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Power User
Posts: 42449

« on: October 17, 2006, 08:07:22 PM »

I am sure a fatwa is being issued somewhere...Yash
Buy the Book
Peace Be Unto Him
By William Tucker
Published 10/17/2006 12:07:05 AM
The Truth About Muhammad:
Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion
By Robert Spencer
(Regnery, 256 pages, $27.95)

"History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." -- James Joyce

If you want to spend a depressing afternoon, try flipping through Robert Spencer's The Truth About Muhammad. It's not a long read, but when you're through you'll have an idea of the monumental task awaiting the West.

Unlike the founders of other religions, whose lives are often shrouded in legend and mystery, Muhammad's rise took place -- as 19th century French scholar Ernest Renan put it -- "in the full light of history." Muhammad himself dictated the Koran. There are numerous other accounts of his life, both from people who knew him personally and from the hadith, a collection of "sayings of the prophet" that scholars collected shortly after his death. There is no great mystery about who Muhammad was or what he stood for. The only mystery is why the West has so much difficulty in recognizing it.

Muhammad was a warlord, pure and simple. He roused a disorganized group of nomadic tribes into a ruthless, fearless army. During his lifetime, he conquered the Arabian Peninsula and his followers eventually extended those conquests from Spain to India. By all rights, he should take his place in history among of Alexander the Great, Genghis Kahn, and Tamerlane the Great as early history's great military leaders.

The difference is that Muhammad was also a prophet -- or maybe just a bit of a psychopath. Probably illiterate, he was nevertheless extremely familiar with Jewish and Christian doctrines that prevailed throughout the Middle East. Realizing that people would not be won over unless they abandoned their religion, Muhammad reinterpreted these faiths, styling them all as forerunners and himself as the "Last Prophet," come to replace both.

Beginning in middle age, Muhammad heard the voice of god -- Allah -- almost daily. His followers took notes and these transcriptions were eventually compiled into the Koran. As Spencer points out, Allah's dictates often went into strange detail and had an uncanny way of aligning themselves with The Prophet's desires. When Muhammad decided to take his own son's young bride for his wife, for example, Allah expressed approval. When several of Muhammad's wives ganged up on him because of his philandering, Allah gave him permission to divorce them -- a Koranic passage that still governs divorce in Muslim societies today.

But it's worse than that. Where Allah and Muhammad occasionally disagreed, Allah was actually more harsh -- a kind of Freudian superego regurgitating the grim fantasies of early childhood. In several instances, Muhammad was ready to forgive his rivals and enemies but Allah wouldn't let him. Instead, they had to be beheaded.

What has survived from Muhammad's eventful life, then, is not just a record of his conquests but a philosophy, a religion, a set of personal attitudes that prevails among more than a billion people of the world today. Those attitudes are not very friendly. Briefly, they prescribe that might makes right, that forgiveness is a sign of weakness, and that no fate is too vile for those who reject the wisdom of The Prophet. Jihadists beheading their captives still quote Koranic scripture -- accurately -- today.

More than anything, Spencer's detailed analysis is a remarkable endorsement of Thomas Carlyle's idea that "History is the elongated shadow of great men." Say what you will about social and economic circumstances, about natural resources and geography, or even -- if you are to believe Jared Diamond's bizarre ramblings -- that climate is the determining factor of history, the fact remains that the ethos of every civilization can be traced to the historical actions of a few individuals.

Confucius was a hermetic scholar who set China on a path of family loyalty, submission to authority, and respect for learning. The authors of The Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita were Brahmin scholars who preached supreme detachment and caste divisions. Buddha was the Indian Prince Siddhartha who rebelled against the Hindu caste system but taught extreme patience and withdrawal from the world. Moses was a lawgiver who led his people out of bondage. Jesus was a prophet who taught personal responsibility and the forgiveness of sins. Muhammad was a warrior who led armies into battle and taught that the sword was a proper instrument for converting the unbelievers.

Granted, each of these founders often contradicted himself and the message of each has not always survived in its original purity. But each of these prophets set the tone of a civilization that still reverberates today. The tone of Islam, from its very beginnings, has been intolerance, conflict, and conquest. As a result, Islam now finds itself at war, not just with the West, but with every civilization on its borders. Of course this is everyone else's fault. Muslims are like the boy fighting with everyone in school whose mother comes to the principal's office wanting to know why everyone in the school is fighting with him!

