I am leaving you. Guest authors, commenters and the various troll nations may continue if you wish. I may start another blog under "Pat Lang's Blog" but there will not be comments. pl
Browse by category
- March 2023
- February 2023
- January 2023
- December 2022
- November 2022
- October 2022
- September 2022
- August 2022
- July 2022
- June 2022
- May 2022
- April 2022
- March 2022
- February 2022
- January 2022
- December 2021
- November 2021
- October 2021
- September 2021
- August 2021
- July 2021
- June 2021
- May 2021
- April 2021
- March 2021
- February 2021
- January 2021
- December 2020
- November 2020
- October 2020
- September 2020
- August 2020
- July 2020
- June 2020
- May 2020
- April 2020
- March 2020
- February 2020
- January 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- March 2007
- February 2007
- January 2007
- December 2006
- November 2006
- October 2006
- September 2006
- August 2006
- July 2006
- June 2006
- May 2006
- April 2006
- March 2006
- February 2006
- January 2006
- December 2005
- November 2005
- October 2005
- September 2005
- August 2005
- July 2005
- Why We Fight* – TTG
- Mick Ryan on the coming Ukrainian offensive – TTG
- “It’s 7 a.m. in Tel Aviv after a night of protests. Here’s what you need to know about Israel’s political crisis” – TTG
- Russia to base nuclear warheads in Belarus… so what? – TTG
- “Drone strike kills US contractor in Syria; US retaliates” – TTG
- “Ukrainian troops impress US trainers as they rapidly get up to speed on Patriot missile system” – TTG
- “Russia hauls 1950s-era tanks out of storage to join battlefield” – TTG
- “Terran 1 | Good Luck, Have Fun” – TTG
- ISW take on the Xi – Putin meeting – TTG
- Russian defensive lines: screwing the pooch once again – TTG
Oh no. I hope you do start a blog. Thank you for your excellent insights into Syria.
SSt will be missed. I have learned much from you and your group and I have grown to trust your views because of your credentials and because you have been proven accurate in your assessments.
Sorry to hear you’re leaving SST. You’ve always been an important source of information on various subjects for me. I hope you do continue writing on another blog.
Understandable. Thanks very much – quite a committee you launched. I hope you do a one-way blog, esp on ME affairs, intel, faith.
I have been reading your for years.
You will be sorely missed.
All the best,
I will read it religiously anyways!
Colonel Lang –
Sorry to hear you are leaving. We have not always agreed 100% on issues, but I have always respected your moxie, your candor, and your service. I’ll be reading your new blog.
Thank you for what you’ve done here. Nothing lasts forever.
Please favor us with a brief explanation of your motivation for ending it (at least your version of it). If you present your points to us, I promise not to argue against them.
Goodbye Pat Lang!
Enjoyed your blog for many many years.
Good health and good spirits.
Horrible night! The Nashville Predators lost bad tonight, and now face elimination in the Stanley Cup finals.
And now my favorite blog (which I’ve been following since my early 20’s – a decade long love affair!!!) might get eliminated too!
TTG…talk him off the ledge! Hell, talk me off the ledge!
Don’t think I can process the BS of this world without this place.
Thank you, very much. I wish you well.
Say it isn’t so !
I will miss you
In one way or another I hope to continue to read your correspondence.
Out like a Greenie in the night, eh? Ah well…it was a good run.
I knew this day would come eventually. This has been my favorite website for over ten years. We all learned so much from you. Thank you!
My congrats to the 17 million pageviews.
I sincerely hope that you will be back writing here. Your contributions in your pieces and comments are invaluable. It would be a huge loss and a shame if the knowledge and wisdom you acquired over many years would not be spread to the next generation(s).
(My advise as a fellow blogger:
Take some rest from the blog. Don’t feel pressed to post something every day. Come back when the urge to write is there again. I had and will again have such periods myself. They are just necessary breaks.)
Bon chance, Pat!
Gone but not forgotten.this is the story of johnny rotten.
I am very sorry to hear this but thank-you so much for all you have done trying to bring some reality into the discussions on FP/IR. Best wishes to you and SWMBO.
Very sad news, but wholly understandable given the open nature of your unique blog. There reaches a point where the wisdom of the crowd becomes the insanity of the group. Your pearls of wisdom have been greatly appreciated by this swine nonetheless. Perhaps you will consider an invitation only membership on your new blog – allowing comments only from those who know how to hit the nail on the head.
As this is my last change to comment, I’d just like to express my gratitude to yourself, your guest authors and other contributors for some fascinating insights. SST is a rare thing indeed and I consider it an privilege to have been able to make a small contribution myself.
Very best wishes for the future, sir.
8261 C422 4BFA 018D 65CF CEA8 9457 1E0B CBDB 9931
Thank you sir, for all of your efforts. It was a real honor to be member here.
What an exceptional learning experience for me here! I suppose for many others, too. This has been my first stop in the morning for news and analysis for many years. I hope that you continue your excellent work, in a new form if that is your wish. With much gratitude for your time, energy, engagement. kip
Thank you for what you and your Committee have done.
I would imagine that the work load of checking through comments day after day must be very high. The comments are always interesting and very often instructive but the true substance of your blog is in the articles.
I hope that you will continue these on the new site you are contemplating. If your committee members also continued to contribute then the work load would be greatly reduced but what you are doing would retain its value.
For me the site had an extra fascination in that it opened a window on to American politics at a time when it looked as if American democracy might regenerate itself. The material was there but it didn’t come off. Maybe my pessimistic take on that is influenced by the considerably bleaker picture we see here and in Europe, but that vision of a democracy painfully searching for reform and a fairer dispensation was one that seemed tantalisingly achievable in America in 2016.
Back to reality. But you and your committee offered the only well-informed and balanced account of what is happening as a result of current American/Western policy so I do hope you will, one way or another, be able to continue.
If not, thank you again for giving us SST.
I’ll be sorry to see you go Colonel, I’ve learned so much about the military, intelligence, and the Middle East from this site – I think I have a much more balanced view of the world because of it.
While I can understand the frustrations of keeping up with the political arguments and (my)dumb comments, I must say that this is one of the few blogs I’ve seen where the comment section is as valuable as the original posts. Your diligence in moderating is what has kept it that way.
Thank you for all you’ve done.
I have appreciated the additional information available from this site. I think the new blog would be very valuable. I hope you do it. Thanks.
Keeping up this blog for 17 million page views must have been a Herculean task. Congratulations.
This community of pilgrims will not be the same w/o you. There will be rejoicing in some circles. One less point of light in the gathering darkness of the Borg.
Fare thee well.
I concur 110%……
You maybe on to something….
Thank you for sharing your knowledge, sir.
You are a grand ass James….
You know you will be miss Col….but I don’t blame you a bit. I hope you do whatever you want to do. Start a new blog. Don’t start one. Reconstitute SST, don’t reconstitute it. Just do what you and your wife think is best for you guys. I wish you much luck.
I suppose it gets fatiguing when you run a blog like this and have to moderate comments, many of which we readers never see because they are so wretched, but he who runs the blog has to read all manner of swill and I’ll bet some of it is ugly ad hominem trolling by all the “middle schoolers” in the mob. I’ve appreciated what you’ve written and have been informed in valuable ways by it. If you bow out, I for one will miss you.
Understood. If you be so kind as to leave some clues as to the location of the new blog, I would appreciate it.
Thanks again for providing mature insight in an uncertain world. I am sorry the trolls and other sundry got to you, but truthfully, I am impressed by your long history of forbearance.
I am sorry to see you leave. If you do start a “read only” blog, please post the location here.
