April 16, 2010

Paul Berman’s New Intellectual Epic

Paul Berman sent me an advance copy of his forthcoming book The Flight of the Intellectuals, which will be released later this month, about the failure of many Western intellectuals to grapple with the threat radical Islam poses not only to themselves and their own societies, but also, and perhaps especially, to liberals and moderates in Islamic societies.

I haven't finished reading it yet, but I can tell you right now that his chapters in the first third of the book about German foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa during World War II are worth the price of purchase alone. He has written about this before, as have others, including me, but in this book he excavates all kinds of fresh material from dusty old archives that is as clarifying and eerily relevant as it is disturbing.

I'll have more to say about this later, and I will also probably interview him, but for now, pre-order a copy. Trust me.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at April 16, 2010 2:58 PM
Comments
Gheeyad! Berman just can't leave that festering, stinking corpse of a horse alone can he? It wasn't funny the first time either.

See Tony Judt on all of George Bush's useful idiots and other liberal apologists of the Terror Warriors: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n18/tony-judt/bushs-useful-idiots
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 16, 2010 4:27 pm
I doubt very much that you read it the first time.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 16, 2010 4:42 pm
Whose useful idiot are you, Ombrageux? And are you really that useful? You aren't any good at promoting ideology(or do you disagree? because as far as I can tell you don't even have an ideology, except that you oppose imperialism) so what's left for you besides being cannon fodder in some senseless war (that you no doubt oppose!), right? And if you aren't even worthy of cannon fodder status, what are you good for then? Collateral damage? Human shield?
Posted by: Craig at April 16, 2010 5:14 pm
Michael, I read your blog a lot more regularly than I comment on it, but I want to thank you for this great recommendation. (My copy of 'A Time To Betray' arrived just yesterday.)

Berman is an intelligent, articulate writer who understands the relationship between liberalism and the war on terror as few other published authors do. Again, thanks.
Posted by: Asher Abrams at April 16, 2010 5:46 pm
I am free of anyone thank you very much. I will not die or go to war simply because a government tells me scary stories before going to bed at night. (Or, for that matter, some hawks attack anyone's manhood.)
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 16, 2010 6:42 pm
I am free of anyone thank you very much.

So if you aren't trying to promote an ideology, what are all those Chomskyisms that keep leaping forth from your keyboard?

I will not die or go to war simply because a government tells me scary stories before going to bed at night.

But you will repeat the mantras of a crackpot linguist even though you have no clue what he's talking about?

(Or, for that matter, some hawks attack anyone's manhood.)

I'm not a hawk, and I didn't even know you were a male until just now, though I assumed you were based on your aggressive tone. As for attacking your "manhood", that wasn't my intent. I'm just wondering what you hope to accomplish on a political blog like this, when you don't seem able to articulate what your political ideology is. Are you just trying to confuse people? And sorry, anti-Western anti-Imperialism is not an ideology! You lefties have been out in the cold so long, it seems you don't know how to do anything but oppose. What now? You going to oppose yourselves? A sure winner :P
Posted by: Craig at April 16, 2010 6:51 pm
Tony Judt... now there's an author worth pissing on!
I would expect no less from you, Embrumé!
Posted by: yesjb at April 16, 2010 8:45 pm
Thanks for the heads up Michael. Can't wait to get my copy!
Posted by: Pat at April 16, 2010 11:24 pm
I went and read that Judt article. What a joke. He speaks for about 10% of the United States, you know the types that riot against the WTO and think Bush was spawned from satan. Anybody that actually read Berman would need a lot more detailed ammunition to refute his arguments than Judt's hogwash.
Posted by: Pat at April 16, 2010 11:35 pm
Craig - I've read one (1) book by Noam Chomsky. I read it after I became quasi-pacifist/antiimperialist. I had been wary of him because his online lectures are so boring (I had put him in the uninteresting category of people who "you know what they are going to say before they speak"). My ideas are my own. Chomsky is useful mainly for documenting (in massive detail) the hypocrisy of government discourse. His ideology is anarchism, or libertarian socialism, which is interesting but not something which I think is feasible.

I have read and am influenced by many, many other authors including Jared Diamond, Benedict Anderson, Stuart Hall, Frantz Fanon, Raymond Aron, Tony Judt and others. Fanon has probably influenced me the most personally. I am almost afraid to say that given how easily people caricature him.

Do I need to have an ideology? The opponents to imperialism have been pacifists, terrorists, socialists, communists, capitalists and islamists among others. (E.G., Gandhi, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Frantz Fanon, Ben Barkha, Ho Chi Minh, Mandela and even, in their own way, Yasser Araft and sheikh Yassin.) For the record, on domestic issues I would probably be a very "muscular" social democrat: into high taxes on the wealthy, butter before guns, high welfare, anti-consumerism, pro-environment and pro-E.U. (if applicable). This is not completely uncommon in Europe and would probably be relegated to the far(-far?) left of the Democratic Party in the U.S.

I did not mean to say you were attacking anyone's manhood at that moment, rather that hawks do this in general. I post on this blog to sharpen my arguments. I know an author that publishes for the right-wing American press is not going to have a readership that agrees with me. Still, Totten does actually travel, take nice pictures, inform himself and talk with really interesting people. That's worth keeping track of. He will, however, post things I can't agree with and I can't help myself replying. Then it becomes a game between the hordes of people I consider imperialists, nationalists, neocolonialists, reactionaries, etc.! It helps to be confronted to opposing viewpoints and sharpen one's arguments..

yesjb - Judt is actually a thoughtful, informed person. Most of his work is on Europe and European intellectuals, and how many were initially Communists before embracing anticommunism. He is anticommunist for humanist reasons and opposes much of U.S./Israeli policy on those grounds (I assume the reason you spit on him). The latter only forms 5-10% of the things he writes about..

Pat - I know Judt is not representative of the U.S. He is a lonely European living in America whose has decided his life should be to make the link between the two.
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 2:32 am
Ombi, what if the scary stories are true? What if there are people who hate Western civilization and feel that it is there responsibility to destroy it? How were the 1948 and the 1967 Arab-Israeli wars wars of choice? How is anyone here a neocolonialist or an imperialist?
Posted by: Ali at April 17, 2010 3:18 am
Ali - The weak can't kill you as much as you are killing them. That is the long and the short of the supposed "Islamic-Western conflict".

In 1948 I believe Israel acted in self-defense, although they should not have evicted (ethnically cleansed) 800,000 Arabs from what would become Israel proper. In 1967, if we consider that the war with Egypt may have been forced, the choice to attack and occupy Jordan was completely gratuitous (and disastrous in the long run). Since 1979, Israel has been obviously existentially secure and its excesses have had no excuse.

Imperialists/neocolonialists are those who advocate or condone the use of unwanted, unilateral American (or other) power against weaker nations. The exercise of this power represents the violation of the sovereign will and the death of those nations. One can cite (throughout history) Guatemala, Iran, Congo, Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, Panama and Iraq to mention only the famous examples. It is a kind of domination, forcing war and tyranny onto other countries, roughly comparable to old European colonialism or the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe.
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 4:55 am
"the choice to attack and occupy Jordan was completely gratuitous (and disastrous in the long run)."
All I can say is WOW!!
Your selective memory is astounding.
For the first day or so of that war, Jordan wasn't involved.
The Israelis implored them not to get involved and nothing would happen on that front.
But Hussein decided to go with the Egyptians and attacked Israel. That's hardly gratuitous, but hey since when do facts trump opinion and propaganda, right, Embrumé?
And then when Israel tried to give the conquered territory back they received an unequivocal NO! NO! NO!
The rest of your stuff is couched in evasion, waffling, and completely devoid of reality.

O h and "humanism", I love that.
Those humanistic communists and even more humanistic Hamas and hezb'allah and the Mullahs.
Oh, I forgot they consider the Jews untermenschen, so than can in fact be humanistic and still threaten and kill Jews with impunity.
Posted by: yesjb at April 17, 2010 5:13 am
You idiot, yesjb, Israel was clearly using reverse psychology to get Jordan to attack them. The devious scheming on the part of the Jews was the opening salvo, and the Jordanian response was simply obvious self-defense.

{/sarcasm}
Posted by: Ted S. at April 17, 2010 5:38 am
This is not completely uncommon in Europe and would probably be relegated to the far(-far?) left of the Democratic Party in the U.S.

European political opinion tends to be more extreme than the American version. The left (not the far left) tends to be unabashedly marxist/socialist, while the right wing tends to be openly anti-foreigner (foreigners being defined as anyone who is not ethnically, purely, German in Germany, a Frenchman in France, etc.)

It's not surprising that the continent that gave us Communism and Fascism is now giving us "anti-imperialist pacifism" Europe's biggest export is bad philosophy.

In any case, pacifism is more of a form of faith than a philosophy. While philosophies are based on some form of logical reasoning, faith is not.

Faithful pacifists object to all forms of violence, including the violence required for self defense. Like the Shakers, who demanded that all of their members practice celibacy, pacifism is a deliberate, self destructive denial of the laws of nature. All beings, even the simplest amoeba, can't survive without the ability to reproduce and defend themselves. In our present natural universe, beings that can't properly defend themselves are 'food'.

The goal of anti imperialist pacifists appears to be to turn all former and present imperialists into a source of empowerment and nutrition for their enemies. As self destructive European ideas go, it's probably less vile than fascism and communism. But please forgive Americans if we find it unappealing.
Posted by: Mary Madigan at April 17, 2010 8:47 am
The U.S. has plenty of fascists, imperialists, militarists, racists and even a rich history of radical left-wing politics. The two-party regime prevents these from being expressed politically outside the binary Republican-Democratic oligarchy, but they do exist.

