Thursday, August 18, 2005

Memory Lane

When  Hitler's troops reoccupied the Rhineland in violation of its treaty obligations to restore German dignity, stormtroopers parading before the Reichschancellery sang "for today we own Germany and tomorrow the entire world". The echo of that refrain reverberates in the United Nations. The Jerusalem Post has this Associated Press story:

The United Nations is embroiled in a dispute with American Jewish organizations over the funding of Palestinian banners in Gaza, and US Ambassador John Bolton on Wednesday protested the "unacceptable" payments.

The dispute centers on the UN Development Program's payment for materials produced by the Palestinian Authority for Israel's disengagement from Gaza which include banners saying: "Gaza Today. The West Bank and Jerusalem Tomorrow."

The irony is exact. The French Left remained passive in what Churchill called the last moment in which Second World War could have been prevented. Instead it allowed that Hitler had a legitimate grievance and met him with renunciations of militarism and expressions of understanding. For what, they asked, could be more German than the Rhineland? One could have rhetorically asked whether a Nazi Rhineland was the same thing. But then:

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.


Blogger RWE said...

I saw an interview with the U.N. representaive responsible for the local administration (in Palestine) of that program. His response when asked about those banners and bumper stickers was essentially "Well, gee, this place being what it is, we pay for all kinds of weird stuff - but those banners do represent the position established by U.N. resolution frumipity frumpteen, yappy yapteen, and balbiddy balbteen."
Let's face it, if the U.N. were around in the 1930's, they would have paid for the Nazi banners, too.

8/18/2005 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Almost every day a new aspect of the 1930's, formerly a mysterious time oddly disconnected from our own experience, is brought to life by the emergence of a new present-day parallel.

It would be nice to feel that the trend is towards our avoiding the meat grinder waiting at the end of the 1930's. Would be.

The further we get from the 1930's the more apparent it becomes that one thing those stormtroopers had in common with Russian citizens, and the later subjects of Chinese communism was that their leaders were insane by any standards that we can understand or support (this was much less clear at the time). Sane leaders had by the 30's been shoved aside or had been discredited by events.

How different are the residents of Gaza? Of so many Muslim multitudes elsewhere? Who are their de facto leaders? Will history reveal over time that the ones who have been clawing their way to the top of the bloody pile, to put themselves in charge, were individually just as crazy as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot?

8/18/2005 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

The UN and the League of Nations are and were equally pernicious institutions, because they both allowed the great powers to posture and get away with doing nothing about gathering storms; and because they allow the do-gooder media/chattering classes to wield their generally malign influence in favor of doing nothing.

Unfortunately, both were largely American inventions (I'm not a huge fan of Woodrow Wilson's).

8/18/2005 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There was a case to be made for German reunification in the '30s, just as there was in the '80s.
The debilitative remedies of the Versailles Treaty placed upon Germany were much more a cause of Hitler and National Socialism than Chamberlain and his ilk.
That the leftists of France could see the injustice of Versailles placed on Germany and would want to alleviate them, without a war, is understandable.
What country is the Rhineland in today?

8/18/2005 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

We say 'never again' but we don't really mean it.

We topple a serial warmaker and mass murderer, while he is weak and before the will to keep him from obtaining advanced weapons and suzerainty over the world's oil supplies -- and, by extension, the global economy upon which billions depend -- completely evaporates.

For this, we are pilloried. I'm afraid we must always wait until the darkest hour before we respond. One of these times, that darkest hour will be too late.

8/18/2005 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Was William the Conqueror insane?
Genghis Kahn?
Julius Caesar?

All these men envisioned Empire and achieved them. In each case tens of thousands died, at a minimum, to achieve their goals.

Genghis Khan and Julius Caesar each committed genocide on their way to World Domination.

Does the fact that Hitler failed make him crazy, or just a failure.
The actions of all the despots you mentioned are NORMAL in the course of human history, not a aberration.
The SAFETY & SANITY that you enjoy is much more the aberration.
Our way of life is, historicly, CRAZY.

8/18/2005 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

Rat's right, but he's wrong too. Sure the Germans had a case over the Rhineland and the Versailles settlement, and had I been born a German in the 1930's and think as I do now, no doubt I would have been for rearmament, military re-occupation of the Rhineland, and the overthrow of Versailles ASAP.

But that was for the Germans to work out. In their own interests, the Allies were stupid to let them move troops into the Rhineland, and should have sat on them when they did it.

Similarly, of course the Iranians want the bomb, and of course the Palestinians want Jerusalem. No respectable sector of nationalist opinion in either polity could afford to maintain otherwise. But that's their worry. If the rest of the world is stupid enough to let Iran have the bomb, and shortsighted enough to give the Palestinians any kind of state without some sort of way to guarantee their good behavior -- that's our worry.

As an aside, ultimately, I think the biggest tragedy for the interwar Germans was the chasing out of the Hohenzollerns. The ruling classes never accepted it, or the Republic and that opened the way to Hitler.

8/18/2005 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Yes, the parallels with the '30's begin to pop up everywhere.

When Italy invaded Abyssinia in the middle of that decade, Stanley Baldwin's stirring call to action convinced the League of Nations to stand firm, in what Mussolini contemptuously labeled "fifty nations led by one." Led by Britain, the League imposed sanctions on Italy, but in one of the more insane moments of this time Baldwin made sure that the sanctions imposed were only those that would have no direct effect on Italy or on her ability to wage war. The sanctions were cosmetic and superficial, stopping shipments of fruit yet allowing the transport of oil, built to send messages, not punishment.

Instead of pulling back, Mussolini raped Ethiopia at will, and the only change affected was Italy's turn against Britain and the joining of the Fascists to the Nazis. As Churchill comments, Baldwin had roused the British for righteous action, yet refused to deliver a war! The British one-worlders, in their disarmament plans and phony sanctions, played the worst of all hands when looking across the table at rabid militancy. They bluffed big, and then they folded.

And here we are with Iran. The EU-3 are embarrassed daily and their only response is more noise, more pleas, and more time. There will be a showdown in the UN, and the peace-loving countries of the world will once again have a choice: unrighteous peace or righteous action. Once again an English speaking nation will lead the charge against outright intransigence and provocation. Will we pull up short, and be labeled appeasers by our children, or will we do that which is painful, but necessary, to protect our people?

We cannot afford to follow the pacifist chimera again, not with nuclear weapons, not when they will be owned by a few men adhering to a death-loving ideology. Yet I fear we will, and much like the '30's, our loud noises and dishonorable inactions will purchase a darkness the world has never known.

8/18/2005 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

For those of you that are language impaired such as myself, the Babelfish translation:

"The more that changes, the more it is the same thing."

The middle east peace process has been stalled and the same ol’ same ol’ is not getting anywhere. Sharon has taken a big risk, he has made a compromise, a big compromise. Next we are to see how honorable the Palestinians are. Sharon must know that the way forward is tenuous, but the way backward can only be an unmitigated escalation of brutality.

