Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The nameless one

Marc Shulman at the American Future noted:

All of today’s lead editorial in the New York Times, written as a preview of this evening’s State of the Union address, is devoted to the domestic economy. Absent are any words about Iraq, Iran, the NSA, etc. Go figure.   

Over in another part of the blogosphere, The New Editor was wondering about the same thing in the shape of a strange omission in Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel's game plan to take back Congress from the Republicans. It quoted the Chicago Tribune's account of the proceedings:

But Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, found himself fielding spirited questions at a breakfast meeting late last week as he laid out his ideas on how Democrats could seize control of Congress from the Republicans. When the Illinois congressman didn't include national security in his top five talking points, a man raised his hand and his voice.

"Can I give you a piece of advice?" said Ford Huffman, a Columbus attorney. "They obviously believe it's their winning issue. Why can't we get out in front with it and say there's not an issue about security? Every American believes in securing America."

Emanuel tried to answer the question, asserting his eagerness to challenge the White House, but said he does not believe national security should be a political issue. As Emanuel spoke, Huffman turned his head and told those sitting around him: "It sounds like we are trying to dodge the issue. People are going to say the Democrats are being wussies." ...

"How do we get our message out?" asked Ann Hughes, a Columbus resident who said she is frustrated by the Iraq war and infuriated that the Bush administration is so skilled at guiding the country's political debate. "It so easily gets portrayed that the Democratic Party is negative, and the issue agenda gets controlled by the Republicans."

After Emanuel answered her question, he ticked through a list of five key themes he said the party should push this year: health care, education, energy independence, technology and fiscal discipline.

It was national security, though, that his audience returned to again and again. ...

As others echoed similar concerns, Emanuel buttoned and unbuttoned his dark suit. He shifted the weight on his feet and shook the ice in his water glass. He gently disagreed that he had avoided discussing national security, pointing out that he wanted to avoid the trap of being forced into a defensive posture over it by Republicans.

"I don't think that's dodging," Emanuel said. "My interest is not to play politics or say how we can make politics out of national security.

"When it comes to security," he added, "Democrats will not play second fiddle."

Commentary

It's tempting to think the omission of national security from both the New York Times and Rahm Emmanuel's presentation is no coincidence. Defense has become the third rail of liberal politics. Touch it and you die. At a time when headlines are dominated by the Iranian nuclear weapons crisis, Hamas' election to Palestinian Authority leadership and a clamor to punish Danish cartoonists for daring to depict Mohammed, it has become imperative to studiously ignore the front page and go straight to the funnies.  National defense on the Democratic platform has assumed the status of a black actor in a 1940s movie. It has become the Invisible Man.

There's no percentage in talking about national defense. Attempts to produce a war fighting strategy in the manner of Joseph Lieberman will bring the Kos gang in against you. But taking an explicitly antiwar position is unlikely to play well either, at least with the electorate, as the excerpt above suggests. The only alternative is to deny the existence of any sort of war, except maybe in the fevered imagination of the President; and that if one is discovered to be in progress, it will always be possible to feign surprise and declare the "Democrats will not play second fiddle."

But anyone looking for straight talk will have to go far to find it. In the State of the Union speech, America remains at war with a faceless collection of tyrants and terrorists, who despite their indubitable existence, persistently escape being categorically named. But we are given hints.

And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam -- the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. ...

Tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran. ...

America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances.

It's a ghastly charade game in which the viewers are invited to guess the right answers after watching the mime. Neither Rahm Emmanuel or President Bush can bring themselves to articulate what they must suspect. Maybe Ralph Peters has the right insight: the answers are not spoken because no one can think them. Like a rationalist confronted with a demon in whom he does not believe and yet with which he is manifestly grappling -- the elites fight -- against that whose name they have forgotten. Peters talks about why it is impossible to recognize our adversary.

The angry gods are back.  .... A paradox of our time is that the overwhelmingly secular global media--a collection of natural-born religion-haters--have become the crucial accomplices of the suicide bomber fueled by rabid faith. Mass murderers are lionized as freedom fighters, while our own troops are attacked by the press they protect for the least waywardness or error. ... One of the most consistently disheartening experiences an adult can have today is to listen to the endless attempts by our intellectuals and intelligence professionals to explain religious terrorism in clinical terms, assigning rational motives to men who have moved irrevocably beyond reason.

We suffer under layers of intellectual asymmetries that hinder us from an intuitive recognition of our enemies. ... Despite the horrors we have witnessed, we have yet to take religious terrorists seriously on their own self-evident terms. We invaded a succession of their tormented countries, but haven't come close to penetrating their souls. ... Security-wise, we have placed our faith in things, in bright (and expensive) material objects.  ....Again, our intelligentsia falls woefully short. The most secularized element of our society--educated to avoid faith (or, at the very least, to shun enthusiastic, vigorous, proud, and public faith)--our professional thinkers have lost any sense of a literal paradise beyond the grave. But our enemies enjoy a faith as vivid as did our ancestors, for whom devils lurked in the undergrowth and paradise was an idealized representation of that which mortals knew. We are taught that we should never underestimate our enemies--yet, we underestimate the power of his faith, his most potent weapon.

88 Comments:

Blogger wretchard said...

I don't think "intellectual asymmetry" is a permanent condition. It's easily cured by contact with reality. The best thing to come out of operations subsequent to 9/11 was that it forced the discussion out of the ivory tower, out of the mainstream publications. "Here be dragons" and a whole host of things which we've banished from the maps of the politically correct world.

2/01/2006 01:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

You left out the SuperHawk of the Iranian Crisis: Ms Hillary
Is Hillary Getting Enough Fiber?

"Watching ultra-liberal Hillary try to play the role of tough war chick was laughable enough on its own, but to listen to a Clinton lecture anyone on foreign policy (especially when it comes to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons) is more than I could stomach.

While I might be inclined to listen to a Clinton if the subject were "How to Destroy Evidence" or "101 Ways Wayward Semen Can Ruin Your Reputation," confronting potential nuclear threats has never been that family's cup of tea.

But there she was, lecturing President Bush about his lack of aggression toward Iran.

"I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations," Clinton said.
---
But,...
Ultimately, like all liberals, Mrs. Clinton Rodham Rodham had no specific ideas of her own about what to do if the UN referral doesn't cause Iran to quake in fear, saying only the following: "We cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran that they will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons."

2/01/2006 02:36:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

"It's easily cured by contact with reality."

Unfortunately that contact sometimes occurs late in the day, at the moment when reality rolls right over you.

Your comment made me think of the Belgians and the French and the Dutch in the 1930's and 40's.

I stood in the exquisite main square of Brussels recently, thinking about how they completely blew their security and ceded possession of not just the city but their entire country and everyone in it, not once but twice during the twentieth century.

And there they are today, doing it again.

2/01/2006 02:37:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Who could fault Rahm Emmanuel?

National defense, the war on terror, the military; these issues are losers for the Democrats on so many levels one of which is the PC inability to recognize and name an existential threat to Western Civilization.

It's as simple as that, for too many, 9/11 was no Pearl Harbor and each passing year without another terror attack on US soil has only served to reinforce the notion that Islamic terror is an overblown threat best handled by Police actions through the UN and International Courts.