The European Left has largely been castrated today. No mainstream left-wing parties (Labour Party, French Socialist Party, German Social Democrats) is Marxist or even seriously Socialist anymore. The mainstream Left in both Europe and North America has systematically supported the worst wars whether in 1914 (WW1), 1954 (Algeria), 1965 (Vietnam) or 2003 (Iraq). The imperialist-militarist character of the mainstream Left, "reluctant" approvers of imperialist and neocon schems, is not a new phenomenon. Their opposition to war is mainly opportunistic, as the public's infantile jingoism makes way for mature pacifism as the horror of old men finding young boys in body bags (as opposed to, say, lying in green fields in the arms of a pretty girl) becomes overwhelming.

Racism is pervasive in European politics but not more so than in America. The U.S. anti-Latino movement is as strong as ever and Europeans, for there part, have not responded to the "race question" by incarcerating people on a scale unseen since the Soviet gulag. I don't deny racism in Europe and, in the case of France, anti-Muslim and anti-Black racisms remain the great national shames beside our chronic unemployment.

You are wrong to suggest the United States of America is somehow separate from Europe. It is the fruit of the same theory and practice of coercive capitalism and White supremacy. North America is part of the same global phenomenon of racial hegemony that for the past 500 years has put the Amerindian, the African and the Asian under the boot of the European. In this there is no difference between the Old Continent and the nation of lynchers.
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 9:42 am
Ombi,

My ideas are my own. Chomsky is useful mainly for documenting (in massive detail) the hypocrisy of government discourse.

So you take the word of a hypocrite like Chomsky when it comes to documenting hypocrisy? :o

His ideology is anarchism, or libertarian socialism...

I disagree. No anarchist would ever favor activist government the way he does. Neither would any libertarian. And using the word "libertarian" in conjunction with the word "socialism" is a crime against humanity.

Do I need to have an ideology?

I'm unclear on how you intend to defend your ideology, when you don't even have one. Or do you feel that it is enough just to criticize everyone else?

The opponents to imperialism...

You forgot to put the word "western" in there, before imperialism. And that's the real reason you don't have an ideology/philosophy in my opinion... if you did, you'd have to support it on objective philosophical grounds rather than being free to go on a case by case basis.

For the record, on domestic issues I would probably be a very "muscular" social democrat: into high taxes on the wealthy, butter before guns, high welfare, anti-consumerism, pro-environment and pro-E.U. (if applicable). This is not completely uncommon in Europe and would probably be relegated to the far(-far?) left of the Democratic Party in the U.S.

We don't have "social democrats" in the US, thank God. And far far left is right! We only have one socialist elected to federal office:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders

Sound like you?

I post on this blog to sharpen my arguments. I know an author that publishes for the right-wing American press...

MJT is not "right-wing". There isn't any neocon I'd describe as "right-wing". Pat Buchanan and David Duke are right-wing. Sarah Palin may be right-wing, though I haven't looked into her politics enough to be able to say that with any confidence.

Still, Totten does actually travel, take nice pictures, inform himself and talk with really interesting people. That's worth keeping track of.

Of course. He's more "plugged in" to the issues he talks about than anyone from your camp that I can think of.

It helps to be confronted to opposing viewpoints and sharpen one's arguments..

Only if the opposition bothers to engage with you. Which your side (in my experience) never does, when they are in the majority on a website, or anywhere else.
Posted by: Craig at April 17, 2010 9:52 am
PS,

You are wrong to suggest the United States of America is somehow separate from Europe.

No, we are separate from Europe. We always have been. We have a traditional kinship with Britain(only), not with anyone else in Europe. And even that is fading fast. If it hadn't been for Britain, we wouldn't have been involved in either World War. Neither would the Aussies or the Canadians, in my opinion. The English speaking world is Anglophile, not Europhile.
Posted by: Craig at April 17, 2010 9:57 am
Craig - The use of the word "libertarian" in the U.S. in the sense of "market fundamentalist" is not used in most of the rest of the world. In most countries, "libertarian" is traditionally similar in the same vein as anarchism or "libertarian socialism". The base premise is that Proudhon's old contention that "Property is theft!" Indeed, some might say it radical for an individual or a State to unilaterally claim that a piece of the universe (a rock, land, a sea, air...) is the sole property of one human being and one human being alone, and that human being should have the monopoly on its use. Who died and let you decide who can and cannot use God's creation?

Don't call Chomsky a hypocrite unless you have some argument, however weak.

The "right-wing" neocons include the intellectuals (Kristol, Krauthammer, Kagan, Podhoretz..) and the politicians (Giuliani, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc.). Their distinguished tradition go back at least to Reagan's "Second Cold War" and possibly as far back as the days of MacArthur/McCarthy.

I am quite coherent and international consistent in my beliefs. Whether or not this needs the dogma and reflexes of a formal ideology... I prefer to be of the people who admit they DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER to a particular question until they have informed themselves on it. I would contrast this, for example, with (U.S.) libertarians, who "know" even before exercising a single neuron that any and all intervention by the State is evil.
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 10:01 am
Ombi,

Craig - The use of the word "libertarian" in the U.S. in the sense of "market fundamentalist"...

That's not what it means in the west.

...is not used in most of the rest of the world.

Chomsky isn't from the "rest of the world". He's American.

In most countries, "libertarian" is traditionally similar in the same vein as anarchism...

Right. The main difference is that libertarians believe the government has a set of minimum duties it must perform for the people, and anarchists don't.

In both cases, freedom (liberty) for the individual is core.

Which is why it's criminal to use the word "socialism" as if it can exist in some kind of hybrid form with "libertarian". The two are polar opposites. Socialism is inherently anti-individual, and that includes individual rights and freedoms.

Don't call Chomsky a hypocrite unless you have some argument, however weak.

Every time he speaks, it's hypocrisy. Or do you not see it, with all the double-standards he applies to his own country and the rest of the west? You don't have a problem with the way he condemns "human rights abuses" and "war crimes" committed by Israel, USA, etc while he vocally supports terrorists, the IRI, Venezuela, Bolivia, and so on?

The "right-wing" neocons include the intellectuals (Kristol, Krauthammer, Kagan, Podhoretz..) and the politicians (Giuliani, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc.).

Giuliani, right wing? lol

Cheney and Rumsfeld are not neocons, by the way.

I can see it's pointless to try to categorize American politicians with you. So, I won't bother trying.

I am quite coherent and international consistent in my beliefs.

"International" as you used it means European, right?

Whether or not this needs the dogma and reflexes of a formal ideology...

Of course it does. And Europeans better get their act together but quick, since they don't have the luxury of standing in the shadow of the US and bitching about everything all the time, anymore.
Posted by: Craig at April 17, 2010 10:22 am
You are wrong to suggest the United States of America is somehow separate from Europe.

As a nation of immigrants, America has more in common with Canada, Australia and Israel than with Europe.

Europe, like most of the Middle East and Asia (ie, the 'old world') is a collection of ethnic nation states. Their national identity is based on their ethnicity.

Nation states that base their identity on ethnicity have a real problem dealing with immigrants. I lived in Germany and heard many reports of native skinheads beating up Turkish 'guestworkers'. Those guestworkers had been living in Germany for years. Some were second generation.

Germans in Germany think that their Italian next door neighbors (who have also been there for years) are "foreigners." In general, Europeans just don't get the idea that national identity can be based on something other than ethnicity. Their solution to ethnic conflict is usually to separate the two groups, or to deport the group that doesn't "belong."

When someone legally immigrates to America, and when they become an American citizen, they're American. Sure, there are some extremists who have a problem with this, but that's why they're extremists. It's their job. General acceptance of immigrants as Americans is Muslims in America are less radical than Muslim guestworkers in Europe.

And, as far as extreme political ideas go, you said "This is not completely uncommon in Europe and would probably be relegated to the far(-far?) left of the Democratic Party in the U.S. "

As you've noted, most politically active Europeans would be considered far far right or left in America.
Posted by: Mary Madigan at April 17, 2010 10:24 am
oops - that should be "General acceptance of immigrants as Americans is why Muslims in America are less radical than Muslim guestworkers in Europe."
Posted by: Mary Madigan at April 17, 2010 10:25 am
Ombi: Fanon has probably influenced me the most personally.

Oh dear.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 17, 2010 10:51 am
Craig - I am not talking about America *liking* Europe but destroying, enslaving or conquering everything that isn't European. In this pattern of behavior, the U.S. is identical to Europe.

Muslims in Europe are not particularly "radical" on the whole. Their status is similar to African-Americans. They suffer similar discrimination, ghettoization and police brutality, they react similarly too with rap music and calls for equality.

In the U.S., non-Whites were formally second class citizens into the late 1960s. An American meant a "White American" until that time. The U.S. had the same ethno-racial definition of itself as the Europeans did, with the exception that it was a "White melting pot" where different European "races" (Poles, Germans, Italians) could mix. It was an ethno-national identity restricted, as in Europe, to the White race. Amerindians were exterminated, removed or placed into reservations, Blacks were segregated and deprived the vote, Chinese were specifically denied the right to immigrate, Japanese were placed into concentration camps. There is no "American exceptionalism" on this issue.
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 10:55 am
MJT - Fanon is a great revolutionary and political theorist. You can't just skim Sartre's preface and think "totalitarian terrorist".
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 10:59 am
ombrageaux: the choice to attack and occupy Jordan was completely gratuitous (and disastrous in the long run)

I don't understand how someone can write bullshit like this and continue babbling, post after post, as if he (or she) hadn't inserted foot in mouth so deep it came out the bunghole.

