“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

“There is no future here.” For Iraqis, the cost of the war was brutal. Tens of thousands of educated Iraqis, the cream of the middle class, including thousands of endangered Christians, have fled from persecution by newly empowered Islamists. In Iraq, we destroyed our reputation for competence, and our global moral stature. Iraq also distracted U.S. attention from cementing the 2003 victory over the Afghan Taliban. A decade after the invasion, we are still toting up the staggering costs of this war.

Worldview: Casualties of war
Saddam Hussein is gone, but the human and financial costs have been huge and the U.S. reputation has been shaken. Can Iraq yet move forward?


Trudy Rubin, Inquirer Opinion Columnist

POSTED: Sunday, March 17, 2013, 3:01 Am

Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, it's clear who lost the war that followed. But it may be years before we know if anyone won.

Topping the loser's columns, of course, is Saddam Hussein, with the world better for it. Yet, despite his demise, America is also the loser. The goals the Bush administration set for the war were never achievable, and the costs were greater than most Americans realize, not just in lives and money squandered but in reputation lost.
Iraqis were freed from Hussein, but a botched American occupation led to a civil war that killed more than 100,000 civilians and forced millions to flee the country. Despite elections, Iraq still has a government that arrests and tortures political opponents and runs a secret police state.

Indeed, in the near term, the biggest winner from the war looks to be Iran, whose influence on Iraq has grown while America's has shrunk.
A decade later, it's painful to recall the certainty of many top U.S. occupation officials that they could remake the country. This attitude was most prevalent among those with no Mideast experience, who would accuse anyone who tried to contradict them of "ignoring the good news."

More than 4,000 American lives were lost, and countless billions of dollars wasted because U.S. officials misread Iraq and mismanaged the war's aftermath. An occupation that embraced willful blindness was bound to fail.

Ditto for an invasion based on illusions. The Iraq war was justified by White House claims that Hussein was secretly building nukes and was in cahoots with al-Qaeda. The Bush team ignored plentiful prewar evidence that neither of these claims was true.
President George W. Bush and several senior officials believed Hussein's fall would trigger the rise of friendly democracies in Iraq and throughout the region. "The Bush Doctrine could help undo dictatorships not only in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, but also in . . . China and Saudi Arabia," wrote William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, the favored journal of Bush administration officials. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, the intellectual architect of the war, told me in a November 2002 interview that postwar Iraq would resemble post-World War II France.

Of course, the real Iraq proved wholly different from White House expectations. In 2007, Bush's troop "surge" calmed the sectarian slaughter and prevented a humiliating U.S. defeat. But far from providing a model for regional change, Iraq became the nightmare example that Arab democrats sought to avoid.

Contrary to White House dreams, the war transformed Iran into the major power broker in Baghdad; Iraq's newly empowered Shiite leaders depend on co-religionists in Tehran for political support against their Sunni minority and neighboring Sunni states.

As for Iraqis, the cost of the war was brutal. I think often of Yasser Salihee, an Iraqi journalist colleague killed by a U.S. soldier who mistook him for the enemy. Or Salam Hamrani, who had to flee the country because his life was threatened for helping U.S. troops finger Shiite militiamen who were killing his Sunni neighbors. Or Dr. Riyadh Adhadh, who ran and won in provincial elections but spent eight months in jail because the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is suspicious of Sunnis. These cases are typical of thousands.

Hundreds of Iraqis remain under death threat because they worked for the U.S. military, contractors, or civilian officials and still haven't received promised U.S. visas. Tens of thousands of educated Iraqis, the cream of the middle class, including thousands of endangered Christians, have fled from persecution by newly empowered Islamists.
Joint U.S.-Iraqi programs that might have helped endangered Iraqi democrats expand their reach are faltering, as America tries to put the Iraq war behind it. The Obama administration blew the chance to leave a follow-on troop presence in Iraq that would have facilitated these programs and maintained some U.S. influence in Baghdad.
Yet Iraq still has the opportunity to move forward - largely because of oil.

A decade after the war, Iraq oil production is finally stable and expanding. The country is producing the largest amount in three decades, nearly 3.35 million barrels daily. The International Energy Agency predicts Iraqi production will double by 2020, setting up Iraq as a rival to the Saudis, perhaps lessening its dependence on Iran.

