“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, September 29, 2007

The Nature of Man

The Nature of Man
Here's an interesting audio interview with SSG David Bellavia, where he tells Lyse Doucet about the brutal nature of the hand to hand combat he experienced fighting in Fallujah in Iraq in 2004. Bellavia has written with John Bruning "House to House, An Epic Memoir of War," You can read some of the book here.

At one point in the interview, Bellavia was recounting that during his time in Fallujah, he couldn't believe that mankind can still be so brutal and barbaric in this day and age. I do not believe that he has an anti-war agenda. I believe the man is a patriot and loves his country and I take him at his word that he simply wanted to convey the gut-wrenching and paralyzing brutality and horror of hand-to-hand combat. He says that he simply is trying to dispel any romantic notions about the glory of war. War is not glorious and should not be portrayed as such but I fear that we in the west refuse to acknowledge that even today, mankind can be brutal and savage and occasionally war is necessary.


This week, the BBC ran daily call in shows discussing the situation in Burma and what could be done about it. Caller after caller sympathized with the plight of the Burmese people but were incapable of answering the question of "What would you like to see done about Burma." It was depressing to hear so many callers who were incapable of expressing anything but platitudes such as "We are in solidarity with the people" which is the secular equivalent of "We'll be praying for you." I am certainly not advocating military intervention in Burma unless say, the Cambodians or Thais want to do it.


While we were impotently wringing our hands over Burma, there were news reports that the 7,000 African Union peacekeeping forces are not keeping the peace in Darfur. NGO's are being forced to withdraw and soon the crisis could become unwatchable as multitudes starve or are killed off by the Janjaweed militias. People like the Burmese or the Darfurians are SOL if they are dependent on the West to come through for them. As we say in the south, "that aint gonna happen."


  1. Intra-sect mussulmen battles in Iraq get the ink, not the Sudanese ones. Then throw in some ethnicity factors, Mohammed fades from view in Darfur. Any excuse to avoid reality.

    In Burma, the Army, backed by the Chinese are suppressing the Buddhists.

    Praise be! When did the ChiComs start that practice? It's only been, what 50, 60 years of Religious suppression ...
    It's shocking that it would continue with their proxies, today
    Shocking to see.

    Free Tibet!

    With prayer and solidarity, please.

  2. Last I read about Darfur, the UN and the AU were going to try and hold, with the 30,000 soon to arrive reenforcements, a the border with Chad.

    Writing off any attempt to restore the previous status que in Darfur.

    The Radicals advance. New defensive cordons are developed, new lines of demarcation.

    Ms Glick, she's fun to read.

    Not as good as Mr Steyn, but fun none the less. Voices lost in ether.

    Hurricane season is about over, Allah's was on our side, this year.


    By Matt Baney

    Sports Reporter for the Tribune

    Moscow, Idaho AP

    In a season comprised of exhilarating highs and crushing lows, it was the nadir for the 2006 Idaho Vandal Football Team--a 68-10 bloodletting in paradise.


    With Hawaii coming to the Kibbie Dome this afternoon, how do the veteran Vandals deal with the memory of last year's meeting?

    "Well," first year coach Robb Akey said, "I would hope that would be one of those deals that they'd forgotten for life."


    And well said too by new coach Akey. The Vandals hope to steal a surfboard or two this afternoon, and make it big at the luau after:)

  4. Whit,

    What's wrong with smuggling light weapons and IEDs? Why not learn a thing or two from the enemy?

  5. If we have not been doing that, mat, we're not even in the Game.

  6. Doug, are you awake yet? We are going to schmeer you across the end zone this afternoon! :)

  7. Against or... With

    The U.S. forms alliances with the soldiers of support a proxy, say Iraqi Kurdish groups in northern Iraq, the KLA & the Balkans, the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, or tribes in Iraq.

    Russia may view U.S./NATO and Sunni alliances with particular angst (Afghanistan and the Balkans come to mind).

    Russia's view of the Balkans could be that NATO has sent the KLA, beefed up by Islamist reinforcements and 'advised' by U.S. specialists, against neighboring Macedonia.

