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September 03, 2007

Sunday Reading

What a piece of work is a man
how noble in reason,
how infinite in faculties,
in form and moving how express and admirable,
in action how like an angel,
in apprehension how like a god.

- Hamlet


Glenn Reynolds points to an outstanding article on Bud Day and other unsung Vietnam-era vets.

If you read nothing else this week, make time for this. And if you don't have time now, bookmark it and come back to it when you do have a free moment. You owe yourself that much. Last week I remarked that names like Bud Day, Leo Thorseness, and Jeremiah Denton ought to be household words, but aren't.

It's not so much that their courage and devotion to duty has been overlooked that troubles me. The disturbing thing is that a piece of our history - an important piece - has deliberately been airbrushed out of existence. These men's stories carry a vital message for future generations; an inspiring message, a message of hope. The media seem predisposed to portray America as weak; a passive victim of random forces we cannot control. But these stories show that even under the most painful, hopeless, and degrading of conditions the human spirit can soar to undreamed of heights. They show that nobility of spirit can reach across the most unbridgeable divide:

"I experienced what I couldn't imagine human nature was capable of," Denton said. "I witnessed what my comrades could rise to. Self-discipline, compassion, a realization there is a God." He also experienced periodic compassion from the North Vietnamese. Sometimes the guards would weep as they tortured him.

One experience, he will never forget. Denton kept a cross, fashioned out of broom straws, hidden in a propaganda booklet in his cell. The cross was a gift from another prisoner. When a guard found the cross, he shredded it. Spat on it. Struck Denton in the face. Threw what was left of the cross on the floor and ground his heel into it. "It was the only thing I owned," Denton said.

Later, when Denton returned to his cell, he began to tear up the propaganda booklet. He felt a lump in the book. He opened it. "Inside there was another cross, made infinitely better than the other one my buddy had made," Denton said. When the guard tore up the cross, two Vietnamese workers saw what happened and fashioned him a new cross. "They could have been tortured for what they did," Denton said.

Contrary to the countless media stories of crazed vets returning with PTSD, these men are not broken. They endured horrors vastly worse than the average soldier or Marine in today's conflict. Jeremiah Denton survived nearly eight years in a North Vietnamese prison camp and went on to become a United States Senator for his home state, Alabama. How many people know that?

There is hope. Beliefs matter, but what is more important, standing up for your beliefs matters. The support and respect of your peers matters. But even if you are spat upon when you come home, even if your heroism is never recognized, even if your service is forgotten by a biased press that distorts history, you are not defeated, you are not shamed, you are not broken unless and until you decide to be.

The sad thing is that the past is about to repeat itself. What will future generations know about Iraq and Afghanistan?

The first rough draft of history is getting it all wrong again. Somebody get me rewrite.

Posted by Cassandra at September 3, 2007 09:12 AM

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Comments

"They could have been tortured for what they did," Denton said.

They also could have been executed. They were Catholics.

Posted by: BillT at September 3, 2007 12:12 PM

Lady I took your advice and followed the link.

I can only offer my thanks.

The reason I do is because of my past.

I can relate to this because of how my time there worked out.

Most of my time was spent on submarines doing our whatever we did cold war kinda stuff, and I totally shocked out my upper brass when for my shore duty tour I specifically requested being place in Viet Nam where as I described it was "the worst hell hole that really needed to be turned around".

About two months after I got there the commander of the unit called me into his office and said "son you have come to my attention from voices working there way up the chain of command and I believe your talents are being wasted in this backwater and I have a proposal for you".

What came out of that was a real red tape disaster to do something the system wouldn't cope with very well and I got moved to the swift boats for the remainder of my tour.

Yup, as you will probably ask, I knew John Kerry while I was there, but that is a whole other situation.

Posted by: Lurker of sorts at September 3, 2007 01:42 PM

They also could have been executed. They were Catholics.

That's what the NVA/VietCong combination did to Hue, before they were pushed out of the city. Rounded up and executed Catholics and as many other people on the "list" as they could.

