Sunday, February 26, 2006

Just stuff

I hope to convey my impressions of some books I am currently reading over the next two weeks. They are:

This snippet from WH Auden cited in the Shield of Achilles seemed written for Ilan Halimi and those who killed and tortured him, and not incidentally for the Bing West's description of the Blackwater contractors whose bodies were desecrated by children as their elders egged them on.

The mass and majesty of this world, all
That carries weight and always weighs the same
Lay in the hands of others; they were small
And could not hope for help and no help came:
What their foes liked to do was done, their shame
Was all the worst one could wish; they lost their pride
And died as men before their bodies died ...

A ragged urchin, aimless and alone
Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
Were axioms to him, who'd never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.


Blogger RaymondW said...


The Cold War- Sucked. Or perhaps I should say I was greatly disappointed and thought it very overrated.

Six Days of War- Very, very good. You'll learn some new things.

Look forward to reading the others.

I appreciate the effort you put into this blog, its very good.

2/26/2006 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger kstagger said...

I just ordered "No True Glory" - the sample pages on Amazon was enough for me to buy...

2/27/2006 04:41:00 AM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

I respectfully disagree with raymondw's assessment of The Cold War. It was what it was, which is a short, generalizing, thematic history of the conflict. For me, at least, it synthesized the history of the period pretty coherently. It was, in effect, the Cliff's Notes of the Cold War, and in that regard pretty useful. Not brilliant, not free from points we were argue with, but quite a bit better than "sucked". In my opinion.

On the other hand, I absolutely agree with Raymond on the Six Days of War. It is riveting stuff.

Coincidentally, I put up a post last night on a snippet from Bobbitt's book. It is very interesting, but not a breezy read. I will confess that I am working my way through it very slowly, learning a lot as I go, but without relishing my next opportunity to pick it up.

2/27/2006 04:47:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I'm on chapter 4 now. A very erudite book. Two assretions strike me as requiring more checking. His drivers of history -- the interplay between war and the state -- account for much but they do not account for all. And I don't think he makes so large a claim. The second assertion is the idea that great power in "market state" hands will necessarily provide advantages for nontraditional state actors. Why is not possible, in principle, for Islamic terrorist groups to face other terrorist groups? What prevents it in principle?

Just some thoughts.

BTW, a lot of that reading list came from browsing your site and Chester's too.

2/27/2006 04:56:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Oren's book will fill you with worthless actual facts....

Since he does not try to distort but actually tell a story based on archives and actual events it has no business in the modern day islamic/palestinian construct....

Oren should be ashamed of this "so called" book, not one "allah akbar" does he print nor does he express proper rage that palestinians feel about having to share their historic lands of Judea and Samaria with Jews. After all how could one ever think JEWS have any rights to live in the Judan Hills....

Again Oren takes facts and flings them at loudly screamed fiction, how dare he?

2/27/2006 04:58:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

But given that Bobbitt's book is a very large scale survey of history I suppose these are niggling quibbles.

2/27/2006 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I thought Gaddis's "We Now Know" was pretty good too.

2/27/2006 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Lek the Avenger said...

One might suggest, "The Dawnbreakers" by Nabil.

It will illuminate the peculiar disease now manifest in the 'Muslim' communities.

And "Fire on the Mountain Tops", by William Sears!

The political ab-response by those kings and rulers who held the bulk of power in their hands... and refused to deal justly with their subjects, 130 years ago, and into today!

2/27/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...


By chance I have read the first four books, but not the fifth.

Being trained in molecular biology and biology, I have read plenty on Darwin. Perhaps you'll persuade me, though, to take a look at that fifth book.


Jamie Irons

2/27/2006 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Chester said...

I am absolutely thrilled that someone else is reading The Shield of Achilles. If you can polish that off in 2 weeks, you are a better man than me. I have a much-thumbed copy with underlines and notes throughout and have continually referred to it for the past two years.

2/27/2006 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger Chester said...

Thanks for the plug, BTW.

As to your take that some of your initial reactions to Shield of Achilles might be "quibbles":

The first few pages have so many positive quotes for the book from reviews that I purposefully set out some time ago to find a negative review.

I found one, from a historian in Europe, if memory serves, who took issue with some of Bobbitt's characterizations of "territorial-states" and "kingly-states." I'll find this article again and post a link on my site at some point.

Overall though, I didn't think that detracted too much from the force of the argument. I think Bobbitt makes a case for the market state whether he is describing it as history has determined it to be, or whether he is making a case for its evolution on its merits. Two different approaches of interpretation, but either one seems to work: The market state is the natural evolution of strategy and law over centuries (his argument), or the market state is a good idea for organizing society because it makes sense (my counter to critics of his argument).

2/27/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Cobalt Blue said...

What a beautiful and awful poem--thanks for introducing it to me.

2/27/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger no stinking loops said...

Nice selection. I'm only a few pages into the West book, but it looks like a winner.

The Dennett volume I read when it first appeared. I've been following Dennett's work since his first book, _Content and Consciousness_. DDI is probably his best to date, although _Consciousness Explained_ runs a strong second, and I would actually recommend reading that one before tackling DDI.

You may know that a Dennett fracas has busted out on National Review's Corner, Peter Robinson and John Derbyshire being the main contenders. I recommend Derb's posting entitled "A Reader Defends Wieseltier". In a nutshell: the village atheist (Dennett) does more harm than good to the cause of defending science as a cultural project against the barbarous obscurantists.

2/27/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger epictetus said...


Based on your excellent post, I ordered and read "The Last Lion Alone" by Manchester. It is one of the best books that I have ever read. I am about to order the third in the series, but want to order a couple other books as well.

What other books have you liked?

I have been reading your work and the majority of the comments since June 2004, but have never posted. Truthfully I was afraid that once I started I'd never be able to stop. I risked it this time to hear what books you liked and to thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating this site.

2/27/2006 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Blogonaut said...

I don't have Oren's book at hand, but one of the things that struck me when I read it was how "mild" some of the early Palestinian terror attacks on Israel in the mid 1960s were, yet how shocked people were by them. We are now so inured to atrocity, similar attacks today probably wouldn't even get into the papers. The arc of atrocity is such that perhaps in a few years we won't think much of a nuke going off here and there every so often.

Also Oren makes mention of a war that was going on in Yemen between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the period just before the Six Day War. He doesn't make very clear what that was about and I was too lazy to research. But it did make me think it would be interesting to list every war involving a Muslim state since 1948, showing opponents and casualties. How many Muslims have died in wars with other Muslims? How many with Christians, with Hindus, with Communists, and of course with Jews? I bet the Muslim on Muslim numbers are the highest.

2/27/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

Re: JL Gaddis' Cold War

It's a fast read. Some of his earlier works are better. I was hoping for more on Kennan and the inside details on the West's strategic response. I was disappointed in his use of a (preemptive) nuclear scenario (Korean war) to justify Kennan's containment. The USSR lacked a viable (survivable) strategic nuclear threat against the U.S. until the mid 60s, and up until the late 50s would have had to invade to be able to use short range aircraft and artillery to deliver WMD against even (Western) European targets.

It's only been 15 years since the end of the cold war, so we've a while to wait (another 20-30 years) to see a dispassionate analysis of Kennan's policies v. the U.S. (current) belief in the preemptive use of force (as reflected in the National Security Strategy). I believe that Gaddis has it exactly wrong in his Korean war scenario. Like any bully the communists would have quickly collapsed from the rotten head(s) down, given any Western offensive response to numerous provocations (starting with Berlin) or local insurrections in support of liberty (Czechoslovakia, etc.). Unfortunately the West lacked the insight (and fortitude) to see how many people these utopian totalitarians would waste (over 1 billion non-productive lives) and sacrifice (~100 million). All we needed to win the cold war early was the will to win, and the (terrible) sacrifice of perhaps a million to save a billion.

I fear our sins of omission have damned us, given future catastrophes are guaranteed. Somewhere in the millions of holocaust victims and the billions of lives ruined by these totalitarians was the next Einstein or Pasteur who might just have saved mankind from our next extinction event. If the Mitochondrial Eve story holds up, it appears something killed off most all of us less than two hundred thousand years ago.. Where it's clear that no amount of central planning and utopian redistribution can match the innovation, productivity and wealth created by free enterprise under freedom. It's amazing how a random walk and markets always beats our best minds, and is our best insurance for surviving both as individuals and a species.

