Category Archives: Poetry

Impressions of “Four Quartets,” by T.S. Elliot

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
Burnt Norton I

Four Quartets is composed of four poems — “Burnt Norton” (1936), “East Coker” (1940), “The Dry Salvages” (1941), and “Little Gidding” (1942). Each of the poems is broken into five parts.

I did not know much about T.S. Elliot before reading The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings last year. After that I was aware that T.S. Elliot vaguely traveled in similar circles to C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and in some way considered himself a Christian. Like most I could recognize at best two famous lines, both without context, both from Little Gidding V.

So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

and, even more cliche

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

The best comparisons for Four Quartets are the literary prophets in the Bible. Like Ezekiel, Elliot alienates the reader to achieve an effect and like Isaiah, Elliot looks toward the Incarnation. Elliot is in dialogue with Jeremiah and John the Revelator over the beginning of the Incarnation, and like the author of Lamentations examines its end.

Like Ezekiel

The prophet Ezekiel and certain post-modern writers use alienation effect to jolt the reader into realizing he is reading. Elliot combines the prophetic and post-modern styles, drawing attention to the composition of the text to draw attention to its authorship.

Ezekiel alienates his reader in many ways, but the passing mention to his wife is a great example. No one who is paying attention can read the passage and not immediately realize the book he is reading has an author, and the author has chosen to share exactly this level of detail:

So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded.
Ezekiel 24:18

Until I read Four Quartets I did not comprehend the alienation effect apparent even earlier in the Bible. The great Biblical translator Robert Alter noted the parts of the Hebrew Bible, especially Genesis and Exodus, are “fraught with background.” They read as if other writing is being incorporated by reference, and the comprehensibility of text can suddenly decline. This is often used as evidence of the Documentary hypothesis, that the Hebrew Bible had multiple authors and with “redactors” whose actions betray a lack of artistic unity. Surely passages like this are evidence of an ancient and half-remembered source-text?

Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.”‘

And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the LORD met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and made it touch his feet, and said, “Surely you are a bridgeroom of blood to me!” So he let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!” — because of the circumcision.

And the LORD said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him. So Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which He had commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel.
Exodus 4:22-29

But Elliot’s text has the same fraughtness, but is unquestionably the artistic work of one man:

On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see the dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman
In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie —
A dignified and commodius sacrement.
Two and two, neccesarye coniunction,
Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche botokeneth concorde
. Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
Rustically solemn, or in rustic laughter
East Coker I

Naive “higher critics” of the Bible may argue that Ezekiel is simply poorly written, and that Exodus combines multiple strands that were poorly literary together. But no one can accuse Elliot of sloppiness or of being the pen name for a school of intellectuals that span centuries.

Like Isaiah

The prophet Isaiah begins with what appears to be a historic narrative and transitions into poetry that transcends time and even reason. Isaiah promises a male-child — a created being — who is treated as an Egyptian God-King, enthroned with five superlatives, with the claim he is the Creator.

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called
Wonderful,
Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6

The reign of this Creator-creature will transcend time:

Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:7

Elliot combines these themes, just as explicitly and just as cryptically:

The hint half guessed, the gift half
understood, is Incarnation.
Here is the impossible union.
Of spheres of existence is actual
here the past and future
Are conquered, reconciled
The Dry Salvages V

The still point of history, around which everything revolves

At the still point of the turning world. Neither
flesh nor fleshless:
Neither from nor towards; at the still point,
there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither
movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance. I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to
place it in time.
Burnt Norton II

(Un)Like Jeremiah, like John

Elliot takes this one further. The logical consequence of a Creator-creature is that, just as every creature has a mother, so must the Creator. To the prophet Jeremiah, it seemed that this proved the Creator-creature was the point at which logical analysis must end:

Do you not see what they do in
the cities of Judah and
in the streets of Jerusalem?

