Quick Roundup 47

Monday, April 17, 2006

A couple of readers have made my life easy this morning by drawing my attention to some excellent reading on the current war.

The April Issue ...

... of The Undercurrent, is loaded with good articles about the war. I'd read Felipe Sediles's article awhile back, but had not gotten back there. And then commenter G. Davis drew my attention to this outstanding piece by John Lewis on the moral goodness of the atomic bombing of Japan that ended World War II.

The bombings marked America's total victory over a militaristic culture that had murdered millions. To return an entire nation to morality, the Japanese had to be shown the literal meaning of the war they had waged against others. The abstraction "war," the propaganda of their leaders, their twisted samurai "honor," their desire to die for the emperor--all of it had to be given concrete form. This is what firebombing Japanese cities accomplished. It showed the Japanese that "this"-- point to burning buildings, screaming children scarred unmercifully, piles of corpses, the promise of starvation -- "this is what you have done to others. Now it has come for you. Give it up, or die." This was the only way to show them the true nature of their philosophy, and to beat the truth of the defeat into them. [bold added]
In fact, the table of contents is itself thought-provoking reading. I reproduce here just the parts pertinent to the war.
  • Death to "Diplomacy" With Iran, by Elan Journo
  • Domestic Security Secures our Demise, by Felipe Sediles
  • The Moral Goodness of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima, by John Lewis
  • World Peace Requires World Freedom, by Audra Hilse
  • The Backward Strategy of Democracy, by Rebecca Knapp
  • The Roots of the Hamas Victory, by Corinne L. Bloch
If, like myself, you've been too busy or preoccupied to give this issue a good going-through, do so at the next available opportunity.

A Warning from the "Future"

And Hannes Hacker pointed out (via Paul Hsieh) this excellent science fiction piece by Dan Simmons, also on the need for America to fight the current war ruthlessly.
The Time Traveler shook his head. "You've understood nothing I've said. Nothing. Athens failed in Syracuse -- and doomed their democracy -- not because they fought in the wrong place and at the wrong time, but because they weren't ruthless enough. They had grown soft since their slaughter of every combat-age man and boy on the island of Melos, the enslavement of every woman and girl there. The democratic Athenians, in regards to Syracuse, thought that once engaged they could win without absolute commitment to winning, claim victory without being as ruthless and merciless as their Spartan and Syracusan enemies. The Athenians, once defeat loomed, turned against their own generals and political leaders -- and their official soothsayers. If General Nicias or Demosthenes had survived their captivity and returned home, the people who sent them off with parades and strewn flower petals in their path would have ripped them limb from limb. They blamed their own leaders like a sun-maddened dog ripping and chewing at its own belly." [bold added]
The time traveller does not just provide a history lesson, though. He also warns of the consequences of our country failing to show the Islamists what their creed of jihad means. Namely, that we will be forced to live by it or under it ourselves -- to suffer the consequences ourselves.
"Under sharia -- which will be the universal law of Eurabia," persisted the Time Traveler, "the value of a dhimmi's life, the value of your grandchildren, is one half the value of a Muslim's life. Jews and Christians are worth one-third of a Muslim. Indian Parsees are worth one-fifteenth. In a court of the Eurabian Caliphate or the Global Khalifate, if a Muslim murders a dhimmi, any infidel, he must pay a blood money fine not to exceed one thousand euros. No Muslim will ever be jailed or sentenced to death for the murder of any dhimmi or any number of dhimmis. If the murders were done under the auspices of Universal Compulsive Jihad, which will be sanctioned by sharia as of 2019 Common Era, all blood money fines are waived."
If this doesn't pique your interest, I don't know what will. It's long, but very readable. In fact, since it also explains what such terms as "dhimmi" mean and provides some historical context, it might be a good way to get someone you know up to speed on what they mean. Read it. That way, I won't have to tell you to bookmark it.

Iranian Threats

Iran, which wants the bomb so it can threaten Europe and incinerate Israel, is threatening us with suicide bombers if we do anything about their nuclear ambitions. Cox and Forkum provide a roundup of pertinent commentary.

War is upon us. Will we fight back? Or will we permit the Iranians to give to us what they deserve to get themselves?

-- CAV


4-18-06: Added link to Dan Simmons.


Gus Van Horn said...

Hmmm. I noticed that I forgot to include the link to the story, and I can't seem to use the Blogger editor without crashing my browser.

Here it is, until I can place it in the post....


Myrhaf said...

Thanks for the link to the Lewis piece. You're an OMBC -- One Man Blogging Corps.

Gus Van Horn said...

Heh! Good one! I have to admit that I sometimes feel like a OMSDC -- a one-man sleep-deprivation corps!

I was just thinking of setting up a page of reviews by other bloggers. If I do that, it'll go there!


Anonymous said...

I posted once before here. I am a 17 year old student of Objectivism. I consider you one of the best social comentators among the Objectivists that I have read. If you should ever choose to do something along the lines of TIA or the Concord Crier, I would immediately subscribe.

I was hoping to ask you another question regarding Objectivism's approach to a political issue; namely immigration. I have linked to a blog post by an Objectivist (although I question his understanding of the philosophy) arguing for the construction of a wall along our southern border and eventually along our northern border as well. His opinions on imimigration stand in stark distinction from Harry Binswanger's opinion who I believe you linked to recently. If you get a chance and are so inclined, I would love to read your thoughts on all things immigration, especially the idea of an American Hadrian's wall:


What it would look like:


Bradley Needleman

Gus Van Horn said...


Thank you for the kind words.

I'm shooting from the hip here, as I have not thought much about whether to build a border fence. I think it would be an unnecessary measure if we did several things differently. A quick, dirty sketch of why I think this:

(1) The "strain on social services" Sixth Column cites would be nonexistent if we had the political will to end the welfare state. Why not fight for that rather than construction of such a fence, which would almost surely become an instant boondoggle of its own?

(2) I see a fence as having questionable value. Our borders were arguably even wider open back in WW II (and Germans could have blended in very well with the American population once across). In fact, we even tried some German infiltrators (who got here by submarine) as enemy combatants. Notice two things. (a) We weren't overrun from Mexico or Canada. (b) A fence wouldn't have stopped these guys from getting in. In light of this, a fence seems to be of dubious value anyway.

(3) Terrorism, to be a credible threat needs (and has) state sponsorship. Were we to prosecute the current war ruthlessly, this problem would disappear on its own as no state would be foolish enough to risk annihilation to aid terrorists. In fact, places like Mexico and Canada would probably make bloody sure terrorists didn't make it through their own territory.

As it is, Mexico is indifferent to our security and may elect a Hugo Chavez protege president. After all, what will we do? Hold them to account?

(4) Recall that immigration reform of the type Binswanger (and I) advocate does not involve automatic citizenship. This would prevent things like a bunch of Mexicans coming over and throwing elections. For this to work, we might perhaps need a better way to document who is or is not a citizen. Conversely, we probably would not need a bunch of extra "guest worker" paperwork. Those guys just wouldn't have proof of citizenship.

Anyway, I hope you find these thoughts helpful.


Vigilis said...

Iranian Threats- Gus, save this and decide later how remarkably precient or fatuous it was:

These intolerant zealots are no more than a human virus; they have recurred periodically and will be vanquished with extreme predjudice. Is anything different this time around? Not in the least.

Nuclear competence? In their Ayatollah dreams. Persia has forfeited its place in history.
Long live civilization!

Anonymous said...


Thanks so much for your timely response. You made great points, namely that the fence is sure to be a boondoggle, the better arguments are to wage war against the welfare state instead of Mexican immigrants, and to argue for offenseive warfare against our enemies overseas instead of turning America into a garison state. I have a feeling that the 6th column writers would respond that we are in an emergency situation. How much more important then to argue for truly fundamental policies.

Thanks again Gus.

Bradley Needleman