present two or three men, in what may well be a desperate position, have the whole of that mighty country in their grip... and that there is no public opinion except what is manufactured by those new and terrible engines--broadcasting and a controlled press.

8/19/2005 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Wretchard:
I have noted that today civilized and decent people must be able to think about the same event in at least two different ways. Turning the other cheek is indeed the right response when dealing with a loved one - and Christ loved us all. But this does not equate to apologizing to a mugger that you have not had time to make your weekly trip to the bank and offering to go find an ATM so to better populate your wallet.
Likewise, the Anthrax attacks of 2001 were a challenge. In terms of personal danger they had to be regarded in the same manner as the threat of being bitten by a poisonous snake if you never go in the woods. From a National perspective they had to be regarded as the equivalent of a nuclear first strike.
In the run-up to WWII Hitler's greatest enemies were professional military men. Officers in both the British and German armies approached the leadership of Great Britain with proposals for the overthrow or assasination of Adolph Hitler. The goverments of the free nations reacted with horror - they afforded Hitler the same kind of respect and protection that they would a duly elected leader. It was an appropriate response - at the wrong time and for the wrong person.

8/19/2005 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

And with your last sentence, the CORE of your post, Wretchard, you once again re-affirm the purpose and validity for investigating Baha'u'llah, the Glory of God.

From the same Source as The Christ, and invested with the same authority, He come for the 'cities of the hearts and minds of men', and calls all humanity to learn of the Will of God for THIS Day and Age.

How long, Wretchard, will "Christian" clergy 'scoff and deny our lord Who redeems us' has returned? Didn't St Peter declare that denial to be 'a damnable heresy'? IIPeter2:1

8/19/2005 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

rwe,
A caller who used to work for the INS, said that after Carter, and his enlightened reformation, they began to refer to Burglars as,
"Undocumented Visitors!"

8/19/2005 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Wretchard's post has got me rereading The Gathering Storm and I am intrigued by the evidence of reframing an issue so as to control it. Hitler really knew what he was doing when it came to such things. Here is a rather subtle example whose meaning may even now elude many.

In February [1936] at Geneva, [Flandin] informed Mr. Eden that the armed forces of France would be put at the disposal of the League in the event of a treaty violation by Germany, and asked the British Minister for the eventual assistance of Great Britain in conformity with the clauses of Locarno.

On February 28, the French Chamber ratified the Franco-Soviet Pact, and the following day the French Ambassador in Berlin was instructed to approach the German Government and inquire upon what basis general negotiations for a Franco-German understanding could be initiated. Hitler, in reply, asked for a few days in which to reflect. At ten o'clock on the morning of March 7 Herr von Neurath, the German Foreign Minister, summoned the British, French, Belgian, and Italian Ambassadors to the Wilhelmstrasse to announce to them a proposal for a twenty-five-year pact, a demilitarisation on both sides of the Rhine frontier...

The "demilitarised zone in the Rhineland had been established by Articles 42, 43, and 44 of the Treaty of Versailles...

At noon on this same March 7, 1936, two hours after his proposal for a twenty-five-year pact, Hitler announced to the Reichstag that he intended to reoccupy the Rhineland, and even while he spoke, German columns, about thirty-five thousand strong, streamed acrosss the boundary and entered all the main German towns.

In a stroke, Hitler tested the Allies allegience to the Treaty of Versailles by suggesting an alternative for the signatories to consider, and followed upon their failure to object to this diplomatic recasting by action so bold that Versailles became merely a memory.

But the man was not through. His particular genius understood the need for self-deluding assurance. And so he gave it. Churchill sums it up thus: Simultaneously, in order to baffle British and American public opinion, Hitler declared that the occupation was purely symbolic.

8/19/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

sirius_sir,

How you frame the issue determines what it subsequently is. Seventy years ago, John Cornford, a Cambridge poet who embraced Communism as his creed, left England for the last time to fight against the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. Nothing, he said, comforted him so much as the knowledge that the Communist International existed. He died in battle, near as can be known, around Christmas Day, 1936 in the town of Andujar, on a terrain feature that came to be known as "English Crest". One of his companions, John Sommerfield, wrote this moving epitaph for the 21 year-old Communist martyr:

"I did not see him dead. I can only remember him alive and laughing, strong, resolute, and reliable...To me he is the type and symbol of the youth of today whose conscious task is to change the world... Him and the others like him who were killed represent something that cannot be killed, and their deaths will only be in vain if we fail to carry on the struggle in which they fell."

I will wait, and wait in vain, for anyone on the Left to grant the men fighting to protect them overseas the benefit of such dignity.

8/19/2005 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

sirius_sir,

I interpreted towering barbarian's remark somewhat differently and I believe that the Churchill quote you used highlights the difference. The "media" that Churchill referred to did possess a power that had to be respected while today's "media", in the print and broadcast, sense do not. The promise of a 15 point advantage to John Kerry proved at best illusional and in reality delusional. Likewise, the occasional post stressing that the administration is "not getting it's message out" is just silly. Not onlu does it deeply discount the reality that the press is on the other side, it supposes that there is something that the administration really wants to accomplish that cannot be accomplished without the help of the press.

Wrt Israel's withdrawal - there are no longer 50,000 settlers that must be defended in Indian territory. When war with Iran begins it will in all probability begin with a very long bombing campaign. Israel knows that killing plague rats is a dangerous business and that some will escape and show up in Gaza - during the Pali civil war festivities. Getting the settlers out before the Apaches go on a rampage makes a good bit of sense to me.

8/19/2005 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger jamesjwilson said...

The Gaza withdrawal is rife with incongruities. Instead of trying to solve them, I look at Sharon, who is not difficult to understand, and assume there is a much larger plan in place. Those many euphoric Palistinians who believe terror has gained them momentum on their way to a soon to be re-named Tel Aviv are jumping blind into a plan not their own. Sharon is the last among us to appease. I'll wait to see what's cooking.

8/19/2005 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

well rick,
In the aftermath of 9-11 Bush had the backing of over 70% of the Public to pursue what ever course he choose.
Toay only 42% support his actions in Iraq and the WoT.
He has lost the support of a hugh number of Americans.
This is not "Silly".
It will undermine the entire effort to moderate Mohammedan Society.
The War on Terror has often been described as a Battle of Wills. Without better Communication the US Public will effectively end the WoT as it is presently construed.
There is no Will to continue an endless Police Action against satchel charge sappers. That lack of Will is a directly tied to the Commander in Chief and his lack of communication skills.
As Rumsfeld said years ago, there is STILL no matrix for victory.
'Staying the Course' is no substitute for "Victory".

8/19/2005 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I would argue that the Israelis have made four unnecessary and strategically disastrous memetic concessions


Only it's not the Israelis that are behind this.

8/19/2005 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Rick Ballard,

I think we have similar understanding of both the powers and the limits of the press. (And it pleases me to think these are subject to available options, which, thanks to the internet, are for the time growing almost exponentially.) What I was thinking about was the issue to which Wretchard kindly responded, i.e. the power of words to form perceptions and so (re)frame and thus form reality. But then the question immediately becomes: What is reality? I'm hoping it isn't just something continually open to debate.

8/19/2005 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Only the President has the "Clout" to go over the heads of the MSM, dirctly, unfiltered, to the People. Reagan did it quite well.

8/19/2005 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

pc
You are not blaming Ameican Neocons for Israel's actions, are you?

8/19/2005 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

desert rat,

You have your opinion, I have mine. You might name a previously proposed action that has not been taken due to "lack of public support". Aside form the senators who are presidential wannabes, the congressional clown corps is still looking to the WH as ringmaster.

Whipping public support back over 50% is no big deal - and the administration knows it full well. We are in electoral dead time, money spent on message at the moment is wasted. We won't be hitting Iran until after the '06 elections and the drive to prove the necessity of the action won't begin until next spring.

From now 'til then the focus will be on the futility of the EU proposed appeasement and the reduction of the UN's "prestige" until the Secretariat is restructured.

8/19/2005 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

How you frame the issue determines what it subsequently is.

Wretchard, that's right. And wherever there are antagonists there will be antagonistic views, antagonistic words, even, I guess, antagonistic realities. They point at us and we point at them, and we all shout in unison: Why can't you understand?

8/19/2005 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Hard to tell what has been proposed and not implemented because of a 'lack of support'.

I'd begin with closing the Iraqi Borders with Iran and Syria. Next I'd postulate an American backed insurgency in Iran.
I'd be interested in how a lack of enlistments is changing Army plans & policies. That certainly must be viewed as a 'lack of support'.

I agree with your timeline on Iran. If the Dems and Predidential wannabes do well in '06, which they well may, the Iranian issue becomes even more complex.

If it is so easy to swing public opinion, Ms. Sheehan and her posse are getting better at it.
Bush and Mr. Rowe have always pulled out sqeekers. Winning by a just a hair. General Elections and Congressional votes both fit this pattern.
It is a perilous course to chart, espescially in support of a WAR.

8/19/2005 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rick
how about securing the road from the Baghdad Airport to the Green Zone?
We have never been able to accomplish that. Maybe if we had 'support' we'd get aggresive enough to do it.

8/19/2005 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

You are not blaming Ameican Neocons for Israel's actions, are you?

I'm not blaming. I'm still hopeful this is a tactical withdrawal to enable a more efficient forthcoming jihadi kill zone in Gaza. That's the plan the American administration agreed to. Right?

8/19/2005 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Three articles on carbon nanotubes. This is super strong, super thin, super light conductive material that the scientists have finally figured out how to mass produce. Two uses come to mind: 1.)the space elevator 2.)superlight bulletproof uniforms.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1466270/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1466417/posts

http://yahoo.usatoday.com/tech/news/nano/2005-08-18-nanotube-breakthrough_x.htm?csp=1

8/19/2005 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Wretchard: "…we have blinded ourselves to the most basic of all: the content of the human heart."

Much like “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” Evil is as well. There is the old saw about ‘more people having died in the name of religion then from any other cause’ also springs to mind. Righteousness and the leveling of the Evil designation could be said to be the bane of human civilization.

Which brings me to Iran and their desire to go nuclear. On the simple face of it, and from their perspective, they have as a natural right to such a thing as the Americans, or Chinese, or… Moral equivalence. So how do we address such a problem? We are righteous in our pronouncement of their evil and they are righteous in obtaining their rights. One aspect of the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty was that in return for others not building a bomb the ‘haves’ would dismantle. Only one side of this equation has been followed, that of preventing others from having what we have. This is a problem, a big problem; our righteous pursuit of our interests while forsaking others interests. We should examine the content of our “human heart” as well.

8/19/2005 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You'd think so.
Much like Nixon and China, Sharon is the only politico in Israel that could propose and implement this withdrawal.

On Fox News they are reporting Howard Dean has said that the Women of Iraq were better off under Saddam than they will be under the proposed Iraqi Constitution.

Howard Dean and aristides agree, they both dislike the Iraqi Constitution, they will both proclaim the Failure of our Actions when it is ratified.

Strange bedfellows

8/19/2005 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Which brings me to Iran and their desire to go nuclear. On the simple face of it, and from their perspective, they have as a natural right to such a thing as the Americans, or Chinese, or…

ash,

I think the question is not so much the Iranian people's 'right' to nuclear arms, but rather any people's 'right' to use them in a belligerent and dangerous manner. I'd argue that a freely democratic Iran could be trusted not to abuse the privelege of joining the nucleur club. An Iran ruled by mullahs is an entirely different matter.

And yes, China has the bomb, etc, etc...

Don't really have a good answer for you on that one.

8/19/2005 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Ledger,
Gaza was not a "land barrier", in the sense that the west bank is. And Israel going back to the 1967 borders in entirety would not make them more or less vulnerable to nuclear attack.

8/19/2005 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Desert Rat,
Bush was never going to retain that level of popularity unless he had stopped after Afghanistan. At best, he would have been slightly higher than he is today.

8/19/2005 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

China, how about the Mr Kim and the N Koreans.
We are talking about 'preemption' on a massive scale with Iran.
It may well be required, but it will not be a 'Lightning Strike'

We had better have better Intel than we have had in Iraq. If not many of the bomb runs will be wasted.

Better have more than a slim majority of the US Public on board and supportive. There will be the shock of an Oil War. Economic Recession is all but guarenteed.

How professional are the Saudi Oil Infrastructure guards. Can their pipelines be defended from Persian raiding parties, indefinately.

8/19/2005 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That may well be true, helo, the challenge is how to EXPAND the conflict when Public Support is contracting.
The Goals of the Authorization for Use of Force in Iraq have been achieved.
It is with a 'wink & nod' that many believe we are in a wider 'struggle' or is it a war?
Bush has not held the Public in the belief that there is a greater threat, whether it be general Terror or traditional Mohammedism.

We have had the discussion in prior threads. What we are seeing is what I was afraid of. Without Defined Goals the public will dump on the endeavor. Regardless of the perceived need we see.
Endless conflict or struggle against enemies that cannot be named will not fly with US. Public support is already beginning to crack.
When Generals publicly differ with the President, Spring '06 withdrawal, you can watch the fissures grow, now.
By post election '06 it will be to late to rally the people.
Another round of imagined WMD threats from Arab despots?
Let's get Pakistan to disarm, first. Their weapons are a greater potential terror threat, TODAY.

8/19/2005 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

"The British and French policy of the 1930s is appeasement only in hindsight."

Wretchard, W0W that is the most insightful piece of analysis I've seen in a very long time.

Of course they wouldn't have seen it as appeasement at the time.

8/19/2005 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I mean who funded the Taliban, who supported aQ?
Well that is simple, Pakistan
Where have the aQ regrouped? Pakistan
Which Mohammedan country already has nukes? Pakistan
Where is the General President continually targeted for assasination? Pakistan
Who are we discussing? Iran
How long before Iran can arm up? About a decade.

