“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, November 10, 2010

The Christians of Iraq Before and After the Removal of Saddam

Christians targeted in Baghdad attacks BBC

A series of bombings and mortar attacks targeting Christians have killed at least three people in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, security sources say.

Five separate areas with a strong Christian majority were hit, and at least 24 people have been injured.

The attacks come days after more than 40 people when a Catholic cathedral was seized by Islamist militants.

The violence comes as top-level talks on ending the country's political crisis ended without agreement.

"Two mortar shells and 10 homemade bombs targeted the homes of Christians in different neighbourhoods of Baghdad between 0600 and 0800 (0300 and 0500 GMT)," an unnamed official told AFP news agency.

Over the weekend, a senior Iraqi cleric in London called on Iraqi Christians to flee the country because it was so dangerous.

"If we stay, they will kill us," Archbishop Athanasios Dawood said after addressing a congregation of Iraqi Orthodox Christians at a service in London.


This Article discusses the situation in Iraq before George Bush attacked Iraq. It was written, February 25, 2003,

There is probably no avoiding war with Iraq at this time. Too much has happened for us to turn aside now, even if that might be the best thing for all concerned. Despite some of our wishes to the contrary, the war is probably going to come, and its coming is fraught with danger for many innocent people in the Middle East. But if war must come, then as citizens of the United States, we have an obligation to remind our leaders that the lives of Christians are just as important as the lives of Muslims. A victory in Iraq that destroys the Assyrian community in its wake is no victory. If our President and his staff are not considering the fates of these brave Christians, then it is time for us, as Americans, to remind them of their obligations to our co-religionists in a war that we brought to them.

The Assyrians still speak the language of Jesus, and follow the way of the cross, despite centuries of persecution. The strength of their faith should be a humbling example to us all in the West. The Assyrians have survived the coming of the Persians, the Arabs, and the Turks. It remains to be seen if they will survive the coming of the Americans.


Christians for Saddam?

by Glen Chancy Lew


After the Divine Liturgy a few Sundays ago, I joined several other men from my parish for brunch. The topic of Iraq came up, and one of the men remarked that he had heard that there was a substantial Christian population in Iraq, and that Tariq Assiz, the Iraqi foreign minister, was a Roman Catholic. He was shocked that a Christian could be associated with such a man as Saddam Hussein.

"What can that mean for his witness as a Christian to serve such a leader?" my friend asked in bewilderment.

While I cannot know what is in Mr. Assiz’s heart, only God can know that, I can certainly understand, on a basic level, his service to Saddam Hussein. Before we, in the West, become too judgmental of our co-religionists living under Muslim rule, I believe we need to understand the world Iraqi Christians inhabit. It is a brutal world of few good choices, and many potential dangers. Theirs is a truly desperate plight, and it is one that our forthcoming invasion of Iraq is quite likely to make much, much worse.

Background – Iraqi Christians

In Iraq, live an estimated 1 million Christians who are ethnically Assyrian. This community descends from the various Mesopotamian kingdoms that once ruled the area and formed powerful empires in the Fertile Crescent. Their Christian heritage is ancient. Many Assyrians converted to Christianity as early as the second century A.D. Assyrians define themselves as a broad category of Christian groups speaking Aramaic (the language of Jesus) that includes followers of the Chaldean Catholic Church (in communion with Rome), the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Church of the East, among others.

The Assyrians have lived under foreign domination since the fall of the Assyrian kingdom to Persian power in the seventh century B.C. Since then, the Assyrians have been subjected to Persian, Arab, and Ottoman domination. As a result of ethnic cleansing by Iranian, Turkish, and Arab-Iraqi forces in the 1920s and 1930s, the Assyrians lost thousands of people and have found themselves mostly concentrated in the mountainous regions north of Baghdad.

Under various Iraqi governments, particularly those following the British withdrawal in 1945, Christians in Iraq have been politically suppressed. Although substantial numbers of their intellectuals chose to join the Ba'th regime and identify themselves as Arab Christians, the Assyrians have been subjected to systematic attempts by Saddam’s regime to "Arabize" them, a process that includes driving ethnic minorities from their lands and seizing some of their properties, especially in the strategic, oil-rich northern region bordering the Kurdish enclave. This has been done partly out of Saddam’s fear of disloyalty on the part of non-Arabs, and partly out of a desire to reward Saddam’s political supporters with their land.

"The Iraqi government has also forced ethnic minorities such as the Assyrians, the Kurds and the Turkomen to sign 'national correction forms' that require them to renounce their ethnic identities and declare themselves to be Arabs," says Hania Mufti of Human Rights Watch.

Today, in the Middle East, Assyrians are spread across Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran, where rights groups say they live as small, often discriminated-against minorities under governments largely unsympathetic to their religious and cultural aspirations. In Iraq, most Assyrians live in the North, under Kurdish control in an enclave that was established after the 1991 Gulf War. There, they have achieved a modicum of independence, and are allowed five seats in the Kurdish Parliament.

In fact, this is perhaps the best situation in which Assyrians have found themselves in some time. Given their history with Saddam, and the relative freedom they are experiencing in Northern Iraq, you would probably assume that the Assyrians would like nothing better than to see Saddam’s murderous regime consigned to the dustbin of history.

Unfortunately, you would be wrong.

Saddam Hussein – That Bad in Context?

This may come as a shock to many Americans, whose image of Saddam has been framed by comparisons to Adolf Hitler, but the prevalent fear among Assyrians, both in Iraq and abroad, is that what comes next after an American invasion will be worse.

