“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."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Aug 6 - Little Boy and Hamdan

Aug 6, 2008


Salim Hamdan held his head in his hands and wept Wednesday as the six-member military jury declared the Yemeni guilty of aiding terrorism, which could bring a maximum life sentence.

Hamdan was captured at a roadblock in southern Afghanistan in November 2001 and taken to Guantanamo Bay in May 2002.
The military accused him of transporting missiles for al-Qaida and helping bin Laden escape U.S. retribution following the Sept. 11 attacks by serving as his driver. Defense attorneys said he was merely a low-level bin Laden employee, a minor member of a motor pool who earned about $200 a month.

Army Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a former Guantanamo official who has since become critical of the legal process, mocked the choice of Hamdan for the tribunal's first trial.

"We can only trust that the next subjects ... will include cooks, tailors, and cobblers without whose support terrorist leaders would be left unfed, unclothed, and unshod, and therefore rendered incapable of planning or executing their attacks," Abraham said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
You can't blame Defense attorneys for characterising Hamdan as "a minor member of a motor pool." As long as no one buys it. Not even in civilian courts is the get away driver of a bank heist considered a "member of the motor pool." We're not talking about al-Qaeda, Inc or a uniformed army of a signatory of the Geneva Conventions. Hamdan knew what he was getting into and as bin Laden's driver, he was certainly in a fairly tight and trusted circle of terrorists. He was not a common thief among thieves.

As to the cooks, tailors and cobblers who provided material support to al-Qaeda, I would remind you that there were plenty of civilians providing material support in Dresden, Germany during WWII. No one read them their Miranda rights. Yesterday, was the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. I don't remember hearing about any "leaflets of indictment" being rained down on the "good" people of Hiroshima before "little man" in an instant, passed judgment on over 100,000 souls.

Apparently, in those days, people were less confused about the existential job requirements of stopping an enemy intent on killing you.


  1. An interesting observation made on a local talk show on the connection to Hiroshima and Obama.

    Imagine how many people would not be alive today, had not Truman used the nuclear option. The Reverend Wright mentored Obama, would have not. Millions of Japanese, American and allied troops and civilians would have been killed and maimed ending WWII without the bomb.

    Obama's true source of inspiration. Go to 2 minutes and hear for yourself.


    Common Denominator: Israel at Every Level is Prepared to Strike Iran
    Europeans & Americans Simply Underestimate Israeli Public Resolve - A critical Error.

    It is the one issue where there is very little dissension, across the public spectrum, across the military spectrum, across the intelligence spectrum, and of course the political spectrum there is almost no dissension, no wavering, at every level complete willingness to pay the price because there is NO alternative. An Iranian nuclear weapon is totally unacceptable in Israel.

    In the US & in the EU there are dreamers who like to bandy about notions like ‘living with the Iranian bomb’, they come up with concepts like deterrent & MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), they talk about diplomacy as if it itself is the ends not the means. Endless time, what fools these people are because they are clearly totally removed from the realities of the situation.

    Mistaking a last resort for no resort

    Somehow, because Israel is open to pursuing diplomacy as an option in the interim, people interpret this as an unwillingness to strike. They speak of bluffs, they postulate about green lights, they convince themselves that Israel cannot totally eliminate the Iranian program, makes absurd claims like ‘a strike would only delay Iran 2 months’, they project their own hopes & dreams onto Israel with frankly very limited understanding of the realities here.

    These are the facts:

    At a certain point, regardless of progress on any front, regardless who, what where, regardless of the White House, the Press, if Israel ascertains that Iran has progressed to a specific level, Israel WILL strike. Period.

    Israel is more than capable of striking, procured the weapons for strikes long ago and has been preparing for this last resort measure for YEARS.

    Israel has plans for strikes, has the intelligence for strikes, has trained for strikes, prepared the public for strikes, and even shared these realities publicly with the entire world.
    Living in Denial

    One wonders at what point exactly do all these facts collectively absorb in the rest of the planet’s consciousness. Every single politician in Israel is on record multiple times stating matter of factly these are the realities. The Pentagon has stated it believes this to be the reality, Sec. Rice has stated she believes this to be the reality, President Bush has stated he believes this to be the reality, Sarkozy has stated the same, McCain concurs, Merkel in Germany agrees, even the dove Senator Obama has stated this is his ‘feeling’.. Ask yourself, who is correct here? Mother Jones or all these world leaders?

    Not only is it reality, it is now the driving force in Israel’s upcoming political season

    Olmert is prepared to strike Iran’s programs, so are all his replacements. Livni, Mofaz, Sheetrit, as is the entire opposition, Likud, Israel Our Home, as is the left wing Labor party under Ehud Barak, Israel’s Defense Minister. There is not a single dissention, the IDF is training and preparing for all fronts likely to erupt should this last resort materialize. To bring home the gravity of this reality, drive home the total unflinching resolve.. One needs only examine the surrounding issues pertainig to a strike.

    If diplomacy does not ratchet up spectacularly soon, Israel is preparing to go to war with Hamas, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Syria & Iran SIMULTANEOUSLY if necessary. Not theoretical perparations, missile tests, brigade & battalion sized training operations, large scale aerial training, tanks and ground warfare exercizes. One can choose to bury one’s head in the sand, but that will not alter the reality above ground.


    Faith is declining in Israel, few now believe the sanctions will ever be serious enough. The EU exports to Iran grow, Russia arms Syria & Iran and obsfucates against the west, the few remaining months of 2008 are all that is left for the diplomatic option. Afterwords, only one thing is certain. No matter what borders need to be violated, no matter who’s airspace, irrespective of territorial waters.. The regional superpower will be striking. I have even worse news for the naysayers, the USA will be notified, as will gulf allies, and all will quietly watch as these strikes play out, some of these powers themselves will even get their licks in too.