From a liberal worldview, develops a natural antipathy and distrust towards the military which results in a "no military uniforms in the Clinton Whitehouse policy." One Democrat Congressman recently called for 75% cut in military spending. Maxine Waters yesterday called for the impeachment of the Commander-in-Chief. This issue is radioactive for the Democrats and Rahm Emmanuel knows it is better left alone.

2/01/2006 02:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Time Goes By" (my title)
What Patrick Henry once called "the lamp of experience" needs to be brought into the shadowy space in which we have all been living since Sept. 11.

My tentative conclusion is that the light it sheds exposes the ghosts and goblins of our traumatized imaginations.

It is completely understandable that those who lost loved ones on that date will carry emotional scars for the remainder of their lives.

But it defies reason and experience to make Sept. 11 the defining influence on our foreign and domestic policy.

History suggests that we have faced greater challenges and triumphed, and that overreaction is a greater danger than complacency.

- A NY Times piece linked by 'Rat a few posts back
Finding a Place for 9/11 in American History

2/01/2006 02:47:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

whit

the PC inability to recognize and name an existential threat to Western Civilization.

The inability is to recognise the existance of Western Civilisation.

Fish will be the last animals to discover water.

ADE

2/01/2006 02:56:00 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Doug,

Please. Post at DailyKOS if you want to impress the 12 year old crowd. We all know about the NYTimes article that trivializes 9-11.

We are going to pay dearly for not keeping this war on the timetable of a WW2, which is what our Pearl Harbor called for. Iran and Saudi Arabia should already be free by now.

The only benefit from having waited was if we've been making some interesting "preparations" for ending the Sitzkrieg.

Loose lips sink ships, so I am basically in lockdown in terms of speculating openly what might happen next.

It just makes me very nervous to think that Bush, who doesn't face another election, might have actually thought he was too politically hamstrung to even plan and prepare for military action in Iran.

2/01/2006 02:58:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/01/2006 03:41:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

From the State of the Union Address:
"America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world."

As long as we get our "oil fix," we pretend that those "unstable parts of the world" aren't giving us oil with one hand while bitch-splapping us with the other.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48581
Saudis welcome Hamas victory
Kingdom calls on global community to respect rights of Palestinian people
"We look forward to a favorable international response to these developments," said the statement about the elections in Palestine in which Hamas won 74 of the 132 parliamentary seats.

The statement also called upon the international community to pressure Israel to follow the road to peace to achieve a just and comprehensive Middle East peace settlement.

The warm welcome for the Hamas victory is seen as an indication Saudi Arabia is likely to continue funding the Palestinian Authority under its new direction. Riyadh has pledged $100 million in funding through the next year.

While the U.S. has indicated it will not continue funding of the PA under Hamas leadership, Washington has discreetly suggested to Arab nations they should pick up the slack.

The Saudi pledge was made to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas when he visited Saudi Arabia last month.

Follow the money!

2/01/2006 03:45:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

I wanted to hear from the "bring it on" "Let's roll" Bush in last night's speech. Where did he go?

The left has a deep investment in The Sacred Other - his purity against our - the west's - corruption and venality. Thus we hear 9/11 referred to as a "tragedy"; thus the worldwide jihad slaughters and kidnappings and bombings are viewed as opening gambits to dialogue; thus the mainsream medias' ongoing pronouncements of US failure in Iraq (since before the invasion); the question is will the left ever divest or will it go over to the side of the jihadis?

2/01/2006 03:47:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

I have, I think, an interesting take on this. I recently attended a non-partisan training session about campaigns, etc., held concurrently with a quarterly Republican Party of Florida meeting.

The political consultant teaching one session committed the same "oversight" as Rahm Emmanuel and the New York Times editorial board. The consultant has successfully worked with Republican candidates in the past (e.g., Rudy Giuliani) but obviously loved Bill Clinton (no great sin in my book, he was a good politician). But he crossed the line with some of his delivery, particularly his criticism of Karl Rove. I criticized him about it on my evaluation form. In an e-mail response to all attendees he simply couldn't help but comment on the critique. It made for an interesting insight into a political class that may not be up to the task before us. I wrote about it here:

http://www.englishandwhite.com/rattler_gator_blog/2006.01.01_arch.html#1138454651753

Not just Democrats, there are Republicans constraining President Bush. That is the reality of this situation.

2/01/2006 03:56:00 AM  
Blogger summignumi said...

The smart Democrats know Domestic issues are Bush’s Achilles heel and National security is his thickest of amour, their problem is that they are a splintered group with each group too small to actually be the lead, they also have few core ideas that all will sign on to, Several things they do all agree on are;
1. Bush is evil, illegitimate president.
2. WAR is illegal.
3. Taxing everyone to throw money at our problems would fix all the worlds ills.
Bush (Republicans) really needs to hammer the alternative fuel issue and show the progress, this one item alone should get as much attention (funding) as the WOGT.
Once a replacement for Middle East oil is found, accepted and brought into use the sooner the money bags of Terrorism (Islam) dries up, the sooner the Middle East will return to the back country status. TERRORISM is able to spread like wild fire because of the consequences it would have for the US to actually punish the major sponsors.
Look who would lose importance if an Alternative fuel was found! Middle East, Mexico, South America and Russia, No longer would China need Middle East oil so IRAN and Sudan protectorate would fade from them. Europe would be free of the Middle East and Russia. Alternative fuel source would cause a major global shift that hasn’t ever been seen before in so many ways that it numbs the mind to comprehend.

2/01/2006 03:59:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Bush made two statements that I found very significant.

The first "And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran" is a message to the mullahs: "You are next on the list for regime-change"

The second "Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances", is a message to Saudi Arabia: we are going to cut down your ability to fund Islamic radicals throughout the world

I'm waiting for some concrete indications from the Bush administration that we're finally going to get serious about nuke power to reduce our dependence on foreign energy

2/01/2006 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

In the mid-70’s scientists made an exciting discovery, a tribe in New Guinea so remote that it was utterly uncontaminated by modern civilization. Desiring to study the tribe for a longer period, the scientists sent out a radio call for more supplies and a helicopter was dispatched to the location.

The reaction of the tribe to the arrival of the helicopter was remarkable. An “insect” this size simply could not exist! Flying machines were completely outside their experience, and bugs just could not get that big. So they refused to look at the helicopter. It could not exist, and therefore they could not allow themselves to see it.

Many people react to the threat of Islamic Facism, a threat that requires more that law enforcement responses, much the same way. It implies so many things and is so counter to their worldview that they cannot “see” it. They can be confronted by it and even be killed by it, but they cannot see it.

Thinking themselves so very sophisticated, they have fallen back on a reaction appropriate for only the most utterly primitive tribes.

2/01/2006 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

"The power of his faith, his most potent weapon"--If Mo can't to the mountain go, the mountain to Mo can go.

2/01/2006 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

summignumi hit it on the head. Some day, and it cannot come soon enough, the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen, will be the primary energy source for both transportation and electricity generation. Given the stakes I do not fully understand why the USA has not initiated the hydrogen Manhatten Project to bring that day to reality. So far the only successes have come from processes that extract hydrogen from hydrocarbons witn small net gains in energy. Untold wealth awaits the geek who figures out how to cheaply extract the hydrogen from water.

