Sunday, December 30, 2007


I have uploaded some ebooks on international relations and terrorism studies. This page lists them and will be updated.

Recently added:

Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World, by Peter Bergen

Psychology.of.Terrorism-0195172493.pdf, by Bruce Bongar (Editor)

The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy, by Zbigniew Brzezinski

Deadly Connections: States that Sponsor, by Daniel Byman

The Rise and Decline of the State, by Martin van Creveld

Hezbollah-Changing-Face-of-Terrorism.pdf, by Judith Palmer Harik

Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing, by Michael Scheuer

The Term Islamofascism

AntoniusBlock at Strategy and National Security Policy blog has a great post on the term Islamofascism:

30 December 2007

On the Word "Islamofascism"

As I've pointed out here, I cringe when policymakers, pundits, and political candidates use the word "Islamofascism." It's inaccurate (fascism was a political and economic theory defined by hyper nationalism, militarism, corporatism, and a concentration of political power in a single person. The ideology of bin Laden, et. al has none of these characteristics.) More importantly, it sends the message to Muslims, who we hypothetically are trying to influence in a "war of ideas," that we are clueless. Rather than understand bin Laden's ideology (which is difficult for Westerners), we insist on stuffing it into a familiar box (a political ideology).

But I saw what I thought was a most excellent way of making this point on the discussion board. A poster asked how it would be taken in the United States if Muslims started analyzing the threat they faced from "Christofascism" or (and this is my addition, not the discussion board poster's), "Jewofascism"? I thought that really put it in perspective.

I know AntoniusBlock's real name, believe me - his insight is world class. And I am looking forward to the release of his new book.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

"The choice is simple: Make painful but necessary changes to reduce our addiction to oil, or sink deeper into our moral sludge."

In an opinion piece in the Times Magazine the great Peter Maass discusses oil and corruption. I blogged about this matter last week.

December 23, 2007
The Fuel Fixers

James Giffen likes to share the wealth. His generosity to friends is said to have included $180,000 for jewelry, $30,000 for fur coats, a luxury speedboat, two snowmobiles and lots of cash. Overall, according to prosecutors in New York, Giffen gave more than $78 million to senior officials in Kazakhstan, for which he was indicted on federal bribery charges in 2003. What makes his case most remarkable, however, is not the startling amount of supposed corruption. Nor is it Giffen’s unindicted co-conspirator, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan.

What truly sets Giffen apart is that he has claimed in his defense that he was an operative for the Central Intelligence Agency. As a close adviser to President Nazarbayev, who in the 1990s agreed to a series of large oil contracts with American firms, Giffen says he was moonlighting for the American government as, basically, our man in Astana. Giffen’s lawyers have called him a patriot who helped ensure that Kazakhstan’s reserves of oil and natural gas would be controlled by American rather than Chinese or Russian companies. And they have noted an oddity — after their client was indicted on charges that could land him in jail for the rest of his life, his supposed partner in bribery, President Nazarbayev, was welcomed not only at the White House but also at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport.

The case raises a number of questions, including this one: in an era of scarce oil, can America afford to punish anyone who cuts corners to win deals for American firms? In 2003, when oil sold for less than $30 a barrel, it was possible to believe we could have our anticorruption statutes and our cheap gasoline. Four years later, with oil going for $95 a barrel, it’s not so clear. The British government, citing-national security concerns, has called off an investigation into bribery of influential Saudis. Delays in Giffen’s case suggest that some federal agencies may be more concerned with protecting secrets than with seeing the prosecution go forward. Much of the pretrial evidence has been sealed, but what is known is that Giffen’s lawyers have asked for sensitive documents that they contend will show official approval of their client’s activities.

As an instrument of resource control, bribery has been the recourse of corporate executives and government officials the world over. In the 1970s, after American firms admitted to spending hundreds of millions of dollars bribing foreign officials, Congress passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to put an end to these antics. For many years, the F.C.P.A. was not aggressively enforced and many companies outsourced bribery to middlemen or joint-venture partners. But as the corporate social-responsibility movement grew its baby teeth, the Justice Department began to show more interest in corporate bribery overseas. About 60 F.C.P.A. cases are now being investigated or prosecuted. Belatedly, American oil firms are being asked to, well, refine themselves.

Is it too late? The F.C.P.A. was passed when these firms were colossi in the energy world. Today, Congress and Exxon Mobil cannot set global norms on their own. They have to deal with a range of masters, competitors and rogues including Hugo Chávez, Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hu Jintao, Gazprom, Lukoil, Sinopec and Eni. Desperate buyers — and this category now includes the United States — must compete against one another as they try to fulfill the wishes and needs of the autocratic sellers of petroleum.

I saw this firsthand when President Chávez signed an accord in Caracas with a Chinese company that would launch a satellite for Venezuela. Chávez delivered a lengthy and rambling speech, during which he flapped his arms in the air like a loon and raved about the beauty of Chinese women, the greatness of Chairman Mao and the evils of free enterprise, warning that “capitalists are generating death.” The Chinese on the stage, who seemed unlikely to share all of their host’s notions, slightly nodded their heads in the quiet approval that was required.

By lending support to the particularly dubious regime in Sudan, China clearly puts its energy needs above moral concerns. But the American government cannot avoid the contradictions of needing oil but wanting to get it, or at least be seen to get it, in moral ways. This predicament has been evident for a long time in our dealings with dictatorships in, for instance, Saudi Arabia and Angola. The Giffen case is a timely iteration as we fret on the threshold of $100-a-barrel petroleum. The choice is simple: Make painful but necessary changes to reduce our addiction to oil, or sink deeper into our moral sludge.