Imagine fighting under a banner that says "for (mankind's) individual liberty, responsibility, and free enterprise."

Doesn't quite do it, does it?


2/27/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

OT, but re Willaim Manchester, his Pacific-island combat memoir "Goodbye Darkness" is simply one of the best (IMHO) books ever written--on WWII, and human nature itself.

2/27/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Well chosen. I would also recommend:

The Naturalness of Religion, by Robert McCauley (.pdf), and The Language Instinct, by Steven Pinker (Amazon link), to supplement Dennett's analysis of memetic transmission and evolution.

Also, this C-span interview with Mr. Oren about "Six Days of War.", and This interview with Bing West...

Here are some Dennett essay's available online:

Intentional Systems, by Dennett.

Time and the Observer: The Where and When of Consciousness in the Brain, by Dennett and Kinsbourne

And, last but certainly not least, Quining Qualia, by Dennett (I am particularly partial to this essay: it is what I wrote my senior thesis on).

2/27/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger PDS said...

Buddy: I'm going to one up you on Goodbye Darkness, and claim the first paragraph of that book to be one of the best ever.

I'm not sure about the bile directed toward Oren. I found his book on the Six-Day War excellent, as did my father in law, who is more qualified than me to judge military history. Wretchard: I won't spoil the book for you by telling you how the war ends.

2/27/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

To add onto the Pinker book, here is his essay Natural Language and Natural Selection, available online.

2/27/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...


I LOVED Oren's book...

I was being sarcastic....

Blogonaut said...

war between egypt and yemen? i think you will find that there was wmd used...

2/27/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger RaymondW said...


After all the hype I was expecting more from Gaddis than a very long wikkipedia entry. Wasn't a cheap book to buy either...

I was really intrigued by the egypt-yemen excursion in oren's book.
There doesn't seem to be much written about it, which is odd considering what a bloody mess it seems to have been.

2/27/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger lord acton said...

Wretchard, great speech given in New Zealand that I think your readers will appreciate. The speech discusses the antiwesternism of our elites and the repercussions on the clash of civilizations.

2/27/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea was quite a good read given how most philosophers write :)

Perhaps before you read it, I would suggest Matt Ridley's The Red Queen and The Origins of Virtue. He's a popularizer and not a scientist himself, but the former really makes clear the evolutionary underpinnings of human cultures particularly with regard to the ramifications of biological sexual roles. The latter studies developments of how coooperation, notions of fair play, etc evolved as a mechanism for supporting inter-group competition.

In both cases he explains far, far more about human nature than you will ever get from any university sociology, cultural anthropology or wymyns' studies department.

Steven Pinker's How The Mind Works and The Blank Slate are also quite good.

2/27/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Dennett, Ridley, Pinker, sociology-, cultural anthropology- and womens' studies departments.

Those are our choices? God help us.

2/27/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger onetailtest said...

A great book is The Venture of Islam, University of Chicago press. It's three volumes, but well worth every page.

2/27/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...


You mind find it interesting to note that in The Origins of Virtue game theorists working from mathematical models and simulations have proved that selective "forgiveness" is a successful strategy for self-interested actors.

There is a "game" called The Prisoner's Dilemma used for exploring strategies for cooperation when there is an incentive to cheat. If both parties cooperate then thatis best for all, however if you cooperate but the other party doesn't, defecting or cheating, then you lose big.

When every game is independent, a one-off, the mathematcally correct strategy is to always cheat and enrich oneself at the other party's expense, not waiting to give them a chance to screw you.

But when the game is iterated, and memory, reputation, and the potential for trust start to come into the picture it turns out that "tit for tat" (or eye for an eye, ring a bell?) -- if the other party cooperated last time, cooperate, if they cheated last time, cheat first.

But here's the real interesting kicker -- indiscriminate 'forgiveness', being played for the sucker by trying to coooperate even with a partner who has cheated in the past, is clearly a losing strategy. But a more selective "forgiveness" strategy which is sometimes willing to cooperate with a party who may have cheated recently but who has usually been reliable, well that provides a chance to break the "tit for tat" cycle and put the system back in the the better win-win state.

I find the fact that there is a real world reductionist basis for what we see as [Christian] moral truths to be fascinating, and a much preferred alternative to the typical "culture is relative and arbitrary" mindset of the social science multi-culturalists.

2/27/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That's the case for the impossibility of altruism, alright--until one asks why people would observe these behaviors for ten thousand years, and then write the observations as soon as they had hold of writing.

2/27/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Darwin's Dangerous Idea was very good. It has some very good models of how to think in that particular field. Darwin's Blind Spot is also an interesting book.

The game theory stuff Richard mentions above is covered very well in the book Thinking Strategically. I keep a reading list of similar books on my blog.

2/27/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

...and by the way, an extremely good read about collecting data, applying the scientific method, and general rationality is in Charle's Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle just in case you haven't read it yet.

2/27/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

You will find an interesting and informative video interview of Daniel Dennett here.

Other good interviews on the meaning and source of spirituality also.

2/27/2006 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

I know Dennett personally. I feel no "forgiveness" for the s.o.b.

2/27/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Michael Yon is on Hugh Hewitt
...back to Iraq

2/27/2006 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Look forward for you to tear him apart, Opotho.
I got a bad "vibe" just reading the book reviews.
Are you the other guy here that hates the word memes?
...I always thought the English language was doing just fine w/o it.

2/27/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I watched about 8 minutes of the Dennett video- I'll pass on his book.

Malcolm Muggeridge said, "We are educating ourselves into imbecility."

The Dennetts and Dawkins of this world are exactly the types Muggeridge was referring to.

2/27/2006 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Those are our choices? God help us"
I was planning on just skipping it, but now I'll be back to see you unload!

2/27/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Wish I could get Hewitts show here.

Meme, shmeme.

2/27/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

hey, Whit:
go to it's live there.

2/27/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...too late, but hewitt is there daily!

2/27/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Whit 3:29 PM,
Amen: Pop Everything.
Real Science and the history of it suffers.

2/27/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/27/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

I'll pass on any more Dennett talk, but I've got my stories.

Yes Doug, I've complained at Belmont about the term "meme" before. Eventually it will become a reified concept, at which time reductionism will have become a truism (read: nightmare).

You see Doug, you and I can agree from time to time.

Did anyone follow the riot in Dublin on Saturday? As far as I know it wasn't reported in the American MSM, and no wonder either. Catholic "Shinners" [a la Sinn Fein] battling Protestant Unionists in the streets of the capital wouldn't fit our popular narrative for Ireland (nor apparently our popular narrative for Christianity either).

We'll leave last week's murders in Nigeria out of it for now...

2/27/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Since it is so personal, many say don't give art as a gift. I'm not sure if books count.

Civilization and its Enemies by Harris is brilliant. I have to confess I can not read most political books.

The Worthing Saga by Card may be my favourite book of all time. With that said I've only recently learned how much that book is based on Asimov's Foundation series.

2/27/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Great, that looks like a good line-up, I put the link in my favs.

Just what I need, something else to sit at the pc while neglecting what I should be doing.

2/27/2006 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bill Roggio is up next on Hewitt.
URL is above - KRLA.

2/27/2006 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"We'll leave last week's murders in Nigeria out of it for now... "
We'll also leave out the big Dubai Businessman that had humungous Illegal deals with Saddam, but was never prosecuted.
Also numerous instances of "Golden Chain" money laundering.

2/27/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Not intending to troll but this book, Marooned is simply outstanding (and an interesting comparison of the times back then):

Marooned: Being a narrative of the sufferings and adventures of Captain Charles H. Barnard, embracing an account of the seizure of his vessel at the Falkland Islands, & c., 1812-1816

Wikipedia says:
Captain Charles Barnard (1781–c.1840) was a famous castaway.

In 1812 the British ship Isabella, captained by George Higton, is shipwrecked off Eagle Island (part of the Falkland Islands). Most of the crew are rescued by the American sealer Nanina, commanded by Captain Charles Barnard. However, realising that they would require more provisions for the expanded number of passengers, Barnard and a few others went out in a party to retrieve more food. During his absence the Nanina was taken over by the British crew and left them on the island.

