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Victor David Hanson: The Same Old Thing--Our Augean stables are 30 years old.
National Review ^ | 1-9-04 | Victor David Hanson:

Posted on 01/09/2004 5:54:04 AM PST by SJackson

One of the strangest developments of the ongoing presidential campaign has been the creation of a new national mythology: The United States is alienating the world, losing the friendship of the Europeans, needlessly offending the Arabs, and generally embarking on a radically new foreign policy of preemption and hegemony. Would that "unilateralism," Bush's drawl and Christianity, or Halliburton contracts were the cause of our problems — then we could fawn over the U.N., send Jimmy Carter once more around the world, have our president learn to drop his accent, and publicly chastise oil companies, and, presto, be liked! But unfortunately the current tension is far deeper than media strategies and insufficient "consultation" — and in fact goes back at last three decades.

Thirty years ago, during the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, most of the Europeans of the NATO alliance refused over-flight rights to the United States. We had only hours in which to aid Israel from a multifaceted surprise attack and were desperately ferrying tons of supplies to save it from literal extinction. In contrast, many of these same allies allowed the Soviet Union — the supposed common enemy from which thousands of Americans were based in Europe to protect Europeans — to fly over NATO airspace to ensure the Syrians sufficient material to launch and sustain their surprise attack on the Golan.

American "unilateralism" in those days meant acting alone not to let Israel perish. Had we gone "multilateral" and listened to our NATO allies — Germany, France, Greece, and Turkey all prohibited American planes from flying supplies in their space in transit to Tel-Aviv — there would be no Israel today at all. How odd that nations who asked for our protection from the Soviets would allow them to fly in supplies to the Syrian dictatorship, but not extend the same privilege of airspace to their protectors to save a democracy.

In exasperation at such a bad state of transatlantic relations, a furious — who else? — Ted Kennedy attacked Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, blaming us, not the Europeans' peculiar taste for fascism over Israeli democracy, for "heedlessly creating a crisis in the Atlantic alliance." Again, this was 30 years before his most recent outburst about a fraudulent war being cooked up in Texas. The New York Times, of course, then as now, echoed his concern.

Nor is the present Chirac-Schroeder axis novel — much less is it the result of a new bellicose American foreign policy. Again, 30 years ago the French and Germans — then under the auspices of Messrs. Pompidou and Brandt — were attacking the United States for showing partisanship to Israel and endangering European commercial interests in the Middle East.

The Dominique de Villepin of that age was the globe-trotting Michel Jobert, Pompidou's foreign minister. Shortly after the war he visited all the radical Arab capitals to ensure French oil supplies and weapons sales. He capped off his trip in Baghdad to lend support for Arab rejectionism — in hopes of sending a message to the United States by sabotaging American peace efforts to end the hostilities. Indeed, Villepin's present-day chauvinism is simply rehashed Jobert, down to the whining about being a victim of superpower insensitivity, decrying unilateralism, and calling for a new muscular European unity under the cultural aegis of France.

We worry about the recent eruptions of Arab anti-Semitism, but shouldn't be surprised since that is the old stuff of the Islamic Middle East. Gamal Nasser, for example, once brought in 80 former Wehrmacht officers under Col. General Wilhelm Frambecher to refashion his army into something like Hitler's finest. Apparently he thought German officers would know best how to finish off the Jews who escaped the Holocaust.

Are we upset that the Palestinian Authority had something to do, either explicitly or by laxity, with the recent killing of American attaches who were seeking to interview Palestinian students on the West Bank? But again, what else is new? Thirty years ago, Yasser Arafat's thugs murdered two U.S. diplomats in Khartoum.

What explains the depressing similarity to years past, when the Soviet Union — the ostensible troublemaker that supplied the Middle East with terror training, weapons, and state-run police states — is now gone? Well, after Communism's demise, Europe chose to disarm and thus is even weaker than before — and, for that reason, still angry at not exercising global influence in a world dominated by the United States. The French still stew over faded and unrecoverable past glories, but now cannot even use their nuclear force to triangulate with another superpower. Meanwhile the Germans are still troubled that their population and economic clout for some reason do not win commensurate world status given their checkered past. In response, more of the same tired retreats into historical revisionism, rather than principled support for democracy and freedom, more often provide salve for German self-inflicted wounds.

