Tag: History for Kossacks

The Bonus Expeditionary Force

It must have had a dreamlike quality to it: a summer’s day in Washington, the tanks and troops on the street accompanied by officers like George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower, led by none other than General Douglas MacArthur.  America’s Caesar was wearing a full salad bowl of ribbons and medals, magnificent astride a great horse; to the impoverished veterans he was riding to meet, he must have looked like a mighty warrior of a bygone era.  Then, to their horror, the Chief of Staff of the US Army ordered his infantry to fix bayonets, his cavalry to draw sabers, and his tanks to move forward.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, we’re tonight’s historiorant finds Depression-hit vets of the First World War encamped in a Hooverville in Washington during the summer of 1932.  I’m not saying it contains lessons to be learned about the interrelationships of Republican presidents, veterans, economic depression, and violent authoritarianism, but as St. Colbert once said, “I can’t help it if the facts have a liberal bias.”

The American Expeditionary Force

From the plebian soldier’s point of view, the social contract regarding wartime service isn’t all that hard to comprehend.  Every generation or so, your country goes to war, with the tacit understanding that the government will: only compel you to bear arms for a limited time; compensate you in some way for your time and effort; and tend to any long-tem injuries sustained while fighting for the government’s causes.  So it is that every generation or so, a group of veterans returns to the United States in full belief that the government which sent them into battle will care for their wounds and honor their service – and in nearly every case, find their na├»ve hopeful trust violated in the most unconscionable, unpatriotic ways.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight your resident historiorantologist will start looking at how that government treated some of the veterans of a war four generations removed from the Iraq Occupation.  Along the way, we’ll take a look at a war message that doesn’t seem to have lost much relevance – or many talking points – over the past 91 years.

Enlightened Justice

Your resident historiorantologist has lately been puzzling over the matter of how it is that Alberto Gonzalez and the current rubber-gavel-wielding “Chief US Law Enforcement Official” have not been brought before the World Court to stand for their crimes.  Clearly, it doesn’t take the piercing legal intellect of a Harriet Miers to recognize that torture goes against everything Americans believe in – our nation is, after all, a product of the Enlightenment, that 200-or-so-year period starting around 1650 in which thinking humans chose to recognize science, redefine the roles of government and the governed, and repudiate things like tyranny.  Given this definition, of course, the aforementioned “legal” experts clearly are not Enlightened individuals, but closer examination of what actually went on before the bar back then shows that the Gitmo Gang would find themselves right at home dispensing “justice” in a court of that era.

So join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight we’ll look at criminal justice in the Age of Powdered Wigs – and may find that the current cadre of ethics-averse thugs running our penal/information extraction system would have been right at home in an Enlightenment court.

WAS BREAKING – Skylab!!!

Lately it’s become apparent to some of us that if one desires to see one’s diary reach the rec list, one’s chances are greatly improved if the title includes a hint of conversion to Obamaism, a pillorying of Hillary, or the old stand-by, BREAKING!!!  Now, by nature, historioranters don’t get to shout “breaking” all that often, but since you all seem to have abandoned Mike Gravel, and have said everything that could possibly be said about Barrackemiah and/or Billary, I’m left with little choice but to pander like Senator Clinton at a Great Silent Majority rally.

So join me, if you will, just outside the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight we’ll be scanning the skies, on the lookout for a school-bus-sized piece of space junk that NASA tells us (well, told us – the subject of this story broke literally and figuratively between 1973 and 1979) could crash/land almost anywhere on Earth.  Perhaps in our observations, we’ll even get a glimpse of that rarest of celestial phenomena: A presidential candidate with a viable, workable, ambitious space policy.

Iran and the Ayatollahs

For anyone born before 1970 or so, there are certain images that are come to mind whenever the name “Iran” is uttered: stern, bearded men in black robes, angry crowds, graphics depicting blindfolded American citizens with things like “Day 334” stamped over them, Ollie North bravely disgracing his uniform and perjuring himself, John McSame exploring the intersection of 1960s pop music and the idea of raining death from the skies.  In short, the past 30 years haven’t exactly been a model of how nations ought to think of one another.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight we’ll take a last look – a Parthian shot, if you will – at the recent history of Iran.  Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get past some of the more extreme caricatures the Traditional Media has been foisting upon us – and perhaps be able to start formulating a de-Bushified foreign policy that relies less on blustering incompetence and more on genuine historical understanding.

The Shahs of Iran

One would think that a person who has lived through as much history as John McThuselah would know a bit more about it, but as we are all too painfully aware, historical savvy isn’t exactly a wingnut strong suit.  It’s thus sorta-understandable – even as it remains completely unforgivable – that Angry Gramps would be unable to distinguish between Sunnis and Shias, Arabs and Persians, or really, anyone east of the Ural Mountains.  To the bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran set, “they” are all the same anyway, so any historical evidence that might indicate an outcome (of say, an invasion) other than their liberators-and-roses predictions can be safely disregarded.

Thankfully, we here in the reality-based community know better.  Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, for a look at Iran in the 20th century – and hopefully a slightly better explanation for why the US government is not particularly loved in that part of the world than that old patriotic pabulum, “they hate us for our freedoms.”