8/18/2005 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The debilitative remedies of the Versailles Treaty placed upon Germany were much more a cause of Hitler and National Socialism than Chamberlain and his ilk.

This is a common misperception. The cause of Hitler's dementia was his inability to believe that the Reich could possibly lose a war without some massive internal and external betrayal. After he regained his vision and was released from the Vienna hospital, he heard from his fellow soldiers dastardly tales of Jewish perfidy coming from Russia and the Bolsheviks. He then knew what had to be done. Since a nation composed of pure Germanic blood would inevitably take over the world, all one had to do was reunify the Germans and eradicate the Jews.

He used the Versailles treaty in the beginning to rally the German people much like he used British and French concessions later on. When the British allowed Germany to break both Versailles and the Locarno treaties, it did not improve Hitler's countenance nor the determination of the Nazis. In fact, the weakness and dishonorable appeasement led them to believe England wasn't even worthy as an ally. After all, why should they allow England to remain free when she was such a contemptible nag?

Had England and France actually enforced the Treaties for 15 or 20 years, Germanic fervor would have died down and the business of rebuilding would have proceeded apace.

8/18/2005 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Sharon retains the hammer,
now his thumb is off the anvil.

How long until the West Bank fence is complete?

The Palis will be locked out of Israel, left to their own devices on what ever ground is outside the fence.

The Irsraelis can hire Filipinos to do the grunt work, instead of Palis, just like the Saudis.

The PA & Hama should be mindful, tits may be answered with TATS

8/18/2005 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

I'm reading a great book about insurgencies and warfare by COL Tom Hammes, USMC. It's called "The Sling and the Stone" and explains the evolution of insurgencies from Mao through Vietnam, Nicaragua, the Intifada, etc.

I thought Hammes' analysis of the Intifada was particularly interesting given what we're seeing in Israel today. The Palestinians chose to avoid the use of weapons or direct conflict with the Israeli military, instead facing them down with rock-throwing teenage boys, women, and children. The Palestinians also tailored messages to different audiences, portraying themselves and Palestinian demands as reasonable. They used the media to portray Israel in a negative light to the rest of the world because of their oppression of the Palestinians, who only wanted a state of their own.

So we're seeing a very similar result - the Israelis voluntarily pulling out of Gaza. It's interesting that the subsidized UN banners portray the "real" Palestinian message - they are not interested in co-habitating with the Israelis, they want control and ownership instead. If we're smart, we'll keep an eye not only on what the Palestinians say (as well as their banners) but on what they do as well.

8/18/2005 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Hitler's dementia, perhaps, but not an entire Nation's.
The Versilles Treaty of massive asset reallocations in payment/ penaty for WWI devestated the German economy. It allowed, if not caused, the Civil Unrest that the National Socialists rode to power on.
The successful Marshall Plan took the polar opposite approach and laid the framework for European Peace for the last 60 years

8/18/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

1 minute you say he's sane,
next minute he's perhaps demented:
You're Nuts!

8/18/2005 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(...he thinks he's listening to Penny Lane, not reading Memory Lane.)

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

No I am saying that we are an exceptional people in an exceptional time.
The history of Man is one of War, Genocide and Mass Migration.
That we believe that what we have, the morals and standards we hold dear, here, now and in the near past, is NORMAL is CRAZY.

Was Hitler crazy or normal?
That is a question quite beyond the scope of a paragraph.
He could have been a bit of both, most men are.

8/18/2005 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Can a country suffer from mass insanity?

8/18/2005 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

It seems that both the League of Nations and the United Nations are fundamentally good ideas if used appropriately and resolutely (I know, there's the rub). If resolutions were enforced to the fullest extent, predictably and often, then these institutions would be a great force of good in the world.

Yet the United Nations is a double edged sword, and when resolutions are passed but consequences don't follow, the institution becomes a vehicle for posturing and an enabler of evil. It is a backwards world indeed when Russia and China have an equal say in the "legitimacy" of an action as Britain and the US.

8/18/2005 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Can a country suffer from mass insanity?

A people surely can: Palestinians.

8/18/2005 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Almost half the World lives under the dominion of the Chinese Government. If they are not a "legitimate" voice of those people, who is?

8/18/2005 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

So it is insane for the Palistians to fight for their "Homeland", but not insane for the Israelis to believe they can live in a sea of Arabs, forever.

Both ideas border on insanity.

8/18/2005 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

The Palestinians already have a homeland: Jordan.

If they want the West Bank though, they can have it. Let's see what they do with it. I'm getting the feeling that Sharon has weighed the advantages of holding onto Gaza and the advantages of ceding it. There is such a thing as a strategic withdrawal, and the Israelis will be watching ever more carefully at how things develop.

Unlike the French, who persisted in their delusions, Israel is still very much on alert. Losing Gaza cost them nothing.

Gaining Gaza will cost the Palestinians everything.

8/18/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Can a country suffer from mass insanity? "
How 'bout a colony of 'Rats, doin business in the AZ desert?

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

WE (not the UN)
Should have given them Vegas.
We all would have profited by that flower in the desert.

8/18/2005 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Gaining Gaza will cost the Palestinians everything. "
I read somewhere that once the Israelis are out, Israel has a kill zone when the roaches try something.
Sounds sweet to me, if true.

8/18/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Shifting the focus from leaders to the wider population, there is a pretty good chance that we will be seen in the future as insane, for having allowed the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology.

Not a mistake the survivors of our folly will be inclined to repeat.

8/18/2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

To study "Moral Equivalence"
Examine 9:39 carefully!

8/18/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Not a mistake the survivors of our folly will be inclined to repeat."
Or, forgive.

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

Not morally equivilent but large and in charge, doug.

If there is to be a 'World Forum' it does not make much sense to exclude half the World from it.

If we decided on a Western Forum you'd object to the French and Germans inclusion.

In the crewnt US Forum you object to the Democrats, representing about 48% of US.

Excluding the Opposition from the discussions does not remove them from the equations, or solutions.

8/18/2005 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


8/18/2005 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger paul said...

Rat said

"The Versilles Treaty of massive asset reallocations in payment/ penaty for WWI devestated the German economy. It allowed, if not caused, the Civil Unrest that the National Socialists rode to power on."

Not exactly. The "devestation" of the economy occurred primarily in the early 1920s. The Dawes plan and strict but prudent fiscal policies likely saved the economy from collapse. By almost all measures, was vastly improved in the late 1920s, and this was inversely correlated to Nazi popularity.

Then, the global depression of 1929 broke the momentum, and of course, the rest is history. It is very likely that Hitler would have been finished politically without this event, regardless of Versailles.

Now whether Versailles had the effect of emasculating German pride, that is another question....

8/18/2005 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Scotia said...

doug: Turn on your profile at Blogger and add your email address. Quit posting as if comments were your personal blog. Start your own blog.

8/18/2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/18/2005 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

...not insane for the Israelis to believe they can live in a sea of Arabs, forever.