In a preverse way it's a good thing that the explode-a-dopes are spending their oil wealth on global jihad because it consumes it. When hydrogen freedom day comes their capacity to influence geopolitical events will disappear as quickly as it arose. The Leviathan will deal with the residue on our own terms with no risk of economic blowback.

In the long view the GWOT is a holding action until science saves the day.

2/01/2006 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

meme chose, your comment at 2:37 AM made me think of the Belgians and the French in a slightly different context. The Maginot Line, which was meant as an insurmountable guarantee against German incursion, finally didn't matter because the Belgians believed too much in diplomatic niceties and the Germans, when the time came, simply didn't.

Belgium would not be reinforced because to do so would taint her neutrality. And many Allied forces would be squandered trying too late to plug the breach.

Churchill has written that it would have been far better, tactically, not to try saving these lands which were already effectively lost. But it is an open question whether even he would have argued against the attempt, even given what he came to know later.

Funny how we sometimes unnecessarily sacrifice ourselves for principle, sometimes going too far in a doomed attempt to save an untenable position, while other times constraining our actions against an overmatched foe. Again, a look at French attitudes between the wars is constructive. The French Army alone for most of that time was more than a match for German might. But it was thought too much trouble to enforce the disarmament clause of Versailles.

Can anyone detect a theme or two in all this?

Let me suggest there is a time for restraint and a time for bold action. And it is utter folly to substitute the one when events require the other.

2/01/2006 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

sirius_sir:

The Germans and the Japanese really were the Islamists of their day.

Both held together by an intense tribal dynamic, they were both recently backward countries who had just acquired the ability to manufacture modern arms. Both were surrounded by weak opponents, an experience which molded their view of the rest of the world. Neither had any comprehension of the awesome destructive potential of the United States economy.

Both ended WWII just a few years after their initial attacks with their all of their major cities smoking ruins.

2/01/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

peterboston:
While a hydrogen economy may well be feasible, and may well be inevitable, I am convinced that a "Manhatten Project" style approach to it will never work.
My 30 plus years of involvement with the Federal Govt - much of it with the space program - have convinced that the Fed Govt is incapable of producing commercially useful technologies.
We were the country that landed a man on the Moon - the only one to even come close to doing so - and today U.S. built launch vehicles are for all practical purposes no longer used to launch commercial satellites. And believe it or not, it was the Moon race that caused this failure, or rather the attitudes within the Fed Govt that came out of the Apollo Program.

We remain as much a prisoner of out rituals as do the Islamics. We just have better rituals.

2/01/2006 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

If the "intellectual symmetry" is amenable to contact with reality, then we have hope, especially when the irrational among our Muslim brothers learn of the Glory of God!

To learn of the most precious Being ever to have tread the Earth, to know of the exalted honor, in this Day, to bend the knee before the Lord of Hosts... these realities may be sufficient to civilize and enlighten "the most thoroughly wrecked people in the world", as Mark Steyn calls some of them...

At the very least, letting Muslims know, in their own languages, of the Coming of the Promised One of all ages and all religions, in the year 1260/1844 COULD release positive and powerful dynamics far beyond any weapon wielded by men!

2/01/2006 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger PD Quig said...

Energy independence makes sense on a number of levels, but what of Barnett's notion that when we are able to wall ourselves off from the Muslim world economically, they will simply descend further into the "gap." Admittedly there is ample reason at this point to believe that they may always remain "other," but the consensus on these threads of late seems to say that we can live with that (or more aptly, "they can die with that).

2/01/2006 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.

"Win your own freedom." This, ladies and gentlemen, is our Iran policy. It seems we are going for the hail mary.

Strategically, a democratic Iran, able to speak freely to the world of its experience with radical political Islam, would be a hell of a step forward.

In the meantime, our language will be carefully calibrated to avoid alienating the Iranian people. Our actions will also be carefully calibrated in this way. When things start happening, Iranians will get the credit.

Is this possible? I hope so, but it's a tiny basket in which to put all your eggs.

2/01/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Brett L said...

peterboston:

One of the problems of extracting hydrogen from water is that it requires investing the same amount of energy that burning hydrogen creates. Actually, it requires a bit more due to inefficiencies. I hear that the electrodes they are using in electrolysis are becoming very efficient, but you still have to generate a whole bunch of electricity. A fuel cell is basically just a battery, since all current plans for hydrogen cars use electric motors for propulsion.

Additionally, hydrogen is a high maintenance substance. In order to preserve hydrogen you have to keep it cold and compressed, and any exposure to oxygen causes a pretty big bang - The Space Shuttle main engine runs off of H2. Will we transport this stuff on highways or via pipeline?

2/01/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rwe
We have the ability to lunber on, regardless of Failures, to a Successful Headline, and failed program

Germanbusines
Well over 50% of the US Public follows the lead of the NY Times. While you think they are Juvenille, they help direct the Policies that the US Government implements. They have tremendous influence in Washington as well as in the White House.

The NY Times "view" is becoming the Mainstream View. If, GB, you can argue that it is the wrong perspective, I'd love to read your counter argument to the NY Times position.
Please include your proposals, your lips will sink no ships. The President called for such ideas to be put forward, yesterday.

To not read and listen to the NYTimes take on any subject is to bury one's head in the sand. Like that bird from Austrailia.

The US is not at War, despite the rhetoric from Mr Bush.
The Mohammedan Wars are not at all like WWII, or the Cold War. In those cases there were enemy States and Troops that could be attacked.
In the Mohammedan Wars, thousands of armed Enemy troops Parade in the streets, unmolested by the Sea, Air or Land Forces of US. Happen less than a fortnight ago, in the Heartland of aQ.
Saw the Parade on CNN & FOX, so I know it occurred as did the Generals in the Pentagon.

There is no evidence of War to be found on the Ground, in the Heartland of Terror.

The Administration has not identified the Enemy, until they do the Rhetoric, which is now much more mellow, will be the only evidence of War.

And Rhetoric, my friends, does not win Wars.

2/01/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

The winning of their own freedom is not the only, tiny basket in which we lay our eggs. It is merely the basket that keeps Iran from being a gigantic radioactive hole in the mideast.
Personally I do not care all that much which choice the Iranians make. They might care.
Iran is making a mistake that adults usually avoid. They are poking at a very mean dog with a stick shorter than the dog's chain.

2/01/2006 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

He gently disagreed that he had avoided discussing national security, pointing out that he wanted to avoid the trap of being forced into a defensive posture over it by Republicans.


The Democratic Party is currently, at its leadership levels, still dominated by people who came of age in the 1960s, whose worldview is forged by the Vietnam protests, and who persuaded themselves that the U.S. is a misbegotten, corrupt society (an empire even) that does evil whenever it ventures into the world. This attitude was on display during Vietnam, during the antinuclear protests of the 1980s and now post-9/11, with the most important lesson the left learned from the latter being, essentially, that we deserved it.

Who can forget Rep. McDermott going to Baghdad on the eve of the Iraq invasion? IIRC there was also a Dem politico who recently went to Syria and told government officials there about likely Bush strategy. No one AFAIK has ever improved upon UN Ambassador Kirkpatrick's memorable characterization of this attitude as "blame America first." The Democratic Party is in the grips of this now, which is why Nancy Pelosi is in charge of their side in the House and why Joe Lieberman is viewed as a heretic.

