David Brooks and “implacable enemies”

416895086_267609dcb8 "Hezbollah is one of the world’s most radical terrorist organizations. Over the last week or so, it has staged an armed assault on the democratic government of Lebanon."  Brooks


"Does Obama believe that even the most intractable enemies can be pacified with diplomacy? What “Lebanese consensus” can Hezbollah possibly be a part of?"  Brooks


Well, actually, David, it is the consensus that the Arab League is busy negotiating today.

It is increasingly clear that David Brooks is not an editorial columnist.  He is a propagandist for the hard right in this country and in Israel.  "Implacable enemies?"  "..an armed assault on the democratic government of Lebanon?"  Brooks is not a stupid man.  He knows very well that the various Lebanese factions are engaged in a struggle over re-alignment of power in the government that has been in progress for most of a year.  He knows that Hizbullah, Amal, the Aounis and others all hold seats in the parliament and are for that reason, in fact, part of the "government of Lebanon" that he writes of just as members of Congress are part of the government here.  He knows exceedingly well that todays’s "terrorists" are often tomorrow’s rulers, (Kenyatta, Begin, Shamir, etc)  He knows very well that his factional allies in the Bush Administration and in Israel favor the Siniora Cabinet in Beirut because they are supremely biddable and useful tools.  Siniora is so much an instrument of US and Saudi policy that he should be provided a federal judgeship to retire to when when he is finally ejected from office. (Maybe Guam would be a good place.  That was suggested for Thieu long ago)

"Implacable terrorist."  I suppose that is what the British called Menachem Begin and Begin’s hero Michael Collins before they became heads of government.

Brooks understands all this, but he also knows it is his assigned duty to spout rubbish for his pals.  pl


This entry was posted in Current Affairs. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to David Brooks and “implacable enemies”

  1. lina says:

    The johnny-one-note, neocon lunatic fringe of current notoriety is about to sunset from our existence. Praise be to God, Allah, Vishnu and Shiva.
    “Does Obama believe that even the most intractable enemies can be pacified with diplomacy?” No, you medacious twerp. He believes diplomacy is one layer of a multi-strata foreign policy. Something everyone used to believe in before Dick Cheney navigated us into an iceberg and turned us into an international pariah.
    Nine more months and our long national nightmare is over.

  2. lina says:

    make that seven months.

  3. Duncan Kinder says:

    “Does Obama believe that even the most intractable enemies can be pacified with diplomacy?
    The Soviet Union under Stalin met every meaningful test of being an “intractable enemy,” yet we negotiated with them for various purposes at various times.
    Indeed, even during WWII, through Franco’s Spain and, I believe, Sweden, we maintained contacts with Nazi Germany for certain purposes.
    And so forth.

  4. arbogast says:

    What is interesting also is that Israel, with the assistance of the greatest propaganda machine ever known, with the assistance of the greatest military power the earth has ever seen, using its force with impunity to commit war crimes, cannot get the job done. It is a miracle that Hezbollah and Hamas continue to exist.
    We are always being asked to give more, to believe more, to be more aware of the “plight” of the Jewish people, to be more ready to spill the blood of American youth, to bankrupt American treasure. Why? Because the job seems to be beyond the power of Brooks and his friends to accomplish.
    Such pitiful people. Such incalculable harm. Such terrible tragedy.

  5. mo says:

    Colonel, Im sure Sayed Nasrallah will enjoy the irony of your comparing him to Begin.
    I was actually discussing this very article earlier today on another blog. I was more concerned by what Obama said to him though than the usual right wing crap neo-con journos spout.
    I was intrigued to read that Obama believed that by getting the state to provide the services Hizballah and Hamas provide would actually strip them of support (that is assuming you could get the money to your average march 14th or Fatah politician and actually see it come out the other side as a service to the population and not in a Swis bank account.)
    On the other hand I was amazed to hear him use the words “root causes of problems and dangers” and “violence that weakens their legitimate claims.”
    A potential President that accepts that there are root causes that aren’t a general hate of all Westerners and more amazingly admits that Hamas and Hizballah have “legitimate claims” is quite frankly astounding. So astounding that I can only think that Brooks missed it as an opportunity to call Obama an appeaser out of shock.