[Barnard, an American, had his ship] taken over by the British crew [who left him as they were].

He rescued a group of British castaways who then left him and some crew to the same fate they were saved from (war of 1812 was a factor). A great story even better than Shackelton.

2/27/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"A great story even better than Shackelton."
Har, Har! Surely you jest?

2/27/2006 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

OK, I recommend: "ENDURANCE,"
about Shackelton!

2/27/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

In the West book,one memorable impression of many on reading about the stalward Marines in combat was the guy ,Lopez I think his name was who emigrated from Mexico,joined the Corps and became a citizen between tours.In the one battle he got a huge chunk shot out of his shoulder,but refused evacuation until the fight was done.I noticed many of the troops were hispanic.Maybe the flip side to the perils of mass immigration is a new crop of warriors who still believe in God and country.

2/27/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

OT? But where else can one find a discussion of this in the US?

Back to Dublin, and the sort of language probably not spoken very often in Hawaii. Here's the milieu I'm coming from (always) while writing on Belmont threads.

A selection from an Irish blog's comment thread over the weekend about the riot:

1. "I think this goes to prove that Sinn Fein/IRA don’t want a PROD about the place. ..." - JC

2. "[...] Protestants are not allowed to take their fears and protests to the Dial [parliament] without intimidation and violence, no wonder the Protestant population in the south has dwindled so much." - SOUP

3. "To 'SOUP' - the 'Protestants' taking their 'fears and protests' to Dublin included several Loyalist marching bands." - EWI

4. "EWI, do you not realise that marching bands are a central part of Unionism, they have been part of our community for hundreds of years. Your blatent hatred of them just adds fuel to the arguement that Unionists will never be totally welcome in a 'United Ireland'." - Scott

5. "EWI Do you not realise that FBs are part of our culture & it was a protest!,
the fact is the protesters were sectairian biggots exactly the kind of people who supported the murder of Ulster People, Protestant & Catholic for decades in an attempt to beat partition, well iam afraid the Republicans who caused mayhem in Dublin yesterday done more to help "keep" the border than anyone has done ever before !!!" - SOUP

6. "Between Turkey and Indonesia there's a billion people whose religious leaders don't care whether you're a Prod or a Taig, they just want you dead. What's next for the republicans, flying planes into buildings, or will it be bombing trains?"

[This last comment was from a different blog than the first five, but I've added it for good measure.]

Making these arguments seem merely quaint or anomalous does reality a disservice. It's an intra-Christian conflict and always has been. It's all too real for everyone there.

2/27/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Opotho - I saw something on it but nothing extensive, just the usual reportage.

2/27/2006 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

I'm telling you Doug, find the Barnard book. I bet most people know nothing of Shackelton. The Endurance was a failure turned into success.

We need to look at what we have and then compare it to 1. what is possible (what we are capable of) and compare it to 2. what is hopeless and beyond control.

I won't even mention Steven Callaghan and what he made it through during his 76 days adrift. /Ooops.

2/27/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I think calling this a Christian conflict ignores the political aspects. This is not a Catholic v Protestant conflict as much as a long standing dispute between Ireland and England. You and I both know that a true Christian would not engage in the barbarities that have been perpetrated by both sides.

2/27/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

dan - the whole thing flies in the face of our customary and usually salutary American simplicity. A riot in Dublin can't be reported without also admitting things like "human nature", Western sectarianism, blood feuds, moral obtuseness ...

So little is known in the US about northern paramilitary crime (Protestant and Catholic), from the on-going weapons trade to the rapid rise in heroin addictions in Galway, Limerick and Cork.

It's all too real. But if anyone's interested, a friend and I compiled a sort of "day in the life" comedy, sampling stories from the Irish press on an average January day in 2003. These things were barely reported in the American MSM.

It's called Ireland Under the Radar, and begins "Journalist Bob Fisk wasted no time."

2/27/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Nice try whit. Of course there's a political aspect.

You ever been there though? Ever talk to these nuts? No, I didn't think so.

You and I both know that a true Christian would not engage in the barbarities that have been perpetrated by both sides.

You are so obviously a Protestant!

2/27/2006 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger epictetus said...

Buddy and pds: I will definitely check out Goodbye Darkness. I liked American Ceaser and loved Alone. Apparently Manchester died before he could finish book 3 of the Churchill series. There is some talk it may be done in 2007, but who knows.

Arthur: I liked Civilization and Its Enemies too and generally like Card. Will have to check out the Worthing Saga.

Richard: Game theory is quite complex these days. Cooperation/punishment also depends on the attributability of actions. Plausible deniability or environmental noise both make cooperative behavior less likely. Couple that with the fact that technology has (or will soon) put the ability of isolated individuals and groups to cause mass destruction and really bad things can happen.

2/27/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Fox ran some video of the Belfast riots, and the street scenes looked bad--chaotic, mean, fluid. I don't get it, hungry bears and wolves are crowding outside the door, and in the kitchen the Bickersons are still shouting away at each other over some household tiff. Reminds me of the Philippine crisis, not to mention the direction of our own opposition party. from Belfast to Manila to DC, we better wake up.

2/27/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Well said Buddy.

Thanks for informing me that FOX ran some video.

The TV is on at the moment and I'm switching between "The Sopranos" and "Sense and Sensibility". The one is so austere in its discussions about faith and the other so maddeningly open to the vagaries of faith that it's simply a wonder to behold.

The other day on a 'Simpsons' re-run, Homer and Bart decide to convert to Catholicism. Marge resists, and we are treated to a vision of Protestant heaven - complete with badminton and croquet - versus Catholic heaven - with Mexican drinking and Irish fist-fights. Marge wants to complain to Jesus, but it turns out he's over in Catholic heaven partaking in 'Riverdance'.

2/27/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Let me know when you get Ed Flanders figured out, Opotho. The born-again Evangelist who seems so goofy, yet is undeniably on a spiritual high and utterly unshakeable in his faith.

But worldly Homer and Marge are doing okay, too, sticking together through thick and thin, raising the kids and enjoying life.

2/27/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

One of my favorite TV shows, but worrisomely, not a show for children I think.

2/27/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Odd, but that argument has gone on for years among my extended family. We're Protestants but both sisters married Catholics, and 'whether or not Simpsons is right for kids' breaks cleanly along that line. Had this thread not turned as it did, I'd've never realized that odd fact.

2/27/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Very interesting Buddy.

I was raised Catholic but found out many years later that my mother's side was half-Protestant. (We were instructed as children that Protestants were probably going to spend Eternity in Purgatory. Nice one, huh?)

'The Simpsons' is a huge hit in Ireland, especially 'among schoolchildren' (a sad Yeats reference in this context. Oh yeah, he was a Protestant). 'Simpsons' are huge in Mexico too. Now I'd like to know what other countries.

Some hints about Flanders may be discerned from the humor of the show's longtime co-executive producer and resident guru George Meyer.

Meyer, the eldest in his family, had a very strict German Catholic upbringing in Arizona. His parents, like mine, were extremely devout.

Ii's my belief that Meyer is the source of many of the Flanders jokes, and one day I mean to find out.

2/27/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I guess Papal authority must radiate downward through the flock, and someone like Bart continually nailing his theses to doors, is not reflective of the vision of family. and it's not traditional, to be sure--Bart is modernist to the quick.

2/27/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Bart the modernist, Lisa the proto-postmodernist, and Homer the ever-malleable anti-hero.

2/27/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

My dog is like Santa's Little Helper on Ritalin. If I had a Korean friend my problem might go away.

Is it possible that ill Kim of North Korea is more sane than what's his name in Iran? /Must Stop Random Thoughts/

...-* ouch.

2/27/2006 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...


Of course it's Marge that preserves the vision of family.

An analagous family situation can be found in 'Malcolm in the Middle', or even 'The Sopranos', for that matter.

Dysfuntion is the glue less than any idea about why they've been thrown together.

All of the individualism aside, it's as if the themes of family illogic have been handed down from their ancestors. Catholics really understand that stuff.

2/27/2006 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

And always the same age--like Leopold Bloom. No wonder the show strikes a chord for ya--:)

2/27/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Funny, I was thinking of Bloom just today while I was working on an antique water closet for a British real estate mogul. I remembered Joyce's dictum in Ullyses concerning the Imperial reflex, shared by the English and Romans alike, to immediately build a toilet upon arriving anywhere: "It is meet to be here, let us construct a water closet."