Oil, of course, can be a curse for a "petro-state" such as Iraq whose economy is almost totally dependent on oil revenue. That revenue is the perfect lubricant for dictators.
But this wealth at least gives Iraqis, a talented people whose educational attainment used to be high, the chance to rebuild their shattered state. Whether they can finally emerge from the culture of dictatorship remains uncertain.

There's no sign American companies will get a lion's share of Iraqi oil contracts - contrary to the widespread belief that Washington went to war for oil. But, by keeping global oil prices stable, an increased Iraqi oil flow will undercut the regime in Tehran, which depends on high oil prices. It will also help Baghdad offset Iranian pressures.

A small victory, but hardly recompense for American losses.

In Iraq, we destroyed our reputation for competence, and our global moral stature. Iraq also distracted U.S. attention from cementing the 2003 victory over the Afghan Taliban.
A decade after the invasion, we are still toting up the staggering costs of this war.


  1. Under Clinton, we were still causing deaths and misery to the Iraqi people. After the Gulf war Iraq was blockaded, and at one point over a half a million children had died. Charity groups were fined if they attempted to bring medication or aid to the Iraqi people, and under Clinton, bombs were dropped on Iraq. Bush really screwed things up but it’s amazing how Clinton is rarely called out for his role.

    Wolfowitz was the leading architect of the Iraq war fraud, which has devastated a county, caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, and cost the American taxpayers over $1 trillion, and still counting. Wolfowitz is a war criminal and is an instrument of the israeli lobby that controlled the Bush II defense department to advance the interests of Israel.

    The U.S. military, while tactically very effective, had no strategic leadership, either from outside, in Washington, or inside, in their general staff. You can be the most horrific screw up in the top levels of the US military, and you are never relieved anymore–you just get transferred out to some other post to wait out your time until pension. Iraq lacked any strategic plan, and if anything, handed Iran regional supremacy. GW Bush was such a screw up.

    Most Americans now realize that invading Iraq was a stupid and costly mistake. Cheney and Rumsfeld fabricated a case for justifying the invasion and then sold it to the public and the Congress. Anybody who questioned the premise for the war was ignored and punished if Cheny and Rumsfeld could get to them. Once we invaded, we failed to commit the resources and apply the policies needed to to replace the government we destroyed. Consequently, we created a mess that has taken more than ten years to fix. The war also served to strengthen Iran's position in the region which has and will continue to pose a far greater threat to our national interests than Iraq did. Was Hussein a horrible dictator who terrorized his people – yes he was – but we can't afford to use our military forces to dispose every bad dictator. We need to allocate our precious human and financial resources to dealing with true threats to our national security, not fabricated ones.

    1. Jen makes some sense. Bush One would have done better if he had not obeyed the United Nations resolution and marched on to Baghdad then, deposing Saddam, instead of just kicking him out of Kuwait.

      But, we are a polite people, and obey the 'rules'.

      Therefore we mostly just fuck around.

      Which will be our undoing.


    2. Because life, after all, is serious.


    3. Have your ever noticed how Churchill had so much brain, and so little of the smiling apparatus?

      The last Prince, bless him.


    4. yep it's the jews fault...

      same old jenny, same old bigot

    5. I don’t see that Jenny mentioned anything about “the Jews”. The bigotry lies with you, as you automatically prejudge a criticism against a politician who is Jewish to be out of bounds because his status as a Jew gives him some superior immunity from critique not to mention that, she who must not be questioned, Israel, is on the perma-moral high ground, regardless of the vagaries of her temporary leaders.

      Surely, you have better arguments than the superior ability and inquisitional method to sniff out anti semitism where there is none.

    6. I would love to go down on Jenny, whether or not it would advance World Peace.

      What in the Hell is going on here where we try to justify taking down a Demonic Dictator, only to empower more DEMONIC FUCKING MUSLIMS to ELIMINATE human rights, right and left?

      Esp. the womenfolk,
      Like "Jenny"

      I like "Jenny"

      ...unless "she" is the Nob coming back to haunt us.

    7. .

      Wolfowitz was the leading architect of the Iraq war fraud, which has devastated a county, caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, and cost the American taxpayers over $1 trillion, and still counting. Wolfowitz is a war criminal and is an instrument of the israeli lobby that controlled the Bush II defense department to advance the interests of Israel.

