“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."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Are we bogged down in two wars with no end in sight?

Andrew Bacevich, retired army soldier, scholar and father of an army officer killed in Iraq, thinks that we are and that it will make no difference which candidate wins the election.

Nancy Bacevich, center front, mother of fallen U.S. Army First Lt. Andrew Bacevich, is escorted to his grave site by U.S. Army General William Wallace, front right, as Bacevich's father Andrew Bacevich, second from right, follows while holding a flower at the Rural Cemetery, in Walpole, Mass., Monday, May 21, 2007. Bacevich was killed May 13, 2007, when an improvised device exploded while he was on a combat patrol in the Salah Ad Din Province, in Iraq.

The grand illusion of American power

By H.D.S. Greenway
October 21, 2008

THE OTHER DAY I went to hear my favorite soldier-scholar, Andrew Bacevich, give a talk at Boston University, where he teaches. A retired colonel and Vietnam veteran, Bacevich's new book is called "The Limits of Power, The end of American Exceptionalism."

Bacevich has migrated from a conservative outlook to what might be called a neo-Niebuhrean position - his thinking being influenced by the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, whom Bacevich calls "the most clear-eyed of American prophets."

Niebuhr warned against "dreams of managing history," a combination of arrogance and narcissism that posed a moral threat. That's why Niebuhr is often held in contempt by neo-conservatives for whom power is everything. Bacevich's concern is that the dream has become a physical threat that could lead to America's inevitable decline.

There is a mythical American narrative, according to Bacevich, that the United States is a nation "providentially set apart in the New World and wanting nothing more than to tend to its own affairs," only grudgingly responding to calls for global leadership "in order to preserve the possibility of freedom." In reality, the United States has sought expansion, first by pushing west until it reached the sea, then through a brief period of direct colonialism, and more recently through a ruthless if indirect imperial policy of control. It worked spectacularly. The United States became a great power replete with material abundance.

Right around the time of the Vietnam War, Bacevich argues, this began to unravel. Trade imbalances, federal deficits, "mushrooming entitlements, plummeting savings rates, and energy dependence" led us to become a debtor nation, counting on others to foot the bill. "The positive correlation between expansion, power, abundance, and freedom began to become undone . . . Further efforts at expansionism have led to the squandering of American power," according to Bacevich.

The actions of the Bush administration after 9/11 may have been designed to make the United States safe from another attack. But the chosen method was nothing less than to "assert American power throughout the Greater Middle East . . . to transform this region, to employ American power, both hard and soft, to impose order while ensuring stability, order, access, and adherence to American norms - in essence to establish unambiguous US hegemony so that the Islamic world will no longer serve as a breeding ground for terrorists who wish to kill us."

The grand illusion of American power as a transformative agent is evident in what Bush's lieutenants had to say. "We have a choice," said Donald Rumsfeld in September, 2001. Either we change the way we live, "which is unacceptable," or we "change the way they live, and we chose the latter. " Or as Douglas Feith would later put it: America's purpose was to "transform the Middle East and the broader world of Islam generally."

This grand imperial overreach never had a chance. Transforming Islam can only be done by Muslims themselves, in their own due time. The new "liberated" Iraq has not changed the Middle East. The passions of the Middle East have transformed Iraq, perhaps more stable now than a year ago but in no way destined to achieve what Bush, Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, et al wanted and expected.

The net result is that much of the world now looks on the Bush administration's resurrection of Woodrow Wilson's ideals and the expansion of democracy as a cover for coercion and bare-knuckle dominance. As Bacevich says, Bush always confused strategy with ideology.

Militarily, we threw containment and deterrence out the window, banking on the "shock and awe" of preventive war. It hasn't worked. We are bogged down in two wars with an end to neither in sight.

Bacevich doesn't see the November election as necessarily producing a beneficial change. John McCain touts the stalemated Iraq war as a success, while Barack Obama calls for more effort in Afghanistan. In Bacevich's view, it is the entire doctrine of preventive war that has proved a failure. There has to be a better way than occupying Muslim countries.

Both McCain and Obama "implicitly endorse the global war on terror as the essential core of US policy," while in reality it's the entire concept that needs to be rethought.

First Lieutenant Andrew J. Bacevich , killed on May 13, 2007 by a bomb blast in Balad, Iraq.

H.D.S. Greenway's column appears regularly in the Globe.


  1. Well, sure.

    Obama wants to leave a "residual force" in Iraq, 40 or 50,000 troopers.

    Run Afghanistan up to about that same number. 40 or 50,000.

  2. Sarah's son is there now. That's all I got to say about it, not being from a military family.

    You will not find Ash's son there, if he has one.

  3. Well, my son went over there, bob.

    Cannot say that it did him much good.
    Or much for transforming the Middle East, for that matter

  4. I appreciate it, Rat.

    That's all I can say.

    And, I mean it.

  5. "Appreciate" is the only word I got, but I wish there was a better one.

    I wish I had been in the military.

    I would be a better guy.

    Thank you.

  6. We are who we are, bob.

    I sometimes wonder about stories of the self-made man.

    Chickens and eggs.

    How many acres of sweet sorghum can we put into production?

  7. Somewhere, amongst these degree fields
    Agricultural Economics
    Agricultural Education
    Agricultural Engineering
    Agricultural Industry Management and Communications
    Agricultural Information Systems
    Agricultural Machine Systems
    Agricultural Production Management
    Agricultural Science and Technology

    We have to find one interested in a sweet sorghum pilot project.

  8. Read on this, for a while and see if it makes sense to you.

    I think it was what rufus wanted to market, or something similar.