Both ideas border on insanity....

the problem is (and i know c4 will just say it's cause jews are thieves, liars and perverts) that gentile europe & the arab world has NEVER been good to the Jews - period (america the amazing is a historic exception), So Jews have tried to live in the arab world, for naught, and have tried to live the european world, for naught and now have thier own state Israel.. the very fact that Jews dare to live as a state pisses them off.....

Israel pisses off several billion people just cause it IS...

too bad...

8/18/2005 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Big Chief said:

Unfortunately, both were largely American inventions (I'm not a huge fan of Woodrow Wilson's).

Unfortunately, both were largely Democrat inventions.

8/18/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Child abuse is the core of the islamic proble. It was also the core of the Nazi problem according to Alice Miller.

Origins of Islamic Rage

8/18/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger dbsfacs said...

Great thread. Kudos to Jefe, Aristedes, et. al. The Israeli fence should surround Jerusalem and any west bank positions which are still militarily important. Unlike the French and British of the 30's the Israelis have the means and the will to prevail. Do you really think the Filipinos will do the work? Neat idea.

8/18/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

One of the great problems I have with the U.N. is that I think that if the Axis powers had won WWI, they would have created a "United Nations" type organization. They would have wanted the victorious tyrannies to be able to avoid clashes and to be able to dictate to the nations that had been merely co-opted (e.g., probably Latin America) and not actually occupied.
And such a "U.N." would not have had any more moral authority than resided in Berlin, Tokyo, and Rome; in other words, slim to none.
So what Moral Authority does the U.N. exercise now?
No more than that which resides in D.C., London, and the capitals of other free countries.

8/18/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Europeans and Arabs hate the Jews.

Palestinian Role in the Holocaust

8/18/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/18/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Child abuse, and Woman abuse...

8/18/2005 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

And forgive me for reciting another parallel in history - though it is not in keeping with the primary thread of the Palestinian Lebensraum, it is in keeping with the secondary thread of Liberals Repeating the Follies of History.

It goes like this:

"The people of Nevers, for example, deep in central France, had given the Convention no cause for worry. But the arrival there in September 1793 of the representative Fouche' transformed it into a beacon of religious terror. Fouche', himself a former priest, came from the Vendee, where he had witnessed the ability of the clergy to inspire fanatical resistance to the Republic's authority. Christianity, he concluded, could not coexist in any form with the Revolution and, brushing aside what was left of the 'constitutional' Church, he inaugurated a civic religion of his own devising with a 'Feast of Brutus' on 22 September at which he denounced 'religious sophistry'...
...The French people, Fouche' declared in a manifesto published on 10 October, recognized no other cult but that of universal morality; and although the exercise of all creeds was proclaimed as free and equal, none might henceforth be practised in public." -- from "The Oxford History of the French Revolution - William Doyle"

These events in Nevers, were afterwards duplicated in Paris, and elsewhere.

Does anyone else smell the parallels with the Leftist's rant against Judge Roberts, and their call for a general litmus test against all Christians in the affairs of government?

8/18/2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Interestng, the town of Nevers figures, symbolically, in the film Hiroshima Mon Amour; it is the hometown of the French protagonist, sign of the quiet old world whose victory (i.e. over the various false revolutions) is subsumed in the guilt of the bomb, while Hiroshima rises from the ashes.

8/18/2005 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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

Pork, Israel pisses a few billion people off because it is a sign that the old but true ideas that there is some necessary violence in realistic forms of justice and national affirmation, still reign in the foreign policy of a modern state. It is the sign that all the dreams of a world without conflict, managed by the smiling rainbowed legions of the UN may be just a dream; and that is what many cannot forgive. But, Rat, is the dream of a world where all conflict is managed in peace and happiness, where nationalism is put to rest, not more crazy than the idea that Israel may survive in a sea of Arabs/Muslims?

8/18/2005 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger StoutFellow said...

"The irony is exact. The French Left remained passive in what Churchill called the last moment in which Second World War could have been prevented."

The irony is exact only if you consider the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza to be equivalent to French appeasement vis-a-vis the Rhineland. However, I tend to agree with desert rat that, rather than appeasing, Sharon is clearing his field of fire and shortening his battle line in anticipation of the coming conflagration. The French may have forgotten the courage of Charles Martel , but the Jews are not appeasers. Each day the sound of Islam's resurgence grows louder. Each day the Iranian nuclear threat moves closer to becoming a threat to the existence of the state of Israel. Israel must prepare to remove that threat and for any onslaught that might follow.

On the other hand, the irony is exact if you are referring to the history of the West vis-a-vis the Arab-Israeli problem. That has been appeasement after appeasement of the Arabs ever since the Balfour Declaration. This is remarkably well illustrated on this site. . Click sequentially through the 14 maps and see the transformation of the borders with each attempt to mollify the Arabs..

8/18/2005 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

that should read "smiling rainbowed legions of the UN/Caliph"

8/18/2005 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Sharon isn't doing this because he thinks he can meet Palestinian grievances; he's doing this precisely for the opposite reason. They'll discredit themselves, and he'll unilaterally draw a line in the sand, getting rid of Israel's biggest problem - internal Arab birthrates.

8/18/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Was William the Conqueror insane?
Genghis Kahn?
Julius Caesar?
Does the fact that Hitler failed make him crazy, or just a failure.

History provides no constants besides conflict and its temporary resolution. What is not crazy in one period becomes so in another (compare, for example, the institution of slavery). To dream of becoming head of a great empire when you are a prince in the classical world is not crazy, since you are living at a time when the process of secularization had yet to evolve many competing alternatives for the human imagination and realties of social organization. This was not true when Hitler turned his back on many aspects of a modern market society dependent on the interactions of free and independent and competing nations and individuals. His empire of gangsterism would, in the long run, have been no more economically productive than Stalin's. His people would have lost the creative possibilities inherent in a western civilization that remained civilized (and to some extent Jewish). Hitler was sufficiently resentful of the world into which he was born that his attempts to radically change it can, imho, be called insane. The other conquerors you name were acting much more in line with the world into which they were born.

8/18/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

So what Moral Authority does the U.N. exercise now? No more than that which resides in D.C., London, and the capitals of other free countries.

My inclination is the same; the UN's moral authority has been shattered in recent years, if it ever existed at all.

Yet I still do not believe that a global, normative institution is unhelpful per se. It is a tool to be wielded, and like any tool it can be used for good or for evil.

We are at a turning point in history, where we can let the current UN dissolve into a gentleman's club for authoritarian diplomats and an incubator for high crime syndicates, or we can hope to restructure based on certain basic principles. More specifically: we can hope to remake the UN in our image.

I do not wish to bend knee to a global Leviathon, nor am I a romantic about our prospects, yet I believe that the idea of the UN, as an institution to enforce basic norms like women's rights (which is truly the trojan horse for all our enemies), is a sound one. Language can be codified that is so simple and so universal that no government would long survive the embarrassment of a public refusal to accept it as law.

