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I think I am going to call a contest, open until Sept 11, 2005, winner will get a teeshirt I picked up in St Petersburg, Russia. The above entries are disqualified. I will pick some neutral bloggers to vote on the winner.
Now if you really want to LEARN something about Jacksonian Americans, all kidding aside, there is no better place to start than
UPDATE Here are some jpgs of the prize. Now you CAN get them online from RussianLegacy.com
I got mine in a Bazaar in St Petersburg, Russia
That was a statement I made during my Holiday in Italy, that raised some eyebrows earlier this summer.
How did I get in Italy? Long story, but the short and sweet is, I went on a vacation with my girl friend who lives in St Petersburg.
No, not the warm one in Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico, the cooler St Petersburg, in Russia, on the Gulf of Finland. ;-)
She made all the arrangements with a Russian Excursion Tour Company. Made her getting a Visa to Italy much easier and she got us a GREAT deal. My company's credit Union sells Vacation Tour packages and what we paid fo the two of us was about what they charge for 1 and the last week we stayed in a Waldorf in Rimmini Italy.
That put me for one week, with 30 of 40 Russians, on a whirlwind, if this is Tuesday, this must be Naples type tour. My Russian skills are limited and except for my girlfriend, their English skills were a match. One couple had brought their teenage son who was studying English, so it turned out that one afternoon, though him, I and his father got into a conversation, on Life the Universe and Everything, including Politics.
With the state of the World these days of course the MidEast came up, but when I answered, "I Don't WANT Bin Laden Caught." to his query "Why have you not caught Bin Laden yet?", I did get some raised eyebrows.
I explained, If we capture or kill Bin Laden, he becomes a martyr and lives forever. Al-Qaeda is like a Hydra, cut off its head and it can grow a thousand new ones. But Bin Laden is an Old Man, someday, soon perhaps, he will die and then he is just another Old Man who died.
So no, I Don't WANT Bin Laden Caught, but I would like to USE him to locate and track and take out those underneath him the next generation of Al-Qaeda and the ones after that.
I want Ayman Al Zawahiri,Abu Mussab al Zarqawi, the ones at that level and below.
Everyone wants a Magic Bullet cure for the MidEast.
Take Bin Laden and its over and everyone can go home and leave the region to sink into oblivion.
Not going to work that way. Then you have the side who proclaim loudly that Bullets and Bombs won't fix things, and they have long involved arguments about what we should do INSTEAD, never even seeing that they suffer from the same tunnel vision, of which they accuse us.
Of COURSE Bullets and Bombs alone won't fix things, Passing Wind (my definition of diplomacy backed up with nothing but words) ALONE will not either.]
We never SAID they would. That side of the political dialog suffers from hearing impairment or reading impairment.
Here is what we SAID in the beginning
They hate what they see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.
Oh that statement was greeted with a lot of derision when President Bush made it. Except not by Al-Qaeda, they agreed with the President
al-Zarqawi declared his loyalty to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden last year. In a statement posted Sunday on Islamic Web sites, he said his group has "declared a bitter war against democracy and all those who seek to enact it," and he declared all Iraqi candidates and voters enemies of Islam.
"Democracy is also based on the right to choose your religion," he said, and that is "against the rule of God."
Contrast that to what America and President Bush believe
"There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom," Bush said. This is not simply a statement of idealism, however -- the War on Terror began as a war to ensure our own safety, after all. The President continued: "We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one." However, there's always room for idealism in a just war. Bush also reminded us that, "we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave."
We cannot expect this War to be anything like our past struggles, it will be far different and fought on many fronts, militarily, financially and spiritually.
Now this war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat. Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.
So No, I Don't WANT Bin Laden Caught. I do not want the Hydra suddenly headless to spring forth a thousand new ones. If I could locate Bin Laden, I would leave him to die as any man dies in his time. Because I do not think of these matters in terms of Revenge, Retribution, or Justice, as Legal matters where we hunt down the guilty and bring them before the Law.