  9. I sincerely believe that McCain, in practice, would be less likely to resort to military action than Obama.

  10. Here is an long interview with Andrew J. Bacevich in May 2005, a couple of years before his son was killed.

  11. Sweet sorghum good option as renewable energy crop
    Feb 28, 2007 10:40 AM,
    By Ron Smith
    Farm Press Editorial Staff

    A sweet solution to the nation’s energy dependence may be a good fit for Texas farmers.

    “Sweet sorghum is a promising renewable fuels crop for our producers,” says Texas A&M Extension agronomist Juerg Blumenthal.
    Texas farmers have experience producing sorghums.

    · It is a water efficient crop. “We have a conflict if we use a lot of energy to irrigate to produce energy.”

    · The harvest technology and equipment is already in place.

    Blumenthal has researched several types of forage and sweet sorghum hybrids and will look at some exotic sorghum germplasm in the future.

    He said one advantage of some sorghum hybrids is that they are not photoperiod sensitive. “They will flower when daylight is less than 13 hours a day.”

    His primary goal was to evaluate forage and sweet sorghums for bioenergy production in Central and East Texas. He used small plots on the Texas A&M farm in the Brazos Bottoms and conducted both dryland and irrigated trials.

    He used 100 pounds of nitrogen initially and applied another 100 pounds after the first cutting. “Another advantage to sorghum in Texas is the second crop,” he said. “In some areas we may be able to get a third cutting.”

    Blumenthal used atrazine for weed control and sprayed one or two times for armyworms, primarily to control pests in the second crop. “We make the first cut in July and make one or two treatments on the second crop,” Blumenthal said.

    Lodging problems

    He said sudangrass and sorghum sudangrass showed some lodging problems with the first harvest. “The photoperiod sensitive lines stood up well. And lodging was not an issue in the second crop because growth slowed.”

    The first crop, photoperiod sensitive and sweet sorghums, averaged as much as 7.5 tons of dry matter. The second crop yielded 60 percent to 70 percent of the first crop. “That’s still as much as five tons of corn,” Blumenthal said. “We also saw a response to irrigation.”

    He said sugar production potential is significant with juice yield up to 15 tons per acre.

    “Sweet sorghum juice production was very high; sugar content of the photoperiod sensitive sorghums was less.”

    He said the sweet sorghum produced “an impressive second crop.”

    Ethanol yield from the first cutting averaged 200 gallon per acre with the second crop “still high but less than 150 gallons per acre.”

    Blumenthal said the highest yield in the trial was 12.4 tons of dry matter per acre. Highest ethanol production came from sweet sorghum and hit 395 gallons per acre. He said that production would equal about 147 bushels of corn per acre with a conversion efficiency of 2.7 gallons per bushel.”

    “Sweet sorghum production exceeds the average yield for irrigated corn, 125 bushels per acre. We figure 12.8 tons of dry matter equals a 294-bushel per acre corn crop.

    He said sorghum production makes more sense for East and Central Texas than a biomass crop such as switchgrass, which performs better in the plains. “Sorghum fits better into our production systems,” he said. “With switchgrass, producers have to commit to multiple years.”

    Sorghum allows growers yearly options.

    “Sorghum seems to be a good fit for Texas.”


  12. Sweet sorghum, clean miracle crop for feed and fuel
    May 13, 2008

    WASHINGTON (AFP) — The hardy sweet sorghum plant could be the miracle crop that provides cheap animal feed and fuel without straining the world's food supply or harming the environment, said scientists working on a pilot farming project in India.

    "We consider sweet sorghum an ideal 'smart crop' because it produces food as well as fuel," William Dar, Director General of the non-profit International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) said in a statement.

    Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) is the world's fifth largest grain crop after rice, corn, wheat and barley.

    It grows in dry conditions, tolerates heat, salt and waterlogging, making it an ideal crop for semi-arid areas where many of the world's poor live, ICRISAT agronomist Mark Winslow said in an interview with AFP.

    The plant grows to a height of 2.6-4.0 meters (8-12 feet) and looks like corn. Its stalks are crushed yielding sweet juice that is fermented and distilled to obtain bioethanol, a clean burning fuel with a high octane rating.

    It has high positive energy balance, producing about eight units of energy for every unit of energy invested in its cultivation and production, roughly equivalent to sugarcane and about four times greater than the energy produced by corn.

    Sweet sorghum requires little or no irrigation, limiting the use of fuel-burning water pumps that emit carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas contributing to climate change, Winslow said.

    "With proper management, smallholder farmers can improve their incomes by 20 percent compared to alternative crops in dry areas in India," said Dar.

  13. He gets into his policy philosophy at 16 minutes.

  14. Bob, you may find some of his comments at 19 minutes interesting in regard to your previous comments.

  15. Bobal: Every man must look to his own moral life now. The state having given up.

    Its very interesting, bobal, that you would even entertain the notion of the state looking to our moral life at all, and become despondent when people are thrown back onto their own judgment to determine their moral state.

  16. Kim, does that assume the state will leave us alone?

  17. Only if we can get a Librarian idealoge to 39% in the General Election

    Same level of success as Lincoln and/or Ortega.

  18. Crown Mr Crown as Kingmaker.

    McCain buried under avalance of cash

    Scripps Howard News Service

    WASHINGTON -- If you live in one of those so-called presidential battleground states the chances are about the only political sound you hear regularly is Sen. Barack Obama telling of his childhood love of America or of his plans to sort out the mess with the economy and revolutionize health care, or delivering a half dozen other different messages mainly knocking Sen. John McCain who seems almost to be stricken by laryngitis.

    It isn't that McCain has lost his voice. It's just that Obama's has effectively drowned it out.

    The reason for this is money, semi trailers full of it for Obama from private donors that have created a huge imbalance in the spending ability of the two campaigns for the presidency. While McCain managed to regain some of that voice with a decent showing in the final debate, his ability to sustain his message has been overwhelmed by the Democratic nominee, who has launched the most massive television advertising drive in political history.

