Monday, September 17, 2012


I don’t know if this is a startling notion to you, but I do believe history repeats itself. We’re going through another of our tumultuous times, with respect to the Middle East. When is this not so? The Arab Spring may have sprung. Sprung into what, depends on which set of babbleheads you listen to and are able to ‘cipher. Like Jethro, my ‘cipherin’ has gotten a hell of a workout. Also, my bullshit meter broke yesterday.

But I did come away with some truths and a whole new batch of ugly; crystallized and clarified. It hit me initially as I was reading the always-wonderful “Eat the Press,” live-blogged by the marvelous Jason Linkins on HuffPost. I really look forward to his Herculean efforts each week. I always find something gut-bustingly funny, a lá the “Air Force and the freaking Hittites,” a laff riot, fer shure, and new perspectives. He’s a breath of fresh air, but Jason is pointedly objective and doesn’t pander, nor is he impressed by pedigree or “experience.”

Nope, he’s just trying to make sense out of the whole furball that is Washington D.C. and now, the geo-political egg-beater that is the fertile, or non-fertile crescent. I highly recommend anyone reading this post who has not read yesterday’s "Eat the Press"  post to do so; it’s a winner. Shameless plug for Mr. A. Linkins over, let’s move this here post along.

History, the Middle East and Civilizations; ooh, what fun! What got me going down “memory lane,” which by the way is strewn with IEDs, is this quote, on a picture of recently-slain Christopher Stevens “In 1979 Muslim terrorists took American hostages and our President appeased them. Since then they have murdered Americans:” then, there is a list of incidents where Americans were in fact, murdered in the Middle East. The tagline at the bottom reads “Yes, the problem is clearly a film on YouTube,” as you can see.

This picture is one that is currently posted on a FB page created by: I Pledge Allegiance To My Country Not MyPresident (54,035 likes - 181.729 talking about this)  Apparently, a page that hates Everything Obama. The lies just start right off the bat. Jimmy Carter was President and he did not appease the terrorists to get the hostages released. He tried negotiating right up until he left office, for 444 days, to get them released from the American Embassy in Tehran. President Carter even attempted a rescue mission that failed and left 8 U.S. servicemen and 1 Iranian dead. This culminated in the Algiers Accords in Algeria, signed on January 19, 1981. The hostages were released the next day on January 20, 1981, minutes after Ronald Reagan took office.  

There was NEVER any appeasement. The U.S. does not appease terrorists. Asynchronous warfare doesn’t work via appeasement. The idea is to dampen it, not feed the beast. If you pay attention to it, it will grow, spread. If you spew hate, it will spew back. All of those incidents in the picture happened, but it is completely disingenuous to say “AMERICANS” were killed WITHOUT saying “JEWS,” “MUSLIMS,” “SOMALIANS,” “KENYANS,” “AFGHANS,” “LIBYANS,” were killed. If you are going to sloganeer, try adding in a few more nationalities that were also present during the catastrophes. It tends to lend verisimilitude to your slant.

People who make these kinds of sites have no idea the scope and depth of what they’re really tampering with. This part of the world is old beyond old. It’s nearer the cradle of civilization and has seen conflict from the beginning. Afghanistan has been fought over for so long, it barely knows another way to live. The only other place on earth that is probably as inhospitable as regards invaders is western Russian. Well, shit, they were only invaded like 5 or 6 times in the first half of the 20th century. People say they’re paranoid. They’re just alert.

Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. Rightly so. The British Empire came to grief there as did Russia, in a spectacular way in the early 80s with our help. But, just think on this. Go and think of ancient Rome. When a Roman General came home after he conquered new territory, he was granted a Triumph. He would ride in his chariot up the Triumph Port. His slave, or a slave granted for use during the Triumph would stand behind him whispering Respice te, hominem te memento" ("Look behind you, remember you are only a man") and "Memento mori"  ("Remember (that you are) mortal").  