Spencer uses one example after another to bring home the point. In a story from the 9th century hadith of Muhammad Ibn Ismail al-Bukahari, for example, Muhammad confronted a group of Jews about to punish a couple that had committed adultery. Asked to expound their own law, one of the rabbis then began to read from the Torah, but skipped a verse mandating stoning, covering it with his hand. Abdullah bin Salam, a rabbi who had converted to Islam, saw the trick.

"Lift your hand!" Abdullah cried, and the verse duly read, Muhammad exclaimed, "Woe to you Jews! What has induced you to abandon the judgment of God which you hold in your hand?" And he asserted: "I am the first to revive the order of God and His Book and to practice it."

Muhammad ordered the couple to be stoned to death; another Muslim remembered, "I saw the man leaning over the woman to shelter her from the stones."

Compare this to Jesus' prescription in an almost identical situation: "Ye who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."

Muhammad's story belongs to a period when, to quote Mark Twain, "History was one damned battle after another." Most of the world has left this era behind. The rise of civilization has been the history of people learning to live in peace and cooperate with each other on a wider and wider scale. All this requires that people forgive and forget, letting old grudges eventually recede into the past. Islam not only nurtures old grudges, it celebrates them. The Sunni and the Shi'ia are still fighting over the death of Hussein, Muhammad's grandson, at the Battle of Karbala in 680 A.D.

The fruit of Jesus' teaching of tolerance and forgiveness is that Western Civilization has been able to prosper while Islam remains locked in an era of primordial combat. Certainly we have had our wars and religious conflicts, but the overall trend has been toward cooperation and civilization -- especially in America, a land where much of history is virtually forgotten. Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and the great Eastern religions are also proving that they can prepare people for the modern world.

So why can't we make it clear to Muslims that it is time to forget the desert morality of the 7th century? For one thing, the people defending Western Civilization don't seem very familiar with its accomplishments. Last week the New York Times recounted how the Dutch government is introducing Muslim immigrants to Western values by showing them a DVD of "topless women and two men kissing" ("Across Europe, Worries on Islam Spread to Center," October 11). What would you think of a country that introduced itself by flaunting its pornography? Does the word "decadent" come to mind?

Robert Spencer has outlined the situation very clearly:

The words and deeds of Muhammad have been moving Muslims to commit acts of violence for fourteen hundred years now. They are not going to disappear in our lifetimes; nor can they be negotiated away.

Islam is just as violent and conquest-oriented as the jihadists say it is. The question is not whether Islamic values are incompatible with ours. The question is whether we are going to assert our own values -- or let decadence and submission lead the way.

William Tucker is a frequent contributor to The American Spectator.
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Posts: 9464

« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2007, 10:55:40 AM »

Thomas Sowell writes about the new Clarence Thomas book and interviews.  I heard a couple of interviews but haven't read his book yet.  Crafty correctly put his Clarence Thomas post in 'legal issues'.  This book maybe falls in the category of 'parenting'.  I see the soft, easy, material life that my 13yo daughter and her friends live and we know of the harder, tougher upbringing that people like Thomas and Sowell experienced and wonder how we can hope for our kids to develop a fraction of the character that they learned.

October 09, 2007
Clarence Thomas
By Thomas Sowell

It would be hard to think of anyone whose portrayal in the media differs more radically from the reality than that of Justice Clarence Thomas. His recent appearances on "60 Minutes," the Rush Limbaugh program, and other media outlets provide the general public with their first in-depth look at the real Clarence Thomas.

These media appearances are part of the promotion of his riveting new memoir, titled "My Grandfather's Son." Otherwise, Justice Thomas would probably have continued to confine himself to doing his work at the Supreme Court, without worrying about what was being said about him in the media.

In an era when too many judges, including justices of the Supreme Court, seem to be playing to the media gallery -- if not writing opinions or leaking information with an eye toward favorable coverage in the press -- Justice Thomas' refusal to play that game tells us a lot about him.

His memoir tells us more. Born in material poverty beyond anything experienced even by people on welfare today, Clarence Thomas was raised with an abundance of discipline and character-building that would pay off in later life.

This was largely the work of his grandfather, who raised him, and whom he now calls "the greatest man I have ever known." But that was not his view at the time, when he was a child.

His grandfather, however, was not preoccupied -- like so many modern parents -- with how the children see things. He took his role as a parent to be to see things that children could not see, including challenges that they would encounter in later life.

The metamorphosis of Clarence Thomas went through many phases -- from altar boy to seminary student to a campus radical and racial militant, before eventually coming full circle back to the values his grandfather taught him and an understanding of the law and society that he acquired on his own.