Peter Maass, a contributing writer, is working on a book about oil.

Conversations with History - Trita Parsi

Sy Hersh on the Iran NIE

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Snoopy's Christmas

Snoopy and his Sopwith Camel was one of my favorite books growing up. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays from Bourbon and Lawndarts.

My dog ate it!

I love Jonathan Papelbon for two reasons. First is because he's the best closer in baseball and second is because he is just like some of my dumbass drinking buddies. But like all dumbassery, it comes with a price, witness this headline:

Papelbon says dog destroyed ball from final out of Series

Papelbon, his pink shirt, and his bulldog Boss

Homo erectus extinctus

Homo erectus extinctus, by Lois Rogers. The Sunday Times, December 16, 2007.

Is nature determined to make men extinct? Senior scientists believe that women may evolve as humanity’s sole representatives — and social and political trends are lending weight to their theories. Lois Rogers reports

Roger Dodger (2002)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Still amped over winning the World Series!

...But the Division championship was the most fun!

"Papelbon's taken the beer case off his head, so that's progress." - Dennis Eckersley

"Papelbon needs to put some pants on." - Dennis Eckersley

Chili Guy

The Chili Guy is quickly becoming a Boston legend. For those not in the know, The Chili Guy lives around Fenway Park....literally around Fenway Park, because I think he sleeps on the streets. He's a ticket scalper and frequent contributor on WBCN's Toucher and Rich show. Anyway, he's probably one of the funniest people I have ever heard. Toucher and Rich are counting down the Top 5 Chili guy moments of the year. Enjoy!

#5 mp3 Download

Chili Guy's Myspace Page

#4 mp3 Download

#3 mp3 Download

Updates to come

Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets.

Steve LeVine on his excellent blog The Oil and the Glory has a post titled “Prosecuting Foreign Bribery Under the Bush Administration”. Relating events in the ongoing James Giffin “Kazakhgate” case to our current administrations penchant for secrecy.

When they unveiled the indictment in April 2003, U.S. prosecutors portrayed their case against James Giffen as open and shut -- the largest foreign bribery case in U.S. history. And by the looks of the detail, they had reason for confidence. There they were -- six individual examples of U.S. oil company payments totalling some $80 million being coursed through European bank accounts linked to the president of Kazakhstan or his associates.

As regular readers of this blog recall, Giffen once controlled the biggest oil deals in the world as oil adviser to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He's the principal character in The Oil and the Glory.

Yet in a New York court hearing today, the case seemed a lot more complex. Judge William Pauley, who two years ago issued fiery warnings to both sides to accelerate the pace, was reduced to a mild rebuke of the prosecution, and scheduling the next hearing for April 18th. And jury selection? Not a hint.

What's the holdup? The defense, brilliantly led by former U.S. prosecutor William Schwartz, wants documents from a handful of U.S. intelligence agencies to prove Giffen's contention that the whole time he was negotiating those oil deals for a fee, he was doubling as an effective agent for the American government.

This being probably the most secretive administration in U.S. history, dislodging such documentation takes time. Perhaps a friend of mine is right -- we may not see a trial until this administration is out of office.

Once again I will evoke this scene from Syriana, oft cited on this blog:

Some trust fund prosecutor, got off-message at Yale, thinks he's gonna run this up the flagpole, make a name for himself, maybe get elected some two-bit, congressman from nowhere, with the result that Russia or China can suddenly start having, at our expense, all the advantages we enjoy here. No, I tell you. No, sir. Corruption charges! Corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations. That's Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win.

P.S. - Steve's The Oil and Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea, is excellent.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Global Legal Monitor

Good source:

The Global Legal Monitor, an electronic publication of the Law Library of Congress, is intended for those who have an interest in legal developments from around the world.

This online publication will be updated frequently, drawing upon information selected from the Global Legal Network, official national legal publications, and reliable press sources. Occasionally, a special section may be added to include lectures, conferences, symposia, and exhibits on timely legal topics sponsored by the Law Library of Congress.

Robert Baer on Alex Jones Show

Robert Baer was interviewed on the Alex Jones show. Jones is a little out there, but Baer is my boy.

“By not answering these questions we're leaving open these nutty conspiracy theories.”

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Monday, December 3, 2007

Iran NIE

The new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran is out:

December 12, 2007: National Intelligence Estimate Key Judgments: Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities, Office of the Director of National Intelligence. (PDF)

Key Judgments

A. We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. We judge with high confidence that the halt, and Tehran’s announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.

• We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.

• We judge with high confidence that the halt lasted at least several years. (Because of intelligence gaps discussed elsewhere in this Estimate, however, DOE and the NIC assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt to Iran's entire nuclear weapons program.)

• We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.

• We continue to assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon.

• Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005. Our assessment that the program probably was halted primarily in response to international pressure suggests Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on the issue than we judged previously.

B. We continue to assess with low confidence that Iran probably has imported at least some weapons-usable fissile material, but still judge with moderate-to-high confidence it has not obtained enough for a nuclear weapon. We cannot rule out that Iran has acquired from abroad—or will acquire in the future—a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material for a weapon. Barring such acquisitions, if Iran wants to have nuclear weapons it would need to produce sufficient amounts of fissile material indigenously—which we judge with high confidence it has not yet done.

