“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, June 21, 2008

Taliban announce suicide bombers have entered Kandahar .

The suicide bombing tactic eventually proved unsuccessful for AQ in Iraq. The tactic, aped by the Taliban in Afghansistan, seems to be having a similar affect if this report by Aljazeera is indicative. An operation by local and international troops appears to have cleared Taliban fighters from the outskirts of Kandahar, Afghanistan's second largest city.

The Afghan National Army said more than 1,000 troops, aided by Nato soldiers and helicopter gunships, has driven insurgents out of Arghandaby. The Afghan defence ministry reports 56 rebels had been killed.


  1. If you enjoy the wit and intelligence of Buchanan and Hitchens crossing swords, try this review and comment by Hitchens on Buchanan's latest book and the feature of a Newsweek cover.

  2. I read Buchanan's reply to Hitchens earlier today. Almost singing the praises of old Dolph. Poor misunderstood Dolph. And the English, what fools, to have put up a fight. Won the war but lost the empire. And the Kaiser, wonderful, wonderful feller.

    Buchanan's nuts in my view, and Hitchens, even when drunk, makes a lot more sense.

  3. Hitchens is right when he says Churchill liked--loved it. For a great Prince, they say, nothing enthuses like a great crisis and battle. We needed a guy like that. Probably need one now. I've read the WWII books, but not the others, which I intend to do. My aunt loved the guy.

  4. Yep, suicide bombing seems to be counterproductive if you got the force to chase the bad guys. People don't like being blown up at the mall, at the village bazaar, at the school, at the mosque.

  5. Steve Jobs can never die - Rumors of the superstar CEO's ill health make you think, does death really play favorites?

    "Why does it always seems to be "the good ones" who are plucked off without warning or reason? Or, put another way, why does it seem so rare to we read about the death of one of the darker, uglier creatures of the planet?

    After all, rarely does the headline read "noted misogynist, homophobe, right-wing hate radio personality and neighborhood defenestrator of baby livestock found dead in his Hummer after eating one too many deep fried jumbo prawns at the Red Lobster buffet" — you know, the kind of stories that really test the limits of your compassion, because while you know you should offer sympathy, you can't help but feel a bit like cheering.

    On it goes. Why someone like, say, the famed Swedish jazz musician Esbjorn Svensson whom, until a few days ago, I'd never heard of and yet who was, apparently, a wonderful and talented award-winning European superstar musician who just died in a diving accident at the tender age of 44? How sad is that? The international jazz world is in mourning. Did you know? Something seems, I don't know, not quite right about it.

    The Svensson story put me in mind of the incredible Jeff Buckley who drowned so young, and then Heath Ledger, and then various others who were snatched away (or, in the case of Ledger, wandered off on their own volition)

    There are, I suppose, a few ways to look at it. Maybe there really is an imbalance, and in many cases a few too many good ones are taken prematurely and the more toxic ones are left behind because, in a lopsided way, they serve as the more powerful and necessary teachers.
    Like Bush, like Rove, like Kim Jong Il or Robert Mugabe, they take us to the darkest places of our psyches so we can, by sheer contrast, understand how vital it is to find the light. You think? "

  6. What Makes Obama Run Lawyer, teacher, philanthropist, and author Barack Obama doesn't need another career. But he's entering politics to get back to his true passion--community organization. (philanthropist?)

    "What we need in America, especially in the African-American community, is a moral agenda that is tied to a concrete agenda for building and rebuilding our communities," he said. "We have moved beyond the clarion call stage that was needed during the civil rights movement.
    Now, like Nelson Mandela in South Africa, we must move into a building stage. We must invest our energy and resources in a massive rebuilding effort and invent new mechanisms to strengthen and hasten this community-building effort.

    "We have no shortage of moral fervor," said Obama. "We have some wonderful preachers in town--preachers who continue to inspire me--preachers who are magnificent at articulating a vision of the world as it should be. In every church on Sunday in the African-American community we have this moral fervor; we have energy to burn.

    "But as soon as church lets out, the energy dissipates. We must find ways to channel all this energy into community building. The biggest failure of the civil rights movement was in failing to translate this energy, this moral fervor, into creating lasting institutions and organizational structures."

  7. Bobal: Poor misunderstood Dolph. And the English, what fools, to have put up a fight. Won the war but lost the empire. And the Kaiser, wonderful, wonderful feller.

    Adding to the list of strong men Pat likes, he's upset that McCain wants to toss Russia out of the G-8. I say good for McCain, Russia ain't even in the top 10, they get edged out by Brazil, and it's just a big ego boost for an ex-superpower anyway.