Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Syria--US Disagreement by (O)CT(O)PUS of The Swash Zone




I'm reposting this from The Swash Zone because I think more people need to read it and think about it.



Even within families, there is serious disagreement over current Syria strategy. I refer to a conversation last night with my oldest daughter.

First some background: My daughter is a high-ranking officer assigned to the Pentagon with substantial Mid-East experience: 4 deployments totaling 8 years on the ground (in Iraq, Kuwait, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, as examples), starting with the first Gulf War (1990-91).

Her viewpoint: Stay out. Why? No matter how bloody and violent, no matter how unconscionable, no matter how sectarian and divided, virtually all peoples of the region – including combatants fighting amongst themselves – share a unanimity of attitude: They demand the right of self-determination and prefer to be masters of their own fate without the intervention of former colonial powers. After the first Gulf War, George Herbert Walker #41 made this blunder. He kept a residual U.S. force stationed in Saudi Arabia – often cited by al-Qaeda as a motive for targeting U.S. interests (recall the Khobar Towers bombing incident). All sides in these various and sundry Mid-East conflicts share the same xenophobia.

Acknowledging her point, I raised another issue: Mid-East conflicts have metastasized cancer-like beyond the region; witness the spate of terrorist incidents spanning 4 continents. IOW, when regional conflicts spill into our territory and put our citizens at risk, we have a compelling national security interest at stake.

Her reply: We should make every effort to protect our citizens and maintain security within our borders; but we should avoid another Archduke Ferdinand moment that may draw us into deeper, more protracted, and more costly conflicts. After decades of supplying arms to our so-called allies in the region - such as Saudi Arabia - the time has come for regional powers to get their own house in order and do some heavy lifting, she says.

My response: Too late. We cannot re-write history and reset the clock of Mid-East perceptions. In the past half-century, various governments have used American foreign policy as a scapegoat – for reasons both right and wrong – to cover their own failings. Since the cancer of Mid-East conflicts have metastasized worldwide - and Western interests are often in the crosshairs of these conflicts - we have little choice but to intervene.

Our discussion in a nutshell: A perfectly civil and reasonable exchange of views between father and daughter – now shared with readers of this forum. How ironic! General Daughter shuns military involvement; formerly Pacifist Dad makes a case for intervention.

As thorny and nettlesome as this Syria issue has become, it should not turn into another partisan slugfest. By all means, argue the merits but avoid the temptation to engage in wanton and gratuitous Obama-bashing. Mid-East conflicts have vexed 11 U.S. presidents since Eisenhower.  So please be forewarned: If you gang up on President #44, this cephalopod will ink your aquarium and drown you in torrents of citations and references. To quote the estimable Wednesday Addams: “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”


33 comments:

Ema Nymton said...

.

Everything else being equal, the "RIGHT" thing to do is step up and act. But doing the correct right thing in Syria is _NOT_ an option for USA.

In this instant, the player to do the correct right thing is Israel. Plain and simple, let the mid-east players resolve the chaos in Syria.

Ema Nymton
~@:o?
.

Anonymous said...

Obama blew it. He should have kept his mouth shut and just bombed. The kind of isolationists thinking your daughter subscribes to, was proven wrong in the 20th century, more than once. It's to late to reply to this one incident now, but to think this is none of our business, or we will not get dragged into the coming melt down in the Middle East, shows a lack of historical education. While anti involvement liberals are singing kumbya, Russia and China are gaining control forcing Israel to get prepared to make the final defense of their free State. If you think that's over the top, you don't understand Putin; the guy who gave WMD's to Syria; and said yesterday, he will defend Syria.

Duckys here said...

Waist Deep in the Big Muddy ?

Rational Nation USA said...

How does Israel get the nod Ema? Why not Saudi Arabia, or some other Arab Muslim nation? Why should the Jewish nation be responsible to resolve the Syrian civil war?

Anonymous said...

Ralphie is such a tool. He's all over the con blogs using more fake blogging names pretending to be dozens of fake commenters.

What a holey hole hole.

The funny thing is that the cons don't know they're being played like the dumb asses that they are.

shaw knows what I'm talking about.

