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A journal of sorts to record Jonathan Sturm's (and others') thoughts and observations on things worth thinking about. Feedback welcome, but be aware that unless you prominently say you want your communication kept private, I may publish it.
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Monday 23 September 2002
From the Inbox:
My Dear Git,
Remember the world press has been subject to Communist influence over much of the last century.
The "Blame America First" song and dance has long been popular.
The facts remain. The "Former Soviet Union" has admitted at various times to murdering 20 to 40 million of it's own people, just counting ethnic Russians and ignoring the Baltic States and other colonies.
Unfortunately in the USofA the "media" is becoming more and more radical and less and less intelligent. The "George Bush is a stupid puppet" theme is taken as a directive in a industry where 85% confessed voting for Al Gore.
Living near one of the hell-holes of Democrat corruption, the City of Cleveland, Ohio I've watched the Democrat Party become more lock step, blindly obedient and incompetent than ever before. I've watched a brilliant man, Jeff Johnson, with a rapidly rising political career, destroyed by his own Democrat Party. He made the mistake of being "uppity" the Democrat Party finds this intolerable in an "African American" so the Clinton Administration prosecuted him for taking campaign donations under questionable circumstances. They tossed him in prison. The congressional seat he would have walked into was taken by Stephanie Tubbs Jones, famous as a local Prosecuter for plea bargaining Crack House operation down to simple possession and turning the West Side of Cleveland into a high crime area.
Gee, maybe the United States should have remained out of international entanglements. I'm sure a Europe composed of "Greater Germany" would be the most advanced and minority-less places on earth.
I think you need a serious improvement in your skeptical gland.
Who has been around awhile.
The political party that dreamed of a "Greater Germany" was financed by Union Banking Corporation under the auspices of George Herbert Walker and his son-in-law, Prescott Bush (grandfather of George W.). "Even Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 didn't stop the Walker/Bush family from their trading with Nazis. It took the government seizure under the Trading With The Enemies Act of Union Banking Corporation in October of 1942 to stop Walker and Bush." It's quite unexceptional to be grateful to the US for saving Europe from a thousand year Reich while at the same time resenting the US for helping to create the situation where Europe needed saving. How does US involvement in WWII justify bombing the crap out of Afghanistan and Iraq?
Franklin Roosevelt's desire to create a New World Order in collaboration with Joseph Stalin is well-known. Perhaps we are seeing their dream come to pass.
The Git doesn't "Blame America First", just those responsible. Who do we blame for the unjustifiable slaughter at Waco? Fidel Castro, Mikhail Gorbachev, Kim Beasley? If you want the rest of the world to view the US in a better light, wantonly killing your own citizens, bombing the crap out of other countries and financing juntas is not the way to go about it.
From a US Army Training Manual Concerning Citizenship 1928:
- A government of the masses.
- Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of 'direct' expression.
- Results in mobocracy.
- Attitude toward property is communistic -- negating property rights.
- Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate,.. without restraint or regard to consequences.
- Results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.
Just for a (hollow) laugh:
Bush's Convoluted Concept of Freedom, by Jim Hightower Jun 06, 2002
Here's a terrific idea: Let's condemn Fidel Castro for not allowing enough freedom for Cuban citizens... then let's punish him by curtailing the freedom of our own citizens.
This is what passes for logic in George W.'s knee-jerk, reactionary Cuban policy. For some 40 years, assorted U.S. presidents have tried everything from exploding cigars to economic boycotts in a futile effort to drive Castro from power. Never mind that Castro's Cuba poses zero threat to our national security, he makes a popular political whipping boy.
Now, Bush is adding to the lunacy. Stunned that Jimmy Carter dared to cross the Florida straits and call for the end of the U.S. boycott against Cubans, Bush rushed to Florida to announce a get-tougher policy, under which he said he will crack down on U.S. citizens who travel there. Hello. He's going to advance freedom in Cuba by restricting freedom at home? That'll teach them! This is why American literature has so little political satire in it--our political reality is satire.
