“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, December 23, 2007

Mission Accomplished.

W had it right.

The first 'W', George Washington, won the US Revolutionary War by wearing down the British will to continue it. In this article the author makes a thoughtful argument..."Washington eventually realized -- and it took him three years to have this epiphany -- that the only way he could lose the Revolutionary War was to try to win it. The British army and navy could win all the major battles, and with a few exceptions they did; but they faced the intractable problem of trying to establish control over a vast continent whose population resented and resisted military occupation. As the old counterinsurgency mantra goes, Washington won by not losing, and the British lost by not winning. Our dilemma in Iraq is analogous to the British dilemma in North America -- and is likely to yield the same outcome."...

Do we have a time when we leave Iraq or do we garrison another piece of the US military in another part of the world indefinitely?

Okay, He Never Saw a Chopper, but He Can Still Teach Us a Thing or Two.

By Joseph J. Ellis Washington Post
Sunday, December 23, 2007; Page B01

W hat would George Washington do about Iraq? An op-ed editor (not at The Washington Post, I should add) recently asked me to write an article answering that question, presumably because I had once written a biography of Washington and have just published another book on the founding generation. But, as I tried to explain, Washington would not be able to find Iraq on a map. Nor would he know about weapons of mass destruction, Islamic fundamentalism, Humvees, cellphones, CNN or Saddam Hussein.

The historically correct answer, then, is that Washington would not have a clue. It's tempting to believe that the political wisdom of our Founding Fathers can travel across the centuries in a time capsule, land among us intact, then release its insights into our atmosphere -- and as we breathed in that enriched air, our perspective on Iraq, global warming, immigration and the other hot-button issues of the day would be informed by what we might call "founders' genius." (Come to think of it, at least two Supreme Court justices who embrace the literal version of "original intent" believe that this is possible.) But there are no time capsules, except in science fiction. The gap between the founders' time and ours is non-negotiable, and any direct linkage between them and now is intellectually problematic.

This conclusion is not just irrefutable; it's also unacceptable to many of us, because it suggests that the past is an eternally lost world that has nothing to teach us. And if history has nothing to teach us, why in heaven's name should we study it?

One answer, I suppose, is for the sheer satisfaction of understanding those who have preceded us on this earthly trail. In that sense, history, like virtue, really is its own reward. But that answer doesn't really work for me. Nor does it explain the rather extraordinary surge of interest over the past decade in the men mythologized and capitalized as our Founding Fathers. Readers are buying books on the founders in unprecedented numbers because they think the founders have something to teach them. And they do. If we come to know them and listen hard enough, they will speak to us.

Suppose, then, that we rephrase the question. It is not "What would George Washington do about Iraq?" Rather, it is "How are your own views of Iraq affected by your study of Washington's experience leading a rebellion against a British military occupation?" The answer on this score is pretty clear. Washington eventually realized -- and it took him three years to have this epiphany -- that the only way he could lose the Revolutionary War was to try to win it. The British army and navy could win all the major battles, and with a few exceptions they did; but they faced the intractable problem of trying to establish control over a vast continent whose population resented and resisted military occupation. As the old counterinsurgency mantra goes, Washington won by not losing, and the British lost by not winning. Our dilemma in Iraq is analogous to the British dilemma in North America -- and is likely to yield the same outcome.

To take another example, your opinion on the current debate about how much power the executive branch should have will be significantly influenced if you read the debates about the subject in the Constitutional Convention and the states' ratifying conventions. For it will soon become clear that the most palpable fear that haunted all these debates was the specter of monarchy. Vice President Cheney's argument that limitations on the executive branch enacted in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and Watergate need to be rolled back is historically myopic. Virtually all of the Founding Fathers would regard the expansion of executive power since 1945 as a violation of the republican principles they cherished. And the way Congress has effectively surrendered war-making powers to the president since World War II represents a fundamental distortion of checks and balances as the founders intended them.

We have also strayed rather far from the world and wisdom of the founders in our current presidential-selection process. In our effort to replace the smoke-filled rooms of the old machine politics with a more democratic primary system, we have created a money-driven, media-dominated campaign culture that none of the founders would have been willing to tolerate. Indeed, they would have regarded anyone who succeeded in our modern-day electoral circus as a clown unworthy of the office. The degree of egomaniacal ambition required to negotiate the current campaign culture would strike all the most prominent founders, save perhaps Aaron Burr, as incompatible with the qualities of mind and heart essential for presidential leadership. It's a bit disquieting to acknowledge, but it's likely that none of our first six presidents -- Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Quincy Adams -- would have run for office in the current political environment.

Even though all efforts to have the founders join us in a conversation about our current issues are futile exercises, like trying to plant cut flowers, the urge to create this conversation appears to be irresistible. And the most seductive, resonant and controversial founder of all, the one who gets the most hits on the Internet, is Thomas Jefferson.

Because Jefferson was the prophet of the American promise, the author of those 55 words that begin "We hold these truths to be self-evident," he has always been a historical trophy that all sides seek to claim. For Franklin D. Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, Jefferson was the ultimate prize, the ace of spades in the American political deck.