  6. david carroll says:

    Dear Colonel Lang – I am old enough to have had implacable enemies (Germany and Japan) as a boy. By the time I got to college they were my trading partners. Has David Brooks been so busy proagandizing that he has forgottten to read History?

  7. Andy says:

    I guess David Brooks doesn’t realize that Israel has negotiated with Hezbollah in the past is reportedly currently negotiating with Hamas, albeit through intermediaries. Then there is Iran, North Korea and even Burma/Myanmar – all “terrorist” nations with which we’ve negotiated.
    I used to like David Brooks a lot – he was a reasonable conservative that I admired, but he’s been on the wrong side of too many issues in recent years.

  8. Lewis says:

    Your opinion of Brooks may or may not be warranted (I’ve not read him), but calling Hizbullah, Amal, the Aounis part of the government is highly misleading in its own right. They form the opposition, who have, so far, successfully prevented the government from actually acting like a government, and obstructing any actions by the ruling majority coalition. You are not “part of the government” when your goal is to seize power or deny the majority coalition government any right to actually governing.
    That said, what needs to be done with Hizbollah is disarm it. I’m not sure what to do about the however many brainwashed Hezbollah individuals screaming hatred at the “others” (and I’m certainly NOT saying all Lebanese Shia have been brainwashed). Hezbollah can be a political party, if it can actually act like one (a party participating in the government process).

  9. Patrick Lang says:

    Ah. One of Brooks’ pals is heard from.
    Hizbullah, Amal and the Aounis all have sgnificant blocs of seats in parliament. That makes them part of the government. pl

  10. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Some biographical data per this subject of interest. He was born in Canada. His citizenship is not indicated, nor is the original family name:
    “David Brooks was born in to a Jewish family in Toronto and grew up in New York City in Stuyvesant Town. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1983 with a degree in history.”
    Seems as though he has yet to assimilate American values.

  11. stanley Henning says:

    Interestingly, long before Bush spoke in Israel ” of a shared divine providence uniting American Christians like himself with Israel’s Jews” (NYT), I have suspected a certain amount of intended propaganda in the writing of the Bible. Did some incredibly astute individual back then already see the value of writing the Bible in a manner such as would encourage this alliance between Jews and Christians over the centuries? We tend to treat religious documents as
    “sacred” and therefore not subject to questions of this sort. I wonder!

  12. Montag says:

    Colonel, apparently Lewis has never heard of a filibuster in the U.S. Senate–a form of the “Free Veto” enjoyed in the Parliament of the Kingdom of Poland, in which even a single member could torpedo legislation by saying, “I do not consent.” No doubt Lewis expects a Parliamentary Opposition to behave with all of the vigor of a row of potted plants.
    Disarm Hizbollah? This suggestion reminds me of the movie “Jeremiah Johnson,” in which neophyte trapper Robert Redford takes up with old Will Greer. One day Greer offers to “bring back” a Grizzly Bear if Redford will skin it for him. Redford proudly boasts, “Old Man, I can skin any bear you can catch.” Later, Greer comes running back through the cabin and out the back door with a live Grizzly Bear chasing him. He gleefully shuts the door behind him and shouts to Redford, who’s trapped in the cabin with the bear–“Well, I caught him, let’s see you SKIN him!”
    David Brooks seems to agree with Richard Nixon that, “The average American is just like the child in the family.”

