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25 November 2007

Comments

Diogenes

Speaking of getting what one deserves, why do pay attention to Hermes at all?

He is just a miserable crank, and his comments are not worth replying to (I'm surprised you don't wind up deleting most of them).

Stavros

Before I started blogging I spent a great deal of time on Phylax Blog. Ted Laskaris hardly ever deleted a comment. I always admired his patience and tolerance, besides Hermes gives me ample opportunities to use his comments as training aids. I apologize if he offends. Please feel free to rebut as long as things remain somewhat civil.

Hermes

Gentlemen, the United States means very little to me. Stavros, be careful of the propaganda you read.

Margaret

Any news of Ted, btw. I often wonder what happened to him?

Stavros

Margaret,

I too miss Ted. I have no idea what happened to him but wish he would surface long enough to let us all know he is OK.

Scruffy

Stavro, do you have any contacts in DHS that we can possibly use to give Hermes an all expense paid trip to Gitmo? His hatred of the USA needs exploring.

pppd

If i may i would like to comment some. I hope that in this blog i will find, not necessarily supporters but at least a free expression of my views. & let me start.
You call Stavros a traitor that is something that i don't share but i respect your opinion.
What would you call some Greek-American (American - Greek if you prefer)official who helped the US govt. by spying on Greece? there was such a man once & he was executed by November 17 (17N) guerrilla group. His name was Captain George Tsantes of the US. Navy. i suppose you would call him a hero. & probably you will be right, because he did good for the us foreign policy. the opposite was done to Greece's foreign policy.
now let me ask in return. a year ago the whole Nation in Greece was struck by some cell phone tapping originated (that is a fact now) at the US embassy in Athens. I strongly believe that all fbi agents should have been treated the same way Stavros was. but luckily for them nothing happened. All i want to say is this. I respect the American people but i have no respect at all to the us foreign policy not only towards Greece but other country's as well. Greece's foreign policy sucks the most.

pppd

one last comment.
"Stavro, do you have any contacts in DHS that we can possibly use to give Hermes an all expense paid trip to Gitmo? His hatred of the USA needs exploring."
If that is the way of treating someone with a different opinion, well that needs exploring too.

Stavros

PPPD,

Welcome to MGO. George Tsantes was an American hero who gave his life trying to help Greece. He was part of an organization called the Joint US Military Aid Group to Greece which managed the military assistance program to Greece, which I might point out was quite extensive. JUSMAGG had a number of Greek Americans working for it including myself and it also included members of the Greek Armed Forces.

Intelligence gathering was never part of our mission although the United States gathers intelligence on its allies just like our allies gather intelligence on us.

JUSMAGG was the organization (headed by Van Fleet) that helped defeat the Communist insurgency in Greece. No wonder we were targeted by the descendants of the people the United States helped defeat.Thank God Greece did not go the way of Albania. Greeks are rightly concerned about the issue of FYROM and the US recognition of the name "Macedonia." I share your concerns. Isn't it ironic though that the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) which now has seats in Parliament, was ready to give Greek Macedonia away during the Civil War to its Communist allies in Yugoslavia. Seems that Americans are not the only ones that suffer from historical amnesia.

As a members of JUSMAGG, myself and other Americans were targets for assassination throughout our tours. We could have hunkered down and done ZERO to help our Greek counterparts trying to maintain some semblance of Greek military strength. In fact we did our very best under trying circumstances to keep the Greek military viable.

Greek Americans, despite what you may think, want Greece to succeed. We would love to see Greece fashion an effective foreign policy against multiple threats to its security. We have worked within the democratic system to help Greece, perhaps not as effectively as we would like. Nevertheless, its up to the "real" Greeks to create a workable foreign policy. If that means that they abandon the alliance with the US then so be it. Unfortunately, Greeks keep re-electing leaders who have no intention of withdrawing from this alliance, maybe they see some benefits?

An American agent working for his country is not a traitor. Stavros Lalas was born and raised in the US, served in the US Army and took an oath to the US. He betrayed his country for another. He divulged the names of American agents that compromised their safety. He believes that he was sold out by a Greek traitor. Check this interview out:

www.stevenlalas.com/videos/steve.asx

Greeks may consider him a hero, Americans can only see him as a traitor.

Scruffy

Lalas was a US Gov't official who was a traitor. It's disgusting you would compare him to Capt. Tsantes. Capt Tsantes who was a true American Patriot serving his country (AMERICA) in an honorable way.

George Tsantes was no spy. He was simply a US Military officer assigned to Greece.

Also, there is no evidence that the US gov't was involved in the vodafone scandal.

What you describe is common of typical Greek conspiracy theories. To save you the trouble, here's the standard ones similar to what you noted:

- Jews fault for everything (911, Tsunamis, Greek inflation etc).