Biggest round up execution of the war, they said. As opposed to all the little ones in which they would snatch a few here and there, that is.

It is a good article. One of the most interesting parts was this.

The Americans liked the village. They liked the freedom to drink beer and wear oddball clothes and joke with girls. They liked having the respect of tough PFs [Popular Forces government militia] … who could not bring themselves to challenge the Viet Cong alone. They were pleased that the villagers were impressed because they hunted the Viet Cong as the Viet Cong had for years hunted the PFs … The Americans did not know what the villagers said of them … but they observed that the children, who did hear their parents, did not run or avoid them … The Marines had accepted too many invitations to too many meals in too many homes to believe they were not liked by many and tolerated by most. For perhaps the only time in the lives of those … Americans, seven of whom had not graduated from high school, they were providing at the obvious risk of death a service of protection. This had won them open admiration … within the Vietnamese village society in which they were working and where ultimately most of them would die.

I got the Article from Al Fin over at Neo-Neocon a few days ago.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 3, 2007 03:01 PM

They liked having the respect of tough PFs … who could not bring themselves to challenge the Viet Cong alone.

They were realists. Many were former VC and NVA who "rallied" to the South, and were assigned to protect individual villages and towns. We taught them how to form into larger units when required, then taught them heliborne hit-and-run tactics. We gave them mobility, additional firepower and self-confidence.

The first time I flew a Ruff-Puff mission, nobody warned me -- they wanted to see the look on my face when fifty people wearing black PJs and carrying AKs came out of the weeds and trotted up to the flight...

Posted by: BillT at September 3, 2007 03:32 PM

Oh my god,

Gil Elvgren.

I like you already.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at September 3, 2007 09:12 PM

Fantastic, Thank You.

Posted by: Daniel at September 3, 2007 09:13 PM

Did you read the two paragraphs? The article can't end with out dumping on military.


Time after time, the lieutenant's combined American-Iraqi team would capture "bad guys with long rap sheets," who were undoubtedly terrorists. His unit would hand them over to higher authorities, but after a few weeks in prison they would be released and go back to killing civilians. "The Iraqis and my own men saw how broken the system was, and some felt it was easier just to kill these guys the moment we apprehended them. After all, it would have saved lives. But," he continued, "I told them, 'oh no. Here is where I have to draw the line.' It was important to have an officer in charge who had studied ethics." The enlisted chief petty officers of his SEAL team—reminiscent of some of Larteguy's centurions for all intents and purposes—were the finest men he had ever commanded. But they required supervision.


A frustrated warrior class, always kept in check by liberal-minded officers, is the sign of a healthy democracy.



Kaplan can kiss my ass.

Posted by: Eric Blair at September 3, 2007 09:18 PM

"The article can't end with out dumping on military."

A lieutenant keeps his over-eager NCO's in check.

It's a description of the tensions inherent in a democracy fighting an insurgency, writ small. It also happens to be the subject of Kaplan's ENTIRE ARTICLE. Don't be (apologies to Jimmy Norton) a silly goose.

Posted by: Affe at September 3, 2007 09:30 PM

I've written before that journalism's biggest conceit is that it represents "the first draft of history." This is egotism on stilts. The news that is reported by the mainstream media is nothing more than the raw material of history, and in that regard no different from diaries, correspondance, oral testimony, governmental records and other documents and, yes, blog posts. When has journalism's portrayal of any event corresponded with the settled historical perception of that event? It never has. Neither Vietnam nor the war in Iraq will be any different.

It takes around 50 years to settle the history of a period -- not definitively and forever, of course, but into a considered understanding of the period that will stand scrutiny for a long time. This is because historical actors have to die and documents need to be declassified and secrets need to sneak out. But there is also this reason: It is virtually impossible to write a great history about a period if you lived through that period and contemporaneously read the newspapers. That is why, for example, the history of the Vietnam war is only now being revised -- the scholars who are doing that were born well after both of us, Cassandra (*ducking for cover*), and are therefore free of the presumptions of academics who are older than we are. See, e.g., Mark Moyar's Triumph Forsaken, a great history of the first half of the war. I recommend it without reservation.