Ralphie Malcontent has been at this game for years, but he doesn't fool me.


Incognito said...

Jim McGovern On Syria: Obama Should Withdraw Request For Authorization -

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/08/jim-mcgovern-syria_n_3890118.html

We don't need any more wars!

FreeThinke said...

___ IDIOCY REIGNS ___

Apparently, it’s AOK
To mow ‘em down with bullets,
But don’t dare try to kill ‘em off
By poisoning their pullets.

It’s all right too when bombs
Rain from aloft or on the level,
But when you kill with poison gas,
You’re in league with the Devil.

Lock ‘em in a building,
Then burn it to the ground.
By judges at The Hague
You’ll not be guilty found.

Go drag the from their cells
Into a courtyard to be shot.
The World Court will not chide you,
Nor tell you “Thou shalt not.”

Take mothers, babies, toddlers ––
Grandmas –– anyone who thrives,
Then hack them with machetes
And bayonets to end their lives

Rape and loot and strangle,
Garotte or stab at will ––
Of you The World Community,
I promise, won’t think ill.

Set ‘em loose in wood or field,
Then hunt ‘em down like game;
Let half-dead bodies lie unhealed.
You won’t lose your good name.

Rob and cripple, maim at will ––
Dislocate their joints.
Multiculturalists will know
You must have your good points.

Gouge their eyes out, slit each tongue.
Sodomize, impale their young.
Club ‘em down, then crush with tractors.
Brussels won’t call you bad actors.

BUT, urinate upon the corpse
Who tortured your best buddy,
And you’ll be tossed in the stockade
With nose broken and bloody.

And should you dare to wipe yourself
With leaves from the the Koran,
‘Tis YOU The World Community
Will call BARBARIAN!


~ FreeThinke (9/8/13)

George Whyte said...

You think Obama likes doing a military strike against Syria? I agree with Obama. Syria has used chemical weapons. What the majority of those opposed don't understand and Obama does is this. If you let Syria off here with no retaliation. You think Syria is going to stop using chemical weapons. You don't think North Korea and Iran are watching or other rogue nations. That anti war protestor is right. The whole world is watching but not in the way he thinks they are watching. All I ever hear is how politicians play it safe. Not willing to take a stand. Well President Obama is taking a stand. A righteous moral one in my view. Guys like Assad only understand one thing. That is military force. Now I voted for Obama twice. I am trusting his judgment. I have Obama's back.

FreeThinke said...

Right on, Ema!

I hope it doesn't embarrass you to find that we are in agreement? ;-) That probably happens more frequently than either of us may have imagined.

I think Mr. (O)CT(O)PUS would be well-advised to accept his well-trained, well-versed daughter's view of this matter -- especially since she is directly involved with the military..

And I certainly agree with Mr. (O)CTO(O)PUS that this particular issue should not be subjected to partisan wrangling.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

There may be another layer to the Syria crisis that has not been discussed – at least not in public. My hypothesis is that it concerns Vladimir Putin more than Bashar al-Assad. Consider:

In effect, Vladimir Putin, a former KGB chief, has restored a form of Soviet era despotism in Russia. Dissent is no longer tolerated; and democratic aspirations have been suppressed.

Furthermore, there are no more former Soviet era bloc countries (with the possible exceptions of Belarus and the Ukraine) from which Putin can reconstitute a power coalition. In fact, many former client states have joined the EU.

Where do you look to build new alliances? Among the equally ambitious and immoral actors in the Mid-East such as Iran and Syria! Outward signs or symptoms behind these ambitions: Russian vetoes hold the Security Council hostage as Putin delivers orders for armaments to his apparatchik cronies back home.

In essence, a form of de facto Cold War has returned, and the Snowden affair is merely another small episode.

As reprehensible as WMDs are to us, let’s not be naïve. This confrontation is not necessarily about international law but about amoral extensions of power in a global chess game. American influence in the region is decidedly at stake; and the return of rivalry between American versus Russia interests may be a hidden factor driving this conflict.

George Whyte said...


The shallow simplistic thinkers on the right and their willingness to parrot any stupid talking point:

"If Obama loses the attack-Syria vote in Congress, maybe -- just maybe -- he'll be a lame duck. The fickle media just might abandon him."

