November 30th, 2009

Lincoln’s asymmetric face: Parry-Romberg syndrome?


Abraham Lincoln was an unusual man in a number of ways, not the least of them his startling and haunting looks. In person, he must have been an imposing but somewhat daunting sight. Impossibly tall and very thin, in his top hat he appeared even more so;


But it was his face that was and is especially memorable: gaunt almost to the point of being skeletal, it seemed to express the suffering of a nation torn by an exceptionally bloody civil war, and even the suffering of flawed humanity itself. Those deep-set eyes, those sunken cheeks, that profound weariness—all were etched on a physiognomy that already seemed old and archetypal even when he was a young man.

Why am I writing about this today? Partly as a respite from all the other news in the world—Climategate, Afghanistan, cop killings in Washington, and the pending travesty of a health care reform bill that promises to be far worse than the ills it is supposedly designed to cure. But the proximate cause was my finding this recent HuffPo article discussing the asymmetry of Abraham Lincoln’s face (see slideshow of photos at the link).

It’s not the first time that this phenomenon has been noted and commented on. In fact, in August of 2007, a retired ophthalmologist named Fishman studied life masks of Lincoln with modern laser scans and concluded that, “The left side of Lincoln’s face was much smaller than the right, an aberration called cranial facial microsomia.” Here’s more:

Most people’s faces are asymmetrical, Fishman said, but Lincoln’s case was extreme, with the bony ridge over his left eye rounder and thinner than the right side, and set backward…When Lincoln was a boy, he was kicked in the head by a horse. Laser scans can’t settle whether the kick or a developmental defect — or neither — contributed to Lincoln’s lopsided face, Fishman said.

Interesting stuff. But, for what it’s worth, I beg to differ with Fishman’s diagnosis. Here’s a page on cranial facial microsomia, which doesn’t appear to fit Lincoln very well (see also this) Lincoln’s problems affect a different part of the face, for starters. And his eye problems (Fishman mentions double vision) as well as his headaches, aren’t accounted for, either.

I have a different and more parsimonious notion of what ailed Lincoln. I believe he had a mild case of Parry-Romberg syndrome, a condition that usually arises in late childhood or the teen years, and causes one side of the face to begin to degenerate. I am uniquely positioned to make this diagnosis, since even though Parry-Romberg is exceedingly rare, I’ve had the unlikely experience of having been very close to two people (completely unrelated to each other) who have confirmed but mild cases of it.

In its more severe forms, Parry-Romberg causes much more facial deformity than Lincoln demonstrated. But in its milder manifestations, it fits the bill exactly. I recognized this in Lincoln many years ago. In Parry-Romberg, there is thinning of the underlying bone (often in the cheek and the eye socket), as well as atrophy of the subcutaneous fat involving the affected parts of the face. This latter phenomenon gives the appearance of accelerated aging on that side, an observation the author of the HuffPo post on Lincoln’s asymmetry makes. It also can cause the headaches and double vision from which Lincoln sometimes suffered, and can be the result of early physical facial/head trauma such as Lincoln’s kick by the horse.

As far as I know, I’m the only one to have offered this diagnosis. But Lincoln’s other ailments have received a great deal of scrutiny over the years. Did he have Marfan’s syndrome? (Probably not.) Did he suffer from depression? (Yes.) Did he have smallpox around the time he delivered the Gettysburg Address? (Maybe).

This is my own small contribution to the field of what ailed him, although none of it really matters all that much. What’s important are the words and deeds of one of the greatest—perhaps the greatest—president this country has ever had, a man of extraordinary depth, wisdom, and complexity. Would that we had someone of that caliber today.

47 Responses to “Lincoln’s asymmetric face: Parry-Romberg syndrome?”

  1. Terrye Says:

    I saw something about this on the History Channel. they said that is why Lincoln often sat for photographs with his face turned slightly to one side.

    If not for the fact that Lincoln’s body is encased in concrete, scientists might be able to ascertain exactly what his condition might have been.

  2. martin bebow Says:

    I’ve always loved Lincoln but we have to make the best with what we’ve got. I am pleased that Obama has gone against his base on Afganistan. I think you should lighten up a bit on him.

  3. Rich vail Says:

    perhaps the greatest—president this country has ever had, a man of extraordinary depth, wisdom, and complexity. Would that we had someone of that caliber today.

    Unfortunately, in this day and age, where we demand our politicians to be “photogenic”, Mr. Lincoln would never have been elected to the highest office in the land…for which we as a nation would be much the poorer.

    An interesting insight…thanks for offering up along with the links.

    Rich V.