- USA's fault for everything else...

Hey, if conspiracy theories and other "blame the USA" theories make a person feel psychologically better, I'm all for it, but at the end of the day, it's just not reality.

Stavros

Scruff,

I am afraid conspiracy theories are also quite popular here in the States. For example, there are a number of Americans that believe the collapse of the Twin Towers was an "inside" job.

www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1531304,00.html

Scruffy

Hi Stavro,

I was directly my previous comments to PPPD regarding Lalas and not you and I hope I didn't offend you.

As far as the conspiracy theories in the states, that may be true, but I haven't met too many of those 36% of Americans in my circle, but unfortunately I meet quite a few in that category in Greece.

But, hey there are mislead people worldwide I suppose.

:)

pppd

Stavro. Iam very pleased to see someone with a good background of Greece's past. I never said that KKE was right on their part abt macedonia. on the other hand i suppose you will aggree that the "Τruman dogma" was too harsh to forget. I dont want to be misunderstood here. You & the other ppl that you mentioned that have come to Greece for one reason or another i really dont question your motivation on helping Greece. But as you said you took an oath & if a dilemma occurs to do something to protect either US or Greek interest in harm of the other, of course you will take action towards US interest. Lalas did the opposite, among you he is considered as a traitor but to us he is not because he helped his forefathers land. You know Stavros iam from Crete & i canot walk my way to certain areas of Suda bay because a soldier in a foreign uniform talking in a foreign language points a gun at me saying "go away restricted area". Would you like that to happen in US soil?? i guess not. As i said on my previous post the Greek foreign policy is not the best you can get in fact some times is the worst. I dont care if my govt thinks its for the best interest to step back every time US asks for it, its wrong.US is good for the US citizens in US and abroad but not for the rest of us, & thats ok i can understand that.
Stavro, thanks for the welcoming words & for the polite way of your post. I hope i've done the same in return.

Scruffy:
please read my post more carefull & dont say thinks i haven't. in my post i said quote "some cell phone tapping originated (that is a fact now) at the US embassy in Athens" end of quote. i never said US govt. & dont tell me that everything occuring at a US embassy around the globe is known at the state dpt or the whole gvt aggrees on that action. I dont think for the tsunamis we have to blame the Jews or the Americans but we have to blame our selfs for not doing what we must do to protect our own interests. & you know what dont try to act smart by stating thinks like "But, hey there are mislead people worldwide I suppose." iam ready to say that i might be a fool & idiot, because i might be misled, are you sure that whatever is served to you is the correct?? if your answer is yes the sorry to say but i'm not the only fool.

Stavros

Scruff,

No offense taken. The point I was trying to make is that sometimes we Americans ignore the very same behaviors we blame Europeans for when they are exemplified by our own countrymen. Your perspective living in Greece is different from mine living in the USA. I find some of the worst Anti-Americans are Americans themselves, who have lived here for generations.

I must agree with you however, that the steady drumbeat of blame heaped on the US by Greeks is tiresome not to mention fruitless. It distracts Greeks from the much needed self-examination that they need to engage in order to solve their problems, just as much as it distracts Americans like us from re-examining why America is so despised throughout the world right now.

demonax

Some of the comments above are shameful. I don't know how any Greek could regard Lalas as a traitor, as someone anything other than a paradigmatic Greek national hero and patriot, who served his country selflessly and with honour.

As for what Americans think of him, who cares? I hope there are more Greek Americans out there with the guts to follow the same noble path as Lalas.

And your last comment, Stavros, about Lalas believing he was double crossed by a Greek agent is simply not true. Lalas does not say this. His complaint is that he felt abandoned by the Greek state and let down by the amateurishness of the Greek secret services. Nevertheless, he does not regret his actions and still believes in and loves his country. I, for one, was deeply moved by his statements of patriotism.

Stavros

PPPD,

Listen you are always welcome here, even if you disagree with everything I write. I wish you had a name though. If you spend any time reading MGO you will realize that I am quite proud of my Greek heritage. The only Greek born person in our family is my wife. The rest of us were born outside of Greece. My parents and grandparents were born in Northern Epirus and I was born in Constantinople. My grandfathers fought for Greece in the Balkan Wars and one also fought in Asia Minor in 1921-22. We still speak Greek and we are still Greek Orthodox after centuries of living outside of Greece. America gave us a home when we had no where else to go. We have so much to be grateful for here in the United States. Although we love all Greeks no matter where they are, I hope you can understand that betraying America is not an option.

If you are frustrated by Greek foreign policy so am I. If you are frustrated by American foreign policy, so am I. We live in democracies, we have ways to effect change available to us.