The children gather wood,
the fathers kindle the fire, and
the women knead dough, to make cakes for
the Queen of Heaven; and
they pour out drink offerings
to other gods, that they may
provoke Me to anger.
Jeremiah 7:17-18

Elliot reads Jeremiah as if there must be sarcastic quotes around the Queen of Heaven noted in Jeremiah. Elliot’s Queen is a woman adored by God, as recorded by John:

Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
Revelation 12:1-6

Elliot prays:

Lady, whose shrine stands on the promontory,
Pray for all those who are in ships, those
Whose business has to do with fish,
and those concerned with every lawful traffic
And those who conduct them
Repeat a prayer also on behalf of
Women who have seen their sons or husbands
Setting forth, and not returning:
Figlia del tuo figlio [daughter of your son],
Queen of Heaven
.
Also pray for those who were in ships, and
Ended their voyage on the sand, in the sea’s lips
Or in the dark throat which will not reject them
Or wherever cannot reach them the sound of the sea bell’s
Perpetual angelus.
The Dry Salvages IV

Like the Lamentations

Elliot’s focus is the Incarnation — the life, death, and resurrection of Christ — as the focus of history. Within this triptych it is blood, death, and Good Friday which is the center of the center

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood —
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.
East Coker IV

And the total abandonment of the Passion:

but conscious of nothing — I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing;
wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing;
there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness of the dancing
East Corker III

As the Lord sacrificed Zion

How lonely sits the city
That was full of people!
How like a widow is she,
Who was great among the nations!
The princess among the provinces
Has become a slave!

She weeps bitterly in the night,
Her tears are on her cheeks;
Among all her lovers
She has none to comfort her.
All her friends have dealt treacherously with her;
They have become her enemies.
Lamentations 1:1-2

He also sacrificed her daughter, her King:

It would be they same at the end of the journey.
If you came at night like a broken king,
If you came by day not knowing what you came for,
It would be the same, when you leave the rough road
And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade
And the tombstone.
Little Gidding I

The eldritch horrors of Elliot:

The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
It hints of earlier and other creation:
The starfish, the hermit crab, the whale’s backbone;
The Dry Salvages I

match the blasted, earlier creations, of history:

The Lord has purposed to destroy
The wall of the daughter of Zion.
He has stretched out a line;
He has not withdrawn His hand from destroying;
Therefore He has caused the rampart and wall to lament;
They languished together.

Her gates have sunk into the ground;
He has destroyed and broken her bars.
Her king and her princes are among the nations;
The Law is no more,
And her prophets find no vision from the Lord.
Lamentations 2:8-9

Out of the whale came the prophet Jonah, who shared the good news with gentiles.

Out of Jerusalem, the corrupted city of the Temple, came the flowing blood of Christ.

End

Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now always —
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
Little Gidding V

Someday they will be loved

Death Cab for Cutie. 2005. Someday you will be loved. Plans. Lyrics available.

Sons are important. Songs are about human conflict, meaningful struggle, and often even love. Not just lust — the mad desire for a thing — but love — the longing to provide goods to another that cannot be denied by anyone.

Earlier, I highlighted four songs by Guerrillas (19-2000, Clint Eastwood, Dare, and Feel Good, Inc.). Today I want to look at Someday You Will Be Loved, by Death Cab for Cutie.

“Soemday you will be loved” is about abandoning love, about the limits of what humans can give. As the Iraq War winds down, its lesson about love abandoned applies to the population who will love any hope of real love if we leave: Iraq’s Sunni Arabs. For more than a year, prolonging the war has only bought them time. But for years, Sunni Arab culture, inspired by its Naser-Arafat habit of doing exactly the wrong thing, has aggravated the situation.

We will leave Iraq. There will ethnic cleansing. The Sunni Arabs will not experience love in our generation, or perhaps our lifetime. But as the global economy continues to expand, and as the Afro-Islamic Gap is eventually shrunked, someday they will be loved.


I once knew a girl
In the years of my youth
With eyes like the summer
All beauty and truth


For several months, perhaps a year, Bush had a chance of bringing a government to Iraq that would reasonably represent all of her citizens. However, the violent incompetence of two men: Abu Musab Zarqawi and George Walker Bush, made that impossible. The dreams of 2003 are the dreams of the past.


In the morning I fled…

America will leave Iraq, because America leaes all countries. We are not an colonial power, like those great states of Britain, France, Holland, and Japan. Too bad for the citizens of Anbar.

Left a note and it read


Given Zarqawi’s and Bush’s performance, the Constitution of Iraq is a death sentence for populations that oppose democracy. Ethnic cleansings are now inevitable, and true family liberation of the Sunni Arabs is a possibility

Someday you will be loved.

tdaxps_new_map_md
Iraq’s Sunni Arabs are stuck the Afro-Islamic Gap, and without ties to the outside world (most especially, without friendly ties to Iran) she will remain their for a century.

