Home / A Sober Plea for Ending the War in Iraq

A Sober Plea for Ending the War in Iraq

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The events of 9/11 had a traumatic effect on the American people. It was the type of shock that could drive a society blind with rage or in our case, send us on a non-stop drinking binge. We were hurt, angry and determined to get revenge. We were vulnerable and in that moment we could be easily led to do many a rash thing. There is so much damage that can be done when a person is under the influence. Consider what we have inflicted on others as a nation drunk on power. During our wild swinging haze a group of men pointed through the fog and claimed to see our enemies. At the time we were ready to believe anything. We were ready to fight anyone and so we followed.

For five years our military has slaved away in Iraq. We have lost more soldiers on the ground there than in the rubble of 9/11. If only we could have seen past our rage. If we were sober that would have been one hell of a sales pitch. George W. Bush addressing the nation with unscrupulous honesty would have said, “My fellow Americans, Iraq is not a credible threat but we are going to invade for selfish reasons that I will never disclose to you. In Iraq we will spend unheard amounts of American money, so much that it will damage our own economy. In Iraq we will annihilate half a million people, many by accident, some of them innocent. In Iraq we will sacrifice the lives of four thousand U.S. soldiers and we will not compensate their families. I promise to bring pain, fear and insecurity to Iraq, to our country and to the world. The wounds of 9/11 shall not be healed. They will instead be exploited. Our national suffering has only begun.” Had the President said the very things that turned out to be true, we would not have followed him. We would have impeached him.

So here we stand at another such crossroads, being sold a shiny new keg of lies. If we are to face the current situation in Iraq without a buzz we’ll need to know which of the current narratives will produce the best outcome. Our Washington representatives have clung to two of the more popular speculations as pertains to our effectiveness and direction. One is that American power, culture and democratization will take root in a foreign land seeding their sand with the genes of capitalist ambitions. The other is that Iraq is a land under siege by an unwanted military presence which secures enough of the infrastructure to ensure that blood, oil and money will fatten the pockets of a handful of Texas millionaires.

Are we helping Iraqis or stealing from them? How cynical our choices have become. Have we saved their country or sold it for a profit? Should we stay and install Marine guarded McDonalds on every street corner or should we allow the citizens themselves to start their own business chains? Are we forcing self-determination? Can it be forced?
It’s easy to assume that there is no practical solution but we are Americans. We’re not fond of failure. If there is no solution we’ll pick one that markets well. It will be focus group adjusted and prepped for popular consumption. We’ll apply it and then pretend that it succeeded. We’ve already done so with the surge. There is no reliable proof that the surge has worked. There is no measurable substance behind the enthusiasm of war supporters who are thrilled that deaths have shifted away from Baghdad and towards Basra. The competitive primary race has allowed our corporate media to shift attention away from the off camera bloodshed. This lack of focus gives political leverage to pro-war pretenders while simultaneously insulting the troops who continue to fight and die every day.

Should hypocrisy remain our national face then all we are doing now is waiting for a new product to spring up. It will be a simple, bumper sticker catch phrase that allows the average American to presume clarity and understanding where there is none. This spectacularly selling dynamo will provide cover for our embarrassment about lying our way into a false invasion. Once the commercials start running we can dance our way out of this conflict having convinced ourselves that Iraq will be the New York of the Middle East. Hey, maybe we could build another World Trade Center in Baghdad? Problem solved.

If you are not a fan of delusion then we might have to dig a little deeper into our souls and accept that some painful realities are about to kick us in the conscience. Once the President is gone, with no one to spike our kool-aid, we still have the matter of practical resolve to deal with. If our forces pull out of Iraq we have been promised that it will become the chaotic epicenter for terrorist activity. Really? News reports indicated that Iraqi security forces are fighting on par with the Mahdi army and doing so without the assistance of American forces. It sounds like they’re doing fine on their own. Isn’t that what we wanted?

But what if they are right about a coming civil war? Who really cares? As heartless as that sounds, the truth is that our people won’t be dying if we leave and over two million of Iraq’s middle class have already fled the country. They were the best and brightest and they are gone. Iraqi parliamentarians have second residences in other countries. Members of their government are stealing the oil money meant for reconstruction. Corruption is already rampant. So who exactly will be killing who? Al Qaeda is made up of Sunni’s while most Iraqis are Shia. They certainly won’t be working together so will the terrorists and insurgents be killing each other? That sounds like an acceptable conflict.

It is likely that American personnel both military and civilian will continue to die on a regular basis for as long as we intercede. If, as John McCain suggested, we remain there for one hundred years then it is possible that we could be accepting casualties for the duration. This is hardly comparable to WW2. The Germans and Japanese were cultured, industrious and honor bound – Al Qaeda is not. We are hated in the Middle East and they have long memories for atrocity. There are Arabs and Persians who still talk about the injustices of the crusades. Our invasion will not be forgotten and it might never be forgiven. If we are there for a century, we will be targets for a century.

So, how strong is your stomach? How durable is your patience? Will you be comfortable knowing that we destroyed a nation, scattered its citizens and then left them to pick up the pieces? Will you sleep better knowing that our valued men and women in uniform are safe at home where they belong? Or, are you ready for the long haul? We could be endlessly building relations with a part of the world that diametrically opposes our way of life. Are we determined to convert as many as possible in the hope that these modern few will guide the way for the rest? Isn’t that how our country began?

We must remember that our educated and determined forefathers took the reigns and threw out an occupying force in order to declare their independence. Aren’t we assuming the Iraqis will do the same? At the end of this sequence of events aren’t we secretly hoping that the Iraqi people find their gumption? Realistically, that is the only way we will respect them and, more importantly, it’s the only way they will respect themselves. Either way both narratives lead to one inexorable attainment. The end of the story is just as ironic as the beginning. We will succeed only by empowering those who will expel us. Whether it be next year or in one hundred years, we will be driven out of Iraq.

I’m not going to pretend that I have all the answers but I do have some common sense conclusions. Staying where we are guarantees instability while leaving assumes instability. Let’s admit that we cannot give them what we do not possess. Our enemies declare victory every time an American dies over there and they will declare victory when we leave. We have no control over their propaganda. If our struggles are about perception then why delay the inevitable? Allow them a cask of delusion instead of drinking it ourselves. The buzz won’t last, it never does. Ours is fading fast and it’s about time. 9/11 was seven years ago, our self-pity is all used up. It’s time to end the binge, put down the bottle and accept that we cannot control everything. Instead of projecting our insecurities onto another nation we need to clean up our own backyard. It’s been neglected for far too long.