If you do not want an American base in Souda, work to elect a government that will close it just like past governments closed the other American bases that existed in Greece. Getting rid of American bases in Crete is easy. How are you going to get rid of all the xeni buying property on your beautiful island?

I have always had a soft spot for the Cretan spirit. I am reminded that a group of Cretans defended a watchtower during the siege of Constantinople. Sultan Mehmet's Janissaries were unable to breach it even after the rest of the City fell. He finally gave up, allowing them to walk out and sail home to Crete.

You are very right though we all are products of our experiences and what we have been "fed." MGO is an opportunity to listen to other points of view.

Stavros

Demonax,

This is from an article in the National Herald, a Greek American newspaper, it summarizes an interview between Lalas and journalist Alexis Papahelas this past July 8 at the prison where Lalas was held for the program "Fakeloi" on the Greek television network, MEGA:


"Asked by Mr. Papahelas if he thought he was turned over to the American side by a Greek traitor, Mr. Lalas said he believed so: "I don’t know if I was ratted out or simply handed over, but somebody spoke, somebody betrayed me," he said. "That is what I believe. The traitor will be found," he added.
The U.S. Government has claimed its first tip that led to Mr. Lalas’ identification as a spy was the result of an accidental slip in a conversation between a Greek Embassy official in Washington and a State Department official. The Greek official apparently mentioned information which could only have come from a secret communication between the U.S. Embassy in Athens and the State Department. The State Department’s investigation on the matter pointed to Mr. Lalas, who was later observed through a video monitoring system taking documents intended for destruction."

What is shameful is betraying the country whose uniform you wear. Lalas is an aberration. No self-respecting Greek American would do something like this.

pppd

Stavro.
In response to your statement " i wish you had a name". Well my Name is Lefteris. "prety common for a guy from Crete". I'm not afraid of xeni as you say. We have always welcomed our "xeni" or guests to our houses throughout the centuries. Its one thing if an American comes as a guest to our house & another as a soldier. As a guest i can offer him Raki & raisins, as a soldier it really bothers me. Abt your comment to try and elect a government to close the souda base, its funny but i still remember as a young boy back then in mid 80's the rhetoric speeches by Andreas Papandreou that all American bases will close. most of them are still there, some as American & some as "Nato" with 99,9 % Americans. Yes by all means i can understand your statment "betraying America is not an option." hopefully you will understand we feel the same for Greece.

Stavros

Lefteri mou,

I lived in Greece in the 1980s and I remember all the promises, "Tha,tha,tha." Papandreou was America's best friend. At that time I lived in Athens, in a suburb called Voula. All of us American occupiers lived out on the economy and the Greek landlords and businesses that made money off of us were crying when we left. Most of my American military friends, with exceptions, loved Greece and most Greeks treated us very well despite the political climate of the times. I even married a nice Greek girl while stationed in Greece.

The US has worldwide bases because it has worldwide commitments. If you can think of a country which had American bases and where Americans were asked to leave but refused to do so, I would like to hear about it.

The last time Cretans had guests who were soldiers, they came in two varieties. British and Germans. The Cretans adored the former and fought at their side and they despised the latter and fought against them tooth and nail. Please don't put Americans in the latter category because for all our faults, and we have many, the world is better off because America exists.

If Greeks want to think the worst of Americans that is fine. They are entitled to do so. I just hope that they understand that Greek Americans aren't going to hop on the bandwagon because we are supposed to put Greece before all else.

demonax

A uniform is a piece of cloth with tassels and embroidery. I don't see how such a thing can be betrayed. What can be betrayed is a race and its history. Since Americans aren't a race and have no history, then I don't know what Lalas is supposed to have betrayed.
Self-respect? Lalas strikes me as a man with plenty of that, and plenty of philotimo. Obviously, Lalas must make Greek Americans feel uncomfortable and highlight their confused status and loyalties, but that's a problem for them to wrestle with and says nothing to the detriment of Lalas or his noble and patriotic actions.

pppd

File Stavro.
Glad you remember all of this tha tha. You lived in voula that makes us neighbors i was living in Ano Glyfada back then. Well you know you are right and wrong at the same time. Yes ppl who thought of their own interest of course they cried when you left but that was not the general spirit of the time. & as i said dont get me wrong, i would sit with any American not necessarily of Greek decent & gladly have a chat, a beer, even host him to my house. What we are talking here (at least iam) is politics. No one in Greece is expecting the Greek Americans to hop on the bandwagon. Thats something you have to decide. Now about the bases, i dont really like the word commitment because this is the status you came up with. The greek ppl for the last 34 yrs are shouting nearly everyday for the bases to be removed, but our governments never took properly actions, & that makes you right on the base that no official letter or action was ever presented to US. About Crete, At the fight for Crete well i dont suppose you think that we got any help? the help was given until the British troops abandoned the island after that the Cretan ppl payed the price -& up to date we are proud of that- of course i dont put the Americans in the Nazi category, i would be a fool to condemn a whole nation for the actions of some individuals which i disagree. as of filotimo i would agree with demonax, but again it might be from which point you look at it.