Focus is important

8/19/2005 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Frank B. said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

Regards
tramadol prescriptions

8/19/2005 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The rockets fly towards US warships in Jordon. One flys just over the bow of an amphim assualt ship.
Yeah, those Mohammedans are sure afraid of US. They are really intimidated, no doubt about it.

8/19/2005 09:35:00 AM  
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8/19/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

The left immediately highjacked the conversation about terror by bringing up the root causes bit. Trouble is, terror is all surface effect. It is insane to search for reason after terrorist murder whose whole point is to obliterate reason! The left doesn't want to concede that terrorism is murder -the deliberate anihilation of innocents. They prefer to shower the terrorists with an unearned credibility by crying out root causes. Again there are no roots, only surface effects of human beings severing themselves from themselves, their fellows, their God.

8/19/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

See photos and thoughts of the Windchime-Walkers (see if we can find Judyth Hill's grant-gathering subsidiary, it's gonna be here someplace or I'm an Onkey's Muncle):

8/19/2005 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

"The British and French policy of the 1930s is appeasement only in hindsight."

Of course they wouldn't have seen it as appeasement at the time.


common cents,

With all due respect to yourself and wretchard both, some did see it. Churchill, most notably, warned against the policy actions of his government all through the period, but to little practical avail. But having said that I will concede the point; the fact that he was largely ignored does more to buttress your point than dismiss it.

8/19/2005 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/19/2005 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Strange bedfellows

Iraqis adopting a jihadi ideology in their political governance is a reflection on Iraqis. What we choose to do about it will be a reflection on us.

8/19/2005 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Buffy said...

Islamist raise irrationality to a god-like level, similar to the modern left's approach to antirationality.

You gotta hand it to them, if they're too stupid to use rational thought to advantage, elevating irrationality is a master stroke. Leftists, islamist fanatics, luddites of all stripes. You gotta love it.

8/19/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

PC
Our choice of what to do about the NEW Iraq is cause to reopen the political debate, here in the US.
The last debate was finalized in the Authorization for Use of Force. The Goals set forth in the 'whereases' of the Authorization have been fulfilled.
If we do not approve of the course the supported, emerging democracy is taking, well, that is a whole new issue. In need of a new Goals and policies.
It will be interesting to watch if US begins to denounce Liberty and Freedom and the Rule of the Majority.

It gives new life to our own Founders fear of direct democracy and the possibilities of a Tyranny of the Majority.
After 35 years of living in a Tyranny of a Minority the majority in Iraq want what they want.
That is one of the GREAT things about freedom.
Chances are they will achieve it.
Let Freedom Ring

8/19/2005 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/19/2005 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

wretchard said...

sirius_sir,

How you frame the issue determines what it subsequently is. Seventy years ago, John Cornford, a Cambridge poet who embraced Communism as his creed, left England for the last time to fight against the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. Nothing, he said, comforted him so much as the knowledge that the Communist International existed. He died in battle, near as can be known, around Christmas Day, 1936 in the town of Andujar, on a terrain feature that came to be known as "English Crest". One of his companions, John Sommerfield, wrote this moving epitaph for the 21 year-old Communist martyr:

"I did not see him dead. I can only remember him alive and laughing, strong, resolute, and reliable...To me he is the type and symbol of the youth of today whose conscious task is to change the world... Him and the others like him who were killed represent something that cannot be killed, and their deaths will only be in vain if we fail to carry on the struggle in which they fell."

I will wait, and wait in vain, for anyone on the Left to grant the men fighting to protect them overseas the benefit of such dignity.

7:04 AM
/////////////////
what's mostly forgotten about the 19th and early 20th centuries is that people really believed that science & technology would lead to the ideal world. And this IDEAL WORLD is what men on the left went out and died for in the 20th century.

Today it sounds kooky. But at the time the guys didn't know that what they were fighting for was a unworkable bureaucratic nightmare ediface in support of the pharoah. Rather, they had a picture in their minds of a shiny city on a hill. They thought they were fighting against religion. But this was also patently false. They were not fighting against religion. They were fighting for the establishment of religions that predated the Judao-Christian era.

Since the fall into disrepute of the notion that technology could/would/should lead to the "IDEAL WORLD" the left has been left without even a secular pseudo eternal verity on which to hang their vocabulary. Since the words of the left have no grounding in anything eternal--the words tumble out faster and faster, words that were created to subvert--words that depended on a world that has long since disappeared.

Sometime in the next 5-7 years there will be some great breakthroughs in energy research which will provide the energy basis of the 20th century. Sometime in the next 10-15 years, the same kinds of research will kill the cost of water desalination so as to make it possible to double the habitable size of the planet. This will radically change calculations between desert peoples and temperate climate peoples.

However, the thought did occur to me that bad ideas of advanced technological societies of the temperate zone do have a way of being picked up by the 3rd world countries after they have been discarded by the north. One such may be this notion of technology leading to an IDEAL WORLD.

But then I'm not sure that I would blame a desert tribesman for thinking something truely remarkable had happened if his deserts suddenly turned green. It would take some splainin to get over the idea that there is such a thing as a green hell.

What did Gilda say. "Its always something."

8/19/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Let Freedom Ring


Indeed!

And I choose the freedom to go after jihadis because they are jihadis and I'm an infidel.

8/19/2005 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/19/2005 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Which brings me to Iran and their desire to go nuclear. On the simple face of it, and from their perspective, they have as a natural right to such a thing as the Americans, or Chinese, or… Moral equivalence. So how do we address such a problem? We are righteous in our pronouncement of their evil and they are righteous in obtaining their rights. One aspect of the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty was that in return for others not building a bomb the ‘haves’ would dismantle. Only one side of this equation has been followed, that of preventing others from having what we have. This is a problem, a big problem; our righteous pursuit of our interests while forsaking others interests. We should examine the content of our “human heart” as well.

-Ash, in order to make your argument plausible, you have to believe there is a moral equivalence, or equal moral hazard, between the regimes of Iran and the US. In other words, you have to believe that an Iranian tyranny run by men who, among other things, run a police state, stone women for sexual crimes for which men are largely to blame, spend a lot of their time spaced out on drugs, regularly spew bile about destroying the US and Israel - nuking them to high heaven - that such a regime is the equivalent of the Washington regime with all the latter's checks and balances and record of concern for civilization, whatever necessary or unnecessary evils Washington performs.

Could you not agree that perhaps the two regimes are not morally equivalent? That perhaps in making the above statement you are the one wishing to return the knife to Charles Manson, in Wretchard's analogy, because you are unable to relate your abstract idea about moral equivalence to real world consequences? If you disagree, how is it? Is it because you are full of hatred for the POTUS and see him as CHarles Manson too? Would you agree that just because the US is necessarily involved in some evil in this world - because no government can be without evil - that this does not make all evil ok? Would you agree that we can only ever choose the lesser evil, and not pretend to be free of it?

8/19/2005 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"The left doesn't want to concede that terrorism is murder -the deliberate anihilation of innocents. They prefer to shower the terrorists with an unearned credibility by crying out root causes."

The problem isn't their obsession with root causes, it is their agreement with the root causes. The terrorism is justified on some level because of this.

I can identify Al Qaeda as incensed at our Israel policy, Kashmir, Chechnya, everywhere else they see, in their paranoid minds, Muslims being oppressed by a worldwide conspiracy. I can understand Bin Laden being slighted by the Saudis when they didn't let him become Saladin and throw back Hussein. I can understand why Bin Laden, bigot and retrograde he is, is angry that our dirty infidel feet are on Saudi land and protecting Muslim holy sites, that they can't even muster the arms to protect themselves. I can see why this is infuriating. I can also see why delusions infuriate other bigots and madmen throughout history.

But I realize all this, and I say, OK, are they reasonable? Can we deal with these people? The answer is "HELL NO", so kill them, marginalize them - whatever the cost.

Our opposition, and for sure I don't mean our entire opposition, there are people who are fine but naive towards how the world works or uninformed, but their ideological leadership looks at those demands and says they are negotiable, if not already reasonable. IMO, we're back at what Ralph Peters would label, 'Whitey's guilt,' with its origins in the proletarian third world nations of Marx's Communist Manifesto.

8/19/2005 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"The British and French policy of the 1930s is appeasement only in hindsight."

Of course they wouldn't have seen it as appeasement at the time.

common cents,

With all due respect to yourself and wretchard both, some did see it. Churchill, most notably, warned against the policy actions of his government all through the period, but to little practical avail. But having said that I will concede the point; the fact that he was largely ignored does more to buttress your point than dismiss it."


The appeasers then made the same mistake that appeasers do now. They assume that the opposition is somewhat reasonable, has a limit to his demands, and will become responsible when those demands are at least partially met.

In reality, both militant Islamic fundamentalism and Hitler had ultimate goals that are unreasonable and cannot ever be made right. We fundamentally cannot coexist with either of them, therefore they must be destroyed.

8/19/2005 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

In this respect, Churchill's quote about "appeasement being feeding a crocidle so that he'll eat you last" is actually somewhat misleading. From their point of view the appeasers don't think they'll actually be eaten, they aren't suicidal - they're just selfish.

8/19/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

al-Queada's aims

The article provides insight into just how far from reality the head choppers reside. Interesting that they have enumerated their objectives and established a time table.

8/19/2005 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

You can look at European relations towards the Islamic world and the US and Israel in the same light.

They don't ultimately think they'll be eaten; they think once we're gone, the Islamists will be happy. From this point of view, it is reasonable, although idiotic and ignorant. The fact that they get rid of us in the deal is just another gift.

8/19/2005 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

truepeers, from our (righteous) perspective they embody evil. From their (righteous) perpespective we embody evil. We can simply say, F'you we are right you are wrong and to the victor goes the judgement - we are therefore accepting the might makes right arbiter. Or, we can choose another path which may avoid the might vs right option, the righteous clash of Evil vs Evil. In a sovereign nation we have chosen an independant judiciary and Rule of Law to arbitrate competing interests.

As Wretchard has also noted there can be legitimacy to our enemies claims. From the Iranian perspective why the hell shouldn't they be able to process uranium to feed their reactors?

8/19/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger erp said...

"The return of Gaza to the Arabs is at one level simple justice ..."

Sorry Wretched, how is this justice simple or complex?

This territory was taken by Israel as a result of a war after an unprovoked attack.

8/19/2005 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

Sirius_Sir:

Chamberlain didn’t see his actions as appeasement. Neville didn’t have a policy of appeasement he had a German policy. In hindsight it was appeasement but at the time in the minds of the English leadership it was not.

I see Wretchard’s point as brilliant in that he is pointing out something so obvious that it generally escapes attention: most people do not set out to do evil or great harm; they just don’t notice or can’t see the consequences of their actions.

With respect to Churchill; to a great extent he had marginalized himself during the ‘30s on other issues (trade, India and Mrs. Simpson). He was seen as a bad party man and had few allies in his own party. When he was finally listened to it was too late. Also, it is interesting to note that he gave a very moving tribute to Chamberlain at Chamberlain’s funeral.

8/19/2005 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Abu Mazen: We are marking a historic celebration. Israel’s Gaza withdrawal was bought by the sacrifices of the Palestinian people and the blood of its martyrs

Funny, they could have had all that and more, sooner if they didn't spill so much blood...

8/19/2005 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Buffy:
Are you aware that there is supposedly an actual organization named the Insane Liberation Front? They claim that it is discriminatory to force the insane to take medications and generally encourage them to try to achieve sanity. They have a right to be insane!
I become more convinced of the ILF's vast influence every day....

8/19/2005 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Ash, I'm still waiting to hear what you will do if Charles Manson drops his knife. Pick it up and give it back, because that's the right thing to do when someone drops his tool?

In other words, I'm wondering if you're capable of weighing two contradictory values, e.g. 1) the right thing to do, according to some abstract reasoning; and 2) the contrary demands of survival in a particular context whose logic goes against the grain of your abstract reason.

To answer your question: "From the Iranian perspective why the hell shouldn't they be able to process uranium to feed their reactors?"

Well, from their perspective, maybe they should (though I'm sure some Iranians don't trust their "leaders"), not that they are being refused any and all protocols for doing so. But since when is the perspective of a country run by homicidal, drugged up, fanatics equal to all other perspectives? Why shouldn't they be treated differently? Seriously, please answer this one.

You dream of some ultimate independent judiciary to arbitrate such disputes. Problem is, none exists. And, think about it for a while, how could any such ever exist among nations that act in their own self-interest, as they see it. From where would such judges be drawn? Mars? Or some place on earth where great men and women exist uncontaminated by particular (e.g. national) values and prejudices?

No doubt you would tend to see the weaker nations as being the most innocent and favour their judges. But then sooner, rather than later, some leader of a weak nation would figure out he can corrupt the system and use it against your high-minded ideals. Political leaders, especially those in weak nations where good career opportunities are limited, are often bastards. Reality is tough that way.

By the way, might does not always make right; and yet there are reasons some nations are much more powerful than others and if you examine why, I think you will discover that you cannot divorce military capability from ethical capability. Sometimes at particular moments in history, the ethically inferior side is the military superior. But over the historical long run this tends not to be the case. It turns out that societies that do well at innovating and adapting new technologies must also embrace an ethic of expanding freedom in order to do so. Today, the freest country is also the most powerful. Or can you make a serious argument against this statement? Of course, you must have an ethical argument that favors equality over freedom. But if the dream of equality means we all get butchered in the real world (see, e.g. the history of "communism") what kind of argument is it really?