Posted by: TigerHawk at September 3, 2007 09:35 PM

Important business first :)

Oh my god, Gil Elvgren.

Ken, I suspect from your comment you may already know this (or perhaps you just recognize his style) but when my husband was home on leave at the beginning of August he was surprised to see the girl at the top of my site on Gil Elvren's 2007 (or it may be the 2008) calendar. I know they carry it at Barnes and Noble - haven't been over to take a look at it yet.

I was shocked to see this one in it because you don't normally see her in lists of his work. I got this picture from a 1954 postcard, believe it or not, called "One for the Money". I have gotten more mail asking about her than you would ever believe.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 3, 2007 09:50 PM

For another example of how entrenched anti-Americanism is in literature about the Vietnam war, look at the Microsoft Encarta entry on vietnam:

http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761552642_4/Vietnam_War.html



and page down to "Part VI The Troops"



It talks about how the troops were drafted. It talks about how they "did not have access to the exemptions that were available to their more privileged fellow citizens." It paints the entire U.S. military as racist:

"In Vietnam, Americans routinely referred to all Vietnamese, both friend and foe, as “gooks.”"

In addition, we learn about My Lai, antiwar coffeehouses and underground newspapers, fragging, low morale, AWOL soldiers, and desertion. The article ends with an observation of the sad injustice that deservers "received fewer veterans benefits and little, if any, postcombat rehabilitation."

So deeply engrained are the "Apocolypse Now" and "Platoon" caricatures of Vietnam veterans that even "Corporate" encyclopedias like Microsoft Encarta offer absolutely nothing more than a multi-page insult and vicious smear of our veterans.

Posted by: jms at September 3, 2007 10:01 PM

Now to less important matters...

Egoism on stilts? Are you sure it's not more like rampant dumbassery on rollerskates?

Seriously, I'm content to leave the eventual writing of history to the historians, TH. What concerns me is the short term, where this generation and the next will be making extremely important political decisions based on perceptions generated largely by the media. I don't think the media are exaggerating one bit with that 'first rough draft of history' line - I think it's actually quite perceptive.

By the time the historians have had a chance to chew, swallow, and digest everything, Iraq will have ceased to matter much in the context of the current events of the day. It's the short-term perception, or that first rough draft of history, that is the battleground, because it is when a war is still relatively fresh in people's minds that it most affects current decision-making.

The media know that. And they have wisely made sure that first draft does not conflict with their preferred agenda.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 3, 2007 10:12 PM

This is not a new phenomenon. I forgot the name of the historian who discussed the stages of historical writing, and how the earliest accounts are often really part of the event they are describing, based on the passions and attitudes that helped form the event. The earliest histories and films (at least the ones most publicized) have been dominated by the antiwar view and have been expressed only one side of the debate. As time goes on and the passions cool, better and more objective histories will appear, written by those, hopefully, without major axes to grind. We are already starting to see this but given how partisan this issue was and continues to be the best histories of the Vietnam War will probably be written after the generation that fought and debated it has left the scene.

Posted by: Ian at September 3, 2007 10:35 PM

The earliest histories and films (at least the ones most publicized) have been dominated by the antiwar view and have been expressed only one side of the debate.

I can't help but wonder, though (aside from wondering why my comment above cut off in the middle!) whether the presence of mass media in Vietnam and the Gulf Wars hasn't vastly amplified this effect?

There was a great article in Foreign Affairs just before Bush was elected called The Decline of the Bully Pulpit. It talked about the diminishing power of the President to sway public opinion due to the rise of cable TV, talk radio, mass media, and the Internet - the White House is literally being drowned out.

I wonder if the same thing isn't going on here - where once you would have had a postwar discussion or debate mostly going on in academic and military circles, now it's more of a populist phenomenon. John Kerry testified before the Senate in 1971, but most people still believe his version of events because the press has relentlessly flogged his words and suppressed any evidence to the contrary. When is that going to be corrected?