Yes, travel to Cuba has long been technically illegal, but recent presidents have not chosen to crack the whip over U.S. citizens who defy the travel ban and make peaceful and pleasurable trips to Cuba each year. However, in George's first presidential year, his autocratic regime went after nearly 800 Americans who had traveled to Castro-land.
Were these people radicals bent on importing Castro's communism to our shores? Hardly. Senator Byron Dorgan points to two examples--a 75-year-old retired schoolteacher who went on a bicycle ride in Cuba, and a man who went there to scatter the ashes of his parents at a Cuban church they had helped to found. Bush whacked both of them with criminal charges and $7,500 fines.
Ironically, just before announcing his travel crackdown, Bush puffed out his chest and said: "My message to the Cuban people is: Demand freedom, and you've got a president who stands with you."
This is Jim Hightower saying ... What about a president who'll stand for freedom here?
And from Neil Baird:
Why educate young Australians?
Under the headline, "Migration lift to young and skilled", The Australian reported that the Howard Government plans to accept "a record number of young and skilled professionals" next year (8/5/02).
What skills shortage? What skills do we lack in Australia? The Australian listed them:
- information technology managers ('managers' mind you!).
- selected computer professionals. This is really a joke seeing as recently the Howard government advised 'Australian' companies to outsource their computing functions overseas to take advantage of lower wages.
- registered nurses.
The latter really takes the cake. Australia allegedly faces a crisis in nursing and what's the Howard Government's response? The Howard government plans to import nurses from third world countries where nursing doesn't require a university degree. Yes, non-university educated foreign nurses just have to complete a bridging course costing up to $4000 to be accredited and practise in Australia. And Australia doesn't have to 'waste' money training Australian nurses.
Believe it or not this story gets worse. Sydney University actually cut 24 jobs from its nursing faculty last year and looks like cutting more this year (Australian, 8/5/02). Obviously the government's attitude is why should Australian taxpayers fund the training of Australian nurses when importing foreigners is cheaper?
Clearly our political leaders' own personal comfort and wealth have insulated them from the realities that their poorer countrymen and women daily experience. I know a man who is suffering from severe back pain. If he could afford private health insurance he could have relief tomorrow. But because he can't afford private health insurance he was initially condemned to four months of pain. It's subsequently been reduced to three weeks of pain after his country GP vehemently objected to such a long delay.
But surely three weeks of unnecessary pain is too much pain in a supposedly civilised society.
And it's not just the federal government that's out to nail the nurses. The Tasmanian government awarded a pay-rise to our severely underpaid nurses, but only those with a university degree in nursing. The nurses who trained those with a degree don't have nursing degrees, as they were not available when they did their training. It seems the government thinks the trainees are better qualified than the trainers!
Thought for the day:
Hitler's dictatorship differed in one fundamental point from all its predecessors in history. It was the first dictatorship in the present period of modern technical development, a dictatorship which made complete use of all technical means for the domination of its own country. Through technical devices like the radio and the loud-speaker, eighty million people were deprived of independent thought. It was thereby possible to subject them to the will of one man...
Kevin Coyne -- Babble
Tuesday 24 September 2002
Rome, AD ... Rome, DC?
Accelerated by the post-9/11 debate on America's role in the world, the idea of the United States as a 21st-century Rome is gaining a foothold in the country's consciousness. The New York Review of Books illustrated a recent piece on US might with a drawing of George Bush togged up as a Roman centurion, complete with shield and spears. Earlier this month Boston's WBUR radio station titled a special on US imperial power with the Latin tag Pax Americana. Tom Wolfe has written that the America of today is "now the mightiest power on earth, as omnipotent as... Rome under Julius Caesar".
But is the comparison apt? Are the Americans the new Romans?
Rebellions against the empire were a permanent fixture, with barbarians constantly pressing at the borders. Some accounts suggest that the rebels were not always fundamentally anti-Roman; they merely wanted to share in the privileges and affluence of Roman life. If that has a familiar ring, consider this: several of the enemies who rose up against Rome are thought to have been men previously nurtured by the empire to serve as pliant allies. Need one mention former US protege Saddam Hussein or one-time CIA trainee Osama bin Laden?
