On Making Plowshares



I am not for war. In fact I don’t know anyone who is for war. War is a terrible thing.

But it is not the most terrible thing.

I have to confess to extreme nervousness at making peace treaties with the Taliban.  Remember I come from a country with a long history of war with Islamic entities. For a while the river that runs through the city where I went to college was the dividing line between Christian and Moor. (And those who make high faluting stupid statements about the noble Moors haven’t seen the physical remains I’ve seen, or read first hand accounts. The Golden age of Islam was burnished with stuff stolen from the conquered and built by slave labor. Whether it was more open than it is now, I don’t know. But it was not superior to Christian Europe. It just took from many different cultures and as such served as a conduit.)

I’m afraid treaties are just time to recoup and become a REAL threat. At least that’s the lesson of history.

Now I’m not going to say Trump is making a mistake exactly. I know he had access to things we have not, including what other threats we might be facing, the REAL state of whatever the heck is going on with Kung Flu, etc. etc.

And also of course the political, economic and social will to deal with this as we must, which would be something similar to what we did in Japan. It’s the only way to deal with a totally alien and inimical culture.  We particularly lack the cultural will to stay and mold them into our image. Hell, we’re not molding ourselves into our image. The despicable Howard Zinn is used as the basis of school books that convince our own children to hate their culture and their homeland.

There will be posts on this, in future, as well as posts on what real “culture” means because a batsh*t insane left posted on my xenophobia echo on facebook to insist that culture was food and clothes and festivals. (Spits.)

Faced with all that, Trump might very well be doing the right thing, or the only thing he can do. Because, yeah, you know, keeping our people bleeding and dying there for no visible result is stupid. And possibly because we might very well need them at home in the near future. At least if the Xi-disease goes nuts. There are resources and things we shouldn’t be squandering.

Presidents by definition know more than we do. They are briefed. Which is why anonymous bureaucrats shouldn’t make policy decisions (among many other reasons.) Of course our intel services are a hot mess. Heinlein said they always were.  And the last president would skip briefings (he liked sports better. Who wouldn’t) and our current president seems to be actively undermined by a lot of people who are supposed to brief him, so I don’t even know if he believes anything they say. (At this point, I wouldn’t.)
So for all I know, he’s making his decisions on gut feeling and various websites. Who knows?

OTOH even the WHO says Chinese figures are highly unreliable, and as for the rest, who knows? Will Iran go kablooey when the world economy wobbles?

And while on this, if it hits hard here, will we got stupid enough to vote a communist in? (I don’t like to even think about it. I wake up screaming.)

And at the same time, the student of history in me knows how it went every time Rome pulled into itself.

And I’m afraid my grand-kids, including the not yet born ones, will go bleed and die in that forsaken patch of land, that graveyard of empires.

Unless by then we recover our cultural confidence.

Teach your children well. It might not be too late.

228 thoughts on “On Making Plowshares

  1. “War? It’s a terrible thing. So why not surrender to me so I don’t have to make war on you.” [Very Very Big Sarcastic Grin]

    1. The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed. Carl von Clausewitz

            1. Garibaldi: CenTOOri
              Molari: CenTARRRRRi

              (Unison): Lets call the whole thing off…..

              Awesome B5 blooper.

  2. I highly, highly recommend the book _They Myth of the Andalusian Paradise_. The introduction provides the background to the legend of the “Convivencia.” Then it goes into legal and archaeological detail about what life really was like for the three cultures in Iberia between 700-1492. For many Huns and Hoydens, some of it will be “Well, yes, that matches what we’ve seen recently.” But having Moorish, Jewish, and Christian sources to back up your arguments is very useful.

    Andrew Bostom’s edited and translated document collections are also good, but more academic. The book above is a general, well written source.

    1. I’ve gotten it via KU and have read some of it.

      Interesting read but LIFE got in the way of continuing to read it. 😉

    1. AHHH! Thank you! I’ve been looking for that durn article and could not remember where I’d seen it, let alone where I’d stashed it…

  3. “I you just bomb [that desolation] all you’ll be doing is making the rubble bounce.”

    Sounds better than the bleeding and dying, and if the ‘rubble’ ‘bounces’ high enough and hard enough… with the implied, “If we have to do this again, it will be the LAST time we will need to.”

  4. “Unless by then we recover our cultural confidence.”

    It will be difficult, but worth doing. The recovering our culture from the enemies foreign and domestic that have been living off it while at the same time trying to make enough of it a wasteland that socialism looks like a good idea, I mean.

    Afghanistan is not an island. Its borders are about as useful as a Swiss cheese condom on the Pakistani side. The task of making something useful out of it starts with building a strong foundation, and that would take multiple generations and lakes (if not oceans) of blood and treasure.

    I am unconvinced that there is much worth our time there. Other than to keep conflicts far from hearth and home, a laudable goal, there isn’t any good reason that I can conjure.

    If, for whatever reason, we ever do decide to make a go of it, it will require changing aspects of culture that are *highly* resistant to outside force. I mean sure, you can go the example of the Indian assimilation in the US. And a connected world can make that strangely hard, I suspect.

    For ourselves, the possibility exists that we’ll simply outbreed them. Liberals have fewer children than conservative couples. By a lot, actually, when you look at the country as a whole. Granted, public schools and long marches and suchlike. Rasie them well and be the best example of how to live you can is all I can tell you. Teach them to be strong, independent, and moral. Their challenges will be different than ours.

    1. The problem with, “we’ll outbreed them” is that unless those of us who would outbreed them actively work to vaccinate them culturally, they infect our children and transmit the disease to them.

      1. We’ve gotten to the point where we know we need to do that, though, and we’ve made a lot of progress in stuff like making home schooling legal.

    2. After about 3000 years unsuccessful change attempts, I don’t think Afghanistan is going to ever be pushed into being anything other than what they are.
      Even the Soviets, with full on, no holds barred brutality couldn’t do it. Nor could the old English, masters of cultural imprinting.

      1. I don’t think I buy that.

        If you look at pictures of Afghanistan in the 70s, the impression you’ll get is less “Afghanistan” than “70s.” A few of the women are wearing headscarfs, but it’s far from universal, and no one is wearing anything more concealing than that. The general clothing style is not dissimilar from what my parents wore in those days. The ultra-harsh brand of Islam that the Taliban imposed is not an un-alterable part of Afghan culture that has been there since time immemorial.

        I think it could be changed (though not as easily as Japan or Germany), but quite simply, we don’t have the will.

        1. Any ‘westernism’ there was not imposed by a foreign invader, but arose organically from the people there.

          There’s also a lot of wrong lessons & myths drawn from the post-WWII years- like government planning was solely responsible for American recovery, that the big business/ big government/ big union collaboration was the way to success, or that we were somehow able to change the existing cultures of Japan & Germany.
          In all those cases, you had a particular set of circumstances that we don’t have now, and were dealing with different groups and cultures. For one, we don’t have the same threat of “play nice with our occupation or the Soviets will get a turn” that existed in 1945.
          Secondly, while imperfect and incomplete, Japan and Germany previously had an organic form of parliamentary democracy before slipping into statism.
          Third, Japan and Germany weren’t used to being defeated and occupied. It’s a lot like the difference in attitude between the guy who’s been imprisoned for the first time, and the long time felon. Countries like Afghanistan are almost institutionalized when it comes to the conquerors they’ve see (as are the Vietnamese).

          1. There is an amusing/sad article about Pakistanis from the south doing tourism in the northern Pakistani mountains. And aside from trash, the biggest problem is southerner men making lewd comments and Internet photo posts of sweet pure northern women of honor — because they don’t wear sacks and hijabs and the like, and because they have jobs like crafting and merchanting.

            Of course, the chances are high that sweet pure northern Pakistani mountaineer women have rifles and knives and feuding traditions…..

        2. Right, look at pictures from Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon etc from the early 70’s and voila it looks like 70’s US or Europe. But that was the cities. What was the country like? Was the westernization a true trend or was it confind to Kabul and Tehran and Beirut?

