Open Thread – 10 October, 2009


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26 Responses to Open Thread – 10 October, 2009

  1. John Badalian says:

    Colonel Patrick, you are both a scholar and student of our Country’s Civil War Period. And I’ve always wondered about this. Why would Abraham Lincoln, champion of the skilled working man, essentially allow affluent young men to buy their way out of the Civil War draft?
    Thank you. John

  2. Maureen Lang says:

    Since this is an open thread…
    Coming attractions on The Athenaeum:
    “Halloween- From Pagan Ritual to Party Night.” post will include pics of Halloween ephemera 1910-1960s collected by the author.
    The return of ’08’s “Happy Thanksgiving from the Heartland”- an update on the Mason family of SC & their annual Nov. antique car/truck show benefitting the Spartanburg SC food bank (post will include Mason clan ’09 choices of car & road music from the event, plus pics).

  3. Thomas says:

    An historical question about the Iran-Iraq war.During the Battle of Khorramshahr (May 1982) a young Iranian commander, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, was said to have distinguished himself. Did he?

  4. Patrick Lang says:

    I have no idea. pl

  5. Patrick Lang says:

    Political necessity. “Commutation” was necessary to passage of the act. Any other reasons given were mere rationalizations. pl

  6. WILL says:

    ” Qalibaf’s true colors aren’t clear. Relatively young, at 46, for Iranian politics, he is neither a turbaned mullah nor a bearded revolutionary but a manager who seems more interested in paving potholed streets than in parroting empty slogans. The son of a grocer in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Qalibaf was a teenage activist during the 1979 Islamic revolution. A few years later he became one of Iran’s youngest military commanders, playing a crucial role in the 1982 liberation of the city of Khorramshahr from Saddam Hussein’s invading army, and he subsequently served as Iran’s chief of police. ”,9171,1832327,00.html

  7. Brad Ruble says:

    One evening, in the early stages of the current Iraq war, I saw you on the NewsHour. The fight for Baghdad was just developing. The Iraqi general in command of the cities defense said the the Iraqi army was going to fight. You, and I believe others on the panel, thought this could be a serious development. It was my impression you and the others thought this General to be competent. I’m curious, do you remember his name and do you know what ever became of him? Thank you for your time.

  8. YT says:

    Col., sir: Curious. A gift (i.e.: painting) from a friend? I’m no connoisseur of Chinese art. By whose hand was it conceived?

  9. My thoughts about the Nobel Prix award are becoming more and more complicated. Obama, himself, is showing signs of deep embarrassment and indications it may end up affecting his leadership adversely. Wondering what others in this blog are thinking? I am beginning to think more and more that Obama’s life taught him organizing but that he is not an instinctive leader but skilled at getting to balance points in his organizing abilities. Truly not a revolutionary in any sense, Obama is now faced with the history of the Nobel Peace Prize and its awardees. Most of them have changed history in many ways. I have believed for some time that Obama views himself in some historical context already, regardless of further accomplishments. This award may reinforce this self view. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it does not encourage me that like many real leaders, he will adapt and grow and of course lead despite the obtacles placed in his path. He does know the obstacles but does he know the paths around them? Time will tell but I think the Nobel Committee has not done him a favor domestically or internationally.

  10. DaveGood says:

    According to Wiki….
    at the age of twenty two Qualibaf was commander of the Nasr Troops. The equivalent in western terms of a Major General.
    Today he is mayor of Tehran, and favours talking to the west.

  11. confusedponderer says:

    Hilarious article from the American Conservative: It’s All Greek to Me
    The apologies are for the rough treatment Victor Davis Hanson received in Gary Brecher’s article: It’s All Greek to Victor Davis Hanson

  12. Patrick Lang says:

    I serve on a board with Dr. Hanson and so I will abstain from comment on this. pl

  13. Mark Stuart says:

    Turkey Excludes Israel from Military Air ExerciseTurkey & Armenia Sign Historic Peace Agreement
    Are we to see some major significance Sir on those last events, considering that our Secretary of State had to use some diplomatic muscle to reach the peace agreement? And could this influence the shape of Obama’s current deliberations regarding Af-Pak but also the whole region?
    Thank you,

  14. Patrick Lang says:

    Wha’s the fascination with this man, Qualibaf? pl

  15. Patrick Lang says:

    Xugu is my favorite Chinese painter, but I do not claim to be very knowledgeable in Chinese art.
    I would be happy to accept a Xugu painting. Good luck to me. pl

  16. Patrick Lang says:

    I think his name is/was Sultan Ahmad Hashim. He was the last Iraqi minister of defense. I believe that the present Iraqi government has condemned him to death although I don’t think he has been executed as yet.
    This is another example of the actions of the present government that are unlikely to lead to intercommunal tolerance. pl

  17. DaveGood says:

    It looks like you have brought forward into our view a potentially significant Middle east player most of us were unaware of.
    Qualibef made his bones as a major military hero in the fight aganst Saddams Iraq, he is now the Mayor of Tehran, ( which formed the political launching pad for the current Iranian President).
    He’s worth watching, not supporting, watching.
    If only because the current president of Iran regards him as an enemy.
    Any effort to “Support” him from us in the west will probably result in a wire garrote.