"Our greatest fear if there is a regime change in Iraq is if there will be a substitution of Saddam Hussein's tyranny for a new tyranny," says Ronald Michael, president of the Assyrian American League, an Illinois-based organization representing the estimated four-million-strong Assyrian community in the United States.

Saddam Hussein and the Ba’th Regime have been, and still are, nasty and oppressive to all Iraqis. However, Saddam has not been particularly oppressive to the Assyrians, at least compared to what has been the norm elsewhere in the region. One must always keep in mind that the oldest members of Middle Eastern Christian communities remember outright slaughters of Christians by the millions. By the yardstick of his neighbors and Middle Eastern history, Saddam just doesn’t look that bad.

The secular Saddam has neither encouraged nor permitted the type of anti-Christian riots seen in Egypt and Iran. Further, Saddam has never engaged in actual anti-Christian genocide of the type seen in Sudan, where 2 million Christian have lost their lives in the past decade. Unlike any other regime in the Middle East, Saddam has permitted Christians to occupy high public office. This includes the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Tariq Assiz, who is a Roman Catholic. In addition, Saddam’s regime has permitted a degree of free practice for Christians that is positively enviable compared to the situations experienced in such U.S. ‘allies’ as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Christmas and Easter decorations always abound, even in Baghdad, and attending church does not require an act of courage.

Today, the Christians of Iraq seem to be split between those who support the status quo – de facto autonomy of a type in the North – and those who support Saddam Hussein’s continuation in power. Broad support, enthusiastic or otherwise, for the ouster of Saddam Hussein by the U.S. Army seems to be noticeably absent from the political landscape.

Is this anxiety warranted? Should the Assyrians be so concerned about being liberated by U.S. military power? If history is our guide, they shouldn’t be afraid.

They should be terrified.

Our Friends The Kurds

As noted earlier, the majority of Assyrians live in northern Iraq in the Kurdish enclave. So far, this situation has been reasonably tolerable for the Assyrians, as the Kurds have been conducting a fairly successful democratic experiment under the cover of U.S. and British combat patrols. Given the historical tendency of the Kurds to victimize and slaughter the Assyrians, the current situation seems quite impressive.

However, Assyrians are quick to ask, have the Kurds really moderated their traditional attitudes and embraced Western notions of civil rights? Or, are they only moderating their tone in order to build a unified front against Saddam Hussein? This leads to a great fear among Assyrians in the north that when the unifying factor of a common enemy is removed, the traditional problems between the Kurds and the Assyrians will resurface with a vengeance.

Among the future problems between the two groups are disputes over land, that for now have been put on hold. "There are outstanding issues of Assyrian villages and lands, which were vacated under Baghdad's forced repatriations during the 1970s and '80s," says Hania Mufti of Human Rights Watch.

Recent events in the north fuel fears that the Assyrians may become victims of Kurdish aggression again. The Kurdish authorities have begun attempts to classify Iraq's Christians as "Kurdish Christians." This appellation is an outright fabrication, but it points to a future in which the Assyrians, who survived ‘Arabization’ in Saddam’s Iraq, may find themselves subjected to a harsh ‘Kurdization’ at the hands of an independent Kurdistan.

Also, there has been a resurgence of traditional Kurdish attacks on Christians. The Kurdish authorities have resolutely ignored these attacks. As Ronald Michael explains, it is in the best interests of Kurdish politicians to not antagonize their Muslim constituents by being zealous in the defense of Christians.

"The nationalist parties don't want to lose the support of the Kurdish people," says Michael. "The KDP [Kurdish Democratic Party] turns a blind eye to these attacks out of fear of an Islamic backlash."

The Kurds have an estimated 70,000 anti-Saddam soldiers in the north. How extensively the U.S. plans to make use of them in its war effort remains to be seen. However, one thing is clear – these men aren’t going away after the fighting stops. If the blind eye turned by Kurdish authorities to violence against Christians becomes outright genocide, will our U.S. military forces intervene against our Kurdish ‘allies’ to protect defenseless Christians?

If you and I don’t know the answer to that troubling question, how do you think the Assyrians feel?

Our Friends the Turks

Turkey has repeatedly warned against any attempt to establish an independent Kurdish political entity. The Ankara government is fearful that independent Kurds will be an example for the millions of Kurds under Turkish domination. Should the Kurds attempt to achieve independence, there is a real threat that Turkey will enter the war in order to stop a Kurdish state from forming.

In fact, there is a chance that Turkey may intervene aggressively in any event. Leading up to the latest Turkish election, which brought to power a party with Islamic roots, nationalist Turkish politicians and senior generals threatened to seize Kirkuk and Mosul in the event of war, citing Ottoman-era claims to the two oil-rich northern Iraqi cities.

In September 2002, Ozdem Sanberk, the former Turkish ambassador to Britain, told a reporter, "If the U.S. intervenes, and in the first days the Kurds enter Kirkuk and Mosul, the Turkish army will move in." It has been reported that the Turkish army already has troops inside the Iraqi Kurdish zone, and is already planning to send more to stop any flow of Kurdish refugees into Turkey when full-scale war breaks out.

Currently, Turkey is driving a hard bargain in exchange for backing the U.S. The details are not all public, but it appears that Turkey is demanding at least 10% of the oil revenues from the area around Kirkuk and Mosul. Even if it receives its wish, there is no guarantee that it will abide by any agreement it makes with Washington.