    From an energy resource perspective, geography makes the Balkans region a key stepping stone to oil interests in Eurasia.

    A Russian view thta NATO operations in Kosovo were to pacify Yugoslavia so that transnational oil corporations can secure the oil transportation route from the Caspian Sea through Yugoslavia, into Central Europe.


    "Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; Who rules the World-Island commands the World."

    - Sir Halford Mackinder

  8. You hear that, Doug?

    Schmeer, just like cream cheese on a Jewish Globalist bagel.

  9. dRat,

    So why is Lyse Doucet still breathing?

  10. No idea why she is alive, no one feels compelled to kill her?

    She deserves to die?
    As part of the Mohammedan Wars, is she a Tokyo Rose type character?
    Never heard of her, before.

    Before joining BBC World's team of presenters in London, Lyse Doucet spent five years in the Middle East, living first in Jordan where she covered the historic negotiations which led to the Israeli Jordanian peace agreement.

    She then moved to Israel at a critical stage in the region's history, providing reports and presenting live coverage of events including the aftermath of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, the first national Palestinian elections, a spate of suicide bombings, and the first difficult years of the Oslo peace accord.

    Lyse Doucet also spent nearly five years in West and South Asia, starting in Kabul in 1988-1989 to cover the withdrawal of Russian troops from Afghanistan. She was the BBC's correspondent in Pakistan for three years, reporting on its political developments as the country emerged from a long period of military rule.

    Lyse Doucet began her BBC career in Africa where she spent four years covering events in West and North Africa including a spate of military coups, and recurrent drought and famine in the Sahel.

    She was born in eastern Canada, in Bathurst, New Brunswick, and has a Master's Degree in International Relations from the University of Toronto and a BA Honours Degree from Queen's University at Kingston

  11. Securing Panama Canal interests

    Massive US-led war games involving 19 nations set out to improve security for this vital waterway.

    By John CK Daly for ISN Security Watch (26/09/07)

    The US$18 million FA Panamax 2007 military exercises - maneuvers for which the mainstream media's radar barely registered a blip - took place between 29 August and 7 September with the involvement of 19 nations, most of them Latin American. The objective is to ensure joint security over a vital waterway of major strategic interest, especially to the US and China.

    Held under the auspices of the US Southern Command, the massive operation involved 30 vessels, 12 aircraft and more than 7,500 personnel from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, the US and Uruguay, with El Salvador, Mexico and Paraguay sending observers.

    The exercise was designed to improve terrorist countermeasures to protect the vital waterway. Simulated ground forces participated at the Soto Cano air base in Honduras.

    According to the US Southern Command in Miami PANAMAX 2007 "focused on ensuring the security of the Panama Canal from both the Caribbean and Pacific approaches." Commander of the Norfolk-based Second Fleet Vice Admiral Evan Chanik led the exercise.

    Deputy commanding general of US Army South, Brigadier General Manuel Ortiz, said in a statement: "This year's Panamax is a truly amazing exercise. This is the largest exercise in the hemisphere."

    Participating US warships included the USS Wasp, USS Pearl Harbor, USS Mitscher, USS Samuel B Roberts and USCGC Coast Guard cutter Thetis.

    While Panamax has been held annually since 2003, for the first time France sent a vessel to participate, the frigate FS Ventose. Peru contributed the frigate BAP Bolognesi and missile corvette BAP Sanchez Carrion, while Colombia dispatched the ARC Antioquia frigate and ARC Buenaventura supply ship. The Royal Netherlands Navy, home-ported in the Antilles and Curacao, dispatched the HNLMS Van Nes. Chile, one of the three original participants in the exercises since 2003, contributed the frigate CNS Almirante Blanco Encalada and a P-3 ocean surveillance aircraft. Canada sent HMCS Regina along with soldiers to Honduras to participate in simulated security and humanitarian assistance scenarios. The war games emphasized visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) of targeted vessels, maritime interdiction and flight operations.

