"Pedagogue," in classical Greek, means a slave who accompanies your kid back and
forth to school -- literally, a boy-herder.
The slavish character of the profession has not changed. Examples always abound. Here's one of the more recent:
Rev. Wright's honorary degree canceled by Northwestern
May 1 (Bloomberg) -- Northwestern University withdrew an invitation for the Reverend Jeremiah Wright to receive an honorary degree at this year's commencement.
Wright... was selected to be honored at the June ceremony in Evanston, Illinois, on the recommendation of faculty committees, Alan Cubbage, vice president for university relations, said in a statement.
"In light of the controversy around Dr. Wright and to ensure the celebratory character of commencement not be affected, the university has withdrawn its invitation to Dr. Wright,'' Cubbage said.
"Celebratory," huh? What exactly are they celebrating? Perhaps it's that bold fearless commitment to open inquiry and freedom of thought on which the servile, cringing, boy- and girl-herders of Academe so groundlessly pride themselves.
Here's an example of the intellectual range of The Nation magazine:
Will the Jeremiah Wright controversy doom the Obama campaign?
No. Obama was right to disassociate himself from his former pastor. Now he can adddress the real issues
Wright's not the biggest threat to Obama--it's how the media and the right-wing spin machine take the preacher's comments out of context.
Real damage has been done. If Obama's campaign goes down in flames, Wright's incendiary comments will be partly to blame.
These folks really do live in a walnut-shell, don't they, and think themselves kings
of infinite space. Quite beyond their ken to imagine that anybody would think
Wright was more right than not, or that Obama ended up looking like a coward, or
a fool, or both, by turning on an old friend as he did.
I have to assume that the telcoms have been secretly monitoring members of congress and the Bush administration's communications and are blackmailing them. There is just no other adequate explanation for this immunity nonsense to keep coming back over and over again.
Here 's Jane Hamsher:
According to the ACLU, there is rumor of a backroom deal being brokered by Jay Rockefeller on FISA that will include retroactive immunity. I've heard from several sources that Steny Hoyer is doing the dirty work on the House side....
They really, really want this to go through. In fact, their insistence is becoming so desperate that there is simply no more reason to doubt they are hiding something..... These corporations must be knee deep in spying on Americans and their corrupt congressional puppets must know it.
You amaze me, Digby. The telcos are" knee-deep in spying"? Say it ain't so.
The bit about "blackmail" is also rather touching. Does Rupert Murdoch "blackmail"
Bill O'Reilly into behaving the way he does? No, Digby, Murdoch is O'Reilly's employer. Now apply that paradigm to Congress and see how well
House Democratic leaders are putting together the largest Iraq war spending bill yet, a measure that is expected to fund the war through the end of the Bush presidency and for nearly six months into the next president's term....
Bay Area lawmakers, who represent perhaps the most anti-war part of the country, acknowledge the bill will anger many voters back home.
"It's going to be a tough sell to convince people in my district that funding the war for six months into the new president's term is the way to end the war," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, a leader of the Out of Iraq Caucus who plans to oppose the funding. "It sounds like we are paying for something we don't want."
Wrong, Lynn. It sounds like you're paying for something you do want.
A poll accompanies the Chronicle story:
Gotta love the Bay Area. But I feel sadly sure that nearly all that 88%
who gave the right answer will dutifully trudge to the polls in November and
vote for these inexcusable-breachers-of-promise.
Q: How many psychoanalysts does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Does the lightbulb want to change?
The Jeremiah Wright flap provided, what, a week's worth of excitement,
but the dreary campaign is back once more on its stupefyingly tedious
track. The Note is again full from end to end of soporific, sophomoric inside-baseball
wiseacre-y. How long, oh Lord, how long? Who cares, oh Lord, who cares?
The only mildly interesting thing to come out of the Wright-o-machia was a dog that
didn't bark. The whole carpet-chewing brouhaha appears to have made very little
difference to anybody. Which is actually a phenomenon worth pondering, especially since nothing else of any interest is going on. (The gas tax holiday? Puh-leeze.)
In Poll, Obama Survives Furor, but Fall Is the Test
WASHINGTON — A majority of American voters say that the furor over the relationship between Senator Barack Obama and his former pastor has not affected their opinion of Mr. Obama, but a substantial number say that it could influence voters this fall....
This is a classic slow-news-day exercise in squeezing blood from a stone. The poll shows that nothing has happened. Stop The Presses! Day Passes! Nothing Happens!
But some of the people polled allow as how the Wright flap might perhaps make a difference to some unspecified other people -- though it's made little or none to them.
So that is the news. It hasn't made any difference -- yet. But some people think
it might. Stop The Presses! Subjunctive Mood Alive And Well!
Mixed feelings, as usual, seems like the right response. The good news is that the ogreish cartoon of black anger which the media tried to construct out of Pastor Wright
doesn't seem to have scared anybody very much. That is unquestionably progress.
Score one for the good sense of the public.
The bad news is that Obama isn't utterly disgraced for his weak-kneed response. (Whatever you say, officer! I'll talk!)
One wonders how anybody who ever believed that the guy
represented something really new, and hopeful, and positive, can continue to believe that
after his barefoot penance at the frigid windswept Canossa where the infallible Papacy of received ideas retired to sulk after the intolerable insults Wright offered it.
But maybe even within the bad news there's a silver lining. From the same Times story:
... nearly half of the voters surveyed, and a substantial part of the Democrats, said Mr. Obama had acted mainly because he thought it would help him politically, rather than because he had serious disagreements with his former pastor.
In other words, the process of discounting the shiny new Obama coinage is well under
way, and probably was so even before Jeremiah Wright made the National Press Club
look like a foot-shuffling gaggle of ignorant, ill-bred schoolboys.
Which brings us back to the old story -- Obama is the quadrate term of lesser-evillism,
the lesser evil of the lesser evils.
But that, ah that, is apparently the inoperable tumor of American political thinking. How do we persuade people to stop caring which evil is lesser?
That phrase -- "white trash" -- I just read on the internet somewhere is a "classist slur".
"Classism" -- now that's an odious jumble of a notion.
It seems to notice how an elite might not just exploit, but also also "oppress" another class.
"Classism" -- a squishy term -- far more so than 'racist' or even 'sexist'. And 'oppression'
-- squishier than 'exploitation', which has a pretty crisp, quantitative meaning.
The St Hill mob is trying to pin the "classist" label
on Obie. And of course that's a delight, since between Ob and la Scorpion,
calling one or the other 'classist' is straight pot-vs-kettle, isn't it?
