June 16th, 2009

Listening in on the second channel

I like the concept of the second channel, which Richard Fernandez describes with his usual insight here [emphasis mine]:

And in the particular case of Iran, my own emotional curiosity is drawn toward one question alone. Does the current President in his most private moments truly and sincerely wish for the downfall of the regime in Teheran? Because even if he were only to wish it, without acting on it; without initiating a single program to overthrow the Ayatollahs, I believe the message would shine through.

Over at Ann Althouse’s there’s a poll on who is the bigger partisan hack: Glenn Reynolds or Andrew Sullivan. Last I looked Sullivan was winning the hack race by 94 % to 6%. And the reason apparently, is largely Sullivan’s credulity of Obama’s position on gay marriage and his contorted attempts to reconcile his belief in President Obama in despite of the plain facts. Sullivan’s problem was that he was listening to Obama’s words. Other people were clever enough to listen in on the second channel — the one that sends signals about who [Obama] is. Clever enough to deduce the truth from coded signals because in certain circles, engagement always means being able to say all things to all men. People learn to read the tea leaves eventually. I think that some Iranians actually know how to listen in on the second channel and they are. They want to know if the current administration is “on their side”. Maybe that’s all the help they want; all the help they need. But are they going to get it?

And it’s one of the reasons that Obama’s tepid words on Iran fall so flat. Listening in on the second channel, we sense absolutely no conviction behind them and no commitment to anything other than keeping the options open for negotiating with Ahmadinejad.

And, looking at the domestic picture, it is at least part of the explanation of why some of us have distrusted Obama from the start, while others are (and remain) starry-eyed.

102 Responses to “Listening in on the second channel”

  1. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I suppose there is such a thing as a second channel.
    I mean, sometimes you just KNOW about somebody.
    Problem with using this concept vis a vis O is that there was plenty of first-channel–which is to say objective reality–stuff out there so that second channel reading was unnecessary.
    Perhaps he figured out a way to broadcast deception on the second channel.

  2. stumbley Says:

    No, Richard, it’s just that 52% of the country was tuned to “So You Think You Can Dance.”

  3. Stan Says:

    If you have established a reputation for honesty and integrity, there is no need for a second channel. And it really doesn’t exist. It is only when the listener knows, or ought to know that your words aren’t trustworthy that other signals need to be evaluated.

  4. Tim P Says:

    Stan’s right. An honest person does not need a ‘second channel’. However, Obama has the full 57 channels.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    I disagree, Tim P. An honest person needs both, because an honest person has a first and a second channel that are congruent with each other. We are always picking up on both channels at once, and in fact that is how we evaluate people for honesty or dishonesty.

    However, Obama may have some ability to jam the second channel of some listeners.

  6. Tim P Says:

    Good point.
    Perhaps one can say that Obama generates a lot of white noise? /lame humor

  7. Thomass Says:

    Progressives were brought up thinking that the US conservative is the real problem in the world.

  8. Shepard Says:

    Just as I once thought that George W. Bush would have to eat a live kitten on national television in order to earn the ire of his more ardent supporters, I now think that Barack Obama would have to singlehandedly save Jesus Himself from a burning building in order to earn your accolades.

    Obama’s words might be tepid to you, though I tend to think they were exactly what he needed to say. The vastly more important question, though, is about what his words sounded like to Iranians, and we don’t really know that yet. It’s most definitely not about us in this case.

    The key here is that we’re only disagreeing over tactics. Obama should speak words on Iran to encourage peaceful change, no? We agree on this conceptually and strategically. What we disagree over is tactics – should he full-throatedly voice his support, or should he avoid interjecting the U.S. too much in Iranian internal affairs? You have reasons to believe the former, I have reasons to believe the latter, but ultimately this is a debate over policy.

    Recall that Teddy Roosevelt, that glorious swine of a Republican, once told us to walk softly and carry a big stick. I think that holds true in this case, except that our big stick is actually Twitter – the State Department apparently requested that Twitter perform maintenance during the middle of the night in Iran, rather than during the day, to keep this line of communication open. I think this does more for the protesters than a thousand, nay, a million bombastic speeches about freedom and democracy and evil doers most vile.

  9. Shepard Says:

    “Progressives were brought up thinking that the US conservative is the real problem in the world.”

    They is not?

  10. Jamie Says:

    Shepard, what’s Obama done to earn my “accolades”? I don’t support his party; I think he himself is far to the left within that party; his “present” record as a legislator gave me no reason to believe he’d be an effective executive, and he’s done nothing to counter that assessment; his resume led me to believe he’s an intellectual lightweight resting on Ivy laurels (something wrong with that formulation…) and he’s done nothing to cause me to change my mind there, either.

    I supported Bush all through his presidency because the alternative – appeasement, inaction, foreign-policy spinelessness – was so abhorrent, not because I supported every single thing he said, did, or believed. He wasn’t the fiscal conservative one might’ve hoped for. He was too loyal to his subordinates. But Gore? Kerry? Honestly?

    I never supported Obama because he was a symbol, not a real candidate. I continue not to support him because his idea of executive action is apparently to sit on his hands during any crisis he hasn’t decided to make hay out of, until there’s enough outcry to tell him which way to jump. How can he not know how to react to a corrupted Iranian election? Has he not been paying attention for the last eight years?

    Oh. Sorry. Asked and answered.

  11. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Shep.
    Reagan got pretty clear about Solidarity and the Russian unrest.
    The folks on the other side, the Russian dissidents and the Solidarity people were ecstatic and have since said so.
    Reagan is adored in Eastern Europe, although you won’t find it out from US or western Europe sources.
    Bush kicked Saddaam out of power and strung him up. Iraqis took pictures of Bush to the polling places.
    So, on form, speaking strongly seems to be appreciated.
    Might be the case here, too. It’s the way to bet.
    And Obama is getting what accolades he gets from reps and conservatives when he doesn’t change Bush policies. You know. FISA. Enhanced interrogation. Overseas detention. Staying the course in Afghanistan and not abandoning the Iraqis–which he had suggested was the thing to do.
    So, no, he’s not universally loathed on the right and center.
    But he’s still a lying sack of stuff whose ideas, if he gets to implement them, will be ruinous.

  12. FredHjr Says:

    Richard,

    His policies and the very probability of what is to come are already having a deleterious effect on the economy. Plus, he and his advisers are believed to be pressuring Israel to give up their nuclear weapons at Dimona in order to appease the Arab and Muslim world. He thinks that if Israel disarms, the Muslims will disarm also. He really thinks that Israel’s nukes have always been an existential threat to Iran and that the reason why Iran is getting nukes is because of Israel. This shitty reasoning is a clue into his mind, and I can only conclude that he will bring the world closer to war, not away from it.

    Appeasement of thugs only emboldens them. As an aside, that Communist spy Kendall Myers’ doctoral dissertation at Johns Hopkins was about Neville Chamberlain and Mr. Myers defends Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler. That’s surely a window into the mind of the Left.

  13. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Fred.
    As I said, the only things O is doing right is continuing Bush policies.
    The other stuff is terrifying.
    As cruder bloggers have said, “Thanks a pantload, fifty-two.”

  14. Tatterdemalian Says:

    If you want the real measure of a personality, never listen to what someone says to you… listen to what they say to other people, especially when they don’t think you’re listening. People will always tell you what they think you want to hear to your face, it’s what they say behind your back that counts.

  15. 11B40 Says:

    Greetings:

    For a while now, I have thought that there is an aspect to President Obama’s communication skills that parallels what psychologists refer to as “grooming” in describing the relationship between pedophiles and their victims.

    I’m not implying anything about his sexual inclinations. But he seems to have a way of intruding and then threatening his withdrawal that very much leaves him in control of the exchange and, I believe, softens up the other person for future efforts.

  16. Shepard Says:

    “The folks on the other side, the Russian dissidents and the Solidarity people were ecstatic and have since said so.”

    Yes. Iran, however, is not Poland, and the United States has no history of interfering against democratic revolutions in Poland. The situation is, to put it mildly, different.

    “Iraqis took pictures of Bush to the polling places.”

    And Kosovars carry photos of Bill Clinton in their wallets and hold candle light vigils on the anniversary of September 11. Bill Clinton – Best. President. Evar!

    “He thinks that if Israel disarms, the Muslims will disarm also.”

    Certainly they cannot disarm themselves of arms they do not possess? Unless you think the possession of nuclear weapons by the U.S., France, and Britain means that “the white people” or “the Christians” have nuclear weapons, the possession of nuclear weapons by Pakistan does not mean “the Muslims” are so armed.

    “As an aside, that Communist spy Kendall Myers’ doctoral dissertation at Johns Hopkins was about Neville Chamberlain and Mr. Myers defends Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler.”

    ‘You certainly do remind me of Adolf Hitler.’ – Dave Barry

  17. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “Certainly they cannot disarm themselves of arms they do not possess? Unless you think the possession of nuclear weapons by the U.S., France, and Britain means that “the white people” or “the Christians” have nuclear weapons, the possession of nuclear weapons by Pakistan does not mean “the Muslims” are so armed.”

    Nice try, but I think he’s talking about all arms, including conventional weapons. It’s the reasoning many progressives share, “If Israel laid down its weapons, the Arab world would do the same, because they would have no more grievance.” Perhaps because there would be no more Israel within days, but they are dead wrong if they think convincing Israel to let themselves die would end the Arab world’s sense of grievance and entitlement.

  18. E Says:

    Shepard writes:

    “The key here is that we’re only disagreeing over tactics. Obama should speak words on Iran to encourage peaceful change, no? We agree on this conceptually and strategically. What we disagree over is tactics – should he full-throatedly voice his support, or should he avoid interjecting the U.S. too much in Iranian internal affairs? You have reasons to believe the former, I have reasons to believe the latter, but ultimately this is a debate over policy.”

    Ultimately, Shepard – no. It’s not a debate about policy – although I gotta give you kudos for trying to change the debate. Neo’s post is about Obama’s insincerity, and the existence of a “second channel” that telegraphs who Obama really is and what he believes.

