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14 December 2007

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Andy

David,

I neglected to mention I do have a copy of an article bearing the same title written by Schmitt and Slusky about a year earlier and published in the winter 94/95 edition of The National Interest. It's 11 pages along and also on intelligence reform, but it's difficult to know how much commonality it has with the 1996 monograph. If you'd like the earlier, shorter article, email me at me(at)nonpartisanpunditDOTcom (replacing the "(at)" and "DOT" naturally) and I'll send it along.

Sidney O. Smith III

Hey Habakkuk:

Have you looked at the works of David Gutman? It is becoming more and more difficult to find his works via the ‘net but some of his essays may warrant a looksee. Although from a different discipline, analysis of his work may lead to conclusions that are consistent with, if not corroborate, your work on Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence.

Gutman is a psychiatrist from Chicago. From what I can recall, he was affiliated with AEI. Awhile back, I came across his work and determined that it may offer a window into the “psyche” of the AEI and its epigones (including Michael Novak). In other words, Gutman’s work is a blueprint of the psychological background from which neoconservative actions spring.

I don’t have time right now to explore in greater detail. But Gutman’s work, in my admittedly nonexpert opinion, reflects enough of the truth to capture your interest. But then, like all great deceivers, he uses those insights for a purpose that may reflect that of the Straussians.

Each person must come to his or her own conclusion, but reluctantly, I decided that Gutman’s view is the exact opposite of the points stressed at this website such as: respect the local culture and, secondly, to win, the military and the people must emerge on the same side of the struggle.

No…Gutman’s approach is diametrically opposed to such. He describes Arab society as a honor-shame culture and claims that to win the US must absolutely devastate the Arab and, more generally speaking, Muslim world, much in the manner of Sherman’s march through Georgia during the civil war. (I believe that ol’ California hippie from the sixties -- Victor Hanson says the same. Funny how people change).

But Gutman’s work does more than simply provide the opposite view of that given to us by Fall in his chapter “The Future of Revolutionary Warfare”. Gutman’s evidences a desire to take a even darker step beyond “burn the village to save the village.” Gutman wants the US to burn the village on a global scale. (And so does Hanson).

At a deeper level, I contend, the purpose of his work is this: At an unconscious level, he is trying to eradicate the concept of guilt when the US commits ethnic cleansing on a global scale. Here is one of his key quotes from an essay he wrote: “If we refuse to be guilty about the war that we have to fight, and if we can refuse the temptation of a shameful retreat, then we will eventually prevail on the fighting fronts as well.”

In that vein, Gutman’s work may reflect the same intent that was shown with the Stanford and Yale studies. These experiments proved that the public, under the certain circumstances, could sanction and promote systematic torture.

Another point: Gutman’s work evidences that the weltanschauung of the neoconservatives is one that rejects a society that has rules based on honor. So I merely suggest that Col. Lang is exactly right when he says that these are not “honorable” men. Gutman’s work proves it. Honor is frowned upon and ridiculed.

A very interesting inquiry, at least to me, is to determine if the ideological and historical legacy that gave us the concept of “an officer and a gentleman” is the exact opposite of the work of Gutman and the corresponding (Leo) Straussian view. I am not a military type, but I do come from a family and region of the US, where the ethos underlying the idea of an “officer and a gentleman” is highly valued.

This is one reason that I think the best hope for US resides, at least in part, with a push back against the neoconservatives by those “officers and gentlemen” of the USM who represent a opposite tradition than that of the AEI.

Remember, it was a neoconservative, Luti, who called General Zinni a “traitor” and this event symbolizes the meeting point and resulting clash of two ideological histories: People of the lie vs. “an officer and a gentleman”.

If I may…I have a good radar when it comes to detecting, for lack of a better word, “bullies”. And when I watch John Bolton on television, I have absolute conviction that I am watching a bully who buys into the Gutman psychological view. And I sometimes wonder if the best way to deal with Bolton is not as an “officer and a gentleman” but as a bad ass NCO who decides to chat with him in a honky tonk. You know, someone who flicks cigarette ashes into Bolton’s drink and says, “What are you going to do about it?”

I exaggerate of course only to make point. But, again, Col. Lang, in my view, is exactly right. By their own admission, the Straussians are not honorable men and women. And by their own admission, they proudly call themselves what M. Scott Peck titled his book…People of the Lie.