Stavros

Demo,

So is a flag. Both represent a nation. A nation can be betrayed and often is by those that don't know any better.

American are a mongrel nation made up of every race and every nation. That is what makes us so formidable, because everyone knows that mongrels are smarter, faster and stronger than the pure breeds who have had the stuffing bred right out of them.

Perhaps your understanding of filotimo and that of Mr. Lalas is different from mine. The code I live by requires one to be loyal to the nation that takes care of you and your family. It requires one to be honorable.
There is nothing honorable about treason no matter how you dress it up.

As for Greek Americans, most of the one's I know and I suspect I know a few more than you do, have absolutely no confusion about who they are. If you think we stay awake nights tormented by some Faustian dilemma about where our primary loyalty lies, you are mistaken. If you were right about our confused status and divided loyalties, you would be seeing a massive migration of Greek Americans back to Greece. Ain't gonna happen.

I treasure my Greek heritage; all of it. No one can take that away from me even if I don't fit in to their super-charged version of Greekness or pass their loyalty test.

Stavros

Lefteri,

It's a small world. You are right, it's a matter of perspective. If I had not grown up in the United States and spent 22 years in the Marines maybe I could agree with you and Demo.

Hermes

I think every person should have some loyalty to their country of birth or habitation. What Lalas did irks me a little. However, he was not giving secrets to an enemy of the United States. Greek Americans should make more effort to change their government’s policies more in favour of Greek interests. They should make more effort to perceive the world from the Greek point of view and not other powerful lobby groups in Washington. Hellenism is more important than the United States. Much more important. It needs special attention and nurturing.

pppd

Stavro.
Thanks very much indeed for the nice chat. We might agree & we might disagree, but its up to us to find new ways of understanding.

Ευχαριστώ για την φιλοξενία στο blog.

Stavros

Hermo,

I am not a spokesman for all Greek Americans however, I agree we must be more politically active in a number of areas in order to help out Greece in its hour of need. I for one believe that Greece faces some formidable threats on its borders and that America needs to revise its bankrupt policies in the region, because doing so is mutually beneficial. Hellenism should emanate from the center not the periphery.

Lefteri,

Anytime. Rational discourse is a Greek invention and it appears that even when the issue is emotional we can still avoid name calling and insults. Na se kala, file. Ela pale na ta poume.

demonax

‘I think every person should have some loyalty to their country of birth or habitation.’

This is an unsustainable argument for Greeks, particularly when you consider that Greeks lived under foreign rule for centuries. If all that mattered were loyalty to country of birth or habitation, then we’d still be living under the rule of the Turks, Franks and British. I’m sure this kind of loyalty argument is one the Phanariotes would have used. Lalas’ actions have to be judged according to his motives and since these were sound, then he cannot be condemned. Indeed, I’m sure his actions were far more valuable to Greece than any taken by those self-serving so-called Greek American lobbyists who need to feel they are doing something when in fact they are doing nothing.

If Greek Americans are first and foremost Americans, then they are of no use to the rest of us. The whole Greek thing for them is just some cultural and psychological crutch to lean on to stop them sinking into depravity or madness, which is the natural outcome of the American way of life.

Scruffy

Lefteris, have you ever considered that if it was not for those American bases you distaste so much, maybe the Turks would have taken over Greece? I think having the American bases in Greece provided a buffer for you against that very aggressive enemy of yours called Turkey.

I'd like to see how fast you would cry for help from AMERICA the first days of a Turkish invasion. Think the European Union would help you??? Think again, it's an economic union. And then again, how fast can any country save another country from an invasion. Consider that when Kuwait was invaded by Iraq in Aug 1990, that it took the USA months to assist Kuwait. How long would the Turks occupy Greece before help would arrive?

Next time, consider the cost and how these bases have improved your country's prosperity, and national security, instead of mindlessly shouting "Exo oi vasis" like Greeks of yesteryear.

Also, for your information, the Germans maintain a small military base in New Mexico, USA. It may be incorporated into an American base, but it's still German military assigned on US soil. Does that bother me as an AMERICAN? NO, it does not because Germans are our friends.

Remember, Lefteris, no matter what Alter Channel or other Greek left-media propaganda says, "AMERICA is a friend of Greece".

Stavros

Demo,

Thankfully I know you well enough now not to be offended too much by your super charged rhetoric. I'll try not respond in kind.