Rep. Emmanuel and his seemingly pragmatist ilk either subscribe to this worldview or do not but know that the Democratic base does. If we are charitable and suppose the latter, the only place for someone who wants to win elections to hide is by emphasizing prevention of future attacks, and this has to be done in ways that get Democrats elected - lots of unionized TSA workers, lots of "investment" (read: pork) in domestic security, especially in urban Dem strongholds, and nitpicking about Administration mistakes. This is a short-term dodge, but it's the only strategy they can play given how much contempt the base has for the nature of their own society.

2/01/2006 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Less than a generation ago a lesser version of the computer on your desktop was manufactured by Cray and affordable only by governments. The conventional wisdom of the day never imagined the technology would advance so quickly.

The hydrogen economy will not happen tomorrow but I am confident that solutions will be found for every one of today's seemingly insurmountable problems, and probably sooner than we imagine.

2/01/2006 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

PeterBoston said...
summignumi hit it on the head. Some day, and it cannot come soon enough, the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen, will be the primary energy source for both transportation and electricity generation.
RWE said...
peterboston:
While a hydrogen economy may well be feasible, and may well be inevitable, I am convinced that a "Manhatten Project" style approach to it will never work.

Hydrogen has some fundamental problems that probably preclude its use as a fuel for automotive vehicles, which when all is said and done is the main consumer of oil. Hydrogen simply does not contain enough energy on a weight basis to be a useful source of energy to power cars. Further, in terms of energy it is fundamentally impossible to break the hydogen-oxygen bond without expending more energy than what is locked in the molecule. To this add the inefficiency of internal combustion or turbine engines or fuel cells which could use hydrogen directly to generate electricity and from an energy point of view it it a bad trade off, besides te weight/energy problem. The solution to obtain hydrogen from water is known, it requires vast investment, but it is easily enough done, heat energy can be extracted from ocean waters and used to break the bond with oxygen. Fine, what do you do with it then? You could use it in turbines or fuel cells or internal combustion engines, but you are out at sea where the damn energy has inconveniently parked itself in the first place, you have to get it on shore where it can be used in some way. This is hard to do. Actually you might as well make hydrocarbons with it, these can at least be shipped at reasonable cost. However that approach would not solve the greenhouse gas problem, it just bypasses the use of fossil energy.

The earth has accumulated a stock of fossil fuel and potential fuel in the form of plants, this is what the planet came up with, all by itself, we are busy using it up in an unplanned manner. What is needed is for this stock of fossil fuel to be regarded as the battery for the starter of the engine which will run the spaceship earth.

A technologically advanced civilization and all its infrastructure is necessary to construct the starter and the engine, such a civilization must use energy at a prodigious rate, in order to do the job. If America did not exist it would be necessary to invent it.

Lunatic polititians and Islamo-Fascits are just distractions, the job is going to get done, but it would help if someone would produce a "Scope of Work" so we can get on with the project.

2/01/2006 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The UN will be our battle forum on the issue of nuclear weapons.

The good/bad news is this: OIF set an interpretive precedent for Chapter VII UN resolutions. This in turn made them more important, which in another turnabout made them less likely.

Before OIF, these resolutions were treated like Chapter VI resolutions: statements of dissatisfaction. The UN was used to trumpet posture, but nobody expected enforcement to follow.

But OIF has linked action to intent and consequence to resolution. The Russians know it. The Chinese know it. The Iranians know it.

So the real unilateralism was the strengthening of Chapter VII UN resolutions, and the re-linking of UN will with American power. (Which is why it is unlikely now that Russia and China will vote for new resolutions against Iran. If one wants to veto American power, the place to register it is at the Security Council.)

If we get anything at the UN, it will be superficial sanctions that will do nothing to solve the problem. We will not invade Iran without (at the very least) implicit authorization at the UN, or without some pretext supplied by Ahmadinejad (which I think we are actively trying to provoke). I don't think we will strike the nuclear installations with air assets either. We have settled on fomenting a revolutionary crisis. In other words, we have decided to roll the dice.

This may make sense, in a long-view, Peter Bergen kind of way, because we have other things to worry about besides weapons of mass destruction. Bergen argues that democracy in Iraq may well turn out, but in the meantime we paid a terrible cost: an incredible growth of anti-Americanism, both here and abroad. The city on the hill shone too brightly, and the people of the world began to turn away. Another flare, and they may go blind with anger. I don't necessarily agree with this, but it is something we must consider.

Our biggest constraint might just be our new-found shyness, our self-manufactured fear of the limelight. I hope it does not lead us astray.

2/01/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Sebastian said...

Peterboston:

Untold wealth awaits the geek who figures out how to cheaply extract the hydrogen from water.

Unfortunately the laws of thermodynamics make this impossible. Hydrogen isn't an energy source. It's a way of storing energy from other sources. The only way a hydrogen economy is going to work is if we use a lot of nuclear power to run the electrolosys facilities to turn water into hydrogen and oxygen. That process can never yield as much or more energy than was put into it.

2/01/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

peterboston,
You may well be right and by 2026 there could be new technologies and the infrastructure to support them, Nationwide.
The computers of today did not replace the Cray in my driveway, though. The INet did not require new telecommunications infrastructure, the phone and cable systems are adapting, nicely.

Not at all comparable to a "New" hydrogen infrastructure system.

The US has NO short term Policy for Energy Independence. The Long Term Policy is that something good is bound to happen, someday.
Like cures for Cancer or AIDs.

In the short and medium term the Oil Supplies will be guarenteed by the US Military, if they can be guarenteed at all.

It is unfortunate that the Army does not see the need or the threat, according to their new "Plan".

2/01/2006 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

We are taught that we should never underestimate our enemies--yet, we underestimate the power of his faith, his most potent weapon.

And yet, Wretchard, this same enemy desires what it perceives as our most potent weapon as well. They must have some faith in its power, beyond what they already possess. Meanwhile, we put our faith in the desire of people to be free. Neither perspective is necessarily wrong.

But perhaps our enemy underestimates us as well? After all, history has shown we too are not averse to committing ourselves entirely to a cause when sufficiently pressed. Our beliefs may be different but we can be just as ruthless in protecting/projecting them. In the present case we have just not yet been sufficiently pressed.

Desert rat continues to proclaim the U.S. is not at War, and he is right in the sense that none of us has a fear of actually losing. We are playing war in a most gentlemanly way for the present, constraining ourselves against our abilities, simply because we believe we can afford to.

One day that calculus may change. What will it take? I hope we never know, but the Iranian mullahs seem determined to find out.

2/01/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

d r:

I believe Bush HAS identified the enemy, generally as al Quida "and other terrorist organizations". To get nore specific than that is wasted energy - we know who they are - generally. What is being left out in his recent dialog is the "and nations that harbor them" portion of his promise to the American people back in September '01.

I don't know how much is being done WRT places like Pakistan, Yemen, KSA to name a few. We get reports of these governments capturing terrorist operatives within their borders so I have to believe they are working in concert with US to get their bad boys out of circulation.

We still have unfinished business in Syria and Lebenon. Iran is an obvious problem and I think the presidents tack of appealing to the populace there is a good move for the present. Again, we don't know what is going on covertly there but my guess is that we are making every attempt to subvert the current regime comensurate with our ability to do so.