Should the Turks end up in control of northern Iraq, the outcome for the Assyrian Christians in the area is likely to be catastrophic. Turkish rule would likely be far worse than continuing to live under Saddam Hussein, and could very well spell the end of the Assyrian communities.

No nation in the region has as much Christian blood on its hands as Turkey. The Turks carried out major slaughters of Christians in 1915 (close to two million Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks that year alone), the early 1920’s, and again in 1955. To this day, it is the official position of the Turkish government that these genocides did not happen. Further, Turkey has waged a non-stop war of attrition on its native Assyrian, Greek, and Armenian minorities over the last century. Through discrimination, expulsion, race riots, and immigration, these communities have been practically obliterated.

Today, Turkey is almost a Christian-free zone, despite Istanbul serving as the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople – one of the most important Sees of the Orthodox Church. It is estimated that only 60,000 Armenians, 15,000 Assyrians, and 3,500 Greeks remain in Turkey at the dawn of the 21st Century. Less than 100 years ago, the numbers of Christians in what is now Turkey numbered in the millions.

If a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq leads to genocide against the Assyrian Christians as part of a campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing,’ will the United States defend the Christians?

History would lead one to conclude that the answer is an unqualified ‘no.’

The United States sat idly by and allowed the Turks to massacre Christians in 1923 and 1955. (In fact, U.S. ships in the area even refused to take aboard survivors who were fleeing for their lives. The U.S. was afraid of ‘offending’ the Turks by helping any of their victims.) The U.S. did not assist the Greek island nation of Cyprus when Turkey attacked it in 1974, and occupied over 1/3 of Cypriot territory. The U.S. has failed to vigorously protest ongoing Turkish abuse of Turkey’s few remaining Christians.

Over and over again, the U.S. has proven that it will sacrifice an unlimited number of Christian lives in order to maintain its alliance with Turkey. The Assyrians are well aware of this history, and are terrified that they will be the next sacrifice offered up on the altar of U.S.-Turkish friendship.

Our Friends the Iraqi National Congress

The Iraqi National Congress is an umbrella organization bringing together various anti-Saddam groups. Based in London, it is heavily financed by the United States, and may be expected to play a role in the post-invasion reorganization of Iraq. The groups represented in the INC range from constitutional monarchists to Islamic radicals. Their diversity is representative of Iraq itself, which has a Kurdish north, a Sunni Arab center, and Shiite south. Despite this diversity, however, there may be one thing that all of these various groups could agree on – they are all Muslims.

And this is another fear that grips the Assyrians. In a post-Saddam world, there must be some unifying force to hold the disparate pieces of Iraq together. What that force will be is still to be determined. Will it be an occupation by the U.S. Army? Will it be a new monarchy, loosely based on Islamic principals? Will it be fundamentalist Islam, as in the ethnically diverse nation of Pakistan?

If Iraq turns more fundamentalist after Saddam is removed from the picture, as some future dictatorship seeks to use Islam as a unifying force, the Assyrians could find themselves becoming the sacrificial lambs on the altar of Iraqi unity. It has happened elsewhere in the Middle East – nothing unifies a population like a common enemy to slaughter.

If a new Iraqi government, in control of the whole country, turns on the Assyrians with a genocidal fury, will the U.S. military protect the Christians?

If history is our guide, the answer is an unqualified ‘no.’

In Kosovo, we have an example of NATO forces, led by U.S. ground troops, occupying a majority Muslim state. While ostensibly neutral between the two sides at the time of deployment, it became quickly apparent to the Serbs in Kosovo that the NATO forces had little stomach for keeping the Muslims in line. The ‘peacekeepers’ were only there to keep Serbian forces out of Kosovo, not to protect the Serbs in Kosovo. If they had tried to do so, then it would have invited casualties from Muslim reprisals. That was the last thing any NATO governments wanted. So 50,000 NATO troops stood by while 100,000 Serbs were ethnically cleansed and 112 churches and monasteries were destroyed.

NATO and the United States were, and are, unwilling to make waves in Kosovo in order to save Christian lives and churches – why would post-invasion Iraq be any different?


There is probably no avoiding war with Iraq at this time. Too much has happened for us to turn aside now, even if that might be the best thing for all concerned. Despite some of our wishes to the contrary, the war is probably going to come, and its coming is fraught with danger for many innocent people in the Middle East. But if war must come, then as citizens of the United States, we have an obligation to remind our leaders that the lives of Christians are just as important as the lives of Muslims. A victory in Iraq that destroys the Assyrian community in its wake is no victory. If our President and his staff are not considering the fates of these brave Christians, then it is time for us, as Americans, to remind them of their obligations to our co-religionists in a war that we brought to them.

The Assyrians still speak the language of Jesus, and follow the way of the cross, despite centuries of persecution. The strength of their faith should be a humbling example to us all in the West. The Assyrians have survived the coming of the Persians, the Arabs, and the Turks. It remains to be seen if they will survive the coming of the Americans.

February 25, 2003


  1. Look at the World in which we live .

    How did we get in the present position or predicament?

    Are we richer, safer and our futures more secure? Have the actions of our rulers and masters improved or worsened our lives?

    How are the lives of others as the result of these actions?

    What were the political decisions that brought us an ascendent China, a wrecked economy, a broken dollar, two land wars in Asia and the destruction of so much of the personal wealth of good loyal Americans?

    Is there anyone responsible?

    Under whose watch was this done?

