Anti-pain sneakers
Posted by aogThursday, 03 April 2008 at 20:13 TrackBack Ping URL

I find articles like this somewhat bizarre. It starts off with

How do you stop a foe whose tolerance for pain exceeds your willingness to inflict it?

Answer: You don’t. If you start with that as a premise, all that remains is determining the details of surrender. The article goes on to discuss various approaches, all of which (surprise!) turn out to be doomed to failure. It’s a national expression of how pacifism begets violence — if you’re not willing to fight back, there’s never a shortage of people who’ll take advantage of that.

UPDATE: Here is the reductio ad absurdum of gist of this post — Israel wasn’t inflicting enough pain on the Palestinians in Gaza to suit Hamas, so they arranged for an attack to generate it. It’s not even that Israel isn’t willing to inflict more pain than the Palestinians can endure, it’s that Israel is not generally willing to inflict as much pain as the Palestinian leadership wants.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Gronker Friday, 04 April 2008 at 04:53

How do you stop a foe whose tolerance for pain exceeds your willingness to inflict it?

I find a 9mm slug to the heart or braincase inflicts very little pain and is quite effective in “stopping foes”. What little pain in may inflict is very…short lived.

cjm Friday, 04 April 2008 at 09:45

my kids have figured this out about me :)

it amazes me that people like bin laden think we are “soft” given the many counter examples in our history. for god’s sake we are the most heavily armed populace on the face of the planet, that should tell you something. it’s legal to kill someone who breaks into your home, that should tell you something. oh well.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 04 April 2008 at 10:39

Bin Laden is hardly the first to make that mistake. It is, in fact, one of the constants of American history, particularly post Civil War, which is really the biggest clue around.

cjm Friday, 04 April 2008 at 11:33

speaking of the civil war, i was dinking around on wikipedia and followed a link to the page about the mexican/American war. i always thought it was more or less restricted to fighting in texas, but we actually pushed all the way down to mexico city and occupied the capital. also surprising was seeing all the names of military figures that would later play prominent roles in the civil war. one didn’t lead to the other of course, but it an is interesting congruence.

Ali Choudhury Friday, 04 April 2008 at 16:33

Well, it probably did. It was the acquisition of the new states that started off the debate over whether slavery should be allowed there. That eventually led to North and South falling out.

cjm Friday, 04 April 2008 at 18:07

ali, did you go look at the wikipedia page :) ?

there is speculation that Britain had a hand in encouraging the south to secede, have you ever come across any information in this regard?

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 04 April 2008 at 19:06


I thought that was generally known. France supported secession as well, before and during the war. It was obviously in the interests of European powers to

  1. split the USA into multiple nations, which could be played off each other.
  2. discourage the industrial development of the USA, which effectively means opposing the Union, as the Confederacy was agricultural.

Snobbery about the barbaric colonials might have ruled the masses, but the ruling class could see that the USA was a rising power which threatened European power and its remaining colonial empires.

Harry Eagar Saturday, 05 April 2008 at 02:22

Hard to believe anybody who comments in public about politics would admit not knowing about the drive to Mexico City (where the hell did you think the halls of Montezuma were?).

Ali, The Kansas-Nebraska Act (of 1850) more or less settled the statehood balance question, and the only state that was carved out of the conquered parts of Mexico before the Civil War was California (which was, in fact, no longer governed from Mexico City by 1848).

Despite expeditions to conquer Cuba to establish another slave territory (after which a U.S. senator’s son was hanged by the Spaniards; the U.S. government did not protest), the governing class in the South was not in 1860 focused on slavery in the conquered Mexican territories.

My great granduncle was U.S. minister to Mexico and was devoted, unsuccessfully, to heading off conflict with Santa Ana’s government, despite the fact that he was a South Carolinian and a big-time slave owner.

It was, as I’ve noted once or twice before, more complicated than most people imagine.

Ali Choudhury Saturday, 05 April 2008 at 07:37

cjm: No, I’m into military history and the Civil War’s always fascinated me. Britain and France didn’t have any hand in the South seceding. That was entirely due to domestic factors. Britain had a split between the hard-nosed like Palmerston who thought the US breaking down was in Britain’s strategic interest and the general public (and the Queen) who were anti-slavery. There’s a statue of Lincoln in Manchester city centre commemorating his letter of thanks to textile workers for their boycott of Southern cotton despite the effect on their own livelihood.