    Jamie, good job. You put your finger on what makes so many of us distrust the current president – that his “idea of executive action is apparently to sit on his hands during any crisis he hasn’t decided to make hay out of, until there’s enough outcry to tell him which way to jump.”

    This is not Hope, Change, or Progress, but an abandonment of First Principles.

  19. Gringo Says:

    Shepard:

    Certainly they cannot disarm themselves of arms they do not possess? Unless you think the possession of nuclear weapons by the U.S., France, and Britain means that “the white people” or “the Christians” have nuclear weapons, the possession of nuclear weapons by Pakistan does not mean “the Muslims” are so armed.

    This is the winner for incoherent paragraph of the day, if not week or month.

  20. Occam's Beard Says:

    Another liberal troll. I have this fantasy of Soros’s plane being forced to land over territory held by the Taliban. If only wishing could make it so…

  21. Shepard Says:

    “It’s the reasoning many progressives share.”

    Really? Many progressive believe that sovereign states in a dangerous part of the world will disarm themselves completely? I’d be surprised if you found any person who believed this.

    “It’s not a debate about policy – although I gotta give you kudos for trying to change the debate. ”

    This, I think, is the problem: I recognize that we debate within a liberal consensus, arguing about policy details but fundamentally agreeing about the things that really matter. You, on the other hand, seem to think that there is no liberal consensus and that people who think as I do are moral monsters ready to destroy all that is good and pure in the world. At least I recognize our common humanity; that you do not hampers the discussion a bit.

    That is: I think you and Obama and I all have the same goal in mind; we’d all like to see democracy flourish in Iran but aren’t in agreement over the best way of achieving this. I tend to think, as Obama does, that the U.S. would serve this goal best by not interfering, while you disagree. That’s fine; policies can be tested, refined, abandoned, etc. You, on the other hand, seem to think that your disagreement with Obama means that Obama hates freedom, is a moral monster, and so forth. This is silly, I think, and prevents any real discussion.

    “This is the winner for incoherent paragraph of the day, if not week or month.”

    Sorry if I wrote poorly. I was trying to address two issues at once, and this perhaps made my writing a bit confusing. First, I was pointing out the nonsensical construction of “the Muslims.” There are no “the Muslims” with nuclear weapons. Pakistan has nuclear weapons, but this in no way connotes some supranational polity of Muslims that possesses nuclear weapons, just a single sovereign nation-state populated by Muslims. By way of analogy, “Christendom” does not possess nuclear weapons just because the U.S., France, and the United Kingdom posses nuclear weapons; neither do “the Muslims.”

    Second, and this is a much simpler point, but Iran does not, as far as we can tell, possess nuclear weapons. It cannot give up what it does not have.

  22. Shepard Says:

    “Another liberal troll.”

    I see how interested in debate you are. It’s much nicer to exist in an echo chamber in which the only disagreements are over how many times a day one must bow to Reagan’s tomb, is it not?

    Seriously though, I have done nothing trollish except disagree. If that is your definition of trolling, you’re doomed to intellectual stagnation. Just let me know if that’s what you’d like and I’ll leave.

    “I have this fantasy of Soros’s plane being forced to land over territory held by the Taliban.”

    That was an interesting jump. Soros holds such a fascination for you people, doesn’t he? I don’t get it.

  23. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Shep
    Well, Soros holds a bit of fascination in Indonesia–ruined their currency–and a couple of other places.
    However, the Iranians don’t need to throw away arms they don’t have to “disarm”.
    This means, as you know but hope the rest of us missed, ceasing work on the things before completing them.

  24. jon baker Says:

    Shepard said: “Second, and this is a much simpler point, but Iran does not, as far as we can tell, possess nuclear weapons. It cannot give up what it does not have.”

    And North Korea did not have them too long ago either.

    Typical liberal inability to see an emerging threat.

    A few years ago I heard about a convenience store that was robbed by a man with a rifle. The clerk complied with his demands for the cash. But AFTER the clerk gave up the cash, the robber cocked the rifle. The clerk made a reasonable assumption that the man intended to shoot him- after all- he already gave him the cash. So the clerk, thinking he had nothing to loose grabbed the rifle and prevaled against the robber. The store fired him. They stated the clerk had the right to defend himself but he should not have done this. I guess you have to wait till one bullet is sunk into you before you have permission from liberals to defend yourself.

    It reminds me of all the “Duty to retreat” laws the libs like so much here in the U.S. ” If someone breaks into your house, you must try to flee out the backdoor- you cannot resist.”

  25. jon baker Says:

    Somebody refresh my memory. Which US President had the brilliant plan to appease the North Koreans by helping them build Nuclear reactors for “peaceful” purposes?

  26. Shepard Says:

    “Well, Soros holds a bit of fascination in Indonesia–ruined their currency–and a couple of other places.”

    I’m sure the Indonesians would be touched by your obsession with Soros on their behalf.

    “And North Korea did not have them too long ago either. Typical liberal inability to see an emerging threat.”

    Yes, North Korea has nuclear weapons (of a sort) and, though this is clearly a suboptimal situation, the world has not ended in a fiery nuclear holocaust. We endure, somehow.

    Perhaps liberals are cognizant of threats but are simply able to keep them in perspective, while conservatives are comparable most to Victorian-era ladies prone to the vapors?

    The North Korea point is an interesting one to raise. The Bush administration, despite its best intentions, was not able to prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons after eight years of trying. This highlights, more than anything, the difficulty of preventing a country from acquiring nuclear weapons if it decides to pursue them. It also highlights the weakness of the “don’t negotiate with evil, just glare at them harshly” school of foreign policy.

    “A few years ago I heard about a convenience store that was robbed by a man with a rifle…”

    One time I heard about a girl who stood in a dark bathroom and repeated “Bloody Mary” ten times while staring at the mirror and then an alligator came out of the toilet and bit her butt and then she went to the movies and sat in the seat and got stuck with an AIDS needle someone had left there and then she went trick-or-treating because it was Halloween and someone put razor blades in her apple and then she ate some pop rocks and drank some coke and her mouth exploded and when she was driving to the hospital the killer was in the back seat the whole time and when she got out there was a hook in the door handle omg the car behind her wasn’t the killer, he had been trying to warn her!

  27. neo-neocon Says:

    Shepard: I tend to think that commenters who come to this blog and disagree are not trolls until they reveal themselves to be trolls.

    I’m undecided about you as yet, but I will say that you’ve done two things so far that are very characteristic of trolls: (1) coming onto the blog with a lot of snark from the git-go, and (2) (as in your comment at 10:34 PM above) using the phrase “you people” to lump together the other commenters here. Those things do not mean that you are a troll, but they suggest it.

    You seem like an intelligent person. So I also find it hard to believe that you really don’t know why Soros “holds such fascination” for “you people” on this blog. You may not agree with that “fascination,” and you may not share it, but surely if you follow anything about the man you understand it.

  28. Shepard Says:

    Jon,

    That was Clinton, who gave the North Koreans nuclear reactors that could not be used to produce nuclear weapons. Bonus: it was under Bush, who abrogated that agreement*, that the North Koreans acquired rudimentary nuclear weapons.

    * This is not to bash Bush; the North Koreans had certainly also decided to renege on the deal.

  29. Richard Aubrey Says:

    shep
    The Iranians should give up what they have, which is centrifuges and similar facilities. That would be “disarming”. Your not-so-smart attempt to pretend that they have nothing is transparent.
    Surely you could do better.
    This isn’t even any fun.

  30. Shepard Says:

    Neo-neocon,

    One of your commenters here insinuated that insight can be gained into the minds of liberals, a sizable chunk of Americans in the order of tens of millions of people, by studying the sympathetic-to-Hitler writings of a Cuban spy.

    Certainly, a bit of snark is not beyond the pale after that.

    And it’s true, I honestly don’t understand why so many of the conservative persuasion are so fascinated by Soros. He is, as far as I can tell, something of a bogeyman to the right. If a random comment from a random anonymous poster on one small blog in the vast sea of the blogosphere can produce a knee-jerk reaction of a fantasy about George Soros being murdered by the Taliban, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that the man holds some special, disproportionate place in the right’s mythology*.

    * This term is used in a non-pejorative sense. Liberals have mythology as well.

  31. jon baker Says:

    shepard,
    Do you have any concept of who Muslims are talking about when talk about “al-mahdi”? do you have any concept of what the current President of Iran believes chaos can do en regards to “al-Mahdi”? Believes it enough he may be willing to act upon it- whether you or I believe it or not.

  32. Shepard Says:

    Jon,

    I’ll make two points in response to that.

    The first is simply to point out the general weakness of Iranian presidency; Ahmadinejad would have no ability to act that drastically no matter what he believed.

    The second is a copy/paste of a comment I made on an earlier thread:

    See, for example, Israeli scholar Ze’ev Maghen’s work ”
    Occultation in Perpetuum: Shi’ite Messianism and the Policies of the Islamic Republic” in The Middle East Journal 62, no. 2 (April 2008).

    Maghen argues that, contrary to popular belief, the clerics of Iran are decidedly anti-Mahdist. Shi’ite clericalism is predicated on the absence of the Imam. The Imam held a special position in Shi’ism as he was the only person capable of engaging in ijtihad, or, more specifically, reasoning through intellectual questions of fiqh or jurisprudence. When the twelfth Imam went into occultation, the clerics of Shi’ism took on for themselves the collective mantle of ijtihad. In the absence of an authoritative voice on questions of fiqh, the clerics would have to speak collectively.

    Hence Maghen’s argument: the religio-political legitimacy of the clerics rests on the permanent and perpetual absence of the Imam. Were he ever to return, they would no longer be the authoritative voice speaking on matters of fiqh in his absence. They are his deputies; if he comes back, their services are no longer required.

    Maghen also makes the argument that Ahmadinejad, who is not a cleric but most definitely is a Mahdist, uses his Mahdism as part of anti-clerical rhetoric. He hopes fervently, Maghen writes, for the Imam to return to save the people from corrupt clerics. The clerics, in general, are not fans of this.

