"According to Richard Overy, an outstanding analyst of the war, the Soviet Union had been a centrally planned economy, but its initial defeats in 1941 unraveled the Soviet program. But by 1944, the Soviets were again operating a centrally planned economy, and Overy noted that Russia had “repaired the fractured the web of industry, transport and resources so that by 1942, (the Soviets) produced more weapons than the year before…more weapons than the enemy.” Plus the Soviet weapons were superior in quality to the German ones. This scholar also says that in 1943, the gap between Soviet and German production “widened further” in favor of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was producing three aircraft or every two German aircraft produced. It produced double the number of tanks produced by Germany. “The Soviet Union operated a command economy, directed by the state and centrally planned,” Overy said, pointing out that Russia’s centrally planned economy operated unimpeded by the pressures of the free market, and workers were, of course, brutalized: for example, being tardy or not showing up for work could end with the state shooting or imprisoning workers. " Richard Sale
"Hemingway’s writing has three outstanding qualities – a sense of suggestiveness, of moving forward on different levels, and the ability to present a story in a way that is highly emotional and intensely immediate -- a story that depends on using telling, visual details. These virtues are ones that Pat shares in his stories." Richard Sale
"There was once a pretty, delicate girl who was loved by two boys, but she was aware of only one of them. The one she liked was handsome, popular and had lots of friends. He was good at sports and all the girls liked him, and everyone wanted to be his friend. His name was John." Richard Sale
The fact that you are reading is an indication that you have intelligence beyond the ordinary. Books then are going to be absolutely essential to developing your talents, but you have to ask, what kinds of books are going to enrich your intelligence the most?
When I was 11 or 12, my farther and my mother didn’t read. We had shelves crammed full of wonderful books including “War and Peace,” but I never ever saw either of them touch a single one. I was urged to read “Treasure Island” by Stephenson or “Ivanhoe,” by Scott but the writers of these books wrote in a way that was out of date and the books were boring. Rather than use simple words effectively, they used big ones and used complicated sentences. It was like gazing at a stone. The first books I ever read were eyewitness accounts of World War II by war correspondents – books about bloody Pacific battles like Tarawa. I loved them and still do.
So the basic rule for you is, read what interests you, not what someone has told you to read. A very famous poet named Samuel Johnson used to read a book by paging through it and only started to read when he came across something interesting. That is a good rule to follow. (When a friend asked Johnson about his reading, Johnson replied, “So you really finish books?” He seemed surprised.)
You read a book for a reason. Knowledge from books is like a spot of dye. It drips into water and it expands and spreads its color. That is what reading does for you – it is that spot of dye. It spreads. It stirs curiosity, helps you discover connections between what you are reading to what you haven’t read, and helps you determine what is true from what is false.
Some people feel reading isn’t practical – why are you outside doing something rather than read? Well, reading is an act, just like chopping wood. Don’t believe anyone who tells you differently.
The events of your own personal life will give you subjects to write about. There is something called “direct experience, and there is “indirect experience.” Reading is an indirect experience. Most of your valued knowledge will come from indirect experience. A great statesman once said, “Any fool can learn from experience, but the real gift is to learn from others’ experience.” Determine not to be a fool.
Language in Your Life
All sorts of things are going to happen to you – the unfairness of parents, the bored tyranny of bad teachers, the torments of bullies, death, the joy of friendship and love. But there is greater range of things in your life to which you should try and pay attention if you want to develop your mind. You are a creature of physical perceptions: You see. You hear, you feel. All knowledge comes from these. One of the most important is to train your eyes to see –see, not what other people say you saw or perhaps would have seen, but to learn to express in words what you actually saw. So begin by seeing.
Remember, the first word or expression that comes to your mind is not your own. The first words that occur when you try and describe your own life will come from your friends, neighbors, relatives, from parents, teachers, clergymen. Their words are not your words. You have to avoid their words.
Most ordinary people are mentally lazy. This does not mean they are not good people. It doesn’t mean they are not skilled at their jobs or faithful in attending church or they are not kind or thoughtful parents. It just means they have, over time, been reduced to saying whatever everyone else says. They say what they have been told to say without thinking about whether such words are truly accurate to what they are truly feeling. Most people don’t ask if such words truly convey and depict the actual sight of the thing.
I think it truly bewildering to watch Sen. Graham and this whole administration start to push al Queda as the major threat in Iraq at a time when Iraqi nationalist elements have finally become its effective antagonists.
Lest we forget, the Bush group knew NOTHING about al Qaeda when it entered office nor did it care to learn. In December 1999, the president-elect went to the White House to talk with President Clinton. When the two men were alone, Bush asked for Clinton’s advice on foreign policy and Clinton said, "My only advice to anybody in this is to get a good team and do what you think is right." Clinton then told Bush he had read his campaign statements carefully and saw that Bush’s top defense priorities were building a national missile defense system and dealing with Iraq. Clinton proposed a new set of priorities in order of importance: al Qaeda, Middle East diplomacy, North Korea and nuclear competition in South Asia, listing Iraq last. Bush did not respond.