  4. Occam's Beard Says:

    Sorry to go OT, but does anyone know why 19th century portraits so commonly feature subjects with a hand in his jacket?

    This weekend we visited the Reagan Library, where a guide said a portrait depicted Washington in that pose to save money, because painting hands was more expensive. This was obviously nonsense (who’s going to scrimp on Washington’s portrait? And why do photographs so often show this?)

    My conjectures: it was a device to help the subject stay motionless, or it was a cultural phenomenon. Anyone know? Art?

  5. Steve G Says:

    A great and truly good man (and Ghandi is the only other politician that comes immediately to mind), exhibiting two distinct traits not often found in the same person, Lincoln was also the most astute politician of his age. If he were alive today and determined that the country needed him he would, through force of will, find the way to the presidency.

  6. Scottie Says:

    I tried to post this earlier but it apparently got lost somehow…

    Lincoln self-medicated using a mercury based pill. Mercury poisoning could possibly explain some of his symptoms – google the subject of mercury poisoning and you’ll see the similarities to the ailments he had.

    His face could have simply been the result of his equine mishap.

    Or neo may in fact be quite right in her conjecture.

    And for the record – I’m sooooo not a fan of Lincoln….so bring out the pitchforks and brand me a heretic….lol.

    George Washington was by far our greatest president, Lincoln was a dim candle in comparison.

  7. Tom Says:

    Despite Neo’s “Probably not” link, Marfan’s is still the best diagnostic bet. The cause of HA and (?transient) diplopia are legion, probably not a part of his physiognomic diagnosis.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve G: I differ about Gandhi. Please take a look at this.

  9. Steve G Says:

    Lincoln was at first disparaged as a speaker because he tended to speak for only a few minutes in an age where a “good speech” could and was expected last for hours.
    The Europeans who read his speeches were enthralled by his use of temper and simple language to convey great ideas and wrote to their friends in the USA to alert them to his, at first, unrecognized talent.

    No one then, before or after, could use the English language to such great effect, although Churchill comes close. It is a measure of the man that, in his war speeches he was opening his heart to give us a glimpse of what he was enduring in ordering thousands to their deaths. He transcended politics to reach our hearts.

    To me, his second inaugural address, especially the last paragraph, is an example of the greatness and goodness of the man.

    “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

  10. Steve G Says:

    Ghandi was in for the long pull and was able to obtain the freedom of India without resorting to violence. Had he advocated violence hundreds of millions would find themselves at war with their neighbors, as occurred soon after his death. However, the mass dislocations that led to the creation of Pakistan, as large and brutal as they were, would be dwarfed by a revolution that he would be capable of fomenting. He became the conscience of India. He kept many of his adherants out of the civil war. However, his insistence on everyone weaving his or her own clothes (to climb out of abject poverty) kept India in the thrall of socialism and communism to this day. And, isn’t what he said an accurate description of how millions of Jews accepted their fates, with dignity and resignation.

    On the less angelic side, Lincoln was willing to maintain slavery, which he detested, if to do so would preserve the union. He was a man who could keep his priorities straight.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve G: This is actually the essay you need to read on Gandhi, and especially this.

    As for what you say about the Jews going to their fates with dignity and resignation, I wonder how much Holocaust literature you have read. There was nothing dignified about the death camps or the labor camps, nor the process of getting there. If people were “resigned,” it was because all avenues of escape had been blocked, as well as the fact that there were subterfuges right till the end, like the gas chambers disguised as showers.

    What Gandhi advocated was, in my opinion, deeply offensive and positively inhumane.

  12. vanderleun Says:

    bebow eructates “I am pleased that Obama has gone against his base on Afganistan.”

    Oh yes. What a brave BRAVE man that president is. Nothing but a profile of courage from his ears to his toes.

  13. Steve G Says:

    Well, let’s say that India was not as easy to deal with as one would suppose. You had the caste system, local fiefdoms, many languages, and many, many religions, all to bring together. Since he was a “man of the people” I’m sure his biography was glorified by the left. He still had to distance himself from the British and then navigate his way among many, often hostile, groups with different and, most likely, contrary views that had to be reconciled. And, he obviously didn’t satisfy all of them as, like Lincoln, he was assassinated.

