“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."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hobbling The Iranian Horse.

In 1967, during the reign of the military junta in Greece, I received an assignment that caused me to be stationed in Larrisa, Greece. It was a dusty Greek Air Base in a dusty city located on the plains of Thessaly, in view of Mount Olympus. My assignment was tangenital to the Greek political situation but my presence in Larrissa was noticeable and watched. I quit staying in a hotel, as my room was obviously being searched during my absence. I roomed with another American in a small pleasant house in an upscale residential area. The house had an iron fence, secure gates and every door and window could be secured with roll down exterior shutters.

One night, I was startled awake, to hear an obvious metallic sound in the street below my balcony. I heard it again and then a third time. I grabbed a weapon, and only dressed in white boxer shorts, went out the back door to come up behind a low wall to surprise the apparent intruder. In front of me in the street was a horse, hobbled with chains, over hooves, that looked as if he were standing on skis. He looked like a bedraggled emaciated escaped prisoner. The hooves had not been filed in years, and the horse was trying to flee his obvious hell.

In this morning's Telegraph, they discuss hobbling Iran. Iran is a far more bold animal than the poor horse in that surreal far away night, and assuredly more worthy of hobbling.

Hobbling Iran
"Of course Iran is funnelling arms and agitators into the Shia provinces of Iraq. It goes without saying that the ayatollahs are seeking to stir up their co-religionists and to weaken the pro-Western section of Iraqi society.

All revolutionary regimes try to export their ideology, and Iran is no exception. Since 1979, the mullahs and their agents have roamed as far as the Caucasus, the Balkans and the Silk Road khanates, bringing their brand of fundamentalism to peoples who were close to forgetting their faith.

They have radicalised young men across the Arab world, especially among the Shia populations of Lebanon and the Gulf states, prompting King Abdullah of Jordan to fret about a "Shia crescent" along the arc of the old Fertile Crescent.

They have sponsored terrorist attacks as far afield as Britain and Argentina.

So no one should be surprised by their involvement in an adjacent territory that has long looked culturally and ecclesiastically to Teheran.

What is surprising is their blatancy. Britain, after all, is the fourth military power on Earth; yet Iran is defying our forces in southern Iraq with something close to impudence.

What has made the ayatollahs so confident? The short answer is the recent invasions.

Within the past three years, the West has removed two hostile regimes from Iran's flanks: the Ba'athists and the Taliban. At the same time, an unhappy legacy of the Iraq war is that almost no one in Britain or America can mount an argument for further military action in the region. The mullahs know this.

None the less, there are several steps short of a full invasion that might be taken: tougher sanctions, asset seizures, the sponsoring of internal opposition movements, direct assaults on arms facilities and, as a last resort, the kind of armed siege that paralysed Saddam between 1991 and 2003.

Such actions would not be disproportionate given the magnitude of the threat. We know that Iran supplies terrorist proxies from Beirut to Buenos Aires. We know, too, that it wants the atomic bomb. Can we be certain that Iran would not tip its auxiliaries' weapons with nuclear warheads? It is a risk we should not take."

The Telegraph


  1. The Telegraph must not subscribe to the Cheney 1% Threat Standard of 100% Deterence. Because the Iranians are well beyond that threat level of nuclear capacity, already.

    A 45 foot NorK cruiser/ cargo ship was recently boarded while disabled in Indian waters. The boat was reported to be empty.

    Now 45 feet is not much of a cargo ship, but a heck of a personal watercraft. Floating empty of cargo, dead in the water, while on its' "shakedown" cruise.

    Just so you know, a hobbled horse can cover some ground, if a hind leg is not tied up. Like This

  2. Thanks Dr, I never realized that a horses hooves would keep growng so long.

  3. How to hobble Iran? Sell Israel about 12 slightly-used B-52G long-range bombers. Then stand back and watch things simmer down.

  4. Yeah, if the horse is not free ranging they will not wear/ break off. The coffin bone distends and the hoof wall will delaminate.

    If it gets that elf look, it becomes next to impossible to recover the animal, It'll always be lame.

    here is a picture of what you saw, that night long ago.

  5. goat hooves do the same, if not free-ranging. The painting is either Remington or Russell, I'd guess. Remington painted his hosses small, so I guess Remington--?

  6. yep, buddy, that's the artist, good old Fredric

  7. Ole Charlie Russell has always been my favorite, being as how he was a working cowboy who only went into the studio when he got hisself hitched and hadda put down roots.