      To argue that there were leaders in the Bush cabinet that were Jewish is undeniable. That these were primary movers in the neocon wet dream equally undeniable. To argue that it was the Israeli lobby that got us into war in Iraq, IMO, goes a little far.

      We were ripe for Iraq and 9/11 was the excuse used. It was way too easy to convince the country and D.C., Pubs and Dems alike that Iraq was somehow a threat. The U.S. was 'the' hyper-power and the sterilization of war had already begun in Bosnia. There were plenty of neocons, Pub and Dem alike, who were willing and ready to spread American values and democracy to a waiting world. There were plenty of reasons to have an expanded American presence in the ME.

      The Israeli lobby was in full support of the Iraq invasion but they hardly stood alone.


    8. Deuce you cant see what you wish not to see.

      "Wolfowitz is a war criminal and is an instrument of the israeli lobby that controlled the Bush II defense department to advance the interests of Israel."

      That is "the Jews" And Yes, it's anti-Semitism.

      I wont waste any effort in trying to teach bigots that their bigoted ways are offensive. I only point it out to remind you and them WE see it and KNOW who and what you are.

      It's word play you and yours do. But a rose by any other name is still a rose.

      So if somehow you take comfort in your mental exercise of ring around the pony fine. But trust me, your blog? Haven for anti-Semitic, Jew hating, Israel hating folks.

      And by the glory of the internet? Your allowed hatreds will live forever.

      Congrats, I am sure all those that fought the Nazis would be proud.


      Look in a mirror, rad the shit you allow, and someday maybe, if you still have a soul you will see what you do.

      I doubt it.

    9. " Wolfowitz is a war criminal and is an instrument of the israeli lobby that controlled the Bush II defense department to advance the interests of Israel."

      Heard that at a nazi rally the other day...

    10. Wolfowitz is a war criminal and is an instrument of the israeli lobby that controlled the Bush II defense department to advance the interests of Israel.

      It's all over the internet, just google Jenny's words...

      Posted on thousands of white power websites....

    11. What is it that's Wrong about "White Power"

      Yoo fuckin Joo?


  2. Creditor nations will now insist bank rescues must be co-funded by depositors - Wolfgang Munchau FT

    Sir Mervyn King once said it was not rational to start a bank run but rational to participate in one once it has started. The governor of the Bank of England was right, of course. On Saturday morning, the finance ministers of the eurozone may well have started a bank run.

    With the agreement on a depositor haircut for Cyprus – in all but name – the eurozone has effectively defaulted on a deposit insurance guarantee for bank deposits. That guarantee was given in 2008 after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. It consisted of a series of nationally co-ordinated guarantees. They wanted to make the political point that all savings are safe.

    I am using the expressions “in all but name” and “effectively” because legally, Cyprus is not defaulting or imposing losses on depositors. The country is levying a tax of 6.75 per cent on deposits of up to €100,000, and a tax of 9.9 per cent above that threshold. Legally, this is a wealth tax. Economically, it is a haircut.

    I myself had favoured a haircut, or tax, on deposits of more than €100,000 – the portion not covered by the deposit insurance guarantee. There is no moral or economic reason to protect foreigners who have decided to park large sums in a Cypriot bank account for whatever reason. Such a haircut would also have been in line with the philosophy of deposit insurance. Its purpose is not to provide absolute certainty, but to prevent bank runs, which is what happens when you go after small depositors. Well-designed deposit insurance schemes thus impose ceilings.

    I just could not believe it when I heard that eurozone finance ministers went after the small depositors in Cyprus. I understand the purely technical reason why they did it. The eurozone could not agree a full bailout, which would have cost €17bn.
    The Germans rejected a loan which they were certain Cyprus would invariably default on. So the sum was cut to €10bn. A depositor haircut was the only way to co-finance this. When they did the maths, they found the big deposits would not have sufficed.

    So they opted for a wealth tax with hardly any progression. There is not even an exemption for people with only very small savings.

    If one wanted to feed the political mood of insurrection in southern Europe, this was the way to do it. The long-term political damage of this agreement is going to be huge. In the short term, the danger consists of a generalised bank run, not just in Cyprus.