FYI, the father of Jordan's current unelected supposedly benevolent dictator (himself an unelected dictator) ordered his army to commence hostilities with Israel and open artillery fire into West Jerusalem. Was that not a war crime? Did that not deserve defensive action on the part of Israel? Would such a heinous act of war entitle the unelected dictator of Jordan to continue his occupation of Judea and Samaria?
How disastrous would it have been for Israel to allow belligerents such as Hussein (and later Arafat or any other terrorist you would have had Israel cede territory to)in order to maintain such a strategic presence in the Israeli heartland? You need to answer these questions (or at the very least, ask them of yourself) before spouting nonsense. Not that it really matters, in your case.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 17, 2010 11:00 am
Ombi: North America is part of the same global phenomenon of racial hegemony that for the past 500 years has put the Amerindian, the African and the Asian under the boot of the European. In this there is no difference between the Old Continent and the nation of lynchers.

Sorry, but you are projecting.

You may think the current war in Afghanistan is a terrible idea, and you would not be alone, but the United States isn't annexing it and sending colonists like you guys did in Algeria.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 17, 2010 11:04 am
MJT - American colonialism did not begin after WW2. From its founding the U.S. has followed the European pattern: non-Whites are non-humans. The Amerindians were exterminated and corralled into reserves. The Africans were made into property and then "upgraded" to non-citizens. The U.S. created an explicit colonial empire in Cuba and the Philippines, more "informal" in the rest of Latin America.

All this is very old history indeed and shows America as essentially the same (on this issue) as the Europeans who scrambled for slices of Africa and Asia to impose White supremacy there.

Today things are obviously different. The power inequalities remain but express themselves differently. Settler-colonialism is not profitable for anyone (except apparently the Israelis). The end of formal colonialism and the independence of the Third World makes open, explicit racism and colonialism by the West a stupid thing, now avoided (unless they want to needlessly offend New Delhi, Beijing and other countries). Colonial attitudes persevere however, as do power inequalities, and the exercise of that power against hapless populations.
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 11:14 am
(The same as the Japanese, for that matter, with a different brand of ethno-nationalist supremacy.)
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 11:16 am
MJT - American colonialism did not begin after WW2. From its founding the U.S. has followed the European pattern: non-Whites are non-humans.

Your ignorance of American history is astounding. Besides the fact that in the early days of the United States the biggest problem Americans faced was obtaining fair treatment from Europe (means, Europe was America's primary adversary, not "non-Whites") there's the issue of US expansion in the south and south west where (white) Americans formed ad-hoc communities with (non-white) Mexicans, and when it came to war between the US and Mexico those mixed communities invariably and enthusiastically sided with the US.

The Amerindians were exterminated and corralled into reserves.

And that was totally unprovoked, was it? Again, your ignorance on this matter is astounding. And even here, you make no mention of how native-Americans were treated in latin America. It almost seems as if you think only whites can engage in ethnic violence, or something?

Check out this article:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8597681.stm

That's from the BBC, so you must approve of what it claims, right?

The U.S. created an explicit colonial empire in Cuba and the Philippines, more "informal" in the rest of Latin America.

You forgot to mention Puerto Rico. Any reason for that?

Muslims in Europe are not particularly "radical" on the whole. Their status is similar to African-Americans.

That's not the status of Muslims, here.

I'm not mentioning blacks in America, because I find myself unable to justify slavery. I think you are very wrong to imply it was a practice that only whites engaged in, though.
Posted by: Craig at April 17, 2010 12:01 pm
What does that article have to do with anything? So because Communists were popular in many parts of the world that means Stalin's crimes (for example) were cancelled out? More North American inanity..

Puerto Rico when seized could also be included in that category. It would change if they acquired Statehood (like Hawaii).

Racialized slavery was a practice invented in the Americas. Formal Segregation and laws of "racial purity" (preempting the Nazis) was a North American innovation that did not exist or persist in the great Latin American countries as long as it did in the U.S. It was as fundamental as denying the love of two human beings and as petty as not letting Blacks use your toilet.

The oppression of Muslims in America is different than in Europe. In America it is mostly related to foreign policy, the blowback to the Iranian Revolution and the crusade of the Terror Warriors. It entails wiretapping, shipping random Muslims to Guantanamo without charges, some popular Islamophobia and the like.

In Europe, the Muslim presence is much bigger and the migrants were less educated than the average Muslim migrant to the U.S. The issue here is therefore very different and related to poverty, crime and competition with poor Whites for jobs. It is roughly analogous the problems faced by Black people who migrated to the northern/western U.S. from the South and incoming Latinos today. To this kind of racism and xenophobia is added Islamophobia, so all the pseudo-feminists and ultra-secularists can stigmatize Muslims (IE, when a woman wears a headscarf, when a restaurant serves halal meat, etc.)
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 12:25 pm
What does that article have to do with anything? So because Communists were popular in many parts of the world that means Stalin's crimes (for example) were cancelled out? More North American inanity..

*sigh* You didn't even read the article, did you?

From the article:

These people are generally poor, and discrimination against them by the elites of European descent is a part of life here.

Ricardo, a local photographer at the tele-marathon describes the scale of the racism:

"People with Mayan descent will try to forget that part of their past - especially if they are looking for jobs in the city. They will ignore their family history, not even admit it if questioned."


The Mayan population in Guatemala has embraced Pentecostalism to its collective bosom. Dominated and oppressed by centuries of Catholic Spanish rule, this new North American faith is the spiritual antithesis to Hispanic culture.

But it was during the civil war of the 1980s and 1990s that the church saw its biggest growth among the Mayans.

The UN describes the Army campaign against the peasant population in the 1980s as genocide. Conversion rates during these brutal times were astronomical.

"During the 80s people were suffering death and persecution," a Pentecostal pastor tells me later. "They ran into the churches."

And still they run.
Posted by: Craig at April 17, 2010 12:30 pm
Ombi,

Puerto Rico doesn't want statehood as its taxes would increase, but its people are all American citizens.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 17, 2010 12:34 pm
Oh, and this statement:

The opponents to imperialism have been pacifists, terrorists, socialists, communists, capitalists and islamists among others

Is also wrong. Communism and Islamism are both forms of imperialism. Islamists seek to conquer and convert the jahiliyyah (those who don't 'know' the Koran) Current Arab enslavement and slaughter of unbelievers in Africa is proof that their intent is to impose their form of government on anyone who can't fight back. That's one reason why they're so enraged by Israel. Israel fights back.
Posted by: Mary Madigan at April 17, 2010 12:44 pm
onwards...

Puerto Rico when seized could also be included in that category. It would change if they acquired Statehood (like Hawaii).

Puerto Rico has the option of obtaining statehood any time it wants to. It also has the option of obtaining independence. It prefers to remain a US territory.

Racialized slavery was a practice invented in the Americas.

Nonsense. Europeans were practicing "racialized slavery" 2000 years ago. The majority of Roman slaves were Gauls and Germans, mainly because those were the people the Roman Army had easiest access to. The majority of slaves kept by the german tribes were eastern and central Europeans... hence the word (In English, which is a Germanic language) "slave" which is a spelling variant of the word "slav".

Formal Segregation and laws of "racial purity" (preempting the Nazis) was a North American innovation that did not exist...

Racial purity? You're right. It used to be all the way down to the level of TRIBAL purity.


... or persist in the great Latin American countries as long as it did in the U.S.

It persisted far longer in latin America. As you can see by reading the article I provided earlier :o

It was as fundamental as denying the love of two human beings and as petty as not letting Blacks use your toilet.

I can see your heart bleeding from here! Tell me, does it make you feel better or worse to dwell on things that were done long before you were born?

The oppression of Muslims in America is different than in Europe.

Would that everyone could be so oppressed. The world would be a better place.

In America it is mostly related to foreign policy, the blowback to the Iranian Revolution and the crusade of the Terror Warriors.

What the hell does foreign policy have to do with your alleged oppression of groups within the United States? Did you miss the word "foreign" in there?

It entails wiretapping, shipping random Muslims to Guantanamo without charges, some popular Islamophobia and the like.

Shipping random American Muslims to Guantanmo Bay? If we're doing that, I've got some names I want to put forward from the blogs! Seriously, I know some American Muslims who belong there! I had no idea the US government was so... progressive... on such matters!

In Europe, the Muslim presence is much bigger and the migrants were less educated than the average Muslim migrant to the U.S.

That's a bunch of blah blah blah. We are 3% Muslim which is more than most countries in Europe. About the same as the UK. Less than France (by a lot). We have the largest community of Iranians outside of Iran, here in Los Angeles.

The issue here is therefore very different and related to poverty, crime and competition with poor Whites for jobs.

They aren't given a chance to succeed in Europe. Which is the point Mary was trying to make. In the US, everyone gets a chance to succeed. The groups that don't succeed are generally the groups that have a lot of historical cultural baggage that gets in the way. Like, African-Americans. That's going to take some time to fix, and most of the issues in those communities are internal.

It is roughly analogous the problems faced by Black people who migrated to the northern/western U.S. from the South and incoming Latinos today.

I'm not buying it. Sorry. The fact that Muslim groups like Arabs and Iranians (I think I read Iranians are the most successful immigrant group in America, except for Chinese) is pretty good evidence that there aren't any cultural barriers on their side to succeeding in the west. If they don't succeed in Europe, that is the fault of Europeans.

To this kind of racism and xenophobia is added Islamophobia, so all the pseudo-feminists and ultra-secularists can stigmatize Muslims (IE, when a woman wears a headscarf, when a restaurant serves halal meat, etc.)

What!? You guys have that stuff in Europe? You must be kidding me! I thought America was the only place where things like that happen?

By the way, would you like to hear some stories about how my Chinese wife(at the time) was treated by random strangers in Germany?
Posted by: Craig at April 17, 2010 12:52 pm
Point taken on Puerto Rico.