My message: don't just live in your head, looking for logical consistencies my friend. Look at the implications of your ideas. If you were POTUS for an extended period, a lot of people would probably die unnecessarily. Would you then still hold that your idea that treating all nations equally when it comes to acquiring nuclear power/weapons is the right thing to do? Or would you change and see that not all nations can be considered equals. Some will take advantage of the most free and fair system we can presently concoct, just because their present position in the world is less than what they desire it to be. Got a theory of human desire vs. reason, with which to defend your arguments?

8/19/2005 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Truepeers,

No, I would not return Charles his knife, the tool of his illegal behavior for which he is justly punished.

True, we must judge and act accordingly devoid of pure independent arbitration.

I have seen no evidence that the Iranians are being led by “homicidal, drugged up, fanatics”. Hard core Islamists, yes. Does that negate their claim to a right to process uranium? No.

The ultimate independent judiciary is a dream but individual men are capable of interpreting Law even when necessarily acting in their own interest. We live with it daily. We should try to further Rule of Law amongst nation states rather then oppose it.

Please don’t assume that I would equate weakness with innocence. There is no basis to such a claim either in your assumption that that is what I believe or in its validity.

You do realize that your logic leading to “Today, the freest country is also the most powerful.” As if one caused the other is specious. There are any number of reasons that have led the US to be the most powerful and is it really the freest? True freedom would be akin to anarchy. Is that what you desire?

I don’t want the Iranians to develop nuclear weapons. I don’t want the Israeli’s or North Koreans, Indians, Pakistani’s, the Chinese, or the US to have them. The genie is out of the bottle though and the Iranians are seeking theirs. Is the threat of war really the way to address this problem? We acknowledge there is legitimacy to their desire yet we will attack them for trying to fulfill it? Hence the logic of the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty, they don’t pursue it and we disarm ours. I understand that it is a failed treaty, so we go off on an arms race, but does that justify our denying others what we claim for ourselves? No, and fighting for such a dubious moral cause would be folly.

8/19/2005 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/19/2005 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

. Nanking Photo .
. 9-11 Photo .
Sadly, I think Napoleon’s dictum remains true. There are only two great motivators: fear and the hope of gain. Moral outrage is way down on the list. The increased information that television and the 24-hour news cycle brings does not automatically bring compassion along with it. And, given sufficient motivation particularly in the form of fear, human beings—even Americans—will go to very great lengths.

That recognition is, I believe, one of the great dividing lines of opinion about the War on Terror (or whatever we’re calling it now). Some believe that regardless of the provocation we certainly won’t use the power that’s at our disposal. Others of us believe that, given sufficient provocation, we have the ability and will have the will to go to very great lengths and that we should have a much greater sense of urgency and a much greater willingness to apply more resources—military, economy, diplomatic, and political—because without that urgency and willingness it’s inevitable that sufficient provocation will come.
. Award Winner - Glittering Eye

8/19/2005 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ash
for once we may agree
there has to be more reason to stop Iran from progressing under it's rights, proclaimed by the NPT, than fear.
Unverified Intelligence reports do not do it.IAEA reports of non compliance do not exist at this time. They are afraid.

We have been at War with Iraq since the Carter days, we/ve just been to PC whipped to admit it.

Now the chickens come home to roost.
Poor Intelligence, poor credibility, lack of prior planning and a basic unknowing and assumption of the worse case in Iran will lead US to economic disaster.

What if we are all, each of us, from pork to c4 correct.

China, N.K., Iran, Pakistan, Venezuela, the Insurgents in Iraq, Hezbollah and aQ America all act at once, in concert, in retaliation of a US preemptive strike on Iran.

It is called an Alliance, or an Axis, take your pick.
Then you'd really have a struggle

8/19/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Truepeers: Heard on the news this morning that transportation Czars were trying to give razors and small knives back to hijackers!

Stews are not amused.

8/19/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ledeen insists they don't WANT to know what's going on in Iran as reported by Iranians.

8/19/2005 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Human UNIntel?

8/19/2005 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think one difference between the Nanking Photo and the Fireball, is that while the Fireball encompasses greater loss of life, the Nanking photo is more graphically human:
The equivalent would be the jumpers, which would be even more horrofic, thus we should not see them.
I think this negates his argument.

8/19/2005 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Rat,

I have a feeling we agree on more things then we know, or would care to admit ;)

I think it was you in the thread on mercenaries that suggested that the Retired Special Ops guys might be suitably employed by a standing UN force of some sort. Not a bad idea if decent reforms could be made at the UN.

8/19/2005 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

fighting for such a dubious moral cause would be folly

Many have argued that totalitarian and jihadi regimes should not be allowed in the UN, so why would trying to deny them the privilege of nuclear technology be any less a moral cause?

8/19/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat,
Maybe we don't discuss Pakistan because no one has any idea what to do along the lines of solutions?
Not to mention the nightmare scenarios that come easily to mind.

8/19/2005 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Blum indeed made some mistakes...But the level of hatred felt for him by the French Right--expressed in the saying "Better Hitler than Blum"--was irrational to the point of insanity, and reminds me of the Left's hostility to President Bush today.

8/19/2005 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

rick b.,

WRT public support: a recently released poll, as reported by Rush today, says that 66% + of the loss in favorable percentage points on "Bush's handling of the war" is due to people wanting to prosecute the war much more agressively; i.e., LET'S ROLL, NOW!

It turns out it's not a protest of the war at all. Another example of how the press is out-n-out lyng to us.

8/19/2005 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Ash,

I apologize for assuming too much about your attitudes towards weakness and innnocence. I now understand and respect your position; but I still think it is wrong.

You pass the Charles Manson test. But then make the dubious claim that the leaders of Iran are not mentally deranged: "I have seen no evidence that the Iranians are being led by “homicidal, drugged up, fanatics”. Hard core Islamists, yes."

-well, we must be plugged into different media. So here we get into the propaganda wars. Much I have read suggests the Mullahs are precisely what I describe, and that Iran is a country full of junkies - an unhappy offshoot of the totalitarian nightmare - but what sources can we trust? What do I really know? Iran is a closed society after all. Well, for one thing, all that we know historically about closed police states is that their leaders are not usually specimens of good mental health. in fact, they never are. Anyway, if you care to read the competing claims, just google. but here is a bit from an interview, trying to explain why the IRanian authorities have a habit of killing innocent young girls, that lingers in my mind:

I heard a 26 year old woman who was calling [from Tehran] into one of the radio shows of our wonderful Los Angeles based radio KRSI; she was calling to tell the story of her junky husband whom she had paid to put through dozens of recovery programs and had finally overdosed, leaving her with two kids that she had to support. All she could do to support herself and her family was prostitution. She then described an incident of having one day been picked up off the street in a stretch limo by a Mullah who had taken her to his mansion and had had his way with her for almost 24 hours, the whole time getting stoned out of his mind on Opium (90% of the Mullahs are major drug addicts - Khameini’s Opium habit is a very well known fact). When time came for her to leave he’d paid her half of what they’d originally negotiated; when she complained, he pulled a 9 millimeter out of his abaaya and put it in her mouth and told her that if she complained he’d personally bury her in his garden. These stories are everywhere in Iran...we hear them all the time. For us, it’s become normal...sadly.
Symposium: Why the Mullahs Murdered Atefeh Rajabi (Continued)

Ash also writes:
"The ultimate independent judiciary is a dream but individual men are capable of interpreting Law even when necessarily acting in their own interest. We live with it daily. We should try to further Rule of Law amongst nation states rather then oppose it."

-this just leads me to recycle my previous argument. If we don't distinguish between the law and morality, abstract reason and particular historical context, we end up making an idol of the law and undermine its integrity. No good lawyers worship the letter of the law. The higher the court the more their lattitude in interpreting such things as the "spirit" of hte law. Taken to its logical conclusion, this is why politics at the highest level is never decided by lawyers, but by moral actors attending to their competing notions of reality. The law is valuable, essential, as a mechanism to defer conflicts, but it is not a basis to argue against the need, at times, to use force in self-defense.

Ash writes: "You do realize that your logic leading to “Today, the freest country is also the most powerful.” As if one caused the other is specious. There are any number of reasons that have led the US to be the most powerful and is it really the freest? True freedom would be akin to anarchy. Is that what you desire?"

-you've shown me no reason why my logic is specious. There may be any number of contingent reasons for a nation's power but they can all be reduced to basic questions of freedom and ethics. Men make their worlds. And, it is indeed generally true that freer societies are stronger than less free societies. How else to explain the growth of freedom historically? Finally, true freedom is not akin to anarchy at all. This is a very telling (mis)statement on your part. It's naive. Freedom lies in the recognition of one's responsibility or need, in the necessity of an action to resolve some disorderly problem of human affairs; it does not lie the youthful desire to live without responsibility or order.

Ash: "We acknowledge there is legitimacy to their desire yet we will attack them for trying to fulfill it?... so we go off on an arms race, but does that justify our denying others what we claim for ourselves? No, and fighting for such a dubious moral cause would be folly."

Survival is a dubious moral cause? As I say, freedom is the recognition of necessity. It is necessary that one act in self-defense, and all parties are inevitably free and usually willing to do so. The bottom line, as I see it, is that we do not wish to destroy Iran, but there is some reasonable doubt whether the Mullahs don't mean what they frequently say about their desire to destroy us. Therefore, and only because of their words and actions, are we justified in contemplating the need to do whatever it takes to stop them from carrying out their threats. If they behaved like responsible adults, they would have the rights of responsible adults. BUt they don't. This is not to address the questions of real politic, of the kind of axis of evil that Rat talks about. Given hard realities we may think it best not to attack Iran. But I hope if we make that decision it is not becaue our leaders are hamstrung by a domestic political situation full of sophists who imply we don't have a right to defend ourselves because it is more important to deny that there are any reasonable bases to conclude that some nations are more equal than others. But nations whose maniacal leaders willfully murder their own innocent children constitute one such basis for lesser treatment, to my mind. I could come up with others.

8/19/2005 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

in an earlier post wretchard mentioned that the west underestimates the power of the moslems decapitating american prisoners.

I saw an example of this on the tube tonight. some moslems down in north carolina are working to make it possible for officials to be sworn into office on whatever sacred text them deem appropriate.

if they succeed then the already tattered official language of the USA ceases to mean much of anything at all.

8/19/2005 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Blum indeed made some mistakes...But the level of hatred felt for him by the French Right--expressed in the saying "Better Hitler than Blum"--was irrational to the point of insanity, and reminds me of the Left's hostility to President Bush today."

A very good point.

8/19/2005 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

The human factor is more important than any logical construction. Generals make the army and leaders make their nations, but technology and culture define possibility.

The Palestinians are hopelessly mired in terror and its industry; they have no need for a Hitler when they embody his spirit.

8/19/2005 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/19/2005 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"We acknowledge there is legitimacy to their desire yet we will attack them for trying to fulfill it?... so we go off on an arms race, but does that justify our denying others what we claim for ourselves? No, and fighting for such a dubious moral cause would be folly."

Ash you stumbled on exactly what I was saying before.

I can acknowledge the desires of our enemies and the reasons they do what they do. They're still my enemies! I can understand why North Korea wants nuclear weapons. Our ultimate policy goal is ending them as a despotic and Stalinist nation. I still don't want them getting nukes! (Although I personally think it is inevitable given the current circumstances.)

8/19/2005 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Das said...

Charles, re: n Carolina sacred text affair:

I wonder if civic and religious Muslim leaders are not going to the wall aggressively now - pushing every aspect of the heretofore sleepy separation of church and state in the US - knowing that the sheisse is going to hit the fan. With that in mind and perhaps hoping to have something standing afterwards. Just wondering...

8/19/2005 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is okay and normal to want our foes to be at a disadvantage. It is another to go to WAR to force them to disarm.
If War is the answer then let US pursue it, whole heartedly.
As geoffgo relates many of those who think we are on the wrong course are not anti-conflict, oh no.
They think we are doing poorly, that two plus years is long enough to secure the Airport Road in Baghdad. I agree.
We have done poorly, the US Army is not doing well, we are not winning.
Opening 3,000 schools is meaningless if US cannot drive on the roads, to the schools, safely.

We have put the cart WAY before the horse. Hell, the horse is sick and may well be dead soon, but man 'o man that cart sure is painted nice.

There are many different proposals and options to move the ball, forward. As long as we "Stay the Course" we will continue to not win. When you are not winning, in an insurgency, you are losing.
If we are going to lose, let's come home, sooner the better.

To win we most identify the Enemy and destroy them. If we cannot identify the enemy there cannnot be a war, or even a struggle.
To struggle alone is just masturbation, let's not waste our son's blood on that.

8/19/2005 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

doug
N. Korea is supposedly untouchable, Seoul is to close to the border, the N. Koreans are armed up with WMD's & Conventional weapons.

Pakistan, an even greater threat, the number one nuclear proliferator. To complicated to even threaten.

Iran, years away from nuclear capacity. Could be a couple of years, could be a decade. Sits on the most economicly strategic waterway in the World. Can engage the entire ME in a firestorm of guerilla activity. Could easily drive Oil prices to $150 per barrel, which means $5 to $6 per gallon gas. That number means economic recession at best, world wide depression at worse.

I'd rather see Seoul burn.

8/19/2005 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

geoffgo,

Did Rush source that poll? I've been searching and don't find anything.

8/19/2005 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Korea is a self isolated country.
You want to show the Iranians what happens when they do not toe the line, give 'em an example.
Little Kim.
Never like those little Hyundais, anyway.
Better to sacrifice the economy or people of Korea than risk the US with an oil shock depression. It is just one little country that can recover, quickly.