Rome even had its own 9/11 moment. In the 80s BC, Hellenistic king Mithridates called on his followers to kill all Roman citizens in their midst, naming a specific day for the slaughter. They heeded the call - and killed 80,000 Romans in local communities across Greece. "The Romans were incredibly shocked by this," says ancient historian Jeremy Paterson of Newcastle University. "It's a little bit like the statements in so many of the American newspapers since September 11: 'Why are we hated so much?' "
There are some large differences between the two empires, of course - starting with self-image. Romans revelled in their status as masters of the known world, but few Americans would be as ready to brag of their own imperialism. Indeed, most would deny it. But that may come down to the US's founding myth. For America was established as a rebellion against empire, in the name of freedom and self-government. Raised to see themselves as a rebel nation and plucky underdog, they can't quite accept their current role as master.
One last factor scares Americans from making a parallel between themselves and Rome: that empire declined and fell. The historians say this happens to all empires; they are dynamic entities that follow a common path, from beginning to middle to end.
"What America will need to consider in the next 10 or 15 years," says Cambridge classicist Christopher Kelly, "is what is the optimum size for a nonterritorial empire, how interventionist will it be outside its borders, what degree of control will it wish to exercise, how directly, how much through local elites? These were all questions which pressed upon the Roman empire."
Anti-Americans like to believe that an operation in Iraq might be proof that the US is succumbing to the temptation that ate away at Rome: overstretch. But it's just as possible that the US is merely moving into what was the second phase of Rome's imperial history, when it grew frustrated with indirect rule through allies and decided to do the job itself. Which is it? Is the US at the end of its imperial journey, or on the brink of its most ambitious voyage? Only the historians of the future can tell us that.
And the historian in The Git thinks that the US has a lesson for us -- not the detail, but the general shape. In its earlier days, it was a refuge for the non-conformists of the world. It was founded by people fleeing from authoritarian pressure for their religious and secular beliefs. The founding of the country was itself a rebellion against The Empire. Founded on dreams of tolerant diversity, the US today dreams of a world of conformity to its ideas. How dare the Iraqis choose Saddam Hussein as a leader? Yes, it was impolitic of Iraq to invade its neighbour and yes, they needed to be taught a lesson. But what justification can there be for the US, or more accurately, George W Bush, to decide on Iraq's behalf that Saddam Hussein is an unsuitable leader?
Surely, The Git thinks, it's up to the local populace to decide who they want to lead them. Is this not the very essence of democracy that the US pays lip-service to? So what if Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. When it comes to weapons of mass destruction, the US and former Soviet Empire have more than Saddam Hussein will ever possess. If mere possession of weapons of mass destruction is the issue, then we must condemn the US equally with Iraq. While the US may make the claim that they only use theirs in justifiable self-defence and trumpet the events of WWII, we must also remember Vietnam. And the decade of undeclared war by the US against Iraq.
It's a mystery why it was felt necessary to bomb the crap out of Afghanistan in return for WTC, far from the world's greatest terrorist disaster. Now it seems it's Iraq's turn to "pay for" the WTC. Who's next? Logically, it would have been Saudi Arabia first, given that the purported perpetrators were claimed to originate from that country. The biggest mystery of all is who the fuck did organise the WTC event? Several of those the FBI claimed were involved turned up alive and well going about their ordinary lives. One had died long before. In The Git's experience, usually, several terrorist organisations claim credit for a terrorist event. Why is it that nobody is claiming credit for this one?
It's claimed that one of the reasons for punishing Iraq is their purported "ethnic cleansing" of their own people. You know, the same sort of thing US citizens did in Oklahoma in 1921, for instance.