I cannot pretend that I felt any regret


Ending the Iraq War means dividing up the country into “thirds,” but that’s really a euphomism. 65% of Iraqi is Shia Arab, and 20% of Iraq is Kurd. Only about 15% is Sunni Arab. Ending the Iraq War means the Sunni Arabs get the desert and, if they are lucky, the ghetto.

Cause each broken heart will eventually mend


Within 12 years, two minority-regimes fell: South Africa and Iraq. The Afrikaner population in South Africa recognized reality, and managed to have their ethnic cleansing be as peaceful and violent as possible. The Iraqi Sunni Arabs tried to swim against the tide of history. They have just begun to pay for that.

As the blood runs red down the needle and thread


While they disagree on many things, and both could have operated much more competently, Both Bush and Zarqawi sought to speed the killing. Both recognize the pre-War status quo as one of institutionalied hate, and both sought to change it. But Iraq belongs not to Southern Protestants nor to Sunni Arabs, but, ultimately, to the Iraqi People and their Shia majority.

Someday you will be loved
You’ll be loved you’ll be loved
Like you never have known


Arabs are not destined to live as either Masters or Slaves. Under western influence and protection, Arab states have been able to provide a good life for their citizens. Egypt under her golden age (-1945) and Qatar now are good examples of this.

The memories of me
Will seem more like bad dreams


Chosen traumas are determined by present needs, not past actions

Just a series of blurs
Like I never occurred


The American occupation of Iraq will one day fade into the mythic past for those in the Gap. Saddam Hussein will also live in the pages of legend. But the devestation of Anbar made possible by the Sunni Arab population will be a reality, probably until a larger shrinking of the Afro-Islamic Gap.

Someday you will be loved

You may feel alone when you’re falling asleep
And everytime tears roll down your cheeks

Bad Neighbors

But I know your heart belongs to someone you’ve yet to meet
Someday you will be loved


China is perhaps the best hope of the Gap, because Beijing is will to build infrastructure and connectivity even for the worst regimes in the world. But Anbar is dry and landlocked, with nothing to give and no one to give it too.

You’ll be loved you’ll be loved
Like you never have known
The memories of me
Will seem more like bad dreams
Just a series of blurs
Like I never occurred
Someday you will be loved

You’ll be loved you’ll be loved
Like you never have known
The memories of me
Will seem more like bad dreams
Just a series of blurs
Like I never occurred
Someday you will be loved
Someday you will be loved

Some Thoughts On the Walter Reed Army Hospital Story

Kipling, R. (1881). The last of the light brigade. Online: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Last_of_the_Light_Brigade.

Backound Datum 1.

“There were thirty million English who talked of England’s might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

“They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !

“They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, “Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites.”

“They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant’s order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

“They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

“The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and ‘Beggin’ your pardon,’ he said,
“You wrote o’ the Light Brigade, sir. Here’s all that isn’t dead.
An’ it’s all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin’ the mouth of hell;
For we’re all of us nigh to the workhouse, an’ we thought we’d call an’ tell.

‘No, thank you, we don’t want food, sir; but couldn’t you take an’ write
A sort of ‘to be continued’ and ‘see next page’ o’ the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an’ couldn’t you tell ’em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now.’

“The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with “the scorn of scorn.”
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

“O thirty million English that babble of England’s might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children’s children are lisping to ‘honour the charge they made – ‘
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!”

Background Datum 2

The Transfiguration

When Bush led the Grand Old Party
against Senator Kerry
His agenda was Glorious
His ideas were Aflame.
Two Themes appeared:
“Ownership! Security!”
These Things were his Signs.
The Party’s Hope!
His Legislation!
Majorities that Could Not Die!

Then there came a Word
To Ignore the Works He Promised for the Day.
Thus Hastert spoke
to build his House as a somnolent place.
A cloud appeared as grey as Doom
as dark as November defeat.
A Voice arrived, a Voice of God,
Vox Populi, Vox Dei!

What they said to them:
“These Deeds we know your Houses have not worked.
Consider what you said to us.
Consider what you’ve become.”
The Majority was put to death,
was put to death, in every district.
So keep your word
or see your works be scattered and undone.

Lost in a Day: a House: The Speaker. Our Speaker.
Lost in a Day: Senate: Upper House. Our Dear House.
Lost in a Day: a House: Our Chairmen. Our Speaker.
Lost in a Day: Senate: Upper House. Our Lost House.


from Sufjan Stevens‘ album, Seven Swans:

When he took the three disciples
to the mountainside to pray,
his countenance was modified, his clothing was aflame.
Two men appeared: Moses and Elijah came;
they were at his side.
The prophecy, the legislation spoke of whenever he would die.