Persia and the Great Game

According to the latest wire reports, the verdict is in: even (and perhaps especially) he who would be the next Bush doesn’t know crap about Iran.  This is unfortunate; one would think the disastrous invasion of Mesopotamia would’ve reminded us that we’re talking about a region of the world that breaks empires as a matter of course.

Tonight’s historiorant seeks to address just one of the lessons that needn’t have cost us 4000+ of our own soldiers’ lives to learn: that failing to accurately assess an enemy’s capabilities frequently plays a major role in victories and defeats in Southwest Asia.  Marcus Licinius Crassus didn’t appreciate that fact, nor did Hulagu Khan centuries later.  Join in the Cave of the Moonbat, and we’ll see if we can’t help to educate our misguided Republican brethren before they foist yet another hotheaded dumbass upon the American citizenry – and hopefully forestall our getting enmeshed in yet another Carrhae, Ain Jalut, or Chaldiran.

Apocalypse 2012!

or The Really Real Reason Why ’08 Is the Most Important Election Ever

I’ve been around this big orange block long enough to know that writing a conspiracy-theory diary ain’t a real good idea if you’re not hungry for donuts, but some things…well, they may be out on the edge of non-paranoid discourse, but don’t really fall under the category of “conspiracy.”  I’ve scoured the FAQ for any mention of “prophecy,” for example, and have found neither reference nor prohibition.  That makes me glad, because it’s to the arcane world of divination that I must now turn: it falls to me, it seems – your resident historioranter-cum-Cassandra – to alert our community to the most important hitherto-unmentioned aspect of the job facing whoever is elected in November.

The person we place in the White House this year will be the one sitting there, either as a lame duck or a president-re-elect, on December 21st, 2012.  This has special significance, since a great many prophecies seem to converge on that particular day – it’s been slated to be the End of the World by seers from Ancient Mexico to Renaissance France.

In short, the next President will be in office when life as we know it comes to an end.

Medieval Persia

When last we looked in on the history of Iran, the dust of Battle of al-Quadissiyah was just settling, and Zoroastrian Persia had fallen under the dominion of the armies of Islam.  As she has done with every other of her would-be conquerors, however, the culture of the conquered soon became inexorably tied to that of the new overlords; from Persian minds sprang some of the greatest achievements of the Golden Age of Islam.  Even gold won’t glitter forever, though, and the forces of time and history exerted themselves on a succession of kingdoms and dynasties for several centuries before one proved strong enough to make the unification thing stick.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, for a whirlwind tour of nearly 1000 years of Iranian history, from the Abbasids to the Safavids, by way of the Ziyarids, if you will – plus an important announcement (he said grandiosely) from your resident historiorantologist.      

Islam Comes to Persia

At the conclusion of our last historiorant, we left off with the Sassanids in pretty dire straits.  It was 636 CE, little more than a decade after they had had their sasses handed to them by the Byzantines in a series of battles across Mesopotamia, and only four years removed from the passing of the Prophet Muhammad.  Now fierce men bearing the star and crescent had appeared on the Euphrates; to Yazdgerd III, the last Zoroastrian king of the Persians, fell the task of defending Ctesiphon and the gateway to Iran.

So join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, for a look at the beginnings of a clash of civilizations that continues to the present day, as well as the many Iranian contributions to what would become known as Islam’s Golden Age.  Along the way, we’ll also be taking a contextual side-trip to the Founding of Islam – but only after pausing to read the sign about how, imho, we should be approaching historiographic minefields.

Classical Persia

Would-be imperialists beware: You gotta be careful when you go to pick a fight with a country possessed of a 5000-year history, for such a nation will inevitably have in its historical record an example of every kind of victory and every kind of loss, and every kind of human triumph and failing in between.  In these countries, ideas like a Declaration of Human Rights aren’t imports; they’re the original products of ancestors and fellow countrymen. Been through a few golden ages, followed by periods of decline and ruin?  Check.  Dealt with foreign aggressors and internal revolt?  Check. Been led by people that history remembers as “the Great,” as well as by guys so incompetent that they make George W. Bush look adequate?  Check.

Join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, where tonight we’ll take a look at Persia in the Classical Age – and find out that Iran’s willingness (and ability) to go toe-to-toe with the West’s greatest superpowers is not something that first emerged in the Era of Petroleum.  As a courtesy to the neo-imps among us, I should give fair warning: We may also find that the Iranian contemporaries of Rome influenced the makings of our modern world far more than might first seem apparent.

Ancient Persia

There are two kinds of history going on in the Cave of the Moonbat tonight: that of an ancient Southwest Asian superpower, and the historiography of historioranting itself.  I’ve been doing this pretty-much-weekly history thing for nigh on two years, and with my impending anniversary, I figured now’s as good a time as any to go back into the scrolls and update some of those first History for Kossacks – the ones that didn’t have any pictures (nor, for that matter, many commenters), were less than half as long as a contemporary HfK, and predate even the word I now use to describe the manner in which I seek to tell tales of the human experience.

So join me, if you will, for a redux of the very first HfK series – a proto-historiorant on Persia, land of the Aryans, now updated to fit the format that evolved in its wake.  In addition to new maps, pics, and stage-setting for the impending Islamic invasion in Part II, it never hurts to take a refresher on a land whose history seems to include every major historical figure in the ancient Middle Eastern world, from Alexander to Zoroaster.

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