This would have struck Jefferson as highly ironic, for he was on record as believing that each generation should be sovereign, not weighted down by what he called "the dead hand of the past." In that sense, Jefferson's greatest legacy was to oppose all legacies. He also made it clear that, once the United States became a thickly populated, urban, industrial nation, his agrarian vision became essentially irrelevant. That means that our political context for nearly 100 years has been resolutely post-Jeffersonian. Those folks claiming his mantle, such as those Supreme Court justices who declare their allegiance to the "original intentions" of the framers, are invariably imposing their own values and convictions under the cover of his name.

Finally, and somewhat more problematically, an understanding of the founders' mentality complicates our view of our role as Britain's successor as the world's dominant power. The United States began with a conspicuously anti-imperial ethos, and we have had it imprinted on our political DNA from the very start. We were the first former colony to win a war for independence (against Britain, no less) and the first large-scale republic committed to the principle of government by consent rather than coercion.

In that sense, our primal values make us a very reluctant world power in the Roman or British mode. For good historical reasons, we lack the requisite imperial stamina of the British Empire in its "sun-never-sets" phase. Our origins are at odds with all previous versions of a world power. The Romans and British would have experienced no twinges of conscience in leaving a substantial military garrison in Iraq for an indefinite period. But we do, which is one reason why a healthy majority of U.S. citizens want us to leave Iraq as soon as possible. A republic, the world's first large-scale republic, simply cannot be an empire of the conventional European sort. This legacy of the founders complicates our status as the reigning world power.

One could counter with the claim that our anti-imperial origins were always more rhetorical than real. Just ask the Native Americans, or call attention to our apparently permanent military garrisons in Germany and South Korea. They certainly have the look and feel of old-style Roman and British imperialism, wholly compatible with the apparent current plan of the Bush administration to leave a garrison of about 50,000 troops in Iraq.

What would Washington do? Well, he did speak of a prospective American empire, though he was thinking primarily of our eventual domination of the North American continent, not the globe. On a few occasions, he seemed to suggest that if we played our cards right in the 19th century, the United States might replace Britain as the dominant power in the 20th. That indeed happened. But would he have endorsed a hegemonic U.S. foreign policy based on military power? Probably not. But that's my opinion, not necessarily Washington's.

Joseph J. Ellis is the Ford Foundation professor of history at Mount Holyoke College. His books include "Founding Brothers," "American Sphinx" and,

most recently, "American Creation."


  1. They Stand UP, we stand down

    The Iraqi have stood up, the Iraqi WMD threat is eliminated.

    The military goals of the Iraq War have been accomplished.
    The political goals outlined by Mr Bush, unachievable by he US Militray under present Doctrine.

    Leaving 50,000 troops on a mega-base or two will not change that.
    Though other goals may be gained, even if those goals are not publicly stated.

    That Iraqi Government announced they will not allow the 70,000 men we now support as part of the "Awakening" to remain under arms, in an organized manner.

    BAGHDAD � Iraq's Shiite-led government declared Saturday that after restive areas are calmed, it will disband Sunni groups battling Islamic extremists because it does not want them to become a separate military force.

    The statement from Defense Minister Abdul-Qadir al-Obaidi was the government's most explicit declaration yet of its intent to eventually dismantle the groups backed and funded by the United States as a vital tool for reducing violence.

    The militias, more than 70,000 strong and often made up of former insurgents, are known as Awakening Councils, or Concerned Local Citizens.

    "We completely, absolutely reject the Awakening becoming a third military organization," al-Obaidi said at a news conference.

    He added that the groups would also not be allowed to have any infrastructure, such as a headquarters building, that would give them long-term legitimacy.

    "We absolutely reject that," al-Obaidi said.

    No new militias. Especially Sunni militias. They will use the Iraqi Army to disarm the newly organized Sunni militia, if need be.

    Where the Coalition has left, peace reigns.
    Basra the prime example, the definition of real world success. That's why the Brits are going home, successful and victorious.

    5,000 Coalition troops already gone, from Iraq, down to 100,000 remaining by Election Day, 2008.

    The just renewed UN mandate we operate under expires in December 2008, the Iraqi Government saying, now, it will not be extended again, then.

    What would Washington do?

    Well, he did speak of a prospective American empire, though he was thinking primarily of our eventual domination of the North American continent

    Would he consider that Mission complete, or only half done?

    Would the half of North America we control be enough, or would he want it all, a truely United States of North America?

    Extending the Creator's inalienable rights to all the peoples of North America, or would he be satisfied that soft, economic, domination of the contintent was enough?

    Would George Washington support the "Fortress 50" concept, or would he want to Unite the States of America?

    I think he'd be a Union man, but that could purely be projection, on my part.

  2. Good post DR. Many years ago I worked on a project that was to continually increase the sensitivity and detection capabilities of radio receivers for specific bandwidths of interest.

    The beginning stages were always easy, the low hanging fruit of electrical physics and engineering. You achieved the majority of your goals at a relatively low price. However, our ambitions were far more reaching. The project rapidly entered an area called "gold-plated db's." Each incremental gain became more and more costly, and the likelihood for the perfect solution less apparent.

    The laws of physics are universal.

  3. What would Hamilton do? Might be a better question, since we are the industrialized, strong government society he roughly envisioned.

  4. How, and by whom, are the Sunnis to be diasarmed, now that we have armed them?

  5. I have a hunch those guys were a bit more "Pragmatic" than a casual reading might lead one to believe.

    Jefferson sent the Marines (all four or five of them :)) to the Barbary Coast, and I think he'd elect to protect the Oil.

