“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

American Cowboy Wisdom. Desert Rat at the Elephant Bar.

Who ever said anything about occupying? 
That is a construct out of thin air. It has very little at all to do with the discussion. If Ramadi were destroyed, there would be no need to occupy it. Same with any number of towns or cities. Abandon the Powell Pottery Barn Policy. Commence with "We broke it, have fun.” Sherman marched through Georgia to the Sea; He did not inhabit it. The Pueblos of the American West, no gringo moved into those. 

The US has no use for Ramadi, if those that live there do, then they play by the rules or they die. 

If what we wish to protect is not worth the lives of 100,000 Arabs; it's not worth the life of one GI. 

Now, you may not think that Freedom from Religion, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom from tyranny is worth 100,000 lives. I value it more than 20 million lives or more. Stalin killed well over 20 million people in an attempt to enslave the World. I'd kill 20 million to maintain the freedoms we enjoy. You may think that price too high. I do not. But many of my fellow citizens agree with you, today, so I'll go along with the majority, whatever they decide. But believe me, when whatever it is that you hold dearest, is about to be destroyed, you'll see the light. Or not.

Me, I've got more than a few options for when things go south, most folk don't.

Posted at the Elephant Bar by Desert Rat. (very slightly edited)
10:02 PM, November 29, 2006


  1. What kind of "options" are you talking about, Rat?

    If the national options aren't there, I've gotta fall back on something like what you're talking about. What is that?

  2. This is sort of OT but Rats post got me thinking...

    I wonder if Bobbitt's constitutional change is a result of telecommunications and its impact on culture. If those technologies result in more culture, does that necessarily mean you're in store for more conflict?

    What does a public space need to resist cultural conflict? What makes one set of differences meld and others war? Are they the differences themselves or the agents wedded to and wielding the differences?

    Obviously, those differences can be exploited, making the wedded into the wielding. What can an opposed difference do when it sees a foe being so exploited? Is the lesson of our age that some people believe in harmful information and must be deleted and overwritten?

    Did we just see - in Iraq - the playing out of the hope that information as an object could be changed and thus trickle down and wed anew to old, otherwise convinced minds?

    Did we just see the ending of denial that humans and information are intrinsically intertwined, and when people believe in bad information, they become bad themselves?

    Is there some Magna Carta that can re-order this cultural tumult or is the only salvation trauma-induced coping mechanisms?

  3. I mean, yeah, if you destroy the public space itself (e.g. Ramadi), no more conflict there.

    Is it foolish to believe anything else? Is it also ahistorical, despite what Americans wished they could believe?

    I guess I'm not contributing anything new here - just reflecting - but, man, is it stark. Makes me feel like a real hippie for what I've thought these several years.

  4. I can't understand how some man of war go to war without understanding why they go to war. It leaves one asking oneself if indeed these are man of war.

  5. Completely levelling Ramadi would be in line with what William Lind described as the Hama option. Massive violence with a short duration.

    Keeping in mind the sobering effect it would have elsewhere, it can save more lives than it costs.

    Its been done before, with brilliant success.

    Think Hiroshima.

  6. via DEBKAfile

    November 29, 2006, 4:01 PM (GMT+02:00)

    A former government spokesman, Nawaf Obaid, said Riyadh will use money, weapons or oil power to prevent Iraqi Sunnis from being massacred by Iranian-backed Shiite militias – even at the risk of a regional war. Obaid says his views do not represent those of the Saudi government. DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources note that he appears to speak for a group of very influential Saudis in Washington, including ambassador Prince Turki al-Faisal. US vice president Dick Cheney visited Riyadh Saturday, Nov. 25, ahead of the US president’s talks in Amman Wednesday and Thursday. Obaid listed Saudi options as being: providing assistance to Sunni military leaders – primarily ex-Baathists leading the insurgency; establishing new Sunni brigades, or strangling Iran’s funding of Iraq’s Shiites by boosting oil production and halving prices.

  7. Do you see what I see? She is back at the BC.

  8. Allen,

    Was I wrong to have sung that to myself to the tune of the Christmas carol, "Do you hear what I hear?"

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  10. Spam. Spam. Spam. and more Spam.

  11. Rufus has signed up ppab as bait.

  12. DbB = WC ; there are a half-dozen 'tells'.

    I've been waiting to hear something like that from KSA, some leakage or statement along those lines. We need to remember KSA has a long border with the Sunni Triangle. Depopulating Sunni Iraq is not gonna go unopposed.

  13. It's pretty plain that the whole religion was cobbled together to deify Man's worst behaviors.

  14. bobal's link:
    Nov 8

    "But they need not be. For if they leave, and when they leave, the natural centrifugal forces, whirring away, will cause Sunnis and Shi'a to be unable to compromise.
    Or if they do enter into any kind of compromise, it will immediately be broken by one side or the other or both, for it will be impossible for the Sunnis to accept their new status, and impossible for the Shi'a Arabs to share power and money in the way that the Sunnis demand.
    And if the Americans think that enlarging the pie by giving potentially-rich Iraq even more American -- i.e., Infidel -- money will bring about that spirit of compromise that is so foreign to, and so inimical to, Islam, they are only proving that their ignorance of Islam and the psychology of Muslims is nearly total.

    And being unable to compromise, they will fight."

    "And may both sides win"

  15. buddy,

    re: DbB

    NO! I feel so used, so dirty.

  16. Westhawk has up a thread speaking to the big snub, i.e. Maliki's insult to the people of the United States. Since Bush's wheels remain parked in Amman, he was not insulted - no surprise there.

    This morning, within minutes of the climax of the Bush grovel, the international media will have a field day. This act of submission will define the Bush presidency, with Bush being portrayed as a cringing cur.