    In many areas Obama's commercials saturate the market, outnumbering McCain's by at least 8-1 and leaving viewers with the impression that there really is only one candidate in this race. This city's broadcast stations are a good example. Because they reach vote-heavy Northern Virginia, a key battleground area, the Obama ads roll out almost endlessly during prime time viewing hours, day after day

  19. JPMorgan Chase & General Dynamics
    both look to be big winners, this round.

    The F-22 will fly!

    The Chicago Way.

  20. Blogger 2164th said...

    I sincerely believe that McCain, in practice, would be less likely to resort to military action than Obama.

    hmmm, I respectfully disagree but I must say I'm impressed that such a criteria would be a deciding factor for you and I am also impressed, and pleased, that I found this particular article highlighted at your site.

  21. Christians and other minorities are forced to flee, leaving everything behind. A lifetime and generations of savings forced to leave behind. No protection is offered, no compensation is offered. The Iraqi government is laughing at the US administration. Same with the Afghani government. The Afghani government giving the Chinese complete rights to the largest undeveloped copper mine in the world.

  22. The perfect metaphor

    Obama is backed by JP Morgan Chase
    McCain's Choice Bank went belly up

  23. Its very interesting, bobal, that you would even entertain the notion of the state looking to our moral life at all,

    Oh, but it has to do so. Always has and always will. Try to protect the helpless, that sort of thing. A good state, we need that, for the helpless.

    Within a Constitution.

    Pass decent laws, with some teeth, through a good legislature.

    It's the getting rid of law in San Francisco that I think is bad. You'll have old men, black and white, preying on the young.

    We'll need a Leviathan of some kind until we become angels, which will be a long time from now.

  24. We are who we are, bob.

    I sometimes wonder about stories of the self-made man.

    It was three generations of work that did it for me.

    Grand dad, dad, myself.

    I don't take credit for it all, no way.

    I'm glad I had them to back me up. I wouldn't be here without them. And, my aunts.

    I don't know about sorghum. I think our growing season is short, and the ethanol stuff would be better done down towards the south, where the growing season is longer.

    It hasn't made the papers here.

    It might work out in some of that irrigated land down by Boise better than here.

    I just don't know.

  25. The Constitution, Kim, allows the legislature to make sane laws, like protect the young from sexual predators, that sort of thing.

    So yes, I am for that, to watch out for the helpless, and the kids.

  26. What is in the usual crop rotation?

  27. ... like protect the young from sexual predators, that sort of thing.
    The Constitution allows the States to do that, bob.

    Not a Federal mission, at all.
    Unless the bad guys are moving, from State to State.

  28. I think we will have a real round of inflation, taxes will go way up, most of the money wasted, Obama will be tested, and cave, and we will have millions more pouring over the southern border.

    Just like the two I ran into last night at Albertson's, who weren't totally rude, but just inside the bounds of politeness.

    I was almost fearful, but I was inside the store, and the cameras were on.

    That's another reason we need laws, to protect the older folk like me.

  29. If it can work in Idaho, bob, it can work anywhere. Which the fellas at the University would love to know, fer sure.

    The objective is to relieve you of the property, with some up front spendin' money and a long term residual income, not subject to a capital gains tax on granpa's time.

    The fact that you do not know, that what makes it important for the State to find out.

    Sweet sorghum or switchgrass. Betcha one of 'em will grow there.

  30. You got to have peas.

    We finally figured that out.

    Or, some other crop to break the cycle up.

    Peas are best.

    Wheat, winter wheat is best, then maybe some barley, then peas.

    Or, summerfallow in there.

    To the west of here, where it is dryer, they just rotate, wheat, summerfallow, wheat.

    You need something in there, to break the wheat diseases up. Give the land a rest.

    Peas are the best, and they put in a little nitrogen too.

    If you are coming off barley, then a year of peas, and you get the wheat crop up in good shape in the fall, you can have a heck of a crop.

    Grows like crazy, and, with some rain in July, you are in.

  31. Sometimes I don't know what you are getting at, Rat.

    You come do the agricultural research.

    You are welcome to do so.

    They will love to have you.

    I'll pay the taxes.

    We'll go on from there.

    If you can stand the cold:)

  32. The objective is to relieve you of the property

    What the heck does that mean?

  33. One of the very best of us around here, Mr. Thompson, a really good farmer, has a sign in his house, says. "Take time to smell th roses, as you go through life."

  34. Or, lentils, which are a bitch. Awfully hard to harvest.

    We are also trying garbanzo beans, or chick peas as they are called here.

    Trouble is, they take forever to ripen up, and then are open to get shattered out in the fall, if you get some bad rain.

    We need another crop, but we can't figure out what it is.

  35. Thought you were tryin' to sell off and go on vacation, or just go on vacation.

    Letting the farm provide you some upfront cash and longterm income. A perpetual trust, with the University as a partner.

    In a scalable ethanol project that puts the land back into production and the management and labor upon project managers, monitored by the University.

    Not that complicated a grant proposal, I'd wager.

  36. The idea that Obama is "going to change the world" is just laughable, from my point of view.

    Takes three generatiions to even make a dent in it, from my experience.

    Mat knows.

  37. I honestly don't know what you are getting at, Rat.

    Yes, I've worked hard, and would like to make another property sale.

    It is my land.

    I think.

    And, I would finally like to go on a vacation.

    I feel I've earned that.

    And, I know my wife has, putting in twenty years, with the least of us.

  38. Rat, you wipe 'drool' off the face of the "kids", that's service too, even as good as military service.

    Which she has done. And is now done with it.

    You can go too far with this stuff.