        3. I would point out that all of those pictures are from the cities – outside those specific areas, nothing has changed

      2. I am grieved beyond words that the former presy O-Blah-blah saw fit to turn Iraq loose … and churn troops into Afghanistan, over and over, and at the cost of how many lives and limbs. Iraq could have been something like South Korea, given a strong hand and sensible management. Yet that jug-eared mulatto idiot saw fit to pour our best and brightest military into a snake-pit like Afghanistan … which was never going to be anything but a snake-pit … and then tie their hands with restrictive ROEs while he was at it. Iraq might have been a bit like South Korea is today – with established American bases, and accompanied tours…
        One might wonder if he was deliberately trying to destroy the military, slaughter the sons and daughters of red state America.

        1. Wonder indeed. *sigh*

          It would not have taken much, I believe. Just don’t make things *worse.* Don’t turn out thousands of military age and trained young men with nothing to occupy their hands and minds. A bigger gift to the violent mullahs we could hardly have given… until the pallets of cash on the tarmac.

          I do not believe any man is so beyond redemption as to be already damned in this life. It can take a murthering *lot*- it can take an entire life- but redemption is always available should a man make that his life’s goal. The circumstances and actions it would take to turn the whole of Afghanistan to stalwart allies in freedom, that I cannot myself imagine with any clarity.

          Perhaps the average seaman in the Phillipines in ’42 had a similar view of Imperial Japan. But we know how that turned out. Different circumstances and all.

          What virtues are there that we could build up? How could we turn hearts and minds not into little Americans (one has to choose that with a whole heart), but into a different kind of Afghani? We are writers, some of us, so “what ifs” come naturally. Somewhat like junk mail. *chuckle* Whether you want it or not.

          Similar issues involve with radical moose-limbs. There has to be a break point. Perhaps a reformation, something that preserves this’n’that, but rejects the deleterious bits. Using the big hammer tends to be… imprecise (and empires always have an excess of large hammers lying about) and few scalpals. Which of fate’s trings to cut, which to weave, hrm.

          In the real world, I agree that there’s not much liklihood of defanging the snakes in the AO (anybody else remember that bit? Snake in the AO?). Makes me glad the likes of me are not in power right now. I do well enough to be responsible for me and mine.

          As someone (here?) once said before- if we could scoop up all the liberty minded folks across the world and bring them *here* while taking the Commie-wannabes and dropping them *there* where their ideology is already in place, well. World might just be a little bit brighter that fair morning, now wouldn’t it?

          1. “Similar issues involve with radical moose-limbs. There has to be a break point. Perhaps a reformation, something that preserves this’n’that, but rejects the deleterious bits. ”

            The problem is that Islam is structured to work against reformation.

            1. Worse, much of the Christian Reformation was “going back to scriptures” while too much of the evil of Islam is based on their scriptures.

              IE “Reform Islam” would be rejecting much of the words (in Muslim minds) handed down by G*d to Mohammad.

              1. that’s what happens when your religion is based on the ranting hallucinations of a defeated commander hiding from the victors, plotting his revenge

        2. You do know tha it was Bush 43 that sent troops to Afghanistan, correct? Obama continued that mess, but didn’t start it.

          This was not strictly a Donk disaster. It is definitely a bipartisan failure to understand that war without Victory is both stupid and a racket.

          Although some understand it all too well, and simply like the slops they thus find in the trough

          1. Meh. The Democrats had a big role in tying our hands, demanding withdrawal and then denouncing W for abandoning Afghanistan for some Freudian pursuit of Saddam, as if Hussein was sitting innocently by doing nothing to provoke trouble in the region.

            The Bush Administration was only investing in post-Taliban Afghanistan as a sop to the Left and the Neocons; they’d achieved victory and left the Afghanis to sort themselves out when the Democrats and “World Community” moved the goalposts because America Victorious is anathema to them.

            1. While this was going on I was working on DoD projects while living in a town with the Air War college and the Squadron Officers School. This made for some interesting discussions at the local wargaming store (Blitzkrieg Hobbies). The general rumor was that Iraq was a) a major oil supplier that b) we were still in a state of UN-authorized conflict with from Gulf War I that c) could be used along with Afghanistan to nutcracker Iran. Invade Iraq, get their oil supply back to supply Europe along with the Saudis, then go after Iran.

              The Democrats undercut that at home and abroad, aided by “Republicans” like Colin Powell.

        3. And remember, that’s the former President whose election platform promised “pull us immediately out of the Middle East” and “close Guantanamo” *twice*.

          Funny how his followers never remembered that…

      3. Control of the Khyber Pass is a big deal if you’re an Asian Power.
        We aren’t.
        Our sole strategic interest was as one half of a vise on Iran.
        Once we let Iraq (the other half of the vise) fall to Iranian proxies, there was no purpose in attempting to hold Afghanistan.
        Heck, now that we’re energy independence, we don’t have any reason to engage in the classic blunder of a land war in Asia.
        Afghanistan was deliberately designed by the British to always be in a state of variable intensity civil war.
        Simply due to numbers, the southern tribes will always hold power. But Kabul is in the north, almost completely cut off from their power base in the best of times. And the northern tribes can completely cut it off with minimal effort.

  5. “culture was food and clothes and festivals.”

    As usual, mistaking the symbols for reality. That person needs to pull out a dictionary. Culture (n): umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities and habits of the individuals in these groups.

    As another side note, to Heinlein’s point, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have always had issues with letting politics override doing their job properly. J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI denied the existence of the Mafia and refused to investigate the Klan (back when they were an actual force) for decades while going hard after any organization that might have had a Communist in it at some point in time. The situation seems to have flipped, presently, but the same mentality remains.
    Meanwhile, in both Central America and Iran, the CIA acted in the interests of rich and powerful Americans against the interests of the locals (though neither Arbenz nor Mossadegh were any great prizes) and ended up directly contributing to America’s problems in both regions.

    1. Culture is more truly world view. The fun stuff (food, music, clothing) are primarily side effects of where and how the culture develops although some may be symbolic (i.e. the foods of Passover, the tassels at the edges of garments prescribed in leviticus) reminders. More important is How do you view humanities relationship to the world? Are we just a bichemical accident? Then the loss of any single human is as important as removing hair or nails for a human. Are we a special creation each uniquely known to the Author from before our first instant. Then mucking with a human life is something done with only great trepidation. How do you think the world ends? The obscure field of eschatology does more to drive religious differences then one might think. The idiot saying that culture is just Food, Music Clothing is exposing their OWN world view which holds that only one valid world view exists and that it is their own thus dismissing other world views. This can either be cultural imperialism, or a naive hope the differences of cultures can be glossed over. Given the education and indoctrination of our populace I suspect the latter.

      1. Don’t worry, you guys, I wrote a rant.

        With examples.

        She was banned, by then, but I still did it.

        I was kind of . . . annoyed.

      2. The idiot saying that culture is just Food, Music Clothing” has probably never had a profound thought in her life, although she doubtless feels herself deep.

        Well, the depth she presumes is not what she thinks it is; time to wake up and smell the manure.

  6. Plowshares are for pipe dreams. Prudent nations do not rely on the kindness of strangers. Even the Prince of Peace instructed his followers to bear swords.

    The Romans had it right: Si vis pacem, para bellum — If you want peace, prepare for war. Because no country yet has found being wealthy and defenseless a workable proposition. As Heinlein observed, “nothing is more expensive than a second-rate military,” and nothing can be very expensive indeed.

    1. For that matter “swords into plowshares” was something that would happen after The Lord (G*d) completely ruled the world.

      IE In Christian terms, after the Second Coming.

      Thus wasn’t something people are expected to do in the current day. 😉

      1. For the current day

        Announce this to the nations:

        Proclaim a holy war!

        Alert the warriors!

        Let all the soldiers

        report and march!

        Beat your plowshares into swords,

        and your pruning knives into spears;

        let the weakling boast, “I am a warrior!”

        1. Perhaps not.

          Because in context, that is the word going out among the nations that are opposing God. And the results are…unpleasant.

          “Come quickly, all you nations from every side,
          and assemble there.

          Bring down your warriors, Lord!

          12 “Let the nations be roused;
          let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat,
          for there I will sit
          to judge all the nations on every side.
          13 Swing the sickle,
          for the harvest is ripe.
          Come, trample the grapes,
          for the winepress is full
          and the vats overflow—
          so great is their wickedness!”