The Phanariotes you abhor played an important part in the Greek War of Independence and they helped finance it. Thanks partly to them some semblance of Greek culture survived the long centuries of Ottoman occupation.

I realize you would prefer the Greeklings in America to rise up against the Great Satan and declare Massachusetts a Greek province but we are too busy sinking into depravity, madness and watching reruns right now. Maybe next year.

I think it is infinitely easier to live in country like Albania or Turkey where there is a continuous effort to either curtail your freedom or erase your Greekness than in a country like the US where they do neither of these two things. When Greeks are in danger of having their heritage taken from them they are more apt to struggle to keep it.

I am always fascinated by Greeks like you and Lalas. Both of you are so patriotic yet you continue to live and suckle at the tit of a country you despise. Why not just pack it in and go back to Cyprus or Greece? Even a good job and a steady income could not possibly justify living among people you hate. In the old days it was a matter of survival, it is no longer so, Greece and Cyprus are quite affluent now.

Perhaps the Greek part of my identity is just, as you point out, a crutch. A tenuous connection at best. I seem to fail every test laid out for me and frequently deviate from the things a real Greek should say. Maybe if I paint a Greek flag on my garage, give my American neighbors the mountza and sell a few secrets to KYP I can expunge my many sins and come home.

Kosta

An interesting thread and debate.

The reality of the situation is that the United States had to secure access to the oil fields of the Middle East after the Second World War as it had use a fair amount of the oil within its own borders.

The United States supports any government, democratic or despotic, as long as it is on their side and succumbs to their policies.

After all, moral and ethics play no part in geopolitics.

The United States was competing against the Soviets for the world's resources. They did not care if they knocked over democratically elected governments (such as Guatemala), nor did they care if a formerly democratic nation (such as Greece) imploded politically and resulted in despotic rule.

Its primarily about the oil. It is now and always has been since the Wilson administration.

I accept the reality of why the United States has had the foreign policy since WWI. What I have a problem accepting is the zeal and ignorance of the American people in believing that America does no wrong, that America has only spread freedom throughout the world. People in countries such as Guatemala, Angola, Mozambique, Greece, Iraq, Iran, Cuba, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and more, would likely disagree with the American viewpoint of its own benevolence.

The United States greatest moment was the Marshall Plan and its participation in the Second World War. But the US takes a bit too much credit for the Allied victory than they deserve. They are not solely responsible for the Allied victory. After all, where did the British and Americans meet the Russians? It certainly wasn't Berlin. Anyone want to gather why?

What's interesting is that in my opinion, the biggest enemy of Greece is its own government. Why do they continue, year after year, to buy the same weaponry as the Turks? Yes, the United States produce some impressive technology, but so do the Soviets. In the 50's, the Greek government was second in defense spending as a percentage of its GDP (to South Vietnam). Has this spending and assuming loans from the United States provided security for Greece?

I am no military expert, but I believe that Greece must be ready to fight a defensive war, using counter measures to offset the Turkish air superiority (in numbers at least). Then let the real battle be won in the mountains.

Let us not forget the heroics of our grandfathers in 1940. They gave the Italians and Germans absolute Hell. More German troops were lost in one day when they invaded Crete than they had lost in the entire war previously (where the Greeks fought alongside the British and Anzacs). I do not agree with the viewpoint implied that the Turks would have it so easily. While I am certain I would meet my death if Turkey was to invade Greece, I would at least die with honor, and honor my grandfather's name that was given to me by never casting away my shield. And yes, the prospect of such scares the absolute Hell out of me.

Finally, I certainly reject the idea the the US is a friend of Greece. Have we already forgotten Cyprus?

pppd

Scruffy.
Dear friend.
I dont remember that during our uprise against the turks back 1821 America came to our aid. or what abt during WWII, did anyone help get rid of the Bulgarians on the northern border?? What is Greece today is done by the Greeks . & if you say that America would help why then back 1974 didnt stop the invasion of Cyprus? lets be realistic if tomorrow tragedy struck Greece no one will rush to our aid. Another example a political one. The name Macedonia means a lot to us (i'm sure you know that) & we saw the American foreign policy recognizing the status of an independent country with that very name. Well according to my memories we have been a long time ally to the US to be treated like this. Another example what abt the Turkish Cypriot side on Cyprus. more & more lately we hear that "the Turkish Cypriots must get out from their isolation & Cyprus must do that"... when did Cyprus isolated them?? maybe when Turkish troops invaded the island & divided it in to 2 parts?? & now because of the prosperity of this side we have to get them out from their isolation?? what isolation the borders are open turks are working in the free areas of Cyprus. (& i know that for a fact because i leave now in Cyprus). Where are the UN resolutions, & why they are not implemented? The last time i remember America tried to stop a bloodshed cost us with the lives of three young ppl back in 1996 on the Imia incident. So please sir, save your patriotic touch for you. I don't need any saviours. For the comment abt my cry i would say "no comment" because if i answer it will offend other ppl in here & i don't want that.