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About Alex Hutchinson

  • I see a lot of complaining here and the repetition of the usual canards about the supposed ‘war for oil’ and ‘bush lied, people died’ and other equally meaningless BS. What I don’t see is any ‘sober’ proposal of how we get out of Iraq in a responsible way. All I see is another leftist drunk on self-righteousness and willing to build a monument to peace with the skulls of future generations of Iraqi children.


  • I’m in total agreement with the #1.
    Its all propaganda – nothing objective nor sober. Glad I didn’t waste my time by reading anything beyond the second paragraph.

  • Clavos

    “…we can dance our way out of this conflict having convinced ourselves that Iraq will be the New York of the Middle East.”

    What a horrible thing to wish on the Iraqis. Even in the turmoil of war, Baghdad is a far better city than Noo Yawk.

  • Louis Orlando

    Obviously Mr. Hutchinson hasn’t a clue! Best he sticks to writing novels where he can control the outcome to fit his agendas.

  • Thomas

    Mr. Hutchinson–I agree with you completely. While these critics that speak against your own criticism state their opinions, they only propose that it’s BS because they really don’t want to see the truth. While you’re actually providing reasoning to your perspective, they just say it’s wrong without providing any themselves. It’s pretty obvious that you have the higher ground as far as rational thought is going here.

    I am, by the way, fighting in the war in Iraq right now, via the U.S. Army. I go outside the wire every other day, to supply food and fuel to other bases, always under constant attack by roadside bombs or small arms fire–all the while knowing that we don’t really have a legit reason for being there, based on our original declarations for the invasion. Truly, blood for oil. Our military has good intentions–they want to win hearts and minds. But we’re only rationalizing our politicians’ choices. I really cannot wait for it to end. War should always be seen as a last resort.

  • Clavos

    “I am, by the way, fighting in the war in Iraq right now, via the U.S. Army.”


  • STM

    I get over there all the time too by osmosis.

    G’day Clav …

  • Clavos

    Hey, Stan.

    Can’t believe I’m up this early (it’s 0548 Saturday here), but I have to drive 90 miles to Palm Beach for day three of the boat show.

  • Cannonshop

    Ohh-kay. um, lots of appeals to emotion, not a lot of sober. There ARE sober reasons to finish the business in Iraq, unfortunately finishing it in a ‘sober’ way generally doesn’t leave ONE iraq, and would probably (likely) piss off our allies the Turks to no end. About the only people IN iraq that like us are the Kurds, and while it might settle some of the longer-standing problems in that region to divorce that northern bit and create a “Kurdistan”, it also wouldn’t last long without U.S. aid, since everyone around it would go in for making Kurdburger Flambe’ with Napalm and the light almondy smell of cyanide. Being that we’re the U.S.A. and stubborn, nasty folks that we are, we’d probably give it-thus alienating a member of NATO permanently and sticking our asses in a war WITHOUT oil.

    Pulling out entirely is basically telling all the violent pus-buggaring psychotics in the middle east that they can take a weakened, disorderly, disorganized, oil-rich and weapons-soaked nation by storm. If Al Quaeda aren’t there now, they WILL BE, along with Hezbollah, and any one of any number of other extreeem wahhabist or Khomenist factions. The best outcome from that, is that the Iranians stage iraq invasion: the Sequel.

    What everyone on the Left forgets, is we’ve seen this shit before with another philosophy, not too terribly long ago. The U.S. left Vietnam, and North Vietnam turned into a neighbour conquering machine, the dominoes DID fall, and American credibility as an ally went into the toilet world-wide. (FLUSH)

    five years in, a little under five thousand U.S. dead. Considering the fatality rates to drunk-driving off-post before 9/11, that’s not bad.

    Radical Islam is NOT going away, and unlike godless communism, it can’t be defeated by economics-we’re BUYING our own trouble in Petrodollars, the Euros are in (at least on their government’s end) full surrender-mode to Wahhabist radicalism and giving every sign of trying to appease their soon-to-be masters. Hell, even the Israelis are trying to Appease their way out of being the first one killed or enslaved. This is not something you can bargain or deal your way out of, Radical Islam isn’t going to stop just because you want to be nice. Once they’ve won in Iraq, it’s a game of “Who’s next?” Maybe the former Soviet Republics? Maybe Turkey, or Egypt? maybe Israel?? hmm? Indonesia, perhaps, with its islands and oil-wealth? How about a nice game of “Let’s make all of africa look like Darfur”? Given the direction the EU has taken wrt the Mohammed cartoons (their court on human rights took the side of censorship, btw. Can’t be offending someone who might bomb your next party, after all…)

    Yah. Shots have been fired, shots have been exchanged, at this point, backing off or backing down is going to be viewed ONE WAY by the guys planting those IED’s and firing those mortars- they have beaten the United States. Success brings ADDED effort. In 1978 President Carter let American Diplomats be held hostage by Iranian militants. The result? throughout the 1980s Islamic Militants upped the ante, taking more hostages, killing more westerners, bombing more Embassies, eventually diversifying into an American Destroyer (USS COLE) and the first WTC bombing attempt (followed, naturally enough, by the second, successful, attack.)

    Blowing up an aspirin factory with a cruise-missile that cost more than the facility did, did NOTHING. and will do…NOTHING.
    (except make pretty pictures on the news and help some elected sleaze pretend they’re trying to do something about the problem).

    There are people you can reason with, there ARE people you can make deals with (who will, at least in public, honour those deals). This enemy is not that kind of people. These guys want one thing-the West to be destroyed to make way for a new, global, Islamic Super-state. It’s the cold-war all over agian, but this time, out-developing and out-spending ain’t gonna win, because these guys can be just as ruthlessly capitalist as our side, and have fewer moral qualms about getting their hands dirty.

  • STM

    Clav: “Can’t believe I’m up this early (it’s 0548 Saturday here)”.

    Best time of the day mate … birds twittering, revelling gibberers asleep, roads quiet.


  • STM

    Cannon wrote: “About the only people IN iraq that like us are the Kurds”.

    That’s not strictly true mate. I used to live there. Iraqis don’t dislike the US at all, most of them.

    Abu Ghraib didn’t help, but they are not upset the coalition got rid of a stalinist parody who’s favourite party trick was having people fed slowly, feet-first into industrial paper shredders.

    They are just war-weary.

    The US does need to change the conduct of the war though.

  • troll

    privatize it – as civilian contractors stand up the US military can stand down…….and while at it allow the companies wanting to operate in Iraq to foot the bill – I’d rather pay them at the pump rather than through fed taxes

    $20 a gallon gas sounds good to me

  • John

    Hard Fact: Blackwater murdered babies in Iraq while working for the government of the USA and the government liked it and allowed it.

  • STM

    Troll says: “$20 a gallon gas sounds good to me”.