So too, should countries remember this. We are man- or woman-stuff. We can be killed, collectively-speaking, or at least changed to something that is no longer recognizable. We can’t just pop on down via the Apian Way to the Coliseum to watch the Chariot Races, anymore. We have similar Bread and Circuses, and that is the point. It’s all familiar isn’t it. It was to Bin Laden.
It is a reflection of what we have sown; dragon’s teeth, complete with flames. Think of the fires in Benghazi, last week; kinda dragon-ish. Well. Back to our friend, Mr. Jason Linkins; here Mr. Linkins in “HuffPo’s Eat the Press, yesterday, refers back to an interview in 2001:

Let me just print this whole section from a 2001 interview with Robert Fisk (hat tip:Gawker):

Q: At the beginning of the war, you said the U.S. might be falling into a trap. What did you mean?
Fisk: If it is bin Laden, he's a very intelligent guy. He's been planning his war for a long time. I remember the last time I met him in 1997 in Afghanistan. It was so cold. When I awoke in the morning in the tent, I had frost in my hair. We were in a twenty-five-foot-wide and twenty-five-foot-high air raid shelter built into the solid rock of the mountain by bin Laden during the war against the Russians. And bin Laden said to me (he was being very careful, watching me writing it down), "From this mountain, Mr. Robert, upon which you are sitting, we beat the Russian army and helped break the Soviet Union. And I pray to God that he allows us to turn America into a shadow of itself." When I saw the pictures of New York without the World Trade Center, New York looked like a shadow of itself.
Bin Laden is not well read and he's not sophisticated, but he will have worked out very coldly what America would do in response to this. I'm sure he wanted America to attack Afghanistan. Once you do what your enemy wants, you are walking into a trap, whether you think it's the right thing to do or not.
Q: And what is that trap?
Fisk: To bring the Americans in, to strike so brutally and with so much blood at an innocent Muslim people that an explosion comes throughout the Middle East. Bin Laden was constantly revolving in his mind the fact that he had got rid of the Russians; therefore, the Americans can be got rid of, too. And where better than in the country where he knows how to fight?
As things continue, it will be more and more difficult for the dictators, kings, and princes in the Middle East to go on justifying this. They are going to have to start saying, "No, stop." When they do that, the United States is going to have to ignore them. Once they are ignored, they lose the last element of respect. The longer this war goes on, the better for bin Laden.
We put bin Laden on the bottom of the ocean. Hume seems to want us to join him there. Because: RESPECT, BLARGLE.

Back to my prose. So, to sum up, let’s NOT talk about this. Let’s NOT choose sides and fight about this on FB. Let’s NOT rant at one another about Muslims and anti-Muslims. Terry Jones did a reprehensible thing in promoting his whole Burn the Koran day on 9/11 when he started it in 2010. Terry Jones is always and will forever be an asshole for his stupidity. This is one of many acts of infamy and indecency he has committed. Whether or not he promoted a really stupid, amateurish film and people raised hell over it, is something else. If anyone should have started firing rockets, it should have been people who make good films. But by hitting back, by answering the inflammatory rhetoric, new little dragon teeth get planted.

Florida is full of assholes. So. What. Yesterday, the assholes were at the news studios of NBC, ABC and FOX News. I don’t have to add to this discourse. I don’t have to add to the dialogue that gets any more Americans or Middle Easterners killed, as much as I love the region and the people. They’ll do better without my attention. America would do better than to pay them attention as well. Back in the early 20th century, there was a surge in isolationism. After WWI, the Senate did not ratify Woodrow Wilson’s Treaty of Versaille and the U.S. did not become a member or the League of Nations. We’ve always had this duality in our nature, partly because we’re still at heart a nation of immigrants, who, big surprise, have put down roots. It’s hard to argue for or against. This time, we need to stay home, or come home; we don’t understand the mindset. I will continue to watch and listen and learn and bother Jason Linkins on Twitter, but I'll be damned if I'll blog about it again. A very special thanks to a very, very special lady. 

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