  33. Gringo Says:

    Shepard:
    Kendall Myers ,that “Cuban spy,” is the grandson of Gilbert Grosvenor and great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell. President Taft was a cousin x-times removed. How a person from such a privileged background ended up falling for the likes of Fidel Castro is worth investigating.

    If Myers defended Neville Chamberlain in his doctoral thesis, that is certainly worth considering as a “window into the mind of the Left.” Or at least one particular Limousine Liberal turned traitor, if not all on the left.

    I fail to see why that should be snarked.

    One thing you may not realize is that many of the commenters here, like me Neo herself, used to be on the left.

  34. jon baker Says:

    http://al-mahdi.atspace.com/al-mahdi.html

    I don’t necessarily agree with everything on the link above. It is a comparative look at “end times” beliefs in Islam and those commonly held by Christians of the evangelical sort- though if you are familiar with the internal debates even within the same denomination you will know there are some sharp disagreements on interpretation of certain Bibical verses.- and there are some differences within Islam as well on their belief system.

    One would do well to study other links to see of which sort the leader of Iran is. It helps clarify the seriousness of Iran’s nuclear aims.

  35. Shepard Says:

    I’d actually like to expand on that and add a bit that I left out in that previous comment. Maghen points out that the Shi’a clerical establishment actually did its best to perpetuate the sequestration of the Imams by the Sunni caliphs even before the occultation of the twelfth Imam. That is, they were happy to keep the Imams out of the way while they assumed the right to engage collectively in ijtihad in his name even while they were still around. The raison d’etre of the Islamic Republic, vilayet-i faqih, requires the absence of the Imam, and has ever since clerics came to prominence in Shi’ism centuries ago.

  36. jon baker Says:

    Shepard quotes “Hence Maghen’s argument: the religio-political legitimacy of the clerics rests on the permanent and perpetual absence of the Imam. Were he ever to return, they would no longer be the authoritative voice speaking on matters of fiqh in his absence. They are his deputies; if he comes back, their services are no longer required.’

    This reminds me of THE Messiah who was mostly rejected by the “clerics” of his day.

    yet look what has happened…..

  37. Shepard Says:

    “One thing you may not realize is that many of the commenters here, like me Neo herself, used to be on the left.”

    Certainly, then, you are suspect of hating America and plotting her downfall.

  38. Shepard Says:

    “One would do well to study other links to see of which sort the leader of Iran is. It helps clarify the seriousness of Iran’s nuclear aims.”

    If you’re interested in reading something serious on the subject, I can probably dig up the pdfs of some of the articles behind subscription firewalls.

    ‘This reminds me of THE Messiah who was mostly rejected by the “clerics” of his day.’

    Oh, absolutely. Wouldn’t it be dreadful for our way of life if THE Messiah, who preached a message of radical, revolutionary love and commanded his followers to abandon their physical possessions as part of their devotion to the community of believers, returned?

  39. jon baker Says:

    I want to clarify for anyone who sees the link I give above but does not follow it. The site is talking about anti-parallels of a sort. The ultimate “good guy”- from the Islamic point of view – looks strangely like the ultimate “bad guy” from the Christian point of view. (And actually some of the old Jewish scriptures I include in the Christian viewpoint- just the Christian “New Testament” flushes out the character a bit more)

  40. Thomass Says:

    Shepard Says:

    “The key here is that we’re only disagreeing over tactics. Obama should speak words on Iran to encourage peaceful change, no?”

    Reagan got the most peaceful change out of the Soviet Union… and he didn’t mince words and straddle fences regarding them.

  41. Shepard Says:

    ‘If Myers defended Neville Chamberlain in his doctoral thesis, that is certainly worth considering as a “window into the mind of the Left.”’

    Two points here.

    First, defending Neville Chamberlain is not a radical proposition. I recall a piece put out, I think by the Army War College, that did just that. The author’s argument was that appeasement, prior to Hitler, was not considered a radical option, but instead one option among many. The European powers were used to negotiating over bits of territory that were traded back and forth between states that resembled each other closely. Securing peace by trading the Sudetenland was part of a long tradition of such horse trading.

    The point is, and I think this gets lost a lot, that Hitler was like nothing the world has ever seen. Chamberlain was taken by surprise because no one had ever acted like that before. Hitler wasn’t simply interested in maximizing his gains by playing by the rules of the system; he was interested in destroying the entire system entirely and recreating it in his image. It’s probably an easy point to forget when looking backwards, but Hitler, the world’s greatest evil, radically broke the tradition in which appeasement had been formulated and conducted. We laud Churchill precisely because of his prescience; if everyone could have seen it coming, there would have been no war and Churchill would have just been a regular Joe, not a visionary.

    Second, and this is a much shorter point: if Myers offers an example by which we can know liberals, which conservative, Tiller’s assassin or the Holocaust Museum shooter, would provide an equivalent window in the minds of other conservatives?

  42. Shepard Says:

    Here’s the link to the appeasement piece, if anyone’s interested:

    http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/download.cfm?q=622

  43. Shepard Says:

    “Reagan got the most peaceful change out of the Soviet Union… and he didn’t mince words and straddle fences regarding them.”

    This is, I think, giving Reagan too much credit. Yegor Gaidar thinks it had a lot more to do with grain and oil prices than anything Reagan said*: http://www.aei.org/issue/25991

    * When did conservatives become such fans of postmodernism that mere words can cause the collapse of a super power?

  44. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “I’m undecided about you as yet, but I will say that you’ve done two things so far that are very characteristic of trolls: (1) coming onto the blog with a lot of snark from the git-go, and (2) (as in your comment at 10:34 PM above) using the phrase “you people” to lump together the other commenters here. Those things do not mean that you are a troll, but they suggest it.”

    What does mean he is a troll is the re-phrasing of other peoples’ posts, in an effort to pretend they mean something they do not. It’s not debating, it’s strawman-bashing. While the wording of FredHjr’s post may be a bit ambiguous, I very clearly used the word “if” in my argument, which he replaced with “will.” Adding italics, apparently in the hope that if he’s blatant enough, he won’t get called on it.

  45. jon baker Says:

    “Oh, absolutely. Wouldn’t it be dreadful for our way of life if THE Messiah, who preached a message of radical, revolutionary love and commanded his followers to abandon their physical possessions as part of their devotion to the community of believers, returned?”

    Do most Christians live up to the standards set by Christ- certainly not. As the pastor of the Church I go to has recently pointed out- we have failed in our mission towards the orphans. This was part of a big push for adoption he has going on.

    If you think Jesus was teching that as a general rule of thumb all persons must live in some commune you have not read the New Testament in its entirety in context. Yes, all Christians must be willing to go where sent. There are today missionaries that feel the need to abandon the pleasures of the western world to go and preach elsewhere. Yes, the disciples were traveling preachers of a sort, as Jesus was during his three years or so of ministry. And yes in the early church at Jerusalem there was a level of self sacrifice that was inspirational. Its about priorities. How do you use the possesions? As the pastor of my church said in his adoption push, I am paraphrasing ” Do you have extra food in your refrigerator and an extra room?”

  46. jon baker Says:

    I meant the disciples were travelling with Jesus or on missions he sent them on.

  47. csimon Says:

    Shepard,

    (rather ironic screenname: you really do seem to regard yourself as an all-knowing, all moral (unlike the moral monster phrase you overuse), and holier-than-thou leader of the blind, don’t you? *The blind being those many of us who differ in opinion from yourself)

    FYI, neo- is quite generous allowing posters with many different points of view, and, you know what? The many readers of this blog appreciate it if one posts with respect, sensibility, and common sense. (actually, common sense may be optional). The more important point, however, is that one of the first things new visitors mention in their posts is how surprisingly civil and respectful the debate is here compared to other sites. neo-neocon’s site certainly has a point of view while being entertaining, extremely thoughtful and well-witten with wonderful bonus articles adding diversity. Each and every article is clearly the result of a breadth of research on topic, and regularly provides links for further edification. Yet just as significant, is the community neo has created for interesting discussion, humor, debate, and seriously great wit from some of the more frequent posters.

    I think I speak for many when I say we welcome thoughtful stimulation (which does not include defending one’s snarkiness by bizarrely criticizing another poster’s comment).

    Take your choice. Else it might be neo’s.

  48. Shepard Says:

    Jon,

    I’d like to reference two verses in particular.

    First, Matthew 6:24:

    “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

    Second, Luke 18:22:

    “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

    There are plenty more, but those are pretty straight forward. Even if you don’t accept that you had to give away everything you had to become an ascetic to follow Jesus (though I tend to think that’s exactly what He had in mind), the devotion to the accumulation of wealth in our society would, I think, suddenly become a lot more difficult if He were to return and take stock of things.

  49. Shepard Says:

    “While the wording of FredHjr’s post may be a bit ambiguous, I very clearly used the word “if” in my argument, which he replaced with “will.””

    ‘”It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.’

    Seriously though, what?

  50. Occam's Beard Says:

    Liberals have mythology as well

    In fact, it seems to be pretty much all they have.

    Neo, the jury has filed back in, and it’s pretty grim-faced.

  51. jon baker Says:

    “The point is, and I think this gets lost a lot, that Hitler was like nothing the world has ever seen. Chamberlain was taken by surprise because no one had ever acted like that before. Hitler wasn’t simply interested in maximizing his gains by playing by the rules of the system; he was interested in destroying the entire system entirely and recreating it in his image.”

    ROFL!!

    I guess the Persians just wanted the Greeks to be their friends?

    I guess Alexander of Macedonia just wanted to play by the rules as his armies smashed to the East?

    I guess Hannibal of Carthage just wanted to play by the rules when he ran around the Italian pennisula all those years?

    I guess the Romans just wanted to play by the rules when they conquered the entire Mediterranean World?

    I guess the Muslim armies just wanted to play by the rules when they spread into Spain?

    I guess Napolean just wanted to play by the rules when he invaded Russia?

  52. Shepard Says:

    “rather ironic screenname”

    What, my name?