One sign of where he was in his radical and militant phase was that, when someone gave him a book of mine to read, he threw it in the trash basket.

But, by the time I first met him, in 1978, he had already reached the same conclusions on his own that I had reached.

Those conclusions were probably more firmly grasped because they were his own, rather than something he read by somebody else.

Clarence Thomas' own experiences shocked him into a realization that "affirmative action" and other policies being pushed by civil rights organizations and by liberals generally were doing more harm than good, both to blacks and to American society.

In an era when so many people have neither the time nor the patience to examine arguments and evidence, critics have tried to dismiss Clarence Thomas as someone who "sold out" in order to advance himself.

In reality, he was in far worse financial condition than if he had taken the opposite positions on political issues.

As late as the time of his nomination to the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas' net worth -- everything he had accumulated over a lifetime -- was less than various civil rights "leaders" make in one year.

Nobody sells out to the lowest bidder.

The other great myth about Justice Thomas is that he is a lonely and embittered man, withdrawn from the world, as a result of the brutal confirmation hearings he went through back in 1991.

Clarence Thomas was never a social butterfly. You didn't see his name in the society pages or at media events, either before he got on the High Court or afterward.

In reality, Justice Thomas has been all over the place, giving talks, especially to young people, and inviting some of them to his offices at the Supreme Court.

Summers find him driving his own bus all around the country, mixing with people at truck stops, trailer parks and mall parking lots. The fact that he is not out grandstanding for the media does not mean that he is hunkering down in his cellar.

Clarence Thomas' sense of humor is terrific. Whenever I am on the phone with someone and laughing repeatedly, my wife usually asks me afterward, "Was that Clarence?" It usually is.

Now, thanks to his book, the public can get to know the man himself, rather than the cardboard image created by the media.
Power User
Posts: 9464

« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2008, 04:36:55 PM »

I'll put this in the category of book reviews.  Two well known commentators are arguing over the lessons of WWII.  Buchanan wrote a book concluding among other things that the war against Hitler was unwise and unnecessary and seems surprised that someone like Hanson would write a book review column taking him to task.    From where I sit it looks like Hanson ate Buchanan's lunch but you be the judge.  The read might be better at the link as the format is Hanson quoting and answering Buchanan paragraph by paragraph.  - Doug

Patrick J. Buchanan—Pseudo-Historian, Very Real Dissimulator

Patrick J. Buchanan got upset that I wrote a column about the World War II revisionists, especially his book, and that of Nicholson Baker’s on the allied “crimes” of bombing German cities. I produce his column by paragraph and then comment in brackets.

In attacking my book “Churchill, Hitler and ‘The Unnecessary War’: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World,” Victor Davis Hanson, the court historian of the neoconservatives, charges me with “rewriting … facts” and showing “ingratitude” to American and British soldiers who fought World Wars I and II.
[In dealing with Mr. Buchanan, one must accept at the beginning two caveats. First, as is his style, he will always resort to ad hominem attacks in lieu of an argument. Thus note at the very beginning his sneering “court historian of the neoconservatives.”
Second, Buchanan unfortunately is neither a reliable journalist nor an historian, and thus simply cannot be trusted to report accurately what is written. He says I charge him with “rewriting… facts” (note those convenient three dots). I did not charge him with rewriting facts, but simply advancing a thesis contrary to them: “Questioning the past is a good thing, but rewriting it contrary to facts is quite another.” (emphasis added)
And I didn’t just criticize Buchanan’s book, but in a brief 750 word newspaper column lumped it together with the novelist Nicholson Baker’s (Human Smoke) equally critical attack on the allies in World War II—both as signs of the sorry state of historical revisionism that has sprung up in the climate of the Iraq war.
Writing a book whose theme is that the allies, and especially the British, unwisely and unduly pressured Hitler, and therefore were culpable for much of the carnage of World War II, again, does not “rewrite… facts”, but simply ignores them. And, yes, it does indeed serve to lessen the enormous sacrifices that American and British soldiers endured to stop a monstrosity like National Socialism, whose doctrine of racial hatred and territorial expansion logically led to a German government attacking by 1940 most of its neighbors, to the east, west, north and south, and eventually, in industrial fashion, murdering 6 million Jews.

