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Chris Kulczycki has written a cogent diary on The Winds of Change in Iraq, read it thoroughly.  Pain is an effective schoolmaster.  Some sense has been beaten into Bush and his crew. 

Today's diary is an extended response to his wise words. This shift has been underway for a long time and should come as zero surprise to anyone studying this problem.  The USA, as I have said elsewhere, has alternately bullied and cosseted the Sunnis, and lured them into the political process with blatant payoffs and concessions.  This is, in fact, a return to the policies of Jay Garner, the American general who set up shop with the SF in the Kurdish areas after Gulf War One, and is an entirely sensible concession to the political realities of Iraq.  .

The Bush administration grew tired of Garner's techniques of endless palaver, which had endeared him to the Iraqis of all flavors,  and replaced him with a Man of Action, that pathetic buffoon Bremer.  The policy of Marja Sistani and Shiites generally has advocated a unified non-confessional religiously tolerant Iraq.  Bremer did not heed Sistani's wise advice, and there has been hell to pay

Iraq's elections, as I reported in yesterday's diary, have not gone to any one "fundamentalist" party in toto.  The issue of Islamic law is far more complex than the dreaded hudud laws:  Iraq's forms of Islam are not Deobandi or Wahhabi, and have surprisingly little impact on the lives of ordinary Iraqis. The Kurds are barely Muslims at all, and their sects are generally considered idolatrous.  I am a particular fan of the Kurdish culture and their Qadiri and Naqshbandi forms of Sufism, a holdout of a far more ancient religion, Zoroastrianism, which would affect all forms of mystical Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  For centuries, Baghdad had the largest community of Jews in the world.  It was not the Islamists who drove out the Jews, it was the secular Ba'athists, who are equivalent to Nazis, as I have said before.  The politicization of Islam is a modern thing, for centuries, Islam was its laws, and little more.  It is true Islam has now become highly political, but this phenomenon appears in the USA, witness the ludicrous Intelligent Design debate, and the Prayer Breakfasts, so fashionable in our own fair land.  True, Religion may attempt to meddle in politics but history has more generally shown the politicians wrapping themselves in the borrowed mantle of Religion to buttress their own stances.

Saddam turned to Islamic rhetoric only when his war against Iran was going badly.  It was never terribly sincere.  Saddam's own Islam was highly suspect:  he had an entire Qu'ran lettered in his own blood, drawn from his veins over several months.  This curious artifact was on display for years, and still exists, I am told.  There's just one problem, Islam has so many prohibitions against the use of blood, especially human blood, Saddam's Qu'ran is an incredible act of haram sacrilege.  Saddam was a thoroughgoing secularist, and murdered hundreds of Islamic scholars and clerics.  We should not be surprised to see the Iraqis turn to Islam as the bedrock of  their moral/political underpinning, Islam has been under assault in Iraq since Ba'athism first appeared, this reaction is as much an exercise in intellectual and religious freedom as anything else, the Iraqis are exhilarated to finally declare their clan and religious identity without fear of retribution.  Wahhabism never got a toehold in Iraq:  Saddam killed off Wahhabism's missionaries as they appeared.  Sunnism was the official faith of the Ottoman Empire, but it has predictable decayed into factions, correlate the miserable doctrinal debates of the Protestants to envision the state of affairs in the Sunni religious community.

The Sunni "insurgency" is by no means a single thing, nor does it represent Sunni policy in any substantive way.  There are several different insurgencies going on, all at once.  I call it the Three Insurgencies.

Insurgency One: everyone hates the Americans:  the Sunnis hate them because they overthrew Saddam.  They are fearful.  The Kurds are not exactly pleased with the Americans, for now they look like American toadies.  The Shii hate the USA most of all:  they once rose against Saddam at the urging of the USA and were slaughtered for their trouble.  Now the Shii view the Americans with contempt for failing to secure Iraq:  especially the Oct 25 bombing of a Shiite mosque, killing 25 and wounding more than 80.  The Shii have endured some godawful treatment after the invasion, only their strong leadership has kept the ordinary Shii from rising in entirely justifiable revenge.