2/27/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Meaning that like the long day of Leopold Bloom, "the troubles" have been a long day for the Irish, with so much always in the detailia, riding on the intricacies of form. Or so it seems to an outsider, to whom 'the troubles' are well-nigh inexplicable. Such a conflict, and among English-speaking Christians, has--as you say--no "handle".

2/27/2006 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Funny, i hadn't read your 'water closet' post when i posted the 'handle' -- but the handle of a water closet is precisely what 'the troubles' requires. A cleansing flush, with the entire contents to disappear from sensory range, and to be spoken of, if at all, only in private from now on.

2/27/2006 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

'The cleansing flush', spoken like a true Prod. And yet what would we do without 'Riverdance' and fisticuffs?

The poet Robert Bly once wrote that international diplomacy took a horrendous downturn with the invention of the flush toilet.

Handle indeed.

'The intricacies of form'. It's practically a Baroque politic (broke?). To hear each statement carefully balanced against its counter that just goes on and on, as if in perpetuity...

I don't belive for a minute that anyone will ever fully disarm. What would they have left to suckle?

I just found these thoughts on Flanders and religion in an interview with George Meyer in Believer magazine.

BLVR: As long as we’re knocking institutions, we might as well bring up religion. The Simpsons is the only real critique of modern religion that’s actually accepted by popular culture. Catholicism probably gets the worst of it. Or as Homer has called it, “The one with all the well-meaning rules that don’t work out in real life.”

GM: Yeah, I guess we’re a little tough on them. As I was saying before, it was so hard for me to be a Catholic. It wound my spring almost to the breaking point. The spring is still uncoiling from those early years. I’m a thoroughly virulent atheist. ...

BLVR: In the Simpsons world, who is truly happy?

GM: As in the real world, the most oblivious people are often the happiest. Someone like Chief Wiggum, for instance, who is pretty satisfied with his life despite being an absolutely catastrophic police chief. I also think Homer is pretty happy, if only because deep in his bones he realizes that he’s indestructible. There’s not much that can hurt him anymore.

BLVR: I suppose Ned Flanders is reasonably happy.

GM: Yeah, it’s confounding, isn’t it?

BLVR: I’m not sure how he does it. Here’s this guy whose belief in God is so genuine and who is so clearly a good man. And yet he gets nothing but misfortune. Homer is constantly stealing from him. His Leftorium business almost bankrupts him. His house was destroyed by a tornado. His wife died in a freak accident.

GM: I like to think that we’re just testing him, like Job. And he’s held up quite well. He’s buoyantly loving and resilient in a way that’s almost Christ-like. No matter how much Homer provokes him, he keeps coming up with another cheek to turn. I think that’s an unusual thing to see in television, because TV and movies are obsessed with revenge. It’s interesting how that has such appeal for people. And Flanders is really going against the grain. He’s not a hypocrite. He’s a guy who reads the Bible and practices it. Despite my admitted atheism, he’s actually a stirring figure to me.

2/27/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I guess that's not a very good image for heartfelt emotions. And that's the problem. The Palestinian conflict, with the different alphabets and ways of thinking, could never be just flushed away--but somehow it seems the Irish troubles could, with a leap of faith, and need only the will to take ahold.

2/27/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

The Godfather of conservatism, William F. Buckley, has lowered the flag to half-mast aboard the flagship National Review:

"One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed."

For me, this concludes a long and often worthwhile debate with some Belmonters about the wisdom of the Iraq War and conservative values. We are left now with Buckley's "internal problem" as to where that failure leads.

2/27/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I know I'm way oversimplifying--but, as the G. Meyer interview notes, the overly-simple--the oblivious--are always finding delight in small things, and passing a tolerable life that way.

2/27/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Staring In Disbelief said...


Shield of Achilles - Excellent history of nation-state development. Could have been a bit (20%) shorter, but very good. Summation: We invented the Market-state, it's the future - bet on the home team!

No True Glory - Plain prose style sometimes understates the accomplishments and guts of the GAFS (Great American Fighting Soldier). Also, seemed to want to make sure to mention a lot of (deserving) soldiers, but story would have been better served by concentrating on a few stories in more depth.

Some of the other folks have mentioned Vol III of Manchesters brilliant Churchill history - so is he dead, / will it be finished / what the hell happened??? Details for a desperate fan, please!

Great blog, dude, never miss a day.

2/27/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Buddy and Opotho,

What a fascinating, learned conversation.

Long ago while doing my postgraduate training at UCLA med, I was friends, through her husband, with Fionnula Flanagan, a lovely and brilliant actress (last seen, I believe, in "Waking Ned Devine") who wrote and performed a one-woman play under the direction of Burgess Meredith (IIRC), called "James Joyce's Women." I thought it was a tour de force.

Opotho, forgive the personal remark but I am finding myself (I think) understanding your commentary much better lately.

I am very sorry for the problems in Ireland, a country whose people I greatly admire.

Jamie Irons

2/27/2006 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

One toke over the line for Bill Buckley.

He was a great man of letters.

2/27/2006 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Fionnula Flanagan is very good. I saw her on Broadway once, in 'Dancing at Lughnasa'.

I think you've got that right Buddy. Simple joys in the particulars of our unrepeatable days. Imagine if artists were to return to that theme? (And they do too, though these types are still uncelebrated, nearly 50 years after Warhol's Campbell's soup cans.) Today I'm reading about Damien Hirst's newest slap in the face at Christianity in Mexico City. Will this nonsense ever stop?

A leap of faith and a good dose of Reason for Ireland?

I tend to think that demons must be co-opted, but I'll admit to having a darker eye.

Co-opting demons seems to be what the Iraqis are working on these days too. What 'Fat Lady' does reocon expect to hear when their civil war is even older than the one in Ireland?

Nevertheless, I'll read that Buckley even though his reasons are not always mine.

2/27/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

I'm looking forward to Six Days of War and Cold War myself, I read recently read one of West's books on counter-insurgency, was heavy stuff.

Doug, saw your stuff on a previous thread about the schools, didn't really have the time to respond but my school is obviously a weird case so not representative. Truepeers, if you want a back-copy of the Cornell West article I might be able to get it for you.

Still dealing with applications for Grad school, so sometimes it takes me a while to respond.

Though after seeing this I'm wondering if I should just say to hell with it and head for Afghanistan.

2/27/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Let's all go. The Abraham Limping Brigade.

2/27/2006 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

I'm an ID'er myself. Just as inorganic chemistry seems to come down to irreducible implicity in which something comes from nothing in the big bang...just so

organic chemistry seems to come down to irreducible complexity in the language of the genetic code, the machinery of cells and the body designs of the cambrian explosion.

Recently 500 scientists came came out against darwin. There were no palentologists in the lot. But the group was stuffed with geneticists biologists physicistsand mathematicians from four continents.

2/27/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

irreducible implicity=irreducible simplicity

2/27/2006 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Doesn't say very much about our country and it's people that we allow stuff like that to go on every day.
Hewitt was describing how Summers' incident was much ado over not very much and how Harvard wouldn't be harmed since they always have far more than enough students etc.
Needless to say I was shocked to hear that:
I guess just because someone can be forced out for taking a stand for free speech while incompetents are retained as a reward for toeing the party line is no big deal anymore.

If there was any justice, instead of carrying an AR in Afghanistan, you could use it to clean out the faculty at those cesspools.

2/27/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I thought Buckley's piece was a thoroughly shoddy piece of work.

2/27/2006 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Walking Away From the Brink

Important Iraq Piece on National Review

Not a negative piece, but here's the worst news:
"The interior ministry, which runs the police, has become a hiring program for the Badr Brigade, the paramilitary wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) party. The ministry is a rat's nest of death squads and torture cells." (Iran aids in this, of course.)

Wonder if the Generals neglected to tell VDH about that?

2/28/2006 03:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

A pollster type e-mails about the new CBS presidential #s:
I'm pretty livid after reading the latest CBS poll, which shows POTUS ata record low job approval, and VPOTUS in the teens.

