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Showing posts from December 17, 2006

IT's pig metaphysics

LI’s readers are, presumably, the same people who read Infinite thought. For those who haven’t read IT’s prolegomena to all future pig metaphysics, go here. “What we have to understand, as a matter of some urgency, is that the transcendental pig is our friend, just as the empirical pig is our lunch.”

the passion for ascendancy

“The good Samaritan he’s dressing He’s getting ready for the show…” Mark Danner begins his NRYB essay (see last post) with an exemplary historiette concerning a young State Department employee in Falluja who reminds him of a: “… young Kennan's reincarnation in the person of a junior State Department official: a bright, aggressive young man who spent his twenty-hour days rumbling down the ruined streets in body armor and helmet with his reluctant Marine escorts, meeting with local Iraqi officials, and writing tart cables back to Baghdad or Washington telling his bosses the truth of what was happening on the ground, however reluctant they might be to hear it. This young diplomat was resourceful and brilliant and indefatigable, and as I watched him joking and arguing with the local sheikhs and politicos and technocrats —who were meeting, as they were forced to do, in the American bunker —I thought of the indomitable young Kennan of the interwar years, and of how, if the American eff

bush at the end of the daisy chain

LI finally got around to reading Mark Danner’s article on Iraq. It is very good . However, one notices that Danner makes the blunders in Iraq stand out against a rather blurry background of America’s foreign policy history, one which exudes a lot of feel good aura but little content. That’s a shame. As we have pointed out before, one of the truly underreported aspects of the American debacle in Iraq goes back to class. Namely, America’s natural tendency to work with the upper class in third world countries was, in Iraq, uniquely negated by the fact that much of that upper class was Sunni, or was perceived to be supportive of Saddam Hussein. Meanwhile, the working class justly saw America as its enemy, since in fact America is always the enemy of the working class in any third world country you want to name. That class aspect only comes into view once one starts viewing America’s foreign policy critically – i.e., once one departs from the consensus about the Cold War that has been drib

the new Mount Rushmore

Fred Barnes is glowing with pleasure today. He knew that the Rebel in Chief had super powers. He knew that that face, those abs, the incredibly long member, that loveable grin, could only have come from the Planet Zygon. And today, the President shyly let the cat – or as they say on Zygon, the endless stream of copulating cockroaches – out of the bag, in this interview with the Washington Post: “Bush, who has always said that the United States is headed for victory in Iraq, conceded yesterday what Gates, Powell and most Americans in polls have already concluded. "An interesting construct that General Pace uses is, 'We're not winning, we're not losing,' " Bush said, referring to Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the Joint Chiefs chairman, who was spotted near the Oval Office before the interview. "There's been some very positive developments. . . . [But] obviously the real problem we face is the sectarian violence that needs to be dealt with." Asked yeste

why I love the Washington Post

Moments in the dreamlife of the governing class This exchange in the Washington Post deserves an award of some kind – it so exactly represents the way in which, in D.C. circles, conventional wisdom deals with those truths that upset it: “Waterville, Maine: Good Morning Dan, President Bush's proposal to increase troops in Iraq by 20-30,000 has received a lot of attention this weekend and has sparked considerable debate and controversy. On the one hand, incoming Majority Leader Reid stated he would support a short-term increase. On the other hand, I thought it was very interesting that former Secretary Powell and Hillary Clinton spoke out against the idea. Powell even suggested that the army was "nearly broken" and could not sustain another build-up. How is the White House responding to all this? Are we seeing evidence of a growing rift between Democratic leaders? How many other Republicans will speak out now that Powell has come out publicly? Dan Balz: These are all g

the age of the airloom

LI was pleased to receive some compliments on our Pinochet post from our friend in Mexico City, M., the more so as we seem, lately, to have either stunned or bored our readers to the extent that we sadly, visibly lack comments. On other blogs, there are lively debates about censoring or not censoring comment sections, but we don’t have that sort of problem here. Christ, you write an anti-Christmas piece that ties together father Christmas and Hitler and nobody even peeps. We’ve been thinking, perhaps we haven’t been mad enough. Or is it that we are too mad? And this thought naturally led us to consider the autobiographies of mad political cosmologists before us. The most famous, of course, is Paul Schreber, the son of Germany’s greatest anti-onanist, Moritz Schreber. Paul Schreber’s spacewalk into a new heaven and new earth, which occured in the nuthouse where he was committed, was published in book form and, famously, analyzed by Freud, and then by Canetti, and then by all the epigon

Blair, that eggbeater

There are people to whom a sense for quality is denied in the same way others are blind or deaf and dumb. Only the first type is incomparably more numerous - which is why nobody sees their condition as pathological - Kurt Heller Far, far from the Commons of Great Britain be all manner of real vice; but ten thousand times further from them, as far as from pole to pole, be the whole tribe of false, spurious, affected, counterfeit, hypocritical virtues! These are the things which are ten times more at war with real virtue, these are the things which are ten times more at war with real duty, than any vice known by its name and distinguished by its proper character. My Lords, far from us, I will add, be that false and affected candor that is eternally in treaty with crime,—that half virtue, which, like the ambiguous animal that flies about in the twilight of a compromise between day and night, is to a just man's eye an odious and disgusting thing! There is no middle point in which t