  39. You can tell 'em and tell 'em, don't drink and do drugs, you'll just end up here.

    And Obama is going to "change the world".

    Ash is going to instruct is how.


    My wife has paid for her life, she needs a break, and has earned it.

  40. You try it, Rat.

    It's worse than military service.

    You do it.


    You go to medical school, like my brother did.

    It's hard to handle.

    Let the blacks live by themselves.

    I'm finished with it.

    Don't preach no more.


  41. Where is that absolutely wonderfull passage from "Deliverance"?

    You know the one.

    Or should, by now.

  42. You should go down to Tambor and hang out with duece's friends for a while, bob.

    What with winter comin' on.

    Lot nicer than Vegas.

    Give it some serious thought, your wife would love it, at least for a few weeks.

  43. And my wife's girl friend says, "All he does it sit there, and watch tv."

    deuce knows

    he said it first

    some people are just better than others

    that's the way it is, the human truth

  44. I'm very sorry for the man's loss. I know it has to be devastating.

    That said, he's just babbling.

  45. Rat, I love ya, but you are the most cynical son of a bitch I've ever known.

    Can't you finally knock it off, now?

    Just knock it off, finally.

  46. Don't let anyone kid you, and I am speaking from the sixties generation about why any of us went into the service. First we had too. it was the law.

    In my case, it was what all the men did, fathers, uncles, brothers and cousins.

    It was for adventure.

    To travel. See the world.

    To be able to come home wearing a uniform. It was a rite of passage.

    It made a man out of you.

    To keep you from going to reform school or the county jail.

    To learn a trade.

    To get away from something, perhaps a pregnant girl friend.

    I cannot think of any of us who said we were doing it to be patriotic. Civilians talked that way, not GI's. Being patriotic was like being a man. It was a given. It was what you were, and not a reason for doing anything. It was unthinkable that anyone would not be patriotic. That came later to our horror to see and hear others who were not.

    Quaint but true.

  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

  48. I still use one of my dog tags on my key ring. i am amused when someone "thanks me for my service", but then I use squadron names, my air force serial number, specialty codes, and combinations as passwords. That also amused me, because I could never forget them. The computer age allowed me to recycle them.

  49. Before the used social security codes they had individual numbers, the air force started with "AF", the army had two "US" for draftees and "RA" for lifers.

  50. I wasn't in the military.

    Now, I wish I had been.

    That is all I can say.

  51. To sell the farm, bob, create a project that is "bigger than ourselves" to sell or lease the farm to. Then let others manage the project.

    Obviously, in todays' enviorment, that is an energy crop.

    In China
    Inner Mongolia, P.R.China (Huhhot)
    The Hueahote district (also called Huhhot) lies in the Inner Mongolia region (i.e. the P.R.China region close to the border of Mongolia), at approximately 40° North
    Latitude, W-NW from Beijing. It belongs to a middlewarm semi-dry zone: the average elevation is around 800-1,100 meters above the sea level.

    Moscow is at 46° North, could still work.
    Moscow's Elevation: 2,579 FT (786.1 M)

    The PetroChina oil refinery, located 9 km from Huhhot City and covering an industrial area of 130 ha, has been selected for the ECHIT project in Inner Mongolia. Today the PetroChina refinery processes. The 12th European Conference on Biomass for Energy, Industry and Climate Protection, 17-21 June 2002, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1115 target amount of ethanol for PetroChina Company is 100,000 t /y.
    The low temperature typical of winter time offer unique on-field storage conditions for sweet sorghum stems stalks) in Inner Mongolia. In fact, since the temperature falls below zero at the harvesting season (end of October) cut stems will not deteriorate if left on the fields, and the stem-processing phase can therefore be completed by the subsequent April. Harvested stems can therefore be stored on the fields for a period of approximately 5 months. The quality and the fertility of the soil in this region are very good. Inner Mongolia has already developed Sweet Sorghum cultivation for foodethanol (wine) production. The Sweet Sorghum wine is distilled and produced in Tuoketuo County, 70 km far from Huhhot.

    The cultivation of Sweet Sorghum has been studied and planned for the different sites in Italy and China.
    7,000 ha, 19,000 ha and 20,000 ha have been considered in Basilicata, Shandong Province and Inner Mongolia respectively. In the case of Inner Mongolia, a cluster scheme based on 10 similar unit of 2,000 ha each has been adopted.The existing rural structure and the logistic prerequisites in Huhhot did not seem suitable for a single large scale, centrally organised cultivation, plantation, and processing scheme. A decentralised structure based on 10 similar clusters has therefore been proposed for Inner Mongolia, more suitable for projects focused on the rural development issue.

    PDF Alert

  52. Only a 17 or 18 year old would think that a guy staying in for twenty and retiring at 38 was a lifer. Such is youth.

  53. Bob, if you didn't get killed or maimed, it was not half bad, and the further you get away in years the better it becomes. You get to a time and you wonder if you ever really did it, dreamt it or lied about it so often your really unsure.

  54. But, my brother was. In the military. After 7 years of medical school.
    Four at Portland. Then two at San Antonio. Then one at Walter Read.

    And I have been a farmer, all my life.

    There are other ways to serve the nation, than say, "Yes, Sir".

    I am proud of what I have done.

    And, I salute you who have been in the military, too

    That's all I can say.

  55. The sweet sorghum story has legs, Rat. I think the guys in Louisiana will be the first to get it up and running; but you never know.

    Up Bobal's way, I'd be looking at "Tropical Maize." Won't do a long spiel, here; but, it's, basically, a big tall corn stalk that doesn't produce corn (hence, all the sugar is retained in the stalk.) You treat it more or less as you would sweet sorghum, but can probably get bigger yields in the Northerly regions.