    Have the lives of two million Christians in Iraq been improved? How did two million people survive for two thousand years and come undone in eight?

    Who broke the society that protected them? Did the breakers know they existed? Did they do the responsible thing and heed the warnings of those that did know?

    We had a right and a duty to crush those directly responsible for 911. We could of and should have destroyed the AQ camps in the most violent manner.

    We should have gone after the Saudis and extracted everything they had to make them pay for their support of those who attacked us.

    That should have been done in a few weeks. Baking Ramadan cookies in the White House did not help, neither did attacking the wrong country for the wrong reasons.

  2. The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

    C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.


    In the NYTimes.

    Are the published numbers wrong?

  3. The ascendancy of the current crop of Skull & Boners has not served the public of the United States well.

    Their two poster children, GW Bush and JFKerry, exemplify the management skills they brought to the table.

    Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum could have done a better job.

  4. Shades of Al Gore, in Florida, 2000

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - GOP nominee Joe Miller sued Tuesday to keep the state from using discretion in counting write-in ballots in Alaska's hotly contested Senate race, setting off what could become a drawn-out legal battle.

    Not a nickles worth of difference, 'tween Democrats and Republicans. They both bake a bitter pudding when they do not get their way.

  5. No bitterness, with Mrs Palin.
    She goes to PA and ...

    'Cookie Bombs' School Over Healthy Foods Push

    Sweets from a sweetie

    The Alaskan brought cookies to a Pennsylvania elementary school yesterday to slam government interference pressing for healthier eating, ABC News reports. Pennsylvania is a "nanny state run amok," ...

  6. Rove names 10 potential GOP nominees for president

    Rove replied by saying it was too early to name a frontrunner because there is no single heir-apparent as there has been for the GOP during recent election cycles.

    Instead, he rattled off 10 potential nominees:

    Former New York Gov. George Pataki,
    Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour,
    Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels,
    former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich,
    former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee,
    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal,
    former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty,
    Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
    and South Dakota Sen. John Thune.

    Thought Romney was a FORMER Governor.

    No mention of Governor Perry
    No mention of Governor Christie.
    No mention of Senator elect Rubio.

    Go Karl!

  7. As far as the adventure in Iraq goes, Deuce, one can argue that the 'powers that were' acted in ignorance, or take the other side.

    That the people in the know, within the Administration knew EXACTLY what they were doing and the probable outcomes that were going to occur.

    It was not hard to forecast what the consequences were going to be.

    We certainly discussed it, contemporaneously.

    It was not an "unknowable".

  8. Tariq Aziz has gotten a death sentence. He's going to twist slowly in the wind.

  9. Islam is the intolerant issue..

    christians are under the gun JUST AS THE JEWS BEFORE THEM, through out any islamic nation...

    from iraq to egypt, the shit hole called palestine to indonesia...

    islam is the problem...

  10. The Clinton Administration helped create two of the three Muslim countries in Europe, Bosnia and Kosovo joined Albania, in a process started by Reagan in Afghanistan who supported the growth and strengthening of the Mujahideen.

    The very term, Mujahideen, is derived from the word jihad. In the 70's they fought the Russians and the secular state in Afghanistan and after the Russians retreated they fought other Afghanis in a race to the bottom of Islamist cellar.

    The Mujahideen were financed and supported by the US, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The Mujahideen was glorified, you could see them arriving at Kennedy Airport dressed in native garb, the only thing missing was their AK-47's.

    This same Mujahideen welcomed and protected al Qaeda. The cancer spread to the Philippines, Burma, Somalia and Chechnya.

    That process should have been obvious to the Bush Administration. It was obvious to me and I am nobody.

    It was obvious as terminal cancer. We gave the Mujahideen stinger missiles and showed them how to drop airplanes from the sky.

    We showed them the vulnerability of a superpower.

    We acknowledged their religious superiority over the secular Russians. Our rulers and masters did not think the Islamic crazies, the self proclaimed warriors of god, would notice most of Europe and the US was secular or a Christianized version of the secular society.

    We created our own petard. We would be stronger and safer having minded our own business and destroying our enemies one at a time as they appeared, but building democratic societies in the Islamic world?

    A fool's mission blinded by the glitter of fool's gold.

  11. I have no personal animosity against George Bush, but his calling was the Commissioner of Baseball.

    There is no American pantheon. We don't do gods and saints, or more correctly we shouldn't. Our rulers are supposed to be of the people, but they are not.

    Be they from the left, the right or the middle, they are political opportunists driven by pomp and flourish to satisfy their deformed and elevated self image. We preen them, treat them like gods, and even go so far as to allow them to build their own temples for the loyal to visit and worship.

    The so-called presidential libraries are the same edifice rex of every tyrant in history.

    Nothing new under the sun.

  12. .
    We created our own petard. We would be stronger and safer having minded our own business and destroying our enemies one at a time as they appeared, but building democratic societies in the Islamic world?

    A fool's mission blinded by the glitter of fool's gold.

    Not all fool's gold. Real gold. And elitism.

    The Dems have been elitists forever. The effects of the GOP elitism has been growing for the past forty years and culminating in the neocons vision of spreading 'democracy' to the world regardless of the effect on secular societies.

    The boys in power indulging their vision of a perfect world using other people's money (or rather fiat money) to finance it. And of course taking their percentage off the top. Not a bad gig. Until it's not.


  13. .
    ...islam is the problem...

    The US' problems go way beyond Islam.


