Patterico's Pontifications

1/14/2007

Teflon Don Muses on Iraq’s History

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:11 am



Teflon Don:

Here I stand, in modern-day Iraq. I have come further to fight here than any soldier of any nation before me, and I fight with weapons and equipment that lay pale the panoply of earlier armies. I represent the pinnacle of force projection and decisive battle, and yet I fight here, where unnumbered young warriors have fought and died through time stretching out of memory. It was on this land that the Babylonian empire first arose out of those first Sumerian agrarians, only to be conquered by the Assyrians, and still later throw off the foreign chains. It was here that Alexander’s phalanxes swept by, trailing Hellenism in their wake. Rome, and later the Byzantines, drew their border with Persia at the Euphrates River. At that river was where the Sassanids made their stand against the spread of Arabian Islam. The Khans of the Mongols laid this land waste, sometimes killing only to build their towers of bones higher.

This region is steeped in history. We walk on it; we breath[e] it in. Eons of history surround us, infiltrate us, and turn to dust beneath our feet. The ashes of countless cultures, civilizations, and rulers dreams lie under the earth. With each breath, I inhale a few molecules of the dying gasp of Cyrus II, the Persian “Constantine of the East”. In the howling wind I can almost hear the cries of a countless multitude dying on killing grounds that bridge across the ages. The same wind carries the red dust that might yet hold a few drops of blood from the battle at Carrhae- the first, crushing defeat for Rome’s red blooded legions. Under my heel, a speck grinds into dust: the last grain of sand that remains of the Hanging Gardens at Babylon that are now known only in legend. Some of the world’s oldest religions tell us that somewhere in this ancient Cradle of life, God himself breathed on this dust, and it became man, the father of us all. Whatever path we take here, we walk on history.

I walk softly, for I tread on the ghosts of years.

This guy could have a decent career as a writer.

Oh wait — I forgot the wisdom of Charlie Rangel:

If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.

I stand corrected.

31 Responses to “Teflon Don Muses on Iraq’s History”

  1. Just another dropout stuk in Irak, right Johnny?…

    Walking on HistoryTeflon Don (H/T: Patterico) I am a shameless romantic, a slightly better than average student of history, and there is a current of idealism under my skin that has not yet been dulled by reality. Sometimes, these qualities…

    Bill's Bites (72c8fd)

  2. Just another dropout stuk in Irak, right Johnny?…

    Walking on HistoryTeflon Don (H/T: Patterico) I am a shameless romantic, a slightly better than average student of history, and there is a current of idealism under my skin that has not yet been dulled by reality. Sometimes, these qualities…

    Old War Dogs (72c8fd)

  3. Here’s another milblogger who’s an excellent writer (though I’m sad to say he hasn’t blogged since he got back from Iraq).

    rightwingprof (5649f5)

  4. Sounds like some officer of the Raj. An idealist, romantic colonialist. He reads like Rudyard Kipling.
    “Whatever path we take here, we walk on history. I walk softly, for I tread on the ghosts of years.”

    Does this idiot know anything about the level of looting that’s gone on? The helipads built on bulldozed ruins? The US doesn’t give a shit about antiquities. There’s no record of them giving a shit and you give us this? People were tossing money at looters and smuggling things out within weeks of the beginning of the war. Hundreds of thousands dead and you give us this?

    You fucking idiiot.

    [That’s a legitimate comment up until the last sentence, when you let your emotions get the better of you. If you can’t control yourself from making comments like that, your comments will go into moderation. — P]

    [UPDATE: I initially called it a “valid” comment — but that was the wrong word. I didn’t mean to imply agreement with a single word AF was saying — just that I had no problem with the form of his comment until the last sentence, when it turned into something I don’t like to see on this site. I changed the word “valid” to legitimate to eliminate confusion. — P]

    AF (3c0d37)

  5. Sorry about the last insult.
    This guy is just so wrong, so naive it leaves me speechless.
    Maybe I should just sut up. (you’d agree of course)

    AF (3c0d37)

  6. No need to shut up. Just refrain from making profane contentless outbursts and you’ll be fine. I strive to have contrary viewpoints here.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  7. ‘there is no record of them giving a shit’

    AF

    I suppose those living in the Marshlands would wholeheartedly disagree with you.

    syn (5b3dc4)

  8. The US doesn’t give a shit about antiquities. There’s no record of them giving a shit

    Sources, please?

    BTW… is this is same “doesn’t give a shit US” that is loath to damage one tile of any mosque, even if the enemy is FIRING from them?

    Darleen (543cb7)

  9. …This guy is just so wrong…

    Patton was wrong too, when he stopped by a site of one of the battles in the Carthaginian wars to reminisce about his struggles there in a previous life, eh?

    I don’t believe in reincarnation, but the study of the history of warfare is one of the prerequisites to becomming a great warrior.