INVESTIGATORS are searching for the graves of up to 400 black Americans in an attempt to end the 78-year cover-up of one of the worst acts of mass slaughter in the country's history. Dr Clyde Snow, the world's leading authority in forensic anthropology, is preparing to spend the coming months in his home state of Oklahoma, identifying the remains of hundreds of men, women and children believed buried in communal graves. The dead are the long-missing casualties of the Tulsa race riot in 1921, a little-known chapter in American history which, if substantiated, would eclipse even the 1995 Oklahoma bombing as the country's worst civilian atrocity.
Dr Snow, 71, has uncovered the bones of Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz "Angel of Death", in Brazil and the victims of atrocities in every continent from Argentina to Ethiopia and Bosnia. "I was used to seeing such things in Bosnia or Africa," he said. "But this is so close to home. It is important to remember these things can happen in your own backyard."
The violence followed the arrest of Dick Rowland, a black shoeshine boy on May 31, 1921. Newspaper reports wrongly claimed that he had sexually assaulted a 17-year-old white girl in the lift of the office block where they both worked. Later, gangs of blacks and whites clashed outside the county courthouse where he was being held. In the violence that followed, gangs of heavily-armed whites poured in to town. More than 30 city blocks were levelled, many of them in a thriving commercial district known as "Black Wall Street". Some 10,000 blacks were left homeless and more than 1,000 houses burnt to the ground. Order was re-established only a day later when National Guardsmen entered Tulsa, detaining at least 4,000 blacks in impromptu prison camps.
Of course that's all so long ago, it no longer counts. But Waco counts. Now there's an example of what happens to US citizens who fail to conform!
On a happier note, when Paul came by the other day to proffer his advice on the problem with the cookstove and hot water system, he adjusted the tempering valve that limits hot water temperature. Although the water temperature is only 2-3°C hotter, it's enough that The Git can have long, hot baths again. And isn't the relief it provides for his chronic back-pain wonderful?
Thought for the day:
Because you're able to do it and because you have the right to do it doesn't mean it's right to do it.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger
Dave Bromberg -- Wanted: Dead or Alive
Wednesday 25 September 2002
The Git has to admit that reading about politicz makes him a little giddy sometimes. Let's try to get things straight.
After September 11, "the event that changed the world" (well, not really, unless you count seeing CNN for the first (and last) time), the US decided that the puppet government it financed in Afghanistan was truly evil. The Taliban weren't responsible for the WTC demolition, that was down to Saudis according to the FBI, but the Taliban were said to be harbouring Osama bin Laden. Now bin Laden is far from averse to a bit of publicity for his demolition events, but has so far modestly refused to take advantage of the automatic Moslem adoration by claiming responsibility for WTC. Whatever, the US bombed Stone Age Afghanistan back into the Stone Age because Osama bin Laden might have been there.
What Osama bin Laden and his Al Quaeda gang really hates are people who aren't Moslems. Truth is, he's even not too fond of Moslems who aren't Moslem enough. Whatever, among the Truly Evil (in his eyes) is one Saddam Hussein, who is anything but Moslem. He's a secular leader and his downtrodden opposition that the US presumably hopes will fill the vacuum left by the elimination of Saddam Hussein, are fundamentalist Moslems. You know, the sort of people that Osama bin Laden so heartily approves of and recruits to terrorise the US mainly by blowing things up anywhere but in the US.
There are some countries in the world that could have had a major improvement in standard of living from the serious money and weapon handouts the US made to Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. On the other hand, there's likely a few countries thinking: "Maybe if we accept handouts from the US, they'll be in here ten years from now blowing our fucking heads off for something we didn't do!"
The Git believes that the average Australian instinctively understands this and some even remember Australia's reward for fighting alongside the US in Vietnam. The CIA organised and financed the toppling of the democratically elected Whitlam government in 1975. That's why while John Howard's pushing for Australian involvement in using weapons of mass destruction against Iraq for possessing weapons of mass destruction, most Australians don't want a bar of it! The last thing we want is the US over here blowing the crap out of us!
The following is my reply to someone who claims that anthropogenic climate change is the wrath of God.