    The Jews in Germany saw and talked about what was happening (although many deluded themselves) and many could not believe it even when the violence reached every corner of Germany. Except for a few instances of open revolt by the Jews, in Warsaw and in a death few camps (Sobabor?), they went to their deaths by the thousands without fighting back. Think of the open pits in Russia, already full of bodies, dead and alive, and the thousands who continued to be marched up and shot by the nazi SS death squads. Actually, I like not to think of it but it was the reality. Their deaths were not in vain, unless we allow the UN, Iran, and the muslim countries to rewrite history. I am also concerned that it could happen here, in the not too distant future, as anti-Semitism is becoming more accepted and Obama seems to have given it momentum. Although it is unlikely to rise to what happened in Germany, calls are already coming from the left for the Obama White House advisors (Axelrod, Emanuel, etc.) to resign in favor of a more sophisticated team. If the economy does not come back and unemployment remains over 10%, Obama is cold and calculating enough to put the blame on them. And, as you know, the left is the home of anti-Semitism.

    Anyway. Lincoln is my hero. I’ll take Ghandi down a notch or two.

  14. Brian Swisher Says:

    OB –

    The hand in the coat was a stylized pose indicative of manly resolve. You see it commonly in 18th/early 19th century portraits of military men.

    Also, there was a fad among West Point cadets in the 1840s/50s of leaving several tunic buttons unbuttoned, so that they could insert their hand a la Napoléon!

  15. rickl Says:

    Here is an article I found about Gandhi a few years ago. It’s long, but it’s a very interesting read.

    As for Presidents, in my opinion there’s no question that Washington was the greatest. Lincoln was also great, but don’t forget that a sizable percentage of Americans regarded him as a tyrant who trampled on the Constitution. They even fought a war over it, and lost.

    I’ve been a Northerner all my life, and while I consider slavery abhorrent, I am sympathetic to the idea that since the states voluntarily joined together to form the federal government, they should have had the right to change their minds and drop out. If any state today should choose to secede, I would not support keeping them in the Union by force of arms.

  16. rickl Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    November 30th, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Duh, neo, I failed to click on your links before I posted my 9:03 comment!

  17. Scottie Says:


    Should you ever decide to tour the South I’ll be happy to stamp your passport from this side of the Mason Dixon… :D

    In a (slightly) more serious note, it’s not my desire to re-fight a certain war that occured over a century ago, but before anyone goes all fuzzy eyed over Lincoln – or takes offense that I don’t admire him – they should read up on what he knowingly allowed Sherman to do to civilians on his march through the South.

    It’s a tactic that Southern generals such as Lee, Jackson, or JEB Stuart would never have knowingly allowed to be implemented against a generally defenseless northern population under similar circumstances.

    There are plenty of other things about Lincoln that are not positive either – but that’s a pretty egregious example.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Scottie: not to refight the Civil War, but I have written about Sherman and his actions against Southern civilians here. I ask that you read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:

    Kagan writes about the ever-controversial General Sherman:

    The northern generals who prosecuted the war most effectively , and most ruthlessly, had more understanding of its ideological purposes…”We are not only fighting hostile armies,” William Tecumseh Sherman declared, “but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war“….Therefore the North must “make the war so terrible…[and] make them so sick of war that generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it “…The Union’s conduct of the Civil War would remain, for American commanders in both world wars of the twentieth century, the very model of a great war…a war of ‘power unrestrained’ unleashed for ‘complete conquest.’

    Sherman famously said “War is hell,” a stark statement that encapsulates the horror of war. He’s been accused of committing war crimes during the Civil War, but the evidence is that his campaign against the civilians of the South was mainly limited to destroying property, although it certainly caused a great deal of suffering–as intended.

    Sherman also had a way with words. He’s the author of many famous quotes about war which show a fascinating combination of the compassionate and the implacable. Sherman felt the two were closely linked in war—in order to ultimately be compassionate, one had to be ruthless, because half-measures kept the population in an undefeated state, ready to wage war again:

    Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and defeat.

    War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.

    The scenes on this field would cure anyone of war.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    Scottie: you might also be interested in this post about Lincoln and the press of his time.

  20. rickl Says:

    Scottie: Actually, I’m a fan of Sherman. (OK, I’m a complex person. :) )

    He seemed to have a more clear-eyed vision than most as to what it would take to bring the war to a speedy end, as Neo alluded to above.

    I would like to see more Sherman-style tactics employed against Muslim jihadis. There was a real opportunity for that back in 2001. President Bush opted for the softer approach of trying to bring democracy to the Middle East, and I really can’t fault him for that. It was worth a try.

    But, Muslims being Muslims, I think that we are eventually going to have to get rough with them. It’s only a matter of time, and our will.

    If Sherman’s tactics don’t work, then we’ll have to resort to LeMay’s: “If we kill enough of them, they’ll stop fighting.”