C. We assess centrifuge enrichment is how Iran probably could first produce enough fissile material for a weapon, if it decides to do so. Iran resumed its declared centrifuge enrichment activities in January 2006, despite the continued halt in the nuclear weapons program. Iran made significant progress in 2007 installing centrifuges at Natanz, but we judge with moderate confidence it still faces significant technical problems operating them.

• We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon is late 2009, but that this is very unlikely.

• We judge with moderate confidence Iran probably would be technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame. (INR judges Iran is unlikely to achieve this capability before 2013 because of foreseeable technical and programmatic problems.) All agencies recognize the possibility that this capability may not be attained until after 2015.

D. Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so. For example, Iran’s civilian uranium enrichment program is continuing. We also assess with high confidence that since fall 2003, Iran has been conducting research and development projects with commercial and conventional military applications—some of which would also be of limited use for nuclear weapons.

E. We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely while it weighs its options, or whether it will or already has set specific deadlines or criteria that will prompt it to restart the program.

• Our assessment that Iran halted the program in 2003 primarily in response to international pressure indicates Tehran’s decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic, and military costs. This, in turn, suggests that some combination of threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressures, along with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways, might—if perceived by Iran’s leaders as credible—prompt Tehran to extend the current halt to its nuclear weapons program. It is difficult to specify what such a combination might be.

• We assess with moderate confidence that convincing the Iranian leadership to forgo the eventual development of nuclear weapons will be difficult given the linkage many within the leadership probably see between nuclear weapons development and Iran’s key national security and foreign policy objectives, and given Iran’s considerable effort from at least the late 1980s to 2003 to develop such weapons. In our judgment, only an Iranian political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective would plausibly keep Iran from eventually producing nuclear weapons—and such a decision is inherently reversible.

F. We assess with moderate confidence that Iran probably would use covert facilities—rather than its declared nuclear sites—for the production of highly enriched uranium for a weapon. A growing amount of intelligence indicates Iran was engaged in covert uranium conversion and uranium enrichment activity, but we judge that these efforts probably were halted in response to the fall 2003 halt, and that these efforts probably had not been restarted through at least mid-2007.

G. We judge with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015.

H. We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ben has a blog post up about the Iranian Nuclear issue. He writes:

Until Iran allows unfettered access by the IAEA inspectors to determine the true purpose and capability of their programs, they don't deserve the benefit of the doubt.

This presupposes that Iran is denying the IAEA access. The fact of the matter is that they are not. This is the summary from November 15th IAEA Board of Governors report by ElBaradei, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 and 1747 in the Islamic Republic of Iran, emphasis is mine:

F. Summary

39. The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material, and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities. Iran concluded a Facility Attachment for FEP. However, it should be noted that, since early 2006, the Agency has not received the type of information that Iran had previously been providing, pursuant to the Additional Protocol and as a transparency measure. As a result, the Agency’s knowledge about Iran’s current nuclear programme is diminishing.

40. Contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities, having continued the operation of PFEP and FEP. Iran has also continued the construction of the IR-40 and operation of the Heavy Water Production Plant.

41. There are two remaining major issues relevant to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear programme: Iran’s past and current centrifuge enrichment programme and the alleged studies. The Agency has been able to conclude that answers provided on the declared past P-1 and P-2 centrifuge programmes are consistent with its findings. The Agency will, however, continue to seek corroboration and is continuing to verify the completeness of Iran’s declarations. The Agency intends in the next few weeks to focus on the contamination issue as well as the alleged studies and other activities that could have military applications.

42. Iran has provided sufficient access to individuals and has responded in a timely manner to questions and provided clarifications and amplifications on issues raised in the context of the work plan. However, its cooperation has been reactive rather than proactive. As previously stated, Iran’s active cooperation and full transparency are indispensable for full and prompt implementation of the work plan.

43. In addition, Iran needs to continue to build confidence about the scope and nature of its present programme. Confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme requires that the Agency be able to provide assurances not only regarding declared nuclear material, but, equally importantly, regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. Although the Agency has no concrete information, other than that addressed through the work plan, about possible current undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran without full implementation of the Additional Protocol. This is especially important in the light of Iran’s undeclared activities for almost two decades and the need to restore confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Therefore, the Director General again urges Iran to implement the Additional Protocol at the earliest possible date. The Director General also urges Iran to implement all the confidence building measures required by the Security Council, including the suspension of all enrichment related activities.

44. The Director General will continue to report as appropriate.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Grandpa's Old Cough Syrup is back in style

Aww yeah.... Grandpa's Old Cough Syrup is back in style. Now we just need a story in the Globe about Lawndarts being the hot toy for Christmas and this blog will be cooler then Miles Davis.

Spirits of the Times: Bourbon’s Shot at the Big Time, By Eric Asminov. The New York Times, November 28, 2007

Bourbon’s Shot at the Big Time


In the recent history of whiskey, bourbon would seem to have had a lot going for it. It’s homegrown, for one thing. Grass-roots acceptance counts for a lot when you are battling for shelf space. Bourbon has always been right up there with college football, Nascar and canned beer — the sort of whiskey that anyone can order without fear of being labeled effete or snobbish.

Yet, awareness is not always enough in the whiskey business. The days are long gone when “Dallas” ruled the airwaves and J. R. Ewing made bourbon and branch a household term. When bourbon distillers looked up 20 years ago they saw the market moving in two directions, both away from them. Affluent drinkers were exploring the wonders and complexities of single malts while younger bar-goers were turning to vodka and rum.

