October 28, 2002

YE GODS On May 30


On May 30 Mr. Bellesiles is scheduled to talk at a seminar at the Newberry regarding a paper he recently completed, "The War of 1812 in experience and memory."

We shall no doubt hear that Washington wasn't really burned (its inhabitants were just really angry), that Tecumseh was actually an itinerant tinker of German descent, and that the Star Spangled Banner was composed by Rogers and Hart for a Bing Crosby Christmas concert...

Posted by BruceR at 08:28 PM



I'm not yet convinced we should be as appreciative as the Russians' recent anti-terrorist efforts as some have made out. It's hard to forget that Putin's hold on power was originally confirmed by his forceful response to a series of alleged Chechen bombings in 1999 in Moscow (bombings about which much doubt still remains). And given what we're hearing post-theatre, it's not impossible (if unlikely) that what we're seeing is Putin's second attempt at the old Reichstag fire gag. The fact that it was carefully arranged so that not a single Chechen survived to say otherwise, or that Putin is already using the incident as the evidence of the need for an international Russian resurgency, is not reassuring.

Of course, the difference between faking this and faking the bombings is that here you actually needed real live Chechens. But is it not impossible that a Chechen rebel leader could be co-opted to seize the theatre, having been led to believe that the Russians would negotiate first, and that he at least would escape, undoubtedly a wealthy man? It becomes otherwise increasingly hard to explain why the only hostages apparently killed by the terrorists were one who tried to escape and one who resisted... or that despite supposedly having the means to destroy the building, and having anticipated the Russian response so far as to even bring gas masks in some cases, no rebel managed to detonate their explosives in time. Is that the most likely explanation for this bizarre and deadly incident? No. But I don't think there's anywhere near enough info yet to conclusively rule a "Reichstag fire" scenario out, either, and yet no one's really suggesting it yet.

Posted by BruceR at 07:42 PM



Hell, I know I fall to pieces when my plane comes under sporadic small-arms fire in Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator. Man, if I just had the training and Combat Calm™ of a genuine Air Force Fighter Pilot, I could probably make it through a mission without panicking and running half-naked out on the front lawn screaming bloody murder before collapsing into the fetal position.

--Stryker today. Hey, you know what they say, Sarge... the first step is admitting you have a problem. The second step is putting on your pants and getting off my damn lawn...

Posted by BruceR at 02:29 PM