    What I like about the sweet sorghum story is it's a little more "low tech" than "cellulosic." Thus, you can do smaller, more localized deals. When you get down to 3,000 acres, and a 1 million gal/yr refinery, you're basically talking one decent-sized farmer. That can "Rock n Roll!"

  56. And, I am not trying to suck off my bother, though he is a very good man, better than myself.

    Guy used to hang glide down in California, and a great skiier.

    Goin' back to bed.

  57. bah, Oil's cheap again - time to get a new big honkin' gas guzzler and cruise on down the road with nary a worry in the world.

    All you top down socialists can lobby for a government solution


  58. Always nice to know a bit about the positions of writers who don't know what they're writing about. So it seems with HDS Greenway.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2007 7:20:01 PM
    Boca Raton:

    The Boston Globe, through it "Blame America First" columnist, H.D.S. Greenway, continues to mislead the American people in Sunday's (June 24, 2007) article entitled, "No State, No Solution, No Peace....radicalization, despair, gripping the Middle East."

    That is a teaser to what he doesn't know.

    What got me curious about the writer Greenway was this paragraph in the openinf thread;
    "In reality, the United States has sought expansion, first by pushing west until it reached the sea, then through a brief period of direct colonialism, and more recently through a ruthless if indirect imperial policy of control. It worked spectacularly. The United States became a great power replete with material abundance."

    What's the problem you say? Well the colonialism being mentioned was the switch for me for it is a mighty stretch, as is the mindless misunderstanding of our Manifest Destiny. There's just a whole lots there that isn't reporting it's propaganda.

    Then this;

    “A tribute to HDS Greenway
    A poster at Jihad Watch recently wrote: “Once upon a time I lived in the NE. The anti Israel bias of the Boston Globe turned me into a Boston Herald customer. The Globe had more than one op-ed columnist weighing in against Israel. HDS Greenway was the worst.”

    Was, and is. Though he is officially retired, the vaporings of HDS Greenway, half or 2/3 of them devoted in some way to Israel (his main topic, practically his only topic these days) can still be found on Fridays at The Boston Globe, where he has spent many years. Greenway is a Peter-Jennings sort of fellow. He never liked the Jews in Israel, something about them, but always liked the American Colony Hotel, the Arabs, smooth and accommodating. He never, not once, appears to have studied the cadastral (land-ownership) or demographic history of the area under the Ottomans, nor for that matter does he appear to know anything about the history of the wider and always demonstrated a preference for the Arabs. He had lots of friends among them -- charming, liquid brown-eyed. He found them his sort

    He knew, and knows, nothing about the Middle East. He knows nothing, even though he spent years reporting from there, because he has never understood Islam, its centrality, its relevance to everything that happens. He deeply believes in the existence of the "Palestinian people." He deeply refuses to find out very much -- he never showed any interest -- about the history of the Mandate for Palestine, the history of land ownership in that area under the Ottomans and later, the demographic history of the area, or for that matter the demographics related to Jews and Christians in what became Mandatory Palestine, or all over what Greenway no doubt thinks of as "the Arab world." He has no linguistic gifts, no historical training. Some find him ornamental. From time to time he has been pressed into service to introduce a visiting speaker for some local foreign-affairs-council, for those who like to think they keep up with events, and for whom a good lecture by, say, Rami Khouri or Brent Scowcroft, or someone else of that ilk and bias, will tell them all they need to know in order to understand the Middle East.

    Greenway fits right in with an Op/Ed page that favors outside commentators of the Wiliam Pfaff-Jonathan Power variety, all of whom overlap on one point: their complete lack of sympathy or understanding for Israel, their deep belief that there is no problem with Muslim peoples or polities that cannot be solved by giving them what they demand from Israel, now and in the future.

    Has H.D. S. Greenway ever taken the trouble to study the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the biography of Muhammad? In the hundreds of thousands of words he has produced, in his mere reporting over many years, and in his attempt more recently to make his own kind of sense of men and events, he has never given the slightest hint of having done so.

    His entire professional life has been, thus, worthless ”.

    Mr. Greenway it would appear is a bloviating gasbag the type of which could only possibly thrive in the Washington-New York-Boston corridor.

    I wonder if there are any just plain old reporters out there who don’t have an agenda and a laptop.?

  59. That's funny Habu, all that text and all of it, every word, is simply an ad hominem attack. It tells us nothing.

  60. 3,000 acres & a distillery producing $1.5 million USD or so annually.

    Replacing 22,700 barrels of Saudi light, each year. 44 such ag units replacing a days worth of Saudi light.

    16,000 ag units to replace all the Saudi crude.
    48 million acres

    Use the InterState hiway medians where applicable.

    Iowa State Univ tells US that Corn acreage nationally is projected at 86.0 million acreage and soybean at 74.8 million acreage; this is an 8 percent reduction and 18 percent increase relative to 2007, respectively

    So, a tad more than half the acreage the corn crop utilizes could free US from Saudi crude.

  61. No, not centrally planned or operated, ash.

    But 16,000 distilleries organized in some type of Ag Co-Op, I'd imagine.
    In addidtion to what government entities could be doing, fermenting waste at landfills, Energy independence could be just two or three years away.
    Without central planning, just fuel blend mandates. Which is not new regulatory ground for the Federals to tread.

  62. Heck, Rat, we used to rowcrop 400 Million Acres in the U.S. Today, we rowcrop 250 Million. That's 150 Million Acres, right there.

    We Pay farmers Not to farm 34 Million acres of that land. The rest is used for a little "light" grazing, or somesuch.

    That 150 Million Acres would produce somewhere over One Billion Barrels of Ethanol. Over 3 Million Barrels/Day.