8/19/2005 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/19/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Truepeers you write of the moral depravity of the Iranian mullahs. Honestly this is the first I’ve heard of them kickin’ back doing opium and having their way with women against their will. Even if true, what does this have to do with their claims as a people to process uranium? Are you suggesting that we bomb and invade them for tootin’ on the opium pipe? We should invade because of a rape?

You then argue:

“-this just leads me to recycle my previous argument. If we don't distinguish between the law and morality, abstract reason and particular historical context, we end up making an idol of the law and undermine its integrity. No good lawyers worship the letter of the law. The higher the court the more their lattitude in interpreting such things as the "spirit" of hte law. Taken to its logical conclusion, this is why politics at the highest level is never decided by lawyers, but by moral actors attending to their competing notions of reality. The law is valuable, essential, as a mechanism to defer conflicts, but it is not a basis to argue against the need, at times, to use force in self-defense.”

I have no real disagreement with this. Where we will disagree though is on what constitutes self-defense. Note also that we constrain politicians’ latitude of law making with Constitutions and Rights Bills with very high hurdles to change.

You then write:
“-you've shown me no reason why my logic is specious. There may be any number of contingent reasons for a nation's power but they can all be reduced to basic questions of freedom and ethics. Men make their worlds. And, it is indeed generally true that freer societies are stronger than less free societies. How else to explain the growth of freedom historically? Finally, true freedom is not akin to anarchy at all. This is a very telling (mis)statement on your part. It's naive. Freedom lies in the recognition of one's responsibility or need, in the necessity of an action to resolve some disorderly problem of human affairs; it does not lie the youthful desire to live without responsibility or order.”

Alas, it is you making the miss-statement for you are using a meaning for Freedom which is not common. I have not found any definition of freedom that includes restraints on its very notion. From dictionary.com

“free·dom
n.
1. The condition of being free of restraints.
2. Liberty of the person from slavery, detention, or oppression.
3.
a. Political independence.
b. Exemption from the arbitrary exercise of authority in the performance of a specific action; civil liberty: freedom of assembly.
4. Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition: freedom from want.
5. The capacity to exercise choice; free will: We have the freedom to do as we please all afternoon.
6. Ease or facility of movement: loose sports clothing, giving the wearer freedom.
7. Frankness or boldness; lack of modesty or reserve: the new freedom in movies and novels.
8.
a. The right to unrestricted use; full access: was given the freedom of their research facilities.
b. The right of enjoying all of the privileges of membership or citizenship: the freedom of the city.
9. A right or the power to engage in certain actions without control or interference: “the seductive freedoms and excesses of the picaresque form” (John W. Aldridge). “

You then close with:
“Survival is a dubious moral cause? As I say, freedom is the recognition of necessity. It is necessary that one act in self-defense, and all parties are inevitably free and usually willing to do so. The bottom line, as I see it, is that we do not wish to destroy Iran, but there is some reasonable doubt whether the Mullahs don't mean what they frequently say about their desire to destroy us. Therefore, and only because of their words and actions, are we justified in contemplating the need to do whatever it takes to stop them from carrying out their threats. If they behaved like responsible adults, they would have the rights of responsible adults. BUt they don't. This is not to address the questions of real politic, of the kind of axis of evil that Rat talks about. Given hard realities we may think it best not to attack Iran. But I hope if we make that decision it is not becaue our leaders are hamstrung by a domestic political situation full of sophists who imply we don't have a right to defend ourselves because it is more important to deny that there are any reasonable bases to conclude that some nations are more equal than others. But nations whose maniacal leaders willfully murder their own innocent children constitute one such basis for lesser treatment, to my mind. I could come up with others.”


Note your use of freedom. You maintain we are all necessarily free yet earlier you state that there are degrees of freedom. This is confusing, but lets leave this aside and continue.
We certainly have a right to defend ourselves but your current usage of the term ‘self-defense’ makes virtually any action of offense and act of self-defense simply by our claiming the possibility that they may do something. Self defense in domestic law is much more constrained then that and until of late, also in international law. Because your neighbor possesses a gun and has expressed dislike for you does not justify your killing him. Similarly in international law the threat must be imminent. Neither Iran, nor Iraq for that matter, came anywhere near the level of ‘imminent’. Invading because they are committing genocide or diddling little girls is another matter entirely and is worthy of being addressed instead of pulling the ole Sovereign nation argument out of a hat to justify any wrongdoing by a government on its people.

8/19/2005 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rick,
Haven't read all the comments, but believe it was a Rasmussen Poll.

8/19/2005 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

uh, think I was refering to Sheehan poll by rasmussen, but I also heard Rush talk about the other.

8/19/2005 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"To win we most identify the Enemy and destroy them."
Conversation on Rush that included geoffgo's poll was a caller of similar inclination:
His example were operations to the West, clearing the river areas: Claimed a Marine commander complained about needing more troops for the size of the operation/enemy strength.

8/19/2005 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rat, 7:31 PM,
Do we still have Neutron Bombs in our Arsenal?
...might be just the ticket for all those mortar emplacements North of Seoul.

8/19/2005 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There is this from Scripps Howard

Scripps Howard

"... In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll this month, 54 percent of respondents believed it was a mistake for the United States to send troops to Iraq. In November 2001, when hostilities were first contemplated, the same poll had 74 percent favoring action. ..."

"... We've got to have a clear objective of what it is we want to do in Iraq," Hagel recently told those attending the Nebraska American Legion's annual convention. "We went into Iraq and it was all about regime change, weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam was not complying with U.N. mandates. Now the objective is to fight terrorists. ..."

"... John Zogby, president of Zogby International, a polling firm based in Utica, N.Y., said it appears Bush has lost the public's confidence regarding the operation in Iraq.

"I learned in the first poll we conducted after 9/11 that Americans still want their wars to be quick, they want them won and they want them over so the troops can come home," Zogby said. "It's curious, but right now there's a mixed message coming out of Washington. The generals are saying we'll begin some troop withdrawal come hell or high water in 2006, but the president is saying we're going to stay there with as much force as we need until we get the job done. It's a contradiction."

Barring "anything dramatic one way or another," Zogby said, it could prove impossible for Bush to regain public support for the war. ..."
Zogby is not high on my list of favorite pollsters, but ...

8/19/2005 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Chamberlain didn’t see his actions as appeasement. Neville didn’t have a policy of appeasement he had a German policy. In hindsight it was appeasement but at the time in the minds of the English leadership it was not.

common cents,

That is a good point, and as I said, I'm not necessarily arguing against it, just observing that there were some people who warned that the policies being pursued by MacDonald, Chamberlain, and their champions, were dangerous.

It's true what you say about people wanting to believe in their own--and others'--good intentions. I'm sure Chamberlain actually thought Hitler was good for his word (despite all contrary evidence) and believed when he returned to England waving that little piece of paper guaranteeing all would be well that he was a real-life hero who had saved the day. The people of England, all too briefly, believed it too.

But it takes fabulous conceit to go from fervently wishing something to be true to thinking you can will it so. That is, borrowing wretchard's phrase, blindness to the content of the human heart.

I think we might all be in agreement on that point.

8/19/2005 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Charles,
If you liked that, you'll love this:
. 2 Illegal Immigrants Win Arizona Ranch in Court.

It reads like he said she said, and the citizen ends up in jail, and the illegals end up w/the ranch!

8/19/2005 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

doug,
they keep lots of Marines in the Garrison at Camp Fallujah. Lots & lots of the boys.
Jr came back and described the life style there. He returned what, a couple of months ago.
We are maintaining a Garrisoned Occupation. Tens of thousands of our guys are stationed in large garrisions around the country. They do not roam, patrol or do much of anything, combative. Soccer fields, schools, ammunition destruction, guard duty and radio watch. Big mess halls, personal dvd players and daily showers.

Out of 130,000 troops deployed they cannot find 5,000 needed to secure the Syrian border from infiltration.
Big bombs are crossing over the Iranian frontier, no troops available to guard it.
But do we ever have worker bees, if I hear about those 3,000 schools and the Marines ability to build soccer fields touted as a success one more time ...

8/19/2005 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005
. The Battle for Mosul: Reality Check .

[Click title above for video of small IED attack. Probably a "two-banger."]
Mosul, IraqFor more than a week, I've been trying to finish the Battle for Mosul Part IV. Meanwhile, the battle for Mosul is still on. Writing about this war takes a back seat to living it. Yesterday, for instance, there was fighting and one of our brother units lost a young soldier in battle.Part IV will focus on the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) who live and work in Mosul.

The ISF also were fighting yesterday, and while I was downtown the enemy sprung a "complex ambush" on ISF. Deuce Four soldiers responded and joined the firefight. Such realities often clog my dispatches in the pipeline.The outcome of our efforts rests on the Iraqi Security Forces and their ability to establish and maintain civil order while new democratic systems take root.
. Michael Yon

8/19/2005 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

desert rat,

They are going to be in garrison there for a very long time. With a little luck, their grandchildren will be garrisioned there forty years from now, exiting occasionally to participate in joint exercises with our Iraqi allies.

Perhaps a longer view might help? Some reflection on how the Iraqi forces are being "engouraged" to become the bloody tip of the spear, rather than let Americans carry the entire load? If the Iraqis are concerned about the Syrian border then let them assign a division to border duty for a bit. It's their country and their borders - and they are bearing the heavier casualty burden right now.

I know our men can play cowboy and jihadi much more effectively than the Iraqis can at the moment but I would rather know that the Iraqis were becoming more efficient through live combat exercises. It will prove less costly in the end.

8/19/2005 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Alexandria, VA—The Media Research Center today launched its new blog, www.NewsBusters.org, joining forces with the creators of the influential Web site RatherBiased.com, Matthew Sheffield and Greg Sheffield.
. NewsBusters.org will provide immediate exposure of liberal media bias, insightful analysis, constructive criticism, and timely corrections to news media reporting – while also providing readers the opportunity to take part and be interactive.

8/19/2005 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rick
if we are going to give it to 'em, then give it to 'em
Withdraw to the Western Airfields and let 'em have at it.
There is no need for 130,000 troops there. 30,000 or 40,000 would more than surfice. Beyond that we are wasting resources and lives.
I could care less what type of Government they end up with, they deserve what ever they get.

We are not fighting Mohammedism, when and if our Government decides we are, I'm sure that they will tell US. Until Mohammedans are the identified target, they are not.

If we have a forty year commitment to Iraq and decide, after debate, to stay there, well we had better secure the Airport road pretty soon.

I'd hate to think that we'd allow our people to be targets for the next forty years.
Heck of a way to hunt Jihadists, staking out Americans for bait.

There are much better ways.

8/19/2005 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Ash,

Even if true, what does this have to do with their claims as a people to process uranium?

-there are all kinds of precedents for limiting or trying to limit the kinds or numbers of weapon systems that nations may build. That's what diplomacy, backed up by realistic threats, has always been about. BUt it is less a question of law than one of political realities. The best analogy for the Iran situation may be the Cuban missile crisis. It almost resulted in a nuclear war, but the inherent dangers in this kind of brinkmanship did not constitute an argument against the right of a powerful nation to declare it would not tolerate such a potential or imminent threat from a nation it did not consider friendly. The US had every right to refuse Cuba's asserted right to have nuclear weapons.

Such a right must be asserted and accepted, just as every other right people have ever conceived has been asserted and accepted by others, often with the threat of violence in the air. Human society is a process of exchange. The US should assert its right and others should listen carefully because war is a reality of human history, a reality rooted in the fact that all societies are full of conflicts, resulting in the constant temptation for political leaders to channel internal conflict outward onto an external ennemy, instead of allowing their own internal position to be compromised, which would be the morally right thing to do when you are no longer a legitmate government, which the Iranian mullahs are not. They are angry men, lost is various delusions, committing untold crimes against "their own people". You'd better believe such men are looking for external scapegoats. It's pretty much guaranteed by the laws of human nature. If there were a free opposition in Iran, if there were a means of resolving conflicts there in such a way as to avoid the perennial human temptation to channel internal resentments out towards national and religious enemies in other countries, I would be much less worried. But that is not the case.

I have no right to process uranium. It is not a universal human right nor do I see why it should be a right of all governments. It should only be a right of responsible, democratic governments. Just because this is not in fact the hard political reality today does not mean that we should make it any easier for anyone to go furhter down the road of allowing dangerous because tyrannical regimes to get fuel for bombs. Whatever the lawyers think is the present state of international law, the fact is there is no transnational legislature making international law. Ultimately, it is made by claim and counterclaim, by moral actors responding to reality, most especially by the leading nations, and that is how it inevitably must be. Stability and order are primary human goods, enforced by the willingness and ethical ability of some nations to enforce order or for new powers to take over and enforce an alternative ethical reality. If a nation or gang, or whatever, wants to challenge the "hegemony" (i.e. the governing ethical system) of the others, well then they have to be ready to pay the price if they pose an existential threat to the others instead of positing some new and improved system of governance that others will buy into. No one wants to go to war with Iran, which is why reasonable compromises have been proposed to the iRanians, but the Mullahs are not in a concilatory mood. That cannot but have consequences for them, perhaps harsh ones.

ash: We certainly have a right to defend ourselves but your current usage of the term ‘self-defense’ makes virtually any action of offense and act of self-defense simply by our claiming the possibility that they may do something. Self defense in domestic law is much more constrained then that and until of late, also in international law. Because your neighbor possesses a gun and has expressed dislike for you does not justify your killing him. Similarly in international law the threat must be imminent. Neither Iran, nor Iraq for that matter, came anywhere near the level of ‘imminent’.

