« Time Out | Main | Sasquatch Summit, November 18-19, 2016 - TTG »

17 November 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



"some of the returned Vietnam vets were forming an armed resistance" Your uncle and who else? pl



I thought I dealt with that a couple of weeks ago. I am a FP guy so I coined the term to deal with the FPE in its groupiness. Domestically the same left wing forces extend everywhere. People like Sister Rachel Maddoww exemplify the type. The Borg is somewhat different because of the somewhat feigned adherence of the neocons to it. I have started calling the domestic extension the "Multi Culti." My former neighbor, a Canadian by birth used the term. I like that. pl


SST members,

As a footnote to TTG's links, I would add two interviews Vice.com did last year (roughly during or a bit after the push south in the Hasakah area. One's with a Frenc-h and the other with a German volunteer. Unlike its English-language mothership, Vice's foreign subsidiaries actually seem to be run by adults, so the questions are quite good, or at least not irrelevant.

Interview with French guy (translated)

Interview with the German guy (in German)

What I picked up from both interviews is that YPG/J forces indeed "a very lightly armed infantry force," and (from my very cursory reading of fighting in Manbij) this can't quite be compensated-for by air support, which is why (absent a concurrent offensive by SAA) I'm not that sure that YPG/J has the guns or even the people to push actually to conquer Raqqa. That said, I'm working off literally year-old information, so all kinds of things may have changed in the mean-time, but wanted to post the two interviews because, unlike unfortunately so many others, the conversation does go into training periods and organization.


Sir, I have read these reports, and put with the fragging of officers and the infiltration of Marxism into some units it sounded credible. It got me thinking about the danger to the ruling class of teaching your people to fight, then pissing them off sending them to a BS war. They haven't tried conscription since.

This from https://www.ivaw.org/history-resistance
"1964-75 - Huge GI movement rocks United States Military, both in Vietnam and at bases at home and around the world. Over 300 GI anti-war newspapers are printed on base or near base, 10 percent of the U.S. military deserts or goes AWOL, and major incidents of combat refusal, mass draft resistance, refusals to deploy, and on-base protests and sit-ins occur. Movement brings the draft to an end and is a major force in bringing the Vietnam War to an end. GIs sabotage ships and stories of GIs switching sides (the so-called White Cong and the "Salt & Pepper" duo of white and black GIs) and fighting alongside the Vietcong are numerous."


Thank you Colonel Lang

ex-PFC Chuck

I'm another reluctant draftee* who now would support a draft under certain conditions, one of which is that blood relatives in the conscription age range of members of Congress and senior administration officials be required to do their service in a ground combat arm. IIRC, this is similar to suggestions made here previously by Col. Lang. Nothing like skin in the game to focus the mind.

* I was Vietnam era also, although early (1963-1965). I had hoped I'd at least get to see some interesting part of the world on the government's nickle, however the farthest away from home I got from my upper Midwest home town was basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.


Thanks for your service Chuck,

Hell yeah, I ain't no Senator's son. One of my favourite part of Fahrenheit 9/11 is when MM is trying to sign up Congresspeople's children to go to Iraq. The look on their face!


Regarding Flynn I have been as puzzled as David Habakukk. One possibility regarding Flynn and Ledeen is that Flynn is well aware of the power of Zionists in Washington and wanted to appease them. Same thing I suspect is going now regarding Bannon and the ADL. And it might have been the background of Trump´s curious turnaround regarding Israel during the primaries. Remember how he first promised to treat Israel and the Palestinians the same? How he earned howls of protest and the inevitable accusations of Antisemitism? Then turned around held such an impossibly groveling speech at the AIPAC conference that one wondered whether he was making fun of them? Maybe I am wrong...

mike allen


There are some twitter reports that Daesh just this morning retook Qabasin from Turkish backed FSA. If true this will be at least the fourth time it has changed hands. Perhaps the Turks were too focused on al-Bab and took their eye off the ball in Qabasin? The Kurd resident civilians (if there are any left there) are getting screwed over by both sides.

David Habakkuk


A rational Machiavellian will realise both the limits of manipulation, and also that others may be trying to manipulate you. (This was some of what Putin tried to explain, in his speech to the UN back in September 2015.)

A classic use of terrorism is to use the power-holders own power against them, by creating a situation in which they have to finesse the inherent tension between appearing to be weak by not responding, and responding in such a way that they become the terrorists’ recruiting sergeant.

Handling these kind of dilemmas successfully is commonly a matter of finding the ‘least worst solution’ to successive challenges over time.

