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16 June 2012


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Never fear. The US will say one thing (democracy) and do the other (support the allied regime). That's been standard operating procedure forever.

The problem of the moment is that the hypocrisy got exposed. But they're confident that public diplomacy will erase the it in people's minds, at least among Americans with notoriously short attention spans and memories.



I guess you have missed the fact that the US IS walking away from its military allies. pl


self publish. NYT
"“print on demand.” That means you don’t actually have the book printed until someone buys it.

That’s unlike the old days, say 15 years ago, when if you published your own book, you had to commit to buying hundreds or thousands of copies.

The advent of digital printing means it makes economic sense to print one copy at a time, said Kevin Weiss, president and chief executive of Author Solutions, which owns numerous self-publishing companies, including iUniverse, AuthorHouse and Xlibris.

“Before, you had to fill your garage with books and pass them on to all your best friends,” Mr. Weiss said."

N M salamon

It is a pity that no one wold publish such well outlined analysis of the USA society at large. Enjoyed reading the Pogo Factor, and will re read it to make notes on the side. Your outline helps me to beter understand the USA, her government in action and the specific actions of the ruling elkite.
Thanks!and it

David Habakkuk

So Coppola chose precisely the most inappropriate kind of American military figure to cast in the character of Conrad's murderous do-gooder.


David Habakkuk

Yes, precisely the wrong kind, pl



The trilogy is "publish on demand." It has done very well on that basis. In re "Pogo" I have lost interest in writing the book. pl


We really need to ruminate upon our continuing meaningless contradictory
actions. of course, the $1.5 billion to the Egyptian military at this point in time appears strange in attempting to support Democracy, which might be a wasted effort there anyway. Giving billions to any of these confused countries also appears to contradict our need to work on our own economic pit.


Col. and David -

Could you expand on that idea WRT Apocalypse Now? I thought that the briefing described Col. Kurtz as the exact type that Conrad portrayed in the novel, and that it is the "good, kind, humanitarian men" who are most easily swayed to do evil for a higher cause.



“The Pogo Factor” is true and accurate but seems dated like me.

The multi-national elite have seized control of the financial markets and western governments. They do have their global beliefs and delusions from deregulation to outsourcing. Mainly, like the Post editorial board, they believe their own propaganda. They still promote elections with the belief that they can control the outcome and keep the masses happy.

In the USA we have government by and for corporations. Elections are a horse race to select the Elites’ guy. However, when the young cannot get jobs and the bourgeoisie loose their homes and businesses, radicals get chosen if elections are held; in Greece, Egypt and the USA. If the USA wants and needs to influence Egypt, the military must remain in power.

Neo-liberal austerity programs, violence in Syria; bombing Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia; and a never ending war in Afghanistan are going to blow back. One response to the attacks is the election of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the possibility that Islamists will shortly control the Nile Delta.

I am so old and weak of mind that I cannot conceive how military contractors’ aerial spying and killing of Islamists from the Sub-Saharan Africa to the Hindu Kush Mountains will bring Peace to the World.


Hank P

Art does not always mirror reality and in this case it did not. Kurtz in the Conrad novelette could have been plausibly portrayed as a half-assed USAID contractoer who went to VN on a sabbatical from the anthropolgy department somewhere. I have know lots of those. They do not stand up well to the evil and sorrow of the world. Special Forces (Green Beret) colonels are hard hearted empaths. They do not retreat into self-pity and a mindless despair over man's Fate. If you had known any you would know that. pl

Mark Logan

Stan, I quite agree, and think we need to ruminate on who "we" are as well. I was very much "entertained", but "intrigued" would be more accurate.

Off topic (slightly) but I am going through something I discovered recently, a 52 part video "Cliffs Notes" treatment of "The Western Tradition" by Eugene Weber which I recently discovered. Sometimes wry, "intriguing" narration to images of art from the period being discussed. If any of the scholars of history here are familiar and have a thumb up or thumb down on this work, thanks in advance.



Col. Lang, as you no doubt know, the fact that you are right about something is irrelevant to the powers that be these days - look at the treatment of Paul Krugman.

Furthermore, if you wish to earn the undying hatred of a narcissist, prove them wrong about something, anything. I saw a very capable chief of staff fired for correcting a major administrative error made by her boss.

No wonder your skill set seems "surplus to requirements" in Washington.



I am well past the point of caring about my "skill set." I am just kibbitzing on human folly to pass the time. pl


Where is the US walking away? In Egypt, where the US continues to lavishly fund the military? In Iraq, where Maliki never attempts to cross the US? In Tunisia, where there's still plenty of time for the US to react? In Uganda, Somalia, and Yemen where the US is getting in deeper?

From what I see, US strategy is still leaning forward into some of the remotest and most strategically unimportant places on earth...which is the real crux of the problem.