I will agree with you though on the EU part of your message. EU will never rush to our aid on the contrary i believe that some eu countrys will try & push us deeper in the hole. I'm really glad that you are familiar with our greek channels of course i wouldent call Alter a left channel, but that's something each individual will judge differently. one think is for sure more or less all of them are directed to feed us what they want. I'm also a bit familiar with your right wing Fox channel. is everything in Fox true?? i dont believe that.
Abt the Base. You said incorporated which to my understanding is that is under the US military supreme commander. In Greece its not like that, US bases are sovereign, & no one has the right to get in & dictate what to do & what not.I dont want to have a fight with you Scruffy. You, Stavros, & any other American might be friend of Greece, Not America "as you call it". Friendship is i support you - you support me. In politics nahh theres no friendship & no real alliance (we've learned that the hard way). if Greek Americans can do lobby (& some they are ) to help Greece then we are thankful of that.

Hermes

Good comments by all except for Scruffy but I get the feeling he does not really mean a lot of what he says. I am sure he has become partially Hellenised by now. Although we speak freely on this blog and I think there is a tacit understanding between all of us, we should be careful not to isolate fellow Hellenes. Even a smidgeon of loyalty to Hellenism is better than nothing. They just need some more time to voluntarily embrace the oecumene.

Hermes

http://galliawatch.blogspot.com/

Gents, has anyone been following events in France? I am sure this is a portent of things to come in Greece one day.

Scruffy

I think many Greeks should ask themselves this. "Ask not what the USA can do for Greece, but rather what Greece can do for the USA". This was a wonderful comment made by President Kennedy (changed slightly by me) and could really motivate Greeks to be less selfish.

Diogenes

Whatever the rational basis for anti-American sentiment in Greece, it's sad to see the actions of 17N rationalized and tacitly supported.

Then again, KKE, one of the last Stalinist parties outside Pyongyang, actually gained seats in the Vouli recently, so it seems Greece still has far to go before it gives up its self-destructive tendencies.

pppd

"Ask not what your country can do for you, just say what you can do for your country" Yes we know of this very true words of which iam a true follower. Greece has done already enough for the US. Military bases (& there were not done to protect us from turks but to protect US interest in the Mediterranean area) changed its Passport system to what the US stated it would be acceptable & still the only EU country that needs a visa to enter US soil. The imia incident the Truman dogma & many more.

You call the Greeks selfish (that includes me) and yet you state
quote " have you ever considered that if it was not for those American bases you distaste so much, maybe the Turks would have taken over Greece? I think having the American bases in Greece provided a buffer for you against that very aggressive enemy of yours called Turkey" end of quote

quote "I'd like to see how fast you would cry for help from AMERICA the first days of a Turkish invasion." end of quote.

the above quotes shows clearly who's the selfish.

Diogenes: Wow.
since when my stament said i supported 17N. umm i think you must be confused, KKE is earning seats for the last 33 years. polyphony is always better that monophony. The more different opinions heard the more democratic the conclusion will be. Now as of your comment about stalinism & N.Korea, i find your lack of greek history disturbing. KKE was hunted from 1918 time of its creation untill 1974 when it was legalized. If you dont know what happened in Greece after WWII thats ok but dont state things that are completely unhistorical.

Hermes

I think every European parliament has a Communist Party and at one time or another they gain seats. Does this mean they are self destructive? Surely, in a democratic system there is room for a Communist Party. I would say that the United States's political system is more self destructive because it lacks diversity and is strongly driven by money. At least in Greece elements from both sides of the political spectrum are represented. Despite personally finding some of the ideas of the radical left abhorent; particularly, Synaspismos, they deserve to be heard. Often the KKE provides a rhetorical bulwark against some of the uglier aspects of capitalism. Also, the Greek communist party has taken on a unique local character where there are Orthodox theologians as members of KKE and one of their leaders professing a belief in God. And I do not think you should worry about them gaining many more seats. As the Greek bourgeise middle class continues to grow radical elements will be sidelined. The latest gain in seats was merely a protest vote and will soon wither away back to their long term support levels.

I have been reading this Catholic blog lately from Rome. There is a good robust rebuttal to Islam:

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/178461?eng=y

Diogenes

p3d/Lefteri,

Aside from bringing them (17N) up in the first place, you seem to have no qualms about a violent terrorist gang unilaterally deciding Tsantes is a traitor and killing him.

The other traitor (Lalas) had his day in court, humane treatment in prison, and is now free.

As for KKE, so what if they were banned in their first 60-odd years of existence? Am I supposed to feel sorry for them? Sorry, but I don't.

