Monday, January 22, 2007

A few ideas pre-SOTU

As we eagerly await Our Dear Leader's State of the Union (SOTU) address Tuesday evening, here are a few relevant quotes:

As we leap off the cliff into the yawning maw of violence that awaits us in Iraq we might want to figure out which side we are on. - Larry Johnson Choosing Sides 01/19/07
[Defense Secretary Robert Gates'] favorite quotation from history, he told reporters traveling with him this week for meetings with allies and commanders in Europe and the Middle East, is from Frederick the Great, the 18th century Prussian monarch and gifted musician: "Negotiations without arms are like music books without instruments." - Hawkish Gates Sees More Force as Leverage by David Cloud New York Times 01/22/07
Frederick the Great is a fascinating character on a lot of levels. But he was also the living embodiment of Prussian (German) militarism and its greatest historical symbol. Frederick's nickname was Old Fritz (der alte Fritz), also a nickname for the Devil (and, yes, it's the same in German). And that's Gates' favorite quotation from history? Good grief!

Like the Big Push of the Somme [in the First World War], the Big Push in Iraq is a reapplication of tactics that have already proven a calamitous failure. As the outspoken retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency, puts it, it's like finding yourself in a hole and then digging deeper. - Adam Hochschild, "The Big Push": Mired in the Trenches of the Iraq Fiasco 01/21/07

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