    I’d expect that from a bloke whose main mode of transport is the horse 🙂

    Wait ’til the price of hay goes up Troll.

    That’ll wipe the smug grin off yer face.

  • troll

    support federal research/development in tele-transportation….save the world

  • The stupidity of Bush and his administration has thrust us into the cluster fuck of Iraq. They ran us in willy-nilly only to discover that we are now painted into a corner.

    I know this is an old and now, I guess, pointless perspective given the current situation, but we could have fought islamic radicals much more effectively had we never entered Iraq. Iraq was a secular state loathed nearly as much by Al Qaida and other islamic radicals as they hated the west. Saddam was a turd of the first order, but can anyone think that things could be any worse for Iraqis under Saddam than they are today? In the end it matters little who is killing you. Can anyone imagine that during this same period since our initial invasion of Iraq that there would now be more Iraqi dead under Saddam?

    It’s certainly magnanimous of Cannon to find the US dead in the Iraq effort to be “not bad.” The parents, spouses, children, other relatives and friends of those killed will take a great deal of comfort from that sentiment.

    Had we never entered the fray in Vietnam, perhaps some “dominos” may have fallen, but so what? Fifty seven thousand Americans and countless Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians and others parhaps would not have wound up face down in rice paddies.

    I actually think that islamic radicals are a far greater danger to the world than communism ever was. But our incursion into Iraq has done nothing to quell that threat, rather it is now far more wide spread than ever.

    It is obvious that we can’t just walk away from Iraq at this juncture. We have, by our own idiotic efforts, totally disrupted the region rendering it a powder keg with Sunnis, Shias, Kurds and Al Qaida operatives all vying for power.
    How we can hope to bring all this carnage under some semblance of control appears to be a mystery to all. The “surge” may have reduced incidents of violence, but it does not likely follow that stability is on the horizon. McCain could be right. We might well be there for a hundred years. Bush has handed us a load of shit, and now we have to figure out how to cleanse ourselves. Even if our hands eventually look clean at some point, there will likely be doody remnants left under our nails and the stench will linger for a long, long time. Good job George!


  • John, when did “Hard Fact” start to mean “bullshit I made up”?


  • Cannonshop, you’re being cynically hyperbolic with your ‘domino theory’ scenario. A grand total of two neighboring countries ended up with communist governments after the Vietnam War. Had the dominoes fallen to such a cataclysmic scale as you’re suggesting, the Indian Ocean basin from India to the Philippines would have gone communist. As we all know, not even Thailand did.

  • I think the bottom line is being ignored here, gentlemen. The bottom line is not that America should or shouldn’t leave Iraq for whatever reason. The bottom line is that you can no longer afford to stay there.

    The war that really gave brth to the United States was the Seven Years War in the middle of the 18th Century. It was really a world war, with Britain engaged against France in India, North America and Europe. Britain won – on paper.

    In reality, the British treasury was emptied by this war, and the British government tried to figure out a way to re-fill it. They happened upon soaking their North American colonies. This strategy was what ultimately caused a bunch of those colonies to separate from the British Empire and re-involve France once again in war against Britain. This time, the French treasury was emptied out, and this ultimately led to the French Revolution and the shortening of King Louie by a head….

    The British still had another ace to play at the ass-end of the world, but France was wracked by war and instability for decades.

    You are seeing the same thing happening now to you as happened to Britain in 1765, and France in 1785. Your treasury has been emptied into the Tigris and the Euphrates. Your economy is now going to have to bear the brunt of policies that are bankrupting you. Worse, none of the non-entities who wish to lead you have either the brains or balls to tell you this or recommend a solution. And that is the bottom line here. I fear to contemplate what you face in the near future.

  • While I reserve judgment as regards our “non-entities” vying for the presidency, I must admit that I agree with Ruvy on this one.

    The current tally on the cost of our Iraqi involvement has eclipsed five hundred billion dollars. I would wager that it is actually far more than that. I find it odd that rarely do I hear economists point to our expenditures in Iraq and the consequent negative ripples our involvement there sends out across other world economies as a source of our current financial woes. That we are heavily in debt to China and many other countries doesn’t seem to register either.

    Certainly, the current situation in domestic real estate markets is having a strong dilatory effect on our economy, it is not the only, nor, perhaps not the chief source of our problems.

    I also find it rather disingenuine that so many people oppose national health care owing to its probable high costs to taxpayers, yet just shrug at the money going down the shitter in Iraq and Afghanistan. If those who don’t believe that the government can efficiently manage our health care, how can they believe that it can manage a war any better? How many billions of dollars have gone missing in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 5 or 6 years? How much has been otherwise mis-spent? How will the cost of all the borrowed money affect our economy in the years to come? How much further down is the U.S. dollar likely to sink against other currencies in the future?

    I’m sure there are other, perhaps more meaningful questions to be asked. But it can be assumed that no matter how other aspects of our economy may rebound, we will continue to find it difficult to keep our heads above water as long as the anchor of our Iraq expenditures remains chained to our proverbial ankles.


  • STM

    Ruvy: “The British still had another ace to play at the ass-end of the world, but France was wracked by war and instability for decades”.

    Lol. Arse-end Ruve, not ass end …

    As to the French – well, 1000 years of military humiliation delivered by the hands of those lesser-beings of that upstart island nation (the one shaped liked a witch taking a dump) just across the channel will do that to a people.

    The French still haven’t forgotten. Their great legacy is Britain is the number of victory statues and meorials dotted about the place. That and French fries (chips, the great British fried potato). And most of it they brought upon themselves (although only the British can carry the can for the state of their own cuisine).

    Bonaparte’s rampage across Europe was every bit as bloody as Hitler’s.

    America isn’t in the same situation yet, not by a long shot.

    America’s fiscal decline is more about the belief in the relatively new notion that a nation’s wealth is best earned by shuffling bits of paper around on Wall St rather than in actually making stuff and selling it – which paradoxically is what America’s best at.

  • Bonaparte’s rampage across Europe was every bit as bloody as Hitler’s. America isn’t in the same situation yet, not by a long shot.

    With respect to France, you fast forward too quickly, Stan. You need to savor the full odor of the bitter wine of decline before you get to the bloody aroma of heads rolling in Paris squares under the kind ministrations of Dr. Guillotine.

    The stench starts when the French king does an actual audit, a real one, and a Frenchman with green eyeshades and a sharp pencil (or quill) goes to King Louie to say, “Sire, you’re busted.”

    The good king says, “What do you mean, ‘you’, kimosabe?” You’re my subject too, so you’re also busted, buster!”

    The fellow with the green eyehades replies, “but with all due respect, my King. A famous ancestor of yours said, ‘je suis l’état’. I think it’s time for you to go borrow a charity box from les juives and shake it in the street saying, ‘can you spare a denier, buddy – or maybe a louis d’or?'”