    I'm sure "We" will.

  6. "Extending the...Creator's... inalienable rights to all the peoples of North America, or would he be satisfied that soft, economic, domination of the contintent was enough

    a few weeks ago the founding fathers had nothing to do with religion, but not this morning

    a non-christian creator for Washington perhaps?

    the disarmament process will be complex
    Seeds of conflict in a force for Iraqi calm

  7. A single state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian problem--

    In Fatah's 43rd anniversary poster, 'Palestine' replaces Israel

    January 1 is the 43rd anniversary of the founding of Fatah, the organization now headed by 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen that is dedicated to a two-state solution between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea driving the Jews into the Sea. The poster at the top left of this post was designed in honor of the anniversary. You will note that Israel is not there. Khaled Abu Toameh explains why.

    Designed specifically for the occasion by Abdel Mun'em Ibrahim, the poster features a map of Israel that is entirely draped with a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf.

    It also carries a drawing of a rifle as a symbol of the "armed struggle" against Israel.

    The poster, which has been endorsed by the Fatah leadership, has already been posted on a number of Fatah-affiliated Web sites.

    The underlying message of the poster is that Fatah, like Hamas, does not recognize Israel's existence.

    The emblem is in violation of Fatah's declared policy, which envisions an independent Palestinian state alongside, and not instead of, Israel.

    By including a rifle in the poster, Fatah is sending a message to the Palestinian public that it has not abandoned the option of "armed resistance," despite current peace talks with Israel.
    But let's give them $7.4 billion and a state reichlet. Eh Condi?

    By the way, yes, the picture that's been inserted into the poster is a young-looking picture of His Ugliness, Yasser Arafat.

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  9. The British were fighting their own brothers and sisters. The American war of independence was really an armed civil conflict. This places certain psychological barriers on the fighting and therefore such wars cannot be called real wars.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. The Iraqi Army will disarm the Sunni, the Civil War to resume, if the Sunni do not accept the authority of the central government.
    The Sunni will be insurrectionists and rebels, as has always been the case. The US surrendering to the Insurgents, in Anbar, to gain a lull in the violence.

    The political goal of unification and reconciliation not obtainable by US military doctrine. That becomes more evident as each day goes by.

    Mr Hamilton, he'd stand with General Washington, bob, be my guess.
    Mr Washington being the premier Mason of our history, the Father figure, in more ways than one.

    Alexander Hamilton a Famous Freemason
    Baird, George W.
    ISBN-10: 1428669639
    ISBN-13: 978-1428669635

    Mr Hamilton seemingly a believer in the Creator and the expansion of inalienable rights, too.

    Though the anti-Masons see it differently, of course.

    The US Constitution was a betrayal of the Declaration of Independence. Real patriots such as Patrick Henry, George Mason and a few others saw it as a blueprint for empire and fought it. The Bill of Rights was added at their insistence as a defense against the Constitution! Big Banker whores such as Hamilton and the Federalists didn't want any enumerated rights
    In 1976, the Sovereign Grand Commander of the 33rd Degree of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Henry C. Clausen, published a little book called "Masons Who Helped Shape Our Nation." On page 82, he writes: "Though free, we were not yet united [1783]. The loose Articles of Confederation did not provide a strong national government, common currency or consistent judicial system. Men of vision realized that another step must be taken if he weak Confederation of American States was to become a strong, unified nation. Again Freemasonry set the pattern in ideology and form. Since the Masonic federal system of organization was the only pattern for effective organization operating in each of the original Thirteen Colonies, it was natural that patriotic Brethren should turn to the organizational base of the Craft for a model. Regardless of the other forces that affected the formation of the Constitution during the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the fact remains that the federalism created is identical to the federalism of the Grand Lodge system of Masonic government created in Anderson's Constitutions of 1723."
    Masons crave power and that's what they got with their seven Articles. They fought the Ten Articles of Amendment (the Bill of Rights) right up till December, 1791. They nullified their own Constitution in 1913 with the 17th Amendment.
    The Bill of Rights was our great champion for many years but it, too, has collapsed because it is in conflict with the first Seven Articles of the US Constitution. The Supreme Court protects the Constitution but it does not protect the Bill of Rights.

    The First Amendment has become a license for our natural enemies to corrupt our children and ourselves with the most vile pornography, which has nothing to do with the right to criticize the government.

    Thr Right to criticize the politicians limited by McCain-Feingold, which was held to be Constitutional, to suppress political speach within 90 or is it 120 days of the Federal election. When it is needed most.

    The Seventh Amendment supposedly guarantees a jury for virtually any dispute over twenty dollars. Try bringing that up with a judge in traffic court these days.

    The Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment. Has the Supreme Court or any federal court protected us against "jeopardy assessments and seizures," which steal all our money before trial so we can't even hire an attorney? ...

    The Ninth and Tenth Amendments are not even recognized by the federal judges ...

    Revisionism and history.
    Perception and perspective.

    But the 10th Amendment HAS been abandoned, totally and completely.

    Expansion and Empire, across America.
    That was the goal, we're half way there.