  8. Those old boys didn't have Iranian nukes on their minds, did they.

  9. The Battle of Seattle

    At the Battle of Seattle, it was not about speaking Truth to Power. It was Truth manifest as Power and that Power becoming a powerful new idea, one witnessed across the world, as the Global Capitalist Machine had a wrench jammed into its gears.

    This wrench had been crafted for centuries by then. It'd begun in Thoreau's cabin; he was the tool and dye maker for revolution, for the Western idea of negating heirarchy.

    But the steel was forged by Lenin and Mao, as its formulas, its alloys, were designed by the politically and culturally alchemical Marx. Many had picked it up, this wrench of the people, this tool useful to man but useless to dehumaninzing industry, and smote and smashed with it.

    The Battle of Seattle was a case of two forms grappling, each with their inherent functions. The Gestapo, the stewards of hemlock and concentration camps, rained seering chemical warfare down upon us. And armored against both conversation and the flails of those they subdued, they sought to impose upon our disobedience the violence of their economics.

    Our wrenches in hand, mobilized and connected by a vast wrench-architechture, we became one beast resisting the yoke of mass culture and mass politics. Long before the Capitalist militaries would catch on, it was the wrench-bearers who took to NetWar, having read the Capitalists manuals written for a new age of subjugation and exploitation.

    Before Seattle, our rejections could only be theoreteical, but before us, upon the glass and sign-lined streets, the Nazis marched. And we would take the theoretical and destroy it not only with our dialectics, but with our networked subversions and challenges.

    We saw in that Battle of Seattle the collpase of their ideas, overrun by the sheer mass of our collective will, soundly silenced for all to witness by fearless incantations and mighty rejection of their unbalanced impositions.

    It soon became apparent to the wrench-bearers that the Nazis were paper tigers, whose compromised humanity fell short of our ante, and the storefronts with emblems signifying exploitation, graft and feudalism were utterly helpless, despite their own intellectual violence. They could offer not a single rational counter to our challenges, with neither an idea or a spirit of engagement to unite. They had only the God of the Bankers and the Brokers.

    And so, knowing no union possible, we sought to tear up their tracks and salt their earth, so that all who were crushed may have less weight upon their backs, so that they may get up from their knees and begin to walk towards tomorrow. So that after walking, they may see the rules around them, and also see the wrench that is theirs to swing and throw.

    But what happened to Seattle after the insurrection against the Capitalists?

    I was lucky enough to venture back to Seattle after Burning Man 2006 (7 AS - After Seattle), having travelled on the back of a flatbed, inside Portable bathrooms that had been offered for free to the attending wrench-bearers. The group that provided the bathrooms explained their commune had grown a unique blend of spices that they'd fill the waste pans with, and it would transform the odors naturally repelant to us with something as complex and interesting as red wine. Most in attendance, seemed intrigued by the idea, and many excited wrench-bearers and psilonauts entered a given portable, and upon emerging, were crazed with the innovation. It was a powerful example of new Post-Seattle innovations, empowering with bold progress our old philsophical ideas.

    I spent some several hours inside one of these progressive pods, itself a singular unit of re-ordering, of changed terms, of moving beyond and onward, of the essence of balance and harmony. And the Battle came back to me in all its vividness - the flanking maneuvers and the routs as well as the intellectual firestorm. Through it all, we had spooked the Banker's finger away from the scales for a short while.

    Emerging from the strange confines of the portable, I saw a different Seattle, one whose intellectual fabric had been immunized against the boundless greed that hid behind the riot shields we charged. With that finger off the economic, political, social and cultural scales, people witnessed a glimpse of the possibilities in a new world, that held the promise of a pristine new continent.

    And here in Seattle, through the mire of Capitalist filth, that land began to shine through: There were currency-free bike shops, where labor, services and knowledges were exchanged in the form of barter, where social heirarchies revered the rare vertical components, for they were unanimously seen as the most humble and the most altruistic towards the rest of the group. There were new aesthetics and new ideas. And everywhere I look, the ranks of the wrench-bearers was growing and the wrench-bearing had embraced a long-tail of an entire generation, with little commonality between us but the compulsion to wield and the dream of something new.

  10. Did a fine job, along with the George Catlin, who painted many Indians in their tribal look, from life, in even earlier times.