    At this point, the king busts a gasket and shouts, “Guards, seize him! “Off to the Bastille with you, you merde!”

    It’s going to take some time for the élites to admit that the U.S. is up shit’s creek without a paddle. They will need tine to protect their own assets before actually admitting how bad the situation really is. All that brave talk about producing and selling would have been fine if American bankers and oil men weren’t so mercenary and damned greedy, forcing American businessmen to find ever cheaper sources of labor.

    It’s not that what you say is wrong – in theory, it is spot on. But the sad reality is that you can’t rebuild a manufacturing infrastructure on the rotting remains of the rusting manufacturing base abandoned decades ago. That takes real money and commitment – and while there are those with the commitment, the bankers are now sitting on the money.

    Arse-end Ruve, not ass end … When I spell “savor”, “odor” and “labor” with a “u” in the middle, I’ll adopt such Britshisms as “arse” in place of “ass”. In the meantime, I spell according to the rules of American English laid out by Noah Webster.

  • bliffle

    I just viewed “Uncovered: The true story of the Iraq war”. It pretty well refutes all the reasons we’ve been given for invading Iraq, presented by the experts who were vainly looking for reasons.

    Let’s face it: this whole trillion dollar folly is just a Vanity War to bolster the ego of an incompetent kid who never did anything right in his life.

  • The U.S. doesn’t “make” much any longer. As Ruvy suggests, (this agreeing with you has just got to stop!) we are now a nation of paper shufflers, of electronic money moving, a nation of investors. Our industrial infastructure has been in the wane for at least the last 30 to 40 years.

    What is really frightening is that all our “digital” wealth could disappear at the errant or intended stroke of a computer key.

    Most newer manufacturing in the U.S. is in some area of electronics, communications, etc. That, I suppose, is a good thing. But you’ll play hell finding a maker of widgets anywhere within our borders. All our widgets are now being made in China and/or third world countries.

    We are faced with a serious conundrum. Many relatively high paying union jobs in manufacturing have disappeared over the last several years. Folks who had been earning, say $15 to $25 per hour are now faced with taking service oriented jobs which may pay no more than $8 to $10 per hour. Many pay less. Many such people are forced to work multiple jobs to have any hope of maintaining their homes purchased in better times, (I’m not referring to sub-prime mortgagors.) and their life styles.

    Even many of the poorest Americans are unwilling to perform what are viewed as menial labor – agricultural work, low end janitorial and maintenance work, roofing & other construction work, fast food, etc. Enter Mexican immigrants.
    Those who would expel these people and prevent their entry into the country in the future have no answer to the question who is going to pick our fruits and vegetables? Who is going to perform other menial labor which is now largely done by Hispanics?

    This may be going off on a tangent, but I believe that it’s all of a piece. The American economy is fragile at best. Our bubble can burst from any number of sources – from terrorism to keystrokes.


  • Baritone,

    The reason that you and I are agreeing is simply that I’m describing the same reality you see all around you in our native land. We have both seen the rise of Japanese transistor radios (and heard Allan Sherman’s song making fun of them); the rise of the multiple letter corporations in suburban industrial parks (and heard Allan Sherman’s song making fun of them); the subsequent flood of imports from overseas; the rise of fuel prices in the seventies; the rusting out of the steel-belt in the mid-west and closing of the steel and manufacturing companies (and heard the song Allentown) bemoaning the betrayal of an entire generation of people). We have both seen the rise of homelessness (I’ve done more than just “see”, I “participated” for a time); the rise of the “service” economy and the malling of the America.

    We have both lived and seen the same things and drawn similar conclusions. I haven’t spent much time on what I believe to be the root causes, but without referring to religion or G-d, or Divine intervention, and sticking only to human actions, you see many of these things caused by the machinations of those described in A Century of War, by Engdahl, a book I once recommended to Clavos.

    Before prattling on about Divine intervention and the like, it is extremely important for me to get the facts on the ground straight, so that I can intelligently look to my books of Wisdom, the Tana”kh and Zohar for guidance as to underlying reasons. As I’ve written elsewhere, the proof of a prophecy is whether it comes to pass.

    In that spirit, I’ll leave you with only one prophecy, one that I believes gives a hint of the very near future.

    ko amár ADOSHÉM ELOH-ÍM hinéni elékha gog nasí rosh méshekh v’tubál:

    Thus said my L-rd G-d, here I am against you Gog, prince (or president), leader of Meshekh and Tubál: [Zechariah 39:1 (in part)]

    This is the beginning of the famous prophecy where G-d, speaking through Zechariah, tells Gog, a foreign invader (or visitor?) of this country, that he will die on the mountains of Israel, food for birds of prey.

    I ask you only to look at the underlined word in bold in Hebrew, and the corresponding translation in English.

    The Hebrew noun for “prince” or “president” is masculine. G-d, speaking through Zechariah, is addressing a man. This is my prediction, based on that prophecy: Hillary Clinton will not be elected to lead your country.

    I’ll stand by that.

  • bliffle

    Are we working fast enough at complicating the Financial Industry to assure full employment therein for 300 million USA citizens?

    If not, what are the plans for supernumeraries? Servants? Slaves? Soldiers?

  • MAOZ

    Ruvy, I’m curious — are you among those who see a particular significance between a possible variant pronunciation of the gimels and a present-day office-holder?

    [Dang! That’s way too many p’s in one sentence! Perhaps I should preview this post prior to pressing “Publish”….]

  • MAOZ,


    That’s too many p’s in one sentence, boychick.

    Heh. As for the pronunciation of the “gimels” and a present day office holder, I’m not so sure anymore. In order for this to remain so past January, certain events would have to occur. Either this office holder (or his father) would have to die on the hills of Israel before January 2009, or the elections would have to be canceled so that this office holder could stay in office. Canceling American elections would take an extra-ordinary event.

    Have you noticed how many times I hedge that elections may not occur in my comments on the candidates for office?

    For those of you having trouble with this, you’ll just have to dig out what I’m talking about on your own….

  • Silver Surfer

    “American English laid out by Noah Webster”

    American what???

  • American ‘English’.

    Cf. ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’.

    American, like the sadly defunct Scots, is a language that is very similar to, but not actually, English. Speakers of the two languages are able to understand each other (much of the time) but most authorities classify them as distinct tongues.

    Cf. Danish and Norwegian.

    (This is the bit where you say something about flags, Stan.)


  • The U.S. doesn’t “make” much any longer. As Ruvy suggests, (this agreeing with you has just got to stop!) we are now a nation of paper shufflers, of electronic money moving, a nation of investors. Our industrial infastructure has been in the wane for at least the last 30 to 40 years.