    2. The other thing the Romans got right was this, “Oderint dum metuant”. roughly “Let them hate us so long as they fear us”. Part of the reason we continue to have issues with the Taliban and their ilk is that to their eyes our prudent and limited response looks like weakness to them (Can you say culture?). Similarly to the general culture they exist in the view is similar, we are weak and lack the testicular fortitude to take action. They understand that we can glaze over the Islamic countries making them a desert unlivable for 20000 years. And yet we don’t. They think they would do that to us if they could (and just might). I’m not saying we should do that though I fear some poor bastard of a president may have to at some point (See the old Belmont club for the Three Conjectures). But we need to convince them we might if they don’t behave. As an example consider Falujah (sp?) in the Second Gulf war. There were some western folks being held hostage. we hemmed and hawed for weeks before going with a risky and expensive ground action, in which we still highly constrained the rules of engagement. Rather they should have been given 72 hours to surrender. Non combatants should have been told they could come out IF they would consent to extreme searches for weapons which they may NOT posses. I doubt any WOULD have come as they either would have ben shot by the other side or not believe us given the brutal regime they had lived under, but that DOES satisfy most of the rules of war. At the end of the 72 hours there should be one last warning. Then we should use Arclight class use of B-52 such that few stones lay one atop another when we were done. Make sure that the horrors were seen. That way the next time it happened they would know we meant business. Its ugly, its nasty but its preferable to putzing around for 20 years and making some poor bastard have to become the worst genocidal maniac since Hitler or the Communist rulers. With a few displays like that the suggestion for resisting should induce the proper messing of the opponents underclothes.

      1. I’d recommend Machiavelli to any serious student of history and politics. He mentions the “better to be feard than loved” bit, and that’s all most remember from it if they read it at all. His further point, that a little bit of fear is good so they don’t take up arms against you, but too much fear and they will strike at you when you are at your weakest, that is sheerest folly.

          1. Yeah, he gets a bad rap for what is, on balance, excellent advice. As with Sun Tzu and Clausewitz, however, he gets cherry picked a lot by people who haven’t actually read him.

            1. he gets cherry picked a lot by people who haven’t actually read him.

              G-D has that same complaint, although He will get payback in the end.

      2. I am currently watching “102 minutes that changed America”. They were showing the jumpers when the second plane hit the other tower.

        Pull out our troops. Tell them once, that our next visit is an extinction level event.

        Let SAC glass the place and dust it well, should they get frisky again.

        Let it warn the others.

      3. Shock & Awe only works if it truly shocks and awes. A ritual chest-beating does not suffice. A MOAB drop that leaves naught but ashes works.

        Find a Lt. Colonel who knows he’ll never play the political games to get a star, create a “Fake Fallujah” — a city that appears to be occupied by combatants (or use the real thing, unimportant). Have this LC raze the city. Let all holdout cities know they’re o his list.

        After the war hold a trial, convict LC of war crimes and execute him as a mass murderer. Then give him his new identity and retirement to Jeffery Epstein’s island with an unlimited Amazon card. Spread online rumours that “He” is still alive and ready to come back and deal with any problem states.

      4. That was essentially the TRX Plan for dealing with the Iranian “Hostage Crisis” in 1980.

        Give them 24 hours to present the captives at a designated point.

        For each day they delay, send the BUFFs over to flatten a city.

        For each captive they’re short, flatten another city.

        If they’re still noncompliant after, say, seven days, send the BUFFs over to whack Tehran, and then see if the new government is more reasonable.

        No. Unkuh Jimmuh paid them ransom, breaking US policy since we finally got tired of that sort of thing and sent the Marines to the Barbary Coast to gently explain to the African pirates that Uncle Sam wasn’t paying ransoms any more.

        We’re *still* dealing with the consequences of paying that money…

        1. As one bard once said, ” Once you pay the Danegeld you never get rid of the Dane”. Obama did it again proving that he was Jimmeh Carters second (and third) terms.

      5. Sheridan: “You have a face people trust.”

        Ivanova: “I’d rather have a face people fear.”

        — Babylon 5 S04E11, “Lines of Communication”

        1. It certainly worked on the doctor, as I recall.

          “You know, I like her. She scares the HELL out me sometimes, but I do like her. Don’t tell her I said that, though.”

      6. “Non combatants should have been told they could come out IF they would consent to extreme searches for weapons which they may NOT posses. The first appearance of a suicide bomber would mean there were no more non-combatants remaining


        1. Tom Kratman had his characters (in an “alternate world” situation) insist that people surrendering do so stark naked.

  7. I believe Trump realizes that neither the Congress nor the folks of the fifty States will go along with what is actually required to subjugate Afghanistan and wipe out the Taliban.

    Because “Genocidal Massacre” probably is the minimum required. And I am not sure that would do it. Keep in mind that the country is so mountainously rugged that Nukes wont do terribly much damage unless used to coat the whole place in enough high-level long-duration fallout to sterilize the place for a few centuries.

    Ain’t happenin.

    So if folks and Congressweasels wont go along with an actual Victory plan, there really isn’t much choice. We either keep fighting not to win for another decade or four, and then not win and leave. Or we fight not to win long enough to pull everyone out and torch whatever of our abandoned stuff we do not want turned against us.

    That enemy wont quit. Ever.

    Gengis Khan never managed to subdue the place. He just killed enough of the perimeter tribes that the more inside folks left GK’s folks nearby alone.


    Anyone who wants to continue the war, please identify the Victory conditions, and how you propose to achieve them. Any answer containing “…until they quit…” is subject to soldier-grade mockery if “quit” isn’t a euphemism for “corpses don’t fight, much”.

    We took the place, in record time. Apparently no one ever though about how to -rule- it. Or even that such would be necessary. And no one has done so since we first set foot in that hellscape. War, without Victory, from day one and for every single wasted day since.

    And -that- folks, was -epic- stupid.

    1. I contend there was a time window after 9/11 when “Yeah, we had to pave Afghanistan in green glass, sorry to all y’all downwind, but the lesson is everyone should avoid f-ing with us ever because nobody ever likes it when we get angry. Or hungry. We’ll go back to sleep now.” would have not only been accepted but embraced by the US population. Yeah, GWB would have got flack from the coastal aristos, and the furriners would have been all gripes, but he would have also been reelected. And who knows what Saddam’s generals would have done when the terrible gaze of the US fell upon Iraq – prolly kinda like what Khadaffi did, avoiding all that mess too. And certainly with no body bags coming home from either of those there would have been no Barry The One.

      Note that probably would have stuck us with McCain, but that would have been better than Barry.

  8. as long as everyone involved knows entering a treaty with people who practice a religion that says it is perfectly fine and expected to lie to non-believers is a guaranty of it being violated, we are fine.
    Planning for what happens then, and hopefully making sure it is far enough down the road and when it happens it will be a mild issue is the kicker.

    1. I often wonder what it is about the concept of Taqiyya, which you refer to, that American non-Muslim apologists don’t understand. I know a gay person, very progressively left in thought and deed, who says that the Muslims he knows say they don’t want to kill him, so he is happy to side with the Muslims…
      The enemy of his enemy is his friend, I suppose.
      The cognitive dissonance burns hard with this one. He is of course highly credentialed rather than educated or experienced.

        1. if Sharia came about or there were enough other muslims that there became no-go zones for the cops in his area, those he knows would likely be helping toss him off the roof

          1. You miss the critical fact here: they’d be really sad tossing him off that roof and wish he’d converted.

      1. “The people who are told they can lie to me say they really don’t want to kill me like their religion tells them.”
        Sounds safe
        Have they also told him they will stop any others of their religion who do want to kill him?

        1. Of coarse they, his muslim friends won’t kill him … it will be the ground/rock/bullet when it hits him … like he’ll be around to complain afterwards …

      2. They don’t take their own religion seriously (Christianity or Judaism, I assume), so they don’t take other religious seriously. Like our State Department not believing that the ayatollahs are serious about the need to start WWIII in order to bring about the return of the 12th Imam and the Mahdi, which leads to the return or Issa bin Maryam (aka Jesus). So things like taqiyya, and honor killings, and the three-fold offer to non-believers (convert, be enslaved, or die), and the five-year contract are all just things the radicals talk about, not “real Muslims.”

        These are the same people who claimed that Bin Laden, Al Quaeda, and others don’t really understand Islam. *facepaw*

      3. And when you push him, he points to the peaceful suras without understanding the doctrine of abrogation. As I said, I’ve been writing about this for a while.


