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June 27, 2005

Why We Fight
Posted by Patrick at 04:22 PM * 12 comments

Jim Henley, demonstrating that he’s still one of the greatest bloggers alive:

“Egypt II” is and has always been the best-case scenario for our attempt to remake Iraq. “Greater Lebanon” and “West Bank East” were and remain the top competitors. Somehow, one of these three is supposed to inspire every last Muslim in the world to love the United States and Israel too.

Comments on Why We Fight:
#1 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2005, 04:32 PM:

So, in the clever "Goodfellas" = Iraq analogy, which actor = which character = which geopolitical figure? John M. Ford might clarify the casting issues. What does it mean that Iran got a different Godfather this week than we expected? Is Petroleum a narcotic? And does Saddam Hussein slice the garlic paper-thin with a razor, to make the pasta sauce?

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2005, 07:06 PM:

Jonathan, are you off your meds? Because you are making no sense.

#3 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2005, 07:13 PM:


The Jim Henley link goes to: "...The inherent instability of such an arrangement should be obvious to anyone who remembers the scenes in Goodfellas dealing with the aftermath of the Lufthansa heist, or ever reflected on the plausibility of the old saw about honor among thieves. Somebody is going to try to corner all that lovely loot for themselves. Iraq will become a more ethnically fractious version of Hosni Mubarak’s Eqypt, whose most famous gift to the world has been Mohammad Atta and his friends...."

Doesn't mean that I'm on my meds, or making sense, but I thought that I was responding to adtual text actually linked to. I very much agree with the parallel made, as the Mafia used to be a "Culture of Honor" rather than a "Culture of Law" -- and the Middle East is an uncomfortable admixture of those two (anthropological) styles of society. The Saddam question is couched in terms of the scenes of jailed Mob figures in Goodfellas, which is almost sensible given the revelations by Saddam's former guards that he hates Fruit Loops but loves Doritos. Anyone back me up here, with or without meds?

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2005, 08:24 PM:

Jonathan, while your comments might make sense to someone who'd read the whole of Jim Henley's excellent post, they'd make no sense to someone who'd only read Patrick's remarks here.

Therefore, as a rule, it would be better to post such hermetic remarks in the comment thread on Jim Henley's own weblog, where they can be appreciated at their just worth.

Besides, it's a swell weblog.

#5 ::: JonathanVos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2005, 12:49 AM:


As usual, you're right. I still love Goodfellas as a film, a nexus of keen writing and intense acting, a reference with great specificity and authenticity to a certain time and place in Brooklyn, and a clever soundtrack. Where DID those meds go?

#6 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2005, 04:29 AM:

I'd always tagged the possible variations -- in ascending order of lawlessness -- as N. Ireland, Bosnia and Lebanon. But Egypt II is an interesting bet.

I didn't mind JvP's post, with or without meds. There's a better audience here than there is at the original site. Why not talk about it here?

#7 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2005, 09:58 PM:

ah, crap, I thought it was because of all the Iraqis on the September 11th flights, and the Weapons of Phantom Menace Destruction, and because Saddam gassed his people with gas he bought from us. And didn't one of his boats shoot at our ship in the Gulf of Tonkin? Geez, I don't want to play this game anymore.

Sorry kid, 12 more years to go, at about 40 billion a year...

#8 ::: punkrockhocckeymom ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2005, 10:21 PM:

Greg London:

Sorry kid, 12 more years to go, at about 40 billion a year...

Friday night. First weekend off of work in a few weeks. Puppy (11 yr old son) and I watch The Last Samurai. Then we go upstairs where the room air-conditioner lives and cuddle and watch the weather channel.

And, apropos of nothing, Puppy says, "Will we move to Canada if there's a draft when I graduate from high school?"

Um, so, um. Weep.

#9 ::: Mary ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 08:17 AM:


#10 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 03:22 PM:

Whatever you do about protecting your kid from the draft, don't do what I did. When I was the generation being drafted, quite a lot of boys bought time because their personal records were confusing -- like they used their stepfather's surname for some purposes, or they used their middle name for some purposes. So I set that up from the start: there was a first name on the birth certificate and a middle name everywhere else.

Well, everything has changed since then: he couldn't matriculate, much less get his financial aid, until he had only one name everywhere, and if he hadn't had a passport with both names on it he would have to go to court and get a judge to change his name to what it really was. And the Selective Service people had already gotten him.

And becuae he's aiming for medical school, he is now eligible for the draft until he is 40.

#11 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 12:12 PM:

I got curious and went looking for how people plan to avoid the (coming) draft. Among a fair amount of dross ("Refuse to take the oath! Refuse to step forward!" Uh huh. And you can avoid paying income tax by challenging the standing of the entire tax code. Worked for thousands; but they had to promise not to tell.) was this article on documenting your child's eventual claim to be a CO.

Her strategy does depend on CO status being recognised in more or less the same way it is now, which is not all that well, but it's less drastic than planning to flee the country.

#12 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 04:35 PM:

A friend of mine who is a member of the local draft board (yes, they still exist) said that they're not preparing for a massive general draft as in the past; rather, they are preparing for selective drafting of particular professions that have needed skills. Doctors, for instance.

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