    “…one of the first things new visitors mention in their posts is how surprisingly civil and respectful the debate is here compared to other sites.”

    “Do liberals really love this country? I’m not questioning their patriotism. What I am saying is liberals like Obama and Mitsu haven’t loved this country and go around apologizing and making accusations about this country and wishing to transform this country.”

  53. Shepard Says:

    “I guess…”

    Yes! This is exactly correct. States had behaved in certain ways for thousands of years. I recall, reading in Charles Mann’s brilliant 1491 that surviving Aztec literature bares no ill will towards the invading Spanish; the Spanish were simply doing what anyone would have done in that position. The Aztecs, being an imperial people themselves, viewed conquest as a natural thing and understood only that they had been bested by a stronger enemy.

    The point is: states historically acted more or less the same. They were unitary (especially in that they represented the interests of their ruling elites) and pursued policies that maximized self interest. When they were strong, they conquered, and when weak, defended. The loss of territory was unpleasant but not existential; territory represented wealth and a population that could be mobilized and exploited, not an integral component of a united polity. How many tears were shed for Silesia and Alsace and Lorraine and the Tyrol, outside the peasants who lived in these fought-over lands? One need only look at the peaces that marked the beginning and end of the Long Century, the Congress of Vienna and the Treaty of Versailles. Lands and people are shuffled about as if so many prizes to be apportioned.

    “I guess Napolean just wanted to play by the rules when he invaded Russia?”

    This one in particular I enjoy. Napoleon in many ways represented the culmination of the French Revolution, but he was himself not very revolutionary. Napoleon knew that he was a newcomer to the game of European royalty; he was a usurper, granted title and status only by might of his armies. He had risked exposing the contingency of the European royal system: if he could become one of them, a member of royalty, why not anyone? And if one could become royalty, could not one stop being royalty? This is exactly why Napoleon, hero of the Revolution, did not call on the Russian serfs to rise up when he invaded. Once he became part of the pretense of royalty, he had to maintain that pretense. He played by the game. He and the Russian emperor fought as cordial equals (while their subjects suffered), with no real intention of changing the status quo for the vast majority of Europeans.

  54. Tom Says:

    I guess Shepard means to imply that the Greens and the redistributionists are the truest Christians.

  55. jon baker Says:

    Shepard said: “Even if you don’t accept that you had to give away everything you had to become an ascetic to follow Jesus (though I tend to think that’s exactly what He had in mind), the devotion to the accumulation of wealth in our society would, I think, suddenly become a lot more difficult if He were to return and take stock of things.”

    I will agree with you on the second point “the devotion to the accumulation of wealth in our society would, I think, suddenly become a lot more difficult if He were to return and take stock of things.”

    As for the guy Jesus was talking to in Luke, the guy had just implied he had not broken a commandment-LOL. I think Jesus was honing in on his two sins- pride and his love for his possesions over God.

    Luke 18: 16-30

    “16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
    17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
    18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
    19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
    20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
    21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
    22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
    23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
    24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
    25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
    26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
    27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
    28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
    29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,
    30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.”

    A true Christian must be willing to give up whatever is asked of them, but some are asked one thing, and some another. Jesus and his disciples stayed at peoples houses! He ate at their houses! Did he tell them to all give those up after he ate one meal there? Some of the early church met in peoples houses, just as they do today in China and just as some Christians today have Bible studies in their houses here in the United States.

    From the New Testament book of Philemon:

    “1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer,

    2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house: ”

    Besides- if possesions in and of themselves are bad- giving to the poor would be causing them to sin.

  56. Shepard Says:

    “I guess…”

    To put it more succinctly: for all those examples you mentioned, life for the conquered people did not change that much. Replacing one set of elites with another did not matter all that much to the average human being for most of history. When Alexander conquered Persia, the biggest change was the destination of taxes. It wasn’t until the nineteenth, to a certain degree, and twentieth centuries that it started to really matter which elites governed you. Life under the Hohenzollerns was very different from life under the Romanovs, just across the border, by 1914. However, the biggest change by far was that brought by Hitler. The life of the average French, British, or German citizen was probably not that different up until 1918 or maybe even later, but life under Hitler was radically, totally different from anything that came before.

  57. Shepard Says:

    “A true Christian must be willing to give up whatever is asked of them, but some are asked one thing, and some another.”

    I read it one way and you read it another, heretic.

  58. Gringo Says:

    I write:

    If Myers defended Neville Chamberlain in his doctoral thesis, that is certainly worth considering as a “window into the mind of the Left.” Or at least one particular Limousine Liberal turned traitor, if not all on the left.
    I fail to see why that should be snarked.

    One thing you may not realize is that many of the commenters here, like me Neo herself, used to be on the left.

    Shepard writes:

    Certainly, then, you are suspect of hating America and plotting her downfall.

    There is no point in responding to this.

  59. jon baker Says:

    Shepard said” To put it more succinctly: for all those examples you mentioned, life for the conquered people did not change that much. Replacing one set of elites with another did not matter all that much to the average human being for most of history. When Alexander conquered Persia, the biggest change was the destination of taxes. ”

    Oh I forgot. Those vast numbers of slaves in ancient times came because people just woke up one day and decided they wanted to be a slave. It had nothing to do with entire conquered cities being enslaved.

  60. Shepard Says:

    “Oh I forgot. Those vast numbers of slaves in ancient times came because people just woke up one day and decided they wanted to be a slave. It had nothing to do with entire conquered cities being enslaved.”

    Let me put it another way – for most of recorded history, the average person was just as likely to be enslaved by the existing elites as by replacement elites. If you were a peasant under the Persian emperors, you were very likely going to be a peasant under Alexander. If you were a peasant under the Romanovs, you were very likely going to be a peasant under Napoleon. If you were subject to being enslaved by the Greeks, you were very likely subject to being enslaved by the Romans or the Carthaginians, and so forth.

  61. jon baker Says:

    Shepard says “The Aztecs, being an imperial people themselves, viewed conquest as a natural thing and understood only that they had been bested by a stronger enemy.”

    Funny thing is, the Conservative viewpoint understands this is the way of the world. The “progressive” misses this and is taken by suprise. “But he was not supposed to do that!” ENTIRE populations have been put to the sword or enslaved throught history. Sometimes on one scale, sometimes on another.

    Go ahead and kid yourself that Hitler was new at this game.

  62. Shepard Says:

    “Go ahead and kid yourself that Hitler was new at this game.”

    Well, Mahmoud Mamdani makes the case that the sin for which Europeans could never forgive Hitler wasn’t what he did, but that he did it to Europeans. Europeans were used to belonging to a club of mutual cordial relations and respect, and were free to exploit the browner peoples of the world at will. Hitler turned his on its head, writes Mamdani, by deciding that the Germans were the only worthy people and were free to do to other Europeans what they had been doing to the Herero and Congolese for years. He, in essence, knocked the Europeans off their pedestal and exposed their exploitation of non-Europeans, which they believed was natural and just, as purely contingent.

    I’m sympathetic to this argument but not totally sold on it. It seems to be, though, basically what you’re arguing: that Hitler differed only on scale, not on substance. I tend to think that Hitler differed categorically; that he represented the an attempt at a revolutionary overthrow of the existing state system.

    I think Hitler’s greatest “contribution” was his marriage of the industrial mass murder capacity of a state with an insane obsession with racial purity. He believed that states should be legitimated solely by the perceived racial value and purity of their citizens, rather than the various civic and religious grounds on which states had previously been legitimated. He also had the might to make it happen, through mass murder, eugenics, population transfers, etc. He didn’t just want to redraw the map, he wanted to change the rules by which the map was drawn. He didn’t just want to change the map of Europe, he wanted to change Europe in a fundamental way. It was difficult to understand that Hitler was un-appeasable because no one had been before.

  63. Orange Says:

    Shepard wrote:

    “Another liberal troll.”

    I see how interested in debate you are. It’s much nicer to exist in an echo chamber in which the only disagreements are over how many times a day one must bow to Reagan’s tomb, is it not?

    Shepard,

    Many people really are not interested in debate. Mutual affirmation (hearing one’s prejudices confirmed, each and every day) is very comforting. This is what leads to the proclivity to seek out “echo chambers” effect on the part of some neocons. To be fair, liberal Democrats do exactly the same thing.

    I should add that I find it amusing that both the Democrats and Republicans are actually so alike in their actual political practices (in terms of political culture) — of which echo-chamber-living is one particularly salient example.

    I am proud to say that I support the United States Green Party, rather than the detestable lot of Democrats and Republicans.

  64. Shepard Says:

    “I am proud to say that I support the United States Green Party, rather than the detestable lot of Democrats and Republicans.”

    Hurray! Someone we can all hate together. Burn the witch!

  65. Mitsu Says:

    I do hope the free world does everything it can to support the democratic movement in Iran. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean aggressively taking one side. Consider this post by Sullivan which speaks to this point:

    A reader writes:

    ‘I’m an Iranian living in Canada. A few hours ago I talked to my brother who is a student at Sharif University, he was at the big rally yesterday and they were only feet away from Karoubi when they marched from the university entrance to Azadi square. He asked what had Obama had said and I started reading the transcript. When I got to “the United States can be a handy political football, or discussions with the United States [can be]” my brother sighed and said thank God this guy gets it.’

    Leadership is not always grandstanding. But that means that the support of civil society across the globe becomes more important.

  66. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Shep
    Cities in the old days were fortified for several reasons.
    One was that being taken by an invading army was a grim prospect. Frequently the soldiers weren’t paid, except in loot and rape if they won.
    Or if paid, it was a bonus.
    The Thirty Years War was a matter of horsetrading property only after the population had been devastated, killed, or gone on to starve on the road.
    One difference is that Hitler actually told people what he had in mind.

  67. Shepard Says:

    Richard,

    Two points on the Thirty Years War.

    First, the vast majority of population loss in that war (and in most wars until, really, the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries) was due to disease and, to a lesser extent, starvation. War during the Middle Ages and the early modern period rarely involved civilian populations, and was primarily fought between the hired armies of various princelings.