    2. I think – I HOPE – that what Trump is doing is setting up an object lesson in the benefits of behaving in a civilized manner. Yes, The Jihadidiots will break their word. Then we will land on them with cleats.

      At the end of the Victorian era a lot of the Islamic cultures were seeing the benefits of dealing reasonably honestly with the West. But from WWII (or a little earlier) on the leaders (like the Shah) who were trying to drag their nations into the 19th century were attacked by the West for not doing enough fast enough, and the vermin who were dragging THEIR countries back to the 13th Century were appeased. That cycle needs to be broken. And making treaties and then ENFORCING them with fire and the sword is the way to do it.

    3. “Allah is the best of deceivers.”
      “War is deceit.”


      I don’t recall where I heard it but there was a rumor from the inside that Trump knew damn well his Palestinian deal would be rejected, and that was the whole point — to conclusively demonstrate that they don’t want a shared peace, even on the best of terms; they want domination or else.

      1. I never thought he figured the Palestine nutters would just have to go with any deal that was better than anything they have gotten in the past. I think he went for the best deal he figured everyone else (including many of the nations known for backing the PA/PLO) would agree was a great one, and left it to the PA to either join in or show their ass. “They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”.
        When it was announced, I knew they’d reject it, because it doesn’t have “All jews will be exterminated” as part of the deal.

  9. That comment about “culture” which some smug moron left for you pushes my “Dunning Krueger” buttons, as a student of culture.
    Many people think culture only means clothes, dancing/music and food because those are what they see at cultural festivals (think Highland Games, various Native American pow-wows [including Elizabeth Warren’s infamous “Pow Wow Chow” recipe book], Scandinavian festivals, St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest, Chinese New Year celebrations, etc.) But those things are merely the dregs left over from culture loss. They are artistic performances merely referring to the outward appearance of culture, because everything else (values, ways of thinking, the landscape, which produce these things) gets lost over time from assimilation pressure from dominant cultures.
    I do not know what it means, in the head, to be Norwegian, or Scottish, or German, and so on, because they came to America and changed, losing their languages and the entire tapestry of folkways of culture. Merely eating lutefisk, or playing bagpipes, or wearing lederhosen, is a few threads leftover, poor leftovers for the rich history of the people [not the Zinn kind], the things they did, thought, and built.

    1. Your own culture is invisible to you; it’s the water you swim in. Only other cultures can be seen, by contrast. Some contrast more than others, and are thus deemed to have “more culture”.

      1. This is why I at one time thought every kid should have a year abroad, as a member of a normal family.
        Alas, times being what they were, etc. my kids didn’t wish to do that.

    2. I don,t know if any of you are following the “What is Scandinavian” ad campaign from SAS, and the blowback from it, or the “What did Britain invent/create?” imbroglio, but there is hope for even Scandinavia and Britain realizing that their cultures are worth defending. Don’t lose hope.

      1. > “What did Britain invent/create?”

        I missed that one, but “everything” would only be a slight exaggeragtion.

        We got your Industrial Revolution *right here*…

      2. What did Britain invent/create?

        The Spinning Jenny, invented in 1764 by James Hargreaves in Stanhill, Oswaldtwistle, Lancastershire in England.

        The automated textile loom, developed between about 1780 and 1830 in England.

        Those two inventions increased the productivity of cloth manufacture by at least 50,000%, making clothing available to people other than the rich.

        Years ago, I added up the cost of making a simple denim work shirt by hand using a spinning wheel, hand loom and hand stitching, and came up with $600.00 to $800.00 for the labor alone. Industrialization has brought the cost down to $10.00 or less.
        Sanity is like most things — best practiced in moderation.

  10. Skip meetings because you’re smarter and nore informed than your advisors, then when the easily foreseeable disaster hits the fan (shoot, if *I* could foresee it, someone with just a smattering of more knowledge certainly should be able to), complain that his advisors didn’t way him, and he had to find out from the news like the rest of us. 😠

  11. As in so many things, one must be careful about the goals one sets.

    Overthrowing the Taliban as punishment for harboring a terrorist act on the U.S. and killing those responsible was an achievable goal and we did that.

    Remaking Afghanistan into a liberal democracy was, from the beginning, a fools errand and not one we started with, and never one we should have drifted in to.

    But the options sucked, and the last time we said “our objectives are achieved in Afghanistan, and we don’t want it as a client state”, was in part a precursor event.

    Normally in history, less civilized empires handle such things by razing the place to the ground and importing a new population, or by finding a local regional power who will do what it takes to take on the failed state as a protectorate. But no one *wants* Afghanistan. Pakistan has the strongest influence there, but they know too much about the situation to want to take it on. So options sucked then, and they still suck.

    I do not know what is going on in the secret councils of government, but if a modus vivendi could be worked out with *any* internal Afghani faction that can handle that mess to say “look, all we want from you is that whatever you do, you keep it inside your borders. Poke your nose out again, and next time, we won’t be so nice about it”, that would be peachy — the problem being that I can’t think of anyone there who could be trusted.

    Or one could just say “yes, every 30 years or so, we’re going to have to bomb them back to the stone age again until they get the message”.

    We have *no* strategic interest in Afghanistan; it exists as a place for the Indian subcontinent, Persia, and Russia to fight over. All we want from them is to leave *us* alone, but there may be no way to get there from here.

    On the other hand … the Persian Gulf powers who underwrote the whole mess are facing their own, very different, strategic situation now. Thank your local fracker for that. So it might hold off longer than 30 years. And … there are no final solutions that we’d ever be willing to sign up so. We can do worse than say “we’re going to keep an eye on it”, make deals with some of the less-unsavory local territories (a tough competition) to get some kind of regional base so next time our logistics tail is not so difficult, and do our best to make it easier for them to be a Persian/Russian/Pakistani problem than a problem for us.

    Afghanistan is not the only failed state out there, and the industrialized world is either going to live with an increasing level of non-state-actor violence, or it is going to get back to the Westphalian idea that nation-state governments are responsible for policing their territory, and if they’re unwilling or unable to do that, a nearby, more-competent nation state is going to be encouraged, with full support of the world community, to acquire that territory.

    1. note how the leftoids hate us trying to set up liberal democracies (which, yes is stupid in Afghan lands, but might have worked better in Iraq if we’d split it or backed the Kurds better), as well as hate us supporting theocracies, monarchies, or dictators that are friendly or benign toward the USA, because they are evil unliberal theocracies, monarchies, or dictatorships, but will gladly toss backing towards the anti-American theocracies, monarchies, or dictators, even as they cause more grief for their populace, especially those most like our own leftoids favored victim groups (gays and women especially).

    2. > We have *no* strategic interest in Afghanistan; it exists as a place for the Indian subcontinent, Persia, and Russia to fight over. All we want from them is to leave *us* alone, but there may be no way to get there from here.

      I was dubious when Bush announced his plan to change the whole social and political structure of the region. “Winning their hearts and minds” had failed miserably in Vietnam; I didn’t see any particular reason it would work any better in the Middle East.

      It’d been pretty obvious for, oh, maybe the last decade and a half, that the idea was a failure. Yet we’re still stuck in the tar pit. Too much invested to pull out without being able to claim a “win” of some sort, too many people making too much money off keeping the pot boiling.

      I lectured the “black glass” proponents as to their silliness when they were proposing we just nuke the whole place. But in retrospect it would have been cheaper to do just that. A Nixon or Reagan grade President would have talked the Russians into a joint operation and avoided liability for the fallout plume over Russia.

          1. Yeah, but blue is so pretty. We can collect it and polish it and ….. 😛
            Oh, dear. The Troll Chlamydia is going to talk about how we’re discussing the aesthetics of genocide.
            Of course he a) doesn’t understand sarcasm, or really humor of any kind. b) is really shaky on the English language. c) is a troll.
            So, carry on.

            1. The aesthetics of genocide? Surely it is well known that whatever you do, do it with style.

              It isn’t as if any Progressives complain about Soviet nor Chinese nor Cuban nor Venezuelan genocides, is it?

    3. The problem with merely overthrowing the Taliban in Afghanistan is that it won’t stick. They’ve got sufficient power-bases in Pakistan (which the Pakistani government quietly ignores, or possubly covertly supports) that removing them and leaving likely just means a short interruption in their hold on power. The only way to permanently deal with them would be to go after their powerbase in Pakistan, and remove that as well.