At the very least, it is a perfect time to try. America is unparalleled in her might, and thanks to our honorable but sometimes mistaken efforts around the globe we currently command the attention of the entire world. Almost 5 billion people on this planet have access to media outlets. If we codify the most basic of rights and rules, along with the necessary and inevitable punishment to follow any transgression (which includes an acceptance of violence in defense of principles), we may be able to succeed where others have failed.

It all depends on the willingness of a hyperpower America to set the example, and light the fire. It's possible that this dream of enforced global norms will never rise above the realm of ethical alchemy, but it would be noble to try.

There are many things for which a people could be remembered. We could do much worse than a functional and moral UN.

8/18/2005 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

ahem...and accountable, of course.

8/18/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

We're back to the "foundations of Baradur".

The game-breaker isn't our enemies. If NATO had more of an edge than what the US gave it, and pacifist Europe [I leave out balancers such as Chirac here] saw security issues rationally, all of our problems would seem a lot more solvable. In practice, our Western brethren are a net loss, emboldening our enemies and political opportunists in this country.

Even where governments support us, the people and media don't, broadcasting views and propaganda rivaling what comes out of the Middle East itself. The Middle East can at least plead ignorance, a lack of access to information, Europe can't. It is true they are led astray by state[leftist]-controlled media, but also because they by and large want to believe it. We're the new Nazis - therefore it is okay that European power and prestige declines, at least they are not us, gun toting, bible reciting, ignorant hicks.

They provided the ideologies that mobilized many of our foes, from fascist inspired Arab nationalism [Ba'athism] to the Chinese Communist Party. To compliment, they provided the ideologies of relativism, pacifism, and self-hate that emasculated themselves and a portion of this country to the point where we and they hesitate to and cannot sum up the will to act in our own interests or defend ourselves.

Solutions? I have none, besides wait for the big bang that makes it all moot in the name of immediate survival.

8/18/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Desert Rat - There was a case to be made for German reunification in the '30s, just as there was in the '80s.
The debilitative remedies of the Versailles Treaty placed upon Germany were much more a cause of Hitler and National Socialism than Chamberlain and his ilk.

Desert Rat is correct. Versailles was a major factor in creating the instability in Germany. Economic collapse spurred a number of radical solutions proffered by radical Parties. People forget the Bolsheviks under Rosa Luxembourg almost took Germany the way they did in Hungary under Ben-Bela Cohen.(nom de geurre - Bela Kun) The National Socialists came to power as the "restorative" group that would reverse WWI harms and recreate a powerful prosperous Germany. That was a powerful lure.

There are all too many strained anologies to pre-WWII and to much equating Palestinians to Nazis. The Israeli Right has used Munich as a red herring for 30 years as a club against any accomodation of the natives - any act of moderation is termed "Appeasement". False. Just as false as saying Germany was wrong to try and retake the Rhineland - if the French had blocked them, it would only have led Germany to redouble covert military preps and try again. In one way the Rhineland is like Gaza - neither place had any history of French or Israeli settlement, and neither had any right to hold it except as a spoil of war in the face of legitimate armed and non-violent resistance.

Leo writes in an otherwise cogent and analytical piece: The Palestinians already have a homeland: Jordan.

That is Zionist nonsense. The Palestinians were never Jordanian Beduoins. The only reason Jordan now has a large Palestinian population is that the Pals were pushed in there in 1948, 1967, 1973.

M Simon - Child abuse is the core of the islamic proble(m).

Bigoted nonsense. Like saying economic predation on others and greed is the core of the Jewish problem.

That the leftists of France could see the injustice of Versailles placed on Germany and would want to alleviate them, without a war, is understandable.
What country is the Rhineland in today?

8/18/2005 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

cutler said:

Solutions? I have none, besides wait for the big bang that makes it all moot in the name of immediate survival.

There is nothing that distracts people from contemplating their navels more effectively than getting one of their cities nuked.

When it does happen (since the borders have yet to be closed) I would prefer that it happen in some city where a Million-Peaceniks-March was going on.

8/18/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

That the leftists of France could see the injustice of Versailles placed on Germany and would want to alleviate them, without a war, is understandable.

And yet a war is what they got.

Buying into the legitimacy of your enemy's grievances is stupid, and often deadly. The same thinking that allowed Germany to reclaim land lost in a war that she had started, in direct violation of post-war treaties that she signed, also allowed Germany to rearm. This mindset then looked the other way when Hitler invaded other lands, with feigned understanding and sympathy for his desire to unify his dispersed Germanic people.

The lie that Germany's pride should allow her parity with France and Britain in all things military, after the Reich lost the war, no less, created a situation much, much worse than the Versailles treaty, for Germans as well as the other signatories. The Versailles Treaty may have been inartful, but looking the other way as the tenets were consistently violated by a militant former enemy was madness.

When an enemy wants to destroy you, you should add grievances, not take them away.

8/18/2005 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Aristides, I think you are a romantic dreamer, no such organization is possible in this imperfect world.

8/18/2005 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

c4: In one way the Rhineland is like Gaza - neither place had any history of French or Israeli settlement.

Gaza was one of five Philistine cities along the southern coast that successfully resisted Israelite conquest until Judah Maccabee's brother Jonathan captured it [ca 150 BCE].

In Gaza, the famous saga of Samson and his miraculous feats of strength took place. Samson perished in the Temple of Dagon while slaughtering his enemies (Judges 16). With the weakening of Egyptian support for the Philistines, the enemy finally submitted to David, who slew the giant Goliath in battle (II Sam. 5:25).

Yep Jews had NO historic claims to gaza....

they NEVER were there, they NEVER lived there, or maybe they were there before the 1st Moslem or "Palestinians" were born....

8/18/2005 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

The U.N., a civilized tool of decent and free nations.
A wonderful vision!
But its most enthusiastic promoters see it as no such thing, but instead as a means by which the majority (morally befit and usually economically impoverished tyrannies) can impose its will on the minority (richer free nations) should that be required.
But my point was that given the nature of the majority, the current U.N. is no more valid than that hypothetical Axis-dominated U.N.
I think that NATO (at one time, not now), SEATO, and any number of other treaties and agreements the U.S. has entered into for our own purposes are a far better legacy than the U.N. And those should serve as a model for our efforts rather than the confused rumbling that emanate from Turtle Bay.

8/18/2005 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Seems to me that tyrants and aspiring tryant movements should not only hate Israel but should rather support the Jewish state.

After all, one of the reasons the tyrants always attack their own Jews is that due to their own traditions they can't be brainwashed or bribed into the nationalist xenophobic ideal.

But, now that Israel is back in place (after a mysterious several-millennia exile), future fascist states will perforce have fewer domestic enemies, as, once their goons start stalking the streets, der Juden vill get demselfs to Israel, ver dey von't have to vorry about being moidered again by der latest New Vorld Order.

So, really, hating Israel is a dumbass-twofer: those who do it are precisely those who thereby most subvert themselves.

Hmm...must be some sort of trick, eh?

8/18/2005 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

the idea of a world at peace and harmony is TOTALLY INSANE. There is no historical precedent for that, anywhere I ever heard of.