The dive in sales forced bourbon producers to accept that the whiskey market had changed. They might not be able to compete with vodka, but to avoid permanent relegation to the dusty back shelves of liquor stores, bourbon producers would have to find a way to attract the budding connoisseur class.

Enter the small batch, the single barrel and the special selection, marketing terms for what the industry calls high-end and superpremium bourbons. These whiskeys are chosen to emphasize complexity and even elegance, a quality that has rarely been associated with bourbon and a word that no doubt panics bourbon marketers who still favor the rural look of bib overalls, boots and gimme hats (that effete snob thing).

If you love whiskey but haven’t thought of bourbon as being in the same league as a good Scotch, Irish and even, these days, rye, you owe it to yourself to give it another try. A well-made, well-aged bourbon offers a gorgeous spectrum of flavors, beginning with a distinctive sweetness that can, depending on the distiller’s aim, turn spicy and peppery with clear fruitiness, or mellow into a creamy caramel toffee with highlights of citrus.

Confidence bred of success has led distillers to pay more attention to their best whiskeys. Meanwhile, microdistilleries all over the United States are getting into the act. While they have not yet made their presence felt on a national scale — whiskey takes a lot of time — it’s easy to anticipate their eventually making a mark.

Clearly, the producers’ efforts to improve quality, coinciding with the rebirth of the cocktail culture, have been a big success. The resurgence in spirit sales in the United States has been led by the high-end brands, said David Ozgo, chief economist for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a trade group, and that is especially true of bourbon.

From 2002 to 2006, sales of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey rose by 12.23 percent. In the same period, sales of high-end whiskeys ($20 to $30) rose by 27.62 percent and sales of superpremium bourbons (above $30) rose by 60.52 percent.

Sales are one thing. The Dining section’s tasting panel recently evaluated 25 bourbons strictly to answer another question: How good are these whiskeys, anyway? The short answer is, very good. For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by Pete Wells, editor of the Dining section, who has written extensively about drinks, and Ethan R. Kelley, the spirit sommelier at the Brandy Library in TriBeCa.

To begin, let’s get our nomenclature straight. While many people believe that bourbon must come from Kentucky, it’s not true. Bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States as long as two federal conditions are met. First, the blend of grains from which the whiskey is distilled must be at least 51 percent corn. Second, the whiskey must be stored in charred new oak containers. If it is aged in the oak containers (federal regulators do not seem to like the word barrel) for two years or more it qualifies as straight bourbon whiskey.

Bourbon is not Tennessee whiskey, like Jack Daniel’s, which is essentially made like bourbon until it is filtered through charcoal, at which point it becomes Tennessee whiskey. Bourbon is also not corn whiskey, which by law cannot be stored in charred oak containers. A whiskey can be distilled 100 percent from corn, but if it so much as kisses those charred oak containers it becomes bourbon.

While these laws may seem rigid, they leave a lot of room for creative distilling. Once you’ve got your 51 percent corn in the blend of grains (which distillers call the mash bill), you’ve got important decisions to make. Most distillers probably use 65 percent to 75 percent corn, blended with some proportion of rye, wheat or malted barley, and each grain provides different characteristics. The corn offers the sweetness and lush texture that are the basis of so many bourbons. Wheat adds a mellow roundness, while rye provides a spicy, peppery fruitiness and a dry quality. Barley can add a creaminess and a grainy sweetness.

Producers must also decide how long to age their whiskeys. Younger whiskeys tend to be more aggressive and fiery. Aging tames the whiskeys, rounding off raw edges and bringing out a smooth complexity.

Younger and older whiskeys have their attractions, but with bourbon long-term aging is particularly beneficial, at least in my opinion. I loved the smoothness and the added complexity in some of the older bourbons we tasted, but the combination didn’t always sit well with Ethan.

“I don’t know if bourbon was designed to be so elegant and proper,” he lamented, though not unhappily.

We all noted the wide range of flavors in these bourbons, from creamy chocolate and fruity to grassy and herbaceous. “It was not the full frontal corn assault that once dominated bourbon,” Pete said, noting that the flavors in some bottles seemed beyond the realm of what might be acceptable in bourbon.

The bourbons we tasted ranged in price from $14 to $120, and while a $20 bottle, Jim Beam Black, was our best value, there was some correlation between price and quality.

The most expensive bourbon, the 16-year-old A. H. Hirsch Reserve, was something of an anomaly. It was among the last batches of whiskey distilled at Michter’s Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pa., which closed in 1989.

The name Michter’s lives on as a brand, but it is distilled in Kentucky (Michter’s U.S. 1 Bourbon did not make our cut). The A. H. Hirsch is a fine whiskey, smoky and complex, but the $120 is mostly for its rarity.

Naturally, the bourbon industry wants to capitalize on the cocktail craze, which is fine, but anybody who makes a mixed drink of our No. 1 bourbon, Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20-Year-Old, needs some remedial shaking and stirring. This is clearly a sipping whiskey of wonderful complexity, which would be wasted in even the finest mint julep or bourbon punch. The same goes for our No. 2, the fruity and chocolate-and-caramel-flavored Vintage 17-Year-Old.

If mix you must, I would suggest our No. 3, the brisk, spicy Knob Creek, which tastes as if it has a rye component. It might be the perfect whiskey for one of those cocktails that seem to be at home with either rye or bourbon.