With good reason. Bush’s group had no understanding of al Qaeda. It’s mind was locked in the ice of Cold War strategic terms: rogue nations and "state-sponsored terror." They had not the slightest grasp of a terrorist organiztion consisting of small lethal cells with no national boundaries that was operating out of sight in 60 countries. The new Bush NSC had actually downgraded the position of National Coordinator for Counterterrorism; it was no longer a cabinet level position. Richard Clarke did not have his first meeting with Bush Deputies like Condi Rice’s Steve Hadley and Wolfowtiz, Rumsfeld’s deputy at Defense until April 2000! When Clarke started to talk of bin Laden as the single most immediate and dangerous threat America faced, Deputy SecDef Paul Wolfowitz bristled. "Well, there are others that do that as well, at least as much. Iraqi terrorism, for example."
Clarke replied he was unaware of any Iraqi-sponsored terrorism directed at the United States since 1993. "You give bin Laden too much credit," said Wolfowitz, and said Iraq had been responsible for the 1993 attack on the world Trade Center in New York, repeating the theme of a completely discredited book by Laurie Mylroie that blamed Iraq, when in fact al Qaeda had been involved.
Wolfowitz disliked the Clinton policy of containment of Saddam. Wolfowitz also believed that Saddam was busy attempting to build WMD, in spite of the fact that Saddam’s son-in-law, Kamel, who ran those programs, said that they had been destroyed.
Once again, the Clinton group tried to convince the Bush group that al Queda, not Iraq, was the major threat confronting the United States. On Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2001 just ten days before Bush’s inauguration, the Bush team had met to be briefed by outgoing Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Iraq, Cohen said was weakened and contained. The United States controlled a no-fly zone in the northernmost 10 percent of the country, and in Operation Southern Watch, the US patrolled the entire southern half of Iraq almost to Baghdad suburbs. Cohen told the new group that it would soon see the reality about Iraq. They would not find much support among the neighboring countries for any strong action against Baghdad, which would mean if they launched an all out attack they would have to go it alone. Cohen didn’t think air strikes world accomplish much, and he felt the new group would back off and find "reconciliation" with Saddam whom Cohen believed was effectively contained and isolated. He might as well have saved his breath.
The attacks of Sept. 11, undercut the moderates in the administration like Colin Powell, and incrededibly, as we all know, it sharpened the interest in attacking Iraq. A few days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Greg Newbold, a three-star general and chief operations deputy from the Joint Chiefs of Staff ran into Doug Feith. Said Newbold, "You could still smell he smoke in the corridors. In the middle of this I assured Feith that we were working hard on Afghanistan. Feith told him, `Why are you working on Afghanistan? You ought to be working on Iraq "
Surely this whole Iraqi episode will stun later generations just as the era before and just after Munich stuns us today.
"The notes about the speech of Pericles set me to thinking.
There is implicit in the Greek’s remarks that a democracy is a kind of association where decisions are made by the majority of the people. But Aristotle does not believe the predominance of the majority in making decisions is worth much unless it is subject to some serious conditions.. "A government that centers all its power in the votes of the people cannot be a democracy; for their decrees cannot be general in their extent." In other words, what is superior to the will of the majority, he says, is the supremacy of law. The Greek term was originally "Isonomia" which, over time became "equality before the law." Herodotus called "isonomia" the "most beautiful of words." Aristotle says that a democracy, personal liberty, is the result of such laws, not their cause. Freedom, personal liberty, is dependent upon the soundness and comprehensiveness of laws, and in this Aristotle is clearly attacking the idea that simply because the majority wants a thing or believes it to be good, does not make that thing good or desirable. Clearly, democracy is the best way of achieving certain ends, but it provides only a means of achieving those ends. It is not the ends themselves. In other words, democracy is not an absolute value. Democracy has to be judged by what it wants to achieve. If its development was intended to curb absolute power, the will of the majority cannot then become another form of absolute power itself for you have only substituted one species of subjugation for another. Even the majority has to enjoy its freedom within the restraint of common principles or laws. The extension of democracy to all places and climes is an illusion Yet on the part of some, democracy is presented to us as if its extension is entirely desirable and should occur in as many cases as possible in any many areas as the idea is able to reach. Democracy is a delicate plant and won’t take root in any and all soils. Even in our own democracy, it is subject to conditions: suffrage isn’t infinite --people have to be 21 to vote, criminals can’t vote, resident foreigners can’t, etc. The current theory of democracy in America suffers from the fact that it has developed within a very homogeneous community which then applies it to instances that are defective and draws the wrong inferences from the failure. Democracy is supposed to be the best means discovered for peaceful change, yet the ignorance of the public can pervert democracy. Hobhouse once wrote that the average man "has not the time to think nor will he take the trouble to do so if he has the time." It was a democratic election that brought Hitler to power. And there seems little doubt that, if democracy were allowed in many Muslim countries, their peoples would elect a thousand little bin Ladens. With greetings to all, Richard Sale"