I think of this as War, a Protracted Struggle where the goal is to Win, and make our enemies Dust with History.
So I would leave him in place, but if I knew that place I would USE him. For he is a connection to
Ayman Al Zawahiri,Abu Mussab al Zarqawi, the ones at that level and below. He is the Head they are the Heart. Cut off the Hydra's Head and new ones spring forth.
Cut out its Heart and it Dies.
After I finished talking about why I did not want Bin Laden caught, and what I DID want to see happen, they did not look surprised any more, they looked thoughtful.
If you want to hunt Tiger.
First tether the Goat.
Christopher Hitchens gets it. In his statement on the Unite Against Terror Petition website
(which I was honored to sign) he says,
"Association with this statement and with many of its fellow-signatories involves two commitments. The first is the elementary duty of solidarity with true and authentic resistance movements within the Muslim world, such as the Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq and the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, who were fighting against Ba'athism and Talibanism (and the latent alliance between the two) long before any American or British government had woken up to the threat. It should go without saying that, though the suffering of their peoples was intense, neither Jalal Talabani nor Ahmed Shah Masoud ever considered letting off explosive devices at random in foreign capitals. I have my political and ideological differences with both groups, but these differences are between me and them, and are not mediated through acts of nihilistic murder.
My second commitment is equally elementary. The foreign policy of a democracy should be determined only at election times or by votes in Congress or Parliament. It is one hundred per cent unacceptable even to imply, let alone to assert, that a suicide-murderer or his apologists can by these means acquire the right to any say in how matters are decided.
Both of these observations, and indeed this very statement, would be redundant if it were not for the widespread cultural presence of a pseudo-Left, and an isolationist Right, both of whom have degenerated to the point where they regard jihadism as some form of "liberation theology". The old slogans are often the best, and "Death to Fascism" is life-affirming in these conditions.
Nick Cohen gets it, he says I still fight oppression and replies to his detractors on the Left
The liberals who say I have deserted the left should ask themselves where they stand on Islamism.
Some DON'T get it. Read the following on Instapundit
YOU’RE EITHER WITH US OR YOU’RE AGAINST US:
James Wolcott is beating up on liberal hawks (he singles out Roger L. Simon in particular) for making common cause with conservatives by supporting the Terror War:
The fact is that by subscribing to Bush's War on Terror and the invasion of Iraq with every corpuscle of your tired body you've made common cause with Republican conservatives, neoconservatives, and Christian fundamentalists who are dedicated to destroying those parcels of liberalism on which you stake your tiny claims of pride…Do you really think that conservative supremacy in the executive, congressional, and judicial branches of government means that gay rights and abortion rights will somehow be spared?.
UPDATE: On a related note, Harry Hatchett says many on today's anti-war left strikingly resemble right-wing nationalists and isolationists. It begs the question then. Who, really, are the new conservatives? I couldn't care less, personally, about being tainted with conservative cooties. But those who fear and loathe the idea might want to read Harry's essay.
Oh and for those who object to the anti-war left and the right wing nationalists being tarred with the same brush?
This quote from George Orwell fits that pretty well and shows us the concept is not anything news.
Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, "he that is not with me is against me". The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle,
, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security...In so far as it takes effect at all, pacifist propaganda can only be effective against those countries where a certain amount of freedom of speech is still permitted;in other words it is helpful to totalitarianism
My father was in the Navy. When I was a small boy, we lived on an Island in the Pacific, Midway.
I remember one of the things I liked to do was dive into a wave when it was just curling over. Done right, you could curl into a ball and it twirled you around and around. It was a lot of fun. Done wrong, missing the timing something quite different could happen.
The Wave SLAMMED you down on the beach floor. That could smart!
"There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries. "
I do believe the Irrational Left and the Democratic Party is about to learn what "something different
could happen" means.
