Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Top Level Defections... But is it too little, too late?

In Monday’s news: Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that he would not seek the traditional second term for the military Joint Chiefs Chairman , Marine Gen. Peter Pace, or Adm. Edmund Giambastani. Ostensibly, this measure was taken in order to avoid the prospect of bitter reconfirmation hearings, this summer, but it completes a near clean sweep of high slots that had been purged and filled with men simpatico with the previous Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsefeld.

Adm Mike Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations, has been recommended to replace Mullen, one more good sign, since the Navy was the service least purged, least eviscerated, least bullied or ruined by Rumsfeld and his gang of nutjobs.

All of this supplements to other recent signs -- some of them only symbolic or superficial, and yet welcome, nonetheless -- that appear to suggest that Robert Gates may be an “anti-manchurian”... an actual, bona fide, competent adult American who has slipped into a crucial cabinet post at a moment when maniacs seemed on the verge of ruining the greatest military in history... or else driving the most apolitical military in history to the brink of open revolt.

Certainly the daily destruction of the United States Army and the National Guard continues, even as we speak. But there is a slim chance, it seems, for at least a small buffer of protection for the beleaguered men and women of the Officer Corps. If Gates manages to achieve this one thing, then he will earn our gratitude.

That is, if he is what he appears to be.

I have been telling everybody that the one thing they MUST do is “adopt an ostrich”. Find one borderline, quasi reasonable -- or at least capable of reason -- “ostrich conservative, perhaps a libertarian or Goldwater type who still hysterically shakes his or her head, mutter “Clinton was worse...somehow.” Grab ahold of that one person, and don’t let go until the head comes up, out of the sand, and they realize that it is their side’s turn to have gone mad. And it is their personal turn - and duty - to stand up, admit it, help save civilization...

...and even possibly help to save something of conservatism, from the inevitable backlash, when decent citizens find out what’s been going on.*

Ah, but be careful what you wish for! Some converts from right-wing silliness become, well, pretty dramatic (if interesting) people. Like Arianna Huffington. Only now, Paul Craig Roberts makes her look pallid and colorless in his torch-hot conversion and actinic rage against the monsters who have hijacked our nation and his old movement.

Take this from his recent article ”Losing Iraq, Nuking Iran.” In which Roberts worries not only about Bush, but about the whole mad meme-storm that is festering within today’s Republican Party establishment.

“The prospect of nuking Iran doesn't seem to disturb the three frontrunners for the Republican nomination, who agreed in their June 5 debate that the US might use nuclear weapons to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities.”

For those who don’t know, Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. So he knows the GOP establishment very well. And no one is better qualified to tell you that this is not Eisenhower’s party, or that of Barry Goldwater or even Ronald Reagan or Bush Sr., under whom cronyism and corruption were moderated somewhat by an occasional lapse into public spiritedness. Or at least a willingness to let skilled people do their jobs.

“The war in Iraq is lost. This fact is widely recognized by American military officers and has been recently expressed forcefully by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of US forces in Iraq during the first year of the attempted occupation. Winning is no longer an option. Our best hope, Gen. Sanchez says, is "to stave off defeat," and that requires more intelligence and leadership than Gen. Sanchez sees in the entirety of our national political leadership: "I am absolutely convinced that America has a crisis in leadership at this time."

“More evidence that the war is lost arrived June 4 with headlines reporting: "U.S.-led soldiers control only about a third of Baghdad, the military said on Monday." After five years of war the US controls one-third of one city and nothing else.”

Moreover: “A year ago Colin Powell said that the US Army is "about broken." Col. Andy Bacevich, America's foremost writer on military affairs, documents in the current issue of The American Conservative that Bush's insane war has depleted and exhausted the US Army and Marine Corps:"Only a third of the regular Army's brigades qualify as combat-ready. In the reserve components, none meet that standard. When the last of the units reaches Baghdad as part of the president's strategy of escalation, the US will be left without a ready-to-deploy land force reserve."

Must I (tediously) remind folks where they heard first about this administration’s war against the US military, and especially the educated and hyper-dedicated men and women of the Officer Corps?

Roberts cites dismal, depressing statistic, but let’s skim ahead to the next phase of neocon madness. (And remember, this is a guy who knows all the GOP sources.)

“Neocons have convinced themselves that nuking Iran will show the Muslim world that Muslims have no alternative to submitting to the will of the US government. Insurgency and terrorism cannot prevail against nuclear weapons.Many US military officers are horrified at what they think would be the worst ever orchestrated war crime.

“There are reports of threatened resignations. But Dick Cheney is resolute. He tells Bush that the plan will save him from the ignominy of losing the war and restore his popularity as the president who saved Americans from Iranian nuclear weapons. With the captive American media providing propaganda cover, the neoconservatives believe that their plan can pull their chestnuts out of the fire and rescue them from the failure that their delusion has wrought.”

* When people “find out what’s going on.” Did I really say that? Is anyone, anyone at all, willing to contemplate the possibility that men who were bright enough to seize such power and steal such vast amounts may not simultaneously be morons, after all? When a narrow cabal acts in such a way as to relentlessly turn a great nation and Western Civilization around from a steep climb into spiralling decline, through a myriad acts of uniformly awe-inspiring incompetence - why is it impossible to ponder, weigh, or even allow the imagination to consider, the possibility that the outcome we perceive, so perfectly executed, is precisely what the inner-inner ruling cabal was after, all along?