This is not, repeat not, a matter for superannuated graduate students occupying a Washington ‘bubble’, in which the ‘lingua franca’ of a debased form of American nationalist rhetoric makes confronting the real world practically impossible.

It is a matter which needs people who have a deep understanding of the cultures with which they are dealing. This requires on-the-ground experience, or serious ‘area studies’ scholarship – ideally a combination of both.

When I first tried to make sense of the attack on the World Trade Center, the shadowy ghost of an old ‘Indian Civilian’ resurfaced in my head.

It seemed to me likely that this was a classic attempt to bait the holders of overwhelming power into over-reaction. If this was so, people like Ledeen, Wolfowitz, Perle et al fell for the bait, hook, line and sinker.

As to my use of the phrase ‘Groucho Marx Machiavellians’. Almost exactly thirty years ago now, I and a colleague produced a 90-minute programme entitled ‘Defending Europe’, in which, among other things, we had Perle on a satellite link from Washington.

To someone coming from a kind of British culture decisively – and constructively – shaped by Jewish refugees from the disasters of continental European history, this was a kind of ‘culture shock’.

Ironically, as a result of reading the writings of one of those refugees who had I known personally, I had taken an ignorant interest in some of the writings of the great Viennese Jewish satirist Karl Kraus.

So already, Perle seemed to me like some monstrous apparition out of Kraus’s First World War satire ‘The Last Days of Mankind’: a pasty-faced civilian militarist, always happy to send other people’s children to wars in which he had no intention that his own people would fight.

What was only partly apparent to me then was the extent to which the intense intellectual arrogance of people like Perle – the whole ‘devil’s brood’ reared by Albert Wohlstetter and his wife – actually obscured not only their deep spiritual ugliness but their utter intellectual incompetence.

Many of these people are the ‘insulted and injured’ of the Russian Empire, out for revenge. Accordingly, their policy prescriptions are totally rooted in traumas from a century ago – and have no relation whatsoever to the world in which we live.


"I'm not that sure that YPG/J has the guns or even the people to push actually to conquer Raqqa."

Caliph Ibrahim must still take that front as a threat (are they being supplied with needed equipment, could outside troops reinforce them, is their air support at higher, lower or at the same levels as in the past. ...?) and devote his currently dwindling resources to it.

David Habakkuk


Yes. I generally agree with all of this, and there is a lot more to be said about it.

Something which, from a British point of view, I find both puzzling and alarming.

What the ‘Borg’ represents, essentially, is the emergence of ideological conformity as the fundamental ‘marker’ of collective identity. (In Britain, in the past, this was true but only to a much more limited extent.)

As this has happened, the scope for acceptable intellectual disagreement has narrowed massively.

But, as ‘Brexit’ and the victory of Trump have demonstrated, the results are self-destructive, even for the ‘Borgistas’.

Some tolerance of dissent is necessary, for ‘course correction’ to be possible.

My sense both of the ‘Remain’ campaign in Britain, and of the ‘mainstream’ response to the challenge from Trump, was that it was as though the officers of the ‘Titanic’ had been up on the bridge, hell-bent on racing further towards the icebergs, with only an occasional nervous twitch indicating some sense that this might not be a good idea.

People on the deck shouting ‘be careful’ were simply ignored – it was assumed they were ideologically unreliable.

As to Trump and his team, I think to remain skeptical and cynical, but wish them well, is precisely the right response.

What I devoutly hope, however, is that ‘liberals’ will at long last cease behaving like ostriches. I have to say I am not that hopeful – but then, as Yogi Berra said, ‘It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.’

Babak Makkinejad

A selection of Gen. Flynn's opinions on Iran:


I believe that he was being sincere in all of those pronouncements.

Babak Makkinejad

The marginalization of humanities has been, in my opinion, a direct consequence of the long-standing belief that the Newtonian Paradigm is equally applicable to Humanities.

One only need to figure out the combination of - in this case, social - forces and one can then forecast the development of that social formation - provided one knows the dynamic laws and the initial conditions.

That was also part of the Enlightenment Project - you see that programmer and the advent of the digital computers have made it possible to churn out more and more papers that claim to be able to simulate societies of humans; see for example https://www.amazon.com/Generative-Social-Science-Agent-Based-Computational/dp/0691125473/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1479586602&sr=8-2&keywords=Agent-Based+Computational+Sociology



And of course, the hidden claim is that one is only a few more simulations, a few more powerful computers, a few more decades of writing computer programs away from laying bare what makes human social formations tick.

I think the Humanities professors, often not having sufficient mathematic background, were intimidated into accepting this quantitative computational approach. The rebuttal, of course, would have been to start from Plato and the notion of Justice - but everyone know that Philosophy is obsolete and with it Plato and all of his subsequent commentators.

I think the denizens of the Foreign Office would have laughed at all these pretensions to Scientism )really pseudo-scientism). I wonder what Gibbon or Burckhardt would have made of all of this.

Last week, 3 million Iranians crossed into Iraq to participate in a walk to commemorate the Martyrdom of Imam Hussein - one wonders what social forces caused them to do so - how does the Newtonian paradigm apply here.



Do any of the cognoscenti here know anything of the Generals Flynns' father's Army career? I have not found it described. He evidently worked for a bank in RI after 20 years service. It seems odd that neither of the boys went to WP. pl

The Beaver


Could he be this Charles F Flynn enlisted on 03-04-1946.


Got married that same year:
Miss Helen F. Andrews Weds Charles F. Flynn". Newspapers.com . Newport Mercury. May 10, 1946

mike allen

My understanding is that the YPG/J will only take part in the isolation of Raqqa, and not enter Raqqa itself. That will be left to non-Kurdish components of SDF.

At least that was the original plan. But the non-Kurdish components are also lightly armed. So who knows???


Filip Dewinter also used the term multi-culti ... in the '90's. He happens to be the foreman of the extreme-right wing Flemish xenophobic ultra-nationalistic Anti-Belgian "Vlaams Blok" (militaristic sounding Flemish Block/grouplet/regiment) cosmetically renamed "Vlaams Belang" (Flemish Interest).

Through out the history in the Low Countries, these gangs collaborated with the foreigners to advance their interest and ended up each time frustrated and on the losing side. They suffer from what I call "The Kurden Syndrome", ended up collaborating with "The Hun" first and "Dad Reich" a second time.

I always suspected that party of getting the wind in it's sail from over the Atlantic.

This does not mean that I accuse you one way or the other, just give you some background about the term from PERSONAL experience.



"the fragging of officers and the infiltration of Marxism into some units it sounded credible" The infiltration of what? Utter fantasy. What are you doing here among adults? pl



"Loyalists?" Get off my site! Kerry was a self-indulgent little jerk who milked public disaffection for all it was worth and then married his friend's rich widow, I am serious. You are gone. pl

Chris Chuba

Gen Flynn

I was listening to the Larry Kudlow show and I was taken back by a criticism from one of his guests from the Wall Street Journal who sternly informed Kudlow that 'Flynn does indeed have troubling ties to Russia, I prefer people who graduate to think tanks, people like Gen. Jack Keane who formed the Institute on the Study of war'.

This told me why our views on Russia and just about every other country in the world is so distorted. We favor people who get sucked into think tanks where they have their pre-existing views reinforced. It's not like these people actually visit or even read the media of the countries that they despise so much, they just confirm their own biases. It's funny that Flynn is being condemned for actually talking to Russians, how dare you! it is better to talk about Russians to be considered a legitimate expert.

Coincidentally, the day before I listened to Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer defend Gen. Flynn along these lines. From reading Shaffer's bio, he seems to have a rather controversial past but I have always found his analysis quite sound the few times I have seen him on FOX and wished that they had him on their programs more often.


David, I wouldn't mind to listen to what you experienced as 'culture shock' after all these years. But I suppose not easy to get the program you produced with your colleague in 1986/87 after all those years. You mentioned it before. Not sure if you mentioned the focus of the production.

Perle, The Dark Prince, surfaced for me in only in the post 9/11 universe as one cog in a widening wheel of the larger security complex or industry. How did he draw your attention then? In this context?


Appreciate the allusion to Karl Kraus, "the self-hating Jew" (scare quote).

He surfaced for me on TeVe in 2003 with Rumpsfeld and Claudia Roth. It was interesting to watch little soul (Seelchen), Claudia Roth, surrender to his charms.


He got her into serious mental twists. For me it looked as if he was simply 'too charming' for her to withstand.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

I agree that ‘scientism’ is a catastrophe.

In my own case, a lot of puzzles came together when – quite late in life – I came across the brief ‘Autobiography’ which the British philosopher/archeologist/historian R.G. Collingwood wrote in 1939. (It is easily accessible on the net, and can be read in an afternoon.)

When Collingwood wrote ‘all history is the history of thought’ he may have somewhat overstated his case. But the central point is right – that human action has an ‘inside’ as well as an ‘outside’, and the recovery of purpose, intention and meaning is quite different from an analysis of the behaviour of inanimate objects.

What this also involves is a restatement of the theme of the ‘persistence of the past’.