Insurgency Two: the Zarqawi-esque terrorism, now widely discredited.  This second insurgency is in serious trouble, in Maoist terms, they have lost the support of the peasants.  The Iraqis will not become the tools of terrorists, as the unfortunate Palestinians became the pawns of Arafat:  there is too much to lose. See Insurgency One

Insurgency Three, the last, and least understood insurgency is the one within the Sunni and Shii clans:  you didn't really think they were monolithic entities, did you?  Well of course not.  There are at least a dozen major Sunni clans, and no less than fifty subclans.  The Sunni sheikhs have come, hat in hand, to do their deals with the oil-rich Kurds, and mend fences after Saddam's policy of evicted Kurds and installing Sunnis.  Stern warnings against election violence were issued from the Sunni camps:  though they may quite properly hate the American soldiers, especially in towns like Ramadi, the Sunnis are far too integrated into Iraqi society to ever demand more than political coexistence.  The Sunni sheikhs are no fools.  The Shii factions have been killing each other forever.  The murder of Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, Moktada Sadr's father, in 1999 was followed by the murder of  Ayatollah Majid al-Khoei in April of 2003.  The Americans were too stupid to see what was happening:  arrest warrants were not issied until August of 2003.  The Americans may have defeated Moktada Sadr's Mahdi Army, but they left Moktada Sadr to create more trouble.  To a lesser extent, the Kurds have been feuding among themselves, too.

The USA has until quite recently stupidly conflated the Three Insurgencies.  Thanks to Zalmay Khalilzad and other wise heads, we're finally sussing these insurgencies out.  The Sunnis cannot be extirpated any more than Saddam could extirpate his enemies in toto.  We have learned to our lasting disgrace in places like Ramadi and Fallujah, we cannot really do away with Insurgency Two: confronted in battle, the Zarqawis of this wicked world run away, leaving the wretched townspeople to endure our attacks with white phosphorus and 500 pound bombs.  Such hamhanded tactics only feed Insurgency One.

Insurgency Three is absolutely beyond our control, and is best solved in poliical terms.  The USA has quite inadvertently solved Insurgency Three through the elections, even a blind pig may find an acorn from time to time.

The Three Insurgencies can be coopted into the broader geopolitical strategies of the United States quite neatly.  By enabling an honest debate among the Iraqi factions, and the creation of a free press, the USA has set in motion a juggernaut of genuine reform in Iraq.  Today's Arab headlines are breathlessly reporting the Iraqi demands for a new honest election.  The commentary from Al Ahram, Egypt's largest state controlled media outlet is slyly intimating the Arab world's most populous nation should do the same.   Egypt's status-quo party system is completely irrelevant.  It's time for grass roots democracy in the Arab world, even if it wears the face of Islamic parties like the Muslim brotherhood.  It's a damned good start, and we should not fear it overmuch. We have more to fear from backing the status-quo.

Originally posted to BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:24 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ubiquitous Tip Jar (4.00)
    and solicitation for comments

    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

    by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:22:59 AM PST

  •  Excellent (none)
    Excellent analysis!

    Not many people on eihter side in this country have been interested in really looking at the complexity of what is going on in Iraq. It's much easier to make political points if you just talk about "terrorists" or "freedom fighters". Unfortunately what makes for good political talking points is often not very useful in crafting soultions to problems.

    •  Shukhran, effendi (none)
      I've been trying to get this side of the story on Kos for a few weeks now, I'm really encouraged by the responses I'm getting. If you haven't, read yesterday's diary, linked in the diary.

      People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

      by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:35:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Both Brilliant (none)
        I've made a few feeble attempts to encourage a more realistic view of the "insurgents" here, but not with anything approaching your level of arguement.

        Ignoring realities in favor of oversimplification is the biggest dangers in foreign policy.  It makes problematic situations absolutely intractable. See also, Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland, Taiwan/ROC/PRC....

        •  It is the (none)
          Republicans who don't see the nuances of Sunni insurgency and see all of them as "terrists". This site has taken a more nuanced view of Iraqi situation as long as I can remember.
          •  Not everyone (none)
            I've been involved in some discussion around here that when I expressed the notion that perhaps the CPT hostages were the victims of a branch of the insurgency that really didn't care to differentiate between "Good" and "Bad" westerners, i was accused of employing "Rumsfeldian" logic, and that the insurgents would never do such a thing.

            If you've taken a more realistic view, glad to have you around.