Much of Hitler’s madness was outlined well in advance in Mein Kampf. By the late 1930s his harsh treatment of the Jews was a harbinger of things to come, once his own power was consolidated and Germany free from outside objection.]
Both charges are false, and transparently so.
Hanson cites not a single fact I got wrong and ignores the fact that the book is dedicated to my mother’s four brothers who fought in World War II. Moreover, the book begins by celebrating the greatness of the British nation and heroism of its soldier-sons.
[Within a 350-word critique devoted to the theme of his book, I cited his misreading of the Versailles Treaty (see below), and his special pleading that serves to exculpate Hitler’s Nazi government. Again, the thesis of Buchanan’s’ book is not based on facts, but can only be advanced by contradicting them. And it has a disturbing habit of mechanically at times praising those who are his natural targets—or supposedly naive victims—of the book, as if that allows him to further denigrate their wisdom and sacrifice.]

Did Hanson even read it?
[Unfortunately I did read it, and was appalled by his absence of logic—hence the column.]
The focus of “The Unnecessary War” is on the colossal blunders by British statesmen that reduced Britain from the greatest empire since Rome into an island dependency of the United States in three decades. It is a cautionary tale, written for America, which is treading the same path Britain trod in the early 20th century.
[This is as ludicrous as it is disingenuous. By 1939 the British Empire was in financial straits, its global economic position long displaced by the industrial power and growing population of the United States, and its empire an increasing economic drain. Its so-called decline had begun at the end of the nineteenth century, and was confirmed, not created, by World War II. Despite the cast-off and occasional warning about Hitler’s cruelty, the book accepts that there was nothing intrinsic within National Socialism as practiced under Hitler that would necessarily have led to war, and indeed a number of legitimate grievances that would justify Hitler’s own preemptive wars.]

Hanson agrees the Versailles Treaty of 1919 was “flawed,” but says Germany had it coming, for the harsh peace the Germans imposed on France in 1871 and Russia in 1918.
Certainly, the amputation of Alsace-Lorraine by Bismarck’s Germany was a blunder that engendered French hatred and a passion for revenge. But does Teutonic stupidity in 1871 justify British stupidity in 1919?
[Again, Buchanan misleads. I wrote that Versailles was less harsh than the treaties imposed on the defeated by Germany—and less harsh than what Germany had planned for the allies. 1871 was not a matter of “Teutonic stupidity”, but the logical result of German aggression and carefully thought-out punishment.]
Is that what history teaches, Hanson?
[Again, Buchanan is not truthful. I argued the problem was not Versailles, but the inability or the unwillingness of the allies to promote and foster German postwar democracy, occupy the country and thereby remind the German people that they had not been “stabbed in the back” in foreign territory, but militarily defeated on the battlefield and in full retreat when their generals sued for peace. That would have had a powerful effect in reminding the German people that neither Jews nor socialists had caused their defeat, but the madness of invading France, and the futility of fighting Russia, France, Britain, Italy, and the United States all at once.]

In 1918, Germany accepted an armistice on Wilson’s 14 Points, laid down her arms and surrendered her High Seas Fleet.
Yet, once disarmed, Germany was subjected to a starvation blockade, denied the right to fish in the Baltic Sea, and saw all her colonies and private property therein confiscated by British, French and Japanese imperialists, in naked violation of Wilson’s 14 Points.
Germans, Austrians and Hungarians by the millions were then consigned to Belgium, France, Italy, Serbia, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland and Lithuania, in violation of the principle of self-determination.
Germany was sliced in half, dismembered, disarmed, saddled with unpayable debt and forced, under threat of further starvation and invasion, to confess she alone was morally responsible for the war and all its devastation — which was a lie, and the Allies knew it.
[France, Britain, and Italy did not accept the 14 Points, and thus it was never an official allied position. Germany knew that when it discovered that Wilson could not speak for the allies, given the late entry of the United States into an ongoing allied effort. Germany lost two large slices of territory, about 13 percent of it European landmass, land once annexed from France by its invasion of 1870, and areas in what would become Poland that had been annexed by Prussia during the aggrandizement and long unification of the Germany. Much, though not all, of the returned territory had been won through coercion by imperial Germany in a series of wars, and was given back following plebiscites. As I wrote, the treaty was “flawed” by our modern sensibilities, but by the standards of the times, far less punitive than what Germany herself customarily demanded from the defeated. France did not invade Germany in 1870, 1914, or 1940, but by May 1940 found itself for the third time in seventy years with a German army advancing on Paris.]

Where was Hitler born?
“At Versailles,” replied Lady Astor.
[Buchanan’s citation of the quip of the aristocratic hostess Nancy Witcher Langhorne as an authority on Versailles is revealing and gives his game away—a woman known for her virulent anti-Semitism, pro-Hitler appeasement, and close correspondence with another kindred soul in Ambassador Joseph Kennedy. Her slurs about Czechoslovakian refugees, prejudice toward Catholics, lunatic pronouncements on slavery and blacks, and reprehensible slanders of British soldiers proved her to be unhinged—but apparently earns a citation of wisdom from Buchanan.]