  21. camojack Says:

    My uncle Bob always reminded me of Lincoln, if only in appearance. He’s pretty corpulent nowadays, though…

  22. Fred2 Says:

    My first guess on looking at the huffpo article on assymetric faces was Bell’s Palsy.

  23. Highlander Says:

    “… Would that we had someone of that caliber today.”

    Would we recognize it if we did? Probably not until a later time.

  24. Nolanimrod Says:

    Syndromes are all very well, but I’d have to lend at least a little weight to the “kicked in the face by a horse as a child” factor.

  25. Nolanimrod Says:

    P.S. That could also make you a little depressed.

  26. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    In Lincoln we have a serious man, a great man.

    In Obama we have a cypher, a joke, an unserious and malevolent boy of rage and hatred, who cares for nothing but himself; always looking at himself in the mirror and admiring his profile. In psychological terms the particularly dangerous combination of the “Puer” and the malignant narcissist.

    As far as I am concerned, Obama isn’t fit to wipe Lincoln’s boots.

    On the accolades for Gandhi; a little research please!

    Not only did Gandhi advise the Jews to go to their fate without struggle, but he used to sleep with just pubescent girls in his bed to test/prove his “purity.” Then, there is the fact that his tactic of satyagraha or nonviolence only worked because he used it against the civilized and relatively soft-hearted English colonialists and not against, say, the French or German colonialists of the time. The world, I think, gives him too much credit.

  27. Scottie Says:


    I took the time this morning to read your previous thoughts, and while there is plenty I would agree with there are likewise lots of things I would disagree with – the piece you wrote covered a rather broad topic and drew conclusions on a wide variety of ideas.

    But back to Sherman, who seems to be the main sticking point here at the moment….

    This quote says volumes about Sherman’s mindset:

    “We are not only fighting hostile armies,” William Tecumseh Sherman declared, “but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war“….Therefore the North must “make the war so terrible…[and] make them so sick of war that generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it ”

    So, on the one hand the argument has been made by historians that Lincoln and his minions were fighting to preserve the Union.

    On the other hand we have one of the chief architects of that war, knowingly supported by Lincoln, declaring that the very people who are to be forced back into the union at gunpoint and the blade of a bayonet are “hostile”, and must be forced to suffer so extremely such as to never consider leaving the union again as it would be too painful.

    Kind of sounds like the logic of an abusive spouse….

    While one can assert that Sherman limited his actions to destroying property only – exactly how many of his bummers do you think came back to camp to report to their officers how they raped or killed some family as they passed through?

    If a victim or their family had reported such a crime to Sherman – would he have bothered with it?

    How many civilians starved to death as a result of his scorched earth policy?

    Then you have to consider that many historians consider the South to have already been militarily defeated from a practical standpoint by that stage of the war.

    Sherman’s actions can be seen as completely punitive and unnecessary at that stage of the conflict.

    My own belief is that Sherman’s march did not preclude a resumption of rebellion by the South – that was accomplished by the fact that the South had been bled dry at that point and it took generations to rebuild the population.

    I remind once again that Sherman’s actions were knowingly supported by Lincoln.

    The tactics Sherman used bear quite a similarity to the tactics employed by Germans in the Boxer Rebellion, the tactics employed by the Imperial Japanese in China in the 1930′s, the tactics employed by the Germans against pretty much everybody during WWII – and most especially against eastern Europeans as they marched towards Stalingrad, and the tactics used by the Soviets as they advanced towards Berlin.

    Comparing the tactics of the US in WWII against those examples – one should ask whose tactics resulted in longer term peace in the end, and how many of those governments that employed those tactics in WWII or earlier are still around?

    One can claim that US commanders of WWII took Sherman’s doctrine to heart – but when you compare what Sherman actually did with how US commanders conducted operations during WWII there’s quite a difference.

    Consider also that despite the current overwhelming military superiority of the US military and it’s ability to conduct a total scorched earth Sherman type war, I absolutely doubt that any US commanders would employ such tactics in the modern era as Sherman used even if they had the blank check and 100% support of the US population to do so.

    I think you will find most US commanders would consider such tactics that Sherman used against a civilian population as counterproductive.

    And I’m still not a fan of Lincoln… :D

  28. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    but does anyone know why 19th century portraits so commonly feature subjects with a hand in his jacket?

    I don’t know if that was stylish or not – I’ll defer to Brian Swisher on that, but those early photographs sometimes had exposure times measured in mintues, not seconds. And you’d have to remain still until the photograph was finished, or you’d have a blur, such as Lincoln’s face in the above example.

    Which is also why no one smiled in the old family photographs.

