April 19, 2005

Harry Truman

This is Harry S. Truman's farewell address to the American people with the election of Eisenhower. It has some very enlightening parts at the end. Below is that section.

Now, once in a while, I get a letter from some impatient person asking, why don’t we get it over with? Why don’t we issue an ultimatum, make all-out war, drop the atomic bomb?

For most Americans, the answer is quite simple: We are not made that way. We are a moral people. Peace is our goal, with justice and freedom. We cannot, of our own free will, violate the very principles that we are striving to defend. The whole purpose of what we are doing is to prevent world war III. Starting a war is no way to make peace.

But if anyone still thinks that just this once, bad means can bring good ends, then let me remind you of this: We are living in the 8th year of the atomic age. We are not the only nation that is learning to unleash the power of the atom. A third world war might dig the grave not only of our Communist opponents but also of our own society, our world as well as theirs.

Starting an atomic war is totally unthinkable for rational men.

Then, some of you may ask, when and how will the cold war end? I think I can answer that simply. The Communist world has great resources, and it looks strong. But there is a fatal flaw in their society. Theirs is a godless system, a system of slavery; there is no freedom in it, no consent. The Iron Curtain, the secret police, the constant purges, all these are symptoms of a great basic weakness--the rulers’ fear of their own people.

In the long run the strength of our free society, and our ideals, will prevail over a system that has respect for neither God nor man.

Last week, in my State of the Union Message to the Congress--and I hope you will all take the time to read it--I explained how I think we will finally win through.

As the free world grows stronger, more united, more attractive to men on both sides of the Iron Curtain--and as the Soviet hopes for easy expansion are blocked--then there will have to come a time of change in the Soviet world. Nobody can say for sure when that is going to be, or exactly how it will come about, whether by revolution, or trouble in the satellite states, or by a change inside the Kremlin.

Whether the Communist rulers shift their policies of their own free will--or whether the change comes about in some other way-I have not a doubt in the world that a change will occur.
I have a deep and abiding faith in the destiny of free men. With patience and courage, we shall some day move on into a new era--a wonderful golden age--an age when we can use the peaceful tools that science has forged for us to do away with poverty and human misery everywhere on earth.

Think what can be done, once our capital, our skills, our science--most of all atomic energy--can be released from the tasks of defense and turned wholly to peaceful purposes all around the world.

There is no end to what can be done.

I can’t help but dream out loud just a little here.

The Tigris and Euphrates Valley can be made to bloom as it did in the times of Babylon and Nineveh. Israel can be made the country of milk and honey as it was in the time of Joshua.

Note the section in bold. Truman was either prescient or looking for a rhetorical flourish. If the latter, he still predicted events far ahead of what was available to them at the time.

It attests to the reality of our day that Truman would have been excommunicated by the Democratic party and invited into the Republican party by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

April 17, 2005

United Nations makes a Food game

Now this is interesting, the UN wants to brainwash children with video games. Didn't they believe that violent video games were bad for children? If so, how are they justifying the releash of a UN sponsored game that'll depict Oil for Food, Congo peacekeeping, and Tsunami Relief Efforts accurately, without damaging the nascent psyche of small children?

Wait, don't tell me, there's a parental lock?

April 09, 2005

Special Forces Blog

A great blog and a great story about what can go on in the life of an Army Special Forces operator.

April 08, 2005

This is an interesting comment I came across to Davids Medienkritik blog, a German blogger about the extreme media bias of Germany. Far more anti-American than the American mass media, since German media companies don't have to cover up their obvious anti-Americanism for political power.


I agree with many of your points of the events surrounding the second world war. Also, I would like to stress that I am grateful for your service to our country as a military man. Unlike my father, I cannot claim having ever made the same sacrifice. I am 35 years old, American, and have been living in Münich for the last 10 years.

However, I am not sure that your posting offers insight (for me at least) as to the worsening German animus towards the USA. I am fully confused by much of what I hear here in Germany, it is the exact reason why I read this blog on a regular basis: Germans do not get fair reporting and base their opinion on this (worse so, they seldom attempt to inform themselves with other sources). Furthermore, they are often motivated for reasons unbeknownst to share this opinion with me on a regular basis.