Muslims exist outside the law in America. Foreign Muslims, including Europeans, can be kidnapped at will by American and European intelligence agencies to be shipped into the indelicate hands of Egyptian, Syrian or American sadists. Obama has approved of targeted assassination of Americans working for Al Qaeda.

I am not sure why you mention culture. The problems of Blacks and Hispanics in America are overwhelmingly due to racism and historic racism, not "culture". "Culture" in Europe as in America is usually a proxy for race. In France, we have maybe 2000 burqas but the issue is used to stigmatize all 6 million Muslims.
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 1:03 pm
"Culture" in Europe as in America is usually a proxy for race.

There is no such thing as "race", if we are going to get semantic about it. All humans belong to the same race. There is, however, such a thing as "ethnicity". And culture is a defining part of ethnicity. To deny cultural differences within a community is to deny ethnic differences within a community. The differences exist, whether they are admitted to or not.

In France, we have maybe 2000 burqas but the issue is used to stigmatize all 6 million Muslims.

In France, it is insisted that everyone be "French" whether they feel French, or not. Which is why you deny that there is any culture in France other than French culture. Which is why you have so many problems with immigrants.
Posted by: Craig at April 17, 2010 1:13 pm
You know, even if you are a left of center kind of guy and think the Bush administration and the whole "war on terror" is full of it, you have to recognize that Islam does pose a quandary for the liberal-left. The tenets of Islam are implacably hostile to all of the social progressive causes that we associate with the liberal-left today. Feminism, reproductive rights, gays and other alternative sexuality, and free thinking in general, are simply not acceptable to Islam. The incompatibility of Islam with such progressive beliefs forces the liberal-left to make a choice. Do they continue to embrace their progressive causes? Or do they throw them under the bus in favor of the multicultural belief that all cultures and worldviews are equally valid? In other words, multicultural relativism and social progressivism are mutually incompatible. The liberal-left types must make a choice. As the Rush song says, if they choose not to decide, they still have made a choice.

I would have had far more respect for the progressive elements of the liberal-left if they had considered all of this and come straight out and said that Islam is simply incompatible with our values system and we do not want it here. As far as I can tell, liberal-left intellectuals seem to have chosen multicultural relativism over their traditional progressive politics. I would have preferred that they made the opposite choice. They did not, for reasons that still elude me.

Recognizing that Islam is a problem does not necessarily mean that one has to support everything the Bush administration did. For one, I was vehemently opposed to the Iraq war. I thought (and still think) this was totally counterproductive. Islam, in its various manifestations, is the problem. Saddam, for all of his despotism, was a secular Arab leader (Baathism). He was as much an enemy of Islamic "fundamentalism" as we are. As far as I can tell, the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq was based on the delusion that Middle-eastern society can be "reconstructed" into modern liberal societies in the same manner as Japan and Germany following WWII.

Nevertheless, anyone who is liberal, supportive of rights for women, alternative sexual identities, and other myriad progressive beliefs should at least have some concern over the propagation of a worldview that is implacably hostile to these beliefs.
Posted by: Lindsey Abelard at April 17, 2010 1:52 pm
Keep us updated, Michael. This is the single most important issue of our times.
Posted by: Carlos at April 17, 2010 1:53 pm
Lindsey: As far as I can tell, liberal-left intellectuals seem to have chosen multicultural relativism over their traditional progressive politics.

The left is actually split on this question. You have the likes of Ombi on one side, and Paul Berman etc on the other.

Ombi's dismissal of Berman as an apologist for the Bush Administration, which is ridiculous to everyone who has ever read Berman, is a convenient way to avoid wrangling with the dilemma you describe.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 17, 2010 1:59 pm
Admittedly, I have very little personal experience with this issue. However, that little bit of experience was not encouraging.

I joined a technology start-up in Taiwan in mid-2000. I visited our equipment supplier (Leybold) in Hanau, Germany in fall of 2000 to take delivery of 5 sets of coating equipment for our company. I was in Germany during the Bush/Gore election and brouhaha. I was there for three weeks and traveled around the Frankfort area some. I noticed that most Germans I saw were in their 40's or older. I saw few German young people. On the other hand, I saw many young middle-eastern women (I think they were Turks, but I'm not sure) pushing strollers with one or two kids in them. I saw few young German women pushing baby strollers. Now maybe the young German mothers all stay inside and I saw only the young middle-eastern mothers who happen to be the only ones out on the streets. Nonetheless, I always had the feeling in the back of my mind while I was walking around on the streets by myself that I'm walking around in an Islamic republic of 2030. I could never shake this feeling out of my mind. I actually mentioned it to the Leybold guys and the Leybold people agreed with me that this will be a problem in the future (Germans working for technology manufacturing companies are more conservative that those who do not).

I couldn't help get this thought out of my mind the whole time I was there. I was happy to return to Taiwan, where it was all Chinese people and a few Gaijin like myself. I felt much more comfortable in Taiwan than in Germany.

Even if you find faults with the Bush administration and the neo-cons, and I find many many faults with them, I do not understand how anyone can think that this will not be a problem at some point down the road.
Posted by: Lindsey Abelard at April 17, 2010 2:21 pm
Racism is pervasive in European politics but not more so than in America.
Nonsense: comparative attitudinal analysis shows quite clearly racism is stronger in Europe nowadays. It is one reason Europe is handling its Muslim minority much worse than the US is.

Not exactly identical phenomena, but there is also something of a pattern of the US pushing for more Asian heads of international bodies and Europe resisting.

It is the fruit of the same theory and practice of coercive capitalism and White supremacy. North America is part of the same global phenomenon of racial hegemony that for the past 500 years has put the Amerindian, the African and the Asian under the boot of the European. In this there is no difference between the Old Continent and the nation of lynchers.
This is such an appallingly bad analysis of Western imperial history it is hard to know where to start. In 1500, Europe was losing ground to Muslim imperialism (as it had been for the previous 8 centuries) which was not going to peak for another 183 years.
The exception was Iberia, and the Portugese and Spanish engaged in their exploratory efforts to try and outflank Islam.
As a result of several organisational (and disease resistance) advantages, Europe proceeded to create various mostly trading empires (the Americas being an exception, largely due to disease effects) which, for a relatively brief period (1878-1939) became global-spanning territorial empires (at which time most of the Americas were already independent).
Racial ideology developed in the mid C19th to "explain" European success. It was never part of the original justification for empire, which needed no justification apart from the fact that they could: since wealth and career opportunities provided all the justification it needed as it had since rulership first began. If you want imperialism justified by a relentless rhetoric of superiority, then that is Islam.
Let's not project late C19th discourses (when empire became middle class career paths and self-identity status politics) to earlier times.
The European pattern: non-Whites are non-humans. The Amerindians were exterminated and corralled into reserves. The Africans were made into property and then "upgraded" to non-citizens.
Agrarians have been "supplanting" hunter-gatherers since agriculture was invented 12,000 years ago, a process still going on around the planet. (And you cannot be both exterminated and corralled into reserves.)
Africans were made into property by other Africans: the Atlantic slave trade "piggy-backed" off the already existing Muslim slave trade. Throughout the history of the US, there were always some African-American citizens, who had full citizenship rights from 1865-c.1890 when "Jim Crow" began.
Pope Paul III declared Amerindians and others full humans in 1537 in Sublimus Dei, a direct ideological ancestor of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights--also a Western discourse.
Formal Segregation and laws of "racial purity" (preempting the Nazis) was a North American innovation
I think the Hindus were doing segregation a bit earlier, while racial purity laws were a Spanish invention.
Muslims exist outside the law in America.
Clearly false, there are plenty of Muslim citizens with full rights.
The problems of Blacks and Hispanics in America are overwhelmingly due to racism and historic racism, not "culture". False. Hispanics are going through the normal new-migrant upward path of previous waves of migrants. There are always issues of networking, skills, levels of assets, etc for waves of migrants. Jamacian-Americans are doing the same. The issues with African-Americans are mostly inner city issues, where the problems are much more complicated than "racism". As can be seen from the current incumbent of the White House.

Ombi: your history is truly awful. If you went for some sensible moral perspective rather than the angry morally-monochrome cartoon version of history, you would do better.
Posted by: Lorenzo at April 17, 2010 2:42 pm
"the choice to attack and occupy Jordan"

Earth to Ombi: Jordan attacked Israel. Until then Israel had its hands full with Egypt and in fact was secretly begging King Hussein to stay out of the war. He joined in probably because he didn't want to meet the fate of his grandfather who was assassinated because his policy towards Jews was not sufficiently annihilationist. Ombi of course will never have that problem.

Don't let the facts get in the way of blaming it all on da Jooos, Ombi you twisted slimesucking Nazi bastard.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at April 17, 2010 3:15 pm
GR - You're pretty disgusting. Let us assume you are right, and I don't know my history, that doesn't make me a "twisted slimesucking Nazi bastard."

Craig - Racism exists, today it is couched in cultural or religious terms. I don't know why you say "I have so many problems with immigrants."

Lindsey Abelard - Muslim countries are extremely diverse. Muslims don't have a monopoly on sexism. They didn't invent foot-binding or burning widows on their husbands' funeral pyres. Nations progress at their own pace and the U.S. (or any other country) has no right to impose its domination in the name of feminism (an old colonial argument, used during the British conquest of Africa and French war against Algeria). The West, after all, is a recent convert to feminism. It was only in the 1970s that women in some European countries acquired the right to vote (Swiss), to have independent bank accounts of their husband or divorce. The Islamic world will progress as other nations do, and indeed, in Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia, where many Muslims live, women are often no worse off than other women in the region.

