Heinlein at 100
The Grand Master of Science Fiction would have turned 100 today.
Just to let ya'll know, Heinlein's work has had a sizable influence on my worldview. And I've only read 4 of his works (Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Farnham's Freehold). Mental note: head to the bookstore today to add more to this list.)
Heinlein is eminently quotable,which makes choosing just a few quotes tough. But I'll do what I can.
"Anyone who clings to the historically untrue — and thoroughly immoral — doctrine that "violence never solves anything" I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."
* Source: Lt. Col. Jean V. Dubois (Ret.), Starship Troopers
"I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do." -The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
Given that I first read Starship Troopers when I was a young Infantry lieutenant, I've always loved this one:
There are a dozen different ways of delivering destruction in impersonal wholesale, via ships or missiles of one sort or another, catastrophes so widespread, so unselective that the war is over because that nation or planet has ceased to exist. What we do is entirely different. We make war as personal as a punch in the nose. We can be selective, applying precisely the required amount of pressure at the specified point at a designated time. We've never been told to go down and kill or capture all left-handed redheads in a particular area, but if they tell us to, we can. We will.
We are the boys who will go to a particular place, at H-hour, occupy a designated terrain, stand on it, dig the enemy out of their holes, force them then and there to surrender or die. We're the bloody infantry, the doughboy, the duckfoot, the foot soldier who goes where the enemy is and takes them on in person. We've been doing it, with changes in weapons but very litle change in our trade, at least since the time five thousand years ago when the foot sloggers of Sargon the Great forced the Sumerians to cry "Uncle!"
Juan Rico, Starship Troopers
And always remember, TANSTAAFL!
More Thoughts on Yon and the Rest of the Media
WHY DON'T AL QAEDA ATROCITIES GET MEDIA ATTENTION?
Because that might help Bush.
UPDATE: A journalist whose name you'd recognize emails:
Yon's story doesn't get attention because it is humiliating.
It is humiliating because it is obvious that we media – and our allies in the state department, the legal trade, the NGOs, the Democratic Party, the UN, etc., - can’t do squat about such determined use of force.
Our words, images, arguments and skills can’t stop the killing. Only the rough soldiers and their guns can solve the problem, and we won’t admit that fact because the admission would weaken our influence and our claim to social status.
So we pretend Yon’s massacre – and the North Korean killing fields, the Arab treatment of women, the Arab hatred of Israel, etc. - doesn’t exist, and instead focus our emotions and attention on the somewhat-bad domestic things that we can ‘fix’ with our DC-based allies. Things such as Abu Ghraib, wiretapping, etc. When we ‘fix’ them, then we get status, applause, power, new jobs, ego, etc.
Please don’t be surprised. We media are an interest group not much different from the automakers, the unions, and the farmers.
Sadly, this makes sense. And this fits the pattern.
More Thoughts on Iraq
Michael Totten has more thoughts on that's going on in Iraq. His thoughts are spurred by this piece by Fredrick and Kimberly Kagan in The Weekly Standard, which delves into the history of how our generals have learned from past mistakes and successes, both military and political.
Read the whole thing. Both whole things.
More from Michael Yon
Yon's still in Diyala, although this report isn't from the Arrowhead Brigade in Baqubah, but rather with the Cav brigade outside the city.
Yon's dispatch covers the uncovering of a mass grave in a small village near FOB Warhorse, where the villagers were either killed or driven out by al Qaeda. At least some of the children were beheaded.
We have a name for the kind of individuals-I won't call them people-who massacre children. It's not "warriors" and there is nothing "holy" about them. We call them thugs. We call them murderers. We call them sociopaths.
The Iraqi Army troops at the site allowed Yon full access, as distasteful as the subject matter was. They understand the importance of letting the rest of the world see the true nature of al Qaeda. Oddly, it seems that Yon was the only Western media at the site.
It's especially odd given the propensity of the AP and Reuters to report sectarian massacres. At least, sectarian massacres that didn't really happen.
Maybe it's just that sectarian massacres, even if they didn't happen, fit the MSM's mental template of the 'sectarian civil war' in Iraq. Massacres by Iraq don't fit, because al Qaeda isn't in Iraq, and so they must be fake, so they should be ignored.