I take your point that the last two generations of Germans unduly have suffered prejudices for crimes committed by the previous NAZI government. I was deliberately very sensitive to the holocaust issue and second world war issue with Germans when I first moved here. I never brought it up with Germans and attempted to always avoid the point. It is for this reason that I find it rather hypocritical (or rather impolite) when Germans, whom I've never accosted, find it necessary for them to lecture me on the evils of my government. I've had a colleague in my office who told me that the USA had started the the Korean War in 1950. I am tolerant of differing opinions, but when his understanding of historic events matches the propaganda of Kim Il Sung, it is time to worry.

As far as our country is concerned, following the atrocities committed by the Germans and Russians, Poles whoever, we were the beacon of hope and justice (forget the Japanese). We took in 1/2 the Jews following the war, even the English didn't want them. Furthermore, the English/French and Russians were feared far more by the Germans for reprisals. We helped to rebuild a country who we were in a bitter war with, and we held fast to stop the Soviet aggression (and it was aggression). Duly, this ability to forgive and support was also extended to the Japanese. I don't think that there is any historical parallel with such generosity and solidarity. I have also lived in the UK where elder taxi drivers thanked the US for our involvement in both WW conflicts. I know of no significant memorial in Germany that gratefully commemorates American efforts in: the Berlin Airlift (only a concrete luftbrücke in Frankfurt airport - wow), the Marshall Plan (still un-repaid), NATO, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc, etc. It seems doomed to fade from German memory, particularily with attempts to describe Germans as victims of WWII. And that von Stauffenberg was a German hero, not an early adopter of Nazism.

I often meet poorly informed Germans, to those following the media-line, or characterise all Americans as gleichgeschaltet, to contempt and sometimes downright hostility. So, I sit here confused, perplexed and wondering why there is such open and wilful hostility towards my country. And particularly my country, the one who only ever helped to put things right and stood shoulder to shoulder with a now forgetful nation. Often, I wonder why we ever helped them in the first place.

Most importantly, I find it rather obnoxious for Germans to criticise the US in her Iraq actions, when these same complainers never offered alternatives. What was one to have otherwise done with Iraq/Saddam? What good is the UN if it is only a straw man? Isn't it rather ironic that since the Germans know firsthand what dictators are like that they should choose to complacently sit back and do nothing? Worse so, to obfuscate the situation even more: they ignore Saddam's crimes and stress America's? Or even worse so, start to sell weapons to Chinese oppressors?

It seems to me that there is a great deal of double standards going on in Germany, one economically enjoys the international system effected under Pax Americana. And the other childishly attempts to hobble or thwart the same big brother. Perhaps this is motivated in an interest to exorcise the ghosts from WWII and raise their own self image. Whatever the case may be, I will never allow my son's life to come to risk in the defense/support of this now contemptous country.


The italicized section is the emphasized portion I added. I agree with the ideas presented in that section because America's moral and intellectual character is such that if you surrender, we will treat you with compassion and justice. We will not extort money from you, Japan can attest to that. We will not dictate your domestic or foreign policies, as Germany and Japan can attest to. Japan is allowed by the Constitution we helped to write, to rewrite their own Constitution to remove the part about military forces only to be used for Defense rather than preemptive attack or "power projection" like a Carrier would have.

And we are repaid by Germany with ignorance, prejudice, and sheer arrogance. The German Culture once had much to admire about it. Prussian virtues of discipline and order, of efficiency and loyalty. No, more. The Concentration reeducation camps of the German government has brainwashed the newer generations of Germans into pacifistic weaklings, they have become only a shadow of their former selves.

No longer are there any martial virtues in their population or military, no longer is there much if any civic virtues in their population either. And the civic virtues that are left, is being increasingly coopted by socialistic apathy. France was a hopeless case from World War I. Germany was not. But it looks like our actions in the occupation of Western Germany failed produce results beyond the average, which was to keep Germany from the Soviets. We did not destroy their character or their will to fight, or the virtues that made them better humans. No, they did that to themselves.

And that is sad, because I would have liked nothing better than to have had Germany at the side of the United States in the new Global War. We could have made much use of the German efficiency in bureacracy and Police methods to stabilize Iraq. We weren't given such aid, of course.

"'He either fears his fate too much,
Or his desert is small,
Who fears to put it to the touch,
And win or lose it all.'

Germany fears war like a national phobia, and in their fear have become cowards that have lost all sense of what it means to be human.