It's not a question of the evidence not being available - it has been since the early 1970's. It's a question of it deliberately not being disseminated.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 3, 2007 10:57 PM

It's a question of it deliberately not being disseminated.

Accompanied by the deliberate dissemination of lies, lest the truth inadvertently leak into the vacuum.

Posted by: BillT at September 3, 2007 11:09 PM

Considering that historians are still debating the cause for the downfall of the Roman Empire (manpower crisis, shortage of gold and sliver, poor grand strategy?) being the first draft of history is no great praise.

Posted by: Dave Hardy at September 4, 2007 12:36 AM

...historians are still debating the cause for the downfall of the Roman Empire.

Cass, I *know* what you're thinking.

No.

I was in Cappadocia that whole year...

Posted by: BillT at September 4, 2007 01:01 AM

I carry these words of Adm. Jeremiah Denton with me always (on the back of my business cards):

It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus orginizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier,
who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Posted by: Drew at September 4, 2007 01:43 AM

Its a good article, but in essence Eric Blair is correct.

Kaplan wants a warrior class, but he wants it submitted to his viewpoint. And his viewpoint does not equal civilian control of the military, or even liberal democracy even if he thinks it does. The warriors could easily be members of a liberal democracy, and shoot the scum in the head. All it requires is a change in the rules back to what we had in say the 18th century when pirates were 'the common enemy of mankind'.

Were the paratroopers wrong in thinking French society 'vile, corrupt, and degraded'? Probably not. Is it illegitamate for a military to have such an opinion about its parent society? No. It is dangerous because it offers up temptations to the military, temptations laid there by the 'vile' society 'tis true, but still, one is not excused from making moral judgements about one's society just because you joined the military.

Posted by: Tennwriter at September 4, 2007 09:21 AM

I was in Cappadocia that whole year...

Recruiting heavy cavalry for the Eastern Roman Empire?

Its a good article, but in essence Eric Blair is correct.

His essence is that he read into the article what he wanted to read.

Btw, why does Eric have Grim's URL in his name-link?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 4, 2007 12:19 PM

Because he writes there.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 4, 2007 12:26 PM

A frustrated warrior class might be necessary because military expediency may well have non-military consequences which must be taken into account BUT the "catch and release" policy ought to frustrate the officers as well.

Just as with the civilian judicial system, citizens (or the warrior class) have agreed not to take things into their own hands on the promise that the state will punish criminals... or in the case of the warrior class, that leadership will not be excessively unmindful of their lives and efforts. If soldiers are dying in order to catch those that are released again, that implicit agreement has been broken. Eventually military order will not be possible any longer. Civilians will resort to vigilantism.

I'm pretty sure that the warrior class, as well as the liberal-officer class, study ethics. It's not *ethics* that are the issue, but a wider focus on non-military fall-out, politics and what-all that officers must consider and enlisted (if they understand those issue or not) have to take on faith as they follow orders.

I don't dispute the concept. I dispute the *example* and the context of "ethics".

Posted by: Synova at September 4, 2007 12:33 PM

For help in understanding the warrior's p o v, see Jessup's rant in "A Few Good Men",Orwell's "Rough Men", or Vaughn's poem at American Thinker today.

Posted by: Larry (USAF ret) at September 4, 2007 12:47 PM

Leo Thorseness ran for US senate against Slade Gorton and lost here in WA state back in the 90s. We had just returned from being out of state for 8 yrs so I didn't know anything about him but was very impressed.

He has a coin that he carries with the word "FREEDOM" on one side and "RESPONSIBILITY" on the other. Two words. Two words that he believes in and has lived his life by. His service and conduct during the war prove he believes that without personal responsibility freedom will not endure. Are not these the two words that are the basis for our survival?