Some of the biggest names in bourbon did not make our list. Wild Turkey just missed. It was good bourbon, but the panel did not find it distinctive enough in this company. We also liked the Van Winkle’s 10-Year-Old, which we thought would be great for cocktails. Maker’s Mark did not come close.

While the rules do not require it, most bourbons do, in fact, come from Kentucky. One that does not is the Hudson Four Grain Bourbon, distilled by Tuthilltown Spirits in the Hudson Valley. We liked it very much but left it off the list because it is virtually impossible to find.

Each of us also had a favorite or two that did not make the list. Ethan liked an Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old and an Eagle Rare Single Barrel 10-Year-Old. Pete liked the Eagle and the Wild Turkey. Florence liked the Elijah Craig and the Virginia Gentleman, an old brand that has the distinction of being distilled in Kentucky then redistilled in Virginia. I very much liked a Corner Creek Reserve 8-Year-Old and Bulleit.

The strongest bourbon in the tasting was Wild Turkey, at 101 proof. The final strength of a whiskey is another choice that distillers must make.

While the just-distilled whiskey can be as high as 160 proof, those pesky federal laws mandate that it must be watered down at least to 125 proof before entering those charred oak containers.

By the time it is bottled, it can be as low as 80 proof, so producers have a lot of room to find just the right strength. If you find a bourbon that seems too strong, do what the producers do and add more water. Or ice.

Taibbi Interview

A few years ago I had an epiphany, I realized that I didn't have a problem with the American Left, insomuch as I had a problem with Leftists. They were just so full it. Narrow down the axiom “all politics is local” to “all politics is personal”. This of course is unenlightened and tribalistic, but so is the nature of man.

Realizing this, I set out to find liberals who's books I could read without chewing a bottle of Tums. People who didn't give me a migraine and weren't constipated. One guy I found was Greg Palast, a corporate fraud investigator and forensic economist turned investigative reporter. Another, was Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone and formerly The eXile. Both can crack and take a joke, hit you with the facts, and write in a entertaining and accessible manner. certainly is not a site I frequent, but it currently has an interview with Taibbi worth noting.

Taibbi on journalism:

You wrote a column in the New York Press a few years back referring to journalism as “shoveling coal for Satan.” I believe you also said that journalism as a career was worse than being a worker in a tampon factory. Should any sane young person consider a career in journalism?

If you have no real knowledge or skill set and you’re lazy and full of shit but you want to make a decent wage, then journalism’s not a bad career option. The great thing about it is that you don’t need to know anything. I mean this whole notion of journalism school—I can’t believe people actually go to journalism school. You can learn the entire thing in like three days. My advice is instead of going to journalism school, go to school for something concrete like medicine or some kind of science or something and then use the knowledge you get in that field as a wedge to get yourself into journalism.

What journalism really needs is more people who are reporting who actually know something. Instead of having a bunch of liberal arts grads who’ve read Siddhartha 50 times writing about health care, it would be really nice if some of the people who are writing about health care were doctors.

Are there any journalists working today who you look up to?

Seymour Hersh is the guy I really, really admire. I met him last year for the first time—I had to interview him for Rolling Stone and I was really nervous about it because I was told that he was this famously irascible character. When I called him up to schedule the interview, he was such an incredible prick on the telephone—he just cursed me out and everything, it was awful.

He cursed you out?

Oh yeah, totally. He was busy. He was like, “Go fuck yourself.” Then when I actually went to go meet him he was the nicest guy you could possibly imagine. I sat with him for four hours. He’s old school. He’s the kind of guy who sits and pores over the newsletters of all these minor government agencies to see who retired that week so he can approach that person to see if he’s got any stories to tell on his way out of service. There are a few guys like that who are still out there, but they’re all holdovers from a lost age. I’d like to say that I’m the continuation of that crop of journalists, but I’m totally not.

On the left:

You wrote an article for Adbusters on “The American Left’s Silly Victim Complex.” Some lefty blogs were pissed off about that piece.

Sure, yeah, I got so much hate mail about that.

I think your basic critique was that the left today sort of has its priorities out of place. Have you changed your view about that at all?

No. It’s not that I’m taking issue with anything that the American left stands for or how it behaves. It’s really a class issue more than anything else. The people who are the public face of the American left tend to be people like me. They’re upper class, liberal arts-educated white people, for the most part, who come from a certain background where the things that are important
to them are these mostly intellectual issues—like the environment, or social issues like abortion, feminism, that sort of thing. The historical basis for the American left, if you go back to Roosevelt, is sort of a patrician structure where you had these upper-class people advocating on behalf of a wider working class base. What’s happened now is that it’s kind of splintered and the upper-class portion is overemphasizing the things that are important to them and deemphasizing the things that are important to their base. That’s why the party orthodoxies right now aren’t things like free trade and credit policy, for instance—like the bankruptcy bill. You would never find a celebrated lefty politician who is pro-life but voted against NAFTA, for instance. It’s always the other way around. What’s happened because of that—because the orthodoxies are all backwards—is that the American left has alienated its natural constituency, which is this vast, middle-to-working class underclass that has been fucked over by modern global capitalism.

Instead of standing up and fighting for those people, the left has gotten bogged down in political correctness and the environment and stuff like that. They’ve lost touch with those people, who are now flocking en masse to the Rush Limbaughs of the world, who are talking directly to them and who are actively courting their support. That’s all I was saying. It’s just a question of emphasis; it’s not that the stuff they stand for is bad.