-well the neighbor analogy is obviously a weak one because domestically there is a legitimate police force between you and your neighbor, and a law that can punish people for uttering threats. But when the Mullahs utter threats against the big and little Satan, there is no means to discipline them. If you lived in a lawless country, and your neighbor threatened you, and it seemed a serious threat with the means to back it up, you would be very much in your moral right to act pre-emptively in self defense. It would probably be enough to take his gun away. But who's to judge. There is no judge, remember. Only the realities of human nature and exchange. So who is to judge when a nuclear threat is imminent? Obviously it is too late to act when the missiles are in the air, or the bomb is smuggled into your city. Forget the legal niceties. they don't exist. You may be sure that no American government wants to attack Iran out of sheer malice. Americans have more to lose than most people. They will only attack if they think, weighing all the evidence, and domestic political will, that the current regime and its weapons pose a real existential threat. Just as did Saddam. It would be easy to argue that it was only a matter of time before he aided and abetted a terrorist attack on the US, if he had not already done so. And besides, it is legitimate to invade tyrannies to liberate people in defense of universal moral imperatives. If you are willing to make the self-sacrifices necessary to do so, and you have a reasonable chance of success, it is moral and honorable to try. Many Americans, however, do not seem to care sufficiently for the oppressed of the world to provide their government and military with the means to do this often. This is unfortunate if understandable (having hope for some people, for their ability to govern themselves, is a difficult thing to muster), but anyway it is not an argument against the possibility that in future there will be support for such actions. That is why we are arguing here. We are moral/ethical animals; that's the bottom line. We are only legal animals secondarily.

You maintain we are all necessarily free yet earlier you state that there are degrees of freedom.

-surely you don't think we can get to the bottom of the concept of freedom by turning to the dictionary. We have to allow ourselves a little philosophical or anthropological reason in order to make clear what we mean. "degrees of freedom" is a necessary concept because human history is cleary a process in which human societies become more complex, allowing for a greater range of possibilities in all that we do and desire. People are never simply free or unfree. Even the most unfree person has the choice to fight/die or submit to his oppressor. Anyway, the most primitive human societies were never constituted by masters and slaves. They were rather egalitarian and ruled by the ritual order that prescribed what people could or could not do. They were ruled by a collectively created culture. Only slowly was a highly ritualized order eroded and reworked to increase the range of social and economic possibilities. Freedom grew with inequality, at least until postmodern times. It took many tens of thousands of years, for example, for there to emerge the possibility of banking and controlling surplus wealth, i.e. for "big men" and empires to emerge. And only in the last few hundred years have we - still a minority of humanity - had free markets in which it is possible to engage in economic exchange without a need to pay any attention to the social position of the person with whom one trades. The price of goods we purchase is no longer determined by our relationship to the uncles, cousins, etc., of the person with whom we trade. But this is a novelty. There is today a much greater degree of freedom in the economic system than existed anywhere until quite recently.

When I say freedom emerges from necessity, what I mean is that freedom is a process of making order out of the chaos of competing human desires. We are free to act, because if we don't act we will eventually face chaos. Necessity creates freedom. We must be free to differentiate ourselves in various ways or we will erode the possibility of building any kind of social order. If freedom were simply a matter of everyone being free to grab what they wanted, society would quickly decay into chaos. Freedom is rather the possibility of participating in the means by which we mediate our potential disorder by contributing culturally and/or materially to the production of new and more complex goods and means of human exchange.

I'm burned out; this is all from me for a while; but it's been fun, thanks.

8/19/2005 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"If the Iraqis are concerned about the Syrian border then let them assign a division to border duty for a bit."

- rick ballard

This reminds me. Steven Vincent didn't much care for the term "occupation"; he much preferred the term "liberation." The latter just sounds better than the former. And he was right, it does SOUND better.

"Occupation" has never bothered me. It's a serious, straightforward legal matter of assuming the primary responsibilities of the sovereign government, or state, that's been removed or displaced - until such time as sovereignty is regained. And one of the primary responsibilites thus assumed is that of securing the borders. This, we never did - and never will. Such responsibilities we are currently most eager to put into other hands - and if they can't do it, well, neither did we. So good luck and best wishes.

Another Korea? Another Germany? Try again.

8/19/2005 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Doug said...
Charles,
If you liked that, you'll love this:
. 2 Illegal Immigrants Win Arizona Ranch in Court.

It reads like he said she said, and the citizen ends up in jail, and the illegals end up w/the ranch!

8:54 PM
////////////
doug

that's right up there with this one:

Academics at Cornell University say they've come up with a way to restore the ecological balance of North American grasslands: let some cheetahs loose.

Josh Donlon, a graduate student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is the lead author on a paper proposing a program under which wild African animals such as lions, elephants and cheetahs could be introduced onto large swaths of private land in the middle of the country.

These animals would essentially fill in the role once played by the megafauna from the Pleistocene era, which started around 1.8 million years ago and ended about 10,000 years ago.
http://news.com.com/Will+lions+and+elephants+roam+North+America/2100-1008_3-5838750.html

8/19/2005 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Das said...
Charles, re: n Carolina sacred text affair:

I wonder if civic and religious Muslim leaders are not going to the wall aggressively now - pushing every aspect of the heretofore sleepy separation of church and state in the US - knowing that the sheisse is going to hit the fan. With that in mind and perhaps hoping to have something standing afterwards. Just wondering...

7:10 PM
//////////////////
imho strategically the moslems are overplaying their hand. they may win some tactical battles however.

be sure, next time you're in Berlin to look up the Berlinprojekt

8/19/2005 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Occupation" has never bothered me.

I should say, whether it sounded good or bad to anyone, occupation is what it was and is - and will be for just a short while longer.

Rumsfeld said, in response to the looting in Baghdad, something on the order of "freedom is messy."

So is chaos. Brother, is it ever. Bloody messy.

8/20/2005 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Tragic: Vincent didn't like "occupation" but ended up a victim in an area "liberated" - and how.

8/20/2005 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger Kriss F said...

Hello,

your blog is really beatiful!

Regards,
VIPsports

8/20/2005 12:53:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

Since the Israeli Palestinian conflict has been discussed in-depth, I will make this as short as possible (but I will include reference material). Is Israel really more secure by withdrawing from the occupied territories? Intuitively one would guess not. But, there complex factors which may mitigate the danger.

To begin, the Pali's have been lead by Arafat for decades. Arafat is a product of the Soviet Union and was trained by them in various tactics including, spying, deception, and terrorism [See WSJ below]. Arafat was a confidence man who essentially conned many Arab and some western countries into funding his operations (his operations were also funded by the KGB). Arafat setup a security apparatus that is military in nature and remains in place to this day. The fact that Abu Mazen is the PA leader is really a misnomer. He has succumbed to Arafat's old security apparatus and is a figure head. He has not disarmed the various terrorists factions in the PA - in fact they appear to be more heavily armed than before.

Thus, withdrawing from Gaza may or may not be a smart military move. Certainly Netanyahu
does not think so (his basic complaint is the large land area give away combined with a sea port which could be used to transport weapons to the PA).

Will Gaza become a kill zone for terrorists as some suggest? Maybe and maybe not. Will Israel be more secure from nuclear attack? Maybe and maybe not.

I say this because destructive technology has changed since the sixties. It's conceivable that Gaza could become a launching ground for convention and nuclear attacks. It's well know that Syria has a number of potent weapons including, scuds, vehicle mounted batteries of SA-18 missiles and Kornet anti-tank missiles. These could easily find there way to the PA's terror arm (one could assume an SA-18 AA battery could be converted to a MANPAD, easily concealed and used against Israeli aircraft).

Could the withdraw cause Israel to be nuked more easily? Maybe. A nuke could come from Iran (who could dramatically speed up their nuclear project by simply buying a nuke from Pakistan). Said nuke could be delivered in any number of ways including air - or simply installing it in Ambulance or other vehicle and getting it close enough to do grave damage.

[Netanyahu explains risks of pullout - virtualjerusalem.com]

"If we thought that the capitulation to terror damaged us when it came to the Jibril agreement, then what we are about to do here is far more damaging," he argued. Netanyahu called the agreement with Egypt to deploy 750 Egyptian border policemen along the Philadelphi route in southern Gaza "a very strange deal." According to the Likud MK, "Egypt is committing itself to prevent arms smuggling from Sinai, but is allowed to transfer arms [to the PA]... Even since my resignation 72 hours ago, it has become clear that the Palestinians won't consider the occupation over if Israel continues to control the airspace. They now demand control of the airspace," he said. Netanyahu concluded by saying, "I ask you a simple thing – do not give them arms, do not give them rockets, do not give them a harbor and do not give them a giant terrorist base."

[Jibril agreement]

"Today", he said, "I wish to add another aspect behind my resignation. Twenty years ago, when I was Israel's ambassador to the UN, I was informed that the government was about to approve the release of more than 1,000 prisoners [in return for several Israeli POWs in Lebanon]. I thought it was a terrible move."

Netanyahu added, "I wrote to my superior, then-foreign minister Yitzhak Shamir, and said that releasing prisoners would create an even greater wave of killings. And that's exactly what happened. I was willing to be fired then, and I had to quit now."


See: Virtual jerusalem

[more from cnn]:

"We can see in Gaza ... an Islamic terror base being established," he said. "Hamas is getting stronger all the time. It is getting stronger and it is taking credit for what looks like Israel fleeing under terror."
The pullout will make Israel less, not more, secure, he said, adding that the idea of disengagement has been tried and failed before, "and it will fail again
."

Netanyahu resigns post

[SA-18 and Kornet AT-14 sold to Syria reports Debka]:

...Russian president Vladimir Putin and Syrian president Bashar Assad, who arrived in Moscow Monday, January 24, will sign a $70 million deal for the sale of 20 SA-18 Igla-S batteries mounted on Armored Personnel Carriers. One of the most effective missiles against low-flying aircraft on the market, the SA-18 is manufactured at the Russian KBM factory near Moscow.

[picture of man portable SA-18 and case]

This is Syria's second important arms purchase... DEBKAfile's military sources were first report its acquisition in East Europe of Kornet AT-14 anti-tank missiles. This purchase provoked a warning from Washington that if this weapon should turn up in Iraq or Lebanon, America will be free to take military action.
DEBKAfile's military sources now reveal that the Syrian missile sale is integral to the Kremlin's new, broad strategic initiative that encompasses secret military assistance to Tehran as well as its overt deals with Damascus... Kremlin leaked word of a large-scale arms deal afoot with Syria for the delivery of advanced SS-26 road-mobile Iskander-E surface missiles - successor to the Scud, whose 480-kilo multiple warhead can dodge air defense radar systems and electronic jamming - as well as surface-to-air SA-10 ("Grumble") and SA-18 ("Grouse") shoulder-launched missiles.
The first can engage several targets at varying altitudes simultaneously including raiding aircraft and cruise or tactical missiles. The SA-18 is an improved version of the Strela with a 2-kilo high-explosive warhead fitted with a contact and grazing fuse, aerodynamic improvements, extended effective range and greater speed. The SA-18 has a maximum range of 5.2 km and maximum altitude of 3.5 km... Sale of this missile package was not expected to go through in its entirety - certainly not the Iskander. The shoulder-launched version of the SA-18 was deemed too flagrant a provocation for Washington to tolerate... really worries Washington and Jerusalem is the possibility of Assad and Putin putting their heads together on the same 36D6 radar system Moscow has supplied Iran. Our military sources describe the Tin Shield 36D6 as a mobile radar system designed to detect air targets and perform friend-or-foe identification. It is highly effective in detecting low, medium and high altitude targets moving at almost any speed, including winged missiles and American or Israeli cruise missiles. It is capable of providing the target and bearing of active jamming, as well as integrated computer-aided systems of control and guidance of anti-aircraft missile complexes.
Tin Shield can operate independently as an observation and air detection post, as part of computer-aided control systems or as an element in an anti-air guided missile complex, where it carries out reconnaissance and targeting. If Syria gets this sophisticated system, a Russian-coordinated Iranian-Syrian-Lebanese radar barrier will rise with three serious consequences that go beyond the balance of strength in the Middle East:
1. The 36D6 radar system deployment, if acquired by Syria as well Iran, will confine US aerial operations in Iraq to a narrow corridor hemmed in by sophisticated Russian radar and reconnaissance systems.
2. Its deployment at nuclear sites in northern Iran near the Afghan border will obstruct any American air operation mounted from the north against Iran from Afghan bases, while the Russian radar system's presence in Syria will hinder an American or Israeli strike against Iran from the west.
3. Moscow's military backing for Iran and Syria is tantamount to sympathy for their diplomatic postures and extends to their sponsorship of Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist organizations. First overt indications of Moscow's new direction surfaced in an official Russian foreign ministry denunciation last week, the first since the 1990s, of the American threat of new sanctions against Syria for sponsoring "freedom fighters" – Syria's term for Palestinian terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Jihad Islami
.

See: Syrian Missile Sale Slots into Secret Russian Air Defense System for Iran

Why is Israel quickly evacuating the Gaza/west bank area? Debka gives some insight.

