This is a great article, courtesy of Mike Devx from Bookworm Room, on the ethics learned from training in the use of firearms.
Archive for November 2008
The guidelines I followed.
Pass it on to five other bloggers, and tell them to open the nearest book to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences. The CLOSEST BOOK, NOT YOUR FAVORITE, OR MOST INTELLECTUAL!
The folly of parents can have terrible and tragic consequences for their children. In truth, Romeo and Juliet, with great beauty and complexity, offers a range of arguments, insights, and ideas. It cannot be reduced to one.
This is to offer up the context for the paragraph, but the 5th sentence starts here.
And even if it could (which it cannot), all we would need to do is to turn to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a work by the same author, where we find young lovers facing much opposition and difficulty and in a wonderful comic resolution, triumphing. Why do we turn to literature, if not for arguments that tell us how to live? What does a work of literature offer us? Consider this comment by Salman Rushdie:
The liveliness of literature lies in its exceptionality, in being the individual idiosyncratic vision of one human being in which, to our delight and great surprise, we may find our own vision reflected.
Literature for Composition 8th ed.
It is a fitting remark given my views concerning David Weber. His works are, after all, one of the central resources that my current education in warfare and politics have been based on.
Book tagged me and so I had to obey. But, if I was going to go to the trouble of copying something from a physical book and writing it on the computer, which is not something I like doing, then I made sure to do it right. And I didn’t need to look in more than one book to do so. Such is the serendipity of our lives.
This is always good for another read given these times.
I’m not going to excerpt anything because if you are truly interested in military strategy and learning, then you are just going to have to plod through such documents. Here’s a hint though, if you are a beginner student in military history, tactics, strategy, and logistics, then go to page 5, Operations, and start reading down. That’s the good stuff.
If you have read Clausewitz then the first 5 pages will interest you more.
If you like politics, page 6 and down will be your thing. If you like tactics, then you shouldn’t read this at all. If you like to know about having a strong will in warfare and why people keep talking about “war is chaotic and unpredictable”, start from page 5, Operations.
There: that is all the help you will get from me on this score.
This is pretty funny for the role players and those who at least know something about computer programming.
Well, as they say, shit happens.
Let’s begin with an interesting argument I had about Carter’s deals with the Shah and the Shah’s political enemies (the Ayatollah and the Iranian revolution).
Pressuring the Shah by using America’s influence, both military and economically with Iran, in order to get the Shah to provide more openness to Khomeini’s revolutionary guards was support for Khomeini. Just like when the Shah released all those people he had in his jails, including the Ayatollah and other followers who formed the core group of instigators and leaders for the revolution in Iran. The Ayatollah’s place of safety in France allowed him to energize European and international support while using agent provocateurs in Iran to incite violent reactions from the Shah’s forces.
The Shah, just like Bush, wanted what was best for his people: things such as wanting to modernize the nation, and wanting a strong defense against external enemies like the Soviets or other Arab nations. The Shah, however, was willing or forced to accede to international scrutiny, notably Carter’s goons like Sec State Vance, in terms of domestic policies. Bush is the same way in terms of his responses: very soft against his domestic and foreign enemies but most notably against domestic enemies. The Shah released the Ayatollah and many others from jail, after they had openly declared their opposition. The Shah believed this kind of compromise would breed a better respect of rights and help reform the system in Iran. The Shah should have killed him, had the Shah’s human rights been as bad as depicted and if the Shah had your priorities, Sanger, but he didn’t. And so he fell, as Bush would have fallen in a coup de tat had it not been for the stability and loyalty provided by the US military. The Shah of Iran had no such pillar of support, however, not even from a foreign nation like America (When the Ayatollah certainly found refuge in France).
Carter supports every election of dictators, including Hamas, and you are telling us that Carter didn’t support the enemies of the Shah when the Shah attempted to reform Iran and increase civil liberty protections? Carter hasn’t appreciably changed over the years.
Any aid and succor given to the enemies of liberty is support, even if it is simply an international declaration that Hamas’ election was legitimate. This is not a standard that can be bent for the real politics of two lesser evils, because the very definition of civil liberties cannot be defined as a “lesser evil”, regardless of whether it is flawed or not, and the Shah’s attempts to create democracy in Iran as part of his aristocratic position were definitely flawed and too extreme when balancing freedom vis a vis security. The Shah had placed too much on trading security for freedom and relying upon US arms and protection from the Soviets. The one thing that Carter is very good at is forcing nations to adopt elections that Carter will then approve, and if those elections bring Hamas, Hizbollah, Khomeini, or Chavez to power, then that is all the more valid in Carter’s eyes regardless of the suffering of the people or the damage to American national security (or the suffering of American hostages in Iran).