One last point: Gutman proves to me that the strategy of the AEI will ultimately lose. It is just a question of how much suffering will take place in the US and the world beforehand. History seems to suggest that a society engaged in systematic ethnic cleansing and torture will self destruct and ultimately destroy itself. Perhaps a society can repress guilt but I don’t think it can eradicate guilt. Lesson to be learn: Tzu is right, the AEI is dead wrong. To win, a nation, must at least strive to become Sun Tzu’s sovereign imbued with the moral law. And Bolton symbolizes the exact opposite.

Here’s one link to a Gutman essay. Make of it what you will.
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.aspx?GUID={EFD57D27-54A4-4F05-9DBC-108BE1EE5379}

David Habakkuk

Sidney Smith,

This is absolutely fascinating. It calls for extended comment -- for which however Christmas morning is hardly the appropriate time. But I will return to these matters after the holiday.

There is an overlap with some of the issues which I was trying to discuss when I attempted to post a comment about Philip Weiss's discussion of Kevin MacDonald.

Something rather bizarre happened there. My initial post was rejected as spam by Typepad. I posted a short comment, asking whether anything could be done about this. You then posted your kind remarks about my analysis of Strauss. I posted a short response, which appeared.

Access to all subsequent comments, of which there have been many, is unavailable from my computer. I am interested in how the discussion developed, and will access it from a friend's computer in the near future.

A happy Xmas, and best wishes for the New Year, to you, to Colonel Lang, and to all commenting on this invaluable site.

Eric Dönges

Babak,

from your previous comments on other threads I know you like to blame secularism (and the Enlightment) for both Soviet Russia and the Third Reich, but I think you are simply wrong. Neither Soviet Russia nor the Third Reich held to any of the principles behind the Enlightment. And both where not really secular either; they just attempted to replace Christianity with an Ersatz-Religion (materialism in case of the Soviets, and an extreme form of "German exceptionalism" in case of the Nazis).

I also don't think your examples of Czarist Russia or the Ottoman Empire help your argument - neither where theocracies. Also, while both may have been better guardians of cultural or religious diversity than what succeeded them, using either of these two as a positive example boggles the mind - both ruthlessly ruled their conquered peoples.

You are correct that here in the EU we are very uncomfortable with religious governments - you just have to look at European history, and what role religion played in it, to figure out why. Put bluntly, it just didn't work for us. And I don't think it will work for anyone else.

And just where do we (the EU) support the Jewish religious program in Palestine ? I thought we where generally critical of it. The Israelis at least are not very happy with us. Or does not calling for the destruction of Israel count as support ?

As to your final comment "physician, heal thyself" - I can only agree. Everybody should start improving the world in their own backyard.

Babak Makkinejad

Eric Dönges:
I do not think that in my assessment of the failure of the Enlightenment Project I am unique; I stand in good company with Gheorghiu, Biffi, Mannet, Shestov, and many other Western thinkers. You wrote: “…they just attempted to replace Christianity with an Ersatz-Religion…”. It is the word “just” in your sentence upon which our entire discussion revolves; for that “just” meant expunging God and replacing Him with the worship of collective powers of man – another road to damnation.
The Ottoman Emperors always claimed to be both Religious and Worldly leaders of the (Sunni) Faithful. Theirs was a religious state par-excellence. The Czarist Russia, also endorsed the Divine Rights of Kings and the Orthodox Church was the Junior Partner in the Russian State. As I stated before, and you seemed to agree, “theocracy” does not have theoretical content and I would rather use “religious state” in lieu of that word.
Neither of these states were a paragon of enlightened self-rule with a charter of basic rights. However, when you look at the scale of destruction that followed the introduction of the successor states – both avowedly secular-; in Russia millions died for realizing ideals of Mr. Karl Marx of London. The Young Turks, the predecessors of the Kemalist Turkey, were involved in the Armenian massacres which were later followed up by the expulsion of the Pontic Greeks, more Armenians, etc.

What do you mean by “…religion not working for us”? The NAZIs, the Fascists, the Communists were all nominally Godless and caused the deaths of at least 80 million people on the European continent in less than 2 generations. Not even the 30-year War had this level of casualties. [And the secular states of US and Russia, for the past 60 years, have lived in a mutual suicide pact called “deterrence”. Is this not madness? ]
I am not even counting their disciples elsewhere in the world; such as the Chinese, the Khmre Rouge, or the Arab Nationalists. I would like to understand in what sense religion did not work for you in EU especially considering that the intellectual and spiritual underpinnings of the core of your moral and political ideas are from the Christian Religious philosophers and jurists of the late Middle Ages.