Then there came a word
of what he should accomplish on the day.
Then Peter spoke, to make of them a tabernacle place.
A cloud appeared in glory as an accolade.
They fell on the ground.
A voice arrived, the voice of God,
the face of God, covered in a cloud.

What he said to them,
the voice of God: the most beloved son.
Consider what he says to you, consider what’s to come.
The prophecy was put to death,
was put to death, and so will the Son.
And keep your word, disguise the vision till the time has come.

Lost in the cloud, a voice: Have no fear! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Turn your ear!
Lost in the cloud, a voice: Lamb of God! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Son of God

Ode to the Rickshaws of Peking

Something about “One Great City!” by The Weakerthans makes it applicable to every situation. The original song is an ode to life in Winnipeg, and I previously applied it to my political science program.

About a day ago, the below variation came to me, nearly fully formed. Beijing is too varied to summarize, but I think the below verse does a good job of describing the traffic situation. Polllution, subways, beggers, ring roads, construction claims, and everywhere signs for Beijing 2008 are the visual themes for going from place to place in the capital of this People’s Republic.

So enjoy:

Late afternoon, another day is nearly done
A darker grey is breaking through a lighter one
A million pushing bodies in the underground
that neverending sound of closing subway doors
and cops on megaphones, the beggers crawling round
at Qianmen, yet I can only say
my love’s in beijing

the driver checks the mirror fourty minutes late
the choked fifth ring road’s misery enunciates
the water sucks, the air’s polluted anyway
the same smog every day
and in the turning lane
someone’s stuck again
pouring diesel into mouths
yet through my tied mask i can only say
my love’s in beijing

And down here with us all
under absent sky
these communist cadres
watch revolutions die
The Games are coming to town!
while the mighty construction cranes proclaim
My… love’s…. in Beijing.

Guerrillaz, Part IV: Dare

conflict_and_the_dances_ahead

“It’s coming up
It’s dare

You’ve got to press it on you
You’ll just be thinking
That’s what you do, baby
Hold it down, dare

Jump with the moon and move it
Jump back and forth
And feel like you were there yourself
Work it out

I Never did no harm
Never did no harm

Jump with them all and move it
Jump back and forth
And feel like you were there yourself
Work it out”

Gorillaz, “Dare”

There’s more…


Dare,” by Gorillaz, Demon Days, 24 May 2005, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARE_(song) [buy the album, read the lyrics, watch the video].

To not feel bad in Iraq, we need to change our operational rhythm and align ourselves with the gun-smoking righteous.

To feel good in the Global War on Terrorism, this , we must dare. We must recognize the inevitable, that:

  • a strategy of shrinking the Gap requires more Iraqs
  • America’s ability to act will be constrained by the orientation of the American people
  • America goes to war with the citizenry it has, not the citizenry it would prefer to have

Combined with the fact that any invasion does harm — what Machiavelli called “evil” — we must recognize that certain strategies are out of reach.

We have to dare, not letting a Vietnam-style zero defects policy get in the way. We must embrace defects, realizing that the goal of wars like Iraq are system perturbations and connectivity, not the swift implementation of the ideals of a few of us. In particular

(I am happy that of the above three search terms, only “liberal democracy” found no hits on whitehouse.gov. At least Bush is a third of the way there.)

Jumping back and forth, fast transienting, is an essential element of victory.

What Fabius Maximus has called hubris has been a costly mistake so far in Iraq. Fortunately, it’s a mistake we need not make again.


Guerrillaz, a tdaxp series in four parts
Part I: Feel Good Inc
Part II: 19-2000
Part III: Clint Eastwood
Part IV: Dare

Guerrillaz, Part III: Clint Eastwood

neither_shall_they_be_caged

‘”Oh oh oh oh oh

Hey, I’m happy, I’m feeling glad,
I got sunshine in a bag.
I’m useless but not for long:
the future is coming on.

Finally, someone let me out of my cage.
Now, time for me is nothin’ ’cause I’m counting no age.
Nah, I couldn’t be there. Now you shouldn’t be scared.
I’m good at repairs and I’m under each snare.
Intangible, bet you didn’t think so,
I command you to, panoramic view:
look I’ll make it all manageable.
Pick and choose, sit and lose.
All you different crews,
chicks and dudes, who you think is really kicking tunes?