      But that’s not going to happen.

  12. I keep having the feeling that we are about to enter a time of rapid change. The best I can do is pray and prepare so that’s what I’ll do.

  13. I don’t like the Taliban treaty idea.


    I think Trump would be willing to actually go and do unholy smiting when they’re caught violating it….

    1. I do not doubt Trump understands the principles underlying permitting the Yom Kippur War’s first strike by Israel’s enemies, nor the utility of having our military “locked and loaded” for a response to Taliban violation of a truce.

      Sadly, we may have to accept another blow like 9-11 to quash America’s self-loathers enough to grant the requisite free hand.

  14. For a good book on what the “convivencia” (the days of peace and harmony in Iberia when Jews, Moors, and Christians got along, et cetera) really was like, I recommend _The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise_. He starts by giving the history of that fable (because fable it is), and then gets into the documentary and archaeological evidence for what Andalusia was really like. Short version – no one lived in peace and harmony. All three groups tolerated each other at sword point, with massacres and battles all around, and laws to prove it. Yes, there was cultural blending, but not the “paradise of toleration and harmony” of legend.

  15. I like the name, “Kung Flu,” which of course makes me a “racist,” to the woke. And that may (or may not) be a game changer.
    Before we can get to that Westphalian concept that whole class of globalists, who really seem to want a homogeneous mass culture where the trappings of ethnic/national “culture,” remain but everyone basically believes the same “important, ” things, have got to be removed or converted. There’s a challenge.
    I’m afraid we’re going to see a socialist elected, and in their triumph the Party (the one starting with “D”) will take steps to make sure, “Something like this never happens again.” At which point, things either blow up or we get Animal Farm on steroids.
    But yeah, “rapid change,” wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

    1. Richard Fernandez has an article on PJM that talks about this – basically, THIS is what borders are good for, and THIS is why you don’t want open borders that you cannot close.

  16. At this point, the only solution is to withdraw. The ruling class not willing to actually fight and there is no benefit for sending men to die solely so that the rulers can avoid admitting they were wrong. Perhaps the only opportunity will be when backed up against wall by the expanding empires of the tribals.

  17. Then again, Regan did a lot of wheeling & dealing and treaty making with the Soviets- but always from a position of strength and always for American advantage.
    There’s a difference between what he did, and the 70’s Detente/ Realpolitk.

      1. In a lot of ways, he was the right man at the right time. By the time he was president, it had become obvious to everyone except Western Leftist that Communism was a flop, and Communist governments had basically become the Bourgeois working to suppress class struggle (to use their own language).
        He saw this weakness, and pushed it at just the right spot so that it collapsed without taking the rest of the world out with it. While the Western Leftist were screaming “you’ll kill us all, you fool!”

      2. i’d say the Soviets destroyed the Soviet Union, but Reagan (with some help from Thatcher and JPII) gave it a real hard push. (And I don’t mean Gorby and perestroika either)

        1. Reagan came to power with the unique (and surprising to his staff) perspective that the objective of US-Soviet relations was “We Win, They Lose.”

          For the preceding 30 years the objective had been various forms or either containment or coexistence. Reagan had he view that they should go away, and directed US policy to that end.

          If Jimmeh Carter would have won in 1980, or if Mondale had won in 1984, you can know with absolute certainty that the cooperative coexistence method would have been continued, and the USSR thus propped up would have made it longer than it did.

          1. It was not obvious to everyone that the USSR was -that- badly off. Even the CIA was surprised how pitiful it turned out to be. The Potemkin village did fool.most people.

              1. Cold War espionage is a minor hobby of mine. But something that became apparent very early on was that we knew almost nothing about what was going on in the USSR. “Analyzing the people standing on Lenin’s Tomb” was almost literally true. We had almost no agents in-country, and the few we had, we mostly managed to burn.

                If you were a paranoid and suspicious type, you might think someone was deliberately *not* learning anything about the enemy… like how they were a paper tiger running on bluster and lies. It would have broken several Narratives, at least.

                1. That’s something I have always wondered, myself – if our so-called-intelligence services really didn’t WANT to know …
                  There was an article in Harpers in the early 1980s – “Ivan The Terrible Soldier” which really knocked the socks off the image of the terrifyingly overwhelming Mighty Soviet Army – by pointing out how bloody awful conditions actually were within the Soviet Army. This, of course, was back when Harpers and Atlantic used to actually do thoughtful journalism. Link added for anyone who actually cares.

        2. A big chunk of it was the Strategic Defense System (“Star Wars”) orbital weapons system Reagan announced. It never really existed, other than some studies by RAND and others, and no funding was allocated, but it was a big news item, and it scared the Soviets blue.

          The USSR had placed a huge importance on defense-of-the-homeland measures after Le May’s overflights got their back up, with their own DEW Line, satellites, interceptor bases, and the “Rocket Defense Force”; *way* more defensive measures than the US.

          It’s not likely Congress would ever have allocated any funding for SDS, but the Soviets couldn’t depend on that. The cost of SDS would have been tremendous; a *defense* against it would have been exponentially more expensive. In bald terms, the USSR couldn’t afford to build a plausible defense against it.

          The USSR was never the monolithic structure it liked to present as, and SDS wasn’t the only force trying to break it apart, but the Soviets were a *militaristic* culture, and SDS kicked them right in the yarbles by moving up to the next level; a level where they not only couldn’t compete, they couldn’t even plausibly play. It disheartened the military and the Politburo, right when they were facing troubles already.

          1. ‘no funding was allocated’

            ‘other than some studies’

            The developers of MIRACL would like a word with you, as would the guys that designed LEAP, as well as the manufacturers of the AN/SEQ-3.

  18. Culture is the outworking of the cultus: a set of common, fundamental beliefs/values by which everything is evaluated. When fundamental beliefs are more or less compatible between two cultures, then dialog, trade, etc., are possible. If they are not, then conflict is the result, escalating toward violence and war as the distinctions sharpen. Progressivism/Socialism/Communism, Islamism, and Judeo-Christian western cultures are not compatible.

    Judeo-Christian western culture is in danger because its fundamental beliefs have largely weakened to nostalgic traditions. Most people who hold the traditions have no ability to defend or expound the beliefs. They may not even really know what the beliefs are. So when they encounter active and vigorous opposition from competing cultures they are largely defenseless and helpless.

    1. Occupied.

      Had the Emperor not thought the unthinkable, the nukes would not have mattered. We killed -far- more folks in Japan with the firebomb raids. The Tokyo raid alone was more lethal than both nukes together.

      Ponder the implications.

      Japan, the Japanese, was prepared to fight to the last handful of folks. Okinawa was a template, not an abberation.

      Those nukes may have finally persuade the Emperor, but not the military and civilian hierarchy. Some of his subordinates promptly tried to overthrow him. The coup was interrupted by a relatively minor conventional bombing raid. -That- air raid ended the war.

      One man stopped the impending mass suicide of the entire nation of Japan, consequently sparing about a million or five US men. Arguably, it was the bombadier who hit the power transformer/lines feeding the Palace that fateful day.

      What changed them forever was the presence of occupying US soldiers, and McArthur accepting the cooperation of the Emperor.

      And they may yet reassert their former selves. China may well create the very thing they most fear: a Militant and outward-looking Japan.

      1. In light of the senescence of the people of Japan, and the resulting dearth of military age population, do we think Japan can possibly build an expansionist regime? Japan seems to have committed suicide. They just waited some decades after WWII to do it.

          1. I think they’ll recover.

            Watching stuff like My Hero Academia can feel like a really enjoyable English class– for crying out loud, look:

            The show is so packed with Obviously Symbolic that it’s hard to tell if the Christian* theme or the America** theme is stronger.

            It also seems to be suggesting that the power of All Might works not because of an inherent ability, but because of a sort of dedication to doing the right thing and trying to help others. Even if it destroys you. (Although letting things destroy you because you’re not working to be stronger is discouraged.)

            Meanwhile, there are a lot of characters that have more traditional Japanese values and expressions of the same, expectations of norms…. They’re usually either villains or antagonists…. (The #2 Hero may as well be Central Casting for Honorable And Respected dude. He’s a psychopath.)