    Warfare was the domain of elites, not the people. It affected the bulk of the population only, usually, in the form of trampled farmers’ fields. The Thirty Years War was particularly bloody in large part because of the number of combatants, the length of the conflict, and the geographical scope of the conflict – mercenary armies rampaged over so much of Germany for so long from so many directions that crop production was disrupted and huge numbers were displaced, leading to starvation and disease. I’ve read estimates that, in some parts of Germany, the population fell by 30-50%, and that Germany didn’t really recover until the 19th century. But this extraordinary, unintentional (ie, they didn’t set out to do this, it happened as a byproduct of the war), and had nothing to do with urban fortifications.

  68. Shepard Says:

    Second, urban fortifications were not necessary designed to protect populations from foreign invasions. The important thing to remember about the modern state system is that it is modern. It’s very difficult to conceptualize life before Westphalia, but it’s possible. War was not primarily in the domain of states, but rather of anyone with enough money/land/retainers to wage it. This meant not only kings and emperors (foreign states) but also dukes, princes, barons, margraves, leagues, guilds, church leaders, and so forth. That is, a fortified town was designed to protect against all depredations, which might come from foreign armies or from one’s own countrymen. The map of the world was not one of clean lines around defined states, but a patchwork of overlapping sovereignties. So, again, my point: historically, life was not that different from one European state to another, especially west of the Oder. The conquest of a territory by one state or another would not change much.

    For the most part, conquered territories were looked at as sources of resources to be extracted; it didn’t matter much who lived there, so long as they paid their taxes and sent their conscripts. There were rules to this game; you could try to conquer your enemy, but you could never undermine the system. The best illustration of this is the lengths to which Napoleon, having deposed his enemies, went to find replacement territories they could rule. His defeated enemies were simply shuffled around, because he never actually wanted to change the rules of the game by deposing them and risk exposing his own rule as totally contingent.

    Hitler, on the other hand, wanted both to overthrow this system–to depose every other ruler–but also to change the demographics of each territory he conquered. States had long not cared who lived where, so long as they paid taxes. Hitler cared very much; states were to him organic corporations of peoples that could, like livestock, be bred and culled. The losses of the Thirty Years War were unintended; the losses of 1939-1945 were fully intentional and part of a program the likes of which the world had never seen.

  69. Tim P Says:

    Shepard said;
    One of your commenters here insinuated that insight can be gained into the minds of liberals,…., by studying the sympathetic-to-Hitler writings of a Cuban spy.

    Certainly, a bit of snark is not beyond the pale after that.

    Nice try, but your snark came from the beginning, before that comment was made.

    And it’s true, I honestly don’t understand why so many of the conservative persuasion are so fascinated by Soros. He is, as far as I can tell, something of a bogeyman to the right.

    That’s because you are ignorant (willfully or honestly, I don’t know, or really care), of what Soros has done. However, I think you knew exactly what you were doing.

    Some information for you gleaned from a quick scan of the inter-tubes;

    “Soros became instantly famous on September 22, 1992, when, believing the Pound Sterling was overvalued, he speculated heavily against it. The Bank of England was forced to withdraw the currency out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, and Soros earned an estimated US$1 billion in the process. He was dubbed “the man who broke the Bank of England.” In 1997, under similar circumstances, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad accused Soros of bringing down the Malaysian currency, the ringgit.

    The reason why many on the right seem to dislike Soros, is because he made it his mission after 9/11 to bring down the Bush administration. He provided substantial funding for International Answer. He was a major funder of MoveOn and his money transformed them from a fringe lunatic outpost into a major 527 group. Additionally, he helped create ‘the shadow party.’

    Here’s some information on the Shadow Party;
    The Shadow Party was conceived and organized principally by George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Harold McEwan Ickes — all identified with the Democratic Party left. Other key players included:

    * Morton H. Halperin: Director of Soros’ Open Society Institute
    * John Podesta: Democrat strategist and former chief of staff for Bill Clinton
    * Jeremy Rosner: Democrat strategist and pollster, ex-foreign policy speechwriter for Bill Clinton
    * Robert Boorstin: Democrat strategist and pollster, ex-national security speechwriter for Bill Clinton
    * Carl Pope: Co-founder of America Coming Together, Democrat strategist, and Sierra Club Executive Director
    * Steve Rosenthal: Labor leader, CEO of America Coming Together, and former chief advisor on union matters to Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich
    * Peter Lewis: Major Democrat donor and insurance entrepreneur
    * Rob Glaser: Major Democrat donor and Silicon Valley pioneer
    * Ellen Malcolm: Co-founder and President of America Coming Together, and founder of EMILY’s List
    * Rob McKay: Major Democrat donor, Taco Bell heir, and McKay Family Foundation President
    * Lewis and Dorothy Cullman: Major Democrat donors

    To develop the Shadow Party as a cohesive entity, Harold Ickes undertook the task of building a 21st-century version of the Left’s traditional alliance of the “oppressed” and “disenfranchised.” By the time Ickes was done, he had created or helped to create six new groups, and had co-opted a seventh called MoveOn.org. Together, these seven groups constituted the administrative core of the newly formed Shadow Party:

    * America Coming Together
    * America Votes
    * Center for American Progress
    * Joint Victory Campaign 2004
    * Media Fund
    * MoveOn.org
    * Thunder Road Group

    These organizations, along with the many leftist groups with which they collaborate, have played a major role in helping Soros advance his political and social agendas.

    According to Richard Poe, co-author (with David Horowitz) of the 2006 book The Shadow Party:

    “The Shadow Party is the real power driving the Democrat machine. It is a network of radicals dedicated to transforming our constitutional republic into a socialist hive. The leader of these radicals is … George Soros. He has essentially privatized the Democratic Party…

    Additionally,
    Soros in 2004 spent some $26 million trying, unsuccessfully, to defeat President Bush’s reelection bid, a task Soros called “the central focus of my life” and “a matter of life and death.” He has likened Republicans generally, and the Bush administration in particular, to “the Nazi and communist regimes”

    So you see, any reasonable person can see why conservatives dislike Soros. But you already knew that, I’m sure.

    If a random comment from a random anonymous poster on one small blog in the vast sea of the blogosphere can produce a knee-jerk reaction ….

    Hardly a random comment. More akin to a trollish poke deliberately aimed at stirring things up. And to think, you just can’t imagine why?

    As for the rest of your snark, though you write better and are more coherent than Agent Orange (another recent troll) you are still just re-hashing lefty talking points and then snarking about how much more rational (reality based, if you will) you and those on the left are.

    Well my friend, just go to DKOS or DU or any lefty blog and start trolling. If your comment is not deleted outright, you will see sputtering incoherence, profanity and condemnation like you will never get here. I suspect that you know that also though.

    Bottom line is, the readers and commenters here tend to be of a higher caliber, more mature, experienced in real life and better read, that’s why those who ever were part of the Romper Room Left have long since graduated. Come back when you have something to say to adults.

  70. Shepard Says:

    “…one of the first things new visitors mention in their posts is how surprisingly civil and respectful the debate is here compared to other sites.”

    To wit:

    “Bottom line is, the readers and commenters here tend to be of a higher caliber, more mature, experienced in real life and better read, that’s why those who ever were part of the Romper Room Left have long since graduated. Come back when you have something to say to adults.”

  71. Shepard Says:

    Tim,

    I understand why Soros is famous. I don’t understand the interest in him.

    Let me put it another way:

    Let’s say you made a comment about, say, the top marginal income tax rate and I responded by expressing a wish to see Tom Galisano murdered by the Cubans. When you asked, WTF? What does Tom Galisano have to do with anything? I’d respond by saying: don’t you know he’s a famous rich person known well for doing things years ago? Of course he’s relevant, it’s so obvious! And no, I’m not obsessed…

    That’s what it sounds like to me, and obsession, because, I guess, most people don’t spend their time thinking about Soros, bringing him up randomly, and referencing their “Shadow Party” plot. Which, by the way, sounds like something the Illuminati and Trilateral Commission might do in their spare time.

    In general, the only time I ever hear Soros mentioned is by conservative bloggers and their commenters. He is, as I’ve said, something of a bogeyman, I think granted an influence by you in great disproportion to his actual role.

  72. Shepard Says:

    Sorry, that last was sloppily written.

    “…an obsession…”

    “…his ‘Shadow Party’…”

  73. Tim P Says:

    I just had to make one more comment on this breathtaking lack of historical understanding..

    Shepard says,
    “…. appeasement, prior to Hitler, was not considered a radical option, but instead one option among many.

    Understand that appeasment is ALWAYS a loosing option and only postpones the fight.

    The European powers were used to negotiating over bits of territory that were traded back and forth between states that resembled each other closely. Securing peace by trading the Sudetenland was part of a long tradition of such horse trading.

    You are about to contradict yourself in the next paragraph.

    Additionally, the Sudetenland was not ‘horsetrading’ (my how cavalier lefties are with human life). It was a desperate act of appeasing a tyrant and Hitler lied and told them that after the Sudetenland he would be satisfied. Hitler then went on to absorb the rest of Checoslovakia (sp?) while the Europe just stood by idly. That’s when they realized that appeasment was a one-way road to disaster.

    The point is, and I think this gets lost a lot, that Hitler was like nothing the world has ever seen. Chamberlain was taken by surprise because no one had ever acted like that before.

    Never seen before? What about Lenin, Stalin, et al? Chamberlain knew about Nazi philosophy, perfectly well. One only need to look at what was happening in Germany to see that. Churchill certainly wasn’t fooled or cowed. He (Chamberlain) was hoping that this one last piece would satisfy Hitler.

    It is amazing how you bend and twist facts to suit your narrative.

  74. Artfldgr Says:

    Tatterdemalian, If you want the real measure of a personality, never listen to what someone says to you… listen to what they say to other people, especially when they don’t think you’re listening.

    So you recommend spying on people to get the answers you need to win socially?