    This whole idea of ‘making things’ is entirely passe. As someone who has been in business in several different industries, I can assure you that the bane of business is the need to make and sell actual physical objects of value. I spent years just dreaming of having a business without a physical inventory.

    What is really frightening is that all our “digital” wealth could disappear at the errant or intended stroke of a computer key.

    Well, since we’re the ones who are now in the business of managing and tracking all that wealth, we’d better damned well be able to do it well enough not to lose track of it.

    Most newer manufacturing in the U.S. is in some area of electronics, communications, etc. That, I suppose, is a good thing. But you’ll play hell finding a maker of widgets anywhere within our borders. All our widgets are now being made in China and/or third world countries.

    Actuallly, the movement of most of our large-scale industry overseas has opened up a market for craftsman-style, lower-level industry in the US. Small businesses that manufacture things on a small scale often for custom requirements are flourishing. Your society of managers and investors goes hand in hand with a society of entrepreneurs. IMO this is the leading-edge economic structure for the future.

    We are faced with a serious conundrum. Many relatively high paying union jobs in manufacturing have disappeared over the last several years. Folks who had been earning, say $15 to $25 per hour are now faced with taking service oriented jobs which may pay no more than $8 to $10 per hour. Many pay less. Many such people are forced to work multiple jobs to have any hope of maintaining their homes purchased in better times, (I’m not referring to sub-prime mortgagors.) and their life styles.

    I hope they were earning more than $15 an hour at their union jobs. The $10 an hour job for a minimally skilled worker is an absolute myth in most of the country. Those union workers can come to the southwest and work in a machine shop or a metal shop with minimal retraining and earn at least $20 an hour.

    Even many of the poorest Americans are unwilling to perform what are viewed as menial labor – agricultural work, low end janitorial and maintenance work, roofing & other construction work, fast food, etc. Enter Mexican immigrants.
    Those who would expel these people and prevent their entry into the country in the future have no answer to the question who is going to pick our fruits and vegetables? Who is going to perform other menial labor which is now largely done by Hispanics?

    Dead on. Add to that a projected insufficiency of workers to even fill the non-menial jobs within less than a decade because our population isn’t growing, and you have a new kind of economic crisis. If we closed the borders and kicked out all of the illegals now the repercussions would be felt almost immediately and the inflation and decline in the quality and availability of services would be substantial.

    This may be going off on a tangent, but I believe that it’s all of a piece. The American economy is fragile at best. Our bubble can burst from any number of sources – from terrorism to keystrokes.

    I see it differently. I think our economy is evolving and the biggest threat is crazy policy like you get from the nativists who want to expell all the Mexicans.


  • No, DD;

    This is the bit where I say “good bread and good cheese is good English and good Friese”.

    So long as Australians, Canadians and Brits watch movies that end with “Colour by Technicolor”, then we are still all speaking English.

    Just because you gits can’t get half the vocabulary right doesn’t make Americans wrong. And a reminder for the rest of you: for the time being, American English is the imperial language of the planet – you “Achaeans” will just have to keep up with American English till the American Empire falls – which shouldn’t be too long from now.

    Then you’ll have to deal with Hebrew.

    Your first lesson – free!

    Alef A – a letter that doesn’t carry a vowel sound, a glottal stop. Numeric value – 1
    Bet – B, V. Numeric value – 2
    Gimel – G – in modern Hebrew, this is always a hard “G”. Numeric value – 3
    Dalet – D – sometimes pronounced like a T at the end of a word. Numeric value – 4
    Heh – H – silent at the end of a word. Numeric value – 5
    Vav – V, U, O (originally W). Numeric value – 6
    Zayin – Z. Numeric value – 7
    Het – no equivalent in English, but developed into the English H. A deep gutteral H from the throat. Numeric value – 8
    Tet – T. Numeric value – 9
    Yod – Y. Numeric value – 10
    Kaf – K, Kh – the Kh is pronounced like the Scots ch, as in “loch” – a very different sound from Het. Numeric value – 20
    Lamed – L. Numeric value – 30
    Mem – M. Numeric value – 40
    Nun – N. Numeric value – 50
    Samekh – S. Numeric value – 60
    ‘Ayin – a sound from the throat that usually carries the vowel ah. Numeric value – 70
    Pe – P, F. Numeric value – 80
    Tzade – Tz. Numeric value – 90
    Kuf – K – This letter evolved into the letter Q in Latin. Numeric value – 100
    Resh – R. Numeric value – 200
    Shin – Sh, S Numeric value – 300
    Tav – T (Originally th, as in Bethlehem). Numeric value – 400

  • I’m kidding, Ruvy. You of all people I shouldn’t have to tell that.

    As you are evidently aware, but for the edification of others who might be interested, the living language most closely related to English is not ‘American’ but Frisian, spoken on a handful of small islands off the north German coast*. I have no trouble reading it but that may be because I speak German anyway.

    I love languages and find it amusing that Danish and Norwegian, which are practically the same, are regarded as separate languages whereas Mandarin and Cantonese, which are mutually unintelligible, are usually both counted as dialects of Chinese.

    I reckon I’ll be speaking one or other of those before I’m speaking Hebrew, BTW, beautiful language though it is.

    * An oxymoron. Thanks to the efforts of a Mr Churchill, a Mr Roosevelt and a Mr Stalin, Germany doesn’t have any other coasts.

  • Baronius

    Dread – Not an oxymoron. I believe it’s an unnecessary qualifier.

  • Baronius – I stand rectifiably corrected by your amendment.


  • STM

    Flags, Doc???

    What, did you expect me to say something silly like, the only truly civilised countries are those that a) have a Union Jack as a flag, or b) have a Union Jack in the corner (which is why Hawaii is the most civilised state of the US :).

    Nah, I wouldn’t say anything like that. I’m not that kind of a bloke.

    Americans, however, really should look at new flag options. 13 red stripes on a white background and a whole shit-load of stars stuck in one corner – my 13-year-old could have designed that!

    The movement to reinstate the Dominion of British West Florida has a very tasteful design – a nice red one, whith a big white star and the civilising Union Jack in the corner.

    They believe that to have West Florida made a Dominion and brought back into the Commonwealth would not require it to secede from the US.

    Other, smarter states, would obviously then follow suit once they realised the benefits on offer.

    The main one of course is the opportunity to get invited over to the capital of the world to have tea, and watercress and cucumber sandwiches at Buck House with Her Maj, or even better, learn the rules of cricket or become a Knight of the realm.

    Seriously, how can Seppos match that??

    This is also a surefire way for the Seppos to make sure they never get another G.W.Bush, or someone else they don’t like in the White House (which in truth, is really just a poor copy and a parody of Buck House that never quite matches the pomp it hoped to emulate).