  3. Replies
    1. .

      It can be argued that if the country goes bankrupt it could end up costing these people even more; however, the real point is, if they can do it once they can do it again. How can anyone in any of the countries currently in financial trouble be confident their government won't do the same thing? How can the people of Cyprus be confident the same thing won't happen again?

      The contagion could easily spread.

      The collusion between the governments and the banks continue.

      The arguments offered in favor of this 'tax' are ludicrous.

      What's next?


    2. Before the vote, which is too close to call, the government was working to soften the blow to smaller savers by tilting more of the tax towards those with deposits greater than 100,000 euros ($130,700. Many of these depositors Russians and the planned levy has already elicited an angry reaction from President Vladimir Putin.

      The government says Cyprus has no choice but to accept the bailout with the tax on deposits, or go bankrupt.

      A Cypriot source told Reuters the introduction of a tax-free threshold for smaller bank deposits - maybe up to 20,000 euros - was under discussion but not yet agreed.

      The parliamentary speaker said debate on the bank levy would be delayed until 12:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, suggesting banks, shut on Monday for a bank holiday, will remain closed on Tuesday.

  4. Under the palm trees of Larnaca's waterfront promenade, George Kyprou was staring out to sea and scratching his head. "I don't know what to do," he said. Like most Cypriots, he was astonished to wake up one bank holiday weekend morning to discover the government had seized up to 10% of everyone's savings from their bank accounts without warning.

    Kyprou, 62, born in Larnaca, had worked most of his life as a chauffeur and driver in England, proudly buying his London council flat and scrimping to put aside money in Cyprus for when he returned for holidays and eventually to retire. "I'd put aside £50 here, £20 there, all my life," he said. Over decades, he had built up around €6,000 (£5,200) in a Larnaca account. "It was a state building society; I assumed it was safe."

    But now, as depositors holding less than €100,000 are made to pay 6.75% and those with more than €100,000 9.9% as part of a €10bn (£8.7bn) bailout agreed in Brussels, Kyprou stands to lose €400 overnight. "That's a lot for someone like me," he said.

    When he heard the news on Saturday morning, he rushed to the cashpoint and queued with others who were panicking and trying to take out as much money as they could. The media reported a run on ATMs that were depleted by mid-afternoon. But with Cyprus taking immediate steps to prevent any money transfers over the weekend, ordinary savers realised there was little they could do to lessen the blow.

    On Sunday the parliament of Cyprus postponed a crucial debate and vote on the move until Monday, without giving a reason. Banks will remain closed for several days because of the holiday.

    In Larnaca, the third largest city on the tiny eastern Mediterranean island, the queues at cashpoints had shrunk by Sunday night but the mood was one of shock, anger and injustice. Only three weeks ago, Cyprus voted in elections where, for once, the island's defining issue of its 40-year-old division into the Greek-speaking south and the Turkish north was overtaken by more urgent worries. The country of 1.1 million people had been ravaged by its worst economic crisis since the 1970s, with unemployment at a record high of 15% and fears of meltdown in a bloated banking sector which was more than eight times the size of the nation's economy. The Conservative winner Nicos Anastasiades promised at least that savers' deposits were safe. This weekend he accepted bailout terms that turned that promise on its head.

    Stelios Zinga, a truck driver in his late 50s, had joined the cashpoint queues. "People are panicking, they're afraid of losing their money, they don't feel they can trust banks anymore," he said. “The problem with this levy is that it is the cautious, working-class people who are being made to pay.”



    the last Prince


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    The Last True Prince


  7. Churchill was a fool and a knave.

    He failed miserably as Lord of the Admiralty, the bloody failure of the Dardanelles campaign, his baby

    He drew the maps that have caused the Middle East to be in turmoil for the past 80 years.

    An incompetent leader and a poor administrator, one that was saved from infamy and defeat by US largess and strength.

    1. A fella so incompetent his own people fired him at the peak of his supposed success.
      FDR saved Churchill, and England.

      Churchill spent more time in the White House during FDR's tenure than Harry S Truman.

    2. Churchill could work the con, and work it on FDR and the people of the US, he did.

      His own people saw through him though.
      Threw him out on his ear, they did.

    3. X-Ray Vision.

      I knew it was more than that English Accent.

    4. Too bad Hitler was prevented from completing THE FINAL SOLUTION.



    5. .