KKE spent the postwar period trying to push Greece behind the Iron Curtain. Thank God they didn't succeed.

pppd

Ohh dear...
I dont remember saying Tsantes was a traitor i just wanted to show how 2 Americans of greek decent acted, the remind of 17n executing him was said in my ignorance that you all knew who cpt Tsantes was. I'm not saying that you have to feel sorry for KKE, thats your problem, i know that because of the intervention of the big powers Greece divided for a long period of time while she could heal the war scars left upon her. Though i'm not a communist i dont understand your mania against them. Arent they humans as well? should we all agree on everything one despot commands?? hell no.
Ending, if my post abt Capt Tsantes was to some offending then i'm deeply sorry & you have my apologies.

Scruffy

Lefteris, why don't you read about padomazema and maybe you wouldn't be so easy to forgive those communists who were willing to sell your Greek children off to the Communists.

But, I'm sure you may not know this since most Greek schools gloss over this since it's so embarassing for Greece.

Also, please watch the movie Eleni by Nikos Gatzoyiannis and then let me know what you think of those communists and how they may not be "people" like you think.

Lefteris

1. Paidomazoma (Παιδομάζομα) it was done by turks during the ottoman empire, & converted to genitsari (Γενίτσαροι).
2. I never denied the attrocities commited by the communists during the civil war.
3. Do you know how many attorocities commited the liberal guys the ones who thought of the allies as gods?? a lot more. But thats something they dont teach as well.
4. Why Athens was seized by British troops during the "dekemvriana". As a sovereign country "or so we thought" dont we have the right to elect our leadership?? good or bad. Yes during that time communism was very strong in Greece & the "danger" of becoming a communist state was a big concern for the allies. But who asked them to intervene to our internal problems??
5. after the civil war who wrecked down what was left after the WWII you know how many children lost their parents just because they or some relative was or suposed to be communist??
Gatzoyanis or Cage, i hope you are not serius about the guy who wrote in his book in 1971 portrait of Greece quote"In greece since 1967 there is a millitary regime (junta or hunta) but turists will hardly notice any difference" if that comment satisfies you ok, but me, it makes me angry. I havent watched eleni but i'm sure that he shows things one way only, but i promise the soonest i get my hands on it i will watch it.
I can also suggest a good book and relatively new if you like.
"Εθνικη Αντίσταση 1940-45" writen by the guy who climbed Acropolis one night & tore down the swastika Manolis Glezos (Μανώλης Γλεζος). He is a communist though if that bothers you.


Its good to to remember history, but we have to remember it all not half.

Kosta

Scruffy,

There were atrocities committed during the civil war by both the left and right. While a controversial author in some circles, I'd recommend Mark Mazower's "After the War Was Over - Reconstructing the Family, Nation, and State in Greece 1943-1960". It is a fairly balanced collection of essays from both the left and the right.

My own personal conclusion of this and other books and my own family's history is that both sides committed tremendous atrocities and neither was right morally. The Communists continued the tradition of brigandage, stole children, tortured people, murdered many innocents, etc., and the state tortured and murdered many innocent people as well.

Sometimes people joined sides in order to carry out vendettas against people on the other side. No political motives, just revenge.

Does this mean that anyone who was a Communist or a Rightist evil? No. Only those responsible or those who condone this atrocious acts. There are some who were against the state simply because they did not want to see the monarchy return.

It is quite the American tendency to paint things with a monochromatic brush ("them bad, us good ", when in reality, the situation calls for more careful analysis and a detailed description.

The world has always been a complex place, and always will be.

Hermes

Americans have been conditioned to hate any form of Communism and any form of Fascism. I would not bother trying to explain the nuance and subtlety of the political history of Greece or any other European country to them. All you will get are hysterical remarks. They are not really to blame. But I must say it is refreshing to read the mature comments of Greeks.

Stavros

To ALL:

Personally, I see no reason why a toothless KKE cannot participate in the democratic system. Communists never do very well in such a system as evidenced by their traditional dismal showing in Greek elections. What I resent is the revisionism going on in Greece that is whitewashing the Communist role in the Civil War while denigrating the role of the US and Britain. Their efforts were pivotal in keeping Greece from becoming another Communist satellite and all that it would have entailed. Anyone even remotely familiar with Greece knows what I am talking about.

Kosta hit the nail on the head when he said that BOTH sides committed heinous acts, although the mass killings during the December Revolt by KKE of thousands ordinary Athenians (one mass grave in Peristeraki contained 1500 bodies) not to mention rival Marxist organizations and the abduction of thousands of children from their parents to be raised as good little Communists behind the Iron Curtain, certainly stand out.