So to summarize, I oppose your essentializing "Islam". And even if we concede that parts of the Muslim world are characterized by extreme conservatism, that doesn't mean the West has any business imposing itself. Any more than the Europeans invade North American and abolish U.S. sovereignty in the 1850s because the Americans were too uncivilized to consider slavery a crime.

Lorenzo - Racism predates the late 19th Century. I said that the big Latin American countries (and I had Mexico and Brazil in mind) did not have racial hygiene laws like you had in America until the 1960s. The point is that America is an unremarkable branch of European civilization on this issue. If you happen to be mimicking earlier Spanish practices, that just confirms this idea.
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 3:55 pm
GR - You're pretty disgusting. Let us assume you are right, and I don't know my history, that doesn't make me a "twisted slimesucking Nazi bastard."

Is that an admission of ignorance? If you do know you are ignorant of basic facts, but ignore those gaps in your knowledge whilst you construct a truly repugnant scapegoating attitude towards Jews and Israel, what does that make you?
Willful ignorance such as yours is no defense against bigotry. I'm with Gary on this one.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 17, 2010 4:00 pm
LM - If you're with GR when he calls someone a "twisted slimesucking Nazi bastard" for disagreeing with him on a historical point, I'm pretty sure you'd side with him no matter what he called me or if acted on his beliefs. I just hope he doesn't get any ideas from any Quentin Tarantino movies (or any WW2 flick for that matter).
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 4:12 pm
LM - If you're with GR when he calls someone a "twisted slimesucking Nazi bastard" for disagreeing with him on a historical point, I'm pretty sure you'd side with him no matter what he called me or if acted on his beliefs.

Sure or just pretty sure?
Unlike you, I observe, learn, and evaluate before expressing my opinions.
From everything I've seen you post, it's not "one historical point" you have screwed up on. You routinely disregard crucial and fundamental facts while you spew demonizing posts on every thread. That's a pattern, not a one-time event. As a result, you have only demonized yourself as a willfully ignorant bigot.

So are you now, in fact, admitting your egregious knowledge gaps with regard to (at the very least) the history of Israel? I believe you are, in your no-balls, back-door kind of way. But why let a lack of knowledge and understanding get in your way? It's much easier (and intellectually lazier) to just spew talking points.

Carry on, carry on.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 17, 2010 4:27 pm
Craig - Racism exists

Of course it does. And believe it or not, it exists in places other than America too!

...today it is couched in cultural or religious terms.

No, I think that's a misconception that a lot of Europeans have. It's possible to believe your own culture is superior to others, and not be a bigot. Likewise, it is possible to believe your own religion (or lack of one) is superior to others, and not be a bigot. The defining characteristic of bigotry is hate, in my opinion.

I don't know why you say "I have so many problems with immigrants."

When I said "you" I mean French people in general. France has an interesting dynamic going on in that unlike most other countries in Europe, nobody can claim to be ethnically "French". Whatever indigenous people lived in what is now France were absorbed into countless waves of invaders over the last 3000+ years. Even the name of the country is the name of a German tribe (of invaders!). So France has this thing where there is a very strong French culture, without any people who can be uniquely identified as being French. Therefore, anyone who adopts French culture is French. Theoretically. And that's why instead of having a "melting pot" in France where immigrants are gradually absorbed over a period of time, newcomers are instantly expected to just pretend they have discarded their old culture and accepted the new. Of course, in reality it doesn't work that way at all. And the failure of immigrants to transform themselves into Frenchmen results in them being rejected by their host culture. Or, alternately, faking it - with varying degrees of sincerity.

That's quite different than what's going on in the UK, where the government is playing this game of "separate but equal" multiculturalism. Where have we heard "separate but equal" before? I don't care how delicately handled that is or how sensitive the government is about it - that's segregation.

Y'all need to learn about assimilation. And who better to learn it from than the masters? Americans. But you've got nothing to learn from us, do you Ombi?
Posted by: Craig at April 17, 2010 4:30 pm
The point is that America is an unremarkable branch of European civilization...

lol. I think I just figured you out! You're just jealous :D
Posted by: Craig at April 17, 2010 4:32 pm
The French and British situations are very similar. There is different rhetoric and ideology, as you correctly note. The British are supposedly "multicultural", the French "assimilationist". However, in practice the French are as racist as anyone and French Muslims and French Blacks are as French as anyone. Black people are not discriminated against in America because they have "kept their African culture" (it was annihilated by slavery). They are discriminated against because people are racist. The same holds in Europe.

The fact, on assimilation, it is not clear to me the Europeans are worse. France has perhaps 6 million Muslims (10% of pop.), the overwhelming majority speak French. Whereas, precisely 10% of the American population speaks Spanish, often with no English.

LM - I said no such thing. Read my posts if you are going to comment on them. I prefaced the statement "even assuming you are right". What do you think that means? That even if we imagine I was wrong on a historical point, that doesn't mean I'm a "twisted slimesucking Nazi bastard." And, I've said before, I don't claim godly omniscience. Do you?
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 4:46 pm
Ombi: They are discriminated against because people are racist.

Our president is black.

Let me know when a European country elects a black man president or prime minister.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 17, 2010 4:50 pm
It is not a "historical point" as to who invaded whom in 1967, rather it goes right to the heart of ombi's antisemitic blood-libeling narrative of Palestinian oppresion by da Joooos. That is why I DO NOT apologize for and WILL NOT retract my assertions.
Posted by: Gary Rosen at April 17, 2010 4:52 pm
Read my posts if you are going to comment on them. I prefaced the statement "even assuming you are right". What do you think that means? That even if we imagine I was wrong on a historical point...

You can imagine, and I can know.
You are wrong on that historical point.
The real issue is that you construct arguments based on lies.
When those lies are used to demonize a nation (as you routinely do), I believe it is reasonable to draw the same conclusions about your biases.

So, back to your waffling - are you now able to admit you are flat-out wrong about Jordan's unprovoked attack on Israel in 1967?

If you cannot, you are hopeless.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 17, 2010 4:54 pm
MJT - I am not singling out the U.S. on this issue. I am pointing out an absurdity. The French discriminate against Muslims because they "aren't French enough". It's pure BS. The Germans didn't exterminate the Jews because they "weren't German enough". The Americans didn't lynch Blacks because they "weren't American enough". Today, racism in Europe exists, and "culturalist/religious" discourse covers for it.
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 17, 2010 5:04 pm
France has perhaps 6 million Muslims (10% of pop.), the overwhelming majority speak French. Whereas, precisely 10% of the American population speaks Spanish, often with no English.

That was kinda my point, Ombi. We don't expect or require fresh-off-the-boat immigrants to instantly transform themselves into clones of Americans. My ex-wife's parents don't speak English, and they've been here more than 30 years. However, all of their children received good educations and they all have (really)good jobs. My former brother-in-law is wealthier than I can ever dream of being.
Posted by: Craig at April 17, 2010 5:19 pm
PS Ombi,

The French discriminate against Muslims because they "aren't French enough".

I wasn't talking about racism. I've only been to France once and it was such a short and unpleasant visit that I hardly remember it. Unlike you, I'm not prepared to make accusations of racism when I don't have any way of knowing how big a problem it is in a particular country. I was talking about France's problems with immigrants, which I think are obvious.

The only country in Europe I have enough first-hand experience with to make accusations of racism about is Germany. And if you think the US is even remotely as racist as Germany, you're very wrong. Don't take my word for it. Ask anyone who is visibly not-European in origin who has been to both the US and Germany. Or maybe I should say "any honest person", but that's up to you :)
Posted by: Craig at April 17, 2010 5:26 pm
Everyone has an opinion and is of course entitled to them.
But to portray opinion as fact or to twist what is well known and well documented historical fact and turn it on its head and lie about it to support your bias only makes me shake my head in disbelief and dismay.
Gary use of the term "Nazi" is too exclusionary.
There are many other groups which have the same hatred and bigotry and differ only from the Nazis in that they lack the means to effect their genocidal desires.
Haj Amin Husseini and his followers comes to mind immediately, no doubt a great hero in your mind. His present day acolytes in the PLA, Hamas, Hezb'allah and lest we forget the Iranian thugocracy should be included as well.
All from the same mold along with the 3rd Reich and inheriters of their mantle.
All aiming at the same target only by slightly different means and all desirous of the same goal.
But I will grant you the benefit of the doubt on the slime-sucking part.
Posted by: yesjb at April 17, 2010 8:34 pm
I think what Ombraguex is trying to say to me in his reply is that he believes that European culture will tame Islam. Make it mellow over time. Perhaps. But it is always rational to hedge one's bets when playing for such high stakes.
Posted by: Lindsey Abelard at April 17, 2010 11:28 pm
Hi, Michael, hi, everybody,

I do not mean to bod into your conversation just would like to straighten few historical mistake frying around here regarding 1967 war.

1. Technically in 1967 it was Jordan who fired the first shot at Israel.I have not seen much argument to dispute that.

2. In reality it was not Jordan, but Egypt. It is true that Israelis beg Jordan not to enter the war and King Abdallah even appeared reluctant to do so himself. Unfortunately for Jordan Abdallah did not have much say in the matter. The reason, few days before June 7 of 1967 Jordan transferred command of Jordanian Army to Egyptians. So, in reality command to Jordanians to attack Israel was given by Nasser.
Posted by: leo at April 18, 2010 9:34 am
ombi wants to tell us how it is in the USA. Amerindians who speak Spanish and not English have a different problem. the US is just a unexceptional extension of white European culture? how did those Amerindian code talkers in ww11 work out. everyone gets a chance to excel in America, if you don't its your own fault for not preparing yourself.
Posted by: john from cinncinatti at April 18, 2010 11:37 am
LA - No, I am not saying Islam will be "moderated". I am saying there is no such thing as an essentialized, coherent "Islam" that shares essential, reactionary, sexist, authoritarian, terroristic characteristics from Senegal to Indonesia and Bosnia to Kenya.
Posted by: Ombrageux at April 18, 2010 11:40 am
I haven't finished reading it yet, but...pre-order a copy. Trust me.