  • STM

    And Doc, what about Swedish … I know it’s similar to the other two, but could a swede be understood by a Dane or a Norwegian, and vice versa.

    I am off to look up Frisian on the internet.

    Cheers, Doc, and a thunmbs up to you knowledge of some interesting tid-bits.

    Same to Ruvy and Clav … the odd interesting thing from these two has me chasing around the internet on occasions.

  • …what about Swedish? … I know it’s similar to the other two, but could a Swede be understood by a Dane or a Norwegian, and vice versa?

    They all understand each other pretty well. The question is, do they really want to?

    There are two large Germanic groups that inhabit Minnesota/Wisconsin – the Germans, from Germany and Austria, and the Scandehoovians, who are all the Scandinavian peoples who came to Minnesota/Sweden because of its similarities to Sweden, Norway and North Germany/Denmark. There are also a pack of Finns who swam over from Finland…

    That’s why there are so few blondes out of a bottle there.

    From the Scandehoovians you get the jokes about the sober faced Norskies who never crack a smile (along with the sober faced Norskies who barely ever crack a smile), and “oofta!” I’ll let a native Minnesotan translate that for you. From the Finns, you get “sisu” which is the Finnish version of Hutzpá. They all drink a lot, with the Finns preferring vodka and the Scandehoovians preferring beer or whiskey, and the Germans preferring beer…

    The Democrats prefer “whine and jeez.”

  • Closing italics here.

  • That doesn’t work, Ruvy. I’d recommend ALWAYS using the preview button.

  • steve

    it appears that another american has fallen victim to the media… hook, line, and sinker.

  • Brother Hutchinson is a writer of fiction, which is fair enough, but it would have been a little more clear with readers if this article had been identified as the utter fiction that it certainly is.

    Just a couple of short points from the first couple of paragraphs to illustrate the creative imagination spilled onto the page. For starters, we did not go into Iraq in a blind rage after 9/11. It was nearly a year and a half later. We spent pretty much of 2002 jawboning this. It may or may not have been a good idea in retrospect, but it was not rushed through in a blind rage.

    Also, it’s a totally non-credible fiction to claim that the US has killed a half million Iraqis. The author just made that up, or picked it up from someone else who has made the number up out of thin air. That’s just not true, not even vaguely having a whiff of truth about it. You could pick out demonstrably fictional statements in nearly every sentence of this nonsense.

    In short, this is not a very good “sober plea,” cause you’d have to be drunk either on heavy liquor or leftwing kool aid to believe anything about this made up little story.

  • Apparently the media has been handing us a bunch of fiction or pure bull about recent events in Iraq as well. Check out this fascinating report on what has really been going on in southern Iraq from a well known and reliable Iraqi blogger who has direct sources on the ground where the media is too lazy to send anyone competent.


  • Baronius

    Al – Good points about the beginning of the article. Alex enumerates all the arguments that someone on his side would agree with, whether they’re factually correct or not. He provides nothing that would persuade a supporter of the war.

    My biggest problems with the article were near the end. Unless I read him wrong, Alex wants to see Iraqi Founding Fathers unite to drive the US out of their country. And if they turn on each other after we leave, so much the better. It’s just wacky Muslims killing wacky Muslims. For someone who complains about the current death toll, he’s pretty cavalier about future lives.

    Antiwar people complain about the jingoism of the administration. But they’re very comfortable with a future civil war in Iraq. Likewise, they complain about American greed motivating the use of the military, but they’re the ones who detest our charity in restoring Iraq. If we discontinued, say, our efforts to fight AIDS in Africa, they’d be protesting. But they want to end our contributions to Iraq in favor of more spending on our public schools, our health care, us.

  • Dave,

    This guy was fascinating enough for me to bookmark his blogspot.

    But that doesn’t change the very basic fact that your country can no longer afford its involvement in the Middle East, particularly Iraq.

    So, either Bush folds his cards (or rather his handlers tell him to fold his cards) or he (his handlers, sorry) will go for broke.

    The whispers out of my neck of the woods are betting on the latter.

    Big ships from the coast of Kittim will afflict Assyria and the afflict the other bank – but it too, will be forever destroyed. [Bamidbár/Numbers 24:24]

  • Could we ever afford our involvement in the middle east, Ruvy? It’s never been a profitable enterprise.

    The blog I linked to is interesting because as it presents the situation, the possibility of us leaving Iraq and having it be relatively stable seems pretty believable in the fairly short term.

    As for future policy, as I’ve suggested before, our primary focus should be on the containment and neutralization of Islam through an all-out cultural and economic assault. Corrupt them out of their faith.


  • bliffle

    Ah well, the Usual Suspects, Barger, Nalle, Erroneos, even Ruvy, flock to the defense of theindefensible Bush Vanity War in the usual way: by attacking the messenger instead of the arguments.

    They deserve no better than what they give.

  • Baronius

    Bliffle, it’s the same arguments we’ve been hearing – and refuting – for years. Seriously, read the article, and tell me that there’s a single new idea in the first 80% of it. That’s why I wrote about the ending.

  • Clavos


    We Americans should cease once and for all referring to the language we speak as English.

    It is NOT “English,” it is American, and like most things American, is vastly superior to that creaky old middle aged tongue spoken by the Queen and her subjects.

  • So what is it that’s especially superior about it, Clavos (meaning ‘nails’ in some language or other… not sure what… not American, at any rate… hmmm…)?

    Is it the inconsistent pronunciation and spelling, the cumbersome use of the letter Z at every opportunity, the constant nasal drone, the tendency to insert ‘yee-haw!’, Howard Dean-like, into every second sentence, or the putting of perfectly good English words (‘pavement’, ‘football’, ‘trunk’) to uses for which they were never intended?

  • Clavos

    It’s OK, Doc, a certain amount of bitterness is to be expected; first, you lost the Empire, and with it, world hegemony.

    Then, you lost control of the language; but you can take comfort in knowing that we Americans, in our magnanimity, are understanding of our still stiff-upper-lipped (if somewhat embittered and envious) royalist cousins.

  • Envious? What are we to be envious of, Clav? America’s rich culture?

    Why, I must admit that every evening I sit in awe of the scintillating current affairs analysis provided by such high-end programming as Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight. I’m spoiled for choice with a smorgasbord of documentaries on the arts, the sciences, current affairs, natural history and philosophy. (No? Really? I must have missed them sandwiched in between Two and a Half Men and yet another Seinfeld re-run…)

    And let’s not forget America’s long and fascinating history. Why, some of the buildings in the city where I live are as much as forty years old!

  • I done speaked me some Amurrican!


  • Clavos

    “I done speaked me some Amurrican!”