Funny thing... The "wrath of God" when I first became interested in climate change was the increasing size of the world's great deserts. Now the opposite is happening:
Africa's deserts are in "spectacular" retreat 19:00 18 September 02 from New Scientist
The southern Saharan desert is in retreat, making farming viable again in what were some of the most arid parts of Africa.
Burkina Faso, one of the West African countries devastated by drought and advancing deserts 20 years ago, is growing so much greener than families who fled to wetter coastal regions are starting to go home.
New research confirming this remarkable environmental turnaround is to be presented to Burkina Faso's ministers and international aid agencies in November. And it is not just Burkina Faso.
It would appear that God has withdrawn his wrath for whatever it was we were doing 30 years ago :-)
From Neil Baird:
VIKINGS WITHIN THE VILLAGE By Graham Strachan
It was called 'Operation Vikings 12' - an appropriate name considering that vikings formed themselves into raiding parties and descended under cover of night upon unsuspecting villages, brutalising the inhabitants.
The 'vikings' in this case were 600 - yes, 600! - police; the villagers were the citizens of Sydney, Australia, who were out to have a good time on a Saturday night, or so they thought (Associated Press Report, 22 September 2002). The 'vikings', undoubtedly flushed with that combination of Dutch courage, sense of mission and smug self-importance that comes from perceiving oneself as being part of some big 'operation', 'fanned out' to the suburbs of Burwood, Marrickville, Newtown and St. George, as well as Sydney's CBD according to - and get this - Inner Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner, Dick Adams. Leaves one breathless just saying it.
The excuse given was that police are 'cracking down on drugs', and the way to do that is to mount massive police raids with sniffer dogs on patrons in restaurants and night clubs - an activity the dogs must find distasteful even if the police don't. The term 'drugs' obviously includes alcohol: 5,600 motorists were randomly pulled over, their licences demanded, then 'asked' to provide a sample of their breath under threat of being deemed to have been driving drunk if they refused. It's the law. Twenty-five people - yes a whole 25 - were charged with drink driving, a strike rate of 0.4%, which would be laughable if what was happening wasn't so serious.
'Operation Vikings 12' was only one instance of what is now becoming a way of life in Australia. On 13 September, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that 300 police with sniffer dogs 'hit' five Sydney night clubs. Outside one of them, dozens of people were forced to stand in small groups, with their legs apart, as a dog "gave them the once-over." Only a main-media journalist could do it: trivialise an assault by police, on people not yet in custody, using dogs, as 'the once-over'.
On August 10 a similar mass operation was mounted on the city of Wollongong to Sydney's south. According to an eyewitness, a large column of police cars, sirens screaming and lights flashing descended upon the city. Swarms of police invaded restaurants and night clubs, and randomly stopped people in the street for questioning. In one restaurant police interrupted a private 21st Birthday party and subjected the guests to sniffing by dogs. One guest, who objected and pushed the dog away, was immediately surrounded by police, hauled outside into the street and interrogated.
Can this really be Australia? What is going on?
In my book '22 Steps to Global Tyranny', I amass evidence to prove that the real aim of globalization is to bring about a single global order which is a Third Way, a combination of monopoly capitalism (corporatism) in economics, and totalitarian socialism (communism) in politics. The former communist bloc has to be made more 'capitalist' by the introduction of so-called market reforms (done), while former capitalist bloc is to be made more communist by the abolition of common law rights, and the introduction of communist people control measures (well under way).
'Operation Vikings 12' is symptomatic of the new communist political regime in Australia, a taste of what it is like to be a citizen in an 'interdependent member state' of the globalist New World Order. It's no 'conspiracy theory', except in the news rooms of the major media. It is visibly taking shape before the very eyes of the Australian people who, like all innocents in the face of totalitarian evil, refuse to believe it is happening.
The real purpose of raids such as 'Operation Vikings 12' is not to crack down on recreational drugs. The better procedure would be to deploy the 600 police to target suppliers, production facilities and warehouses. Nor is it to catch motorists driving with one beer too many. The sheer size of the operation puts the lie to those claims. The real purpose of these massive police raids is psychological: to condition the public to accept mass random processing by law enforcement agencies.