8/18/2005 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

that should be"...not only not hate Israel...." But it reads ok as is, with the total-reversing typo, oddly enough. Yes...that's's a sign...when someone comeas along who is REALLY dangerous...that's what he will do, that'll be the "tell"...he'll act out evil, but claim to love Israel. Once again, whether on the world stage or inside a blog comment sentence structure, the little country asserts that it is as God has said in their Book, some sort of opening into something we can't fully grasp...a portal...a Holy Land.

8/18/2005 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

In practice, our Western brethren are a net loss, emboldening our enemies and political opportunists in this country.

They are a net loss only in the particular, in the short term. From the long view, a peaceful Europe who must be bludgeoned into using force is a kind of miracle. And they will fight alongside us when the moment is dire.

To me, that is worth the irritation.

RWE: A wonderful vision!

Yes, and as I said, unlikely. Yet, do not discount it just yet. As Churchill said in response to Ribbentrop's contemptuous threat, "Do not underestimate us. England is very clever."

England is clever, in part, because her language, English, is so subversive. If we can find the right language to express the right idea, and codify it into a global treaty of sorts, the UN could prove to be an excellent, and subversive, vehicle indeed.

In fact, I believe Bush will try to do this very thing. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Bush is thinking globally, now.

Dave H,

"If you will it, it is no dream." You might say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one.

John Lenin said that. Nice man, shot in the back. Very sad.

8/18/2005 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger MaineMan said...

Fascinating thread. I've long wondered why there isn't a greater emphasis on mental illness when referring to the Islamists and those who are mesmerized by their regressive impulses. In mental health settings, every now and then I've seen a contagion of self-abusive behavior (usually self-cutting), especially among adolescents with poorly integrated identities. There seems to be something within each of us that is vulnerable to being led by the nose by those around us -- maybe it's there to allow for the emulation of a "shining example" (for those who read Lee Harris's wonderful "Future of Tradition" article) but just as easily coopted by a negative or self-destructive entity. A shared psychosis, for example, is usually a combination of a crazy, controlling (i.e. deeply narcissistic) individual and a dependent, weak-willed follower or followers. That's the model I'd use for the Third Reich. Self-efficacy, developed sense of self, and stress tolerance all seem to matter a great deal in whether or not people can maintain clarity in a complex environment. How big a stretch is it to see the Palestinians as a deeply weakened society made up of many immature individuals who are vulnerable to base impulses, highly limited in their stress tolerance, and thereby like dry straw for the flame of self-mutilation? And wouldn't that same vulnerability not make them available to emulate a more positive role model(s)?

There just are many among us who do best in well structured situations where uncertainty and ambiguity are reduced. This compensates for internal deficits in stress tolerance, control, and reality testing -- i.e. the ability to see the world as most others do. This is one of the major contributions of the fence, I think. It will clarify things for the Palestinians in many ways, perhaps the most important of which will be to reduce the psychic value of projecting their own sense of failure on the Israelis and the West in general. There will be no option, it seems to me, but for them to contend with the obvious fact that they don't have/are not a state and are organized around hatred (of the other and of the self) not firm ground for a self-sustaining cultural tradition. It seems possible that the fence will go a long way toward clarifying reality for those whose feet are not firmly on the ground, removing some of the self-serving, ultimately self-destructive distortions that have kept the Palestinians mired in their regressed state for so long.

Meanwhile, wouldn't it be reasonable to start considering and referring to the Islamicists as menatlly ill, self-destructive misfits who don't think they have what it takes to make it in the world as it is? That might contend with their suspected status as "shining example" in much of the world.

Finally, that brings me to the last train of my admittedly loosely knit thought, the relationship between the notion of perfectionism as it applies to the intellectual elites on the Left and the soft underbelly of the West. Were we not riddled with self-doubt, we'd have much less trouble imposing structure on those among us, the Islamicists as a case in point, who really live in la la land and endanger the rest of us as a result. But perfectionism, which I see as a major theme in the criticism of the war on terror so far, is often a very lethal impulse (see Foster, Vincent) -- the glass is always half empty and eventually the sense of failure becomes intolerable. If I had to put my finger on one enemy within, that would be it.

8/18/2005 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"My inclination is the same; the UN's moral authority has been shattered in recent years, if it ever existed at all."
I believe it is established fact that GI's were frequently killed in Korea due to UN Treachery:
Not unlike the French w/our F-117.

8/18/2005 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The most primitive example that comes to mind is "imprinting."

8/18/2005 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger dan from cos said...

Yes yes yes, it must be Karl Rove who is behind this plot to remove the Jews from Gaza. He probably shot lenin or lennon too. I'm not to sure why the Israeli government has pulled back from territory won fair and square in a war. I guess they have a plan because they know (as well as the bushies) that the "palastinians- read hamas and hezbollah" will not honor ANY agreement that does not deconstruct the State of Israel. Rope-a-Dope anyone?

8/18/2005 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I should have made my point better: ceding the Rhineland to the Germans was not the same as ceding it to the Nazis. For better or worse, Gaza will be Arab one day, and that day may as well be now. However, it didn't have to belong to Hamas. But it cannot now be otherwise.

The tactical advantages of leaving Gaza are immense. But the strategic outcome depends upon whether Gaza leads to peace or fans the flames of conflict. No one knows which, but we'll all find out soon.

8/18/2005 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

My case is that the UN's utility has yet to be realized, that it is possible to have a functional and accountable UN without having a perfect one. And to make the point clearer, by utility I mean the spread of American interest, which in my little world is synonymous with good.

Governments are a necessary evil, yet I would die to defend America's, because it is the best hope for my children.

There is nothing impossible about a UN that works.

8/18/2005 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"If there is to be a 'World Forum' it does not make much sense to exclude half the World from it.

Excluding the Opposition from the discussions does not remove them from the equations, or solutions.
I guess it's the "World Forum" I reject then:
Makes sense to "keep in touch" w/folks like Mugabe, but in the background with someone like Bolton as our Rep,
in a Forum where everyone pretends to be equals, with the French regularly siding with Tyrants.

8/18/2005 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

maineman, fantastic post--just a quick thought--Apollo was not allowed, in the Athenian construct, to rule the health or progress of Athens--even tho he was the most perfect god. Perfectionism, as the end stage of aspiration, was seen as lifeless, as an ideal only, but a complex ideal that needed to be honestly, truthfully chased--but not caught, because of the resultant sterility in whatever aspect of life came to be considered perfect.

So Dyonesius (sp) stepped in and ran one of the four seasons (winter, I think).

But the notion was that a certain ambiguity was part of nature, and it was to impute that natural state into religion, that the odd relationship of Apollo to the people developed.

Perfectionism is of course the enemy of good--and anything the enemy of good, must be bad.

Perfectionism creates procrastination--a seemingly mostly harmless trait which actually is--since life is contained within time--a form of living death (shortening as it does the living part of life).

And since it kills outside the boundary of time, and attacks character rather than a tangible physical system, it never gets the credit it deserves as a major chronic killer disease.