  11. Runtchard, man, that is beautiful, man, when is lunch, man?

  12. But what happened to Seattle after the insurrection against the Capitalists?

    I'll tell you what happened. They spent so much of the taxpayer's money on stupid stuff like a new $200,000 city motto ("Metronatural") that they ran out of money to fix potholes and clean storm drains. So they put a LEVY on the November 7 ballot to jack up property taxes EVEN MORE THAN THEY ARE NOW just to pay for basic services, and the metronaturals voted it in. Will the last couple with children leaving Seattle for Maple Valley turn out the lights?

  13. In a career spanning four decades, he wrote passionately in defense of the Southwest and its inhabitants, often mocking the mindless bureaucratic forces hell-bent on destroying it. "Resist much, obey little," from Walt Withman, was this warrior's motto.

    While he was alive, attempts to label him in conventional terms nearly always fell short because he was neither left-wing nor right-wing, nor was he an outlaw. He was a genuine rebel who simply did not believe in the moderns industrial way of life. He wrote against the grain, always choosing the path of the greatest resistance. Beginning in the 1950s, he depicted the Southwest not as a virgin utopia peopled by rugged individualists, but as a region under siege because of government and corporate greed, its people at risk of being cut off from the primary wellspring of their spiritual strength - the wild places. He's been dead for a while now, but the legend keeps in growing.

  14. We are always blessed when runtchard drops by and visits the EB. Anyone seen the asprin gentleman ?

  15. rat, the 1850s. A hundred-year typo.

  16. Mr. Aspirin I haven't seen, but Runtchard is habu's machine

  17. 2164th wrote:

    We are always blessed when runtchard drops by and visits the EB. Anyone seen the asprin gentleman ?

    Don't take runtchard's big blue pill, you'll never find the bottom of that rabbit hole.

  18. more of a worm hole, to an alternate space/time

  19. ahh, you think that was about our fore mentioned painters, when instead it describes another artist of the Southwest, all together, Edward Abbey

    A real desert rat, in deed and word

  20. Habu ia a total nut job and a bloody genius, but he is our nut job, and the SOB can really tune a B52. The senior member ot the Elephant inner circle, first to raise the jolly roger, posting to an empty room, undaunted and always on the ready to take the air out of an inflated ego and put it into a B52 tire. Raise a glass to Habu, whoever the hell you really are.

  21. very good, rat--the "wrench" from runtchard, to "The Monkey Wrench Gang". A true hero, a iconoclast without the bustle.

    Since the time was right only a typo off, I'd thought you meant another of the stripe.

  22. You'd be amazed a the power of the blue vitamin. It has raised the vision and ambition of many an apathetic boomer.

  23. revise and resubmit that link buddy.

  24. 2164, i'll drink to that crazy genius--

  25. Remmington on the walls, Abbey on the shelf.

    habu at sea

    runtchard is mentioned and then appears, big and bold, ready for Mt Ranier to belch, again.

    Seattle and Naples, cities of fools, if long term real estate viability is considered, regardless of economic model the residents decide to use.

  26. Drinks on the house to the Habu man. Raise your glass Sister.

  27. better? It was really a minor link--just something on the painters.

  28. It was 'spose to be a link to George Catlin, a mid-19th century naturalist of the West who tried to lay down the 'look' of the Amerindians before the hungrier--and better armed--settlers changed it.

  29. Just a matter of time.

    There are houses standing shoulder to shoulder in the route of the volcanos' past lahars. Mud flows that snapped the trunks of six foot diameter trees like toothpicks.

    tick tock tick

  30. I still haven't fully processed the sight of those Mt St Helen's lehars. Too big. Like flying over the mouth of the Amazon, 50 miles out to sea, with giant tree trunks still rolling in the churn.

  31. Right on through folks' neighborhoods, this time around, buddy.

    Seattle, Naples, Mexico City.
    All in the shadow of destruction, making the folks in New Orleans seem clever in retrospect.

  32. I believe 2164 rivals Jamie Irons for Forest Gumpitude.

  33. Some Seattlites live on their boats. They're good to go.

  34. Pliny-the-Younger took a boat back to get Pa of the Herculanium beach, but Pa had a coronary and died right there. They think his age and the gases in the air done him in.

  35. 2164....

    A long day with wonderful seas.