I have found over the years that crowd sourcing a blog makes everything more difficult. Although there have been many enriching “comments” there has also been a lot of dross that I spent many hours weeding out. A lot of people entertain fantastical conspiracy beliefs that while entertaining are distractions that are often maintained with considerable heat on the part of the believers. SWMBO and I are agreed that the principal benefit of SST has been its “salon” quality and that this derives from the quality of the guest authors and their interaction. there is also the problem of the army of trolls, an army of the darkness, who march behind various banners but who always have the same goal which is to make wounding personal attacks that will destroy a willingness to expose oneself through publishing something as personal as a small blog. Therefore the new blog, whether it be SST reformed or completely new will be a discussion among the guest and junior authors and me. There will be no “comments” as such. There will be some adjustment of the authors list. Authors will place remarks by making “posts.” I will mull this over and make some efforts to re-commence after Independence Day. pl
Addendum: If you are not presently a junior (edited) author or guest author (autonomous)and would like to be considered for those statuses in the new set up. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. pl
Don’t let the bastards grind you down, Pat!
This product is too good to disturb!
I have been a reader for 10 years. This is one of my few must-read daily blogs. I wish you the best on whatever you choose to do with SST or whatever new project you undertake.
Many thanks for all the years of service to provider to your readership and to me. I can understand how tiring it can be to weed out all the ill informed comments. Please keep us posted about your new blog as I would loved to keep reading your insights about the Middle East and other topics. SST will be greatly missed.
Milles mercis avec mes meilleurs voeux.
Thank you; I learnt a lot form yourself and other commentators.
All the best.
… et bonne continuation!
Too bad. I hope you stay on the Net though
That’s fine with me. The truth is that at most blogs the comments sections have a low signal to noise ratio. It’s a difficult decision to shut down comments, because there are some very good ones but the proprietor has to do a lot to keep the place from degenerating into a cesspool.
Personally I think if you keep your front page posters and possibly allow a handful of the most knowledgeable commenters ( this leaves me out) to do guest posts it might actually be an improvement. That goes against my original idealistic notions about the Internet, but years of reading comment sections at different blogs have left my idealism in tatters.
I whole heartedly agree with the many sentiments above that SST has been one of the most valuable sites on the web. It has been my go-to resource on world affairs, especially regarding the Middle East and Asia. Thank you for all you’ve done.
You shed light in dark corners for many years. That light will be missed. Not having you comment on crucial FP topics is akin to losing one if the 7 senses. I do hope to follow your new blog. Good fortune in whatever undertaking.
Joining others, thanks for everything. It was a pleasure to meet you and SST, Pat.
Interesting decision. Good decision it feels. Focus? At least for this addict over the years – Starting in 2005? Less space for distracting babblers, like me. 😉
Yes, some voices in the comment section I may miss. Hopefully they are willing to add their respective perspective to your new blog.
As one of the ‘old lags’ who has been commenting on SST from the beginning: It has been indispensable, and as far as I have found unique on the web, because Colonel Lang has provided an antidote to two central problems with contemporary Western foreign and security policy, which are related.
One has to do with the failure properly to integrate military and other aspects of policy. A difficult task at the best of times, doing so requires people who combine serious military experience and knowledge with much broader understandings, and civilians who are prepared to try to grapple seriously with military technicalities.
Our host is a very distinguished example of the first kind, and this site has been invaluable to many of us who have been trying to be the second.
Another has to do with wrong lessons being learnt from the retreat and collapse of Soviet power.
Rather than grasping that the whole notion that an élite could have privileged knowledge of some ‘natural’ direction of history down which all mankind are destined to travel was crap, large elements in the Western intelligentsia concluded that the real problem with the Soviet system was that it had got the direction wrong. (Rather than a model socialist society, Afghanistan would be transformed into Iowa.)
Such people – a classic American instance would be David Brooks – of necessity see both foreign countries and their own through a thick ideological filters, much as their Soviet counterparts used to do.
The extent to which this is plain dangerous has become amply apparent in recent years. One cannot make sense not simply of Syria and Ukraine, but also of Trump and Brexit, in terms of a Manichean view of the world divided into ‘good guys’ on the ‘right side of history’ and ‘bad guys’ on the ‘wrong side.’
This site has provided a marvellous resource for people who want to escape the ‘mind-forged manacles’ of such world views. However, when things go wrong it is a natural enough instinct of people to interpret this in terms of conspiracy theories.
Moreover, plenty of people who want to keep their fellow-citizens firmly secured in different versions of ‘mind-forced manacles’ have every interest in rotting the proceedings up by trolling.
Both because of his immense range of experience and broad learning, and also by force of personality, Colonel Lang has been well-equipped to play the role of ringmaster, stopping the inevitable ‘bear garden’ element getting out of control – and that is why the site has worked so well. But it has clearly been a Herculean labour, and one can see that the demands on time, patience and good temper become exorbitant.
I am happy to hear that you will continue to be an online presence. In these perilous times good solid information combined with insights based on hands on experience is both rare and sorely needed. We live in a fog of mis and dis information. The writers and talking heads in the media leave much to be desired. Your readers would be adrift without you!! We need to hear more, not less from you and your guest authors. PLEASE!!! don’t leave–you are irreplaceable.
It has taken an incredible amount of energy and devotion on your part to maintain this excellent blog over all the years.
Lately I have been seeing more of this- “wounding personal attacks”- which is just unconscionable here.
Kick back and enjoy life with your wife and friends this summer. People our age know we have only so many more left.
In a mad mad world your blog is deeply sane – despite its occasional explosions, misunderstandings and spats.
You are educating people – both on what’s happening in the world and on how to think clearly and analytically. That is a very, very important and rare gift in a world of cliche and group think and deep mendacity.
So, as b says, take some time off. Have a rest. (Which will probably last for at least two days). And then please return. This is, as its says on the packet6, a Committee of Correspondence. Without correspondence it dies.
Suggest a fee-based site in future. I’m good with $50/year!
You are one of the commenters that I have learned a lot from. I have followed up on some of your historical references and discovered people, ideas, and entire countries that I didn’t know existed.
I just found your essay ‘The persistance of the past’ which I’ll read this weekend. Thanks much.
Say it ain’t so, Pat. Your posts and those of other members of the Committee of Correspondence have been my primary means of obtaining rational, realistic, and informed accounts and views concerning the avalanche of events since the beginning of the 2nd Iraq War. You’ve had a star-studded group here, including, but certainly not limited to, Habakkuk, Walrus, TTG, Harper, Brigadier FB Ali, the always entertaining and pithy Babak, Bahzad, and more. Not a snide remark or ad hominem attack among them.
That said, for some time I’ve been wondering how you keep up with it and find time for all the normal life stuff.
And, I now see that the Committee may be resurrected with an altered format and that sounds like good news. I shall watch with interest.
The 55th year reunion of the ever-diminishing class of ’62 is coming up and we’ll be playing the Keydets. Good luck and farewell. (maybe)
W.P. Fitzgerald III
Many thanks for all the years of enlightenment and your hard work to make this committee such a wonderful source of information. Best of luck in any future endeavors.
Best wishes, Colonel. Your blog has been very important; a strong view unmoved by prevailing winds is in short supply.
A pity there’s not some kind of automated tool that can weed out the venal and bigoted comments from the lot. I can only guess at the hard work it must take to manage as a solo.
A total eclipse has darkened the world of wisdom with this news. Like others, I have come to your website for your personal insights for many years. I will not beg you to continue, knowing how many hours it must take to wade through the landfill of opinion. I will look forward to your next endeavor. Thank you for your service to our nation, the world, and to us. You are thoroughly appreciated by this reader.
Be well Pat and belated Happy Birthday. Appreciate your online education about the Middle East and the workings of our govt.
Good luck for the future, and take a well-deserved rest.
I can easily see how merely reading all the comments on this blog is already a huge task and time-sink, however good these comments might be.
Whether we readers and commenters agree with you or not, on all or some points, is irrelevant. You’ve been right on issues where you were in the minority and where the pundits and key commenters were wrong; you have a huge experience, which might colour your views and analyses – as with all of us -, but which is also and more importantly very valuable, and sometimes just can’t be substituted by anything else.
At the end of the day, any website/forum/messsage board/blog is an autocracy – which can range from benevolent enlightened rule to abject tyranny -, and not a democracy, if only because the owned/admin pays the bill and is the first one who has to face legal responsibilities for what’s written. That’s not an indictment of any site, it’s how it is and being aware of it helps to understand why comments are allowed or not, why sites are moderated the way they are, depending on the owner/admin/moderator’s experience and intent. A convoluted way of saying it can make perfect sense to want to reform a blog into one with few or no comment, and readers should first of all be glad and thankful for the enlightening comments and analyses any writer takes time to publish.
I am extremely grateful that you have so generously provided this valuable outlet for your insights and exchange of ideas for so many years, and for putting up with often childish and ignorant antics we have engaged in. I am sorry to see you leaving us, but, I suppose that had to happen one day.
Should you start a new blog, I will be eager to follow your insights once again. In the meantime, I wish you, your SWMBO, and other loved ones a happy and enjoyable respite, especially free of us aggravating boors! 🙂
I honestly would prefer a space where comments, discussions and posts are limited to a selected few. I used to read the comments but lately have given up as even with your best efforts they have become painful to sort through.
Your efforts in trying to maintain open comments are admirable but I think it is now time to shut this down I can personally say that I would welcome it.
I hardly know what to say, except thanks. I have been reading you for over ten years and frequently quoting you for as long as I worked on a radio show. I shall miss SST, and I do hope you will start your own blog.
I wish you every success.
Thank you, Col. Lang.
One last thing..
I’ve found some comments to be synergistic with the main post, but many are not (maybe some of mine?). But I would surely read the blog without comments.
Under some form your continued blogging is IMO a public service because of your lengthy background of intimate involvement in foreign affairs and military matters.
These are “interesting times” we live in and, perhaps, about to get more interesting.
Countervailing perspectives from someone who knows are a valuable thing to have access to when the MSM is full of braying jackasses..
Colonel, this site has meant so much to me. That an average person can interact with the ‘bigs’ is so charming. You have taught me so much about ME relations and culture. It is an honor to have been given insight into IC from such a big wig.
Thanks so much for doing this for all these years. Your sharing of all your knowledge and wisdom is greatly appreciated. I will miss you. I’ve learned a lot here. You’ve changed my way of thinking. I do hope you start Pat Lang’s blog. Take care of yourself happily.
Where you go, I will follow and observe all the standards of decorum that you set.
I agree with your assessment that a “lot of people entertain fantastical conspiracy beliefs” and reduce the value of any discussion. Whenever a discussion devolves to the Rothschilds, petrodollars, Freemasons, MIC, etc there can be no real incisive analysis.
Additionally, as you correctly point out “there is also the problem of the army of trolls, an army of the darkness, who march behind various banners but who always have the same goal which is to make wounding personal attacks”.
I hope you can continue the analysis of events. Your opinion and the opinion of several of those that made SST an important source of analysis is invaluable in an environment of increasing deceit, particularly by those at the highest levels of our government. Only people like you can shine a spotlight!!
Your blog, the SST, was my source of information from the early beginnings, I believe in 2003. I think I got to know this site through a mention in the Helena Cobban blog, and also your single appearance on PBS Evening News with Colonel Gardner, just about when the Iraq war was to begin. After that one time appearance, you and Col. Gardner were made unwelcome in the official media. The opinions you and Colonel Gardner have voiced were not revolutionary, not “out of bounds”, yet the “politrucs” in the administrative staff of the station must have received instructions from the real grey eminences, that you have crossed some ‘red lines’. The ‘politruks’ are the semi-visible figures in front of the true leadership/ownership of the outlet. I believe that they are capable to make some simple censorship decisions on their own, but some nuanced issues they discuss with their bosses. The whole issue of information control could be a good topic for a post on SST. Maybe some disgruntled person from those circles at the steering wheel of the media would one time spill the beans? Maybe one of those people would one day feel a sting of remorse for lying to compatriots, lying by omission and commission?
I would plea to you Sir, to let us know, before you abandon this site, how you felt when you started it, what were your intentions, and if you yourself have the feeling that you accomplished your goals? Your announcement today is, seems to me, not in up-beat mode, that’s why I am asking.
Thank you very much for creating this site, and wish you much deserved vacation.
Thank you Sir. Seldom does a day go by that I fail to read SST. You and your contributors have enriched my knowledge of the Middle East considerably. But mostly, I suppose, I’ve come to look at this blog as a conversation (abet one way which suits student and teacher) with a learned friend sharing his wisdom and experiences. Bless you Col. Lang and Mrs. Lang in your future endeavours. Hoping you do decide to write and share more on the web in whatever fashion suits.
Col Lang, keeping this blog going was a Herculean effort. You deserve a rest and a reduced load.
Thank you for all you have achieved here. I look forward to the new blog.
Best wishes to you Pat and long life. Your friend Bill Roche
I’m in for $50 a year
For a person lost in world geopolitics, SST has been an anchor for many years, and your contributions especially.
Sorry to hear it but I do understand. i will miss it a great deal and it is in my top 5 things to read daily. Now MoA is really the only blog left at this level. But, you have always had a more genteel quality than most other sources of commentary. Best wishes from Hungary.
Two reactions: OMIGOD
Thanks and good luck.
I want to thank you for your many years of hard work on this blog. You offer clear thinking, informed by vast experience and communicate that all so beautifully. I used to comment here, years ago. You taught me the hard lesson that I should just shut the f*&k up and listen, if I wished to learn. I have been attentively listening, ever since. You and many of the terrific members of your little committee of correspondence have shared a great deal of knowledge and, I think, wisdom with every visitor that comes to your site. A special thanks to them as well. I am eternally grateful. I wish you and SST the best and hope to see you in whatever form you so choose in the future. Until then, take good care of yourself.
Have been reading this blog for some time, although only began to post comments after Mr. Johnson shut down his blog.
Do not always agree, but have found the posts by yourself and others very informative and helpful in my own thinking.
Wishing you the best.
Dear Col. Lang,
First, congratulations on 17 million! That is some legacy.
Second, thank you for all your insights and for providing a platform for the other authors that post here.
Third, I wish you well in your new blog and will definitely be a reader if it comes about. I’m a bit younger than you but have reached the age where funerals are starting to dominate and some really knowledgeable mentors of mine have left the planet and along with them went their vast understanding of my industry and the world. SST has been a great source of “hard” knowledge and has enhanced my understanding of the world and “universe”. So, you have left quite a legacy here for all that take the time to mine it. Thank you.
To all the other commenters here. Thank you also for your valuable input as this is one of the few sites that I read just about all of them. It will be strange without all of you around.
Your analysis and opinion is even more important today. When we are one miscalculation away from a nuclear holocaust and when so many parties with the resources are engaged in massive IO, only those like you with depth of experience in how government actually works and the historical context can provide insight into reality.
Maybe another format where you have authorized correspondents who can engage in discussion around topics to penetrate the fog of all this IO, could possibly work. I would suggest TTG, David Habakkuk, Patrick Bahzad, Patrick Armstrong, Harper, PT, Brig. Ali, Walrus, Fred, b, Valissa and Babak as the inaugural correspondents. A variation could also be the ability of others to ask questions that the correspondents could choose to answer.
Sir, IMHO, your analysis and the opinions of the correspondents like those I have suggested need to be aired in a comprehensive discussion format, before we completely succumb to our Orwellian future. There’s no way for ordinary citizens to penetrate the fog of the massive scale of IO, without the aid of experts like you and some of the correspondents you have gathered at SST. A plea to please find a way to keep SST going. Eliminating the trolls and tiring conspiracy theorists can be achieved by limiting the correspondents.
Thank you for all the work and time you’ve put into this. I have learned a lot in the years I’ve been reading here.
I will look forward with great eagerness to see whatever you do next.
I will lament the passing of SST. At it’s best it offered certain clarities of military thinking applied to ‘intelligence’ & politics. A good antidote to the banal echo chamber of MSM. Good luck with future projects.
If restricting commenting privileges to the core committee and invitees to said committee becomes a condition of continued sharing of their insights, that would be a small sacrifice. Thanks for everything.
Sir, I wasnt sure how long I have been reading your blog, the archives show my first comment in 2006, so since at least that time. Your blog and your insight has been an invaluable tool for myself, just as I know your upcoming platform will be. I think the new format will allow you to impart even more knowledge and focus because you wont have to deal with all of the added draws on your time that you have pointed out. In my lobbying on the Yemen issue at the House, Senate and State Department the last couple of years I have often mentioned your blog as the go to site for those looking for in-depth, straight-forward and non filtered information on the Middle East and the Muslim world, especially your insite on Yemen. Some knew of you, and those who didnt diligently noted the information. Hopefully access to your site with yourself and your contributors have helped their knowledge. I am looking forward to what comes next and wish you and your family all of the best.
Very well said Sir.
Thank you very much indeed for your very kind words; I am touched by them.
I am also pleased that you have found my in-expert musings and thoughts worthy of further considerations.
All the best.
Thank you for the time spent educating us. It has been invaluable.
Colonel, Thank you so very much for SST. I’m wishing you’ll change your mind.
I think blogs that allow comments encourage readership; I know they do that for me.
You have provided great insight into world affairs. Many times as I scroll down
through the threads I’ll read some nuance that encourages me to go back & reread your post or TTG.
Certainly you’re correct about some “dross” dragging down the comment section &
if I’ve been guilty, which I most likely have been, please accept my sincere apology.
You’re an excellent writer & teacher. I wish you all the best. Thanks also to many
(not all) of the commentators on the committee I’ve greatly enjoyed reading your
various opinions & also learning from your insights.
Did I miss something? I don’t understand why you’ve made this decision. This is one of the more valuable informational sites left on the net about world events.
You will be missed.
what you missed is how much work this is. I have been reading and moderating all the comments. There are usually 5060 comments/day. pl
Would that be
“The Iraq War: Toughest Day”
March 23, 2003
At least one person at PBS, NewsHour Senior Producer Mike Mosettig,
was positive about Colonel Lang’s contribution:
This site, and your contributions to it Colonel have greatly improved my understanding of MENA and the intelligence field. Thank you sir and I look forward to the possibility of “Pat Lang’s Blog.”
what you missed is how much work this is. I have been reading and moderating all the comments. There are usually 5060 comments/day. pl
Then shut comments off.
Give yourself a break.
This surprises me, but then I reflect on what must be involved.
Firstly, you’ve done a great job. There are very few blogs that have flourished while also allowing for different perspectives and backgrounds to come together in, as you put it, a committee of correspondence.
Secondly, area expertise and long experience is what is missing from the reductive and eventually ideologically tainted journalism most people deploy as their main, or only, information sources.
Finally, SST has from the git-go been a place that once you wrapped your head around its ambitions, quickly became a go-to source for both studied observations and the fascinating interplay of different perspectives.
Thanks, and, again, terrific job. I’ll be excited to learn of your new endeavor.
Colonel Lang, you are a professional soldier, IMO your contribution making and running this blog for as long as you did was and is in line of duty and service to this nation. Thank you for informing millions of better informed persons. To me this site was and is Pat Lang’ school of reality, understanding, a true American point of view. As an Iranian American I thank you for letting me post my points of view on this fine blog. Happy 4th.
Thanks you for your work during all those years and for providing a platform where we could discuss military and geopolitical issues. All the best, godspeed.
Thanks for all the work you have done over the years. This has been a great resource. After your much-deserved rest, I am sure almost all of your readers would be back to read a blog without comments. Reviewing 5000+ comments a day is clearly not the best use of your time and knowledge. Thank you again
I think you and I, James, are simply cut from different cloth. Not ‘better cloth’, in this case. Just different cloth. For instance, in my rejection of your position, you immediately raise the proverbial strawman….disagree with your take on things, and that must mean, or, maybe mean, I would “..prefer a group of sycophants always venerating pat”. Really, is there no middle ground? Can’t I disagree with you?
The latter part of your response above seems to me to be reasonable, and respectful. The Col seems tired doing this and I can’t blame him if he feels that way. To describe that weariness as a “hissy fit” seems to me to be, *gratuitously*, insulting and crass of you. That is why I responded the way I responded. He has earned our respect. Or, he has earned mine, anyway.
Sir, thank you so much for your efforts on our behalf. I will miss SST but I will be honored to follow your new blog.
King Solomon would say, and I would agree with him, turn off comments on this blog. I only read your comments anyway.
This has been a grand education for well over a decade to me and while I will greatly miss your insights, comments, the guest posts, the many commenters and fellow lurkers I know all good things come to an end. The transition to your new style blog is a healthy one probably for all. At least we will all have a place to go every day to continue this education you have enriched us with so that we do not go stagnant. I can only ask that the library of Catagories remains available at least for another year as its wealth of knowledge will enrich minds or least mine.
My hat is off to you as this has been a Job Well Done.
I have been honored to be able to learn at SST, and have generally tried to comment only when I have something worthwhile to add. I have always been amazed at how you are able to respond to a comment and cut through the(*(*& in just a few words, causing serious reflection.
I wish you well and hope you will consider (after a break) a format where commenters can apply (not necessarily for free) for permission to comment.
Although I cannot pass the young part, a young intern would clearly help – someone to cut the 5000 comments down to a few dozen (on topic) comments.
Again, I thank you for inviting me into your parlor for your fireside chats.
I can’t tell Col. Lang what to do, but I will miss him. This blog together with its comments has been one of the best out there. I’m frightened when I consider that the majority of people still seem to be absorbing the ‘mainstream media’.
Can I support the idea of a new blog with a select, invited group of guests, authors and commenters? That would exclude people like me, who have learnt much but contributed little. No doubt it would be an improvement.
I don’t know which is stronger..the sadness for the big change or the happiness in the thought you will be shedding the burden of curating thousands of posts a day. “Thanks” seems woefully insufficient…and indeed it is!
Quote : There are usually 5060 comments/day.
That’s overwhelming, Colonel. Nobody can manage such a flow while working on the real matter. So, IMHO, two options : no comment anymore, or select some vetted volunteers to do the job.
My two cents : I would prefer a continued blog with you and your fellow contributors (TTG and alike) without comments, than seeing you leaving this place.
Your opinion and insight, Colonel, are really important for a lot of people concerned by the whereabouts of this little beautiful sphere.
Anyway, it’s up to you, and your decision will be the right one, indeed.
Enjoy a well earned break, some gardening perhaps, go outdoors keep well away from keyboards and bad news.
I think so too, that our Colonel got tired of this politics and all, he said so in a post a few days ago “I am so tired of this mendacious BS” . I am also so very much sick and tired of the behavior of the politicians and the military people.
I’ve been mostly lurking here for a long time.
Thanks for everything, it has been an education.
I learned a lot from you and from the contributors to your blog. I wish you the best for whatever you decide to do in the future.
Thanks for providing such a wonderful forum for so long.
More than anything, I’ve learned from and appreciated your astringent approach. To find that combined with deep knowledge and a fine literary touch was more than can reasonably be expected.
Whatever you decide, my best wishes go with you.
Thank you so much for all these years of running your excellent site. I have followed you and the committee for over ten years and have learned so much from all of you. I will miss the often lively discussions, but understand the burden it must be for you to keep it up. Thank you again and thank you to all of the regular contributors.
I look forward to reading your blog after the holiday and hope your break from posting is enjoyable. Thank you so much again.
Sherry De Mandel
It’s been about a decade since I started reading SST. You can’t imagine how much we need you and SST. MSM is garbage.
May I suggest a temporary solution for your tremendous workload: stop accepting comments for a while when you feel like it. Just close comments for all new threads. And when you feel like opening comments for some new threads that you think it would entertain you or the guest author, do it for a day or two. It’s your house, and when you don’t feel like having visitors, close your door and we will understand and appreciate that you need a timeout.
I sincerely hope that you reconsider your decision.
>>Colonel Lang has been well-equipped to play the role of ringmaster<< My I add that never more brilliantly than in his ability, while stomping the trolls, to keep the filter open enough to let a necessary spectrum of disagreement into the conversations, disagreeable as such voices may sometimes be. We have all seen our host struggle with the sometimes knife edge between valuable and infuriating commentators, which I suspect may have the truly herculean part, rather than the stomping of trolls, which is mere soul-destroying tedium. Thank you Colonel Lang for your long effort, and thank you to ALL who have spoken here. And may I say I am certain we will profit from SST-II as well, even while sparing our gracious host the constant stable-cleaning!
I enjoyed reading your blog daily. Please reconsider your decision and/or appoint assistants to share your burden.
Could you provide a link to the essay? I have always found Babak well worth reading.
From a lurker whose political views would not please all commentators, thanks for the labors and the insights, Col. Lang. I’ve learned more than I can say (or properly analyze) from your work. I look forward to the new blog.
Thank you for sustaining this outstandingly informative forum. I’ve read it for years especially because many of its commenters and authors challenge my own understanding and biases. If there is a new incarnation I will flock to it and support it – the content is well worth a subscription fee. Best of luck.
Please add my name to the list of those who thank you for your outstanding commitment to honesty. This blog has been a remarkable achievement, and has brought much insight and understanding of current events.
You sir, are what I call a straight shooter.
Colonel, thank you for opening my eyes and providing a valuable education. Best wishes.
Suggestion: charge for the site, which will scare away the trolls. Then use the money to hire someone to help moderate comments.
Thank you for the precious insights you provide about the military mind and motivations.
Best luck with the “new format”.
instead of considering a new blog why not stay on SST and just shut down the comments for your postings and selected guest postings.
If other posters here (TTG?) want comments to their posts here (I hope they do) they should police those comments themselves. The Typepad system allows for such a scheme.
(I know it takes lots of times to police comments – even at my blog where I let them run relatively freely. There are lots of talkative lunatics out there that need to be kept away.)
Well, I understand your thought, as doing a website blog is quite a bit of work. Plus, auditing comments would not always be pleasant. No writing in newspapers, magazines, websites, or spoken on television has matched the content of the subject matters covered here in your main postings and those by your selected writers.
Nothing prevents you from starting it up again as desired. And I, too, look forward to new writing.
Times are tough for speaking out. The diabolical push to criminalize speech is ongoing, and is halfway through the door as weak legislatures in the U.S. have allowed “hate crime” laws to be passed and enacted. At least one of the elements of a so-called hate crime is a thought, as in “thought crime”. The only thing standing in the way is that at the present time, some sort of assault, homicide, or bad physical act is required as another element of the alleged hate crime. The promotion is now in its second phase, to sell the idea of “hate speech” as some sort of separate legal doctrine, with the evil eye on getting it made into a crime. If that happens, any criticism, even in mild and harmless terms, can be the subject of state criminal action, and will be. Just ask the beautiful French woman and actress, Brigitte Bardot.
Thank you for your expressions and analysis from your extensive experience. It all helps.
Here is the comedian Bill Hicks, who passed away from cancer in 1994, using the power of humor to continue to crumble the official story of the assassination of a U.S. president, John Kennedy, in broad open daylight on a public street–
A little music is always good. This one is a video of the studio recording of one song in the last solo album by Frank Sinatra in 1984, “L.A. Is My Lady”. Some of the best jazz musicians came in, and the composer and arranger Quincy Jones directed it. You can see George Benson doing a guitar solo, and Lionel Hampton doing his.
Best of luck, Pat.
1) Thanks a lot for all you already provided us with so far. In these times of organized confusion, glims of truth, integrity and sanity are invaluable, and one way or the other, I whish you will proceed with the sharing of your analyses.
2) In your (hopefully) next blog, maybe you should consider not banning all feed-back comments per se, but instead implement some strict reviewing process from the onset, without any guarantee to be published nor even to be read at all. Such stringent measures regarding publicity should leave all trolls and various blog pests at bay.
The problem with your solution is that I would still have to read all the proposed comments in order to make a judgment about them. pl
I am aware that that speech may become criminalized. pl
Guest Authors already moderate comments on their own posts but that leaves me 60 to 100 proposed comments/day to read from “fruits and nuts” and the relatively sane. p
“the military mind?” Is there a civilian mind? pl
J to the C
How do you suggest I organize the paying of fees, the issuing of passwords, the renewal of passwords, etc.? pl
Thanks for everything. The best always.
You have to know people very well and trust them to allow them editorial power. I have tried that several times and the recipient of that power has in every case abused it. pl
semi-well said, Babak, if you ask me. Which of course you don’t. With all due respect for David.
What’s the relation between voters in our democratic systems and trolls? Could there be a relation? If so, what exactly is it?
Trolls, no doubt could be paid servants, but they could also be the curiously innocent nitwits like me. To shift to one explanation model: semi-conscious Borgists?
To the extend I watched “troll”, ban or censor alarms in the post 9/11 universe it usually was about keeping clashing dissenters out of the larger discourse.
keep the filter open enough to let a necessary spectrum of disagreement into the conversations, disagreeable as such voices may sometimes be
Thanks chantose. One of the things I might be missing, are Pat’s rare feedbacks. Which no doubt helped this nitwit observer, except in one case. Were I may have been classified as obstinate troll. 😉
Dear pl- congratulations on 17 million page views. It says a lot about the quality of analysis and insight that you’ve shared with us readers over the years. You’ve done more than enough.
From here on, concentrate your efforts where you get best bang for your buck, and minimise unproductive aggravation from activities like moderating obtuse and ignorant comments.
You’ve established a sound core of contributors that can keep SST ticking over nicely. But walking away from blogging completely is probably impossible- there’s a lot of sh*t being talked out there, and when you see it, you’ll still want to call it out. An irregular, comments-free ‘Thoughts of Chairman Lang’ blog would provide an escape valve that would continue to educate the rest of us.
Typepad allows to open/close commenting individually for each post.
Turn comments off for in your posts and those of guests who do not want any. Turn email verification for comments off – that way you will no longer get bothered with them at all.
If a guest poster wants comments on for his post he can switch them on for just that post and police them himself. Requires about quarter to half an hour twice a day. Comments would be closed automatically after a defined time 3 days? 1 week?). (In Typepad -> blogs setting -> Auto-Close Comments -> time set)
The above should work quite well. Your guest posters are smart enough to handle it. I once had an agreement with a guest author at my site that worked that way and it did not make any problems.
(You could add a remark of such on the readme/about page to let people know who is responsible for comment moderation. Just in case some stupid lawyer cries about liabilities.)
Thanks for your guidance. pl
I hope you take a break and stick with it. You’ve created a dynamic interplay here. Between you and the guest posters and the comments from your loyal readers or other bloggers it’s an eye opener. Ebbs and flows are part of everything. Of course, so are new beginnings. Whatever you do best wishes.
I wish, I were able to trust you, b. From German to German. We necessarily sometimes converge – opinion-wise.
But spreading rumors? From blogger to blogger? Remember?
Maybe I don’t consider Pat as simply another blogger, to start with.
More randomly I tagged you as self-referential not too long ago. Thus your above from blogger to blogger sticks our for me somewhat.
Were we may agree, not sure though. Is that Anti-Americanism seems to be somewhat overused lately. But while I am aware of it more anecdotally, or grew up with variants of it both in its German and American variants. While never liking its collective approach. This is what sticked out for me:
memory wise. Never thought about it before, maybe?
Ready and willing to take part in filtering comments should you consider the option of creating a pool of volunteers. I think I’ve grasped your take on what’s acceptable. Thanks for all so far in any case! Respect! 🙂
Dear Col. Lang,
I would like to tell you how I choose to read this blog. I click an article, read it, and then I hit “Find” on the page and search for “turco” to see if you have commented on it. I also search for TTG and Patrick and others in the comments of their own respective articles. Then I move on to the next article. I’ve watched the number of comments grow considerably over the years and just as a reader I find it impossible to keep up. It doesn’t surprise me at all that it has become unsustainable for you to curate them as you have. But if you move to a format that is virtually comment free, that will honestly barely change how this reader already enjoys your site. Thank you very, very much for your efforts to provide your viewership an education and I look forward to your next iteration.
Esteemed Sir.. Thank you for all your words of wisdom. A beacon of light in a sea of darkness.
Thank you very much for the references – the last few paragraphs of the second link are telling – quote: “Yet the Times article documents what is also the heavy-hand of propaganda and media manipulation” – it confirms my impression that the soviet propaganda was a child’s play compared with the cunning and sophistication of the US made propaganda.
Colonel, thank you for the effort you put in curating these comments. For me, as a liberal in the Portland OR area, these discussions exposed me to points of view I might not encounter in daily life. I appreciated that a lot.
Best wishes for the new blog, which I look forward to reading.
If this format is chosen I’d second Jack’s list of initial correspondents.
I have an alternative, based on the idea of limited ‘authorization’: How about SST readership elects an initial list of contributors from a list of those interested in having the privilege? It could work something like this:-
The Typepad platform seems to have a mechanism to conduct a survey (http://help.typepad.com/add-form.html) I’ll happily look into it if this may be of interest. Otherwise a vote could be arranged via something like Survey Monkey, but some work would be required. For example each prospective voter may need to be emailed a password to the survey platform. This may have privacy implications.
If any of this is attractive perhaps a new post to set out your position & gather views would be useful?
Thank you, Colonel Lang, for the immense work you’ve put in over the years. I’ve learned not only from you, but from so many of your excellent commenters. I cannot begin to imagine the work you had to do to keep the trolls exorcised. That work, of course, was key to making the posts and discussions so valuable.
Blessings, and I look forward to the re-emergence of your voice.
There are plenty of different “minds” mostly informed by the professional/social roles, this is distinct from the purely psychological profiles like Myers-Briggs and als.
It is the “group rules” which insidiously take over more personnal and individual traits.
In as well for a fee
I salute you for making this site such a resource. I will spend hours rummaging through the archives even if SST does the moth to butterfly thing, but whatever happens you rank pretty high among the truthtalkers on the interwebs and I wish you a safe and rich journey on whatever path you tread.
Dear Colonel Lang,
While I am sorry to see you go, I’m glad that you’ll get a well-deserved chance to relax and enjoy yourself. I’ve read SST nearly every day since 2006, and it has been a critical source for me in those years. I’ve remain grateful for the immense effort involved. I will miss this place a great deal, including many of the excellent commenters. Thank you for this service to the republic and the common good, and for creating this unique place and community. They have all been of great importance to me. And please, Sir — let me know if you’re ever back up here in the country of your Alden forbears — I’ll show you the best fishing spots!
Good luck and fare well!
The fundamental issue we are facing is the assumption made by the Web pioneers; that technology could enable the creation and maintenance of on-line communities – infused with the same qualities that makes any community, anywhere in the world, possible; viz. decorum, mutual respect, trust, and seriousness.
In my opinion, those pioneers have been proven wrong; they took such strengths that obtains in their own communities to be present everywhere else.
There is no technological fix to this.
The curse of the ultimate humint professional is the relentless interest in peoples’ thoughts and feelings. Col. Lang puts much effort in wrestling with us because he is drawn towards human interaction. Frankly, if it were for trolls alone he could have closed SST ten years ago already. We have heard that argument before. We provide some irritating fun for the day. Sometimes the irritation becomes too great. And the fun is drying up because of the increase in polarization. Still, the problem is Col. Lang himself. If he closes the comments, he will miss them. If he allows them, he knows he will end up entering the melee and regretting the waste of time in having done so.
Besides, for all his protestations that we commenters lack a sense of humor, it is him who has the humor of a granite wall. Right now, the most light-hearted thing in SST is good old frau LeaNder herself. This cannot be! No wonder Col. Lang wants to close it.
I second the thank you to the Colonel. As conservative in central Ga I too appreciate being exposed to different points of view.
Thank you for all your fine work, Sir.
I first found my way to this blog by accident. I used to read Salon Magazine and some of its guest authors and bloggers. One of them was named James Wolcott. He wrote an article referencing a guest post by Col. Pat Lang on Larry Johnson’s “No Quarter” blog. I liked that post enough that I tracked back to Colonel Lang’s own blog. After reading it a little and getting upset by some things, I realized that this blog was not going to offer me support and validation for my already-held views if that was what I wanted. This blog would present me a challenge which I realized I would have to face and accept if I were going to keep reading it.
I spent quite a while reading it and learning things and approaches to learning and thinking before I felt ready and qualified to attempt any commenting. It was the first blog I saw where politeness was enforced and where many commenters clearly intended to offer their best thoughts and knowledge about things they clearly knew a lot about. I was generally on my best behavior here as against my more normal behavior on the other blogs. (I try to be valuable on the other blogs too, but I share the more venty and shouty behavior of the other sometimes venty shouters on the other blogs).
I really liked that a very ordinary person like me had a chance to earn his way into the same Salon and Committee of Correspondence setting with high-level high-knowledge professional and technical people of the sort that I never have met and never will meet in “real life”. I in general tried to make what comments I offered worth your and their time to read and have read.
I have different knowledge and different sets of views and understandings about some areas of domestic and many areas of foreign affairs from having come here than I would have had if I had not been sent here to begin with by “accidental Wolcott”.
Over the past couple of years you have given us hints and warnings that you would retire from this blog at some semi-near point. Still, to have it finally actually happen feels like Gandalf’s going away.
A number of fellow commenters seem to believe this means the blog SST itself will fall silent. I understood your announcement of leaving us to be leaving open the possibility that the guest authors and commenters could try to maintain the blog and Committee as a blog and Committee if they ( we) want to and feel able. But that would require the guest authors to bear the burden of reading 5,000+ comments per day to find and publish the worthwhile ones. ( I had no idea it was so many. I wonder how many such comments come from the dull and obscure who resent their dullness and obscurity and simply want to waste the time of better quality better known people). I hope the still-writing guest authors decide to try that burden for a while. If they choose to keep writing and running comments on that basis, the stable reader-commenters will still keep reading and offering comments if they ( we) think they are useful to the building body of knowledge and guidance on thinking. If it all comes to an end, that would be very saddening to me.
Whether more SST blogging continues or not, I hope a way may be found to maintain and preserve the whole archives of SST up to now, both the posts and the comments. If they are preserved, people will keep coming back to them, and new people will keep finding their way to them.
If retiring from the pressures and demands of this blog lets you live more and longer than staying here would have, that is a good thing. More time for friends and family, good food well eaten, and the other things that retirement makes it possible to have the time to do. If you decide to write an occasional or even regular “Report from the Grey Havens”, I will certainly read it.
Would it be a fantastical conspiracy theory to suppose that trolls are being paid to demoralise you? i.e. troll farms exist everywhere, not just Russia and are in fact just standard practice.
I am sure that is true and it works after 12 years and a lot of them every day. pl
Whoa! I AM conservative. I’m the man who wrote a cycle of novels in which the Confederate Army are among the good guys. Who does that any more? pl
I am generally thought to be overly serious. If I were not serious why would I bother with SST? You appear to be in or around Sao Paolo, a huge, monstrous city. Sex, soccer and the samba doesn’t do it for me although I won the Caipirinha drinking contest in a hotel bar there one night. “A granite wall.” I like that. pl
Dear Col. Lang,
Greatly appreciate your sharing of a coherent Clausewitzian strategic theory perspective over the years sir. Your apparent frustration in having to constantly deal with the rancorous comments on this eminent blog is understandable. One can of course see this lack of civility as a reflection of how US domestic political relations have deteriorated since the mid 1990s, which would be mine own Clausewitzian interpretation . . . The best of luck to you sir and your family and I look forward to reading your new blog.
There is no law that a blog administrator has to review all received comments each day; no fine levied if one doesn’t publish comments as quickly as possible. That means there’s no reason you can’t decide on how many comments you can comfortably review in a day and publish only that many each day. If the number is only ten, so be it.
I realize my suggestion is unorthodox. Both readers and bloggers have fallen into routines about the way things are done on the blogosphere. Routines have to be revised if they’re counterproductive.
Another reason to slow down on the number of comments you review in a day is that you have a teaching function in addition to your other duties at SST. As long as your readership was relatively small and (I’ll assume) mostly limited to military/civilian intel people, you could get away with taking the time to correct ignorant comments and educate readers as to the right understanding of an issue. But now with a larger readership that has broadened to include many in the ‘general’ public, you’re still keeping your teaching function; this despite the fact that many comments from the general public are completely uninformed.
The other side is that the teaching function is extremely valuable and this would be lost if you stop commenting at SST and don’t allow comments at a proposed new blog. So all the more reason to put a cap on the number of comments you review every day. In this way you can continue to teach via the SST comment section.
As to readers — the ones here to make a real contribution to SST and learn from you will adjust to waiting a few days or weeks to see their comments published.
What about readers who want to share topical reports on subjects that are under current discussion at SST? There is a way to deal simply with this without having to review all comments daily, but I think it would be abused by wiseacres, thereby putting you in the position of blog cop. The priority is to find a way for you to stay at SST and keep the comment section open. If that means sacrificing fast publication of topical reports, so be it.
I’m sure I speak for many when I say that you and SST have been as educational as anything I personally have ever encountered. That you need and want to step away, I can understand. And BTW, if anyone here has not read the Colonel’s cycle of novels, I recommend that you do. They are among the most impressive and moving works of historical fiction I know — indeed, they almost re-define the genre, if “genre” it be.
technologies changed, but humans didn’t? Babak. OK, maybe a misguided basic assumption. But can I assume otherwise? If I am surprised to what extend writers over the centuries and millennia still can communicate with me?
Personally I find Barbara Ann an interesting new voice on SST, but I guess I would also like to opt out of any type of survey’s or polls. What percentage on SST would like to be polled? Would you join?
Surveys and polls are helpful no doubt, I do love numbers after all, but they unfortunately also have the limits of pressing people to decide based on necessarily limited offers or however arranged choices. Meaning to the extend I used them, I might have been always too aware of its ‘featural guidance’? Maybe?…
it also crossed my mind, what will happen to the archives of SST, if no one will pick up the baton. Your entry above is one of the best ones in this post, the “farewell post” of Colonel Lang. Many commenters I will miss, you being one of them, others like David Habakkuk, b, TTG, Vietnam Veteran, Robt Willman just to name a few, Thank you Colonel, thank you All.
This post I would illustrate with the famous cartoon of Bismarck descending a ladder of a ship (“Der Lotse geht von Bord”).
This is utterly silly, no one can run a “conversation” in such conditions.
This does confirm your idealistic (unrealistic…) slant showing in other comments.
It takes many millennia for anything basic and significant to change in humans. that is what makes the fantasies of the Left fantasies. pl
the archive will be preserved. pl
SST may be considered as the electronic analogue of an 18-th century Parisian salon – where nobles and commoners could politely interact and converse within the bounds of social hierarchy and rules of decorum; all the while being hosted by intelligent, gracious, and beautiful noble women.
The chief mechanism of participating in such fora, namely invitation or introduction, cannot easily be duplicated in an electronic medium which lacks human contact at the corporeal level.
A flame pinched, now a gulf of darkness.
addendum: I do include Babak, JLD, LeaNder, confused ponderer, Anna Maria, Ledell, Barbara Ann,
and lastly the wonderful Mr Sale, and if I remember some other special voices – I will include
and here is the link to the “der Lotse geht von Bord”
This seems like a very good approach to me. One of my frustrations with some other blogs is that they post new things at such a fast and furious pace ( several per day) that threads are abandoned in mid-or-early thread as the readers rush onward to the next newer shinier thread. Threads don’t get a chance to mature and age. They are abandoned to die before they even have time to learn to walk.
Ten or fewer comments published per day or even every few days with zero publishing for days at a time would give the thread time to mature
and gather abundant dense-packed information and develop knowledge and wisdom-viewpoints from it. Speedy people of short attention span would give up and leave just from the frustration of waiting. That might reduce the burden of low value people right there.
I stumbled upon this blog while searching for news on Yemen -there was so little out there. It has since become a part of my daily routine. to misquote john donne- “i wonder by my troth- what i did before i read sst”.
i will remember you in my prayers in this holy month, may Allah give you a long life and many years of togetherness with your swmbo.
There is indeed no technological fix for human nature, but IMHO that does not mean that technology cannot help maintain an online community with the desirable qualities you describe. I have commented to this effect in the hope that the unique “salon” nature of SST could potentially be saved from those who may wish to destroy it.
It may be too late and certainly no one who has even the slightest understanding of the cost of maintaining this format could
complain about pl ceasing to support open comments now. But perhaps as a latecomer to this wonderful place I feel more strongly that the Voltaire principal of public discourse is worth fighting for (regardless of whether I personally get to contribute).
If pl wishes to consider this I would happily dedicate some time to researching a solution in which the trolls do not get to win. After all, how many of those Web pioneers would wish their creation, with all it’s failings, undone?
I respectfully suggest you consider a nominal subscription cost to apply to join the SST committee as a correspondent.
Said costs would pay an intern (or equivalent) to filter:
3. off topic
4. overly long
5. incoherent (I have occasionally been guilty of this)
6. no information content
etc, your blog, your choice, your rules.
