Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Suburban Unrest

More suburban unrest in France. Apparently it has something to do with all that "ethnic diversity."

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Cool site on Iran

Nice site showing scenes from daily life in Iran. They have English subtitles.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

A Real Life False Flag Operation?

Here is a report which may be a first in my experience: an actual false flag operation. In movies these are ubiquitous--the evil right wing cabal stages a terrorist attack to justify their taking power--but in actual history, outside of the Catilin Conspiracy in 1st Century A.D. Rome, I can think of none.

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Nothing better represents the fatuousness of the judicial approach to politics than this business about apologizing for things that happened almost outside of living memory. The government of Turkey that committed the massacres is gone and virtually all the people that were killed would be dead now anyway. Will someone feel better with an official apology for something that happened 90 years ago? If this is the worst problem someone has, that they haven't had a note of condolence from Enver Pasha's successors, then they really don't have problems.

If you are upset about the Armenian genocide the time to do something about it was in 1917, not 2007. This helps no one but our enemies and hurts no one but us.

But that is the epitome of the judicialization of International Politics. Doing nothing out of respect for sovereignty when it might actually do some good and insisting doing something when there is absolutely nothing to be gained.

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General Stark's War - October 22, 2007 - The New York Sun
General Stark's War - October 22, 2007 - The New York Sun
5 Myths About Rendition (and That New Movie)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I met a fellow in the barber shop. He told a story about how a bunch of British guests of his made fun of his accent. He was quite proud of himself when he told how he let it go on for a good long while and then he finally said, "I have just two things to say. First of all, you are in Mississippi so you are the ones with the funny accents now. Second, if it hadn't been for us, you would be speaking German right now."

He related how they all fell silent after that, which he took as a vindication. I wonder.

I have been reading Churchill's History of the Second World War. I am in the middle of the second of six volumes and I finally got tired of waiting for the Americans to come in and looked ahead for our entry. We don't come in till the late in the 3rd volume.

It is humbling. As I read of how the Island stands alone against this monstrous evil while we assume that we are safe. And then, after letting them take all the punishment, we come complimenting ourselves on the great favor we are doing them. I can't help but wonder if the silence of the gentleman's guests was not chagrin but being appalled.

We should never forget that the years that Britain stood alone against the NAZI onslaught, the years immortally described as, "Their finest hour," should be, for us, our greatest shame.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Means to an end?

One of the things that has always struck me as odd is the focus we have on reconciliation at the top of the political system. It seems to me that if this is a collective action problem and the votes of the people of Iraq are to be believed, then the events at the top of the political system are really irrelevant. What is important are events on the ground. I believe that the people of Iraq have always wanted to have a unified country under democratic leadership. The problem has been building institutions at the ground level strong enough to hold the line against suicidal terrorists and a backward, medieval social structure. The assumption that seems so pervasive in our political discourse, that the reason for the surge is to make room for a grand political deal at the top, is exactly backwards. Indeed, the political deal at the top isn't an end, it isn't even a means to an end. It is irrelevant.

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