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Bush the Empire Slayer

by Bernard Chazelle Wed Jan 24th, 2007 at 09:13:31 PM EST

Bush the Empire Slayer

by Bernard Chazelle


If you fancy losing an argument, try shooting down my contention that Mikhail Gorbachev is the leading historical figure of our time. Not one to miss a shooting opportunity, Dick Cheney tried. To my surprise, he won.

Westerners fondly remember... [click here for the rest]

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This essay has nothing to do with Europe and probably does not belong here.  If that's your feeling, sorry.

If not, you might find it a good read (especially the poems/pics).

PS  I love this blog and it's only time constraints that have kept me away from it. You guys are doing a terrific job! Keep it coming.

by Bernard Chazelle (Bernard Chazelle) on Wed Jan 24th, 2007 at 09:25:12 PM EST
This essay has nothing to do with Europe and probably does not belong here.  If that's your feeling, sorry.

Oh, I'd say your essay is right at home. It follows a long line of diaries of similar view, but yours pretty much says it all, and most eloquently.

Literature, par excelance.  Sadly, I can't say it was a pleasure to read, but then it wasn't meant to be.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 12:21:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bonjour Bernard,

Actually, you may find that quite a few of us have already read your very eloquent essay. It's a must. I had found it through commondreams.org.

Keep up the good work !

by balbuz on Thu Jan 25th, 2007 at 05:06:00 AM EST
Thanks for this!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 25th, 2007 at 05:56:05 AM EST
Ah, if only Bush had gone to Delphi, they could have dusted off their warning to Croesus : "If you cross that river (Halys), a great empire will fall".

"If you invade Iraq, a great empire will fall" is indeed a warning of terrible implications. For the USA has been an empire since WWII, all denials notwithstanding, and it is now falling. The destruction of their military's mythology of invincibility is merely the most obvious. Their economy is teetering on the edge of catastrphic failure, their petro-fuelled way of life is becoming unsustainable. Their industrial agriculture will fail. America has painted itself into a corner and is throwing its lifelines away.

Not that I'm laughing. Millions of Americans will die of preventable starvation and cold in the next quarter century because of policies established today.

And they say a problem shared is a problem halved. Blair proved that to be a lie. The UK shared the criminality of the Iraq debacle, yet we have not halved the problem. By joining in we helped justify making it worse than it need have been.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 25th, 2007 at 06:33:16 AM EST
Bernard, this is the best damn piece I've read on the subject (and as you know there's been a lot published on this subject from all quarters) ever.

Maybe a two-way tie with a Patrick Cockburn "interview" piece, from roughly a year back. Maybe.

You should consider diffusing this one further afield, it's that good imho. Agent-worthy.

Many fora would be appropriate of course, but from my perspective, an essay as well crafted, sharp, engaging and veridical as this one should be in print somewhere, somewhere with a high circulation.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jan 25th, 2007 at 11:21:48 AM EST
By the way, don't know if you were channeling Wallerstein here consciously or not, but I'd have to say your perspective on US empire is fresher, and integrates the interpretation of more relevant contemporary events in a more hard-hitting way, than anything I've read of his.

And he's one of my favorites.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jan 25th, 2007 at 11:25:46 AM EST
Excellent essay deserving wider circulation.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Jan 25th, 2007 at 12:06:54 PM EST
Thanks everyone for the kind words.
by Bernard Chazelle (Bernard Chazelle) on Thu Jan 25th, 2007 at 06:46:33 PM EST
Excellent. I could go on with superlatives but they would, eventually, run out.

By the way, van Creveld and Fisk are favourites of mine (Fisk has such bad luck. He has been bombed, shelled, shot, hunted by tanks etc etc more times than I can count and I bet that the latest Beirut riots happened right outside his balcony, or at the Café where he was sitting).

Anyway, listing all those names (with the two above excepted, of course) will be very convenient for the management of future affairs. If you get my drift.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Jan 25th, 2007 at 07:24:22 PM EST
Fisk likes to live dangerously. Like Patrick Cockburn. I hope there is a journalism god looking out for those guys.
by Bernard Chazelle (Bernard Chazelle) on Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 01:50:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I bet that the latest Beirut riots happened right outside his balcony, or at the Café where he was sitting

They most certainly did not.  That area, Tarek Jdideh, is far too proletarian for our Mr. Fisk, who prefers to frequent the trendier (and more expensive, and more upper-class, and more Westernized) cafés downtown.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 08:13:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If that is so, he probably was walking around that place anyway, for some reason.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 08:27:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If he wasn't there, then he really ought to lose his job.  It was the single largest and most sustained outbreak of sectarian violence since the end of the civil war.  Every journalist in town should have been there.

I do not mean to trample anyone's delicate sensibilities, because I know that he's revered amongst many on the European left like something approaching a journalistic deity, but Fisk is not the journalist he once was.  Personally, as someone who has spent a fair amount of time in Lebanon and who knows the place reasonably well (although I will style myself no expert by any stretch) I do not think he is anywhere close to the best reporter working in Lebanon today.

I will refer you again, as I did to someone else below, to this essay by the Angry Arab, who is far more of an expert than I.

Personally, I find the work of Anthony Shadid or Mohamad Bazzi to be much more insightful than anything Fisk has done in ages.  (For a truly excellent take on the opposition protests, see Bazzi's piece in the Nation last month.)

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 08:44:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
fisk is a hero.

he almost is never on tv, more's the pity, (and that's not because of his telegenesis)

i finally caught him on al jaz, and he quietly rocks.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 02:33:45 AM EST
Excuse my ignorance, but is that Robert Fisk at the Independent you're talking about ?
by balbuz on Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 07:45:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, also known for the addition of his name as a verb to current political termonology, meaning to slice, dice and debunk bullshit.

fisking an opinion piece, similar to 'frisking' the pockets of harmful things.

please korrekt me someone if i got it wrong!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 08:02:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Read this.

Fisk's credibility is not what it was.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 08:15:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The operative passage, imho:

I have no problem in Fisk's rage against the Syrian regime. But this most critical, cynical, and skeptical reporter has stopped being cynical about the place [Lebanon] where cynicism, skepticism, and criticism are most required and most needed if one is to understand the politics of the place, and if one is not to serve as a willing or unwilling propagandist outlet for this or that side.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 08:18:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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