Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The purple finger in Lebanon?

Thomas L. Friedman is calling for a revolution in Lebanon. He makes perfectly clear that the mischief in Lebanon--once called the oldest real democracy in the Arab world--is directly related to Syrian imperialism. He reminds us that the city of Hama was leveled by the Syrian army (10,000 to 20,000 Syrians slaughtered) in 1982, and that that method is still alive. But Friedman says that Hama no longer rules, rather "Baghdad Rules" is now the name of the game:

What else can the Lebanese do? They must unite all their communities and hit the Syrian regime with "Baghdad Rules," which were demonstrated 10 days ago by the Iraqi people. Baghdad Rules are when an Arab public does something totally unprecedented: it takes to the streets, despite the threat of violence from jihadists and Baathists, and expresses its democratic will.

Rafik Hariri stopped playing by "Lebanese Rules" - eating any crow the Syrians crammed down Lebanon’s throat - and openly challenged Syrian imperialism. If the Lebanese want to be free, they have got to take the lead. They have to summon the same civic courage that Mr. Hariri did and that the Iraqi public did - the courage to look the fascists around them in the eye, call them in the press and in public by their real names, and confront the European Union and the Arab League for their willingness to ignore the Syrian oppression.

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Discussions - 9 Comments

There was a time, now it seems so long ago, when true liberals were at the forefront defending liberty and representative government. Humphrey, JFK, Adlai Stevenson were true "hawks" regarding freedom for those oppressed.

Can you imagine today’s "neo-liberal" talking like Stevenson? "I am prepared to wait till hell freezes over for your answer." (Stevenson to Soviet Amb. Zorin at the UN during the Cuban missle crisis 1962). Then considering our current public education system, historical events are probably rarely mentioned. It seems that today’s neo-liberals are historically challenged dimwits.

Yet some of today’s liberals haved wised up consider this from an article in by Kurt Anderson:
"Each of us has a Hobbesian choice concerning Iraq; either we hope for the vindication of Bush’s risky, very possibly reckless policy, or we are in a de facto alliance with the killers of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. We can be angry with Bush for bringing us to this nasty ethical crossroads, but here we are nonetheless." Article can also be found at:

One more little "dirty secret" from the article:
"At a certain point during the Vietnam War, a majority of Americans—those of us who were in favor of unilateral U.S. withdrawal—were in a de facto alliance with the North Vietnamese, the Vietcong, and the Soviets. Unpleasant but true. People say that Bush was hell-bent on invading Iraq because his father muffed it during the Gulf War in ’91. But I think a bigger motive for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Desert Storm was a longing, unconscious or not, to refight Vietnam victoriously."

It’s funny you should mention vietnam in response to a comment saying the people of Lebanon should fight for their democracy. The Vietnamese people were fight the french and then us for their democracy. When invaded because we didn’t like the way their democracy was going to turn out so don’t spout all this "democracy is on the march" crap coming out of many of the same people that wanted to prevent democracy in Vietname.

Uh blog,

Pardon moi, but just what in the world are you trying to say?It sounds that you would be much happier if Saddam and Omar were back in power. Please tell me that I am wrong. Oh, by the way. it is "Vietnam"; not "Vietname"

Just curious, I’m wondering if "blog" is a denizen of Baathist Damascus or a brainwashed Chomskyite myrmidon.

jesse fan,

The more personal insults you make, the less serious I take your posts . . .

Quite frankly Mr. Mingus, I take your posts even less seriously.

But let us get to the point. Can you make anything out of blogs post? On further review it seems that "blog’ is quite content with Hanoi conquering South Vietnam. Of course there is no mention of the uh, "re-education camps" or of the boat people risking their lives on the open sea to simply get away from their imposed "workers paradise" What was irritating was "blogs" comment about’all this "democracy on the march" crap’. Comments such as this deserve ridicule. Now Mr. Mingus do you feel that democracy on the march is crap? Is "blog" correct? Interesting to know where you stand.

jesse fan,

I don’t agree with "blog"’s post whatsoever. I was just letting you know what I thought about your post.

Re Friedman, I just today (Thursday) sent the following to my kids with a copy of Friedman’s article. We all "know" Friedman!

[Read the article first, then my piece.]

Well now, in all my days, watching Friedman, that knee-jerk, jejune, insipid lib -- never would I ever think such a column might be penned by him (the prince of insignificance). Iraq was a bad deal, till he couldn’t help himself in being amazed by it -- he was there ready to bear witness to the abject failure of the BUSH policies, till they forced his eyes open. He had a
cow when BUSH called three a bad name -- now little Tommy wants someone to call the fourth terror supporting nation a
bad name ("call them in the press and in public by their real names") -- what real name?? -- not evil, I hope.

And, then on top of all that (name calling) [and later, finger pointing] little Tommy wants them to "confront the European Union and the Arab League". And, then of course, on to the UN and talk and vote some more and call ’em another bad name. And tell Syria they better follow UN Resolution 1559, or else.

"Cept, who’s the only "or else" guys around Tommy??? "Cause without the "or else" guys the purple finger ain’t any more than flipping "the bird". Less in fact.

Oh! The European Union and the Arab League, of course -- get them. Old Europe, and especially the Arab League -- they are really big on purple finger days.

But, then now, I’ve left this admonition out; per Tom, "Nothing drives a dictatorship like Syria’s more crazy than civil disobedience and truth-telling:"

Oh yah, Tommy -- in two or three paragraphs you’ve already forgot about "Hama Rules." Those purple fingers won’t work so good under all that rubble, ask your friend Rafik Hariri, who really did appear to be a good and strong man. And, don’t worry, now that I think of it, cause as you say, Hariri got the UN to pass that Resolution 1559. So Syria’s got to get out of Lebanon now!

What made Tommy see the light after all his Middle East ranting (at BUSH)?? That he has, is nothing short of astonishing. I doubt, even with the light, he’s learned anything -- after all these years. And back several years ago when BUSH wouldn’t "rely on diplomacy" little Tommy worked out that deal with the Saudi king in waiting. What’s happened to that.

"Baghdad Rules", or by their original name, "W Rules" (free elections even under fire) --- if they (and you) want that now, Tommy --- better talk to W.

What I just sent in looks and reads a lot better with the paragraphs I hadin it.

jesse fan, you seem to find it easier to throw insults than to address the facts. Do we care about democracy or not. If we did we wouldn’t have invaded vietnam.

As far as who I am, I am a veteran that enlisted in the Army when I was 17 and spend a year living in a tent in Bosnia.

If you believe in freedom then you clearly believe that France should not have been a colonial power in Vietnam. If you believe in democracy then you believe that the people of vietnam should have been allowed to elect what ever government they wanted even if we didn’t like it. It’s really that simple which is why I find it interesting that Vietnam was brought up in a discussion about democracy.

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