          •  Indeed Kos has taken a nuanced position (none)
            which is why I have pitched my tent at Kos. As I spend more time here, I have come to the conclusion the Kos Nuanced Position on Islam can become tremendous plank in the next elections. There is much to fear from the jihadis, our war on terror will be congruent with the Iraqi's own War on Terror. If Liberals reach out to the Arab world, and explain ourselves effectively, we can undo the massive damage done to US-Arab relations.

            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

            by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:13:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Not gonna happen. (none)
    <blockquote.The Three Insurgencies can be coopted into the broader geopolitical strategies of the United States quite neatly. </blockquote>

      Neo-conservative deadenders won't let it happen for obvious reasons and ,besides, there is nothing to suggest anyone in Iraq,Persia and middle-east gives a fuck about US geostrategic interests in Iraq. Neo-cons have undermined US geostrategic interests for decades to come. Democracy will come to Iraq slowly but it won't be a progressive democracy by any means. Sistani and others are interested in democracy not in western Democratic institutions, a point neo-cons ignore on their own perils.

    •  They really don't have much choice: (none)
      Power varies as square of distance. I repeat myself, this is happening despite Bush, not because of anything he's done, the idiot.

      People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

      by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:45:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who is they? (none)
        Sistani and others have more choices now than they had in summer of 2003 which was considerably less that what they had back in October of 2005. US cannot open another front against Sadr and other Shiites in Iraq, that is a given at this stage. So we are left with diplomacy and what makes you think current US policymakers can conduct diplomacy with any degree of competence? They've been abject failures so far and it is whta it is in Iraq.
        •  Noun deficiency: (none)
          they is Bushco Inc. I believe the USA should demand UN troops immediately replace American troops. It is the right thing to do: and gives us the Honorable Out we need so desperately.

          People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

          by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:09:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  UN is NOT coming in. (none)
            If you diagree tell me which country is going to send their quota of blue helmets to Iraq?
            •  Oh I dunno. (none)
              We could pay the UN to send in troops. Poorer countries would dive on the money, and their national cred would go up in the world. The USA simply can't stay any longer, the longer we stay, the worse we stink.

              People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

              by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:17:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  We need to be working (none)
              We need to be working in the UN to convince other countries that it is in their interest for the UN, and them, to help create a stable Iraq.

              We aren't, but we should be. I don't think it's an impossible task.

            •  Let's Outsource the War on Terror, heh (none)
              We need those National Guard troops at home.

              People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

              by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 11:22:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Thats a very..interesting...position (none)
    and certainly one you don't see much of on DKos.  I assume from this you don't see much danger of the dissolution of the state in Iraq, or fear much Iranian influence.  Can you speak to these possibilities, my 2 biggest fears?

    I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man - find out who said it!

    by TheGryphon on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:38:45 AM PST

    •  Not much. (none)
      From yesterday's diary:
      The notion of an Iraqi identity, forged by the horror of thirty years of war and oppression, is now revealing itself to be a true thing. The new 275 seat National Assembly will elect a president, who will in turn nominate a Prime Minister. The Islamic world, Sunni by a 90% majority, is witness to a legitimate minority of their fellows, empowered by popular mandate. Every dictator has been rendered speechless: the Islamic world has been turned on its head, deep fissures are appearing in the rotting hulk of Pan-Arab Baathist philosophy.

      People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

      by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 06:42:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You don't (none)
        think Iran will have much influence over Iraq? Where do you get that? Do you expect Shiite dominated Iraqi government to form alliances with Sunni( Wahaabi's actually) neighbors over Iran? Despite the fact that many, if not most, of current Shiite leaders have Iranian ties that go back decades? Huh?
        •  The Shii (none)
          are a complex and fractious bunch.  I should really write a diary about the Shii.  To the vast majority of Iraqis, Iran is Mordor.

          Shiism began with the murder of Imam Ali, and his tomb is the Vatican of Shiism.  The world's largest graveyard lies not far away, Shii bury their dead there to be close to Imam Ali on Yaum al-Qiyamah, the Day of Judgement.  Najaf and Karbala are its holiest cities.

          The Persian culture also embraced Shiism, but it does not speak Arabic.  Marja Sistani is a native Farsi speaker, and does not speak colloquial Arabic well. Persian Shiism is centered on the city of Qom, and is a distinct rival to the Arab Sunnis.  Think of the Great Schism of Catholicism, with rival popes in Avignon and Rome.  As in the Great Schism, Rome became an impoverished and powerless entity:  only political unification would bring Avignon's power back to Rome.