Soon, while some police are demanding breath samples and DNA swabs with menaces, others will be searching the car for drugs, firearms and subversive literature. Anybody who objects to being processed or refuses to cooperate will be charged with 'interfering with police in the conduct of their duties', or 'obstructing the course of justice'. The idea that police might be violating citizens' rights has already been relegated to the Memory Hole through legislation.
Oh, they wouldn't do that? Bearing in mind that the state Police Ministers were secretly plotting the disarmament of the Australian people well before the Port Arthur massacre that provided their ultimate excuse; recalling also that Australian defence chief Admiral Chris Barrie has said (16 February 1999) that the Australian armed forces will be taking on a constabulary (police) role to combat 'non-state' (people) threats to Australia's internal security; adding to that the 2000 'Aid to Civilian Authorities' amendment to the Defence Act which authorised the military to shoot and kill Australian citizens, and it is clear that governments, state and federal, constitute a clear and present danger to all freedom-loving Australians.
What's the bet it will soon be announced that combined police/military 'training exercises' are to take place over Burwood and Marrickville using army helicopters, and involving house-to-house searches? The explanation given will be that police and troops need hands-on experience in smoking out terrorists and other undesirables in a real urban environment.
At a given point, the combined police/military 'training' exercises will suddenly become the real thing. The definition of 'terrorist' will come to include anyone opposed to globalism or the collusive two-Party ruling oligarchy in Canberra; or in possession of forbidden literature such as Thomas Paine's 'The Rights of Man', the Australian Constitution, or the Christian Bible, not to mention Douglas Reed's 'The Controversy of Zion'. Those people will be hauled off in police vans to military establishments where they will be held incommunicado, denied a formal charge and access to legal representation, probably tortured, and ultimately 'disappeared' to the concentration camp presently being built on Christmas Island.
It could never happen in Australia? 'Oh, they wouldn't do that!' Wouldn't they? It has already begun. The Vikings are within the village.
It would appear that we are doomed to have the worst of the two politico/economic systems imposed on us, rather than the best.
Thought for the day:
Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.
Thomas Alva Edison
Gong -- Floating Anarchy
Thursday 26 September 2002
From The Guardian:
An Observer investigation has revealed that Saddam's covert procurement network has been modelled on the same techniques he used in the 1980s to procure the tools, materials and expertise necessary to build weapons of mass destruction.
Co-ordinated by the Ministry for Military Industrialisation, Iraqi officials have been trying to acquire high-specification machine tools, production lines, computer equipment and expertise for its long-range missile and nuclear weapons efforts.
Among countries that have been identified as partners are Belarus and the Ukraine, which have been at the centre of the secret Iraqi procurement effort since the mid-1990s. Arms control experts - including former UN weapons inspectors - have identified both countries as being of 'grave concern' in the proliferation of banned technology to Iraq.
The involvement of both Belarussian and Ukrainian companies was uncovered by UN weapons inspectors before they were forced to leave in 1998 and is understood to be continuing.
I guess that means being a drug-dealer's OK, but being a user is a capital offence! And you make damned sure the dealer's had seven years of profit-making before shooting the sucker buying the drugs!
More interesting is this piece from The Atlantic, a magazine that continues to amaze me with the quality of its content. For those of my American readers, who with dismay asked me to suppress their identities and even the emails themselves, you really should read this long and well thought through article.
The Fifty-first State? by James Fallows
Going to war with Iraq would mean shouldering all the responsibilities of an occupying power the moment victory was achieved. These would include running the economy, keeping domestic peace, and protecting Iraq's borders -- and doing it all for years, or perhaps decades. Are we ready for this long-term relationship?
Over the past few months I interviewed several dozen people about what could be expected in Iraq after the United States dislodged Saddam Hussein. An assumption behind the question was that sooner or later the United States would go to war -- and would go with at best a fraction of the support it enjoyed eleven years ago when fighting Iraq during the Gulf War. Most nations in the region and traditional U.S. allies would be neutral or hostile unless the Bush Administration could present new evidence of imminent danger from Iraq.