Implementing a plan with brilliance, and not the clownlike imbecility that they have feigned? (Ask yourself, “Who could be so stupid?” Should that not have been a clue?)

Will no one else even contemplate this Cassandra warning about the slim possibility of a “Manchurian scenario? What? Not even in order to prevent David Brin from getting all the credit, if it just so happens that this cheap thriller plot is later proved right?

Come on, you professionals, who are reading this right now. Are you SO comfy in your view of things - or so lazy - or suborned - or so scared of the Bob Roberts University grads who have been installed above you as be-fanged assistant undersecretaries, that you won’t even ponder briefly the possibility that more is happening, in heaven and Earth, than your pat vision encompasses?

How smug. How unprofessional and indolent. Hear that whirring sound? It’s Donovan and Dulles, spinning in their graves. And if this dark scenario ever proves true, you will have been the ones who broke your vows. Who failed your duty. Who let us all, civilization, America, the dream and the experiment, get flushed down the tubes.


Oh, here's a lagniappe: Under the category of If even a fraction of this is true...” (Of course a whole lot, most, and possibly all of it is. And yet, even so, the author does not connect the last dot.) The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda


Anonymous said...

Your "lagniappe" seems like a mixture of a few facts with a lot of exaggeration and speculation. It's no more surprising that patriotic Egyptians would try to befriend their occupier Britain's enemy than it is that Finland should have allied itself with the Nazis when they attacked Russia, the country that had just invaded Finland - and the idea that MB ideology is just copied off Nazism is nearly as naive as the idea that Mannerheim was a Nazi would be. The idea that the British - who are solely to blame for having made Israel possible - suddenly reversed their policy and decided at the last minute to try to destroy it is ridiculous. The idea that it took CIA intervention to persuade Muslim Brotherhood members to leave a country where they faced torture and death for ones (not just Saudi Arabia, but most of the Arab countries instituting new educational programs) where they would be welcomed as people well-educated in Western technology but with "respectably" conservative ideas is equally bizarre. Anyone can cry Nazi, but actually proving meaningful connections, as opposed to brief alliances of convenience, takes more work.

Anonymous said...

In Monday’s news: Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that he would not seek the traditional second term for the military Joint Chiefs Chairman , Marine Gen. Peter Pace, or Adm. Edmund Giambastani. Ostensibly, this measure was taken in order to avoid the prospect of bitter reconfirmation hearings, this summer, but it completes a near clean sweep of high slots that had been purged and filled with men simpatico with the previous Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsefeld.

Or it might have something to do with his lack of enthusiasm for starting a new phase in the war against People who have our OIL.

Pace Demurs on Accusation of Iran
General Says He Knows Nothing Tying Leaders to Arms in Iraq

U.S. general: No evidence Iran is arming Iraqis
Pace contradicts claims by other U.S. military, administration officials

ocpearson said...

I have to say, I have difficulty seeing Secretary Gates as being all that reliable. His comments recently about Iran providing weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan seem to be more fuel on the fire to try to justify an invasion of Iran. It's possible he's just a patsy in this (like I want to believe Secretary Powell was when he presented the WMD 'evidence' in front of the UN), but either way, I don't trust him or anyone else in this administration. November 2008 can't come soon enough.

Naum said...

On Loftus: if you've never read "The Secret War Against the Jews", I'd highly recommend it as an interesting read, chock full of speculation and spin, fueled by his network of "old spies"… …a lot of totally outlandish charges, but I believe a bit of truth was embedded in it. It really gives pause to the notion of the good that all these clandestine operations are doing, that "intelligence gathering" has been perverted into dark programs that often go directly against stated public policy… …some of the remarkable tales and arguments in the book:

* the British Philby double agent saga and the rise of Saudi Arabia…

* …how shrewd FDR managed Rockefellers and Dulles brothers and claims that he had plans for their just desserts after their utilitarian value expired (unfortunately, he did not live long enough for that…)

* …Truman was a lightweight puppet, in comparison…

* …Zionist double agents embedded in German/Russian military management…

* …Israel birth in 1948 — how publicly U.S. and Britain supported it, but on the inside were vehemently opposed and it takes Ben Gurion bribing Rockefeller (to line up Latin America UN votes) to seal the deal… …in fact Loftus and his cadre of "old spys" state that the CIA has set up special control center units to spy specifically on Jewish folks (and where Jews were denied entry into the group, too…). Also, intel trading where U.S. spys on Brits here, gives to U.K., and vice-versa. In fact, there's a claim in the book that a quote by President Clinton when he was young was ferreted out that way but then receded when fear of exposure on how it was obtained…

* …the Vatican Ratline and American intelligence involvement, and an issue he has notiriety for, as a DOJ attorney in the 80's his work spawned quite a bit…

* …another take on the 67 USS Liberty incident (where Israel attacks a U.S. ship and Admiral McCain (John McCain's opp) oversees a coverup), one divergent with all the others (the recent Bamford view, the survivors, the "official" report, etc.…), that says U.S. was feeding Arab nations intel on Israel…