  14. The US' problems go way beyond Islam.

    Sure do....

    Solution is simple.

    Make OIL worthless..

    That is a good 1st step

  15. 40 years after the oil shock, brought to us by our Arab friends, and the US is not an energy exporter.

    That is a disgrace.

  16. more good news from the ROP

    At least three killed, 26 injured in firebomb-mortar attacks on Christian homes in Baghdad early Wednesday

    Face the facts folks.

    Islam is at war with everyone, including it'sself

  17. Deuce said...
    40 years after the oil shock, brought to us by our Arab friends, and the US is not an energy exporter.

    That is a disgrace.


    And what has the Boy King DONE to change that?


    At least that Hot Alaskan Gal said it well...


    Time to KILL climate change nonsense and start opening up all forms of energy production in the USA.

    We are cruising off the cliff if you dont think there is a supply issue about to happen...

  18. Pakistan is to give the death penalty to a woman who was falsely accused of dissing Mohammad (pbuh), and they take billions in US subsidies just like Israel which does not permit secular civil marriages.

  19. Fellows, Viktor Silo has a serious health issue. You may want to drop by his site and wish him well. Victor Silo

  20. .
    Face the facts folks.

    Islam is at war with everyone, including it'sself

    True enough. But not our existential problem. We have spent hundreds of billions setting up redundant bureaucracy like Homeland Security. We have given up constitutional rights in the hope of security. We have given up our ideals and now accept torture as a necessity for that security. We have spent a few trillion on individual wars and the broader "War on Terror".

    We have lost perspective.

    We are rightly concerned about 13 innocents killed in Texas by some muslim whack job. Sharon Angle talks of Dearbornistan. But what are the facts?

    The Detroit area has one of the largest populations of muslims in the US. Most of them are doing fairly well or as well as one can do in this economy. Are there some whack jobs. Almost certainly but most don't cause trouble.

    Yet Detroit continues to have 600-700 murders a year, year in and year out, even though the population has declined by 20% over the past couple decades. And these are not because of 'terrorist' attacks.

    In the past ten years, there have been more murders in Detroit than of US soldiers in Iraq over the same time frame. And Detroit is not the worst (at least this year). D.C., New York, LA, New Orleans, Chicago, most big cities. Add them up.

    Heck, I, like most people, have a multiple times better chance of being killed in a drive by or a car jacking (or a lightning strike) than I do of being hurt in a terror attack.

    I keep questioning whether I would have been better off, more free, and safer if the trillions spent on the 'War on Terror' had been spent instead on jobs and infrastructure, if I had been willing to pay more for product 'Made in the USA' instead of shipping jobs over seas, and if the Government would have been more effective addressing real American problems if it hadn't been bitterly fighting over a war of choice in Iraq.

    Other countries have their problems. They will need to address them. Right now our major problems are the economy, lack of jobs, and a way of life being flushed down the shitter. To blame that on Islam is rediculous. In my opinion, Islam will have to wait till we get around to them.


  21. i could design and build a manufacturing plant in a leased building for one million dollars. It would hire 10 people and generate $100,000 revenue per worker.

    A trillion dollars would do that a million times.

    Alternately we could kill and smash our way to drag one Islamic country into the land of democracy guaranteeing one man, one vote, one time.

    A million small manufacturing plants could replace all Chinese imports and soak up all the unemployed.

    The entire operation could be financed by the dollars being printed by the fed.

    Presently, the fed will buy all the bullshit assets on the balance sheets of all the usual suspects.

    The suspects will have no restriction on how our financial geniuses use their new money.

    The fed and the rulers and masters who protect them trust the bankers but would never trust 1,000,000 entrepreneurs.

    We can't create a moral hazard, the bankers being on the pinnacle of moral rectitude, are more worthy of trust you know.

  22. quirk.

    the % of crime by islamic populations where they are a small minority is startling...

    from sweden to london to france germany and belgium the numbers do not lie.

    in America? violence by islamists within their own community is off the charts. and now the violence is starting to spread.

    I could list item after item but that's a waste of time.

    I do agree, they entire war on terror was misspent.

    Bankrupting OPEC would go a long way to fight terror.

    investing in America is a given..

    The wars in Iraq and other places?

    has now reached a new level of stupidity.

    we are nation building...

    I advocate the destruction of our enemies, not the rebuilding of them.

    Iran is easy to take care of, you just have to live with the results and not feel guilty about leveling several cities.

    To say that Islam is not a threat to the USA is naive. It is, it's just a frog in a cold water pan dangerous..

    Ignore it? they wont ignore us...

  23. You guys are all making good sense today. I really can't find anything in all the above to dispute.

    Islam is the problem......but it goes way beyond that.....all good stuff.

    I thought it was a good thing back in the day to give the Russians some hurt in Afghanistan. Would that they were still there, and not we. Little did I know....

  24. Those figures on murders are chilling.

    And we have video games where the automatic rifle is aimed at the cops.

    Our society is being blinded by some wrathful god.

  25. Here's what I can't get my mind around. What in hell are muslims doing around Malmo. That's where my folk came from on that side of the family.

    A major mistake.

  26. Yes, we tried to find the old farm grandp came from, at about 15 with no prospects there. It was like out here, pines and rolling hills, but lots of rock in the fields. They had built fences made out of rocks taken from the fields all over, kinda quaint. Why did grandpa choose the same type cold climate??!!