Being involved is not the same thing as acting in concert. In Egypt we still give them money because the US does not want them to go to China, etc and the Israeli lobby insists that we do so. In Iraq, Maliki defied us and continues to do so. Tunisia? What are we supposed to do about them? You seem to have conflicting views about foreign affairs. On the one hand you want us to ignore various things and on the other you want us to be more involved. Which is your position? Maybe you just like to disagree. pl


I have two sets of responses: One is analytical, pointing out what the US appears to be doing, which should not be confused with what it says it is doing, though it often is. What the US does is highly expansionist, heavily militarized, with little apparent strategic forethought.

IMHO people too often fall for the bait of US public statements. This being the case, it needs constant repetition to point out that this may not be what the US is actually doing or why it is doing it. Case in point, Egypt, where the US mumbles some words about "democratic transition" but acts to support the military government.

My second set of comments reflect more what I think the US should be doing, which is to adhere more closely to what it says that to what it does. Failing that, the US should at least be candid about what it is doing so that there can be open, public discussion of policies which all too often have led the country into extravagantly expensive quagmires and pointless, futile wars.


John H

A good answer. pl


Nothing new in tolerating this. Back in 1992 everyone was happy to look the other way as Algeria did it POST elections. At least the Egyptian generals are doing it before!


With respect JohnH, these wars/actions are "extravagantly expensive quagmires and pointless, futile wars.
" only to a subset of Americans.

If I was a military contractor, or worked for one, I might have a different descriptionand be of the view that Americas talk and actions are entirely congruent and valuable contributions to life on earth..

This is the esence of Orwells "Doublethink".

David Habakkuk

Looked at from a British point of view, I suppose the really extraordinary thing is how dominant a sixteenth- and seventeenth- century British puritan mindset remains in the United States, despite successive waves of immigration which one would have thought would have diluted the influence.

From some remarks made yesterday by Walter Russell Mead, explaining why ‘striking the Israeli note’ is a ‘smart move’ for Mitt Romney’s campaign:

To many non-Jewish Americans, support for Israel is tied at a deep level to belief in American exceptionalism. Many Americans believe that God has called this nation to a unique role in world history, and for a whole range of theological, cultural and historical reasons they see America’s world role as parallel to and in harmony with Israel’s. A candidate who seems to be ‘soft on Israel’ is telling non-Jewish Americans that he doesn’t really think America is a special place, and he doesn’t really think that God is guiding the historical process.

(See http://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a00d8341c72e153ef00d83451d3f569e2/comments )

There used to be, in Britain, a Tory tradition which saw their unshakable belief that they were instruments of God’s will as one of the most suspect features of the Puritans.

In his doggerel satire Hudibras, written following the Civil War, the royalist writer Samuel Butler remarked: “All piety consists therein/In them, in other men all sin.” And he portrayed the Presbyterian Knight Hudibras, and his squire the Independent Ralpho, as antinomian rascals – convinced not simply that they belonged among the Saints, but that ordinary moral codes were really only meant to apply to the unregenerate.



Yes, the world my Puritan forbears made is still much with us. As a long serving federal officer I am certainly not advocating the secession of any state or set of states, but, as you say, the persistence of the Puritan notion of the "City on a Hill" is pernicoius in its long term effects. Those who wish to expose themselves to my full rumination on what this does to Americans can read my old book proposal posted below. In the case of the Civil War, I find it offensive that men who struggled against great odds for "four arduous years" in the belief of the justice and legality of their cause should unjustifiably be described as "traitors." As you say, an additional irony is the adherence to the Puritan cause of many whose ancestors were not among the importers of this folly. pl

The Twisted Genius

I grew up in a very traditional New England Yankee small town. When we learned of the Pilgrims in grammar school was anything but romantic. In age appropriate terms, we learned that they were a bunch of self-righteous bastards who screwed over the local inhabitants every chance they got. We learned the Pequots had a valid point. The Salem witch trials just proved what hysterical, conniving backstabbers many of these early New Englanders were. Perhaps having our school named after the Algonquin Indians had something to do with this. Even our treatment of the Civil War was more evenly balanced than one would expect in a town where the green was dominated by a statue of a Union soldier. We discussed the concept of states rights in the context of the Declaration of Independence. Our geography curriculum gave us a favorable view of people and cultures from throughout the U.S. and throughout the world. We still got a healthy dose of American exceptionalism, but it was tempered with a sense of humility. I think it was based more on Kennedy era optimism... which probably has roots in the Bostonian Puritan ethic. In the final analysis, and in spite of all my school,s good intentions, Pogo was right.



In yesterday's Washpost:

Egypt’s military issues decree giving vast powers to armed forces, but few to president



As I think I may have told you while munching BBQ, the leaders of the Puritans in the Pequot and King Philip wars included my ancestors. "The sorrow, the pity..." pl

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