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28 January 2011


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Colonel, I'm not sure but I believe I may have been blocked. If the amnesty is applicable to me and I'm included, I'm grateful, sir.

Patrick Lang

No blockage by me. pl

Charles I

As one who has incurred your wrath before, I have found that my addiction to SST and fondness for the proprietor could tolerate and was well served by a soupcon of editorial circumspection.

I do perversely cherish our private exchange of appellations, tho now that I recall, you provided both, er, terms of endearment, on that occasion.

I'd now both pay and behave to come here.

But where the heck are all these extra Charlies, Charleys etc, coming from, could you boot them on the slightest whim please?


Patrick Lang

Charles I

I'll think aboot it. I hate to boot people, but the hasbarim are stirred up just now and there are victims of political science education scattered everywhere who are sure that my traditional analysis is, in the words of one, "just unacceptable." BTW, Marguerite's research indicates that the great majority of my ancestors were Canadian at one time or another. I still don't understand Amos Hall, the Continenetal Army veteran who bought several thousand acres near Sherbrooke in 1804 and then near present Thetford Mines and then moved there where he consistently sided with the crown against the "patriots." pl

Charles I

Pat I was wondering the exact same thing about your peripatetic ancestor and his ultimate repose in Quebec, the New Irish part, I recall, after all that Continental service. You soldiers certainly get around!

I've acknowledged your Canadianess before based on Marguerite's work and now regard you and her each time I drive by St Marie's Shrine.

I knew a girl from Thetford Mines at summer camp. . .

Charles I

ps You know I was really sorta kidding, I'm a sucker for a Charles.



Off topic?

Human primal forces are food, shelter and sex. Economics covers all three. The fourth is genetic based division of human beings into Them and Us. Males always are on the lookout to protect their family/tribe from Them.

The NeoCons may have preached revolution but they never put in the qualifiers: “Iran and Syria only, not North Africa”. But, now, they are reaping their whirlwind. Cause and effect in human affairs is hard detect, especially when fed propaganda daily in the nightly news, but the right wing Likud/Neocon/Corporate love of war/occupations is the virus spreading revolution through the Muslim world.

In a resource scarce, underemployed, overpopulated police state, revolution is never too far away; especially if the Muslim State is portrayed as a puppet of Christian/Jewish foreigners.

Is this ever mentioned in intelligence circles?

Patrick Lang


Not enough. Political science does not recognize the forces you speak of. pl

Patrick Lang

Charles I

Amos Hall and whole crowd of his relatives and friends who moved from New England with him are considered to be the Anglo founders of that part of Quebec. Amos seems to have owned pretty much everything between New Ireland and Maple Grove. pl

Carl O.

"I still don't understand Amos Hall, the Continenetal Army veteran who bought several thousand acres near Sherbrooke in 1804 and then near present Thetford Mines and then moved there where he consistently sided with the crown against the "patriots."

I saw something a few years ago that I have not seen since that claimed that a certain Maj. Wilkinson of the Continental Army was actually a British spy. His conduct as head of the New York militia during the War of 1812, when he disobeyed federal orders and refused to invade Canada and thereby screwed up the entire northern campaign, to me, makes the charge credible. Was Amos Hall associated with Wilkinson, I wonder?


nice picture, and thanks ;)

I like black, but no high heels. Terribly uncomfortable they are.

Sidney O. Smith III

What fascinates me is that certain US progressives -- some of whom I respect -- are cheering on revolutionary uprisings in Arab lands with the same fervor as their ideological arch rivals -- the neoconservatives.

One difference, of course, is that, on one hand, neoconservatives wanted to institute the revolutionary change through the bayonet and on behalf of Israel, and, on the other hand, those who are of the progressive tradition and anti-neoconservatives, so to speak, are applauding an uprising that has arisen spontaneously and from the streets.

But the endpoint of each historical process may be exactly same -- one that does not reflect the "progressive" values of Western style democracy. I am not placing a judgment on the change, simply suggesting that the fervor of the neoconservatives as well as that of the progressives for "revolution" are based upon an assumption that Western style democracy is the endpoint. By doing so, both are forgetting what you describe as “reaping the whirlwind” or, at minimum, not factoring that aspect into the concept of revolutionary change.

A critical question becomes how those who ultimately gain control of Egypt and Tunisia (and elsewhere) ultimately perceive the US. Will it be different than the ones who now control the Iraqi government?

Regardless, from my perspective, one preliminary conclusions is that, under all scenarios, these revolutionary changes do not bode well for the Likud version of Zionism.


Col. Lang,

As one who has yet to incur your wrath, can I put in for pre-amnesty?

Secondly, as a NH native of French-Canadian descent, bonjour!

Finally, there was one point in the Bush administration when the font of beltway polite conservatism David Brooks declared that President Bush seems to have been a foil sent to destroy all of the things he(Brooks) believed in. It was that point where I thought of Bush in the comic "Bizarro Bush" terms. Meaning that whatever he meant to do, the exact opposite seemed to be the result.

Can we now apply this to the neo-con theory of the Middle East? Everything they seem to have desired has turned out the excact opposite of what they advocated.

athe mullahs are still in power in Iran, Hezbollah has become the chief political power broker in Lebanon, Hamas is now looking the better between the PA in light of Palestine papers.

