View 741 Wednesday, September 12, 2012
On September 11, 2012, there were terrorist attacks on US diplomatic facilities in Cairo and in Benghazi, and the US ambassador to Libya was killed. At some point prior to the attack in Cairo the US Embassy issued an official apology of some sorts for an American made movie released months ago without fanfare and apparently without much in the way of viewership. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-libya-usa-hezbollahbre88b0sp-20120912,0,63276.story The quality of the film is said to be low and the acting something less than professional.
There are multiple and conflicting reports concerning the origin and financing of the movie, and some question whether the attacks were preplanned and coordinated, or merely spontaneous outbreaks happening coincidentally.
A few random thoughts inspired by today’s radio and TV headlines.
The Charlton Heston movie, 55 Days at Peking. It was hokey, and it reflects the prejudices of the time (1963). Of course anything we see today reflects the prejudices of the times (2012).
This government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead. Of course the real story of the Raisuli affair isn’t as impressive as it became in literature http://www.americanheritage.com/content/%E2%80%9Cperdicaris-alive-or-raisuli-dead%E2%80%9D?page=2 or the movie it – inspired is too strong a word, suggested is probably more appropriate – The Wind and the Lion.
Do you print the truth or the legend? The legend is often a great deal more memorable – and sometimes conveys a stronger lesson.
And for some reason I was reminded of
IT is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say:–
"We invaded you last night–we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away."
And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ‘em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!
It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:–
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."
And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.
It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say:–
"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
Nor matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!"
Of course we would have to borrow the money to pay Dane-Geld to anyone.
Are we safer on September 12, 2012 than we were on September 12, 2008?
That is a far more complicated question, and involves both truth and legends, since the legends often have more influence over mass behavior than the truth.
"This was a well- planned, well-targeted event. No doubt about it."
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.