My view of the "grassy knoll" is far more romantic than that of most: it brings back memories of myself at sixteen flying model aircraft (told you I dug the Sabre Jet, but guess it´s best not in balsa) in the local park and making my finest aeronautical manoeuvres in usually vain attempts to fly the damn thing so that it might land beside some of the stunning young women disporting themselves on said grassy knolls.
Rob, Jeremy gave you a reference to the real “grassy knoll” thing. How long have you been living in Spain? Was John Kennedy still president when you moved there?
How do you rationalise/explain/ seek an honest answer to a situation that appears to make the 'saviours' the hated ones; that rather than create local wealth via 'reconstruction' of war damage, it makes the riches flow right back whence came the helicopters? Sure, some local potentates get rich too, but graft was ever so. The basic problem, and I'd be surprised if you don't already know this from your time in the eastern world, is that all peoples are not the same and neither are their expectations or desires. This obsession that the west shows toward the spreading of 'democracy', for example, is an ugly mistake that is rooted in huge assumptions the most arrogant of which is that it is the only way. Almost evengelical in its blindness, and as frightening.
You’re right. All people are not the same. That’s exactly why it bothers me when American kids head overseas believing that other countries are the same as the U.S. – that the same legal guarantees, etc., are available to them in other countries. I spent about three years in Canada, and I love that country, and some of my best military friends are Canadian, but some of the guardrails against political excesses that exist in the U.S. simply don’t exist even there. Can you imagine any country other than the U.S. spreading pictures of the outrages perpetrated by a few of our losers at Abu Ghraib around the whole world? Can you imagine another country conducting court martials of those troops and telling the world about the results? Almost any other country would have swept the whole thing under the rug. In a lot of ways, our openness about Abu Ghraib is pathetic, but it’s what we do, and it’s what causes the world to trust us – which it does, self-serving political outbursts to the contrary notwithstanding.
Unpopular as it will inevitably be, the truth as I see it, the workable answer for the millions of poor and primitive, is not western ideology but strong leadership which may or may not mean dictatorship.
I agree with you to a certain extent. What our liberal friends who push “democracy” forget, or, in many cases never knew, is that western ideology took roughly a thousand years to form. People who haven’t gone through some of the ideological transformations we’ve gone through can’t handle the kind of ideology we live by. But as far as “strong leadership” is concerned, look at Africa. There’s plenty of “strong leadership” there. Try Zimbabwe. You’d certainly have to call Mugabe “strong.” According to your assumption, Zimbabwe should be a much nicer place than Spain for your retirement.
take Spain, where I have spent the best twenty-eight years of my life - they had Franco, much reviled by the current popular crowd but, should you care to speak to the older generation (our own lot) they will tell you that yes, there were problems, but you could go shopping and leave the house unlocked. (Would you dream of doing that back in the States? In the UK? In Spain today?)
Right. And pretty much the same thing could said of Chicago when the elder Daley was in charge.
Think of the Civil War here: had Franco lost, Spain would have been a communist state
I agree. In the Spanish civil war the world lucked out. Franco was a disaster, but communism would have been a catastrophe.
the sooner we realise that and accept that diffferent folks really do like different strokes, the better for all of us. Why can´t we mind our own business and let them just live their lives?
Seems to me that’s exactly what we’ve been trying to do since about the time Teddy Roosevelt stepped down. We were minding our own business on 9/11 – perhaps to an excessive degree.
That the Afghan thing has something to do with fighting and, importantly, winning a drug war is a sick joke.
You won’t get an argument from me on that one. It was before my time (even), but I look back on the days when Sherlock could get his seven-percent solution from the local drugstore (chemist) and I’m convinced that was the way to do things. As far as I’m concerned, anyone should be able to walk into a drugstore and buy anything he wants to buy. In the early part of the twentieth century, when you could do exactly that, the U.S. wasn’t a society of zonked zombies. Seems to me the drug problem is self-limiting. If someone wants to kill himself with drugs, more power to him. But the other side of that coin is that considering the kind of people we elect to run our governments we’d soon have a medical program to save the druggies that would bankrupt us even faster than the current plan for “universal coverage.”