    I saw somewhere on one of the treads I think yesterday the question posited as to who runtchard is. It seems my name came up and apparently a consesus formed.
    Let me assure you I am not runchard.
    This I swear on this day of days where we honor or Veterans and I returned my mother to the sea.
    I just read his/her posting and to be truthful I'm not even sure what the hell/she/he are talking about.
    I do feel kinda honored that some of you folks think I could do that and the fact is I probably could but in this case runchard is not part of Habu. I really only handle myself and the critters. This I vow.
    And I'm truly serious I haven't a clue what that post at 4:53 is about.

  36. C.M. Russell..Montanan ..been to his museum. Great preserver of the western culture.

  37. "The population at risk--More than 150,000 people reside on the deposits of previous lahars."

  38. smuggle weapons into iran via the iranian arabs and kurds

    Iran is 49% not persian

    Destroy their oil exporting abilities

    Destroy their oil refinery, & block imports of gasoline

    Target their computers and fry them

    Short out their Electric grid

    how's that for a short list

  39. Catherine,
    I guess I've got some back tracking to do on the whole Buddy said this and runchard expanded it to this.
    I suppose if I new the entire picture I'd be able to decipher better what is being said but its a challenge right now and since I'm not going to backtrack to unravel Seattle I'll just move forward to my normal spot behind the .50 caliber waiting for a muzzie to come in sight. I'll be here a while though cause ther aren't too many in north Florida.

  40. Rufus,

    I'm looking at that right now, but I'm not sure how Sitemeter "tracks comments" so to speak.

    But you could limit the number of cities of origin so to speak and proceed from there

  41. For instance, for someone whose ISP router is located in Phoenix, there is something called 15 comments - but I cant find what those 15 comments are - they are limited to this thread.

    Time to look for documentation :/

  42. I account for 9 of those 15, I'd guess. The other 6, that'd have to be someone else.

  43. "The object of the Author [is] to show how easily the masses have been led astray, and how imitative and gregarious men are, even in their infatuations and crimes…Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."

    While Gagdad Bob does not examine how leaders often willfully pander to tribal fantasies and are, therefore, the empowered totem of those fantasies, he will no doubt cover this topic at a later date. In short, Mr. Bush was not an innocent bystander, shanghaied into service.

    Elections, Group Fantasy, and Human Sacrifice

    Link. H/T TigerHawk

  44. Hey, speaking of those Lahars, we have an Indonesian visitor:

    site meter linkn here

    Wow this is so awesome - ive never used this tool before - this fabled indonesian got to the EB by searching the Google blog search for
    "rumsfeld resigned"

    Have fun with that sitemeter bbl

  45. Thank ew for the kind comment, catherine. I noticed it did sorta kill the thread for a mo', over there. Too didactic, i 'spose.

  46. Rufus,

    i dont think bloggers comment architecture allows that kind of tracking when you arent hosting it on your own server, but they do each have their own ID - if it corresponds to a blogger user Id thatd be interesting and something to go on. otherwise, iono

  47. 2164 did however identify a good deal of my persona. I will post to an empty room and answer myself.
    I don't try to be offensive but I am old school and I say what I mean and I mean what I lack of PC over the last decade has caused many a comversation to abruptly turn into a jaw dropping contest.
    I am proud to be asociated with many of the members at EB. I get the feeling that we all say what we mean and mean what we say..that's damn good company in my world..we may not always agree and we're surly all alpha's but each member is damn near like family.
    I'm sure many lurkers find out very quickly how non PC we are but also how historically accurate we are and how prescient our hosts are in their threads.

  48. habu has convinced me it air not he, but he do make the same apostrophic error, using "it's" for "its". who else do that? I dunno, just helping investigrate.

  49. ok , site meter checkers, I'm coming through AOL and am in north florida near jacksonville

  50. heh--if you're no longer svelte in your threads, why not prescient?

  51. One thing I'm sure of. Runchard is getting a kick out of this, i know I would be if I were in his/her shoes/pumps/7" spikes, latex covered ..oh oops got my blogs temp confused......
    unless like one of our female poster wears latex and has 7" spiked heels ...then I'd be afraid..I think.

  52. only until you were completely "punished", tho

  53. the thing is, this blog has more writers on it than we probly realize.

  54. a cat avatar makes one think runchard (not to mention the name) be a friend...or rival...

  55. rat values succintness too much--Runtchard ain't succint.