Picture you getting down in a picture tube
like you lit the fuse.
You think it’s fictional, mystical – maybe a
spiritual hero who appears in you to clear your view
when you’re too crazy.
Lifeless, to know the definition for what life is,
priceless, to you because I put ya on the hype shift,
you like it?
Gun smokin’, righteous but one talkin’ psychic
among knows possess you with one though.

The essence, the basics: without it you make it.
Allow me to make this child like in nature.
“Rhythm you have it or you don’t”:
that’s a fallacy
. I’m in them,
every sprouting tree, every child of peace,
every cloud at sea. You see with your eyes
you see destruction and demise,

corruption in the skies
from this fucking enterprise that I’m sucked into your lies,
through Russell, not his muscles,
but percussion he provides.

With me as your guide, y’all can see me now
’cause you don’t see with your eye,
you perceive with your mind
(that’s the inner).
So I’m gonna stick around with Russ and be a mentor,
bust a few rhymes. So motherfuckers
remember what the thought is:
I brought all this so you can survive when law is lawless.
Feelings, sensations that you thought was dead.
No squealing, remember that it’s all in your head.”

Gorillaz, “Clint Eastwood”

There’s more…


Clint Eastwood,” by Gorillaz, Gorillaz, 19 July 2001, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clint_Eastwood_(song) [buy the cd, read L007 lyrics, read SL lyrics, watch the video].

President Speaks to the Untied Nations General Assembly,” by George Bush, 21 September 2004, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/09/20040921-3.html.

Contrary to current conventional wisdom, Bush’s Big Bang strategy will be treated very favorably by history, by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 1 March 2006, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/003018.html

Lowering U.S. Goals in Iraq,” by Daniel Pipes, Real Clear Politics, 1 March 2006, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-3_1_06_DAP.html.

When we dance to the music of our enemies, we feel bad. Now is the time for feeling glad.

The Iraq War goes badly because we cripple ourselves. Our greatest tool, the ideological-ethnic militias, are held back in the name of a “united Iraq.” For instance, President Bush told the UN:

The U.N., and its member nations, must respond to Prime Minister Allawi’s request, and do more to help build an Iraq that is secure, democratic, federal, and free.

Note that Bush implicitly defined a united Iraq, a sustained artificial state, as a prerequisite for victory.

But as correctly points out:

Of course, the regional experts will decry all this change, saying we’re in far worse straits now than we were before. We’re “losing” Iraq and al Qaeda, we are told, is “winning” if Iraq is split into pieces. How Iraq-the-pretend-country’s break-up would equate to al Qaeda’s victory is beyond me, but I lack the subtle defeatism of some, and I guess I just don’t swallow Osama’s propaganda like the regionalists do, having watched this idiotic program before with the Sovs in another life.

Local militias should be a central part of an reconstruction effort. They have the on-the-ground knowledge will lets them move in the local environment, rapidly fixing problems that American contractors may not. They would allow to us do something hard easily, letting us throttle down our Reconstruction efforts into what Chet Richards might call “”.

Happily, the tide has turned. Even Ayatollah has mobilized a militia. The ability of 15% of Iraqis to hold the rest hostage is rapidly ending.

Organizations like the SCIRI militia (the ), the Kurdish militias, and other organizations are gun-smoking (they can teach our enemies a lesson with kinetic force) and righteous (they are tools of connectivity). They assist in exporting our rule-sets to new corners of the world, while evolving those rulesets to best fit local conditions.

Local militias don’t suffer from the political correct uselessness of the State Department’s “planing” for Iraq. Rather, they are organnically grown, conceived like cubs.

Dr. TPM Barnett described his system-level A-Z Ruleset as

“Front Half”:
1. UNSC as “grand jury”
2. G20 as Functioning Executive
3. US-enabled Leviathan Force

“Back Half”:
4. Core-enabled SysAdmin force
5. International Reconstruction Fund (IRF)
6. International Criminal Court

While much of this is wise, such as , Step #4 especially hits us where we are weakest (our aversion to wide-ranging multilateralism) and stops the rise of local stakeholders. Instead, to operationalize Gorillaz‘s “Allow me to make this child like in nature” with

3. US Fucks Up Some Country
4. Local Stakeholders are Conceived
5. IRF funds “childhood” of local stakeholders
6. Mature society emerges

An advantage of having highly-trained US or Core peacekeepers, or even Chet Richards‘s expanded Army Corp of Engineers, is that things will be done better. But locals doing something badly is preferable, for both us and to them. “Reconstruction “you have it or you don’t”: that’s the fallacy.” Let locals to the job.

