“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, November 12, 2017

Before 11/11 was Veteran's Day in the US and today in Europe, 11/11 is Armistice Day , a day to celebrate the mostly forgotten and misunderstood War

The great misconceptions of the First World War

  History Extra

1) The killing of Franz Ferdinand was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back

Wrong, says Christopher Clark 
The assassination of Franz Ferdinand  was a kind of 9/11 moment for the Austrian leadership. It altered their politics and produced a completely unbroken consensus in favour of war. Prior to the killing, records show that the Austrians were focusing on diplomatic solutions to the Balkans crisis, but after the assassination everything changed.
The archduke was not a popular man in Austria but nonetheless the fact that he was killed upset people hugely. This, after all, was also an attack on the monarchy and the Habsburg state, so it caused an immense shock. At the same time, his dying words to his wife about the couple’s children generated a lot of sympathy for him.
Ironically, Franz Ferdinand was one of the most outspoken exponents of peace in the Balkans and he was planning to fire Conrad von Hötzendorf, the hawkish chief of the general staff. By killing the archduke, the murderers removed one of the best opportunities for peace, and kept in power the most influential exponent of war.
Some people argue that war was on the cards anyway but this is based on an overly deterministic view of the alliance system that operated in Europe at the time. It was far more wobbly and open-ended than we tend to think today. Levels of distrust within the alliances were very high and we know that, for example, in the summer of 1914 the British were toying with the idea of dropping Russia and seeking an understanding with Berlin. So, had Europe managed to survive those months, the Entente may well have drifted apart and the outcome could have been very different.
Christopher Clark is a professor of history at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (Penguin, 2012).

2) The British were naively enthusiastic for war in 1914

Wrong, says Catriona Pennell
One of the most common misconceptions of the First World War is that the British population responded with unabated enthusiasm when war broke out in August 1914. Picture the black and white photographs of crowds waving joyfully at the gates of Buckingham Palace or the grinning faces of men queuing outside recruitment offices. There is a lazy acceptance that these images equate to a joyous reaction to the onset of war, with no interrogation, verification or contextualisation.
The origins of this myth lie in the postwar and interwar period, in particular the published memoirs of wartime politicians like David Lloyd George, chancellor of the exchequer in 1914. Two decades after the war had begun, he described scenes of wild enthusiasm that were, in his mind, unprecedented; quite a statement considering he was of an age to recall the boisterous celebrations that marked the end of the siege of Mafeking (during the Second Boer War) in 1900. In his mind it was these enthused masses who had demanded war against Germany while British statesmen did their best to keep the country neutral.
However, it is important to remember that history, while written in retrospect, is lived forwards. As historians, we must try to recapture what was known at the beginning of the war as accurately as possible, rather than imposing assumptions in the light of what happened later.
My research into local, regional and national responses to the outbreak of war reveals that it is far too simplistic to describe the reactions of over 40 million people in the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland (as it was at the time) with a single adjective: enthusiastic.
There was no single emotional reaction to the outbreak of war. Instead, responses were ambiguous and complex, and changed over time. The outbreak of war on 4 August was greeted with a sense of shock and surprise. This was followed by a fortnight of chaos and dislocation as people tried to make sense of their newly frightening situation.
By early September, people were firmly ‘inside the war’ of which they could see no end. While they accepted the need for Britain to fight, this did not equate to a blindly enthusiastic lust for war.
Dr Catriona Pennell is author of A Kingdom United: Popular Responses to the Outbreak of the First World War in Britain and Ireland (OUP, 2012).

3) Russia secretly mobilised several days before it claimed to have done

Wrong, says Anthony Heywood
On 31 July 1914 (18 July by the Julian calendar, then in use in Russia) the Russian empire announced general mobilisation for war. This was three days after Austria-Hungary had declared war on Serbia and a day before Germany declared war on Russia.
However, from the interwar period on, a number of historians have said that, in fact, Russia’s general mobilisation began in secret several days earlier. If true, this would have great ramifications on the debate about war guilt because if Russia was embarking on full mobilisation at this stage then Germany would have had little choice but to respond. Germany may not then have been primarily responsible for the war.
But did this really happen? I have been researching in the Russian archives and it is absolutely clear that there was no secret general mobilisation before 31 July. What was happening was what the Russians described as the ‘period preparatory to war’. This referred to a set of secret measures that were designed to facilitate mobilisation.
For example, summer camps were ended, the mobilisation transport plans were sent to army units, and training was intensified. But these measures did not mean mobilisation as such, and they did not automatically mean Russia was heading for war. Crucially, they did not include large-scale inter-district troop movements nor did they put the railways on a military footing. The Russian archives show that neither of these core features of general mobilisation occurred before 31 July.
French, German and other foreign nationals in Russia who saw troop movements taking place may have misinterpreted the dispersal of summer camps as mobilisation. However, since the misconception first arose, it has been propagated by those seeking to exculpate the German leaders of 1914. Given the evidence now available from Russia’s archives, this argument can no longer be upheld.
Anthony Heywood is chair in history at the University of Aberdeen, specialising in Russia and the Soviet Union.