  56. Ash, have you ever heard of Captain Obvious?

  57. Waaait a minute...runtchard's politics are...ASH'S!

  58. ...and, since Nov 7, aren't we really ALL runtchard now?

  59. T is sly enough to dope up her speling and grammer

  60. If you can imagine a whimsical VI Lenin, you can imagine a whimsical C4.

  61. Anyhoo, that sure was a nice thing habu said up above, about the company 'round here.

  62. We could play the "who" game forever.

    It's really an 80 year old granny who was an American Firster before WWII started and then became a fellow traveller.
    She lives in Santa Monica in a condo and does stain glass windows when she scores he acid. He favorite jolly is flashing Tom Hayden at town hall meetings and she has fantascies about Bill and Hillary in a menage a trois.

  63. see in a two paragraph post if there ain't three ur four spell'n and gramnical earors it sorely ain't I.

  64. You can tell by the accent that it's someone originally from the Braintree area, migrated to Iowa during the caucus season in '68 and then moved on to SoCal.

    Originally worked Manhattan Beach speading suntan lotion on beach volleyballers, then moved to Playa del Rey to help fight for the saving of the Balona Creek Wetlands.

  65. Taking another look at Gagdad Bob’s diagnosis as it applies to elite fantasies, consider:

    “Olmert calls Lebanon war ‘strategic, military and political success’”.

    “I know for sure through different sources that Hezbollah was close to total surrender. Now the presence of the Lebanese army in the entire southern region, together with a robust international force, is very significant. It creates a reality entirely different to anything that existed before July 12.”


    Yes, there is an entirely different reality.

  66. For sure the saving grace of all this is that it's all just our opinions among literally millions of opinions on the net ... and few of us have any influence as we found out on the 7th.
    But who would miss the quips, the info, the thrust and parry, the wisdom, the inanity, the yummy bagels with creme cheese, the 7" spiked, oh God, sorry uh that was a uh well anyway....

  67. If we find out who it is, what then?

    Perhaps it's AQ using the EB as a place to pass instructions to cells?
    That would be a damn nasty thing.

  68. I think we need to get Alcee Hastings invovled.

  69. Twren't me, tufus. I just wrote a book to Comintern Ash over on another EB thread, so my silence lately is covered.

    Whoever it is, their writing soars like a Neagle.

  70. Susan Estrich is on Fox right now grinnin like a possum eatin doo-doo.

  71. catherine said...
    Sorry, Allen. Your post wasn't funny.

    No need to be sorry. It wasn't meant to be.

  72. heard somewhere Mr. Olmert is coming to DC very soon to meet with Mr. Bush on the subject of Iran.

  73. Olmert will be in the US the coming week.

    Mr. Olmert has demonstrated previously his grasp of reality. Looking to Mr. Olmert for guidance, will take one no further than looking to the "Ultra-Secret Comprehensive Plan for the Pacification of Iraq and the Imminent Attack on Iran" (anytime from spring 2006 to December 2007). As this is written, the IDF has discovered more than 100 smugglers' tunnels at or hear the Philadelphia Crossing, through which thousands of tons of munitions are reported to have been moved. To maintain the fantasy of Egyptian neutrality and President Abbas's good intentions, Mr. Olmert remains unmoved - just as he was during most of the late war.

    In short order, Israel will fight a war for survival. It will be surrounded by heavily armed Hamas-Fatah, Egypt, Syria, Hezbollah and Lebanon. To guarantee that the military assets of Western powers in and near the ME are not misappropriated, Israel will attack those assets in all probability.

    I may be dense, but I have trouble understanding how you could imagine my post "funny", Catherine. If tragedy is comedy taken to the extreme, it may be that, but funny, no.

  74. Clausewitz concluded that moderation in warfare or conflict is absurd. I'm old fashioned.

    Moderation in war leads to defeat in the field.

    Moderation in politics leads to defeat at the polls.

  75. nah--cat was talking to habu, but now's you mention it, allen, there is nothing at all funny about Israel's position. Gaza is loading up the Kornets and even later stuff from Russia (search russian anti tank gaza). Iran is coming after Jerusalem. If Rove has any genius, it is putting the Dems on the spot to fix EVERYTHING by fixing Iran.

  76. from Tex, over @ current BC thread:

    From Debka-Net Oct 20:

    Iranian interests have bought up all the buildings surrounding Sistani’s residence in the holy Shiite town of Najef south of Baghdad. This is a gentle description of how the Iranians operated, according to sources in Baghdad and Najef. In fact, Iranian thugs drove hundreds of families out of their homes for derisory purchasing prices and have lodged in their place 500 Iranian intelligence ministry agents, imported with their families.