    Just checking…

    Shepard Certainly they cannot disarm themselves of arms they do not possess? , and add that to I see how interested in debate you are. It’s much nicer to exist in an echo chamber in which the only disagreements are over how many times a day one must bow to Reagan’s tomb, is it not?

    And ask the question, how did he know the troll comment was about Shepard?

    [by the way, if your handle is not yoru real name, there are two P’s in Sheppard, or an HE if shepherd]

    Seriously though, I have done nothing trollish except disagree. If that is your definition of trolling, you’re doomed to intellectual stagnation. Just let me know if that’s what you’d like and I’ll leave.

    I have not been a criminal except when I was a criminal… no wonder you like Bill Clinton. What is your definition of “is”?

    You have pointed out something in your post and that is you don’t know what it is to debate. Doing nothing but taking opposing sides is NOT debate, nor is it intellectual, despite how they taught you that in cargo cult terms it is. Such is not actual debate, but is only image without substance.

    Walking around being the anti-thesis deconstructionist is not being erudite and smart, its being a socially destructive termite who pretends to be the latter, then postures a victim stance when someone calls the termite a termite, as if being what you are when you don’t realize it is an attack.

    And as always, when someone holds a cockroach under their thumb and names it as it is, it then plays victim and tries to squirm that what it said that offended the collective was not an offense, but something else, and one should lift their thumb and give them another chance. To those who don’t live in victim modes, groveling is not becoming.

    Your squishy squirming ast o muslims with nuclear weapons, is asinine. You are now attempted to get on our good side by acting in a way that you think is how we act and what we side with, but isnt. That is, like other liberals, you come at the people who you have mythologized as if the myths are real!!! you think there is a right and a left, and you think that those to the right are racists, and so we would care as to the religious beliefs of those who hold a button.

    Unlike the left we don’t fear religion per se. we fear specific religious doctrines, and unlike atheists and the secular, who claim religious missives have little real pull in making people act differently (they don’t make em act good is what dawkins says, and so he also must then believe that they don’t make em act bad either). Meanwhile those with religious education know that not only can it make many skew their lives either way, in some extreme cases it can create a powerful force that the secular has no real way to handle as they are so selfish they cant see beyond themselves and the actually being a part of something (without actually living to see it).

    The people here debate facts in DETAIL, not banter talking points provided to them by their collectives. Which is why your squirming fails when your talking points fail! Have a real conversation and get the real facts and really debate and you will find that everyone here will not jump on you for having your OWN opinion. but if you don’t even know that your opinion and position as formed by others, and you took it on as your own, you wont understand that you don’t get through life by picking up the brand ideology you like best and holding it up to sort the crowd.

    Your paragraph point becomes meaningless and amounts to, those who practice religion are not using religion in their secular duties.

    Second, and this is a much simpler point, but Iran does not, as far as we can tell, possess nuclear weapons. It cannot give up what it does not have.

    This is a harder point. And it leads to great debate. Iran has had control of its state long enough to have enough material to produce a weapon. It’s really not that hard to produce an A bomb. One just needs state stability for enough years, or be able to make a breakthrough in technology to shrink the time to get the material.

    And Iran may have nuclear weapons, but the story of tests would be told to the public as a seismic event. Also, even more pertinent is that a dirty bomb may meet their needs and be much more useful than an actual fissionable object. In the 90s Korea had informed the US that they had stockpiles of about 60 kilograms of plutonium. At that time they were restarting a reactor that could produce that much per year. it takes less than 10 kilos of material to make a workable bomb.

    The fact that North Korea, Pakistan and others sell their old designs for money does not make this situation any better. The major saving grace is that they are not intending to do things in a haphazard way, or else they would have tried a shotgun version with lower quality and accepted the mess. That they want a stable, efficient platform is obvious.

    The fact that we have film clips of Koreans at the Syrian reactors is not that good a sign either. Ali Reza Asghari defected and claimed that the three were working together.

    And one thing I would like you to answer. How do you know that the recent Korean test was actually a test by Iran? While the earlier fizzled one was the Korean test, or visa versa – Or working together?

    North Korea needs money. North Korea moved ahead in the game over those selling them information piecemeal. They are now threatening the use of such a weapon if we board their ships and prevent them from selling this technology in exchange for the money they need (this need is greater now that there are more sanctions). Right now its an open market and the new player on the block is not nuanced enough to play the sell info for a long long time that never fruits.

    This from 2007:
    N Korea helping Iran with nuclear testing
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1540429/N-Korea-helping-Iran-with-nuclear-testing.html

    Intelligence estimates vary about how long it could take Teheran to produce a nuclear warhead. But defence officials monitoring the growing co-operation between North Korea and Iran believe the Iranians could be in a position to test fire a low-grade device — less than half a kiloton — within 12 months.
    The precise location of the Iranian test site is unknown, but is likely to be located in a mountainous region where it is difficult for spy satellites to pick up any unusual activity.
    Teheran successfully concealed the existence of several key nuclear sites — including the controversial Natanz uranium enrichment complex — until their locations were disclosed by Iranian dissidents three years ago.

    The major point being that the gutting of our intelligence agencies and the war put a cork on a test. (iran refused to test a bomb while we occupy iraq since that could be seen as a trigger that troops would move over iran to prevent them from making more!!)

    And I guess you forget that Iran and Russia had their new reactor up and running this year in February. This reactor is capable of making plutonium and in fact does make it, with the belief that it gets shipped to Russia.

    And as of February of this year: Iranian officials on Wednesday claimed further progress in expanding the uranium enrichment program, saying the number of centrifuges operating at its enrichment plant has increased to 6,000, up from 5,000 in November.

    And don’t forget the testing of the new shahab-3 (has a range of 1240 miles) was earlier this year too. (seems that now that china got our manufacturing experience, they are farming out the skills needed to other states).

    Soon we will all be equal, no?

  75. Shepard Says:

    “I just had to make one more comment on this breathtaking lack of historical understanding..”

    Is that snark really necessary?

    “Understand that appeasment is ALWAYS a loosing option and only postpones the fight.”

    Understand that appeasement was not a losing option until Hitler. That is, appeasement was a policy option that had been effective for centuries. War is always a negative sum game and rational states prefer to avoid it if they can get what they want in other ways. Prior to Hitler, there was no real ideological component to wars between European powers, just a cost/benefit equation. States often traded territory when they calculated that the loss of territory was less costly than fighting the war (and maybe losing the territory). One need only look, as I mentioned before, the horsetrading that went on during, say, the Congress of Vienna to appease the various powers and maintain the Concert of Europe. Likewise, the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans led to a series of conferences and congresses that apportioned up territories as a way of keeping the general peace.

    “Additionally, the Sudetenland was not ‘horsetrading’ (my how cavalier lefties are with human life).”

    Ah, yes. Lefties this, lefties that. Moral monsters, all of us, etc etc etc ad infinitum.

    I used the term “horsetrading” not to describe how I feel about the situation, but to approximate how I believe the European powers of the day understood it. Transfer Sudetenland, no war – in their thinking. They were wrong, and it’s easy to point out that they were wrong in hindsight, but again – we laud Churchill because he was one of the few that accurately described Hitler; he is notable precisely because he was an outlier.

    “What about Lenin, Stalin, et al?”

    I’ll make the argument that, at the time, the nature of the Soviet regime was not fully known. It became known to the outside world right around the same time that everyone realized Hitler’s nature as well.

    “Chamberlain knew about Nazi philosophy, perfectly well…He (Chamberlain) was hoping that this one last piece would satisfy Hitler.”

    So your argument is that Churchill and Chamberlain could accurately predict Hitler’s actions, and that Chamberlain, knowing full well that Hitler could not be appeased, sought to appease Hitler?

    That makes no sense.

    What makes more sense is that Chamberlain did not know that appeasement wouldn’t work, that he thought it would work because it had generally worked in the past. Again, I recommend the piece published by the US Army War College to which I linked above.

    “That’s when they realized that appeasment was a one-way road to disaster….Chamberlain knew about Nazi philosophy, perfectly well.”

    Again, I’m not really sure what you’re arguing. If Chamberlain understood Hitler as Churchill did, why did he appease him? If he did not understand Hitler as Churchill did, doesn’t that sort of….support my case that Hitler was an outlier and that appeasement failed precisely because Hitler, in a break from historical tradition, was unappeasable (that is, not a rational actor in the traditional sense)?

  76. Shepard Says:

    “Seriously though, I have done nothing trollish except disagree.”

    “I have not been a criminal except when I was a criminal…”

    That’s an interesting juxtaposition. Are you equating disagreement with trolling?

  77. Shepard Says:

    “You have pointed out something in your post and that is you don’t know what it is to debate. Doing nothing but taking opposing sides is NOT debate, nor is it intellectual, despite how they taught you that in cargo cult terms it is.”

    M: Ah, Is this the right room for an argument?
    A: I told you once.
    M: No you haven’t.
    A: Yes I have.
    M: When?
    A: Just now.
    M: No you didn’t.
    A: Yes I did.
    M: You didn’t
    A: I did!
    M: You didn’t!
    A: I’m telling you I did!
    M: You did not!!
    A: Oh, I’m sorry, just one moment. Is this a five minute argument or the full half hour?
    M: Oh, just the five minutes.
    A: Ah, thank you. Anyway, I did.
    M: You most certainly did not.
    A: Look, let’s get this thing clear; I quite definitely told you.
    M: No you did not.
    A: Yes I did.
    M: No you didn’t.
    A: Yes I did.
    M: No you didn’t.
    A: Yes I did.
    M: No you didn’t.
    A: Yes I did.
    M: You didn’t.
    A: Did.
    M: Oh look, this isn’t an argument.
    A: Yes it is.
    M: No it isn’t. It’s just contradiction.
    A: No it isn’t.
    M: It is!
    A: It is not.
    M: Look, you just contradicted me.
    A: I did not.
    M: Oh you did!!
    A: No, no, no.
    M: You did just then.
    A: Nonsense!
    M: Oh, this is futile!
    A: No it isn’t.
    M: I came here for a good argument.
    A: No you didn’t; no, you came here for an argument.
    M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
    A: It can be.
    M: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
    A: No it isn’t.
    M: Yes it is! It’s not just contradiction.
    A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
    M: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’
    A: Yes it is!
    M: No it isn’t!

