We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, January 21. 2019
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The history all depends on who is writing the history. There is nothing that cannot be misrepresented and either vilified or deified.
A friend of my gave me a 1930s edition of "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" some years back. I read it and was stunned by the depth of insight and quality of writing -- the sort of book where you read a paragraph, want to read it out loud to someone nearby, read the next paragraph, and want to do it again.
Yes, I know about Lawrence's various flaws and misdirections. But it is still a stunning work.
The Seven Pillars was a great book, but it really needed some maps to go with the narrative.
In 1920, Britain was still the world's dominant power, although deeply in debt, and having been bled white in France. Thirty years later, after WW II, they had lost everything, and were a minor regional power. Their decline has continued relentlessly since then.
Britain was irretrievably destroyed by two world wars. We have now spent almost three quarters of a century fighting and losing one war after another, fighting almost continuously in one place or another. Yet the Deep State/Cabal continues to urge more wars, Ukraine, Georgia, Iran, South China Sea. Can there be any doubt that in a generation or two America will be reduced to a regional power, limited to North America?
bob sykes: In 1920, Britain was still the world's dominant power, although deeply in debt, and having been bled white in France.
You mean they were an empire that extracted resources from their colonies.
bob sykes: Britain was irretrievably destroyed by two world wars.
No. The British Empire was irretrievably dismantled after two world wars. However, U.K. is one of the most economically developed countries in the world, with a vast trading and banking network.
Does nobody remember 9/11/01? Everybody remembers 12/7/41.
Serious ass needed to be kicked and Taliban ass wasn't enough.
Jihadis wanted to fight so better to fight them there instead of here.
Anybody who remembers 9/11 now is a "neocon."
A country can be legitimately interested in invading another to put a stop to intolerable international provocations, and still screw the aftermath of the invasion up by the numbers. Pointing out the screwups is not the same as advocating isolationism for the rest of history.
I say that even though I've never been a critic of George W. Bush's record in Iraq. Not that I claim everything he did was ideal, but I don't have any useful suggestions to offer about what he could have done better. Yes, he could have done things differently, and things might have turned out worse if he had, too.
Texan99: A country can be legitimately interested in invading another to put a stop to intolerable international provocations, and still screw the aftermath of the invasion up by the numbers. Pointing out the screwups is not the same as advocating isolationism for the rest of history.
Texan99: Not that I claim everything he did was ideal, but I don't have any useful suggestions to offer about what he could have done better.
Not invading Iraq, while committing sufficient resources to Afghanistan, then limiting the engagement there.
Having invaded Iraq, committing sufficient resources to provide the necessary security, and not disbanding the Iraqi security forces without a plan.
Bush was surrounded by ideologues who had little concept of the forces they were unleashing in the region, and who never examined their own positions skeptically.
I have a useful suggestion:
He should have rolled in with full force killing and destroying all opposition and then appointed a strongman leader under his control and gotten all U.S. forces out. If the strongman didn't follow the orders or if Iran caused an insurrection, then roll in again kill and destroy all opposition and appoint a different strong man to lead.
The problem with what Bush did in Iraq came when he tried to stay there AND tried to rebuild. A waste of lives and money.
Some say you can't rebuild a country effectively unless you've seriously demolished it, as we did to Germany and Japan. Total demolition is pretty much off the table these days. I'm no longer really sure what we expect to accomplish when we embark on a military campaign. That doesn't make me a dove by any means, but I'm pretty confused.
Texan99: Some say you can't rebuild a country effectively unless you've seriously demolished it, as we did to Germany and Japan.
Iraq has been pretty well demolished.
Given the blunder of invasion, the problem was that the Americans didn't prepare for the occupation—consistently ignoring the advice of experts in the field. They thought merely removing the existing government would allow democracy to spring forth. Not only didn't they have sufficient security forces, but they alienated their own allies who would be essential to maintaining the peace. It was immediately apparent that what the U.S. leadership thought was deadly wrong, as the country descended into chaos, civil war, and ethnic cleansing. When we say immediately, we mean within days, but they continued to ignore the warning signs as the country came apart at the seams. Moreover, the purported WMD were not found "east, west, south and north somewhat", undermining the entire justification for the invasion. Ideology blinded the Americans, and jingoism helped silence dissent.
It could have been written in the 2000s:
The American people have been led in Iraq into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad reports are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our international reputation, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster. ...
We say we are in Iraq to develop it for the benefit of the world. ... How far will the killing of ten thousand villagers and townspeople hinder the production of oil? How long will we permit millions of dollars, thousands of American troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of the occupation administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?
You're either with us, or against us. — George W. Bush
Two excellent books to read on the problems of the ME: Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson and Queen of the Desert about Arab sympathizer and architect of post WWI borders of Iraq etc, Gertrude Bell.:
Lawrence loved the Arabs and hated the Turks and was a clear eyed observer who had this succinct, honest and prophetic note on the Jews progress in Palestine prior to WWI, relative to them making it a decent country again ( similar to Roman times)
" The sooner the Jews farm it the better: their colonies are bright spots in the desert."
Its not to late to heed his advice relative to Israel and Turkey!
Recommend "Syria - The Desert and the Sown", by Gertrude Bell, written in 1907, and still in print. It's a highly readable political and cultural travelogue, with an insight that's startlingly prescient in light of events there today. It was written in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, which then controlled Syria. She knew all the major players, spoke Arabic, and was tough as nails. British, renowned in her time, and later an acquaintance of Lawrence, she's credited with heavily influencing the creation of Iraq's new monarchy after the Great War.