    Since 2003, foreign participation has steadily grown in Panamax. While during the 2003 exercise vessels from only three nations participated, in 2004 nine nations took part; in 2005, warships from 15 nations participated; and in 2006 18 nations sent maritime units to the exercise. Argentina, Chile, Columbia and Panama based maritime surveillance planes at Tocumen International Airport outside Panama City for the exercise; while naval units were only deployed in the Caribbean and aircraft patrolled both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts.

  12. MONTERREY, Mexico, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Mexico's top construction firm ICA (ICA.MX: Quote, Profile, Research) (ICA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) aims to participate in Panama's $5.25 billion canal expansion as part of an international consortium, the company's chief executive said on Friday.

    Panama began work on the canal expansion on Sept. 3 to build a new lane and set of locks to double capacity and allow longer, wider ships to transit the 50-mile (80-km) waterway from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

    "We are studying a way to form part of a consortium to prequalify to build the locks in the Panama canal," Chief Executive Jose Luis Guerrero told Reuters at a company event in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey.

    "Before the end of the year, they will prequalify four consortiums and they will be the ones to present their offers next year," he added.

    Guerrero said ICA also plans to list its housing construction unit ViveICA on the Mexican bourse in 2009 to fund its growth plans.

    "We are moving into housing projects that have higher margins than the low-income ones," Guerrero said, adding that he aims to make ViveICA more profitable.

    ViveICA sold 5,909 housing units last year and aims to sell 15,000 a year from 2010, he said.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. DR: Hurricane season is about over, Allah's was on our side, this year.

    I'll believe it when prices fall at the pump.

  15. Don't hold your breath, T. Wholesale unleaded is $0.40 above the same time as last year, and don't seem to be wanting to fall very fast.

  16. WASHINGTON (AP) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not run for president in 2008 after determining he could not legally explore a bid and remain as head of his tax-exempt political organization, a spokesman said Saturday.
    "Newt is not running," spokesman Rick Tyler said. "It is legally impermissible for him to continue on as chairman of American Solutions (for Winning the Future) and to explore a campaign for president."

    Gingrich decided "to continue on raising the challenges America faces and finding solutions to those challenges" as the group's chairman, Tyler said, "rather than pursuing the presidency."

  17. Gives him four to eight years of base building, in the face of the Clinton's holding court.

    Gingrich Revolution redux.
    Doing what he does best, if the Clintons regain the White House.

  18. " He is interested in demoralizing foes of totalitarian Islam within the Islamic world and so causing them to give up any thoughts of struggle. In this goal he is no different from any of his Sunni counterparts in Saudi Arabia, al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas or their sister organizations throughout the Islamic world and indeed throughout the West.
    Good to know folks here associated w/the CIA are not wacked out paranoid warmongering conspiracy nuts like that little Joo-Tramp Glick!
    Al Quds are an NGO, Iran is a helpful neighbor, Syria is for Hugging, look to Rodney King for insight on the madness and paranoia over this so-called Islamic Threat!

    "We are the Whirrled,
    We are the Paulites!

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Cutler,
    Programs with positive Eugenic outcomes are Hitlerian Thought Crimes worse than the Holocaust.
    Any actual implementations should be punished even more severely.

    Those with direct Negative Eugenic outcomes, OTH, are to be pursued and funded with vigor.
    Select and reward the lowest class/educated immigrants, hopefully w/an anti-American Grudge, or even better, all the above plus illegal entry, Pay people on welfare to have more babies, on and on.

  21. VANDALS - 7
    Hawaiian pussies - 28

    10 minutes to go in first half

    vandies are always a second half team...luau party later...

  22. This is what that BBC douchebag Lyse Doucet should personally have to look forward to:

    Open your mind, Lyse.

  23. The Vandal defense has toughened up, and kept Hawaii to a field goal this time around--31 to 7....half time coming up....

  24. The Vandals are threatening threatening threatening going back to pass- thrown- intercepted! on the 10 yard line- run back for a Hawaii 90 yard touchdown! 38-7 -after game luau looking better minute by minute....