In demotic, the better word is 'elitist' either way
I like this old GOP rag. Beyond the obvious delight it gives me to see the dueling identity pols smearing each other with it,
the notion seeks to isolate all the obviously embarrassing bits out of our class based society -- but leave the nuggets in place.
The nuggets? Why, exploitation, of course. "Classists" don't exploit the helotry --
they sneer at 'em, they condescend to 'em. They -- escape 'em.
And best of all, classists try to -- reform 'em.
So we have a clear choice,
as white trash or as blue-collars.
We got one party -- the GOP -- of hard exploitation;
and another party -- the Jackasses -- who like to deplore "oppression",
and leave exploitation out of the picture, unmentioned, unmentionable,
For your enjoyment,
the final two faces of the Democracy's prez-nom campaign in '72,
to remind the praeteriti that tarry here
what that hag the Hump did to dear old George McG
before the final event, the California primary of early June.
Hunter T's words:
"Not even Nixon could stoop to Hubert's level, the vicious corrupt old screw."
Yes, that desperate scalded milk-rat of a candidate
threw everything he could rip loose at the man from South Dakota.
Behind that honest mild Western face was --
a former commie stooge, a progressive party (vintage '48) operative,
a bomber pilot turned surrender sissy,
a guy who never saw
an idling black hand he didn't want to fill with Uncle's long green --
in short, a friend, protector, and sponsor
to every bombthrower, child-rapist, drug fiend and deserter
America's sick underbelly could produce.
Hubert had help, of course.
Here's a couple of mainframe HH shadow bullies:
AFL-CIA chief and cold-war Catholic, George "The Animal" Meany...
... and the king of the cop riots, Mayor Daley the elder.
'Twas a Turkish gauntlet they put dear senator George through, in those runup weeks to the final primary -- but then George won California anyway,
and there was the inevitable coming-together after the Hump ran out of tomahawks and votes at the convention.
Ahhh there were giants among us in those days -- real ball-eaters.
Fact: our Luddite dollar has graciously
lost about 1/3 of its puffed-up imperial value against our northern trading partners' currencies.
But against the real menace -- against our hideously undervalued southern trading partners -- the decline is less than 1/6th.
Enter this champion of the battle against
our ongoing "off shore" jobbery robbery:
By the looks of him alone, I ask you,
ladies and gentlemen of the jury,
how could the likes of this this, this... think-tank porcupine
ever hope to bust apart the trans nat-OITP(*) ring's
all-in, full-tilt, take-no-prisoners attack, which is
even now preparing to apply
ten thousand wrecking balls to whatever still remains standing amidst the rubble of our national industrial platform?
I know, I know. Once again, I've prefered the rude senseless
personal insult to the principled, documented, text-based dismantling of the argument. So okay,
and particularly this flapping burlap of a finale that
Maestro Scott substitutes for the much-needed roundhouse left:
"The countries whose currencies are in the OITP index account for roughly 59% of the current U.S. trade deficit.... OITP's relative stubbornness is problematic
for United States and global adjustment and makes strengthening currencies in the OITP index and the Japanese yen even more important for correcting the U.S. trade deficit."
Stubborn? Problematic? I love the judicious tranquility with which these people survey
the bloody havoc we laughingly call "the US economy."
(*)The Other Important Trading Partner index. Its member currencies:
China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia,
Malaysia, Thailand, Korea,
Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia,
Israel, India, Philippines,
Brazil, Colombia, Chile,
Argentina, Singapore, Hong Kong.
(After the polling booth squalor of last night, like a soaring full-chested pigeon, this dawn I wax world-historical.)
The answer really is obvious: besides the United Ogres of Amnesia, why of course it was -- people's China.
And it was won by none other than -- Mao and Nixon.
Yes, these two endlessly vilified titans were the architects of that massive victory.
The rise of people's China under Deng was the direct,
otherwise impossible product of the Sino-American entente engineered by Mao and grasped like a miracle potion by der Dickster.
Its endlessly curious how Clio uses her masterbuilders like pawns, eh?
The continuing story of mankind's progress malgre-soi
is obviously shot full of ironies of all shapes and sizes,
but these biggest ones are so vastly, so intentionally
self-contradictory as to make a flatiron dance.
And yet there we have it:
today was produced by an arrangement reached back in the early 70's
by these two shrewd and checkered statesmen:
shrewd and checkered and ultimately mad -- I might add, like history herself.
Since the primary campaign is not really about
anything but personalities, one might
as well find a way to enjoy it.
My own solution to the brain-corroding tedium of the
process is this: now that Hillary is starting to look like she's history,
I'm liking her better. (Of course, I like history in general, which
makes it easier.)
This is on a purely personal level, you
understand. She's such a junkyard dog.
The only face she has is her game face.
And she'd keep that campaign smile on it
if she were being hanged, drawn,
and quartered, right through the sordid,
bloody process, to the grisly, filthy end.
On a purely personal
level, she has in abundance the virtue
of fortitude. One has to admire virtue --
on a purely personal level -- wherever one finds
* * *
I watched her (rather lengthy) victory speech
in West Virginia -- a state Barack Obama probably
wrote off when he was about 12 years old.
performance. Not as interesting or unusual as Barack's
original, remarkable "race" speech -- the one he made
before he lost his nerve and decided he didn't really know
Jeremiah Wright after all. But Hillary, after all, is a bit
of an earnest plodder, and doesn't have the Pindaric
athlete's ease and composure that the gods gave
Barack. Considering how hard she has to work, she did
On a purely personal level. Of course.
Hillary's handlers had carefully composed her human
background, although the one moderately
cute young gay guy, for some strange reason, kept waving a bowling pin
around. This was a bit distracting. Where is the Secret Service
when you need them? The one
black guy looked a little bit like will.i.am, but maybe not quite
Poor Hillary, though. In spite of her (incredibly game) game face
and her sedulously competent delivery -- if she were a piano
student, she would practice her scales for three or four hours a day,
with a metronome --
her speech was awfully dull. Not only dull but surprisingly
tone-deaf: she boasted about having extracted an absentee ballot
from a dying woman, and a contribution from a child who had to sell
his bike to raise the money. It sounded like Fagin's mother reading her
One thing struck me with unusual force: her relentless references to
the "middle class." Now West Virginia is not a very middle-class place
by any reasonable statistician's standard. West Virginia is, in fact, as my
Appalachian grandmother used to say, "as poor as Job's turkey."