  18. DaveGood says:

    I got interested in Qualibaf real quick once I learned three things.
    1. He appears to be a genuine war hero from the war against Saddam… and still young, in his forties.
    2 He(Qualibaf) is currently the mayor of Tehran. And that’s the launchpad the current president of Iran used to get where he’s at now.
    3. It’s possible, Qualibaf, is someone we should all get to know a lot more about. He may just make it to Iran’s next president….. and should he do so, we will be better prepared for it of we have some grasp on what he has done, lived through and what he he thinks and says,
    What does the rest of the community think?

  19. YT says:

    Some abstracts from Lao-Tzu:
    30. Violence
    Powerful men are well advised not to use violence,
    For violence has a habit of returning;
    Thorns and weeds grow wherever an army goes,
    And lean years follow a great war.
    A general is well advised
    To achieve nothing more than his orders:
    Not to take advantage of his victory.
    Nor to glory, boast or pride himself;
    To do what is dictated by necessity,
    But not by choice.
    For even the strongest force will weaken with time,
    And then its violence will return, and kill it.
    31. Armies
    Armies are tools of violence;
    They cause men to hate and fear.
    The sage will not join them.
    His purpose is creation;
    Their purpose is destruction.
    Weapons are tools of violence,
    Not of the sage;
    He uses them only when there is no choice,
    And then calmly, and with tact,
    For he finds no beauty in them.
    Whoever finds beauty in weapons
    Delights in the slaughter of men;
    And who delights in slaughter
    Cannot content himself with peace.
    So slaughters must be mourned
    And conquest celebrated with a funeral.

  20. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Prof. Kiracofe
    I am responding to your comment addressed to me at the other thread, but since the subject is drifting off topic, I thought this was a more appropriate venue.
    Re: Tony Rice. Yes, I heard Rice in Atlanta years go and have remained a fan since then. I am out of the bluegrass loop, but I know that a band from Knoxville, Robinella, has a following among the purists.
    Re: meth. For reasons I still don’t fully understand, a few years ago I agreed to work for a short while as a prosecutor in an “Appalachian” county. The place was awashed in meth.
    At the time, there was no substantive connection between the production and distribution of meth to Mexican gangs. Most of the meth was coming from independent labs in the area. Basically, the historical shift was from “moonshine” to growing pot to meth labs.
    At another time and place, I also participated for awhile on a local gang task force, simply to see what was going on. I recommend the FBI studies on the same. (and it should be noted that, of course, in California and elsewhere, motorcycle gangs played a big role in introducing meth to America).
    All in all, I do believe that the presence of gangs could act as an accelerant to the fragmentation of American society, if the conditions become ripe for such.
    No doubt, Mexican and Central American gangs in the metro Atlanta (and up through VA to DC) have an extremely strong presence. And among other gangs, at least as of a few years ago, “ da folks” out of Chicago were ceded to Atlanta by the LA bloods, etc.
    But no one messes with the Mexican gangs, at least around here.
    Ýet, to be fair, I must also mention something that a friend who is a probation officer told me. He has spent a lot of time working with kids in Mexican gangs.
    He has told me that some of the worst he has seen are not Mexican or African American kids but suburban middle to upper middle class, primarily white, kids who have crossed the line and obviously are not coming back. (And this Probation officer is Scot Irish, working class from my hometown, and in his day one extraordinary brawler with relatives in prison, so I find him credible)
    From my experiences, I tend to concur with what he has to say. The “etiology” leading to the violence differs. In a nutshell, a lot of people in Mexican and other gangs, at a young age, are looking for a father figure (sorry, Freud is wrong). Different mindset with others. You see it in their eyes when you talk to them.

  21. Steve says:

    Do you see US influence on the decline in South America? Do you see us going to war there in the future?

  22. Patrick Lang says:

    No idea pl

  23. Thomas says:

    Dave Good,
    The rumors on the street in Iran are that the current election crisis will be resolved with a National Unity Plan supported by SL Khamenei and Hashemi Rafsanjani. It will include new elections with an Interim Government until they are held. Qualibaf is the name that comes up as the interim president.

  24. Cato says:

    If memory serves, there was an expose about just this topic in The Atlantic Monthly magazine.
    Unfortunately, that was during the Viet Nam war. Plus ca change….

  25. DaveGood says:

    Thanks for the info Thomas….
    I have no real grasp on Qualibaf yet.
    He and the current President of Iran ( Who I think is a buffoon but did/would have won a free election with a greater margin then most western democratic leaders have managed recently) appear to be enemies.
    However I don’t think that will help us.
    The enmity between them seems to be personal ambition , not the overall thrust of foreign or internal affairs.
    He’s a man to watch, but may well prove more dangerous then Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
    Mainly because Qalibaf looks like the genuine article… a hardline, intelligent, Islamic war leader who has transitioned to the second highest civilian post in Iranian Society.
    I don’t know what to make of him yet, but I thank those who have brought him to my attention.

  26. Mark Stuart says:

    Mainly because Qalibaf looks like the genuine article… a hardline, intelligent, Islamic war leader…
    Although i don’t know what you mean by “Islamic war leader”, you’ve just described:Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! Haven’t you? He is a hardliner, isn’t he? He is intelligent? isn’t he?
    So why again is this Qalibaf a man to watch?
    Is it because with his blue/grey eyes he is better looking than Ahmadinejad?
    Or is it maybe because he is the only one who was able to obtain from Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, permission to create the all-female police units?
    (here , here , and here)
    Or could it just simply be as Thomas said: rumors in the streets… ?

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