Standing up locals has another advantage: it doesn’t hurt our moral will. America has difficulty seeing bloodshed, but little trouble merely knowing about it. By giving the necessary post-major-conflict police actions to locals, we minimize the damage done by critical media.

Local militias, stakeholders near the people, will help us and them survive when law is lawless. Barnett reminds us that terrorism is local. So is justice: there is no world body capable of protecting us if we do not protect ourselves. In the case of the Samarra Tragedy, it signals “the determination of elements in Iraq’s long-ruling community to reassert its dominance”. To win locally, we must fight locally.

And we must dare.


Guerrillaz, a tdaxp series in four parts
Part I: Feel Good Inc
Part II: 19-2000
Part III: Clint Eastwood
Part IV: Dare

Guerrillaz, Part II: 19-2000

neither_shall_they_try_to_lose

The world is spinning too fast
I’m buying lead Nike shoes

To keep myself tethered
To the days I try to lose

My mama said to slow down
You should make your shoes
Stop dancing to the music
Of gorillaz in a happy mood

Keep a mild groove on

Ba ba ba Day dee bop

There you go!
Get the cool!
Get the cool shoeshine!

There’s a monkey in the jungle
Watching a vapour trail
Caught up in the conflict
Between his brain and his tail

And if time’s elimination
Then we got nothing to lose
Please repeat the message
It’s the music that we choose

Keep a mild groove on

Ok bring it down yeah we gonna break out

Ah ah ah ah”
Gorillaz, “19-2000” (repetitions omitted)

There’s more…


19-2000, by Gorillaz, Gorillaz, 19 June 2001, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/19-2000 [buy the cd, read the lyrics, watch the video].

We do not feel good about Iraq. The reason is that our enemies have gotten inside our OODA loops — our learning processes — and are able to transient between one form and another faster than we can comprehend them. This makes them appear to know whack, when in fact they are whacking us. Much as Stalinism had a negative influence on the moral-political condition of the Party, created a situation of uncertainty, contributed to the spreading of unhealthy suspicion, and sowed distrust among Communists, the Iraq War has done similar things (but to much lesser extents) to America.

Time and again we have played into our enemy’s hands. Abu Gharib seriously damaged our ability to offer generous terms to the vanquished, while popular Iraqi politician Abdul Aziz al-Hakim was partially right when he blamed American Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad for the destruction of a holy Shia mosque. As Hakim said, American policy of Sunni-Arab appeasement has given a green light to terrorists by rewarding violence and bloodshed.

Now, it may be that appeasement does work. By appeasing Hitler early on, Britain eventually managed to permanently knock out Germany, warp Soviet development, and give global hegemony to a fellow English-speaker power. Perhaps by rewarding anti-democratic terrorists, Khalizad can achieve a similar coup for the United States. But the moral cost of this is very high.

From a moral perspective, our behavior has been functionally identical to trying to lose. As might say, we have shaped and influenced events so that we not only diminish our spirit and strength but also influence potential friends as well as to uncommitted so that they are down away from our philosophy and our antagonist toward our success.

If America wishes to remain a moral power — a nation capable of inspiring others towards a worldwide grand strategy — we have to stop dancing to the enemy’s music. We need to stop dancing, and buy lead Nike shoes.

We need to time-shift the OODA loop. When we try to dance to their rhythm we tear ourselves apart. But if we make them dance to our rhythm, if we purposefully elongate our thinking, we render the guerrilla’s advantages moot. John Boyd outlined three categories of conflict

  • Attrition
  • Maneuver
  • Moral

Maneuver warfare focuses on agility and the ability to get inside an OODA loop. The enemy is more agile, so wishes to fight maneuver war. We should deprive him of that, by instead focusing on attrition war.

We can do this by empowering local proxies to fight for us, refusing to fight the enemy where he is strongest (our lack of agility) and instead forcing him to fight where we are strongest (his lack of resources). In the case of Iraq this involves welcoming Shia and Kurdish reprisals against Sunni Arab terrorist networks. Going forward, it means that friends on the ground are much more important than a friendly UN vote or French nods.

(Focusing on local friends also gives us the advantage in moral warfare as well.)

