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14 May 2011


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While many SST readers are looking overseas of late, one of the great human dramas of our time is playing out right now along the lower Mississippi.

And thankfully, the New Yorker has now made accessible on its website John McPhee's incomparable essay "Atchafalaya" from the magazine's archives.

It is recommended reading for anyone interested in the historic events unfolding along the banks of one of the world's mightiest rivers.

William R. Cumming

Between now and the 2012 election what are the top ten nation-states that may face a revolution overthrowing largely corrupt governments or dictatorships?


Currently in W. Va for training, in the Harper's Ferry area.

Anyone have any suggestions on where to go get something to eat that's not going to be found anywhere else? Or things to see? (went to Gettysberg last weekend.)


Unbelievable Pakistani Posturing. The predominant Pak response to the bin Laden killing seems to be outrage over the breach of their "sovereignty" and mourning over the death of this monster. Grotesquely, I read that the Pakistanis now view the US as "an unfaithful ally."

Are the elites and populace there really so primitive that they cannot even begin to imagine the American perspective on their having harbored this man, with obvious Pak Govt complicity? And they call us "unfaithful?

I don't think we should give these people another nickel. I really question why we should not consider them anything other than a pariah state in the same league as Iran and North Korea. Somebody, pul-eaze, give me a "nuanced" explanation why I am wrong, and reacting primitively and with equal naiveté to their duplicity.

My challenge assumes that we should drastically reduce our presence in Afghanistan on post-Osama "mission accomplished" grounds, and let both countries consume themselves with internecine warfare. They seem capable of little else, as a matter of fact.


TU FU (712 - 770)


"We recruits have our commanders to send us off,
but, bound for distant duty, we're people too!
From here we go out to face life or death -
no cause for the officers to scowl at us so.
Along the route we come on someone we know,
give him a letter to hand to close kin.
Sad as it is, we and they are parted now,
no longer to share the same troubles and pain.


If you draw a bow, draw a strong one;
if you use an arrow, use one that's long.
If you want to shoot a man, shoot his horse first;
if you want to seize the enemy, seize the leader first.
But killing people has limits too,
and when you guard a state, there are boundaries to be observed.
Just so you manage to keep invaders out -
Seeing how many you can slaughter - that's not the point!"

William R. Cumming

Tyler! Antietam Battlefield close by to Harpers Ferry. Also Shepherdstown W.VA a beautiful little small town. Good German resturant there with a name that escapes me.

Several other small but excellent places to eat in Shepherdstown.

Redhand! That is the real question. Most in the foreign policy establishment believe Pakistan must be kept close as in keep your enemy closest probably because of its nuclear arsenal.

Dan Gackle

Extraordinary footage of protest in Sanaa yesterday:



The only battlefield I've ever visited was Petersburg, south of Richmond, where I also visited the Confederate White House.

The battlefield was truly something awe-inspiring. And the National Park Service does a terrific job making it accessible.

GPS made finding the battlefield a snap.

I wonder to what extent Davis lost the war for the South. He was no match for Lincoln.

The African-American population of Petersburg was 50% freedmen at the end of the war.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/14/pakistan-nato-afghanistan-bin-laden>Pakistan may cut Nato's supply line.

Margaret Steinfels

On Mississippi flooding, John Berry's "Rising Tides," is a tour de force...the 1927 flood explains how the current system came into being.


Retd. Pakistani General Aslam Mirza Beg, in The Nation:


"The Abbottabad episode of May 2, 2011, provides the opportunity to restore our national sovereignty and establish a new level of relationship with our immediate neighbours and countries beyond. It is a ‘blessing in disguise’ to restore national honour and dignity. In fact, the 2/5 episode was a hoax and a big lie, the same as the 9/11 episode was a big lie for an excuse to launch a crusade against the Muslim world.
Osama’s look-alike prisoner from Bagram was picked up and brought to Abbottabad and killed in cold blood in front of his family members, who were living there. In fact, OBL had been killed in Afghanistan some time back and his body may still be lying in a mortuary in Afghanistan. They showed a bullet-ridden picture of Osama, which was two years old, and another photo that had no resemblance with him. His body was dumped into the sea to hide the crime committed in such a clumsy manner. The 2/5 episode was the finale of the 9/11 lies and was meant to achieve three main objectives:...."


I'm searching for the elusive framboiserie, which will be easier to find than peace in the Middle East. Mass at the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Pairs. Good for the soul and zero calories. Framboise ice cream at the Berthillon shop on Ile St. Louis, that had a few. Good thing I walked them off.


"if you want to seize the enemy, seize the leader first."

Quite a few did this to the guy who spent more time reading 'my pet goat' than 'bid laden determined to strike inside the US' I don't think W ever recovered.


Are any of the Republican candidates sane?


Jane: I don't have an answer to your question, and it's a good one, other than to say they are an entertaining lot and I wouldn't vote for any of them.

William R. Cumming

Actually beware a candidate with nothing to lose--Ron Paul! He may be the one to change the political dialect in the USA even though I think he will end up as TEA Party nominee and perhaps close in on Perot's 19% of eligible voters in 1992 election. No Perot no Bill Clinton IMO!

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