His essay "The American Left's Silly Victim Complex" is excellent and worth checking out.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Strange Maps

This site: Strange Maps, is awesome. They have some crazy stuff on there.


Tea Party '07

Sibel Edmonds

An Inconvenient Patriot, By David Rose. Vanity Fair, August 15, 2005.

Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

From The American Conservative, April 26, 2006. By retired CIA operative Philip Giraldi:

Sibel Edmonds, the Turkish FBI translator turned whistleblower who has been subjected to a gag order could provide a major insight into how neoconservatives distort US foreign policy and enrich themselves at the same time. On one level, her story appears straightforward: several Turkish lobbying groups allegedly bribed congressmen to support policies favourable to Ankara. But beyond that, the Edmonds revelations become more serpentine and appear to involve AIPAC, Israel and a number of leading neoconservatives who have profited from the Turkish connection. Israel has long cultivated a close relationship with Turkey since Ankara's neighbours and historic enemies - Iran, Syria and Iraq - are also hostile to Tel Aviv. Islamic Turkey has also had considerable symbolic value for Israel, demonstrating that hostility to Muslim neighbours is not a sine qua non for the Jewish state.

Turkey benefits from the relationship by securing general benevolence and increased aid from the US Congress - as well as access to otherwise unattainable military technology. The Turkish General Staff has a particular interest because much of the military spending is channeled through companies in which the generals have a financial stake, making for a very cozy and comfortable business arrangement. The commercial interest has also fostered close political ties, with the American Turkish Council, American Turkish Cultural Alliance and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations all developing warm relationships with AIPAC and other Jewish and Israel advocacy groups throughout the US.

Someone has to be in the middle to keep the happy affair going, so enter the neocons, intent on securing Israel against all comers and also keen to turn a dollar. In fact the neocons seem to have a deep and abiding interest in Turkey, which, under other circumstances, might be difficult to explain. Doug Feith's International Advisors Inc, a registered agent for Turkey in 1989 - 1994, netted $600,000 per year from Turkey, with Richard Perle taking $48,000 annually as a consultant. Other noted neoconservatives linked to Turkey are former State Department number three, Marc Grossman, current Pentagon Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman, Paul Wolfowitz and former congressman Stephen Solarz. The money involved does not appear to come from the Turkish government, and FBI investigators are trying to determine its source and how it is distributed. Some of it may come from criminal activity, possibly drug trafficking, but much more might come from arms dealing. Contracts in the hundreds of millions, or even billions of dollars provide considerable fat for those well placed to benefit.

Investigators are also looking at Israel's particular expertise in the illegal sale of US military technology to countries like China and India. Fraudulent end-user certificates produced by Defense Ministries in Israel and Turkey are all that is needed to divert military technology to other, less benign, consumers. The military-industrial-complex/neocon network is also well attested. Doug Feith has been associated with Northrup Grumman for years, while defense contractors fund many neocon-linked think tanks and "information" services. Feith, Perle and a number of other neocons have long had beneficial relationships with various Israeli defense contractors.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


This is a file library to host some pieces that are interesting or hard to come by.


Licensed to Kill: Shadowing our Government's Favorite Arms Dealer, by Ken Silverstein. Harper's, May 2000. (PDF)

My Brother the Bomber, by Shiv Malik. Prospect (UK), May 31, 2007 (PDF)

An Army of One's Own, by Elizabeth Rubin. Harper's, February 1997. (PDF)

Israel and the origins of Iran's Arab option: dissection of a strategy misunderstood, by Trita Parsi. The Middle East Journal, 60.3, Summer 2006. (PDF)

Cocaine and Cutouts: Israel's Unseen Diplomacy, by Jane Hunter. The Link, March 1989. (PDF)


Sunday, October 21, 2007

American League Champs!

It is not sufficient that the Sox succeed--the Yankees must fail.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ron Paul For the Long Haul y'all

This music video is amazing! This is how you campaign; de-centralized, emergent self-organizing, with oodles of creativity.

(h/t: Seth)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Syrian Nukes

"North Korea may be cooperating with Syria on some sort of nuclear facility in Syria, according to new intelligence the United States has gathered over the past six months, sources said. The evidence, said to come primarily from Israel, includes dramatic satellite imagery that led some U.S. officials to believe that the facility could be used to produce material for nuclear weapons."

- N. Korea, Syria May Be at Work on Nuclear Facility, By Glenn Kessler. Washington Post, September 13, 2007
"This story is nonsense"
- Joseph Cirincione

Hogwash. I don't buy any of this. An absolute waste, we are absolutely going down the wrong track.

Syria In Their Sights: The neocons plan their next “cakewalk.” by Robert Dreyfuss. The American Conservative, January 16, 2006.

Missed Opportunities: Cooperation Confrontation in the U.S. – Syrian Relationship,” David Lesch. The Century Foundation, 9/5/2007 (PDF)


" Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria's regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signaled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam.

But Syria enters this conflict with potential weaknesses: Damascus is too preoccupied with dealing with the threatened new regional equation to permit distractions of the Lebanese flank. And Damascus fears that the 'natural axis' with Israel on one side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula. For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria's territorial integrity.

Since Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq, including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian subversion; encouraging — through influence in the U.S. business community — investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan’s economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria’s attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.

Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite.

