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12 May 2008


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Clifford Kiracofe

Perhaps Luttwak has yet to assimilate American values. I suppose it is a little late in life for him to do that.

Some biographic data on this subject of interest:


the email address for those wishing to express their thoughts is:



This does somewhat undercut the "Obama is a secret Muslim" argument doesn't it? Because now the argument has to run something like this "Obama is a secret Muslim out to impose Taliban style sharia law on the US (Somehow) and when he does he'll be decapitated". You'd think Obama would have thought that one through a little better.


Around twenty years ago Mark Alan Stamaty caricatured him as "Dr. Nuttflak" He is shown sitting in front of a Senate committee shrieking "WE ARE ON THE PRECIPICE!". A footnote explains that this is just the way he talked, by saying that he meant what other people meant when they say "Good Morning, how are you?"



Horrible to think that radical internet posts make it to the NYT's.

This is America where all have the right to run for President (within a few rules) no matter their Religion, Race, sexual preferences etc... The man has every right to pursue his dreams, never mind what you or I may think of him.

As to the veiled threat we will deal with that if he wins.

Tom Griffin

Funnily enough, I came across the exact same argument this very day in an article that appeared last month on the FrontPage magazine website:

The author there was Thomas Cushman, international patron of the Henry Jackson Society, signatory of the Euston Manifesto, and president of an obscure organisation called the Foundation for Modern Democracy.


An appeal to the Know-Nothings among the electorate of our Great Republic is like throwing manure against a wall in the hope that some of it will stick. Oh, we can't condemn Obama for being born half-Black, but we CAN condemn him for being born half-Muslim.

In the election of 1856 Republican candidate John C. Fremont was called a crypto-Catholic, despite being Episcopalian and baptising his children as such. But Fremont refused to publicly disavow Catholicism on the grounds that the campaign was about religious freedom, and this cost him votes. Anti-Catholic voters went to the Know-Nothing candidate, Fillmore, while some Catholic voters thought that Fremont was somehow himself connected with the Know-Nothings, and voted for the Democrat Buchanan instead--who won the election.

Green Zone Cafe

I was shocked that the NYT published this. "Poorly veiled attack" sums it up.

Another way of saying "Obama is a scary Muslim."

As far as Luttwak's premise, it seems to suggest that Al Qaeda types need the special jurisprudential reason of apostasy to try to kill an American president. As if.

Leila Abu-Saba

I'll say it in another way: the argument is in itself un-American.


It's been interesting to hear all the attempts to use Obama's background against him through a guilt by association logic. Curiously, some of the same facts have been used to argue in opposite directions. Arab terrorists are either going to be "dancing in the streets" or they're going to attack us because of his purported apostasy -- in what I like to call the all roads lead to Rome argument.

I expect that Obama's background will slightly help our relations with the Arab world, but it's hardly a reason to vote for or against him.

However, perhaps the offended party here is the Islamic faith. And this may be diagnostic, since there are those whose interests are served by the continued vilification of Islam.


the op-ed is a very interesting indicator of the disquiet of the neo-intellectuals. As to be expected, Luttwak sets up a straw man -- Obama will improve relations with Muslim countries because of his father -- in order to suppress the idea that better leadership will yield better relations; an extremely unpopular meme to the oligarchy.


How does something like this op/ed warrant being printed in the first place?
I'm mystified at the standards being used unless it is just that controversey (no matter how stupid, useless and counterproductive) equals traffic and thus dollars.


What on earth has happened to Edward Luttwak?

This is the man who wrote "Coup D'Etat", "Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace", and "The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire". All of these are clearly works of a first-rate thinker.

When the Cold War ended, he seemed to go to pieces intellectually. He tried to reinvent himself as an economist, a subject about which he knows relatively little. It felt oddly embarrassing to read this later work, and watch a man with an excellent mind make a fool of himself in public. The cobbler should stick to his last, Luttwak should have stuck to military strategy.

Now he permits his name to be attached to things like this.

What has happened to him?


There is no question that Hillary is beholden to AIPAC and Obama appears to be less so.


Green Zone,

I'm "shocked" alright, that this was published in the Times. "Shocked" the way Claude Rains' character, in the movie Casablanca, was "shocked" there was gambling going on at Rick's Cafe.

Agree with Col...if one had the resources and the time it would be interesting to demonstrate where "overseas" this nonsense (but deadly nonsense)oozed out from.

Guthman Bey

The point of origin? I think there are two points of origin. Two points dead-opposed in theory, but chronically colluding in practice.

Clifford Kiracofe

Tom Griffin,

Excellent lead to Thomas Cushman, professor of sociology at Wellesley.

Some biographic data on this subject of interest at

The latter notes his presence at Birkbeck College, University of London 2005. The Euston Manifesto was signed also by a professor at Birkbeck.

Additional Neocon line quotes from his attack on Obama in Frontpage Mag:

"It is troubling, I might add, to consider that candidate Obama has already indicated his willingness to negotiate and barter with some of the more despotic leaders of the Islamic world. This is something which is "known" about Obama. The great unknown is what the consequence of such friendliness toward these leaders might be."...
"who would the Islamic world prefer to win? It is reasonable to think that it would be the man who wants to surrender Iraq, make peace with and appease dictators who wish harm to the United States, and work within the United Nations and the illiberal blocs who dominate that institution."