So what, one wonders, does this "middle class" trope mean to people? Perhaps
we need to have a focus group, and approach the matter by asking who's not in the middle
class. My guess is that people would get around sooner or later to mentioning
Bill Gates and other very, very wealthy folk; but that the first, most spontaneous
exclusions would operate downward.
A structuralist, or a Ramist, would say that the primary distinction encoded
in this "middle class" category is a distinction between those who have something --
however exiguous, and tenuous -- and those who have less. It implicitly associates,
on the good side of this first-order fence, those who have, really, very little, with
those who have -- really -- quite a lot.
Of course Hillary is not unique in her use of this kind of discourse. It is, in fact,
universal in American politics. The American English phrase for "ordinary people" is
"middle class" -- and so of course ordinary people always must and will and do have
somebody, some logically entailed lower class, to look down on, with contempt and moral condemnation and fear.
Hillary's good fortune in West Virginia is that, unlike much of the South, there aren't many black people there. So in West Virginia, the imagined social subbasement evoked by your sense
of being "middle class" -- even if you live in a trailer -- tends to be rather dark-skinned.
Of course, the social subbasement Obama's fans imagine is a bit different. It is, in
fact, peopled by pudgy, dough-faced, provincial, fried-food white folks in places like... West Virginia.
One of the things I like about Hillary is that even though she herself is as much
of a merit-class baby as Barack -- though not as gifted by Nature -- she's been forced
by circumstances to go begging at all those trailer doors, to collect the dying old ladies' ballots and the poor kid's bicycle blood money, and by God she's done it. She has no shame. The trailer "middle class" have become her people -- and she loves them like
T. Rex loves Stegosaurus.
Is it just me, or is the Democratic primary campaign characterized by an even higher
than usual level of stultifying, drivelling imbecility? It's delightful that the only
interesting moments in it have been provided by a man of God from
God and His fans have now been firmly escorted off the stage, so that people like ABC's Jake Tapper can turn their brilliant, secular, merit-class minds to the issues that really matter.
The Party of God has been busy elsewhere, however, providing news that I for one find
Lebanon reverses decisions that angered Hezbollah
BEIRUT — The Lebanese government late Wednesday formally rescinded decisions that sparked days of violence in the country, a move aimed at easing tensions between American- and Iranian-backed political camps vying for power in the country.
... Lebanon's information minister said the government would back off on decisions announced last week to declare illegal the Shiite Muslim militia Hezbollah's private fiber-optic telecommunications network and to fire the pro-Hezbollah head of security at Beirut's international airport.
"Since the government is greatly concerned with the higher interest, the government decided to approve the rescinding of the two decisions," Ghazi Aridi, the minister, said in a televised appearance.....
"There is no winner as a result of what happened, but there is a loser," he said, "and that is Lebanon."
Well, no, Ghazi, the loser is Israel. While Bush blusters about "appeasement" in Jerusalem, and Hillary assures the Israel lobby that she's not just ready, but
downright eager to commit nuclear genocide on Mini-Me's behalf, Israel's actual position steadily worsens in the Northern theater, and doesn't really look all that good
anywhere else, either. Presumably the hysteria of the Lobby's rhetoric -- and that of its gofers in both parties -- is in inverse proportion to the rosiness of the outlook.
Hezbollah appears to be well on the way to picking up all the marbles in Lebanon, and if some kind of deal with Syria about the Golan is really in the works -- as many Middle
East entrail-readers seem to believe -- then we can confidently attribute any interest Israel may at last be showing in serious negotiation to its worries about the God boosters in Lebanon (and, of course, Iran).
It's hard to believe that the Israelis really
think Syria could provide any significant help
against Hezbollah. But they're operating these days like a riverboat
gambler on the brink of going bust. Maybe they think that if they can embroil
Syria in some kind of conflict with Hezbollah, it'll at least relieve some of the
Score one for the King of the Universe. You go, God!
The New York Times (and, to be fair, every other aptly-named media "outlet" I've seen)
has swallowed whole, and reported as Gospel truth, a patent, glaring lie from Interpol about
the computer equipment Colombia seized from FARC last March.
The actual Interpol report, a monstrous indigestible bolus
of bureaucratic memo-graphy, contains, when you boil
it down, two consequential statements:
1) "Interpol said its forensic experts had found no
signs that Colombia had altered files" on the seized
2) "Interpol’s experts verified that the [Colombian
military's handling of the equipment] had not
altered the content of the archives."
The first of these statements can legitimately
be made and supported by a computer-forensic investigation;
the second cannot. Tampering with data on a computer
disk or "thumb drive" may leave traces, and if so
a competent forensic investigation will find them. But it
is also possible, even for a person of modest technical
skill, to tamper with such devices in a way that
leaves no trace at all. (I make part of my modest
living doing this stuff, so I know.)
Interpol's confident -- and unjustifiable -- claim to know definitely
that the Colombian military "had not altered" the data
appears to be a case of telling the customer what he wants to hear.
Neither the Times nor any other
media organization appears to have asked any
independent expert for an assessment of what Interpol said. Surprise, surprise.
Hugo Chavez' characterization of Interpol chief Ronald Noble
as a "gringo policeman" and a "clown" is, as usual for Chavez,
right on target.
Noble is a Clinton protege, though he made his earlier
Justice Department career in the previous two administrations. He has a
long history of, shall we say, political sensitivity. My favorite example:
In 2003, Noble sounded a warning about fake consumer goods after an Interpol investigation linked them to shadowy political organizations such as Al Qaeda. He called the illegal trade in counterfeit designer wear such as shoes and purses "the preferred method of funding for a number of terrorist groups," according to an International Herald Tribune article by David Johnston.
So if you buy that fake Gucci handbag from the sidewalk vendor, then you're
supporting terrorism. More thorough intellectual-property enforcement will make the
world a safer place for all of us.
Above, Colombia's death-squad president Uribe, and his close personal friend,
our former death-squad president Clinton, at a Clinton-sponsored schmoozefest
last year. As usual, Clinton appears to be doing all the talking.
But Uribe listens. The most recent result of his attentive listening was the invasion
of Ecuador last March, in which patently bogus evidence was duly found that the Colombian insurgency (FARC) had its eye on Weapons Of Mass Destruction -- and that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez was going to help FARC get them.