Please check out page 18 of the pdf file that tallies up the poll.
This page includes the frequency data.
Note the respective numbers of Republicans and Democrats:

GOPers: 272 (weighted up to 289)
DEMs: 409 (weighted down to 381)

INDs: 337 (weighted up to 348)


2/28/2006 03:13:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

From Karl Zinsmeister's latest at
There is no reason to be Pollyannish about Iraq. Like nearly every Arab nation, it is not a competent society at present. Trade, manufacturing, and farming have been suffocated by bad governance. Public servants routinely skim funds. Trash is not picked up, property rights are not respected, rules are not enforced, altruism is non-existent.

Having been one of the most brutalized societies on earth over the last generation, it would be absurd to expect prone Iraq to jump to its feet at this critical transition and dance a jig. Newborn representative governments are always imperfect, inept, even dirty at times—witness El Salvador, Russia, Taiwan, South Africa.

Yet, a quiet tide is rippling up the Tigris and Euphrates. The November 2005 study by Oxford Research found that when Iraqis are asked what form of political system will work best in their nation for the future, 64 percent now say “a democratic government with a chance for the leader to be replaced from time to time.” Only 18 percent choose “a government headed by one strong leader for life,” and just 12 percent pick “an Islamic state where politicians rule according to religious principles.” This surge toward representative toleration—which did not enjoy majority support in Iraq as recently as early 2004—ought not to be taken for granted. It is an historic groundswell.

Iraq is now creeping away from murderous authoritarianism to face the more normal messes of a creaky Third World nation: corruption, poverty, health problems, miserable public services. And that is vastly preferable to what came before.

Read the whole article: This is why WFB is wrong.

2/28/2006 03:16:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

For those who doggedly believe in the ascendancy of their Christian faiths against so much ignorance in contemporary Islam, here's the kind of sectarian discussion that I know only too well from within Christendom.

Lately I've been expressing alarm in these threads after listening to posters rewrite history by assigning the Irish example an anomaly status in (their) story of Christianity, when for centuries it was more like the rule.

Here is Eoghan Harris writing in Ireland's 'Sunday Independent' newspaper on Saturday's riot. "The blood on the streets of Dublin tells another story." Indeed.

"We [Irish] have disgraced ourselves again. And I do mean we. We cannot pretend the tribal thugs who attacked the Protestant march came from another planet. We share too many of their sectarian attitudes to allow us off the hook. In the words of Alexander Herzen about the Russian anarchists: 'they are the syphilis of our passions.'

"Do you doubt we share the same tribal passions as the lumpen republicans who used iron railings to rip into the marchers?

"If so, look at the lack of leadership shown by the two main shapers of public opinion - the political class and the and media class - in preparing public opinion for a march that was always going to put our thin pluralism under pressure. ...

"Past comparisons of Protestants and Nazis made by President McAleese and Fr Alec Reid - and widely reported by the tabloids - have not helped to cool the tribal temperature.

"Meantime, most of the Irish media went into tribal mode.

"Given that Newstalk 106 is aimed at a Dublin audience, it might have been expected to create as much empathy as possible between marchers and public by explaining the sufferings of South Armagh Protestants. But no.

"... Damien Kiberd's lunchtime show in which he mockingly asked if they were going to play 'Kick the Pope' music? In the absence of any pluralist programmes putting the point of view of the Protestant marchers, are we asked to believe that this did not create a sour climate?

"Meantime, we can forget about doing a deal with Northern Protestants. We might go on pretending to be tolerant. But the blood on the streets of Dublin tells another story."

2/28/2006 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Now you've done it. I'm going to have to dig up a Bible and find the part about JC and the boys tearing through Jerusalem with their scimitars. I missed it first read.

2/28/2006 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

your roots are showing

2/28/2006 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

... a sectarian discussion that I know only too well.

2/28/2006 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I'm no expert on the Troubles but I suspect that it may have had something to do with the Irish discontent in playing serf to their English barons.

2/28/2006 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

I've been very impressed by John Keegan so far - I've only read two of his books. "Faces of Battle" and "World War 2".

VDH's "A War Like No Other" was impressive, but I wish my knowledge of ancient history was deeper.

2/28/2006 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

It's the maps. Green, with that irritating red spot on top and to the right.

2/28/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Oh yes, a lot to do with "Irish discontent in playing serf to their English barons."

But the English first and then continuously maintained that status by making their religion ascendant over the native one. Henry VIII not only liquidated the Church in England, but made the practice of Mass (and even the Irish language) illegal in Ireland. It all came to head in the late 17th century when William of Orange vanquished James I and the scourge of "papistry".

Henry's and William's actions were never fully repudiated by the culture of Protestantism. The Protestant marching parades mentioned by Harris (above) commemorate those 17th century occasions when their ancestors defeated Catholics in an incredibly bitter sectarian struggle. There are triumphalist reenactments and parades every year, especially around July 12. (Look for trouble this year.)

Nor do I believe that many Catholics will ever let go of their near-sacred victimization due to these seemingly long-outdated sectarian conflicts. I think that that was what Harris was trying to say too.

The idea that my "roots are showing" is the whole bloody point.

2/28/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Gotta hand it to Keegan. For years, so-called "Military History" was sorta in the back of the bookstore, interested readers were suspect--the crypto fascisti fringe.

Keegan said "military history *IS* history" --and he backed it up with his own excellence. "Face of Battle" concentrating as it does on the ordinary soldier's POV in three great battles, Somme, Waterloo, and one of Alexander's (Issus?), is groundbreaking in scholarship and accessibility.

2/28/2006 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Henry VIII should be cartooned.

Do these equivalencies absolve, rationalize and justify the barbarism I see being practiced by Salafists/Wahabbists today?

2/28/2006 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

"Nor do I believe that many Catholics will ever let go ...

"The idea that my "roots are showing" is the whole bloody point."

In a similar way that was Derbyshire's point too, in his NRO The Corner piece, "Reader Defends Wieseltier", which was recommended by a poster above (NRO, 2/26 at 4:10 PM):

"Religious belief is deeply, rootedly human, unshakeable and ineradicable."

The thing I appreciate about Northern irish Protestantism is that it is so obviously culturally rooted. Elsewhere, Protestantism usually fancies itself closer to Reason and unadulterated Faith than the various Catholic expressions of Christianity which stubbornly remain south of the border, let's say. South of the Alps is fairly useful map reference too.

"Henry VIII should be cartooned."

That suggestion could get you imprisoned in Venezuela these days.

"Do these equivalencies absolve, rationalize and justify the barbarism I see being practiced by Salafists/Wahabbists today?"

In no way.

2/28/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The Troubles--since they date from Henry VIII, must now keep going because they keep going.

Surely it's what happened just yesterday (rather than what happened centuries ago) that feeds the fire..?

2/28/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

"[It] must now keep going because they keep going."

Too true Buddy.

BTW, I really have no marshmallow in that fire.

2/28/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Fatalism creates itself.

2/28/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Same worry about Iraq: defeatism assures its own unconscious goals.

And ow we're gonna start seeing a "measured defeatism" (like a measures surrender) from every candidate who's preparing to distance themselves from Iraq come November.

2/28/2006 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

But one can't both decry and exemplify the same thing simultaneously--that's what "driving oneself mad" is all about.

One must think about 'taking a position' on optimism--that "optimism" is a force unto itself, which alone can create the hope that alone can drive out the hopelessness.

And then even if it still fails, then another old phrase applies, "fought the good fight".

2/28/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Polyanna I ain't--just another PoMo-poisoned prisoner locked in mortal combat with his own cynicism, a cynicism that has in the last few years taken form in the mind, complete with horns, tail, and forked tongue, and kept at bay with the only weapon at hand.

2/28/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

think about 'taking a position' on optimism--that "optimism" is a force unto itself

Oh, emphatically yes!

Why is this so difficult to explain?

The obverse suggestion, that defeatism was already entering into the outcome of OIF as early as 2002, is summarily laughed away.

And there's no way that I can ever convey to anyone what I perceived as the buiild-up to our defeatism in the anti-American, anti-war groundwork accomplished by the European left and center in 2001. That's just completely nuts to almost evveryone, but I saw it with my own eyes and heard the same cynical cliches repeated here (US) a year and a half later.

The fad of pessimism lives on.

2/28/2006 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

I just miraculously happened upon this quote:

"I have no faith in human perfectability. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active - not more happy - nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago."