Germany is responsible for their actions "now", forget about the past.

This news about potential Nazi disruption of US bases in Germany takes the Schwarz cake.

Perhaps these groups will finally realize that they have spread the seeds of anti-Americanism to the point that even Nazis can successfully exploit the sad phenomena. Soon the growing Fascist movement in Germany will be able to intimidate and threaten American families in Grafenwoehr.
And how can the US government and the US military put the wives and children of US soldiers in a community like this? They are planning to move in thousands more Americans and invest hundreds of millions in this area? Are you kidding me?

There had better not be any violence against family members of the American armed forces. If they want to see how fast Poland becomes our new European base, all they have to do is to push us.

Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines will obey the law, they will not do a Hama on the town or the nation that have started promoting anti-American sentiments that lead irrevocably to anti-American violence. No, they are too disciplined, loyal, and honorable for that. The American people once they hear of such actual conduct by the Germans, however, is another story entirely.

You really really don't want to see what the American people can make our government do once they are motivated in defense of their values. I do, but then I have always been inclined to favor the martial virtues over the civic virtues any day of the year.

It would be pleasing to see the Polish benefiting from American bases and the increased security and economy that would bring to Poland, a nation struggling as Iraq is struggling.

One thing that the American people with their civic virtues and the military with their martial virtues can agree on, and that is that loyalty should be repaid. Preferably a thousand fold. The Polish were there when we were at our most confused, the darkest times of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They did not doubt us, even when we started to doubt ourselves as the casualties and fatalities of American military personnel scrolled across the screen. They were called the bribed and the coerced, they were to shut up or face the "consequences", but they held fast.

The Polish wanted VISA waivers like the French and the Germans had, to come to America. Although it took quite a while for our politicians to get to accomplishing that, I am pleased to say that it was accomplished. And I suspect the Polish expect no more of us, although they would be glad of the presence of American bases and economic stimulus. The Polish I believe, will be very surprised at the extent to which American gratitude can reach if properly motivated and channeled. It would be a Dishonor to treat our former enemies, the Germans and the Japanese, better than we treat our newest allies.

I neither can nor will forget the contributions of nations that are truely honest in their pro-American sentiments, when we needed it the most. And I believe many other Americans think the same.

Nations like Italy, that pay ransom to terroists so that they can put out hit contracts on Americans and Iraqis, are persona non grata.

April 07, 2005

The AP's benefit through use of other people's pain

This is the best photos they wanted to award, of the Iraq theater of the War on Terror.

Michelle Malkin provides commentary concerning the 20th photo and how much the AP was paid for it

Via LGF's readers, we are reminded that the Belmont Club first raised troubling questions in December 2004 (here and here and here) about how exactly the AP photographer arrived at the scene.

Also wondering at the time about the AP's relationship with the pictured terrorists and the related media ethics issues/disclosure obligations involved were Power Line and Roger L. Simon (also here). See also Mudville Gazette and Joe Katzman for background.

A key post from John Hinderaker at Power Line on Dec. 25 sums up the outrage and highlights the AP's admission that its photographer was "tipped off" and had a relationship with the terrorists:

The Internet HeroMachine

Step right up and create your own hero.

April 06, 2005

Canadian Corruption Part 2

The Canadian blogger Winds of Change has a great overview of the beginning, middle, and possible future of this evidence of Canadian cultural and political rot.

Italian hostage died fighting

This is a story about something that I hadn't heard about. An Italian hostage just before he was being executed, he made a last cry of defiance before they killed him. His last words apparently was, "I'll show you how an Italian dies".

Unlike another previous American hostage, this man didn't make it out alive. But I salute his honor, his courage, and the preservation of his dignity in the face of fear and death.

20 minutes of real combat footage in Falluja

Real combat footage, none of those "paid for by terroist" shit you see in Al-Jazeera or the AP reports.

This is the BBC, government paid, not Al-Qaeda paid!! Best to remember that when you hear the god awful captions. Just tune the reporter out and see and feel the fury and power of the US Marines.

BlackFive offers new perspective to Canadians

This is a letter sent to Black Five from our white neighbor, Canada.