King Hussein may have ideas for Israel in bringing its Lebanon problem under control. The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf, Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shia venerate foremost the Prophet’s family, the direct descendants of which — and in whose veins the blood of the Prophet flows — is King Hussein."

- A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm

Ron Paul on the drug war

This is a 1988 clip of Ron Paul appearing on the Morton Downey Jr. Show. An audience member challenges him on his drug war policies, hilarity ensues.

Israel Lobby Documentary

The Dutch documentary program "Tegenlicht" about the Israel lobby in the USA and it's influence on US Foreign Policy. April 2007

Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

Part five

Greenspan on Daily Show

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Interview with Stephen Gaghan

This interview with Stephen Gaghan is highly recommended. Gaghan wrote and directed the film Syriana, while Bourbon and Lawndarts has mixed thoughts about the film, we did enjoy the hell out of it. In researching for the screenplay, Gaghan hooked up with one of Bourbon and Lawndarts’ idols, Robert Baer, and joined him in traveling around the world. This interview with Charlie Rose does not offer mile-deep scholarly analysis of the Middle East, but does give a mile-wide view. Gaghan talks about experiences in the souk’s of Beirut where he met with Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the spiritual leader of Hezbollah, talks with Gucci Gulch policy-wonks and realpolitik with London oil traders. Enjoy!

A Second Look at the Saudis

Great work by this guy, I haven’t read all of it, but his research parallels mine:

A Second Look at the Saudis

Friday, August 31, 2007


Kimmel explains what Miss Teen South Carolina, and future Mrs. Bourbon-and-Lawndarts, really meant.

Ron Paul Mops the Floor with CNN Anchor (05/20/07)

Robert Baer on Hardball, "We fought a war on a lie"

David Brent : Free Love On The Freelove Freeway

Mad as Hell

Bourbon and Lawndarts has been channeling Howard Beale lately:

Whats driving international relations?

Lest we forget what the driving issue is in world politics these days:

The evangel of Arthur Jensen:

Network (1976)

“Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale?” The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back. It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity, it is ecological balance. You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no “Third Worlds.” There is no “West.” There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immense, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars! Petro-dollars. Electro-dollars. Multi-dollars. Reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds and shekels! It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic, and subatomic and galactic structure of things today. Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up and howl about America and democracy.

There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon—those are the nations of the world today. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you to preach this evangel, Mr. Beale.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gonzales Resigns

"It's Morning in America"

- Fired
U.S. attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias on the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

What is unfolding right now is absolutely incredible, if not incredibly disturbing. I'm not sure the media has the narrative down.

'Voter Caging' is the important thread here:

What the heck is vote caging, and why should we care?

PBS Caging Story - Part I

PBS Caging Story - Part II

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Horton on Hofstadter

Scott Horton has an excellent post up about Richard Hofstadter's "The Paranoid Style in American Politics". I have always said Hofstadter nailed it for the ages. Worth the read.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Love this Photo

I really want this framed:

Courtesy of the National Security Archive


Army Colonel H.R. McMaster was passed up for promotion to Brigadier General for the second time this week. McMaster, a veritable military genius and rock star is responsible for one of the few successes in our Iraq campaign, with the successful pacification of Tal Afar. In the Gulf War McMaster was awarded a Silver Star for his leadership at the Battle of 73 Easting, which was subsequently chronicled by Tom Clancy. In the intellectual realm, McMaster’s doctoral thesis at UNC transformed into the book Dereliction of Duty, which now an influential text about the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Vietnam.

Col. McMaster is the target of a political hatchet job. I imagine he stuck it to the bureaucracy one to many times, was shown to be right one to many times, and made too many bureaucratic and political enemies. This is a damn shame. Col. McMaster is exactly the type of man our nation needs and deserves to serve as a flag officer.

In face of this political hackery, the words of my idol, Air Force Col. John Boyd resonate particularly well:

"Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road,” he said. “And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction.

“Or you can go that way and you can do something – something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference.” He paused and stared into the officer’s eyes and heart. “To somebody be or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do. Which way will you go?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sole Survivor

The Washington Post has a great article about Marcus Luttrell, a man at the center of one of the most chilling battles in the "War on Terror". Luttrell, who was previously only discussed as "The ONE" and definitely has the same wallet as Jules Winnfield, finally gets to step out of the shadows and tell his tale with Patrick Robinson in Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. The coauthor of Lone Survivor, Patrick Robinson, is my buddies father, so I have been privy to some of the story for a year now. I have little doubt that this is going to be an intense book. Luttrell emerged as the only survivor of Operation Red Wing in Afghanistan, June of 2005.

Petty Officer Danny Dietz (SEAL Team 1)
Petty Officer Matthew Axelson (SEAL Team 1)
Navy Lt. Mike Murphy (SEAL Team 1)
Chief Warrant Officer Corey J. Goodnature (pilot, US Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment)
Chief Warrant Officer Chris J. Scherkenbach (pilot, US Army 160th SOAR)
Sgt. Kip A. Jacoby (US Army, 160th SOAR)
Sgt. 1st Class Marcus V. Muralles (US Army, 160th SOAR)
Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan (SEAL Team 10)
Lt. Cmdr. Erik S. Kristensen (SEAL Team 10)
Petty Officer 2nd Class James Suh (SEAL Team 1)
Petty Officer First Class Jeff Taylor (SEAL Team 1 medic)
Master Sgt. Michael Russell (US Army, 160th SOAR)
Maj. Steve Reich (pilot, US Army 160th SOAR)
Sgt. 1st Class James "Tre" Ponder III (US Army, 160th SOAR)
Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Shane Patton (SEAL Team 1)
U.S. Navy Lt. Michael McGreevy (SEAL Team 10)
Petty Officer Jeffrey Alan Lucas (SEAM Team 10)
Senior Chief Petty Officer Dan Healy (SEAL Team 1)
SSgt. Shamus Goare (US Army, 160th SOAR)

Monday, May 28, 2007

War Readings

Robert Baer - More Bad Intelligence on Iran and Iraq

You would think by now the Bush Administration would have drained the well of bad intelligence on Iraq and Iran. Apparently not.