I don't doubt that Paul Berman wrote another fascinating book, but the last time I followed such advice I was shipped a volume with the last chapter and supporting bibliography missing. I returned it and the publisher (Springer-Verlag) charged me a 15% restocking fee! ("Sorry, but it's the author's fault for missing the deadline". "It won't happen again - I'm not buying books from you any more," I replied.)
Posted by: Solomon2 at April 18, 2010 3:20 pm
John,

If blind ideologues were to acknowledge the opportunities America has offered natives and immigrants, that is, opportunities to attempt to succeed with no guarantee of achieving success, not to mention American generosity abroad over the decades as well, their evil empire thesis would dissolve in the melting pot. And my friends from Viet Nam, China and the Philippines would never have chosen to become American citzens and take their shots.

Americans, like Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink, wail that our military trains killers to rape and murder women in defense of their fantasy notion of an evil empire, a notion easily discounted by countless acts of compassionate generosity in Iraq alone that I read about and view photographic evidence of regularly. From military personnel who see local needs and take a can-do approach to addressing, often with limited time, energy and personal funds, I'll add.

The blindness is so willful, blatant, insulting and, ultimately, ludicrous that it offers only an example of how important, and frequently lacking, critical thinking is in today's world. They are merely a symptom of this more serious problem, and deserving of no consideration otherwise.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 18, 2010 4:58 pm
Solomon2: the last time I followed such advice I was shipped a volume with the last chapter and supporting bibliography missing.

That happened with one of Paul Berman's books? The last chapter and biliography aren't missing from any of my copies.

His new books is also finished. I know because I just finished it. And it's a exhilarating intellectual tour de force.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 18, 2010 9:18 pm
An English professor I one had told me to always, if possible, put any writing aside for a while and see what a fresh view revealed. The post I submitted earlier above I've now edited several times, and may redo some more before submitting it to my local paper. I'm not a military veteran (bleeding ulcers in '69 led to a 4F classification), but those who volunteer to serve our country and their families are my heroes and deserving of our respect. The Cindy Sheehans of the world spark my anger and need to be countered.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 18, 2010 11:25 pm
"It is the fruit of the same theory and practice of coercive capitalism and White supremacy."

Frankly, Ombrageux, you're living in fantasy world, obsessed with race, and so you see it behind every corner.

Most of the great Westerners who built the civilization that stands around us today were neither "coercive capitalists" (whatever your books mean by that), nor white supremacists.

I wonder what makes people like you so hateful against themselves (or the subset of mankind that they belong to). How does the Napoleonic era empire, or the beating that the French got in 1870 from Wilhelm, get into your picture of awful whites oppressing non-whites? Are the French any darker than the Germans? Are the Polish any darker than the Russians, who oppressed them for 2 centuries? Blah. All nonsense. Everywhere in the world, the strong oppressed the weak, and most of the time it had no racial/racist base. Was Xerxes lighter than the Greeks?

Paradoxically, your arguments would hold water if you limited yourself to the former Spanish/Portuguese empire and its successor republics. These places were racist to the boot, limpieza di sangre etc. But Latinoamericans are rather brown per se, and aren't particularly rich, so their sins obviously rank behind the Enormous White Guilt by default.
Posted by: Marian Kechlibar at April 19, 2010 2:36 am

Paradoxically, your arguments would hold water if you limited yourself to the former Spanish/Portuguese empire and its successor republics. These places were racist to the boot, limpieza di sangre etc. But Latinoamericans are rather brown per se, and aren't particularly rich, so their sins obviously rank behind the Enormous White Guilt by default.


Ombi would do well to read up on how the Aztecs and Mayans related to their neighbors. Not a white European among them for thousands of years, but the brutality was horrific.
Posted by: Li'l Mamzer at April 19, 2010 3:49 am
Marian, that was a really good effort :)

I think Ombi has already pronounced that there's a set of criteria that people have to meet and a set of dates their behavior has to fall within - which excludes everyone but European whites and their unremarkable American (and Israeli?) cousins - before anyone can be held accountable for their actions.
Posted by: Craig at April 19, 2010 4:05 am
Ombi;

The Amerindians were exterminated and corralled into reserves.

The vast majority of native Americans died from diseases caught from the Europeans, not from organized “extermination”. Often the illness spread from tribe to tribe without the secondary and tertiary victims ever having come into contact with a European.

The mechanics of germs were not understood until the late 1800s.
Posted by: Toady at April 19, 2010 6:19 am
You've recommended a lot of books lately. A good enhancement to this website would be a section on recommended books. A lot of times you recommend a book that isn't out yet, or it's only available in hardback. Your book review is buried in your archives by the time the book is actually available in bookstores.

I'm reading The Strong Horse right now. I first heard of it here.
Posted by: Andrew at April 19, 2010 7:59 am
Lorenzo - Racism predates the late 19th Century.
That is such a pathetic response, it is hard to know how to respond.
Yes, one can find earlier manifestations. The medieval Arab-Muslim North African anti-black discourses, for example. But racism grew up as a way to justify practices that were already occurring such Muslim slaving of blacks, European slaving of blacks, seizing land from locals, etc or to enforce social cartels--denial of benefits to "new Christians", reserving European men in India as husbands for white women after the opening of the Suez canal, etc. Racism did not evolve as an articulated doctrine until the 1850s onwards.

I said that the big Latin American countries (and I had Mexico and Brazil in mind) did not have racial hygiene laws like you had in America until the 1960s.
Who is this "you"? I am not an American.
Also, 'racial hygiene' is somewhat a German term: not aware of its usage much in the US where anti-miscegnation laws had rather different justifications, typically.

The point is that America is an unremarkable branch of European civilization on this issue. If you happen to be mimicking earlier Spanish practices, that just confirms this idea.
Actually, the Iberian 'purity of the blood' laws are notable for being very unusual at the time and lacking any imitations for some centuries. Also, in case you hadn't noticed, they operated against other Europeans. The awkward fact is that there is nothing Europeans did to non-Europeans that they did not do, as bad or worse, to fellow Europeans. So, by far the worst manifestation of racism in history (the Holocaust) was perpetuated against Europeans.

All imperial structures typically had an "imperial people". You keep trying to find uniquely "European" sins which are simply not there. If you want to read something genuinely informative and useful on racism, then George M. Friederickson's Racism: a Short History is excellent.
Posted by: Lorenzo at April 19, 2010 11:54 am
http://www.aei.org/article/101869 Interesting article about the dangerous decline in US hegemony thanks in part by our diligent Allies....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 19, 2010 1:50 pm
Maxtrue: the piece you link to makes some nice points. One can also see the destructive effects of the Bush II's Administrations stupid and wicked straying into the realm of torture.
Posted by: Lorenzo at April 19, 2010 2:47 pm
Interesting article about the dangerous decline in US hegemony thanks in part by our diligent Allies....

Maxtrue, I don't dispute the facts as laid out in that AEI article, but I dispute their conclusions. I'll outline some of my disagreements:

The first strike comes from Asia. For the past six months, the new government of Japan has sought to revise a 2006 agreement to relocate a Marine Corps Air Station from one part of Okinawa to a less populated area.

The US should have closed the bases on Okinawa decades ago. The Japanese have never wanted us there. I've been to a lot of overseas bases, but I've never seen the kind of hostility towards American servicemen that exists in Okinawa. And I was there before so many high profile incidents involving American servicemen took place. And furthermore, I humbly submit we don't need those bases and that we never did. We established them in order to fulfill our commitments to protect Japan from any foreign aggression. Japan no longer needs such protection. There are other alternatives, such as Guam which some of the units that were based in Okinawa have already relocated to. Unfortunately, we lost Subic Bay and Clark Airfield in the Philippines quite some time ago. Subic Bay was the largest US Naval installation in the world at the time. That was a truly big deal. If we could recover from that, we can recover from losing US bases in Japan.

Most worrying, the committee recommends a "comprehensive review" of current arrangements for the U.S. use of British military facilities at home and abroad...

I also think the US should close bases not just in the UK, but in all of Europe. Again, like Japan, the protection they provide is now both un-necessary and obviously unwanted.

And I totally disagree with him that US ability to project power - and therefore hegemony - warrants the US attempting to subordinate people that we loosely refer to as "allies". It wasn't US hegemony or US military might that made us a superpower in the first place, and so it damn sure won't KEEP us a superpower.
Posted by: Craig at April 19, 2010 4:25 pm
When air craft and boats no longer provide protection on paper, instability results. The Japanese should become more hawkish to pick up our slack? Then we should have let them build Raptors with us. I am not against moving bases around, but our "string of pearls" defeated Japan and until things are much calmer, I rather doubt conventional deterrence should be lessened. But then I've used up far to much bandwidth here.

So without arguing the merits right now I thought Republican internationalism is worth a glance....as I stumbled upon this today. Now don't get into a huff Craig. I understand the difference between domestic and foreign and between sentiment and action.

"When Revolution is the Only Answer http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1770.htm

"A single good government becomes... a blessing to the whole earth, its welcome to the oppressed restraining within certain limits the measure of their oppressions. But should even this be counteracted by violence on the right of expatriation, the other branch of our example then presents itself for imitation: to rise on their rulers and do as we have done." --Thomas Jefferson to George Flower, 1817. ME 15:141

"We surely cannot deny to any nation that right whereon our own government is founded, that every one may govern itself according to whatever form it pleases and change these forms at its own will... The will of the nation is the only thing essential to be regarded." --Thomas Jefferson to Gouverneur Morris, 1792. ME 9:36

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience [has] shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security." --Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:429

"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing [a people] to slavery." --Thomas Jefferson: Rights of British America, 1774. (*) ME 1:193, Papers 1:125

"When patience has begotten false estimates of its motives, when wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality." --Thomas Jefferson to M. deStael, 1807. ME 11:282

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." --Thomas Jefferson: his motto."
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 19, 2010 5:28 pm
Maxtrue,

When air craft and boats no longer provide protection on paper, instability results.