How would you identify the enemy?

2/01/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I don't agree with Ignatius on much, but he can be a very useful resource when he decides to be. My UN post was generalized, but this article fills in some of the detail.

2/01/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Sebastian, nuclear energy is not a long term solution either, it is just another part of the store of fossil energy that the earth has. Used wisely it could be one of the most valuable assets, but if squandered alla the French mode it will do little in the long run. It may be possible to extract solar energy in other ways than by using warm ocean water, I haven't thought of them, but I'm only an ancient engineer who has not practiced in a quarter century. Modern technology has no doubt got some ideas but they sure don't get much publicity.

2/01/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"..our professional thinkers have lost any sense of a literal paradise beyond the grave. But our enemies enjoy a faith as vivid as did our ancestors, for whom devils lurked in the undergrowth and paradise was an idealized representation of that which mortals knew."


More religion as a solution is nothing more than metal laziness, a cop-out. Because our enemies suffer this delusion, does not mean we should as well.

2/01/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

And Rhetoric, my friends, does not win Wars.

Rhetoric and impossible technological initiatives won the Cold War.

We defeated the Soviets, not by strength of arms, but by taking the moral highground and forcing them to compete in the one area they were inherently ill-equipped for: economics.

This does not mean our path to victory is the same here, but a blanket statement that rhetoric does not win war is, quite simply, false.

Rhetoric can re-frame a war. Sometimes, victory is that simple.

Victory in this new war could be this easy: protect and support democracy in Muslim nations, and after each term ask Reagan's famous question: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

Repeat ad nauseum, until it is internalized.

It's a better option than nuking them.

2/01/2006 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

There is a difference between faith and superstition. One is a weakness, the other a strength.

Islamists are superstitious folk. They will blunder their way into extinction.

2/01/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I would identify the finacial backers of aQ and kill them, regardless of where or whom they were.

I would attack any massed and armed Mohammedan footsoldiers, any where in the World, to include Pakistan. To include the Armed Forces of Syria & Iran

I would have an active Insurgency operating in Iran, today.

I would have liberated Damascus in 2004, taking away the Baathist safe haven, there.

If no time machine were available, I would extend the Iraqi Border at least 50 miles into Syria, today.
I would demand the Pakistanis hand over Dr Khan for an interview and prosecution.

I would destroy the Pakistani Nuclear weapon capacity.

I would secure the safety of the Black Mohammedans in Darfur from the Government in Khartoum.

Or I would not say the US was at War with Radical Mohammedans.

Because you cannot find evidence of that War, today.

2/01/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Wretchard said:

"Attempts to produce a war fighting strategy in the manner of Joseph Lieberman will bring the Kos gang in against you."

Why do people care what the Kos kids think? They're a bunch of yammering moonbats. I once lurked their website for the guilty pleasure of watching fools spit straight-up. Now I find it more depressing than funny.

A man of Lieberman's integrity should be indifferent to the hee-hawing of jackasses.

2/01/2006 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"There is a difference between faith and superstition. One is a weakness, the other a strength."

Belief based on no real evidence, just an old moldy tomb that provides itself as its only evidence in some twist of circular logic,.. sorry, that's not faith, that's delusion.

2/01/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

What about hope in dark places, while all the world crumbles around you? Hope in a better future, hope in a benevolent God, hope that all is not for naught. Is that not an "irrational faith"?

It is. But sometimes this irrational hope is the only thing that gives you the strength to fight on 'til morning.

2/01/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The future is ALWAYS better. That's a statement of fact.

2/01/2006 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

'Rat, I know what you mean, and I agree to an extent, but I wonder what kind of world you would unintentionally purchase were your policies implemented.

We can always destroy and conquer, but once that card is played, there is no turning back. The wood would have been made into a boat, as Derbyshire would say.

2/01/2006 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

I agree with Desert Rat's basic outlook but disagree with his specific tactics.

Desert rat said...

"I would identify the finacial backers of aQ and kill them, regardless of where or whom they were."

That's Saudi Arabia. If you distabilize Saudi Arabia then you've cut off the world from a major energy supplier. The world economy would implode. We have to secure an alternative petroleum source (Iraq) before we can take down Saudi Arabia.

"I would attack any massed and armed Mohammedan footsoldiers, any where in the World, to include Pakistan. To include the Armed Forces of Syria & Iran"

I don't think we're prepared to wage World War III. Our MSM and a large fraction of our population were strongly opposed to the war in Iraq even though that war was both tactically and morally correct.

"I would have an active Insurgency operating in Iran, today."

I agree.

"I would have liberated Damascus in 2004, taking away the Baathist safe haven, there."

Syria is hanging by a thread. They'll fall by themselves if we give them time or a little push.

"I would demand the Pakistanis hand over Dr Khan for an interview and prosecution.
I would destroy the Pakistani Nuclear weapon capacity."

Pakistan is already armed with weaponized nukes (disarming them is like pulling a gun from Roy Roger's cold dead fingers). Al Qaeda has tried to assassinate Musharraf on more than one occasion. Al Qaeda is his and our common enemy. We should make full use of Musharraf before we destabilize his regime.

"I would secure the safety of the Black Mohammedans in Darfur from the Government in Khartoum."

I agree. However the MSM would fight you every step of the way.

"Or I would not say the US was at War with Radical Mohammedans."

We are at war with the Islamic fascists AND our own leftists.

2/01/2006 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Once you are at War, aristide, there is no turning back.
Ask Mr Hitler or Mr Stalin.

The NY Time piece was accurate in ranking the Mohammedan Wars. Accurate if the actions of the US are considered. We are not acting as if there is a real threat to US or our Society.
Most here support Mr Bush and his Policies, I did. It is as I see the lack of success in most Theaters, that my opinion of his Policies has changed. I agree with the Rhetoric, it is the actions that will lead to even greater losses, in the Future.

Ralph Peters, a well read and seemingly intelligent columnist writes in the Weekly Standard about the Failure of the Military to see and understand the threat.

" ... From Iraq's Sunni Triangle to China's military high command, the counterrevolution in military affairs is well underway. We are seduced by what we can do; our enemies focus on what they must do. We have fallen so deeply in love with the means we have devised for waging conceptual wars that we are blind to their marginal relevance in actual wars. Terrorists, for one lethal example, do not fear "network-centric warfare" because they have already mastered it for a tiny fraction of one cent on the dollar, achieving greater relative effects with the Internet, cell phones, and cheap airline tickets than all of our military technologies have delivered. ... "

He goes on, agreeing with rwe, about the effectiveness of our Force

" ... Faced with men of iron belief wielding bombs built in sheds and basements, our revolution in military affairs appears more an indulgence than an investment. In the end, our enemies will not outfight us. We'll muster the will to do what must be done--after paying a needlessly high price in the lives of our troops and damage to our domestic infrastructure. We will not be beaten, but we may be shamed and embarrassed on a needlessly long road to victory. ... "
Ralph Peters, a retired Army officer, is the author of 21 books, including New Glory: Expanding America's Global Supremacy and the forthcoming Never Quit the Fight. knows how to fight a War, and is no defeatist, like Mr Cheney, who believes that the battle against Mohammedan Extremism most take Decades.