On The Persian Edition of Washington Prism
By Christopher Hitchens is one of America's and the English speaking world's leading public intellectuals. He is the author of more than ten books, including, most recently, A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq (2003), Why Orwell Matters (2002), The Trial of Henry Kissinger (2001), and Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001). He writes for leading American and British publications, including The London Review of Books, The New Left Review, Slate, The New York Review of Books, Newsweek International, The Times Literary Supplement, and The Washington Post. He is also a regular television and radio commentator.
For many years, Hitchens was seen as one of America's leading leftist commentators. Shortly after the September 11 attacks in the United States, he began publicly criticizing fellow leftist intellectuals for what he viewed as their "moral and political collapse" in their failure to stand up to what he saw as "Islamo-fascism". He publicly feuded with many of America's leading leftist intellectuals about the war in Iraq, which he supported, much to their anger. He subsequently resigned from his position as a columnist for the Nation, America's leading leftist magazine, in protest.
Born in England, Hitchens has lived in the United States for more than twenty years. He is one of America's most recognizable intellectuals and has taught as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Pittsburgh; and the New School of Social Research. He spoke with Washington Prism at his home in Washington D.C.
Q - Your much-discussed separation from the American left began shortly after the September 11 attacks. What prompted your displeasure with the left?
A - The September 11 attacks were one of those rare historical moments, like 1933 in Germany or 1936 in Spain or 1968, when you are put in a position to take a strong stand for what is right. The left failed this test. Instead of strongly standing against these nihilistic murderers, people on the left, such as Noam Chomsky, began to make excuses for these murderers, openly saying that Bin ladin was, however crude in his methods, in some ways voicing a liberation theology. This is simply a moral and political collapse.
But its not only that. It’s a missed opportunity for the left. Think of it this way: If a group of theocratic nihilists drive planes full of human beings into buildings full of human beings announcing nothing by way of a program except their nihilism and if they turn out to have been sheltered by two regimes favored by the United States and the national security establishment, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to be precise, two of only three countries to recognize the Taliban, and if Republicans were totally taken by surprise by this and if the working class of New York had to step forward and become the shield of society in the person of the fire and police brigades, it seemed to me that this would have been a good opportunity for the left to demand a general revision of all the assumptions we carried about the post cold war world. We were attacked by a religious dictatorship and the working class were pushed into defending elites by the total failure of our leadership and total failure of our intelligence. The attack emanated partly from the failure of regimes supported by that same elite national security establishment– Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. If the left can’t take advantage of a moment like that: whats it for? whats its secularism for? Whats its internationalism, class attitude, democracy for?
You don’t get that many measurable historical moments in your life, but you must recognize them when they come. This was one of those moments and the left collectively decided to get it wrong and I realized at that moment that, to borrow a slogan that slightly irritates me, but is useful: "Not in my name.” I'm not part of that family. I wanted to force a split, a political split on the left to which a small extent I think succeeded. Today, there is a small pro-regime change left and I'm a proud part of it.
Q - It seems that the left had less difficulty accepting the war in Afghanistan as they did the war in Iraq.
That is true, but of the hard core left it isn’t true. They also opposed the removal of the Taliban. When it came to using force, the least they did was predict a quagmire. By the way, there weren't alone. The New York Times did so too. They said at minimum we would witness another Vietnam, which is a pretty serious charge to make as someone who believes that then and now the Vietnam war was a war of aggression and atrocity and racism. When someone says something is another Vietnam, they better be serious because that’s a serious charge.
But lets look at the case of Iraq and the left. If you asked someone who has the principles of a 1968 leftist the following question: what is your attitude to a regime that has committed genocide, invaded its neighbors, militarized its society into a police state, that has privatized its economy so it is owned by one family, that has defied the non proliferation treaty in many ways, that sought weapons to commit genocide again and cheated on inspections, that has abolished the existence of a neighboring arab muslim state? What is your view of this as anyone who is a 1968 leftist? For me, I would be appalled if anyone knew me even slightly would not guess my attitude. Iraq should have been taken care of a long time ago. Instead, when I made my view public, I was berated by the left and my view was seen as an insane eccentricity.