A further assumption was that even alone, U.S. forces would win this war. The victory might be slower than in the last war against Iraq, and it would certainly cost more American lives. But in the end U.S. tanks, attack airplanes, precision-guided bombs, special-operations forces, and other assets would crush the Iraqi military. The combat phase of the war would be over when the United States destroyed Saddam Hussein's control over Iraq's government, armed forces, and stockpile of weapons.
The people I asked were spies, Arabists, oil-company officials, diplomats, scholars, policy experts, and many active-duty and retired soldiers. They were from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Some firmly supported a pre-emptive war against Iraq; more were opposed. As of late summer, before the serious domestic debate had begun, most of the people I spoke with expected a war to occur.
Thought for the day:
The real and lasting victories are those of peace and not of war.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Marc Bolan -- The Beginning of Doves
Friday 27 September 2002
As James Fallows wrote in The Atlantic article The Git linked to yesterday, "Most Americans were moved by the outpouring of solidarity on September 11—the flowers in front of embassies, the astonishing headline in Le Monde: 'NOUS SOMMES TOUS AMÉRICAINS.'" On that day, we were all indeed Americans. The Git fervently hopes that the reprise will not have to be: Today, we are all Iraqis.
A friend wrote:
Yes, I thought that it was very well put. My only fear is that we fight each conflict based on the last and base every revolution on the French one and each is different with different outcomes.
Whatever happens will change the region and maybe the world. But he made a telling point as to the rise of Democracies. Some free and some partially free but bucket loads more than 60 years ago
Few would doubt that the half century following WWII has been better for the Germans and Japanese people than the half century preceding. Democracy there has spread rapidly and widely elsewhere, not due to American military muscle, but despite it. Hold-outs like the Middle East may very well be brought into the Democratic fold through military might, but only at the cost of many lives, many dollars, economic disruption and perhaps most importantly, the increasingly obvious moves toward a police-state in the US. Clearly, this latter is itself anti-democratic.
Having routed the Taliban in Afghanistan, the US has the opportunity to demonstrate the superiority of Democracy by bringing the country into the modern world in every sense. Economic prosperity in Afghanistan would be a clear message in today's connected world that the benefits of submitting to US economic hegemony, far outweigh resistance. The main benefit to the US is that it's a far less expensive option than the subjugation and rebuilding of Iraq. It's a strategy that worked well for the Romans and there's no rational reason why it should not work as well for the US.
More than three decades ago, Jerry Pournelle, Stefan Posony and Francis Kane wrote The Strategy of Technology. Perhaps it needs to be made compulsory reading for the US military and, translated into suitable languages, smuggled into every anti-democratic holdout on the planet. Only the clinically insane could believe that any kind of war with a US following the Pournelle/Posony/Kane prescription can have any chance of success. Yes, it's entirely likely that Saddam Hussein is clinically insane, but that's no excuse for the US military to behave as if they too are clinically insane.
Old farts like The Git and Jerry Pournelle may lament the passing of the American Republic, but we also know that there are far worse things than an American Empire. Empires require Emperors with whom one must agree or pay the price of disagreement. One hopes that the Caligulas will be outnumbered by the Claudiuses.
Thought for the day:
Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.
Gen. George S. Patton
Jefferson Starship -- Modern Times
Saturday 28 September 2002
Mike Pepperday writes:
One of your correspondents last week mentioned Thomas L Friedman. He made a name for himself a couple of years ago with "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" (or was it Olive Grove?) comparing modernity with traditional societies. He writes for the New York Times on the op-ed page at: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/opinion/columns/index.html
Friedman often talks about the problem of the US not supporting democracy and infrastructure change in the Middle East, and of supporting undemocratic governments (Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt) and of taking no action to inhibit the madrasses from pumping fundamentalist Islam into the brains of tens of thousands of impressionable boys.
