May 10, 2002
7:25 PM   Subscribe

Paul Wolfowitz, leading US Hawk, says insightful, intelligent things about Islam, expresses sympathy for Palestinian suffering at a pro-Israel rally. The crowd doesn't appreciate his point. (Transcript here.) Rumsfeld says "No more Crusaders!" Bravo, DoD-- stay on message! See a pattern?
posted by sheauga (17 comments total)
"Suffering has good qualities.
Through being saddened by it, arrogance is dispelled.
Compassion arised for those trapped in cyclic existence,
Evil is shunned and joy is found in virtue."

- Shantideva, "The Suffering of the Lower States"
posted by sheauga at 7:26 PM on May 10, 2002

Well, I'll bite. The Crusader missile program is being cancelled due to its unfortunate name. This propaganda masterstroke has been carefully coordinated with thoughtful articles and speeches by an administration thinktanker in an effort to persuade the Muslim world that we are not, after all, that bad. American AIPAC and JDL activists will nonetheless jeer at said speaker when he asserts that there should be a Palestenian state. Where Buddhism fits into all of this, I cannot discover.
posted by crunchburger at 8:02 PM on May 10, 2002

[Tangent]While Army Secretary Thomas White has been absolved of participation in the Crusader drama, he may soon be under investigation for having played a role in California's energy crisis while he was at Enron.[/Tangent]
posted by homunculus at 9:17 PM on May 10, 2002

sheauga's being impish.

The Crusader is the classic example of a military program past its expiry date. A massive tracked artillery piece designed in the 1980s for what is habitually described as "stopping the Red Army at the Fulda Gap" (a German lowland perfect for a massive tank advance), it continued in development despite the evaporation of the Soviet threat. Rumsfeld's writ on returning to DoD was reform, with the oft-cited model being the integrated light armor division (like 10th Mountain, or the Marines), easily deployable anywhere in the world on a moment's notice (well, maybe 2-6 weeks or so). The 38-ton Cru just didn't fit that model; we don't even have any planes that could land in Afghanistan with one (crummy runways). Yet it lived on, and the Army was reluctant to give up its future crown jewel. Now, Rummy's won for the moment, but pork-barrel politics in Congress might yet resurrect it.

The name business is just serendipitous timing -- good, or bad, depending on your perspective.
posted by dhartung at 9:19 PM on May 10, 2002

yeah, and the carlyle group (invoke tinfoil) bought the people who made it pushed up the price, sold, now that it is being cancelled... I believe the ethel blog put it, "somebody else is holding the bag." Bye Bye crusader, sell short, who?
posted by mblandi at 9:52 PM on May 10, 2002

Aw shucks. I thought I had it all figured out.

*dons EMF protection amulet* Turns out Enron has nothing to do with Central Asia. /tangent

It occurred to me that these Defense Department types may not be feeling particularly arrogant lately, because some of them are getting just as disgusted with all the needless suffering in Israel - Palestine (and the horrible military options involved) as the rest of us. Possible?

"We must imagine that we have actually been born in each of the regions that make up the lower states and then generate a vivid sense of what it would be like for us to undergo the experiences that occur there. We must continue to reflect in this way until the meditation produces in us a genuine feeling of terror."

Sample meditation: we decide to argue the Israeli vs Palestinian conflict every night on MeFi and the evening news for the rest of our lives. Does this provoke a "genuine feeling of terror, and a desire to renounce this way of life?"
posted by sheauga at 10:10 PM on May 10, 2002

posted by crunchburger at 11:32 PM on May 10, 2002

...and I have nothing abolutely nothing to say on this.
posted by Postroad at 4:05 AM on May 11, 2002

mblandi: Did Carlyle really sell their stake in United Defense? Do you have a reference? That would explain a lot.
posted by electro at 10:52 AM on May 11, 2002

Having read the speech, I have a new appreciation for Wolfowitz. I disagree with his conclusion, but I think it was very thoughtful and balanced overall.
posted by electro at 10:57 AM on May 11, 2002

sheauga : Is advertising $329 "protection amulets" :

a) an attempt to divert attention from the topic
b) a way to fund your internet surfing
c) an attempt to please your bf/gf who sells the amulet
d) just a link-joke gone wrong
e) your way to have media or users pay attention to you?

Whatever the combination is, I was the first noticing it..what do I win, an amulet ?
posted by elpapacito at 10:57 AM on May 11, 2002

Your prize: a historic opportunity to visit the Fulda Gap, and ask the locals whether they feel more or less safe without the Crusader system. (Just bad humor-- no commercial intent.)

(what electro said.) Identifying "terrorism" as the root cause does not sit right with me. I have no problem with defining terrorism as "the use, or threatened use, of WMD by non-state actors," but this does not seem to be the way the term is used lately. Putting the country on a perpetual war footing and yelling "terrorism!" every time somebody comes up with a new form of intimidation or unconventional warfare is a reactive response that puts the agenda out of our hands. Disasters, intimidation, and attacks are part of what happens in this world. IMHO concrete efforts at peacemaking, prevention, resilience, and recovery are more important than endless yammering about who's wrong because they're being a "terrorist."

This quote is great:

" ... the Muslim world was one of the most tolerant and progressive parts of the world. Beyazit’s attitude is reflected in a classic Hadith, or saying, which says: "these differences among my people is a mercy of God." God gave us different views of things so that we might discuss important issues in peace, find truth, and reach compromise. That is certainly not an exclusively Muslim principle. Indeed, it is a foundation of liberal democracy. The idea of peacefully debating differences is a foundation of Western civilization—and indeed, civilization itself."
posted by sheauga at 2:58 PM on May 11, 2002

Well I really don't know that much about this, but there's this one about the ipo and someting on this page . For what it's worth.
posted by mblandi at 4:43 PM on May 11, 2002

mark13: $2 billion? Pfaugh. Spend a little more, pretty soon you're talking real money. For instance, a notably similar-in-so-many-ways precursor was the XB-70 bomber program, a high-altitude supersonic bomber that predated the B-1 by 20 years (and one ugly mofo, for all that). The XB-70 Valkyrie cost $1.3 billion in 1960s dollars, which would be 7.4 billion today. And the darn thing crashed during a photo op.
posted by dhartung at 8:46 PM on May 11, 2002

What follows is a really broad generalization and is of course not applicable to all situations everywhere.

IMO: The defence sector is the 'holy cow' everywhere on the planet among the political mainstream. That in itself is not such a bad thing. All societies have a few. What is bad is the level of corruption that this has bred. I would like to differentiate here between the combat forces that usually attracts mostly honest and brave people in most democratic societies and defence procurement and contracting which is almost always incredibly bureacratic and wasteful. The business of defence contracting can be very sleazy and if you look real hard you can almost always find some kickback somewhere to someone or other. It also tends to be so secretive that reformation is always bloody difficult to unearth. That's how the system works and no matter how good your intentions are, it is not open for reformation. Remember how Slate was keeping a Ramsfeld death watch before the 9/11?


- I am pleasantly surprised by Wolfowitz's speech. Kinda unexpected.

- For those following the wonderful career of Thomas White; Al Kamen in Washington Post has been taking great pleasure in being a regular thorn in White' side for the past so many months.
posted by justlooking at 9:59 PM on May 11, 2002

For contrast: a down-home, neighborly approach on Islam and Muslims, from Charlie Reese.
posted by sheauga at 11:14 AM on May 12, 2002

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