Geo-Politics: Change the Dynamic ~ Offer Incentive

If I were President…

1.  We get less than 20% of our oil from the Middle East.  I’d halt this immediately.

2.  That oil shortfall would be sourced from our own reserves and Canada.  I’d even throw a bone to Venezuela in exchange for their withdrawal from OPEC.

3.  I’d close all bases in the Middle East.

4.  I’d place a base in Israel and Egypt.  Keep the base in Turkey.

5.  I’d tell Egypt and Turkey that they have choice.  Either they’re with the West or their with the Muslim world.  If they decide that they’re with the Muslim World, then we withdraw all support and all bases from those countries.

6.  I’d tell Europe and Asia that America is no longer responsible and will no longer take action in the Middle East except in the case of defense of our allies.

7.  The Allies in the Middle East would be designated as Israel because they are a Democracy as well as Egypt, Turkey and Jordan.

8.  Our alliance with Egypt, Turkey and Jordan would be predicated upon Democratic reforms and their renunciation of a foreign policy based upon Islamic Internationalism.  These countries can keep their Islamic Nationalism, if they chose to do so.  That choice would mean our pulling all resources and support from their nations.

9.  Support of Jordan and Egypt would also be predicated upon an agreement to assimilation all Palestinian refugees.  All refugee camps would have to be closed down.  Those refugees would have to be given full rights in the countries in which they are located.  The US would assist with funding for housing and job training for these refugees at 50% of the cost.  This Aid Package would be closely guided by a contractual auditor to ensure that the monies were being used to build infrastructure and not lining the pockets of corrupt officials.  If bribes are insisted upon, funding would be withdrawn.

10.  Continued support of Israel would be predicated upon a real peace plan with the Palestinians.

a.  Israel would either permanently partition the West Bank and Gaza as sovereign nations and pull out completely leaving the Palestinians to their own fate.

or

b.  Israel would annex the Palestinian areas and alter their constitution making Israel an officially and legally secular nation.  Part of that constitutional reconstruction would be safeguards for all religions, creeds, ethnicities from persecution, etc.

There would be a ten year time frame to effect these changes with specific milestones in place.  If these milestones are not met, we would pull all support for any or all of these nations.

We would offer the new Palestine Nation, if created, a package of aid in return for a turning away from Islamism.  The US would provide financial and expert support in building a nation from the ground up.  A referendum from the Palestinian people would be required to receive this Aid Package.  In essence, the Palestinian people would be required to request it via said referendum and the leaders of Hamas, Fatah as well as members of any other quasi-governmental group recognized by the people.  If the people did not vote for our assistance, the offer would be withdrawn.  This Aid Package would also be closely guided by a contractual auditor to ensure that the monies were being used to build infrastructure and not lining the pockets of corrupt officials.  If bribes are insisted upon, funding would be withdrawn.
The onus would then be on these nations.  If they decided to go along with us, they would have our support.  If not, we would withdraw from them and leave them to their collective  fates.

I would have these treaties ratified by the US Congress and the United Nations.

There would be no military solutions offered.  Either they come on line with us or we no longer have a reason to be associated with them.  End of discussion.

As for the Gulf and their oil, that would be the responsibility of whomever wishes to continue to purchase oil from those nations.  China, France, Germany…whomever it may be.

We would continue to patrol the ocean lanes for support of international trade.  The Straits of Hormuz — no longer our problem.  Saudi Arabia — keep with your Wahhabism/Salafism on your own shores or risk offending more nations.

Egypt seems to be progressing towards Democracy.  This surprised me as I thought that the Muslim Brotherhood would take them in the direction of Islamic Sharia.  This is a positive development.  Jordan would need to step away from Monarchy and join the rest of the world in Democratic reforms.

Over the short term, these initiatives would seem expensive.  Over the long term, these initiatives would save America and the Globe much in terms of blood and treasure.

This would be my solution.

In effect, we would be saying; “Join the World and we will support you.  Remain in the Dark Ages and we will abandon you.”

I want out of the business of supporting corrupt and/or stubborn regimes.  Whether that regime be Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Western Europe.

The next thing that I would do would be to withdraw all forces from Europe.  The only way we would keep US troops stationed in Europe would be if at least 50% of the costs were funded by the country that wished for us to be there.  All real estate used by the forces stationed in those countries would need to be loaned permanently at a cost free basis for the duration of the deployment to that country.  A Status of Forces Agreement would have to be met whereby our Servicemembers would be subject to US Law and the UCMJ only while in country.  All services for our Servicemembers would be provided without interference by the United States.  All Servicemembers would be on a Tax Free Status in that country.  That nation would also have to be a member in good standing of the Democratic Nations of the World.

If they are not willing to do this.  No problem.  We will simply not have a need to act in defense of their Nation.

I would also pull out of South Korea.  On the way out, I’d tell China that if North Korea attacks, we would bomb the North into the dark ages.  That would be my final and only dealing with North Korea.  If the people of the North are too brainwashed, too stupid or too weak to fight for change, this is not the problem of the United States of America.  Let China feed North Korea or South Korea if that be their desire.

I would pull all of our forces out of Japan.  Japan doesn’t need us there and many of the people don’t want us there.  Next, I would enter a treaty with the Philippines wherein we purchase land from them to station our Pacific Forces.   I would base a Marine Expeditionary Unit and an Army Mechanized Infantry/Stryker Division there along with a Carrier Fleet being on Station at all times.

China would be warned that Japan is still our ally.  Taiwan would be told to work out their differences with China.  If China became bellicose and threatened invasion, we would act in defense of Taiwan.  Unless the threat is based on Taiwanese provocation.  In that case, Taiwan is on their own.

I would also make an alliance of mutual support with India.  Our Armed Forces would conduct joint operations/exercises with India.  If possible, I would allow for a treaty whereby US Forces would be permanently stationed in Southern India.  This would hinge upon Indian acquiescence on the Kashmir debate.

I would withdraw all forces and support from Pakistan and Afghanistan.  If Pakistan wanted our support, they would have to oust the Saudi Wahhabis and the Deobandi.  Pakistan would also be required to sweep the FATA and NWFP of taliban influences.  They would also be required to withdraw from the Kashmir debate.  This would be the price of assistance from the US.  No debate.  No equivocation.  If they want our support, they give up their dispute with India over Kashmir and halt support of all terrorism directed towards India.