I observe here that both in US and EU (more so in EU) Shoah has been elevated to a semi-Religion; although it is not the Revealed Religion of Judaism, or Islam, or Christianity. But it is ironic, in my opinion, that the polities who lay claim to a vigorous form of anti-clerical secularism feel the need to try to create a new religion.


In regards to EU’s support for Israel here are a few examples: Germany just gave Israel, for free, 3 Dolphin class submarines; France was complicit in the enablement of the nuclear weapons program of Israel, EU has taken the same position as Israel vis-à-vis HAMAS.
I would like to ask you if there are any circumstances under which EU will be willing to sanction Israel?

Yes, everyone should try to clear their backyard, if they can. I do not believe this is any longer possible since the phenomenon of “globalization” has made the notion of “backyard” rather quaint and outdated. States and polities are now coupled in ways that were unimaginable in 1914; we are, in a way, in each other’s throats. Thus, it makes sense to try to reduce the temperature. What I have tried to establish in my postings at this site over the last few years has been to point out the extreme importance of Revealed Religion to the state of the world and to elucidate the hollowness of most common secularist formulations of the present historical moment. And indeed, entangling with people of other religions and faiths for any prolonged length of time, will inevitably degenerate into a religious war with no end in sight; in my opinion [Even if one claims to be secular {whatever that means.)]

Babak Makkinejad

Sidney O. Smith III:

"People of the Lie"...

I love it!

Zarathustra himself could not have picked a better description for the minions of Ahriman, the Dark Lord.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad:

'Thus, it makes sense to try to reduce the temperature.'

As you know, I agree with you strongly on many points -- as well as disagreeing with you strongly on others. Here you formulate very lucidly a thought I have had in relation to a number of arguments -- including questions of nuclear strategy we discussed on this blog some months ago -- without ever managing to put it as clearly as you do. I am in your debt.

I certainly think it applies in spades to relations between Christians and Muslims -- also secularists and Muslims, and indeed secularists and Christians. Unless we can frustrate those who are trying to 'raise the temperature' in these relations, we are liable to head straight over a cliff.

On other occasions, however, it is appropriate to raise the temperature. Many of the reasons why American (and British) policymakers -- and intellectuals -- did this in relation to the Soviet Union after 1945 were extremely good ones.

One of the tragedies of the Cold War is that this process ran out of control -- among other things, it generated 'feedback loops', so those who sought to, as it were, sound the tocsin became frightened by the bells they themselves had so energetically rung. The kind of shoddy Machiavellianism whose disastrous potentials Sidney Smith is discussing is in part a product of this.

Eric Dönges

Babak,

I did not say "religion does not work for us", I said religious governments have not worked for us. When you point out the atrocies commited by the Soviets, the Nazis, and the Young Turks, you conveniently forget the atrocies commited in the name of God in the preceeding centuries. That less people where killed than in the 20th century was not due to lack of zeal, but only due to lack of ability. Can you imagine a world in which medieval European religious thinking is coupled with 21 century industrial capability ?

Your religious world can only work if all people where to adhere to the same religion (as you acknowledge in your last paragraph) - and that is simply not going to happen. Even if you could forcibly (and it would have to be forcibly) convert all the world to Islam or Christianity, you would then have people fighting over the correct interpretation of scripture. No, the only way we are going to have peace on earth is if humanity learns to compromise, which means finding the lowest common denominator that (most) people can live with. This means that there will have to be some form of separation between church and state.

I don't see Shoah being elevated to semi-Religion by anyone except certain Israeli groups who use the Shoah as an excuse for their policies, or certain Jewish groups who see it as a convenient way to get money out of the German state. The fact that Germany, Austria and France make Holocaust denial a crime has a very different reason - we don't want a repeat of Nazism, and the first step to make such a repeat performance possible is to deny that the Nazis actually did anything really bad.

As to EU support of Israel - I'll grant you the Dolphins (as a German taxpayer, I am rather pissed at this, but I wasn't asked). But I fail to see how labeling an organization that intentionally targets civilians a terrorist organization is either wrong or support for that organization's enemy. A better argument would be to ask why we won't label the IDF as a terrorist organization. The answer is, of course, that:

a) The EU does not have a common foreign policy, so keeping the status quo is the simplest thing to do.

b) Most EU citizens have no idea what is actually going on in Palestine, and don't really care.

c) Any action the EU would take against Israel would likely cause U.S. retaliation.