  13. And I believe if you want to see some hate, you can find it all over the right side of the Lebanese blogosphere as well as among Hizbullah. In fact, please cite sources for Hizbullah hate, and then go read some famous Lebanese Beiruti bloggers, those who don’t like Hizbullah. Even certain expats whose objectivity I have come to respect have said things this week I found shocking.
    I know that the average American middlebrow thinks “Muslim religious organization equals hate” but in the case of Lebanon, you really ought to spend time amongst all the players before you make sweeping assumptions about who hates and who doesn’t.
    My Lebanese brothers and sisters really, really need a national reconciliation movement. They need to spend about six years doing sulha among themselves. Their political problems are all exacerbated by the ethnic and religious intolerance, driven by fear and insecurity.
    We can all support them by urging that they find a way not only to reach compromises, but also to reconcile.

  14. Walrus says:

    Lewis, with respect, saying that Hizbollah should disarm is the same as saying the American Democratic party and it’s supporters should disarm.

  15. westerner says:

    Seems to me that — as almost always — there is an abiding wisdom to be found in the words of John Kennedy.
    From his speech to the Irish Parliament in 1963:
    And no nation, large or small, can be indifferent to the fate of others, near or far. Modern economics, weaponry and communications have made us all realize more than ever that we are one human family and this one planet is our home.
    “The world is large,” wrote John Boyle O’Reilly.
    “The world is large when its weary
    leagues two loving hearts divide,
    “But the world is small when your enemy
    is loose on the other side.”
    The world is even smaller today, though the enemy of John Boyle O’Reilly is no longer a hostile power. Indeed, across the gulfs and barriers that now divide us, we must remember that there are no permanent enemies. Hostility today is a fact, but it is not a ruling law. The supreme reality of our time is our indivisibility as children of God and our common vulnerability on this planet.

    Brooks’s view seems to be that of a child by comparison.

  16. jamzo says:

    is the israeli-palestinian conflict the proper way of looking at the politcal balance of power issues in lebanon, iraq, and iran
    has the US unwittingly placed itself the middle of a sunni-shia power conflict
    is it more accurate to look at two middle east conflicts
    a british general on charlie rose show promoting his new book talked of traditional bedouin power over the shia in iraq; he predicted the shia in iraq would never be able to put an end bedouin political hegemony
    his “long view” “post-colonial” remarks reminded me that there are historical political issues between sunnis and shia as well as legacy colonial political structures which favored the sunni over the shia
    the american political narrative for iraq discussions focuses attention on US interests related to al queda and the “global war on terror”
    this ignores the collapse of the traditional balance of power structures
    the political balance of power in lebanon is framed by a government power-sharing agreement created by the french that is now out of synch with the facts on the ground
    the political power-sharing “agreement” no longer represents the community
    iraq is also a colonial era legacy, structures that advanced a sunni hegemony at the expense of the shia
    by removing sadaam, the US created a situation similar to lebanon
    the legacy power structure no longer represents the community
    seems to me that it would be a good thing if US political leaders gave the issues of the people in the
    region more prominence and less prominance to US security fears

  17. Patrick Lang says:

    I have lost track of which post you were “on” when you mentioned Algeria.
    The Algeria War STARTED in 1956. I think your dates are off a bit. I don’t see any connection between French participation in the 1956 Suez expedition and their possession of Algeria. Their interest in Nasser’s Egypt had a lot to do with Nasserite encouragement of Arab nationalism generally rather than Algeria. pl
    As to the costs — well, history is expensive. If you want to avoid all costs, stay home. pl

  18. Twit says:

    I think Brooks is on to something:
    As a matter of course, the Lebanese government pays about $100,000 per seat per year to each party with parliamentary representation. As Hizbullah has 14 of the 128 seats in the Lebanese Parliament, the Lebanese state pays “one of the world’s most radical terrorist organizations” about $1.4 million per year!
    Therefore, to follow Brooks-esque propaganda to its logical conclusion, we have no choice but to designate the Siniora government as a terrorist financier, like IRGC-Qods Force.
    I’m converted – this is much easier than devised nuanced responses to complicated problems…