[Debka]

...Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon informed the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, March 13 that unauthorized West Bank outposts would be dismantled...
Israeli prime minister has launched into implementation of the "performance-based" roadmap, a sharp policy change that is not on record as having obtained government approval. Until now, Israel's leaders insisted on the Palestinian side first meeting the roadmap's initial mandatory demand "to undertake the immediate and unconditional cessation of violence and armed activity against Israelis everywhere" and "effective operations aimed at dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure." ... an unequivocal American demand to get moving on disengagement and get it over in no more than a month after the July 17 Palestinian parliamentary vote, i.e. by August 20-25 – a change that overrides a previous cabinet decision to carry out the withdrawals in four well-spaced stages... Last week, Lt. Gen William Ward, the newly appointed US security coordinator for Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians, secretly moved into heavily guarded offices in central Tel Aviv, according to DEBKAfile's exclusive military sources - although Rice stated in London last week that he would not relocate to the Middle East. The general settled in with a large team of tens of American officers. The four governments concerned were informed from Washington that General Ward was to be their address for communications to the US government. This makes the new coordinator a kind of buffer or wall of separation dividing the four governments involved in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute from Washington. The Gaza Strip Arm went into action several weeks ago... Egyptian military intelligence delegation led by the head of the Palestinian desk at Egyptian intelligence, General Ibrahim Bakhri, took up position in the territory. Operating in conjunction with the Egyptians and from the same offices is a British MI6 Secret Service mission of 25 agents. They share the task of bringing under control the assorted Palestinian intelligence and security bodies. For Palestinian liaison, they have been provided with Gaza strongman Mohammad Dahlan. The fact that Israeli authorities have allowed the two Gaza-based groups free rein without curbs or interference is the true reason for the sudden blossoming of a warm friendship between Cairo and Jerusalem... The West Bank Arm is run by a Jordanian military intelligence group working with an American Central Intelligence Agency team. The Jordanian group leader is General Abdallah Khayar who is based in Amman. His Palestinian contact is Jibril Rajoub. Now that the two structures are up and running, Washington wants Israel to accelerate its withdrawal for three reasons:
1. Abu Mazen's durability as Palestinian leader is an open question given his political and personal weakness.
2. When Sharon first came up with his disengagement plan, Arafat was still in the driving seat and no one envisaged the Hamas terrorist movement rising to power through the ballot box and replacing Abbas with an unknown face. This development may well negate the plan and other future withdrawals.
3. The White House is determined to prove its even-handedness to the Arab world and is therefore simultaneously pressing Syrian president Bashar Assad and Israeli prime minister Sharon for withdrawals.


see: US Intelligence Takeover of Palestinian Authority


[WSJ on Arafat]

....I was given the KGB's "personal file" on Arafat. He was an Egyptian bourgeois turned into a devoted Marxist by KGB foreign intelligence. The KGB had trained him at its Balashikha special-ops school east of Moscow and in the mid-1960s decided to groom him as the future PLO leader. First, the KGB destroyed the official records of Arafat's birth in Cairo, replacing them with fictitious documents saying that he had been born in Jerusalem and was therefore a Palestinian by birth... Next, the KGB gave Arafat an ideology and an image, just as it did for loyal Communists in our international front organizations. High-minded idealism held no mass-appeal in the Arab world, so the KGB remolded Arafat as a rabid anti-Zionist. They also selected a "personal hero" for him--the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, the man who visited Auschwitz and reproached the Germans for not having killed even more Jews. In 1985 Arafat paid homage to the mufti, saying he was "proud no end" to be walking in his footsteps. Arafat was an important undercover operative for the KGB. Right after the 1967 Six Day War, Moscow got him appointed to chairman of the PLO. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser, a Soviet puppet, proposed the appointment. In 1969 the KGB asked Arafat to declare war on American "imperial-Zionism" during the first summit of the Black Terrorist International, a neo-Fascist pro-Palestine organization financed by the KGB and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. It appealed to him so much, Arafat later claimed to have invented the imperial-Zionist battle cry. But in fact, "imperial-Zionism" was a Moscow invention... We Romanians were directed to help Arafat improve "his extraordinary talent for deceiving." The KGB chief of foreign intelligence, Gen. Aleksandr Sakharovsky, ordered us to provide cover for Arafat's terror operations, while at the same time building up his international image. "Arafat is a brilliant stage manager," his letter concluded, "and we should put him to good use." In March 1978 I secretly brought Arafat to Bucharest for final instructions on how to behave in Washington. "You simply have to keep on pretending that you'll break with terrorism and that you'll recognize Israel--over, and over, and over," Ceausescu told him for the umpteenth time. Ceausescu was euphoric over the prospect that both Arafat and he might be able to snag a Nobel Peace Prize with their fake displays of the olive branch.

April 1978 I accompanied Ceausescu to Washington, where he charmed President Carter. Arafat, he urged, would transform his brutal PLO into a law-abiding government-in-exile if only the U.S. would establish official relations. The meeting was a great success for us. Mr. Carter hailed Ceausescu, dictator of the most repressive police state in Eastern Europe, as a "great national and international leader" who had "taken on a role of leadership in the entire international community." Triumphant, Ceausescu brought home a joint communiqué in which the American president stated that his friendly relations with Ceausescu served "the cause of the world."


See: Arafat, the KGB's man, by Ion Mihai Pacepa

[Reader comments]:

J. B. - New York

This is further evidence that everything the Russian Soviets touched during their 70-odd years of tyranny had evil consequences. Here's an interesting, though no doubt partial, list: The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan created a breeding ground for bin Laden; North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs owe their existence to Russian technical expertise; but for Israeli and U.S. intervention, the Iraqi nuclear program was also being developed by the Russians; the North Koreans develop missiles based on Russian designs; the Iranians and Chinese are buying Russian submarines and naval vessels. It's an almost unending list of perfidy. Now the ex-Romanian chief of intelligence is confirming the hand the KGB had in developing international terrorism [Arafat]. It seems that there is an unending pit of relationship between today's dictators and aggressive tyrants and the Russian government.

You Still Can't Trust Moscow


For those who can't access the WSJ version here is a cached version

8/20/2005 02:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Another great post ledger, thanks.
...and the liberals thought it Hilarious when RR called it
The Evil Empire.

Maybe W should rethink the idea of seeing Putin's Soul in Anything.

Don't Trust, and Verify.

8/20/2005 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

Yes, I agree Doug. Don't trust - Verify. That goes for the PA and its terror apparatus. Don't trust them. Only verify their actions (or neutralize them).

8/20/2005 05:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Who's who in Iran:
. Ledeen - Iran moves, we don’t.
As if that were not enough, our expert community, in and out of government, incessantly warns that if we were to support the democratic opposition in Iran, it would actually hurt the chances of revolution, because the Iranians would be so angry they would rally around the mullahs in a blind nationalistic spasm. The deep thinkers should take a look at the mullahs' reaction to the ongoing revolt in Awaz, in Khuzistan province. The regime has blamed the whole thing on the British Government. This produced a memorable response from the British Ahwazi friendship society:

Protestors are armed with rocks, tyres and anything else they can use in acts of civil disobedience. They do not have guns. Is Asefi afraid the British are smuggling rocks into Iran to overthrow the Revolutionary Guards? Does he think Ahwazis need special training from the British in order to throw rocks?

The mullahs always blame their troubles on foreigners, and yet the Iranian people remain opposed to the regime, and many of the most popular dissidents openly ask the West, and particularly the United States, to help them.

8/20/2005 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

well doug
let's think about this.
We have discussed the possibility of firing up half the World in a Global Guerilla war with the Mohammedans by "Surgicaly Striking" the Iranians 300+ targets with the most sophosticated weapons money can buy. In the mean time the object of our FEAR , the Mullahs, are being pressured by Kurds, armed with Sticks & Stones.
Hope they break some bones.

The Kurds could easily be the 21st century's Proxies of Civilization much like the Montanyard or Hamong in Indochina. But no, instead of arming and training these Kurds, who are already standing up to tyrany, we leave them in the Stone Age. At least we have abandoned them early in the process

It gives lie to the entire discussion. It is obvious the US does not want to "Pressure" the Iranians, we do not want to close the border smuggling between Iran & Iraq, and must not be all that seriously concerned about their prospective armaments.
If we were we would be taking positive, concrete actions and steps to ensure their demise or at least weakening. We are not.

The real story is in our inaction, not the actions of the Iranians
Teddt Roosevelt said
"speak softly and carry a big stick". Instead we shout from the roof tops, and leave our natural allies armed with sticks.
That's progress for you.

8/20/2005 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rick
If we have consciously abdicated our responsibilities to secure Iraqi borders, waiting for the Iraqis to be able to 'step up'. And Ms. Sheehan's son was killed by either munitions or a member of the Opfor that crossed that border. Then yes, Bush is to blame for her son's death. Ms Sheehan's son or any other womens son that died while we waited.
Criminal negligence.
More so then Clinton ever was guilty of in Somalia.

8/20/2005 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If we allow those borders to remain open, drawing in the Opfor, as our best tactic to find and engage the Jihadists, well that is a strategic decision.
A criminally poor one.

Regardless, it is not the fault of the Iranian or Syrian Governments that the Jihadists are crossing.

We certainly have a warped sense of Border Security. It is not Mexico's responsibility to secure our border or enforce our laws. Just as it is not Syria's or Iran's responsibility to secure Iraq.
It is the self chosen responsibility of US.

8/20/2005 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

VDH has an interesting new piece

biteback
"... After the spring 2004 butchery of American contractors, we went into, and then withdrew from, Fallujah — apprehensive that global media scrutiny would portray us as storm troopers.

In fact, the enemy considered us too equivocating and claimed the retreat as a great victory. So until we retook the city in November, we fretted that the Fallujah encirclement was an example of our blunt-headedness, while our enemy equated it with softness.

Indeed, throughout this conflict the United States has been apprehensive that it was becoming too brutal in its effort even as the Islamic fascists were convinced that we were too weak to fight such a war.

The Greeks might offer us a term for such ironic turnabout; perhaps something like antiepistrophe — "a turning back against oneself" — since the self-appointed moralist usually ends up looking stupid when his own examples refute the very reasons he adduced them.

But in the interest of simplicity, I'll call it the "biteback" effect. ..."

8/20/2005 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger jamesjwilson said...

It is an often seen poll, quoted in these responses as well,that Bush's support for prosecuting the war is down to 42%. It is much higher than that. Of those 58% that do not supportive of Bush's efforts, a large number are simply upset we are not doing more. Within the last week, 67% of the public were found to desirious of a more aggressive- and successful- approach to the war.

8/20/2005 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

drat, 9:03 post. Your comments on Pakistan are logical and well stated, but I think Iran is a more imminent threat, I have seen other estimates of a three year or shorter time frame to develop the nukes and they already have more than adequate missile power, plus they are nuts. So is N Korea. There are probably means to take out the hardened sites where the nuclear facilities are located, without nukes, but I don't think they are fully developed, and I don't know if they are being worked on.

8/20/2005 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We have done this before.
Entered a Regional War, but refused to cross a border.
Holding the "Sovereignty" of a border line to be more important than the lives of our troops.
But let's not compare Iraq to Vietnam, or learn a lesson from it.

8/20/2005 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Doug said...

Charles,
If you liked that, you'll love this:
. 2 Illegal Immigrants Win Arizona Ranch in Court.

It reads like he said she said, and the citizen ends up in jail, and the illegals end up w/the ranch!

8:54 PM
/////////////////
looks like a judge was reading the headlines:

judge orders feds to aid wolf restoration in Northeast
The Day, New London, CT ^ | Aug 20, 2005 | David Gram & Associated Press

Posted on 08/20/2005 7:46:21 AM PDT by finnsheep

Montpelier, Vt. — In what environmentalists hailed as a major victory, a federal judge on Friday ordered the Bush administration to step up efforts to restore the gray wolf to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York......

Anthony Tur, a Fish and Wildlife Service field officer based in Concord, N.H., said the agency's headquarters in Washington would decide whether to appeal the ruling. He questioned the push to build gray wolf populations in the Northeast on two fronts, saying it wasn't clear that the public would support such a move and that there was dispute in the scientific community about whether gray wolves ever populated the region. “There's some scientific argument about whether or not the wolf that was originally here in eastern United States was a gray wolf or whether it was a red wolf,” Tur said. “There's scientific support in thinking it was a red wolf, not a gray wolf.” In his decision, Murtha wrote that the Fish and Wildlife Service “simply cannot downlist or delist an area that it previously determined warrants an endangered listing because it “lumps together' a core population with a low to nonexistent population outside the core area.” ........Even if the government is slow to promote reintroduction of the animals in the Northeast, it appears wolves may be moving into the region on their own.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1467226/posts

8/20/2005 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

strange bedfellows

You distort my position. Firstly, I can hardly be against a constitution that has yet to be written and ratified. I can only be against contingencies. The contingency that would cause me to proclaim Iraq a failure is Sharia being codified into the new constitution. A limited argument.

Let's call Sharia black, and liberal democracy white. There are many shades of gray in between that would be acceptable. I believe we will see gray, I just hope it drifts towards the lighter side. But if it doesn't, I will not hesitate to call an Islamist society with vast oil reserves a danger, and an American policy failure.


And let me jump into this debate between Truepeers and Ash. It seems that we have different levels of argument working here, with TP going back and forth between the practical and the anthropological, and Ash firmly planting his flag in the abstract, with occasional nods towards reality.

To make a practical claim, I would have Ash compute and divulge what he sees as the possible consequences of his argument, in the real world. Putting perspective analysis aside, what possible good comes from the Mullahs having the bomb, and what possible evil?

Also, the idea of character has been lost somewhere in Ash's analysis. Two nations are equivalent in many areas: they are sovereign, made of people, and have needs and desires, etc. Yet these same two nations can be quite different in character. Ash wants to peg the privilege of nuclear weapons to the legal idea of sovereignty, which means every nation has a claim as a matter of right, and there is no way to distinguish one nation from the other in this respect.

Truepeers (if I am not misstating his argument) and I are arguing that the unique nature of nuclear weapons--unparalleled destructive power in an individual and portable device--should force us to limit the privilege of ownership. If one accepts this premise, that we must limit ownership of nuclear weapons, the argument from sovereignty is invalid, a priori. And so we look for a way to distinguish between nations.