    Add in another 2 Million bpd from solid waste, forest, other cellulosic, plus, a little bit better engines and we've cut our "imports" by well over half.

    This shit would be so easy it makes you want to cry.

  63. Does anyone think it odd that Obama is taking two days off to go to Hawaii at this time? His grandmother or some other important business?

  64. There was no 'Palestinian' people until the Jews came back from the horrors of Europe, and made some jobs.

    Then a few bedouin came in from the desert, and got jobs.

    Went from there.

  65. I wonder if he'll take Biden with him?

    Maybe, he just figures the only way he can lose is to give a speech, and say something exceedingly stupid? Like I said, "I wonder if he'll take ol "windy Joe" with him?"

  66. Or, maybe, just maybe, he just can't juggle the approaching grim reaper to more appropriately fit his schedule.

  67. Don't let anyone kid you, and I am speaking from the sixties generation about why any of us went into the service. First we had too. it was the law.

    Thanks for sharing the recollections, Deuce.

    [God, I hate that phrase, "Thanks for sharing...", and here I am using it.]

    There was another classifier besides RA and US, NG for National Guard. In Basic we used to have to call out our designation to a guy with a clipboard when we went into the messhall, just before picking up trays and tools. Some NG friends, pretty smug they were, used to razz me about calling out RA, like it was some kind of mental deficiency. They'd line up in front and behind me, and when it came time to pick up silverware, would only let me have a spoon, knives and forks being too dangerous. They were a bunch of Poles and a Lebanese kid from Hamtramck, and a gang of Southies from Boston. All good guys. Basic and AIT, and home to their girl friends. Smug sons-a-bitches. Like the friends in "Good Will Hunting", including that insufferable asshole, Ben Affleck.

    The stories we could tell, clearer now than what we did last month.

  68. The stories we could tell, clearer now than what we did last month.

    I remember the drought of '73, prices were down, and we....

  69. WASHINGTON (AP) - The presidential race tightened after the final debate, with John McCain gaining among whites and people earning less than $50,000, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that shows McCain and Barack Obama essentially running even among likely voters in the election homestretch.
    The poll, which found Obama at 44 percent and McCain at 43 percent, supports what some Republicans and Democrats privately have said in recent days: that the race narrowed after the third debate as GOP-leaning voters drifted home to their party and McCain's "Joe the plumber" analogy struck a chord.

    I wish the election was over. Don't know how much more I can take.

  70. RCP Average 10/15 - 10/21 Obama +7.0

    FOX News 10/20 - 10/21 Obama +9

    Rasmussen Reports 10/19 - 10/21 Obama +6

    Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby 10/19 - 10/21 Obama +10

    Gallup (Traditional)* 10/19 - 10/21Obama +5

    Gallup (Expanded)* 10/19 - 10/21 Obama +8

    Hotline/FD 10/19 - 10/21 Obama +5

    ABC News/Wash Post 10/18 - 10/21 Obama +11

    IBD/TIPP 10/17 - 10/21 Obama +4

  71. I know. Most of the polls have Obama way up.

  72. Ash said...

    That's funny Habu, all that text and all of it, every word, is simply an ad hominem attack. It tells us nothing.

    I beg to differ. I think Habu's comment was a public service to the patrons of the EB. It put some context into Deuce's post. Mr. Greenway apparently has a long standing bias which should be considered.

  73. ash,
    Finnt thing is I didn't write those opinions. Go dp sone of you own rearch. All I did was check out a guy a never heard of to see which way the wind blows.

    You seem to be a lemming clone experiment gone bad.

  74. Global News Enterprises announces the launch of GlobalPost ( on January 12, 2009. Based in Boston, GlobalPost will be the first Web-based news organization to provide daily international news coverage by its own team of experienced correspondents from every corner of the world.


    GlobalPost is closing in on its goal of 70 correspondents in 53 countries, and it has recently added correspondents in China, India and Indonesia. Among the team of editors and correspondents who have already joined the GlobalPost team: former Newsday Middle East correspondent Matt McAllester; former Newsweek correspondent Josh Hammer; former Time magazine reporter William Dowell; former NPR correspondent Michael Goldfarb; former Washington Post special correspondent John Dinges; New York Times contributor Seth Kugel; veteran foreign affairs correspondent H.D.S. Greenway; and the former Business Asia editor of the International Herald Tribune, Matthew Driskill.

    Current bios of all GlobalPost correspondents are available at in January

  75. "Are we bogged down in two wars with no end in sight?"

    We can see the light at the end of the Iraqi tunnel.

    Afghanistan, though, could be a real tar baby.

    Best to think long and hard about our future there. Much as it turns my stomach, I wouldn't be surprised to see us eventually work a deal with the Taliban. As brutal as they were, they kept the opium under control. Nowadays, opium production is so high that some other crops are competitive.

    Then, there are the reports including the "leaked" secret NIE report that Karzai controls nothing outside of Kabul.

    There's no oil in Afghanistan, no real infrastructure, no "there" there. Obviously, our resources and those of our allies will not rebuild what wasn't there in the first place. It's a conundrum. Should we stay or should we go now?

    Stay and bleed or make a deal, declare our work done and get out.

  76. Greek philosopher Socrates said “patriotism does not require one to agree with everything that his country does and would actually promote analytical questioning in a quest to make the country the best it possibly can be.”
    Patriotism is supporting your fellow Americans who are having trouble.

    Patriotism is defending your fellow Americans from invading enemies. Patriotism is protecting your fellow Americans from greedy corporations.

    I believe patriotism is a love for your country and a passion for it to be the best it can be.


  77. Or perhaps we stay and bleed the jihadists. Is Afghanistan as bad as we're led to believe? Are the Taliban as resurgent as is reported? Can al-Qaeda project anything other than bile?