    Please, spare me any talk of some master plan. There is none. After 27 years, Mr. Carter has found his equal.

  17. Bud - Where Big Bums are In:
    Africa, a continent usually synonymous with hunger, is falling prey to obesity. It's a trend driven by new lifestyles and old beliefs that big is beautiful. Ask Nodo Njobo, a plump hairdressing assistant. She is coy about her weight, but like many African women, proud of her "big bum." She says she'd like to be slimmer, but worries how her friends would react.
    "Here, if you lose a lot of weight, people automatically think you have TB or AIDS. It's not like in America and Europe where you go on a diet to lose weight," Njobo said.

  18. Nice timing by the Times on the "leak."
    May the hostile takeover be Nuclear.

  19. Maybe Pince will get a Pulitzer and a Nobel?

  20. I couldn't let your negative comment go unanswered there, Allen.

  21. This may be the biggest disconnect of all time between the American people and a war government.

    In the wake of 9/11, the American people did not care about democratizing the Muslim world. Or, for that matter, about the Muslim world in general. They still don’t. They want Islamic terrorists and their state sponsors crushed. As for the aftermath, they want something stable that no longer threatens our interests; they care not a wit whether Baghdad’s new government looks like Teaneck’s.

    To the contrary, Bush-administration officials — notwithstanding goo-gobs of evidence that terrorists have used the freedoms of Western democracies, including our own, the better to plot mass murder — have conned themselves into believing that democracy, not decisive force, is the key to conquering this enemy.

    So deeply have they gulped the Kool-Aid that, to this day, they refuse to acknowledge what is plain to see: While only a small number of the world’s billion-plus Muslims (though a far larger number than we’d like to believe) is willing to commit acts of terrorism, a substantial percentage — meaning tens of millions — supports the terrorists’ anti-West, anti-democratic agenda.

    While our rhetoric blathers that we’ll never let them have a nuke, our talk begs them, pretty-please, to stop building one. And our actions all but hand them one. If all that makes you wonder who’s the superpower, what do you suppose they’re thinking?

    That’s talking with an enemy that has us pretty well pegged, while we stubbornly resist even thinking about what motivates him. We wouldn’t want to question his ideology. After all, what would CAIR say?

    The democracy project tells Islamists that we don’t understand them — or care to try understanding them. The “let’s talk” gambit confirms that we’re not just studiously ignorant; we’re ripe for the taking.

    For our own sake, we need to respect the enemy. That means grasping that he’s implacable, that he means us only harm, and that he must be subdued, not appeased. Negotiating with such evil is always a mistake, for any accommodation with evil is, by definition, evil.

    Rejecting the democracy project is about respecting the enemy. Declining to talk to the enemy is about respecting ourselves.

    — Andrew C. McCarthy

  22. Look, I can understand all the Bush Bashing that goes on now. People of every stripe are piling on. but while we whine about "the snub" we ignore a much more serious problem.

    There is a coup d'etat underway in the US.

    It is my considered opinion that the established, protected and insular civil service bureaucracy in washington is using every means at its disposal to thwart this duly elected presidential administration.

    This steady stream of leaks to a duplicitous and unAmerican press corps is no accident. Like minded people are clearly attempting to subvert the leaders that the people of this country selected to govern them.

    We need to understand the implications of this. Think about it this way: a president who behaves in a manner that the civil service bureaucracy finds acceptable will receive what he or she is supposed to receive from the billions in salary expense the Americans pay. That is, of course, executive action in support of policy goals.

    A president that this bunch finds unacceptable will be damaged, if not destroyed by those same people. So who is really in charge now? The American people? Or the guys inside the beltway with press contacts and the secrets to be leaked?

    What we have here, it is now quite clear, is an overt effort by washington insiders on the federal payroll to subvert our president. These people are so intent on this goal that they will damage our international standing and cause us to lose a vital battle in the war on terror, simply because they disagree with an elected president and are convinced that they cannot be halted.

    Ramadi be damned, we are about to lose our democracy to people whose salaries we pay.

    If we elect a person that the washington bureaucracy finds acceptable they will work to advance that person's policy goals. If we elect someone that these people don't approve of, they will grind the ensuing administration to a halt.

    Am I being paranoid? That's not the correct question. The correct question is Am I being paranoid enough?

    We are losing, or indeed may have already lost, our democracy to a faceless, nameless bunch of overpaid cubicle dwellers who, recognizing that there is no downside to their behavior, have simply taken control of a bloated and unweildy government.

    This string of incredible leaks has one unifying theme, all of them has made the acheivement of the Bush Admin's goals more difficult, if not impossible.

    People who are sworn to uphold our constitution are now quite clearly telling us whom we may elect and whom we may not. Oh sure we could send another reagan to the white house but this entrenched bureaucracy will fight tooth and claw against him.

    We have a serious problem and we ignore it at our peril.

    Go ahead, tell me I'm crazy, but I think I've got it right and I welcome the opportunity to respond to any objections that arise here, simply because that will strengthen my arguments or cause me to alter my view.

    Have at it.

  23. The Dems ARE the "party of government", skipsailing.

  24. The Bush admin has also leaked documents to further its objectives. This is a standard method of working the news cycle. It is entirely possible, especially considering the where the memo came from and who it was to and the effect that it had, that the memo was leaked by the Bush admin. itself.

  25. skipsailing,

    Even if everything you wrote is 100% correct, the President is not vindicated.

    You may be CERTAIN I will continue to "whine" about the insults of foreign leaders and the impotence of the President. Simultaneously, you may continue to explore the coulda, woulda, shoulda.

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