* …as with many other texts, does not paint a flattering picture of Henry Kissinger…

* …Bush 41 ran Iran/Contra and other deals out of VP office, Reagan embarrassed, betrayed to point where he had to vote for "other guy" in 92… …livid details on William Buckley story, that would be manaically comical if events not so tragic…

Only so much stock can be placed in an anonymous pool of "old spies"…

Sometimes it appears that Loftus is just a tool for elements in those organizations to channel various kooky themes through… …but OTOH, a bit of what I read squared against other insider/investigative pieces on events… …and Loftus isn't exactly a well known commodity… …recently he had a short lived radio stint on progressive radio where his banging the drum for war with Iran (and trotting out defense of Iraq had WMD claims) didn't meet well with the listener base…


Quite a number of conservatives I work with are all in agreement, that the current executive branch leaders are monsters, but problem is, they're not any more likely to be swayed to vote for the other side — they're still so easily swayed by Fox News propaganda, that even if there was a moderate candidate that didn't betray their conservative beliefs totally, they would be riled up by the first unsubstantiated smear…

ERic said...

Interesting to see another side of the Sami al-Arian story.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the messiness of the world. Was in Providence where I got to discussing the Mafia with the people I was travelling with. They told me that Providence has had Mafia ties for years.

There's a nice little Italian piazza off a street full of restaurants there. And I found myself wondering what sort of power it would take to convince a city government to close off a street and build a beautiful fountain in the middle of the new piazza.

I've watched city politics in Austin long enough to know that it takes some doing.

My point? That things are messy. Was it the Mafia that made that possible? I don't know. If so, they did a good thing. And that's what's messy.

Some groups like HAMAS have parts of them that do good work.

People like Loftus have decided that the baby's too contaminated by the bathwater and ought to be flushed down the drain.

I don't know enough to be able to express an educated opinion.

I hate violence and killing. It's deeply depressing that the good deeds and the violence are attached at the skeleton.

But I do think that Loftus has gone off the deep end, getting sucked into damning children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren for the sins of the fathers.

But I also think that there's something stashed away in that rabbithole to Wonderland that most certainly is damnable.

Anonymous said...

The worst case scenario regarding foreign policy after the next US presidential election would be a McCain administration. McCain's position on Iraq and Iran is the same as position that Barry Goldwater held on Vietnam.

Supposedly, Johnson's generals said that they would need a million men to win in Vietnam, and Johnson said that was impossible - work with what we've got. Goldwater probably would have given them the million men.

"There is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear Iran." - John McCain

Mark Brown said...

mark b says:

I'm sorry... But I agree the only good news so far in this thread was Dr B's Analysis of the replacement request by Gates:.

Far more terrifying are these snippets:
Dr. B said: “There are reports of threatened resignations. But Dick Cheney is resolute."

...I say...I just wish SOMEONE would pull a Jack RUBY on that man. Make all of MY nightmares go away.

And regarding his lagniappe:

(the article says:

...snip...they even had a Palestinian section headed by the grand Mufti of Jerusalem, one of the great bigots of all time. Here, too, was a man -- The grand Mufti of Jerusalem was the Muslim Brotherhood representative for Palestine....

-->And did you know that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was the guy that instigated the 1919 and 1921 arab riots killing about 2,000 jews in Jerusalem?

-->And did you know that this was the guy who convinced (Sir WINSOME) Churchill (at the time the HIGH commissioner of the Palestine mandate) to give away 1/3rd of the mandate to a "friend" who used the land to establish TRANS-Jordan (later Jordan?).

-->That MAN himself, should never have allowed that.

and (good old 'anom' (yeah right... come clean, or establish another id!)
The idea that the British - who are solely to blame for having made Israel possible - suddenly reversed their policy and decided at the last minute to try to destroy it is ridiculous.

--> Actually, the british did give permission in 1919, (Lord Balfour's declaration), and then DID try and reverse it for for the next (almost) 30 years).
--> One of the Major reasons they were so pissed off was the bombing of the british military headquarters in the King David Hotel by the Irgun (paramilitary) before independence.

That lagniappe article continues...
Islam is a very peaceful and tolerant religion. It has always had good relationships with the Jews for the first thousand years of its existence.

--> Actually that's an understatement... Islam and Jews have had good relationships until around the 1600's (maybe 1700's). And it was REALLy only when the Turks lost the Ottoman empire, things went REALLY sour...

and the article continues...
The organization you know as "Hammas" is actually a secret chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood.
--> Yeah, no kidding, even the BBC this morning (Friday 6/14/07) was morning that now Hammas has control of Gaza, it will become a strict Islamic state.

And then Eric says:
Some groups like HAMAS have parts of them that do good work.

--> NO. giving people medical care, money, etc. like Hamas does is STILL cheesy.

-->Look at it this way. What was the first thing the government of Lebanon did after last summer's war, and what was HAMAS's first thing.

-->Hamas gave 10K CASH to everyone who lost a house.
Hell, for 10K I'd take it too.