  29. will Says:

    yeah, Lincoln had an interesting mug, meself I always hoped to resemble Samuel Beckett in his later years…

  30. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    As a sometimes artist, I can verify that my teachers always taught, and it turned out to be true in practice, that hands are perhaps the toughest body part to get right in painting and drawing, which is why many artists either craft them badly, or try to use tricks in posing and composition that negate their having to attempt to portray one or both of them.

  31. Nolanimrod Says:

    Ah, the old “abusive spouse ploy.” I fear we have here something of a political mule: an unreconstructed southron who yet displays signs of liberalocity. He wants “bummers” reporting back with a list of no-no’s. We raped three women, burned four dwellings, stole all the silver, shot two horses, swiped a pig, burned down the silos.

    Say – you don’t suppose Sy Hersh is masquerading as “Scottie?” Well, if so at least he didn’t start off with something dark and bloody.

    Funny how far afield a post about Lincoln’s facial asymmetry wandered.

  32. Scottie Says:


    If you are comparing me to Seymour Hersh, or to having a *liberal* political bent, then you clearly haven’t paid much attention to my past comments in any number of topics on this site.

    It’s always been quite a puzzlement to me that supposed *conservatives* would find something to admire in Lincoln, given how the Constitution fared under his administration.

  33. neo-neocon Says:

    Nolanimrod: Parry-Romberg can be caused by being kicked in just that manner. There’s the original injury, and then there’s the wasting of bone and subcutaneous fat that follows it. The latter is the syndrome.

  34. SAB Says:

    Here is an interesting article regarding Mr. Lincoln with a photogragh of a man who bears a striking resemblence to him in height, frame and facial features.

  35. Daniel in Brookline Says:


    There’s an advantage in the perspective of history. At the time of Lincoln, he was indeed excoriated viciously for ‘trampling on the Constitution’. In retrospect, however, it’s clear that his goal was to save the Union — and that he preferred bending the Constitution to save the Union (and then straightening the Constitution again later), rather than letting the Union die with the Constitution untouched.

    I read somewhere once that Lincoln, true to form, told a story about this, involving a ship springing a leak in stormy seas. The Captain set his crew to bailing, while he went below and prayed to his plaster statue of the Virgin Mary. But when his prayers accomplished nothing, the enraged captain threw the statue overboard — at which point the problem suddenly stopped! When they reached port safely, they found the statue, stuck head-first in the hold from the outside.

    When asked to explain this story, Lincoln said, “Why, I don’t mean to throw the Virgin Mary overboard, and by that I mean the Constitution. But I’ll stick it in the hole if I can.”

    In re Gandhi: Wolla Dalbo, I agree completely. Gandhi’s tactics worked for him. But as Martin Luther King Jr. said: “If your enemy has a conscience, follow Gandhi. If he does not, follow Bonhoeffer.”

    Daniel in Brookline

  36. Scottie Says:

    Daniel in Brookline,

    Sooooo, are you suggesting (and I’m kind of having fun paraphrasing a leftover from yet another war here) that Lincoln had to destroy the Constitution in order to save it?

    Was the Constitution itself so flawed and unable to survive such a catastrophe on it’s own that it had to be set aside and it’s provisions ignored until such time as it was safe to bring it out into the light of day again?

    I’d suggest that what Lincoln did was not so much “bend” the Constitution, but rather completely shatter it.

  37. Daniel in Brookline Says:


    Sooooo, are you suggesting (and I’m kind of having fun paraphrasing a leftover from yet another war here) that Lincoln had to destroy the Constitution in order to save it?

    Of course not. You’re the one arguing that the Constitution was “completely shatter[ed]“, not me. Perhaps you would say that Lincoln was “destroying the Constitution in order to save it”, but I wouldn’t.

    Rather, I would say that Lincoln recognized the danger to the very existence of the United States, and dedicated himself to doing whatever had to be done to save the Union. (He said as much, several times, e.g. “If I could preserve the Union by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could preserve the Union without freeing a single slave, I would do that.”) He had enough faith in the Constitution, and in the country upon which it is based, to believe that it would recover after the war — as indeed it did.

    His action was extremely controversial, as well it should have been; few American presidents have been as thoroughly hated as he was. He was risking dictatorship, and he knew it. Nonetheless, history has borne out his risky gamble. The Union won the war, and the Constitution survived.

    It’s easy to second-guess his decisions after the fact. Read Lincoln On Leadership sometime; some of the behind-the-scenes details of his decision-making are fascinating.

    Daniel in Brookline

  38. Scottie Says:

    Daniel in Brookline,

    I wouldn’t say I was “arguing”, so much as just having a bit of fun poking holes in what I perceive to be a misguided positive perception of Lincoln.