      Churchill was a mixed bag, a flawed hero with as much bad as good in him. Some would say he had more bad in him than good but criticism is always easier in hindsight.

      He has been described as a 'warlord' and the first (and foremost) thing anyone will remember about him is WWII. It could be argued that without his determination and leadership Britain could be speaking German right now.

      A fool and a knave? Possibly. At least in part. However, a subjective description many would disagree with. A hero? Again a subjective description, but still, one many people would agree with.



    6. The Allies European Land Campaign that culminated at Dunkirk, during WWII, another of Lord Churchill's "Successes".

    7. Of course the opinion of Churchill is a mixed bag, Q.

      To be sure he could give a rousing speech.
      There was little substance behind it, though.

      He was no Prince.
      That is assured.

    8. "A fool and a knave? Possibly. At least in part. However, a subjective description many would disagree with. A hero? Again a subjective description, but still, one many people would agree with."


      ...and w/o FDR, Hawaiians would be speaking Japanese, whilst shining their Jackboots.

      Heil, Hirhito!

    9. Bullshit, doug.

      The Japs were in no position to invade and occupy Hawaii.
      Not in 1941 or 1942.

      Would any other US President have allowed the Japs into Hawaii, if FDR had not been elected in 1940? Probably not.

    10. "Churchill spent more time in the White House during FDR's tenure than Harry S Truman."

      If I lived in England at the time, I woulda sucked FDR's Cock.

      ...just for the chance at survival.

      AZ is truly a strange and misunderstood, (or lost) location.

    11. Exactly,

      Had we not sacrificed our best and fucking most devoted, all would have been well, The Axis be damned.

    12. England, another shitty little country that would not have made the distance during the 20th century without US?

      You really believe that, doug?
      Like you do the Japs would have invaded Hawaii if FDR had not been President.

    13. (that would be your ancestors, as I recall) Dad somehow skated in WWI (thank God) and didn't show a lot of respect toward WWII Vets.

      ...his only flaw, from my perspective.

    14. Shiite, Blogger trashed my masterpiece.

      had to do with...

      I Forgot.


      It was not concerning The Shiites, of that I am certain.

      More like the Serious MoFo Japs and Nazis.

      ...I regard Wretchard as more of a source of info on them than the horsebreeder in Az.

    15. Now I recall:

      I was in Korea w/nothing better to do in my off-time than read Newsweak and Time, back when they had some connection to reality.


      That was when the financial center of the World was shifting from London to New York.



      Now we are ceding it all to Bejing and Fucktards in AZ and Mississippi.


    16. I left out your reference to Great Britain as a

      "Shitty little country"

      (Like Israel)

      ...and commentary as to how that evolved, and New York took over.

      Now wer're pushing it all over into the Seas as if it is Surplus Tanks and Aircraft with no reason to exist.

      Now that's the World that you Extoll.


    17. Vote Libertarian!

      Vote Obama!


    18. Rat:

      Exactly, The Phillipines were nothing compared to Hawaii, circa 1941.

      ...or China.

      etc etc

      A Polite, non-racist society, they were.

    19. ...and are.

      Which may not be a bad thing in this Post Multicultural PC World.

      except for the debt the rest of us.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Damn!

      Danica ran me down again.

      ...i'll try anything to stop this TORTURE!

  9. Every time I see the word "Cyprus" I think of an Arch-Duke (what the hell is an "Arch-Duke," anyway?) named Ferdinand.

    1. I'm the Arch-Doug, but you can call me "Ferdy," if you like.

      ...what the hell is an "Arch-Duke," anyway?

  10. Churchill was pushing to re-arm Britain when everyone else was asleep. He made some mistakes, but was a great man, like Lincoln.


    1. Seems that some are impressed by failed leadership that results in the deaths of hundreds of thousands.

      In Churchill's case not only did his failed leadership cause the deaths of others in WWI, but his meddling in the Middle East continues to cause strive, civil discontent and sectarian conflict, today.

    2. Churchill as the cause of Sunni - Shia strife, heh.

      You are nuts, have always been nuts, will always be nuts.


    3. What have you got against Nut?

      ...fuckin Squirrel!

  11. A-Fucking Men el-bobo, tiller of the soil.

    Welcome Back!

    Now get with the program and go profane.

    Toilet Humor Rules!