-->Doesnt mean it's NOT a terrorist organization, but that they are VERY adept at using and getting the public's buy in by ANY means necessary!

then Eric continues and says:
...I don't know enough to be able to express an educated opinion.
...snip (reversed 2 paragraphs)

People like Loftus have decided that the baby's too contaminated by the bathwater and ought to be flushed down the drain.

--> There's a Hell of a lot more truth in that article (that I had never read before) then in the story of "Tony Soprano"

and he closes with a doozie:
I hate violence and killing. It's deeply depressing that the good deeds and the violence are attached at the skeleton.

-->yeah? and I hate violence too. But given the choice of someone wearing a sucide/homicide belt going onto a bus in TelAviv (or Damascus, or Bagdad), and shooting them before they get on the bus? I'd be the first to shoot them...

--> and I actually find it funny in a sick kind of way, that my (fellow) brother (Ishmael/etc) have invented the most horrific way of killing others, by using sucide/homocide bombers.

and Eric continues and says:
But I do think that Loftus has gone off the deep end, getting sucked into damning children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren for the sins of the fathers.

--> Oh I dont think it's so crazy to go off and blame the kids. We do it all the time.
After all, 70 years after losing the 1948 war (and having GIVEN up their RIGHT to the STATE that was OFFERED to them by the UN in 1948), the arab palestinians, STILL claim that it was THEIR land that they left when THEIR mufti told them to EVACUATE, (while they killed the jews).

-->And lo and behold 70 years later, they want to get their land back.

-->well, I believe that the jews as a people have a better bill of ownership of the land.
It's in the "old testament", and serves as a bill of sale. Point? Jews.
If you want to argue, then I'd be happy discuss in a separate discussion-- see MY blog.

(Eric) But I also think that there's something stashed away in that rabbithole to Wonderland that most certainly is damnable.

-->Yeah? Someone give me a rifle, the texas book depository, and a way to get to dallas.
I'd get the Veep in a second. And yeah, I now believe that it was a conspiracy...
that last book by the Kenedy aide this year did it for me.

At any rate, here we are, and MARK PREDICTS: there will be NO bills passed except for appropriations this year, and next YEAR UNTIL BUSHKI leaves office.

No immigration. No Health, NO tax increases for (rich people like DR. B)--just kidding Dr. B..

cheers, and thank you again for all your writings.

learner said...

Here is a number that clarifies the comments about the destruction of the US ground forces. The equivalent of one Battalion's worth of soldiers are being being wounded or killed in Iraq every month. We now have 22 combat Brigades in Iraq. That's the eqivalent of about 70 Battalions. The math is not in our favor.

Enterik said...

DAVIDBRIN: why is it impossible to ponder, weigh, or even allow the imagination to consider, the possibility that the outcome we perceive, so perfectly executed, is precisely what the inner-inner ruling cabal was after, all along?

I can say I have considered such machinations. Maybe the current situation can only be deemed a failure if one accepts the proffered propaganda goals. But what is this shadowy cabal after? Is it obvious? Reshape the US foreign relations to realize PNAC strategery? 19th century steampunk robber barons travelling through time to reassert their perrogatives? Or something else? To what end? For what purpose? Inquiring minds want to know!

lightning said...

Coupla things.

1. As long as we talk about "winning" or "losing" the "war" in Iraq, we're stuck. The "war" was over at "Mission Accomplished". What we have now is an "occupation". Think of it that way and we might be able to accomplish something. Think of it as a "war" and we can't do anything but go charging around Iraq looking for the "enemy army".

2. When we talk about groups like "the Administration" or "the Iraqi resistance" or "Beltway insiders", we're not talking about an individual. All of these groups are composed of subgroups and sub- sub groups, down to the level of individuals. When we ascribe individual traits (like opinions or goals) to collectives, we're on dangerous ground. For example, depending on how you count, there are anywhere from a couple of dozen to a couple of hundred separate groups fighting in Iraq, all of whom have different goals.

BTW, this is *exactly* the problem that we had with "Communism" in the Cold War. There never was anything like "monolithic world communism", and in trying to find it, we missed out on exploiting the cracks between, for example, China and the Soviet Union.

David Brin said...

Anonymous makes his colors plain by assigning Britain the “blame” for establishing Israel.

Sorry, while some of your carps are right in the details, your overall excuse making is downright evil. And I mean that.

The MB was almost singlehandedly responsible for helping the Whabbi’s and House of S’a’ud crush the Hashemites, who liberally believed in a modern and eclectic and tolerant Arab world.

For example. Prince Faisel, as portrayed by Alec Guiness in Lawrence of Arabia, actually offered land and homes to the Jews of Europe, “welcoming home our semetic brothers” in exchange for promises to open a dozen new universities and staffing them , all across the Middle East. There was more than enough land, taken from Turkish noble families.

It was precisely screeching-nazi-style tirades - borrowed directly from Joseph Goebbels - that the Grand Mufti used to oppose Faisel, making Jews scapegoats for precisely the same reasons that Hitler did, in order to rile up the masses and support a set of regime changes. In this case, to crush the Hashemites and their modernist-reform ways.

I agree with anonymous that “Anyone can cry Nazi, but actually proving meaningful connections, as opposed to brief alliances of convenience, takes more work.”