    These agents have set up armed checkpoints around Sistani’s dwelling. Iranian officers detain and search the grand ayatollah’s visitors and often bar their entry. The eminent Shiite cleric is today the virtual hostage of Iranian intelligence.

    His plight is no secret in Baghdad or Washington, but no one has moved to release the cleric from siege for fear of harm coming to him.

    It's a subversive, proxy-deniable Machiavellianism for which the west has yet to find counter.

  77. atop all that K State is bustin up my Longhorns

  78. catherine,

    So, you have a problem with a former Federal judge? Or is just race?

    Representative Hastings is as close as the Democrats are likely to get to a Bork.


  79. buddy, you forget, the President proposes, the Congress disposes.

    The solutions are still in Mr Bush's court. He and Mr Baker's.

    Funny thing about the remainder at BC, still sure that the US will turn a corner, take on Mr al-Sadr and the rest. Still not ready to abandon ship, even as the Captain heads to the lifeboats.

    All the Dems have to do is complain, a per normal. They may have even garnered some Authority in the past Election. The Responsibility stays with the President though.

    Mr Bush has got US 'tween a rock and a hard place, the Dems get to aggresively "overwatch" but it is still Mr Bush who has to maneuver.

  80. buddy,

    re: Sistani

    There is a solution, if one wants one. For years, the US has spent huge sums of money to create special operations units. Precision munitions are readily available. Obviously, any operation to free Sistani is not without risk, and that is the problem. Remember the 9/11 program from some months back? There is no way to win if one doesn't play.

  81. You say K Street is beatin' up on those Texans?
    Mr DeLay didn't get out of town quick enough? What we've got a You Tube of the mugging?

  82. There is a way, allen, but not the will.

  83. rufus wrote:

    Well, bless her little old heart. I'm afraid I've cut back on my Telebisyon viewing for a bit. I'm feelin a little blue; if you know what I mean?

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean. In fact, this video pretty much encapsulates November 7 in 2 1/2 minutes.

  84. sorry buddy, I was being more cryptic then intended. To be explicit. Wretchard uses a cat, runchard used a cat, runchard is a mangled Wretchard. Written well, creative....


    WASHINGTON -- One reason for hurrying Senate confirmation of Robert Gates as secretary of defense through the lame-duck session of Congress is to avoid confrontation with an old enemy: James Webb, who will be a Democratic senator from Virginia in the new Congress starting in January.

    During President Reagan's second term, Gates and Webb clashed as colleagues. Webb as secretary of the Navy objected to plans by Gates, then deputy national security adviser, for U.S. warships to protect oil platforms in the Persian Gulf. The hot-tempered Webb made clear his irritation with the soft-spoken Gates.

    Considering his background, Webb is likely to go on the Senate Armed Services Committee. The White House wants to confirm Gates before Webb is sworn in. (Robert Novak)

    Ahh, but the GOP Senators were always ridin' with Mr Bush. Perhaps that is why Mr Chafee still opposes Mr Boltons' nomination for the UN spot.
    He never was a real Republican. Not one I would support, anyway. Mr Bush and the Nationals supported him, though, spent millions and many of hours of staff work in the unsuccessful attempt to maintain his Incumbency. And after all that, he still holds Mr Bolton hostage.

    Thank you, but no. Not the type of people I'd choose to associate myself with. Either the ungrateful in defeat or those that cannot tell the difference 'tween their friends and their enemies.

  86. No submissions from Oz, though.

    Kinda slips a shiv in that theory, unless bouncing the submission off a US server, just to maintain an anonymous veil ... well, I just don't see it.

  87. Mr Bolton is a perfect example of the Bush Teams inability to manage political situations.
    It is Iraq writ small.

    Even with a majority in the Senate the President could not get his man approved. Mr Bush and Team could not manage Lincoln Chafee, a key man on their Team.

    How could they possibly be expected to manage the cast and crew in Iraq, in particular, or the greater Middle East in general, when Lincoln Chafee is to tough a nut to crack?

    The Peter Principle writ large in an entire Governmental Administration?