Personally, I would be for treating Israel like apartheid-era South Africa until the Israelis decide to rejoin the civilized world, but because of the reasons already mentioned above the only way I see this happening would be either in response to a U.N. security council resolution (not going to happen as long as the U.S. has any say in the matter), or if the Israelis did something so outrageous the EU simply couldn't ignore it anymore.

Finally, you write "... I have tried to establish in my postings at this site over the last few years has been to point out the extreme importance of Revealed Religion to the state of the world ...". Perhaps I haven't been clear enough, but I do not deny the importance of religion to the state of the world. My point is that since it is impossible to reach religious consensus without indulging in the kind of behavior that all religions claim to condemn, basing government and law on any single religion is immoral and irresponsible.

Babak Makkinejad

Eric Dönges:

Thank you for your comments:

You wrote: “…you conveniently forget the atrocies committed in the name of God”. I am not denying them but I believe the scale was always much less than the non-religious ones. Moreover, someone comes to you and wants to kill you in the name of a religion; but you can often convert and save your life. The victims of Shoah, NAZIs, Communists, etc. were never given that opportunity for the object was not conversion rather destruction.

You wrote: “..imagine a world in which medieval European religious thinking is coupled with 21 century industrial capability”. Indeed I can and perhaps that world would have been a better world than we have today since it – in its last flowering in late 13-th Century-forcefully and strongly put forth the value of human life. Once one subscribes to the idea that “God is Dead”, morality, charity, love, and everything else falls on the way side. Any way, we cannot run that experiment, we have the history that we have had. I think many people in the West have a negative view of the middle ages because they are victims of the Renaissance propaganda and later the anti-clerical attacks of the Enlightenment.

You wrote: “Your religious world can only work if all people where to adhere to the same religion”. Undoubtedly it could be beneficial if all of mankind embraced the same religions; Muslims are confident that Islam will be that while the Catholics know that Christ has promised the Christianity will be that. I guess we have to wait and see. However, in the absence of such uniformity, there is still scope for hope. Consider the meeting that Mr. Khamenei and Mr. Vajpayee had a few years ago in Tehran. You had the leader of Shia Muslim fundamentalist meeting quite cordially with the leader of Hindu fundamentalists. And the reason was that both knew there was no margin in a Hindu-Muslim War.

You wrote: “I don't see Shoah being elevated to semi-Religion”; well you are entitled to your opinion but you are also in denial.

Your comments regarding Israel-Palestine only serves to reinforce my thesis: In the religious war between Judaism and Islam in Palestine, EU has taken sides.

You wrote: “... basing government and law on any single religion is immoral and irresponsible.” On what basis do you say “immoral”? All of your morality comes out of the Ministry of Jesus, the Blessed Son of Mary and not out of any other principle; where did you get this moral sense? I submit to you that the separation of Religion and Politics does not obtain in Islam and it is eminently moral to base the government on basis of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. And as for “irresponsible”, I think it eminently irresponsible for Christians to try to force down Muslims’ throats forms of government that are incommensurate with the religious and historical sensibilities of those people or take side in their religious war with another religion.

I am not advocating either universal religion (however desirable that might be in certain circles) nor religious government per se. I have tried to make a case, in my postings, that the religious people of this world are not benighted fools who need to be brought into the Sunlight of the this new Modernity Millennium; that there are valid and potent criticisms that might be lodged at the Altar of (Western) Godless Modernity which cannot be easily discounted. That God is, in fact, not Dead and once again visibly working in and through history.

Babak Makkinejad

David Habakkuk:

Thank you for your kind words.

The world would certainly be a very boring place we all agreed on everything, wouldn't it.

I am pleased that you have found some of my remarks worthwhile; I was hoping to be able to at least start a discussion in my postings.

I think I understand your point about the Cold War; that the liberal representative system in the West was worth defending vigorously; I am in agreement with you.

I am not opposed to heated intellectual confrontation and debate among thinkers who belong to different religious traditions - not for me are the various vacuous humanitarian awards that presumably promote ecumenical encounters among people who know nothing of one another’s traditions. I think it will be a good idea to have such discussions; and they must start from very specific issues rather than from generalizations about one another.

