Friday, July 1, 2011

"X is Hitler"

In this age of hyperbole, it is common to hear this or that politician denounced as "Hitler."
"Bush is Hitler" was one of the great cliches of first decade of this century.
It is an evocative phrase, but one that betrays either a profound ignorance of history or willingness to slander one's opponent at any cost.

For all the cries of "political oppression" during the Bush years, I cannot recall one report of a murdered opponent. In contrast, Hitler ordered the deaths of some 85 individuals during the "Night of the Long Knives" in 1934. The dead included old enemies and older friends. Sadly, that event was only the beginning of Hitler's butchery.

Our current domestic political theater offers many disreputable players, yet I have yet to identify one who comes as close to evil incarnate as did Adolph Hitler.

Thus the cry "X is Hitler" typically does not move me to despise X. It does lead me to question the wisdom, knowledge and honesty of the messenger.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The New Obama Campaign Song

With apologies to Meredith Wilson:

Tax on the merchandise,
Tax on the button hooks
Tax on the cotton goods,
Tax on the hard goods
Tax on the fancy goods
Tax on the noggins and the piggins and the frikins
Tax on the hogshead, cask and demijohn.
Tax on the crackers and the pickels and the flypaper!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dear Barry

Alcatraz Island
Suite B - 181

Dear Barry,

One Chicago boy to another, you really don't understand running an outfit.

That "situation room" photo was a disaster. What was with the scared broad front and center? And your own gang wouldn't let you sit at the table? Are you sure you're the boss? While we're at it, you interrupted your golf game to whack ONE guy? Don't you trust your soldiers? Could I have run Chi if I personally supervised every hit?

About the stiff. "We didn't want to inflame sensibilities" gives new meaning to dumb. They already want to kill you. More importantly, they want to kill my customers. What's to "inflame"? Worse, you've told the world that you don't want to fight this fight, meaning we WILL fight, or die, when they bring the fight to us. A few bodies here and there can be a great deterrent, as you college boys like to say. Ask Bugs Moran.

But there's more to a good message than body count. There's self-interest. This Osama fella put a hit on us; we returned the favor. So why do you have it in for that Col. Gaddahfi? How much have you spent for someone else's oil? Where's OUR profit? Hell of a way to run a business.

Let's not forget the big picture. I know you don't like Jews, even though you say you're in the non discrimination business. I thought Arnold Rothstein was a hell of a guy, but maybe you didn't know him. Anyway, what will you get for selling them out? Aside from enemies who don't fear you and allies who don't trust you?

Don't get me wrong; I can see a real upside to this Sharia law. I made a lot of money off Prohibition and life was good. But do you really want to see your daughters in burkas?

Your friend,

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Just Win, Baby"

Maybe we should let Al Davis command in Libya. Colonel Duck's air forces and air defenses would long ago have been annihilated, the Marines would again be ashore in Tripoli and the Duck would be… out of power. Al, at least, understands winning. Of course, were this struggle merely a football match, Coach Qaddafi might be fired, to make room for someone more effective, aggressive, innovative, ruthless; someone able to rally the team and lead it back next season.

Which illustrates the difference between winning and victory. Victors destroy their enemies or at least the enemys' ability and will threaten them. Hannibal won a series of brilliant battles against Rome, but lost the war. Hitler drove the British into the sea and lost that war. Hannibal could not muster the resources to crush Rome, while Hitler failed to understand the need to secure his Atlantic flank. In contrast, Eisenhower and Stalin crushed the Nazi armies and put the Nazi leaders on trial. There is no question that the coalition against Col. Duck has the resources to obliterate his armed forces. The question is whether the coalition has the will for victory.

Coalition leaders have been disturbingly vague on that point. We have heard much of “humanitarian intervention" while any suggestion of "regime change" has been studiously avoided. The implication seems to be at the Allied intervention would end if the Col. would simply commit to behave himself, or at least forswear slaughtering his opponents. My doctor might call this approach “treating the symptoms, not the problem." It has been tried before. Napoleon was exiled to Elba, only to escape, renew his wars, and cause the deaths of thousands more. In living memory, Saddam Hussein was left in power following the first gulf war, although that coalition encouraged the Iraqis to rebel. Some did, and were annihilated. That coalition lacked the will to victory. It won the war and lost the peace. The Iraqi people are still paying for that lack of vision and determination.

Thus the question: is the coalition committed to removing the Colonel and seeing to it that he is replaced by a stable civil society that respects the rule of law and does not threaten its neighbors (also known as “nation building”) or is this action a mere “punitive expedition,” in the best colonial tradition, intended to impress on the Colonel, and others of his ilk, that the “civilized world” will stomach just so much brutality. But, so long as he doesn't cross that threshold, he is free to do as he pleases. Based on the latest pronouncements, the latter is the case. Dictators will be permitted to continue to brutalize their nations, provided they spout properly anti-American rhetoric and offer a reliable source of supplies upon which the developed nations rely – such as the French dependence upon Libyan oil.

Somewhere Clive and Rhodes and Kitchener, those epic builders of empires, masters of the exploitation of native peoples for the benefit of Western powers are rolling on the floor laughing, for the First Black President has clearly taken up The White Man's Burden.