Harry: I’m not sure how you could say the Kansas-Nebraska Act settled the statehood question. If anything, it inflamed it and the Dred Scott decision made it worse.

cjm Saturday, 05 April 2008 at 09:18

i’ll take ignorance over stupidity any day — and i do consider you to be a stupid person in that you cling to proven falsehoods. while i now have filled a gap in my knowledge, you are still mired in your personal fantasies of moral superiority. still, you are good for a laugh, like an old drunk in a bar.

cjm Saturday, 05 April 2008 at 09:35

in editing my previous post, i made it unclear as to who i am addressing…it isn’t ali.

ali, what is going on in Pakistan, it all seems to have gone quiet of late.

just yesterday i was reflecting on whether or not the common colonial heritage of the u.s. and india was having an effect on the growing bonds between the two countries. it’s just so curious that this country was discovered while looking for easier passages to the other country (and aboriginals here were named ‘indians’). history is curious thing.

i like to read about ancient battles, rome, alexander, etc, in the overall context of history. it’s incredible to me that “intellectuals” berate eisenhower’s cognitive abilities after his handling of the war, while praising a genuinely second rater like stevenson. incredible, but not surprising as like is drawn to like.

Robert Duquette Sunday, 06 April 2008 at 09:34

I think the author is underestimating Israel’s willingness to inflict pain. Back in the 90’s I felt for the suffering of the Palestinian people and supported efforts by the Clinton administration to pressure Israel into a peace deal. When Israel offered a peace deal at Camp David and Arafat turned it down, then unleashed the Intifada, I lost all concern for that people. They are doomed by their own hatred and stupidity.

cjm Sunday, 06 April 2008 at 10:15

there is only one “solution” for israel vis a vis the palistinians, and the israelis won’t take it. unless they are willing to push the palistinians completely off the disputed land, regardless of the consequences to the palistinians, the israelis will eventually be pushed off in turn. ideally the pushing effort would reduce the palistinian numbers by 90% or better. it’s a biological model of infection and immune response; unless you “cure” the problem you are just strengthening the most lethal elements of palistinian society.

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 06 April 2008 at 11:11


I don’t think that level of pain is necessary. Personally, while I hate to agree with OJ :-) I think that Israel missed an excellent opportunity when Hamas won the election. Israel should have (pace OJ) declared Palestine a sovereign state and treated any further attacks as acts of war, to be responded to as the USA and EU did to Yugoslavia in the 90s. I.e., start bombing and stop when the targets do what you want. But I suspect that Israel didn’t do that precisely because they knew they were unwilling, even in the face of massive provocation, to retaliate at a level that would be deterring. I.e., I think the original author is right and Duck is wrong.

Harry Eagar Sunday, 06 April 2008 at 12:55

So, Guy, why don’t we do that with Iran?

As I headed my review of ‘Racing the Enemy,’ it’s a wise country that knows its own enemy.

Orrin, for pete’s sake, is still arguing that FDR picked the wrong one in 1941.

Israel’s enemy isn’t Palestine, or Palestinians, or Hamas. It’s Islam

cjm Sunday, 06 April 2008 at 13:19

we are crushing iran. we are a python wrapped around them and squeezing squeezing squeezing. it’s not mentioned much in the msm but there are articles here and there documenting what’s going on. same with north korea. petreaus will document a causus belli relating to iranian forces involvement in the latest iraqi flare up, leading i think to a naval blockade shortly thereafter. this will precipitate a foolhardy attack by iranian forces, opening the door to a killing blow from us (on the mullah regime). “what is good in life ?” “to crush your enemies, drive them before you, to hear the lamentations of their women”

aog: the death wish is strong within the hebrew psyche and always has been. they want the world to feel sorry for them and allow themseles to be rocketed. i am sorry they insist on suicide (as a nation) but i don’t shed tears for them.

orrin is a fool and often wrong; hitler and the nazis were developing intercontinental weapons while the soviets had horse drawn artillery. you tell me who was the greater threat. the soviets were a very useful enemy but were never going to be more than a bunch of rummed up buffoons.

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 06 April 2008 at 15:45

Mr. Eagar;

I think it’s idiotic that we don’t confront Iran the way we confronted the USSR under Reagan, with sharp edged propaganda and military resolve. I wouldn’t favor open bombardment, because I don’t think the situation warrants it, but I would certainly cheer tracking cross border raiders back to their bases and then flattening said bases with whatever ordnance was handy.