Our military is designed for blitzkrieg, and its rapid interaction with so many complications in the local environment leads to friction and harmful waste heat. Instead of melting in this sauna, we should focus on what we do best and allow local friends to do what they would do best.

We need to cool down. We need to get the cool. The current heat of Iraq is too much for America to easily take.

We have spent too long listening to dancing to their music. Now it’s time for them to hear the music that we choose.


Guerrillaz, a tdaxp series in four parts
Part I: Feel Good Inc
Part II: 19-2000
Part III: Clint Eastwood
Part IV: Dare

Guerrillaz, Part I: Feel Good Inc

neither_shall_they_know_whack

Feel good.

City’s breaking down on a camel’s back.
They just have to go cause they don’t know whack.
So all you fill the streets it’s appealing to see
You wont get out the county cause you’re bad and free
You’ve got a new horizon It’s ephemeral style.
A melancholy town where we never smile.
And all I wanna hear is the message beep.
My dreams, they’ve got to kiss, because I don’t get sleep, no..

Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Turn forever hand in hand
Take it all in on your stride
It is sticking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let’s turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Laughing gas these hazmats, fast cats,
Lining them up like ass cracks,

Ladies, ponies, at the track
its my chocolate attack.
Shit, I’m stepping in the heart of this here
Care bear bumping in the heart of this here
Watch me as I gravitate
Hahahahahahaa!

Yo, we gonna ghost town, this motown,
with yo sound, you’re in the place
You gonna bite the dust, can’t fight with us.
With yo sound you kill the “inc.”

So don’t stop, get it, get it
until you’re cheddar header.
Yo, watch the way I navigate
Hahahahahaaaaa

Don’t stop, get it, get it
we are your captains in it.
Steady, watch me navigate,
Ha ha ha ha ha!

Don’t stop, get it, get it
We are your captains in it
Steady, watch me navigate
Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Gorillaz, “Feel Good Inc.” (repititions ommitted)

There’s more…


Feel Good Inc,” by Gorillaz, Demon Days, 24 May 2005, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feel_Good_Inc. [buy the cd, read ASL lyrics, read 3S lyrics, watch the video].

O’Reilly: U.S. Should Leave Iraq ‘as fast as humanly possible’ because ‘there are so many nuts in the country’,” Media Matters for America, 22 February 2006, http://mediamatters.org/items/200602220007 (from Aaron).

It Didn’t Work, by William Buckley, Universal Press Syndicate, 25 February 2006, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-2_25_06_WB.html.

It goes without saying that William F Buckley does not feel good

One can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samarra and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that “the bombing has completely demolished” what was being attempted — to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven’t proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.

Nor, on the opposite end of the intellectual spectrum, does Bill O’Reilly

Somewhat of a disturbing report out of Iraq, and it’s more important than it first appears. The governor of — or the mayor of Karbala, which is a town in the south part of Iraq, Shiite-controlled, has banned any further government dealings with the American military in his province, saying that they’re not behaving well.

Now, it’s a small little thing, but I picked up on it, because here is the essential problem in Iraq. There are so many nuts in the country — so many crazies — that we can’t control them. And I don’t — we’re never gonna be able to control them. So the only solution to this is to hand over everything to the Iraqis as fast as humanly possible. Because we just can’t control these crazy people. This is all over the place. And that was the big mistake about America: They didn’t — it was the crazy-people underestimation. We did not know how to deal with them — still don’t. But they’re just all over the place.

As Bill noted, the reason we don’t feel good is that they don’t know whack: too many Iraqis act inexplicably. Or perhaps we don’t know whack: if we did, presumably we could control them. William continues:

One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom. The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymakers to cope with insurgents bent on violence.

The reason for our whackless knowledge is that “the Iraqis” are operating at a high tempo. They can get inside our cognition loop, they can teach us, by quickly transitioning from one type of activity to another. The cognition loop is stable over the long term because ultimately every mind is attracted by both high-kinetic activities (teaching) and low-kinetic activities (learning).

However, by having powerful energy free energy sources — by exploiting the liberal concept of ideology and the preliberal concept of kin — our enemies can spend more time doing and less time resting. In the same way, by relying on free energy sources from the environment, windmills can run as long as the wind blows. The Iraq’s powerful mix of religion and family is analogous to a similar movement in the United States — political movements that here have refined themselves into victors.

Not only are they powerful and built for victory, they are attacking us wisely. They are laughing-gassing us, what John Boyd might have called pulling us apart and collapsing our will to resist. They have magnified our entropy by working with critics in our own societies. Howard Deanesque criticisms of George Bush lying over the lack of hazardous materials — WMDs — in Iraq combine with William Lindoid concerns over real hazardous materials — centers of disorder — to try to get us to just leave.

These moral infiltration tactics rely on flow. Instead of trying to synchronize their forces, the enemies “seep or flow into any gaps or weaknesses they can find in order to drive deep” into our rear. By taking the path of least resistance, they rely on gravity — another free energy source — to do the heavy work for them. Instead, our objective of making them sane (O’Reilly) or making them value “religious freedom” (Buckley) requires us to constantly hold up the sky and defy gravity.

This is why we don’t feel good about Iraq. Half of our strategies aren’t working. We are not strong enough for the means we have chosen.

We see them choose which streams to follow, which mosques to destroy, which weddings to bomb. They seem crazy. We feel bad.

We need to stop dancing to the music of the guerrillas.


Guerrillaz, a tdaxp series in four parts
Part I: Feel Good Inc
Part II: 19-2000
Part III: Clint Eastwood
Part IV: Dare

Happy Christmas & A Whole Lot of Love, sung by President Bush and the Clintons

This is indescribably good. Even better than Curzon’s find. Listen to the song and the album.

george_w_bush_md
{sung by President George W. Bush }

Thank you all very much
Welcome to the Christmas Pageant of Peace
Each year we gather here
to celebrate the season of hope and joy
And to remember the story of one humble life
That lifted the sites of humanity

Santa thanks for coming
Glad you made it
I know you got a lot of commitments this time of year
I appreciate all our entertainers
Thanks for being here
It’s been a fantastic evening

Christmas is a time to rejoice
and to give thanks for the blessings of the season
We also remember that we have a responsibility
to help those in need

What to do?
To the Batmobile!

Turn on the lights
And would you help turn on these lights as well
By counting down
5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

Christmas is coming
And it’s taken a long time
We got a chance to get some big things done.

I got a message from God
Yeah
A vision of love
It’s God’s gift to the world
I got a whole lot of love

Check

I got a whole lot of love
I got a whole lot of love

X-Christmas is coming
Peace to the world
I’m on a mission from God
I got a whole lot of love

At this hour
the world is witnessing
terrible suffering and horrible crimes
in the Darfur region of Sudan
Crimes my government has concluded are genocide
The human cost is beyond calculation
I call on the government of Sudan
to honor the ceasefire it signed
and to help prevent further bloodshed
I call upon Congress:
More troops are need
to protect the innocent.
We need to intervene now,
before it’s too late.
In the long run,
the tragedy in western Sudan
requires a settlement
between the government and the rebels.
All sides must control their forces
end the killing
and negotiate the peace
of a suffering land.

Christmas is coming
and it’s taken a long time
We got a chance to get some big things done.

We can do it
Red line
Our plan is working.
In other words,
what I’m telling you is
technology is going to help us
achieve the objective,
Something no President or Congress has been able to do
We’re strongly committed to peace
for all the peoples of Sudan

That’s the true spirit of America
The love
This is the road to paradise.

bill_clinton_md
{sung by President William J. Clinton }

I still can’t figure out
why it’s a good thing for us to be at war with Iraq
And have all these middle class people
over there sacrificing
Surely there’s some way we can find
in this new moment of hope
Peace in the Middle East
Peace in the Middle East
Peace in the Middle East
Peace in the Middle East

hillary_clinton_md
{sung by Senator Hillary R. Clinton}

Wicked

george_w_bush_md
{sung by President George W. Bush }

As we approach Christmas in this time of war
We pray for freedom and justice and peace on earth

Wet set our faith in human love
And in God’s care for us
and all men’s everywhere

We ask for God to watch over
our men and women in uniform
who are serving overseas.
Their families miss them,
hold a seat open for them,
and pray for their safe return.

Christmas is coming
And it’s taken a long time
We got a chance to get some big things done

I got a message from God
Yeah
A vision of love
It’s God’s gift to the world.
I got a whole lot of love.
I got a whole lot of love.
I got a whole lot of love.

X-Christmas is coming
Peace to the world
I’m on a mission from God
I got a whole lot of love.

Check

hillary_clinton_md
{sung by Senator Hillary R. Clinton}

God bless you.