True, after 1989 the Arabs lost their best arms supplier and terrorist support havens in Eastern Europe. And the entire Marxist dream of a Pan-Arabist socialist empire ended up with the Baathist Saddam Hussein in a hole in Tikrit, Arafat lording over his rubble pile in Ramallah, Khaddafi blabbering about peace from a tent in the desert, and another Assad as bombastic as he is weak. Yet despite the decline of these Soviet-created tyrants, the political system of the Middle East — hereditary autocracy — is unchanged from thirty years ago. Thus an array of third-generation calcified ideologues cling to the old ace-in-the-hole hatred: "The Jews did it"; "Jihad will save us yet from the Zionist entity and the Great Satan"; "Palestine will stretch to the Mediterranean"; and so on.

Is there anything we can do to change the strategic calculus of decades past, inasmuch as we still protect a militarily weak Europe, and the Middle East is still undemocratic? In fact, we have already made good progress in unleashing cleansing waters through these Augean stables: carefully downsizing our troops in Western Europe; seeking to implant consensual government in Afghanistan and Iraq; and isolating an Arafat who is no different from his past or his present front groups that now do his killing.

We can do still more — remembering that the problem can only be slightly ameliorated, but not altered by sugarcoating what we say to the Europeans, inasmuch as the tension is deep-seated and arises from our own insistence on subsidizing much of their defense, when their land is larger, their people more numerous, and their enemies fewer than America's. Despite the risks involved — the continent is still the graveyard of thousands of American soldiers who died to stop its perpetual internecine killing — only by allowing Europe to take care of its own security will we ever have a real friend and partner rather than a perpetually dependent adolescent in his forties, whining that he can take out "his" car whenever he wants, as long as his parents make sure that it is paid for, insured, gassed, and runs.

At some point, Mr. Villepin will realize that he has led France into near disaster, his puerile dash as appealing to American intellectuals as it is suicidal to his country's interests. Indeed, Eastern Europeans now win far more global respect than France for their integrity and courage in promoting not arms sales or oil concessions, but democracy under fire, in Iraq. And at precisely the time Mr. Chirac has offended the radical Islamic world by his banning of scarves in the French school system, he has also eroded in an era of danger and crisis almost all public support for France in the United States, which, instead of playing the role of a high-school principal in prohibiting Islamic dress, has been a historic agent of global change promoting democracy among Muslims.

Indeed, America has no time to worry about dress codes. Instead it is has embarked on the most radical policy in the history of the region — one whose unorthodox nature has stymied even our worst critics from the mullahs in Iran to Muammar Khaddafi. Power — destroying and humiliating the Baathists in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan — coupled with idealism in supporting indigenous democracy rather than a shah-like strongman, offers some chance of ending the old way of doing business.

We must continue hacking away the terrorist Hydra in the Sunni Triangle, and hope that the ongoing cultural, economic, and military fallout from Iraq begins to erode fascism and theocracy in Syria and Iran faster than such nearby pathologies can ruin us in Iraq. We are in a race for civilization like none other since World War II. And yet, due solely to the courage and skill of an amazing generation of American professional soldiers battling in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are winning — as this difficult war is beginning to resemble 1944 far more than 1939.

As the Europeans talk, the Palestinians explode, and the Arab dictatorships threaten, the fence creeps on in Israel — the most radical old idea in a half-century. It is not a perfect solution, but a forced solution of sorts nonetheless, prompting hysterical reactions from the terrorists, but strange silence from most capitals of the Arab world. Many outside of Ramallah secretly won't be unhappy to see the situation gradually quiet down into a de facto settlement — along the lines of readjusted borders in a present-day postwar Germany or Japan, whose citizens are not blowing up Poles or Russians a half century later for occupying home soil lost after failed wars of aggression.

The Palestinians, who get their state and will see lots of settlers leave, hate the barrier not because it slices off some security slivers from the West Bank, but rather because it simply promises an end to their entire parasitic relationship with Israel. Suicide bombing was predicated on weakening Israeli will, ruining the economy, discouraging immigration to Israel, encouraging Jewish flight, tapping into latent anti-Semitism in Europe, and thus hoping that terror and demography would one day win what arms never could. In contrast, early indicators suggest the fence will make it very hard for suicide bombers to continue to traffic in death — apparently the sole bargaining chip left to a corrupt Palestinian Authority.

Arafat's thousands of hangers-on will now be free to take their billions in European, American, and Arab bribe money and either build a successful society on their own side, or continue the squalor that results from their robbing and stashing millions in foreign banks as they claim perpetual victim status. And the whole world can watch the verdict on a Palestinian state that shares open borders with several Arab nations without blaming Israelis — a quandary for liberal Europeans, since for decades their inexplicable support for Palestinian autocracy has served as a convenient and useful vehicle for entrenched anti-Semitism adroitly masked by concern for supposed refugees and an oppressed "other."