I should also note that I have friends and comrades in the Iraqi and Kurdish left going back at least till the early 1990s. For me, supporting the war was an elementary duty of solidarity. I said: I'm on your side and I’ll stay there until you’re in and they’re out.
Q - If there was a Democratic president on 9/11, would there have been a difference of opinion in the American left about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Not from people like Michael Moore (the American film director and strong critic of President Bush), who makes a perfectly good brownshirt [fascist]. Or Noam Chomsky. No, it would not. To them it would have been further proof that the ruling class just has two faces and one party. But I think, in the mainstream of the democratic and Republican parties, you would have seen an exact switch. Richard Holbrooke’s position (Holbrooke was Clinton's UN Ambassador and is a leading Democratic foreign policy thinker) would be Dick Cheney’s position. The ones in the middle would have just done a switch, finding arguments to support or criticize the war. In fact, I remember that people in the Clinton administration spoke of an inevitable confrontation coming with Saddam. They dropped this idea only because it was a Republican president. That is simply disgraceful. It is likewise disgraceful how many Republicans ran as isolationists against [former Vice-President] Al Gore in the 2000 elections. The only people who come out of this whole affair well are an odd fusion of the old left – the small pro regime change left – and some of the people known as neoconservatives who have a commitment to liberal democracy. Many of the neocons have Marxist backgrounds and believe in ideas and principles and have worked with both parties in power.
Q – In your book, Why Orwell Matters, you noted that Orwell once refused an invitation to speak at the League of European Freedom on the question of Yugoslavian freedom – a cause he believed in. He refused to speak because he felt that the organization failed to condemn British imperialism in India and Burma. He saw that as a fatal flaw. Do the neoconservatives have a fatal flaw: on the one hand supporting Middle East democracy, on the other refusing to condemn Israeli policies that stifle Palestinian freedom aspirations?
A – Orwell said, at the time, that he would not speak for any organization that was opposed to tyranny that did not demand British withdrawal from India and Burma. He also noted that the liberation of Europe did not include the liberation of Spain from the fascists or Portugal. He also noted that it had included the enslavement of Poland.
In the case of the Palestinians, it is generally true that United States political culture doesn’t care about the Palestinians. We are taught to think of them as an inconvenient people who are in the way of Israel and a regional settlement. They are people about whom something should be done or, more condescendingly, for whom something should be provided.
I've spent three decades writing about the Palestinians and publishing a book with Edward Said [leading Palestinian intellectual and critic of Israel] about it. All political factions in this country have been lousy on this issue, but none lousier than the Democratic party. The Democrat party truly is what some people crudely say: a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Israeli lobby. It is one thing it has never deviated on: that and abortion. The only two things the Democrats have never flip flopped about.
The neocons are honorably divided on Israel. Take Paul Wolfowitz, for example. He is very critical of settlements and the whole idea of Greater Israel. Whereas Richard Perle (a prominent neoconservative thinker) doesn’t regard the areas known as Judea and Samaria (the West bank) as occupied territory. He regards them as part of a future Israeli state. I'm looking forward to the neoconservative split on this getting wider.
Q - Some have said that only columnists and public intellectuals can afford principles, whereas politicians sometimes must succumb to realism. In your book, Why Orwell Matters, you admired Orwell because you said that he understood that that politics are fleeting but principles endure. In our day, can a politician rule by principle?
A - It depends on what the principle is. If the principle is that all men are equal or created equal, I don’t think its possible to observe that principle in practice. But if the principle is, say, something cruder such as: can we coexist with aggressive internationalist totalitarian ideologies, then I think you not only can but you should act consistently against that. Never mind the principles for one minute, but the lesson of realism is: that if you don’t fight them now you fight them later.
