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14 March 2011


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Agree 100%.

The Twisted Genius

Dr. Brenner,

Your clear eloquence is powerful. You have left me often inspired and now disheartened. William R. Cumming has been echoing your current summation with the zeal of Eeyore. I'm afraid I will owe him a beer. My country is putting itself squarely on the wrong side of history. The recent wave of revolution sweeping the Mideast did not appear out of nowhere and will not disappear into nothingness.

For a decade I have closely followed the lives of many groups of young hackers from Morocco to Pakistan and all points in between... anthropological fieldwork one might say. They were intelligent, skilled, irreverent and mischievous. They were also very much Arab, usually Muslim and connected to their local cultures. One highly skilled Palestinian hacker related an incident when a friend admonished him to stop wasting his time with computers and pick us arms against the occupier. Thinking that his friend may be right, this hacker asked his online friends and followers for advice. The overwhelming answer from the Palestinian community, as well as the wider Arab community, was that this hacker must continue with his IT education and be prepared to build a new world once the old yokes were thrown off. They were absolutely confident of the eventual success of their revolution. That underlying and patient confidence, and the love of hacking, are what united this online community from the Magreb to South Asia.

I saw the faces and heard the voices of that hacker community in the demonstrators in Tahrir Square and in the rebel fighters trying to advance to Sirte. Obviously those demonstrators and rebel fighters encompass far more of their societies than the small hacker community that I followed, but the yearning to be free and the patience to endure to final victory was the same. We ignore this movement at our great peril.


Sadly I think Mr. Hope and Change will rally with one more tax cut thinking this will solve all ills. He has shown he won't even support those in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio who supported his election most, why should anyone else outside the beltway and millionaire donor circles expect any? Does he think soon to be Mayor Emanuel can stuff enough ballot boxes that they'll overflow the Illinois border? Then again maybe he's just waiting for the likes of Governors Walker, Snyder, Scott and their ilk to further economically savage the middle class enough so they will hold their noses and vote for 4 more years of betrayal.


"...it's the end of the world as we've know it..." - REM

William R. Cumming

Thanks for the post ProfessorBrenner! And TTG for the compliment although I would argue the blog host was there before me.
I recently decided to polish up my knowledge of revolutions so picked up Simon Schama's wonderful take on the French Revolution published in 1989 in honor of that seminal event in Western history. The title is "Citizens"! The basic thesis of the book is that Royalty in France just did not see it coming. Oddly the seams of French culture and society including the royalty had plenty of evidencece throughout the 1780's of what was needed. So perhaps some future historians willl be reveviewing the blogs to try and find out how the leadership in the Western World was so obtuse. Or perhaps just ignorant. And the citizens that elected them.


Ditto, Dr. Brenner. All very depressing and very predictable. I would add cheap oil to your list of Terrorism, Iran and Israel.

Got A Watch

An excellent summation of the pathetic situation.

My contempt for Obama is boundless, and for Washington in general. A spineless worm leading a parade of vacuous windbags.

Michael Brenner

TERGIVERSATIONS If you're going to use fancy words like this, you should make sure to get them spelt right


The counter-revolution is in full swing behind the leadership of the US.

The quest for the no-fly zone has been dropped. "Ministers called on Muammar Gaddafi to respect the legitimate claim of the Libyan people to fundamental rights, freedom of expression and a representative form of government," Juppe, the French Foreign Minister said. http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/africa/libya-live-blog-march-15?sort=desc The counter-revolution is being completed.

The MENA youth will not be deceived about the continuing support and leadership Western Europe and US are giving to MQ and the other Kings.

"United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates visits Bahrain to meet King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa on Saturday. Saudi Arabia invades Bahrain on Monday. This has got to be just a coincidence; Gates and the king were obviously discussing the fortunes of Ferrari and MacLaren in the (postponed) Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain.

Moreover, this walks like an invasion, talks like an invasion, but it's not really an invasion, as White House spokesman Jay Carney confidently reassured world public opinion. It helps that said opinion happened to be conveniently narcotized, transfixed by the heartbreaking post-tsunami drama in Japan to the point of ignoring some distant rumblings in a tiny Gulf kingdom." http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MC16Ak03.html

For the multitude of rational persons in the MENA who have any exposure to the media, all belief that the US is a moral beacon for anything now should be completely shattered. More "interesting times" will progress as this solemn realization sets in and the MENA youth begin to gel the perception that the US is working behind the scene to preserve the authoritarian states and thae the US really is its enemy. It is a turn-about on Bush's "If you are not for us, you are against us." with a vengence. The result may make 9/11 look like a minor skirmish. The blow-back will come. The idiots in Washington just don's see the gravity of their huge mistake, but, unfortunately for me, my family, and my countrymen, in time they will and it will be too late.

I agree with Pat that 2011 will be like 1848--or 1905. Obama will fulfill his campaign promise, there will be real change. The reordering of MENA society is pregnant and it will be birthed. The question now is whether most radical or the most reasomable will prevail? This is 1905. Who will control 1917? How long will MENA have to wait for 1989?


What are the words in the chants?



What are the evolving code words of the protesters?











neat word. Garishly Rococo figleaf for something shameful which calls attention to what it supposes to hide: a pudorative?? (new word).

Brent Wiggans

The kind of rousing clarity of action and purpose you prescribe usually emerges as description after the fact. The bold strokes and forthright posture you say are missing in this situation often find expression in the covert and the subtle. They are revealed later as history. However, it all seems perfectly clear to you, and apparently a number of others on this committee of correspondence, what should be done. How unusual, a rare moment in history when the right course was so obvious in its own time. And then our government cravenly chooses to do otherwise.