2/28/2006 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Re the fashion of pessimism, what arrogance, what self-deification, to bestow upon oneself a 'right' to never be disappointed.

2/28/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

6000 years ago lack of will would reach its natural conclusion almost immediately.

Those that found fault with the demands of the nature of which they were part, very soon were heard no more, and so would influence few others.

2/28/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

opotho said...

"Co-opting demons seems to be what the Iraqis are working on these days too. What 'Fat Lady' does reocon expect to hear when their civil war is even older than the one in Ireland?"

But you see, we were promised a bourgeois revolution in Iraq not a civil war. When me and my fellow conservatives warned about the potential for a fundamentalist power grab or civil war in Iraq back in '02, we were labeled ignorant and racist by our neocon interlocutors. Didn't we know that Iraq was largely secular, middle class and liberal? Hadn't we read all their pet theorists who proclaimed it thus? What glib deception, what deep self-deception was trafficked in to reach these conclusions.

The Iraq War and the democratic globalism of the Bush doctrine are radical notions, part of a radical ideology of "permanent revolution", not in any way conservative. Henry Hyde, William Buckley, even Fukuyama himself have awaked to this fact. The intellectual movement is already astir, after being asleep or seduced for too long. It remains to be seen what the political impact will be.

2/28/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

To bestow upon oneself a 'right' to never be disappointed.

Recapitulations of the Fall.

Also, shadows of Prometheus.

The ultimate arrogance will attempt to cure us of death.

2/28/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

"6000 years ago lack of will would reach its natural conclusion almost immediately."

Two nights ago I watched the idiotic film "Grizzly Man" in its entirety.

The protagonist (whose name is already forgotten) believed the reverse, finding NO fault with the demands of nature, only Man.

At one point the filmaker interviews a native American who is also a PHD in zoology (I think) who says that for 11,000 years his ancestors never crossed the boundary between species for a very good reason.

I've got to say that I was terribly disappointed with the grizzly bears though. They went 13 whole years without eating that fool!

2/28/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Sardonic said...

I thought this might be of interest to this group:
Exclusive: Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott

I find this fascinating. The implications are omenous indeed.

2/28/2006 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


Your rear view mirror is a bit fogged. And, by the way, there is not a civil war in Iraq.

2/28/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"And there's no way that I can ever convey to anyone what I perceived as the buiild-up to our defeatism in the anti-American, anti-war groundwork accomplished by the European left and center in 2001."

There are live, whole human beings who actually dispute this?

It's beyond time for "conservatives" or "the right" or whoever's team I'm supposed to be on these days to start taking the banner of Reason for itself because demurral seems to be, particularly in this respect, an invitation to that strange brew of solipsism and bad faith that is the essence of the opposition.

Bah, what's the point of yammering on and on about this anymore. Let's co-opt some military hardware and get 'er done.

2/28/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Then it'd've been "Grisly Man".

Enscout, right, democracy radicalizes, it makes all other political forms automatically anti-democratic and anti-collectivist. That's why democracy is going to be left-wing a priori unless it has a constitution to 'conserve'. The term for what Bush is about should be 'constitutional democracy'. Sure, it may fail in Iraq--ultimately it may fail *here*, but the proper question is, does anyone have a better idea?

2/28/2006 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

reocon - thanks for getting back to that.

I'm an interesting sort of neocon, who's believed for the last five years (only) that "the democratic globalism of the Bush doctrine are radical notions, part of a radical ideology of 'permanent revolution'". I'll remain agnostic on whether or not this is in any way part of the "conservative" tradition.

It's for that reason that I'm able to use the basic creed as a mirror for my erstwhile liberal colleagues, to show them how reactionary their world-views really are. My routine question to them is, were they always so reactionary? (I figured out a little late how everything changed when the Cold War ended, but they didn't figure that out at all.)

I thought that OIF was a risk worth taking, and I still do. But I never believed that they'd approach us with flowers. Also, I'm something of a student of Islamicism, and I am frankly awed at the fact that the two main sects haven't cut each other to pieces yet.

With that in mind, I've always remembered the situation that the British troops found themselves in in northern Ireland, first deployed to defend northern Catholics from Protestant paramilitaries and soon after becoming their targets.

I didn't foresee the powerful hand of al Qaida in Iraq though. It's been quite the object lesson about what could happen anywhere else too, in Europe, or even in the US.

I never put any credence in what Fukuyama said and wrote (but I still must read his NY Times magazine piece). I'm more of a Sam Huntington man (though he made the same wrong predictions).

Buckley is a different story. I want to focus on his first postulate from the NRO piece:

"One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom."

I see the Iraqis as still holding on. What say we have this discussion in two or three weeks?

2/28/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

If its Isreal Boycott is true, then Dubai Ports is out the door.

2/28/2006 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

sardonic - the Israeli ambassador to the US was fielding call-ins on C-Span yesterday, and he got one on the UAE boycott of Israel. He replied that there was no way that he'd weigh in on the issue either way, and that it was completely up to the discretion of the US Congress to make the deal or not.

Nothing major there, but worth noting I suppose.

dan - you asked whether there were live, whole human beings who actually dispute this?

Since that theme's consistently been the bee in my bonnet for the last five and a half years I can confidently report on a new phenomenon: people I meet who weren't even in Europe at the time are beginning to correct me.

Yesterday I talked to a Holocaust denier on a construction site.

Humans are too insane.

2/28/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The holocaust denier is a result of irresponsibily in some quarters of the media.

But we can't control the media without the cost being 'everything'.

So, what's the solution?

I think that people need to see themselves as personally standing in judgement. When the elites have laughed long enough, for some certain number of years, at that idea, then "everything (in Dostoyevski's phrase about the absence of God) is permitted".

I don't think the tipping point has been reached--the initial reaction of free peoples to 911 is a proof--but Dan is surely right, it's high time to sieze the initiative from the false prophets. I guess that's why we're sending these pixels off into into space, trying to support those on the front lines of politics and ordnance.

2/28/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Susan Collins now takes the crown of
C BS Gold Standard in Contrary Indicators
by getting Coast Gaurd Report "Story"
onto the front pages for the Dems and MSM.
...taken totally out of context.

2/28/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/28/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/28/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

"Trying to support those on the front lines of politics and ordnance."

Here here.

(btw, I gave a counter-argument that the fellow, my boss, had no answer for. I was later informed that I wouldn't be needed for the next few days. I think that was just a coincidence, but you can never be sure...)

Aloholic depressives? I'll drink to that.

2/28/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Seriously - I just learned that my Buchananist debating partner's stepmom is a neo-Nazi lunatic who constantly sends and receives nondescript packages to Idaho and other place and evidently begins every dinner with "so does anyone want to hear what the Zionists did toDAY!?"

Lunatics. Democracy is doomed. That's alright though. There's always beer.

2/28/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Opotho 8:42 AM, re POE,
It was obvious to me in High School that a bunch of the revered poets I was supposed to read were alcoholic depressives.

...but then classmates making fools of themselves on the same substance were also.

Then I went to college.
Perhaps a Drug Free University could not get away with present madnesses?

2/28/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Asked whether he'd be able to acclimate himself to the 90's Austin Powers replied, 'As long as people are still practicing promiscuous sex with a variety of anonymous partners without using any protection and experimenting with mind-altering drugs in a consequence-free environment, I'll be snug as a bug, baby.'

2/28/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Okay, so the 21st is to be penance for the 20th. Now what?

2/28/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Horowitz is discussing his new book on Dennis Prager Show.
...Indoctrination Centers

2/28/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

10:26 AM,
Choose your poison, er penance.

2/28/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Indoctrination Centers?

I thought those were the elementary schools?

2/28/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ok, continuing education indoctrination centers.

2/28/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"UAE boycott of Israel"
Are the Presby's still doing that?

2/28/2006 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Horowitz is discussing Nyack Bank Robbery.

2/28/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rosenberg doesn't seem any worse than inviting Taliban Leader to Yale.

2/28/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

Right, the Weathermen.

"Law and Order" did a pretty good recap a few years back when the narrative discovers one of them living happily as a soccer mom in a Westchester suburb.

They put her away of course, but not without Jack reminiscing in the end and explaining to the young ones that they couldn't really judge her without having been on the scene, and having lived then.