  19. Post-script. David Brooks was put on the op-ed page by the NYTimes to replace William Safire. He has been given enough time and no longer seems to have the wit, diligence, intelligence or comprehension of current events that come anywhere close to Bill Safire’s ability who had at least been a White House speech writer and author of several weighty tomes one of which was fun for all political views and was basically a dictionary of politics. If the neo-cons or libertarians or conservatives generally can only come up with a glib but not deep Brooks the end is near for their long political dominance guiding US interests. Oh, and Mark Shields should be long retired also as the liberal spokesperson on Jim Leherer’s Newshour. Definitely time for generational change there. It is clear both parties are in the middle of a long-term realignment and only afterwards will that be evident. Besides Shields, even though once a Marine, and Brooks show no comprehension of the modern military and what it can or cannot do. But hey so apparently do many flag ranks and elected pols fall into that category. The ability to mobilize 100 armored and mech-infantry divisions is no longer the measure of nation-state power. Not sure what is but certainly not that. Actually the current earthquake response in China with almost 5M homeless will give excellent insight into Chinese mobilization capabilities. Let’s see how China vis a vis US is in response and recovery to a major natural disaster. May give real insights not just to China but decay under Bush Presidency.

  20. Patrick Lang says:

    “100 armored and mech-infantry divisions”
    This “reductio ad absurdum” argument is not appropriate here.
    What I am talking about is making sure we have a force balanced against a variety of possibilities. The notion that all our likely adversaries will be guerrillas is not really well thought through.
    That is merely linear thinking. pl

  21. Bobo says:

    How we delve into the inane is beyond me, it happens.
    Mark Shields has become a Liberal Curmudgeon whose grasp of the political problem at hand can be espoused with a little history and humor as he responds with a vipers lash. Now possibly he could be considered a little towards the moderate end of Liberal but that comes with age.
    Long live Mark Shields.

  22. arthurdecco says:

    Clifford Kiracofe said: “Seems as though he (Brooks) has yet to assimilate American values.”
    Brook’s values aren’t Canadian, either. He’s a hollowed-out propagandist filled to the brim with the opinions of those who sign his paycheques.

  23. Richard Whitman says:

    I think it was Jomo Kenyatta that said “today a terrorist, tomorrow a freedom fighter, then a nationalist and finally Prime Minister”

  24. jonst says:

    You wrote: “Colonel, Im sure Sayed Nasrallah will enjoy the irony of your comparing him to Begin.”
    It is just a guess on my part…but I seriously doubt that he would view it as ironic at all. Rather, it simply a very common transitional dynamic, playing itself out once again.

  25. mo says:

    “History doesn’t always repeat itself, sometimes it picks up a heavy club and screams ‘weren’t you listeninig the first time!'” Pratchett
    I’m sure you are right that he sees it as a common dynamic but he has a good sense of humor and will most likely enjoy the irony as well

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Isn’t Mr. Brooks’ writings just another example of the so-called Yello Journalism which has a long and established presence in US (as well as other places)?
    If so, then why get so excited about it?
    Isn’t this business as usual except that the Yellows have better academic credentials and have better tailors?