GOP’s massive new lie: The truth about Obama’s second term
It's factually and morally wrong to say his agenda is doomed if war vote loses. Here's why they're doing it


They've been wrong about Obama and what will happen to his presidency on just about every single issue. They'll be wrong about this one too. Why? Because they're motivated by only one thing: Obama Derangement Syndrome, and that blinds them to their own massive stupidity on anything this president does.


Anonymous said...

Arguing with simplistic idiots on the right is like playing chess with a pigeon. As good as I am, the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

FreeThinke: “I think Mr. (O)CT(O)PUS would be well-advised to accept his well-trained, well-versed daughter's view of this matter …

Parents of high-achieving adult offspring do not tell them what to do; likewise, General Daughter respects her father well enough to extend the same courtesy … which is more than I can say about the thoughtless UnThinke who disrespects personal boundaries.

Dave Miller said...

I was disgusted yesterday watching the Obama Admin spokespeople defend action in Syria.

Axelrod went so far as to claim that we had an obligation to act before the weapons fell into the wrong hands.

I'm sorry, but wasn't the Doctrine of Preemptive Action exactly the action that in the past Dems, Obama included derided the Bush Admin for doing?

It is as if I am watching a very bad Alice in Wonderland video and seeing everything through the reverse eyeglasses.

The WH COS was asked repeatedly who, or what country, was going to take part in a military action action against Syria and all he could say was there are a number of nations supporting us.

When these guys were asked about contingency planning for day 4 and beyond, for instance what if Assad uses these weapons again, they had no answers.

When they were confronted with the bad Iraq intelligence and asked about this instance, all they could say was trust us, we've got good intel.

I am sorry Octo... but as much as I want to support President Obama, his admin has screwed this effort up. They've compared Assad to Hitler, given us the same hubristic types of answers we derided and condemned in the run up to the Iraq war, not developed any substantial partners to join our coalition, evaded questions about future planning and cannot define a mission objective.

Why should we support them?

They do seem incompetent.

Dave Miller said...

And now word come that Sec State Kerry has said any strike would be "Unbelievably small."

What the heck is going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

I never thought I would say this, but the Obama Admin has made me pine for the good old days of the Carter Admin.

They are clueless...

Shaw Kenawe said...

I'm not so sure they're clueless:

MOSCOW — Syria on Monday quickly welcomed a call from Russia, its close ally, to place Syrian chemical arsenals under international control, then destroy them to avert a U.S. strike, but did not offer a time frame or any other specifics.

The statement by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem appeared to mark the first official acknowledgement by Damascus that it possesses chemical weapons and reflected what appeared to be an attempt by Syrian President Bashar Assad to avoid the U.S. military attack.

But it remained to be seen whether the statement represented a genuine goodwill gesture by Syria or simply an attempt to buy time.

"Syria welcomes the Russian proposal out of concern for the lives of the Syrian people, the security of our country and because it believes in the wisdom of the Russian leadership that seeks to avert American aggression against our people," al-Moallem said during a visit to Moscow, where he held talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

However, al-Moallem, would not give any further details in his brief statement and didn't take any questions from reporters.

Moallem's statement came a few hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Assad could resolve the crisis surrounding the alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces by surrendering control of "every single bit" of his arsenal to the international community by the end of the week.


We have no idea what is going on behind the scenes, away from the media and their pundits, who do not have classified information on who the players are in this issue.

Can we be sure that the US and Russia didn't have private conversations about this new development?

As I've stated, I would rather NOT see a strike. Is there another way out? Through diplomacy?

All we can do is wait and let it all play out.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Dave,
Characterizing the administration as "incompetent" is overly harsh, in my opinion; but there is no need to apologize. People of all persuasions are agonizing over this dilemma with all due candor and honesty.

Yet, I should remind everyone that the immoral actor in this instance is Bashar al-Assad - a notorious thug, liar, and malignant presence in the region.

In today's news, there are rumors of a proposal: The destruction of Assad's chemical arsenal under international supervision. If this is the final outcome without armed intervention, would you still regard President Obama as "incompetent?" Please recall how history now records the results of the Cuban missile crisis.

