The Grim Milestone of Blogs "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational" - Prince Charles "Nuts" - Gen McAuliffe America: Saving idiots from themselves since WWI

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Update: Fahd feels like dancing (which is haram)? Zarqawi vacationing in South of France (Iran)? 9/11 TRAVESTY?

That's the problem with basing posts on hypothetical outcomes, or early news stories.

UPDATE: All the people I usually oppose (Communists and fascists) hung together with me and voted down the EU treaty

The Europeans (French) did reject the 500 page Frankenstein submitted for consideration as a constitution. At first I could not believe the narrow poll results which showed opposition.

The French coalition which rejected the constitution will likely not hold together on any other issue in the future.

Apparently there will be a French revote and other states will continue with their votes.

I wonder if the revote will come before or after a reconsideration and renegotiation of the constitution/treaty?

I hear the swarthy Angles and Saxons put too much imperialistic capitalism in the treaty for the majority of the Franks.

UPDATE: The Dutch seem to have voted the treaty down for the right reasons, an interesting European contrast.


WALL STREET JOURNAL (excerpt, from LGF's temporary link)

The driving force behind the IFC is Tom Bernstein, the dynamic co-founder of the Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex who made a fortune financing Hollywood movies. But his capital ventures appear to have funded his true calling, the pro bono work he has done his entire adult life -- as an activist lawyer in the human rights movement. He has been a proud member of Human Rights First since it was founded -- as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights -- 27 years ago, and has served as its president for the last 12.

The public has a right to know that it was Mr. Bernstein's organization, joined by the American Civil Liberties Union, that filed a lawsuit three months ago against Donald Rumsfeld on behalf of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was Human Rights First that filed an amicus brief on behalf of alleged "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla, an American citizen who the Justice Department believes is an al Qaeda recruit. It was Human Rights First that has called for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the alleged torture of detainees, complete with budget authority, subpoena power and the ability to demand that witnesses testify under oath.

In fact, the IFC's list of those who are shaping or influencing the content and programming for their Ground Zero exhibit includes a Who's Who of the human rights, Guantanamo-obsessed world:

• Michael Posner, executive director at Human Rights First who is leading the world-wide "Stop Torture Now" campaign focused entirely on the U.S. military. He has stated that Mr. Rumsfeld's refusal to resign in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal is "irresponsible and dishonorable."

• Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, who is pushing IFC organizers for exhibits that showcase how civil liberties in this country have been curtailed since September 11.

• Eric Foner, radical-left history professor at Columbia University who, even as the bodies were being pulled out of a smoldering Ground Zero, wrote, "I'm not sure which is more frightening: the horror that engulfed New York City or the apocalyptic rhetoric emanating daily from the White House." This is the same man who participated in a "teach-in" at Columbia to protest the Iraq war, during which a colleague exhorted students with, "The only true heroes are those who find ways to defeat the U.S. military," and called for "a million Mogadishus." The IFC website has posted Mr. Foner's statement warning that future discussions should not be "overwhelmed" by the IFC's location at the World Trade Center site itself.

• George Soros, billionaire founder of Open Society Institute, the nonprofit foundation that helps fund Human Rights First and is an early contributor to the IFC. Mr. Soros has stated that the pictures of Abu Ghraib "hit us the same way as the terrorist attack itself."

This 9/11 committee really could not be worse from the standpoint of balance. We will see this backfire on the Left. Americans view the 9/11 site as a national concern. This might fly in New York, which should know better.

I wonder how much the exhibits will discuss the 1993 WTC bombing, 1996 Saudi bombings, 1998 embassy bombings, or 2000 USS Cole bombing?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Saudi Arabia after Fahd? Zarqawi dead? China ignored?

Saudis blow themselves up in Iraq more than any other nationality.