            This is what their kids are learning. Heck, one of the reasons my kids are learning Japanese is because I can get cartoons that are not hostile to our beliefs from Japan easier than from main stream TV.

            * The guy is named All Might(y) and he consistently sacrifices himself to try to save others
            ** Blond, blue-eyed, larger than life, red white and blue with a star, insanely powerful, and oh yes all his attacks are things like “Colorado Punch!” and “Detroit Smash!”

            1. >> “Watching stuff like My Hero Academia can feel like a really enjoyable English class– for crying out loud, look:”

              This feels like the most bizarre thing I’ve seen you share yet. I think it’s the front-side antenna hair that made me instinctively go “Nope.”

              1. It took me a while to get past the bunny ears hair, too.

                … it suits the character. 😀 Can’t explain without spoilering it, but they needed something to give the character a range of expression that was notable.

                And now I’m wondering if that’s supposed to suggest he’s “alien” to the culture….

                1. I’m just wondering how you FIND this stuff. 😛

                  Now that I think about it… Maybe it’s just because we were talking about excessive eyebrows a couple of days ago, but his eyebrows jump out at me too. They’re not quite up to Thufir Hawat levels, but they seem a bit much.

                  1. You’re kidding, right? It is featured weekly on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” every Saturday night, along with other anime emphasizing themes of struggle as incentive for improvement, good teammates promoting synergistic improvement, over-coming obstacles and inherent limitations and numerous other important cultural lessons. Beloved Spouse and I are currently watching Food Wars, Black Clover and several more. Even the mindless combat of Dragon Ball series conveys many lessons about perseverance and the need for constant improvement, i addition to the need for self-discipline and focus.

                    That doesn’t even begin to consider the various streaming services piping anime into connected homes.

                    What the “clothes and food” crowd fail to grasp is that culture is subtext and all they’re looking at is text. They’ve cut themselves off from the deep wellsprings of Western Civilization so that they think The Lord of the Rings is merely an adventure tale about some guys going off to drop a MacGuffin into a flaming crack.

                    1. >> “You’re kidding, right? It is featured weekly on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” every Saturday night”

                      Fair enough. I stopped watching TV years ago.

                    2. You have been watching ‘Dr. Stone’, right? Aside from Senku’s irritating habits of repeating ‘Ten Billion Percent!’ and digging a pinkie in his ear, it’s a fascinating story of applying knowledge, analytical thought, and hard work to create progress. Senku and Chrome are always talking about Science! but they really mean science applied to technology.

                      They have setbacks, based on real historical failures, like the difficulty of molding metal pins into a vacuum tube without having the glass break from incompatible rates of thermal expansion.

                      Their enemies, Tsukasa’s kingdom of brute force, behave in some ways like today’s leftists. They smash the petrified people they don’t like, based solely on their appearance. They’re not even content to just leave them petrified; They Must Be Destroyed!
                      There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

                    3. Can I quote and repost that synopsis of why good “boy’s anime” is good?

                      (I failz at Japanese, so I’m not even goign to try to remember the correct term– something like shosomething and I’d mangle it.)

                    4. If you do please clean up any typos — this old keyboard exacerbates my already erratic typing. Feel free to expand and revise as appropriate.

                  2. Or the teachers:

                    The guy in black is the main characters’ teacher.

                    The gal on the right is, uh, “interesting” in her theme. Yeah, we’ll go with interesting….. 0.o

                  3. If you are curious about any of the series we mention, try Crunchy Roll– it’s free, most of the ads are for other anime shows with occasional local political ads, and if you get hooked it’s inexpensive.

                    It probably helps if you are OK with subtitles, too, dubs are frequently… make creative choices in voice actors and ability to act, I’ll say. (Although they got a LOT better.)

                    1. Hmm… I went to their page for Spice and Wolf, but the “Start Watching” button just seems to act as a page refresh.

                    2. >> “Can you click on it?”

                      That works, thanks. Although it says it wants me to sign up for a time-limited trial before it’ll let me actually watch the full video but seems to be letting me watch the whole thing anyway, so I’m not sure what’s going on there.

                      I also tried searching for the series imaginos1892 mentioned (Dr. Stone) and found it easily. It looks like they just don’t actually have any episodes for Spice and Wolf even though they have a page for the series. Odd way to set things up.

                    3. I believe you have to get a freebie account to watch, at all, and they give you the 30 day trial.

                      I believe most folks find the site while searching for anime series– so even if they don’t have it, they make a page with good quality information.

                    4. There are a number of anime streaming/download sites;

                      AnimeLand — English dubbed anime
                      AnimeReborn — English subtitled anime
                      KissAnime — wider selection of both dubbed and subbed anime
                      Soul-Anime — dubbed and subbed anime

                      None of them require setting up an account.

                      AnimeLand has both seasons of Spice And Wolf, and the first episode plays just fine.

                    5. Oops, I made a post with 4 links and it went away. There are a number of anime streaming/download sites that do not require setting up accounts, or giving them credit card numbers:

                      AnimeLand — English dubbed anime
                      AnimeReborn — English subtitled anime
                      KissAnime — wider selection of subbed and dubbed anime
                      Soul-Anime — English subbed and dubbed anime

                      AnimeLand has both seasons of Spice And Wolf, and the first episode plays just fine.

              2. My kid got me hooked on that show, and I am thoroughly delighted. Character development, multiple ways to be heroic, a wide variety of personalities, and a surprising dedication to hidden depths. (The primary antagonist (NOT villain) is loudmouthed, obnoxious, prideful, and stays on the straight and narrow nonetheless because he wants to be a HERO, not just a badass.)

                  1. I absolutely love his family. 😀 I am caught up as far as I know and watching subs on Hulu to stay that way. (Kid, who 1) knows I am overprotective but 2) is fourteen: “OK Mom, this arc has a small sad girl in peril. You can snuggle me if you absolutely HAVE to.”)

            2. I’ve seen the first episode or two. I really should watch more of it.

              One of the things that struck me was when the protagonist passed the hands-on entry test… and one of the other people taking the test at the same time congratulated the protagonist for engineering the right set of circumstances to pass the test in the way that he did. It showed that the character in question was completely clueless on that point.

            1. Why am I going to try to make a dish I’ve never had?

              Because I saw it in an anime and can’t stop drooling at the mind-tasted flavors.

              1. Katsudon is the pork-cutlet version, and it is delicious! It’s basically the Japanese equivalent of a hamburger – available everywhere and ALWAYS delish!

                1. Oooh, the eternal Pork Cutlet Bowl!

                  For folks who haven't gotten to indulge—

                  Translating from Japanese, sort of a bowl of rice, with a sort of sweet-savory (rather than salty) scrambled eggs, a chicken-fried pork chop and various sides.

                  "Tonkatsu" is the Japanese chicken-fried pork chop. (Usually not actually the cut identified as pork-chop but it gets your mind in the right place.)

                  The name might sound familiar because Tonkatsu Sauce is famously very similar to a watery Worcestershire sauce, and is also known as "Japanese BBQ sauce."

                  There are about as many variations on it as there are on American BBQ sauces, too. 😀 There's a lot of recipes for the most famous flavor profile that's something like "equal parts ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, a bit of sugar, and about twice as much soy sauce, adjust to taste."

                  I prefer at most a dash of Worcestershire sauce, but since this discussion made me to make a rice ball with garlic salt, my idea of "tasty" is a bit off.

                  1. Oh, and in anime, if their favorite food is “pork cutlet bowl” (it’s usually actually said in English, even, for this) it indicates the character is a very down to earth sort– sort of like saying their favorite food is a hamburger with fries. Not expensive, very easy to get, very hearty.

                    I love this stuff, like when I figured out how similar the stereotypes for Okinawa are to Big Good Old Southern Boys and Gals. (heavy drinking, not too bright but oh for heaven’s sake don’t think they’re dumb, you’ll die, tough as nails, larger than life in general)

                  2. Our favorite Japanese restaurant back in the day had this amazing chicken soup with a full egg broken into it….
                    Probably couldn’t eat it now, because the chicken was FRIED in batter first…. but yeah. I remember and yes, my mouth is watering.

                1. Guilty as charged, and proud of it!

                  That said, I really need to find the “I am fluffy!” picture for the kitsune from the series that triggered it:

                  #JapaneseOgersAreDifferent (center)
                  #Don’tSmashTheSpider (top left)

        1. Japan certainly can. Look at what we manage with about 1% of our population, total.

          They can be a nuclear power with a fleet of ICBMs and nuclear-capable bombers in six to nine months. The resurgence of such militarism would also start a bit of a baby boom, troops being troops.

          They have over a thousand years of warrior culture. We did not delete that.

          1. They had a warrior *class*. The vast majority of the population were serfs and not part of that culture, or even very aware of it, past staying out of its way.

          2. You must know something I don’t about research, testing, and implementation of aerospace development if you think Japan can deploy a fleet of bombers in six months. I wouldn’t even accept that premise in a work of fiction. Also, 1% of our population is a magnitude of order more than 1% of theirs. Not to mention that choking Japan off from fossil fuels would be a trivial task for the U.S. Navy. If they’re “coming back,” it won’t be as a military superpower.

            1. it would take them more than six months to build a single prototype bomber…. and then they have violated the terms of their surrender.

              1. While I have no in depth knowledge, they have (with active US military YOU GO DUDE support) gotten damn close to carriers, doing better than most other non-US countries.

  19. When men beat their swords into plowshares you will notice a marked increase in the number of murders by plowshare.

    Times change. People don’t.

  20. Those that beat their swords into plowshares end up doing the plowing for those that don’t.

    I forget where I originally saw that.

    1. Seems to be a paraphrase of a line from a Clint Eastwood movie: “There are two types of men, those with loaded guns, and those who dig.”

    2. It’s been often attributed to Jefferson, though there is no documentation of that. The Eastwood line is likely derived from that (likely mistaken) attribution.

      1. Don’t we already have statists? Trump is trying to get rid of them but…
        Did you see that Gen Flynn has been ruined and McCabe and Comey got off without much or maybe any punishment? The rule of law seems quite bent here.The Deep State State seems to be running a lot of things.

        1. I’ve seen. I need to do a post about that or as I call it “the trap of credentialism”. Trump has no one to choose from. Not that know their other stuff.
          We might have to risk the curse of the revolution: everyone inexperienced. Anyway, post. Later. either here or PJ. Might be PJ.

          1. either here or PJ. Might be PJ.

            Assuming PJ pays anything, even just exposure, I vote for PJ. Can you dual post? Sell it to PJ and then link or expand on it here? Some of our discussions are probably best not performed in public. It has come to my attention that not all people find wallabies charming, winsome and widiculous — and some are not properly respectful of dragons.

              1. Good money is good. Between getting paid for it there (or any where else) and giving it away here can there be any question?

                Put a link here pointing to it and that should suffice. Huns are capable of thinking long game.

      2. I’m still a bit at a loss over the way they’re acting now.

        They already *had* the Federal bureaucracy, and the colleges, and the elementary schools, and most of the major corporations. For all practical purposes, they’d already won.

        Yet they chose to go full retard instead, over an election that shouldn’t have been more than an annoying but temporary inconvenience. Sigh, twiddle thumbs, wait four to eight years, then finish wrapping it all up. Easy-peasy.

        Instead… they went Trigglypuff with neverTrumpers and demostrations and pussy hats and the Clown Posse and fell over each other, each trying to prove they’re crazier and more radical than the other. They’re not even acting *sane*, much less like the Secret Masters of the Dark State…

        Of course, it could be like the discussion I had some years ago, where I observed that the major proof against the existence of a secret ruling cabal was how poorly things were being run. My interlocutor replied, “You’re assuming they value peace and prosperity.”

        Hmm, got me there…

        1. I think your interlocutor was right. Their behaviour makes more sense if you think of them as junkies whose drug of choice is power, and who need ever-increasing amounts of the stuff to get their fix.

        2. Half a century from now (assuming there is still a USA) political scientists will be writing their graduate theses on how Progressives blew their opportunity by pushing too far, too fast. Trump is probably the Republican most amenable to enacting the Democrats’ agenda working across the aisle since Romney McCain George W Bush. Had they given him a fig leaf on border protection he’d likely have given them carte blanche on infrastructure, regulatory :reform” and about any other issue you can name. Hell, even they recognize the utter failure of Obamacare — a cosmetic revision of it and slowing down the enactment would probably have carried Paul Ryan’s endorsement and passed with ease. It isn’t as if we don’t know the majority of the GOP Caucus was against revoking Obama’s abomination.

          If they’d have played Trump instead of having their collective hissy they would probably have even ensured “moderate” judicial appointments instead of the new conservative bench. Instead they’ve managed to turn Lindsey Grahamnesty — the man whom the Atlantic credited in 2014 with “stomp[ing] the TEA Party” — into a right-wing firebrand.

          The single most salient characteristic trait of the Left is their impatience. They’re the Veruca Salts of politics and like the story of the Monkey Trap their refusal to take in two handfuls what they can grab in one will always defeat them.

          1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2016/01/20/bob-dole-ted-cruz-donald-trump/79079408/

            Bob Dole said Wednesday that Ted Cruz at the top of the GOP ticket would mean “wholesale losses” for the party in Washington and across the country.

            “I don’t know how he’s going to deal with Congress,” Dole said in an interview with The New York Times. “Nobody likes him.”

            Dole, a former Kansas senator, was the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 1996.

            Donald Trump would “probably work with Congress,” though, Dole mused, because he’s “kind of a deal maker.”

            The GOPe certainly thought Trump would deal…

  21. Okay, the Golden Age of Islam was based on conquest and plunder and slave labor. As opposed to precisely whom, at least in pre-modern times? The Greeks? The Romans? My own Norse ancestors stole everything they could lift (and often burned everything else) and were some of the biggest slave-traders in their time. Hell, in modern times, you have the Soviet Union! The Future-that-Worked *bitter, sarcastic laughter* was not only run on slave labor (try leaving that collective farm, Comrade, and you’ll get a lesson you won’t forget in a hurry!) but had an ideology explicitly binding it to conquer the whole world and make everything Soviet.

    About the only reason that slavery went out of use in most of Europe was because they didn’t have sources of people they considered enslavable, not because they thought there was anything wrong with it. The second they hit the Americas, they were back at it as though they wanted to make up for lost time.

    I realize that Muslims are uniquely evil, not to be considered like anybody else, but calling them out for slavery and conquest kind of hurts your argument.

    1. I’m just reading a book on Muslim Spain (first part was the conquest of Christian Spain).

      It’s amazing that the Liberals talk about the “sins” of Christianity (some that don’t exist) but ignore the very real Religious Based sins of Islam.

      When is comes to using War to convert people to your religion, Islam has Christianity beat but the Liberals love their Islamic Brothers.

      1. Christians sinned by violating basic tenets of their Faith; Islam requires its adherents do those things and thus they are not sinners but keepers of their Faith.

        I know the difference is too subtle for some to grasp and urge they pluck their head from their …

    2. Oh, for the love of bob. Take a powder.
      You are being watched for other reasons already, and this is idiotic, unless you fail to understand English.
      I did not call them out for empire and slavery. That’s human.

      I called them out for being horrible conquerors. They DON’T CREATE. Even the Romans possessed of a language best suited — as a friend says — for filling actuarial forms, COULD put a new twist on Greek culture.
      Islam doesn’t.
      No one said they’re uniquely evil. As people, they are human. But the culture enforces statis and lack of creativity as well as a massive sense of unearned superiority. And that is why they’re mired about 1200 years behind the rest of the world.
      By the way, like hell the Greeks didn’t create anything.
      Now prove that you simply misunderstood and are not a shithead, or you’re banned. You’ve made me itch before, and I’m not in the mood.

      1. Pertinent and timely:

        For the past few centuries, Western Civilization has dominated the world both culturally and economically. Why? Some point to imperialism, slavery, and colonial wars. But those sins are common to all empires throughout history. What separates the West from the rest? Stanford historian Niall Ferguson has the answer.

    3. Because serfdom was totally not slavery, I mean you were bound to the land and weren’t bought and sold per se. . .

      What killed European “slavery” was the black death and removing 1/3 or more of the population. (And serfdom existed in the Russian Empire till almost the end of the 19th Century.)

      1. You had property rights and inheritance rights and the right to marry, and when you had to work for a day a week on the lord’s land, that was considered heavy labor duty.

    4. I’m sure that at one time, they were no uniquely brutal among the nations.

      However, over the centuries we have become less brutal.