Screw that. We have to judge.

Gotta move on with my day though. Cheers.

2/28/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Could always move to Poland. There seems to be a lack of poltical correctness, and shall I say, cultural sensitivity, going on?

The Polish Foundation of St. Benedictus introduces its "Martyrs of our Time" ad campaign this week.

2/28/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dutch Cartoon unveiling at UC Irvine tonight.
Admin trying to shut it down despite holding seminars on crimes of Israel.
CAIR invited, seat will be empty.
Muslim students threatening.
What else is new?

2/28/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

Your comments are some of the most profound, lyrical and spritually uplifting I've read. Thanks for your contributions here. You should sell that stuff - really!

There always seems to have been a remnant of faithful, observant leaders - dedicated to the truth - to preserve man's hopefulness through history. I beleive we are such.

This war is really no different than any other, really. And I know how cliche this sounds...It begins and ends within the deep thoughts of each of us. The human condition has not changed. Nor will it, nor should it.

I believe God expects us to faithfully persevere, to take all the bumps, bruises and tragedies that befall us and respond positively to life! This is our challenge now as it ever was.

To be defeated is easy - lazy - not befitting a true believer. Those that resort to thuggery, whether in Belfast or Baghdad, belong to this lot.

2/28/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"You should sell that stuff - really!"
He won't even deign to do a Free Blog!

2/28/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

enscout - despite our history, I can report that I agree with everythng you've just written.

Despite the unchanginng nature of Human nature, I too subscribe to an American exceptionalism as we face each next mutation in the oldest story of all.

2/28/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

We're not at odds. You just talk over my head so much that I reamin in a constant state of catch-up.

We have our own unique experience that effects how we beleive - just what you've been saying all along.

I said HOW we believe - not WHAT we believe!

2/28/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Enscout, the check is in the mail, thanks!
Doug, how would doing a personal blog compare with trying to keep up with the great comment sections on these blogs already established? They be only so many hours in the day, here in Texas (don't know about Hawaii).
Opotho, other than being a nation that chose to be one, that came together in modern times by acclamation backed by contract, there's no exceptionalism to be had without it being 'felt'. And we can't feel it without living it.

Especially not with this internet causing all this writing (which alone makes most of us finally clarify our own thoughts for our own selves).

2/28/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Iran's strategy in Iraq, here.

2/28/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Blog would be all the wisdom of the BUDtm condensed *in one place*.
As you say, there are only so many hours, some of us like to do something other than scan various blogs for the Priceless Pearls.
...or you could just hyperlink each comment to every other comment that day.
Then when you make a new comment, go back and update all the hyperlink lists, and so on...

2/28/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Enscout 11:51 AM,
Opotho is Latin for
"Constantly in Opposition"

2/28/2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pig Latin

2/28/2006 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Folks, I just realized something in regards to the Danish cartoons.

They would make an absolutely great addition to the Flight 93 Memorial...

2/28/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Re: 12:12

2/28/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

It may be your calling.

2/28/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

He's setting up his

"Wisdom of the BUD"

blog as we speak.

2/28/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


Good catch on that Michael Rubin article. Again, the Pajama crowd provides more information and insight in a single article than CNN in a whole year of sound bytes.

I take issue with Rubin's claim that the Coalition powers to be are not at least as aware as Rubin of Hezbollah's presence and activities.

I wonder how much influence the US really has in shaping the outcome. Certainly we get straight to the top tier of the Iraqi government but who knows how much gets passed down. Heck, a US President can't ever be sure whether the US State Department is implementing or frustrating administration policy.

The Small Footprint strategy is as much on trial as the Iraqi constitution. If it fails you can bet on seeing a lot more tonnage and boots in the next round.

2/28/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Doug, too early for the pineapple mash, get away from the bathtub.

2/28/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

I think I'll invest in Zlotys.
Looks like they me going somewhere.

2/28/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Read somewhere that a partially trained, overweight Iraqi Policeman is more valueable than a GI in the present situation:
Greater Situational awareness that only comes from being born and raised.
...this from a US Officer in Iraq.

2/28/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

..may be going somwhere.

2/28/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Too late Bud,
I thought I was in Texas and drowned all my baby roaches.

2/28/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Enscout, if you invest in 'em, then you were right the first time.

2/28/2006 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Clinton is advertising for INTERNS at the library.
Ads include "hands on experience"
Swear to God.

2/28/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Rubin stoked the neurons. The strategy and timing behind the Cartoon Infitada makes sense now. Get the ummah stoked up with a religious issue, coordinate violence across the Islamic world as a show of force, and follow it up with the high level claim that the US bombed the Golden Dome.

My guess is that Iran whats-his-name was looking for a ramp up of the Cartoon mayhem. It didn't happen. Wonder why.

2/28/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A Shrine too far.

2/28/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Doug, we may have a crazy person or two, but at least we don't get et by Sea Monsters every time we dip into the ocean.

2/28/2006 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe you're right about that blog.

2/28/2006 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Go ahead, trifle with my Majesty.

2/28/2006 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I couldn't help myself.

2/28/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

That's ok. Next time, tho, it's off into the crater. Mauna Loa is hungry.

2/28/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Over there Ali!
The 72 Virgins are right over that knoll.

2/28/2006 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"You mean they're in that big building packaging raisens?"

2/28/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The (fire) Dancing Raisins

2/28/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

...packing ricin?

2/28/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Radical Ricin Raisins

2/28/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Just saw a news stream on CSPAN that said first poll of US troops shows most favor quick withdrawal.

Hm. That's not good news.

2/28/2006 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sitzpinklers always want a quick withdrawal.
...probably sampled 75% Dems.

2/28/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Didn't see that.

2/28/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"As Luxenberg's work has only recently been published we must await its scholarly assessment before we can pass any judgements.

But if his analysis is correct then suicide bombers, or rather prospective martyrs, would do well to abandon their culture of death, and instead concentrate on getting laid 72 times in this world...

2/28/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Maybe the troops know something we don't and it's time to start the drawdown. Lately, we have been presenting a reduced presence anyway as the Iraqis take over more responsibilities.

It looks to me as though the major problem is with AQ; not the threat of civil war. Trouble makers have been unsuccessful in ginning one up.

I say, let's start a drawdown, see what happens and if it gets serious enough let the Iraqis beg us to stay.

2/28/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

They're going to have to deal with Sadr death squads also.

2/28/2006 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I just read the depressing Rubin article. Once again, our dear friends at Foggy Bottom. More and more I am growing to dislike that bunch almost as much as the Turtle Bay crowd. They shouldn't have a damn thing to do with Iraq. Everything about Iraq should be left in the hands of the military.

2/28/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

And we will have to deal with the Iranians. Given what we have gone through with half our own country and the rest of the world, I hate to think about it. Mohammed el-Bariedi (sp?) is playing the two handed inspector. "They're not cooperating, on the other hand, we have no proof that they're after a bomb."

Here we go again.

2/28/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nobel winning Inspector Clouseau.

2/28/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

At least Clousseau bumbled his way to success, el-Bariedi gets the Nobel for actually failing. Also, Kofi Annan just got a $500,000 payoff as the "Environmetalist of the Year." The award came from a UAE Sheik's foundation. I haven't heard a peep from anyone about it. Can you imagine if George Bush took half a million from some Arab foundation? The MSM would crucify him. And rightly so. But they let the crook at Turtle Bay walk.

2/28/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

PeterBoston said...

Rubin stoked the neurons. The strategy and timing behind the Cartoon Infitada makes sense now. Get the ummah stoked up with a religious issue, coordinate violence across the Islamic world as a show of force, and follow it up with the high level claim that the US bombed the Golden Dome.

My guess is that Iran whats-his-name was looking for a ramp up of the Cartoon mayhem. It didn't happen. Wonder why.
In order for this strategy to work the Iraquis would have to believe that the US bombed the golden dome.

How likely is that?

Not likely. The Irquis may be crazy but they're not stupid.

2/28/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

And we say abandoning the UN is not feasible.

2/28/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Someone here said that the three part strategy also included running up the price of oil so that we would be suffering from crisis fatigue going into the UN with the Iranian nuclear issue.