    We'll have to depend on the professionals (and I don't mean the media) to make those determinations.

  78. Meanwhile back stateside, those who are so inclined are pointing to Palin as the end of McCain's campaign.

    I couldn't say.

  79. "Are we bogged down in two wars with no end in sight?"

    What is war defined as?

    cost in blood or treasure?

    simply the ACTION called war?

    if that is the case then we are AT WAR in 100 plus countries...

    No, really Iraq must be viewed from a long position as is afghanistan.

    From what I see is that iraq and afghanistan are bright lights to jihadist moths....

    tens of thousands of islamic youth have now committed death by shahid.

    the beauty? the islamic world rids itsself of it's unstable youth all the while not having to change one bit...

    ever hear of "death by cop"?

    same thing...

    but in the end I venture to say that the USA's armed forces are the strongest honed force out there (with small exceptions)

    russia fighting the georgians was hardly a contest...

    china killing tibens not much a battle...

    I'd actually wager that the USA's rep is STRONGER in the world since it KNOWS we will be a cowboy and shoot 1st and ask questions later reputation type country...

    our enemies understand fear...

    they do not seek compromise

    bogged down?


    no end in sight?

    change your perspective....

    there cannot be an "end in sight" until one side completely wins....

    otherwise the battle continues....

    or jihad continues to be more precise....

  80. there cannot be an "end in sight" until one side completely wins....

    I agree. Since WWII "victory" seems to have lost its meaning.

    The reason that the middle-east is intractable is that the Israelis have never been allowed to win.

    This could well be the model for any areas we try to maintain a presence.

  81. whit said...
    there cannot be an "end in sight" until one side completely wins....

    I agree. Since WWII "victory" seems to have lost its meaning.

    The reason that the middle-east is intractable is that the Israelis have never been allowed to win.

    This could well be the model for any areas we try to maintain a presence.

    which brings up the issue...

    how to win...

    My suggestion?

    destruction of the Black Stone...

    The Black Stone (called الحجر الأسود al-Hajar-ul-Aswad in Arabic)

    Not as a terrorist action, but the deliberate action of the united world to force Islam to reform.

    Islam has 5 required things...

    One of the Pillars is to make the Hajj...

    The Hajj (Arabic: حج‎) is a pilgrimage to Mecca (Makkah). It is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world.[1] It is the fifth pillar of Islam, an obligation that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. It is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to Allah.[2] The pilgrimage occurs from the 10th to the 15th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar used in the Western world, the Gregorian date of the Hajj is eleven days earlier from year to year. In 2007, the Hajj was from December 17 to December 21; in 2008 from the first week of December. If on the Hajj, a female must be accompanied by her husband or a member of her family (Mahram).
    The Hajj is associated with the life of Muhammad, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back to the time of Ibrahim and Isma'il, prominent figures in both Islam and in Judaism. Pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals. As part of the Hajj, each person walks counter-clockwise seven times about the Kaaba, the cube-shaped building which acts as the Muslim direction of prayer (qibla); runs back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah; drinks from the Zamzam Well; goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil; and throws stones in a ritual Stoning of the Devil. The pilgrims then shave their heads, perform an animal sacrifice, and celebrate the four day global festival of Eid al-Adha.[3][4][5]

    DESTROY the PILLAR, it would prove to those of islamic faith that ALLAH had failed them...

    Right now the Arab/islamic mind, doesnt really believe the west CAN destroy the Arab/Islamic faith/culture/peoples/jihad, if we COULD we would have, as if they COULD they WOULD have....

    We need to send a non-mass murdering signal that will persuade them to understand the next shot will really hurt...

    sanctions? nonsense

    limited targeting? nonsense

    change the game...


    kill a STONE...

    DESTROY your ENEMIES core...

  82. What I can't figure, is how John McCain, who is 72 years old, and was in the Hanoi Hilton, is such a forgetfull white old dying senile fool.

    While Colin Powell, aged 71 and black, who went to the UN for Bush, is such a black genius, and finally haveing seen the light, denies everything he stood for, and embraces the black brotha.

    That's what I can't figure.

    Help me Kim, honey.

  83. It's all coming down to racism.

    I quess we whites have failed, to overcome it.

    You wouldn't believe, how they have been tearing up poor old Sarah, there on KGO.

    The land of Bernie Ward.

    I can live with it.

  84. However, some experts believe there are differences that may keep overseas markets from falling quite as far as Americans' home values. While countries like the U.K. did experience some subprime lending, the practice of giving mortgages to less credit-worthy buyers never reached the proportions overseas as it did in the United States.

    That means other countries likely won't experience the level of foreclosures that America has seen. And while European countries did experience a building boom as home prices shot up during the early 2000s, no country went as wild over new houses and condos as America did.

    As a result, overseas markets aren't suffering the vast glut of never-lived-in houses sitting vacant on the market, which is making it hard to sell existing homes in many U.S. markets.

    World of Hurt

  85. Let the blacks finally stand on their on two feet, just like Reverend Manning says.

    No more affirmative actiion.

  86. Election Day is now less than two weeks away. As Nebraskans vote for their favorite candidates, they'll also vote whether or not to end affirmative action in the state.


    "I think that the paradigm of affirmative action as we have called it has outlived its usefulness," says Ward Connerly, the leader of a California group supporting the ban.

    "I as a Nebraskan take great offense to the thought and to the proposition that somehow we are a bunch of folks who are discriminatory in this state," says David Kramer of Nebraskans United, a group fighting the ban. "We don't do much of anything in these areas, which has led me to describe this as a solution in search of a problem."

    Ban Debated

  87. Maxine Waters for Secretary of Energy.

    That's just what we need.

    She knows the business.