  27. Charles I says:

    Lewis, even if they’re not government you say, they sure are intractable “facts on the ground” which Israel a) helped create; and b) then brutishly demonstrated that such facts trump all “legitimate” government and politics, platitudes, and unrealistic prescriptions from afar. Worse yet those other collateral facts, the local “civilians” perversely root for the home team, warts and all, over the visiting all stars every time. “From my cold dead hand. . .” as opposed to from your calculating cold pen as it were, is at least one sentiment you may imagine all the world fervently shares . . .
    William R. Cumming, thanks for pointer at response capability analysis. Tremendous danger and potential for the well built Party. Ditto for the Army. All those collapsed schools, full of one-child objects of total focus- as opposed to poor black folk perched on developable shoreline – but with the national pride/disaster/Olympics synergies potentially massive.
    All, I don’t think the long national nightmare is nearly over. Political realignment of the two parties, noted as not playing out until well after the election, will be a tiny fraction of what will be required to meet the coming challenges. Truly, your current leader should be in jail, the Dems are a joke.
    Its horrible up here in Canada too, we have a wannabe flathead minority government just gutted federal revenues, vastly increased spending, rules by offense and threats – they’re currently suing our Oppositiopn – and PM little Stevie Harper just made Bush’es Speech – Israel Uber Alles forever, whatever at a posh 60th bash up here. Better yet,we just signed some kind of joint border management agreement with Israel as out national security, integrity or sovereignty are apparently directly connected to those of Israel, present location on the map not yet defined.
    Whatever occurs at home, Israel will never let go of Washington. The latter seems insensible to reality. Current performances confirm the adroitness of what Michael Scheuer, Aka Anonymous considers one of the greatest intelligence ops of the century. His latest screed, Marching Towards Hell” delightfully cold blooded – and incredibly frustrated and angry with the government.
    Its also apparent that after the successful ramp up of the wars, negotiation of the subprime mess, housing and (current)stock market bubbles, test application of the shock doctrine to New Orleans waterfront, the virulence of the anti-tax and privitization manias now married to the imperative “American (high)Way of Life – the money masters are now confident they can completely have their way with the U.S. treasury whilst completing the transfer in title of America’s birthright to Clifford Kiracole’s shifty gang of transnational bandits, speculators, war criminals, privateers, mafias and ideologues that now obtains.
    And those gangs are hardly in control of our outcomes, they just know how to ride them. What would a quake, nuclear accident or another mass attack do to American prospects for a return to somewhat rational constitutional government.

  28. McGee says:

    For those still reading this thread Rami Khouri of the Beirut Daily Star, who has be the only Middle Eastern journalist who ever coached Little League baseball (when he was a foreign correspondent here in the 90’s), defines the current Lebanese dilemna pretty succintly here:

  29. Stormcrow says:

    You wrote:

    What I am talking about is making sure we have a force balanced against a variety of possibilities. The notion that all our likely adversaries will be guerrillas is not really well thought through.

    It is my considered opinion, at this point, that Nasrallah has built Hezbollah’s position in Lebanon from the bottom up. This is the classic way to build a guerrilla army. The thinking goes back to Mao Tse Tung, back when he was a highly successful general, before he was a disastrously poor head of state. And the example of the Chinese Civil War, plus any number of examples after that, proves that it works.
    Ramon Magsaysay’s military career is the only illustration I can think of offhand of how to defeat and destroy guerrillas. He did this by provision of services to the target population. By doing this, he deprived the Huks of their base, at the same time he grew his own.
    I should mention at this point, that one thing Magsaysay and Nasrallah seem to share is an excellent practical understanding of the nature of loyalty. Most “statesmen” and “business executives” seem to be totally ignorant of the composition of loyalty. It isn’t some right conferred by a high enough status. It is bilateral, not unilateral, and in order for a leader to possess it, he must give it in return. If that leader is trying for a base amongst people who have historically been exploited, he has to give before he can receive. He has to prime the pump before he can draw water. Nasrallah is doing this every time his people run up another set of apartments wrecked in the 2006 war. He is doing this by actually providing water, and electricity to the people living in slums in Lebanon.
    In order to defeat Hezbollah this way, a hypothetical Lebanese Magsaysay would have to out-Nasrallah Nasrallah. Saad Hariri’s Future Movement and Amal don’t do this and aren’t going to do this without a complete change in leadership. The ones they have now are bound up in a culture of corruption that would require a complete rebuild, rather than mere reforms, to fix. So I don’t see this happening locally in the foreseeable future.
    Which leads me to the next logical question. Given proper leadership in this country, which will have to wait on the ouster of the present bunch of felons, is Nasrallah still “plastic” enough to work with instead of Fouad Siniora?
    Quite frankly, Siniora reminds me of Chiang Kai Shek and Fulgencio Batista entirely too well. As do Saad Hariri and just about everybody else I have ever heard of in Lebanese politics besides Nasrallah.
    And we know what happened to the Batista regime, and the regime of the Kuomintang on the mainland, do we not?
    We can begin a dialog with Nasrallah today by choice, or in five to ten years by sheer force of necessity. Because unless something unforseen happens, he’s going to win. And there is no present or likely equivalent of the Cuban exile community present in the United States to force our policy into one of permanent blind opposition. Unless you count AIPAC, that is. And we’re going to have to prune that back sooner or later. Decades of every sort of misbehavior from the most extreme interference in American foreign policy to blatant espionage required this long ago.
    If we do this next year, instead of ten years from now, how likely is it that we can work with Hezbollah rather than in opposition to it?