Posted by: ketchikan at September 4, 2007 01:25 PM

Because the enemy is not limited by western notions of war, the temptation arises among a stymied soldiery to bend its own rules. Following an atrocity carried out by French paratroopers that calms a rural area of Algeria, one soldier rationalizes to another: "'Fear has changed sides, tongues have been loosened ... We obtained more in a day than in six months fighting, and more with twenty-seven dead than with several hundreds.'" The soldiers comfort themselves further with a quotation from a 14th century Catholic bishop: "When her existence is threatened, the Church is absolved of all moral commandments." It is the purest of them, according to Larteguy, who is most likely to commit torture.

Here we enter territory that is utterly unrelated to the individual Americans I've been writing about. It is important to make such distinctions. When Larteguy writes about bravery and alienation, he understands American warriors; when he writes about political insurrections and torture, some exceptions aside, he is talking about a particular caste of French paratroopers. Yet his discussion is relevant to America's past in Vietnam and present in Iraq. I don't mean My Lai and Abu Ghraib, both of which aided the enemy rather than ourselves, but the moral gray area that we increasingly inhabit concerning collateral civilian deaths.

In The Face of War: Reflections of Men and Combat (1976), Larteguy writes that contemporary wars are, in particular, made for the side that doesn't care about "the preservation of a good conscience." So he asks, "How do you explain that to save liberty, liberty must first be suppressed?" His answer can only be thus: "In that rests the weakness of democratic regimes, a weakness that is at the same time a credit to them, an honor."

Uri Dan, a long-time Israeli journalist, a devotee of Larteguy, and an intimate of Ariel Sharon, told me that democracies of today, because of the existential threat they face from an enemy that knows no limits, "need centurions more than ever." He's right, but only up to a point. Take this story told to me by a Navy lieutenant at Annapolis who had commanded a SEAL team in Iraq:

Time after time, the lieutenant's combined American-Iraqi team would capture "bad guys with long rap sheets," who were undoubtedly terrorists. His unit would hand them over to higher authorities, but after a few weeks in prison they would be released and go back to killing civilians. "The Iraqis and my own men saw how broken the system was, and some felt it was easier just to kill these guys the moment we apprehended them. After all, it would have saved lives. But," he continued, "I told them, 'oh no. Here is where I have to draw the line.' It was important to have an officer in charge who had studied ethics." The enlisted chief petty officers of his SEAL team—reminiscent of some of Larteguy's centurions for all intents and purposes—were the finest men he had ever commanded. But they required supervision.

A frustrated warrior class, always kept in check by liberal-minded officers, is the sign of a healthy democracy.

Yet what is healthy and honorable for a democracy and republic is also a weakness. In essence, it is the soldier and commander that cares most for his troops that will resort to bending of the rules. As the Army Captain discharged from the military for firing a sidearm next to a prisoner's face, demonstrated. An officer that cares not for the lives of his troop will not bend the rules for them, for there would be no point to it. He would risk his career and for what? At the same time, LT. Calley of My Lai infamy is a demonstration of an officer that cares not for the souls of his troop.

The dichotomy between light and dark, between liberty and the defense of liberty, is born out in such situations and circumstances. It is almost a paradoxical relationship, in which to defend liberty one must restrict liberty, or to defeat evil men that kill one must kill to stop the killing, even if women and children are killed to stop the killing of more women and children.

The solution, or the method to cut the Gordian Knot, in my view is the taking on of national guilt and consciousness. To create a nation of warriors and by warriors. Individuals that can, of their own initiative without being told to by higher authorities (Flight 93), commit to the defense of the realm with everything in their arsenal. By defense of the realm, I also include the ideals of the realm. We know with Hiroshima and Nagasaki that what would have destroyed the US had it been done by one man, did not destroy the nation when that man was representing every American. Guilt and responsibility was shared. It was not concentrated on a select group of Praetorian Guards. The guilt of such an action, which would have shattered the souls of individuals, did not shatter Truman because of the office and symbolism he wielded. (Although Truman tried very hard to avoid using nukes, to the point of opposing MacArthur and America's first Forever War, Korea) While the decision to torture, kill, and otherwise become closer in kind to the enemy we fight is best made by the entirety of the nation represented and focused through the office of the President, it is still not harmless. The military is just not large enough to absorb the fallout from such decisions, even if they willingly made them.