  88. Papa Ray, West Texas made an observation that we all recognise.
    We don't learn much from history. His reference was to Vietnam.
    One of the reasons is that every up and coming generation, the new graduates may have studied the history but as we also know each new generation is 20x smarter than any other generation. Ready to "show" how it should be done.

    It happens in business with ever new class of MBA's..they are SO terribly smart and older people so terrible dumb they shutter at how we've ever gained so much.

    Now having finished that bit of sarcasm I'll move to the "What's Victory, how will we identify it,define it,recognise it"
    Well victory is when your enemy has unconditionally surrendered to you. Anything short of that has modifiers out the wazoo. Unconditional surrender. It's never been any other way. That's victory, the rest is just crap-o-la.

  89. Boy, if only Sistani would actually read that letter from Bush that he so publicly put on a high shelf unread, he would see Enclosure One (1) is a map of underground CIA tunnels that can spirit him away from the Iranian Secret Agent Apartments ringing his mosque.

  90. Thanks for that link, allen. I must go drop it on C4, who is picking on me @ BC.

  91. buddy,

    When you get together with C4 again, you might remind him that the Tigers, Korea and Switzerland prosper peacefully because the United States protects them from wolves that would devour them in a flash otherwise.

  92. I think Cosmo just didit. Good point, too. Who wants to be a Swiss, anyway? Counting it's gold, and yodeling.

    rat, dunno what to tell ya--I'm not currently disposed toward offering you much pro-administration argument. Other than to say, you can lead a hoss to water, etcetera. Some people refuse to follow--they can't BE led.

  93. Perhaps Sistani did not select wisely. Or, perhaps he has outlived his usefulness.

    Hey, why not send in Madame Rice to negotiate. I've read she has a knack for that sort of thing.

  94. Oh my goodness, the BC has gone completely degenerate.

    Barry Manilow! Barry Manilow!

    Buddy must be cut off immediately before he irredeemably embarrasses himself.


  95. buddy,

    I'm confused by C4. If, as he says, the Jews control the Bush administration and the Republican Congress, they didn't do a very good job Tuesday.

    I would bring up that little incident in Europe sometime ago, but that is so 40s.

  96. if he jump me again, that's an awfully good point. What happened to the Zionist Conspiracy last tuesday?

  97. i got to tell ya, Allen, this hits me late at night, but I'm worried sick about Israel. Everything has gone to shit so fast.

  98. I've mentioned the "real" master plan, before.
    mat may lose his place outside of Haifa, but better over there, rather then over here.

    The real essence of the Bush Doctrine, no?

  99. God, that's too ghastly a thought.

  100. This is how we fight
    "Yes, we shed tears from time to time, both of joy and apprehension," he said, his voice breaking. "There comes a time to let your children go, and we're past that point. They are doing what they feel called to do."

  101. with just the tiniest bit of help from Central Europe, the west would be unassailable in the Mediterranean. Germany, for crying out loud, nearly beat the whole world. And now, it's just Israel, and whatever the New Boss Dems want to do, that matters, against a sea of nuked-up suicide killers.

    Putin must be giggling himself to sleep at night.

  102. The most likely scenario, buddy.

    The Iranians have those small nukes, per Mr Cheney's 1% Standard.

    They will pass them on to terror groups, or else the whole reason for the "War on Terror" is fraudulant. Hezbollah has a nuke, per the Cheney 1% Standard.

    Mr Baker, the realist, along with Mr Scrowcroft, Ms Rices' mentor, are both pro KSA and not as firmly in the pro Israeli camp as 43's first advisors were.

    What target is the most greatly hated, which can be reached the big or the little satan?

    If you were aligned against US, how would you advance the war, buddy?

    War or retreat and remember your god does not permit retreat.

  103. buddy,

    re: Israel: Everything has gone to shit so fast.

    With no intent whatsoever to be disputatious, things have been going to shit for a long, long time.

    Again, Israel is the canary in the coal mine. We have been there before. How many times will it take for the rest of the world to get the message: we are indestructible - for a reason.


    (I will bless those who bless you.)

  104. No, it's not logical to expect anything else. The signs are everywhere. Including that the Baker team, not to mention Mossad, probably already know it. Iran is acting like it has the bluff already laid in the back channels.

    Israel will tear the holy hell out of 'em, tho. Literally. may be a double knockout.

  105. Abracadabra is firm in his believe the US will not strike back, that it really is a "paper tiger".

    The US cannot act preemptively at this point. The only way to beat the Iranians is to beat them bloody. In retaliation.

