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Showing posts from February 23, 2003
Remora Wo Es war, soll Ich werden -- Freud, Charles Krauthammer attends, so we are told, at all the high tables in D.C., and is one of the muskateers of The Project for the New American Century, which plays a role in today's politics similar to the role played by Committee on the Present Danger played in the good old days of Ronald Reagan. Krauthammer presently plays the Id to the Bush court. While Paul Wolfowitz has been forced to straight-jacket his thoughts into the super-ego of officialdom, Krauthammer is free to express the desires that really roil the inner circle. This is important. Where the Id is, with the Bushes, the super-ego will surely follow, and trail in its wake the whole set of opinion makers, rationalizing madly. It's Freudian law applied to the Hof. Just look at tax policy. In 2000, only the wildest ideologues of plutocracy would have come out solidly against the Income Tax and in fav
Remora DEMS WAKE UP FROM YEARLONG SLEEP, ASK "WHA'S HAPPENING?" Which should be the headline to the NYT piece on the hearing held to determine the 'price' of our beautiful occupation of Iraq. Paul Wolfowitz is the lead administration meretrician on the case (hey, shouldn't there be such a word? Meretrician -- it is an apt description for the present administration's way with figures). He comes a day after Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army let the cat out of the bag "that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq." Wolfowitz, a man who has made a vast study of war -- why, he's read several books on the subject by various Kagans -- is, of course, shocked that we would ever listen to some old no doubt senile duffer sitting on the Joint Chiefs of Staff who actually served in the military -- a service devoutly to be avoided by the key members of this administration when they were in their machine gun bearing primes.
Dope "10 � Then Hanani'ah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it. 11 And Hanani'ah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way. 12 � Then the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hanani'ah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 13 Go and tell Hanani'ah, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron. 14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also. 15 Then said the prophet Jer
Remora Notwithstanding the difference of their characters, the two emperors maintained, on the throne, that friendship which they had contracted in a private station. The haughty, turbulent spirit of Maximian, so fatal afterwards to himself and to the public peace, was accustomed to respect the genius of Diocletian, and confessed the ascendant of reason over brutal violence. From a motive either of pride or superstition, the two emperors assumed the titles, the one of Jovius, the other of Herculius. Whilst the motion of the world (such was the language of their venal orators) was maintained by the all-seeing wisdom of Jupiter, the invincible arm of Hercules purged the earth from monsters and tyrants. - Edward Gibbon, LI imagines that the War has been a godsend for the British papers -- right now, you have to go to the Guardian, the Independent, even the Telegraph to find out what is going on. Except for the LA Times, American papers seem to have aligned themselves unilaterall
Remora One of the oddities of the upcoming war (may Popeye avert it!) is that those opposing it are accused of having no "solution" to the situation in Iraq. Usually this accusation is made by supporters of the war, like Salman Rushdie , who support an entirely different war than the one justified by Bush and Blair. LI thinks it is fair to assume that Bush and Blair will not invite Rushdie, or Hitchens, or any of the rest of them, into their counsels of war when the invasion begins. So arguing about the Rushdie/Hitchens war is a pointless exercise: that war is neither contemplated nor likely to be fought. However, the idea that we, who speak no Arabic, or Kurnamji, who have no stake in Iraq, and who have no sense of the fabric of the culture, come up with "solutions" to how Iraq should be governed is... curious. It is one of those problems that remind me of why, in spite of my overall disagreement with Hayek, I am sympathetic to some of his grander themes. Hay
Dope An assembly, an association, a crowd or a sect has no idea other than that which is whispered to it by someone; and that idea, that indication more or less intelligent of a purpose to pursue, or a means to employ, however much it propagates itself in the brain of an individual or the brains of a group, it remains the same. The whisperer is thus responsible for its direct effects. But the emotion joined to that idea which propagates with it does not remain the same in growing, it intensifies by a sort of mathematical progression... The heads of a gang or of a riot can reasonably be called to account for the shrewdness and the craft by which they have executed massacres, pillages, arsons, etc., but not always for the violence and extensiveness of injuries caused by criminal contagions. � Gabriel Tarde, L�opinion et la foule In our last post, we made reference to reputation � a seemingly forgotten element in the cool analysis of social action. The defenders of the Iraq war,
Remora Hawks have my head, Doves have my heart, reads the headline of Ian McEwan's essay about the Iraq war. On the evidence of the article, the hawks are getting screwed. Of course, McEwan's heart seems to be standard issue fare. While his Id no doubt bubbles away, consciously he does not want men, women and children to be eviscerated by bombs, or perforated by bullets, or just plain fragmented by the soldiery's everyday explosives, or so he presents himself. Isn't that nice? But his head makes your standard belligerent knock down arguments - which are more knock em down than reason. He tells us that Saddam Hussein is evil. Thus, eliminating that evil is good. Q.E.D., here's your red hot reason for a war. McEwan, like so many belligerents, suffers from the delusion that he gets to make up the reasons for fighting the war. This is very convenient: it allows him never to confront the official reasons for fighting the war. That's because the official r