8/18/2005 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Maineman, crystal, almost perfect. Solution? A boatload of prozac?Jewish shrinks?

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

Agree w/Buddy and Truepeers:
It may be loosely knit, but it ties a lot together.
I have more certainty w/regards to it explaining the left than the Arab mind, maybe only because I know nothing about the Arab mind.

8/18/2005 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Try this:
. "Lines To A Dead Woman..."
Hat Tip Hewitt. (for the site ref)

8/18/2005 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

So Aristededes, how will you build a UN that does a job in America's interest and still be accepted by the anti-American world as being in the whole world's interest? Maybe here is where I need a few more lessons in subversive thinking. My unsubtle righteousness leads me to think that America (and Israel) should just assert the fact of their nationhood as good for the world and the global economic system that America leads (because a world of strong and free nations is a more realistic hope than any post-national dreams). By all means there needs to be a place to air and mediate international conflicts; but how much can we invest in the idea of transnational governmental agencies without corrupting the position of the strong and free nations on which any successful international order must depend?

8/18/2005 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...


It may not be bigoted nonesense.

You might want to look into the effects of PTSD (one result of abuse).

In any case Alice Miller thought it was a reason why so many in Germany adored Hitler.

Phylis Chesler (a noted lefty) thinks that child abuse primes Arab men for rage.

You ought to read the article and the links provided.

BTW it also fits in with my theories of drug abuse. Scroll down the sidebar for links. Start with "Addiction or Self Medication".



In September the American Congress will pass a bill declaring that the end of tyranny is official US foreign policy.

It passed 4:1 in the House already.



very nice

8/18/2005 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...


The most popular drug for mild PTSD is pot. You can grow your own.

For more debilitating cases heroin is less destructive than alcohol. Again, you can grow your own.

Of course we could make it a boondoggle for big pharma and get them aboard. They make a lot of money from anti-anxiety drugs.

8/18/2005 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Buddy, your comments on perfectionism and proscratination are, as often, profound, and sent a jolt of life-guilt down my procrastinating spine. But since your idea cannot be perfect, may I ask if you will take it a step further and integrate some understanding of why we cannot always be living in real time but must take steps out into the fantasy world of the imagination, the arts, religion, etc., where we find, among other things, our desire for perfection?

8/18/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...


I'm betting conflict.

I'm betting Gaza gets punished.

pour l'ecourager les autres

I thought that was the plan all along. Have been saying so for 2 years.

I think Israel is better off with unabashed enemies like Hamas vs pretend friends like Abbas.

After all they have tried let us pretend for 10 years with negative results.

8/18/2005 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

If Hamas wants to do well on the world stage it must tone down the rhetoric. Which will be seen as a sellout.

Not to worry. Hezbollah will stiffen their spine. Or fight for control.

With rockets flying in every direction I expect a lot of folks are going to be very unhappy in Gaza.

All of which should go a long way to discrediting the Pali cause.

8/18/2005 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

M. Simon,

drugs may be necessary/beneficial at times; but in the long run I think the solution has to be spiritual/intellectual/cultural. Do you think pot increases creativity or just the aura thereof?

8/18/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Maineman's analysis begs the question, if the Palis are so open to the charismatic, why hasn't the law of averages thrown them a shining example who would lead them out of Hell? The answer of course is that the natural leader has probably come along many times, but can never get beyond initial notice because initial notice meant that he was immediately either an Arafatist or a corpse. The West has a karmic bill to pay for creating Arafatism and holding it in place. We'll know the bill is being paid when the wrong people are paying it. Like, for instance, American soldiers paying for the UN anti-USA/Israel faction's creation, the demonic lion-roaring-while-buggering-hyena-barking-bodyguards Maximum Permanent Immaculate King Yassir Arafat.

8/18/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Truepeers, the answer, as you know, is simple. Merely control the self-guilt. Criticize yourself only when you deserve it. Simple. Nothing to it. Next question? Oh, BTW, in order to know when you deserve it, you have to be everything--animal, plant, mineral, and abstract concept--all at once. This is admittedly tricky, and I'm only a little ways into it (I think I have my "name" down pat, and recognize my corporeal aspect whenever I reflect).

8/18/2005 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Let's not forget all the outside forces acting on the Palis, much like the MSM and the left on Mrs Sheehan:
"Helpers" projecting their own evil impulses onto others in the name of "helping" the poor victim.
Reminds me of that neat description someone had here of Carter's destructive narcissism.

8/18/2005 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger khr128 said...

Aristides said: "Had England and France actually enforced the Treaties for 15 or 20 years, Germanic fervor would have died down and the business of rebuilding would have proceeded apace."

Perhaps true, but what about Stalin's ambitions. He had huge army by 1939. Not as modern or efficient as Wehrmacht, but huge. He wanted Poland back, he wanted Finland back. With weak Germany that "lost its fervor", English Lords in the state of bliss, and US safely asleep across the ocean, what would have stopped Red Army from imposing worker's paradise from sea to shining sea, that is, from Gibraltar to Korea?

8/18/2005 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

future state in gaza..

hat tip - littlegreenfootballs

look and wonder at the palestinian peace brigades

brought a tear to my one good eye...

8/18/2005 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The flags and fires are a nice touch, Goebbels would be pleased.

Beyond that not much different than any other paramilitary clam bake.
Nice rappel tower, though.
Any idea who the Gray Beard is?

8/18/2005 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Some sleaves rolled up, others rolled down. Never would have gotten by with that sort of slack disipline in Panama or Korea, back in the day.
Sloppy soldiers

8/18/2005 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Hamas won't be able to think 'peace' so long as that delicious, slurpy-sweet Iran Bomb is leading their magical mystery imagination.

8/18/2005 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The accuracy of the Iranian Scuds, being what it is, the nuke is as likely to fall in Gaza or the West Bank as it is Israel.

Wouldn't doubt that a nuke may be prepositioned in Gaza, already.

The Mohammedans are on a roll, I bet they think they are winning.
I am not sure that they are not.

I think are further behind the curve than I ever thought possible.

8/18/2005 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Rat, they'll never beat our armies--we'll have to stand them down in order to surrender. I keep thinking, in the West, you can build a Mosque anywhere you want...preach Islam from anywhere you, haven't they already got everything any religion could ask for?

Doug, that link, "Lines to a Dead Woman", that's perfect to the topic of'd you DO that?

8/18/2005 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

On the issue of a Palistinian Jordon. It does not make any difference what the demographics were in 1947. 2007 is a more important year, what are the demographics going to be then.
How and when the migrants got there makes no difference.
Just like the Mexicans coming to Aztland, they transform the Country they migrate to, whether the Natives want them to or not.
Unless they are forcibly evicted the migrants are now Jordanian or American, as the case may be.

8/18/2005 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...


Pot fills the CB1 and CB2 receptors. A problem with those receptors is implicated in long term PTSD.

What it amounts to is this. Given enough stress every one gets PTSD. It decays out over time. The amount of time it takes varies according to genetics.