FrontPage Magazine is part of the David Horowitz apparatus. For this subject of interest see,


When he was at the same school as me in NW London around 1960, this overpowering, over enthusiastic, brown nosed and aggressively self opinionated individual was known to his fellow students as Eddie Luttwank.


I think Luttwak found the perfect hook for an old scrap of agitprop.

We do need repeated reminders that

This is not what we are. This is not what we do.

Grateful to PL for providing them.

William R. Cumming

OKAY let's be straight, a number of American President's under today's international standards might be accused of war crimes. Still they acted based on their basic beliefs for the most part and only the American voter and history hold them accountable. If in fact this op-ed is a correct statement of Islamic Law and the Quran then it is time that a thorough analysis of the doctrines espoused in that document be made available in English to the American people. Reason, clearly, the dogmatism and ideology expressed in the Quran by what I have seen available in English falls far short of any accuracy. Since 1000 flowers bloom to paraphrase Mao in the context of who can definitively interpret the Quran unlike some other religions, then is the only view possibke of the language in that holy book that captured by Luttwak or is some other interpretation possible? A related question is has any other commodity shaped history as much as oil appears to being doing? And has any other commodity had a similar influence on religious beliefs? By the way who can definitively interpret the Bible or the Torah? I really don't know myself the answer to any of this but interested definitely.


Luttwak may have been a "first rate thinker" at one time, but as an economist, not so good. As a psychologist, he's even worse. The idea that a child who has been deserted by his Muslim father and raised by his Christian mother and grandparents would, as wisedup notes, improve relations with Muslim countries because of his father -- that's insane! If anything, it would be just the opposite.

Burgette Mobley

I'm a "born-again agnostic" so this means nothing to me so far as voting for or against Obama. I think many religions have a way of dealing with those who reject the religion of their birth. I don't believe you can be born into a religion but others do, although this seems to go beyond "excommunication". The question that came to my mind was: What effect would this Muslim perception have on a president's ability to interact with Muslim governments. Would this require a "fatwa" and could a Muslim government be forbidden to interact with negotiators who represent a government headed by someone under such a pronouncment?


in the interest of knowing more about who is speaking i queried wikipedia about edward luttwak

while it appears to be like a professional resume posted on wikiepedia it clearly shows the luttwak's political position

Edward Luttwak
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article or section includes a list of references or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations.
You can improve this article by introducing more precise citations.

Dr. Edward Nicolae Luttwak (born 1942) is an American strategist and historian known for his many publications on military strategy, history and international relations.

Luttwak was born into a Jewish family in Arad, Romania, raised in Italy and England. He attended the London School of Economics and Johns Hopkins University, where he received a doctorate. His first academic post, before moving to the United States, was at the University of Bath. In 2008, he became a Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C..

He served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, the US Department of State, the US Navy, US Army, US Air Force, and several NATO defense ministries. He was a member of the National Security Study Group of the US Department of Defense, and an associate of the Japan Finance Ministry's Institute of Fiscal and Monetary Policy. With three partners, he established and operated a self-sufficient forest-conservation ranch in the southern amazon basin.

Luttwak has been a frequent lecturer and consultant, and has developed a reputation for original policy ideas, suggesting for example that major powers' attempts to quell regional wars actually make conflicts more protracted.[1] His book Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook is perhaps his best-known work; it has been reprinted numerous times, and translated into 14 languages. His "Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace" is widely used as a textbook on the subject.

The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire from the First Century AD to the Third is controversial among professional historians. Luttwak was resented as an outsider and non-specialist in the field, but his book raised a lot of questions and started a whole new wave of scholarship on the Roman army and Barbarians on the frontier. Luttwak asked "How did the Romans defend the frontier?", a question that he argued had been lost in the noise of professional discourse of demographics and economics and sociology. Although many professional historians reject his views on Roman "strategy," his 1976 book has revitalized the study of Roman frontiers. Since the 1980s he has published articles on Byzantium and is the author of the forthcoming "Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire".

Luttwak, during his childhood, spent a few years in Italy, between Palermo, in Sicily, and Milan. He speaks Italian and is frequently cited by Italian media on political subjects; he also co-authored two books in Italian (with Susanna Creperio Verratti, political philosopher and journalist): Che cos’è davvero la democrazia ("What Democracy really Is"), 1996 and Il libro delle Libertà ("The Book of Liberties"), 2000.

He served on the editorial boards of Geopolitique (France), the Journal of Strategic Studies, and the Washington Quarterly. He speaks English, French, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish and other languages.

[edit] Against humanitarian intervention
He argued that humanitarian intervention should not happen at all. He claimed that it might be best for all parties to let minor wars burn themselves out.

Richard Whitman

Is Luttwak smoking illegal substances??

Mark K Logan

The propagandists need to get on the same page this this. Am I supposed to hate Obama because he is a Muslim, because the Muslims like him, or because they hate him?
It's all so confusing..

Came across a particularly
hilarious quote of Luttwak
that I though to share. "Ex-Cons: Right Wing Thinkers go Left!"
by Corey Robin


"Pointy-headed bureaucrats also sapped the military's strength, according to
Luttwak. Always looking to cut costs, Pentagon officials insisted that
weapons, machinery, and research-and-development programs be standardized.
But this only made the military vulnerable to enemy attack. Standardized
weapons systems were easily overcome; having overwhelmed one, an enemy
could overwhelm them all. When it came to the military, Luttwak concluded,
"we need more 'fraud, waste, and mismanagement.'"

Oh my..

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