He closes his article, which is rather lengthy this way
" ... We are proud of our ability to put steel precisely on target anywhere in the world, but guided bombs don't work against faith or an unchallenged flood of lies. We have fallen in love with wind-up dolls and forgotten the preeminence of the soul.

We need to break the mental chains that bind us to a technology-über-alles dream of warfare--a fantasy as absurd and dated as the Marxist dreams of Europe's intellectuals. Certainly, military technologies have their place and can provide our troops with useful tools. But technologies are not paramount. In warfare, flesh and blood are still the supreme currency. And strength of will remains the ultimate weapon.
Welcome to the counterrevolution. ... "

2/01/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Why do people care what the Kos kids think?

Answer: $$$$$

If you really want to worry about this type of phenomenon, read 'Postwar' by Tony Judt. The politics of irrational and unexplained discontent is sweeping Europe. Judt argues that the economic and demographic determinism advocated by men like Mark Steyn is theoretically sound, but will be preempted first by a noxious political evolution that has nothing to offer but fear and loathing.

The Leftists sell misery untethered to reality. It is a pernicious message, and leads to one place: violent revolution.

2/01/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

eggplant
We take those Eastern Oil Fields in the KSA.
That is why there are 140,000 US troops in Iraq. They sure are not there chasing Border Bandits.

I'd also take the Iranian fields.
We are not playing to our strengths, but to the strengths of our Enemies.

Once the Resources where in hand, which could be done in days based upon past US Military invasions and battles in the Region, there would be minimum economic dislocation.
Less so than occurred post 9-11.

If we were at War, economic dislocation of the Neutral Countries would be far from our major worry.

Identify the Enemy and defeat them, immediately.
Rebuild as we think required, or leave 'em herding goats.

2/01/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Europeans certainly seem to have a hard time dealing with post-French Rev., post-1830 Commune, post-1848, post-Napoleon III, post-Bismark, post-WWI revolutions. Almost seems like domestic political exhaustion following a period of cannablism is the real essence of their commitment to republicanism. I blame it, among other things, on their ludicrous proportional representation scheme, whereby a fringe party by membership in a coalition and effective intramural jockeying can capture the means of the majority of its citizens as supposedly represented in the government. Allows the persistence of these idiots by providing a real chance of political primacy, whatever the broad electoral results, and undermines, in my opinion, true democracy and republicanism from taking hold as a habit EXCLUSIVE OF far more ancient habits like aristocracy (EU bureaucracy), Volk-racialism (German citizenship requirements) and the like. Of course it exists because certain vast actors and intellectual habits embodied in various anti-republican forces - e.g. royalists, socialists, islamists - would refuse to join in the system and would rather treat it as an enemy if it excluded fundamental aspects of their respective doctrines, but indulging all these forces means you have a tolerable mess more than a functiong, healthy republic, regardless of what they say or believe about themselves.

2/01/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Roland said...

Don't equate a refusal to name the enemy with a lack of knowledge of their identity. If you are to attack a gang of people, better for you to befriend some, keep others guessing, then them out one at a time than to announce exactly who your real enemies and fight them en masse.

2/01/2006 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Desert Rat,

Perhaps liberal societies know no other way to fight a war.

Like a friend of mine who took tons and tons of crap and finally snapped and cleared the desk of the idiot he was dealing with (and requiring fairly high level intervention to rescue him from the police).

We do not fight wars until our existance is at stake and then by defn the cost is extremely high. That is we always take the fool's bargain when it comes to matters of war. Save a couple of thousand lives now for millions of lives down the road.

2/01/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

d'Rat,

The US has a territorial dispute with Iran, Iraq, oil rich Stan Republics, that I don't know of?

2/01/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I have read New Glory, and am familiar with Peter's arguments concerning our replacement of manpower and classical warfare with technology and attacks from the distance. It is a powerful argument, but, perhaps, incomplete.

I also agree to a certain extent that we don't act like we are at war. We shy away from imposing our strength, even when it seems obvious we can do so to great advantage. In response, I would refer you to Wretchards recent post about inadequate information. Specifically, to Crichton's speech on managing chaotic systems:

Now, if we are to do better in this new century, what must we do differently? In a word, we must embrace complexity theory. We must understand complex systems.

We live in a world of complex systems. The environment is a complex system. The government is a complex system. Financial markets are complex systems. The human mind is a complex system---most minds, at least.

By a complex system I mean one in which the elements of the system interact among themselves, such that any modification we make to the system will produce results that we cannot predict in advance.

Furthermore, a complex system demonstrates sensitivity to initial conditions. You can get one result on one day, but the identical interaction the next day may yield a different result. We cannot know with certainty how the system will respond.

Third, when we interact with a complex system, we may provoke downstream consequences that emerge weeks or even years later. We must always be watchful for delayed and untoward consequences [...]

An important feature of complex systems is that we don’t know how they work. We don’t understand them except in a general way; we simply interact with them. Whenever we think we understand them, we learn we don’t. Sometimes spectacularly.

Fortunately, studies show that we can learn to manage complex systems. There are people who have investigated complex systems management, and know how to do it. But it demands humility...


Imposing drastic changes in the system could send it spiraling into chaos. We simply don't know.

Management means subtle changes: nudges, then reassessments, then new nudges.

Something to think about, at least.

2/01/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

New thread up on the European defiance to pressure to repudiate the Danish cartoons.

2/01/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger kariato said...

The current situation for the Democratic Party I believe mirrors that of the British Labour Party of the late Seventies and early eighties where it base "Labour Unions" was obsolete from the disastrous strikes of the Seventies.

Tony Blair fixed that situation by reinventing the labor party. Who can do that for the Democrats. In many ways the previous Clinton administration started such a change but the democrats got lost in 9/11. I believe that unless a significant attack occurs before the next presidential election 9/11 will become less of an issue (I don’t not believe in any ridiculous conspiracy theories, past, present or future). Peace will favor the Democrats. In many ways 2004 electron was for the Democrats to loose because how unpopular many of the Republican points except 9/11 were. They lost because their candidate could not strike a bond with typical Americans over this issue. (A very interesting electron would be between Clinton & McCain).

If President Bush does start a major effort to move away from oil based energy (which I will be very much surprised at) then we can walk away from the Middle East very much the same way we have walked away from central Africa. AT which point it becomes Europe’s problem.

Let’s put the war on terrorism in perspective. How many Americans died last year from car crashes, problems with the medical system, gun violence in our cities, poor nutrition?

WMD terrorism should be our focus if we are going to focus on this problem.

2/01/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"We are at war with the Islamic fascists..."

No. We're not. And whether you choose to characteize the Global Whatever It Is as war, pretense to war, prelude to war, or something else, our policies and our actions IN NO WAY INDICATE that the object is "Islamic fascists" or, in Rats nomenclature, "Mohammedans", or, in GWB's newfound terminology, "radical Islam."

If you are going to try and persuade the USG - if you are going to attempt to convince even this particular administration - that we OUGHT, truly and without contradiction, to be at war with such, you have a long and impossible task ahead of you.

Look inside our CURRENT military theaters and tell me what you see.

Then tell me we are at war with Islamic fascists.

2/01/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Agreed, rat.

Enough of this bleating & handwringing - with any luck a build-up has already begun.

Meanwhile, I wonder how that drawdown/redployment out of Germany and SK is going. Hopefully it is accelerating.