Hi Black Five,
I am writing you from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. We are just north of Montana. I have been reading your blog for months and I check it every morning when I get to work to see what you have posted. I want you to know that not all Canadians are anti-American. In fact, it seems like some of us are more pro-American than some Americans. I don't understand how people can be so vicious to their own country people. But then there are so many things that I don't understand.
I must confess that I don't always agree with you. If I was American, you would probably label me as a liberal. I am a girlie/girl, candy ass civilian AND a pacifist. However, since I started reading military blogs, I am not so sure about a lot of things anymore. One thing I still know for sure though is that I have ALWAYS admired soldiers for their courage and commitment and toughness. I am grateful to them doing a job I could never do and know that I live in peace and security in Canada because of the sacrifices of many soldiers. (O.K. I need to be specific here. I apply that only to Canadian, American, British and other Allied soldiers of WWII. I don't feel that way towards Nazis nor Japanese or even Chinese soldiers. Heaven help me because I am Chinese but I fear the communists. Soldiers can do a lot of good but they can also be totally evil because they have such destructive power.) Even though I want to believe that one day our world will be free from wars and peace and love will take over, I know now that it may never be possible. I think there will always be "bad" people and we need good people like yourself who are willing and strong enough to fight them.

What prompted me to write to you was the posting by that John Riley person. I couldn't get his evil words out of my mind all day and as I was driving home from work, I contemplated writing to ask you to delete his vile post. I see that you have done so already and I wanted to thank you for it. The family is in enough pain and they don't need JR's words to hurt them even more. My heart just breaks for the loss of a young man with so much ahead of his life. As I said, I am normally a peaceful person but JR's post made me crazy. I wanted to track him down and personally hurt him to the best of my female civilian ability. So much for the girlie/girl pacifist. I believe people with no compassion nor heart are truly evil. As far as I am concerned, he is no better than the terrorists who murder and behead innocent people.
Take care Black 5. I wish the very best for you and your family. Thanks again for your blog. I remain a fan and shall check on it every day.

Your friend in Canada,
P.S. I miss that picture of you flying through the air

Military News

It is about the Medal of Honor award recipient. Further details on him and the night listed in his citation, are in this news piece.

April 05, 2005

Denzel Washington visits wounded Soldiers

Here's to all the conservative or center-right actors who still know who they are, without the fame and the fortune. Just regular old citizens, not citizens of the world but citizens of America. Paid by the rich American middle class for entertainment.

Judge comments on Richard Reid the Shoe Bomber

It's a worthwhile read, especially if you are tired of activist judges not knowing their scepter from their gavels.

April 03, 2005

History repeats itself

As I am watching the History Channel, I cannot help but notice the similarities and the truth in the saying that history repeats itself. Though of course, not quite the way it happened in the first place.

The Carthaginians in the Second Punic War, tried to play the Roman Republic against Hannibal for political purposes while at the same time trying to use Hannibal's military talents to push back the Romans. They did this in witholding much needed reinforces that Hannibal needed to obtain victory in Italy. Hannibal did not get defeated in his Italian campaign, but his troops were slowly whittled down to about 12,000, a tenth of his original 100,000. The Carthaginians soon came to regret that decision at Zama, when Hannibal did not have enough experienced troops from his Italian campaign to defend his homeland. Hannibal was loyal to Carthage, Carthage however, was not loyal to Hannibal.

So ended a trading Empire that tried to play their enemies against each other, never standing united.

Around 500 A.D., Attila the Hun invades the Western Roman Empire with his 20 years of tribute that he acquired from Constantinople. After going through the Gauls, Attila is met and defeated by his childhood friend that was a hostage at his father's court, who led the Roman legions and their Visigoth allies against Attila. But instead of pursuing and destroying Attila's Huns, the Roman commander let them go in hopes of using the Huns to defeat the Visigoths in the future. Both the Visigoths and the Huns were barbarians, a threat to the Eastern ROman Empire. Again, such attempts to play sides off of each other instead of consolidating your position with what you got and who are loyal to you, ended with catastrophe.

Again, the Empire fell because they tried to play sides. Both Carthage and Constantinople tried to bribe their way out, they paid Danegeld. And in doing so, condemned themselves to destruction. Constantinope signed a peace treaty with Attila, and allowed him to mobilize against the Western Roman Empire, almost destroying it utterly. When Constantinople needed help from the Islamists, the Western Roman Empire was no long there because of their defeats to the barbarians.