  12. Ernest Hemingway would disagree with you, Mat. He said something to the point that a civil war was the worst, the most 'complete'. But I think he was talking about Spain, before WWII. Divorces can get pretty messy, we can all agree on that.

  13. What do the arrows in the grasp of the American Eagle represent, if not the same thing as the Palistian AK-47?

    An emblem of strength and defense?

  14. "This places certain psychological barriers on the fighting and therefore such wars cannot be called real wars."

    hmmm selah...cannot be called real wars?

    that would imply...a pretend war?

  15. The US Civil War exemlifies just how wrong you are, mat.

    The Price in Blood!
    Casualties in the Civil War

    At least 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War, and some experts say the toll reached 700,000. The number that is most often quoted is 620,000. At any rate, these casualties exceed the nation's loss in all its other wars, from the Revolution through Vietnam.

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  17. 618,000 dead
    Nothing pretend about that.

    The Levant Civil War, now that's a conflict based upon an artifical construct, but not pretend.

  18. Barbie doll rules, Barbie doll war.

  19. so deaths equal war?

    be careful selah, the phrase Pretend War gets the EB all worked up

  20. Ah! But, Rat, the Eagle is looking towards the olive branch, that's the difference.

    "This, in turn, was the ideal that Woodrow Wilson represented when he spoke, at the end of the First World War, of "peace without victory." And we have the ideal symbolized also in the figure of our American eagle, which is pictured with a cluster of arrows in the talons of its left foot, an olive branch in its right, and its head--in the spirit of Grotius--turned rigtward, facing the olive branch. Let us hope, however, in the name of peace, that he keeps those arrowheads over there sharp until neiter asceticism nor the power of arms, but an understanding of mutual advantage, will have become for all mankind the quarantee, at long last, of a knowledge of the reign of peace."

    Joseph Campbell

  21. In Iraq demands unification and reconciliation

    In the Levant, divisiveness and separatism is US policy.

    Gotta be wrong in one of 'em.

  22. Combat deaths do, when Armies are in the field.

  23. If I get a poison dart from a blowgun in Borneo, in a tribal war, I'm still dead.

  24. You bet elijah, to call US troops deaths a function of playing make believe, that is offensive.

    They may have been lost in a wasted effort, but it was never make believe.

  25. The Founders were not founding a Christian nation, elijah.

    Never argued they were founding an athiest State, but a Deist one.

    A major distinction

  26. Puppets on a string, mat, there in the Levant.

  27. Got a copy of the Pali poster.

    Is the AK aimed, or pointing to the sky, in the symbolic imagery of defiance and defense?

  28. "You bet elijah, to call US troops deaths a function of playing make believe, that is offensive."

    Offensive to you DR, and your perspective.

    You should learn a little humility, especially in your interactions with those younger than yourself.

    You should practice what you preach. Here DR implies that Iraq is not a real war.

    March 17,2007-

    "That's what happens when Wars ....become policing enterprises...against "criminal elements", soldiers & airmen will be held to the same standards as civilian Police."

    "When Wars are not wars,...but constabulary actions, that's when the lines between accidents and negligence can become blurry."

    Real wars DR, not policing enterprises or constabulary actions.

    Your past writing is offensive, similar to how you found Cutler's writing offensive.

  29. Well, it's not pointing to an olive branch.

  30. You're nuts, elijah.

    The invasion of Iraq was real war. It was won, major combat ended.
    The enemy defeated, by June of 2003.
    Then the mission changed. Became one of nationbuilding and policing.
    Which we did poorly for years.

    Perhaps the troops sacrificed in those new missions, lost in a failed cause. Even so, if that reality offends you, your skin is a tad thin for blogging.

  31. Nor is the olive branch prominently featured in the Koran.

  32. If it is on a Green background, that symbolizes the "Peace that is Islam", as Mr Bush often reminds US.

    Same as those olive branches.

  33. Green for Peace, bob. That's the symbolism that replaces the olive brach.

  34. Bob,

    Re: Spain. Guernica by Picasso. That was just a practice run.

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  36. some say i'm crazy but it's kept me from going insane

    Real wars DR, not policing enterprises, constabulary actions, or pretend wars.

  37. On Jun 23rd, 2003 the Iraqi had organized local elections, the war against the old regieme, ended.

    The US cancelled those elections and announce, in Baghdad, that the Occupation had begun.

    The Iraqi War against Saddam was over on that day. Occupation and the accompanying Insurrection begun, when we denied Iraqis a democratic voice in their own land.

    The Anbar Awakening a return to local control, in an admission that the Goals of the Occupation had failed to materialize, up to that point.

  38. Police action, constabulary policies and the like are many things, but not playing pretend.

    That's all, those killed not make believe people nor lost in a game of pretend.

    That's all, even US police actions are not playing pretend. But serious efforts, even is misguided.

  39. so if occupation is ongoing, and not a war...sounds like you are implying a pretend war right now.

    How offensive.

  40. Not pretend, that is your construction. Not a word I'd ever choose to use where life and death are involved.

    You're grasping at straws, while falling into the pit.

    Try another tact, as the one you are on is going no where.

  41. dRat,

    The 'pretend war' question was addressed to me. And I already answered it, by saying it shouldn't be called a real war. Personally, I'm quite partial to the phrase "Barbie Doll War".