Now the other pro-Western powers in the region are beleaguered with Egypt front and center of the chaos.

The Bizarro Neo-Con world where America's power is ebbing and those opposed to the US and the Israeli's is on the rise.

In the words of Condi Rice: Who could have known this would happen?

Adam L Silverman


It's not that most of political science doesn't recognize it, it's that the folks that have always studied social movements by and large avoid the ones that turn violent. Conversely the folks that study violence, the criminologists, largely aren't interested in the political aspects. So you get a gap in the teaching. And because low/lower intensity political violence is often to low for most IR folks, you see a lot of stuff on war, but the stuff on terrorism and insurgency and rebellion and even revolution becomes a niche area. If you were to look at the job postings you almost never see a search that lists terrorism or insurgency or revolution and when they do it's part of a long list of possible research areas. A decade into this most recent meshugas and most of the academy isn't able to deal with it in classroom or in research. I think this also goes a long way towards explaining last months discussion of the so called terrorism experts. When there is no real scholarship or opportunity for it, then the niche will be filled by anyone who can promote themselves.


IMHO, the original sins of what our host refers to as the 'political science' approach are its pretense of objectivity and universality. In the first instance, 'Political Science' people (either in the academy or those educated within in it) like to pretend that their analysis of world events is scientific and not slave to subjective whims like ideology, national feeling, the will to power, religious belief, or any other irrational (read: human) element. But since all political science people are human, the best they can do is lie to themselves and to others about what human factors condition their analysis.

Thus in practice, this manifests itself in various ways. The neocons and COINistas, for instance, used political 'science' language to obscure and promote their half-baked utopian ideologies, while others use political science-inspired beliefs to hide naked jingoism and nationalism. Ironically perhaps, those more leftily inclined do the same thing, but instead use universalizing political science language to obscure 'one-world' utopianism or an insidious and arrogant belief in 'progress' (read: the arc of Euro-Atlantic history). Why such pretense? Of course the answer is that it's a good way to get ahead in government, academia, or wherever 'analysis' is needed, especially today.

In the second instance, political science people busy themselves with the search for universal laws and truths about human behavior. But in doing so, they are really acting like artists, albeit extremely boring and trite ones.

The rub, of course, is that if our perceptions of political science people matched the reality of them as ambitious yet mediocre wordsmiths, then they would have nowhere near the influence they have.

What is the alternative? I would suggest:
1. Intelligence Analysis: i.e. 'research in the service of the state,' to paraphrase Sherman Kent
2. Scholarship: i.e. the search for truth via the application of reason to systematically collected evidence
3. Art: i.e. the search for truth via description of the human condition

Anything else is just marketing.

different clue

Even though my last prediction (about Iraq) was totally wrong, I will venture another prediction anyway. I will venture to predict that the Syrians will not, not, not have a rebellion or even major demonstrations. They are too horrified by the spectacle of Democratic Islamism in Iraq and they don't want to risk anything like that in Syria.

My feeling is that the upsurge in Tunisia was a strictly homegrown response to homegrown oppression and exploitation. Have any of the demonstrators in Tunisia been voicing suspicion that the ben Ali government was influenced by
overseas Christians and/or Jews? If so, have they been a large enough plurality to matter and should we be hearing about it?


Eiropeans have too much debt from the bank collapse funded by Europeans!


"So thorough-going has been the witch-hunt that AIPAC and its attack dogs have conducted over the past 25 years against anyone with real Middle East expertise that the U.S. government now contains no-one at the higher (or even mid-career) levels of policymaking who has any in-depth understanding of the region or of the aspirations of its people."

Patrick Lang


That is exactly correct. pl

Patrick Lang


"Wilkinson? Perhaps my great great great grandfather WAS a traitor, but that traitor was at Valley Forge, the Brandywine, Yorktown and served as an infantry NCO to the end of the war and beyond until his regiment disbanded at West Point after the peace was signed. pl



Your ancestor can't be a traitor as his side won. I have a distant ancestor who didn't make the end of the war, got caught for spying (on the British) and was hanged (by the Americans - he had two uniforms and not enough evidence to please the drum-hear court). The letter from Washingtons staff to send him back was a couple of weeks late.


Does this ammesty include 'Simon' and his brave colleagues from Centcom? Talk about thin skinned.

Fred - currently Detroit. Let me know if Centcom's hiring, Tampa sounds pretty nice right now.

Patrick Lang


I un-banned everyone, believing in redemption as I do. pl


On objectivity and universality, one of my favorite anecdotes is relevant:

The anthropologist was studying a tribe which had splendid story tellers. They wanted him to tell them a story but he refused because he did not think he could measure up. Finally, when he was due to leave, he broke down and agreed to tell them a story. He chose Hamlet. Upon hearing it the elders of the tribe got very excited and urged him to hurry back to his own elders and explain to them that Hamlet had been taken over by evil spirits. There was absolutely nothing else that would explain Hamlet's objection to his Uncle marrying his Mother which was the Uncle's bounden duty for killing Hamlet's father. Moral: Human nature is the same every where.

Patrick Lang


And you interpret that as meaning that human nature is the same everywhere? pl

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