And as history dictated. Those who pay danesgeld, are not worthy of survival or of the responsibility of power.

In this World War on Terror, we see plenty of nations willing to pay danegeld in return for temporary safety. They would be destroyed, if the world acted through their will rather than the will of the new American hegemony. They should be grateful, but they are simply complicit in betraying us to the barbarians.

Every civilization has their barbarians, just as we do. And every civilization will become weak over time, as more of more of the citizenry and leaders know nothing of war but living fat off the land.

When the Italians pay the terroists ransom money, when the Spanish pull their troops out of Iraq when they were bombed, when the French are pathetically grateful to have their journalists back in return for tribute, that should be the beginning of their doom. But there is a chance it will not. There is a chance, unlike Carthage, Rome, and all other civilizations in history, that these weak civilizations will be protected by a stronger, worthier civilization that still honors duty and sacrifice over money and corruption. However, for that chance to succede, an injustice must be perpetrated upon the strong.

The stronger civilization must protect the weaker. It is required to break the chain of historic cyclic events. Even if the weaker civilizations being protected, are providing every support imaginable to the barbarians. It would be like the Western Roman Empire defeating the Huns at Champagne, and then protecting the Eastern Roman Empire from both the Huns, every other barbarian, and the Islamists as well. In such a scenario, the Western Roman Empire would have maintained civilization, knowledge, reading, sanitation, and all the other wonders of civilization. But they would have had to reward those that betrayed Rome by protecting Attila's supply lines with a peace treaty.

Like giving Russia a UN seat even though Russia signed a treaty of non-aggression with Hitler and divided up the spoils of the Poland conquest between them. Like giving France a UN seat, even though French forces were the first ones the US fought in Africa and where the Invasion of Normandy cost many lives that wouldn't have been lost if France had not surrendered.

Military academies vs civilian universities

Higher Education

By the time I met the Feminist, however, I had gone from being caught off guard, to sarcasm, to incredulity and all to no avail, so it was she who became the receiver of my wrath, because there are — as I pointed out to her — fundamental differences between “them” and “us” and the students we teach.

We drive to Post each day, some of us dressed in a uniform, yes, but all of us wondering which of our students will be kept out of harm’s way and able to return for their 10-year class reunion. In the “small a” academies, we receive out-processing notification for cadets called to active duty with their Reserve or National Guard units before we can acknowledge one last salute and wish them a speedy return from
Guantánamo or Kuwait or Iraq.

We send make-up work to those who have had a negative reaction to their Anthrax or smallpox vaccine as their units await pending deployment orders. And be it at West Point or The Citadel, in Colorado, Annapolis, or VMI, we all open our email each day holding our breath, hoping not to see “RE: Taps” in the subject line, to mourn yet again the loss of a former cadet at the hands of terrorist enemies (at VMI we have received six such messages since September 11, 2001).

Ours is the honor of teaching young men and women who have vowed, like generations before them, to uphold and defend those liberties all Americans hold so dear but too often take for granted. Many of them may be asked to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that the Queer Theorist can continue to speculate over wine and cheese; so that the Post-Colonialist may never have to wear a uniform, unless it be of his own choosing; so that the Multiculturalist may continue to enjoy a cappuccino in Padua, some Bordeaux in Paris, or a mate in Patagonia; and to ensure that no one ever deny the Feminist her First Amendment right to label them “fascists".

The world is an unjust place. Less so now under an American hegemony, but even with the best intentions and the best plans, injustice will continue to exist. It's one of the quirks of humanity.

Conservative crackup Part 2


Felos appears to be John Edward (the Crossing Over guy, not the former senator) and Jack Kevorkian rolled into one, armed with a legal degree and enough acumen to get his warped agenda made law. And occassionally, he is able to get judges to make disabled patients dead.

His presence in the Schiavo case is far, far more relevant than that of Randall Terry. That several libertarian bloggers went after Terry while giving Felos a pass betrays where their hearts and minds were throughout the case.

MORE: See-Dubya says Felos sounds like John Edwards, too, when he channeled the spirit of an infant who just happened to be relevant in a case he was arguing.

