Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thucydides and bushjr

Since it is truly hazardous to keep your position teaching the truth, yet important; I have long been of the opinion, that, history and politics need only be taught of the classical pre-christian age, the appropriate study of Herodotus, Tacitus, Livy, Cæsar will fully illuminate the issues of to-day; and still, people will know what implies what. Socrates was capitally condemned for subverting the youth. What does a knowledgeable, moral, and scrupulous teacher sacrifice for continued employment? or minimal criticism?

We can remember the play within a play, Shakespeare used, in Hamlet. He was telling the power that was, how it was. Hamlet did not survive the play. In the winter of 1933, as Weimar fell to the new reich, the operetta
Der Silbersee had a ballade on Cæsar. Everyone knew that Cæsar was alive in Germany. The principals never worked in the homeland again, at least under that regime; if they had written and performed that work later, it would have been the hemlock they would taste. If the following passage was published in the papers of this land, or read on television and radio during the recent usurpation of government in early 2003, what would have been the responses?
[4] Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them.* Reckless audacity† came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation‡ was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence, became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defence.
[5] The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy§; his opponent a man to be suspected||. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrewd head, to divine a plot a still shrewder; but to try to provide against having to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries. In fine, to forestall an intending criminal, or to suggest the idea of a crime where it was wanting, was equally commended,
[6] until even blood became a weaker tie than party, from the superior readiness of those united by the latter to dare everything without reserve; for such associations had not in view the blessings derivable from established institutions but were formed by ambition for their overthrow; and the confidence of their members in each other rested less on any religious sanction than upon complicity in crime**. — Thucydides (Θουκυδίδης). c.400 b.C. from the History of the Peloponnesian War. Book III. chapter 82. Civil War in Corcyra (Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, Corfu)
*axis of evil, coalition of the willing, decapitating the regime, democracies, embedding, freedom fries, homeland security, mission accomplished, old Europe, patriot act, regime change, shock and awe, weapons of mass destruction, with us or against us, yellow cake

†...there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.―Darth Cheney. Speech to VFW National Convention. 26 August 2002.
...We know for a fact that there are weapons there.―Ari Fleischer. 9 January 2003.
...We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.―Donald Rumsfeld. 30 March 2003.
...Saddam's removal is necessary to eradicate the threat from his weapons of mass destruction.―Jack Straw (British Foreign Secretary). 2 April 2003.
...Given time, given the number of prisoners now that we're interrogating, I'm confident that we're going to find weapons of mass destruction.―Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff. 26 May 2003.
...For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction (as justification for invading Iraq) because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.―Paul Wolfowitz. Vanity Fair. 28 May 2003.
...for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them.―george w bush. 30 May 2003.

‡En adoptant à l'unanimité la résolution 1441, nous avons collectivement marqué notre accord avec la démarche en deux temps proposée par la France : le choix du désarmement par la voie des inspections et, en cas d'échec de cette stratégie, l'examen par le Conseil de Sécurité de toutes les options, y compris celle du recours à la force...En réponse à cette question, la France a deux convictions: la première, c'est que l'option des inspections n'a pas été conduite jusqu'à son terme et peut apporter une réponse efficace à l'impératif du désarmement de l'Iraq ; la deuxième, c'est qu'un usage de la force serait si lourd de conséquences pour les hommes, pour la région et pour la stabilité internationale qu'il ne saurait être envisagé qu'en dernière extrémité...L'option de la guerre peut apparaître a priori la plus rapide. Mais n'oublions pas qu'après avoir gagné la guerre, il faut construire la paix. Et ne nous voilons pas la face : cela sera long et difficile, car il faudra préserver l'unité de l'Iraq, rétablir de manière durable la stabilité dans un pays et une région durement affectés par l'intrusion de la force. Face à de telles perspectives, il ya l'alternative offerte par les inspections, qui permet d'avancer de jour en jour dans la voie d'un désarmement efficace et pacifique de l'Iraq. Au bout du compte, ce choix là n'est-il pas le plus sûr et le plus rapide?...Il ya dix jours, le Secrétaire d'Etat américain, M. Powell, a évoqué des liens supposés entre Al-Qaida et le régime de Bagdad. En l'état actuel de nos recherches et informations menées en liaison avec nos alliés, rien ne nous permet d'établir de tels liens...Dans ce temple des Nations Unies, nous sommes les gardiens d'un idéal, nous sommes les gardiens d'une conscience.La lourde responsabilité et l'immense honneur qui sont les nôtres doivent nous conduire à donner la priorité au désarmement dans la paix.―Dominique de Villepin.14 February 2003.

In unanimously adopting resolution 1441, we collectively expressed our agreement with the two-stage approach proposed by France: the choice of disarmament through inspections and, in case of failure of this strategy, the review by the Security Council of all options, including the use of force...In response to this question, France has two convictions: the first is that the option of inspections has not been carried through to its conclusion and can provide an effective response to the imperative of disarming Iraq, the second is that use of force would be so fraught with consequences for men, for the region and for international stability that it can not be considered as a last resort...The option of war may appear a priori the fastest. But let us not forget that after winning the war, we must build peace. And let us be clear: this will be long and difficult, because it will preserve the unity of Iraq, restoring a lasting stability in a country and region harshly affected by the intrusion of force. Faced with such prospects, there is the alternative offered by the inspections, which allows to move from day to day in the way of an effective and peaceful disarmament of Iraq. Ultimately, the choice is not the safest and fastest?...Ten days ago, U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, spoke of the supposed links between Al Qaeda and the regime in Baghdad. In our current state of research and information carried out in conjunction with our allies, nothing allows us to establish such links...In this temple of the United Nations, we are the guardians of an ideal, we are the guardians of a conscience. The onerous responsibility and immense honor that we must lead us to give priority to disarmament in peace.[these two sentences, typically french]

§‘neo-conservatives’, ‘busheviks’
|| Robert Byrd, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry
**David Addington, Jay Bybee, Douglas Feith, Alberto Gonzales, William Haynes II and John Woo. And of course bushjr, Cheney, Fleischer, Wolfowitz, Libby, Rumsfeld, et alia.

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