Only, alas, poor anonymous illustrates his own point,

Owen, I look for glimmers of hope. But yes, Gates could just as easily be there to give the Officer Corps JUST enough hope, so they won’t go public with all the travesties.

Naum, you raise the big danger, that ostrich conservatives will now find a new way to go “Nah!” In a feat of mental self-defense, they will disassociate themselves from Bush (shrugging off the monsters as being “in the past”) and look to the 12 dwarves and transfer their delusions to one or another of them. Even though, except for Ron Paul, they all have monstrousness dripping from them to varying degrees.

(One of them could have broken from the pack simply by looking Wolf Blitzer in the eye and saying: “I think the American people are smarter than this. I refuse to raise my hand to your strawman scenarios.” )

Eric, when Hamas does “good work”... say helping the poor... while keeping women enslaved and stoking dreams of genocide... the, yes, life is “complicated” and “good-evil” may not be the best axis along which to judge everything. A better one is “what bet are you making about human nature and human destiny?”

The Western Enlightenment is a wager that cannot co-exist with unitary solipsist cultural rage-memes. Period. It CAN coexist and incorporate and tolerate and include most of the cultural CONTENTS of such memes, including music, language, stories, dances, and religious beliefs (most of them). But it cannot co-exist with the underlying zero-sum... or negative-sum ... psychological mindeset.

THAT is what makes this a war. All right, so they are sincere. But their cause is an insatiable one and it intends the death of our culture. It must, because in an open world, ours will prevail simply out of sheer fun.

Doug you are right that my admiration of Goldwater has a retrospective romantic, rosy-lense aspect. A great man and he ended very well. But also 5% a loon. Okay for a senator. Unwise to have as a trait for a president.

Markbnj, please watch it. None of that, here. You know the sentence that I mean. The way to deal with nightmare-monsters is to wake up.

Enterik, the only goal that seems compatible with ALL of the events is the utter demolition of Pax Americana - or any interpretation of a unipolar or America-inspired/led world. Extrapolating to a destruction of the entire Western Experiment may be a stretch... but a linear and logical one.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives, and everyone else, should carefully consider the available options and vote as they see fit. No other scenario is consistent with our Constitution. Of course, Dr. Brin and others are welcome to encourage us in our considerations!
Is Iraq lost? In a conventional sense, yes. In any near term political sense? Yes. As a conservative I take no joy in saying this, and will take to task anyone who relishes this prospect.
Is this the end of American power? Absolutely not. Great nations have their setbacks. They become/stay Great by learning from them. Did Rome fold after Teutoberg? Nope, their best days were ahead.
Sometimes nations are damaged more by military victories than by defeats. England and France both came out of WWI as nominal winners, but have never been the same.
I have faith in our system (that's what makes me a conservative.)
We will not be relegated to minor status in the world any time soon.

David Brin said...

NEW YORK Top officials in the Bush administration, including the president and vice president, have often been critical of press coverage of the military and the Iraq conflict. But on Friday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in a commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy said the following.

"Today I want to encourage you always to remember the importance of two pillars of our freedom under the Constitution: the Congress and the press. Both surely try our patience from time to time, but they are the surest guarantees of the liberty of the American people. The Congress is a co-equal branch of government
"The same is true with the press, in my view a critically important guarantor of our freedom.
The press is not the enemy, and to treat it as such is self-defeating.

As the founding fathers wisely understood, the Congress and a free press, as with a nonpolitical military, assure a free country -- a point underscored by a French observer writing about George Washington in 1782. He wrote, 'This is the seventh year that he has commanded the army and that he has obeyed the Congress. More need not be said.'"


If Gates is a ruse, then he's a very clever oneI still worry that his mere presence may cause some officers to sit and wait and hope, rather than prepare (hard!) for the coming crisis.

Anonymous said...

"your overall excuse making is downright evil. And I mean that."

Excuse making? Not all bad people are Nazis, y'know. The Muslim Brotherhood can justly be blamed for encouraging all sorts of social ills - conformism, conspiracy theories, rote-learning, intolerance... In the specific case of Hamas, they can further be blamed for killing civilians and adopting a completely mad charter. But the MB cannot be blamed for opposing Britain at a time when Britain was occupying Egypt, nor for opposing the manifestly terrible idea that an area which in 1918 had barely a 10% minority of Jews should become a "Jewish state" (that idea, with its implicit threat of second-class citizenship and ethnic cleansing for the natives, was always the issue, not whether there was enough land; without it, immigration might have been mutually beneficial.)

What exactly do you mean when you say the MB helped the Saudis crush the Hashemites? The Saudis conquered the Hashemites' homeland - the Hejaz - without any MB help, as far as I know. The Hashemites of Iraq got their position by British fiat, and lost it not to the Muslim Brotherhood but to a pro-Soviet general. The Hashemites of Jordan have faced MB opposition for generations, but are still in power last I checked; and they never ruled Palestine (apart from the West Bank 1948-1967 of course), and never owned or had power over the land Prince Faisal so liberally offered to give away, and never let a single Jew immigrate to their own side of the Jordan.