The whole Times op-ed page is worth a look. The columnists would be among the world's best. Friedman and economist Paul Krugman would be the stars. The tone is leftish (for America) except for another star, William Safire. I read them all except Bob Herbert (who used to be a regular guest on Philip Adams's Late Night Live) who concentrates on more parochial issues.
I do not believe, and have never believed, that Saddam is in danger of an invasion from the US. There are too many people opposed, not least about 50% of Americans who do not see the connection of Iraq to Al Qaeda. Domestically, the left is universally against it and so are many on the right, including many senior people. In such circumstances, I don't believe it is possible for Bush to go to war.
Whether he is coolly bluffing or whether he is deluded, I don't know, but the tactic is so far looking quite successful. He has managed to get the whole world running around in a flap convinced that he really will do it, and Saddam has said he'll allow inspections. Bush's response to that has been to keep the pressure on by continuing to threaten. If he achieves unimpeded weapons inspections that will be a Good Thing. I cannot imagine any way of achieving such an outcome other than by Bush's present tactic. Can you?
The Git can only agree that NYT is an excellent inclusion in a well-rounded mixture of sources necessary to obtain anything like a balanced picture of what's really happening. He sincerely hopes that your conclusion is correct.
One thing The Git has found bemusing this week... Usually, when he has the temerity to pass even quite innocuous comment about the US of A, he is barraged by email from outraged Americans with accusations of being anti-American. Much of this week's mail has been the exact opposite, some containing quite fulsome praise. Perhaps The Git is losing his touch! He promises to try and be more annoying next week :-)
Thought for the day:
If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.
Juan Ramon Jimenez
Fairport Convention -- Live Convention
Sunday 22 September 2002
An exchange of email:
Damn Aussie (I mean ex-pat Brit) Anti-American!
There, feel better?
Bill, you obviously need a lesson in vituperation. How about? :)
Bill [through gritted teeth]: You syphilitic offspring of a mongoloid whore's melt!
The Git [with a catch in his voice]: Oh, Bill... You make me feel homesick. My mother used to speak to me like that.
That's what comes from living in a polite country like Canada, where people have actually said "Thank You" to ATM machines. A steady stream of hockey has left us with "Oh Yeah, Eh?" and the fists start flying.
You've obviously benefited from a decent British Education!
I bow before your superior vituperation, I tremble in fear that one day The Tongue will be pointed at me!
Besides, you're always a day ahead (time), I felt pressured to respond before too much time passed from your lament. I promise to study hard, and to emulate The Get as best I can.
heh, heh... I was wearing my Australian hat on this occasion, fearlessly stealing lines from an actual event between two of my close friends. While "How're ya goin' ya bastard?" is a friendly greeting here, on this occasion Maeve was genuinely angry (as well as her usual creative self). The Bomber's immediate rejoinder reminded us (presumably unconsciously) that he had been brought up in an orphanage. After we recovered from the laughter, all signs of anger were gone, and whatever it was that The Bomber had done to offend was forgotten.
Yes, Canadians' excessive, almost irritating, politeness has been noted here on several occasions. We always put this down to a heritage of long winters stuck in isolated log cabins. The phenomenon of cabin fever occurs here also and was the reason for the outbreak of hostility in the above altercation IIRC. We were all living in a small cottage on the west coast of Tasmania where rainfall is constant and unremitting throughout most of the year. Getting along in trying circumstances always requires a strategy, politeness in Canada, irreverent humour here.
And yes, I benefited from a decent British education. I benefited even more from the overlay of finishing my transition to adulthood in Australia's far less class-ridden society. In UKLand, coming from the working-class meant The Gitling was expected to tug his forelock and acknowledge the superiority of those born to rule.
Fear not The Get -- only those you force to your will. Do not emulate The Get -- just be yourself and allow others to do likewise. And remember the International Date Line is an arbitrary thing and not to be worshipped for any reason!
Thought for the day:
Precision of communication is important, more important than ever in our era of hair-trigger balances, when a false, or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.
Randy Newman -- Little Criminals
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