“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."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

"Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings"

Too bad George Bush was never a fighter. I am not talking about politics. I am talking knuckle-busting, blood in the mouth, thumb in the eye brawling. It is not like boxing where, at the amateur level you get matched by weight and experience, you step in the ring with a mouthpiece, headgear and sixteen ounce gloves. You get time out between rounds and a referee to save your sorry ass if you walk into a real head saw pummeling. If you do down, you get a count and the wonderful feeling of mom in the person of the referee protecting you from more.

Street fighting, bar brawling, stepping out into a parking lot is hand-to-hand combat. It is dirt in the face, head locking ball crunching, the taste and feel of shoe leather kind of fighting. It is your lungs burning for breath and the perfect training ground for a President; Abraham Lincoln comes to mind. Washington was, Nixon wasn’t. Andrew Jackson was and Bill Clinton was not and neither was George Bush. It is in another galaxy, but does it give you an education. The first lesson is that you can’t always win. Men instinctively know when they meet another man whether it is win, draw or lose. You do the mental arithmetic real fast and if you come up with a “this guy can kick my ass”, you need another strategy. Negotiation comes to mind. Strategic alliances with other kindred spirits is helpful, but then some times you just have to take your medicine, and this is where a good street fighter has the advantage over more worthy opponents. He knows that it is not necessary to win a total victory. It is important not to get killed. It is important to sting your opponent, draw blood, and surprise him. Hurt him. Make him know that he is going to pay a price for tangling with you. A strategy to make your enemy or opponent pay a price will produce greater returns than trying to win a fight that is not winnable. It is getting a reputation that you are no one to fuck with. Get into an unwinnable fight with an all or nothing strategy and you are going down. You will get hammered. George Bush is getting hammered because no one fears him. The street fighters in Washington, Paris, Baghdad and Moscow know George does not have that fire in his guts and viciousness that if crossed he will fuck them up. Too bad, a few of them need the taste of blood in their mouth.

Addendum: The quote is from Shakespeare's, Julius Caesar. The etching from The Gunpowder Plot, Guy Fawkes , November 5, 1605. Both about plots and disloyalty against a King.


  1. My disillusionment with our Iraq endeavor began last summer, when I was invited to a high-level discussion with administration officials.

    I went into the meeting with one firm goal, to convince my hosts that they'd better have Plan B in case Iraq continued to disintegrate. I left the session convinced that the administration still didn't have Plan A, only a blur of meandering policies and blind hopes. After more than three years, it was still "An Evening at the Improv."

    Then, last month, as Iraq's prime minister seconded al-Sadr's demand that our troops free a death-squad mastermind they had captured, I knew a fateful page had turned. A week later, al-Maliki forbade additional U.S. military raids in Sadr City, the radical mullah's Baghdad stronghold. On Tuesday, al-Maliki insisted that our troops remove roadblocks set up to help find a kidnapped U.S. soldier. Iraq's prime minister has made his choice. We're not it. It's time to face reality. Only Iraqis can save Iraq now — and they appear intent on destroying it. Apr├Ęs nous, le deluge.

    Iraq could have turned out differently. It didn't. And we must be honest about it.
    We owe that much to our troops. They don't face the mere forfeiture of a few congressional seats but the loss of their lives.

    Our military is now being employed for political purposes.
    It's unworthy of our nation.

    Ralph Peters

  2. George Bush is not feared by his political enemies. He is not feared by his friends. In politics they can be the same thing.

  3. Whit, makes the point. Bush does not have the instincts to make his friends and his enemies believe there will consequences to crossing him. He does not keep them guessing as to his reaction.

  4. The defense that an administrations actions as a whole is far from the point 2164 made in his thread.

    Woodrow Wilson finally had to get us involved in WWI but no one looks at Woodrow Wilson as a "war President" He was and is looked upon as a weenie former university president.
    Conversely bespeckled Teddy Roosevelt fomented wars and no one fucked with him. He was a man's man and a leader of men.
    On the world stage Nervous Neville Chamberlain gave way to pugnacious Winston Churchill,who as a young man had been capture twice in the Boer War only to escape. He was a leader of men. He knew the taste of his own blood.
    George Bush did not seek out a war with Islam, it was thrust on him. His initial intention upon taking office was to avoid foreign kerfuffles. Yeah, he is the Commander in Chief and therefore had to make the final calls, but much like his father he has continually disengaged from the enemy instead of reigning total death and destruction on him.
    He has now put himself in the position of having US troops under the titular orders of a newly minted, "I'm gonna side with the bad guys" Maliki
    Bush is exemplified by two quotes from Shakespsear's Julius Caesar.
    "When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff". ActIII sc ii. His ambition to subjugate and defeat the emeny should have been complete. It was not.
    "Cry "Havoc," and let slip the dogs of war". Julius Caesar Quote (Act III, Sc. I).
    He kept the dogs on leashes.