India and Kashmir would be required to allow a full vote by the Kashmiri people.  1.  Independence  2.  Annexation by Pakistan  3.  Retention by India

International Election Officials would oversee the vote.  Any monkey business by either side and no deal.  Kashmir should be able to decide it’s fate.  Their fate should not be decided by Muslim terrorists or Indian Soldiers.

We would withdraw all support from Pakistan if this is not followed through to completion.   With regards to India, we go to a neutral stance.  India has no need of our support.  They’re a viable nation in their own right.

Aside from moving away from the Defense of Europe, I would do nothing in Europe.  They’re sovereign nations that can navigate their way through the world in their own rite.  We should not be providing defense for them unless they are willing to subsidize it.

On patrolling the commercial sea lanes, I would require that other nations either subsidize fleet operations or provide support in the form of personnel and equipment.  Either that or we protect only US shipping.

It’s time for the free ride to end.  The Nations of the World (especially Europe) have enjoyed peace at the expense of the American tax payer for far too long.  They decry our every move.  It’s time for them to step up.  The World doesn’t want Team America — World Police or so they say.  Let them have their desire.

These actions would save American Tax dollars.  They would remove us from the Middle East conflicts.  They would place the onus on other nations to conduct their own defense and improve the lot of their own citizenry.

After these offers, blame for the sorry affairs of the world could no longer be placed at the feet of America.  The primary sources of conflict would have been given a viable alternative.  If they chose the path to peace, it would be with our leadership.  If they chose the path to war, it would be at their own behest.  The blame would lie with themselves.

Another thing that I think would be a positive is for an exchange program wherein a Battalion of another Nations forces would be given the opportunity to come to Fort Irwin, Texas to train with US Forces.  I’d rotate the Nation on a regular basis.  6 Month rotations.  This would be a tremendous opportunity for our Armed Forces and theirs.  I’d offer this opportunity to India, Romania, South Korea, Hungary, Egypt, Russia, Thailand, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and other Nations with whom we would engage in treaties of mutual defense or with whom we wish to improve relations.

The last item on my agenda would be reforming the UN.  That, though, is a whole other post.

That would keep us from any more of this:

Along with legislation mandating a Declaration of War in order to commit forces to a Ground Invasion of another country.  I have no problem with bombing a perpetrating country into the stone ages.  If there are viable targets.  I would also work to repeal the prohibition against assassination of World Leaders.  We could have saved a lot of money and lives by simply putting a .99$ bullet through the forehead of Saddam Hussein.  We could save a bit more by spreading about 200 USD worth of lead throughout the Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian power structures.

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Casualties of the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

Scenes like this are ubiquitous in Afghanistan.  Old shells of Soviet Armor and Trucks.  Every type of Soviet Equipment can be found out there.  Aircraft down at Bagram.  Personal and Crew Served Weapons of various sorts are everywhere.  Bridging equipment.  Soviet Armor and Personnel Carriers.  Soviet Mobile Kitchen Trailers.  Everything needed to field an invasion.  The Soviets left much behind when they hightailed their sorry asses back across the Amu Darya in ’88 or ’89.

Now it’s all rusting out on Afghan Bases, outside the Herat Airport and across the highways and byways of the country.

Is Islam THE Problem?

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Current Ass Kisser in Chief

No, I don’t think that to be the case.  It’s not really about Islam generally speaking.

It’s more complicated than that.

Islam.  Muslims.  They’re not bad folks and many of them are damn fine people.

The problem that we won’t face is the Nejd.

Why?

Saudi Arabia owns it and has BLACK GOLD.

Also, the official religion of Saudi Arabia is the same form of Islam from which sprang all of the Fundamentalist Thugs who are terrorists.  Saudi Arabia is a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

BUT because they have oil.  It’s the truth that shall remain unspoken.

It is the evil with no name.

To speak it’s name is to reveal the truth.

It’s easier to keep the public ignorant and let a few hundred or a few thousand die at a time and keep the pipe line open to “cheap” oil.

What’s a few thousand civilians to Big Business and Big Government.  Most of the ones who die don’t pay taxes or pay negligible taxes anyway.  They don’t matter.

Saudi Arabia is the monster.  Wahhabism is their little secret Dr. Frankenstein.  Islamic Fundamentalism is the monster escaped from it’s dungeon.

It’s escaped before and the Muslims themselves went in and killed thousands of them in the Nejd while the Brits killed thousand more in the NWFP and the FATA in Central Asia.

Today, though, we choose to ignore the belly of the beast and instead, we “combat” the excretions.

Thousands, no, hundreds of thousands have died in the past 10 years.

Why?

To keep that Saudi oil pipeline open.

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Obama receives the Honorary Order of the Saudi Boot Licker

 

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For those of you who have no clue as to where Saudi Arabia is located.

 

America is not to Blame for Islamic Extremism

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Islamic Extremism began before America was founded. It existed in our early days.  It was there in the Barbary Pirates.  It was there before our Revolution in the Nejd being fought against by other Muslims.  It existed long before we started our foray into the World as a power of any great importance (real or imagined).

Islamic Extremism has been there since the beginning of Islam.  Islam was born in blood.  It was born extreme.  The first act of Muhammad was to use Islam as a tool to capture Mekkah and to turn the pagan shrines there into Islamic Shrines with the Ka’aba as it’s center.

What we know in the modern era as Islamic Extremism was started by al Wahhab.  Al Wahhab was a Cleric born in the late 1700s.  He assisted the Saudi Family in their ultimately successful efforts to conquer Arabia.  Afterwards, his adherents became so violent that they were put down by the Egyptians at the behest and with the approval and thanks of the Ottomans.

The Muslim Brotherhood traces it’s philosophical founding to al Wahhab.  All Islamic Terrorism groups not sponsored directly by Iran and even some of those such as Hezbollah, the Quds Force and Hamas trace their philosophical foundings and their violence back through the Muslim Brotherhood to al Wahhab.

I find it amusing when Westerners who are wholly ignorant of the history of Islam and it’s people wax poetic about how America or the West is to blame for Islamic Extremism.

https://hereticdhammasangha.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/onward20muslim20soldiers.jpg?w=194Islam began as a tiny desert cult or sect in the deserts of Arabia.  It conquered it’s way via Holy War from Central Asia and Western China to India and Indonesia to parts of Southeast Asia thorugh Asia Minor into Eastern Europe down through the Middle East and the Levant to North Africa and into the African Interior ending in Spain.