Now a few specifics. The Grand Mufti did indeed get way too close to Hitler, but was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood (not according to anyone but Loftus, anyway - even the MB website biography of him at, which tries rather hard to highlight the small MB role in pre-1948 Palestine, doesn't claim him as a member); and Palestinian opposition to Zionism (naturally) predates his appointment. Also, Hasan al-Banna openly criticised the ideology of Nazism, saying that it (along with Italian Fascism, Ataturk-ism, and English national pride) was "based on a sentiment of nationalist fanaticism which seduces at present the hearts of the peoples" and calls it by the derogatory term of shu'ubiyyah (Insaniyyat ad-Da`wa al-Islamiyyah, 1938, quoted in National Socialism in the Arab near East between 1933 and 1939, Stefan Wild, Die Welt des Islams, New Ser., Bd. 25, Nr. 1/4. (1985), pp. 126-173, )

MB bad? In many ways, yes. MB Nazi? No. And the distinction matters a lot, because the MB will easily win any free election in Egypt, and the US had better have a better idea for how to deal with it than deciding that 60% of the Egyptian population is fundamentally evil.

Mark Brown said...

Sorry, Dr. Brin. I don't advocate it, I just wish it(sometimes...)

funny post: I just saw this again, it was a VERY old post of mine:
George Bush Resume

Anonymous said (again)...snip...
that the population in 1918 had barely a 10% minority of Jews should become a "Jewish state" (that idea, with its implicit threat of second-class citizenship and ethnic cleansing for the natives, was always the issue, not whether there was enough land; without it, immigration might have been mutually beneficial.)

OK: Anon. Look HERE for my answer of the answer of who owns the land... My House, Your House

and Really, "Give Peace a Chance"
--Just remember. For a change, it isn't Jews killing Palestinians, but Palestinians killing fellow Palestinians.

What's a poor jew to do? If I said I was glad, I'd be really lying.

I hate/Abhor the death and destruction involved.


sociotard said...

In case anybody want's hope for the Republican party, check out Ron Paul. He's crazy (get rid of the CIA and IRS? never happen) but I might still vote for him in the primaries. (I'm in Idaho. Unless they get rid of the Electoral college, the republicans are my best chance to pick my candidate, period)

He voted against the war. Chew on that one, Hillary.

All his answers at the most recent debates

Ron speaks about the possible persian gulf of tonkin scenario during a session of congress

slams Bush "demented philosophy of conquest"

Or, if comedy is your flavor of choice, Him on the Colber Report The bit mocking the silly use of hand raising during the recent debates was excellent.

I couldn't find it, but they had a bit on youtube that followed viewer oppinion of candiates as they spoke. While Ron Paul spoke against the war, his rating rose accross the board. Mostly with the independents, but some also with the republicans.

Anonymous said...

Not that I don't see David's point, but I keep thinking that it will play out in a Dr. Strangelove kinda way, albeit w/o the bomb actually going off.

That is to say that key Sr. Officers in charge will say, "Um, yeah, we're not going to throw the switch on Iran. This time."

I think that the book on Boyd (Fighter Pilot) has a great quote from him that applies: "You can either do something or be someone."

I believe that there are those who make General who still might be swung over given the right circumstances.

Enterik said...

DAVIDBRIN: the only goal that seems compatible with ALL of the events is the utter demolition of Pax Americana - or any interpretation of a unipolar or America-inspired/led world. Extrapolating to a destruction of the entire Western Experiment may be a stretch... but a linear and logical one.

Why demolish Pax Americana? Is it simply a long held grudge (perhaps Canadians never forgot the War of 1812)? Or is the goal merely Belli Americana ala 1984? Maybe some as yet to be revealed entity harbors empiral ambitions?

My money is on Dexia Group of Brussels. They've been skyrocketing up the Fortune500 and have the second largest increase in revenues since the war upon Iraq began. Do you think it is merely a coincidence that the prosecution of this war has left American domestic infrastructure neglected? Dexia is a mjaor player in the public project financing market in Europe. Their North American subsidiary, Financial Security Assurance, is already taking advantage of the increased demand for municipal bonds as federal grants wane. Moo-hoo-ha-ha-ha!!!

Sorry, the mind tends to wander...seriously, who would want to demolish pax americana and why?

Since you saw fit to extrapolate a destruction of the Western Experiment, does that limit the "black box cabal" to non-western entities? Or are there atavistic forces at play (such as neo-pagan resurgence or some merovingian subterfuge)?

Unknown said...

Dr. Brin has a genius for coining wonderful phrases. "Mad meme-storm" is one of his best. What a superb encapsulation of the current dementia riptiding through American politics!

Alas, the "Manchurian candidate" scenario makes it impossible to take Dr. Brin seriously as a geopolitical thinker. It's just too silly. I keep seeing Khigh Deigh leaning over the drunk-driving C student in his hospital bed after an unreported drunken car-crash, murmuring, "We will program the subject so that the Queen of Hearts acts as a trigger..."

The entire Manchurian Candidate fantasy falls afoul of Occam's Razor.