  30. Patrick Lang says:

    I don’t problems with you comment except for your use of the word “guerrilla” in describing various armies.
    What do you mean by “guerrilla?”
    The People’s Liberation Army in China, the Viet Minh and various other armies began as irregular forces and became something very different in the main.
    What do you mean by the word? pl

  31. Guam guy says:

    What did Guam do to deserve to be the retirment home for the likes of Siniora?
    Guam was the first stop for a number of Kurdish refugees after the first Iraq war, and we got quite a few Vietnamese from the fall of Saigion. Who knows what we’ll get from the second Iraq war.

  32. P.L. Your probably right about linear thinking. Never-the-less since you mentioned capabilities against all possibilities–What are your top ten? Here are mine!
    (1) Indian-Pakistan Warfare;
    (2) Nation-states unable to control significant portions of their territory, e.g. Pakistan; Lebanon; Mexico; China; Russia; Iraq; at least 30% of African supposed nation-states; Columbia; India; and Bolivia; to name a few.
    (3) Kosovo;
    (4) Macedonia;
    (5) Syria;
    (6) Republic of Congo or whatever called now;
    (7) Nigeria;
    (8) Algeria:
    (9) N.Korea;
    (10) Domestic US unrest perhaps prompted by economics, food shortage, mass immigration emergency, or WMD event.
    Would be interested in your list!

  33. mo says:

    Hezballah’s raison d’etre does not conflict with a realistic US foreign policy. If and when an administration exists in the US that does not see every group that does not co-opt its agenda as a mortal enemy then we will be able to see headway.
    As long as both sides accept the others views on Israel and that the others view will not change, building a dialog would be quite simple.

  34. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Stormcrow writes:
    “Ramon Magsaysay’s military career is the only illustration I can think of offhand of how to defeat and destroy guerrillas. He did this by provision of services to the target population. By doing this, he deprived the Huks of their base, at the same time he grew his own.”
    From what little I know, this statement is consistent with the thesis of Bernard Fall and appears consistent with the Vietnam War experience.
    And, if I may, I believe this idea may reveal a terrible blindspot of the IDF and unfortunately spells much more trouble ahead for Israel.
    The IDF grew out of Jabotinsky’s Irgun and Haganah. The new historians of Israel are proving with clear and convincing evidence that the objective of the Irgun was ethnic cleansing. No evidence, as far as I am aware, suggests that IDF has changed its objective since 48. And their strategic aims are reflected not only through its military tactics but also politically through Likud and its American supporters.
    As a result, these American supporters has ignored the ideas of Fall and therefore, from what I can tell, those of the US special forces. In other words, Hagee’s loyalty is with the IDF, not the US Special Forces.
    If this idea is correct, then at some point, Americans need to decide between the tradition of Fall that went through Vietnam and the tradition of the IDF that burned Palestinian villages, leading to what some are now calling the politically charged word, “nabka”.
    One can only wonder what would have happened if the IDF had changed its strategic goal and, therefore, its tactics as late after 1967 and maybe even as late as the 1980’s. If instead of Shabra and Shatila, the IDF had built hospitals and schools, would HA even exist today? If Shabra and Shatila connote hubris, then does HA translate roughly into nemesis?
    Awhile back, I saw a national geographic special on the Green Berets in Afghanistan. And sure enough, there was a Green Beret doctor taking care of Afghan children and the old people. At least to me, this looks like the tradition that went through Vietnam.
    Common sense would dictate that if over the past 40 years IDF doctors had treated, for example, Palestinian children with leukemia, then over the years, Palestinian mothers would thank the IDF. This is based upon the assumption that Palestinians mothers and fathers are human.
    Bard O’Neill suggests that such an approach may have worked in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He puts forth this idea in the book he co-authored with I. Kass titled The Deadly Embrace. The Bard has taught (and maybe still does) at the National War College.