And See-Dubya makes an astute observation that hadn't occurred to me. Both Felos and Edwards claim to possess all sorts of spiritual powers (Edwards said that if he and John Kerry were elected to the White House, the lame would walk again--Felos thinks he's God), and that those powers guide and influence their politics. Libertarians, do you have a problem with this, or is it just a problem when socially conservative Christians allow their religious beliefs some sway in their political thinking? Hmmm?

What's the thinking behind the Ownership Society?

What's the thinking behind the Ownership Society? First, that shrinking the government isn’t going to happen. Not now, not never. Every law, subsidy, tax-break or program creates a constituency that will fight to preserve that bit of big government. It’s a trap that liberals have created for us, and no number of grumbling fiscal conservatives will ever get us out of it.

BUT, there is a way out of the trap. Even though Social Security (to take just one example) is a big-government program, any diversion of dollars into Private Accounts is, effectively, shrinking government. And that creates a trap of the opposite sort, one that will make people want more and more privatization as they start to see their accounts grow. (Or, similarly, more and more choice over which school your kids go to. Or more ability to just choose any medical service you want and pay it yourself without consulting any bureaucracy)

Continuation of Part 1 of Conservative Coalition Crackup

States and governments have rights?

States have no rights, individuals have rights.

This is something that "Lee" doesn't get it. There is no such concrete thing as states' rights, it's a rhetorical device to call into meaning the autonomy and semi-sovereignty of a state in a federal system. Lee keeps talking about how federalism shouldn't be violated to protect individual rights and how the slippery slope thing would allow democrats to do the same thing.

But the point of course is, Congress made a law and the Supreme Court did not follow it. But the Executive branch did not interfere. A liberal Executive branch would have used the executive powers to snatch Schiavo if they wanted to, anyone doubt that for a second?

As was proven in the Civil War and the Civil Rights Acts, states DO NOT have rights as articulated by the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness do not belong to the states or to the federal government, or to the people through the states. They belong to the people, no no else.

The Emancipation Proclamation can be argued to have "violated" state's rights, the rights of the Southern States. The Civil Rights Act could have been argued to have "violated" state's rights as well.

If federalism is the federal government doing nothing to secure the natural human rights of the people, then federalism is a cock up and useless one at that.

Where is John Ashcroft when you need him?

Sandy Berger gets away with "outing" classified documents.
See, the liberals don't even say one word about him. John Ashcroft is not around to give justice anymore.

Canadian Corruption

Canada's Corruption
Canada might have opted out of the Oil for Favors thing, but I guess they got their own domestic hot rod to take care of things.

I heard of some kind of scandal in the lead up to the Canadian elections around 2002, from a Canadian blogger. He was talking about how Albany and BC got screwed again out of the MP seats because they had less population than Quebec and the Sasketchwan. He also mentioned something about "Liberal" scandals and how the Conservative coalition couldn't win even with the LIberals scarred with scandals.

Maybe he spoke too soon. Unless of course, the Liberals simply covered it up up in Canada, and it blew up in 2005.

Could be another scandal altogether of course that was in the lead up to the Canadian elections, however. So don't take my word for it.

I still think Canada has got some weird things going on. Things that should be investigated, and not by the CBC.

GOvernment paid organizations investigating the government, is like the UN council investigating itself for Oil for Favors discretions.

April 02, 2005

Hannibal and Rome

Battle of Cannae

When the first survivors staggered back to Rome, they were met with disbelief. As more arrived, disbelief changed to horror. Hannibal now had defeated the equivalent of eight consular armies in the space of two years. No one before or after him ever had such brilliant success against Roman arms. Cannae was Hannibal's greatest victory, but was not enough to win the war.

At perhaps the shining moment of all Livy's Roman history, the messengers arrived at the city with news of the devastating defeat of the Romans at Cannae at the hands of Hannibal in 216 BCE. Fifty thousand were dead on the field. "No other nation in the world," according to Livy, "could have suffered so tremendous a series of disasters and not been overwhelmed" (22.54.10). And the great soul, the magnus animus of the Romans was revealed in their unwillingness even to mention peace after Cannae or to ransom back the survivors. "The Romans had a greater spirit after the terrible disaster of Cannae than they would ever have in success" (De officiis 3.11.47). The willingness to expend everything (up to and including the state) was, paradoxically, the final insurance of the continued existence of both the state and of the spirit. Hannibal's will was broken, his animus fractus, according to Cicero, when he received news that the Romans were "discarding" their soldiers at the moment when they were most in need of them (De officiis 3.32.114). The defeated Romans not only refused to ransom their own soldiers, but ordained by law that soldiers must vanquish or die, so that, according to Polybius, there might not be any hope of survival in case of defeat (Polybius 6.58.11).