Arabs themselves can't so easily encourage another 100,000 Palestinian Arabs to sneak across an open border to live in the only sanctuary for Arab human rights in the region — as they caricature Israel as a racist nation. And with a fence Israel's own one million Arab citizens will find that they really must now be Israelis, not "Palestinians," and thus eventually might be subject to four years of public service rather than the old way of rock-throwing and protests of solidarity with "deprived" and "stateless" kin a few kilometers of easy access away. The world is long tired of the juvenile "We hate you — let us in" and "Destroy the Zionist entity — but let me earn some cash there first."

Downsizing in Europe, seeing a wall rise on Israel's border, and trying to create democracy in places like Afghanistan and Iraq are not pleasant, easy solutions. Indeed, such tough efforts to end the familiar status quo will prompt greater outrage. Expect more adolescent "I hate Bush" articles, gloomy, end-of-the-world scenarios in the New York Review of Books, and hysterical appearances from an array of ex-NATO apparatchiks, worried former Saudi ambassadors, out-of-work Clinton State Department "crisis-managers," and frowning Washington insiders. Anticipate also more invective about "neoconservatives," "unilateralism," "ideologically driven policy," "hegemony," "squandered good will" — and all the other meaningless buzz words and third-hand catch-phrases that now are regurgitated daily in lieu of thoughtful analysis.

Yet in truth we are witnessing a radical change in the world's landscape, a much-needed honesty that will soon curtail both the deceitful rhetoric and hypocritical behavior that have insidiously warped us all in the West during the last 20 years.

So let the waters wash on through the stables of our corruption.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; Israel; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: vdh; victordavidhanson; victordavishanson

1 posted on 01/09/2004 5:54:07 AM PST by SJackson
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To: sauropod
read later
2 posted on 01/09/2004 5:57:00 AM PST by sauropod (Excellence in Shameless Self-Promotion)
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To: All
Rank Location Receipts Donors/Avg Freepers/Avg Monthlies
Kenya




20.00
1

Thanks for donating to Free Republic!

Move your locale up the leaderboard!

3 posted on 01/09/2004 5:58:44 AM PST by Support Free Republic (If Woody had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened!)
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To: SJackson
Excellent analysis, as always, from VDH.
4 posted on 01/09/2004 6:23:39 AM PST by bassmaner (Let's take the word "liberal" back from the commies!!)
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To: SJackson
Bump.
5 posted on 01/09/2004 6:27:01 AM PST by headsonpikes (Spirit of '76 bttt!)
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To: SJackson; Tolik; Pokey78
Can one of you folks remind me who's got the VDH ping list? Is it one of you? Suffering from CRS here.

VDH should be required reading at the highest levels in the Administration. Especially at State.
6 posted on 01/09/2004 6:32:07 AM PST by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: FreedomPoster; seamole; xkaydet65; Fury; .cnI redruM; xsysmgr; yonif; SJackson; monkeyshine; ...
Victor Davis Hanson moral clarity huge BUMP  [please freepmail me if you want or don't want to be pinged to Victor Davis Hanson articles]

If you want to bookmark his articles discussed at FR: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/k-victordavishanson/browse

His NRO archive: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson-archive.asp


7 posted on 01/09/2004 6:34:59 AM PST by Tolik
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To: SJackson
So let the waters wash on through the stables of our corruption.

...and let the Clintonista horse-droppings contained therein flow gently into their sweet, richly-deserved oblivion.

8 posted on 01/09/2004 6:49:53 AM PST by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Republicam)
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To: Tolik
And yet, due solely to the courage and skill of an amazing generation of American professional soldiers battling in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are winning — as this difficult war is beginning to resemble 1944 far more than 1939.

VDH bump.

9 posted on 01/09/2004 6:50:28 AM PST by metesky ("But Dad, it's only a wooden horse." - Paris of Troy)
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To: SJackson

The world is long tired of the juvenile "We hate you — let us in" and "Destroy the Zionist entity — but let me earn some cash there first."

Excellent fraise. BUT, I think "the world" is buying this crap, its Americans who don't believe it.

10 posted on 01/09/2004 6:55:17 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik
Yes, ping me to VDH articles, just in case I miss some on my own.
Thanks.
11 posted on 01/09/2004 7:02:58 AM PST by americanSoul (Better to die on your feet, than live on your knees. Live Free or Die. I should be in New Hampshire.)
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To: SJackson
Yet despite the decline of these Soviet-created tyrants, the political system of the Middle East ? hereditary autocracy ? is unchanged from thirty years ago.