  27. He was the youngest male of the brood. And they still kinda had that primogeniture stuff. He went to Stockholm and sweep streets for two years, made money for passage, then he and some friends got out. He's my hero.

  28. "The World is Better Off Without Saddam Hussein"

    - GWB

  29. You'd think O would have visited a Hindu temple while in India, but I don't think he did.

  30. Selah said...
    Pakistan is to give the death penalty to a woman who was falsely accused of dissing Mohammad (pbuh), and they take billions in US subsidies just like Israel which does not permit secular civil marriages.


    A secular civil marriage deficit is equivalent to DEATH?

  31. Quirk said...

    "We have given up our ideals and now accept torture as a necessity for that security."

    GWB says waterboarding prevented mass casualty terrorist attacks.
    I believe him.

    Saving innocent lives is giving up our ideals?

  32. .
    "The World is Better Off Without Saddam Hussein"

    True enough. However, the hundreds of thousands dead, the million killed or injured, the multiple millions turned into refugees might argue 'better' is a relative term.

    Stricly on materialistic terms was taking him out worth the $3 trillion (by some estimates) it cost to take him out?

    I guess inquiring minds can differ on the answer.


  33. Teddy Kennedy led the crusade against waterboarding.

    The same worthless subhuman a-hole that let a girl suffocate in a submerged trunk to save his miserable ambitions.

    Burn in Hell, Fucker!

  34. That was a sarcastic post about Saddam on my part, Quirk.

  35. NOT being sarcastic about Ted and others that care more about subhuman terrorists than innocent citizens.

  36. .
    GWB says waterboarding prevented mass casualty terrorist attacks...

    "However, we can't give the details as they are top secret and we would have to kill you if we told you."



  37. "Stricly on materialistic terms was taking him out worth the $3 trillion (by some estimates) it cost to take him out?"

    The biggest cost was further Islamizing the region and the decimation of millions of lives in Iraq.

  38. Quirk said...
    GWB says waterboarding prevented mass casualty terrorist attacks...

    "However, we can't give the details as they are top secret and we would have to kill you if we told you."



    Wed Nov 10, 11:38:00 AM EST

    Unadultrated subversive BS.

  39. .
    That was a sarcastic post...

    Sorry Doug.

    Your views seem to have shifted a some from a year or so ago.

    It's sometimes a little difficult keeping up.


  40. Nice deflection.
    Please describe the "shift" that I do not recall.

  41. Deuce, 'Rat, and I were some of the first off the GWB wagon.

  42. President Obama's last-ditch attempt to turn out his voter base worked -- and changed the 2010 election from a tsunami of epic proportions into a mere catastrophe for the Democrats.

    John Zogby's post-election polling reveals that voters who made up their minds about how to vote within the last week voted Democrat by 57-31 while those who made up their minds earlier backed the Republican candidate, 53-44. Zogby's data indicated that it made no difference whether the voter decided for whom to vote two or three weeks before the election or more than a month before. Both groups backed Republicans by 10 points. But those who decided in the voting booth or in the week immediately before voting backed the Democrat by large margins.

    Fortunately for the GOP, only 8 percent of the electorate were late deciders. A full 46 percent were early voters.

    These Democratic late deciders were all straight from the party's base:

    • 15 percent of single voters decided late, and singles voted 64 percent Democrat.

    • 14 percent of under-$25,000-income voters decided late, and voters in this income category voted Democrat by 59-36.

    • 20 percent of voters 18-29 decided late, and this group backed Obama by 56-37.

    So Obama's appearances on "The Daily Show" and in youth-oriented media worked well to his party's advantage.

    Race, age and marital status were the key predictors of how a person would vote.

    Racially, the Zogby poll shows that blacks cast only 10 percent of the vote and Latinos only 8 percent in the 2010 elections. In 2008, they cast 13 and 10 percent, respectively.

    Obama did well among Latinos. His appeals based on immigration worked. Hispanics voted Democrat by 58-37. But, surprisingly, Zogby showed erosion among black voters, who backed the Democrat by only 72-24, well below their percentage for Obama himself in 2008.

    Age played a key role in determining one's vote:

    • Among the youngest voters, 18-24, Democrats got 66 percent of the vote.

    • More broadly, those aged 18-29 voted Democrat 56-37.

    • Those aged 30-49 were split fairly evenly, with Democrats winning 47 percent and Republicans 50 percent.

    • Voters 50-64, the baby boomers, have shifted to the Republicans, backing them by 54-43.

    • And, thanks to ObamaCare, the over-65 voters backed Republicans by 57-38.

    Dick Morris (who I promised myself I would quit reading)

  43. .
    Unadultrated subversive BS.


    Sorry Doug, I can't help but smile.

    Writing off torture like it's nothing. Hey you've gotta do it right? There is the 'potential' some innocent might get hurt. Sure there are a lot of people that say it doesn't work. That the info obtained is unreliable. But what the heck why take a chance. The guys a terrorist. Or at least there's the possibility that he's a terrorist. Or that some day he may turn into a terrorist. In the end, you got to break a few eggs to make an ommlette.

    But torture isn't something like being in a fire fight with the adrenaline flowing. It's not like getting into a fight in a bar. It's cold-blooded. The torturee is tied down to a table, He's not going anywhere. The biggest question is whether Dougo gets to hold the towel or poor the water.

    Oh but wait. Dougo doesn't have to do it. We pay or order nameless others to do it for us the same as we don't have a draft we just pay guys to fight our wars. A lot less personal sacrifice that way. Or as Selah has pointed out we can keep our hands clean by renditioning them to countries overseas that have no qualms about torture. Much easier to look at it dispassionately from a little distance.