  78. Shepard Says:

    PS – Sorry for the snark. It was my gut reaction. I don’t really know how to respond to Artfldgr because I have no real idea what he/she is trying to say.

  79. Baklava Says:

    Shep, I think what helps is to apply the teenager rule: Pick and choose your battles.

    I haven’t read your comments entirely – too lengthy and too many – and I bet I’m not the only one doing that.

    Figure out what it is you want to say on a thread and then let go some of the other stuff.

    Instead of adding to the discussion it gets a little tedious if there is just so much to figure out where you come from.

    BTW – I’m not saying I’m perfect on this front 🙂

  80. neo-neocon Says:

    Shepard: If you think the examples you’ve quoted of non-civil conversation here even begin to compare to the incivility on most other blogs, then you’re a newbie in the blogosphere (which I somehow doubt you are).

    As far as Hitler being sui generis goes: of course he was. That is true of all conquerers. Alexander was different from all others before him, as was Genghis Khan, as were the Ottomans, as was Napolean etc. etc. etc. Each conqueror was specific to his particular time and place, and the characteristics thereof. You can certainly single out Hitler’s singularities, but I’m not sure what the point is.

    Certain other conquerors long before him killed civilian populations en masse, either as revenge or strategically; he did it partly for reasons having to do with a racial hierarchy of the world in which he believed. In order for this sort of philosophy to come into play, science had to have evolved to the point of having theories about race (many erroneous, of course, but some of these Hitler exploited), and nationalism had to have arisen in Europe, which was a relatively late development.

    That said, the one population HItler really did set out to murder were the Jews. He did not enter any nation and murder all or even most of its inhabitants, except for the Jews within its borders (in many cases with the full and hearty cooperation of the native population). He had a hierarchy of conquered countries, as well; some of them he treated quite nicely, if they were fellow-Aryans, whereas to some (in eastern Europe) he was quite cruel during the occupation, and planned to enslave and certainly relocate most of them to places such as Siberia after his planned victory in the war (the Poles come to mind).

    Hitler never got that far because he was stopped by the Allies. But in general, the civilian casualties that Europeans—especially western Europeans—suffered during WWII (with the exception of the Jewish and the gypsy populations, and to a certain extent the Poles, who were eastern Europeans) were mainly through the mechanism of civilian bombings by the Allies, and in Britain via German bombings. Starvation sometimes became a factor late in the war, for example for the Dutch.

  81. Shepard Says:

    “You can certainly single out Hitler’s singularities, but I’m not sure what the point is. ”

    The point is, and I’ll try to be brief, that Chamberlain’s mistake only looked like a mistake in hindsight. Appeasement was something that had worked in the past; it failed with Hitler precisely because Hitler was something new, unique.

    “Each conqueror was specific to his particular time and place, and the characteristics thereof.”

    This is, of course, true. Alexander had curly hair and Napoleon didn’t. This does not mean that valuable generalizations cannot be made about them. My generalization is precisely this: that being conquered by a foreign conqueror meant little difference to the average human being in history. Elites were essentially interchangeable.

    “Certain other conquerors long before him killed civilian populations en masse.”

    This is of course true, though be “en masse” we’re typically talking about the population of a city at most. Killing more people than that, fortunately, was really hard given the technologies available for most of human history. Hitler differed both in his ability to kill huge numbers of people quickly and for his reasons for doing so. Previous conquerors had not been ideologically motivated, and previous massacres had (largely – the Reformation aside) not been motivated by anything other than strategic considerations. Hitler wanted to change the biological composition of the European population through murder.

    “That said, the one population HItler really did set out to murder were the Jews.”

    Also: the gypsies (which you note), the retarded, the homosexual, and a few others. In the short term, his targets were the Jews. In the long term, he basically planned to wipe out the Slavs. He had a wonderful formula, in which one third of a subject population was to be enslaved, another third murdered, and the last third (the most desirable phenotypically) assimilated into the “Aryan” population.

    Anyway, most of this is digression. My point, which was tangential in the first place, was that appeasement failed with Hitler because he was unappeasable. Unlike his predecessors, who could be expected to act in a rational, cost-minimizing/benefit-maximizing manner, Hitler was totally irrational and dedicated to an ideological program. To defend appeasement as a policy before 1938 is not insane, and does not offer a window into the “mindset of the left.”

    Again, I recommend the link to the Army’s Strategic Studies Center piece.

  82. Gringo Says:

    I am going to schlep BACK ON TOPIC.
    While Obama restrained himself from making any strong statements about Iran for fear of being accused of “meddling,” here is the response from Tehran.

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran has accused the United States of “intolerable” meddling in its internal affairs, alleging for the first time that Washington has fueled a bitter post-election dispute.
    A state television channel in Iran says the government summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents U.S. interests in Iran, to complain about American interference. The two countries broke off diplomatic relations after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. An English-language state-run channel quoted the government as calling Western interference “intolerable.”
    An amateur video showed thousands marching Wednesday on an overpass in the capital in support of pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi’s election campaign. Mousavi has accused the government of rigging the election in favor of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    In for a penny, in for a pound. Obama now has NO EXCUSE for making a pointed statement about the situation. If you are going to be accused of meddling when you are pointedly trying to say nothing that would be construed as meddling, you may as well make the statement.

    Hat tip: Michael Totten in Commentary via commenter Paul Gordon in the Iranian Election thread.

  83. FredHjr Says:

    I do not credit the view that Hitler was someone new and unique AS TO THE NATURE of the core evil within him. His “uniqueness” – from my reading of the ideology of the Nazis and of the history of the Third Reich – resided in the fact that he took already extant evils and brought them into a new synthesis. Hitler was a man of the Left. He was a socialist – a German socialist. He believed in the investment into the state of powers over every aspect of people’s lives. That included, to a certain extent, the redistribution of wealth. Some industries were nationalized. He also took socialism and divested it of its international aspirations (the Soviet Marxist-Leninist model) and limited its focus on Aryans – specifically the Germanic peoples.

    Also, what made his brew different from the Soviet brand of socialism was an intensified scapegoating element. The “problem” of the Jews. The Soviets persecuted the Jews too, but theirs was primarily a focus on an animus towards the Jews as carriers of the foundations of Judaeo-Christian civilization and its morality, plus their role in the developing capitalism of the West as financiers par excellence. Anyway, Hitler and the German National Socialists took Jew hatred to another level.

    But, since I am a Christian I believe that there is a cosmic demonic power called evil. Hence, the core of someone like Hitler is no different from any other grandiose narcissistic conqueror in history. He is no different, in nature, from the other modern totalitarian swine: Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Yuri Andropov, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and Fidel Castro.

    The Left hates Hitler for a variety of reasons. First, he defied the international socialists (which they are) and, in their view, bastardized socialism. Next, he violated the Non Aggression Pact which von Ribbentrop had engineered with the Soviets. Prior to the commencement of Operation Barbarossa the Left in the the U.S. was opposed to getting into the war. Everything changed in June of 1941. The Left then had to find a way to slide Hitler to the opposite end of the spectrum in order to bury the taint of his socialism. They tried to do the same thing after the JFK assassination by Lee Harvey Oswald, who most definitely was a Communist, trained by the Soviets and acting as an agent of Cuba. Revisionist historians, Hollywood propagandists, and some journalists tried to make JFK a victim of the “right wing” atmosphere of the country. They tried to do the same clean up job on the murder of his brother Bobby too, who was killed by a committed Palestinian terrorist who was a combination of Leftist politics with Islamic jihadist animating ideology.

    So, today the Left tries to put Hitler’s fascism into the conservatives’ corner in the form of “racism.” For the most part, it has worked, except that there are some people who are paying attention and who refuse to take at face value the kind of propaganda we’ve been fed by the MSM for decades.

  84. Tim P Says:

    Shepard, this is too much fun,

    “I just had to make one more comment on this
    breathtaking lack of historical understanding..”

    Is that snark really necessary?”

    If you don’t like it, don’t dish it out.
    You’re the one who came here and started with
    the snark so don’t play the vicitm.

    “Understand that appeasment is ALWAYS a loosing option and only postpones the fight.”
    Understand that appeasement was not a losing option until Hitler.

    Appeasment is one response to extortion.
    It is the short sighted response because it rewards
    the party doing the extortion and only delays the ultimate day of reckoning, which happens when you finally decide to stand up for yourself or run out of extortable items to hand over.
    The extorter will inevitably return to the same well
    as long as it will yield reward. This has been true since before history. I won’t bother to cite the numerous examples throughout history. You can find them yourself.

    “Ah, yes. Lefties this, lefties that. Moral monsters, all of us, etc etc etc ad infinitum.”

    Don’t like it do you? Again, it was you who began with the snark and stereo-typing. Again, if you don’t like recieving it don’t dish it out.

    “Transfer Sudetenland, no war – in their thinking. They were wrong, and it’s easy to point out that they were wrong in hindsight,..”

    Not in hindsight. There were many who decried it at the time.

    “I’ll make the argument that, at the time, the nature of the Soviet regime was not fully known. It became known to the outside world right around the same time that everyone realized Hitler’s nature as well.”

    You’re shading with terms like ‘fully’ known.
    It was known to those in power,those who made the policy decisions. The true nature of the communist regime had been known since shortly after they consolidated power, not to
    mention their own philosophical writings and public utterances.

    “So your argument is that Churchill and Chamberlain could accurately predict Hitler’s actions, and that Chamberlain, knowing full well that Hitler could not be appeased, sought
    to appease Hitler?”

    Either you misunderstand or your trying to twist my words to your benefit. Churchill fully understood the nature of Hitler’s methods. Extortion. Chamberlain was either in gullible to the
    point of stupidity, in denial about Hitler’s ambitions or had arrogantly deluded himself into thinking that he could charm the snake. Much like Obama views his dealings with Chavez, et al, I suspect.