Instability, in other countries? Well, that's not our concern, is it? And if those other countries are themselves concerned about regional threats, and if they ask for our assistance in countering those threats, then I guess maybe they should let us put bases on their soil so that we can do that. On what basis do we try to pressure people into hosting a US presence against their will?

The Japanese should become more hawkish to pick up our slack?

The Japanese are perfectly capable of looking out for themselves. As are the Europeans. I have more sympathy for countries that aren't as well off economically or as advanced technologically who feel they need protection. The US has done enough, and more than enough, to protect Europe and Japan. They are telling us to vacate, so lets do so.

am not against moving bases around, but our "string of pearls" defeated Japan...

Actually, the Japanese took everything we had in the Pacific and we weren't able to stop them until Midway. We began our "island hopping" campaign at Guadalcanal, which was a Japanese base - not an American one. We established new bases as needed on land that we took from Japan, all throughout the war in the Pacific. If anything, our bases in the pacific prior to our entry into WWII were a liability and not an asset, once the war started.

Now don't get into a huff Craig. I understand the difference between domestic and foreign and between sentiment and action.

Why would I get in a huff? It seems you are well aware that the quotes you are providing don't make your case :)

Gotta break for dinner. I'll reply about the Jefferson quotes later if I get a chance.
Posted by: Craig at April 19, 2010 6:10 pm
Craig, I'm trying to keep posts short. That's tough for me so just as a heads up, I'm sure our conversation will get spread out. No problem, I encountered a tough Libertarian called the Voice of Priniciple not too long back.

Short answers.

1. The last thing anyone wants is for Japan to get militaristic again. There is still a lot of animosity towards Japan in Asia. For a number of reasons it is better for now we provide the backbone of deterrence. The Right Wing would love to undo the Constitution. Though not necessarily with force, the Chinese would divide and conquer given the signals from the administration. Yes, underneath, the Japanese are more than capable of getting nasty. I claim China is growing their pearls to project the power along their trade routes. I think this is called "guarding the approaches" of our markets.

2. The knowledge and logistics/hardware we had before Japan pushed us back were instrumental in defeating them. I rather doubt that without it, we would have been hard pressed to beat Japan.

3. One can call Jefferson an advocate of soft or Republican internationalism, but one must be cautious. Jefferson claimed all men were created equal, yet the best he could come up with against Franklin's abolition logic was that there was no practical place to put freed slaves. There are words and then there are actions. That one fails to grasp the other.....Perhaps the same can be true about "revolution".

Perhaps Jefferson would have watched South Park : http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/04/death-threats-for-south-park-creators-after-muhammad-depicted-on-show-disguised-in-a-bear-suit.html

Sorry Michael to have linked Spencer and company. I give him credit for defending them....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 19, 2010 6:54 pm
I rather doubt that without it, we would have NOT been hard pressed to beat Japan.

That's called eating during writing....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 19, 2010 6:56 pm
No problem on the short comments. I'd prefer if I could keep mine shorter too but I seem to be quite long winded when I'm typing! Which is totally NOT me in person :)

1. The last thing anyone wants is for Japan to get militaristic again. There is still a lot of animosity towards Japan in Asia...

Japan needs to work on it's relationships in Asia. Especially when it comes to China and to lesser extent India. I think the Japanese know this, and I think they've been trying. The US can't force people to get along.

2. The knowledge and logistics/hardware we had before Japan pushed us back were instrumental in defeating them. I rather doubt that without it, we would have been hard pressed to beat Japan.

I'm not sure what you are trying to say, there. We had some spectacular logistics failures in the Pacific. Specifically, our inability to reinforce the Philippines even after the defenders held out for months. Our inability to properly support the Marines who landed on Guadalcanal is another, but luckily that one ended well.

3. One can call Jefferson an advocate of soft or Republican internationalism, but one must be cautious.

I'm not sure where you are going with that, either :)

Jefferson believed the best way for the US gain status on the world stage (of which it had very little at the time) was via peaceful trade and building up US industry. He was vehemently opposed to trying to reform "rogue states" (of which there were many, even in Europe) by force.

If you call that "soft power", then yes. He was an advocate of soft power. Sending the CIA in to foment revolutions or kill people we don't like is an act of aggression, and Jefferson would have clearly opposed that.

As for your jihadwatch link... I'm not Ron Paul. I think Ron Paul's apathy even in the face of aggression is dangerous. I'm not Glenn Beck either. I think his anti-Federal Gov't fervor is over the top and does more harm than good, though he raises a lot of valid points.
Posted by: Craig at April 20, 2010 12:21 am
Hi Craig,

I posted the South Park because I thought they were worth defending, not that you would agree Jefferson would have been a fan.

Again, I think the timing of cutting Japan loose is "not at the moment". Sure, it would be nice for everyone to get along. We'll see what caused the sunken Korean boat.

Jefferson had no problem accepting whatever military assistance he could from the French.

Jefferson playing it down the middle: http://www.myloc.gov/Exhibitions/EarlyAmericas/AftermathoftheEncounter/CompetitionforEmpire/TheUnitedStatesAnEmergingEmpire/ExhibitObjects/JeffersononIndependenceforSouthAmerica.aspx

Interesting view on Jefferson v pirates: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/jefferson_papers/mtjprece.html

As far as the Pacific war, we had carriers and valuable aircraft/oil saved despite the attack at Pearl Harbor which contributed greatly to Japan's fall.Running at less than 10% of the US economy, Japan did not have the global reach for materials the US had with it's global shipping. Maritime assets were something sited in the decline of out naval capability article. Time was on our side to out produce Japan, but the asymmetrical threats of today do not present such protection.

While true, America was not at war with anyone at the start of conflict with Japan, in FDR's words, the sweep Japan made at the start, cost them dearly: “For every advance that the Japanese have made since they started their frenzied career of conquest, they have had to pay a very heavy toll in warships, in transports, in planes, and in men. They are feeling the effects of those losses.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 28 April 1942

In fact by mid 1942, The Japanese found their lack of pearls (lol), carriers, destroyers, air craft etc. left them unable to really hold their gains. I think it would be fair tom say that our previous naval reach and the range of our military arsenal even at the start of the War sealed Japan's doom and the numerous contact we had in the Far East made organizing resistance to Japan a whole lot easier.

Back to work......

P.S. Iran now says they might be willing to do the enriched uranium swap after all. I will tell you what worries me the most: we make a bogus deal to make people relieved, but behind the scene Iran is left unfettered and the West in even a greater unreality.....
Posted by: Maxtrue at April 20, 2010 8:58 am
Max,

Jefferson had no problem accepting whatever military assistance he could from the French.

Just off the top of my head, a couple reasons why that doesn't make Jefferson an interventionist:

The US was at war.

That was a foreign country getting involved in a war the US was fighting, not vice-versa.

Jefferson playing it down the middle...

Playing it down the middle? He joined with Lafayette in wishing South Americans luck in their struggle for emancipation. That's like when I wished the Greens in Iran luck in their struggle for emancipation earlier in this thread :P

Interesting view on Jefferson v pirates...

I don't see the relevance of Jefferson declaring war on pirates who were preying on American shipping - and enslaving American citizens, I might add!

As far as the Pacific war, we had carriers and valuable aircraft/oil saved despite the attack at Pearl Harbor which contributed greatly to Japan's fall.

Yes. We had a grand total of 4 aircraft carriers. Versus their... 8? 10?

This is what caused Japan's fall:

USS Enterprise (CV-6)
USS Saratoga (CV-3)
USS Lexington (CV-2)

F4U Corsair
F6F Hellcat

US Marine Corps

(Note we has carriers sunk and new carriers commissioned, but at some points in the war we only had 1 carrier in the Pacific fleet)

I like this part from wiki (speaking of the Corsair, probably the best plane in service in WWII:

...on September 25, 1942, caused the U.S. Navy to release the type to the United States Marine Corps. Early Navy pilots spoke disparagingly of the F4U as the "hog", "hosenose" or "bent wing widow-maker".

Running at less than 10% of the US economy, Japan did not have the global reach for materials the US had with it's global shipping.

We damn near lost the war. If we'd lost our carriers we wouldn't have been able to do anything about the Japanese in the Pacific, for years.

The main reason we won is the Japanese never adapted their tactics, and their beliefs in their racial superiority led them to over-estimate their own abilities. Frontal assaults on US Marines is STUPID. But they kept doing that, no matter how badly mauled they were. Also, they couldn't make up their mind whether they should finish off New Guinea, or recapture Guadalcanal. They delayed too long in trying to retake Guadalcanal, and when they did they did so in a half-hearted manner where they transferred part of their forces from New Guinea to Guadalcanal, which left them too weak in both places to successfully execute their plans. Likewise they relied on the superiority of their planes and their pilots, and don't seem to have noticed that by 1942 the US had come up with planes that were better than theirs and that American pilots were actually surviving engagements and were improving their skills, whereas Japanese pilots were dying in droves.

In fact by mid 1942, The Japanese found their lack of pearls (lol), carriers, destroyers, air craft etc. left them unable to really hold their gains.

That happened after Midway:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Midway

And note, they had the US badly outgunned at Midway. Japanese had four carriers against our 2.5(Yorktown was badly damaged at the Battle of coral Sea), their superior planes against our inferior ones, and a surface fleet that was 10x ours - including "Yamato" the largest and most powerful Battleship ever built.