Carter messed up not because he made the mistakes you have categorized; Carter messed up because he can’t tell the difference between leaders willing to improve their nation and leaders like the Ayatollah (or Chavez or Arafat or any other Marxist slash dictator slash mass murderer).
Even McNamara eventually admitted (I think it was him I saw in that documentary) that we and the NVA were fighting for different reasons, and _ours_ was the side that didn’t get it….-Sanger
McNamara was so incompetent I wouldn’t believe it based on his word alone if he said the sun came up in the east.
Pahlavi caused most of his own problems-Sanger
That’s like saying Diem caused most of his own problems, including his own assassination.
There’s a stark difference between American engineered actions that spark problems in the local politics of foreign nations and people like Bhutto refusing additional security and taking unnecessary risks in places like Pakistan.
Certainly foreign leaders are responsible for their own decisions, but so is America when American actions precipitate problems for them because of incompetent American meddling.
A side issue here is Carter’s election against Reagan. There were some interesting stuff I found in the wayback machine. My source is a preview of a book, on google, that lets you read sample pages. Unlike most previews, this one actually covers quite a lot of pages, even though it skips a couple.
Patricia Harris, Carter’s secretary of Health and Human Services, told a steelworkers’ union conference in early August, “I will not attempt to explain why the KKK found the Republican candidate and the Republican platform compatible with the philosophy and guiding principles of that notorious organization.” But, she added, when Reagan speaks before black audiences (Reagan was scheduled to speak to the National Urban League in New York and meet with Jesse Jackson in Chicago), many blacks “will see the specter of a white sheet behind him.” Andrew Young went even further, saying that Reagan’s remarks seemed “like a code word to me that it is going to be all right to kill niggers when he’s president.” Coretta Scott King managed top Young: “I am scared that if Ronald Reagan gets into office, we are going to see more of the Ku Klux Klan and a resurgence of the Nazi Party.” Maryland congressman Parren Mitchell, a leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, said, “Reagan represents a distinct danger to black Americans.” Garry Wills wrote in Esquire, “Reagan croons, in love accents, his permission to indulge a functnal hatred of poor people and blacks.” (pg 77-76)
Carter and the Democrats perhaps believed that the media would amplify their caricature of Reagan in much the same way they had for Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater in 1964. They were wrong. The media was harsh on Carter for his indulgence of race-baiting. The New Republic wrote: “President Carter has made a grave moral error in trying to portray Ronald Reagan as a racist.” and that Carter’s statements were “frightful distortions, bordering on outright lies.” Boston Globe columnist Curtis Wilkie wrote, “Just as surely as the werewolf grows long fangs and facial hair on a full moon, the darker side of President Carter emerges in election years.” The Associated Press sent out a wire story noting that Carter’s followers [Patricia Harris, et all.) not Reagan, had first “injected” the Klan into the campaign. Washington Post reporter Richard Harwood wrote, “There is nothing in Reagan’s record to support the charge that he was a ‘racist.'”
The editorial page of the Post was biting:
Mr. Carter has abandoned all dignity in his round-the-clock attack on Mr. Reagan’s character and standing, jumping (in a most sanctimonious tone of voice) for “offenses” similar to many Mr. Carter himself has committed, and, most recently, concluding from all this that Mr. Reagan is a “racist” and a purveyor of “hatred.” This description doesn’t fit Mr. Reagan. What it fits, or more precisely, fits into, is Jimmy Carter’s miserable record of personally savaging political opponents (Hubert Humphrey, Edward Kennedy) whenever the going got rough…. Jimmy Carter, as before, seems to have few limits beyond which he will not go in the abuse of opponents and reconstruction of history.
Most worrisome to the Republicans was the finding that the number of voters who thought Reagan “does not understand the complicated problems a president has to deal with” was rising.
Reagan also hoisted Carter on his own petard. In 1976, Carter had blasted Ford with the “misery index,” the combination of inflation and unemployment, which was then 12.5. Carter had said, “No Man with that size misery index had a right to seek reelection to the presidency.” Reagan observed that the misery index was now above 20. (Sarah palin, using Joe Biden’s own words to attack Barack Obama. Classic)
A couple of conclusions here from the data. Carter’s both insane and mean, which we already knew. Anybody that calls Hamas’ elections fair and supports Chavez and such folks while saying he is improving the institutions of democracy is either insane or a sadist.
The second conclusion is that attack ads work. They work but aren’t invincible or omnipotent. Even if Carter or Obama’s attacks against Ford/Reagan or Sarah Palin and John McCain worked, it can be used against them later on if you have the will and memory to do so.