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Total number of comments: 5 (since 2013-11-28 16:38:23)


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  • Egypt: Military Pulls the Strings (Tahrir Graffitti)
    • Interesting that this is another Batman reference; the smile of the puppeteer is copied from The Joker, one of Batman's nemeses.

  • How Long will We let the National Rifle Association and Corrupt Politicians Kill our Children?
    • While I disagree that "all adults should own at least one firearm" (I do not want to own one, for one), I do agree that a discussion about permits is important. I would like to see assault rifles banned, too.

      Back to the issue of permits: I have a deadly weapon. Before I was allowed to use it, the government required me to prove that I was medically capable of using it, that I knew all of the rules and regulations (and there are many) before operating it, and that I could prove beyond a doubt that I could physically operate it by giving a real-life demonstration to a trained and authorized government employee who had the option to deny me said permit. Since I obtained said permit, I have lived under the threat that I could have my permit revoked, and I am required by law to have insurance that would help to cover the damages should I misuse it.

      I am, of course, talking about my car.

      Does this provoke any thoughts, fellow Americans? In this analogy that I am making, Is it too much to ask that people should be banned Formula One race cars on the roads? Is it too much that we ask that operators who are physically, mentally, or training-deficient be disallowed from driving even a Yugo?

      For any who have missed the point, by "Formula One" I mean assault rifles and the like, and by "Yugo" I mean even the lowliest of firearms.

      Please respond.

  • Top Ten Ways the US Military can Avoid Teaching Hatred of Muslims
    • I notice also that, in addition to the bigotry, the course material, which I downloaded a copy of, says the following: "As a professional soldier, you have a Constitutional oblgation- by law and oath, to assess all threats, and if necessary confront and defeat all enemies, foreign and domestic," and "your oath as a professional soldier forces you to pick a side here." This from a Lieutenat Colonel? Does he believe that professional soldiers have the obligation to pick fights and choose sides? This undermines the authority of the nation's policy-makers in favor of the soldier choosing to fight whomever he assesses to be a threat to the United States.

      I say that a professional soldier does not have the luxury of choosing fights, and must follow all lawful orders issued by the commanders, who follow the orders of the civilian leaders of the country, in defense of the nation.

      In other words, it seems that LTC Dooley is also a bit of an anarchist who is working to subvert the constitution. This is especially ironic considering that the same page of the course says the following: "The 1st Amendment offers no protection to anyone actively working to impose a system of laws that subverts our constitution." I agree with that last statement.

  • Christians, Muslims "One Hand" in Egypt's Youth Revolution
    • I am just beginning to wrap my mind around the events in Egypt, but I have reached a few tentative conclusions, some of which confirm what I already believed. Here are a some of the ones that I feel more comfortable with:

      1. The grass roots in Egypt, especially the largest demographic (15-30 year-olds) are, by and large, not very inclined toward Islamism. Witness the fact that although most of the participants in the hundreds of thousands who are protesting in Tahrir Square and elsewhere have made a public spectacle of praying, the Muslim brotherhood is far outnumbered among the throngs, and the beard-touting Salafists are in very short supply. One might have imagined that in this state of defiance and open antagonism of the establishment, not to mention lawlessness on the streets, the Salafists would not be afraid to show their faces en masse. I submit that they might have done so, only succeeding in showing what a small percentage of the base they really are. It is possible that the Muslim Brotherhood will come to greater power in Egypt, but I doubt that they will have the ability to take over the government. In fact I attribute their largest gains in recent years to be because they were the only organized opposition to the regime. In other words, people did not vote for them, but against the regime. Now that the regime appears to be falling, the Brotherhood will no longer be seen as an alternative.

      2. In general, the population of Egypt is not very inclined to violence. Again, the hundreds of thousands in Tahrir Square proved that they are quite capable of defending themselves, but they did not devolve into chaos and violence; once the attacks against them stopped, no further violence was committed by them.

      3. The population of Egypt is not as anti-US as we might have thought. Witness the fact that one of the most distinctive buildings on Tahrir Square is the Old Campus of the American University in Cairo. I have not heard of a single instance of an attack against it, despite the anger displayed by the demonstrators. What buildings did they destroy? Buildings owned by their enemies: Mubarak’s National Democratic Party and the Ministry of Interior.

      4. The youth of Egypt have shown that they are quite capable technically. Witness the fact that they managed to defeat the internet and phone blackouts and continuously send Twitter updates even during the blackout.

      5. The youth in Egypt are capable of overcoming their greatest differences: class and religious distinctions. Witness the fact that the tweets that kept coming from Tahrir Square must have come from individuals who have internet-capable telephones, and thus prove that at least a number of them were affluent enough to own these phones, and that they are educated enough in the English language to used Twitter, but the voices on the tweets were not only those of the affluent, so there must have been cooperation there between the haves and the have-nots. As for religious differences, witness the fact that the Christians were in force enough to guard the Muslims as they prayed, and the very fact that they did so. Then they held their own Mass on Sunday, and were guarded by the Muslims—even the ones with the beards.

      6. There is also a hint that terrorism will be severely damaged in the Arab world by these events. The peaceful nature of the demonstrations (with the exception of burning party buildings and the rock fights when they were attacked) has shown untold millions that grass-roots mobilization can achieve in weeks what militancy has never succeeded in doing, even if the fight is not over yet. This is a game changer, I believe. Grass roots might well be the new thing. I recently read a paper by a colleague of mine that self-immolation may supplant suicide bombing as the “fad” in protest. I am not sure that I am convinced with the conclusion, but the chant “peaceful, peaceful” that the millions shouted across Egypt tells me that people are far more willing to follow the peaceful demonstrators than the violent militants.

      7. Even the most impoverished and downtrodden people in the world are capable of organizing and finding leadership in the most mundane places. The millions that acted in Egypt had leaders, no matter what anybody says. The surprise is not that they do, but that they are unknowns. Just regular Joes and Janes (Yup! I have evidence that Janes led this uprising, too. In some cases, they even beat the Joes to the punch). It is also evident in how organized the disparate groups in there were (students, mainstream Muslims, Salafists, Muslim brothers, Christians, women, old people, children, you name it).

      As I said at the beginning, the conclusions are tentative, and I might yet be proven to be the naïve, optimistic, and idealistic fool that I am, but it is hard for me to imagine that the above conclusions are evidence of my gullibility. I am not saying that this may not yet devolve into chaos and some violence, but the above conclusions will remain true, even if these brave souls are defeated, duped, or otherwise forced to drop the banner.

  • Guerrilla War Continues: 31 Killed in Iraq Attacks; Allawi, Maliki to Meet
    • Professor Cole,

      Much as I hate to contradict you, the report on Asharq Alawsat does not say that they have met (and they haven't, at least not publicly), it says that they will meet within 72 hours.

      Cultural and Political Advisor
      US Division-Center

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