Fellowship of Punditry

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Cul Heath

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The Fellowship is accepting new members. Inquire within.

The Sages

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  • George Orwell

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    Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

    In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

    But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

    Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.

    Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie... a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.

    In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

    All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

    At fifty everyone has the face he deserves.

    Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.

    John Stuart Mill

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.

    The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.

    The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.

    Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.

    A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    Mark Twain

    Don't let schooling interfere with your education.

    All generalizations are false, including this one.

    A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.

    Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

    The Public is merely a multiplied "me."

    Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we."

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

    Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.

    Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

    Winston Churchill

    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

    I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

    Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.

    Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.

    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

    However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

    In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.

    Otto Von Bismarck

    When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.

    I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring.

    Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.

    Be polite; write diplomatically ;even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.


    A witty saying proves nothing.

    If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.

    When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, that is metaphysics.

    I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.

    To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.

    It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

    The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.

    Karl Marx

    Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.

    All I know is I'm not a Marxist.

    The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.

    Sunday, June 20, 2004

    Beyond Iraq and the end of the US monopoly

    By Nick

    By Robert Hunter
    The writer was US ambassador to Nato 1993-98 and is now a senior adviser at the Rand Corporation and president of the Atlantic Treaty Association

    What did they know and when did they know it? This paraphrase of a famous line from the 1973 Watergate hearings is now convulsing both Washington and London in regard to reasons for the Iraq war. But whether leaders in both capitals sincerely believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction is beside the point. The war has taken place, Iraq is occupied and the old system of regional security -- however imperfect -- is gone.

    America, Britain and the other European allies now have no choice but to manage the future, not just of Iraq but also of the greater Middle East. They need a comprehensive joint strategy for a vocation that will last for a generation or more.

    Trying to pacify, rebuild and reorientate Iraq in the direction of representative government is only one element in a series of efforts that must now be pursued to success. At least as germane to the war on terrorism, and hence regional "stability", is making sense of Afghanistan, with its legacy of fostering terror and resistance to the influence of outsiders. Meanwhile, Iran must be deflected from acquiring nuclear weapons. Political and economic development must be pursued throughout the region, both to tackle causes of support for terrorism and to reduce the spillover of social corrosion to Europe's Muslim populations. And the Arab-Israeli conflict must finally be brought to an end.

    The US could do much of this on its own or with a limited coalition of the willing. But it is becoming clear that the American people will not stand for bearing the overwhelming part of a burden they believe should be shared throughout the west. Whether allies were needed for the making of war, they are certainly wanted to help with the making of peace. It is also becoming clear that there is little popular support in the US for a further application of the Bush administration's doc trine of pre-emptive military action, for example against Iran or Syria.

    Nato is now in charge of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and will gradually advance its mandate beyond Kabul. Following a recent meeting of its defence ministers in Munich, the Alliance is also on the verge of taking over those Iraq duties now under the leadership of a Polish division.

    Support is rising on both sides of the Atlantic for Nato to succeed the US-led occupation force on an enduring basis. Meanwhile, the US is beginning to understand that working directly with the European Union in Iraq - and perhaps beyond - would be sensible for a variety of reasons, including resources, skills and political cover. This could - and should - become a comprehensive US-EU strategic partnership throughout the greater Middle East.

    For any of this to happen, the US must be willing to give up its monopoly on decision-making. This entails risks. Dilution of authority can lead to a dispersal of effort and undercut a central message of the Iraq war: that the US superpower can and will act on its own in defending its interests. But as Washington contemplates the rising costs of Iraq and Afghanistan and falling tolerance among the American people, it is a trade-off worth making.

    The US must also be willing to accept some sensible and constructive European views - for example, that Iran should not be kept in pariah status, subjected to regime change or simply eliminated as a political operator in the Gulf.

    Notably, Europe has taken the lead in getting the Iranians to be more forthcoming on their nuclear programmes, and the US is beginning to show more flexibility. More challenging is the European requirement that the US resume active prosecution of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. But this has also become a strategic imperative for the US, both to succeed in Iraq and to deny al-Qaeda one of its most potent symbols - the alleged lack of US will to temper Israeli activities in the West Bank and Gaza.

    The challenge of fashioning such a shared western strategy for the greater Middle East is far more important than squabbling over how the US and its allies got themselves into the current imbroglio - other than to ensure it does not happen again. This strategy must produce a comprehensive, multilateral security system for the area that will, in time, provide a place for all countries in the region. This is an ambition worthy of both the needs of and the possibilities for a new transatlantic compact.

    The writer was US ambassador to Nato 1993-98 and is now a senior adviser at the Rand Corporation and president of the Atlantic Treaty Association

    posted by Nick at 6/20/2004 02:22:00 AM |

    Comments: Post a Comment

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