Given that prayer and spiritual disciplines may generate the required chemicals internally they may be helpful.

Most people would rather take a pill or smoke a j and go on about their business immediately. Why not?

So the question is do you want to wait until the crazies get all spiritual and give up their murderous desires over time or would you prefer to pacify them at once?

Take two bomb belts and call me in the morning.

8/18/2005 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I'm not sure that you are correct in saying they can never beat our military.
The facts do not bear you out.
Lebanon = Mohammedan victory vs USMC
Somalia = Mohammedan victory vs Army Rangers
Desert Storm 1 = Draw against 250,000 US Army
USN in Yemen = Mohammedan victory against guided missle destroyer, USS Cole
Saudi Arabia = Mohammedan victory Kohbar towets, US withdrawal
OEF = tactical advantage US & stratigic Draw. Control the cities but not the mountains
OIF = tactical advantage US & stratigic Draw. No road net security in Capital

We can defeat anyone in fixed piece battle, to bad the Mphammedans have no pieces.

They can bleed US in our present combat configuaration forever.
We have created a scenario where we cannot win in the short term. The Public will desert well before the long term end game is reached. The desertion has already begun.
Poor communication of our Goals will destroy our Publics will to win, which is what the whole thing is about, anyway.

8/18/2005 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In this WSJ Online article they sat the Iranians are threatening to shut down the Straits of Hormuz saying:
"...Around 15 million barrels of oil a day, and a large percentage of the world's gas supplies, flow through Hormuz. The Energy Department calls the strait "by far the world's most important oil chokepoint."

"We have told the Europeans very clearly that if any country wants to deal with Iran in an illogical and arrogant way...we will block the Strait of Hormuz," said Mohammad Saeedi, a spokesman for Iran's Center for Nuclear Energy, which runs the country's nuclear facilities and uranium-enrichment program. ..."

WSJ Online

We strike at their 300+ targeted sites, they block the Straits.

8/18/2005 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"The Public will desert well before the long term end game is reached. The desertion has already begun."

Rat, in a current Parameters article (see below) I came across a phrase I'd never heard or read before: Occupation fatigue. How handy.

Posted on another thread and (apologies) OT:

Recommended in full:

Speak No Evil: Targeting a
Population’s Neutrality to
Defeat an Insurgency


Most critical, perhaps, is the general failure to establish the link between behavior and reward. Often, the reconstruction projects in a particular town or section of a city are not initiated as a reward for the peaceful nature of that geographic locale. Indeed, reconstruction projects are more frequently targeted at the most restless locales in an effort to persuade the people in those areas that the coalition is the better of the two sides because it provides projects and employment. This tactic provides little incentive for the people to turn against the insurgents and risk their lives for the benefit of the coalition. By merely remaining passive, they reap the benefits of the projects while maintaining their personal safety from the insurgent threat.

A more effective system would treat reconstruction projects as an incentive through which the incentive-giver can influence the activity or behavior of the population. Adopting this approach would require a cessation of all reconstruction projects in sectors or cities that present a level of violence above a threshold established by the local commander. The population would be given notice that the projects have stopped because the security situation does not permit their continuation.

The impact of reconstruction projects is often further diluted by awarding construction projects to those individuals claiming to represent the community, often Sheiks, Imams, or prominent businesspersons.37 The extent to which these individuals represent the people, or have the ability to control the people, can rarely be quantified. A stated goal of operations in Iraq is the restoration of the rule of law.38 Awarding contracts to allegedly well-connected persons simply widens the wealth gap, increases resentment toward the coalition, and strengthens the positions of people of unknown character. More critically, this process undermines the power of the government because the coalition is empowering nonstate actors (Sheiks, Imams, etc.) to act in a state-like manner—executing infrastructure projects, building and staffing medical clinics, maintaining security, and providing disaster relief. The reconstruction focus should shift from trying to appease powerbrokers to empowering the Iraqi government.



© 2005 Christopher M. Ford


From Parameters, Summer 2005, pp. 51-66.

And on the subject of "empowering non-state actors to act in a state-like manner" there is this related, sharp lament in an email from an Iraqi to Juan Cole, posted yesterday at his site under the heading "It's the Cities, Stupid."


The non-tribal Iraqis, call them Nationalist if you like, have had no place in Bush's Iraq because the Americans promoted tribalism from day one in the hope of controlling Iraq by buying its Sheiks and Mullahs. This policy worked in Afghanistan and Kurdistan
because these are collections of self-ruled tribal areas, and not real countries, but have failed in Iraq's large cities with their complex relationships and mobile population.

These urban Iraqis are critical for the future of Iraq because of their skills and patriotism - do not confuse them with the corrupt Ba'athists though. The Iraqi ministries now are paralysed by the corrupt and incomptent relatives and friends appointed by the Mullahs and Sheikhs who now rule Iraq, which is being transormed into a failed state. The militias and terrorists decide what happens to the people of Iraq. The Constitution and state Institutions are irrelevant no matter how much fuss is made about them.


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


Principles. We will spread and enforce principles.

I do not understand the pushback on this. I am not looking for a New World Order. My ambitions are small and reasonable.

In evolutionary game theory, a competitive system can approach full cooperation, as the equilibrium, only if the payoffs for such are large, and the payoffs for defection small. Therein lies our plan.

We have a big stick; we need to develop a bigger carrot and define the rules accordingly. Nobody succeeds unless they play by our rules. It may sound arrogant, but who the hell cares? It will work.

8/18/2005 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Datamining, my friend, Datamining.
We are still putting it back together for minor things like national security according to Colonel Shaffer, but that doesn't stop old Doug from using Google Desktop search to find the appropriate nugget.
(Also doesn't hurt that I read it last nite!)
Stay tuned:
Hugh also had a great tip on Beldar - I'll get the link.
Fun to see Lawyers portrayed as honorable humans for a change, but of course I keep a coal of skepticism glowing for instant use.

8/18/2005 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

. Report from the Trenches .
Beldar reports on a losing effort:
(this a snippet from when he was a young thing being mentored by Walter.)

"I remember one of Walter's comments that came after I'd expressed my frustration in front of the jury when a series of my objections had been overruled.

I'd been fidgeting, playing with a rubber band and a paper-clip while I was listening to my opposing counsel (very effectively) cross-examine my company representative.
And to my horror, just as I was sitting back down after the judge had overruled my fourth or fifth (absolutely valid!) objection, the paper-clip accidentally slipped out of my clammy fingers and, propelled by the rubber band, shot across the room — loudly TWACKing the hollow wooden front of the judge's bench. (!)

"And I object to Mr. Dyer shooting his paper-clip across the room when he loses his objections!" thundered my opponent.

"Sustained!" thundered back the judge, glaring at me. Whereupon I pouted, conspicuously, for at least the next ten minutes (but with my hands clenched, empty, under the table).

So that same night, over a couple of beers (one a bit tear-diluted)...