  88. Let Maxine Waters be the Secretary of Energy.

    I'm through with this racism crap.

    Powell did it, for me.

    No more.

    Let them stand on their own two feet.

    Let Maxine Waters run Chevron.

  89. Dear Mr. President:

    As you know, we’ve been working in close consultation with your Administration to address our serious housing market problems and the broader economic crisis they have precipitated. There are several aspects of recent government actions that will allow us to have a major impact in mitigating foreclosures and stabilizing the housing market – the government takeover of the operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Hope for Homeowners program that became effective on October 1, and the language in Emergency Economic Stability Act requiring the Administration to implement the program in a way that will maximize foreclosure mitigation.


    Certainly the government’s role will necessarily differ in regard to mortgages the government actually owns or controls and others that remain in pools backing securities in the private market. The combination of tools available, however, allows us to have a substantial impact on the foreclosure crisis that continues to undercut economic recovery.

    It is important that we achieve maximum success on the foreclosure mitigation front by effectively coordinating the various programs and authorities now available to us.

    Frank and Waters Letter

  90. Let them all live alone.

    I have.

    With my own good wife.

    Powell is a black piece of crap.

    And, you all know it.

  91. No more affirmative actiion.

    I couldn't agree more, Bob. But my pessimistic side tells me if BO gets in we'll look back fondly on what we've thought of as AA up until now.

    As for Sam's news from Nebraska, I hope they pull it off. As a born son of the beef state, I can see the questions arise. Why here? Why now? But you have to start someplace, and the Big Red state is as good as any.

    Don't forget the new president has the federal powers delivered to him under Bush to use federal forces to intervene in any state that fails to comply with federal mandates protecting the rights of citizens, as defined federally. No more Posse Comitatus. How do you think Obama would respond with the black congressional caucus and the cottage industry racists like Sharpton, Jackson, and his own dear pastor beating the drums?

  92. I posted this at the Belmont on 6/26/2006 11:34:00 PM

    "2164th said...
    I guess since we have moved to the amnesty stage someone must have won, lost or declared a truce. I missed that. Sorry that I am one of the un-repentant that does not believe Islam is compatible with democracy. It seemed that since we were attacked by jihadis our response should have been to kill them and their support teams and not get bogged down in grand theories about democracy. To win against militant Islam is possible and desirable. Attempting to make them a democracy is almost guaranteed to turn military acievements into political failures.

    Aristotle distinguished six kinds of social structure in three pairs:

    A state with only one ruler is either a monarchy or a tyrrany;

    A state with several rulers is either an aristocracy or an oligarchy; and

    A state in which all rule is either a polity or a democracy.

    The Islamic world is first and foremost Islamic. To date the most prevalent model of government has been the first or second Aristotelian model. We have ventured to simultaneously convert two of the worst case Islamic states to a democracy using an undersized military force. That was our stated goal and the goal that will we will be judged against. Had our goal been limited to punishing and destroying our enemies we would have been enjoying a fair measured success. Our sworn enemies would know that to challenge the US can be a costly mistake. We however have foolishly set a goal that permits the jihadis to easily frustrate. Our enemies always can count on the Left to assist them and they are doing so with the the open and tacit support of the traitors at the New York Times and the majority of the MSM.

    Let's not kid ourselves. This is no victory. It is a stand down to withdraw. It reeks of 1975 and another bridge too far in American politics.

    6/26/2006 11:34:00 PM"

    Nothing has changed my thinking and i do not find much that troubles me with the Colonel and the video. Screw Greenway.

  93. "They didn't have any clothes on" said the white Rhodesian woman.

    I'm tired of it.

  94. "They didn't have any clothes on" said the white Rhodesian woman.

    Fulton Street Faire, San Francisco?

  95. The thought of looking at and listening to Michelle Obama for four years....

  96. The Cabinet member who spoke with Today’s Zaman stated that a Turkish delegation’s official contact with Massoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan regional government in northern Iraq, last week -- after a long period of strained relations caused by Barzani’s reluctance to prevent PKK militants in northern Iraq from infiltrating Turkey to stage attacks against Turkish targets -- was also discussed.

    Stating his personal opinion, the minister described the Turkish delegation’s meeting with Barzani as positive.

    “From the negative remarks made by Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party [MHP], on Turkey’s contact with Barzani, I understand that the talks have been positive,” he remarked jokingly.

    Anti-terror Unit

  97. This comment has been removed by the author.

  98. Deuce,

    The problem I have with your thesis is that your enemy is not very well defined. You shift between talking about Islam (numbering folk in the billions) and Islamic militants. Who is this enemy which you speak? Where are they located? How can we militarily confront them effectively? Obiviously wiping out a few billion people is not a practical option.

  99. The thought occurred to me tonight that a President Obama might well be more of a constant target of the Jihadis. Born to a Muslim father, he is in their eyes, an apostate which I believe is worse than an infidel.

    Of course lately, I've been one or two sentence behind in the conversations so if you all have already discussed this, nevermind.

    Hey, I like the new placement of the comment box.

  100. I do not particularly like the placement of the comment as drop down. Makes it a little too convenient more our friends with multiple personas.

  101. Maybe with the economy the way it is, the Bush presidency as unpopular as it is, the desire for change as great as it is, there was never a chance for the guy McCain used to be. It may be too late for him to win with dignity, but there is still time for him to lose that way.

    And it matters.

    It will matter to him for the rest of his life. It matters to the process he has fought for and to the country to which he has dedicated his life.

    Go Down with Dignity?

  102. Ash, I believe in culling the herd. Instead of putting an entire country into war and setting up the idiotic base in Cuba, it would have been smarter to identify the camps, sects and supporters and dispatched them in situ. Get in and get out, although I guess if I understood them more, I would be a better person.