          Marja Sistani is a genuine hero, an Islamic Cincinnatus, the George Washington of Iraq, scorning readily-offered absolute political power in favour of a nation of laws, religious tolerance and Iraqi unity.  This was totally unexpected, especially considering Sistani is not an Arab!.

          Iran is conniving with various factions in the Arab Shiite conclave, and they do have a sizeable intelligence operation in place.  Iran has not forgotten its long and bloody war with Iraq, in which Shii fought Shii.  Naturally, Iran will want good relations with Iraq.

          Curiously, when Saddam's troops had been run out of southern Iraq, thousands of Shii pilgrims began to cross from Iran into Iraq, much as pilgrims to Rome.  For decades, these Shii faithful had been forbidden to make the pilgrimage to the shrines in Najaf and Karbala.  To their amazement, these pilgrims found the American troops were kindly to them, giving them water, food, and tent cities.  We did more to repair relations with the ordinary Persian in those simple acts of kindness:  nobody wants to see us succeed in Iraq more than those pilgrims.

          People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

          by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:04:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And this answers (none)
            my question how? I know who Shiis are, who salafis are and who sufis are. I have done my share of reading. America has been quite popular among Persians for quite some time, at least a decade or so but they are unlikely to choose America over Iraqi Shiites as far as alliances are concerned. The same goes for Iraqi shiites and their leaders with their relationships going back decades. New Iraq will look for new alliances and most international alliances are formed on the basis of geography, geostrategic interest and ,very often, shared culture. Iran and new Iraq with current Shiite leadership are natural allies.
            •  You raise excellent caveats (none)
              and I am not at all sure how the new Iraqi government will treat with Iran. I'm keeping my ear as close to the railroad track as I can manage, on this topic. Sure wish I read Farsi.

              People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

              by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:15:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent Post (none)
    This is the kind of thing Kos needs more of. This nuanced analysis seems to reflect the complex realities on the ground. Only time will tell of course. I'm looking forward to reading more.
  •  This analysis is interesting, but (none)
    it seems a bit too neat, perhaps a tad simplistic to me. For example, it equivocates on the meaning of "insurgent". As most people have understood it, "insurgency" is a propaganda-tinged synomym for "resistance": that is, people who are using violence in an attempt to get the occupiers of their land to leave. Second, it conflates traditional national rivalries with resistance to the occupation: once we leave, it should become more clear just how much of the tussling going on there is due to our presence (a lot IMHO) and how much is due to Iraqi political and economic realities. Calling the latter "insurgency" just confuses the picture, it seems to me.

    Dang, I wish we'd just leave and let the Iraqis get down to the non insurgent business of reaching a post-Saddam equilibrium. It is undeniable that the deposed tyrant, in spite of his many negatives, imposed a long-lasting stability on his country; it is unclear how long it will take, and what methods it will be required, for an equal stability to return in his absence.

    Greg Shenaut

    •  I disagree (none)
      I think the over simplification is the thought that all the violence in Iraq is due to one group called the "insurgents". The diarist , I think, is reacting to labeling all the groups "insurgents", not creating the label.

      I think the diarist is making a valiant attempt to show the complexity of the situation in Iraq.

    •  I am uncertain (none)
      how I have equivocated. An insurgency is a rebellion against a government, a political struggle gone wrong. In a free society, an insurgency would become a political party. Iraq hit rock bottom, but it was genuine bedrock. I suppose I have been too simplistic, point taken, I merely elucidate some of the disparate threads of these insurgencies. I have clearly distinguished the two levels of internecine rivalries from what I call Insurgency One, the attempt to get the Americans out of Iraq. It is naive in extremis to believe Insurgencies Two and Three will go away when we have left. The stupidity of our occupation is merely a continuance of Saddam's own brutal and ham-handed tactics: Iraq's transformation is already well underway, and the smoke is clearing enough for us to see what is likely to come. Bush's presence in Iraq was never of enough substance to subdue Iraq: he waged a war on the cheap. As Chris points out, Bush is now forced to deal with the political realities on the ground in Iraq, and he's now Eating Much Cheeze.