There's a much simpler for the pathologies and dysfunctions of the drunk-driving C student in the White House:


Whenever we get an American president feverish with idealism, disaster looms. It's a peculiarly American disease. Other nations practice realpolitik..but Americans persist in viewing the geopolitical landscape through rose-tinted glasses, and it always proves fatal to our foreign policy. Woodrow Wilson's idealism led to his fatally foolish divvying-up of the mideast (and much of Europe) in posh hotel rooms in Versailles. If you want to know why Iraq is falling apart -- blame Woodrow Wilson drawing lines on maps to create phony artificial countries like Iraq in 1919! Starry-eyed idealists like Wilson really believed their own crazy talk about "the right of self-determination." Let's remember, folks, that if Wilson's belief in the alleged right of self-determination really were an inalienable right, the American South should by rights have been allowed to secede in peace. I ask you -- what would THAT have done to America? We would today probably be 15 different hick mini-states, none of 'em with a GDP greater than Czechoslovakia, and half of 'em at war with the others.

Self-determination as an inalienable right doesn't work in the real world because it leads to the wholesale breakup of nation-states into ever smaller and more fractious subunit. Eventually, you get universal civil war. At some point, responsible adults have to admit that they may not like their neighbors, but we've got to live together, and all our problems can't be solved just by splitting off into smaller political units. This is why, although I despise many of the values of the American South, I don't think Americans can just write off the deep South culturally or politically or economically. We're all in this together as a nation. We have to live together as adults -- and part of being an adult means you have to put up with other people's crazy customs and weird beliefs. Tolerance is a big virtue. Wilsonian idealism (= self-determination) erodes that virtue.

In some cases the ethnic and cultural divisions become too great to sustain a polity -- but that's a last resort. Tolerance remains the key to a successful society in the 21st century. It's not just too easy but usually dumb and counterproductive to split up a country just because you don't like your neighbour's customs or religion or personal habits or music. Nations profit from the diversity of their peoples, as long as they can all get along together without raping and genocidally slaughtering one another.

The evidence converges on the conclusion that the drunk-driving C student in the Oval Office really truly does burn with a simple-minded idealistic belief that every culture everywhere yearns for American-style freedom and Wilsonian self determination. The notion that some cultures (like those of the mideast) might voluntarily vote to live in a tyrannical theocracy proves too complex and too contradictory for the simple-minded idealists in the White House. Yet that's what happens in the middle east. Given a choice, the popular vote favors Islamic theocracy every single time.

Moreover, history supports me here. All our worst American presidents were naive rosy-eyed idealists. LBJ (while grossly corrupt) suffered primarily from idealism -- his passage of the Civil Rights bill offers proof. That heroic gesture lost the Democratic party its entire southern base. It was political suicide for LBJ, yet he did it anyway. The reason can only be starry-eyed idealism. ...The same starry-eyed idealism that led to disaster in Viet Nam...LBJ truly genuinely did think the Vietnamese could be turned into barbecue-chicken-loving NFL-watching middle-class American good ole boys if only we stuck it out in that disastrous southeast asian ground war.

Likewise, JFK truly honestly believed that America was the great light of the world, and he told us so, up front, in his inauguration speech. "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." -- John F. Kennedy, inaugural address, 1961.

You tell me...
Isn't this exactly what we're doing in Iraq?

I have to admit that I find John F. Kennedy's words some of the most inspiring in all American oratory. However, as a responsible adult, I also find those words appallingly imprudent and shockingly hubristic. They're an invitation to utter disaster geopolitically, militarily, and economically.

The blunt truth remains that Americans are not prepared to "pay any price, bear any burden" to "assure the survival and success of liberty" anywhere in the world. I'm sorry to say it, but that foolishly naive idealism leads America to try to become the world's policeman. We don't have the money or temperament or civil service for that.

America as globocop is the most wild kind of self-inflated hubris. It's overweening arrogance of the worst kind. We're not even remotely qualified to act as globocop since America boasts a mediocre military -- contrary to Dr. Brin's claims, America's military is far from the greatest in history. As William S. Lind and many others have pointed out, America is stuck with a second generation warfare military: our basic strategy is to move up mass firepower and grind the enemy to powder through attrition. Third generation maneuver warfare, pioneered by the Mongol cavalry bowmen in the 12th century, is something the American military has not yet mastered. Let alone fourth generation warfare! -- something the American military flails at helplessly, like an insect stuck in yogurt, unable even to come to grips with it as a reality in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and elsewhere.

Colonel Boyd's OODA loop has still not been integrated into U.S. military doctrine as an operational imperative, and Boyd's OODA loop is a doctrine of warfare now 40 years old. If you want to see why America isn't the greatest military in history, and can't even win a war against 15-year-old kids armed with bolt-action rifles in Iraq and Afghanistan and Somalia, study Boyd's classic presentation "Patterns of Conflict":

Boyd's treatise ranks with the work of Sun Tzu and Clausewitz, and has been 100% utterly totally ignored by the U.S. military. Given the obsolete and ridiculously antiquated structure and doctrines of American armed forces, and our persistent refusal even to adopt 800-year-old Mongol cavalry doctrines of third generation maneuver warfare doctrines and at least try to grapple with fourth generation warfare techniques, America might as well just disband 80% of its military and go back to the standing army of 30,000 men we had during the 1930s. The current U.S. military is worthless and useless for 4GW conflicts like Iraq -- in fact, we only make things worse by sticking around. One faction or the other in the country we're occupying winds up using us as their hired killers:

