“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."

Friday, January 19, 2007

You know what this means!
Welcome to the Friday night Free for all at the Elephant Bar

Drinks are on the house if you bring your own.
Gents, we aim to please, will you aim too, please? Don 't steal the deodorant cakes!
Smoking permitted. If you do not inhale, please leave.
We encourage freewheeling conversation, keep it civil and interesting.
Do not kick the dog!
Thanks-2164th & whit, proprietors.


  1. Gentleman,

    Just a little quick visit. I am in what is supposed to be the tropics but it is a leather jacket night here in Costa Rica. I just had enough time to review the comments. A lot of interesting things going on in Iraq, but the Chinese continue to fascinate me. This is an article from The Tico Times about the two most important trading partners of Costa Rica.

    The Tico Times

    I will be going to a party of a lot of Cuban expats here in San Jose. If I learn anything interesting, I will report in.

  2. The good news was that the Bush Administration came right back at Nancy Pelosi, and she basically took her words back! I know I'm like Charlie Brown assuming again and again that Lucy will hold the football still so I can kick it, but maybe the Bush Administration is getting back into politics, after letting the Democrats call him a liar for three years.

  3. [al-Sadr spokesman] Shanshal urged al-Diraji be released and accused the government of breaching an agreement to halt "attacks targeting al-Sadr's movement."

    The capture of the al-Sadr aide al-Diraji is interesting. Maliki's people said he wasn't warned about it, even though Iraqi forces were involved. One al-Sadr spokesman mentioned a street protest with something worse hinted, yet later in the day (I think) this other spokesman mentions a deal protecting al-Sadr's people.

    Is Bush sending a message? Did he need someone to washboard? Or is that a hostage since one of ours was taken in al-Sadr's territory?

  4. Whit quoted Grandma, "That's why he's moving so quickly to put them in harm's way."

    The first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging.

  5. Often, with good cause, the United States is faulted for failure to adequately use information warfare. We all should think about something along these lines, of a positive nature.

    Recently, in Somalia, the Islamists were draw into a battle they lost. How much pre-publicity accompanied this fight? How many jihadis were draw to Somalia who, otherwise, might have decided instead to fight in Iraq? Consider, further, the hype about the coming potentially disrupting Taliban spring offensive in Afghanistan. How many jihadis are now working their way to that theatre of operation to be on hand for the defeat of the Great Satan?

    There is more than one way to use information.

  6. allen, superb link.

    What really struck me from 2LT Daily's post was how sensitive and knowledgeable he was about the historical precedents and the extent of regional repercussions should Iraq be "lost".

    He was tired of people talking the talk, but failing to walk the walk. And so he stood up and tried his utmost to make a difference.

    May he rest in peace.

  7. this is toasted typing. but here goes.

    I wonder about the relationship between Iran and Russia. Does anybody have any insight into this?

    I wonder about the timing of the A stan invasion and the uprising that toppled the shah. Didn't they both start at about the same time?

    So which came first? and am I the only person on earth who sees a relationship between those two events and the current situation?

    What if the russians contacted khomeni in paris and said"bring down the shah and we'll be with you"

    The shah comes down, the soviets invade Iran's next door neighbor and now the Russians are selling arms to the mullahs.

    did the soviets create a client state that the russians are now using? It certainly seems that way to me.

    Are the old line russians screwing with us because we screwed with them in A stan?

    As I said toasted typing.

  8. Pull back to the superbases and let the Shi'a and Sunnis clobber each other for five years. The survivors might even want us to come back.

  9. Iran Attack Plan

    U.S. contingency planning for military action against Iran's nuclear program goes beyond limited strikes and would effectively unleash a war against the country, a former U.S. intelligence analyst said on Friday.

    "I've seen some of the planning ... You're not talking about a surgical strike," said Wayne White, who was a top Middle East analyst for the State Department's bureau of intelligence and research until March 2005.

    "You're talking about a war against Iran" that likely would destabilize the Middle East for years, White told the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington think tank.

    "We're not talking about just surgical strikes against an array of targets inside Iran. We're talking about clearing a path to the targets" by taking out much of the Iranian Air Force, Kilo submarines, anti-ship missiles that could target commerce or U.S. warships in the Gulf, and maybe even Iran's ballistic missile capability, White said.