Who are the suicide bombers of Iraq? By the radicals' account, they are an internationalist brigade of Arabs, with the largest share in the online lists from Saudi Arabia and a significant minority from other countries on Iraq's borders, such as Syria and Kuwait. The roster of the dead on just one extremist Web site reviewed by The Washington Post runs to nearly 250 names, ranging from a 13-year-old Syrian boy said to have died fighting the Americans in Fallujah to the reigning kung fu champion of Jordan, who sneaked off to wage war by telling his family he was going to a tournament.

Among the dead are students of engineering and English, the son of a Moroccan restaurateur and a smattering of Europeanized Arabs. There are also long lists of names about whom nothing more is recorded than a country of origin and the word "martyr."

Some counterterrorism officials are skeptical about relying on information from publicly available Web sites, which they say may be used for disinformation. But other observers of the jihadist Web sites view the lists of the dead "for internal purposes" more than for propaganda, as British researcher Paul Eedle put it. "These are efforts on the part of jihadis to collate deaths. It's like footballers on the Net getting a buzz out of knowing somebody's transferred from Chelsea to Liverpool."

Shahid trading cards are not unheard of.

I would like to remind everyone of the global nature of the jihad, but the centrality of Saudi Arabia to the worst, but not all, of it. Osama Bin Laden, the muscle hijackers, Wahhabi funding spread out all over the world, Jew-hating da'wa, violently anti-American tracts in the mosques. Constant slanders against the morality of those who live in the West.

Yet the so-called 'martyrs' who came to the United States engaged in any debauchery necessary to blend in with the locals. I'm sure going to a strip club and getting drunk was necessary to keep their covers intact.

Wink wink, nudge nudge.

This is convenient taqiyya for a little fun on the side practiced by the Takfir, al-Qaeda, or other Muslims operating as jihad fighters in Dar-al-Harb as opposed to the traditional meaning where Shia are trying to avoid persecution by the Sunni.

Alcohol is prevalent among the Saudi elite. I'm sure the average Saudi prince drinks far more than I do. Now is a good time for a stiff drink for every Saudi prince.

If King Fahd is actually dead, we'll get to see the smooth transition of power in democratic fashion. Women's rights will be respected, hate will no longer be taught in Saudi education or da'wa, and Saudi Arabia will become a model Jeffersonian democracy.

Or not.

Now the 'royals' - practiced in western "debauchery" - must try to walk the fine line between rabid Jew, America, modernity-hating hypocrites in the Saudi ulema, a population which might vote for government by al-Qaeda, democracy (see previous), and those who wish to reform or modernize some Saudi institutions (more than a high school certainly, and hopefully more numerous than Rhode Islanders).

The new leader might have to grapple with a great deal of dissent in the security services and military - all while keeping the oil flowing.

If Zarqawi is dead, I think this should be Zarqawi's legacy, not some Islamist fantasy where he fought the "invaders".

Zarqawi isn't hopeful. He's outraged. And humiliated. Now he's out to make Iraqis pay for choosing freedom and peace over brutalized religion and ethnic fascism.

The terrorists feel betrayed.

So they kill. Poor laborers gathered to beg for part-time work. Women and children. Police recruits. Low-level officials. Students. And any passers-by who get in the way. Simple Muslims slain by "holy martyrs of Islam" in suicide vests. By the fountains of paradise, Mohammed must be weeping.

Such attacks won't win Iraqi hearts and minds. They're not intended to. Allah's self-appointed executioners are simply plunging deeper into their pagan bloodcult. This week's bombings echoed the 9/11 attack on Manhattan. The purpose was to offer human sacrifices to a vengeful, bloodthirsty god.

Now brave American soldiers, in a fire fight, shot him through the lung and killed him.

Good riddance.

Is the long-simmering feud between China and Taiwan, along with French triangulation/perfidy the most important media story which slipped through the cracks?

There is far more coverage of the 'Runaway Bride' than a story of global geopolitics with enormous import.

