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Showing posts from September, 2014

Hey! There's another genocide on TV!

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If you missed the earlier seasons, tune in now to what is happening to the Syrian Kurds. Hundreds of thousands of them fleeing a very devout group of Muslim gentlemen. Looks a little like Armenians a hundred years ago - but of course the Ottoman armies had really good reasons to eradicate this huge Christian population. And then the Jews, homosexuals, and Gypsies: the Germans were just trying to clean up their blood lines. Understandable. And perhaps the greatest "cleansing" of all: the massacre of millions upon millions of Native Americans in the United States and the uprooting, enslavement, and murder of millions of Africans during the slave trade.

If you missed all of that, it is happening again. Watch the new season episodes. An enterprising little company named ISIS or ISIL or the Islamic State will provide you with entertainment for the entire viewing season. Why? Because as in all the earlier episodes, THE WORLD DOES NOTHING. So sit back and watch CNN, BBC, AlJazeera, …

When our interests and those of our friends are violently attacked, we cannot just vote for no war.

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It appears that the world is headed towards Iraq War 3. It will not go away. We can either fight it smart or fight it stupid. We can either learn from mistakes made in places like Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, or again Iraq or we can just show how dumb Americans and Europeans can be. Rather than repeat "Fire, Ready, Aim", it is time to consider the following.

1. Identify the threats in the various theaters under attack (Iraq, Syria, home fronts).


2. Identify a possible objective. (Sending ISIS to the gates of hell may be difficult - rather like applying a mass cure for the Ebola epidemic. ISIS is a movement that reproduces itself with an ever-shifting DNA.) Perhaps shattering their fighting force and sending the remnants to Somalia and Sudan would be more doable.

3. Do not try to occupy a foreign country. It sucks up resources to little advantage and annoys the hell out of the inhabitants.

4. Identify allies, neutrals, and covert friends. Ambrose Bierce, the American satirist, wro…

A Unified Kurdistan: Solution to an Age-old Problem or Recipe for Disaster?

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The President of the Middle East Forum, Dr. Daniel Pipes, has written a provocative article on the future of the Kurds:  The Case for a Unified Kurdistan :: Daniel Pipeswww.danielpipes.org/14935/unified-kurdistan.
It is Dr. Pipes' belief that the Kurdish territories in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey can eventually be united in a single nation and that this can be done peacefully. My own experience with Turks and  Kurds makes me skeptical, though the optimism of this article is refreshing.
When I became headmaster of Robert College in Istanbul in 2001, I visited the staff room of the Turkish language and history teachers. It was a friendly visit until I used the word "Kurdistan" - quite innocently believing that this was where the Kurds lived as Baluchistan is where the Baluchis lived. The roof fell on my head. Angry remarks from my new staff not only soured the visit, but it was a long time before relations with some of the more patriotic teachers were mended.

Naturally, I beca…