The intern can even respond with the failure filter to the correspondent.
Then a reasonable number (top 20 or other reasonable number) are provided to yourself for final posting decision.
SST is the only place where comments work on the web – and can be highly informative; but understandably, at too high a cost of your time.
If the end result was a slower discussion – I think that would be good – I often find I need to ruminate even overnight to decide if I have something worth adding to the discussion.
In any case, my gratitude for holding out for 17 million views.
Thank you for your service to the community. This has been daily first go to site for over a decade. The regulars here have provided comprehensive knowledge of the issues, a military viewpoint missing elsewhere and a model for courtesy. Certainly trolls come with 17 Million hits, a sad fact of modern life.
You had imp;lied this move several months ago but sad to see it come to pass. I hope after some time of rest you can find your way to configure a site that does not require the vast effort to which you have been subjected.
Best to you ans SWAMBO.
With sincere thanks,
I agree. IMO, human nature has not changed in millenia. Yes, our intellect and ingenuity have changed our environment through technology, but we’re still that same beast.
It may be helpful to Col. Lang, if you have suggestions for an online discussion structure that would eliminate trolls. I notice that some online publications are only for registered users.
Thanks for all of your work here, it was a privilege to be part of the correspondence. Looking forward to see what you come up with next. My best wishes.
Addendum: BabelFish, Old Microbiologist, Walrus, Patrick Armstrong, Bahzad, William Fitzgerald, ex-pfchuck, johnf, kao_hsien_chi, Pacifica Advocate, Tigermoth, Abu Sinan – I am ripping out my last few hairs, what will I do if SST goes blank?
Wot MRW said.
agree with your observations. Of course the solution I proposed isn’t written in stone; if a situation arose somewhere in the world that the Col. thought required quick commentary from readers he could temporarily return to the old system.
But the solution would peel off many insincere types who want their comments published right away; this is because they know a blog post will generally get the most attention on the internet within the first hours of its publication. They want to piggyback their opinions on the blogger’s writing rather than making a contribution to the discussion, or posing an honest question to the blogger.
All this said, I don’t know whether Col. Lang has a reason(s) for wanting to hang up on STT in addition to the one he named. Certainly, though, he shouldn’t allow an overload of comments to run him off his own blog; not when there’s a simple way to deal with the problem.
And even if he has another reason for leaving, this won’t solve the problem regarding the vast differences between commenters who are well-informed about intelligence matters and those who know virtually nothing about such. This has to be weighed against the fact that SST became a port in the storm for many in the general public despite their lack of knowledge about intel (and military/US civilian gov) matters. There’s nothing wrong with that until they start jumping into the comment section because they want to make a contribution no matter how poorly informed. (Here I’m talking about the sincere ones, not the piggybackers).
That’s where things can get difficult — and not only in terms of comment management; the situation also risks diluting the focus of the entire blog.
Unrealistic? You mean inconvenient — inconvenient for you. You poor dear, having to inconvenience yourself to have a conversation even though it would mean taking a big load off Colonel Lang. Where is my Kleenex box.
All things must pass, yet I remain grateful for being allowed to participate in the discussion and for the many insights obtained in the too few years since I discovered SST. Farewell Colonel, and as a former Alaskan bush pilot I wish for you a future of ceilings and visibility unlimited.
I will begin posting articles on a renewed SST on 5 July. pl
Here you go Doug, sorry I didn’t see this til now.
Prof Lang, I am extremely delighted to hear that you are going to stick with SST by reforming it so that it will be less stressful for you personally and hopefully more enjoyable as well!!
I have been on vacation in Colorado for almost two weeks and before that had lots of gardening to attend to before my trip, so I have barely had time to keep up with posts and comments, much less make any of my own. But because this blog is so intellectually invaluable to me, I made it a priority each day to find some time to devote to it.
Please know that I deeply appreciate the effort you have put into sharing your knowledge, wisdom, experience and opinions on so many topics. In particular because of the way you have handled moderating comments, you have created a marvelously high quality environment for people of diverse background, opinion, and political persuasion to talk and share thoughts and ideas in a generally civilized manner. It is unique! However, it is quite understandable that after all these years you are tired of all the crap you have to deal with (especially during the recent election season) in order to preserve the integrity of this blog.
My personal wish/hope for the next incarnation of SST in the comment section, is less ideological and emotional commentary based on tribal political affiliation (and the urge to score points for one’s team and against the other) and more rational/thoughtful philosophical discussion and reflection on the trends and patterns in world events and politics. I have found that stepping back from the personal to try and understand what is going on in the bigger picture is very helpful in maintaining one’s mental-emotional health. Prior to this past presidential election season, there were often very interesting discussions of events that had a more philosophical nature. I miss those.
Best wishes and ‘May the Force be with You’ as you revolutionize SST 🙂
Right now, the most light-hearted thing in SST is good old frau LeaNder herself. This cannot be! No wonder Col. Lang wants to close it.
Anonymous, you leave me a bit puzzled. But pleased to noticed my sex.
No doubt I may have overdone some specific features of my public persona on “Frau LeaNder.” After all, why not feed some real life into an artificial persona?
Light-hearted? Yes, I tried to do my very, very best. My respect goes to two central web guardians. The former made me aware of the subject more theoretically, he also led me to Pat’s blog the moment it surfaced for him, the latter, who only on the surface seemed light-hearted, it felt to me, thoughtt me the practice.
“it is him who has the humor of a granite wall.”
Ys, I can understand that Pat can live with this.
But, if you wanted to force me back into my fields, how close would the “granite wall” of humor be to irony, and how far is irony from sarcasm?
Thanks for the valuable insights and education you have provided over the years — not only to SST readers but to the professional foreign affairs community as well. To everything there is a season and you have exploited this particular time brilliantly!
No, I stand by my assessment of both you and the policy you propose.
Do you plan to leave this blog available on the net in some form? It is an invaluable resource and legacy. I often go back to read and reread various topics. The topical sidebar you’ve provided us has lead me to many good posts which have enriched my knowledge. I doubt I’m alone in that. If nothing else, could the whole kit & caboodle be zipped up and a way to download it be made available?
I do hope that the regular contributors continue to submit their work.
When I wake up in the morning, I boot up the computer and head to SST. It has become my go to source for commentary on world affairs, hate to see it go.
Thank you for your perseverance.
Chris – As I remember I first saw you at a student desk in my classroom at USMA in 1976. I will stay on SST. On 5 July I will resume posting my own front page posts and will publish augmented guidance with regard to posts, comments and troll control. BTW, you used to post on SST. pl
Sad to hear, but clear you made a mistake jumping into bed with Trump so no surprise.
Good luck with future endeavours Sir
Thank you, troll. I did nothing of the kind. I support the constitutional order in the US which you evidently do not. I find Trump to be absurd but I see no evidence of any “high crime or misdemeanor.” pl
We will support you in whatever decisions you make about your SST forum -but we would all urge you to please find someway – somehow to keep this informative & oftentimes adverserial ( thinking of you here Tyler ) forum alive and kicking . And if we have to go to a pay for play subscription format wherein you can hire help to do the busy work here then make it so …
Happy 4th of July to you and your Ms Lang .
Thank you for creating and keeping this blog. It has been a very valuable resource for me for a long time. I was once a regular user of The NYT, The Newshour, Frontline and NPR as places to go for information and analysis. These outfits morphed into propagandists for mindless ME intervention and unlimited support for Israeli expansionism after 911. Just so happens that is when you dissapeared from their panels- strange! Like many others I started to use the web for alternatives to fake news and discovered SST.
Thanks a million!