2/28/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Michael Fay's tour in Iraq has ended. His last post was from Ireland. Most of you probably knew about his blog from Iraq
where he was the artist in residence for the Marine Corps. He posted many of his sketches and penned some memorable accounts of his time there. Here's a sample from January:
Monday, January 09, 2006
Back Into the Goo
Marines have started to call being out in the field close to the fight the "goo". Jarheads stuck inside the wire in support activities are chided by those outside as "leaf eaters"; the guys out in the "goo" being "meat eaters". Well, I'm sharpening my canines and packing up my gear for a trip out to the sticky parts. Later tonight the dark figure of an embark Marine, with a blue chem stick in hand and night vision goggles, will lead myself and a few others into the back of a darkened helicopter "turning and burning" on the camp's makeshift airstrip. The helo's crewchief will quickly take note of the final destination penned with an indelible marker on the back of our left hands, and point us to our seats. We'll carefully move up the back ramp slick from hydraulic fluid and engine oil, drop our packs, insure our rifles are muzzle down and strap ourselves in. The air in the cabin will be dense with engine exhaust, the seats and rough non-skid deck vibrating beneath us, and our ears, despite hearing protection, will be overwhelmed by the high frequency whine of the engines and transmission. There is a dull sense of implosion from the fumes, weight of your gear, and the pressure created by foam plugs pushed deep into ear canals. Reaching into an invisible recess the crewchief throws the toggle switch that triggers the back ramp to raise up and signal our imminent departure. The two aircrew (crewchief and first mechanic), their passenger and stowage duties complete, segue seamlessly into their inflight role of door gunners with choreographed precision. They coil up their intercom's long cord with nonchalanced grace, stand over respective .50 calibre machine guns, and chamber the inital round with a forceful double pull of the charging handle. The interior of the bird goes completely dark, the crewchief turns towards us one last time, the eerie chartreuse glow of his NVGs pointed momentarily in our direction. The roar of the engines and the fwapping of the rotor blades rises suddenly as the aircraft shudders into the air. Ascending into the night you hope you've picked a seat that's not directly in the path of the icy air that floods into the cabin from the open gun positions. Next stop.....Ramadi.

2/28/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

UN is a better picture than it was, but it still looks 'off', with Bolton the Lion-Tamer cracking a furious whip inside a cage full of cockroaches, rats, scorpions, spiders, and rattlesnakes, all trying to hop up on the beach ball but having no legs to do it with.

2/28/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/28/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I wasn't thinking of Iraq but a continuation or ramp-up of the Cartoon Infitada morphed into the Golden Shrine Infitada in the places where stage one had already occurred.

The mullahs know they can't defeat the Leviathan head-on or even prevent the destruction of their country if it came to that.

Their best (only) defense is that the USA will continue to restrain itself. Creating dozens of little diplomatic crises that require attention buys time and provides intel about the probable location of the fractures in the West that could be exploited as Saddam did.

Look at the concurrence of events:

1. Iran kind of but not really makes a deal with the Russians about enrichment.

2. Muslims burn down embassies and create mayhem in dozens of locations.

3. The Golden Dome gets destroyed.

4. AQ attempts to disrupt Saudi oil flow.

Had AQ been successful and oil flow was disrupted while civil war was raging in Iraq and hundreds of thousands of Muslims were rioting worlwide, the mullahs could have (1) stepped in as a reasonable peace maker, or (2) ramped up the heat with more incidents.

Either way they would have enhanced their negotiating position.

In the alternative all these things happened with innocent coincidence.

2/28/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Actually, the Iraqis might be stupid - who knows.

But just as likely, it seems like the modus operandi among even legitimate groups in Iraq is that blowing crap up or deploying the militia and then have the smiling author of it all promise leniency to his enemies and to draw back his militia/bombs if only his group, who've been gravely insulted or injured, will be given what they want.

Ha. Or well it would be funny if our political climate was such that we could address such a strategy in the manner in which it deserves to be dealt with. Bad faith seems to be the predominating rule with which the heroic actors such as Sistani seem almost powerless to deal with.

For now, the civil war may yet occur. The whole place has been pre-civil war since at least 1991, and if that's controversial, at least since about 1 year after we were there.

2/28/2006 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Larsen Spotted on Old Stomping Grounds

2/28/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Geez Buddy, reading your portrait of Bolton at the circus, I just got a flashback to the psychedelic days of Sargent Pepper and surreal madness.

2/28/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Whit, why do you think he's in that wild outfit?

2/28/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I'm alive and kicking and I'm where I wanna be."
- Fats Domino
"Everything's gonna be all right, I think."

2/28/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I saw that pic, I guess he's blogging from New Orleans. That would explain his "vision" of Bolton and the UN.

2/28/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I don't think anything significant happens in Iraq without a consensus of influential tribal leaders. Even Saddam had to make deals to keep tribal leaders supplying his army with cannon fodder.

I don't have the references but I think that Fallujah One got nixed when local tribal leaders insisted they could handle AQ on their own. They agreed to Fallujah Two when it becasme obvious to them they could not.

We make a big deal about Sunni, Shia and Kurd but the major Iraqi clans and tribes have no problem mixing them all together.

I suspect that what we see as interminable delays, bone head appointments, and disappearing money is the wake of below the surface deal making with tribal leaders.

2/28/2006 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Are you a carpenter as a vocation or passing time?I've been woodworking for nearly 30 years as a necessary evil although its poor but honest work.
Whats a sitzpinkler?

2/28/2006 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Report Offers Gloomy View of Insurgencies:

Negroponte said in his own testimony that "the threat from extremism and anti-Western militancy is especially acute in Iraq and Afghanistan." But he said there were also positive developments in Iraq, noting that insurgents "have not been able to establish any lasting territorial control" and were unable to disrupt the elections.

The veteran diplomat also said that Iraqi security forces are "making incremental progress toward operational independence" and that conflicts between Sunni extremist and nationalist insurgents are "encouraging and exploitable." He added that "large-scale Sunni participation in the last elections has provided a first step toward diminishing Sunni support for the insurgency."

Report Offers Gloomy View

2/28/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I guess there is such a thing as coincidence. Just stumbled across this article on the importance of tribalism in Pakistan. Probably not completely transferable to Iraq but maybe not too far off either.

2/28/2006 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I dug up a report on tribalism and the insurgency in the US. This attack occurred in mid-December.

Democratiists join NY al-Qaeda in Attack on WOT Stronghold

Friday, while the Bush Administration basked in the after-glow of successful Iraqi elections and rising poll numbers, NYal-Qaeda and Democratiist insurgents unleashed a planned and coordinated attack designed to derail the Patriot Act and further undermine the War on Terror.

Using familiar tactics, NYal-Qaeda initiated the attack with a vicious innuendo exploding device (VIED). Taking advantage of the ensuing chaos and smoke screen 40 Democratiist insurgents swept in with small arms fire and rancid propaganda grenades (RPG’s). Analysts described the insurgent tactics as "the classic filibuster maneuver. " The Democratiists insurgents were aided in the attack by four people wearing American uniforms. The four have been identified as Sen. John “the Sunni” Sununu, Sen. Lisa Muhammed, a convert, Sen. Chuck “the Palestinian” Hegel and Sen. Larry Craig al-Idaho.

Coalition Authorities are still assessing the damage but a spokesman said, “There’s a lot of smoke in the air and until it clears, we won’t know the full extent of the damage but we expect it will be light.”

Al-Jazeera reported that the insurgents later celebrated the attack:

"We killed the Patriot Act," boasted Minority Leader Hariri abu-Reid, Nevada Democratiist, to cheers from a crowd at a political rally. Sen. R.C. bin-Byrd, West Virginia another Democratiist, cited abuse at Abu Ghraib prison and Senator Ted Kennedy was heard railing against, “big brother run amok.”

Intelligence sources report that Kennedy has close ties to al-Qaeda and is thought to be a member of the Boston branch of the bin-Laden family.

The White House has announced a Presidential address to be broadcast Sunday night.

The intifada continues....

2/28/2006 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

Fatalism creates itself.

The Arab word for fatalism is Maktoob. I have privately entertained the theory that the physical environment of endless and unforgiving sand - an infinity with spatial and temporal components - conditioned the embrace of pessimism as a psychological profile. It is an irrelevant observation but I wonder.

2/28/2006 04:35:00 PM  

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