  42. Implications are formed in your own mind, offending yourselve with your own beliefs.

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  44. As I said, mat, puppets on a string, in the Levant Civil War, both sides. Dancing to a tune, played by Kingmakers, from afar.

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  46. Guernica--mechanized death, Mat, the end of the age of the caballero. Take a look at that horse.
    I think Ernie was thinking of brother killing brother, as most 'complete'.
    After discussing much of the 'Old Testament' as a war mythology, he continues--

    "Now it was strange, and not a little threateing and awesome, to hear echoes of these same themes emanating from the jubilation of victory in Israel, just following the six-day Blitzkrieg and Sabboth on the seventh, of recent date. This mythology, that is to say, unlike the ancient Greek, is still very much alive. And of course, to complete the picture, the Arabs have their divinely authorized war mythology too. For they too are a people who, according to their legend, are of the seed of Abraham: the progeny of Ishmael, his first and elder son. Moreover, according to the history, confirmed in the Koran, it was Abraham and Ishmael, before the birth of Isaac, who built in Mecca the sanctuary of the Ka'aba, which is the uniting central symbol and shrine of the entire Arab world and of all Islam. The Arabs revere and derive their beliefs from the same prophets as the Hebrews. They honor Abraham, honor Moses, They geatly honor Solomon. They honor Jesus, too, as a prophet. Mohammed, however, is their ultimate prophet and from him--who was a considerable warrior himself--they have derived their fanatic mythology of unrelenting war in God's name.

    The jihad, the duty of the Holy War, is a concept developed from certain passages of the Koran which, during the period of the Great Conquests(from the seventh to the tenth century), were interpreted as defining the bounden duty of every Moslem male who is free, of full age, in full possession of his intellectual powers, and physically fit for service. "Figting is prescribed for you," we read in the Koran, Sura 2, verse 216. "True, you have an antipathy to it, however, it is possible that your antipathy is to something that is nevertheless good for you. God knows, and you know not." "To fight in the cause of Truth is one of the highest forms of charity," I read in a commentary to this passage. "What can you offer that is more precious than your own life?" All lands not belonging to "the territory of Islam" (dar al-islam) are to be conquered and are known, therefore, as "the territory of war" (dar al-harb). "I am commanded," the Prophet is reported to have said, "to fight until men bear witness, there is no god but God and his Messenger is Mohammed."

    Joseph Campbell

  47. What is surprising to me, mat is that you think of Israel Defense Forces reserves troops Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, who were abducted by Hezbollah last year as Barbie Dolls.

    Even a callous crumdunggen like me puts more value on them, than that.

  48. Stubborn pride, Rat.

    (Don't let 'im shit you, elijah. He understands perfectly well the caprice of his outrage.)

  49. dRat,

    Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are dead. They gave their lives in the defense of their home, family, country men, and the sick game our politicians play with the enemy.

  50. Playing pretend is just not right.

    I certainly understand the concept that is trying to be conveyed, but reject the choice of words.

  51. Bob,

    That's a heavy post. Please give me a minute to digest it.

  52. But you call 'em Barbie Dolls, in what others call a game of playing pretend.

    I disagree, it's not pretend but deadly serious, not make believe at all.

    Real people, real families, real pain.

    But not for trish and elijah.

  53. Now if you're going to adopt generally the method of using our own words against us, elijah (I've been a recipient of yours previously) we may have to make you an honorary 97E.

  54. But, before I go--

    Coast-To-Coast tonight

    Sun 12.23 >>
    First Hour: Vicki Noratuk on NDEs in the blind.
    Then, President of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (, Yolaine Stout will discuss near death experiences specializing in stories from the handicapped and impaired. Host: Rollye James

  55. "You're grasping at straws, while falling into the pit. Try another tact, as the one you are on is going no where."

    Guess not.

    "Stubborn pride, Rat.
    (Don't let 'im shit you, elijah. He understands perfectly well the caprice of his outrage.)"

    DR is not synomynous with EB it would seem, and others can form their own opinions after reading exchanges.

  56. Geo. Washington and Thomas Jefferson were redheads. Which is really all you need to know.

    Now I head off to the hallowed ground of the Whiskey Rebellion. (Alexander Hamilton was not a redhead.)

    None of us is the Unseen Elephant, elijah. Just ask bob.

  57. Bob,

    The point I was trying to make is that it wasn't until the Germans directly got involved in the Spanish conflict, that the rules began to change and the "caballero war" or "gentleman war" started to take on shades of a real war. Airplanes, or siege engines, these were all available prior to start of the conflict.

    caballero |ˌkabə(l)ˈye(ə)rō; -ˈle(ə)rō|
    noun ( pl. -ros)
    1 a Spanish or Mexican gentleman.

  58. Bob,

    Re: Joseph Campbell.

    In Judah, is a defined language, a defined history, a defined ethnicity, a defined nationalism, and a defined land. Religion is the string that was used to tie these all together.

    Islam and Christianly are analogous to each other, but they are not analogous to Judaism. Their wars for global imperial conquest are not analogous to the wars of Judah in defense of his land, his ethnicity, his nationalism, his language, his history.

  59. That should have been obvious to you from the beginning, elijah.

    Synonymous with the EB, that'd be something ...
    Something I'd never claim.
    Nor ever advocate.

    Come to your own conclusions on whether Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were or are Barbie Dolls in a great game of playing pretend.