However, the larger the organization, the slower it moves. Thus because small groups of people can empathize with the plight of Iraqis, they just do not have the power to use maximum force to help them, regardless of their desire to. And the President and people of America, while large enough, are too large to empathize individually with the people abroad that is in need of the most help, thus they have the power but not the will to use it. But, the solution so to speak, is if ever you could combine the two. There are methods, but they have never been tried. Or rather, not by our side.

Kaplan wants a warrior class, but he wants it submitted to his viewpoint. And his viewpoint does not equal civilian control of the military, or even liberal democracy even if he thinks it does. The warriors could easily be members of a liberal democracy, and shoot the scum in the head. All it requires is a change in the rules back to what we had in say the 18th century when pirates were 'the common enemy of mankind'.

Kaplan's viewpoint cannot be deciphered by people unwilling to see more than one side.

Perhaps history will produce the solution to democracies that are both healthy and does not contain all the healthy weaknesses as well, and perhaps it will not.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 4, 2007 01:46 PM

In essence, it is the soldier and commander that cares most for his troops that will resort to bending of the rules...An officer that cares not for the lives of his troop will not bend the rules for them, for there would be no point to it. He would risk his career and for what?

Bending the rules and violating regulations are two different animals. I cared for my troops (Warrants, NCOs and Enlisted) and I *did* bend some rules --

Just one example: "Each aircraft will be limited to firing 500 rounds of 7.62mm machinegun ammunition per barrel, per day." Consider: we flew up to ten combat assaults per day and, when the LZ was hot, that 500 rounds per barrel disappeared within the first 30 seconds of suppressing enemy fire. The rule was ludicrous and was imposed by a headquarters more concerned with saving money than with saving our lives. I bent that rule in a manner that complied with the letter, but not the spirit -- I insured we carried 20 extra machinegun barrels per aircraft. On paper, anyway.

I did *not* break other rules, particularly the unwritten rule that an officer will not eat until all of his men have eaten.

I cared for my men and would *not* violate regulations --

I did not tolerate drug use by my men. I did not tolerate showing up at the aircraft with a hangover. I did not tolerate insubordination or theft. If one of them got into trouble outside the company area (and don't get me started on *that*), I got them out of the crap -- and they understood that their butts then belonged to me until I either got tired or ran out of ideas. I insisted on fire discipline in combat.

And they excelled at everything they did. They could have accomplished some things with a minimal amount of effort, but they gave 100% of what they had because they knew they were making *me* look good to the people who wrote my OERs.

And we threw some *great* parties...

Posted by: BillT at September 4, 2007 03:44 PM

I attended the Staff NCO academy at Quantico, VA. In the syllabus was a class on "The Laws of Land Warfare" in which we were given a situation that was designed to have no optimal outcome. A patrol was to accomplish a mission and an enemy soldier surrendered. The patrol had only enough men to accomplish the mission and no more. The choices were take him with you (at risk of him alerting them), send him back (under guard), leave him secured and unguarded on spot (against geneva), kill him (against geneva). The fact that the class was taught as presented by the lawyers who were responsible for adhering to Geneva suggested to me that as committed to ethics as they were, they had been educated beyond use in combat. My choice was to not let the enemy surrender and to accomplish my mission. My men might die on the mission but they wouldn't die because I was being nice to someone who was trying to kill us.

Posted by: Mike H. at September 4, 2007 04:22 PM

Mike, Mike, Mike darlin'...

The needs of the Few, or the One, outweigh those of the Many.

FERCHRISSAKES, Man! Didn't you watch Star Trek???

Posted by: Cassandra at September 4, 2007 04:42 PM

That situation -- and "the solution" -- was based on an actual incident that occurred on D-Day.

One of the captured Germans spoke English and told the squad leader, "Don't feel too bad. If the situation were reversed, we'd do the same thing. And please don't shoot us in the back. We are soldiers, and a soldier's wounds should all be in the front."