    You are certainly welcome to your views on Lincoln – as am I.

    Consider this statement you made:

    “He had enough faith in the Constitution, and in the country upon which it is based, to believe that it would recover after the war — as indeed it did.”

    So, you have the United States of which he was the president.

    The United States was founded upon the Constitution.

    Without the Constitution, you really have no legitimate government.

    Lincoln ignored the Constitution as president while conducting his war.

    Do you not see the inherent conflict in those last 3 sentences?

    I truly consider Lincoln to have been a hypocrit. That is my opinion, and as I pointed out I’m completely entitled to it.

    Consider the case of West Virginia:

    West Virginia seceded from Virginia because of the Civil War.

    The North readily accepted West Virginia’s status as a state and it’s right to secede from Virginia – yet all the while the North was fighting to force the South back into the Union.

    It was ok for a region to secede from a state that was trying to secede, but it was not ok for a state to secede from a union it had no desire to belong to.

    That’s quite a political dance they did.

    As for “recovering” from the Civil War – the North did very well for itself in recovering, especially during the so-called “Reconstruction Era”.

    The South, on the other hand, was reduced to poverty, had to deal with a North that decided to *punish* the South for trying to secede, had to deal with Carpetbaggers looting everything that was left, had to deal with a decidedly uneven economic playing field that the North fully exploited, had to deal with corrupt governments that were hand selected by an occupying federal army that chose officials down to the county sheriff level, and in general the South took generations to recover.

    It is also my belief that Lincoln set a precedent that later presidents, most notably FDR, exploited to create the kind of mischief that resulted in an oversized bloated all empowered federal government that can and does force the states to do it’s bidding.

    The creation of the states has become their master.

    Lincoln created that situation.

  39. Artfldgr Says:

    Steve G
    Ghandi was in for the long pull and was able to obtain the freedom of India without resorting to violence. Had he advocated violence hundreds of millions would find themselves at war with their neighbors, as occurred soon after his death….

    of course you only have the forward half of the history, and that is WAY out of date.

    For the last two weeks Indian officials furiously commented the publication of the second volume of the world known “Mitrokhin’s Archive” of the KGB files full of proofs of the Soviet intelligence “cultivating” the “Mother of India” Indira Gandhi and “fertilizing” other Indian prominent politicians with millions of dollars.

    the mitrokhin archive shows that his tactics and strategies and other things happening were partly orchestrated by the soviet union. india and pakistan were played two ends against the middle as china and russia played with them.

    The politicians, mostly from the parties connected to those, who were on KGB payroll also sounded their protest in various forms. A good example is the CPM, which plans to sue a national daily that carried excerpts of a former KGB agent’s book and to take legal action against domestic publishers of the controversial Mitrokhin’s book. Penguin India is expected to release the book in mid-October and it expects a fight.

    mitroken sneaked out 6 trunks worht of information, and its been confirmed MANY MANY times as valid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    there are also these books too
    “The Hand of Moscow”
    “Foreign Intelligence Service – Special File”
    “The East is a Delicate Business”

    just as you can see Rosa Parks attending courses in how to protest just before she made her supposedly spontaneos stand. you can also see martin luthor, and pete seger.. ALL together at the highlander school. closed for subversion and connections to whites bombing blacks and jews to instigate false racism. [care to see the FBI records they are on the web]

    The only opponents of the KGB operatives in India were the agents of the other foreign countries- the USA, Britain, etc. And they were not considered friendly ones by the Indian counterespionage. It was easy to recruit foreign citizens and agents, blackmailing them with threats to turn over to the Indian authorities as the spies. India was the place, where and from where the KGB conducted it biggest operations and actions, unanimously claim the authors of all the abovementioned books. For example it is from India to the world came the rumor of the USA using the chemical and biological weapons in Vietnam. The KGB initiated it and later the Soviet doctors “proved” it as if they have tested the victims.
    The Indian department of the KGB was named “The Indian Mafia” and was the most powerful department in the force, some kind of the KGB inside the KGB. The proof of that was already mentioned – the heads of the Indian “residentura” turned to be the heads of the KGB and its successor –SVR – the Russian Foreign Intelligence.

    the mumbai terrorists acted in the same way that russia soldiers operate (and now american soldiers are mastering, but we dont notice).