8/18/2005 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/18/2005 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

arrogant is not quite the word.
$150 barrel oil, $4 gallon gas.
$120 to fill up a pickup truck.
$60 to fill a Hyundai
That will not effect the US economy and our ability to project power?

Read Osama's play book, he has read yours. You are playing his game, clashing the cultures, playing the crusader role to the hilt. His folk are living in mud huts, yours in Glass Towers. Which are used to poverty and depression. Deprivation is normal in Osamastan.
It sure is not here.

8/18/2005 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"By merely remaining passive, they reap the benefits of the projects while..."
The Welfare mentality has permeated everywhere, hasn't it?
...and the way they are doled out sounds a lot like Vincent's laments.
Probably would have been better to just have lotteries and not pretend we can figure things like that out.
Was about to reach for the Hemlock after reading that last paragraph, but then I saw the name that brings optimism as a contrary indicator:
Juan Cole

8/18/2005 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Screwed" comes to mind.
Sure would be nice to have a bunch of idling Nukes.
Fat Chance.

8/18/2005 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/18/2005 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"They are a net loss only in the particular, in the short term. From the long view, a peaceful Europe who must be bludgeoned into using force is a kind of miracle. And they will fight alongside us when the moment is dire.

To me, that is worth the irritation."

Peace on the continent does not require naive pacifism. I can also do without 'allies' whose populations see us as more of a threat than the PRC or Iran.

If you asked the average European in the street I bet you'd a large portion are more willing to align themselves against us or the Israelis than the Iranians or North Koreans.

And it isn't going to get any better. If you think the '68 generation is bad, just wait till we have to deal with Gerhard Schroeder Jr., born in a bubble filled with 24/7 EU and New Europe propaganda.

8/18/2005 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We have supported and defended the Western Europeans since 1945, the Turks as well.
No good deed goes unpunished.

8/18/2005 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cutler 12:45 PM,
The birthrates in Israel proper are not a problem?
Aren't there about a million still living in Israel?

8/19/2005 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"The Welfare mentality has permeated everywhere, hasn't it?
...and the way they are doled out sounds a lot like Vincent's laments."

This last occurred to me as well, Doug. Vincent also came to mind as the Parameter article's author highlighted the related and quite serious problems with the police and judiciary, the former thoroughly permeated by corruption; the latter by fear for their lives.

8/19/2005 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Desert Rat,
The problem with Iran blocking the straits is that would end up being economically more disastrous for them than for the rest of the world. I don't see them doing that.

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

Once you start the Iranian war, helo, you'll have a war.
What ever makes US think that we can 'limit' it's scope. The same type thinking that did foresee an Iraqi Insurgency.
How can a lessor State defeat the US. It is not by force of arms, but by seperating US Public support from the conflict. To do this the Opfor must inflict Economic Damage to US.
The Iranians have attempted that before, both acting with OPEC and unilatteraly, in '79. They have never lost against US, previously, why would they think they would this time?
$5 dollar a gallon gas, that is cause for pause.

8/19/2005 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

did "NOT" foresee the Insurgency

It has been four years of WAR so far, how many more years to go before the Public's patience is worn out. Not many, I'm afraid.

8/19/2005 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"The birthrates in Israel proper are not a problem?
Aren't there about a million still living in Israel?"

To some extent, 20% if I remember correctly. They contributed significantly to the 'peace' camp, and also a few suicide bombers, but are less radical than their neighbors. That's of course a relative term, however, and the trend is more ominous than it is reassuring as Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Arabs had increased contact during Oslo and are identifying increasingly with each other as fellow Arabs.

There was a poll that came out a little bit ago that said accounting for Palestinians who had moved to Israeli legally, their birthrates were actually a bit lower than Israelis. This was contrary to a 1997 one that said that said the opposite. So, I'm not sure yet what to make of it, yet. Either way, getting rid of the 3.5 million radicalized Arabs kicks the potential problem down the road. About 40% of Israel's Jewish population by themselves and increasing exponentially.

Like I said before, imo the Israelis have few options vis a vis the Palestinians, Iran, or Islamic terrorism - all or most bad.

The failure of Oslo marginalized the peace camp in Israel to such an extent that the Left is pretty irrelevant. Their birthrates are also somewhat equalized by Orthodox Jews, many of whom don't serve in the IDF, but nevertheless have many children. Still, Israel's overall population growth was barely above replacement, 2.44 - including.

8/19/2005 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"By merely remaining passive, they reap the benefits of the projects while..."

You can say the same thing about the appeasement oriented Europeans with regard to Iraq, if it had worked. Not only would they ultimately benefit from a success, they have plausible deniability if it fails. I personally think appeasement is going to work in the short term, because it lowers Al Qaeda's incentive to bring them into the war.

In the wider world, they can also sit back and let us deal with North Korea and China, because if both get out of hand, they won't be the ones holding the bag. China means one thing to them: Airbus. They get to take us down a notch and weaken us to boot. Even the pacifists want to bring us down, to the point where they'll even work with an archaic part of Europe's past - Chirac and nationalist France to do it.

I don't know if we can manage the Middle East, potentially deal with China and North Korea in Asia, and do our normal traffic stops in Africa and elsewhere. Other things we have to look at: Venezuela, Columbia? Russia's a wild card. Something's got to give imo.

8/19/2005 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If there truely is an anti US cabal out there in the World, cutler, watch all the hot spots boil at once.

Iran shuts the Straits, even for a fortnight, Venezuala shuts it's spigots, the Mexican wells and pipelines are attacked.
Who does it affect the most, who has the furthest to fall?

Not the Mohammedans in Warizstan, Damascus, Gaxa or Tehran.

8/19/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

If it comes to shutting off the spigot, remember we have been filling the strategic reserve. Bush has avoided drawing it down to lower gas prices. That should be able to provide a big hunk of any shortfall for us, and China can be informed that all tankers seem to have lost the directions to get to China. Those floating airports you know.

We are in worse shape if they play the money card, and call in our debts.

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

We are in a HIGHLY interconnected world. There is no strike, any where, that comes without 'blowback'. The bigger the strike, greater the blowback.
Combined with the "law of unintended consequences" it provides the opportunity to create a mountain out of what was thought to be a mole hill.
To escalate a Challenge far beyond what was the original intent.

What if there really is an Axis of Evil, but we only named the Junior members. Remember, now a days we cannot mention the names of our real enemies, not PC. Any way our Government owes them so much money it cannot afford to piss 'em off.

8/20/2005 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I guess we could always "Nationalize" that debt.
In the past the Communists were always big on "Nationalization without Compensation".
What if the counter was
"Debt Repudiation"
What would that tactic bring to the Straits of Formosa scenario

8/20/2005 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

your scenario of hijacking the tankers a redirecting them is, you know, an act of war.
I'm pretty sure it's war wih the flag of the tanker, not with the intended port of call. The Chinese could easily reflag the tankers, though. We did some of that in the Persian Gulf during the "tanker war". Maybe it should be renamed to the "Iranian Gulf", need to keep up with the PC times.

8/20/2005 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/21/2005 05:49:00 PM  

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