2/01/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Aren't the Taliban in Afghanistan, al Qaeda where it can be found, and the International Jihadi Brigades in Iraq the forces of Islamism those folks referred to, Trish? We ought to be doing more, it's true, but are you saying we're not at war with them? If not, what are you seeing there? I dunno - it seems that way to me. That we didn't draft two million soldiers to simultaneously Barbarossa every regime from Karachi to Fez doesn't really strike me as much of a failing, for example. But I doubt that's what you're saying.

2/01/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

mika,
If the US was a WAR with Radical Mohammedans the first objective would be to impoverish them. To remove their logistical capacity.

Radical Mohammedans of the Sunni subSect are funded by some of the Royals in KSA.
If we were at WAR, we would sieze their property, at home & abroad.
The Iranian Shia subSect has attacked US in Beirut, siezed US Government Property and funds Terrorist groups. I would sieze their property, if there was a WAR.

But, as trish so aptly put it, there is no evidence of War, in ANY Theater of Operations.

That is a Fact. The War on Terror has become the Police Chase that we all denounced as inadequate, just a couple of years ago.

Mr Kerry's Policies with Mr Bush in the Oval Office. The Elites of the Skull & Bones WIN, regardless of the Elections outcome.

2/01/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ah... right. Decision not to bomb Haiphong, repeated.

2/01/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

dan,

Many Islamic fascists we support and defend - and presently depend on. Many we hire. Many we train. Many we fund. Many we call allies.

One man's fascist, I guess, is another man's "force for democratic transformation." My Mohammedan versus your Mohammedan.

Not trying to be snarky. It is what it is.

2/01/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

d'Rat

What makes you think that if you'd declare WAR, you'd be the only one to do so? You think China, India, Russia, Europe, etc, would just sit by and let you seize this "logistical capacity". What you're outlining is a path to a repeat of WWI and WWII for WWIV. I think you're smarter than that.

2/01/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

mika,

I'm saying that if the NY Times piece that doug linked to today, that Germanbusiness was so upset about, was not true, we'd be at WAR.

And we are not, at War.
Not in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, et. al.

If the Times article was wrong, and this WAS a battle of National Survival, well then, we'd sell the Chicoms Iranian oil at below market.

The challenge is that Mr Kissinger & Mr Scrowcroft et. al. all work for the mega-rich Mohammedans of the KSA, etc. The Power Elite of the USA does not want a War, just a Police Chase.
They got what they wanted.

Mr Bush's Rhetoric is just that. So much hot air.

The founder of Mossad thinks that Iran already has a couple of nuke weapons. The link is at realclearpolitics.com if you want to see the article in the JPost.

2/01/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Gaddis says he has spoken with Administration officials, and the message he got on Iran was 'containment'.

Containment. Over to you, Israel.

2/01/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger weswinger said...

Mika, never underestimate the power of faith. The European Christian faith’s replacement with rationalism/materialism has degenerated into a culture with no confidence – no faith in the future. Aristides gets this. The French revolution only has led to a series of revolutions. The fear and loathing of the euro-left and its demographic and economic decline is a manifestation of cultural death-wish. You can ask what came first, the loss of Christian faith, or the turn to Marx/Darwin materialism, but it’s not that simple. The materialist faith of Marx is both active, in its revolutionary form, and passive/aggressive – constantly doing its best to undermine the spiritual foundations of Western civilization through its media and academia cadres. It becomes the agent of its own demise.

Aristides also understands the importance of the rhetorical dimension of war. Part of the reason why the scorched earth advocates such as Desert Rat don’t understand GWB’s prosecution of the GWOT, is that the war isn’t just about oil fields, or revenge for 9/11, but an attempt to model a “civilized” war, to minimize collateral damage. GWB’s prosecution of the GWOT shows a Christian restraint. Turning vast swaths of the Middle East into radioactive pits would show us to be monsters worse than OBL. It behooves the US (and all that’s still standing as the West) to actively challenge the Islamic world to join us in civilized behavior. It is the Judeo/Christian ideal of loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves that enables our best behavior. The Islamic ideal of submission to Allah may never be compatible with the Judeo/Christian ideal. In my gloomier moments I think it may be a different God with the same name.

Don’t forget, folks that this conflict has been going on in one theater or another since the seventh century. The world has only gotten much smaller. If Islam and the West are going to ever peacefully coexist, it might take several generations to work it out. I pray that God grant us understanding hearts.

2/01/2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

so, wesinger, you agree that there is no War, but an attempt to "Civilize" the Persians.
Their Culture is older than ours, has been at War with the "West" since before Alexander was Great.

You think that this is some neomodern conflict that arose with Mohammedan and his differences with your European Church?
Be the fool, my friend to belief that.

This is a battle that predates the establishment of any currently active Religion.
Mika may well tell me if I'm wrong, but I think Judism is more modern than origins of this conflict.

It has little to due with any of the Gods, excempt in the Current Roles the Players are taking.

Or perhaps Alexander was the first true God born of a Western Woman.
He was the first after all to attempt to "Civilize" the World.

It was a bigger job than he thought.
Some truths are Eternal, unlike most Gods.

2/01/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

d'Rat,

Jews trace their ancestry to the Sumerian Empire. The Sumerian Empire predates the Persian Empire by a few millennia.

But you may be on to something. My suspicion, this all has to do with the upkeep and maintenance of Empire. The Persians have their method. We have ours.

2/01/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Kyda Sylvester said...

"When it comes to security," [Emanuel] added, "Democrats will not play second fiddle."

Indeed not. They will continue playing forth or fifth fiddle.

2/01/2006 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Off topic but then again.....

Spengler on Muslim demographics

.....Radical Islam should be interpreted as a cry of despair in the face of the ineluctable decline of Islamic society. Read carefully, the leading Islamists say precisely this. At the close of the 19th century the Ottoman Empire was the sick man of Europe, and its former territories today comprise the incurables ward of geopolitics. From this vantage point, America's attempt to foist its own form of democracy on the Islamic world seems delusional.

As I have reported before, the demographic position of the Islamic world has set a catastrophe in motion. It is hard enough for rich nations to care for a growing elderly population, but impossible for poor nations to do so. Iran, along with most of the Muslim world, faces a population bust that will raise the proportion of dependent elderly in the population to 28% in 2050, from just 7% today.

If America faces discomfort, and Europe faces crisis, Muslim countries face breakdown.....

Demographics

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/GK01Aa01.html

2/01/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger SeekerBlog.com said...

PeterBoston said "Given the stakes I do not fully understand why the USA has not initiated the hydrogen Manhatten Project to bring that day to reality."

First, the really-big-lever to impact energy policy is advanced nuclear. It appears that Bush is still leery of leading in a serious way on nuclear power - the primary practical option for lower carbon emissions. See A Pollution-Free Hydrogen Economy? Not So Soon for some Richard A. Muller commentary in MIT Technology Review. The press release skids right past nuclear with four words "clean and safe nuclear energy".

Two nuclear technologies are highly promising:

1. Modular Pebble-bed. See MIT's study The Future of Nuclear Power, and a number of MIT papers on the topic here. China is placing big bets here, see Wired's Let a Thousand Reactors Bloom.