  35. Stormcrow says:

    Col Lang:
    Of course, you’re right about the PLA, the Viet Minh, and “guerrilla” armies in general.
    They may start that way, but they don’t end up that way if they’re going to win.
    The way I’m using the term is to describe irregular forces which originate from non-state foundations, but whose aim is higher than that of mere armed gangs.
    These organizations start from zero or pretty close to it. They have to build their base. The conditions most favorable to their creation are situations where the state entity in charge of the area is “hollowed out”. This can happen as a result of external conditions, or internal war, or by runaway corruption in the government and its consequent neglect of the business of state.
    In Iraq, the United States invasion and our subsequent bungling satisfied the first of those alternatives. But the third seems to be more common by far.
    Hapless Lebanon seems to have been in the way of all three. To wit, (i) Syrian and later Israeli intervention, (ii) their long ugly civil war, and (iii) the utter and disgusting corruption of the Hariri and Siniora factions.

  36. mo says:

    You ask if instead of Shabra and Shatila, the IDF had built hospitals and schools, would HA even exist today?
    It was even more basic than that. The Shia welcomed the IDF as liberators from the oppression of the PLO. All they had to do was to withdraw back into Israel and there would have been no Hizballah.

  37. TomB says:

    Sidney O. Smith III wrote:
    “This is based upon the assumption that Palestinians mothers and fathers are human.”
    You know Sidney, no matter what happens in the future over there, I don’t think any future historian of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict at least up to the present point will ever be able to write a sadder, more apt, more telling line than this about Israel’s mistakes.
    Of course that’s not to say there haven’t been equally terrible mistakes made by the Palestinians and arabs of course, but just as a kind of postmortem on one side’s tragic mindset, I think you got it perfectly.
    I forgot where I read it or heard it a good while ago, but some jewish kid who made aliyah to Israel and stayed with some settler family reported—shocked, to his credit—that one of the most typical ways in which he heard the settlers refer to the arabs was as “insects.”
    It seems to me that we’re in such a strange period. Just closed the most secular century ever, and yet the world is being jerked around by three groups of fundamentalist religios. I just don’t understand it. Almost makes you believe it is something exotic like Hegel’s antithesis to the last century’s “thesis” or etc., but I dunno. (Nor can I quite see what kind of “synthesis” could result since by definition I suspect fundamentalist religio’s can only bend so far.)
    In any event I been gone and immersed in stuff so I haven’t even been watching the news lately much, so has anything happened on the Iran War possibility front? Did see about that speech Bush gave to the Knesset. Wow. Maybe since he can’t run here again and Olmert is in trouble he’s gonna run over there.
    Do recall right before I left both you and londanium said stuff that persuaded me more than ever that a strike by Bush on Iranian nuke sites isn’t likely by the end of his term, but then you two also made me wonder about people’s thinking of the relative chances of a strike on the Iranian’s nuke sites under McCain, or then under Obama. But I was rushing and so neglected to ask for everyone’s opinions despite being interested.