Oral history from one who lived it.

Posted by: BillT at September 4, 2007 05:01 PM

Nope! Didn't care for the moralizing at the expense of reality. Didn't watch M*A*S*H* for the same reason.
I watched Laugh In instead, at least when they called me a neanderthal they had a buildup to the punchline.

Posted by: Mike H. at September 4, 2007 05:03 PM

Mike H's scenario is exceptionally similar to the story of the lone SEAL that survived in Afghanistan, due to meeting some civilians that they agreed to let go.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 4, 2007 05:10 PM

The needs of the Few, or the One, outweigh those of the Many.

Hey Cass. The needs of one battlecruiser definitely DOES NOT outweigh the needs of the 20 superdreadnoughts.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 4, 2007 05:11 PM

From the Grayson episodal story arc of Honor Harrington.

No Quarter.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 4, 2007 05:12 PM

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 4, 2007 05:18 PM

Which shall I believe? My lying eyes or Ymarkasar?

It could be that I read wrong, or that I've got such intellectual blinders on, or that Ymarkasar is just SO much smarter than me. Or it could be that Robert Kaplan wrote a very smart article that ended with a bit of fast-talking and an intellectual bluff, and I pointed it out. And someone has no arguement to defend this bluff, and so resorts to sneers.

Thing is, I've met people who made me feel very humble about my intelligence, and they don't usually engage in condescension.

So, I'm going to have to go with my lying eyes until I see an actual counter-arguement to my arguement.

Tennwriter

Posted by: Tennwriter at September 4, 2007 08:32 PM

Can't point out what never existed. One of the limitations of not using illusions. But if you do use illusions then the sky is the limit.

Thing is, I've met people who made me feel very humble about my intelligence, and they don't usually engage in condescension.

Is feeling humble about your intelligence something which you desire?

For your information, you didn't have an argument.

What you had was some kind of internal monologue.

Kaplan wants a warrior class, but he wants it submitted to his viewpoint. And his viewpoint does not equal civilian control of the military, or even liberal democracy even if he thinks it does.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 4, 2007 09:10 PM

Gentlemen, I was hoping more for a discussion about Vietnam than a re-enactment :p

Please be nice to each other.

Every time you fight, a puppy dies somewhere.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 4, 2007 10:27 PM

Why do I see a young (blonde?)Casandranitanova standing, hands on hips, in the middle of a playground yard?

Posted by: Sly2017 at September 4, 2007 11:24 PM

Why do I see a young (blonde?)Casandranitanova standing, hands on hips, in the middle of a playground yard?

Tapping her foot, too...

Posted by: BillT at September 5, 2007 01:14 AM

Careful. Too much of that in the wrong place will get you arrested.

Sorry if I was crabby.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 5, 2007 08:24 AM

Sorry if I was crabby.

It's understandable. You were under the arcane and evil influence of the subsonic vibrations raised by humming Les Poissons sotto voce...

Posted by: BillT at September 5, 2007 09:41 AM

Cassandra's just being the natural diplomat.

They probably will re-enact Vietnam sometime in the future, as they do with the Civil War. Might be awhile however.

Casandranitanova

The Russian name is pretty funny. The Russians often find the US perplexing in the amount of force we don't use.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at September 5, 2007 10:11 AM

They probably will re-enact Vietnam sometime in the future

I'm okay with that.

But when I get off the plane this time, I want a 12-gauge pump-gun loaded with rock salt...

Posted by: BillT at September 5, 2007 01:18 PM

...and a fungo bat the fun part.

Posted by: BillT at September 5, 2007 01:24 PM

"Careful. Too much of that in the wrong place will get you arrested."

Ya know, the optimist would say that you might get blo...well, you get the *thrust* of the matter.

>;~}

Posted by: Sly2017 at September 5, 2007 04:02 PM

Ooog. With a fungo bat?

Posted by: BillT at September 5, 2007 07:36 PM

Whatever trips your trigger, Bill.
>;~}

Posted by: Sly2017 at September 6, 2007 04:19 PM

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