    I can see where I might sound like a pussy with all you tough guys (and gals)here at the EB.

    But I'm not as concerned about what torture is doing to the people being tortured as much as I am about what it is doing to us.


  44. .
    Nice deflection.

    Gee, I thought it was an apology for missing the sarcasm in your post.


  45. Torture is a tough nut to crack. There's always that ticking bomb scenario--he knows, we don't--tick, tick, tick

    Can get murky, fast.

    Is why I stay out of many arguments.

  46. He Zoomed The Camera In And Stayed On It For About Ten Minutes

    Missile or plane dispute.

    Ten minutes is a long time. Must have been a plane, even though the expert at Jane's Defense Weekly says it was a solid fuel rocket.

  47. heh, chemtrails, that was the word I was trying to think of, often talked about by the paranoids on Coast to Coast.

    Clear as day now, it was a guvmnit spray plane--

    by az-heat November 10, 2010 11:58 AM EST
    This trail is nothing more than ChemTrails. The US government refuses to admit that they are spraying ChemTrails. This trail during the day would be white, but at sunrise and sunset, it will give an orange appearance that is shown. The question to the government should be why are you spraying us!!! If it is for our own good, Tell us!!! I have many duplicate photos of this exact trail pictured that I have photgraphed over the skies of Phoenix at sunrise and sunset. Phoenix, at one time was called the Valley Of the Sun, 360 days of cloudless skies. No more, now it is the valley of the ChemTrails

  48. The big chemtrail gal is Dr. Gwen Scott. She used to be a TV reporter in Phila and then went on to CNN. I knew her well in Philadelphia but never knew of her interest in chemtrails.

    Gwen was a reporter but very conservative and a lot of fun to be with. At the time I had the ultimate bachelor setup, a penthouse condo overlooking the Phila Art Museum. I threw a party one night where Gwen invited all her female friends. Great party that was.

    I had not seen her in thirty years but was listening to a discussion one night on radio about Chemtrails and sort of recognized the voice, the same but older. I was pleasantly surprised when the reporter told us we were listening to Dr. Gwen Scott.

    Small World/ Here is Gwen

  49. heh, Gwen is a very nice lady, albeit totally out of her mind, what with wearing a mask outside and all.

    Tell her to come out to Idaho, where the breathing is easy. I have about a 5 page write up of every last thing about my blood, not a fungus in there.


    On the other hand, since aluminum passes the blood/brain barrier, it might explain some of rat's inexplicable opinions, if Phoenix is getting hit hard.

  50. Total U.S. inventories of All petroleum products Fell by 11.8 Million Barrels this week.

    We are still, however, about 50 Million barrels above the long-term average for this time of year.

    Gasoline use, contrary to Mastercard data (for two weeks in a row,) ticked Up pretty good, and Diesel demand is Surging (up 16% YOY.)

  51. Did you attend U of PA (Drexel?) Deuce?

  52. The projected budget deficit for 2011 is now $911 B.

  53. Maybe what we need is more Sicilians in Congress. They'd rather eat their children than part with money (Prizzi's Honor).

  54. At least it's moving in the right direction. Just in time for the next election.

    I repeat Watch John Kasich, former Congressman and new Gov Ohio make a run in 2012/16. He's "clean."

  55. America should not drag israel into wars.

    1st it was 1967....

    and now the truth about Iraq

    Contrary to what the radical Left would have you believe, it wasn't Israel or the Jews or the 'Jewish lobby' that urged George W. Bush to go to war against Iraq. It was the Saudis and the Egyptians.
    In the 30 pages he spends in Decision Points detailing the frantic diplomacy, military planning and consultations with international figures in the run-up to the Iraq war, Bush never once mentions a conversation with an Israeli official or member of a pro-Israel organization.

    Bush does mention the threat of Israel being bombarded with missiles among his many concerns about fallout from an invasion – including the well-being of Iraqi civilians and the possibility of chemical weapons being used against US soldiers.

    But when it comes to Middle Eastern pressure to declare war, he only describes Arab input: from Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar, who urged him to make a decision on whether to attack, and from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who said Iraq had biological weapons and would certainly use them against the US, an assessment Mubarak wouldn’t make public “for fear of inciting the Arab street.”

    The picture Bush paints stands in stark contrast to the assertions of critics who charged that the “Israel lobby” was a major factor in the decision to go to war. Among the most vocal were scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, who said of the Israel lobby that “the war would almost certainly not have occurred had it been absent.”

    The only reference Bush makes to a pro-Israel figure having a role in his Iraq deliberations is the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, a supporter of military intervention whose opinion the president solicited as he weighed his options.

    “Elie is a sober and gentle man. But there was passion in his seventy-four-year-old eyes when he compared Saddam Hussein’s brutality to the Nazi genocide,” Bush writes.

  56. I was going to recommend a couple of funny movies to anyone facing 'procedures', including Quick Change with Bill Murray and Prizzi's Honor with Jack Nicholson. QC stays on the list but I would probably remove PH which I first viewed immediately after release (1985) and then again recently.

    My memory was of a comedy. After watching last night I saw more of a drama. John Huston directed. The integration of comedy with drama was fitful so the tone of the movie is confused, but I recommend it for anyone in a particularly misogynist frame of mind, a vibe I get frequently from John Huston.