You may be right. Obama may be a pusillanimous egotist, we have earned the right to our cynicism, but your pieces give little doubt that you would be among his harshest critics were he to do what you seem to be advocating and it led to the kind of failure our ill-considered boldness and simplistic understanding of the world have led us into in the recent past. If Obama is not seen to heed your advice and things end up in a mess, as the odds surely favor, I will have played the skunk at the garden party for nothing and you will have the satisfaction of having told us all so without these noble schemes of support for the oppressed - who have never aroused much passion in us before - being tested by the rigors of a geopolitical reality we show few signs of having figured out. My naiveté does not extend to thinking Obama will do the right thing, just to the faint hope that in some undisclosed way he is.

Charles I

. . .ease with one's own shamelessness makes it all quite easy.

The truth behind all the lies, as PL put it in the previous post, "moral illiteracy". Something that only matters in the real world, not in the "reality"
our erstwhile leaders claimed they created themselves.

Not anarchy, but utter aimlessness, aside from suicidal financial functions, in the planet's "instrument of power".


"...and I feel fine." The rest of the REM line.

Supporting democracy and freedom worldwide is just a smokescreen our great leader--including most of our previous leaders and other world leaders--use to obfuscate their real intentions. What Obama and most of the other mafia states support is the criminal oligarchy intent on owning the world's natural resources, including the people. The impetus for freedom and democracy has, and always will, come from the ground up. You don't have to leave home to see power being concentrated in corporate state and taken from the people. While our Constitution is being shredded by the Patriot Act, Obama talks about spreading democracy in the ME but will never support it.


The Opera Benghazi, the next Les Miserables, will soon be coming to a theater near you.

The code language is growing. "'They have betrayed us," Ahmed Malen, one of the revolutionary volunteers pasting anti-Gaddafi posters on walls in Benghazi. "If they kill us all, the west will have blood on its hands. They do not believe in freedom. They are cowards.'"


You Arabic speakers out there, please help us understand the linguistic currents.

The Twisted Genius

I've posted this quote before about another group of jilted rebels:

"This site is tribute to the very first Hippies of the Modern world. Woods were their home. They used to recognize each other by long hair and freedom in their eyes. They never surrender. 23,000 fell... They were persecuted, tortured and killed by brutal troops of huge invader's army. They were waiting to Free World to come with the help. But "free world" sucked..."

So this is not the first time. It would have been very easy to help the Libyan resistance with a relatively light touch. It could still be very easy. A tragic consequence of our current course of action is that the Salafist jihadists will have a fertile field to find recruits willing to try another way to throw off their yokes of oppression. At least the chupacabras who have made a living off of GWOT will have job security.



No, this gang waited until they were assured of getting what they wanted, the status quo, before they came out with the 'cover my ass' letter.


Obama * * * just wants it all to go away - as with the BP oil spill, the financial crisis, and anything else that distracts him from the preoccupation of playing President as long as he possibly can.

The real money quote! His only objective is maintenance of the status quo, including his own incumbency for 8 years. That's what his "change you can believe in" has come to.

The man came to power at a time when the country would have accepted a true Second New Deal had he pushed hard enough for it: but ever since he took office he's been running away from what he promised during the campaign.

I will have a very hard time voting for this all-mouth-and-no-ass nebbish in 2012.

The Moar You Know

The Arab League has all the weapons that we do, save for nukes and the F-22. Additionally, in addition to their own armed forces, they have legions of young, unemployed men who could be turned into infantry easily enough.

Let them do what they don't want to do. Why should we, again, have to pick up the gun and shed American blood for a battle that is not ours?

Patrick Lang

The Moar you Know

What they lack is the ability to use any of those resources in a power projection role. pl

different clue


If the Republicans nominate a non-crazy non-lunatic ticket for 2012, would you have an easier time voting against Obama in 2012? I know I would. The saner the Republican ticket, the easier I will find it to vote third party.
(Still deciding which one).

Yusuf  Al-Misry

Dr Brennan..Thank you for your very interesting piece..wonder why there are no similar views every where in the media


I think it's a given that Obama is counting on the Republican clown car to disgorge one of their usual loons, and then effectively win by default. It's not a bad bet.

That said, it's not at all clear to me just why Obama's handling of MENA is so horrible. There really aren't a lot of good options for America there, period. Whether you think mistrust of America in that part of the world is justified or not, it's there, it exists. It passes understanding how aligning with this or that splinter faction here or there is going to undo a reputation we've accrued over many decades. In that light, doing too little is a refreshing change from doing something, anything, for no better reason than that it feels good.

When it comes to Libya in particular, the enthusiasm for intervention is simply bewildering. Brent Wiggans, above, seems to be the only person in this thread with any sense of perspective. Sure, Gaddafi's a bad dude, but the sudden devotion to The Rebels is completely mystifying. Do we have even a **vague** idea of who they are, what they really want? Seems to me that we've gone down our share of blind alleys following guys whose **only** credentials were that they were against other guys whom we disliked. We're supposed to learn from history, no? Especially when it's still within living memory.

Stephen Jones

Does the Saudi 'Air Force', such as it is, retain American trainers and advisors?

If so, wouldn't they ba able to generate enough force projection to stop an armored advance and/or air strikes by Qaddafi on Benghazi?

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