    You’ve been living in the Republic of Texas too long, Dave, you need to move back to the USA before it’s too late…

  • Maurice

    Dr. D

    maybe you should get rid of your TV. I got rid of mine in 1997 and haven’t missed it.

    57 channels and nothing on

  • STM

    Right, Clav

    That’s it old boy. Time to play for keeps.

    I am going to sign you up as a citizen of the Dominion of British West Florida.

    Then I’m going to pass all that info on to the Feds, who will no doubt suspect you of being a traitorous, treasonous cur who is flirting with royalist sentiment!

    The good guys will love you though.

    Plus, you get a proper flag.

  • STM

    Dave: “I done speaked me some Amurrican”.


    And for that, you gits yoself an extra slice of granny’s possum pie.

  • Clavos

    Yer a foin one ta talk, mate, speakin’ that weird tongue of Oz…

  • the Usual Suspects,…even Ruvy, flock to the defense of the indefensible Bush Vanity War in the usual way: by attacking the messenger instead of the arguments.

    Bliffle, I won’t talk for the other “Usual Suspects” but I have neither defended this war nor attacked the author of this article.

    Having over 100,000 Yankee soldiers in my neighborhood, a mere seventeen hour (or less) drive away, leaves me extremely uncomfortable. Knowing the usual American taste for betraying “allies” as I do, and seeing the actions of the spike-heeled Condi-bitch from the oil industry doing so constantly makes me very wary of her goons in the neighborhood.

    I have stated the obvious. The U.S. of A. cannot afford to stay in the neighborhood – it’s going broke. So, my own instincts tell me that the leaders of the U.S. of A. will go for broke – bomb Iran – and fulfill the prophecy of Bila’am in the process.

    I’d hardly call that defending the “Bush Vanity War”. If you must call this war anything, call it by its proper name – the War of Gog and Magog.

    As for future policy, as I’ve suggested before, our primary focus should be on the containment and neutralization of Islam through an all-out cultural and economic assault. Corrupt them out of their faith.

    It’s a reasonable policy you put forth, Dave. Except that there are other factors involved. This whole exercise, the slow bringing down of the United States into the dust, something you do not want to see, is not something that is happening by accident; it is occurring by design. Intelligent Design, if you will. Hence the allusions to the prophecy of Bila’am in my comment to you.

    I have a bit more to say, but I have to catch a bus for Jerusalem.


  • STM

    Clav: “that weird tongue of Oz…”

    If I can just step lightly on the outside of gog and magog and Ruve’s apocalyptic vision, can I just say … git a croc up yer!

  • Right, Clav

    That’s it old boy. Time to play for keeps.

    I am going to sign you up as a citizen of the Dominion of British West Florida.

    But Stan, Clavos doesn’t live in British West Florida.

    And I don’t think he wants to move to Mobile.

    Even though we both know that, in his heart of hearts, he’d really love to have little old silver-haired Mrs Windsor as his head of state.

  • Clavos

    I’ll bet I’m one up on ya, Doc…

    Due to my advanced age, I actually remember seeing (but only on film) a lovely young English Lady being crowned.

    They made a beautiful film of the coronation, which was shown around the world, even in Mexico. At the time, I was in the Fourth Form at Mrs. O’Gorman’s Greengates School (which still exists, though I fear Mrs. O’Gorman has long since departed to that Great Classroom In The Sky).

    Greengates being a Brit school, we had a field trip to a theater for the whole school to view the film.

    So there…


  • STM

    DD: “But Stan, Clavos doesn’t live in British West Florida”.

    No, and until he signs the paper, they won’t let the bastard in.

    In all seriousness 🙂 though, I am signing him up as an agent of Her Majesty, where he’ll work in South Florida to undermine the rebel colonial government there and try to make them all see sense – finally.

    So Clavos, the Irish Viking who took a wrong turn at Iceland and ended up in Guadalajara, may well be the unlikely first hero of the Dominion of British SOUTH Florida once he’s rewarded for his work on Her Majesty’s (Secret) Service.

    Fair payment and an ample example of Her Maj’s gratitude would be a knighthood, a plate of watercress sandwiches, a lifetime’s suppy of liptons, a copy of the Oxford dictionary, a barony and possibly a very large estate (oh, and a flag), don’t ya reckon??

    By the way, what’s happening up in Central California, Doc??

    Are YOU making any headway up there with the rebels?

  • As I recall the last time the British tried to take over Florida Andrew Jackson had their agents hanged.


  • STM

    Then Clav and Doc are in deep sh.t

  • The other thing I wanted to mention before some unfortunate business called me away to the not so wholly Holy City.

    I found the site on the “Dominion of West Florida” extremely amusing. I read through the constitution of this “entity” with great interest, looking for some hint of a parliamentary regime, and found none. The Governor-General of this bunch or crackers with the Union Jack and Queen Lizzy on the brain would have all the powers of a Louisiana tyrant from Baton Rouge (which would be on the border of this little shteitl (pun intended).

    Fascism rolled in bread crumbs fried up in chicken fat and served up with grits and ham hocks!

    Yup! Definitely an improvement on the good old U.S. of A.

    Have fun, guys! Remember the Alamo!

  • Clavos

    “Remember the Alamo!”

    Funny how you gringos keep saying that.

    You lost…

    ¡Viva Santa Anna!

    ¡Viva México!

  • Come now, Clavos. As everyone knows, ‘Remember the Alamo’ is simply a memory strategy to help you figure out where you parked your rental car in downtown San Antonio.

  • By the way, what’s happening up in Central California, Doc??

    Are YOU making any headway up there with the rebels?

    Piece of cake, mate. They’re a bunch of airheads over here. All I have to do is utter a few syllables of the Queen’s English and they’re putty in my hands (especially the women).

    After that, it’s a simple matter to press a few propaganda pamphlets into their hands and they can’t wait to salute the Union Jack.

  • RJR

    The Dominion’s Constitution gives the G-G approximately the same powers as the US Constitution gives the President.

    (After all the US Constitution is basically just a codification of the British Constitution of the time with the President replacing the Monarch, the Senate the House of Lords, and the House of ‘Representative’ the House of Commons)

  • wildnfree

    While I believe that we shouldn’t have gotten into this war. I don’t think that we could get out very easily now. Turkey would attack the Kurds, Iran would lead a Shia uprising and take half the country. Then lets not forget the Sunni sects whom would probably align with the Gulf Arab states. Of course they would all massacre the Iraqi Christians as they were mostly left alone before we invaded and stirred up a fresh batch of mad mullahs and killed the common enemy that kept them from attacking each other.
    Continued support of this war will eventually drain our economy and leave us vulnerable to attacks on the actual home land (unless we fully restore the 2nd amendment and legitimize our militia movement). We are stuck now.
    There is only one way to get out of this without turning the entire middle east into a giant battleground. A scorched earth withdrawal.
    Destroy every building, all infrastructure, confiscate every weapon and kill as many people as possible on the way out. Then go home and figure out how to run your car without gas (need to do that anyway).
    Given the reality of the situation even those of us who oppose this war need to realize that there is no way to just march out of Iraq with our heads up and let the chips fall where they may. At the same time our leaders need to stop planning for a permanent presence there, and focus on a way to exit safely, even if it means breaking Iraq into smaller nations. Or some other reasonable solution.