      They haven’t.

    5. Her contention was not that the Islamic empires were uniquely brutal. Her contention was that they were as brutal as anyone else.

      This is not exactly a subtle distinction.

    6. Simple: Christians have to squint and look sideways at their texts to justify conquest and enslavement.

      Muslims have to squint and look sideqays to justify *not* doing it

  22. It may well be true that in concluding a peace treaty, we give them time and opportunity to regroup. It gives US such time and opportunity, as well, however, and we are much better at it than they are. We don’t really have any strategic interests there other than, perhaps, acting as flypaper for jihadis. That is becoming less of an issue there,however, as the jihadists flee elsewhere—Yemen, Syria, Somalia. And become less enamored of attacking us in our own places because they see an opportunity to gain power in their own.

    He knows that his time in power is getting shorter—lame duck Presidents seldom get as many things done in their second term. So he has to do what he can to set the US up for success while he has the ability.

    1. >> “He knows that his time in power is getting shorter—lame duck Presidents seldom get as many things done in their second term.”

      I wouldn’t count on that applying to Trump. Look at how much he’s done already even with all the resistance from all 3 branches and the media. Now imagine him in 2021 with his enemies largely neutered and far more support in Congress and the courts. And consider that he’s not the type to sit back and say “Welp, guess I’ll just kill time for the next few years.”

      If the election goes well I suspect he’ll get even more done in his second term than he has in his first.

  23. On a good day, Islam is what happens when you let a guy with serious OCD convince people that his additional book to the Old and New Testaments is the Final Word on everything and all you have to do is obey the rules as laid out.

    On a bad day, Islam might be the only kind of government that Middle Eastern, mostly tribal nations, can use to compete with European nations on an even basis. No matter how awful the results are in getting there.

    1. I was amused (or something similar…) by the comedian who spoke thus, “These guys were inventing a religion. They could have had it be ANYTHING. But what did they do? They forbade alcohol, bacon, dogs, and scantily clad women. EVERYTHING guys* like. What the?”

      * Here’s that “culture” thing showing up…

      Or… it’s clearly about CONTROL.

      1. You see that in some animal species. All the goodies go to the top dog, and even the most miserable dregs of the pack will fight to maintain the pecking order. Pretty standard among the other primate species, not nearly as much for sapiens… but it explains a lot about some cultures.

    1. Eh. Have you told Europe they have White Man Sanitation? Because they don’t. Not like America.
      It has absolutely NOTHING to do with race, but with culture.
      Also PFUI.

        1. That too.
          But in much of Europe it’s endemic and culture, not just crazy left wing recent.
          But yeah.
          I’d like his explanation of the fact most of Germany bathes once a week and well… is not as assiduous with hand and clothing washing as we are. I mean he could say california is full of hispanics and latins. But surely he can’t say GERMANS AREN’T WHITE. And weren’t back in the eighties, when I was there.

  24. From, I think, Hee-Haw (paraphrased due to inexact memory) :

    “I am for turning our swords into plowshares.”
    “You are?!”
    “Someone hit with a plowshare, has really been HIT!”

  25. > Presidents by definition know more than we do. They are briefed.

    By the likes of Vindman. And the guy a few years back, who turned out to be a Russian spy. And at any rate, fed only what the intensely-politicial security apparati want him to hear.

    That’s the main reason we have multiple overlapping intelligence agencies, and each President does his best to keep them siloed instead of merged into a single super-spy-outfit.

    And that’s also why each President cobbles up some informal good-old-boy system behind the scenes, trying to keep watch on the watchers. Because he’s sitting at the middle of a maze of mirrors in a funhouse.

    I worry that he’s making a reasonable, logical decision based on information fed to him by the same security apparatchiiks that have already been caught conspiring against him.

    On the other hand, he seems to have a good measure of the NYC “don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining” attitude, so I have some hope it will work out.

  26. > if it hits hard here, will we got stupid enough to vote a communist in?

    If there’s a plague in the US it will take harsh measures to isolate and treat it. The kind of thing that gives Commies damp underwear.

    They’re not going to deal with plague, then stop and roll back all the repressive measures it’s going to take. For that matter, even if the other side is the one left holding the bag, they’re not going to lift the jackboot either. Politics doesn’t work that way. Think of the Patriot Act.

    If plague hits here, there isn’t going to be any “America” aftwerward, other than the name.

    1. The question is less “if it hits” than “where is it likely to hit”?

      Big cities, I think. Concentrated urban enclaves. Especially the kinds with poor public hygiene, where there are homeless and “not quite right” people wandering eliminating wastes on the streets and in the bushes. Where large populations of vermin breed and where the health if much if the public is already compromised.

      What locations come to mind and how competent are their public authorities to manage a crisis of this sort? How do their voters lean?

      So what happens when Trump slaps quarantines on Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York (think the subways will be less crowded if coronavirus manifests in the Big Apple?) How are people there going to feel about turning out to vote when that entails standing in large crowds of strangers? I read face masks as fashion items are already starting to appear (as if such masks are of a quality they’re likely to be effective!)

      Democrat politicians, of course, will blame Trump, will blame Climate Change, will blame everything but their own failure to support reasonable public health protocols.

      1. >> “Democrat politicians, of course, will blame Trump, will blame Climate Change, will blame everything but their own failure to support reasonable public health protocols.”

        No doubt, but how many outside those same blue cities will listen? As I noted in the last thread, the public’s not much interested anymore in hearing accusations against Trump. Same probably goes for lefty complaints about ANYTHING right now.

      2. The Democrats will declare the plague to be racist, sexist, nationalist, and Trumpist, and then pass laws outlawing the coronavirus. Poof! Problem solved, and take *that*, you silly deplorables!

      3. The college kids have been wearing a sort of mask-as-accessory for at least two or three years, so they don’t catch college-crud. I did a double-take when one of the college choir sopranos came to rehearsal with the lower-half of her face draped with a skull on black.

        1. Several pictures accompanying this article about London Fashion Week:

          Face masks are must-have accessory of London fashion week amid coronavirus panic
          Virus protection — but make it fashion.

          The hottest accessory at London fashion week isn’t a Barbie-sized purse, but fashionable face masks amid widespread panic over coronavirus.

          Though fabric face masks can’t exactly help prevent the spread of the virus, it hasn’t stopped stylish denizens from wearing them to shows anyway.

          But these aren’t your ordinary face masks of the surgical hospital variety. The fashion flock is putting their own spin on the accessory with adornments to show off a bit of personality. One attendee outside the British Fashion Council (BFC) Show Space show wore one decorated with arrows, while a pair of women donned pastel-hued versions.

          [END EXCERPT]
          Of course they eschew standard face masks — those are white an nobody* wears white before Memorial Day!

          *well, nobody except Congress-itches attending the SOTU address.

    2. Depends on how many of them get it.

      Remember the county-by-county maps of voting patterns, and that cities spread plague a lot faster than countryside.

  27. Maybe the kung flu isn’t so bad.
    Maybe a lot of those bodies being cremated
    merely suffered from insufficient love
    of glorious leader.
    Maybe this is just mass murder for politics
    disguised as a pandemic
    and we can still pretend
    “it can never happen here.”

      1. It possible that’s how it was intended to work but it got out of control. 😦

  28. “And also of course the political, economic and social will to deal with this as we must, which would be something similar to what we did in Japan. It’s the only way to deal with a totally alien and inimical culture. We particularly lack the cultural will to stay and mold them into our image. Hell, we’re not molding ourselves into our image. The despicable Howard Zinn is used as the basis of school books that convince our own children to hate their culture and their homeland.”

    I realized (along with a lot of other people) after about 2002 that W’s major mistake was in not recognizing that he had a Fifth Column here at home, and until they were cleaned out, wars abroad were going to be futile. I have seen nothing since to change my mind.

    Instead, I’ve seen that Fifth column allowed to flourish, and import our enemies into our midst.

    As for dealing with Islam, Kipling puts it rather well:

    “The Stranger within my gates,
    He may be evil or good,
    But I cannot tell what powers control–
    What reasons sway his mood;
    Nor when the Gods of his far-off land
    Shall repossess his blood.”

    And all you have to do is read the Quran as Muslims are instructed to read it to realize that when a Muslim returns to the tenets of his/her faith, peaceful coexistence with the Kaffir is not the result.

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