    The only thing that I will say in Chamberlain’s defense is that many Europeans were desperate to avoid any fighting after the blood-bath of WWI. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize that by postponing the fight, the induced a much greater blood-bath later.

    I understand why Soros is famous.
    I don’t understand the interest in him.

    That was just explained to you in detail about many
    conservative’s interest in him. If you don’t get
    it, it’s because you don’t want to.

    “…one of the first things new visitors mention in their posts is how surprisingly civil and respectful the debate is here compared to other sites.”

    To wit:

    “Bottom line is, the readers and commenters here tend to be of a higher caliber, more mature, experienced in real life and better read, that’s why those who ever were part of the Romper Room Left have long since graduated. Come back when you have something to say to adults.”

    See how superior that response was compared to the mundane insults and profanity you’d receive elsewhere? Again, bottom line, don’t dish it out
    if you can’t handle it.

    I’m done responding to you in this thread. This conversation has gone too far afield.
    Later.

  85. neo-neocon Says:

    Shepard: Hitler was unappeasable but pretended to be appeasable. This was part of the problem, and made it very difficult for his opponents to see him for what he was at the beginning (although Churchill certainly knew). Hitler also depended on the fact that, post- WWI, he knew that most of western Europe was weary of war and desperate to avoid it at almost any cost.

    When you say appeasement “worked” in the past, please give an example of a time it worked to halt the plans of a tyrant clearly bent on world domination. If it “worked,” it probably only “worked” in such a circumstance to buy time for a particular population (I believe, without taking a lot of time to look this up, this may have been true for certain cities in the path of Genghis Khan).

    Of course appeasement “works” if the appeasee has very limited goals that are easily satisfied by the appeaser’s rolling over. This is not the case with tyrants bent on world-wide domination.

    To get back to Iran—one of the differences between those who are hardliners on Iran and people such as Obama is that the former see Iran as unappeasable. This does not mean the ayatollahs are Hitlers, but for other reasons they are seen as fanatics who are only pretending to be reasonable—and not all that well, at that.

  86. FredHjr Says:

    Gringo,

    The founders of this country knew that the people could not win their freedom without weapons in the hands of the population. You mainly win liberty at the end of a gun. The Iranian people are not armed. The Revolutionary Guards have always had the weaponized mailed fist. They are loyal to the clerics who rule.

    In my view, there is not much Obama or anyone else can say that would make a hill of beans’ difference. Only superior firepower will topple the Mullahs and the Revolutionary Guards. The Iranian people do not have this. Mass demonstrations are going to change NOTHING in that country, and at some point the Guards will come out and enforce the power of Islamic state against the people.

    The schoolyard lessons I learned and what I learned in the hockey rink still apply. You cannot stop a bully from molesting you by shouting at him or trying to reason with him. He’ll only stop when you smack him in the face and keep on beating the crap out of him until he gets the message and slinks away. Diplomats cannot win wars. No diplomat or any coterie of the chattering classes can win liberty or sustain it.

    President Bush could do nothing about Iran except to confront the al Qods people in Iraq. He could not confront Iran because he was politically wounded. He could only try to contain Iran on its borders. The entire establishment in Washington was against a strike against the nuclear weapons’ development sites. Furthermore, he forbade the Israeli government from trying this. Obama inherited a situation that was actually made worse by the Left’s destruction of President Bush. A strike against Iran’s weapons’ development facilities was off the table. Plus, he and his people believe that the only solution is the diminution of the state of Israel.

    Obama has no intention of robustly confronting Iran. And he is going to do everything in his power to stop Israel from striking the Mullahs’ toys.

    I fully expect things to get much, much worse as the years move on. This is not going to end well for Iran and its people. Unfortunately, I think most of Israel will be wiped out and many Americans killed when the moment of truth arrives. If Obama is gone from office at that time, the new President is likely to augment the dying Jewish State’s sortie of hundreds of nuclear weapons raining down on Iran. In the end, we are only going to see the complete annihilation of Iran and its people. I don’t blame most of the Iranian people for this state of affairs. What can they do? They have not the power to overthrow the Mullahs.

    The seeds of this tragedy were sown, in stages, years ago. Too many countries and their elected leaders have let Iran slide, and this has made the Islamic Republic all the more powerful.

    The big question is what the Russians will do if they see their proxy and ally being obliterated by nuclear weapons. Will that be the beginning of Armageddon?

  87. Gringo Says:

    Guys and Gals: GET BACK ON TOPIC
    IRAN IRAN IRAN IRAN IRAN IRAN. IRAN IRAN IRAN

    note my posting @ 2:54

  88. FredHjr Says:

    My final missive of the day… think about the wisdom of our founders’ defense of the right to bear arms. Once a people are disarmed, the State can do with them what it wills, unimpeded. Look across the globe and across history, and see that every totalitarian state has first disarmed its population before imposing complete control.

    Iran is just another example of this.

    Think about the wisdom of the 2nd Amendment, and understand why we conservatives are so jealous to guard it and to guard our weapons.

  89. FredHjr Says:

    I did get back on topic, Gringo, after your posting. But first I wanted to weigh in on the Hitler thing, since I sensed a lack of understanding about the whole upshot of his legacy.

  90. Artfldgr Says:

    “Seriously though, I have done nothing trollish except disagree.”

    “I have not been a criminal except when I was a criminal…”

    That’s an interesting juxtaposition. Are you equating disagreement with trolling?

    no…

    i am not all or nothing black or white. empty disagrement is not refuation, argument or debate.

    or were you not born before the argument clinic skit on monty python?

    http://www.mindspring.com/~mfpatton/sketch.htm

    M: Oh look, this isn’t an argument.
    A: Yes it is.
    M: No it isn’t. It’s just contradiction.
    A: No it isn’t.
    M: It is!
    A: It is not.
    M: Look, you just contradicted me.
    A: I did not.
    M: Oh you did!!
    A: No, no, no.
    M: You did just then.
    A: Nonsense!
    M: Oh, this is futile!
    A: No it isn’t.
    M: I came here for a good argument.
    A: No you didn’t; no, you came here for an argument.
    M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
    A: It can be.
    M: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
    A: No it isn’t.
    M: Yes it is! It’s not just contradiction.
    A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
    M: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’
    A: Yes it is!
    M: No it isn’t!

    A: Yes it is!
    M: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.
    (short pause)
    A: No it isn’t.
    M: It is.
    A: Not at all.

    http://www.youtube.com/v/teMlv3ripSM&hl=en

  91. Artfldgr Says:

    monty python covered the diffeence between argument with purpose and the kind of argument above which is an altercation with no possible resolution.

    leftists like to win argument by wearing down the other rather than
    “a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition”

  92. Gringo Says:

    Artfldgr: which is why I stopped responding to Old Shep.

  93. Fred2 Says:

    If the Mullahs are complaining about meddling; The meddling must be doing some good!

    Meddle More!

  94. E Says:

    Huzzah, Gringo! You have noticed what Shepard is doing – distracting from the main point. And very successfully and extensively too, I might add.

    I wonder who’s signing his paycheck? He’s got lots and lots of time to talk about everything but Obama and Iran on this thread.

    Let’s wrench this wagon back on track.

  95. FredHjr Says:

    It may be that Shep’s purpose is to find ways to dispute things we had written in order to embarrass us and discredit us. It’s a more subtle way of taunting. He certainly was having fun showing off.

    But he did make some valid points. I learned a few things about the theology about the Mahdi in Shia Islam and an angle that explains Ahmadinejad’s relationship to the Mullahs that make some sense. So, I’ll give the devil his due.

    But I think it’s popular in collectivist circles these days to try to portray conservatives as dumb oafs. They’re wrong in that impression. We certainly made our points with Shep too.

  96. Gringo Says:

    E: Thanks.

    FredHjr :
    But I think it’s popular in collectivist circles these days to try to portray conservatives as dumb oafs.

    FredHjr, it goes back much longer. Remember how Ronnie was portrayed as a genial oaf? Remember the treatment of Gerald Ford? Portraying Tricky as stupid required too much of a stretch of the imagination, so they didn’t try that one.

    It goes back at least as far as Adlai Stevenson.

    During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai E Stevenson ‘Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!’
    Stevenson called back ‘That’s not enough, madam, we need a majority!’

    Think of Tom Lehrer from that era: the very model of the modern enlightened thinker who knows in his bones that “Adlai is smarter”. It was very common during that era for Democrats, especially the more educated and liberal type, to portray Eisenhower as a syntax-challenged doofus who couldn’t even conduct a press conference without tripping on his participles. Sound familiar?

    When Democrats of the liberal type try that once more, perhaps one response would be what Reagan said to Mondale, “ There you go again.” Unfortunately, that would probably go over their heads, as many or even most of them believe that someone with a deep knowledge of history is someone who is aware of events that happened only within the last ten years.

    Perhaps this response could be tried: “Are you so devoid of new ideas that you have to recycle something that liberals/Democrats have been saying since the time of Adlai Stevenson II?” Then explain who Adlai II was, if they are not aware.

    ( not I, his grandfather the Vice President; not III, his son the Senator; and not IV, his grandson the former TV personality.)

  97. Gringo Says:

    “the very model of the modern enlightened thinker”

    Change to
    “the very model of the modern thinking liberal.”

  98. Oblio Says:

    Thanks, Gringo, E, and Fred. Important takeways:

    1) Don’t go for the head fakes

    2) Stay on target

  99. how to bypass youtube block Says:

    Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and
    say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any suggestions for newbie blog writers? I’d definitely
    appreciate it.

  100. rea Says:

    It’s very simple to find out any matter on web as compared to
    books, as I found this post att this web page.

  101. appliance repair expert san diego Says:

    Otherwise, give san diego ca appliance them a call and they will
    be installing. When you come across. Different types of damage to a stationary car
    occurs in Dallas windshield replacement is the only option.

  102. Semanal 20 Says:

    You could definitely see your skills within the work you write.
    The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say
    how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>






Monthly Archives



Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge