Methuselah's Daughter

Musings of an immortal being

Friday, February 28

I know it is a modern sin, but I absolutely love to smoke. I love the taste, the way a cigarette’s aroma permeates my lungs, the chemical/sexual thrill of nicotine’s grasp as it envelops my sympathetic nervous system. The slow, subtle arousal of both the body and the mind, combined with the relaxation of the muscles, the suppression of anxieties. It is delicious and decadent and absolutely one of my favorite vices, coming in third behind sex and alcohol.

There was a time before society in America became so health obsessed and puritanical when cigarettes were sexy and cool. I understand the reasons why this has changed, but I must admit I miss the days when I could render a man speechless just by casually drawing a fag and lighting up. Men have always been obsessed with women’s mouths and cigarettes always provided such a straightforward and powerful prop for seduction. The simple act of asking for a light, eyes wide and bright, lips full and inviting- in that moment, I own him.

The Second World War, what a delightful time for a girl who could handle a smoke! Red hair, green eyes, everything momma warned her boy about, I loitered alternately between the East Coast and the West Coast, fulfilling the dreams of soldiers and sailors and especially Marines. Oh, I had a special place in my heart for Marines- always first to fight and first to die. Always so polite, at least in the first few minutes- it seemed to me that Marines never failed to understand exactly what I meant when I asked for a light. They would proffer a match or a Zippo or even a brand from that night’s fire from the luau on the beach and I would draw with my mouth pursed just so, and the smoke would curl upward and I would breathe out, sighing in delight, my gaze meeting that of the young man who might die just a few weeks hence, gazing in to his eyes through a curling haze of blue smoke…

“You would die to defend me...”

“That’s what this war is all about…”

I forgive the hyperbole and invite him to my home and the night is an exquisite expression of my appreciation writ in the art of tangled sheets and bodies desperate from lust and fear and hope. A single night; sometimes two, or three or perhaps even a week, then goodbye and a promise to write. Then after a few days; I ask a sailor, or a GI or a Marine, “Got a light?”

It was all I had to offer, and I gave it willingly, eagerly. The War was beyond my control and the Peace was something only mortals could create and define, but for a few hundred boys in those terrifying years I could fulfill some dreams, relieve some fears, instill perhaps an extra ounce of already abundant courage. Most of all I could remember. I remember them all…

Thursday, February 27

It is beginning to look as if the western governments have come to the understanding that the United States and the United Kingdom are deadly serious regarding Iraq. While nothing is ever finished until the votes are counted it appears that the French were not quite as prepared to sunder the United Nations as I had posited earlier. In particular I believe it was the recalcitrance of the Vilnius Group nations and the Gang of Eight that brought the French President up short. The truly indignant replies to Mssr. Chirac’s astoundingly arrogant and ill-advised outburst left France facing not only a loss of international stature via making her veto power in the Security Council irrelevant, but also a European Union in crisis. Between the two it is likely France shall yield, and with that done the Chinese and the Russians will decide they have had enough entertainment at the expense of the Americans and find a way to fall in line as well.

The Chinese veto in particular was never a very serious threat: they are as concerned about the North Koreans as everyone else, particularly since they are rightly seen as the North Korean’s major patron at this point: their mess, their responsibility.

The next ten days or so should by quite interesting indeed.

AFTERWORD: Pay no attention to the Russians right now. Unlike the French they have been consistent in opposition to military action and they will make crystal clear that any change of opinion is the result of events, not political shifts on the part of the French.

My apologies to anyone who has attempted to leave comments over the past several days. The good people at Haloscan are having a devil of a time with "packet loss" and the like. I stand by them in their time of duress.

Tuesday, February 25

So, what will happen now? I do enjoy a mystery, but this hardly qualifies: why do so many have a hard time understand that the President of the United States was absolutely sober and deadly serious when he told the world that should the United Nations fail to fulfill its obligations the US and her allies would go on without it?

Many appear confused by the ongoing efforts in the UN Security Council. Steven Den Beste is bitterly disappointed and suspects a political disaster might be in the offing. My own view is that nothing has changed in any substantive way. There were large protests, but any person who believed that the world, and Europe in particular, was going to greet a resurgent and assertive America with unbridled joy has not been paying attention for the last few decades. Unless the US and her allies are ready to launch their attack tomorrow there is simply no reason not to work through the UN today. Perhaps Iraq will actually be foolish enough to hand the UNSC the firm excuse it needs to bend to American demands. Perhaps the French will decide they are not quite ready to surrender the power a relevant United Nations provides. My point is, there is simply nothing to lose- if the US fails to carry the day with UN and attacks Iraq regardless, the equation remains the same- victory and revelation of the horror that constitutes the daily operations of Saddam’s government will carry the moral argument and the United Nations goes the way of the League of Nations.

There will be war with Iraq, likely within just a pair of weeks. This is an immense gamble on the part of the US and the United Kingdom; however, it is a relatively intelligent wager. Any person who taking account of Iraq prior to September 11th knows that Saddam Hussein has been biding his time, waiting for the United Nations to grow weary of the sanctions and finally offer a simple way for Iraq to escape with but a gesture. If anything Iraq’s leader is likely as angry at the World Trade Center attackers as the US is- they refocused American attention upon the world’s despots and troublemakers before Iraq was able to slip free.

It is quite likely that the war will be brief and casualties light, which would be a boon of sorts for the United States and her allies; however, even in the event of a difficult war, perhaps with the deployment of chemical weapons by Iraq, it will likely still end well for the west. Should Iraq deploy such weapons in the face of sure defeat it can do nothing but give additional moral weight to those who argued that the war was necessary and unavoidable. Those determined to hate the United States could not hate her more, and could not hate her less even if she were to elect to turn her back on Iraq and return home. Given that equation, what real alternative is there?

I have repeatedly referred to the current events in terms of a struggle between the liberal modernist and the reactionary fundamentalist spheres of the world and I still hold to that view. If by some unforeseen eventuality the crisis of the moment were to be defused it would simply shift the focus of the battle. The west needs to reduce the Islamist Fanatic menace regardless of the outcome with Iraq. Furthermore there are reactionaries within the west itself that must be dealt with, both of religious bent and those who cling desperately to the shattered lie of Marxism- the forces in play are more numerous and ingrained than most people are willing to see. The world faces a new paradigm shift and the choice of paths is remarkably clear: a world of freedom, optimism and progress; or a world caught in a slowly tightening spiral of despair, withdrawal and decline.

I know my choice.

Friday, February 21

It began with dreams. Every night, dreams of doom spreading over the land, darkening skies, spreading panic. At this point in my life I had stopped dreaming the way others do- dreams mean that at some subconscious level I have made a connection that my conscious mind has yet to grasp. Of course I did not think in those terms at that time, still I understood the mechanism. It had served me well over the centuries.

After the third night my husband Robert fell ill. As was most often the case at that time we had wed out of convenience rather than affection- he was a widower in his fifties caring for his three grandchildren orphaned when their parents succumbed to pneumonia one long winter. I was a barren spinster from “another village” and we served each other’s purposes well enough. I liked him, which was as much emotion as I could muster for any other human being at that time. I enjoyed his company and the family I married in to.

He complained of a headache that morning, and he appeared quite ill, but he insisted on going about his daily chores. I found him later that morning, out by the barn- moaning with fever, dark swellings in his neck and under his arms. I called to Jacques and together we carried Robert to our bed, then I sent Michelle to run for the doctor. The next morning Robert was dead, and both Jacques and Jean were ill.

I was no doctor myself, but I knew infectious disease when I saw it. The doctor arrived later that morning, alone.

“Tell me,” was all I said, but I made it a command.

“In town, others are sick- travelers on the high road tell of a Great Mortality spreading across the land. Twenty have died in just the past two days…” his voice trailed off, his face stricken.


“She was fevered when she found me. I sent her to the church, with the others…”

“There are many more ill? And you came here? What of your patients?”

“There is nothing… I… I am helpless against this. I am useless…” The man visibly crumpled in upon himself, broken with despair and I understood that a disaster was unfolding.

“Then there is nothing you can do here.” I tried to make that as comforting to him as I could. He was a good man, after all- this was just beyond anything he, or anyone, had witnessed before.

“Should you fall ill…” He said no more, but I understood that he saw my death as a foregone conclusion. I watched him until he turned the bend by the stream.

I had witnessed plagues before, but nothing like this. Little Jean did not last the night, shuddering out his last breath curled in a pool of his own bloodied vomit. Jacques was much stronger than his brother, but after four days he had no strength left and I buried him next to his father and brother out behind the barn.

With nothing to keep me home I packed what I felt might be of use and struck out for town after leaving a sign in the front yard warning that there was plague in the house. The wind turned as I walked, coming out of the north, bearing the scent of mass death. When the path I followed joined the main road I began to encounter people fleeing, many already obviously ill. Those who would listen I directed to my former home. Better to die in a bed under a roof, than in a ditch by the roadside.

The town was a nightmare. All doors were locked, some houses were burned to the ground, and everywhere was the stench of death mingled with incense as people desperately sought to hold the Mortality at arm’s length by filling the air with pleasant scents. I made my way to the Church and found a few desperate souls trying to tend to dozens of ill, dying wretches. I had been counting the corpses- I estimated that nearly a tenth of the people of the town were already gone and an equal number were desperately ill.


“Monique?” He lurched forward, his hands settling upon my shoulders as he gazed in to my face with fever-glazed eyes. “ Amazing… Michelle…” the man was pale, befuddled, so ill he could barely function, yet he remained on his feet.

“She is in a better place, I know,” I whispered to him, “You should rest.”

“No! I still… I have to… Dear Lord, why?” That last came as a shout of despair and he collapsed at my feet. Dr. Dupee was a gallant man, devoted to his craft, primitive though it was. I mourned the loss of my adopted family, but I shed tears over him. His loss was so much greater- the Mortality would not only take his life, it had defeated him.

Tuesday, February 18

More politics, if I do ever become truly depressed it will be from the constant need to revisit this topic.

The French are beginning to be subjected to the negative feedback inherent in any bold move upon the geopolitical front. I find it difficult to accept that Mssr. Chirac believed there would be no reaction against his posture by other nations in Europe; however, his current string of public pronouncements regarding the actions of other European nations does give one pause. That the French would deliver a public tongue-lashing to Eastern European nations, making the explicit threat that France would prevent their entry in to the European Union unless they be seated and remain mute is indicative of problems brewing for France.

It has been pointed out by myself and others that the Eastern Europeans are acutely aware of the threat posed by men such as the current leader of Iraq. Furthermore the actions of France, Germany and Belgium with regard to Turkey’s request for NATO assistance in preparing its defenses in the event of an Iraq war can only leave the Eastern European nations wondering just how reliable the EU might be in the event of problems arising from the east. These are nations who still fear a resurgent Russia and desire guarantees against just such an event. It is quite reasonable of them to consider that their security is better served by a relationship with the United States than with a capricious and unreliable EU led by the French.

Politics of this sort are the whirlwind. A century from now historians will write of these times and this is the aspect that will be lost. Retrospect will prove what options were correct and which were founded in disastrous self-serving delusions. Treatises will be written analyzing the obvious wisdom of one or the horrible series of poor decisions of another, but none of those will capture the manic passions of events as experienced by those who lived them. This is why I often feel that history as it is taught in the modern world is lacking. The lessons are all there, but do modern peoples possess the requisite empathy to make the crucial connections between the past and the present? It is difficult for most people to see through this to an end where the world is a rational, more civilized place precisely because many alive today cannot grasp the sense of panic, exhilaration, despair and hope which colored the days of nations in crisis in the past. This is why each generation can so easily be convinced that this is the End of Ages.

Friday, February 14

I am generally able to avoid fits of depression- when I am taken by a mood it is usually more a mania than a melancholy. Still it can be very, very hard to remain blissfully optimistic and truth to be told it is likely quite unhealthy. I have noted before that it is important to take a view from a different perspective from time to time as a sort of reality check (this from a writer who purports to have lived more than 3 millennia- irony knows no bounds).

That in mind I have to wonder if mankind’s slow, steady climb up from ignorance, brutality and despair is merely an exercise in finding a sufficiently lofty perch from which to leap to its collective doom. Empires and shining examples of civilization have risen and fallen throughout recorded history, but in most cases each iteration left something of itself behind for those who remained to build upon, so while the chart of human progress is marked with peaks and valleys the general trend has always been positive. Even the Nazis contributed as the warning case: “don’t let this happen to you”. What makes me wonder, the thing that sometimes fills my heart with a cold, white void, is the knowledge that humanity cannot endure too many more collapses without the aforementioned trend beginning to reverse.

Humanity presently occupies a very precarious perch: with a world population of some 6+ billions the margins for error are becoming extraordinarily thin. It is not so much a matter of resources for the west has demonstrated repeatedly that technology and determination offer hope in the face of even the most stridently catastrophic prophecies, rather it is a question of what cultural direction will mankind follow? Will it have the courage and the energy to stare down the challenges it faces over the coming centuries? This is a perpetual question as there is no absolute or irreducible answer- it is measured instead in terms of desire, hope, aspiration and daring. Sometimes I fear that humanity may be found wanting.

When the United States made her landing upon the surface of the moon there were many who saw this as the first step in a logical process that would lead to further, greater exploration and exploitation of outer space. Those with a more pragmatic viewpoint recognized that the moon landings were little more than a political victory. Yes, good science flowed from the Apollo program, but the ultimate purpose was simply to show up America’s ideological foes. Nonetheless, the west was poised upon the brink of great achievement, advancement far in excess of what the world has seen between 1969 and today. I was living in the desert in the southwest, one of a collective of would-be artists and deep thinkers seeking Truth through simple living, carnal excess and chemical enhancement of perceptions. Even those people seemed to understand what could be, and also to realize that it would never be, not with the way the world worked then. America lacked the will, or perhaps the foresight, to take the next step, and the world suffers as a result.

Since then I have yet to shake my firm belief that if humanity fails and remains trapped upon this small and ultimately doomed sphere future historians of the declining ages will point to the twentieth century and say “This is where Man went wrong. This is where He took the wrong path. This where We sealed Our own doom.”

I remain an optimist, but on those nights when my mind wanders in to dark, cold corners I can only hope that time proves me wrong.

Thursday, February 13

This was simply delightful to read.

I would take issue with certain points, but they would be minor. Kvetching as a comment in a previous post put it. The author manages to wrap up American anger and the angst of the anti-war movement in a neat package lacking any kind of acrimonious or disparaging language. No small feat, given the current climate.

Tuesday, February 11

I am neither a fan nor a foe of the French though their political maneuvers over the past few weeks have done nothing to endear that nation to me; however, it is incumbent upon any person who seeks to comment on politics and current events to step back and take a long, dispassionate look at what is happening.

I believe the case can be made that the major sin of the French government is that it recognized the shape of the new reality before the US and the United Kingdom were ready to have it do so. Many in the United States have been very vocal in the opinion that both the United Nations and NATO are old alliances that make no sense given the current situation. The governments of the US and the UK likely share this view to some degree; however, it seems that they have been willing to attempt to bend the old institutions to serve the needs of new situations, and to see them eventually break under the strain if that was what was required. Take that attitude, translate it in to French, and suddenly the machinations of those people in Paris and Berlin do not seem quite so irrational.

NATO and the United Nations were born of a bipolar world where two super entities stood in ideological opposition, but with similar goals. The great contest that was the Cold War made NATO, the Warsaw Pact and the UN both necessary and viable. NATO and the Warsaw Pact served to roughly define the boundaries of the conflicting ideologies and the UN served as a vital release valve that allowed both sides to cooperate when absolutely required under the umbrella of a pseudo-supranational body. The United Nations offered a forum whereby grievances could be aired, strategies proposed, and treaties struck while always giving each major power block the ability to halt anything diametrically opposed to their own self interest.

It worked because world politics were so structured as to make it work. Eventually though, catastrophe struck: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics collapsed under the weight of a massively mismanaged economy. In the maelstrom that followed the Warsaw Pact dissolved (an event that I suspect placed those nations well ahead of the curve of the NATO members) and lacking any other world-girdling socialist system to step in to the power vacuum, the United States was left as the world’s sole superpower.

Suddenly there was no bipolar world, but the detritus of that world still remained in the form of the old western alliance and the United Nations. Both NATO and the United Nations had lost their old callings and the only thing left to them was to reign in American power. Unfortunately for those bodies, they are utterly inadequate to the task.

The European Union (led by France) sought to position itself as a rival power to the US and her closest allies. In a post modernist world they felt they could build the economic and political power required to check what they considered to be a vibrant yet culturally inferior America. They thought they had time. They were wrong: the ruins of the Caliphate, fueled by petrodollars and Cold War legacies of weapons and training, were stirring to the call of reactionary elements which viewed the west as an evil to eradicated.

After September 11, 2001, the US knew what she needed to do and the post modern EU was forced to go along. This left a terrible aftertaste in the mouths of the EU leaders as they had allowed this “cowboy” nation to run roughshod over them on its way to fight a war. When attention turned to Iraq the French in particular apparently understood that the only way the UN and NATO could be used to reign in the US/UK alliance was to sacrifice those bodies upon the altar of European power and position themselves to possess a solid grasp on power in whatever new body or bodies eventually emerge.

Taken in that light, it seems to me that France’s actions possess a certain element of rationality.

The truly interesting part has yet to unfold. Assuming that the US and the UK move forward without the UN and NATO there will follow several years (at least two, anyhow) of agonizing death-throes for those two organizations. The EU (or what remains of it once the NATO split is complete) could be forced to build a military of its own, or else come to terms with the idea of relying upon the Russians for their muscle. Keep in mind that many Eastern European nations will likely be unwilling in the extreme to become a part of an organization that relies on Russian troops to maintain order. While Russian troops are vastly inferior to modern western (read that US and UK) armies, they are not so inconsiderable in relation to what the EU is likely to have on hand when the dust settles. Part of the price will likely be the curtailment of the grand socialism that Europe enjoyed as a protectorate of the United States.

Keep in mind that during and after this realignment there will still be reactionary forces to be dealt with and that none of them have any more love for Europe than they do for the United States.

Afterword: Mr. Den Beste has a different take on what may have happened to bring NATO and the UN to this point. As always, his analysis is thorough and engaging.

Monday, February 10

Looking over the displeasure on display over the past weekend reminds me of why I usually stay clear of day-to-day politics: my viewpoint is too far-reaching to make sense to most people. The impulse (which I indulged in the other day) is to react to every occurrence and shift in the political winds; however, this is ultimately pointless. It is somewhat unlikely that history will look back on the weeks leading up to the conclusion of the Iraq issue and take serious note of the various machinations of the players at the time, unless of course this ends disastrously. Disaster is always possible, but it seems quite unlikely, at least at this juncture.

The diplomatic row brewing between parts of Europe and the United States is actually somewhat small in comparison to other events. I know that this sounds counterintuitive; however, does anyone actually believe that the world faces the threat of war in Europe over the issue of Iraq? If the answer is “no” (and if you are a reasonably astute individual, the answer must be “no”), then the aftermath of any perceived political break is in truth quite minor. It is entirely possible that the various alliances and institutions are preparing to be thrown down and replaced by newer, more vital, and more rational entities. The United Nations is not a useless body so long as one views it merely as a second try at establishing a consensual world body. To my view it seems that the world is preparing to set the stage for a third attempt and I suspect that the end result will be similar to the UN, but will recognize that all nations are not equal; not in strength, not in freedom and not in legitimacy. That will be the hard transformation for the world to accept, and I would warn everyone that the make up of such a body is unlikely to be what anyone would expect or enjoy for the single most qualifying attribute will be, as it has always been, power. What direction this new body takes will depend entirely on who can muster the power to lead it.

Sunday, February 9

People certainly do become excited when something unexpected appears on the horizon. In this case it is the prospect of the reported Franco-German proposal for occupation of Iraq by a force of several thousand UN troops supporting 300 or more weapons inspectors.

Forgive me my failure to be impressed. I do think it is a positive sign that the French have chosen to make a somewhat bold move in the face of impending military action by the United States and her numerous allies; however, this amounts to far too little, far too late and compounds that with the additional sin of lacking even a semblance of originality. What has been proposed (or more correctly, is rumored to be proposed in the near future) is simply a none-too-clever recapitulation of the “Robust Inspection Regime” proposed last year: several thousand soldiers traipsing through the Iraqi countryside seeking out illicit weapons sites.

This is certain to be grasped close to the breast of those seeking any option to prevent the west from taking any sort of concerted action against Iraq. It is also doomed to rapid failure for one very simple reason: Iraq will never accede to this. Even if they feign interest in the concept simply insisting upon rapid implementation can catch them out. The only danger this proposal presents is that of delay, and even that is unlikely to succeed.

Let us examine the following:

Assume that the US feels they have no choice but to accept this proposal, what would the first move be in Washington? To insist on moving troops in to Iraq immediately. American troops. It would be a reasonable insistence that would likely break the deal on the spot.

Look at the track record of UN Peacekeeping forces in dangerous situations- to say they have not earned a reputation for honor and effectiveness is to put absolutely the most positive light upon them that one can. Blue helmets have stood by and watched the slaughter of innocents, they have become hostages and they have proven repeatedly to be ineffective over the past few decades. Is there any reason to believe that there will suddenly be a change? The short answer is “No”. The long answer is that given the nature and organization of such forces and the extraordinarily political nature of the leadership of same it would be naïve in the extreme to expect such forces to be capable of confronting even the mildest resistance from Iraqi forces or institutions.

Neither of the above are earth-shattering revelations. If I can propose them here others have doubtless taken their measure as well. There are other objections, all of which have been raised before when this idea was originally proposed and rejected as unworkable and unlikely to succeed.

A logical conclusion might be that those proposing this plan do not expect it to be implemented. So why propose it? The French are staring irrelevancy in the face and they do not like what they see. This ploy allows them to establish themselves as the preeminent political opposition to the United States on the world stage, at least in their domestic sphere and the arena of the European Union.

If the French are hoping against logic that this plan will actually be put in to action one would be forced to consider the extremely unpleasant possibility that they are desperate to hide something. In that case the possibilities become numerous and in some cases quite ghastly.

Only time will tell.

Friday, February 7

I owe a thank-you to Mr. Hendrix of Cold Fury fame for the link and his kind words.

Wednesday, February 5

I grow increasingly weary of the war debate, politics is not my forte; however, it is much on the minds of many people, and particularly of those whom I call friends. So many seem fixated upon the narrow topics of oil, Iraqi support for terror and the desire to liberate the Iraqi people from an admittedly terrible tyranny. These are all individually valid concerns and when one takes the time to consider them as a whole I suppose it is enough to sway many people to a decision that war is at least necessary, even if undesirable.

First, let me briefly dispose on these three points. Oil: it is the lifeblood of the modern world, there are unstable regimes which threaten the world’s supply of oil, and the choices are starkly clear: act to protect the flow of oil or accept an inevitable economic disaster precipitated by the actions of a nation, group, or groups who believe they have nothing to lose by bringing the current world order to the brink of collapse. Terror: Iraq does support terror groups, both directly and indirectly. Involvement with the al-Qaida organization is likely tangential, but that is somewhat akin to the old saw regarding being “a little bit pregnant”, one either tolerates support for terrorism, or one does not. Liberation: Regimes are legitimate or they are not, they either serve the interests of their citizens or they do not, they reign by popular consent or by popular submission. When citizens disappear at the behest of government it is usually an indication that the rule is illegitimate.

I do not begin to presume that the above encompasses all there is to say on these topics; however, it serves to make clear my own mind in these areas.

What the world faces today is not a war of American Imperialism. Rather it is a battle between the forces of reactionary fanaticism and western liberalism. The world is divided in to two essential spheres (three, if one is fond of splitting hairs): the modern, liberal sphere; and the primitive sphere mired in strongman leadership and internecine struggle. Portions of the primitive sphere struggle to join the modern, other portions struggle to destroy the modern. The second camp is not one that can be ignored, or held at arm’s length, nor can it be negotiated with. The basic assumptions of both sides between the modern and the reactionary primitive are too divergent for there to be a common interest around which to build a framework for discussion.

The world is dotted with small dictatorships and lands steeped in a seemingly endless cycle of sanguinary anarchy. Most of this is the admitted aftermath of the war-by-proxy that was the Cold War, where both sides supported regimes and movements which had little in common with the patron other than that they stood in apparent opposition to the will of the opposite side. This is not to say that the Cold War alone was responsible for these regimes, but it certainly abetted them. With the Cold War over, there remains a responsibility to begin attempting to clean up the mess. It is the current Iraqi regime’s ill fortune that it has wandered in to the crosshairs at this time in history.

Regardless of what reasons the west gives at this time, the move against Iraq constitutes the first phase of what will eventually become an effort to clean up the detritus of the Cold War. It is an eminently practical choice on several levels beginning with the threat Iraq poses to the stability of the world oil supply and its strategic location in a geographical area immersed in the conflict between the modern and the reactionary. The Iraqi regime is dangerous and it holds its population in thrall through terror. It is also weak enough to be handled easily- lacking any hard, fast friends in the area it stands alone and its passing will be mourned only by those who see that passing as a foreshadow of their own fate. That act alone will likely move some of the problematic regimes towards some sort of rapprochement with the west, which would include some basic reformation of their own governments.

I am not implying that this is some sort of conscious plan on the part of the west for it most assuredly is not, rather this is a possible outgrowth of a successful reduction of the Iraqi regime. With Iraq liberated the anti-war protests of “why Iraq and not North Korea or Zimbabwe” morph in to a pro-liberation protest of “Iraq is free, why not North Korea, or Zimbabwe?” At this point the West will either step up to its obligations, or shy away and the tone of the next few decades will likely have been set.

Saturday, February 1

I have nothing to say regarding the Columbia tragedy that would not sound cold and heartless. I tend to be dispassionate about such things, and there will be an appropriate time for such discourse. Just not today, not now. Instead, I will link to this from the Weekend Pundit. He was the first to ever see this weblog, the first to comment and the first to provide a link, so I will return the favor now. He titled it The High Frontier.