    (in some circles)

  12. "Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win
    without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure
    and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to
    fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for
    survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is
    no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as



    1. But in the end, Churchill did neither.
      He did not succeed early, in fact he failed miserably. The disaster at Dunkirk exemplifies that early failure at fighting when victory could have been achieved at low cost.

      England itself, never threatened with an invasion by the Germans. The Germans had no fleet that could cross the channel to deliver their Army to the shores of England.

      Facts remain facts.
      Churchill could deliver soaring rhetoric, but was a poor performer in the real world of results. The Italian campaign, into the "Soft Underbelly" of Europe another of his fiascoes in strategic thinking.

    2. England itself, never threatened with an invasion by the Germans.

      Non- sense.



    3. .

      Hannibal had his Zama, Napolean his Waterloo, and Hitler his Stalingrad.

      Whether you win by courage, logistics, duplicity, persausion, or lying, in total war the main aim is surviving.


    4. And England survived, despite all odds, and ONLY with the USA's sacrifice.

      ...sick and tired of the racist deconstructionist blowhards.

  13. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is
    no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as

    This is English at its best.


  14. .

    I had to look it up again, but this is one of my favorites.

    On a lighter note, he wasn't quite the linguist he thought he was. When addressing the French National Assembly he tried to compare his life to that of French history. He said "Quand je regarde mon derriere je vois qu' il est divise en deux partier", which translates as "When I look at my behind I see it is divided into two parts".

    Had de Gaulle falling off his chair.


    1. :)

      He also said, my dear, we have determined what you are, now we are negotiating the price.

      And many other jewels as well.


  15. In fact the continuing anarchy in Iraq can find it's roots in Churchill's management of the Colonial Office.

    The man was a walking disaster.

    1. Total nonsense for so many reasons I don't want to even begin.


    2. Try:

      Doing what you can with the facts/situation as you know them AT THE TIME.

      ...or just suck dick w/ 20 20 hindsite.

    3. No, doug, the Brits created a country, but fractured the people in it, making Iraq ungovernable except by force. The Brits concept of Empire had them playing the local groups off each other.

      If Churchill was operating in the best interest of the local people, there'd be a Kurdistan. That there is not, a telling part of Churchill's tale.

    4. Churchill's Folly:
      How Winston Churchill Created Modern Iraq

      Christopher Catherwood
      7 Reviews
      Carroll & Graf Pub., Jun 22, 2004 - Political Science - 267 pages

      As Britain's colonial secretary in the 1920s, Winston Churchill made a mistake with calamitous consequences.

      Scholar and adviser to Tony Blair's government, Christopher Catherwood chronicles and analyzes how Churchill created the artificial monarchy of Iraq after World War I, thereby forcing together unfriendly peoples under a single ruler.

      The map of the Middle East that Churchill created led to the rise of Saddam Hussein and the wars in which American troops fought in 1991 and 2003.
      Defying a global wave of nationalistic sentiment, and the desire of subject peoples to rule themselves, Winston Churchill put together the broken pieces of the Ottoman Empire and created a Middle Eastern powder keg.

      Inducing Arabs under the rule of the Ottoman Turks to rebel against their oppressors, the British and French during World War I convinced the Hashemite clan that they would rule over Syria. In fact, Britain had promised the territory to the French. To make amends, Churchill created the nation of Iraq and made the Hashemite leader, Feisel, king of a land to which he had no connections at all.

      Eight pages of photographs add to this fascinating history on Churchill's decision and the terrible legacy of the Ottoman Empire's collapse.

      More »

    5. It is easy to see why some refuse to enter the discussion.
      History being what it is, with regards Churchill and Iraq.

    6. .

      It was the age of Empire, rat.

      No country came out smelling all that good after the Treaty of Versailles.

      As I recall, Japan was given parts of China and a 'mandate' over all the Pacific islands north of the equator, the same islands we had to fight our way through after Pearl Harbor.

      Take a look at all the other countries torn apart of created by the colonial powers. Wilson didn't especially bathe himself in glory in Paris either, a racist and anti-semite going on about the rights of man. Interesting.


    7. Empire, indeed.

      That Churchill represents England of his Age, there is little doubt.
      That his oratory soared, while his projects were costly miscalculations, in both world wars, a matter of record.

      His history with regards to Iraq is particularly pertinent to this thread.
      The continued anarchy in Iraq can be traced to its invention, by England while Churchill was Minister of the Colonial Office. Over 250 pages were devoted to the folly of Churchill's manipulation of the political map in the Middle East.

      Some refuse to address the reality of the historical record.

  16. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you so
    much, However I am experiencing problems
    with your RSS. I don't know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting the same RSS problems? Anybody who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

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    1. Danica kicked me in the nuts!



      Do it for the






    2. All The American Boys Lost in WWII, just a waste.

      Why can't we just admit it?

      ...Rodney Rodman.

  18. Can't you guys ever give reality a fuckin break?

    "The Libertarian"

    aka, The Nuthouse.

  19. Sarah gave a good speech at CPAC.

    Will she make a comeback?

    Who knows?


    1. Sarah is worse than Hitler.

      ...or even, CHURCHILL!!!

      WTF is wrong w/you???

    2. Sarah:

      ...also the name of my dearly beloved wife.

      Who will be missed way beyond my shuffling off this Pathetic Mortal Coil.

  20. Bob, Quirk, and Doug.

    The EB Braintrust., and before it's demise.

  21. Gag too, and Sam.


  22. And Sam's got The Jokes.

    ...and I heard tell, Gag has a CHILD BRIDE!


    Clue me in on the details.

    ...I'm almost ready, even if none of the children are willing.

  23. What would we doo w/o a Whining fuckin Joo?

    ...let's give it a try, just for shits and giggles!

  24. "2.Complain in a feeble or petulant way."

    ...Might make a better title to this blogsite.

  25. Sorry about WiO.

    My error.

    Simply error on my part.

    He is the best of us.

    Doug, I may be making a sale. If so, I am taking my entire family, that is the four of us, on the Big Trip.

    I would very much like to meet you sometime.

    May I have your e-mail?


  26. QuirkMon Mar 18, 01:37:00 AM EDT



    The island’s government has announced that, following pressure from finance ministers in the eurozone, it is introducing a levy on all bank deposits in the country to pay for a rescue package for its troubled economy.

    That was from the last thread and I see more expressed grief upthread though I am back to stepping around the friggin boobie droppings again. I thought Robert Peterson had left for good (but I must say I was puzzled that he would go quietly). I guess he didn't.

    Anyway, the Cypress bank thing is interesting. It seems the banks are in trouble, the country is in trouble, and it requires a bailout. One method of bailing the place out is to make all taxpayers foot the bill. Iceland didn't like that idea and let their banks fail, much to the chagrin of all those foreign creditors/depositors. In Cypress they are giving the depositors a haircut. I can understand the reaction if you imagine that it happened to you in the US but many have moaned about all taxpayers footing the bill...

    anyway, in Cypress, it seems there were lax laws on tax, and those accounts are paying some pretty tasty interest rates so a whole bunch of foreigners have deposited a big whack of cash in those banks (I've read the Russians were sweet on the deal). Should all Cyprians make the Russians whole? Naw. It does seem unfair to hit the small depositors as well as the big but I do, at least upon first glance, like the idea that not all taxpayers are being forced to bail out these banks but rather some of the actual folk who are involved with them. Seems like it could be a step in the right direction...

    ...but I am on the fence...

    1. .

      I disagree.

      Not only with the general theme but also with some of the stated facts.

      For instance, I would argue that in the US people were not moaning "about all taxpayers footing the bill" but rather about 'any taxpayers' being forced to foot the bill in order to bail out the large banks who had created the problem through their own appetite for risk and their greed.

      We can leave aside for this discussion any of the arguments for or against the bailout and the moral hazard it involved.

      The alternatives open to Cyprus involved three not very good alternatives. In any of the three people are going to get hurt.

      1. File for bancruptcy, as was mentioned, the choice taken by Iceland. In a capitalist society this is usually a choice of last resort and you can argue its fairness. However, it attacks the problem immediately. Lumps are taken and you move on. Iceland isn't doing all that bad right now given what it has been through, at least the last time I checked which was a while ago. Likewise, in their case, a large portion of the pain actually went to the pushers who were feeding the addict, the big banks.