  57. My best comment ever, now or in the future. ...currently last one.

    ("Truepeers" used to impress me by being so far over my head that I got to the point of not wasting time trying.)

    He more than makes up for the brainpower deficit in Canada caused by our very own Ash.

  58. That's what's left after you get shellacked.

  59. How could someone named "Jane" be a rocket surgeon?

  60. We need more Italians in Sicilian Valley.

  61. I wouldn't call reading BC a death wish. The commenters are true blue braniacs - some of them uber-impressive in knowledge, education, insight and compassion. Others are tough nuts, not in the complimentary sense. The subject of religion seems to separate the two groups.

  62. U.S. Fossil Fuel Producer Subsidies = $52 Billion in 2009.

    But, OMG, that $0.04/gal credit (most of which is passed on to the consumer) for E10 just Has to be stopped. It's, it's, . . . UnAmerican, I tells ya.

  63. "He's not going anywhere. The biggest question is whether Dougo gets to hold the towel or poor the water."


    You think it would bother me, or diminish me, morally, if thousands might be saved?

    Is Congressman-elect Allen West (R-Fla) a less honorable man for having saved his squad by torturing a terrorist by firing his weapon directly behind his head?

  64. Calling "Waterboarding," or what Col. West did "torture" is too silly to even discuss.

  65. "He's not going anywhere"


    Ashcroft, Bush, et al were not gauranteed unlimited time.

    Had they taken that attitude, more would have died.

  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. Limbaugh proposed bailing out California, and paying for it by raising taxes on EVERY SINGLE RESIDENT.

  68. Man, that would be revolutionary:
    Have the recipients pay, for a change!

  69. Hey Bob:
    I was responding to you, and now you're gone!

  70. Rather than the Italo/Sicilians, we could put my cousin Sally in as Budget Director. She's tighter than the bark on a tree, and has no weak emotional spots. Steely, unforgiving, unforgetting, remorseless, proud, cold and cruel, unbeatable by anyone except my Jewish lawyer and I, we'd have the starved out dead on all the streets of America, but by God the budget would be balanced.


    "Boeing has also had to tell suppliers around the world to halt parts deliveries three times this year because Alenia Aeronautica, a unit of Finmeccanica of Italy, could not deliver the 787’s horizontal tails on time. The latest parts hold occurred in late October.

    Boeing officials have said that poor workmanship by Alenia and other suppliers forced Boeing to rework many parts, further slowing its production line.

    Alenia agreed last week to fix the problems by the end of the year.

    Mr. Aboulafia, the Teal Group analyst, said he doubted that Boeing would be ready to deliver the first Dreamliner until the second quarter of 2011.

    Robert Spingarn, an analyst at Credit Suisse, said that with all the reworking of parts on the first plane, “the aircraft, at this point, is being hand-built.”

    But he also said that Boeing still had so many changes to make on the next 20 to 25 planes that it would be hard pressed to deliver more than 25 to 30 planes next year."

  72. I wonder if Boeing has the institutional IQ to never again attempt to have an aircraft's parts be largely supplied by partners spread around the globe?

  73. Kevin Rubs It In

    I thot I was reading Dowd, and just about fainted.
    Turns out, it's her conservative bro, Kevin.
    Shoulda read the intro.

  74. Long Article About Life In Afghanistan

    See what you think. Big arguments in the comments section, too.

  75. 40. Tallgrass said...

    "Me, I am thinking it was one of those wind turbines . . . it got to going so fast from all that hot air that is now blowing in toward LA that the darn thing achieved lift off . . . something the California government seems to be doing the opposite of . . . hum, I wonder does a rapidly sinking economy leave “con” trails?

    The difference between a California resident and the passengers on the Titanic?

    ...the Titanic passengers did not vote to hit the iceberg.

  76. Selah said...
    Pakistan is to give the death penalty to a woman who was falsely accused of dissing Mohammad (pbuh), and they take billions in US subsidies just like Israel which does not permit secular civil marriages.

    what kind of fucked up logic is that?

    Israel doesnt allow civil marriages as pakistan so somehow pakistan that gives the death penalty for dissing mohammed is the same as Israel?

    you are skidding downhill faster than obama on that last observation..

  77. Wed Nov 10, 04:57:00 PM EST

    That was bizzare, all right, WIO.

    See my
    Wed Nov 10, 11:29:00 AM EST

  78. The boogers tricked me. They brought the unemployment claims out a day early. The Rufus indicator is still working.

    Gasoline usage last week ticked up, and Unemployment Claims fell by 24,000 to 435,000.

  79. Soros is an evil person...

    Born Jewish, joined the Nazis at 14...

    no moral compass except his own power...

    International financial criminal

  80. Doug said...
    Wed Nov 10, 04:57:00 PM EST

    That was bizzare, all right, WIO.

    See my
    Wed Nov 10, 11:29:00 AM EST

    yep you nailed it..

  81. Thanks, Sam.

    O my paradise.

    But if I had my way, I'd blow up the fucking floating green.

    I don't know how he can legally float his green around out there. He doesn't own the lake. But, he is doing it. Must have paid off the state somehow.

    Hagadone is an asshole, but he's a Lute, and if you take your restaurant bill to the church, he'll donate 10% of it to the church, so I always do.

    And he does have a great restaurant. It's where I take my daughter when I'm there for the salmon and Idaho pink trout. Really delicious.

    He has of course tried to influence the legislature for a casino, but so far he's not getting anywhere on it, thank goodness.