  25. Christ--they might as well hire me as coach...

  26. ISTANBUL, Turkey (Associated Press) -- Kurdish rebels ambushed a minibus carrying pro-government village guards and civilians in southeastern Turkey and killed 12 people on Saturday, a local official said.

    The rebels armed with machine guns attacked the minibus in Sirnak province near the border with Iraq, killing seven village guards and five civilians, governor Selahattin Apari said. Two civilians were injured and were rushed to nearby hospitals in military helicopters, Apari's office said in a statement.

    It said troops were combing the rugged area in search of the rebels.

    Turkish troops killed 20 rebels in operations over the past 15 days in Sirnak province, authorities said Friday. No soldiers were killed, they said.

    The ambush came a day after Turkey and Iraq signed an agreement to cooperate in cracking down on separatist Kurdish rebels who have been attacking Turkey from bases in Iraq.

    Despite Ankara's insistence, Iraq refused to allow Turkey to send its troops across the border to chase the Kurdish rebels.

    Turkey has pondered a cross-border military operation to root out the members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, holed up in the mountainous areas of northern Iraq. However, the United States _a close ally of Ankara_ objected to such a move, fearing it could destabilize the relatively calm part of Iraq.

    Kurdish lawmakers in Iraq also oppose any military move by Turkey across the border.

    The PKK is labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union. The group has been fighting for autonomy since 1984 and tens of thousands have been killed in the conflict.

  27. Send him to Somalia, do some scouting

    MOGADISHU, Somalia (Associated Press) -- Somali and Ethiopian troops have ordered thousands to vacate their homes in Somalia's capital to allow the forces to search for arms and insurgents, a local human rights group said Saturday.

    The order was issued Thursday after an insurgent attack earlier in the week against a government base, said Sudan Ali Ahmed, chairman of the independent group Elman Human Rights.

    Government officials declined to comment on the reported evictions from Mogadishu. Ahmed said most of those evicted had either left the city or sought refuge with relatives or friends elsewhere in Mogadishu.

    "I cannot give you precise numbers of displaced people, but I believe they are in the thousands, and they were forced by Ethiopian and Somali troops to vacate their homes," Ahmed told The Associated Press, basing the figures on interviews conducted with residents.

    The evictions this week were the first reported since April, when hundreds died in heavy fighting in Mogadishu, Ahmed said.

    Somalia has been ravaged by violence and anarchy since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, then turned on each other. The current government, formed in 2004, has struggled to assert control.

    A radical Islamic group ruled the capital and much of southern Somalia for six months last year, but was kicked out by Ethiopian troops who support the government. Since then, insurgents and government-allied troops have battled nearly every day, and thousands of civilians have been killed this year alone in Mogadishu.

    Asha Ali Jimuale, a mother of seven from northern Mogadishu, told the AP that soldiers had ordered her to leave her home, and warned that insurgents could use those who stayed behind as human shields.

    Ahmed said that when insurgents attack government positions, "the Ethiopians and government troops launch security operations, and the Islamists go to residential areas to use civilians as a shield."

  28. TEHRAN, Iran (Associated Press) -- Iran's parliament voted Saturday to designate the CIA and the U.S. Army as "terrorist organizations," a largely symbolic response to a U.S. Senate resolution seeking a similar designation for Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

    The parliament said the Army and the CIA were terrorists because of the atomic bombing of Japan; the use of depleted uranium munitions in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq; support of the killings of Palestinians by Israel; the bombing and killing Iraqi civilians and the torture of imprisoned terror suspects.

    "The aggressor U.S. Army and the Central Intelligence Agency are terrorists and also nurture terror," said a statement by the 215 lawmakers who signed the resolution at an open session of the 290-member Iranian parliament. The session was broadcast live on state-run radio.

    The resolution, which urges Ahmadinejad's government to treat the two as terrorist organizations, would become law if ratified by the country's hardline constitutional watchdog but probably would have little effect as the two nations have no diplomatic relations.