Hell, it's unchanged from a thousand years ago.

12 posted on 01/09/2004 7:16:57 AM PST by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: Tolik
He blew the "squandered good will" out of the water.He gave a great swipe at Teddy,too!
13 posted on 01/09/2004 7:18:30 AM PST by MEG33 (We Got Him!)
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To: SJackson; LibertyThug
Excellent article, thanks for posting.
14 posted on 01/09/2004 7:39:24 AM PST by Akira (Blessed are the cheesemakers.)
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To: FreedomPoster
VDH should be required reading at the highest levels in the Administration. Especially at State.

Cheney is reportedly a huge fan, and has invited VDH to speak to members of the administration. I'm sure it all falls on deaf ears at State, they have no interest for the painful truth.
15 posted on 01/09/2004 7:40:46 AM PST by Akira (Blessed are the cheesemakers.)
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To: Tolik; TexKat; Coop; SandRat; MJY1288; Calpernia; Grampa Dave; anniegetyourgun; ...
We must continue hacking away the terrorist Hydra in the Sunni Triangle, and hope that the ongoing cultural, economic, and military fallout from Iraq begins to erode fascism and theocracy in Syria and Iran faster than such nearby pathologies can ruin us in Iraq. We are in a race for civilization like none other since World War II. And yet, due solely to the courage and skill of an amazing generation of American professional soldiers battling in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are winning — as this difficult war is beginning to resemble 1944 far more than 1939.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
VDH, perspective, ping! U.S., 1973 "unilateral" defense of our Democratic ally, Israel...and the players then: France, Germany, Soviet Union, Ted Kennedy...and now.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you want on or off my, Calpernia, and xzin's Pro-Coalition ping list, please Freepmail one of us. Warning: it is a high volume ping list on good days. (Most days are good days).

16 posted on 01/09/2004 7:42:01 AM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: SJackson
Hanson bump.
17 posted on 01/09/2004 7:42:38 AM PST by Taliesan
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Excellent read!
18 posted on 01/09/2004 7:43:36 AM PST by Coop (God bless our troops!)
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To: americanSoul
Absolutely. I would not want to miss out myself.
19 posted on 01/09/2004 7:46:05 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Akira
Great news. VDH expresses the views of a large part of American population like practically nobody else.
In regards of the State Department I have one word solution: Newt.
20 posted on 01/09/2004 7:48:48 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Molly Pitcher
VDH ping!
21 posted on 01/09/2004 7:53:48 AM PST by Dog (Bin Laden dies or is captured in '04!)
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To: Tolik
"unilateralism,"

Translation: Frogs, Krauts, and Ivan.
What's Spain, Poland, Korea? Chopped liver!
22 posted on 01/09/2004 7:54:51 AM PST by Valin (We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
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To: Valin
Spain is sited often lately as our "better" ally. I would not be so fast. They have a bit more wise government, that's true, but the public shares the same fashionable anti-Americanism and antisemitism as the rest of Europe. Ditto South Korea. Pulling American soldiers down south from the demilitarized zone might clear some heads, but not just yet.
I did not see any numbers about Poland-US-Europe sentiments lately. With their increased role in Iraq, I am curious what people think?
23 posted on 01/09/2004 8:02:41 AM PST by Tolik
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To: SJackson; dighton; general_re; hellinahandcart; BlueLancer; Thinkin' Gal
perpetually dependent adolescent in his forties

A perfect description of Western Europe.

24 posted on 01/09/2004 8:08:23 AM PST by aculeus (What I Wouldn't Give for a Large Sock with Horse Manure in it.)
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To: aculeus; dighton
perpetually dependent adolescent in his forties

"France regrets a decision which nothing justifies today and which could have heavy consequences for the region and for the world."

- Dominique de Comicbookguy

25 posted on 01/09/2004 8:37:11 AM PST by general_re ("Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith, but in doubt." - Reinhold Niebuhr)
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To: SJackson
Victor David Hanson says:

"Downsizing in Europe, seeing a wall rise on Israel's border, and trying to create democracy in places like Afghanistan and Iraq are not pleasant, easy solutions. Indeed, such tough efforts to end the familiar status quo will prompt greater outrage.


He says the Bush administrations enemies claim this policy is creating -- "a new national mythology: The United States is alienating the world, losing the friendship of the Europeans, needlessly offending the Arabs, and generally embarking on a radically new foreign policy of preemption and hegemony."