Soon after the intial French announcement, Chinese officials met with their arch-enemy Taiwanese officials, took pictures, shook hands, made history, and so on. Too much money at stake in the Chinese trade imbalance to fight over Taiwan, hopefully. France comes out looking like France.

I'd like to know if the military posture over the Straits has changed. Do the Chinese plan to target Taiwan with hundreds of offensive missiles over the long term? Any more Wong Way incidents planned for the future?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Negotiating Self-Destruction: Bush Turns to Charm Against Global Jihad

Operation Charm Offensive Towards Islamists (TCS)

So much for the "tiny minority of extremists who hijacked a great religion".

In the past few weeks, the Arab media have been buzzing with shocking news: the West is engaging in open talks with Islamists. While this is not really unexpected coming from the European Union, which has always been quite appeasing with Islamists, it is all the more surprising coming from the Bush administration.

It all really started with reports in the Arab press of a "secret" meeting in Beirut on March 22 between US officials and representatives of terrorist organizations. In attendance: Musa Abu Marzuk, Sami Kheter and Osama Hamdan from the Palestinian Hamas; Nawaf Mousawi from the Lebanese Hizbullah; Ibrahim al Masri and Assad Harmouche from the Lebanese Gamaa Islamiya; and three representatives from the Pakistani Gamaa Islamiya. Eli Lake from the New York Sun is among the only journalists in the US media who has reported at length about this meeting.

At the same time, the European Union was on the same active path of engaging dialogue. At an EU meeting in Luxembourg on April 16 foreign ministers decided it was high time to get into talks with "moderate" Islamists. They regretted that in the past they only dealt with the seculars in the Middle East.

Finally, some Arab newspapers -- including Al Quds al Arabi, TelQuel and At Tajdid -- reported that another "secret" meeting occurred between April 17 and 21 in Marrakech, Morocco, between US officials and members of the Islamist opposition, in particular leaders of the Egyptian and Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Interestingly a passionate debate on Saudi TV Al Arabiya on April 19 -- translated by -- touched on this new dialogue. One of the panelists was the Islamist, Azzam Al-Tamimi, head of The Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London. Tamimi, who took part in that now infamous Beirut meeting, made clear that it was an all-Western initiative. He explained this American change of heart by a new realism: Americans know that in a democratic process, the Islamists will win.

As usual, there's one smart Arab living amongst the jihadis trying to beat sense into the heads of our pointy-headed diplomatic corps.

Indeed, as Rifaat al Said, the President of a leftist opposition Egyptian party, said it: "The moderate Islamists do not exist. To be moderate is to accept the Other. And the very Muslim Brothers' doctrine is based on the non respect of other religions." Said deemed it a major mistake to think -- like Europeans and Americans do -- that democracy in a Muslim country has to go through a "moderate" Islamist power phase.

But don't tell experienced U.S. diplomats or CIA policy wonks how to do their jobs. "Damn the facts, full speed ahead!"

In the face of a growing threat which is bent on our destruction, and rapidly acquiring the means to destroy whole cities, what should the tough-talking Texan do?

Have a meaninful, sharing dialogue with those who want to kill us, silly. The author concludes with the appropriate disdain for this new, 'realistic' approach.

At least, before engaging Islamists, the US should wait that they stop, once and for all, terrorism and lay down arms. By dialoguing with our very own enemies so early in the War, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. The Bush administration is on a very slippery slope: how can you justify speaking with Hamas, Hizbullah and the Muslim Brotherhood? Where is the "We don't negotiate with terrorists."? What kind of credibility will the US have? If on one hand, we are fighting terrorism but on the other we are talking to these very same terrorists…We went from "Shock and Awe" to "Charm and Talk" and thus we just handed ourselves our first defeat in this war.

I'm sure negotiations will improve once another dozen nuclear nations join the "club" with half of them in the Middle East.

/heavy sarcasm

Monday, May 23, 2005

Alexander Locke Johnson

February 17th 2005 - (either April 29, 2005 or May 11, 2005)

My wife reads every comment. We both agreed contributions to the March of Dimes (also the American Cancer Society) as fitting legacies for my son, who never got a chance to experience the vast majority of his potential life.

I did not live blog my son's death. I don't feel comfortable speaking about it now. I know what it feels like to have your best buddy die in your hands, just like the war movies. I didn't realize he was dying. It's still a painful wound. I cry every day. Sometimes I cry until I feel nauseus or my guts ache.

I replay April 29, 2005 in my mind.

My first thought was that my son had epipepsy, after he punched the air. I'd never seen him move his arms like that. It looked uncontrolled or like a spasm. Of course babies move their arms jerkily, but this was clearly different.

Literally within a couple seconds he'd gone limp and his face was blue. I was sitting next to a phone so I called 911 just as I was trying to figure out what was going wrong. I felt my son, white and limp as a dish rag. I tried to give him a breath. Around that time, I think - during times of crisis events get jumbled and I usually remember fragments (not always in order) - I heard the 911 operator and I picked up the phone. I knew Alexander was serious, very serious.

The 911 operator gave me advice to turn Alexander on his stomach. I wasted precious seconds explaining to her that "upside down" in my world meant I had followed her advice (he was on his back) and turned him to facing down. She asked me if there was any blood. Just at that moment - (talk about bizarre coincinces which can toy with your sanity) - there was a small amout of fluid bubbling from his nose. Some of it was breast milk, some was blood. I tried to give my son another couple breaths. I thought his heart wasn't beating, but I wasn't sure and couldn't understand what was going on. I was going between the operator and my son frantically.

"Epilepsy doesn't kill people outright, does it?" I wondered in my head.

Things get very jumbled as the firemen arrived. First, I ran my son out to the truck, stomach down, hoping to get any fluid out of his chest, and in my panic I guess I thought they'd just grab him and run him to the hospital. I wasn't thinking clearly. They brought him inside and used up valuable minutes trying to establish and airway and a heart beat.

In a nutshell, my son died that day. We watched his heart beat and lungs ventilated for almost two more weeks.

I'm wracked with guilt. Not knowing infant CPR very well, not seeing some 'sign', wishing I'd ignored 911 and just done straight CPR (the operator told me not to, did I mention that?), and more as my creative, perfectionist - judgmental conscience finds new ways to make me miserable.

My pediatrician thinks even a crash team would have had trouble given the cause of the event, a severe seizure of the brain. The question is "Why?" We many never know. Test results - and I think we've had all of them - should begin to show up in a couple weeks.

When I can take it I plan on reading every comment here.

For now, I mainly take out my sadness and frustrations on the back yard. I've done two months gardening in about six days. I look at Alexander's pictures, cry, then go to the back yard. That is a typical day. If I'm on the Internet, it's at night, or when I need to get out of the nice, cool Florida Spring days (90 F, 70%+ humidity).

I bump into things even more than usual, commercials with babies can make me cry, I forget where I put something as I put it there. It's a less-than human existence right now.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Someone explain the impossibility of renegotiation

No 'plan B' if French reject EU treaty
Today Mr d'Estaing described renegotiation as "impossible".

"There is absolutely no plan B," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

The French statesman was speaking after a day of confusion at Westminster about the consequences for the Government's plans to hold a referendum here on the constitution in spring next year if France rejects the document in its poll on May 29.

Is it a French tradition to have "no plan B"?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Zhukov, Konev, The Battle of Seelow Heights, Berlin, and Strategic Air Power

Zhukov and Konev
The Soviet offensive into what was to become East Germany (GDR) had two objectives. Because of Stalin's suspicions about the intentions of the Western Allies to hand over territory occupied by them in the post war Soviet zone of occupation, the offensive was to be on a broad front and was to move as rapidly as possible to the west, to meet the Western Allies as far west as possible. But the overriding objective was to capture Berlin. The two were complementary because possession of the zone could not be won quickly unless Berlin was taken. Another consideration was that Berlin itself held useful post war strategic assets, including Adolf Hitler and the German atomic bomb programme[1].
Germany contained useful weapons caches [not cachets], including two kinds of missiles.

One, medium range ballistic: the V-2

Two, cruise: the V-1

Germany pioneered numberous jets and rockets including the Me-262, Komet, and prototypes sparking future advances in the United States (from the X-1 and Panther, to F-22's, drones, and scramjets), Soviet Union, France, England, Sweden, and China to name several.

An Englishman and a German put together jet technology at roughly the same time.

The Battle for Seelow Heights is mostly unknown, but strategically critical and symbolic in a war fought to the bitter end.

The battle of the Oder-Neisse
In the early hours on April 16 the offensive began with a massive bombardment by thousands of artillery pieces, and Katyushas rockets which sustained the barrage for days. Shortly afterwards and well before dawn the 1BF attacked across the Oder. The 1UF attacked across the Neisse before the dawn the same morning. The 1BF was the stronger force but it had the more difficult assignment and was facing the majority of the German forces.

The initial attack by the 1BF was a disaster. Heinrici anticipated the attack and withdrew his defenders from the first line of trenches just before the Soviet artillery obliterated them. The light from 143 searchlights which it was planned would blind the defenders was diffused by the early morning mist and made useful silhouettes of the attacking Soviet formations. The swampy ground proved to be a great hindrance and under a German counter barrage, Soviet casualties were enormous. Frustrated by the slow advance, or on the direct orders of Stalin, Zhukov threw in his reserves, which in his plan were to have been held back to exploit the expected breakthrough. By early evening a Soviet an advance of almost six kilometres had been achieved in some areas, but the German lines remained intact. In the south the attack by the 1UF was keeping to plan. Zhukov was forced to report that the Battle of the Seelow Heights was not going to plan. Stalin to spur Zhukov on told him that he would give Konev permission to wheel his tank armies towards Berlin from the south.

On the second day the 1BF staff were reduced to combing the rear areas for any troops which could be thrown into the battle. The Soviet tactic of using massed attacks was proving more costly than usual. By night fall of April 17 the German front before Zhukov remained unbroken, but only just. To the south Army Group Centre under the command of General Ferdinand Schorner were not proving such a hindrance. IV Panzer Army on the north flank of his formation was falling back under the weight of the 1UF Attack. He kept his two reserve panzer division in the south covering his centre, instead of using them to shore up the IV Panzer Army. This was the turning point in the battle because by nightfall the positions of both the Army Group Vistula and southern sectors of Army Group Centre were becoming untenable. Unless they fell back in line with the IV Panzer Army they faced envelopment. In effect Konev's successful attacks on Schorner's poor defences, to the south of the battle of the Seelow Heights, were unhinging Heinrici's brilliant defence.

On April 18 Both Soviet Fronts made steady progress but Soviet losses were again substantial. By the nightfall the 1BF had reached the third and final German line of defence and the 1UF having captured Forst was preparing to break out into open country.

On April 19 the fourth day the 1BF broke through the final line of the Seelow Heights and nothing but broken German formations lay between them and Berlin. The remnants of the IX Army which had been holding the heights and the remaining northern flank of the IV Panzer army were in danger of being enveloped by elements of the 1UF, these were the 3rd Guards Army and the 3rd and 4th Guards Tank Armies, which having broken through the IV Panzer Army turned North towards Berlin and the 1BF. Other armies of the 1UF raced west towards the Americans. By the end of the 19th the German Eastern Front line had ceased to exist. All that remained were pockets of resistance. The cost to the Soviet forces had been very high between April 1 and April 19, with over 2,807 tanks lost. During the same period the Allies in the West lost 1,079 tanks.

Much more unnecessary blood was shed, culminating in The Battle of Berlin

Battle of Berlin

The forces available for the city's defense included several divisions of the regular army and Waffen-SS, supplemented by the police, boys in the compulsory Hitler Youth, and the Volkssturm which consisted of elderly men, many of whom had been in the army as young men and some were veterans of World War I.

Berlin's fate was sealed, but the resistance continued. The Soviet advance to the city centre was along some main axis: from the south-east, along the Frankfurter Allee (ending and stopped at the Alexanderplatz); from the south along Sonnen Allee ending north of the Belle Alliance Platz, from the south ending near the Potsdamer Platz and from the north ending near the Reichstag. Reichstag with Moltke bridge, Alexanderplatz and Havel bridges at Spandau were the places were the fighting was heaviest with house-to-house and hand-to-hand combat. The foreign contingents of the SS fought particularly hard because they were ideologically motivated and they believed that they would not live if captured.

On April 28 Heinrici rejected Hitler's command to hold Berlin at all costs so he was relieved of his command and replaced by General Kurt Student the next day.

On April 30, as the Soviet forces fought their way into the centre of Berlin, Adolf Hitler married Eva Braun and then committed suicide by taking cyanide and shooting himself. General Weidling, defence commandant of Berlin, surrendered the city to the Soviets on May 2.

Dresden was a transportation hub, industrial city, and potential bottleneck to the German war machine. Moreover, it is a cultural center or spiritual hub like Rome, Monte Cassino, St. Augustine, Williamsburg, Paris, Budapest, Istanbul-Constantinople, Cairo, Baghdad, St. Petersburg, Mecca, or Jerusalem.

US Strategic Bombing Survey


Summary Report

(European War)

September 30, 1945

[the conclusion -- Chip]

Of the Future

The air war in Europe was marked by continuous development and evolution. This process did not stop on VE-day; great strides have been made since in machines, weapons, and techniques. No greater or more dangerous mistake could be made than to assume that the same policies and practices that won the war in Europe will be sufficient to win the next one -- if there should be another. The results achieved in Europe will not give the answer to future problems; they should be treated rather as signposts pointing the direction in which such answers may be found.

The great lesson to be learned in the battered towns of England and the ruined cities of Germany is that the best way to win a war is to prevent it from occurring. That must be the ultimate end to which our best efforts are devoted. It has been suggested -- and wisely so -- that this objective is well served by insuring the strength and the security of the United States. The United States was founded and has since lived upon principles of tolerance, freedom, and good will at home and abroad. Strength based on these principles is no threat to world peace. Prevention of war will not come from neglect of strength or lack of foresight or alertness on our part. Those who contemplate evil and aggression find encouragement in such neglect. Hitler relied heavily upon it.

Suggestions for assuring the strength and security of the United States are by no means intended as a recommendation for a race in arms with other nations. Nor do they reflect a lack of confidence in the prospect of international relationships founded upon mutual respect and good will which will themselves be a guarantee against future wars. The development of an intelligent and coordinated approach to American security can and should take place within the framework of the security organization of the United Nations.

In maintaining our strength and our security, the signposts of the war in Europe indicate the directions in which greater assurances may be found. Among these are intelligent long-range

Page 18

planning by the armed forces in close and active cooperation with other government agencies, and with the continuous active participation of independent civilian experts in time of peace as well as in war; continuous and active scientific research and technical development on a national scale in time of peace as well as in war; a more adequate and integrated system for the collection and evaluation of intelligence information; that form of organization of the armed forces which clarifies their functional responsibilities and favors a higher degree of coordination and integration in their development, their planning, their intelligence, and their operations; and, finally, in time of peace as well as in war, the highest possible quality and stature of the personnel who are to man the posts within any such organization, whatever its precise form may be -- and in this, quality, not numbers, is the important criterion.

The air has become a highway which has brought within easy access every point on the earth's surface -- a highway to be traveled in peace, and in war, over distances without limit at ever increasing speed. The rapid developments in the European war foreshadow further exploration of its potentialities. Continued development is indicated in the machines and in the weapons which will travel the reaches of this highway. The outstanding significance of the air in modern warfare is recognized by all who participated in the war in Europe or who have had an opportunity to evaluate the results of aerial offensive. These are facts which must govern the place accorded air power in plans for coordination and organization of our resources and skills for national defense.

Speed, range, and striking power of the air weapons of the future, as indicated by the signposts of the war in Europe must -- specifically -- be reckoned with in any plans for increased security and strength. The combination of the atomic bomb with remote-control projectiles of ocean-spanning range stands as a possibility which is awesome and frightful to contemplate.

These are some of the many factors which will confront our national leaders who will have primary responsibility for correctly reading the signposts of the past. It is hoped that the studies of the German war, summarized here, and studies being conducted by the Survey in Japan, will help them in their task.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Dr. Strangelove: or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Time to remember some of the classics

Major T.J. "King" Kong
...Heck, I reckon you wouldn't even be human bein's if you didn't have some pretty strong personal feelin's about nuclear combat...

...In them you'll find one .45-caliber automatic, two boxes ammunition, four days' concentrated emergency rations, one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizing pills, one miniature Russian phrase book and Bible, one hundred dollars in rubles, one hundred dollars in gold, five packs of chewing gum, one issue prophylactics, three tubes lipstick, three pair of nylon stockings ... Shoot, a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas* with all that stuff.

[describing the contents of the emergency survival kit to his men]. [Pickens actually said "... have a pretty good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff" but his line was looped in post-production because of sensitivity about the Kennedy assassination that had just occurred in Dallas.]
*Should be "Paris", don't you think? That's the only edit I'd make in the whole movie, especially since it's the only dub. This dub, editing, not knighting.

General "Buck" Turgidson

Pres. Muffley: General Turgidson, I find this very difficult to understand. I was under the impression that I was the only one in authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.

Gen Turgidson: That's right sir. You are the only person authorized to do so. And although I hate to judge before all the facts are in, it's beginning to look like General Ripper exceeded his authority.

...Well I don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip up sir.

The script

Context in this case, an exchange in the War Room between President Muffley, Ambassador DeSadeski, and General Turgidson shows how much study and work Kubrick put in Cold War strategy, and finding the humor in it of course. Notice the U.S. President allowing Soviet Ambassador DeSadeski in to the War Room as a confidence building measure - very useful in avoiding nuclear war - but too late. The strategies are exaggerations but not too different from what went on early in the Cold War. Don't let national identity get in the way of the application to any nuclear standoff. .
[U.S. President] Muffley:

I'm afraid I don't understand something, Alexiy. Is the Premier threatening to explode this if our planes carry out their attack?

[Soviet Ambassador] DeSadeski:

No sir. It is not a thing a sane man would do. The doomsday machine is designed to to trigger itself automatically.


But surely you can disarm it somehow.


No. It is designed to explode if any attempt is ever made to untrigger it.



[General] Turgidson:

Ahh.. it's an obvious commie trick, Mr. President.

[walks backwards towards the big board]

We're wasting valuable time.

[falls over backwards and does a somersault, and brings himself back onto his feet]

Look at the big board! They're getting ready to clobber us!


But this is absolute madness, ambassador. Why should you build such a thing?


There are those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. And at the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we'd been spending on defense in a single year. But the deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap.


This is preposterous. I've never approved of anything like that.


Our source was the New York Times.


Dr. Strangelove, do we have anything like that in the works?

[Stains and Turgidson, who have been listening to Muffley and DeSadeski Stains' station at the round table, slowly turn their heads in search of Strangelove.]


[in wheelchair]

A moment please, Mr. President.

[stomps one foot on the tile floor, pushes back from the table and begins wheeling towards the discussion between Muffley and DeSadeski.]

Under the authority granted me as director of weapons research and development, I commissioned last year a study of this project by the Bland corporation. Based on the findings of the report, my conclusion was that this idea was not a practical deterrent, for reasons which, at this moment, must be all too obvious.