    Get the Iranians to overreach, then burn 'em. Or come home.
    War or retreat, our options as well, now that the people have spoken.

    What target suits the US interst best. One that would justify an out of proportion response?

  106. do you mean, a target that would rally America, like 911?

  107. Either would do it. even the NYT could not bear it.

  108. it's 15,000 yrs ago--we can't war without a blood sacrifice.

  109. American public opinion--the new Ba'al.

  110. Did you know that Hannibal--the fine general--was being backed by blood sacrifice back in Carthage? As many as 20,000 children, in the support of his wars against Rome. Altar sacrifices, by the Ba'al priests. maybe even hannibal's own youngest brother.

  111. James A. (F**k the Jews) Baker III and Igor Scowcroft are unsympathetic.

    I cannot say what Mr. Olmert would do if provoked by a WMD attack. But unless he retaliates against the usual suspects (North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan with certainty) his end will be sealed.

    Mr. Bush and Dr. Rice should carefully consider how such an attack on Israel could push the developed world into conflagration. When faced with extinction, Israel might have to weigh the guilt of China, Russia, and France as well. That would really but a knot in the tail of the global economy.

  112. well, if you want to get down to the brass tacks, if my people (if us scandahoovians HAD a "my people") had your people's 40s/Europe experience, I'd take as many of the sonzabitches down with me as i could. I really would.

  113. ten thousand years from now, they'd still be saying "When a Jew says 'Never Again'--*believe* him".

  114. I think Israel will just up and do it. Did it before, when the armies were moving in on her. we're playing the clock backwards--just had the 1974 elections here again. next big calendar event, June 1967.

  115. the tension is just too great, to wait for the little Imam to strike. America may need the pretext; Israel already has plenty. The "wipe off the map" comment was damn near enough on its own.

  116. well, i'm babbling. K State beat the Horns, no mo Nat'l Champeenship. damn. nite all.

  117. The great glibly let slip the dogs of war, only to find they've loosed Hell's hounds - fire breathing demons, who, with wanton disregard, consume the great and the small.

    "The conventional wisdom is that we would be better off if politically powerful leaders were less mediocre. Instead, my view is that we would be better off if mediocre political leaders were less powerful."

  118. teresita,

    If I may, please think about this: we here are all exhibitionists, certainly. More importantly, however, we are writers of a sort – writers being some of the bravest souls. You see, we send into the ether our most personal selves. We stand naked in order to say, “We were here; take note.” Sometimes, you give the impression of being merely an exhibitionist. We resent this trivialization of our strife.

  119. Something I couldn't help but notice in this article on "Workforce Abuse in Emirates"

    You know the scenario where hundreds of thousands of people are welcomed into a society, and possess neither "human rights" nor the civil rights of that given society?

    "But the projects have been built on the backs of 600,000 Asian laborers with few rights and little recourse to combat exploitation"

    This pointed out by Human Rights Watch

    I always wondered if the power in prestige afforded to NGOs meant that spies would be infiltrating NGOs and companies more so than state governments. I'm not saying thats happened here, but given how "unready" those folks are for Thomas Jefferson, so to speak, perhaps they are ready for a bit of labor reform - its a little less controversial, and economics have subverted even India's formal caste system. Something to keep an eye on, I suppose.

    The Emirates, like other Gulf countries, relies on foreign labor for private sector jobs. Labor conditions are similar in nearby Kuwait and Qatar; worse in Saudi Arabia and slightly better in Oman and Bahrain, said Ghaemi, of Human Rights Watch.

    Turning around those "labor conditions" might have a much larger impact across the region than "turning around" the political conditions.

    We need a Muslim Deng Xiaoping who can tell the muslims to "get rich." If "get rich" opportunities existed and were culturally resonating, I'm not sure how much those Imams would be listened to, let alone how valueable ambiguous accomodation of Islamists in general.

    On another topic:

    Analysts said EADS might see an investment by Dubai as a counterweight to recent stake building by Russian interests. The state-owned Russian bank Vneshtorgbank bought 5% of EADS in September.

  120. rufus said:

    You can't have prosperity without Capitalism, and you can't have Capitalism without a vibrant banking industry (and that depends upon the ability to charge interest.)

    Otherwise, all you have is an economic "perpetual motion machine" that just grinds down to a stop with no input of new energy.