2. A nuclear fuel cycle combining pyrometallurgical processing and advanced fast-neutron reactors. E.g., see Scientific American Dec 2005 ($) "Smarter Use of Nuclear Waste: Fast-neutron reactors could extract much more energy from recycled nuclear fuel, minimize the risks of weapons proliferation and markedly reduce the time nuclear waste must be isolated" by Argone Labs researchers William H. Hannum, Gerald E. Marsh and George S. Stanford.

Second, on the "The Hydrogen Fuel Initiative" - are the thermodynamic efficiency problems surmountable? The initiative on advanced battery research for hybrids looks promising. But note how tiny the investment (FY2007 $30 million) is relative to the $289 million for the "The Hydrogen Fuel Initiative". Is this big investment in promoting hydrogen for transportation a thermodynamic bust?

See this earlier post Carrying the Energy Future on the questionable economics of hydrogen vs. hybrid vehicles (especially with the "new battery technology"):

A useful study, Carrying the Energy Future: Comparing Hydrogen and Electricity for Transmission, Storage and Transportation was developed by The Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment (ILEA). This is a Seattle environmental advocacy NGO.

Do other readers have better sources on the hydrogen economics? On next generation battery efficiency?

2/01/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

What are you doing, Dave? Will I dream.
Can I sing you a song.....

Is humor the last refuge of a scoundrel?

lol, I hope.

2/01/2006 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Towering Barbarian said...

Roland, "Don't equate a refusal to name the enemy with a lack of knowledge of their identity. If you are to attack a gang of people, better for you to befriend some, keep others guessing, then them out one at a time than to announce exactly who your real enemies and fight them en masse."

*Very* true. I was always quite fond of the Winston Churchill line, "Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie!' while you pick up a rock." ^_~

Desert Rat,
Since some people here once talked up the possibility of these wars lasting decades or even centuries, I think it might be useful if we *occasionally* think of this in terms of "Injun fighting" rather than in terms of WWII. We're at war alright. But the game of "Cowboys and Moslems" requires a little subtlety.

2/01/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Part of the reason why the scorched earth advocates such as Desert Rat don’t understand GWB’s prosecution of the GWOT, is that the war isn’t just about oil fields, or revenge for 9/11, but an attempt to model a “civilized” war, to minimize collateral damage.
GWB’s prosecution of the GWOT shows a Christian restraint. Turning vast swaths of the Middle East into radioactive pits would show us to be monsters worse than OBL.
It behooves the US (and all that’s still standing as the West) to actively challenge the Islamic world to join us in civilized behavior.
It is the Judeo/Christian ideal of loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves that enables our best behavior.
The Islamic ideal of submission to Allah may never be compatible with the Judeo/Christian ideal.
In my gloomier moments I think it may be a different God with the same name
."
---
Weswinger,
Ah, the ever so repetitive use of THAT ploy again:
How is seizing Oil Fields
"Turning vast swaths of the Middle East into radioactive pits "???
Similar to the argument that equates most any attack on Muslims Soil as equivalent to Genocide.
Not an honest argument imho.

2/01/2006 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Our best behavior would be as fair market gas station to the world, and not using the profits to fund terrorism.

2/01/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Weswinger,

You analysis of European culture is deeply misguided. European actions or inaction, however you wish to view it, has everything to do with that "shitty little country", and NOTHING ELSE.

I have zero belief in god/religion. I'm quite capable of standing up to the Islamocysts in rhetoric and in action. Same goes to my many Russian and Israeli secular compatriots.

The Islamocysts are useful for only one purpose. That purpose is to poke a rival's eyes by proxy. Europeans use
these desert jackals and hyenas as proxy against their own population, their Jewish population, and of course, as a battering ram against Israel.

2/01/2006 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"European actions or inaction, however you wish to view it, has everything to do with that "shitty little country", and NOTHING ELSE."

Um, isn't the percentage of oil they import from the ME much greater than ours?

Who REALLY needs an energy independence program?

2/01/2006 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Nope. Only 30% of European oil imports come from the Gulf. (It's nearly 80% for Japan’s). The only reason it's even 30%, is because of US pressure not buy Russian oil and natural gas.

2/01/2006 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Interesting.

20% of ours. 30% of theirs.

Used to be far greater for both. 60% back in the 70's, right?

And still we hyperventilate.

2/01/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Part of the reason why the scorched earth advocates such as Desert Rat don’t understand GWB’s prosecution of the GWOT, is that the war isn’t just about oil fields, or revenge for 9/11"

It needs to be about revenge for 9/11. To those who work it, it is. And rightly so.

I can't say enough about that.

It's umportant for us.

Does it require a scorched earth? I don't think so.

But it requires justice.

2/01/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"And still we hyperventilate."

Is that what you call it? I'd call it ensuring a stable energy supply to your global trade partners. The same global trade partners that have made the US economy the largest economy on globe by at least a factor of 2 to its nearest competitor.

2/01/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Tank you, Mika, for that correction and clarification.

2/01/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Point being, it's the US that holds all the cards.

Europe was never in a position to be threatened, blackmailed, cowed, or whatever. Their behavior wouldn't change the supply of oil out of the Gulf one way or another. They're not a player.

2/01/2006 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger RCM said...

O'Reilly had an interesting segment on tonight. He had on his regular Army Col Hunt and a female Navy Captain. He was wringing his hands about the American public's stomach for seeing the horrors of war and I was roaming the house looking for some plaster to punch a hole in at his rote stupidity. Finally he asked the Navy Captain something like, "But what if the American people just can't handle seeing wounded American soldiers?"

I loved her retort:

"Then tell them to grow up...we're in a war."

The American public that doesn't have kids, friends, moms and dads in uniform, quite frankly, haven't figured that out yet.

Our national naivety is on display when we wring our hands over one lone famous journalist who is injured..."Ohmigosh! I 'know' him!" And all the while we brandish his bravery on national TV night after night, we ignore the American and Iraqi soldiers that were not simply injured in his attack, but killed.

Some of us who have lost friends and family in war have proven to ourselves that we can handle it. How long do we have to wait before our "mates" catch up.

I loved everything that Desert Rat said about the big stick, but like the Bonnie Rait song "One part Be My Lover," America acts like one of her partners:

"He's like a boxer who had to retire,after winning but killing a man.

"He's got all of the moves and none of the courage, afraid to throw a punch that might land."

2/01/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Like, the US doesn't depend upon trade, Mika?

2/01/2006 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The Europeans have the neighborhood's toughs to protect them.

When you're in such a position you know you can pretty much get away with anything. You know that no matter what you do, no one is gonna dare touch you, because if they do, your big brother is going to kick their ass.


Hope that clarifies things for you, Trish.

2/01/2006 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Then let's quit. NATO has survived its usefullness by, what, 45 years?

Be done with it already.

Let the Euros have their gig.

2/01/2006 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

If you don't want to allow them that, don't complain to me about problems.

2/01/2006 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The Europeans are cutting their nose to spite their Jews. That's their prerogative. But they're still a useful trade partner to the US.

The Europeans might well down the road, down grow their prominent trade relationship. In the mean time, I see no reason for the US to cut its nose to spite the Europeans. India and China will soon become viable replacements to the Europeans. Maybe the competition and that realization will stimulate a new more positive attitude in Europe. We'll see.

2/01/2006 11:31:00 PM  

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