    In addition to those two, lost in the Levant Civil War, there have been:
    Since March 20, 2003, 113 soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors with ties to Arizona that have been killed in the line of duty while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Not a single Barbie Doll amongst them.

  60. dRat,

    Barbie doll war does not mean Barbie doll soldiers. Barbie doll war means Barbie doll precepts of war.

  61. This fellow, David S. Bernstein, takes offense much more difficultly than elijah.

    He is not offended merely by an implication, but judges the words and actions actually employeed by the accused offender:

    When A Claim Becomes Offensive

    Update: The Washington Post's "Fact Checker" has upgraded the Romney claims from two pinocchios ("significant omissions and/or exaggerations) to four pinocchios ("whopper").

    Two women contacted the Mitt Romney campaign this week, offering their memories of seeing Romney's father march with Martin Luther King Jr., in Grosse Point Michigan in 1963. Campaign officials were well aware that the women were mistaken. Yet, they directed those women to tell their stories to a Politico reporter. The motives and memories of the two women are unknown and irrelevant; the motives of the campaign, however, were obvious -- to spread information they knew to be untrue, for the good of the candidate.

    By getting this story out late on Friday afternoon, heading into the holiday weekend -- good luck getting a King historian on the phone before Wednesday -- the campaign was pretty well assured that it could keep alive through Christmas their claim that Mitt Romney was mistaken only about "seeing" it, not about it taking place.

    Then-governor George Romney did indeed march in Grosse Pointe, on Saturday, June 29, 1963, but Martin Luther King Jr. was not there; he was in New Brunswick, New Jersey, addressing the closing session of the annual New Jersey AFL-CIO labor institute at Rutgers University.

    Those facts are indisputable, and quite frankly, the campaign must have known the women's story would eventually be debunked -- few people's every daily movement has been as closely tracked and documented as King's.

    As always, each reader can decide for themselves

  62. The implication, to me, was that Barbie Dolls are used in playing pretend.

    If the War is playing pretend, playing make believe, then so, by extrapulation are the soldiers and their losses.

    This was the point I was making to cutler & trish. From the very first exchange.

    You, mat, see the difference, trish would but for her mother hen instincts.
    elijah, he just likes to try to find a fault, grasping at straws in an argument that is beneath his abilities.

    Looking for implications when the dispute is over the exact words used "playing pretend". When applied to US or Israeli casualties, which they must be if the war is playing pretend, it is belittling their losses and their efforts.

    But neither cutler or trish will cede that point, trish calling me stubborn.
    Which I certainly can be.

    I understood what young cutler was trying to say, from the first. That he did not understand my point, about how poorly he said it, just one of those things.

  63. "The implication, to me, was that Barbie Dolls are used in playing pretend."

    That's correct.

    Elijah is right. It is perfectly legitimate to call it a pretend war, with rules of engagement that make sure it is a pretend war. The actors are real and they die a real death, but it is not a real war. At least not by my definition of what a real war is.

  64. It is interesting, that of all the positions I've taken, of all the stuff written, that so many would take issue with the idea that the War in Iraq, by any of it's many names, was not "playing pretend" but had real costs, is the one that has used the most pixels.

    With the majority claiming that the Iraq War and it's follow on efforts, it's cost in blood and treasure, is really just make believe.
    Playing pretend.

  65. You are just old school, mat, looking for a pre-post-modern war.

    While war by any other name, costs the same, to those that pay the ultimate price.

    Those costs are not pretend, even if the strategy is ill concieved. It does not belittle the lost to say the war was ill planned, badly strategized or less than a total war. A police action, constabulary work, post-modern war or even nation building.

    To call it playing pretend, does belittle those individuals lost.

    Which has, from the very first exchange with cutler, been my point.

    If the war is playing pretend, so are the losses. And they are not pretend, not at all.

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  67. It becomes ever more obvious, at least to me, Mr Olmert's reasoning.

    The rockets launched from Gaza, those Palistinians they're just playing pretend. So no need to respond or even try to stop them from firing another round of rockets.

    The civilians killed or wounded, just make believe. Not worthy of being defended in the game of playing pretend.

    Yeah, that must be the ticket.
    The war in the Levant, just the fantasy of the game players.

    No harm, no foul.
    Just part of the game.
    For all the players on the court or in the bleacher.

  68. "To call it playing pretend, does belittle those individuals lost."

    It does. But so does calling it war. That is why I think calling it is a 'Barbie Doll War' is most appropriate. Our soldiers have been turned into Barbie doll soldiers, by no fault of their own. That is the game they are forced to play.

    "Those costs are not pretend"

    The high monetary cost and high degradation of equipment is purposeful and deliberate. It is engineered to be so. The purpose is not efficiency in war, but efficiency in the procurement of new contacts for new equipment and the enrichment of those that provide this equipment.

  69. "No harm, no foul. Just part of the game."


    Lots of harm, lots of foul. Our soldiers dying shouldn't be a game.

  70. But it is not even a game, mat.
    It is playing pretend, same as make believe.

    You said elijah, trish and cutler were right. It's all just playing pretend.

    Games have winners and losers, playing pretend does not.

  71. It is a matter of degree.
    At least to me.

    But you all think it the same, that the words are all synonymous, when they are not, really.