Inasmuch as this game remains in play, and no shots have yet been fired, ignore the posturing and wait until the final score.

FreeThinke said...

I came back to agree with you, Mr. (O)CT(O)PUS, about your contention that there is a great deal more to the abominable carryings on in the Middle East than the power struggle between Bashar Assad and those Syrian rebels who want him out of power. I would extend that to "The Arab Spring" and myriad other events past and present that continue to torment and destabilize the entire region.

It seems obvious that -- let us call them The Dominant Powers, since I'm sick to death of journalistic clichés -- have been "playing chess" with the lives and fortunes of weaker nations for more decades -- probably centuries -- than any of us can remember.

I too see that Mr. Putin seems eager to reinstitute the Cold War in a version of his own. Perhaps sensing the obvious weakening of our power and prestige, he sees an opportunity to prevail against the USA after all, but I think the problem is much broader than that. China obviously has been reaching to extend its power base into Africa and probably the Middle East as well. For whatever reason lots and lots of people the wide world o'er would love to see us brought low.

I can easily understand that, but could never begin to fathom why so many of our bitterest foes were born and bred right here on these shores.

The only enemies we've ever been able to defeat decisively were Japan and Germany.

Since then -- ever since the brand of thinking that developed at Nuremberg began to hold sway as a matter of fact -- we've been deliberately allowing ourselves to become involved in "limited wars."

Starting with Korea these conflicts seem to have profited no one but the producers and distributors of war materiel -- while feeding the ambitions of those who have sought to weaken Western Hegemony and that of the United States in particular in order to impose unification and standardization on all the nations of the world.

This would mean, of course, that the former Have-Nots would then becomes Haves, and the former Haves would Have-Less and be forced to like it or lump it. I'll leave it for others to determine for themselves to what sort of doctrine those aims seem most closely to subscribe.

I have come to believe -- certainly not without reason -- that many-if-not-most of our OWN leaders have repeatedly led us into these hideous skirmishes which accomplish little but a continual lessening of America's blood and treasure, because most of the members of our elite, better-educated, "upper crust" are in sympathy with the ambitions of the One Worlders or The Oligarchs, as I prefer to call them.

I believe that our people are just beginning to awaken to the massive FRAUD that has been slowly, stealthily perpetrated on us for the past one hundred years.

If there is to be any hope of stemming this tide and restoring our strength and integrity as an independent nation, I believe it must start by resisting and refusing to cooperate with any more of these internationalist military adventures.

I don't see his as a PARTISAN issue at all, since members of both parties long ago subscribed to or were paid to support this insidious agenda. The classic conflict between Left and Right has become little more than a Punch and Judy show put on primarily to DISTRACT the public from the REAL factors that gravely imperil our future.

Crackpot Conspiracy Theory?

Please let us not indulge in shallow thinking and hurling meaningless epithets at one another.

FreeThinke said...

A MOST INTERESTING NEWS REPORT:

Russia to Push Syria to Surrender Chemical Weapons

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV

Associated Press

MOSCOW

AP “In a surprise move, Russia promised Monday to push its ally Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control and then dismantle them quickly to avert U.S. strikes.

“The announcement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov came a few hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that Syrian President Bashar Assad could resolve the crisis surrounding the alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces by surrendering control of "every single bit" of his arsenal to the international community by the end of the week.

“Kerry added that he thought Assad "isn't about to do it," but Lavrov, who just wrapped a round of talks in Moscow with his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moallem, said that Moscow would try to convince the Syrians. ...”

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/09/09/Russia-to-push-Syria-to-surrender-chemical-weapons



Rational Nation USA said...

Al this non partisan individual has to say is the following, I AM ENJOYING THE the CONVERSATION IMMENSELY.

Dave, the only exception is I WILL NEVER PINE for the Carter Days. For what should be obvious reasons.

But what do I, or for that matter anyone else know.

The frigging beat goes on. To NOWHERE

skudrunner said...

As we approach the first anniversary of Bengazi, the "leader" is again showing his total lack of leadership and honesty.
He has a serial liar chief of staff who replaced a serial liar contradicting him as he follows up contradicting himself. I never said I am drawing a line, the world is. What a joke.

I do agree with ema in that this is a regional issue and agree with david in that obama is incompetent. As to panning for carter, nothing could be that bad ever the current incompetent incumbent.

Iran is sweating it out that the wizard will not do something stupid and Iran will not be able to seek retaliation.

Infidel753 said...

A few reminders I think are important:

(1) It is not an established fact that the Asad regime ordered the chemical-weapons attack at all (discussion here). The regime was already winning the war and had no motive to risk provoking US intervention against itself. The rebels had ample motivation to stage an attack in hopes of tricking the US into attacking the regime. Their chief backer, Saudi Arabia, has plenty of money and could certainly acquire a few chemical weapons for them to do so.

Can you imagine the result if Obama struck at Syria and it was later shown that the chemical-weapons attack was a rebel trick designed to manipulate him into doing that very thing? He'd probably have to resign.

(2) The rebels are largely jihadists (including al-Qâ'idah fighters) who have already started persecuting and killing non-Sunni minorities including Christians. As ghastly as the Asad regime is, it would be worse both for us and for the Syrian people if they were to take over.

(3) By Middle Eastern standards Syria is a fairly strong country militarily. Most Middle Eastern states do not have the power to remove Asad even if they wanted to (and most of them are dictatorships who have no interest in establishing a precedent that dictators can be overthrown for violating human rights). Israel or Turkey could do it, but at great cost, and they're understandably focused on their own national security.

(4) We risk escalating tensions with Russia and Iran (much bigger and stronger states than Syria), and creating an opportunity for Iranian radicals to undermine Iranian moderates who are finally in the ascendant there.

The plain fact is that Obama has made a mistake here. If it takes the House voting no to stop this from moving forward, so be it.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Update on the Russia/Syria proposal to eliminate their chemical weapons:
\
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department said Monday it would take a “hard look” at a proposal for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons to international control to avoid a military strike, but voiced skepticism that Syria would carry out such a plan.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. would consider the proposal floated by the foreign ministers of Russia and Syria with “serious skepticism” because it might be a stalling tactic. She said Syria had consistently refused to destroy its chemical weapons in the past.

The proposal came after Secretary of State John Kerry said in London that Syrian President Bashar Assad could end the crisis by turning over all his chemical weapons. Harf said Kerry wasn’t putting forth a formal proposal.

Kerry told reporters in London Assad could resolve the crisis surrounding the alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces by surrendering control of “every single bit” of his arsenal to the international community by the end of the week.

Hours later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov promised to push its ally Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control and then dismantle them quickly to avert U.S. strikes, and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem quickly embraced the proposal. That was followed by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also urged Syria to agree.

“Syria welcomes the Russian proposal out of concern for the lives of the Syrian people, the security of our country and because it believes in the wisdom of the Russian leadership that seeks to avert American aggression against our people,” al-Moallem said during a visit to Moscow, where he met with Lavrov.

Rational Nation USA said...

Ah, but of course. Simply an enlargement of George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984. Russia angling for the top administrative and power position in the New One World Order and the repressive government that would immediately follow.

FreeThinke said...

Why point to Bashar Assad as THE bad guy? Surely his opponents are no better than he? Assad is just one of many bloody dictators -- and may not be the worst by a long shot.

The ENTIRE REGION is tainted with dreadful, violence-prone individuals who hold dreadful beliefs in their own demented brand of righteousness, and have dreadful ambitions to achieve dominance through wholesale slaughter of their opponents.

There is NO ONE over there who DESERVES our SUPPORT, ergo I would insist the only sensible thing to do is STAY AWAY and let the barbarians kill each other off -- if that's what they're determined to do.

After all, aren't WE supposed to be the world's greatest advocate of SELF-DETERMINATION for all peoples? [Exit laughing bitterly]

FreeThinke said...

REMEMBERED FROM SOPHOMORE ENGLISH:


Up the crag in the screaming wind
Naked and bleeding I fought blind
On I went towards the Eye of the Sun
Past the Cromlech I found a gun
Then I strayed in the cities of men
In the home of my love I found a pen



TODAY I WOULD ADD:


But then as Reason began to unravel
I found I could do naught but cavil
At ruthless judges who ruled by the gavel
Consigning our lives to pits of gravel.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

I believe it was Theodore Roosevelt who said: “Speak softly but carry a big stick.”

If the current proposal to place all chemical weapons under international control succeeds and a military strike is averted, think of the implications: No chemical weapons left that can fall into combatants’ hands, fall into terrorist hands, be used against Syrian citizens, or used to threaten neighboring states. One may be inclined to consider this development the best of all possible outcomes since the threat of chemical weapons would be eliminated – never to be used or again.

From the beginning, the Obama administration has stated that the Syrian situation is not Iraq or Afghanistan. Read between the lines: Obama is not George Bush. Yet, comments here have characterized Obama as incompetent, Bush Redux, and hubristic.

Consider this: How do you goad a lying sociopath into forfeiting his stockpile of chemical weapons? This doesn’t work: “Speak loudly but carry a small stick.”

billy pilgrim said...

So Obama needs permission to send in the air force with it's vaunted firepower. Does he need permission to send in a few drones?

I liked the comment about the pigeon crapping on the chess board.

Shaw Kenawe said...

We can always count on skudrunner to reduce everything to simplistic partisan sniping.

Go read the comments by the others here and try to learn that this situation deserves more than childish attempts to score political points.

I know it's difficult for you, skud, but try to rise above it.

It can be done.

See how the majority of the other thoughtful commenters here do it, and learn something.

Thanks.

FreeThinke said...

BRAVO, Infidel753!

I am grateful for your remarks beginning with "It is not an established fact that the Assad regime ordered the chemical-weapons attack at all ..."

I think, if I remember rightly, we usually come down on opposite sides of the political fence, but I for one am always glad to recognize good sense and intelligent analysis when I see it. You said many things that needed to be said in a calm, level-headed way. Thank you.

As a Conservative-Libertarian, who honestly tries to avoid slinging mud and calling names when I visit various blogs, I am frankly disgusted at any crude attempts either by "my" side or "thy" side to USE this situation cynically in order to gain political advantage.

In truth we only "know" what we are "told." That is equally true of administrations past and present. The White House acts -- or chooses not to act -- on information supplied from "Intelligence Sources."

When The War on Terror turned sour, his opponents loved to say "BUSH LIED; PEOPLE DIED." or some such simple-minded nonsense. Most people quickly develop amnesia on this still-nettlesome issue.

I'd be among the first to say George W. Bush acted improvidently. He was not a very clever or resourceful man, and I think his presidency was one of a too long line of frank disappoints in the executive branch, but I would never accuse him of being MENDACIOUS.

He almost certainly was misinformed, but I am morally certain he believed what he had been told about Weapons of Mass destruction in Saddam's Iraq. He wasn't the only one. British Intelligence supported him. NATO supported him. BILL CLINTON supported him, and he did receive the support he sought from Democrats in congress to pursue what-turned-out-to-be an ill-fated adventure.



I am not one of Mr. Obama's admirer's. I dislike his policies, and disapprove of many of is appointees, but I remember very well President Eisenhower, who to my knowledge never spoke ill of anyone in public, referring to "the LOYAL opposition." He set a good example I wish we still followed today.

In that faraway era politicians -- and those who wrote serious political commentary -- were able to make every effort to poke holes in each other's arguments without indulging in temper tantrums or the use of intemperate rhetoric.

There are many wittier, more elegant, refined and circumspect ways of calling someone a stupid son-of-a-bitch than simply using the vulgar term. In the olden days, as I remember them, you did it by demonstrating WHY you thought that, and then you didn't need to say it.

One of the reasons I am a conservative as well as a libertarian is the keen nostalgia I feel for the days before the political game reduced itself to the level of a barroom brawl -- or cockfight.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

FreeThinke:

It occurs to me that there may be a private vocabulary or a private Weltanschauung that may account for an incomprehensibility of exchange between us, whether our respective constructs are dystonic or syntonic, each to the other. Often, I often find inconsistency in your use of terms. For instance, does the word ‘oligarch” hold the same meaning in common parlance, or are there private constructs lurking in the shadows? Sometimes you praise oligarchs, condemn them; hard to know which is which.

With my libertarian friends, I often remind them of semantic similarities in the words ‘liberal,’ ‘libertarian,’ and ‘liberty’ as conceptually synonymous with ‘freedom.’ How do these semantically and seemingly compatible words yield partisan discord?

To paraphrase Bertolt Brecht (Die Dreigroschenoper): Chicanery and corruption are the default conditions of the human race. A libertarian sees a noble savage within an idyllic context; a liberal understands savagery in the real world. It accounts for opposing views of government.

My libertarian friends are perfectly content with clean air and water, regulations that protect the food supply, and anti-trust laws that make commerce safe from predators. When I remind them of these benefits, they usually agree. Go figure!

Of course, I have my private constructs too, most notably a view of human history riddled with chicanery, corruption, and violence since the beginning of recorded time. In other words, the human species is a lemming species.

It explains why I made a moral decision to undergo metamorphosis and transform myself into a cephalopod. Readers of Kafka understand this concept. It’s the most sublime form of method acting: Feel the creature; dream the creature; become the creature.

Postscript: The human alimentation system is a one-way street (for the most part) having a separate entrance and exit. For a cephalopod, think in terms of a dead-end street that permits U-turns. Now, are you sure you want to kiss and make up?

Shaw Kenawe said...

Well there you have it.

Confirmation of the fact that the noble cephalopod is among the most intelligent of all nonhuman creatures!

FreeThinke said...

Well, Mr. (O)CT(O)PUS,

There could be no question of our having any need "to kiss and make up," at this stage of the game, since I never sought to quarrel with you, nor did I particularly want friendship. My hope would be to establish a civil relationship where neither of us feels a particular need or desire to malign, discomfort or otherwise denigrate the other.

If the possibility of a genuine friendship should emerge, after we've gotten that far in improving the attitude with which we habitually address each other, I would certainly do nothing to discourage it.

Certainly we come from very different backgrounds, and have, therefore, differing worldviews, different frames of reference, and so speak in effect a different language with a choice of words, nuances, allusions, style and phraseology that reflects -- or betrays -- those differences.

It seems possible that I may be more comfortable -- even complacent -- with my own views than you with yours -- for whatever reasons. I wouldn't dare presume to guess what they might be.

Interesting that you should bring the rarely used term "dystonic" into the conversation, since I suffer from period bouts of Focal Dystonia -- a condition that has a profoundly crippling effect on my right hand at periodic intervals.

The condition started to emerge in my mid-thirties and spoiled any chances I might have had to make a career as a professional recitalist. The degree of perfectionism in that field has advanced so far today that the slightest perception of weakness or inconsistency in the quality of one's playing by one's peers is simply not tolerated.

There are many unwanted -- even tragic -- limitations life imposes on us arbitrarily from time to time. How we CHOOSE to deal with these unsought crises determines the strength of our character, and thus the quality and direction of the remainder of our lives.

I am a determined Christian -- not a notably pious, church-going exhortative type at all, but rather an introspective, contemplative sort who spends much time in thought, which I equate with prayer.

I feel no need to proselytize. Generally I prefer to keep all that to myself, and hope someone may occasionally find my ways attractive and intriguing enough to want to inquire about my beliefs. Too often an effect opposite from that desired is what I get, yet I remain -- at age 72 optimistic and undaunted.

In other words I can't pretend to know where I am going, but I am sure I shall find something to like about it once I arrive.

When I first approach a new piece of music or poetry, I do my best to listen with a desire to be receptive. I WANT to like and enjoy whatever it is, and do my best to avoid dwelling on aspects I find difficult, possibly threatening or downright vicious. HOWEVER, if after a while the negatives far outweigh the positives, I don't dismiss the piece as "no good," but * do tend to put it away, revisit it a few months or years later hoping to find whatever virtue there might be in it.

Admittedly I have found much to despise and detest along the way, but having learned -- I believe -- to know the wheat from the chaff i have found more than enough wonder and delight to sustain me for several lifetimes.

I would wish the same for you -- and all who are capable of salubrious thoughts, hopes, wishes, dreams and fantasies.