The indomitable Romans rallied again, declared full mobilization, elected M. Junius Pera dictator. They raised new legions not only by releasing debtors and those accused of capital crimes from jail but even by freeing slaves (a very un-Roman thing to do). It would seem that every effort was made to increase the number of legions in service (by 211 there were apparently 25, compared with only 4 in a 'normal' year). The coffers of the state were empty, and the armies in Sicily were told they had to provide for themselves. During 215 BC, Quintius Fabius Maximus was elected dictator by the centuriate assembly and adopted a highly cautious strategy. Rather than join battle with Hannibal, he decided on a policy of caution and harassment that would keep Hannibal moving and gradually wear him down and giving the Romans an opportunity to recover from their military reverses. This Fabian strategy of harassing Hannibal while avoiding formal engagementsnegated Hannibal's tactical skill and superior cavalry.

After such 3 such defeats by Hannibal, each defeat destroying a majority of each Roman army sent against him, it is a testament to human will that they never gave up.

"No other nation in the world," according to Livy, "could have suffered so tremendous a series of disasters and not been overwhelmed" (22.54.10)


"The Romans had a greater spirit after the terrible disaster of Cannae than they would ever have in success" (De officiis 3.11.47).

That describes 9/11 to the 1. America is a worthy successor to the Roman Imperial hegemony in more ways than one.

Like the North in the first year of the American Civil War, a number of defeats demoralized the Senate and the people, but the leaders in charge of the military did not give up hope. Through careful use of strategies, the leaders were able to stop the enemy armies. What at most would have been called a draw, after Cannae, would have been seen as a great victory. Such as Antietam was seen as.

Hannibal needed reinforcements, which the Carthaginian government refused to furnish, and he also lacked siege weapons. Gradually the Carthaginian fighting strength weakened. The strategy suggested by Fabius was put into operation: to defend the cities loyal to Rome; to try to recover, where opportunity offered, those cities that had fallen to Hannibal; never to enter battle when the enemy offered it but rather to keep the Carthaginians alert in every theatre of war. Thus Hannibal, unable because of inferior numbers to spread his forces to match the Romans and unable to employ this concentrated strength in a decisive battle, passed from the offensive to a cautious and not always successful defensive in Italy, inadequately supported by the home government at Carthage and, because of the Roman command of the sea, forced to obtain local provisions for protracted and ineffectual operations.

The Carthaginian Senate deserved to be destroyed. After treating such a loyal and brilliant leader as Hannibal as beneath notice, they deserved the fruits of their wisdom. Just as the Democrats deserved to be out of power for how they used the setbacks and defeats of the War on Terror for their personal power games.

he senate, egged on by Cato, and having already made plans for such an occurrence, voted for war in 149 BC.

"When the Carthaginians had been some time deliberating how they should meet the message from Rome [an ultimatum to break up their army and navy] they were reduced to a state of the utmost embarrassment by the people of Utica anticipating their design by putting themselves under the protection of Rome. This seemed their only hope of safety left: and they imagined that such a step must win them favor at Rome: for to submit to put themselves and their country under control was a thing which they had never done even in their darkest hour of danger and defeat, with the enemy at their very walls. And now they had lost all the fruit of this resolve by being anticipated by the people of Utica; for it would appear nothing novel or strange to the Romans if they only did the same as that people. Accordingly, with a choice of two evils only left, to accept war with courage or to surrender their independence, after a long and anxious discussion held secretly in the Senate-house, they appointed two ambassadors with plenary powers, and instructed them, that, in view of the existing state of things, they should do what seemed for the advantage of their country. The names of these envoys were Gisco Strytanus, Hamilcar, Misdes, Gillimas, and Mago. When they reached Rome from Carthage, they found war already decreed and the generals actually started with their forces. Circumstances, therefore, no longer giving them any power of deliberating, they offered an unconditional surrender." (Polybius XXXVI)

The Carthaginian senate, in great anxiety, now sent an embassy to Italy to offer any reparation the Romans might demand. They were told that if they would give three hundred hostages, children of the noblest Carthaginian families, the independence of their city should be respected. They eagerly complied with this demand.

But no sooner were these hostages in the hands of the Romans than the two consular armies - a total force of 80,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry, thus secured against attack, crossed from Sicily into Africa, and disembarked at Utica, only ten miles from Carthage. They demanded the surrender of Carthaginian arms, and received 200,000 sets of armor and 2,000 catapults. Still hoping to win their enemy to clemency, they complied with this demand also.

Now they consuls made known the final demand that the senate had intentionally withheld from the Carthaginian envoys in Rome. The Carthaginians had to abandon the town itself for destruction and could settle wherever they wanted in Carthaginian territory, provided that the new site was at least ten miles from the sea. Such a move was clearly impossible for a trading city, and the Carthaginians refused, declaring war on the Romans.

When this resolution of the Senate was announced to the Carthaginians and they realized the baseness and perfidy of their enemy, a cry of indignation and despair burst from the betrayed city. The effect was that the desperate war party took control of the city of Carthage. Moderate men, who had tried to save peace, were massacred together with the Italian residents. A army was raised from the city itself and its neighbouring towns and tribes. Meanwhile the Roman army, having allowed the Carthaginians too much time to organize, was losing more men through sickness (due to camping out in marshes) than it lost by fighting the enemy.

Appeasement never works for long. Better to fight the good fight, and to risk it all, then to be at the mercy of one's superiors.

Having thrown out Hannibal, Carthage now suddenly reverts to Danegeld. The Romans respect strength, not weakness. Enough strength will buy you much. Some strength, but not enough, will buy you little but war.

The fall of the Carthaginian empire is not a matter for regret. Outside the walls of the city existed hopeless slavery on the part of the subject, shameless extortion on the part of the officials. Throughout Africa Carthage was never named without a curse. In the time of the mercenary war the Moorish women, taking oath to keep nothing back, stripped off their gold ornaments and brought them all to the men who were resisting their oppressors. That city, that Carthage, fed like a vulture upon the land. A corrupt and grasping aristocracy, a corrupt and turbulent populace, divided between them the prey. The Carthaginian customs were barbarous in the extreme. When a battle had been won they sacrificed their handsomest prisoners to the gods; when a battle had been lost the children of their noblest families were cast into the furnace. Their Asiatic character was strongly marked. They were a people false and sweet-worded, effeminate and cruel, tyrannical and servile, devout and licentious, merciless in triumph, faint-hearted in danger, divinely heroic in despair.

Let us therefore admit that, as an imperial city, Carthage merited her fate. But henceforth we must regard her from a different point of view. In order to obtain peace she had given up her colonies abroad, her provinces at home, her vessels and elephants of war. The empire was reduced to a municipality. Nothing was left but the city and a piece of ground. The merchant princes took off their crowns and went back into the glass and purple business. It was only as a town of manufacture and trade that Carthage continued to exist, and as such her existence was of unmixed service to the world.

Indeed, Carthage merited her fate. As early as the 2nd Punic Wars perhaps.

April 01, 2005

Naruto Dialogue


"I shouldn't have been teamleader this time... I trusted everyone else.

I was laid back, I didn't have enough strength. It is all my fault.

I don't want to have a troublesome argument, because I'm not a girl."

"Yes, but you're also not a man. You're just a regular coward."

"Even if you quit being a shinobi, missions will still occur. Someone will carry them out. Your companions will just go out with a new leader. So then, maybe your companions will die...

But, if you're their leader that time, your companions may not reach that end..."

"If you look at this time as an experience and you learn from it... maybe you can carry out your missions with less problems."

"If your companions are really important to you, before you think about running away..."

"Consider, that you may become greater for the sake of your friends. That's what it means to be a real companion, you coward."

This is the dialogue that I was refering to, in the Manga it depicts Shikamaru much as any junior officer would have been depicted in Western Military. The bridging of the gap of the two cultures is very surprising. Surprising in that the creater was able to understand and portray this burden of command, as well as the popular of the series in Japan in general. Obviously Naruto offers something to the new generation of Japanese that the Shogunates and the Imperialists of yesterdecade cannot or will not.

Relevant Blog links:

First Naruto post

Second Naruto Post

Japanese Culture thoughts and ideas