  29. Glick:

    "In spite of what the West would like to believe, Ahmadinejad and his allies from Ramallah to Waziristan, from Gaza to Kandahar to Baghdad, are not negotiating. They are fighting. Rather than ignore them or seek to find nonexistent common ground, we must defeat them - first and foremost on the battleground of ideas."

    The battleground of what?

    The armies of totalislamotarianism are on the march! and we are supposed to halt their advance by engaging them on the battlefield of ...concepts. A series of killer lectures, perhaps? Symposia on metaphysics and the merits of the Chicago School? In the middle of John Podhoretz's World War IV? With Israel and the entire West - did I forget to mention Israel? - hanging
    by a thread becoming more frayed and slender by the hour?

    THAT doesn't sound very practical.

  30. "Despite Ankara's insistence, Iraq refused to allow Turkey to send its troops across the border to chase the Kurdish rebels."

    No "troops." No problem.

  31. May as well embrace Defeet, AlBob:
    "Hawaii has won all but one of the previous seven meetings between the two schools, crushing the Vandals a year ago in Honolulu by a final of 68-10. The Warriors have won five in a row over Idaho, with the Vandals lone win coming in a 14-6 decision back in 1960.

    Hawaii didn't figure on being challenged in its meeting with Charleston Southern last weekend, which went a long way in the decision to hold star quarterback Colt Brennan out of the contest with an ailing ankle. Taking care of business for the Warriors was Tyler Graunke who hit 22-of-36 passes for 285 yards and three scores, but he was intercepted twice. Getting to see some action late in the contest was Funaki Inoke who also tossed a couple of scoring passes and finished 6-of-9 for 78 yards. Listed as probable for this weekend, Brennan will probably be used only as long as the outcome is still in doubt, which means he should be seated by the time the squads come out for the third quarter.

    The Heisman hopeful has the passing offense running on all cylinders yet again this season, averaging 461.8 ypg to rank first in the WAC and second in the nation behind only Texas Tech. "

    Guy recently tossed 6 TD's in the first half on a bad leg so that he could sit out the second!

  32. THAT idea she picked up from Ron Paul, Trish!

  33. Trish,

    So what would sound practical?

  34. But that's only one idea:
    You have a Bushel Basket, as does Paul!

  35. Doug,

    Wait till I ask the damn question!

  36. Always good to have a Looney Librarian to bounce Ripostes off of.

  37. Smashing the head of Lyse Doucet to little bitty pieces, that could be one practical solution, Trish.

  38. Mat: Float their Cell Phones in Plastic Sacks in Porta-Potties,
    Stand back, and watch the fun.
    Supercharged with some cell-phone activated M-80's

  39. Locker room interview post game--

    Coach what are your thoughts about today?

    Well we are in a rebuilding year this year and our guys showed all those areas in which we got to show some improvement they showed some real flashes of skill out there but we got to concentrate on execution and we are going back to the blackboard and we are going to concentrate on the basics like how to hike the ball and hand it off all those things are important we have been able to identify those areas where we need some work and our guys sure showed they need a lot of work, and some coaching too I would add, and we are looking forward to next week at Pol Caly, cause we sure can't profit by looking back, and I was glad to see the fans exiting the stands midway through the third quarter and not witnessing the real slaughter, heading for the local luau, and goodnight now I want outta here.

    Thanks coach, and that's it from here at the Vandal locker room.

  40. Mat, you've been smoking that evil weed again.

  41. Bob, I couldn’t think of a quick riposte to Doug’s floating Sacks in Porta-Potties post, hence the conspiracy of science. :D

  42. Mat, disregard anything I say for a day or two, I'm decompressing from the recent Vandal whipping.

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. "So what would sound practical?"

    Not reading the melodrama of Caroline Glick.

    In the meantime Robert Gates and I are gonna dust off the Helsinki Accords and break open a fresh bottle of white-out, making the necessary changes here and there, before delivering it into the hands of the next POTUS. Along with a hundred bucks and a Henry Kissinger action figure. Just to sweeten the deal.

  45. Trish,

    You intend to invade the Soviet Union? And what does Jihadi imperialism to do with the Helsinki Accords?