    Indira Ghandi’s code name was Vano

    The first volume:
    covered KGB activities in the West, especially those directed against “the great adversary,” the United States. In it are details of a spectacularly successful espionage effort aimed at the US military and a largely successful attempt to manage the western media including an extensive ongoing disinformation campaign that spread unsavory rumors about major figures such as Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan and J. Edgar Hoover, which have passed into popular folklore. The KGB also used a variety of techniques, including a mail bombing campaign, to increase racial tensions in the South during the Civil Rights era and spread the rumor, widely accepted at the time, that the CIA was implicated in JFK’s assassination. Since the archive is incomplete, much of its contents is still classified by British intelligence, and the KGB efforts at controlling information so extensive, one is left wondering just how much of “what is commonly known” [especially among leftist academics] about American history in the past half century has been shaped by Soviet disinformation efforts.

    tthe SECOND book is the one that everhyone is protesting…

    mitrokhen refused to turn the stuff over unless it was published publicly.

    so they have been releasing the information slowly after its historical, and they are completed workign with it.

    the second volume of the archives has been published under the title, The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World. It too is chock full of fascinating and disturbing information.

    VALIDATED information…

    The book has had its biggest impact in India because it contains explosive information regarding Soviet successes in penetrating government offices and political parties. Allen Judd summarizes:

    A KGB director frankly admitted that it had “scores of sources throughout the Indian Government… It seemed as if the entire country was for sale.” Elections were swung, major deals concluded or prevented and suitcases full of banknotes delivered in secret to Mrs Gandhi’s house at night (she never returned the empties). In 1975 alone the KGB calculated that its Active Measures operations brought about 5,510 anti-Western or pro-Soviet stories in the Indian media. Among its best agents was one of Mrs Gandhi’s senior ministers; yet all the while it was the threat of CIA subversion that worried her.

    Indira Ghandi (code name “Vano”) was one of several world leaders who were considered by the KGB to be, if not fully active agents of the Soviet Union, “confidential contacts” whom they could influence and whom they supported. President Allende (code name “Leader”) of Chile was another. Kommersant reports:

    Allende’s victory cost the KGB $420,000…. It was not the Soviet Ambassador to Santiago that he regularly met as the main Soviet representative after assuming power but it was a KBG chief in Chile, Svyatoslav Kuznetsov, who personally “guided” Allende. The president’s lover, Miria Kontrereas Bell, known in Moscow as “Marta”, organized the meetings.

    Among the payoffs to Allende were various sex films and “associated cavortings” with prostitutes.

    There were numerous other KGB successes, among them “active measures” campaigns that spread stories through the world media “ranging from the widely-believed CIA-started-Aids story to the alleged kidnapping of Latin American children for US spare part surgery….”

    It is these media successes that are today most troubling because the lies originating in KGB operations have become implanted in the minds of left wing political activists here and around the world and are still part of the global political discourse. I recently reviewed the deeply duplicitous film, The Constant Gardener, based on the book of the same title by spy novelist John LeCarre and noted that a number of film critics, working for major publications throughout the West, assumed that the outrageous premise of the story – that western governments and international corporations were testing out dangerous, often fatal, drugs on unsuspecting Africans, masking the programs as charitable aid – was perfectly plausible and probably accurate. The almost universal suspicion with which American policy initiatives are met throughout the world owes a lot to this half century of systematic lying.

  40. Artfldgr Says:

    Sherman famously said “War is hell,” a stark statement that encapsulates the horror of war.

    the CORRECT quote is

    War is hell, and i intend to make it so.

    he knew the problem with attrition.
    that is, our new war doctrine by the left who abuse this quote, is failure through attrituion by prtending that stalemate is a better thing extending war and misery than getting it over quickly.

    ie… how long did wars last PRIOR to our modern ideas of just war?

    what is americas longest wars?

    revolutionary war – 1775 to 1782 -7 years
    War of 1812 – 2 years
    mexican american war
    the Civil war – 1861 – 1863 2 years
    WWI – 1914-1918 – 4 years
    WWII – 1939 – 1945 – 6 years
    Korea – 1950-1953 – 3 years

    then we had a change to our ideas of just war
    where overwhelming force, and such was deemed cruel, and that stalemate and attrition would be an answer….

    Vietnam war – 1961-1970

    the longest war in american history (till then).
    the only defeat in american history (till then).
    and declaration of war is out

    a much smaller force which coudl never compete, won because of ideological games, and soviet propaganda among other things…

    Desert Storm – 1990 – 4 days..
    we met them with overwhelming force
    the left howled, didnt they?

