In the years following the Great War, a sense of doom and panic settled over Germany. Long concerned about a declining birth rate, the country faced the loss of 2 million of its fine young men in the war, the crushing burden of an economy devastated by war and the Great Depression, further compounded by the economic body blow of reparations and the loss of the German colonies imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. Many worried that the Nordic race itself was threatened with extinction.Continue reading The Children Whom Reason Scorns
The burgeoning new sciences of psychology, genetics, and medicine provided a glimmer of hope in this darkness. An intense fascination developed with strengthening and improving the nation through Volksgesundheit - public health. Many physicians and scientists promoted "racial hygiene" - better known today as eugenics. The Germans were hardly alone in this interest - 26 states in the U.S. had forced sterilization laws for criminals and the mentally ill during this period; Ohio debated legalized euthanasia in the 20's; and even Oliver Wendall Holmes, in Buck v. Bell, famously upheld forced sterilization with the quote: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough!" But Germany's dire circumstances and its robust scientific and university resources proved a most fertile ground for this philosophy.
The United States and Israel may be contemplating military operations against Iran, as per recent media reports, yet Iran is not wasting any time in preparing its own counter-operations in the event an attack materializes.Foreign observers called it spectacular. Well, obviously it must have been a spectacle! I'm sure North Korea's elaborate displays are spectacular too but that doesn't mean there's much behind it. The Iranians have inferior training and inferior technology.
A week-long combined air and ground maneuver has just concluded in five of the southern and western provinces of Iran, mesmerizing foreign observers, who have described as "spectacular" the massive display of high-tech, mobile operations, including rapid-deployment forces relying on squadrons of helicopters, air lifts, missiles, as well as hundreds of tanks and tens of thousands of well-coordinated personnel using live munition. Simultaneously, some 25,000 volunteers have so far signed up at newly established draft centers for "suicide attacks" against any potential intruders in what is commonly termed "asymmetrical warfare".
Are we guilty of the same gross interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine, trying to fix their election, we would consider outrageous and criminal if done to us?He then goes on to quote vague accusations in the Guardian to bolster his case that Uncle Sam is being a big mean bad meanie. How undignified. I've got a selection of Buchanan's cast aspersions under the fold, but I want to go straight to the refutation first. The Bush administration says yeah, we bombed them mercilessly with greenbacks, but it's not like Putin and Buchanan are making it sound, it's rather benign.
Are we Americans hypocrites of global democracy?
Consider what we have apparently been up to in Ukraine.
The Bush administration has spent more than $65 million in the past two years to aid political organizations in Ukraine, paying to bring opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to meet U.S. leaders and helping to underwrite exit polls indicating he won last month's disputed runoff election.More of Buchanan's poisoned weasel screeding after the jump.
U.S. officials say the activities don't amount to interference in Ukraine's election, as Russian President Vladimir Putin alleges, but are part of the $1 billion the State Department spends each year trying to build democracy worldwide.
No U.S. money was sent directly to Ukrainian political parties, the officials say. In most cases, it was funneled through organizations like the Carnegie Foundation or through groups aligned with Republicans and Democrats that organized election training, with human rights forums or with independent news outlets.
But officials acknowledge some of the money helped train groups and individuals opposed to the Russian-backed government candidate - people who now call themselves part of the Orange revolution.
For example, one group that got grants through U.S.-funded foundations is the Center for Political and Legal Reforms, whose Web site has a link to Yushchenko's home page under the heading "partners." Another project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development brought a Center for Political and Legal Reforms official to Washington last year for a three-week training session on political advocacy.
"There's this myth that the Americans go into a country and, presto, you get a revolution," said Lorne Craner, a former State Department official who heads the International Republican Institute, which received $25.9 million last year to encourage democracy in Ukraine and more than 50 other countries.
"It's not the case that Americans can get 2 million people to turn out on the streets. The people themselves decide to do that," Craner said.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, "There's accountability in place. We make sure that money is being used for the purposes for which it's assigned or designated."
After recently spending nearly two weeks in Paris and having many conversations with old friends from France's national security elite, I conclude that intellectually, most French want the Bush administration to succeed in Iraq. But emotionally, many want it to fail.
A few weeks ago Rep. Duncan Hunter handed me a reason that has largely escaped media attention on why our troops in Iraq don't have all the armor protection they need. It was a piece of ballistic glass, roughly the size of a small dinner plate. But as it was four sheets of glass glued together, it was also very thick and extremely heavy. But I peered through it, and it was as transparent as a normal windshield. In Iraq, this glass is saving lives because it can stop bullets and shrapnel from roadside bombs.I'm happy that a representative of the American people is taking the bureacracy to task for suppressing American pragmatism in favor of suicidal idealism.
The problem, the House Armed Services Committee chairman explained, is that a ballistic windshield is too heavy for some of the military's vehicles. The window frames simply cannot support it without being reinforced. In many instances that means the soldiers are driving vehicles with regular windshields as the bureaucracy works out the logistics of sending over vehicles that can handle ballistic windshields or finds a way to retrofit the vehicles now in theater. It's this waiting that has unnerved Mr. Hunter.
While the troops wait, he complained, the military could install two-inch-thick ballistic glass--half as thick as is optimal. Nearly every vehicle could support the weight of this slimmed-down ballistic glass, and it would likely stop 80% of the shrapnel that penetrates ordinary windshields. But the military is loath to adopt an interim, if imperfect, remedy. It prefers to wait for the "100% solution," Mr. Hunter said. In other words, in military procurement, the perfect has become the enemy of the good.
In addition to ballistic glass, Mr. Hunter has been pushing the military to armor their vehicles. At the very least, he says, soldiers should be given steel plates they can cut for makeshift doors for their humvees. He even made a short video demonstrating how to do it. All soldiers would need is the steel, a couple of piano hinges, a few bolts and an acetylene torch. He was able to bolt on two doors in just two hours. Yet somehow the military isn't getting this done either.
Lebanese daily An-Nahar newspaper reported on 14 December that more than 14 leaders and important political figures met the previous day in Beirut to formulate a strategy to oppose Syrian hegemony in Lebanon. It is the largest gathering by Lebanese opposition politicians against Syria's presence in Lebanon and included representatives from the Muslim, Christian, and Druze communities.
The coalition issued a declaration that mapped out the future of Lebanon, free from Syrian influence and supportive of new and free elections in March. The alliance aims to refute the claim by pro-Syrian politicians that should Syria withdraw, chaos would ensue.
A group preparing to celebrate the life of a Vermont-born sculptor is petitioning Gov. James Douglas to leave a replica of Hiram Powers' most famous work -- which portrays a nude chained woman -- on his Statehouse desk.I know a greek girl I want naked and chained on my desk.
The petitioners, who include the wife of U.S. Sen. James Jeffords, say "The Greek Slave" is one of the most important pieces of art ever created by a Vermont native.
The governor wants the lamp that incorporates the replica removed from his office desk during the upcoming legislative session. Douglas spokesman Jason Gibbs said last week the governor was concerned the statue could be broken, but he also said there was concern that school children would see the nude.
As international attention remains occupied with the terror murder of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh by an Islamic extremist, and the long-term implications of the spread of Islamic fundamentalism within Europe, Greece continues to be roiled by a debate over the proposed construction of the first state-recognized mosque in the vicinity of Athens in modern times.
The Islamic Center in the Athenian suburb of Peania, more than 15 miles northeast of Athens near the new international airport, will be financed directly by the King Fahd Foundation of Saudi Arabia. According to the Arab News, an English-language Saudi daily, some 8.5 acres were donated by the Greek government for the structure. Foreign assistance for the radicalization of Islam in Greece will inevitably be a central element of the activities at the mosque, which will be very large, intended, it is said, to accommodate all of the estimated 120,000 Muslim faithful in the capital city. The total number of Muslims in Greece is estimated at more than 500,000.