As for the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk Germany imposed on Russia in 1918, is Hanson aware that the prison house of nations for which he wails, which was forced to disgorge Finland, the Baltic republics, Poland, Ukraine and the Caucasus, was ruled by Bolsheviks?
Was it a war crime for the Kaiser to break up Lenin’s evil empire?
[This is surreal and reveals Buchanan’s lack of even a simple grasp of history. Lenin had been in power for a little over a few weeks when negotiations with Germany began in November and December 1917—and only a few months when the treaty was signed in March 1918. His “evil empire” was in fact the centuries-long imperial Russia of the Tsars. Yes, imperial Germany did want Russia to “disgorge” land—so that it in turn might gorge upon them. That’s why the Kaiser seized much of the Ukraine, the Baltic States, and Belarus. Many on Buchanan’s list of free states “disgorged” in fact in the last year of the war came under sway of the German empire as virtual dependencies.

In short, Germany demanded and until defeated got its hands on a great deal of Russian territory, ninety percent of her coal, and much of Russian industry—a greed that severely hampered its efforts to transfer manpower and material to the Western front in 1918. Note that Buchanan omits my mention of Germany’s plans for Western Europe in the event of its victory, which we know from post-World War II archives would have made the Versailles treaty tame in comparison.]

Two years after Brest-Litovsk, Churchill himself was urging Britain to revise Versailles, bring Germany into the Allied fold and intervene in Russia’s civil war — against Lenin and Trotsky.
[Now Buchanan is praising the Churchill he serially damns as the fool who had prompted World War II. What Churchill was trying to do was exactly what I stated in my essay—incorporate Germany into the family of Western nations—something impossible not because of Versailles, but because a defeated German army in November 1918 retreated from foreign territory and reentered the fatherland, promulgating the myth that it had never been beaten, when in fact it was within days of annihilation by an advancing allied army that included over a million American soldiers.]
As for my thesis that the British war guarantee to Poland of March 31, 1939, was the “Fatal Blunder” that guaranteed World War II and brought down the British Empire, Hanson is mocking:
“Buchanan argues that, had the imperialist Winston Churchill not pushed poor Hitler into a corner, he would have never invaded Poland in 1939, which triggered an unnecessary Allied response.”
First, Hanson should get his prime ministers straight. It was Neville Chamberlain who issued the war guarantee to Poland after the collapse of his Munich accord. Churchill was not even in the Cabinet.
[Buchanan, again, cannot honestly reproduce quoted material. Pace Buchanan, note that I did not write “Prime Minister” Churchill—and for precisely the reason that he was not Prime Minister in September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. But the very reason that the British turned to the “imperialist” Churchill in extremis in May 1940 was because he was on record in the British Parliament and in public life since 1932 for restoring British military preparedness, and, from at least 1936, enlightening British naïve rightists about the sinister nature of Hitler’s National Socialism. Yet Churchill is the veritable villain of Buchanan’s book, not the maniacal Hitler.]
Second, Hansen implies that I portray Hitler as a misunderstood victim. This is mendacious. Hitler’s foul crimes are fully related.
(a) Hanson, not Hansen. (b) Hitler’s crimes are mentioned in the customary Buchanan disclaimer fashion; but if they were “fully related,” they would make it impossible to empathize with a psychopath whose polices ended logically in the Holocaust.]
Third, was it moral, Hanson, for Britain to promise the Poles military aid they could not and did not deliver, thus steeling Polish resolve to resist Hitler and guaranteeing Poland’s annihilation?
[Now this is a strange contortion. The Poles were already steeled since they had known first hand German aggrandizement since 1914, had seen what Hitler had done in the Rhineland, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, and knew well the futility of appeasement. A militarily weak Britain and morally bankrupt France are to be faulted for not attacking in the West in September 1939, but applauded for at least declaring war on Hitler and finally apprising him that his aggression would no longer be treated with rhetoric but now with armed resistance. ]