    Operation Enduring freedom 1991 – ?
    [subwars below]
    Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan (OEF-A)
    Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines (OEF-P) (formerly Operation Freedom Eagle)
    Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa (OEF-HOA)
    Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara (OEF-TS)[3]

    Iraqi Freedom April 2003 – ?

    notice the change….
    long expensive wars of attriction where the cost of weaponry is millions to dollars… not enough troops, not enough supplies.

    the whole idea is to demoralize the US.

    and the russians are not going to let us win what they failed… the pie on their face would be bad, and obama wont let that happen either.

    but he cant act in a way that is so overt we cant argue the points. the point is not to win, the point is to keep us argying past the event horizon..

  41. Artfldgr Says:

    early photographs sometimes had exposure times measured in mintues, not seconds.


    they made special harnesses to hold your head and body in position. thats why the eyes are so weird… they had to blink during that time.

  42. Artfldgr Says:

    I always hoped to resemble Samuel Beckett in his later years…

    given that i am a cantakerous red head who is descended from cats, i would more likely be like samuel clemens but in more relaxed clothing. (of course he is also the model for “Woodrow Wilson Smith”… :) )

    call me Captain Aaron Sheffield, and i would be happy..

  43. Scottie Says:


    One thing you need to make note of regarding the wart of attrition thing in the case of Sherman….

    The main body of the Confederate army was not standing in his way. It was up in Virginia.

    The only thing standing in Sherman’s path were mostly civilians that were generally unsuitable for military service and small vastly outnumbered and outgunned Southern military units.

    Were a war of attrition to have been the aim, then the natural focus of such a tactic would have been the military force in Virginia instead of civilian targets in the deep South.

    Oh, and you need to check the dates of the wars you listed – you made a pretty drastic error.

  44. Janet Says:

    While looking for more info on Mr. Lincolns perceived ailments, I came across this, this contest of personal likes, dislikes. All of the entries seem politely presented but why compare these three world leaders? After all info above and the first few blogs referred to facial abnormalities.
    War is war is war is war. Take a good look at all the past presidents. Lincoln was well read and when he knew nothing about his troops and their ability to win, he educated himself in everything the North was planning. His personal life was one eventful sorrow. His third son was born the day that his second son died. His wife was smart and well educated but spent so much money that the family was in financial throes.
    Along with the family woes was a man who undoubtedly struggled with his own maladies.
    Personally I like those people who take chances knowing that the time is right and are confident in their decisions.
    How about good ol’ Andrew Jackson & all of those for and against him. Those were politically involved in every aspect.

  45. D.S. Says:

    As a mother of a child with Parry Romberg Syndrome, I found this very interesting. I hope we find answers soon, as we are heartbroken at the pain and disfigurement this has caused our daughter, now 20. She suffers with facial atrophy and pain, strokes and seizures. If this man had any of those, I admire him even MORE for all that he accomplished. Just LIVING with a disease such as this was a great feat.

  46. kdaries480 Says:

    As one of the world’s extremely rare folks diagnosed with a not-so-mild case of Parry-Romberg Syndrome, I came here hoping for scientific discourse regarding the potential diagnosis. Instead, I found political bickering, as per usual, somehow, with every mention of a political figure – dead or alive – these days. How disappointing for me. To the author – I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name before posting – thank YOU for bringing this sensitive subject to light. I, for one, would be proud to find out that I may share this horrendous yet enlightening disease with one President Lincoln. Thank you.

  47. John Sotos, MD Says:

    Parry Romberg is an interesting diagnosis for Lincoln, but it ignores all the unusual things going on in the rest of is body. In fact, there are so many unusual things that I had to write a book to cover them all.

    The book agrees with you that Fishman’s hemifacial microsomia diagnosis was wrong. It concludes instead that Lincoln’s facial asymmetry was due to left synostotic frontal plagiocephaly. This condition arises when two bones on the left side of the growing skull in childhood fuse prematurely. Specifically, the fusion occurs in the left coronal suture.

    Sorry that was so technical, but it’s all explained non-technically in the book. In essence, when two bones in the growing skull fuse early, the rest of the skull starts to twist as it grows, and results in a pattern of asymmetries that is characteristic of where the fusion occurred.

    Lincoln had precisely the pattern of asymmetries one would expect from a premature left coronal fusion, including the way his ears + nose + chin + eye sockets are asymmetric, and, most importantly, the flattening of the left side of his forehead that is clearly visible on casts made of his head during life.

    As you note, Lincoln did not have Marfan syndrome, even though he *looked* like he had it. It turns out there are many other (rare) disorders that cause similar skeletal features, and I think Lincoln had one of these others: multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2b (MEN2B).

    Synostosis is a feature of these Marfan-like diseases, because the chemical system that helps control growth of the long bones also helps control fusion of the skull bones.

    It’s a complicated topic, and I applaud your willingness to think carefully about it.

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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.


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