Michael Scheuer - Al-Qaeda’s Waiting Game: Bush isn’t winning in his battle against our real enemy.

The lack of an al-Qaeda attack inside the United States since 9/11 proves only that there has not been an al-Qaeda attack in the United States since 9/11. That fact is in no way proof that our war on al-Qaeda has destroyed its capacity to hit America at home. The most that should be claimed is that the CIA rendition program may have disrupted and delayed operational planning. Alternatively, bin Laden may have decided that a near-term attack would reunite Americans at a time when our own folly is already sufficient to make the U.S. the second superpower to be defeated by Allah’s mujahedin.

Andrew Bacevich - I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty.

Money maintains the Republican/Democratic duopoly of trivialized politics. It confines the debate over U.S. policy to well-hewn channels. It preserves intact the cliches of 1933-45 about isolationism, appeasement and the nation's call to "global leadership." It inhibits any serious accounting of exactly how much our misadventure in Iraq is costing. It ignores completely the question of who actually pays. It negates democracy, rendering free speech little more than a means of recording dissent.

This is not some great conspiracy. It's the way our system works.

William Engdahl - Darfur: Forget genocide, there's oil

No. "It's the oil, stupid."

BBC - Obstacles to peace: Water

The BBC News website is publishing a series of articles about the attempts to achieve peace in the Middle East and the main obstacles. Martin Asser looks at the central issue of water.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Lustick -
Comparing Bush's speech to the Cadets in 2007 to the speech he gave there in 2003, the difference is obvious. In 2003 he described al-Qaeda's remnants as being hunted down in a few dark corners of the world. In 2007 he described al-Qaeda as a raging storm, building Iraq as a gigantic base of operations. America, he said, "living in the eye of a storm. All around us, dangerous winds are swirling, and these winds could reach our shores at any moment." Beware of Hurricane Osama! What a sensational story, for the press and for the President--the storm of the century that is always about to hit, and never goes away!

Nate Fick -
The American political system doesn’t always leave much room for people who’d rather vote for policies than for parties. Next November, however, I’ll likely side with the candidate who best articulates a sensible international agenda. There are five items on my foreign policy wish list, shaped both by pride at having served alongside our nation’s flag in Afghanistan and Iraq and by the reality of having buried too many comrades beneath it.
Freakonomics -
Interview with Nassim Taleb the author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.

PhilaLawyer -
Tanuki - Part 1

Succisa Virescit

After a horrible year of injustice, the Duke lacrosse will be playing in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Final Four this weekend. The team went 16-2 tearing through their regular season and will face-off against the Cornell Big Red on Saturday.

Good luck to the Blue Devils, both Men’s and Women’s teams are looking to bring home some hardware this season.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

9/11, Ron Paul

Rep. Ron Paul kicked up a dust storm last week during the South Carolina GOP primary debate. During the debate he argued that 9/11 and al Qaeda was a result of “blowback”. Blowback is term used at CIA for unintended consequences of covert action; Paul stretched the term to include broader American policy over the past 60 years. One policy mentioned was our containment of Iraq throughout the 90’s whereby we regularly bombed Iraqi targets.

Rudy Giuliani immediately seized on this statement for a cheap political score:

That's an extraordinary statement of someone who lived through the attack of Sept. 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I've ever heard that before and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11.
I would ask the congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that.

The only problem is that Ron Paul is largely correct. Containment of Iraq in the 1990’s is an ancillary reason for bin Laden, but illustrative of the policies he is at war with us over. Paul is exactly correct in describing AQ as an unintended consequence of our policies. The combat aircraft that we flew in order to enforce the Iraq’s southern no-fly zone, and contain Saddam, mostly flew out of bases in Saudi Arabia. The presence of American combat forces on the Saudi peninsula is/was Osama’s primary bone of contention, and a major source of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. This is clear to anyone who takes the time to read bin Laden’s statements.

That Guiliani says “I don't think I've ever heard that before and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11” is an indictment against his candidacy for Commander in Chief of our nation. This directly contradicts Sun Tzu's maxim from The Art of War:

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will win hundred times in hundred battles. If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you win one and lose the next. If you do not know yourself or your enemy, you will always lose.

Giuliani does not know our enemy.

Nevertheless talking heads and bloggers are having a field day over this. Some Republican Party officials are demanding Paul be barred from future debates. This is patently absurd. I can understand some of the outrage in response to Ron Paul’s comments. It implies that we had it coming; it is almost blaming the victim.

Such drawn implications should matter little, what should matter is the cold, dispassionate analysis of knowing your enemy. That we as a public, near six years after September 11th are still squabbling over such trite matters is an implication that we are dangerously behind the curve. Put simply--know your enemy to destroy him easier. It is evident that this does not matter to both our political parties.