Character is the most intuitive choice for a limiting filter, and this goes back to Charles Manson's knife. The Mullah's are not shy about their stance on Israel, and readily proclaim their contempt and hatred for America. They are also not shy about infiltrating Iraq and killing our troops.

Since we cannot know the mind of our enemy as it truly exists, we must use his actions and words as our evidence of his character and our insight into his intentions. In law this is the "eye in the sky" approach. A contract, in the abstract, is created by a meeting of the minds, but in a court of law it is only created by the actions and words of the parties. We may be wrong about the real intentions of the Mullahs, but our limit as human beings forces us to rely solely on their outward conduct as we try to determine their character. And their character determines the level of threat.

And to preempt any vacillation or equivocation, character must be judged from an American perspective. Abstract works until it doesn't, but reality works all the time. We are not simply impartial observers to this international crisis, and it is as Americans that we will feel the consequences of any misapplication of reason.

After taking this all into account, it is clear we cannot allow the Mullahs to have nuclear weapons. They are not politically mature enough to play nice with, or even be trusted not to not cause a wholesale slaughter of, the other kids in the playground. We have studied their character, and we have found it lacking.

8/20/2005 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

dave
If we decide that the only course of action available with Iran is military, then so be it.
But be advised that it will not be a "one or two" days of aerial assault followed by the collapse of the Mullahs.
To be successful eliminating their prospective nuke capability would take at least 120 days. Comparison to the Air Campaign against Serbia as the best example.
The Mullahs will counter by closing the Straits with rockets, artillery, mines, assault/patrol boats and submarines. It would take assets allocated to the nuke targets to remove the Iranian shipping threat. Extend schedule 60-90 days = Six months from D-day
Mullahs counter by activating terror cells in ME & Europe.
Oil pipelines in Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Mexico are sabotaged. Venezuela contracts Oil sales to China & South America, embargoing the US
Oil reaches $200 per barrel
Duration unknown

What if the CIA is right this time and the new estimate of ten years out is accurate.
Are not the most dangerous bombs the ones that exist, in Mohammedan hands, currently. Or the nuclear devises that could be bought on the "grey" market.
How could a bomb fantasized about by "Crazies" possibly be a bigger threat?

8/20/2005 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The "what gives us the right" crowd needs this lesson more than any other: we have to live, or die, with the consequences of our actions and inactions.

From that fact alone obtain our right to judge and preempt. All beings have the right to stop the knife before it breaks the skin. And all civilized people have the responsibility to call a spade a spade.

8/20/2005 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"And all civilized people have the responsibility to call a spade a spade."
Amen

8/20/2005 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(I was going to add, NOT a meme, but did not want to distract from primary subject.)

8/20/2005 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

aristide
I agree we will get a grey document. I think it may be greyer than any of US will want to see.

The US decided long ago that "Soveriegnty" is all important. The NPT treaty is the "Standard" we signed on to. The Iranians have NOT been found in violation by the IAEA, the "Standard's" enforcers, yet.

So, yes, the Iranians, under whatever rulers are Soveriegn, are allowed to do what they are doing. They signed on to "OUR" rules.

By the time the Iranians are proven to be in violation of the "Standard", post election '06, the US Public will be exhausted by Iraq. Almost six years after 9-11 the lack of Victory will have diminished our Will to expand the conflict.
Or we will have withdrawn a substantial number of our troops by then, cedeing the field.
Lack of clearly communicated Goals will have sealed the deal.

8/20/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" "a turning back against oneself" — since the self-appointed moralist usually ends up looking stupid when his own examples refute the very reasons he adduced them."
---
Read that too, 'Rat, and could not agree more.

8/20/2005 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"desert rat said...
If we allow those borders to remain open, drawing in the Opfor, as our best tactic to find and engage the Jihadists, well that is a strategic decision.
A criminally poor one.
"
'Rat,
Please name a good one.

8/20/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Had not read your response to Rick.
...you're saying be more offensive secure the borders:
---
I guess the argument would be:
Then the flypaper won't kill flies.
...and I have not considered if that Calculus is valid.

8/20/2005 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is why the Mohammedans are at War with US. The West threatens their World. They retain the right to stop US. Preemptively if required. Same as the Mohammedans and Israel. The Israelis way of live is a threat to the Mohammedans "Peace" so the Mohammedans feel within their rights to preemptively strike.

When they do, we call them Barbarians.

When the US rattles it's sword and calls for the isolation and demise of the Mullah Government we are giving them the provocation to act, preemptively against the Crazy American Cowboys

We are either at war with Iran or not. So far it is not.
Let US see what Congress decides about War with Iran.
It will be an interesting debate.

8/20/2005 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"It will be an interesting debate. "
---
I don't want to see it.
How about Ledeen's method of supporting the popular hatred of the Mullahs?

8/20/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

As for the media, who cares? They are very important to themselves but sooner or later reality will intrude no matter how complete the lies that they spin.
towering barbarian @ 10:42 PM

The MSM is on a death watch. Chrysler is putting almost 20% of its ad budget into the www. More next year and the year after.

Their business model cannot sustain a permanent 50% drop in ad revenue.

8/20/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Having Camp Fallujah teeming with Marines is bad policy.
Have them out patrolling the countryside and borders, or bring 'em home.

Maintain Convoy Security,
or do not have Convoys.

Secure the Airport Road or
abandon Baghdad

I guess that the Airport is just a "Road to Far", after two years.

Win the Peace or come home.

We have bureaucrats and Powell Jr clones running this thing in Iraq.
It has gone on far to long and our current course is failing on the most important front of all in this Struggle

The Home Front

8/20/2005 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

LA Times just had an article that Hollywood is dramatically cutting Newspaper Ad budgets.

8/20/2005 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The Iranians have NOT been found in violation by the IAEA, the "Standard's" enforcers, yet.

I agree, but this is similar to Clinton waiting for "Official proof" that Osama was behind the bombing of the USS Cole.

Iran has in fact violated the treaty, whether her case has been properly adjudicated or not. Iran acquired nuclear technology by signing a pact which she has now broken. The regime has proven that its word means nothing, and that it is willing to violate solemn treaties to pursue its desire for the bomb.

So we have a regime that cannot be trusted, in the throes of a rabid religiosity that glorifies death, in thrall to the Imperialist idea of a global revolution led by Tehran, who rallies its people (and its support) by belligerence towards the United States and Israel, all the while doing whatever it takes to acquire a nuclear bomb.

Their sovereignty ceased being a cover when they signed the treaty. Now Iran's rights to nuclear technology, and their exposure to punitive action, correlate to their conduct as a signatory. They did not just gain a privilege by signing that document; obligations and responsibilities were purchased, too.

But more urgently, they have an unsettling countenance and a flawed character. They have set themselves against us, both in actions and words, and we would be insane to allow them the means to blackmail America into forced parleys and unrighteous agreements; we would be suicidal to allow the terror masters the bomb.

8/20/2005 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat,
Agree,
Hanson argued all along that a more overt show of force wins more hearts and minds for real than a hearts and minds sentimentality demonstration.

8/20/2005 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Arm the damn Kurds in Iran
Easiest, fastest, safest road to success. Start today, then by post election '06 the mullahs are already streched, maybe gone.

There are two ways to hunt a lion, bait it or drive it.

I'd rather not use the Civilians of Iraq or the sons of Ohio as live bait.
Let's go beat the bush, drive the Insurgents and either kill or cage 'em.
The River War episodes are the example. Those movements should be CONSTANT, not occasional.

The Israeli destroy the homes of Homicide bombers for a reason.
Bionic Runner's mother paid no price, his clan paid no price and his tribe paid no price for his insurgency. He was rewarded with three hots, a cot, showers & Air Conditioning.

8/20/2005 10:10:00 AM  
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8/20/2005 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat,
post #2, the machinist said:
"Whereas we (unbelievably) played nicey-nice with Iraq, viz., dialing down Shock and Awe for no reason I understand except that we hoped to make friends with them later,"
...it has been unbelievable, and sad.
Viet 2?

8/20/2005 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I guess since the Turks love us so much, the Kurds have to wait (and pay) some more.

8/20/2005 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The River War episodes are the example. Those movements should be CONSTANT, not occasional."
---
We used to laugh, in Afghanistan, when they would ask for a time out, (to regroup) now it is SOP, for US!

8/20/2005 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There was a desire to create a "normalcy" in Iraq.
The schools, soccer fields and increased car ownership and traffic are examples.

If car bombs are the problem, outlaw the cars.
Create gridlock within the cities, don't facilitate greater traffic flows.

The troop levels have become a barometer of political support of Bush.

Biden and McCain want to INCREASE.
Kennedy & Biden want to DECREASE.
Bush wants to Stay the Course

Not for tactical reasons, but for domestic politics.

8/20/2005 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In DECREASE
delete Biden insert Durbin

8/20/2005 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

From LGF right now:

Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas said on Saturday it would fight to drive Israel out of the West Bank and Jerusalem after the Jewish state completes its withdrawal from the occupied Gaza Strip this year.

“Gaza is not Palestine,” a masked spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing told a news conference in Gaza City.

“As for Jerusalem and the West Bank, we will seek to liberate them by resistance just as the Gaza Strip was liberated,” said the spokesman, surrounded by gunmen and militants with rocket launchers.


And above their heads the hammer of Thor materialized.

8/20/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

From USA Today

"... U.N. nuclear agency tests have concluded that traces of highly enriched uranium on centrifuge parts were from imported equipment — rather than from any enrichment activities by Iran, a senior Western diplomat said Saturday.
The findings support Iran's claims that the material entered the country together with centrifuge parts provided by Pakistan. The diplomat who confirmed the results spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

"The source of contamination was not related to Iran," said Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi. "We are sure the source is not internal."

The United States has alleged the material was produced by Tehran and the particles were evidence that Iran was experimenting with producing highly enriched uranium, which is only used in nuclear weapons. ..."

USA Today

8/20/2005 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

ash,

One very good reason to deny the bomb to Iran is Iran's threat to bomb Israel as soon as they are able.

I think that is immanent enough.

8/20/2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How do you go about the
"Deny" part M.

That is the real question.
Come to grips with that challenge and supply a viable action plan scenario that leads to success.

8/20/2005 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/20/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/20/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ray of hope for a non-radioactive outcome: Pope Benedict XVI has been saying some things to Islam, the last few days, about 'an enveloping darkness of barbarism descending on mankind'--unless somehow the religion can reign in its terrorists. There, for many people, is the point at which "turn the other cheek" has begun to flow the other way, to run a little thin, down here on earth, as the highest solution to the problem of achieving harmony.

8/20/2005 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Truepeers,

You bring up the Cuban missile crisis. On what grounds does the US have the right to refuse Cuba’s asserted right to have nuclear weapons? The only ‘right’ the US has to refuse this is by dint of its might. We now have troops near the borders of Russia. Are we violating her rights? How do the two situations differ?

You mention that Iran’s angry and deranged Mullah’s lack legitimacy and they are looking to perpetuate their ‘illegitimate” rule through the use of external scapegoats. A similar accusation can be laid against the Bush Administration with their use of color coded terror alerts ect.

I agree with your ideas on the governing ethical system and that the Mullahs are not in a conciliatory mood. This can be attributed in large part to very recent history. The US’s actions have also not squared nicely with the ‘governing ethical system’. The US has acted as if the US dictated the governing ethical system (hegemony) or simply that the hegemony simply and outgrowth and tool of the US policy yet the US is somehow exempt from it. It is now biting the US (and The World by extension) in the A$$. You are expecting the Mullah’s to conform to the admittedly loose governing order yet the US has chosen to flout it as well. Is it any wonder the Mullah’s aren’t too conciliatory, especially given the difficulties the US is finding in Iraq?

You speak of Universal Moral Imperatives and the role actors may play in a lawless environment. We exist with neither. We have international law, loose I grant you, but it exists, if nowhere else then the treaties we have willingly signed. The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty being an example that the Bush administration has virtually scrapped, or have they formally scrapped it? There are no agreed upon Universal Moral Imperatives and I doubt the processing of uranium would be involved. Your point is well taken though; we live in a world where there are many dangers and we must navigate those dangers with ethics and morality in mind. I agree that tyrannies can be justifiably invaded to liberate its people but I think it is extremely important that there be a reasonably impartial way of deciding which tyrannies are to be deposed. The big mistake of the recent past has been that the US has made this decision virtually unilaterally and any semblance of impartiality has thus been thrown out the window yielding a terrible failure.

On freedom: I agree a dictionary does not yield final status of the term but to maintain that a word incorporates its opposite in its meaning is not a good usage of that word. To assert that ‘restraints on freedom’ is incorporated into the term ‘freedom’ renders the word meaningless. I humbly suggest that your thesis that Freedom brings Power and Power brings more Freedom incorporate a third concept…something along the lines of Rule of Law and a dispassionate dispensation of such.

I truly appreciate your considered responses.

Aristides,

In the real world I think that making illogical Western centric arguments asserting that we have a right to something but that they do not is counter productive toward encouraging them not to develop nuclear weapons.

I find it helpful to ‘put the shoe on the other foot’ or, if possible ‘walk a mile in their moccasins’. Let us try that with you arguments.

Aristide wrote:
“The Mullah's are not shy about their stance on Israel, and readily proclaim their contempt and hatred for America. They are also not shy about infiltrating Iraq and killing our troops.”

From the Iranian perspective:
“The US has firmly stood behind the Israeli expropriation of Arab lands and the repression of the Arabic people. The President has publicly proclaimed America’s hatred of the Iranian people by locating us on an Axis of Evil and they are certainly not shy about invading and occupying Iraq, though we thank them for helping our cause in this region, if only inadvertently”

Aristide wrote:
“Since we cannot know the mind of our enemy as it truly exists, we must use his actions and words as our evidence of his character and our insight into his intentions. In law this is the "eye in the sky" approach. A contract, in the abstract, is created by a meeting of the minds, but in a court of law it is only created by the actions and words of the parties. We may be wrong about the real intentions of the Mullahs, but our limit as human beings forces us to rely solely on their outward conduct as we try to determine their character. And their character determines the level of threat.”