      People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

      by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 07:50:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's just that I don't see the (none)
        the "insurgencies" as insurgencies. Your "insurgency" #2 is Islamist terrorism, basically al-Qaeda in Iraq. Do you consider al-Qaeda's actions in general to be an insurgency? Was 911 an insurgency? Lebanon? Madrid? London? Why is it an insurgency just because it's in Iraq?

        "Insurgency" #3 is strictly internecine, and as you point out, not even necessarily violent. In fact, it is essentially the mainstream of Iraqi politics: once we leave, then Iraq will have its own internal politics, which will be largely identical to your #3, but it's unlikely that anyone will be calling it an insurgency.

        The Iraqi resistance is fed by all three of the streams you aptly describe; once we leave, at least the last one will continue to play a central role in Iraqi politics. However, the use of the word "insurgency" for resistance to our occupation of Iraq is biased; it legitimizes the occupation and its puppets by suggesting that those who resist it are rising up against an established order. I think that it also complicates the analyis, because while the groups currently seem similar in that they are resisting the occupation, once we leave this apparent similarity will disappear. The word resistance makes this distinction, because when the object you are resisting goes away, then resistance naturally ends. An insurgency, on the other hand, is against an established order, so as long as there is such an order, an insurgency can continue until it achieves its particular objectives.

        I don't want to make a big deal out of it, it's really the word insurgency that bugs me and always has. It's unquestionably true that Bushco has always seen Iraq as monolithic and this has contributed greatly to the problems we've had there.

        Greg Shenaut

        •  You have raised an important distinction (none)
          and I must confess I'm not comfortable calling these struggles insurgencies, either. Insofar as the Insurgency Meme exists, I'm reusing the word as a basis for a discriminant. Al-Qaeda is opposed to any secular government, they prefer the chaos and anarchy of a Taliban-style theocracy. The ordinary Iraqi won't stand for it. Their civilization is too complex, and the vast majority of Sunnis reject the Wahhabis as surely as a Billy Graham might reject a Jim Jones sort of Christian cult. Insurgency 3 is violent, and may presage a civil war. I am not sure how that may pan out, the Iraqis have opted for bullets, not ballots, and every significant voice in Iraq now screams for fair elections, not factional war. Iraqi politics have been kept in the refrigerator of history for a century and more: it's become a foul science project. We took the lid off the Tupperware, and thousands of Iraqis have died in internecine violence. Lacking a better meme, what would you substitute for Insurgency?

          People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

          by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:50:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's hard to come up with a single identifier (none)
            for all of these separate threads. In my mind, they are, well, just Iraqis who are momentarily unified in resistance to the occupation; therefore, I think of them as the "Iraqi resistance". However, I acknowledge that just as "insurgency" is biased against the resistance fighters, "resistance" is biased against the current Iraqi government since it insists on its identification with the occupiers.

            I actually liked your term "struggles"; I like its relative neutrality and I like the fact that it is in the plural. I would probably suggest something like "jihads", but that would be even more misleading.

            Greg Shenaut

  •  Hello? Say again? (none)
    Thanks to Zalmay Khalilzad and other wise heads, we're finally sussing these insurgencies out [?]...

    This oily (Unocal, Cambridge Energy) character is also a serious neocon ideologue and bagman, who  has been thoroughly indoctrinated in the 'Way of the Noble Lie' in the Straussian/Wohlstetter madrassahs at the University of Chicago. In other words, Khalilzad is just another crony bad actor with the same alma mater as Chalabi and Wolfowitz.    

    •  Oh please... (none)
      Khalilzad is everything you say and more.  He's a pragmatist.  The Bush camp has everything to gain and nothing to lose by listening to Khalilzad, who has made a lot more sense than ever emerged from the empty and self-serving heads of the American Satraps Allawi and Chalabi.

      So scream and holler about Khalilzad an it please you.  He may be a Neocon, but he's the only one of them making a particle of sense.  There are no Good Guys in this equation, with the possible exception of Marja Sistani, who has rejected political power.