For example, one can approach the Orthodox Jews and inquire as to why they consider a menstruating female to be religiously impure. Likewise, one can approach Muslims and asks them if they can do away with slavery in Islamic Law why cannot they do away with XYZ as well – trying to reach an agreement that certain parts of the Law have become obsolete. And the secularist may be engaged to explain why they support abortion.
But to do so, in my opinion, one has to appreciate the (partial at the very least) validity of the other side’s Truths and, in turn, one then must admit that he himself could be (partially) wrong. Unfortunately there is a great fear here – as one Ayatollah said: “There are no valid proofs for the existence of God but I am teaching and preaching since to do otherwise could invite the evils of social and moral chaos.”
“Be not Afraid” seems to be a pretty good motto to me.

Eric Dönges

Babak,

I think you thoroughly misunderstand my position. While I admit to being a lapsed Catholic, I do not belong to the "religion is a form of mental disease" crowd; I find those people as abhorrent as any religious fundamentalist. I don't want to take your religion from you; but I do object to you (or anyone else) forcing your religion on me through government and law.

I would never accept living under Islamic rule. Similarly, I assume a Muslim would never accept living under Christian rule (if he even could, as Christianity has been notoriously hostile to "heathens" in the past). Now, unless we want to split the world into a Christian and a Muslim part (let's leave out the other major religions for simplicities sake), and then fight the inevitable wars against each other every few generations or so until one side finally manages to wipe out the other, then we are going to have to find a compromise that does not involve declaring any religion as the One Truth - which is exactly what religious governments do by their very nature, and what I object to most strongly. There may very well be One Truth, but I am very sure we haven't found it yet, and I remain skeptical that we ever will.

You ask "On what basis do you say immoral". On the basis that I think it is immoral to force Christian religious laws on Muslims (or anyone else) or vice-versa. My morality does not come from the Ministry of Jesus like you claim; it comes from the belief that morality is a "survival instinct" on the species level, necessary because homo sapiens can override instinctive behavioural inhibitors with "rational" thought. Many religious laws do not have any bearing on species survival, and so should be optional for those who choose to believe in them. I see absolutely no value in the Jewish and Muslim prohibition on eating pork, for instance.

Frankly, I do not care that Islam does not believe in the separation of religion and state, because I do not believe in Allah or that Mohammed was his prophet - a sentiment I share with a significant majority of mankind. In my eyes, Islam has to make a choice - compromise, like Christianity was forced to do, or risk annihilation in continual warfare with the rest of mankind.

You still don't have me convinced that the EU is taking sides on the conflict in Palestine. Yes, we are biased in favor of Israel, due to the fact that the Israelis are closer culturally to us than the Arabs are. The fact that the Palestinians have no idea how to do PR targeted at European audiences does not help their cause any either. But to me, what the EU is actually doing is sitting on the fence, trying to avoid doing anything of real consequence for either side. For instance, the EU does not recognize the occupied territories as Israeli (and goods manufactured there cannot be labeled as "made in Israel" in the EU) - but doesn't do anything to force the Israelis to actually leave. The Israelis themselves certainly don't see the EU as supportive.

As to being in denial on the Shoa as a semi-religion, perhaps I don't get out enough, but I just don't see it around me. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to where you see this phenomenon manifest itself in Europe in general and Germany in particular ?

Finally, I would like to say that I fully agree with your response to David Habakkuk. Discussions where all participants "agree to agree" before the discussion even starts are completely pointless, as any issues of consequence will likely be omitted in the name of harmony (not to mention that such "discussions" are totally boring). Better to have a heated debate - if nothing else, it makes us think about our own positions, which is always a good thing. What I like about this blog is that the debate, while heated, tends to stay civilized.

P.S.: I appreciate the possibility that I might be partially or even totally wrong, which is why I'm always talking about the importance of compromise in human relations. I can't imagine anything worse than doing harm to others in the name of a falsehood.

Babak Makkinejad

Eric Dönges:

Thank you for your comments.

You wrote: “…but I do object to you (or anyone else) forcing your religion on me through government and law.”; well no one is forcing Islam down your throat. By the same token, I hope people and governments in Europe and North America will kindly refrain from imposing their misguided pseudo-religions and fads on the rest of mankind.

You wrote: “I would never accept living under Islamic rule” well, no one has asked you.