Then you mean it is possible for them to have built such a thing?


[carefully plucks cigarette from his shaking right hand, which is in a black glove]

Mr. President, the technology required is easily within the means of even the smallest nuclear power. It requires only the will to do so.


But, how is it possible for this thing to be triggered automatically, and at the same time impossible to untrigger?


Mr. President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know. Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy... the fear to attack. And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision making process which rules out human meddling, the doomsday machine is terrifying. It's simple to understand. And completely credible, and convincing.


Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines, Stainsy.


But this is fantastic, Strangelove. How can it be triggered automatically?


Well, it's remarkably simple to do that. When you merely wish to bury bombs, there is no limit to the size. After that they are connected to a gigantic complex of computers. Now then, a specific and clearly defined set of circumstances, under which the bombs are to be exploded, is programmed into a tape memory bank.


Strangelove. What kind of a name is that? That ain't no kraut name, is it, Stainsy?


He changed it when he became a citizen. It used to be Merkwurkdigliebe.


Hmm. A kraut, by any other name, huh, Stainsy?


Yes, but the... whole point of the doomsday machine... is lost... if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world, eh?


It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

SS Nazis Don't Cry

I've been surfing into the non-stop History Channel coverage of the SS. Everything from Himmler, Heidrich, Death's Head, to the Waffen SS has its own program. Each hour History Channel airs what footage remains of the roundups and mass murder of the Jews of Europe, among other SS topics.

What strikes me as odd is the complete lack of real remorse or trauma among the remaining SS troopers. I've seen Congressional Medal of Honor winners - among the few who didn't win the award posthumously - break down when describing their time spent on Anzio, Iwo Jima, or Okinawa. CMH winners are not what one would call soft. To win the award a soldier must practically do the work of a whole company of infantry. Often they have been seriously wounded, rescued their comrades under heavy fire, and still had time to kill dozens of the enemy. But these brave American heroes almost always tear up at some point in the interview.

Generally speaking, if a war veteran is willing to talk about the worst experiences of the war at all, the tears will begin to flow at some point.

Having watched at least a dozen interviews with German SS troopers, I've yet to see even one show any sign of emotion or remorse. One, when asked if he would have fired the machine guns used to kill Jewish civilians, thought for a moment and replied "probably yes". He made a face similar to sipping spoiled milk, but nothing more. This man personally witnessed hundreds or thousands of cold-blooded murders.

The soldiers who fought from bunker to cave on Okinawa had more compassion for their Japanese military opponents than the surviving Nazis do today for slaughtering innocent women and children. I'd chalk it up to brainwashing, but it's been almost 60 years.

If one loses or never learned compassion or humanity, can they be regained or discovered later in life? Are we born empty vessels, but filled only once?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Update: experts say "wait"

So we do.

My son shows signs of brain activity beyond what the experts call "brain death". He seems to react minimally to some of the ignominious things the nurses do to him.

Our doctor thinks I witnessed the cause of some unexplained SIDS cases. The only sign anything was wrong was a seizure which consisted of a couple quick arm movements which looked like punches. Having studied my son for two months, I knew something was wrong. Within a couple seconds, his face turned blue. This, I've been told, is a classic symptom of a seizure. Instantaneous bluing of the face is not oxygen deprivation but the brain shutting down the blood flow to the face. The instant I saw blue I picked up the phone within arm's reach and dialed 911. I tried to talk to the 911 operator while giving my son mouth-to-mouth.

It was awful. The EMT's showed up in about fifteen hours (a couple minutes). Before they left the house I heard "full arrest". Nobody should ever have to hear that about their two month old son.

Thank you for all the kind words. I broke down when I read all the wonderful things everyone had to say yesterday.

It figures at least one cowardly worm hiding behind "Anonymous" would stink up the place. Such is the nature of the Internet. I thought it might be worse. Trolls are of such low quality these days.