Hanson then rebuts the Bush detractors:
"Yet in truth we are witnessing a radical change in the world's landscape, a much-needed honesty that will soon curtail both the deceitful rhetoric and hypocritical behavior that have insidiously warped us all in the West during the last 20 years."



Let us all hope that the "honesty" is really here this time.. I respect Hansons reasoned opinions..
But lack his faith in politicians honor.





26 posted on 01/09/2004 8:58:21 AM PST by tpaine (I'm trying to be 'Mr Nice Guy', but FRs flying monkey squad brings out the Rickenbacher in me.)
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To: SJackson
For later read.....
27 posted on 01/09/2004 9:06:06 AM PST by Rummyfan
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To: SJackson
VDH ping!
28 posted on 01/09/2004 9:12:14 AM PST by Gritty ("It's no use saying 'we are doing our best.' You have to succeed in what is necessary-W. Churchill)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Victor David Hanson ~ Bump!
29 posted on 01/09/2004 9:40:31 AM PST by blackie
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Bump
30 posted on 01/09/2004 9:56:28 AM PST by SAMWolf (Ted Kennedy's Bumper Sticker: My other car is underwater.)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Bump!
31 posted on 01/09/2004 10:37:57 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: marron
Bump
32 posted on 01/09/2004 10:41:53 AM PST by Shermy
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To: Tolik
8 Where U.S. Translates as Freedom ~ Our Polish allies ~ The New York Times  | 12/28/03 | Thomas L. Friedman
33 posted on 01/09/2004 10:44:20 AM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: Shermy
Most people have probably forgotten how the Euro leaders cold-shouldered Carter during his presidency, treated him with fairly public contempt at gatherings, because they thought he was a goober and wanted everyone to know that they thought that.

While I'm no fan of Jimmy's, Euro contempt for Americans is not a new phenomenon.
34 posted on 01/09/2004 10:56:37 AM PST by marron
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Thanks for the link, Ragtime Cowgirl, FR is THE best source of information.
Its hopeful. Poles and other friends should be able to feel our appreciation.
35 posted on 01/09/2004 11:10:30 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik; Matthew Paul
You are very welcome.

Our best source of information re. current US-Polish relations: ally-Freeper Matthew Paul, in Poland. (^:

36 posted on 01/09/2004 11:23:08 AM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: SJackson
Bump! VDH rocks!
37 posted on 01/09/2004 12:57:44 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (Pre-empt the third murder attempt-- Pray for Terry Schiavo!)
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To: Heuristic Hiker
Great Victor Davis Hanson article ping
38 posted on 01/09/2004 7:49:44 PM PST by Utah Girl
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To: SJackson
VDH bump! Excellent article.
39 posted on 01/09/2004 8:05:31 PM PST by Snuffington
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To: Tolik
Thank you for the ping!!!!
40 posted on 01/09/2004 11:48:37 PM PST by lainde (Heads up...We're coming and we've got tongue blades!!)
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To: tpaine
We are witnessing a radical change in the world's landscape, a much-needed honesty that will soon curtail both the deceitful rhetoric and hypocritical behavior that have insidiously warped us all in the West during the last 20 years. -Victor Davis Hanson

Let us all hope that the "honesty" is really here this time.. I respect Hansons reasoned opinions.. But lack his faith in politicians honor. -tpaine

Politicians will not change their basic nature, and diplomacy will ever by fraught with ambiguity. A better environment for honest dealings with more honorable regimes is being created by, first, the fall of the Soviet Union and, now, the beginnings of the fall of Middle East fascists.

41 posted on 01/10/2004 7:46:45 AM PST by NutCrackerBoy
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
We must continue hacking away the terrorist Hydra in the Sunni Triangle,

Great article, but I have to take issue with this line... one does not defeat the Hydra by continuing to hack at it!! More creative alternatives must be sought.

Anyone for taking Hillary's snake-haired head in a burlap bag out to the Middle East? I'm sure turning them to stone would be a solution. Heh-heh-heh.

(IIRC, Hercules defeated the Hydra with the help of Iolaus, who basically cauterized the wounds as Hercules made them.)

42 posted on 01/10/2004 8:14:15 AM PST by Teacher317
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To: Teacher317
Anyone for taking Hillary's snake-haired head in a burlap bag out to * the Middle East?

* Middle East...Capitol Hill, restroom in Union station, bottom of the ocean...(we're bad, lol).

Kidding, DU tin foilers.

43 posted on 01/10/2004 9:37:17 AM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl (Afghans say ~ the *Taliban disease* ~ "the US cured it with an injection of B52!.." ~ Freeper merrin)
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