Was it wise, Hanson, for Britain to declare a world war on the strongest nation in Europe over a town, Danzig, where the British prime minister thought Germany had the stronger claim?
[This is ludicrous. Danzig was a mere “town”? In fact, Britain declared war because for years Hitler had serially violated all of its WWI and international agreements, dismembered Czechoslovakia, and revealed the true nature of Nazi global aggrandizement as outlined years before in Mein Kampf.]
What were the consequences for Poland of trusting in Britain?
Crucifixion on a Nazi-Soviet cross, the Katyn massacre of the Polish officer corps, Treblinka and Auschwitz, annihilation of the Home Army, millions of brave Polish dead, half a century of Bolshevik terror.
[This is reprehensible. Now British military weakness is blamed for Auschwitz, rather than the innate sinister nature of Nazism? Does Buchanan believe that had Britain not tried to stop Hitler, the death camps would have never occurred? Does he know of the prewar Nazi precursors to the Final Solution, the geneses of which were clear from Germany’s own treatment of its chronically ill and mentally disturbed?]
And how did Churchill honor Britain’s commitment to Poland?
During trips to Moscow, Churchill bullied the Polish prime minister into ceding to Stalin that half of his country Stalin had gotten from his devil’s pact with Hitler, and yielded to Stalin’s demand for annexation of the Baltic republics and Bolshevik rule of a dozen nations of Eastern and Central Europe.
[Churchill distrusted Stalin, but by 1943 understood that a weak British Empire had no leverage at all against Stalin’s 400 divisions. Again in hindsight Churchill can be made to look illiberal, but given the realities of the times, there was no one more suspicious of the ally Stalin, or more sympathetic to the Poles. ]
Was it worth 50 million dead, Hanson, so Stalin, whose victims, as of Sept. 1, 1939, were 1,000 times Hitler’s, could occupy not only Poland, for which Britain went to war, but all of Christian Europe to the Elbe?
[How odd that the allies are indirectly blamed for the Holocaust, as if its seeds were not innate to Nazism. Most credit Stalin with the atrocious crime of killing 20-30 million of his own, versus Hitler’s 6 million. How that translates in “1,000 times” I am not sure—except by the misleading qualifier “by Sept.1 1939.” But here Buchanan engages in hindsight. In 1939, Britain knew of no other means—not political, not diplomatic, not economic—of stopping Hitler from absorbing all of Europe, an agenda of aggression clear from 1936 onward.]
Churchill was right when he told FDR in December 1941 it was “The Unnecessary War” and right again in 1948, when he wrote that, in Stalin, the world now faced “even worse perils” than those of Hitler.
[This is disingenuous. The aggregate of Churchill’s writings make it clear that he felt the war had been unnecessary only on the grounds that he felt, rightly I think, that it could have been prevented by standing up to a then weak Hitler in 1936, which would have humiliated the Nazis and perhaps even led to a change of government or at least a sort of containment of Nazism. And note Churchill’s choice of word “perils”. Churchill did not think, as implied by Buchanan, that Hitler was any less evil than Stalin, only that the Red Army and the resources of the Soviet Union gave it the potential to become far more dangerous than a much smaller Nazi empire.
Both World War II and the Cold War were necessary. And while the Soviet government was a vile and evil entity, millions of Red Army soldiers were not communists, but brave patriots who did much to stop the Wehrmacht, and, yes, by their efforts did save allied lives. Again, they fought for a horrendous government, but the motivation for many was not global communism or Comrade Stalin who had butchered millions of their families and friends, but to rid German soldiers from the soil of Mother Russia.]
So, what had it all been for?
[World War II—forced upon, not the fault of, the allies—was worth it. It ended fascism and Nazism, liberated thousands from death camps and starvation in forced labor compounds, led to a new democratic Europe, prevented the extinction of European Jewry, and reformed a once serially bellicose Germany that had attacked France three times in 70 years. Today’s Europe and Japan are proof of our grandfathers’ achievement.]

Historian Hanson should go back to tutoring undergrads about the Peloponnesian War and the Syracuse Expedition.
I guess Mr. Buchanan believes that working as a political operative in Richard Nixon’s White House is better training for history than formal study of classical languages and history. I think his ancient Greek citation is a vague reference to my support for the removal of Saddam Hussein and the effort to foster constitutional government in Iraq. But once more, Buchanan reveals his ignorance of history. The Syracuse expedition, as he calls it, was a case of a democratic Athens attacking a larger and democratic Syracuse and its Sicilian allies at a time when its adversary Sparta was not beaten. When I last looked the United States had not expanded its war on radical Islam by invading democratic India.
And the last time I had any notice of Buchanan himself was when his American Conservative magazine asked the so-called “War Nerd” (who once “daydreamed” of burning down my vineyard [which in fact later mysteriously experienced a roadside brushfire], cf. his “Victor Hanson: Portrait of an American Traitor” to review A War Like No Other, and wrote an incoherent rant about Iraq rather than the book in question.
I stand by everything I wrote about Patrick J. Buchanan’s book, and find his latest effort further confirmation of his delusional views about both past and present.
Power User
Posts: 15530

« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2008, 07:45:38 PM »

Buchanan makes me ill. The fact that he is treated like a legitimate conservative by the MSM makes me even sicker.
Kaju Dog
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Posts: 494

organ donor

« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2008, 07:54:35 PM »

I recently purchased and read "Training for Warriors" by Martin Rooney

308 Pgs. of MMA and fighter functional fitness tips and workouts.  The forward is by Renzo Gracie

I enjoy the book due to the fact that it was written by Martin Rooney MHS, PT, CSCS, NASM.

He is not only a proven traininer of Warriors but he has the medical insight and training that I believe all good trainers should have.  In short, He knows his shit!

I highly recomend getting a copy for yourself and see what I mean.  I am in the process of revamping my Warrior Workout routine so that it incorporates all if not most of the training tips found in his book. 

Dog Dean cool

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Posts: 197

« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2008, 11:27:48 PM »

This weekend I got to attend one of the local annual book sales. Fortunately on the day i went all the materials were 50% off. I got a plethora of books, with a wide variety of topics. Unfortuantely my toddler was driving my gf insane so i cut my shopping short.

Off the top of my head a few i picked up
The Manhunter by Pascucci(a book on the federal marshals- i'll have to ask CWS about this one after i read it)
Your Childs Growing Mind by Jane Healy Phd
Kidnappings(not sure on the title- a chronology of historical crimes)

I'm half way thru Your Childs Growing Mind and i find it quite fascinating(enough so that i've skimmed thru it in a few hrs). The author covers the basics of nurture vs nature, but attempts to find the link between creating a balanced child and approaching children as individuals working their strengths and style of learning. Classifying learning into lumpers or splitters. Splitters are big on facts and the right answers making excellent traditional students but may lack creativity and possibly initiative. Lumpers are the non traditional learners who need to see and do rather than listen. He can't organize, but his ideas are wonderful but he can't write out the equation.
My personal opinion is that in general 'splitters' who are big on facts end up working for the succesful 'Lumpers' The problem is getting the Lumpers on the correct path with the support system to facilitate growth without stifiling creativity. EDIT1 in retrospect a combination of the two is best... the labels are merely extremes.
What say you?

This book is quite useful and reinforces my perspective that i in part gained from the book Just the Way you Are by Gallagher. The old nurture vs nature and how there can be critical windows for learning that are ideal for certain skill sets, all the while the human brain is very resiliant. It also helped me realize to a point that many windows should not be rushed as you may be forcing certain parts of the brain to be used to accomplish the skill set while in fact a more effcient part of the brain would be used if it was not rushed which may cause possible repercussions. Basically say "No" to the 1hr mandated memorizing flashcards for 6month olds.
My overall perspective is that of patience using positive reinforcement in a safe nurturing environment with a variety of stimuli, with the occasional compulsion with special regard to compulsion for issues regarding safety.
At this point my child is 19mo so i am contemplating which style of preschool i will send him to in a year or two. My options at this point are traditional academia in a feeder school with Christianity as a staple, or a Christian based Montessori school. Personally i am favoring the Montessori school with its emphasis on physical development with greater freedom, as i see the potential end product having greater mental flexibility than what has often become a common occurence of an educated derelict. The negative side of Montessori seems to be in regards to children primarily focusing on the subjects they choose, and not being trained to sit in a classroom setting for the traditional lecture type setting.
In part i suspect i may follow the Building Batman type template outlined in the TPI forum, for the physical skill sets when the time is right. With that i am leaning towards avoiding serious martial arts training till 10 maybe even 15yrs of age and focus on other aspects of life. Dog Dean in the grateful thread mentioned he has just begun his daughters serious training and that seems along the lines i am looking at.

« Last Edit: July 08, 2008, 11:46:47 PM by peregrine » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 11:21:21 PM »

On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace (Paperback)
by Dave Grossman

Has anyone read this?  I ran across a reference to the author in Bill Whittle's piece entitled Tribes.  I was wondering if it was worth buying?
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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2009, 06:57:35 AM »

In A.D. 395, Roman Emperor Theodosius I split his realm between his two sons, giving the Western empire—with Rome at its heart—to Honorius, and the eastern half—Byzantium—to his brother, Arkadios. Honorius seemed to get the better deal. Byzantium was a disjointed empire made up of regions scattered across eastern Europe, Asia and northern Africa, and it was vulnerable to attack. Invaders came from all directions—Huns from the steppes, Avars from the Caucasus, the mighty armies of the Sasanian Persians, followed by the Arabs and the Turks and, most disastrous of all, Crusaders from the West.