  38. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    <"Brook’s values aren’t Canadian, either.">
    I think he seems to fall into the Revisionist Zionist (Jabotinskyite) camp like most of the Neocons seem to.
    His education at the University of Chicago might have included some Straussian influence. As you may know, there has been a Straussian penetration in Canada, particularly at the University of Toronto, Pangle and that crowd, from what I hear.
    David Frum, the sometime White House Neocon speech writer was/is still(?) Canadian, and his parents I believe were Canadian journalists linked to the former Conrad Black empire pro-Zionists.
    I think it was the late zillionaire Izzy Asper who bought out the former Black interests for press and TV up there? Per the late Izzy see

  39. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Because of your analysis, I certainly recommend your blog, particularly as a complement with Syria comment.
    At least to me, politics in Lebanon has the complexity of organic chemistry. And just as the organic chemistry class “weeds” out the pre-meds, it seems that gaining a threshold understanding of Lebanon is a prerequisite to a wider understanding of the mosaic of the Middle East.
    I have a ways to go, admittedly. But I will say that after I have read some of your comments, I am inclined to say to myself, “Mo knows”.
    Thank you for the comment and I am glad you have resurfaced at Sic Semper Tyrannis. Hope that the “stuff” in which you find yourself immersed is working out to your satisfaction.
    Awhile back, you eloquently wrote about the notion that fewer choices appear available in the direction of history. It is a fascinating concept. I merely offer for consideration the idea that, at this time in history, the US must decide whether to follow the US military tradition that went through Vietnam or the US must decide to adhere to the tradition of the IDF. If the new historians of Israel are correct, then such a decision is not one of “and/both” but, instead, “either/or”. Why? Because the strategic aim of the IDF is one of ethnic cleansing. The strategic aim of the USM in Vietnam was not one of ethnic cleansing.
    Again, assuming the New Historians are correct, then the IDF is all about burning the Arab and Muslim village. And it therefore is reasonable to assume the IDF is now seeking to extend the radius of such a strategic aim to a much larger area. Opposed to such a strategic aim, the USM, at least as I understand it, is all about following the rule described in Fall’s book Street Without Joy. To win, the people and the military must emerge on the same side of the struggle.
    This “either/or” idea is condensed and symbolized, at least in my mind, most powerfully by Luti calling General Zinni a traitor. Like all great symbols, this one operates at a multitude of planes. And at some level, Luti branded General Zinni a traitor because General Zinni does not represent the tradition of ethnic cleansing.
    The film Borat, I believe, supports this idea as well as the findings of the New Historians. At a sub textual level, Cohen was attempting to destroy all things associated with the name “Ali.” When seen in that light, the plotline of Borat melds with the neoconservative concept of the creative destruction of other cultures.

  40. mo says:

    Very kind comments Sidney, thank you. The truth about Lebanese politics is more like “who knows”. The uniqueness of its sectarian, ethnic and religious mix, its 4000 years of politics and a population that has probably the highest per capita opinion ratio in the world means that everything you knew yesterday could mean nothing tomorrow.
    But we can all but keep trying!

  41. arthurdecco says:

    Sidney O. Smith III said: “The film Borat, I believe, supports this idea as well as the findings of the New Historians. At a sub textual level, Cohen was attempting to destroy all things associated with the name “Ali.” When seen in that light, the plotline of Borat melds with the neoconservative concept of the creative destruction of other cultures.”
    You’re the first person I’ve read that holds this opinion, Mr. Smith – other than me.
    I’ve been posting on the same point since Borat came out, with little or no effect.
    I’m pleased its you I finally get to share this opinion with.

  42. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    My apologies for not responding sooner. On the road. But I want thank you very much for the comment. I agree with you completely — at a sub textual level, “Borat” is about the destruction of a culture associated with the character name “Ali”. And I want to tell you that I like very much to read your other comments here at sst.
    For the fun of it, I would like to review “Borat” applying the methodology as described in Sherman Kent’s 1949 book re: Strategic Intelligence and American World Policy. Time permitting, I may give it a whirl. Part of the problem is I don’t want to waste my time analyzing a deplorable film that in many ways represents the opposite of Chaplin and the great Jewish-American tradition of comedy. As you can already tell, I believe that Borat is an anti-Chaplin work of comedy.

  43. Recent estimates have upped the potential homeless in the Chinese Earthquake to exceed 10M. For Huricane Katrina estimates were 60-90K.

Comments are closed.