    But keep goin' for it,
    keep on keepin' on.
    Don't begin to sweat it now.

    No reason to perspire, while we play pretend. There are no fouls or harm playing pretend.

    But playing pretend became synonymous with police action, nation-building and even post-modern war.

    So it's all good.
    Those 113 KIA from AZ, just playing pretend.
    Same as the two Israeli soldiers.

  72. dRat,

    Playing pretend and playing pretend war, is not one and the same. The objection was in calling it a real war. It is not a real war. I have no objection to Elijah use of the term "pretend war", as I said, that's perfectly legitimate. I do prefer "Barbie Doll War" though.

  73. Can't hurt a Barbie Doll, which is who must fight Barbie Doll Wars.

    Better call Mattel, start churnin' 'em out by the gross.

    Wonder, are the Barbies imported from China?

  74. obfuscate - To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand

    war -
    meaning not a policing enterprise or constabulary action

    as in

    "Real wars, not policing enterprises, constabulary actions, or pretend wars."


    "Elijah is right. It is perfectly legitimate to call it a pretend war"

    ...again, real wars (meaning like Iraq), not a construction such as

    - policing enterprises,
    - constabulary actions, or
    - pretend wars

    "The rockets launched from Gaza, those Palistinians they're just playing pretend. So no need to respond or even try to stop them from firing another round of rockets."

    so Hamas is not an integral peace partner whose presence was necessary to legitimize Annaplois

  75. dRat,

    You can do great harm to a Barbie doll. You can rip its head off. You can pour gasoline on it and burn it to a crisp. You can make it disappear. But a Barbie doll can not do the same the you.

  76. trish and elijah, even you,
    call it what you will.

    "Barbie Doll Wars" being less objectionable than refering to the US efforts in Iraq as playing pretend.

    Words have meaning.

    Say what you mean,
    Mean what you say.

    Assume you all do.
    Character and breeding show, eventually.

  77. The Israeli and the US does not seem to think so, elijah.

    They did not think the Iranians need be included, either. Neither, I guess, did the Sauds want them Iranians there.

    Where the Hezbollah of Lebanon invited? How about whom ever the Lebanonese Government is?

    The chance of ending those pretend attacks, let alone the totality Levant Civil Barbie Doll War without having those two Shia based perspectives on board, less than viable.
    But unimportant, obviously.

    So then there is no war to negotiate a peace to, pretend or otherwise, not with the Iranians or Hezzbollah or Hamas, anyway.

    Or the Israeli would not be funding their supposed Socialist/jihadist enemies, which they do. Dispersing tax revenues and supplies of electricity and medicines to the Palistinians.

    Rather bizarre behaviour, actually, if it was an ongoing war.

    Or perhaps they are all represented on the Road to Peace. Fellow travelers with Senor Abbas. Painting the buildings green, it seems.

    They've all moved somewhere beyond war, the last Israeli one ended in what, 1967?

    Peace and Prosperity ever since.

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  79. But they were not playing pretend, there in Maryland, or we wasted a lot of time, money, ink and pixels.

    All for a photo op for King Saud and AbdullahII.

    Pissin' off Ms Glick, all at the same time.

  80. dRat.

    No, they're playing for time.

  81. When our tools of war become widely available to the enemy, our one sided idiocy will very quickly come to a tragic end.

  82. As I think about what you said of Barbie Dolls, mat.

    It would seem obvious, then, that Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were done in by ...

    Obviously not a Barbie Doll, or they'd still be in the Israeli sector of the Levant.

  83. I'd agree with that, mat. It will come to a tragic end, more tragic for the Israelis than anyone else.

    Even if you guys kill 'em at 10 to 100 to one.

    But Islam means Peace, we can all get along. Israel knowing better than most, and leading the way to reconciliation.

    Actions speaking louder than words.

  84. When you say that Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were not Barbie Dolls, while their heads were ripped off and then set on fire, at least figuratively.

    Who all are the Barbie Dolls?

  85. dRat,

    Soldiers are not barbie dolls. Our soldiers are made into barbie dolls by precepts of war that turn engaging the enemy into a barbie doll war. Do I really need to explain this over and over again?

  86. Sure, just as I continue to tell you that if the war is pretend, so are the losses.

    Who is getting their heads handed to them? Per your definition of Barbie War, but Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev and the 113 soldiers, airmen, Marines and sailors from AZ, KIA.

    You just want to defame Olmert and the other politicos, but the overspray gets on everyone.

    In point of fact.

  87. Why do you insist in calling it a war?

  88. Because the President of the US does, in Iraq. Which is where the conversation began.
    Iraq being playing pretend.

    Because you call it a war, a Barbie Doll War against the jihadi, so war it must be.

    I called it other things, constabulary, police action, nation building, but was told, by elijah, whom you agree with, it's a pretend war.
    Not any of the terms I used.

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  90. dRat,

    pretend war =/ real war
    soldiers killed =/ real war
    POTUS calling it war =/ real war
    Congress authorizing war =/ real war

    In real war, you don't describe your enemy as friend. In real war, your enemy does not dictate your terms of surrender. In real war, lawyers scurry to their rat holes.

  91. It not being a "real war" does not mean it's "playing pretend".

    There is a wide range of adjectives between the two terms.

  92. "Playing pretend" is your own strawman construction. I'm glad you finally decided to tear it down.