    Dubya (c16726)

  10. Syn

    Actual reports of the US giving a sh*t might make the baby-killer soldiers look, you know, good. So I would speculate that any story of giving a sh*t get’s roundfiled.

    For AF, the absense of sh*t is the confirmation of sh*t….

    Darleen (543cb7)

  11. This guy is just so wrong, so naive it leaves me speechless.

    You must lead such a little, colorless life.

    Pity.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  12. …That’s a valid comment up until the last sentence…

    I would revise that to read “… until the 6th sentence…”

    [I didn’t mean to indicate agreement with even a single word of it. I changed the word “valid” to “legitimate” to eliminate confusion. — P]

    Dubya (c16726)

  13. I strive to have contrary viewpoints here.

    I should add: even when they’re flat wrong.

    What the guy is, AF, is a poet and student of history, as well as a military man. If you read his other posts — I’ve linked several here — you’ll see that he has no illusions about what’s going on in the country. In this post, he’s just giving voice to his poetic side.

    You’d deny that to him, apparently, because you want everyone, all the time, to write about WHAT A DISASTER IRAQ IS. Soldiers in Iraq can’t take a moment to sense the history of the place they’re in, and wax poetical about it. They must SCREAM ABOUT WHAT A DISASTER IT IS AT ALL TIMES or they are naive and wrong, and people who link to the poetry are “fucking idiots.”

    I recognize how chaotic Iraq has become, and I can assure you that Teflon Don does, too — more than I do, and perhaps, AF, maybe even more than you do.

    Take it down a notch and let people be themselves. The military in Iraq may wear uniforms, but they are not uniform in personality. This post is a reminder of that.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  14. People were tossing money at looters and smuggling things out within weeks of the beginning of the war.

    Another liberal meme that was disproven years ago. The Baghdad museum curators found that while some things were destroyed during looting, there was very little that ended up missing after looters started bringing things back.

    Dubya (c16726)

  15. Let’s not get carried away. The writing is fruity, hyperbolic and…trite. Of course I’m an Owen Johnson fan.

    [It’s poetic. Some people consider poetic writing fruity and hyperbolic. I don’t think it’s trite. But it’s a matter of opinion, I guess. — P]

    TCO (d7c35a)

  16. This however is a good post (by the same writer):

    http://acutepolitics.blogspot.com/2007/01/warning-war-may-be-hazardous.html

    Too bad that you (and the Rangel you want to impress) don’t know why one is better than the other.

    TCO (d7c35a)

  17. What’s going on with AF?

    Answer: he is so opposed the military he derides anything said or done by any military man. Denies the facts on the ground: the looting was done by the Museum staff themselves to sell for money.

    The original post reflected the inability of the people in the region to develop any civil society, rather a region of conquerors and conquered. Slaves and Emperors.

    Something deeply disturbing to AF, hence his usual Lefty expletives as he has no arguments, only “feelings.” Feelings that he is “superior” to the men in the military because he’s the priest to the soldier. And the nagging suspicion that the only thing standing between being a slave is the civic militarism exemplified by the original post.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  18. My father was in the army, my brother was in the navy and my uncle was a POW in Nazi germany.

    AF (3c0d37)

  19. It’s a trite because it’s been done so often before and the author brings nothing new to the material.

    I have no problem with poetic language…but amateurs lay it on too thick and don’t get it done well. Nothing like watching someone try to be Yeats, who can’t pull it off. Rather have Yeats.

    I say again (last sentence of 16).

    TCO (dc7251)

  20. My father was in the army, my brother was in the navy and my uncle was a POW in Nazi germany.

    I honor their service.

    But their service doesn’t translate into a moral authority card for you.

    Darleen (543cb7)

  21. They all share my politics by and large at least as regards this administration.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/13/AR2007011301372_pf.html
    I posted the above earlier today, but it didn’t make it for some reason.

    And on the looting of antiquities see:
    http://www.aam-us.org/pubs/mn/MN_JF07_lost-iraq.cfm

    AF (3c0d37)

  22. Actually, he proves Rangel was right. No one can write that well and expect to actually succeed nowadays.

    kishnevi (aaf3c5)

  23. Sounds like some officer of the Raj. An idealist, romantic colonialist. He reads like Rudyard Kipling.
    “Whatever path we take here, we walk on history. I walk softly, for I tread on the ghosts of years.”

    Does this idiot know anything about the level of looting that’s gone on? The helipads built on bulldozed ruins? The US doesn’t give a shit about antiquities. There’s no record of them giving a shit and you give us this? People were tossing money at looters and smuggling things out within weeks of the beginning of the war. Hundreds of thousands dead and you give us this?

    You fucking idiiot.

    [That’s a legitimate comment up until the last sentence, when you let your emotions get the better of you. If you can’t control yourself from making comments like that, your comments will go into moderation. — P]

    [UPDATE: I initially called it a “valid” comment — but that was the wrong word. I didn’t mean to imply agreement with a single word AF was saying — just that I had no problem with the form of his comment until the last sentence, when it turned into something I don’t like to see on this site. I changed the word “valid” to legitimate to eliminate confusion. — P]

    Comment by AF — 1/14/2007 @ 8:03 am

    Such nuance you show here, Patterico. Swell. Valid vs. legitimate. That makes such a world of difference.

    Me? I’d just say AF is acting like an asshole, rather than try to parse the subtleties of endorsements and acknowldements. But what do I know?

    You got a fucking awesome blog here, Patterico, and you are an awesome blogger. By the way, is this a valid complement? Or is it merely a legitmate complement?

    Because you really do write a great blog. But this valid vs. legitmate parsing seems… shabby.

    EFG (e1c216)

  24. Our esteemed host is a member of the law profession. I’m sure he has an acute awareness of the weight words carry.

    I think the meaning of the disparate words should be obvious, mostly so because of the way our host is juxtaposing them.

    OHNOES (3b3653)

  25. AF-

    Does this idiot know anything about the level of looting that’s gone on? The helipads built on bulldozed ruins? The US doesn’t give a shit about antiquities. There’s no record of them giving a shit and you give us this? People were tossing money at looters and smuggling things out within weeks of the beginning of the war.

    I can assure you, I do know about the level of looting that Iraq has endured. I am not happy about either the looting, or the hand we (the US) had in allowing, and worse, participating in it. I know that a substancial portion of the military has little awe and less respect for the artifacts of dead ages. I wish that weren’t so.

    Hundreds of thousands dead and you give us this?

    Not to trivialize death in the slightest, but what do the dead have to do with looting? Non sequitur? Ita est.

    You fucking idiiot.

    I’ll take that as a compliment.

    TD (e90a89)

  26. Interesting article, AF. Some of the more relevant parts are:

    Such looting is not new to Iraq. It has been happening for decades if not centuries, according to Matthew Bogdanos, a Marine Reserves colonel and assistant district attorney in Manhattan who investigated the 2003 looting of the Iraq Museum (an article on his findings appeared in the March/April 2006 issue of Museum News). “The looting is a cottage industry. That is clear,” he says, adding that it is like a trade passed down from one generation to the next. “They say, ‘My father did it, my grandfather did it. What else do you want me to do?’”

    Bogdanos explains that although kidnapping is still the primary source of funding for insurgents and other malfeasants, looting generates a lot of cash. “If you reduce looting, you reduce the violence,” he told Museum News. “You force them to find another source of funding.”

    Hmm — better they go back to kidnapping.

    In the absence of any short-term solution, the museum and cultural heritage communities are looking at how to prevent future disasters. “We need to establish closer connections between the cultural heritage community and the military so when we’re doing war planning, cultural heritage concerns get incorporated from the very beginning,” says Gerstenblith.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket! Turn war planning over to the cultural heritage community!

    “You want to worry about artifacts, but you worry about the people more. You feel kind of callous talking about artifacts when you see people getting killed every day.”

    Callous indeed!

    Dubya (c16726)

  27. EFG,

    Indeed, AF was most certainly acting like an asshole. And use of the word “idiot” was over the top whether accompanied by the profanity or not.

    The point I was *trying* to make, however awkwardly, was that I’ll tolerate people acting like assholes, but there is a line, and AF certainly crossed it with that last sentence.

    That’s what I was trying to say.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  28. “If you reduce looting, you reduce the violence [associated with their uh, digging holes in the ground],” he told Museum News. “You force them to find another [less violent] source of funding [like, uh, kidnapping, extortion and armed robbery].”

    Dubya (c16726)

  29. TD,

    As an aspiring poet and total nuisance of a (not-even-amateur-status) musician I say: Illegitimi non corburundum.

    nk (4cd0c2)

  30. The American Military doesn’t care about antiquites at all. Thats why we leveled Kyoto to the ground and used Himeiji Castle as target practice during WW2.

    Oh wait…….

    Techie (476074)

  31. My Dad was a commander in the North African campaign during WWII and while he doesn’t talk about the war often, when he does it’s clear it was one SNAFU after another. The typical unit endured battles, poor equipment, POWs left to fend for themselves, little medical care, sabotage, regular instances of friendly fire, and as many problems from allies as from enemies. (My Dad came back hating the English as much as the Germans.)

    War is hell but sometimes it’s the best option. I’m not saying we should be satisfied with all the problems our fathers endured during war but I don’t think it’s a good idea to only be willing to fight a war when it involves no mistakes, problems or sacrifices.

    DRJ (51a774)


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