      2. The recent move by Cyprus (or plan since it is not yet finalized), IMO, is the worst of the three choices they could have taken. You mention lax tax laws. Whose fault is that? Certainly not the bank depositers who will be affected? You mention possible foreign opportunists that will be hit. Where is the criminality of taking advantage of existing tax laws? Are we talking morality or legality?

      Even enjoying the fact that some 'bad' guys might suffer doesn't justify the hit that is being taken by the ordinary Joe there. Moreover, the 'tax' falls strictly on those with bank deposits. What of all the millionaires with their money tied up in foreign banks, in 401k's, in property, in tax havens, etc. The bailout is being foisted indiscriminately onto one class of citizen.

      Finally, there is the complete nullification of the trust factor. The banking system is built on trust. Our whole financial structure is built on trust. A bank depositor trusts that when he puts money in a bank he will be able to get it out again when he wants it. When it appears a bank can't be trusted any more, the first reaction is to pull deposits. The first hint of panic quickly turns into a run on the bank.

      In Cyprus, you now have not only the banks to worry about but also the collusion of the government. And if they can do it once and get away with it, what is to stop them from doing it again, next year or the year after? And if Cyprus gets away with it, why couldn't any country in trouble get away with it? At some point, you would have to ask why would anyone risk putting money in a bank?

      At any rate, this won't be pretty, and at some point, it could turn into something not only bad but big.

      3. A third choice in Cyprus is to change the tax code while ignoring bank deposits. The code could be modified to make it as progressive as was needed, it could be targeted at whatever groups the government wants, it could be made as stiff as needed, it could run as long as was needed. No one would like it but it still wouldn't destroy the faith people had in the banks.

      IMO, Cyprus has elected to take the worst of three bad options.


    2. I agree they are faced with bad options but is this particular choice such a bad one? I'm not sure.

      There are two main issues in my view:

      1.) The indebtedness of Cypress
      2.) The indebtedness of the Banks

      It appears that the banks are on the verge of failure and if the government bails them out their debt to GDP ratio will balloon to 140% of GDP hence they are looking to the ECB for relief. Cypress built its economy in recent years by becoming a financial center and it took on deposits about 8 times Cypress's GDP and I think it is two banks that have done the majority of the deposit taking. They've lost much of the money and the ECB is threatening to liquidate them. The ECB is demanding Cypress come up with some of the bailout money.

      Why do you think all Cypress people should pay for the bailout as opposed to those associated with the bank? It seem more reasonable to me, less of a moral hazard if you will, if the people who run the bank, the depositors, and the bank bond holders shoulder a larger part of the burden than all the taxpayers of Cypress. When you deposit money in a bank you assume the risk. That risk is backed by deposit insurance. I don't think they should tax the holdings subject to deposit insurance but they've decided to treat all depositor equally.

      So, in short, yah, 3 options:

      1. Bankrupt the banks
      2. Make all Cypress folk liable for the banks obligations (thus making folk like Goldman Sachs, the Russians, ect whole as well as the average joe depositor)
      3. Center the liability upon those that put their capital into those banks.

      I choose option 3. They aren't losing the whole nut, just, roughly, 6% for the small depositor, and 10% for the large.

      One further option is that the ECB simply print up the money and pay everyone off. That option doesn't appear to be on the table.

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    1. .

      Bob, you should probably take a nap.

      You are not currently offering opinion nor argument, merely ranting.


    2. I was responding to Ash, and criticizing deuce by the way, is all.

      Here in the land of free speech.

      It was perfectly appropriate, though it was hard.

      Deuce deserves it.


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  30. It is becoming spring now. We have turned the furnace off. We ate steelhead the other night. Courtesy of the Indians, just out of the paleolithic by a few generations. I like law, and steelhead. It is civilized. I do not like slavery. With my wife's lovely heavenly sauce. My cat Leo now goes outside all night. Hunting mice, I presume. At 60 degrees I must begin to carry my bee sting kit again. My hip aches, but I am walking well. We see the accountant this week, to pay our taxes. I hate paying taxes, but always do. My daughter is spending her days at the stables. Son is working. Anyone can get a job if they seek. He had no trouble at all. He likes to work. I have a doctor's appointment next week. Do I need another colonoscopy? We will see. My bank account is balanced. And according to Deuce, I dream of that hero Calley killing Vietnamese, the whole village. Does this pass the test?

    Deuce owes me an apology.

    I insist.


    1. Thank you for your service.