You further wrote: “…unless we want to split the world into a Christian and a Muslim part…” – the world is already so split since the 7-th Century. Moreover, the political history of the last 150 years may be viewed as the history of the ejection and roll-back of the Christian domination of the Muslim polities. In my reading of the world, I see that US & EU in their post-Christian phase - have laid claim to the One-Truth. Their One-Truth is that their particular and specific local institutions are universal and thus applicable to all of mankind. This is their new faith since they left God behind. As for conflict, I observe here that it is Western powers that are fighting a rear-guard action to maintain their political influence in non-Western parts of the world. My recommendation, as always, is to avoid un-needed entanglements in the affairs of alien people for whom one does not possesses any sympathy or understanding.

You wrote: “…morality is a "survival instinct" on the species level”. I cringed when I read this since, to me, it indicated a collectivist basis for the value of the life of the individual. This is a fundamental and irreducible difference between you and I and it cannot be abridged; in my opinion.

I do not believe that you can account for the complex moral life of individual human beings from that collectivist basis: the livies and passions of the religious martyrs, charity for the aged, the cripple, the deranged, and the mentally retarded cannot be accounted for by your materialist doctrine. But this does not surprise me, it is part and parcel of the same misguided Enlightenment Project; I hope that this latest incarnation causes less harm.

You wrote: “In my eyes, Islam has to make a choice - compromise, like Christianity was forced to do, or risk annihilation in continual warfare with the rest of mankind.” Last I looked, it is in fact the Western polities that have been at war with the rest of mankind – in Iraq a war of choice is being waged by a Western power with a Coalition of the Willing of other Western powers. May I remind you also that in India the English caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Bengal [both Hindu and Muslim] when they commandeered the water-craft that were essential for the delivery of the foodstuffs all across Bengal during WWII, that in Algeria in 1948 the French murdered 45,000 Algerian Muslims [men , women, children] wantonly, that in Rwanda the French were supporting the genocidal Hutus [well discussed in the Indian papers], that in the 19-th Century the Belgian government was killing the blacks whole-sale in Congo to clear that land for the European settlers; and I have not yet begun to count….

I submit to you that it is in fact the Godless Western Modernity that has to make a compromise with the rest of mankind and get rid of its delusional attempts at creating Heaven on Earth while, simultaneously, maintaining the Power of Death over the rest of mankind.


Your comments regarding EU and Israel reminds of an old joke about the Non-Aligned Movement – “They are non-aligned all-right, non-aligned against the United States.”

On Shoah as a semi-religion; I am afraid we will have to agree to disagree.

I think what distinguishes myself from you is that I am not un-sympathetic to your point of view [even though I disagree with it] but I fear you are not sympathetic to mine.

Eric Dönges

Babak,

to me, you seem as unsympathetic to my views as I seem unsympathetic to yours. What distinguishes us in my opinion is that we come from very different backgrounds (it's impossible to tell through the anonymity of the internet, but I suspect we also have a generational gap between us) and thus see the world and its history through very different eyes. I think it is unlikely that we will ever agree on much of anything of substance.

But what you or I believe is not really relevant - the fact remains that while we seem to live on different planets intellectually, physically we have to share the same planet, which is growing increasingly smaller thanks to modern technology. So either we try to find a compromise we can both live with, or we'll end up at each other's throats.

Babak Makkinejad

Eric Dönges:

Thank you for your comments.


I believe we have made progress in uncovering the basis of our differences.

Sidney O. Smith III

To continue to emphasize one theme that weaves throughout this thread: developments in other disciplines and other branches of the US government appear to confirm Habakkuk's conclusions re: Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence.

Like a midwife reminiscent of a witch from McBeth, the Straussian worldview may have helped give birth to another unAmerican idea that has appeared in the executive branch and undoubtedly will face legal challenges in the federal judicial system. It is the unitary executive theory, which basically asserts that all governmental authority should coalesce around the President. It is part of the idea of “soft fascism” -- a concept that reflects a Straussian intent.

Of course, as always, there is an unexpected turn that tricks expectations. The president, while working under this theory, signed an executive order that allowed the war powers to flow into the office of the VP. As a result, we have witnessed the creation of an imperial vice presidency, perhaps for the first time in US history.