I suspect that we don’t because the State Department sees its mission as serving foreign interests instead of American ones, and the entire zeitgeist of American politics, particularly for the socialists, is avoidance of any confrontation and the tough moral choices that follow.

P.S. I think that one difference is that the Iranian Street is far more persuadable and rational than the Palestinian Street. Harsh retaliation should be an option of last resort, noting that makes it still an option.

Harry Eagar Sunday, 06 April 2008 at 19:14

So, why didn’t Reagan recognize the state of war that had existed between the US and Iran?

When Carter doesn’t, it’s supine cowardice, but when Reagan does the very same thing, it’s statesmanship?

joe shropshire Sunday, 06 April 2008 at 19:29

I don’t think anybody here ever said Carter was a coward, Harry. A self-righteous putz, and a truly stupendous grudgefucker — if you know nothing else about him you know he has never, ever forgiven us for the sin of not re-electing him — and increasingly, in his dotage, sort of this spirit of wizened malice; but no, not a coward, if that matters to you.

joe shropshire Sunday, 06 April 2008 at 20:15

By the way, in which fever dream did you expect Reagan, of all people, to bail the Marxists out of their difficulties with the Khomeinists? This is what this is all about, is it not — the long knives came out after the Shah fell, and you boys found yourselves staring at the pointy ends. That was embarrassing, but stuff does happen, get over it.

Harry Eagar Sunday, 06 April 2008 at 22:12

No, Marxism has nothing to do with it. Between the shah and the Moslems, you couldn’t have found enough Marxists in Iran to rub together to start a fire for the Boy Scouts.

It’s about Islam, at war with the world, and trying to use the world’s weapons against it, since it doesn’t have any of its own.

Carter’s play was interesting. In 1979, I supported either one: war or peaceful negotiation. It was not obvious that either was incorrect, and peace is usually cheaper.

But, and here’s the point, if peace doesn’t work, you have to go to war, you cannot just walk away whistling and pretend that nothing happened. It wasn’t Carter’s peace strategy that persuaded the Muslims that the West and the US were weak, it was Reagan’s.

Ali Choudhury Monday, 07 April 2008 at 05:32

Iran’s not going to be confronted while the US has military forces in Iraq. There are pissed-off Shia minorities all over the Middle East (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt) who will go nuts if a sustained, direct attack is made. And nobody goes nuts like the Shia. It’s a lot more effective to conduct a silent war, putting the squeeze on Iran’s economy. Even then given the influence Iran has on Iraqi Shia leaders like al-Sadr, the US doesn’t have a huge degree of freedom to act.

cjm: Pakistan’s in a holding pattern while Musharraf, Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, the MQM and the rest jostle for position, cut deals and stab each other in the back. Zardari’s sidelined Aitzaz Ahsan who is the most effective politician in the country and the guy who organised and led the lawyer protests against Musharraf summarily removing the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He wants to firmly establish his family (and himself) as being top dog in the PPP. He’ll probably become Prime Minister in a few months.

I doubt the common colonial heritage has any bearing on India-US relations. The circumstances were too different and America’s revolution was long, long ago. If anything, America’s seen as the successor to the British Empire. Indian leaders admire the power and wealth of the US but they are firm nationalists who are keenly aware of India’s own historical importance. They want their country to have it’s place in the sun, not forever play Tonto to America’s Lone Ranger. Alliance with the US will continue as long as it’s in India’s strategic interests.

Harry Eagar Monday, 07 April 2008 at 11:22

India will be looking for any friends it can get as long as China does not collapse.

The question is, why would anybody want to ally with India?

cjm Monday, 07 April 2008 at 13:52

thanks for the update on Pakistan.

too bad, i was kind of hoping they would play Tonto (excellent word play there, tonto being an indian and all).

cjm Tuesday, 15 April 2008 at 01:48

“Alliance with the US will continue as long as it’s in India’s strategic interests” and it will be in India’s strategic interest as long as china is right next door :)

Barry Meislin Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 06:06

“the death wish is strong within the hebrew psyche and always has been.”

I guess that makes the Jews THE most incompetent group of nincompoops in the history of the world. (Though they did manage to have demonstrate spectacular, even brilliant, success during WWII; but I guess they ran out of steam in about 1945 or so.)

cjm Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 19:57

it’s on full display in israel, right now.

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