    In war there is no substitute for total domination of your foe, even if you must turn his civilization to dust.
    That is why Bush is not feared. He started rebulding before he had control. Lollipops and hearts and minds, when it should have been killing al Sadr and wiping out his ilk.
    The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

  5. Chaos, a word you really don't like to hear from your heart surgeon or commanding generals.

    "We've got a lot of internal turmoil," said Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, head of the Army Reserve. Continued, widespread cross-leveling is "causing chaos" in his force of 190,000, he said in an interview and a speech last month.


  6. Many of us are the sons and daughters of WWII veterans.

    If you have ever seen the series, "The World at War" or any newreels of the time you notice the TOTAL devistation of major cities. Warsaw was levelled. Stalingrad was levelled. Berlin and on and on. They all came back.

    You blast the enemy to dust, you kill, you utterly destroy your enemy. Then you dictate. Then you lend a hand.

    You don't laser guide one or two bombs into the Ministry of Defense or the Presidential outhouse and call it a victory.
    Shock and awe turned into sockpuppet and shawl.

  7. But what has he done about the now nuclear NorK and Iran?

    He stopped short of Victory.
    It is still, after all, 1938 or 1973.
    Mr Bush will be remembered as a half stepping Chamberlain or a "Peace with Honor" Nixon.

    Just ask the Cambodians, oh wait, they died by the millions, with Peaceful Honor, of course.

  8. Go see that Obsession film, rufus.

    You see a series of local, limited wars. Same as the Supremes did in Hamadan. The Mohammedans are engaged in a World War.

    They are winning, over all.

    We cheer when the US military kills them in ones and twos. Eighty KIA is touted as a major tactical Victory.

    Yet all their Sanctuaries remain, and are growing. The US public has tired of the conflict, Mr Bush failing to maintain an Op tempo that maintains the US publics morale.

  9. Funny, if Gannett ran a editorial in the "AZ Republic" bad mouthing Mr Rumsfeld, no one would mention it.

    Put it in their "Army Times" it becomes "News"

  10. I supported Mr Bush and his actions based on his 2002 State of the Union speach.

    He has failed to fulfill the promises he made then.

    What others may or may not have done, is not the Issue, the actions that others may have taken are unknowables.

    That Mr Bush lied is obvious.

  11. The Washington elites and the MSM did not sway me.
    It was after action reports from Marines, that I'd rust with my life, and Mr Bush's failure to fulfill his promises.

    That's the reality, rufus, at least for me.

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  13. Rufus, I admire your fierce support for Bush and value your often opposing point of view.

    IMO Bush is too easy on his political enemies, far too easy. He is too easy on his critics and lets them the terms of the discussion.

    The arument to go to war in Iraq is debatable and more time will be needed to judge. The post war decisions in Iraq are rife with missteps, mistakes, and some very poor judgment. There is no proof that is will prove itself to be helpful. If it does, GWB will join athat rare list of great men who time proved to be right.

    Criticism with the intent to destroy is malicious and wrong. Crtiticism made from despair is understandable and forgivable, and if intended to encourage change is a good thing.

  14. Yes Rufus, yes that is the point to the Post! Bush needs your fire. Damn man, that is the bloody point.

  15. I quoted them when they supported Mr Bush, I'll quote them when they don't.

    The fact that all these fellows are getin' off the bus, you credited to Cocktailing, that must be it.

  16. Mr Bush supports my position, rufus, and discounts yours, at least he did in '02

    "... These enemies view the entire world as a battlefield, and we must pursue them wherever they are. So long as training camps operate, so long as nations harbor terrorists, freedom is at risk and America and our allies must not, and will not, allow it.
    Our military has put the terror training camps of Afghanistan out of business, yet camps still exist in at least a dozen countries. A terrorist underworld -- including groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Jaish-i-Mohammed -- operates in remote jungles and deserts, and hides in the centers of large cities.
    ...But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will.
    North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.

    Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.
    States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.

    We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials, technology and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction.
    We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.
    We can't stop short. If we stopped now, leaving terror camps intact and terror states unchecked, our sense of security would be false and temporary. History has called America and our allies to action, and it is both our responsibility and our privilege to fight freedom's fight.

    But maybe that is why Mr Frum is disillusioned, as well.
    I could bold the most obvious shortfalls, but why?

  17. Well, rufus, using Mr Cheney's 1% Standard, Iran has a nuke, manufactured in NorK. Just as Mr Bush warned US of, in '02.

    But then you deny NorK has a device, in the face of siesmic and radiolocical evidence.

    Discounting Mr Cheney's 1% Standard when it does not suit your arguments.

  18. Isn't Bush Irish? That should be good enough.