      People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

      by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:02:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow (none)
      As a Chicagoan, I'm kind of shocked by your willingness to dismiss the credibility of everyone who went to the U of C. I'm sure Barack Obama would be surprised to learn that he'd been teaching at a madrassah.
      •  Was Barak Obama's academic mentor (none)
      •  Oh, he's dead right. (none)
        Khalilzad has mucho Neocon cred, and he's fomented a fair bit of trouble, all on his lonesome. Sure, he's a Neocon, but he's a ruthless pragmatist. As Chris point out, the Bush administration's chiefest fuckup was failing to understand the complexities of Iraqi internal politics, and removing Jay Garner, who could have become to Iraq what MacArthur was to Japan. I had thought to put in a paragraph about Khalilzad and his longstanding relationships and disagreements with Bush policy, but it didn't seem germane to the discussion of the Three Insurgencies. It's safe to say, in summary, Bush has reluctantly put a pragmatist in charge of Iraq policy.

        People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

        by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:16:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Would you also classify Ahmed Chalabi (none)
          Ph.D. Matematics Wohlstetter's department at Chicago), 1969, as a competent  realist??

          [Ahmed Chalabi

          You (and Bush) may like Z , but to me they are all part of the same festering anti-American rot that has beset our country.

          •  Certainly not. (none)
            I'd call Chalabi a liar, a gonif, a carpetbagger, a convicted bank robber (Jordan has an outstanding warrant on him) , whose only allegiance is to himself.  He has been more than a bagman, he's a hitman.  Chalabi's INC murdered hundreds of Iraqis for the USA whilst Saddam was yet in power.

            Iyad Allawi is even worse.  He murdered expat Iraqis for Saddam.

            Why we back this sort of scum is quite beyond me.  Perhaps, as I have said before, Bush sees a good deal of himself in Chalabi, a completely amoral moneygrubber, a treacherous bastard who leverages ideology to his personal enrichment.

            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

            by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 08:56:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  As for particularly liking ZK (none)
            I don't especially like him, but Iraq is no place for pussies, ideologues and do-gooders. Bush has been forced to listen to reason, and if ZK tells him he's going to have to stop hammering on the Sunnis, I'll thank the Devil himself if he keeps American soldiers from getting killed in the Sunni Triangle.

            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

            by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 09:01:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  And another thing (none)
        Francis A Boyle is another U Chicago alumnus (and a Professor of Law), who has little good to say about the Neocon madrassah that existed there.

        See his excellent and revealing Rant (it got my blood boiling):

        "My Alma Mater is a Moral Cesspool"
        Neo-Cons, Fundies, Feddies and the University of Chicago

        Just recently the University of Chicago officially celebrated its Bush Jr. Straussian cabal, highlighting Wolfowitz Ph.D. '72, Ahmad Chalabi, Ph.D. '69, Abram Shulsky, A.M. '68, Ph.D. '72, Zalmay Khalilzad, Ph.D. '79, together with faculty members Bellow, X '39 and Bloom, A.B. '49, A.M. '53, Ph.D. '55. According to the June 2003 University of Chicago Magazine, Bloom's book "helped popularize Straussian ideals of democracy." It is correct to assert that Bloom's rant helped to popularize Straussian "ideas," but they were blatantly anti-democratic, Machiavellian, Nietzschean, and elitist to begin with. Only the University of Chicago would have the unmitigated Orwellian gall to publicly claim that Strauss and Bloom cared one whit about democracy, let alone comprehended the "ideals of democracy."
         
        •  The Strauss Gang (none)
          comes in for much justified rebuke, but I don't think Strauss is all that significant.  As I have said elsewhere, he points to the pendulum of philosophy as it oscillates between Athens and Jerusalem.

          His acolytes are mostly fairly awful people, but like the followers of Nietzche, they mostly miss the point, and take much out of context.  There are downsides to Pure Democracy, notably the triumph of the Lowbrow Demagogue.  If Strauss points to Machavelli, it is only in the context of Strauss' Pendulum, the inevitable reaction of one generation of philosophers to rebel against the preceding generation.  

          People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

          by BlaiseP on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 09:27:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Leo & Nick (none)
                 I was under the impression that Strauss saw Machiavelli as the root of all modern evil.

                 That was mainly because Machiavelli was honest about politics, whereas Strauss & Co. believed that deceit was the essence of politics.

            I'm smart! And I want respect! -- Fredo Corleone

            by angry blue planet on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 06:49:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Strauss' Machavelli (none)
              was, as you say, guilty of the sin of speaking plain truth about consequences.  Strauss is a hodgepodge, who wants to take contrarian positions, his followers are far more dangerous than he was, himself.

              People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

              by BlaiseP on Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 07:27:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

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