  • RJR

    Actually, there is the ‘appoint a strong man’, arm him to the teeth, and then leave option.

    The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan might serve as an example (they have a functional parliamentary system, with an Executive (not figure-head) King.

    The former Crown-Prince of Jordan, Prince Hassan bin Talal, (who has a distant claim to the Throne of the old Kingdom of Iraq), might be a ‘good man’ for the Job, He isn’t a US Puppet, but he’s also not a blood thirsty Imman….

  • Imman is a retired model married to David Bowie. The word you’re looking for is Imam.

    As for the Jordanian monarchy, they’re actually supposed to be ruling Saudi Arabia, which might be more productive than putting them in charge of Iraq.


  • RJR

    Well, the Uncle of the present King of Jordan in charge in Iraq for now would be a good start.

    The Saudis Kings aren’t the worlds nicest rulers, (no need for a parliamentarian in their Government 🙂 …) but they are at present staying pretty much in their own sand-box….

  • wildnfree

    I agree that a strongman running a semi brutal dictatorship is probably what will end up ruling Iraq… and may be the best solution. You just can’t force democracy, it has to come from an uprising from within.

  • STM

    I love how this has veered completely off topic from the Dominion of British West Florida and back to Iraq.

    Come on guys, get your priorities right.

    You won’t have any of these problems once the US returns to the Commonwealth, with Liz at the helm again and guided by those good and loyal folk who are setting the pace down there on the Gulf coast.

    And imagine how good the Stars and Stripes would look with a Union Jack in the corner.

    For a rough idea, google the State flag of Hawaii – the best-looking one in the Union 🙂

  • Ah, now see, Stan, they’re all wise to you now and ain’t gonna take the bait.

    I think it’s high time you wrote an article expanding on your leitmotif. That way, maybe a few BC newbies will read it in outraged innocence and the fun can start all over again.

  • Clavos

    Doc, you agitator, you!

    Wassamatah, bored?

  • Well, BC’s fairly quiet at the moment, especially the Politics section, and particularly now that Arch seems to have sipped from the poisoned chalice and will be voting for McCain after all.

    We just need to get some really acrimonious debate going, and Stan’s idea about the colonies returning to the imperial fold strikes me as the perfect kindling.

  • Clavos

    But, as you said, that one’s gonna need new blood to get going again.

    Even monkeys learn not to touch the hot stove after a couple of repetitions.

  • bliffle

    Looks like the BC staff has instituted a blackout on the political front, probably to spare the tender ears of Iraq Invasion supporters from more discomfiting news and observations from alarmed US citizens.

    Just in case no one noticed, General Petraeus testified to the Senate and the House on the progress of The Escalation. Oh, we can call it an escalation now, not a surge, because it is to continue, not diminish, because it failed to result in Iraqi Political improvement so we’ve got to keep doing it (by the perverse logic of the current Administration). Oh well, another failure that will be rewarded by continuation instead of being ended. Just like all the previous failed plans and the very people who pushed for them, including Maximum Leader himself.

    But we have learned one thing from the exercise: why Petraeus (presuming he’s as good as the PR which preceded him) wasn’t made El Jeffe years ago so (since he’s so good) we could have ended the war/occupation years ago?

    Why would President God deprive us of this General Moses who could deliver us from the Iraq desert?

    I asked this question of everyone I could find and no one volunteered an answer.

    Now we know the answer: Petraeus is not a strategist and has no strategy. All he’s got is his same old short term tactics, namely, seize-and-hold (oh, and hold some more).

    Petraeus doesn’t have the intellectual tools to win this thing. He got the military tools he said he needed, but he has no strategy to push this thing over the top.

    We’re back to the same old War Of Attrition. Looks like we’ve Vietnamized the Iraq Invasion.

  • Responding to your first point, bliffle, the BC “staff” can’t and don’t shape or limit the content here, so there’s an easy solution if you’ve not seen something covered, sign up and write it yourself.

    Easy, huh?

  • Astonishingly, REMF, you’re right.

    Average height for a Viking male was more like 5’7″.

    However, before you get too excited about this, you might want to take a peek at this, which reports that the average height for northern Europeans as a whole during the 9th to 11th centuries (the Vikings’ heyday) was about 5’8″ – making the Norsemen shorter than most. Oops…

    As for Clav – must be the Irish half

  • Ah, the comment I was responding to has gone. Without expanding on the obvious reasons why, REMF was boasting about the stature of his Viking ancestors.

  • Dan Miller


    I done speaked me some Amurrican!

    I am distressed to learn that you are one of Senator Clinton’s speech writers. You hurrible secret jes can’t be hid no mo.

    Shame on you.


  • Clavos

    Re # 83:

    According to your two links, Doc, both halves contribute to my prodigious height (72″), as the material you cited shows the Swedes to have been the tallest among the Scandahoovians, while the Irish are also shown in the second citation to be above the average height of the rest of the cohort to which they are compared.

    What can I say? I have good genes…

    So, why ain’t I rich???

  • bliffle

    Petraeus was a flop. He simply has no answers for our crisis in Iraq. What next for President Gump? Who will be the next military victime to step up for failure just to get another star?

    I didn’t catch the first part of the hearings. Did they actually swear Petraeus in this time? Last time they didn’t. And Ray McGovern was ejected from chambers for trying to direct the congressmens attention to that fact.

    But who cares whether Petraeus is sworn in to tell the truth? Nobody, I suspect.

  • Clav: my prodigious height (72″)

    Then where did Emmy get the notion that you’re only 5’6″?

    I’m glad Chris left my comment up, because even the results of the five minutes’ research I did were so deliciously poetic that it would have been a damn shame not to share them.

    And to pre-empt any anti-Anglic griping from Emmy, I should point out here that I’m descended from Vikings myself.

  • Clavos

    Then where did Emmy get the notion that you’re only 5’6″?

    Beats me, Doc. Didn’t know he thought that; I don’t pay much attention to his comments.

  • Didn’t know he thought that

    It comes under the ‘MCH Exception’. Chris (and by extension, I) ruthlessly deletes those comments as soon as he spots them.