For more on what's wrong with American war doctrines, and why Col. John Boyd is the greatest military theorist America has yet produced (and how the U.S. military persists in utterly ignoring his inisghts), see:

For deep insights into why the current Iraq war was lost before we even launched our invasion, see Martin Van Creveld's superbly astute article:

If you want the greatest military in the history of the world, I give you the Mongols. They qualify as the greatest military in history because they had a vast civil service backing 'em up. The Mongols were not only masters of maneuever warfare (a skill the American military has not yet mastered), the Mongols rolled in a huge civil staff and imposed law, justice, and maintained free trade in their subject territories to an extent never seen before or since. Local governors in the Mongol empire were not appointed by nepotism (compare with Halliburton no-bid contracts in Iraq!), and were fully responsible for dysfunctions in their provinces (unlike the corrupt Roman or Ottoman models, let alone the scandal of Paul Bremer receiving a Medal of Freedom for his gross incompetence as viceroy of Baghdad! Under the Mongols, Bremer would've been publicly executed -- just think how greatly that would have changed Iraqi public opinion toward the occupiers!). It was said that under Mongol rule, a woman could walk naked witha pot of gold on her head from one end of the empire to the other without being molested.

Compare that with the current debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan to see what a real military backed by a real civil service could opposed to the fumbling bumbling stumbling bungling of the American military and their corrupt Halliburton stooges.

If you want the next greatest military in history, surely the British army & navy at the height of their imperial reach in the late 19th century offers the best example. Once again, the American military can't even compare with the brits at their apex during Queen Victoria's reign. Britain really took governing seriously. Their civil service solved many times over, in many nations, the civil governance problems with which America flails and fails in Iraq.

By contrast, American military "thinkers" spout foolish gibberish, like the alleged need to train the army for "Operations Other Than War." (OOTW) No, no, no, no, no! That's what you have a foreign civil service for, like the British Imperial viceory's staff, or the Roman imperial governor's staff! Armies blow things up and kill people. Trying to train an Army for OOTW is as counterproductive as trying to train a brid to breath water and swim like a fish. Alas, America has no taste for long-term foreign entanglements, and so we have no tradition of British Imperial viceroyships, nor any prospect of developing any.

Greatest military in history? America isn't even close. America has no taste for military adventure -- and a jolly good thing, too. Americans have no patience wars lasting more than 4 years, and we might as well just admit it. Americans excel at producing pornography, video games, cheesy blockbuster action movies and infantile bubble gum pop rock featuring yong girls prancing around the stage draped with snakes. We should stick to that. It's our single greatest weapon against Islamic theocracy, since all this cultural fluff proves irresistible to young people in closed societies everywhere. But as warriors, Americans are way down the list, we're fifth-rate as a global military power -- and that's being generous. The Mongols or Imperial British army would kick our asses big-time, given equivalent a level technological playing field. Consequently we Americans should stick to what we're good at (Debbie Does Dallas, online internet gambling, and The Price Is Right) and leave the rest of the world alone, militarily, unless other nations beg and plead for us to intervene.

Enterik said...


Imprudent application of Occam's Razor will get one to the simplest of all hypotheses, "God made it that way" or the equally vague "idealism"

Doubtless I need not lecture you on Occam's Razor, but I think it bears emphasizing that it's use is usually qualified. When given two plausible hypotheses, the simpler is preferred, with no guarantee of correctness in decision.

So entertaining less than obvious machinations, is not necessarily an indicator of geopolitical non sequitar or paranoia.

Personally, I favor a "Blatantly Obvious Manchurian Administration Hypothesis" where each component brings its own, not so subtlely inculcated, meme which through the process of willfull isolation forged a new hybrid mal-adaptive deme.

Mix aliquots of PNACism, patriotism/jingoism, careerism, fundementalism and classism of the component individuals and a dash of foreign influence. Incubate for a few years and you get out the current expression of "American Will". It's all been molded (or is it mouldered) before our eyes, brazen subornation of halcyon American principles.

However, after reading all the words that have been heaped onto this notion in this forum, I still have the sense that david brin has a more palpable, possibly extranational entity in mind. I don't yet know who they may be, so I think it is premature to reject the hypothesis out of hand. Having said that, I also think it is a bit soon for me to reject my null hypothesis. At this point, I have little need for such certainties as the symptoms are bad enough to direct my voting behavior.

Anonymous said...

David Brin hints that the conspirators are involved in the current government of Saudi Arabia. (Never mind that the current Saudi government is about as popular as Saddam Hussein was among its ordinary citizens and one of Osama bin Laden's stated goals is their overthrow. If America goes down, the House of Saud will be one of the first casualties. There are definitely elements in Saudi Arabia that are violently anti-Western, but the House of Saud, like it our not, is stuck with us.)

Enterik said...

@Doug S: It seems to me that the House of Saud as a political entity are far closer to catastrophic collapse than the United States, they might not survive even with the US, so the uqestion is, whether the US surivive without them?