Now we all know that Hillary is nothing if not loyal to an old friend. In the aftermath of the Colombian attack, she nailed her colors to the mast:
The Colombian state has every right to defend itself against drug trafficking terrorist organizations.... By praising and supporting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Chavez is openly siding with terrorists.... Rather than criticizing Colombia’s actions in combating terrorist groups in the border regions, Venezuela and Ecuador should work with their neighbor to ensure that their territories no longer serve as safe havens for terrorist groups. After reviewing this situation, I am hopeful that the government of Ecuador will determine that its interests lie in closer cooperation with Colombia....
Obama, as usual, was slightly -- very slightly -- more vague and tepid, but his response amounted to much the same thing:
The Colombian people have suffered for more than four decades at the hands of a brutal terrorist insurgency, and the Colombian government has every right to defend itself against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The recent targeted killing of a senior FARC leader must not be used as a pretense to ratchet up tensions or to threaten the stability of the region. The presidents of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela have a responsibility to ensure that events not spiral out of control, and to peacefully address any disputes through active diplomacy with the help of international actors.
By "targeted killing" Barack means the invasion of a neighboring country. Compare
the phrase "surgical bombing." Note also that he obligingly uses the magic word "terrorist" -- the all-justifying Philosopher's Stone of late-imperial discourse. He does
mercifully omit the bit about drug trafficking, perhaps because from him,
moralizing on this subject might seem a bit comical.
Uribe, like the Kosniks, seized eagerly on the quantum-scale difference between
Barack's and Hillary's mad-doggery. Uribe, too, is a loyal guy, and he wants us to know
that he's very disappointed by Barack's relative lukewarmness -- just as the Kosniks are oddly roused to orgasm by the same quality.
In Uribe's case, one need not take these protestations too seriously. A loyal guy dances with the one that brung him, as I believe Lyndon Johnson once observed.
The Kosnik fervor is harder to understand. Obama didn't bring 'em anywhere. He's
promised 'em very little, and he hasn't even given 'em Arpege. They're like some
poor podgy, ill-favored soul hoping delusionally to be asked to the prom by the
captain of the football team. In the event, of course, she spends Prom Night at home -- blogging, no doubt, though this comparison lands a little close to my own home.
But no matter how neglected, forlorn and forgotten she may be, she's determined to hear no ill of her heartthrob.
You'd think the Democratic Party was a precious, fragile vessel of leaf-thin
fine bone china, the way everybody is now worried about "damaging" it during the
If only it were so. In fact the leathery old whore seems indestructible, more's the pity. In its two-century history it's survived every possible kind of disgrace and betrayal, and it still trudges shamelessly on, a shit-eating Clintonesque grim on its homely face, ready willing and eager to sell itself -- and its hapless "base" -- to any buyer, no matter how
repellent, for ready cash.
It's odd, really. The shabby thing really does appear awfully flimsy, and it certainly stands for nothing at all except employment under Government for its cadre. Yet it endures (and endures, and endures), in saecula saeculorum, like the Energizer bunny. This paradoxical durability must have some structural explanation.
I think its very mendacity is the secret of its success. Crucially, it claims to offer an
alternative -- however half-hearted and feeble -- to the utter, absolute, complete
and comprehensive lordship of plutocracy. As crucially, it actually does nothing of the kind.
It's fundamentally just a matter of algebra. This is a country designed -- very ably and successfully designed -- to be ruled by an oligarchy of wealth. Yet public consent to this
arrangement requires representing it as a democracy. The gap between representation
and reality requires some term to fill it up and make the equation come out right.
That's the structural need the Democratic Party fills, and that, I think, is the explanation for its longevity. We've always needed something like like that -- some democratic cloak for our oligarchic nakedness -- and presumably we always will, at least until something changes in a big way. It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. Some institution must be built, and staffed with people who either don't mind the dirt, or can convince
themselves it's not dirt at all.
Hillary and Bill belong to the former category, no question about it. If Obama
really belongs to the latter, it will be interesting to see how his ability to sustain
cognitive dissonance holds up under the strains of office.
Here's a report from the watch out for Larry Ziffle team:
Recently our guy took a malign thumping from three Hindu gents.
Waxing to the beat-down, they mocked his status as a globalist and neolib paragon:
"Larry are you turning protectionist hack, now we South Asians are getting into the great game too, and we might add, taking a few tricks from you Yanks?"
In fact they get it so all-fired wrong that
Larry, in a rejoinder just below their post,
makes minced cow of them.
In essence: I come to save globalization, not raze it.
Here's Larry's money line:
"True friends of global integration and of the developing world will work to design more ways to insure that a more integrated and prosperous global economy is one from which all will benefit."
A porcine Greek bearing gifts approaches the gates to what remains uncrumbled
of the northern hemisphere's working stiffs' citadel.
At my age, sacrificing seven months of what life I have left is a big
deal, but I might almost do it, just to have the coronation -- erm, I mean
election -- over with, Barack in the formerly-white house, and something fun to write about again. This much-ado-about-nothing campaign season -- really, it's
tedious enough to rouse thoughts of cutting one's own throat. I certainly
can't read The Note again for quite some time, or who can say what impulsive
act might ensue?
Shall we try a parlor game or two?
What sort of Congress will Barack have? Will his coattails prove broad, and will he
get a nice Democratic congress? Or will people hedge their bets, and split
their tickets, and saddle Barack with a narrow, flakey mini-majority controlled by
those dear darling highly characteristic Democratic aisle-crossers -- Joe Lieberman,
of course, being the type specimen?
Will it make a difference?
How many troops will still be in Iraq as the 2010 midterms start to heat up? What
about Afghanistan? How will people feel about that?
How will their jobs be? Wages up, unemployment down? If not -- how angry will
What will it take to get them back to reality?
I happened to be talking today with a very intelligent woman who was ready to bolt the
Democratic Party -- "Hillary Clinton! She's the Antichrist!", as she put it. NAFTA and the Iraq war were her two big issues.
But then -- along came Barack, and she's a believer again.
I asked her what it would take, down the road a year or two, before she might
start to feel she'd been schnookered. "Say it's two years from now -- May 2010 -- and there's still troops in Iraq. Can I call you then and gloat? Or will it take more than
She paused -- a short pause; she's a smart girl -- and then responded with Obama-like
evasive grace, "I'd have to look at the whole situation."
This is what the Obamas do. They coax people back in.
Another reason to prefer Hillary -- who drives them out.
As Owen remarked in comments on an earlier post, nobody ever really
knows what may happen in an election, particularly one with some
novel features (e.g. a more or less black favorite). Still, it's hard for me
to believe that McCain has a prayer.
But hey, I've been wrong before. I certainly hope I'm not wrong this
time, though -- not because I expect anything of Barack except warmed-over
Clintonism, but because if Barack is defeated, all these formerly disillusioned
Democrats whom Barack has snake-charmed back into the fold will have
no opportunity to get disillusioned again. Lost in a wonderful wilderness of if-only's,
many of them will remain dedicated DP cultists for the rest of their lives, utterly lost
to reason and enlightenment.
I haven't paid sufficient attention to the paradox of the Beautiful Loser -- the
candidate you have really persuaded yourself to believe in, and can still believe
in because he lost and never got the chance to sell you down the river. The Beautiful
Loser is one of the main ways the Democratic Party keeps hope alive, to borrow a
Win by losing. Quite a trick, really. Get their hopes up. Then lose. And the experience
of having hoped will keep 'em coming back, until the memory goes dim and
the hapless souls who shared it have all died off.
Here's hoping that Barack wins in November, and gets a chance to show us unmistakably what he's really all about.
Too bad we don't got guys like this to kick around any more.
That, I predict, will be the words our merchants of death
will be whining by this time next year.
Even if we, in our infinite patience with men of pure helium, choose
the Hanoi Hilton's most famous air pirate next November,
I still say we can kiss goodbye to
all these high-caliber empire games,
no matter who we get, what we run into,
or where we go from here.
The Bush team's continuing blood opera, our fiasco in the sand,
suggests at least a change of frames, right?
But I suspect much more besides -- I suggest we'll see a bipartisan
change of substance, my friends, substance:
from a very juvenile update of the Roman Empire to -- let's see -- surely we can't go back to... the 90's? To Clintox and the limited liability universal methodist morality play:
a kind of long-count timeout for local thugs. Sound track by Mini-Me And The Cruise Missiles.
So what's next? I submit to you that
the next big plan to roll out will be -- appeasement.
Yes, wall to wall indulgence. Why not? There's no great power out there, no Hitler, no Stalin, to stare and scare back into their den, is there?
Okay, maybe someday -- maybe even sooner than later, but not now.
In a world like ours today there can be no Munichs,
no Pearl Harbors, no Chosin Reservoirs.
The GWOT? Please. I bet
there's hardly a soul alive in America today that in their heart
doesn't know we oughta send that bit of Lion's Club tomfoolery right back where it belongs -- on the funny pages. Don't the recent triumphs of Hezbollah prove Uncle can't micro-manage the planet?
So since you only make 'em stronger the more you attack 'em -- you don't bomb the pricks (let alone occupy 'em). Nope, you appease 'em -- indulge 'em even. Go ahead, guys, knock yourselves out!
And I mean
appease 'em all -- every stray enemy of unrestricted corporate freedoms
dinking around down there in South Hemiland.
As Larry David says about Gentiles and Christmas, Aahhh, let 'em have their holiday.
Let 'em have their pitiful time-capsule ghettos. Let 'em play out their blighted scenes of cruelty and ignorance. Ain't there more than enough good brown earth to romp through without having to drop golden eggs on their sorry rag-wrapped heads?
Mark my words, this is the coming thing. And I give this fad about 3 years --
not even one full administration -- about the same amount of time post-Nam Carter played Uncle Human Rights before the pandemic of anti-transnat activity, like some raging infestation of insolence, required
a hearty hello to arms -- the condign legionaires,
the Freedom, Inc. crusaders,
the smoking gun civilizers.
... AKA Front Runner Syndrome. See also Triangulation.
Here's Barack, talking recently to the Cuban American National
Foundation in Miami:
In many ways, Miami stands as a symbol of hope for what’s possible in the Americas. Miami’s promise of liberty and opportunity has drawn generations of immigrants to these shores....
What all of us strive for is freedom as FDR described it. Political freedom. Religious freedom. But also freedom from want, and.. freedom from fear. At our best, the United States has been a force for these four freedoms in the Americas. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that at times we’ve failed to engage the people of the region with the respect owed to a partner.
When George Bush was elected, he held out the promise that this would change....
Almost eight years later, those high hopes have been dashed....
No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum. His predictable yet perilous mix of anti-American rhetoric, authoritarian government, and checkbook diplomacy offers the same false promise as the tried and failed ideologies of the past.... And Chavez and his allies are not the only ones filling the vacuum. While the United States fails to address the changing realities in the Americas, others from Europe and Asia – notably China – have stepped up their own engagement. Iran has drawn closer to Venezuela, and just the other day Tehran and Caracas launched a joint bank with their windfall oil profits.
That is the record – the Bush record in Latin America – that John McCain has chosen to embrace. Senator McCain doesn’t talk about these trends in our hemisphere because he knows that it’s part of the broader Bush-McCain failure to address priorities beyond Iraq....
So we face a clear choice in this election. We can continue as a bystander, or we can lead the hemisphere into the 21st century. And when I am President of the United States, we will choose to lead....
Throughout my entire life, there has been injustice in Cuba. Never, in my lifetime, have the people of Cuba known freedom. Never, in the lives of two generations of Cubans, have the people of Cuba known democracy....
I will maintain the embargo. It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice....
For the people of Colombia – who have suffered at the hands of killers of every sort – that means battling all sources of violence. When I am President, we will continue the Andean Counter-Drug Program.... We will fully support Colombia’s fight against the FARC..... We will support Colombia’s right to strike terrorists who seek safe-haven across its borders. And we will shine a light on any support for the FARC that comes from neighboring governments. This behavior must be exposed to international condemnation, regional isolation, and – if need be – strong sanctions. It must not stand.
... we must support the rule of law from the bottom up. That means more investments in prevention and prosecutors; in community policing and an independent judiciary.
I agree with my friend, Senator Dick Lugar – the Merida Initiative does not invest enough in Central America, where much of the trafficking and gang activity begins.
... As President, I’ll make it clear that we’re coming after the guns, we’re coming after the money laundering, and we’re coming after the vehicles that enable this crime. And we’ll crack down on the demand for drugs in our own communities, and restore funding for drug task forces and the COPS program.
And on and on. Cops, embargoes, "democracy" -- for other people of course; Lord knows we don't want it here -- and, most ominous of all, "leadership".
One can only try to imagine how the idea of American "leadership" must make
hearts sink around the world.
For the historically-minded, the interest of this speech is how it resembles
Kennedy's product positioning back in '60. The problem with McCain is that he's
not going to be aggressive and domineering enough.
These Republicans, they're
so lazy and reactive. Trust a sleepless, industrious Democrat to send in the death squads even before they're needed.
You've really got to admire Barack Obama. He can give a speech
promising enhanced bloodshed, and still offer a liberal something to feel good about
at the same time. The liberal will predictably take the lip-service and ignore the substance. If you can't get yourself out of the box -- well then, you have
to stay in the box; and if you find a way to like the box, who can blame you? It's not
such a bad box, really. I've seen worse. One might be a Mormon.
No sooner had I posted Barack's kick-ass-and-take-names speech
about Latin American -- delivered to that marvelous crew of fanatical
fossils, the Cuban emigre "community" -- than I was made aware of a Nation magazine
liberal's response to the same speech.
One of my all-time faves, Sam "I am" Graham-Felsen, an early enlistee to the Obama
cult, offers this very different hearing of Barack among the Gusanos:
MIAMI, FL—Senator Barack Obama today laid out his comprehensive Latin America policy, rejecting the Bush-McCain approach that has neglected the Americas and failed to adapt to the realities of our changing world. Speaking at the Cuban American National Foundation Luncheon, Obama outlined his plans to forge a new regional approach to combat insecurity and aggressively promote economic opportunity through new trade, aid and energy policies.
The Shin Bet security service detained and deported an American Jewish professor who is a prominent critic of the Israeli occupation when he landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Friday.
Professor Norman Finkelstein was interrogated for several hours and held in an airport cell before being put on a plane back to Amsterdam, his point of departure. Finkelstein said he was told he could not return to Israel for 10 years.
The Shin Bet said Finkelstein "is not permitted to enter Israel because of suspicions involving hostile elements in Lebanon," and because he "did not give a full accounting to interrogators with regard to these suspicions."
However, in e-mail and phone interviews with Haaretz after leaving Israel for Amsterdam, Finkelstein said, "I did my best to provide absolutely candid and comprehensive answers to all the questions put to me. I am confident that I have nothing to hide. Apart from my political views, and the supporting scholarship, there isn't much more to say for myself: alas, no suicide missions or secret rendezvous with terrorist organizations. I've always supported a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. I'm not an enemy of Israel."
Finkelstein visited Lebanon a few months ago and met with Hezbollah operatives there, and subsequently published articles.
Finkelstein.... recently left DePaul University following pressure by Jewish organizations and individuals, including Professor Alan Dershowitz.
I know a few young people, and so I dabble occasionally in Facebook. Why are people
so willing to tell strangers so much about themselves? I don't get it. Anyway, on a quick visit today I was electrified to see a little ad flash by somewhere on the page. The text read:
David Sirota to Speak on Uprising at Riverside Church
An uprising! I thought. About time. But... at Riverside Church? And why would anybody
want to hear what David Sirota had to say about the subject? (Or any other subject, for that matter.)
The ad was gone before I could follow the link. But a bit of Google-ing turned
up the disappointing explanation:
NYC Event: Bestselling Author to Discuss The Rise
of Populism Across the Country
... bestselling author and nationally syndicated columnist David Sirota will appear at public events in New York City to discuss his newest book, THE UPRISING: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street & Washington(Crown Publishers, May 2008).
A few days ago I posted some thoughts
about a recent conversation with a highly intelligent and sophisticated woman -- let's
call her Diotima -- who is completely mesmerized by Barack Obama. I keep recurring,
in my mind, to this chat. It was very rich in matter for reflection. I wish I had recorded it.
At some point she mentioned how "exciting" Barack is, and asked, Don't you think so? Don't you sense it?
I had to confess that I just didn't hear the music. All the way back to his 2004 speech
at the Democratic National Gulag -- er, Convention; the speech that had everybody
so worked up -- the only response I had was to look at the flushed faces of people
talking about it and wonder, What on earth has gotten into them? They're on the brink
of orgasm over a tissue of unmeaning platitudes.
Perhaps I developed this theme, talking to Diotima, with more eloquence than
tact. She snapped, "Well, I suppose you're just much purer than I am." Which set off a train of rumination about this incessantly-recurring theme of "purity", always a reproach from Democrats.
It's amazing how much subtext a single word can carry. There's a whole little movielet
that obligingly unreels in the mental Bijou at the mere mention of the word. It goes something like this:
We have the "purist" -- let's call him Diogenes. Diogenes is so concerned with keeping his moral skirts clean that he has withdrawn from the battle, and looks upon it with snide, sanctimonious detachment.
And then we have the Diotimas -- represented, in this story, as folk like Teddy Roosevelt's famous
... man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride or slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day....
... and so on and on. What a grandiloquent, ponderous windbag the guy was. And inexhaustible. To think he was actually asthmatic as a lad. Would that it had mortified
into an early, galloping consumption.
But I digress. Whether Diotima had this particular passage of YMCA homiletics in mind, who knows? But it's the canonical statement -- from a very suitable source -- of the "purity" trope's underlying argument:
the difference between Diotima, struggling, though impurely, to "do something, at least", and prissy, pure Diogenes, absenting himself from the "dust and sweat and blood" of the arena, and sneering at earnest Diotima from the
safety of his tub.
The Diotimas love to congratulate themselves on the Promethean sacrifices
they make -- including, of course, the sacrifice of their purity, such as it may be (and few who grow to adulthood have much left to sacrifice, in my experience). But in what do these sacrifices actually consist?
My Diotima will vote for Obama -- and will no doubt go home, or on to her job, feeling thoroughly imbrued with the dust and sweat and blood et cetera. Perhaps she will even contribute to the campaign, and feel as impurely, glorily gory afterwards as Genghis Khan after a long day of rape and pillage.
Maybe it's a failure of imagination, but this doesn't seem very, erm, gladiatorial. In fact, it's difficult to see that Diotima has sacrificed anything except a temporarily
disquieting intimation of reality.
It's a little like that snide remark of Bertrand Russell's about Immanuel Kant. Russell quotes Kant saying that "It was Hume who first awakened me from my dogmatical
slumbers" -- then Russell adds, "but he soon found a soporific that enabled him to
sleep once more."
(CNN) — Former President Bill Clinton said that Democrats were more
likely to lose in November if his wife Hillary Clinton is not the
party’s presidential nominee, and suggested some people were trying to
“cover this up” and “push and pressure and bully” superdelegates to make
up their minds prematurely.
...The former president added that his wife had not been given the respect
she deserved as a legitimate presidential candidate. "She is winning the
general election today and he is not, according to all the evidence,” he
said. “And I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a
candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running.”
... The former president said Sunday that the media had unfairly attacked
his wife since the Iowa caucuses, repeating an often-used charge that
press coverage had made him feel as though he were living in a “fun house.”
"If you notice, there hasn't been a lot of publicity on these polls I
just told you about,” he said. “It is the first time you've heard it?
Why do you think that is? Why do you think? Don't you think if the polls
were the reverse and he was winning the Electoral College against
Senator McCain and Hillary was losing it, it would be blasted on every
He added, “You would know it wouldn't you? It wouldn't be a little
secret. And there is another Electoral College poll that I saw yesterday
had her over 300 electoral votes…. She will win the general election if
you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure you don't."
But... we have not done the Big Job, not even close. The conservatives' Big Ideas about government, taxes, security, the market, and the rest still dominate political discourse. Democrats in Congress still cringe at attacks based on these Big Ideas, and many have been intimidated into voting for conservative policies—on funding for Iraq, on government spying without a warrant, on taxes, on bankruptcy, and on and on. The Big Idea intimidation is still working. Changing that is the Big Job.
Perhaps the underlying problem is that Democrats are not cringing and not intimidated, but are -- instead -- very enthusiastic in their support for the "conservative" ideas. Perhaps the countering progressive values and ideals that were to be framed into dominance would have fared better if they actually existed and were actually championed outside the drivel of Democratic Party marketing campaigns. Perhaps there's more to lending dignity and significance to ideas than the profligate use of capital letters. We may never know!
For some reason I'm on the mailing list of "Netroots Nation," whatever that is -- oh, I see; it's a "rebranding" (their word) of the annual Daily Kos convention. This year's is being held in Texas (why, for God's sake?) and it costs $375, besides air fare, hotel,
food -- thanks, but no thanks. One was enough.
Netroots Nation has, of course, a "donate today" link on every page. This particular
link carries a quotation from the redoubtable "Hunter", who is to Markos Moulitsas Zuniga
what the former Cardinal Ratzinger was to Pope John Paul II:
There is a value in being the town square, and in being the pamphleteers, and in giving citizens a voice, and in having a voice, when voices are the things most desperately
Stirring stuff, isn't it? And so insightful. For some reason it reminded me instantly
of Dan Quayle's attempt to cite the motto of the American Negro College Fund ("A mind is a terrible thing to waste"):
What a terrible thing to have lost one's mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is.
Boy, if this incoherent dribble is the best they can do, truly they have fallen on
They are, of course, both victims of the Democratic Party's success -- not their
own success, I hasten to add, which has been zilch apart from obtaining some
modest notoriety for their respective caudillos.
What has happened is that the Democrats have shifted into general-election
gear. So any efforts that the institutional party, or its nominee-apparent, will
make from now on are going to the other leg of the triangle -- the possibly
wavering angry white guys. (And the Miami Cubans).
Lakoff and Kos have both tattooed on their foreheads the motto
"We Have Nowhere Else To Go", and so they will get the treatment
doormats usually get.
This is routine, of course -- it's what "triangulation" means. What's slightly
more interesting is that the base, I bet, has abandoned the Lakoffs and the Kos-es
just as the institution has. Rooting for a candidate -- usually Barack, of course,
for people in the Lakoff/Kos ambit -- has absorbed all the energy, and probably
all the money, of the earnest folk whose warm panting breath formerly kept
Lakoff and Kos aloft. It will be interesting to see how many Kosniks make the pilgrimage to Texas for this year's chatterfest, as compared with '06 and '07.
It was always clear -- to some of us anyway -- that adherence to the dire old
deadly Democratic Party meant that Lakoff and Kos had ensured their own
irrelevance. What I, at least, hadn't quite figured out was that they had also
ensured their own extinction as soon as they had served their modest function.
Success is within reach. Time to liquidate the Useful Idiots(*).
(*) I bought the capital letters cheap, at a
Lakoff fire sale, and now I gotta use 'em up.
Former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan's kiss-and-tell book
includes some uncomplimentary -- and, I think, quite accurate --
comments about the news media:
"If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.
"The collapse of the administration's rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the 'liberal media' didn't live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served."
Two Plus Two Equals Four, Say Experts! Stop the presses!
"It's a stunning and unsupportable statement," pronounced Mark Knoller, CBS Radio correspondent. "Transcripts of McClellan's press briefings provide more than ample evidence of the intense scrutiny imposed on the White House and its policies by members of the press. Most days, McClellan left the briefing room lectern positively spent by the pounding he faced from reporters."
ABC's Ann Compton was perplexed: "Is Scott suggesting the White House press corps can stop, or start wars?"
David Gregory, NBC News' chief White House correspondent, opined: "I think he's wrong." He added: "I think we pushed, I think we prodded. ...The right questions were asked."
I like the bit from the CBS guy about how he "pounded" McClellan until he was "spent" every day. I bet he says the same about his girlfriends.
The emails from "Netroots Nation" -- the new alias of the Daily Kos convention, mentioned here a few days ago -- are
coming thick and fast. They're asking for money, of course -- for "scholarships" so that nine worthy-cause netrootsers can make the hajj to this Mecca of pwog self-congratulation. (In Texas. I can't get over it. Texas!)
One person volunteered for a presidential campaign in seven states. Another was awarded several prestigious awards from his local Democratic party for groundbreaking organizing in a conservative state. A third began volunteering as a young child, stuffing mailers and sealing envelopes with her mother.
These three individuals represent just a few of the 70-plus bloggers and activists who have applied for a scholarship to attend Netroots Nation this July.
"Several" prestigious awards -- from a local Democratic party? How prestigious can they be, if there are so many going? And the poor soul who volunteered for a Presidential
campaign (whose, I wonder?) in seven states -- the phrase "get a life" comes to mind.
But worst of all is the poor abused child, stuffing envelopes so some Democratic soup-hound can get his snout at the trough. This is nothing short of criminal. Where were the social-service people while this horror was going on?
As we doldrum away the days waiting for St Scorpia
to lash the last, and hopefully fatal, blow
to the bare black sexist behind of the Oby One's campaign,
I'll clear up a Father Smiff request,
side-o-the-mouth'ed in his stunningly
bright post about Jeremiah Wright vs
the National Press Club.
The famous Darrow/Bryan joust:
after reviewing the entire typescript of Darrow's
climactic witness stand examination of the Great Commoner,
here with are my findings.
zero-sum grapples by well-matched contestants
can be very indecisive affairs.
Slightly longer version:
neither hero landed a telling blow as they circled each other,
throwing long jabs. Most of their energy went into grandstanding
Now truth be told, I enjoyed Bryan's insistence on the original text
in Jacobean translation, over Darrow's smart-alec paraphrases.
And Bryan's various light-fingered exegetics easily swat down
any claims of the old battler's failing acumen.
Example of his grand line:
"It was inspired by the Almighty and He may have
used language that could be understood at that time,
instead of language that could not be understood
until Darrow was born."
To this question by Darrow, "Did you ever discover where Cain got his wife?"
"No sir; I leave to the agnostics to hunt for her."
And there's his occasional
insistences on exact translation, as in the tale of Jonah:
it was "a great fish", not a "whale" that swallowed that overboard soul;
or that in the Bible, "day" can mean any "distinct period of time".
So what was proved by this mutually beneficial stunt?
On Darrow's part, really not much.
How hard is it for a modern fellah with aN educated streak
to hash up antique beliefs based on the Good Book, if
you don't grasp the spirit of Bryan's line
"the Bible should be accepted as it is given" --
if you have an active restless questioning
insatiable Faustian mind.
But on Bryan's side there's something more --
maybe even, in the broadest scheme of things,
something a bit grand even.
His own words:
"I want the papers to know I am not afraid to get
on the stand in front of him [Darrow] and let him do his worst.
I want the world to know."
Just a simple Godfearing old man -- with some guts and a lot of guile --
defending the honor of his people's most sacred beliefs
against a sharp scoffing soulless sophisticate.
One of the most remarkable things about the modern liberal
Democrat who knows a little -- but not much -- history, is his
capacity to like cracker-barrel Harry Truman, to date the only
head of state ever to use nuclear weaponry.
Of course, compared to the real mass murderers,
Truman's paltry hundred thousand or so in Hiroshima
and Nagasaki pale beside, say, Clinton's half a million
children dead from the Iraq sanctions(*).
Even so, Mr Plain Speaking's bloody hands form a somewhat
uncomfortable contrast to his lovable, avuncular conventional
DAEJEON, South Korea (AP) — Grave by mass grave, South Korea is unearthing the skeletons and buried truths of a cold-blooded slaughter from early in the Korean War, when this nation's U.S.-backed regime killed untold thousands of leftists and hapless peasants in a summer of terror in 1950.
With U.S. military officers sometimes present, and as North Korean invaders pushed down the peninsula, the southern army and police emptied South Korean prisons, lined up detainees and shot them in the head, dumping the bodies into hastily dug trenches. Others were thrown into abandoned mines or into the sea. Women and children were among those killed. Many victims never faced charges or trial.
The mass executions — intended to keep possible southern leftists from reinforcing the northerners — were carried out over mere weeks and were largely hidden from history for a half-century. They were "the most tragic and brutal chapter of the Korean War," said historian Kim Dong-choon, a member of a 2-year-old government commission investigating the killings.
... Through the postwar decades of South Korean right-wing dictatorships, victims' fearful families kept silent about that blood-soaked summer. American military reports of the South Korean slaughter were stamped "secret" and filed away in Washington.
.... "Even now, I feel guilty that I pulled the trigger," said Lee Joon-young, 83, one of the executioners in a secluded valley near Daejeon in early July 1950.
The retired prison guard told the AP he knew that many of those shot and buried en masse were ordinary convicts or illiterate peasants wrongly ensnared in roundups of supposed communist sympathizers. They didn't deserve to die, he said. They "knew nothing about communism."
The 17 investigators of the commission's subcommittee on "mass civilian sacrifice," led by Kim, have been dealing with petitions from more than 7,000 South Koreans, involving some 1,200 alleged incidents — not just mass planned executions, but also 215 cases in which the U.S. military is accused of the indiscriminate killing of South Korean civilians in 1950-51, usually in air attacks.
... The declassified record of U.S. documents shows an ambivalent American attitude toward the killings. American diplomats that summer urged restraint on southern officials — to no obvious effect — but a State Department cable that fall said overall commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur viewed the executions as a Korean "internal matter," even though he controlled South Korea's military.
Ninety miles south of Seoul, here in the narrow, peaceful valley of Sannae, truckloads of prisoners were brought in from Daejeon Prison and elsewhere day after day in July 1950, as the North Koreans bore down on the city.
The American photos, taken by an Army major and kept classified for a half-century, show the macabre sequence of events.
White-clad detainees — bent, submissive, with hands bound — were thrown down prone, jammed side by side, on the edge of a long trench. South Korean military and national policemen then stepped up behind, pointed their rifles at the backs of their heads and fired. The bodies were tipped into the trench.
.... When British communist journalist Alan Winnington entered Daejeon that summer with North Korean troops and visited the site, writing of "waxy dead hands and feet (that) stick through the soil," his reports in the Daily Worker were denounced as "fabrication" by the U.S. Embassy in London. American military accounts focused instead on North Korean reprisal killings that followed in Daejeon.
But CIA and U.S. military intelligence documents circulating even before the Winnington report, classified "secret" and since declassified, told of the executions by the South Koreans. Lt. Col. Bob Edwards, U.S. Embassy military attache in South Korea, wrote in conveying the Daejeon photos to Army intelligence in Washington that he believed nationwide "thousands of political prisoners were executed within (a) few weeks" by the South Koreans.
Another glimpse of the carnage appeared in an unofficial U.S. source, an obscure memoir self-published in 1981 by the late Donald Nichols, a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, who told of witnessing "the unforgettable massacre of approximately 1,800 at Suwon," 20 miles south of Seoul.
Such reports lend credibility to a captured North Korean document from Aug. 2, 1950, eventually declassified by Washington, which spoke of mass executions in 12 South Korean cities, including 1,000 killed in Suwon and 4,000 in Daejeon.
.... In 1953, after the war ended in stalemate, after the deaths of at least 2 million people, half or more of them civilians, a U.S. Army war crimes report attributed all summary executions here in Daejeon to the "murderous barbarism" of North Koreans.
Even educated South Koreans remained ignorant of their country's past....
The Koreans shouldn't feel bad about that last bit. The same could be said -- in
spades -- about "educated" Americans.
(*) About which Madeleine Albright unforgettably observed,
"It was worth it."