From what I can glean so far, David Addington is the driving force behind the rise of the imperial vice presidency. In the 3July06 issue of the New Yorker, Jane Meyer wrote all about Addington in a most aptly titled article, “The Hidden Power”.

http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/62/20925

For reasons I can quite fathom, last summer I spent a day or so trying to pinpoint the legal mechanism that gave rise to the imperial vice presidency. Most people point to Executive Order 12958 but, in my opinion, such is not the case. It is Executive Order 13292, which amended the earlier one -- EO 12958. Most significantly, it was signed five days after the beginning of the Iraq invasion.

While doing this research, I begin to see distant echoes of changes within the judiciary that may signal the same devolution that Roberto Unger described in the Weimar Republic. I, however, am more optimistic that the neoconservatives in the US will find a much tougher go in our judicial system but it will be close.

I wrote a short letter that details the procedural history of Executive Order 13292 and some of its salient points. It was in response to an article by a legal scholar named Huq who wrote a (recommended) article published at the Nation and titled “Cheney and the Constitution”. Huq only relied on E.O. 12958. If interested, you can read the letter at the following link. It is the second letter. You may very well begin to see a correlation between that which gave rise to EO 13292 and that which gave rise to “Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence”.

http://www.thenation.com/bletters/20070709/huq

taters

Mr. Habakkuk,
Thank you for a great thread and an excellent read. Great comments.
How can one argue rationally with those that have contempt and a true disdain of history? It wasn't that long ago when a reprise of the 2002 HASC debate regarding Iraq, between Wes Clark and Richard Perle was played out again in congress.
In the first go around, Clark had to leave a little early before Perle for a flight. In essence, Clark asked why the rush to invade, he also stated time was on our side and that force should only be used as a last resort. He also said that we should talk to those in the region,including Iran and Syria. I believe everyone here is quite familiar with Perle's take.
And Perle, being the class act he is, mocked Clark as soon as he left.
Clark was gracious, and made his point - perhaps too much so. Like Col. Lang said about neocons, 'These are not honorable men.'
In round two, after Perle (Who came in with a cookbook)faced questions by Rep. Walter Jones,R-NC (Yes, Walter Jones, he of freedom fries fame, who now rightly believed he had been duped the first time around and regrets his decision for AUMF.) He was quite upset, and was talking about the hundreds of letters of condolence he had signed. He may have more military in his district than any other congressman,certainly more than his fair share. Perle appeared non plussed. To me, this was akin to Rumsfeld auto penning KIA letters. Rumsfeld's regret was that he was caught doing it. This disconnect appalls me. Chalabi and Wolfowitz seem to have it in spades.
Back to round two - Clark learned his lesson about these less than honorable men and hammered Perle and HSAC chair Duncan Hunter.
The truth is of no concern to the people of the lie. (An expression I picked up from a fellow reader here, I apologize for not giving proper credit)
I would like to leave you with Gen. Clark's parting salvo to Hunter.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was not always thus. At the September 2002 hearing, GOP lawmakers joined in Perle's dismissal of Clark's argument that "time is on our side" in Iraq and that force should be used only as a "last resort."

Perle said Clark was "wildly optimistic" and called it "one of the dumber cliches, frankly, to say that force must always be a last resort." While Clark fiddled, "Saddam Hussein is busy perfecting those weapons of mass destruction that he already has."

In retrospect, Clark's forecasts proved more accurate than Perle's, and even Republicans on the committee made little effort yesterday to defend Perle or to undermine Clark. The exception was Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who pressed Clark to acknowledge that the Iraq invasion should get some credit for signs of democracy in the region.

"We've got to do a lot less crowing about the sunrise," Clark rejoined.

When Hunter's GOP colleagues didn't join his line of questioning, he took another turn grilling Clark. The chairman likened President Bush's Middle East policies to those of President Ronald Reagan in Eastern Europe.

"Reagan never invaded Eastern Europe," Clark retorted.

In another try, Hunter said Clark was "overstating" the risk in challenging other countries in the Middle East. Clark smiled and showed his trump card -- reminding Hunter of their exchange at the 2002 hearing. "I kept saying time was on our side," Clark said. "I could never quite satisfy you."

As for who proved correct, the general said, "I'll let the record speak for itself."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32440-2005Apr6.html

taters

Dear Col. Lang,
I beg your indulgence for going off topic but I am thoroughly enjoying The Butcher's Cleaver, it is an absolutely excellent read.
And may God bless you, Zinni, Clark and the other honorable ones for standing up to the neocons - and for the poisonous slings and arrows you were repaid with by these treasonous SOB's in kind.
With gratitude,
Robert M. Murray

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