We won that battle because we had good intel, we were smart, and we were lucky. And if we'd lost, we would have been out of the war in the Pacific. Those 3 aircraft carriers plus Saratoga (which was in San Diego being repaired) were all the carriers we had. We had more under construction, but it would have been years before we would have been able to take on the Japanese fleet again. The Japanese believed if they won at Midway, the US would have sought terms to end the conflict. They might have been right, but we'll never know.
Posted by: Craig at April 20, 2010 2:32 pm
P.S. Iran now says they might be willing to do the enriched uranium swap after all.

I'd bet $1000 it's just another "bait and switch" scam where they get everyone talking and making offers, and then make a ridiculous and insulting counter proposal like "We'll keep our enriched uranium, AND we'll buy more enriched uranium, AND we'll keep upgrading our enrichment facilities - what do you say to that mister American idiot?".

Negotiating with the IRI has always been amusing, if nothing else.
Posted by: Craig at April 20, 2010 3:09 pm
"the Corsair, probably the best plane in service in WWII"---in the Pacific theater.

For fans of the bent wing bird, the "Roaring Glory Warbirds" video series has a from-inside-the-cockpit view any pilot would appreciate. Their look at the P-47 Jug and P-38 Fork-tailed Devil are two I watch over and over. Tragically, Jeff Ethell, who narrates/flies both, died flying a Lightning, the plane his dad flew in WW II.

And to say we were lucky at Midway may be the understatement of the war.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 20, 2010 6:43 pm
Can anyone right in the head tell me that this is not a problem?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJkP6sRXFdg&feature=player_embedded
Posted by: Lindsey Abelard at April 20, 2010 7:07 pm
"Help Us Remove This Filth" was as far as I needed to go.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 20, 2010 7:21 pm
Hi Paul,
I used to follow Jeff Ethell when I was flying. I really enjoyed those videos!
Even took some training in an North American built Harvard (I think it was called an A-6 in the US).
Had a similar layout to the Mustang...same company.
I would have thought the P-47 as the greatest WWII fighter especially the D model, very versatile as a bomber and extremely powerful.
At the end of the war, the Bearcat and even the Hawker Fury were really outstanding. Grumman also built a twin engine fighter that was very fast and very heavily armed but never saw any service.
I don't recall the name.
BTW there was a version of the Corsair with a huge engine, built by Goodyear, I think, basically an engine with wings. Very capable but not exactly pilot-friendly.
I'll stop. This is way off-topic :-)
Posted by: jb at April 21, 2010 7:40 am
Lindsey,

"Can anyone right in the head tell me that this is not a problem? "

Ombrageux is probably your man for that, assuming that he is "right in the head". The assumption is not trivial, though, so don't bet the ranch on it.

There are scattered and unorganized "moderate" (lax, lazy, undevout, impious --and good for them) Muslims around, but there is no "moderate" Islam. When Muslims are devout they find that ole time religion. They find its, dare I say, essence; they "essentialize" it, as Ombrageux might write, in horror at the idea of "essentializing" (what a horribly post-modern-intellectual-and-pseudo-intellectual word).

RevolutionMuslim is merely more outspoken than others.
Posted by: del at April 21, 2010 8:52 am
I read Bruce Bawer's book "While Europe Slept" about a year ago.

Unlike Mark Steyn and David Horowitz, Bruce Bawer is a real SWPL, latte-sipping at the sidewalk cafe liberal. He is gay and a real liberal's liberal. He left the U.S. for Europe in the late 90's because he could not stand the religious right/social conservatives in the good ole U.S. of A.

Now, if HE thinks Islam or Islamism is a problem, you know its a problem. Its one thing for the "war monger" neo-cons to go on and on about this. Its another thing for an SWPL liberal's liberal to talk about it.
Posted by: Lindsey Abelard at April 21, 2010 10:14 am
Del: there is no "moderate" Islam.

You keep saying this, over and over and over again, but what do you mean by it? That the Koran and hadiths are not moderate?

lax, lazy, undevout, impious

I don't think those words fairly or adequately describe moderate imams, and moderate imams do exist.

Bernard Lewis points out that there is no Muslim equivalent of the word "Chrisendom." "Islam" refers to both the religion and the civilization. That civilization, if can call it that, is extraordinarily diverse.

Islam exists in the Balkans and the Central Asian "Stans," and it is radically different there (and always has been) than it is in Araby.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 21, 2010 10:15 am
Lindsey: Its one thing for the "war monger" neo-cons to go on and on about this. Its another thing for an SWPL liberal's liberal to talk about it.

Do you realize that neocons began as liberals like Bruce? That's what the word neocon means. It means "new conservative," ie, a recent convert from the left. Neo-conservatism has a left-wing pedigree.

The word gets thrown around as an epithet, and about 97 percent of the people who use it don't know what it means, but this is one of those times when I had to say something.

Bruce Bawer is almost a textbook example of a neoconservative.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 21, 2010 10:19 am
And David Horowitz was once a radical leftist.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 21, 2010 10:20 am
I'm well aware of the background of the neo-cons.

Bruce Bawer is almost a textbook example of a neoconservative.

Really? He strikes me as still being a liberal's liberal. He is gay, you know. He also despises the religious right social conservatives.
Posted by: Lindsey Abelard at April 21, 2010 10:54 am
Lindsey,

That he is gay doesn't mean anything by itself. I have gay friends, and not all of them are liberals. I write for a neoconservative magazine, and yet I support gay marriage etc just like my liberal friends do and am no more supportive of the religious-right social agenda than when I was a leftist.

Neoconservatives overlap the political center just as libertarians do. Most are Republicans, but some are Democrats. Our binary two-party system obscures the serious differences between various factions. Neocons and religious rightists are no more the same people than left-libertarians and democratic socialists are the same people.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 21, 2010 11:02 am
You may recall that neoconservatives backed Rudy Giuliani, a social liberal, in the Republican primary. The religious right backed Huckabee.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 21, 2010 11:04 am
jb,

I would have thought the P-47 as the greatest WWII fighter especially the D model, very versatile as a bomber and extremely powerful.

It was a big heavy plane. Not very maneuverable, and required long airstrips to take off from. It excelled at attacking ground targets, not so much for dogfighting. As far as I know, it only saw service in Europe due to these issues.

At the end of the war, the Bearcat and even the Hawker Fury were really outstanding.

Bearcat was the opposite of the Lightning! It was the smallest and lightest plane that Grumman could build around that Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine - which was the same engine as in the Corsair, the Hellcat, and the Lightning by the way.

This was designed as an interceptor, It wasn't robust enough to be able to make attack runs on ground targets safely, as it was very lightly armored. It also had extremely limited fuel capacity, which gave it a short range. There's also the problem of it not going into service in 1945!

I'm gonna stick by my guns and say the Corsair was the best all-around fighter of WWII :p

BTW there was a version of the Corsair with a huge engine, built by Goodyear...

The Goodyear and Brewster versions were the same as the Chance Vought original. They were contracted to make Corsairs because the demand overwhelmed the manufacturing capacity of Chance Vought.

...basically an engine with wings.

Right. The Corsair had the most powerful aircraft engine available at the time, and the most powerful engine ever installed in a prop fighter. Two other fighter-bombers used the same engine. The P-47 Thunderbolt and the F6F Hellcat. The engine (two of them actually) was also used in a couple of bombers, but they were much bigger planes. And etc.

Very capable but not exactly pilot-friendly.

Why would you say that? Marines like it just fun. The Navy just whined because it was difficult to land on an aircraft carrier. So the chose the Hellcat. Marines just wanted to plane that could shoot the shit out of zeroes and also made a pretty good bomber, so they chose the Corsair. Well, actually they got the Corsair by default when the Navy declined it, but they didn't mind.
Posted by: Craig at April 21, 2010 1:55 pm
Sorry about all the italics! I don't mind if you wanna delete that mess, MJT :)
Posted by: Craig at April 21, 2010 1:57 pm
Craig, it's just as easy to fix your italics. So they're fixed.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 21, 2010 1:59 pm
Thanks much :)

I sincerely wish you good luck in trying to explain all the factions within the nominal "Republican" party, too! I gave up on that some time ago when I found out my only option was "fascist neocon" lol
Posted by: Craig at April 21, 2010 2:21 pm
Republic's P-47 was the tank (and locomotive) buster par excellence that Spielberg could have (in my opinion, should have) used in "...Ryan." Excellent for flying in tight formations too---with terrible gas mileage; Claire Chennault sent them right back where they came from when he saw the fuel consumption.

Even with their fragile liquid-cooled engine and unfortunate resemblance to an ME 109's silhouette, North American's Mustang, like no other Allied fighter, got more bomber streams home safely than any other plane, breaking the back of the Luftwaffe in the process. Which is obviously no knock on the impressive victory numbers for other fighter groups, just acknowledgement of their planes' technical limitations. Therefore, it's my choice for most important*fighter*aircraft of the war. (Brits may disagree, of course!) Mustang Ace Clayton Gross tells of being lucky to make it back alive after being bounced by P-47's mistaking him for a 109.

Someday maybe I'll make it to the Reno Air Races.

Thanks for indulging us old war horses, Michael.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 21, 2010 2:34 pm
Call me simple minded, but plain old small government, strong defense conservative works for me.

And Rudy G. was my #1 pick last year; the only politician I've ever sent money to.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 21, 2010 2:40 pm
Well, I guess it wasn't last year, was it? The only advantage to short term memory loss is quickly forgetting about what frustrated you that you couldn't remember.
Posted by: Paul S. at April 21, 2010 3:01 pm
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