They [Islamist radicals or, as Hitchens calls them, Islamo-fascists] gave us no peace and we shouldn’t give them any. We can't live on the same planet as them and I'm glad because I don’t want to. I don’t want to breathe the same air as these psychopaths and murders and rapists and torturers and child abusers. Its them or me. I'm very happy about this because I know it will be them. It’s a duty and a responsibility to defeat them. But it's also a pleasure. I don’t regard it as a grim task at all.
I have been trying without succes to think of something I could add to the above without detracting from it, so I won't
Everyone expects this trend to continue either to the Left or the Right in a series of battles for gradual minute changes. I am not certain this will be the case.
State Change is a Chaos Theory Model in which a cusp point is reached and a previous gradual change suddenly becomes a rapid and total change of State.
An example would be water at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature water can exist either as liquid water or solid ice. ANY withdrawal
of heat from liquid water at 32 degrees will result in rapid and massive crystallization into Ice.
Another example I hope you never encounter is Flash Steaming in a microwave.
a stationary cup of water in a microwave oven can heat past the boiling point without actually boiling. If that happens, placing an object (like a teabag) in the water or jarring the cup could cause the sudden — and explosive — conversion of part of the water to steam.
Few realize that it is possible to super heat water in a microwave. It will still be in liquid form but the SLIGHTEST disturbance in some cases just lifting a cup and jiggling the water can make the entire contents Flash into steam some people have gotten severe facial scalding that way.
I think the American Electorate is hovering just on the other side of a State Change, I mean when you consider ALICE COOPER is a registered Republican?
when I read the list of people who are supporting Kerry, if I wasn't already a Bush supporter, I would have immediately switched
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dale Horn, right, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., speaks with a villager and Mohammed Ismail Ahmed, left, a local sheik. Horn's assistance to locals prompted them to make him a sheik. (Dale L. Horn/The Associated Press
U.S. soldier's aid to Iraqis earns him title of sheik
By Antonio Castaneda
The Associated Press
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dale Horn, right, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., speaks with a villager and Mohammed Ismail Ahmed, left, a local sheik. Horn's assistance to locals prompted them to make him a sheik. (Dale L. Horn/The Associated Press)
QAYYARAH, Iraq - Sheik Horn floats around the room in white robe and headdress, exchanging pleasantries with dozens of village leaders.
But he is the only sheik with blonde streaks in his mustache - and the only one who attended country music star Toby Keith's recent concert in Baghdad with fellow U.S. soldiers.
Officially, he is Army Staff Sgt. Dale L. Horn, but to residents of the 37 villages and towns that he patrols he is known as the American sheik.
Sheiks, or village elders, are known as the real power in rural Iraq. And the 5-foot-6-inch Floridian's ascension to the esteemed position came through humor and the military's need to clamp down on rocket attacks.
Late last year a full-blown battle between insurgents and U.S. and Iraqi forces had erupted, and U.S. commanders assigned a unit to stop rocket and mortar attacks that regularly hit their base. Horn, who had been trained to operate radar for a field artillery unit, was now thrust into a job that largely hinged on coaxing locals into divulging information about insurgents.
Horn, 25, a native of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., acknowledges he had little interest in the region before coming here. But a local sheik friendly to U.S. forces, Mohammed Ismail Ahmed, explained the inner workings of rural Iraqi society on one of Horn's first Humvee patrols.
Horn says he was intrigued, and started making a point of stopping by all the villages, all but one dominated by Sunni Arabs, to talk to people about their life and security problems.
Moreover, he pressed for development projects in the area: he now boasts that he helped funnel $136,000 worth of aid into the area. Part of that paid for delivery of clean water to 30 villages during the broiling summer months.
Mohammed, Horn's mentor, eventually suggested during a meeting of village leaders that Horn be named a sheik.
Some sheiks later gave him five sheep and a postage stamp of land, fulfilling some of the requirements for sheikdom. Others encouraged him to start looking for a second wife, which Horn's spouse back in Florida immediately vetoed.
Cool we have at least ONE American Lawrence of Arabia. ;-) I bet (know) we have others no one hears about.