  93. No, "playing pretend" was cutler's inaccurate adjective.
    Not my strawman

    Perhaps it was one that mother hen, trish, would not let go of, then elijah thought he saw what was a chink in the armor.

    You rode along with trish's posse.

    Remember though,
    Valdez is Coming

  94. dRat,

    I just did a search of the thread. The first the phrase "playing pretend" is used is your post @Sun Dec 23, 12:23:00 PM EST.

  95. No, amigo, it was used by cutler, about a week, ten days ago.
    I savaged him, when he told me I was pretentious for mentioning the casualties in regard Iraq.

    Then revived by ms trish around the time you mention.

    I wouldn't BS ya about it.
    But I won't go looking for it, either.

  96. The storyline
    cutler says that if the US is nuked we will strike back, "settle old scores"
    I agree, saying that is what the US did with regards Iraq, "settle old scores"
    Cutler says say, no Iraq was playing pretend, and I know it.

    I say the 4,000 KIA would not consider playing pretend

    I am told I'm pretentious, by young cutler.

  97. dRat,

    But why bring it up in this thread? You know it's a strawman, because that's not what I said, nor what Elijah said.

  98. December 16, mat
    Joey the cheesesteak man thread

    I didn't bring it up today, elijah did. I was letting that dead dog lay.

    Elijah said...
    "This places certain psychological barriers on the fighting and therefore such wars cannot be called real wars."

    hmmm selah...cannot be called real wars?

    that would imply...a pretend war?

    Sun Dec 23, 11:33:00 AM EST

    And away we went again

    Elijah said...
    so deaths equal war?

    be careful selah, the phrase Pretend War gets the EB all worked up

    Sun Dec 23, 11:45:00 AM EST

    elijah believing the EB and I synonymous, at the time.

  99. It was baiting, true to form, I bit.

    You rode with the posse, oblivious to the 16 Dec thread, carried momma hen's water, you did.

  100. be careful selah, the phrase Pretend War gets the EB all worked up

    That was elijah, lookin' for the chink, keeping the strawman up front.

    Not me, amigo, I just rode to the sound of the guns.

  101. Huh?

    Elijah used the phase 'pretend war'.

    It is you using the phase 'playing pretend', trying to equate the two, and then shooting it down.

    That's called a strawman, dRat.

  102. Call it what you will.
    elijah knew what he was doing. He's smart enough to know how to bait the trap, bet had fun doin' it, I'm sure.

    I did.

    You got used, by ms trish.

    Which is just desserts, from my perspective. Would have only been funnier if it'd been ash.

  103. Pretend is the operative word

    If you read elijah's posts, in one of them he references what I said on the 16 Dec thread.
    Then trish compliments him, in her own way. All today

    He came prepared.
    You fell in, mat.

  104. I fell in?

    I said that some "wars" can not and should not be called real wars. That was my opinion then, it is my opinion now. You seems to have disagreed with that, now you seem to agree with that.

    Am I wrong?

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  106. You said elijah was right, which means trish was right.

    That calling the operations in Iraq "pretend" was accurate, that the Barbie Doll Wars were pretend, make believe.

    That really meant the soldiers were also Barbie Dolls, which you then tried to evade, but the overspray was already out there. Which you tried to deny multiple times, but the soldiers are ones that had lost their heads, those were Barbies, in your explanation of your stance.

    The Barbies lose their heads, get burned, without complaint and they cannot respond in kind.
    Sounds like those Israeli Reservists, to me. Which was always my point, from 16 Dec on.

    You meaning Olmert and the politicos, my point is that the soldier Barbies were real folk, deserving respect, not belittlement, to be compared to playig pretend with Barbie Dolls.

    Walking the fine line of being against the war, but for the troops. You fell in.

  107. dRat,

    You should already know me well enough to know that I only have respect for the truth and those that tell the truth.

    You do the soldiers no honor by lying to them.

  108. I did not call them Barbie Doll Wars, you did.

    Barbie doll war does not mean Barbie doll soldiers. Barbie doll war means Barbie doll precepts of war.

    Sun Dec 23, 03:03:00 PM EST

    Then you say
    Our soldiers have been turned into Barbie doll soldiers ...
    Sun Dec 23, 04:14:00 PM EST

    Then to seal the deal, calling the dead troops Barbie Dolls
    You described what made them Barbie Dolls. You surely did.

    You can do great harm to a Barbie doll. You can rip its head off. You can pour gasoline on it and burn it to a crisp. You can make it disappear. But a Barbie doll can not do the same the you.

    Sun Dec 23, 04:44:00 PM EST

    Barbie Dolls that play pretend.
    That was your call, played right into it, amigo.

    Calling Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, Barbie Dolls playin' make believe in a pretend war.

    Be proud of where your logic took you. Showing respect for Israeli Army Reservists, calling them Barbies. Keep on dissemblin'

    Bet trish is proud of you

    No wonder you live in Canada.

  109. I guess the "subtlety" of my argument is just too difficult to understand. We'll have to leave it at that.

  110. What a tangle web we weave...

  111. And FTR, I did not say that the US would clean house after a nuclear attack. I said that was the opinion of someone I knew, six years ago.

    As with words, I'll stand by my own predictions, thanks - not those others attribute to me.