We carry the thoughts of our forbears inside us – often, as it were, in complicated and contradictory ‘layers’. But, by the same token, we can attempt to assimilate the pasts of others, and remodel ourselves in their shape, as we imagine it: as the Renaissance did with elements of Greek and Roman culture not absorbed into medieval thinking, and the Russian revolutionaries with the ideas of the French Jacobins.

Understanding of others involves excavating these ‘layers’ in them; self-understanding, applying the same process to ourselves.

A corollary is that different kinds of ‘modernist’ programme – be they traditional forms of ‘Jacobin’ project, or modern ‘multiculturalist’ versions – are inherently problematic. Moreover, if cross-examined, they commonly reveal actual or latent ‘totalitarian’ elements. Accordingly, it is of their nature that they produce bad history.

One cannot recover the thoughts of others, if one is always assessing these in the light of the premise that they must really have known the ‘truth’ one embodies. (Also, here dangers of narcissism loom large.)

In this sense, the notion what ‘liberalism’ has degenerated into is genuinely ‘secular’ is nonsense. It is largely premised on the attempt to retain notions of direction in human history which were originally premised on assumptions of a comprehensible divine purpose, while repudiating belief in god. This must, inevitably, produce ‘pseudo-science’, as well as gibberish history.)

Another corollary is that the cultivation of the imagination ought to be a central part of education. This does not mean that one opens the door to unlimited arbitrariness – far from it. A good detective will commonly have to use imagination to recover purpose, intention and meaning.

But, having formulated hypotheses, he – or she – will then seek to generate testable propositions.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

Sir Fred Hoyle, whose scientific creativity and imagination I have much enjoyed and admired, observed in his autobiography how he had experienced life over a period of 200 years; through his father and his grandfather - a point valid not just for the English but for all of mankind. And thus, the past persists, in pieces or in whole, and exercises influence over the minds of men.

“All history is the history of thought’. Indeed.

Concretely, let me bring to your attention 2 extant romances in the Near East (akin to those of “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” or “Tale of the Monkey King” in China) – namely, “History of the Bani Helal” – recounting the wonderings of the Beni Helal Arab tribe in the Levant and North Africa – and “Samak the Ayyar” – describing the exploit of one Samak who is an “ayyar” ( “vagabond” ), belonging to a secrete brotherhood of “ayyaran”.

The ethos of Bani Helal is one of survival, through cunning for the most part. And what I have heard is that Arab audiences and readers are much charmed by the display of successful cunning by the various protagonists of this romance. The sort of cunning recounted in it reminds me of certain stories related in Genesis – which is also about survival.

Could be that this is a common theme among Semitic tribes that had been wondering in Western Asian deserts for centuries

On the other hand, the ethos of “Samak the Ayyar” is one of upholding the code of “Javanmardi” – Man-Young – something akin to the code of the Knight-Errant. This is dating back to pre-Islamic Iran and later was evidently adopted by the Seljuks. And to this day, “Javanmardi” is a quality to which men aspire in Iran, regardless of how cunningly they might behave in their personal or commercial interactions with others.

I think these two romances, where they have gone and where they have stayed, demarcate the Seljuk World and the Arab World. One emphasizes survival and cunning, the other conformance to the code of conduct of “Javanmardi” of generosity, loyalty etrc. I cannot comment about Central Asia or Pakistan, I just do not know.

I think the application to the current situation in the Middle East is quote clear. What is also clear is that political position of AKP – a Seljuk country with the “Javanmardi” code going against its own grain by collaborating with the Gulfies. In my opinion, that is not sustainable.

In regards to “Progress” and “Sense of Direction “in History, I would like to learn wherein lies the source for that idea that imbues so much of historical writing among Western Diocletians.

For myself, looking at the Near Eastern history, I just see periods of Peace and Tranquility, interspersed with periods of Chaos and Mayhem - during which millions were killed, or otherwise endured starvation, disease, and rapine; very reminiscent of Imperial China's experience.

I do not see any pattern of progress over hundreds of years; rather one of decay and stagnation (if one has been lucky).

It is not just in historical research that one has to be imaginative; this is a requirement also for a successful natural scientist. Nevertheless, there is also something called "Insight" - a deep grasping of some essential truth or truths of a subject or a period of time or a person.

I think Insight is something that all human beings are capable of - to varying degrees - yet its results cannot be substantiated initially; one has an insight and then one goes about marshaling evidence in its support.

The Beaver


Sorry catching up on my reading over the WE and was wondering if you saw this from Jack Murphy:

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad