Headlines, the Stoics, and Pearls of Wisdom

Headline news:

US troops could be in Iraq for a decade

US forces could be needed in Iraq for a decade to battle insurgents, the top coalition commander said Sunday while vowing a “forthright” review in September on whether a troop surge is working.
Speaking on Fox News, General David Petraeus said there was broad recognition in Washington that Iraq’s daunting challenges would not be resolved “in a year or even two years.”“In fact, typically, I think historically, counter-insurgency operations have gone at least nine or 10 years,” he said. Read the rest of disaster here

And that previous story makes all the sense in the world if you do not control the capital of a country you first invaded four years ago.

Oh, you didn’t see that story released over the weekend that “U.S.: 60 pct of Baghdad not controlled?” I find this story especially frustrating considering so many U.S. soldiers have died and we have yet to secure the capital city of a country we invaded four years ago.

KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer wrote from Baghdad that, “Security forces in Baghdad have full control in only 40 percent of the city five months into the pacification campaign, a top American general said Saturday as U.S. troops began an offensive against two al-Qaida strongholds on the capital’s southern outskirts.
 
The military, meanwhile, reported that paratroopers had found the ID cards of two missing U.S. soldiers at an al-Qaida safe house 75 miles north of where they were captured last month, but there was no sign of the men. The house contained computers, video equipment and weapons.”
Read the rest here.

Remains of kidnapped Iraqi tae kwon do team found BAGHDAD (AP) — The remains of 13 members of an Iraqi tae kwon do team kidnapped last year have been found in western Iraq, police and hospital officials said Saturday.

The team had been driving to a training camp in neighboring Jordan in May 2006, when their convoy was stopped and all 15 athletes abducted along a road between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, in Anbar province.Members of the Anbar Salvation Council, a group of Sunni tribal leaders who have partnered with U.S. and Iraqi officials to fight al-Qaeda influence in Anbar, found the 13 bodies Friday west of Ramadi, near the main highway leading to Jordan, said Anbar police Col. Rashid Nayef. Two of the athletes remained unaccounted for.The remains — mostly skulls and bones entangled in tattered sports uniforms — were transferred to Imam Ali Hospital in Baghdad’s predominantly Shiite Sadr City neighborhood, home to most of the athletes. A doctor there, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said the bones would undergo DNA testing to determine their identities.Relatives gathered at the hospital Saturday to mourn the victims. Women in black robes cried out while men hoisted rickety wood coffins atop minivans and cars. Plastic athletic sandals lay scattered on the ground near the bodies.Read the rest of the story here.

Also, in a story that many of you may not have seen, Bill Gertz claims that China is arming terrorists. Like any journalist who desires to get any “insider info” the government is willing to feed him, Gertz supports these claims without any evidence and goes on to beat the war drum against Iran. This is another bad move by the neoconervatives since China is growing by leaps and bounds and are seriously taking the capitalist road.

With significant “special economic zones” booming in the north and especially in the south, China could be a tremedous ally to the U.S. Instead what do we hear from the frightened little boys “inside the beltway?” We hear the same drum beat against China we hear against Iran. Both based on erroneous and conflated “facts” about the Chinese government, it’s people and it’s history. But, why would I expect anything else when this is their profession?

A note on the Stoics.

In the Hellenistic period, Stoicism was a new philosophical movement. The name of the school “the porch” (stoa poikilê), in Athens was decorated with large paintings and was where the members of the school congregated, and their discourses were held. The Stoics thought that emotions like fear or envy either were, or arose from, false judgments and that the sage – a person who had attained moral and intellectual perfection – would not undergo them. The later Stoics of like Seneca and Epictetus, emphasized the doctrines that the sage is utterly immune to misfortune and that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Our phrase ‘stoic calm’ perhaps encapsulates the general idea of this claim. Stoic ethics achieves a certain plausibility within the context of their physical theory and psychology, and within the framework of Greek ethical theory as that was handed down to them from Plato and Aristotle. It seems that they were well aware of the mutually interdependent nature of their philosophical views, likening philosophy itself to a living animal in which logic is bones and sinews; ethics and physics, the flesh and the soul respectively (another version reverses this assignment, making ethics the soul). Their views in logic and physics are no less distinctive and interesting than those in ethics itself.

Pearls of Wisdom:

“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.”
Thomas Jefferson

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