This peaceful religion then sided with the Germans in both World Wars I and II.  Syria and Egypt then sided with communism and the Soviet Union.

I suppose that is peaceful as compared to a pacifist community or two…

Currently, Islam is used to justify African Slavery, Holy Jihad and suicide bombs, Airplane Hi Jackings, Clitorectomies on young women, the chattel slavery and oppression of millions of women across the Islamic world and in the West, execution of homosexuals, honor killings of sisters, mothers and wives for the slightest of reasons.

It is a given that not all Muslims practice these things or approve of such things.  It is a given that the leadership of Islam is weak and vacillating.  Relying on oppression and duplicity to remain in power.

Yes, Christians have done ugly things as well.  That said, Christians, for the most part, are not doing these things now.

There is no mainstream movement in Christianity that calls for the Bible as Christian Law.  No mainstream movement that calls for the execution of infidels, homosexuals or women based on Christian law.

This does not exist in the West.  Not in the mainstream.

There are loons and fools a plenty.  None of them get the time of day from the majority of the Western World including adherents to the Christian faith.

The world would be better off without Islam and Christianity.  That much I believe.  Individual Christians and even smaller organizations are fine.  It is primarily the politicized and the mainstream fundamentalist Christians with whom I have a problem.  Christianity has done much harm.  The belief in Jesus of Nazareth and those who follow the actual teachings of Christ have been a great boon to the world at large.  Christianity as we know it is a perversion created by the State of Rome as a mechanism of control.  It was also used by the Monarchies of Europe to further their power and political aims.  Jesus, I believe, would not approve of what we have called Christianity for the past 1600 plus years.

We’d find others things over which to fight.

The West is not to blame for Islamic Extremism.

America is not to blame for Islamic Extremism.  It pre-dates America herself and it certainly pre-dates American Global Power.

Someone someday might successfully explain to me how something that existed before her birth is the fault of America.  As of this date, no such person has arisen.

Only fools who know nothing of history.

Not all Muslims are enemies of Liberty and Freedom.  Not all Muslims would force their brand of religion on others.  Even so, there are many Muslims who would.  Radicals are always the more powerful force in history.  Moderates will usually fight for nothing.  Pacifists will not fight.  Those who believe in nothing will not fight for their vision of life on the planet.

This is the danger of Islamic Extremism.  The radicals are willing to fight and to die for that in which they believe.  Ignore that at your own peril–as many have done before.

Tamerlane Macabre

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I was reading Tamerlane ~ Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World when I came across this passage.  I laughed out loud.  Unny was sitting beside me and looked at me funny.  So I “made” her read the passage. She looked at me like I was an idiot and asked me why it was funny.

I couldn’t really explain why?  It just was….

Tamerlane ~ Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World

The book was a most entertaining read.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Justin Marozzi has a similar style to John Man.  Man writes exhaustively about Central Asia, China, Genghis Khan and his grandson Kublai.

Timur was a madman.  I love the guy.

We need a Timur or a Genghis in our age.  Someone with the balls to do what is necessary rather than politicize and haggle like clucking hens.

Why are our Armed Forces still in Europe?

04.04.2008: Steve Bell on Nato

We need strategic relocation.

Europe needs to pay for their own defense.  See how they like being out from under our Defense umbrella.  The cowards would have to foot the bill and they’d have to back their talk with more than “We disagree with America.”

I’d say out of Europe altogether unless they want to pay us for having our troops there.  Europe should be paying the US for their defense.  As should South Korea.  We should not be paying them for the privilege of defending them.  I’ve never understood the concept of renting bases from Germany or the RoK.  We’re there or were there to keep their sorry asses from being invaded.  They should have been paying us.

I’d say withdraw from NATO and form a separate treaty organization with Australia and Great Britain.

We should withdraw completely from Saudi Arabia unless they start paying us for their protection with billions of barrels of oil.

We should negotiate a base in Ethiopia.  Hell, at least they’re Christian.  We should negotiate a base with Israel and all of our aid should be dependent on their allowance of our use of their lands.  Put a base right square in the Negev.  Negotiate another base with Jordan and one with Egypt.  We give aid to all of these countries.  That gives us an eye for Europe.  A quick hop across the Med and boom ——–> Italy and Greece.  I’d even be for placing a base in the Christian areas of Lebanon to counter the Iranian Rev Guards, Quds Force and Hizbollah.

We should negotiate a base with India as well.  In Hindu or Christian areas.  Stay out of Muzzie areas of India.

Keep a small force in Afghanistan and a small force in Iraq for the foreseeable future but draw down the rest and let those countries build themselves.

That puts us strategically located across the globe and gives us some damn fine opportunities for sightseeing.

The best thing that we could do is to get out of Europe.

We should declare war on Pakistan and let India go in with us and kick their asses.

Solve Pakistan and Afghanistan is solved.  It’s that freakin’ simple.

That will scare the shit out of Iran and China as well as put Russia on notice.

We screw around way too often.  End this shit.  NOW!

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Soldier from the Korengal Valley up for the Medal of Honor

The Korengal Valley

A US paratrooper who took part in some of the heaviest fighting in the war in Afghanistan – in the remote Korengal Valley – has become the first living nominee for the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam war.

The highest American decoration for military valour, the Medal of Honor has been awarded only eight times, all posthumously, since 1973. Two were given to snipers for the part they played in the battle of Mogadishu in 1993 in protecting a downed helicopter pilot. Since then, there have been six awarded from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but none of them has been given to a surviving serviceman.

Although the Pentagon has refused to comment on the identity of the soldier, the Army Times reported on Friday that it had established that the proposed recipient was Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. His name is understood to have been put forward after he charged into a wall of fire from Taliban fighters, who were attempting to overrun his position, to drag away another US soldier.

The episode, which took place on 25 October 2007, is described in Sebastian Junger’s new book, War, which describes the fighting in the Korengal Valley. A documentary, Restrepo, made by Junger with cameraman Tim Hetherington and covering the same period, is released this weekend.

Describing his attempts to reach a wounded colleague, Giunta told Junger: “I did what I did because that’s what I was trained to do. I didn’t run through fire to save a buddy – I ran through fire to see what was going on with him and maybe we could hide behind the same rock and shoot together. I didn’t run through fire to do anything heroic or brave. I did what I believe anyone would have done.”

Read those last few words again.  This guy is a true, real and live hero.

Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq are light situations.  They’re deadly serious.  There are areas in both that are deadly.  There are areas in which one can sit on a FOB for a year and never come under enemy fire.  The media doesn’t run stories on this phenomenon.  The enemy-less FOBs out there that see no real enemy combat.  I’ve been on quite a few FOBs over there that see no enemy contact.  I’ve been on some that see rocket and mortar attack.  And I’ve been on some that have taken enemy fire.

I’ve never been anywhere close to the Korengal Valley or it’s daily hazard of enemy contact.

The guys in that valley acted heroically on a daily basis for weeks at a time.  There are lulls, of course.  Times when the taliban and the Arab fighters crawl back into Pakistan to lick their wounds and re-supply.  Even so, the danger is ever present in a place like Korengal.  There is no let down.  The stress is unimaginable.  The bond created by that stress.  A bond forged in fire is indescribable.  Seeing your friends killed or wounded and the unspeakable horror of the possibility or likelihood that you could be next.  How does one speak to that.

I had conversations back in the States with some civilian friends of mine.  Guys who had never been in a combat zone.  They kept telling me that all of our soldiers were heroes.  Some even characterized me as a hero.  I’m simply a contractor over there.  I can leave any time that I feel the pressure is too much.  Hell, I could leave just for the hell of it.  I was able to take holiday every 3 or 4 months.

Not so for soldiers.  They’re there.  For the duration.  They’ll rotate in and out on leave once during their 12 to 15 month tour.  Other than that, they’re stuck.  No choice but to sweat it out.

But.  There are two types of soldiers over there.  Those who see combat and those who don’t.  Some soldiers never leave their FOB.  Never see an enemy combatant outside of CNN, Fox News or MSNBC.  Some of these sit at FOBs that directly support combat troops.  Some sit in rear areas like Bagram or Camp Phoenix and never leave the FOB.  Others drive around green zones wherein no enemy contact is made.

I spent 18 months at Bagram Air Field (BAF).  We were rocketed or mortared once a month at best.  There was always a rumor that the insurgents would try to infiltrate.  Bullshit rumors at best.  Anyone with any knowledge of the situation in Afghanistan and of the insurgency knew that the insurgents had neither the equipment nor the manpower to breach BAF.  It just wasn’t going to happen.  Aside from the occasional rocket and the daily detonation of mines being detonated on the perimeter, I never felt truly threatened at BAF and the war rarely intruded on my day.

That’s how a great majority of soldiers and almost all of the Navy and Airmen spend their tour in Afghanistan.  Contractors are, for the most part, in the same category.

Not so for your average Combat Soldier in Afghanistan.  Not so for your average Marine in Afghanistan.  These guys are sent out to do the heavy lifting.  These guys fight.  For those in Western Afghanistan, it’s a bit of a lighter load.  Excepting parts of Farah and Badghis Provinces.  I know this because I was there for 30 months as a mentor and trainer for the Afghan National Police.  I know how much more dangerous some areas are than others in Afghanistan.  I’ve spent time in Qandahar as well and up in the Mountains of Ghor.  I’ve experienced some of these places and have spoken with folks just out of other areas.  I know people in some of these places right now.  Out in the East and the South, the fighting is much more intense.  Korengal is in the East.  Curved up next to Pakistan.  I’m sure that during some of the Ops that those guys ran in Korengal, they looked straight down into Pakistan.

Those guys are fighters.  Those guys are heroes.

I knew Officers and NCOs over there who never left the FOB.  12-15 months sending Soldiers and Marines out in harm’s way.  Never once did they inspect these troops.  Never once did they share their hardships and dangers.  These Officers and NCOs were not heroes.  They weren’t even leaders.

I know this is not politically correct of me to say, but, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who sit at FOBS and never see the enemy.  They’re just Joes doing their job.  There doing nothing heroic.  Contractors out there are hired to do a job.  They’re not heroes.  There are exceptions to this, of course.  Some men and women will fall into situations and become heroes.  Others will fail and become cowards.

The men who fight on those hills.  They’re guilty.  Guilty of going above and beyond and becoming heroes.  These are the men who in earlier times would have inspired tribal tales and cultural myths such as Hericles, Perseus and Achilles.  These are the rough men standing ready to defend us.  They join the military for adventure.  They join the military for college funds.  They join the military because if they didn’t, they’d probably spend their lives in prison.  They join the military for as many reasons as there are individuals out there fighting.  Regardless, they find themselves in hell.  They fight for their brothers and die for their brothers.

Personally, I feel it’s a stain on the honor of the truly heroic to call all members of the military heroes.  It’s even worse the way the term is bandied about as concerns Sports personalities and others of the like.

The title of hero is an honorific that’s earned.  It’s an honor above all others.  It’s about selflessness.  It’s putting the lives of others above yours.

Despite their protestations. these men in the Korengal Valley and similar places are heroes.
We should not diminish their legacy by such easy use of the word.

If you want to delve more deeply into the War in Afghanistan or the Korengal Valley, I recommend reading WAR by Sebastion Junger. It is an amazing read.

It’s true that heroes are inspiring, but mustn’t they also do some rescuing if they are to be worthy of their name? Would Wonder Woman matter if she only sent commiserating telegrams to the distressed?
Author: Jeanette Winterson

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. Arthur Ashe

Monetary Notes of the World


Unny and I had this table custom made for our new digs out in the ‘burbs.  Cost a bit, but, not too much.  It’s made from teak wood.  I wanted something in which to display the monetary notes which I’ve collected from my travels.  I only wish that I had some of the notes that are in my storage room back in the States.

There are notes in there from China, Dubai, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, India, Iran, Bahrain, Egypt, Vietnam, North Korea and a few other countries.  As well as notes from old French Indochine.  The note with the tiger is from Vietnam during the US war era.  I actually got that one from ebay.com because I thought it was cool.

There are also coins in there from all over (Japan, Malaysia, EU, England, etc).  Some old ones but mostly newer coins.  I placed my three French Indochine Silver Dollars. They’re probably counterfeit, but, I don’t care.  That actually makes them a little more interesting to me and I paid a pittance for them.  3 or 4 bucks.  Nothing to cry over.  I knew or thought that they were fakes when I purchased them.

I also placed of couple of Greco-Bactrian coins in there.  Supposedly, they’re silver and over a thousand years old.  I don’t know.  So many fakes being sold in Afghanistan these days.  Even so, those coins are supposedly a dime a dozen over there.  Chances are they’re real.  They’re not rare, though.  At least not for anyone who’s traveled in Central Asia.  They’re all over the place there.  It is said that one can find them walking out in open ground or on fields and such.  They’re that common place.  Neat little pieces of history.

The necklace is a Kuchi piece that I purchased at a bazaar in Herat.  It’s made of brass and copper with a few worthless gems thrown in for good measure.  It has an old animist relief on it.  Looks to be an old Ganesh likeness to me. I also placed my Bamian Buddha stamps in the lower right corner and four little jewelry/snuff boxes.  The two with Camels depicted on them are from Dubai and made from silver and glazed to make the camel likenesses.  The other two I purchased in Herat.  Those two are supposed to be silver as well.  Though, I doubt it.

There you have it.  My little collection of monies (and sundry items) from around the world.

The Muslim World

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I like this. Except that I don't see any of them as scary. I see those labeled as scary as folks who need to be dealt with violently. Not all, but, those who would act violently against US.

On the Muslim World

Muslims see themselves as a community. They always have and always will. The only way to stop that is to kill all of them.  Christians think of themselves as a community as well.  Christendom is a concept only recently gone out of fashion. There are mentions of Christendom from the 19th Century, I know. Europe was still speaking of Christendom until only recently. I think Churchill mentions it a few times. That was the 20th Century.  It is not a foreign concept to think in terms of a World Wide Religious or Cultural community.  We think of the West. The West is Christian. No matter how greatly this is denied by atheists and secularists within the West.  The West is merely a more secular term for Christendom.  The West is as guilty of this kind of speak as is Islam.   The difference is that we, in the West, agree with Western Culture. We don’t see it as problem and arrogantly believe that the rest of the World should be overjoyed to join us.   Muslim lands. Christan lands. During World War I and at the end of World War I, “The West” celebrated the return of the “Holy Land” to it’s rightful Christian hands by virtue of it’s capture after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire encompassed most of what we now speak of as the Middle East. Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and a few others were https://i2.wp.com/www.iranian.com/main/files/blogimages/Middle%20East%20-%20Map400.bmpall part of the now defunct Ottoman Empire. This was considered the Muslim World or the Lands of the Mohamadens (Saracens) and spoken and written about as such by Christian or “Western” writers and historians.  That some in our era do not understand the concept of Muslim lands is fairly meaningless. The Great Tides of History are against their ignorance. It’s simply that they are ignorant of the history of the region. Not their fault.  Our schools are more interested in Political Correct thought processes than learning.  If one truly desires to rail against this concept and this ideology, though, one should at least be aware of this history.  Me, I don’t care what history says about Muslim lands. Prior to the Muslims, these lands were all Western (Roman) and/or Christian.  Not that Christians ruled them justly either.

History also shows us that the most violent and war like culture wins out in the end. The winners determine the future and control history.  Except in our current era, where idiotic pacifists, socialist, multi-culturalists and self defeatists in the West want to write history based strictly upon their feelings of guilt and ignorance of history.  They remind me of mini-Pol Pot or Mao Tse Tung pretenders.  The greatest threat to the West (Christendom) is not the Muslims or even Communist China. It is the 5th Column of corrupt leftists and extreme liberals within our own borders. In order to finally defeat the Islamic threat, we will need to defeat this 5th Column by making them irrelevant.

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A call for Islamic Reform

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OUR GOALS

  • to educate Muslims about dangers presented by Islamic religious texts and why Islam must be reformed
  • to educate non-Muslims about the differences between moderate Muslims and Islamists (a.k.a. Islamic Religious Fanatics, Radical Muslims, Muslim Fundamentalists, Islamic Extremists or Islamofascists)
  • to educate both Muslims and non-Muslims alike that Moderate Muslims are also targets of Islamic Terror

OUR MANIFESTO

Brothers and Sisters!
Do not make the next generation of Muslims clean up your mess!
Fight Islamic Fascism now, so your children won’t have to!

Acknowledging mistakes
The majority of the terrorist acts of the last three decades, including the 9/11 attacks, were perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists in the name of Islam. We, as Muslims, find it abhorrent that Islam is used to murder millions of innocent people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Inconsistencies in the Koran
Unfortunately, Islamic religious texts, including the Koran and the Hadith contain many passages, which call for Islamic domination and incite violence against non-Muslims. It is time to change that. Muslim fundamentalists believe that the Koran is the literal word of Allah. But could Allah, the most Merciful, the most Compassionate, command mass slaughter of people whose only fault is being non-Muslim?

The Koran & the Bible
Many Bible figures from Adam to Jesus (Isa) are considered to be prophets and are respected by Islam. Islamic scholars however believe that both the Old and the New Testament came from God, but that they were corrupted by the Jews and Christians over time. Could it be possible that the Koran itself was corrupted by Muslims over the last thirteen centuries?

The need for reform
Islam, in its present form, is not compatible with principles of freedom and democracy. Twenty-first century Muslims have two options: we can continue the barbaric policies of the seventh century perpetuated by Hassan al-Banna, Abdullah Azzam, Yassir Arafat, Ruhollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hizballah, Hamas, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, etc., leading to a global war between Dar al-Islam (Islamic World) and Dar al-Harb (non-Islamic World), or we can reform Islam to keep our rich cultural heritage and to cleanse our religion from the reviled relics of the past. We, as Muslims who desire to live in harmony with people of other religions, agnostics, and atheists choose the latter option. We can no longer allow Islamic extremists to use our religion as a weapon. We must protect future generations of Muslims from being brainwashed by the Islamic radicals. If we do not stop the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, our children will become homicidal zombies.

Accepting responsibilities
To start the healing process, we must acknowledge evils done by Muslims in the name of Islam and accept responsibility for those evils. We must remove evil passages from Islamic religious texts, so that future generations of Muslims will not be confused by conflicting messages. Our religious message should be loud and clear: Islam is peace; Islam is love; Islam is light. War, murder, violence, divisiveness & discrimination are not Islamic values.

Religious privacy
Religion is the private matter of every individual. Any person should be able to freely practice any religion as long as the practice does not interfere with the local laws, and no person must be forced to practice any religion. Just as people are created equal, there is no one religion that is superior to another. Any set of beliefs that is spread by force is fundamentally immoral; it is no longer a religion, but a political ideology.

Equality
Islam is one of the many of the world’s religions. There will be no Peace and Harmony in the World if Muslims and non-Muslims do not have equal rights. Islamic supremacy doctrine is just as repulsive as Aryan supremacy doctrine. History clearly shows what happens to the society whose members consider themselves above other peoples. All moderate Muslims must repudiate the mere notion of Islamic supremacy.

Sharia
Sharia Law must be abolished, because it is incompatible with norms of modern society.

Outdated practices
Any practices that might have been acceptable in the Seventh Century; i.e., stoning, cutting off body parts, marrying and/or having sex with children or animals, must be condemned by every Muslim.

Outdated verses
The following verses promote divisiveness and religious hatred, bigotry and discrimination. They must be either removed from the Koran or declared outdated and invalid, and marked as such.

Outdated words & phrases
Use of the following words and phrases or their variations must be prohibited during religious services:
• Infidel / Unbeliever: these terms have negative connotation and promote divisiveness and animosity; Islam is not the only religion
• Jihad: this word is often interpreted as Holy War against non-Muslims
• Mujaheed / Holy Warrior: no more wars in the name of Islam
• American (Christian / Crusader / Israeli / Zionist) occupation: these terms promote bigotry; at this point in time, Muslims living in non-Muslim lands have more freedoms than Muslims living in Muslim lands

Islam vs. violence
Islam has no place for violence. Any person calling for an act of violence in the name of Islam must be promptly excommunicated. Any grievances must be addressed by lawful authorities. It is the religious and civic duty of every Muslim to unconditionally condemn any act of terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam. Any Muslim group that has ties to terrorism in any way, shape, or form, must be universally condemned by both religious and secular Muslims.

Portrayal of Prophets
While portrayal of Prophets is not an acceptable practice in Islam could be personally offensive to some Muslims, other religions do not have such restrictions. Therefore, the portrayal of the Prophets must be treated as a manifestation of free expression.

The Crusades vs. The Inquisition
While the Inquisition was a repulsive practice by Christian Fundamentalists, the Crusades were not unprovoked acts of aggression, but rather attempts to recapture formerly Christian lands controlled by Muslims.

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So long as idiots in the West keep excusing it, the violence of Islamic extremism will exist.

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Muslims and The West: Hate, Fear and Suspicion

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On Trust, Fear and Hate

Moderate Muslims do what moderates of all stripes do. They stay home and keep to themselves. It’s why their called moderates.   Look, I absolutely abhor the Wahhabis and about 90% of the inane nonsense that is preached by these idiots and the Clerics and the IRG and Hizbollah and Hamas, etc.  You won’t find many people who know as much about Islam as I AND who rails against that idiotic religion more than I.  That said, the logic of the “hate, fear, [dis]trust” rhetoric here is flawed. I know many Muslims who want no part of the extremists. I know some “moderate” Muslims who feel threatened by the West.  We have encroached upon their lands, their culture, their people. We’ve forced our way on them. It’s only natural that eventually there will be push back.  If they did the same to us would we sit back and take it.  There are regular, every day people out there who just happen to be Muslim. The majority of Muslims are like any other people. They observe their religion casually and don’t really get all that silly about it.  Then you have the freaks. The Government of Iran and most of it’s Clerics, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and it’s pets — Hamas, the Quds Force and Hizbollah. You’ve got al Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood, al Jihad and the rest of the off shoots from those gangs of criminals and miscreants.  You can brand all Muslims as this or that about as much as you can brand all Americans as this or that.   I’ve traveled, lived and worked amongst Muslims for over a decade. They’re not all bad people.  Are all Christians bad because of the murderers of abortion doctors? Are all Texans bad because of the murderers who dragged that black kid in chains a decade ago.   Are all Americans bad because of the criminals who take advantage of war and rape and pillage the people whom we are supposedly liberating?  NO!

I don’t think that ALL Muslims distrust the West/America. I don’t think that ALL Muslims trust the West/America either. I’ve met Muslims who like and respect America who still don’t really trust us per se. They know that America is going to do what is right for America. This is correct. They understand this. Some of these people also understand the politics of America and know that we will change depending on the mood of the country and who we elect based upon that mood. America doen’t really have much continuity of ideals. We are ever evolving and constantly moving between the two political polars. Bush initiated the current Iraq war and Obama ran with our withdrawal as part of his platform. Many of the Muslims with whom I have dealt over the years understand this dynamic. Many of the Muslims with whom I have dealt know that America and the West have no real stomach for actual violence and war.  Even though we love the fantasy of it. The enemies of the West and America understand this as well. They know that we’ll get riled and ramped up for a period of time. They also know that they can wait us out and we will grow impatient with a lack of result or too many dead bodies even when we are winning the greater war. They know that our ardor for war and patriotism has clear boundaries. They know that they can wait us out. The Muslim community and especially that part of it that hates the West/America knows that over time they can defeat us because we do not have the stomach for war. They know that the majority of the West has that pacifist strain that will eventually lead to our downfall. There are many Muslims out there who would love to ally themselves with the West and bring about a more or less secular Islam. These people, though, do not trust the West to help them see that struggle through to it’s conclusion. They know that their deaths and the end of this alliance is one Obama (or Carter) away. Even Reagan withdrew from Lebanon after the bombing there that killed 280+ Marines. Reagan stared Soviet Russia in the eye and still backed down quickly from the violence of Islam. It happens time and time again. Many Muslims love the West/America. They see the potential for a life of liberty and freedom AND Islam therein. Even so, they fear our inability to stay the course. They do not trust our fortitude especially in the face of adversity and violence of the type that the other extreme of Islam will bring to bear while fighting us.

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In the West and amongst Modern Christianity, voicing one’s opinion that runs counter to the Extremists brings criticism and possibly ostracism.  In the lands of Allah, criticizing the extremists brings violence and death.  Who here, in the West, would raise his voice first with the full knowledge that it will bring death and/or violence to yourself and your family?

That’s about what I thought…

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This is what happens to Muslims who speak out against Jihad and the battle against the West.

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Masjid Jami

Sometime during my tour in Afghanistan, I got outside the wire.  I tend to do this from time to time.  Get out and wander around with a friend or two.

This particular time, I was doing some business with the ANP Province Headquarters.  While there, I crept out with a few guys and one ANP Colonel and strolled over to the Masjid Jami in Herat.  COL Khoda Dad spoke with the head Mullah there and asked him to give me a tour of the Mosque.  After intros were made, I was escorted about and taken to almost every part of the Mosque.  One of the more interesting parts of the tour were when they showed me the room where all of the repairs are made for tiles and such.  They do all repairs by hand.  Exactly the same process as hundreds of years ago when the Mosque was first created.  They even hand paint the ceramics onto the tiles.

I took these pictures as I walked around in awe of the agelessness of the place.

I’m very lucky to have been able to have had this and other experiences in Afghanistan.  I’d venture to say that not everyone has such incredible and unique adventures over there.

Khoda Hafiz!

Muslim Woman Raise Your Voices! Be Heard! Fight!

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The French legislators who seek to repudiate the wearing of the veil or the burqa—whether the garment covers “only” the face or the entire female body—are often described as seeking to impose a “ban.” To the contrary, they are attempting to lift a ban: a ban on the right of women to choose their own dress, a ban on the right of women to disagree with male and clerical authority, and a ban on the right of all citizens to look one another in the face. The proposed law is in the best traditions of the French republic, which declares all citizens equal before the law and—no less important—equal in the face of one another.

It is way past time for the world to band together to take on this unjust tradition.

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Could anything be more obvious and yet so ignored a danger to women of this world as this despotic, idiotic religious/ethnic tradition?

Money!

I’m not a numismatists or serious collector of coins and notes.  Not by any means.  Even so, I usually grab a few notes and/or coins when I’m traveling.  The part that is cool for me is to find old money that is still in circulation.  The old Mao notes in China.  Older notes in Thailand that have an earlier version of King Bhumipol.  The notes in Cambodia that highlighted the various peoples and ethnic minorities or have varying versions of Angkor Wat and other sites. The notes used in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion, the Civil War and the Taliban eras.

These notes convey a sense of history to me.  They’re part of the fabric of the history of these lands. That fascinates me. I’ve monies of varying sorts from nearly every country that I’ve visited plus a few other notes that were gifts from the homelands of folks whom I’ve met out on the road.

These are a collection of items from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.  The Lao and Khmer notes, I picked up in Luang Prabang, Vieng Vang and Vientiene (Laos).  The Thai notes were given to me by Unny’s parents.  She was telling them that I had a crazy fascination with money so that brought me some from her Grandfather’s house.  Some of the notes are pretty old with the oldest dating to the 1920s.

The coins are all Thai with the exception of the old French Indochine Piastres.  They are probably fakes, but, they were too cool to pass up.  I tested them as I have been instructed.  The ring test and the obverse/reverse line test.  They actually passed those test.  Even so, they were much to cheap and felt too light to be solid silver coins of that size.  Perhaps, I’ll have them checked one day.  I don’t care if they are real or not.  They look cool and that’s all I’m interested in at this point.

Another Excellent Cartoon Commentary on Afghanistan

Rape and Murder: The Tools of Karzai Democracy

The Karzai Government is corrupt and beholden to Thugs, Thieves and scandalous, corrupt Mullahs who want to force medieval religious “values” on the common people as they use Islam to rape the country.  These thieving scoundrels use Islam as a tool of rape, plunder and intimidation.  They use their power in the government and their association with the United States to empower themselves and to bully the people.  They use rape and murder to intimidate any voice which rises in defense of the people of Afghanistan.

The worse thing about this situation is that it is American money and influence which allows this situation.  Rumsfield, Cheney, Bush and, now, the Obama Administration are keeping these men in power.  These scum are the anti-thesis of Democracy.  They are Taliban lite and in some cases, they are worse than the Taliban.  They have become so under the protection and with the help of the US and NATO forces.

We empower these corrupt “leaders” and allow them to use Democracy as a guise under which they protract a decrepit despotism that they started after the fall of  King Zahir Khan.

America is not spreading Democracy in this region.  We are doing the very opposite.  It’s shameful.

We should be supporting the Malalai Joyas of Afghanistan.  Instead, we are supporting the evil, murdering and raping despotic Warlords who are democratic only in the sense that they mouth the word from time to time.

IT IS SHAMEFUL!

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Nahida, Jalil and Wazir Ali Say “Go Big Blue!!!”

GO BIG BLUE!!!

I purchased a couple of UK sweatshirts to give to my little friends over at the RHQ.  I wanted to give the sweat shirts to the kids before I left for leave as a Christmas gift.  I didn’t have the time, though.  So I put them away until after my R&R.

Wahid, Shoaib and I took the  sweatshirts and a few other items (puzzles and candy) to the kids today.   It was fun playing with the kids and explaining them the meaning of the puzzles.   I explained to them who Donald and Daisy  Duck and Huey, Dewey and Louie are as well as the 101 Dalmatians and the Cookie Monster.  As I was doing it, Shoaib reminded me that I used to call Wahid the cookie monster.  When I first met Wahid, he scammed one of my cookies off of me.  I got mad and told him that I’d kick his ass if he ever touched my stuff again.  lol  Then I started messing with him and nicknamed him cookie monster.  It ran on for a year and finally I just let it tail off.  He was pretty embarrassed by it.   Of course, that just made me rub it in all the more.

We gave them the sweatshirts and the candy.  Baba brought over his baby girls as well.  They were cute little girls.  One of them was scared to death of me and the other just looked at me as if I was a curiosity.  I laughed and laughed.  Kept tell ing her; “so you’re the brave one of the family” and laughing.  She let me hold her and talked to me and generally was a fearless little gal.  I loved it.  Too cool.

After the boys put on their sweatshirts, I got them to pose with the flags and yell “Go Big Blue!”  It was too funny and too cute.  I wish I had my vidcam, but, I left it in Thailand with Unny.  I had to coax Nahida over to get into the picture.  She gets shy when the camera comes out.

I sometimes wonder what these kids think of all of this.  I’m some strange American man and I bring them things for no reason.  Shoaib teased Nahida today and told her that I wanted to take her back to the States to marry my son.  She didn’t take to the idea.  I told her that he was joking and I don’t have a son.  No need to worry about that.  Even so, she seemed nervous the whole time.  As if she thought we might take her away.

I kept re-assuring her that it was in no way going to happen.  Although, I’d love to adopt her and take her home with me.  Get her away from the fate that most likely awaits her as an adult Afghan woman.  Send her to school and lead her to a happier life.

I gave Shoaib the camera and he snapped away as I played and acted like a kid myself.  I think they enjoyed it.  Little Jalil called me Dear Uncle today.  I can’t remember the Dari word for Uncle  or I’d type it here.  Then Jalil and Ali started calling me Dawood Khan.  lol  That’s what was on my name tag on my uniform when I first met them.  I laughed and laughed.  I got them to yell “Kentucky!” and “GO BIG BLUE!”, “Patrick Patterson” and “John Wall.”  I was trying to get them to say “The Great Wall of Kentucky!”  But I think it was too long.  lol

Then I got them to yell “UK is Number One” and “Go Big Blue!” again.

It was a fun time.  Always nice seeing my little friends.  Peace!

Xi’an and the Terra Cotta Warriors

Finally made it to Xi’an (Jee AHN) to see the Terra Cotta Warriors.  Unny and I spent the last week traveling around Beijing.  We visited the Forbidden City, Baita Zu, the Confucius Temple, the Lama Temple with it’s huge Buddha statue, the Summer Palace, the Beijing Zoo and all of the Pandas and Albino Bengal Tigers, The Temple of Heaven and, of course, Tienanmen Square.  We tooled around the Hutongs and Bei Hai Park as well.  We had a great time.

After 7 days in Beijing, we flew down to Xi’an to see the “Eighth Wonder of the World” and the beginning/end of the Silk Road.

The night we arrived, we were exhausted.  I was down with a cold from Jinshanling and Simitai.  We both just passed out.

The next day, we arose early and headed out of the city to see the Soldiers.  It’s about a 35 minute drive from Xi’an to the Qin Terra Cotta Warrior and Horse Soldier Museum.  Nice little drive through the country.

We had an “English speaking” tour guide who spoke English.  Just not so well.  He guided us around but didn’t really provide much detail and couldn’t really articulate much for us.  So we just took it in and read the literature ourselves.

Near the end of the main Museum Hall, you pass through a book store.  A small, ancient looking Chinese guy is sitting there surrounded by books and postcards about the Terra Cotta Warriors.  He’s one of the Seven Farmers who found the Warriors while digging a well.

We purchased one of the books and a packet of postcards and he signed the book for us.  It’s kind of funny, though.  As they call him “the founder of the Warrior Museum.”  Meaning simply that he’s the guy who found the Warriors.  Not the actual FOUNDER of the Museum.  I got a good little chuckle out of that.

He signed our book and posed for a couple of photos with us.  We told him; “Xie Xie” and shook his hand.  He was quite proud and signed our book with huge Chinese characters.  He signed his name and “Founder of the Warrior Museum” on the inside of the book.

We moved on our way and continued through the Museum to the brass  chariot and horses.  They’ve only found one set of these Chariots and horses.  Though they speculate that there are three more.  One for each of the four cardinal directions.  The one that they found was painted White which (I think) designates South in Chinese mythology/symbolism.  Eventually, as they continue to excavate the site of the Warriors, they expect to find three more spread out in the other three directions.

No timeline, though.  They’ll get around to it as they get around to it.  China doesn’t seem in much hurry to do anything in so  far as these antiquities are concerned.  I reckon they figure that they’re under there and aren’t going anywhere and they’ll get around to finding them eventually.

They take a long term view of the whole thing.

Of course, I took hundreds of photos.  These are 95 or so of them.  I didn’t resize them.  So they may take a bit of time to open if you are on a slow network.

The Terracotta Army was discovered in 1974 in the eastern suburbs of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province by local farmers drilling a water well 1.5 miles east of Lishan (a mountain).[2] This discovery prompted archaeologists to go to Shaanxi Province, China to investigate. The Terracotta Army is a form of funerary art buried with the First Emperor of Qin (Qin Shi Huang, “shi huang” means the first emperor) in 210-209 BC. (He declared himself the first emperor of China in 221 BC.) Their purpose was to help rule another empire with Shi Huang Di in the afterlife. Consequently, they are also sometimes referred to as “Qin’s Armies.”

The material to make the terracotta warriors originated on Mount Lishan. In addition to the warriors, an entire man-made necropolis for the emperor has been excavated.

According to historian Sima Qian (145-90 BC), construction of this mausoleum began in 246 BC and involved 700,000 workers. Qin Shi Huang was 13 when construction began. He specifically stated that no two soldiers were to be made alike, which is most likely why he had construction started at that young age. Sima Qian, in his most famous work, Shiji, completed a century after the mausoleum completion, wrote that the First Emperor was buried with palaces, scenic towers, officials, valuable utensils and “wonderful objects,” with 100 rivers fashioned in mercury and above this heavenly bodies below which he wrote were “the features of the earth.” Some translations of this passage refer to “models” or “imitations,” but he does not use those words.[3]

Enjoy.  We certainly enjoyed seeing them live.

Hedging on Guantanamo

Europe’s Hedging on Inmates Clouds Guantanamo Plans
(New York Times, March 16, 2009, Pg. 1)
 
European countries that have offered to help the Obama administration close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay have begun raising questions about the security risks and requirements if they accept prisoners described by the Bush administration as “the worst of the worst,” according to diplomats and other officials. The concerns, and a deep suspicion of whether the American intelligence community will share full information on the prisoners, are likely to complicate the resettlement effort, which is critical to President Barack Obama’s fulfilling his pledge to close Guantanamo within a year of his taking office.

EU Could Aid U.S. by Taking 60 Detainees 

(Financial Times, March 16, 2009)

Up to 60 Guantanamo Bay detainees could be taken in by European Union countries, according to the bloc’s senior justice official. Jacques Barrot, the vice-president of the EU, said Europe’s response to any U.S. request that it take former detainees would be a “test issue” ahead of a trip he is making to Washington this week. “We are open to co-operation to help close Guantanamo as long, of course, as the methods used there are not replicated in other places,” he said, adding that Washington would need to give the EU complete information on the background of the detainees sent to Europe.

U.S. Challenged on Sealing of Detainee Files
(Washington Post, March 16, 2009, Pg. 15)
 
The Justice Department has filed “unclassified” records in federal court outlining the government’s cases against more than 100 detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, but the records are not being made public. The move has triggered a legal skirmish with detainees’ attorneys, who say the excessive secrecy greatly complicates their work, especially in light of looming hearings. Three news organizations have also joined the fight, saying the government is keeping valuable information from the public. The government says it wants to keep the records from public view for now as a national security precaution after it discovered classified information in the documents.