And yet the Roman Empire, and Rome itself, fell in the fifth century A.D., while Byzantium endured for almost a millennium longer. How was this possible? That question drives Edward N. Luttwak's "The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire." Mr. Luttwak, an inveterate provocateur and the author of several earlier studies of strategy, including the audacious "Coup d'Etat: A Practical Handbook" (1979), has been pondering this Byzantine puzzle for two decades.

Mr. Luttwak tells his story well. He is especially good on fine detail. Whether describing the lethal "composite reflex bow" used by Hun archers or the complex but surprisingly efficient Byzantine tax system, he is both vivid and exact. Of the Hun bows, for example, he notes that, while they were as powerful as Western longbows, they had a further decisive advantage: They could be shot from horseback "while riding fast, even at a full gallop and laterally or even backward." Though no Hun bows survive, Mr. Luttwak's meticulous descriptions convey their deadly efficiency. It is through such details that a modern reader captures some sense of the sheer terror that those ancient raiders inspired.

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.The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire
By Edward Luttwak
(Belknap/Harvard, 498 pages, $35)
.Even on obscure theological matters, such as the wrangles over "monotheletism"—the proposition that Christ had two natures, human and divine, united by a single will—he is refreshingly lucid. For the Byzantines, even theology involved strategy of a sort. Thus the great Byzantine emperor Herakleios (610-641), who defeated both the Sasanian Persians and the Avars, waded into the controversy over Christ's true nature, a doctrinal matter answered differently by different sects within the empire; it was he who formulated the "monothelite" or "one will" solution. This was a political as much as a theological solution,, by which he attempted to "unify his subjects in extremis by offering a neat Christological compromise," as Mr. Luttwak notes. Such issues seem impossibly removed from us, but Mr. Luttwak is right to include them; they show the Byzantine strategic mentality at its subtlest.

Though Mr. Luttwak draws on sources in several languages—including manuals of strategy (a genre that the Byzantines invented), histories by Arab, Greek and Latin authors, and a wide array of scholarly literature—"The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire" isn't really a conventional academic treatise. Notwithstanding its erudition, this is an impassioned book, and all the better for that. As Mr. Luttwak writes: "The epic struggle to defend the empire for century after century . . . seems to resonate, especially in our own times." Historically remote as they are, the Byzantines may have something to teach Americans about long-term survival.

Sometimes Mr. Luttwak indulges in playful anachronism, not always successfully. It's odd to characterize an early medieval round of negotiation as being driven by "discredited neo-Marxist dogma." Referring to the early Arab conquerors routinely as "jihadi" isn't wholly incorrect, but it's misleading; they were fired as much by desire for plunder as by religious zeal. And to compare Attila with Hitler because they had similarly primitive dining habits, while mildly amusing, is hardly enlightening. Nor is Mr. Luttwak unduly burdened by modesty; he boasts of his own involvement in espionage and other covert activities, though he's coy about the specifics.

Despite these false notes, Mr. Luttwak makes a compelling case. The Byzantine Empire survived so successfully and for so long—falling finally to the Ottoman Turks, though not until 1453—because its rulers understood the value of sound strategy. They endured setbacks, such as the repeated capture of the defensive outpost of Amorium, but they learned from their occasional defeats.

In the fifth century, confronted by the onslaught of the Huns, the Byzantines noted how these swift horsemen maneuvered and skirmished, firing arrows at unprecedented ranges and as abruptly wheeling back in retreat. The Byzantines learned to master such tactics to terrible effect. They also understood that military success doesn't lie solely in improved weapons or novel techniques of combat. Diplomacy is as crucial as force. It was this combination—words and swords—that ensured their survival against often overwhelming odds. They were skillful negotiators but even more skillful manipulators, adept at pitting opponents against one another.

In Mr. Luttwak's definition, strategy is "the application of method and ingenuity in the use of both persuasion and force." Beyond this, the Byzantines knew that strategy demands the long view; they understood that it depends on the ability, even in troubled times, to imagine a possible and desirable future. We would do well to avail ourselves of such a prism in assessing the grandness of the strategies now being contemplated in Washington .

Mr. Ormsby is the author most recently of "Ghazali: The Revival of Islam."
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2010, 06:18:02 PM »
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