4) British and German troops played a game of football on the front line

Wrong, says Dan Snow
The idea that British and German troops played an organised game of football on the front line during the Christmas truce of 1914 has been so pervasive because it’s a wonderful story: that people can play sport on a battlefield that, just a day before, was covered with high-explosive shrapnel and machine-gun bullets. Sadly, there’s virtually no evidence for such an organised match taking place.
What did happen is that there was a lot of talk about a football match being organised if the truce had gone on any longer – and, behind the lines, there were lots of balls being kicked around by troops, but not between the Brits and the Germans. Yet the idea of an international match is so powerful because it would seem to be an affirmation of what we have in common, of our joint humanity.
Football is also the working man’s game, the game of the troops on the front line, so it’s come to symbolise a particular myth of the First World War: this idea of the exploitation of the working man by the ruling elite.
In fact, the story of the Christmas truce is far bigger than one football match. Of course, there was fraternisation: there were all sorts of wonderful things going on, all sorts of affirmation of our common humanity.
I read a great article that argued that, if we’d had social media in 1914, the First World War would have stopped, because everyone would have known that everyone else was trucing. The trouble was that everyone thought that it was just them, and they thought, ‘ooh, this is a bit naughty’. If they had been aware that it was going on up and down the entire front then they would have realised that they were part of something much bigger and much more profound. Perhaps even revolutionary.
I think the scale of the truce, and the excitement of this chink of light in what could have been this extraordinary revolutionary moment, is really exciting. So don’t focus on the football match; focus on the fact that hundreds and thousands climbed out of their trenches and expressed brotherhood with those opposite them. It was an extraordinary moment in history.
Dan Snow is a historian and broadcaster. He has presented numerous history documentaries for the BBC and has produced content for the BBC’s online First World War hub

5) The First World War was the most unpleasant war to fight

Wrong, says Max Hastings
One of the things we should be striving to do in this centenary year is to win back a sense of perspective about the First World War. On a quantitative scale it is true that Britain lost more people than in any other war but it is a myth that this was the worst battlefield experience in history. Anybody who lived through the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century, or had followed Napoleon on his catastrophic Russian campaign in 1812, would have laughed at the idea that the Somme or Passchendaele represented the worst thing men could do to each other.
And, for that matter, far worse things happened in the Second World War but they happened to the Soviets on the eastern front and therefore we don’t take them as seriously.
This myth has been hugely influenced by the poets who wrote about the First World War. What was unusual about this conflict was that it was fought by a new breed of citizen-soldiers who had not seen combat before and were stunned and appalled by the misery of the battlefield.
In previous wars you had had professional warriors who regarded it as part of their duty to make light of what they had gone through in their memoirs, even if they had – as in the Napoleonic Wars – fought over 30 battles requiring them to stand and face opposing armies 50 yards away and fire volleys at each other.
I am certainly not trying to suggest that the First World War was anything other than unspeakable, but it was not the worst thing that men have done to each other in wars, or indeed anything like it.
Sir Max Hastings is the author of Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914 (William Collins, 2013).

6) Machine guns were the deadliest weapon on the western front

Wrong, says David Olusoga
In Britain when we think about the First World War perhaps the most powerful image that comes to mind is that of massed ranks of infantry going ‘over the top’ to face the deadly German machine guns. The slaughter of those set-piece offensives has placed the machine gun at the centre of our vision of the war. Yet it was not the biggest killer on the western front; that dubious honour went to the artillery.
In almost all wars of the modern age, the vast majority of soldiers killed had been the victims of small arms – rifles, pistols and, before them, muskets. This was the key to land warfare and the appearance of the machine gun seemed to have made the dominance of the bullet over the shell even greater. Yet on the western front between 1915 and 1918 it was the artillery piece that was king. Seven out of ten British casualties were victims of artillery shells and the statistics were similar for the French.
None of the armies of 1914 had gone to war expecting a conflict dominated by artillery; they all planned for a war of manoeuvre and movement. But once the western front had stabilised in late 1914, the importance of artillery and high explosive shells increased enormously. Howitzers and mortars, once seen as specialist siege weapons, were manufactured in huge numbers and with each offensive the number and the calibre of the guns increased.
So why has this misconception come about? I think it is partly because many of those who were killed by the machine gun fell in tragic but dramatic offensives, calamities like the first day of the Somme, when the sheer scale of the bloodletting was so shocking that the events seeped into our national consciousness.
The death toll reaped by artillery, by contrast, was an incessant part of daily life. You did not have to be in an attack to be hit by a shell, you could be having breakfast deep in your trench. You could be miles behind the lines but still within the killing zone.
Churchill put it best. In a parliamentary debate in May 1916, he said: “What is going on while we sit here, while we go to dinner, or home to bed? Nearly a thousand men – Englishmen, Britishers, men of our own race – are knocked into bundles of bloody rags every 24 hours.”
David Olusoga is presenting The World’s War on BBC Two this month. The accompanying book of the same name will be published by Head of Zeus in early August.

7) Shell-shocked soldiers were usually shot for cowardice during the First World War

Wrong, says Fiona Reid
The idea of young, frightened, shell-shocked men being court-martialled, denounced as cowards and then shot by their own comrades seems to sum up the brutal futility of the First World War. But is it true?
Certainly men were sentenced to death in the war. Capital punishment was legal in Britain and during the conflict 3,080 men were court-martialled and sentenced to execution: 346 of those executions were carried out, 266 of them for desertion and 18 for cowardice.
We cannot say what happened to shell-shocked men with such precision or brevity. Since the battle of Mons in September 1914 military doctors had recognised that soldiers were suffering from nervous disorders as a result of the fierce, industrial fighting. Mindful of the stigma usually attached to mental health problems, the War Office had insisted that these men “should not be treated like ordinary lunatics”.
Consequently, shell-shocked men usually experienced an array of medical treatments, sometimes close to the firing line, sometimes in hospitals at home. Some, despite the War Office commitment, were sent to lunatic asylums. Overall, there were about 80,000 recorded cases of psychological injury among British troops during the war and, by 1921, 65,000 men were receiving pensions for shell-shock and neurasthenia (nervous debility).
Clearly, most shell-shocked men were not shot, as the figures attest. But can we assume that those executed were all shell-shocked? It is possible that some of them were, as contemporaries recognised. Yet we cannot assume that all of those designated as cowards or deserters were mentally ill.
Men suffering severe trauma were removed from the trenches on medical grounds because they were both unfit and bad for morale. However those men who had shown courage in the past – those who had ‘done their bit’ –  were considered sympathetically and more likely to be treated with medical care than punishment.
The real tragedy of the shell-shock story is not that men were routinely executed but that mentally wounded men lived in real fear of being sent to a ‘pauper asylum’ and that many of them spent the postwar years trying to live on scanty pensions with irregular and inadequate health care.
Dr Fiona Reid is the author of Broken Men: Shell Shock, Treatment and Recovery in Britain 1914–1930 (Continuum, 2010).

8) The First World War saw few civilian casualties

Wrong, says Heather Jones
The belief that the First World War was a soldiers’ war with few civilian casualties stems from the fact that soldiers’ lives were valued more than civilians. Soldiers could fight and were thus a valuable resource; they were also ready to sacrifice themselves for their country and they were male in a world that valued men over women – particularly in central and eastern Europe, where most of the war’s civilian casualties occurred.
We still do not know how many civilians died in total in the First World War. The conflict saw an estimated 500,000 excess civilian deaths triggered by malnutrition in Germany and over 1 million Armenian civilians deported to their deaths by the Ottoman empire. The German army shot 6,500 civilians during its invasion of Belgium and northern France in 1914, including women and children. The Russian state deported its Jewish population from its borderland, causing untold hardship.
The war also saw the widespread execution of civilians in occupied Serbia by the Central Powers, as well as civilians starving in the Ottoman empire because of the Allied blockade of the Mediterranean. Major cities were occupied: Warsaw, Brussels, Belgrade, Bucharest, Baghdad and even Tbilisi in Georgia. Civilians accused of civic resistance acts were executed in occupied Belgium.
The war at sea also saw numerous civilian casualties – most famously the 1,200 who drowned on the Lusitania – but such sinkings grew relatively frequent as the war went on. Then there was the war in the air. Who today remembers the children of Poplar, east London killed by the aerial bombardment of their school or the children in Karlsruhe killed when a circus tent was bombed by a plane?
The First World War destroyed countless civilian lives, and their memory should matter as much as the soldiers.
Dr Heather Jones is associate professor of international history at LSE and author of Violence Against Prisoners of War in the First World War: Britain, France and Germany, 1914–1920 (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

9) The Americans intervened too late

Wrong, says Nick Lloyd
Eurocentric accounts of the war are apt to be dismissive of the American contribution to victory. The Americans were too late, they say. It took them until the summer of 1918 to get a sizeable army into the field, and even then it was not decisive.
Their troops were inexperienced, ill-trained and lacking the extensive logistical support required. When they finally attacked in September 1918, in two large offensives at St Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne, the offensives were characterised by poor tactics, heavy casualties and missed opportunities – in stark contrast to the effective ‘all-arms’ co-operation pioneered by British forces. Such has been the verdict of history on the US involvement in the First World War.
Yet, in truth, President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to enter the war as an Associated Power in April 1917, in response to the German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare, was of enormous consequence.
American industrial strength had been supporting the Allied war effort for three years, but the full participation of US military and naval power not only ensured the Allies did not collapse, it meant they were also able to drive the German armies back in the late summer and autumn of 1918.
US forces may have lacked the experience and firepower of the British and French, but they showed an impressive ability to learn at speed. This forced German commanders into the stark realisation that they must sue for peace as soon as possible, knowing that if the war continued for much longer, then American combat power would be overwhelming.
Without US involvement the war may even have ended in a German victory, either in 1917 or 1918.
Nick Lloyd is author of Hundred Days: The End of the Great War (Viking, 2013).

10) German defeat in the war was an inevitability

Wrong, says David Stevenson
There’s an idea that’s been put forward recently that the economic advantages on the Allied side were so enormous that there wasn’t any chance that the Central Powers could have won the war.
However, I think that the Germans – if, perhaps, not capable of winning the war outright – could have forced some kind of compromise in which the Allies would not have achieved many of their objectives.
The Allies were, after all, in a real mess in 1917. The Russians were in the midst of a revolution that would take them out of the war. And the failure of a massive French offensive in April 1917 produced widespread mutinies in the army.
As for the British, they were experiencing a major financial crisis at the beginning of 1917, and didn’t know for how much longer they were going to be able to keep funding imports from the US. The Admiralty had no answer to the amount of shipping that German U-boats were sinking – by 1917, the Germans had twice as many U-boats as they had in the spring of 1916 – and was extremely worried.
What denied Berlin the opportunity to capitalise on these Allied weaknesses was its decision to implement a campaign of what was called unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917.
Unrestricted submarine warfare essentially meant torpedoing merchant ships and passenger liners, whether they were Allied or neutral, without warning. The Germans had tried this before, but it was against most people’s interpretations of international law, and they’d been forced to abandon it on both occasions due to protests from the Americans.
Yet, in 1917, they introduced it again. It was a decision that was to have enormous consequences, for it precipitated America’s entry into the conflict. The Americans soon sent 35 of their destroyers to help convey shipping across the Atlantic – and, for the Germans, an opportunity to exploit British vulnerability and potentially alter the outcome of the war had gone.
David Stevenson is the author of With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 (Penguin, 2012).

11) The ‘soldier-poets’ are the supreme interpreters of the First World War

Wrong, says David Reynolds
The writings of soldiers like Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen (pictured below) are staples of the school curriculum. Owen has been called the most studied author in English literature after Shakespeare. From them we have derived a sense of 1914–18 as pointless, trench-bound slaughter, directed by boneheaded generals.

Wilfred Owen. (© Getty)
Yet over 2,200 people from the UK published some form of poetry about the First World War, from 1914–18. Of these, a quarter were women and four out of five were civilians; so ‘soldier-poets’ were very definitely a minority. Moreover, writers such as Sassoon and Owen were atypical soldiers – being young, unmarried officers, often with complexes about their sexuality and courage.
It was the poetry anthologies of the 1960s – imbued with the anti-war, anti-nuclear spirit of the time – that privileged a few of these soldier-poets as the true interpreters of the war. Only in the last 30 years have we developed a broader conception of Great War poetry.
And, as it happens, the soldier-poets weren’t unequivocally anti-war. Owen, for instance, knew the ecstasy as well as the agony of battle. He won his Military Cross for mowing down Germans with a machine gun: a point his brother Harold tried to conceal when publishing Wilfred’s biography.
Owen’s own writings testify to his ambivalence. His famous draft preface for a future collection of poems is usually remembered for these sentences: “My subject is war, and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity.” But a few lines later Owen expresses the hope that his book “survives Prussia”. He sometimes used that term as a shorthand for creeping militarism at home, but his essentially anti-German thrust is clear. Owen came to loathe war but, to the end, a part of him still felt that this struggle had meaning.
David Reynolds is the author of The Long Shadow: The Great War and the Twentieth Century (Simon and Schuster, 2013).


  1. Suicide In The Trenches

    I knew a simple soldier boy
    Who grinned at life in empty joy,
    Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
    And whistled early with the lark.

    In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
    With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
    He put a bullet through his brain.
    No one spoke of him again.

    You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
    Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
    Sneak home and pray you'll never know
    The hell where youth and laughter go.

    Siegfried Sassoon

    1. Attack

      AT dawn the ridge emerges massed and dun
      In the wild purple of the glow'ring sun,
      Smouldering through spouts of drifting smoke that shroud
      The menacing scarred slope; and, one by one,
      Tanks creep and topple forward to the wire.
      The barrage roars and lifts. Then, clumsily bowed
      With bombs and guns and shovels and battle-gear,
      Men jostle and climb to meet the bristling fire.
      Lines of grey, muttering faces, masked with fear,
      They leave their trenches, going over the top,
      While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists,
      And hope, with furtive eyes and grappling fists,
      Flounders in mud. O Jesus, make it stop!

      Siegfried Sassoon

    2. Alone

      I’ve listened: and all the sounds I heard
      Were music,—wind, and stream, and bird.
      With youth who sang from hill to hill
      I’ve listened: my heart is hungry still.

      I’ve looked: the morning world was green;
      Bright roofs and towers of town I’ve seen;
      And stars, wheeling through wingless night.
      I’ve looked: and my soul yet longs for light.

      I’ve thought: but in my sense survives
      Only the impulse of those lives
      That were my making. Hear me say
      ‘I’ve thought!’—and darkness hides my day.

      Siegfried Sassoon

  2. .

    Saudi Arabia: Bumbling Hegemon, US Ally

    Saudi Interference in Lebanon seems to be Backfiring

    ...The danger in all this is that the Saudis are looking for a pretext to ignite a new conflict, and they are trying to destabilize Lebanon to that end. It is with good reason that Paul Pillar dubbed Saudi Arabia the “wellspring of regional instability” yesterday, since this is what they have been in recent years:

    The apparent Saudi intention is to stir the Lebanese pot in a way that somehow would be disadvantageous to Hezbollah, which is a partner in the governing Lebanese coalition. But all the move has done so far is to make Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah look honest and perceptive in noting the Saudi role in the move, and to make him look reasonable in being the one who wants stability in coalition politics in Lebanon rather than seeking crisis and confrontation.

    Each time that Salman and MBS have tried to counter Iranian influence, real or imagined, they have managed to do harm to almost everyone except Iran. Contra Trump, they have no idea what they’re doing, and in the process they are stoking tensions and creating instability throughout the region...

    Yemen, Qatar, Lebanon, in an attempt to counter Iran, Saudi Arabia continues to fan the flames in the ME.


    1. .

      Is the US Stumbling Into a War in Lebanon?

      “An international coalition against Hezbollah means a war, and a war on Hezbollah while it’s inside the Lebanese government means a war on Lebanon.” 

      Time for the US to Leave the ME Before We Once Again Do Something Terribly Foolish

      ...On Oct. 30, Sabhan promised the Lebanese that “the coming developments will definitely be astonishing.” He added, “It is not strange for the terrorist militia party to declare and take part in the war against the kingdom at the instructions of the masters of global terrorism. … But what’s strange is the silence of the government and people over this!” This was a clear indication that Riyadh was dismayed with the Lebanese government, and specifically with Hariri for not standing firm to Hezbollah. This, however, wasn’t the first indication Saudi Arabia was planning to punish the group as part of a wider strategy to confront Iran and its allies. The Saudi move came in accordance with US measures in this regard, mainly US President Donald Trump’s Iran strategy that was announced on Oct. 15 and warnings in Washington of a potential threat by Hezbollah to the US homeland.

      As if Hezbollah weren't pretty busy right now with events in Syria and Lebanon. How many times have we heard this tired excuse put forth to justify going to war?

      Why do I get the feeling the US continues to be the dog being wagged by the Saudi tail?


  3. .

    Saudi Arabia: Many Question the Deference the US still Gives to the Kingdom

    A Day of Reckoning Coming to Saudi Arabia?

    ...The White House and MBS are now joined at the hip—a relationship that makes a mockery of President Donald Trump’s “America First” mantra and risks drawing the United States into more conflicts in the Middle East. (It seems there’s no limit to how many battles, domestic and foreign, the president can pick at one time). The fact is Trump and MBS have a lot in common. Both are authoritarian personalities; both are inexperienced at governance, particularly in foreign policy matters; and both have preternaturally inflated egos that get in the way of the prudence and wisdom required for wise governance.

    Nothing that MBS has done in Yemen, Qatar, Syria or Lebanon has advanced America’s interests. To the contrary, his reckless pursuits have strengthened ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iran, divided the Gulf Cooperation Council, created greater instability in Yemen and Lebanon, and made America complicit in Saudi war crimes in Yemen, further damaging our reputation in the region and beyond. By writing checks (figuratively, if not literally) that MBS is cashing, the United States has enabled the headstrong prince to plunge the Kingdom into misadventures around the region and made Saudi Arabia look more like Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China than the progressive and modernizing autocracy that he would have his admirers in the United States believe he wants to create. And he can do all this safe in the knowledge that the White House will continue to be his biggest cheerleader. If the president and his advisers want to avoid further entanglements in an angry, dysfunctional and conflict-ridden region, they should stop enabling MBS and start treating him like the menace he is to America’s interests and credibility in the region. If the president thinks that Saudi Arabia under MBS is about to become a strategic partner of the United States in achieving Arab-Israeli peace and rolling back Iranian influence, he’s even more detached from reality than seemed possible...


  4. .

    Despite changes in political leadership, the US is in its 17th year of continuous war with no end in sight.

    A recent survey found broad consensus among the military and the civilian population on America's ongoing wars. One key conclusion was their shared belief that most of the problems we have suffered in this regard have been the result of poor political leadership.

    Civilian-Military Gap Closes in War Weary Nation


  5. Saudi Arabia has been a disaster for the US. ever since Lyndon Johnson sided 100% with Israel during the 1967 war. The Saudis saw that as a US ass stabbing considering Saudi support for the US during WWII. During WWII In 1943, Faysal made a deal with President Roosevelt. The two agreed that the United States would build an airbase in Dhahran to support the American war effort. In 1945 Faysal supported the US in the creation of the United Nations.

    In 1967 Faisal saw the preemptive attack by the Israeli air force against Egypt with US support as a betrayal. He should not have been surprised as Johnson would not even support his own navy and the USS Liberty.

    The US shafted a friend, Saudi Arabia, that was there for the US when we needed them during WWII. What did we get for our perfidy?

    In 1973, the US citizenry paid through the ass during the oil embargo. The rest is history.

    1. How badly did we pay for our perfidy?

      It is difficult to overstate the shock of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria’s almost instantaneous defeat, which is why it is often called the “Six-Day War.” Wars almost never run this quickly. With the partial exception of the Iraqi army, Arab states are almost uniformly weak and militarily feckless today, but 50 years ago there was Gamal Abdul Nasser, the president of Egypt, and he had carefully nurtured the illusion of Arab military prowess. He was making the Arabs great again. Everyone, or it seemed like everyone, loved Nasser—or, if you were victim of his repression, grudgingly admired him. My parents grew up in Nasser’s Egypt. Like many of their fellow citizens, they weren’t particularly political, but the fact of Nasser, and his larger-than-life persona, dominated Egyptians’ sense of who they were and who they were trying to become.

      When Nasser, and by extension Egypt, lost, there was relatively little left to say. The starting premise of Arab nationalism had been fatally undermined, 15 years into the 1952 revolution. Nasser’s speech on June 9, 1967, announcing a defeat that Egyptians just a day earlier had assumed would be a victory, was a solemn and memorable speech, but one fixated on assigning blame. Although Nasser ostensibly offered to resign, he reserved most of his remarks for explaining why, for example, the “enemy was operating on an air force three times its normal strength.” A conspiracy was a foot and at the head of it was the United States.

    2. {...}

      Intellectuals are usually the first to willingly process defeats, and presumably military defeats are also intellectual ones. To ascribe Israel’s victory to supernatural forces, as Muhammad Galal Kishk did, might have seemed odd, but God, from an Islamic theological perspective, wasn’t a disinterested observer. There had to be a reason. Perhaps God had forsaken the Muslims, punishing them from straying from the straight path. This temporal link between devotion to God—and also, for many, to his Law—and economic and military success is a longstanding one among not just Islamists but Muslims more generally. There isn’t a developed literature exploring the precise nature of the link in part because it seems so self-evident...

      The end of Nasserism: How the 1967 War opened new space for Islamism in the Arab world

  6. What I am about to say is drawn from the British experience, but I believe there are general lessons for us all. In the UK , some young men find it hard to identify with the traditional Islam practiced at home by their parents, whose customs can seem staid when transplanted to modern Western countries. But these young men also find it hard to identify with Britain too, because we have allowed the weakening of our collective identity. Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream. We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We’ve even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values.

    So, when a white person holds objectionable views, racist views for instance, we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices come from someone who isn’t white, we’ve been too cautious frankly - frankly, even fearful - to stand up to them.

    The failure, for instance, of some to confront the horrors of forced marriage, the practice where some young girls are bullied and sometimes taken abroad to marry someone when they don’t want to, is a case in point. This hands-off tolerance has only served to reinforce the sense that not enough is shared. And this all leaves some young Muslims feeling rootless. And the search for something to belong to and something to believe in can lead them to this extremist ideology. Now for sure, they don’t turn into terrorists overnight, but what we see - and what we see in so many European countries - is a process of radicalisation.

    Internet chatrooms are virtual meeting places where attitudes are shared, strengthened and validated. In some mosques, preachers of hate can sow misinformation about the plight of Muslims elsewhere. In our communities, groups and organisations led by young, dynamic leaders promote separatism by encouraging Muslims to define themselves solely in terms of their religion. All these interactions can engender a sense of community, a substitute for what the wider society has failed to supply. Now, you might say, as long as they’re not hurting anyone, what is the problem with all this?

  7. During tests the Demon covered a quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds at 140 miles per hour, and it accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds.

    1. Great for getting through the intersection when the light turns yellow.

  8. Thanks, Deuce. #6 I found interesting. Did not know that.

    1. Sam, I constantly try to put myself in another time and place as a way of understanding things outside my experience. I find it interesting to revisit things I thought I knew and learn more. On Saturday, I looked at a digital clock and it showed 11:11 on 11/11. That was my inspiration to know more.

      Glad you enjoyed it Sam.

      Churchill put it best. In a parliamentary debate in May 1916, he said: “What is going on while we sit here, while we go to dinner, or home to bed? Nearly a thousand men – Englishmen, Britishers, men of our own race – are knocked into bundles of bloody rags every 24 hours.”

  9. The term "racist" is meaningless. By definition it generalizes and focuses on a particular race. Some racism is vilified. For instance, if you are white make a generalization that something is particular to "black" women, that is racist. Don't try that.

    However, If you are any other color and make a generalization that something is particular to "white" men, that is just fine.

    1. Biased might be the word that applies to other colors.

  10. The artillery of World War I was used primarily to counter the trench warfare that set in shortly after the conflict commenced, and was an important factor in the war, influencing its tactics, operations and incorporated into strategies that were used by the belligerents to break the stalemate at the front. World War I raised artillery to a new level of importance on the battlefield.


    When the United States entered the war in 1917, the condition, equipment, training, and discipline of the American field artillery were nothing short of chaotic.[citation needed]

    Unprecedented American production and ample Allied support provided the weapons with which the American artillery had to fight. Material used by the Americans was mostly French - only 100 American weapons saw action during the war[citation needed].


    Soon after the armistice of November 1918, the War Department urged Congress to authorize the establishment of a permanent regular army of nearly 600,000 and a 3-month universal training program, which would facilitate a quick expansion of this force to meet the requirements of a new major war. The Congress and the American public rejected these proposals.

  11. The NSA is upset because it cannot keep a secret. I wonder why?

    OK geniuses, here is a clue. 5.1 million Americans have security clearances. See a potential problem?

    1. Can you be more fucking stupid. To all you 5.1 million, please don't tell.

  12. With a newly minted PhD in “pure math” in 2004 (it was actually a dual degree in math and machine learning), Ellison Anne Williams saw her work going in one of three directions: the National Security Agency, IBM or academic research.


    For her part, Williams believes the emerging ecosystem of young companies and investors will be key to the success of start-ups like hers.

    “It takes somebody that understands the power of technology in a government setting to take a risk on something like this,” she said.

    Silicon Valley Investors


    13 NOVEMBER 2017 • 12:01AM

    Primary school boys should be allowed to wear tutus and high heels if they want to, the Church of England has said in its first guidance for teachers on transgender issues.

    Children should not be restricted by their gender when dressing up, and girls should be able to wear a tool belt and fireman's helmet if they choose, the document says.

    The guidance for teachers in Church of England schools, endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, says that children "should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision".


    1. No one I know is a participant in the Church of England.

      They have no congregation in Prescott, Cottonwood or Cave Creek.

      Their dress code applications, nothing but a cause of passing mirth.

    2. If you know any Episcopalians you are almost there.

      Any Episcopals in Prescott, Cottonwood or Cave Creek ?

      You might try St. Luke's Episcopal or, best of all, All Saints Anglican in Prescott, to get to the heart of matter.

      All Saints Anglican Church

      1806 North Savage Ln, Prescott, AZ 86301

      Sundays: 10 am
      Holy Communion 1st, 3rd & 5th. Morning Prayer 2nd & 4th
      Wednesday at 6 pm Evensong
      Monday - Friday 8:30 am Morning Prayer
      Holy Days as announced

      Start your Thanksgiving Day off right, with Holy Communion at 10 am, Thursday, November 23.

      Get a Life with the Living Lord, starting right now.

  14. How about if they have a diaper fetish?

  15. The guidance for teachers in Church of England schools, endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, says that children "should be at liberty to explore the possibilities of who they might be without judgement or derision".

    I think the good archbishop would like to wear a tutu to match his high heels.

  16. An adult male, in an office of authority, promoting young boys to wear tutus and high heels is a definition of a pedophile.

    Lock the bitch up.


  17. “I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. ”

    ― Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

    1. Ernie should have stayed with Hadley. Scotty Fitzgerald was right, and warned him too.

      Ended up making a real mess of his domestic affairs.

  18. Emerson has Moore ahead in Alabama by 10% in post pedophilia poll.

    Juliet was maybe 13 when she run off with Romeo.

    But then Romeo weren't 36.

    Mo married whatshername when she was 6 and nailed her when she was 9.

    I married my one and only wife when I was 32 and she was 31.

    AND, she doesn't smoke or drink or do drugs or waste her life away blogging.

    I lucked out.

    1. I do my own dishes and wash my own clothes.

      This is one of the secrets of a long lasting marriage.

      That, and stay out of her checking account.

      Other than that I have no advice to give.

      It's all a crap shoot.

    2. Who was that liberal US Supreme Court Justice - the guy who said rocks should have rights - who lived out in a cabin when in his 80's with a 30 something gal after he retired from the Court ?

      He seems to have died happily enough more or less in her arms so to speak, what, a couple decades ago ?

    3. Juliet was maybe 13 when she run off with Romeo.


      ....when she tried to run off with Romeo.

      The whole affair turned into a memorable tragedy, sung to the present day.

  19. Quirk told me on the Q.T. once that, when he was in the fourth grade, he run off with a ravishing third grader named Lola.

    The whole romance broke down the next day when they got cold and hungry and went home.

    But, that was the beginning of Quirk's life long "itch", scratched periodically ever since.

  20. I'm convinced, and proud too, that my country, the USA USA USA !, has never meddled in any other country's elections.

    Our traditional way has been that, if we don't like the results of some election, we simply send in the Marines, overthrow the 'duly elected' government, and install a military figure more to our liking.

    Of late, we have drifted away from our roots, to the detriment of all.

    Really, if we had any spunk left, which we don't, we'd send in the Marines, overthrow Maduro in Venezuela, and give that country another chance.

    Venezuela is starving, the dead are stacked up like cord wood in the hospital corridors, and the people are headed for the detention camps, while Maduro blabs on an on giving a speech of TV, eating a taco.

    Those that are able are heading to Colombia or some other nearby country, or, best of all, the USA.

    It is a disaster.

  21. .

    The term "racist" is meaningless. By definition it generalizes and focuses on a particular race.

    I have to disagree. The definition of racism is pretty simple. And though there are a number of different definitions out there, they differ mainly in how the words are arranged. All kind of encompass two factors, one a view and two a bias or prejudice resulting from that view.

    From Merriam-Webster...

    Definition of racism. 1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

    From that definition, it should be pretty easy to call out racism when you see it. However, the problem is not with the definition of racism, it's how the term is used for political ends. Like the word 'terrorism' the term racism is fluid when used by people trying to score political points. An example would be...

    Blacks can't be racists because they are victims and victims can't be racists.

    Unfortunately, examples of bigoted views like this and the bias and prejudice resulting from them is found among all races.


    1. The only skin that is worth a damn is a thick skin.

      Get over it!

      Poor because of bad decisions or behavior?
      Get over it!

      Someone took advantage of you?
      Get over it!

      Wallowing in self pity?
      The human spirit is the essence of continued striving and long suffering.

      To what end.
      There is no end to the spirit.

    2. Our country is racist against the Slant Eyed and the Jews, cause they do bester on the academic test scores and get pushed aside for the benefit of their worsers.

  22. There is no end to the spirit.

    Mr. Saxum is onto it.

    "A human spirit once created can never cease to be"

    And so to gaze at my countenance I have created mirrors in which I consider all the wonders of my originality, which will never cease

    Hildegard of Bingen

    1. Hildegard of Bingen knew a thing or two, and she didn't even get out much.

      Hildegard of Bingen
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      St. Hildegard of Bingen, O.S.B.
      Hildegard von Bingen.jpg

      Illumination from the Liber Scivias showing Hildegard receiving a vision and dictating to her scribe and secretary

      Doctor of the Church, Sibyl of the Rhine
      Born 1098
      Bermersheim vor der Höhe, County Palatine of the Rhine, Holy Roman Empire
      Died 17 September 1179 (aged 81)

      Hildegard of Bingen OSB (German: Hildegard von Bingen; Latin: Hildegardis Bingensis; 1098 – 17 September 1179), also known as Saint Hildegard and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath.[1][2] She is considered to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.[3]

      Hildegard was elected magistra by her fellow nuns in 1136; she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in 1150 and Eibingen in 1165. One of her works as a composer, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama and arguably the oldest surviving morality play.[4] She wrote theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs,[2] and poems, while supervising miniature illuminations in the Rupertsberg manuscript of her first work, Scivias.[5] She is also noted for the invention of a constructed language known as Lingua Ignota.

      Although the history of her formal consideration is complicated, she has been recognized as a saint by branches of the Roman Catholic Church for centuries. On 7 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named her a Doctor of the Church.

      Hildegard was born around the year 1098, although the exact date is uncertain. Her parents were Mechtild of Merxheim-Nahet and Hildebert of Bermersheim, a family of the free lower nobility in the service of the Count Meginhard of Sponheim.[6] Sickly from birth, Hildegard is traditionally considered their youngest and tenth child,[7] although there are records of seven older siblings.[8][9] In her Vita, Hildegard states that from a very young age she had experienced visions.[10]

      Monastic life[edit]
      Perhaps because of Hildegard's visions, or as a method of political positioning (or both), Hildegard's parents offered her as an oblate to the Benedictine monastery at the Disibodenberg, which had been recently reformed in the Palatinate Forest. The date of Hildegard's enclosure at the monastery is the subject of debate.....

  23. Death is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier

    Walt Whitman

    1. Walt knew a thing or two, and he was out and about a lot.

      Enclosed in the monastery or out and about on the streets of Manhattan some always end up with similar knowledge.


  24. Purists alarmed over moves to make French less macho

    Gina DOGGETT
    ,AFP•November 12, 2017
    The Academie Francaise, the arbiter of the French language, has inducted just eight women since its foundation in 1635. (AFP Photo/PATRICK KOVARIK)

    The Academie Francaise, the arbiter of the French language, has inducted just eight women since its foundation in 1635. (AFP Photo/PATRICK KOVARIK)

    Paris (AFP) - Moves to make French more female-friendly have sparked impassioned debate in France, with an appalled Academie Francaise warning of a "mortal danger" to the language of Moliere.

    At the centre of the debate is the growing use of formulations such as "lecteur.rice.s" for the word "readers" to embrace both genders.

    Several government ministries, universities and labour unions use so-called "inclusive writing", but it had largely escaped public notice -- until this autumn when it turned up in an elementary school history textbook.
    The Academie Francaise, the arbiter of the French language which has inducted just eight women since its foundation in 1635, did not mince words.

    "In the face of this 'inclusive' aberration, the French language finds itself in mortal danger," the body intoned.....

    And that's the difference between Frog Croak and English.

    English is always changing, picking up words from everywhere.

    Frog Croak is frozen like ice.

  25. The Dems Are Back !

    Message to YOU, the American Voter, from The Democrap Party, via SNL -

    WE'RE B A A A C K !

    Heh, not bad

  26. Stomach turning account of Mueller's machinations.