From the Iranian perspective:
“Since we cannot know the mind of our enemy as it truly exists, we must use his actions and words as our evidence of his character and our insight into his intentions. In law this is the "eye in the sky" approach. A contract, in the abstract, is created by a meeting of the minds, but in a court of law it is only created by the actions and words of the parties. We may be wrong about the real intentions of the Bush Administration, but our limit as human beings forces us to rely solely on their outward conduct as we try to determine their character. And their character determines the level of threat. – WE NEED TO DEFEND OURSELVES FROM THEM, not only do they posses Nuclear weapons, they have USED THEM – break the seals and start the process”

Aristides, the only saving grace in this analysis is to close our eyes to their view and live in the fantasy that is a blinkered perspective. Which is what you propose in your conclusion:

“And to preempt any vacillation or equivocation, character must be judged from an American perspective”

If we do that, war it will be, and a horrible one. For the Real Politic of that I defer to the esteemed Desert Rat.

8/20/2005 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Funny how that works, that old warning about being careful what you wish for, because you might get it. Bin Laden needs Crusaders trying to grab the territory, so that he himself can grab the territory. He's now on the verge of getting those Crusaders, and will proceed to grab the territory. Unless the Crusaders decide to grab it first. Gresham's Law. The western Left thinks it can short the circuit by not being bin Laden's shibboleth--but to try that, all western interests, economic investment, allies, and nations (Israel) will have to pull out.

Then, with the industrialized West in oil-triggered depression and Araby (and perhaps all of Islam) become a totalitarian singularity, the western Left will say to it "Okay, so, we proved you don't have to worry about Crusaders. Now, when do we go back to 1999, when we had the cool prez in the USA and we were all having such a fun orgy?"

8/20/2005 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

ash,

What nationality are you? Whatever it is, you will experience the fallout from the Iranian bomb as a citizen of a specific country, not as the impartial referee you claim to be.

Iran has every "right" to do what she thinks is in her interest, and we have every "right" to the same. If Iran's interests contradict ours, it comes down to power and will, as it always has. This probably rubs you the wrong way. If it does, maybe you should leave foreign policy to the adults.

America happens to be the unit that acts on my behalf in the international arena. It is pointless, and dangerous, to remove the American perspective from my analysis of what America should do when confronted by an American enemy who wants to subjugate and blackmail America with American weapons that were created by an American program on American soil; as a citizen I bear the consequences of American action and inaction.

The time for abstract moralizing is over. International relativism is a dream. Here in the real world I live and die as an American.

8/20/2005 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Exactly, Aristedes. Having achieved the perfect understanding that there is no right and wrong from the universal point of view, that every point-of-view is right to the entity at that point of view, what then?

Toss your own point-of-view out, as delegitimate on the grounds that it is selfish, and adopt someone else's point-of-view?

Granted that's mighty sweet and generous, but isn't it rather suicidal unless everyone else does likewise simultaneously (Carradine, where atre you?)?

To go first at the risk of going alone, is to rightfully disqualify your genes from the evolutionary contest, and to disappear, as per natural law.

8/20/2005 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Walking another mile in their moccasins

You speak of encouraging the Iranians? Perhaps you missed the gross obsequiousness on display by the EU-3 the past year and half? The list of carrots and concessions offered by our viril Western Partners, to "encourage" Iran to comply with promises and duties she had already signed onto, was very long, so you probably didn't read it. It was full of ripe goodness for any aspiring regional power caught red-handed violating a rather important international treaty. Go check it out.

While you may not take these cute brown people seriously, I do. Ahamadinejad claims "nothing will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear capability", and I tend to believe him. You must think such gumption is for show, that it is an understandable pushback against an oppressive regime of Western White Men and their rules (and so refreshingly authentic!), if you continue to speak of empathy and encouragement as the true and righteous way towards a hold-my-hand-and-I'll-hold-yours ever-lasting peace with the Near Eastern indigenous folk.

If you treated the Iranians seriously, and held them accountable as adults who know what they say, you would not be so quick to apologize for their murder of our troops or be so ready to dismiss their public vows of Death to the Great Satan.

8/20/2005 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Aristide, I am an American, for what its worth.

Buddy, I am not saying simply all views are equal, however I do maintain that the US perspective is not necessarily correct.

To both of you, what started all of this was Wretchard's statement:

"In our search for root causes, we have blinded ourselves to the most basic of all: the content of the human heart."

leading to the notion that more people have died in the name of religion then any other cause. Righteousness is a problem, the designation of Evil is a problem.

Your position seems to boil down to "might makes right" which has a base truth to it. As humans with conflicting interests we have chosen to try to rise above such a simplistic approach to human affairs...at least on the domestic front. We have to certain respect risen above it in international affairs, we should go further.

8/20/2005 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Aristides, you mention the violation of International Treaties. I take it you think this is a bad thing? Or, must only non-US nations honor their treaties? Are you familiar with the Softwood Lumber dispute with Canada and the current administrations position? It is instructive in the recent history of US approach to international treaty.

8/20/2005 02:11:00 PM  
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8/20/2005 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Right. YOU may not care whether you get murdered or not, but yer momma does. So do your creditors, and whoever else cares for you and/or depends on your rationality. If someone speaks the truth from their point-of-view, that they would like for you to be dead, and you, having previously (for the sake of ego) elevated your rhetoric above human reality and thus ok'd the killing, willingly submit to the noose (metaphorically or in fact), then you will have achieved exactly what you currently claim to be a higher morality.

Maybe I'm just stupid, but I think you will have achieved nothing beyond hastening an end to all that the human race has worked for since it first dropped out of the trees and stood up on its hind legs.

8/20/2005 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Well happy to have you on board. My point is not "might makes right", my point is that American interests cannot be separated from my interests, and I therefore I will always champion American interests, intelligently (as far as I can) but unapologetically. Might just makes our job easier.

But more than that, America is as close as we have to an Ideal, which means while championing American interest I can also champion principled idealism (neocon alert) and a better world. For that I will always be proud.

re: treaties

I strongly disagree with the protectionism that seeps into both GOP and Democratic politics. Treaties should be honored.

8/20/2005 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ash, you're right about chauvinism and all that you say about jingoism and bully-ism. And I think we ought to be forever on guard against exhibiting those sorts of behavior. But that is all part of an underlying problem in human affairs that has almost nothing to do with the proximate danger of a death cult with nukes being on the loose.

8/20/2005 02:23:00 PM  
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8/20/2005 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Ash,

Surely you see that the NPT is another thing altogether, not comparable to Logging Agreements or Sugar Subsidies.

It takes a well-functioning society with all the organizational and scientific skills it can bring to bear to create and sustain nuclear know-how and technology. Iran bypassed this evolutionary requirement by signing a document. Instead of having the virtues of discipline and free inquiry that it takes to create such an apocalyptic weapon, Iran decided to feign the virtues of honesty and fair play to sneak it in the back door.

If we do not put teeth behind the NPT, it will become nothing but a trough, from which all the pigs can come to feed and get fat.

If Iran gets nukes, the world gets much more dangerous.

8/20/2005 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

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8/20/2005 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

I agree there is a danger in having a death cult on the loose with nukes.

Let us leave aside the debate about whether the Ruling Mullah's are a death cult and simply look at what is the best way to prevent them from having nukes.

It is a relatively long road to for them to attain nuke status and if they do achieve it we still have some defense (enemies possessing these weapons is not new).
What then is the best way to relieve the Iranians from the Mullahs?

I would suggest that upping the ante in the 'external threat' category will stengthen the Mullah's grip and we should take a different tack. Take a look at the tightening of the grip of the Mullah's in the last year and at our success in Iraq at effecting change through military action.

8/20/2005 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/20/2005 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Buy and distribute a million cell phones in Iran.
Create internal information systems that the Mullahs cannot control.
Fund the Mullahs opposition with MILLIONS of dollars.
Arm the Kurds.
Close the Iraqi Border.
Harass their Naval component in the Persian Gulf.

8/20/2005 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Martin W. said...

So you have a visitor coming your way. I read these things. :)

hydrocodone

8/20/2005 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Glenn Reynolds often links to folks who say that bad human-rights problems (from genocide to tyrannical dictators) could best be solved by dropping tons of 9mm semi-auto handguns--personal protection close-range weapons--to the people. And ammo, too, of course.

8/20/2005 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

can't invade the neighboring country with 'em, but when the gov't goons kick down your door, and you know you're dead, anyway, you can teach a few manners on your way down.

8/20/2005 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Kami_says said...

It's a very shrewd move by Israel that's going to let them be far more severe on terrorists. But if anyone thinks that the entirety of the West Bank or Jerusalem will ever be given back, then you are just downright stupid. In all likelyhood things are just going to get worse in Israel, because the terrorists aren't going to accept anything shy of control of Jerusalem and the West Bank. However, in time and with a lot of spilled blood and patience, Israel and the more moderate Arabs in the area might be able to pull together something resembling peace, just maybe.

8/20/2005 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

You can see in William Falkner novella "The Bear" and others how greatly prized was hunting in the USA until the mid 20th century.

So how did world change here? How did we come to a world in which it possible for someone to seriously propose putting lions and cheetahs on the great plains and judges to enjoin the government to return wolves to the eastern United States...

The short answer is Bambi.

The longer answer goes something like this.

Bambi was written in 1923 by Felix Salten, pseudonym for the Jewish journalist Siegmund Salzmann, and, later, a refugee from Nazi Austria. The book was translated into English by Whittaker Chambers. Walt Disney picked up the movie rights to the book in 1939 and released the movie in 1942.

In this review of the movie that came out in 1992, James Souer writes


"we must recognize that Salten has given us a sub-Christian, and indeed a sub-Hebraic view of Man: placing Man and animal on a common plane below their Creator. Man certainly is an animal; but he is the divine animal-the Imago Dei. Salten asserts an egalitarianism of all species that is at odds with the Judeo-Christian hierarchical model recounted in Lovejoy's Great Chain of Being, and established in the biblical literature.

8/20/2005 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I agree that we should exhaust the diplomatic and black arts arenas before we do anything drastic. I really like thinking out of the box, like we did in giving the Russian trouble makers a whole bunch of grade-A vodka and motel rooms when they arrived from the Ukrainian north to cause trouble in Kiev. That is a perfect example of innovation, and we will need many more if we are going to prevent Iran from acquiring nukes.

As Desert Rat rightfully, and often, points out, our military options are not attractive, but if it comes down to allowing the current Iranian regime to have nukes or using the big ole' stick, I think we must attack. The nature of that attack, and the actions that come after, I will leave to the military minds in the know. But we have threatened Iran for the past three years, and we better be ready to follow through if we reach the point of no return.

We have a clear objective: no Iranian nukes without a democratic revolution. So by all means pursue the latter, but be prepared to fight for the former.

8/20/2005 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

hand guns and cell phones
the mullahs would be a poopin' & a scootin'.

Empower the people of Iran.
Guns, Commo, Cash

If what we are told about the Iranian people then the Mullahs world would be turmoil, quickly.

Bad for them, good for US

8/20/2005 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

buddy
I learned long ago, an armed society is a polite society

8/20/2005 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

ht instapundit, good stuff on what's in the mind of Arik Sharon. Feel better about the changed relative positions of the warring combatants. Bear in mind that raising the cost of acts of terrorism may be the best thing that can happen to the terrorists themselves, in the long run. They won't ever win the war. The Israeli financial mkts are up 6% since the Gaza pull became real. These industries are high-tech world leaders. The Palestinians--because of the choices they've made--can't even make the boxes that their cellphones come in. the best they can do is maybe put a little green macrame fringe around products of western industry. Let them have their terror state, so that it can finally be utterly defeated, so that the poor old self-abnegated people can be rescued from themselves, as were the Japanese and Germans.

8/20/2005 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Finance Online said...

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World travel and annual medical insurance plans from independent advisors Medibroker International.
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8/20/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Dear Finance feller: Debt can't be fixed with another loan. Why, the very idea is highly ignernt. If you want some biz, try donating "Debt Consolidation Gifts". Then you'd be TALKIN'!

8/20/2005 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sure wish I could consolodate some of my personal deficits and let some bank have them.
...or maybe you could try some on.

8/20/2005 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Ash is the personification of the rotting fish that is moral relativism.Pleasant,well read,cogent thinker,but so far from the reality we face in this fallen,festering world.
In the 1930's the intellectual class steeped in the religion of Progress
gushed over Stalin's Potemkin villages
and saw Herr as an honorable man.Their children joined the SDS,sang "Ho Ho Ho Chi MInh,the NLF is gonna win"Aggressive totalitarians in Asia were really noble savages,pure peasant lumpenproles who could do no wrong.
That the Iranian Mullahs have moral standing is a symptom of a deep soul sickness in the west.The human heart indeed is the problem as stated in Wretchard's brilliant analysis.
There is far too much at stake to listen to the sob sisters and moral equivilancy crowd.If the Salafi,Wahhabi,radical Shiite axis isn't evil what is ?

8/20/2005 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Buddy,
You are making good Advertisement.
Keep up the super write!


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8/20/2005 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trangbang 5:34 PM,
Moral relativism ALSO is evil.
...in this case look how much precious brainpower Truepeers has wasted trying to address something w/no moral co-ordinates.

8/20/2005 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Truepeers:
Ever tried snake wrestling?

8/20/2005 05:40:00 PM  

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