THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 466 May 7 - 13, 2007
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May 7, 2007
He can't possibly
be right, now can he?
Alas he could be. Of course no one can talk that way in the US.
I have posted a new bloc of J0anne Dow's Daily Diatribes.
Today was devoured by locusts, but I am catching up. I have got the column done for tomorrow, and the International Edition will go out tonight.
|This week:||Tuesday, May
Turkey has long been an ally of the United States, and is the closest thing Israel has to an ally in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The current constitutional crisis has long-reaching implications in the current cultural wars.
Turkey is a curious land, a blend of a modern secular state integrated with a medieval fundamentalist Muslim nation. The secular-religious divisions are more important in Turkey than religious or even ethnic divisions.
Modern Turkey was created by Mustapha Kemal known as Kemal Ataturk, a general under the old monarchy who abolished the Sultanate, decreed a secular state, and became the founder of the modern nation. He outlawed Moslem dress including wearing the Fez (that odd hat that Shriners like) and burka, and set the Turkish Army as the protector of the constitution. The officer corps became a brotherhood devoted to that end, and Turkish enlisted personnel are educated to that belief. The army guards the constitution.
So far this is hardly new; Aristotle and Plato describe "rule of honor" which in practice is rule by the officer corps, and rule by military junta is common in history. It may start as protection of a constitution or a form of government, but the temptation to run things is great, and soon the military has its nose in everyone's affairs. Startlingly that has not happened in Turkey. Since Ataturk the Army has intervened in political affairs. It has hanged prime ministers and jailed corrupt politicians. It then retires to barracks and allows new politicians to govern. The result has been remarkably successful. Turks enjoy considerable freedoms and liberties that are unusual in neighboring countries.
The new rise of Islam did not neglect Turkey, and Islamists hold a majority of seats in the Turkish Parliament. This makes the Army nervous, but so far it has not interfered. Now, however, the Parliament wants to promote an Islamist to the Presidency. The President of Turkey is Chief of State, Commander in Chief of the Army, and holds the powers of veto and judicial appointment. He does not otherwise participate in government -- that is the business of the prime minister -- but the position is one key to the surprising development of the Army as protector of the constitution without constant interference in political affairs. That is what is at stake in the current constitutional crisis: will an Islamist become President? The Army is not going to let that happen. Alas, every time the Army must come out of barracks and interfere with government, there is a new temptation to do more: to actually govern. This is a powerful temptation, and one that must be resisted -- has been resisted since the days of Ataturk.
None of this is particularly new, and need not be an actual crisis, except that Turkey has applied for entry into the European Union. In my judgment that would be a terrible thing for both the EU and Turkey, but I quickly add that I haven't done a serious analysis, and I start with extreme prejudice against the bureaucratic state being created in Brussels by unelected civil "servants" who have become a new aristocracy that will soon be hereditary. (That is, bureaucrats send their children to the right schools, promote each other and each others children, and so forth: offices are not hereditary, but positions in the civil service might as well be; this always happens. Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy always prevails.)
Worse than importing a million pages of bureaucratic regulations -- I am not making that up -- would be the Jacobin notion that Turkey must get rid of the Army's interference in political affairs and cease to be the guardian of the secularist constitution. For reasons beyond my ken, the EU bureaucrats actually welcome the notion of including a non-secular -- i.e. an Islamist -- nation within the EU. The result of doing that is predictable.
The new President of France has indicated that he does not want Turkey in the EU -- a triumph of actual politics over the EU bureaucrats -- and that should have an effect. The Turkish Army, now aware that nothing it can do will gain it admission to the EU, is free to act according to the pact they have all sworn to themselves and the memory of Kemal Ataturk. I suspect it will now do so.
I suppose I am now repudiating all possible chances of an academic appointment:
That is George Washington's Thanksgiving proclamation. Sending it out is getting a tenured professor fired because some liberals just can't stand it. In this land of the free.
We sow the wind.
Subject: Bifurcating and withdrawing from Iraq
While I do not advocate withdrawing from Iraq, I think we should examine the implications of how to do so. While I do not often agree with Senator Biden, it seems he is the most responsible of his party to describe how to honorably withdraw (his words not mine) by following the Balkans strategy and separate the combatants. I've read of troubles in the Balkans regarding Kosovo. I would like to hear what your readers have to say on the subject. I would like to know not only your reader's thoughts implications/feasibility in Iraq but the implications on the larger landscape. While I have my own theories I am interested in reading with an open mind.
I don't think we CAN separate the combatants; and if we do, it will be called "ethnic cleansing" and in fact will be indistinguishable from ethnic cleansing except that we won't be involved with rape as one of the methods.
Central Iraq doesn't separate neatly; one reason is Saddam's Arabification program which was intended to mix ethnicities and confessions. And there remains the problem of Turkey and the Kurds. We cannot keep both as allies.
Finally there is the question of sharing of oil revenue. No entity in Iraq can be trusted with this. It would have to be done by an American proconsul or some commission for executing the office of proconsul.
If we could manage to get oil pumping we would have money to hire Iraqi soldiers at damned good pay rates; we could then hire others as civilian reconstruction workers. Things go better when there is plenty of money. But so far we have not been able to pump oil.
"Allah will take care of your wife and kids."
- Roland Dobbins
Will this sort of thing be more or less likely if we withdraw from Iraq?
It is pollen season in LA. I am now dependent on my nose pump; without it I don't think I could function.
Outlook has taken to stealing focus: mail comes in and I suddenly find myself in Outlook rather than Front Page. This is brand new and must have come from some update. Piggy old Outlook is really giving me pig fits.
May 9, 2007
Something must have been done to Outlook in a recent update. It is now piggy to the point that it is nearly unusable. As far as I know there have been no other changes in my system. You would think that a dual processor system would be able to allow me to type and do other work while Outlook is bringing in mail. Even if the mail took half my system's CPU cycles there are plenty left over.
I really hate it when I am trying to type and no letters appear, or trying to select in an Internet window and nothing happens as Outlook rolls merrily along. Surely there is something that can be done? I am still using Outlook 2003 because as far as I can see, Outlook 2007 is at least as bad. Someone correct me if that's wrong.
You noticed that, eh?
Outlook has become almost unusable. It is now grabbing focus. Perhaps not; perhaps I click on something in Outlook, nothing happens, and I go elsewhere; and after a minute or so Outlook pops up to do what I commanded before I went elsewhere.
This is 2003. I have 2007. Does anyone have experience in using Outlook 2007? How does the upgrade go? Will it find the old PST? This is maddening.
May 10, 2007
While I have reason to know that LAPD isn't perfect -- it's overstretched to begin with -- city policies don't help. But the main problems in the past few years have been the swelling of the ranks of illegal immigrants.
The police are overloaded, as are the hospital emergency rooms and other social services; perhaps not true in other parts of the country, but certainly in California. The city of San Diego is essentially bankrupt due to the costs of illegal immigrants.
My solution to the illegal immigrant problem: close the borders ($20 billion a year? probably less. A billion dollars buys a lot of fences, border patrol agents, local sheriff services, and bounty hunters) and allow the melting pot to work. Stop this multi-culturalism and encourage assimilation as we did for 200 years. We need not actively seek out illegals. If they obey the laws, leave them alone. But if anyone illegally here comes to the attention of the police in any capacity other than as a crime victim, they get deported. If the country of origin will not take them back, then we buy them citizenship in Liberia, Chad, or some other willing place: indeed we can auction that off. Countries will bid for the fee we will pay them.
It shouldn't cost more than about $5,000 to buy a place for an illegal in one or another developing country. Meanwhile, a Congressional act instructs the courts that the Civil War Amendments do not make citizens of those born here to illegal immigrant parents; if need be, removes such cases from the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts and from appeal to the SCOTUS.
If the problem continues put a $3,000 bounty on illegal immigrants to be paid to whomever brings them to the authorities. That can include each other if husband and wife turn each other in. Take home a nice bonus.
With 20 million illegal immigrants in the US, and an average cost of $5500 to deal with each, that is $110 billion; not cheap, but given that illegal immigrants cost California alone about $20 billion a year in schools and hospital services (not to mention jails, police, and so forth) it will not be long before that investment shows a profit. And of course we won't have a full 20 million to deport.
Of course none of this will happen, but when Bush says that amnesty is the only possible policy it is evident that he has not properly considered the question, and those who have so advised him are no friends to the president.
May 11, 2007
New York Post May 11, 2007 Baghdad Blues
Colonel Peters has a rather harsh assessment of the congressional leadership as well as senior leaders in the military.
Colonel Peters' column is worth reading.
This probably is the last chance. If we are to win in Iraq we will need to win this surge, then make a long term commitment to stay; pump oil, and use that revenue to recruit auxiliaries -- mercenary soldiers, Iraqis, who will keep peace and order. This was Rome's way and it worked. It was Britain's way, and it worked. Indeed, the US used much the same procedure with the Philippine Scouts in our more or less successful effort to create an ally in the Far East.
It is unlikely that Pelosi will allow us to win. A US victory in Iraq would be seen as a Bush victory, just as a victory in Viet Nam in 1975 would have been seen as a Nixon Victory: Intolerable.
If any0ne is worried about bees, I can tell you there are plenty in Studio City (cell phones and all). My orange tree is covered with them. Fortunately, the bee people were able to remove the hive that lived for years in my attic, and seal off access so they have not come back. I don't know where the present colonies are, but there must be several since the bees go in about three different directions. Even better, these bees seem to have learned to leave the humming bird feeders alone.
Rush Limbaugh should learn the difference between less and fewer. But I suppose it's a lost cause.
The good news is that Outlook seems tame again. I don't think it was anything I did.
We are ONE CHAPTER from the end of INFERNO 2. We will probably go back and insert one-liners or short scenes with particular people, as Dante did; but the main thread is done. We have the string and most of the beads, and the pacing is right. We may need to insert a few more pearls on the string, but this book is essentially done. Next is Mamelukes, in the Janissaries series. Niven and I will pitch another big book to our editors; and I will be working on a new space opera series to pay the bills (and they are fun).
I am probably going to cut back more on the journalism to, say 4500 words in Chaos Manor Reviews plus the Chaos Manor Reviews mail column (which I think may be the best computer letter column in existence, just as I think Chaos Manor Mail is the best general subject mail column on the web). I hope this is satisfactory to the subscribers. I am also working on more material for the subscriber section. Incidentally, I'll be updating part of the subscriber section this weekend, which is to say, putting up the revisions of what's there now; that may be of interest to some.
|This week:||Saturday, May
This diorama of some WW2 Germans is by far the most realistic modeling I've ever seen:
About 2000 words to the end of Inferno 2 -- end of the first draft, anyway. But in fact there is no such thing as a first draft. With computers it is possible to fiddle with everything all the way through, so that some chapters are 22nd draft. Hemingway always started at the beginning of a story and rewrote toward the end, doing this dozens of times. It's a lot easier with computers.
Subject: Encyclopedia of Life,
An awesome project with an awesome mandate.
May 13, 2007
We had a nice day. WinHEC begins Tuesday, with a reception tomorrow night.
Next week I head for Baltimore. The column schedule is likely to be erratic for a while.
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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