May I remind folks here that the military arm of the KKE, the Democratic Army, was in large part manned by Slavophone Macedonians who had collaborated with the Bulgarians and many now live in FYROM. I'm sure Hermes will appreciate that particular nuance.

Ask any North Epirote about the benefits of the Communist ideology and I will bet that you will get yourself an earful. The reason Nick Gage is so unpopular in some circles is that he exposed to the light of day things that many in Greece hoped would be forgotten. After fifty years maybe its time there was a catharsis and all the ugly facts about both the LEFT and RIGHT are laid bare for all to see.

I don't think that Greece owes the United States anything nor does the US owe Greece. Greek-US relations should be based on mutual benefit. Lacking that each must go its own way. Certainly looking at the results of the last few decades of American involvement in the Balkans and the Eastern Med I think we need to own up to the fact that our policies have been shortsighted and detrimental to Greece & Serbia. On the other hand I think Greeks need to own up to the fact that they also might need to accept some of the blame for the predicament that they find themselves in. To hear Greeks tell it, the Junta had no Greek supporters, Greeks had no hand in the failures that led to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and Greeks are helpless when it comes to dealing with their unruly neighbors. Let's stop the blame game, it is counter-productive and delays the search for solutions.

One last point, sometimes Europeans are too nuanced for their own good. A little moral clarity is good when we are fighting for our lives, whether the enemy happens to be Fascism, Communism or Islamic Extremism. If we need to explain why these ideologies are "bad" I fear for the future. As we say in the Marine Corps: LEAD, FOLLOW or GET OUT OF THE WAY.


Lefteris

Stavro.
Mostly i will agree with your post. But not all.
1. During the December revolt shootings started after the british troops began shooting the demonstration. & of course the others responded.
2. But for the sake of conversation i will agree that EAM started first. Tell me why on earth Britain intervened to Greece's own problems?? We were with the winners of the war, in the war we payed the price of 10% of our population let alone the material damages, why should we treated like that??.

3. I dont think that Greece owns anything to US & vice versa.
4. That EAM was populated by slavophones & at the same time fighting & kiling other slavophones (Bulgarians) at the north??? something is wrong here.
5. Hunta supporters... oh yes we had of those too, you can still see them on tv now of course under the curtain of the democrat. & you know what, some of them even claim that they fought junta inside polytechnio... absurd isnt it. We are not saints Stavro we know who we are, & i think in Greece you will hardly find anyone saying that Hunta did not have supporters.
6. When i was a young boy i hated (stil hate) fish. I remember my father trying to persuade me eat some fish by saying, how can you say you dont like if you havent taste it. All i'm saying is denial is not a good thing. have you ever read Marx & Engels 's books?? i can assure you nothing bad is writen there. i'm not saying you have to follow what's writen there no, but at least you will have a more spherical view of what all systems are teaching. Capitalism is not a greater system.
6. If we had our hands in the turkish invasion of Cyprus?? of course we had the whole Junta govt, but not the greek ppl. The same concerns the US. The American citizens had nothing to do with the invasion, but does the same applies to Mr Kissinger?
7. are we helpless, Hell no. shouting we are helpless is not our style. Actually we dont need any help because we never got any.
8. I didnt understand the part of "fighting for our lives".
9.Abt Cage i would of supported him if with the same keen exposed both sides. all i can read from him is "how bad are the communists" check if you like his articles in NY times. I didnt see any articles concerning capt Zervas & his fighters.
10. I also served my country & not in down town Athens i was in Chios (thats 6 NM from Tsesme Turkey) & Cyprus on the outskirts of Nicosia near the buffer zone, so LEAD, FOLLOW, or GET OUT OF THE WAY, i know it & i can follow it as Greek army officer that i was, but as a civilian i prefer to THINK first.

Diogenes

The analogy in number 6 is just plain silly.

While we may have no direct experience of life under communism, we have the wisdom to learn from those who do.

The European tolerance for communism as an intellectual exercise reminds me of the students portrayed in Godard's 1967 film "La Chinoise".

I.e. it's not about intellectualism, it's fashion posing as intellectualism, with no substance behind it.

Godard was smart enough to see it then, but four decades later, some people are still fooled.

Stavros

Lefteri,

The EAM demonstration was fired on by the Greek police not the British. Many accounts contend that the Communists fired at the Police first. This is a standard Communist tactic designed to provoke a police response and thus create martyrs for the cause.

Britain intervened in order to reinstate the constitutional monarchy and prevent a Communist takeover of Greece. If you will recall, at the time the Soviet Union had occupied most of Eastern Europe and imposed Communist governments. The divisions in Greek society that brought about the Civil War started with the Venizelists and Monarchists. The Civil War was merely the culmination of those divisions not the cause. British and later American involvement merely prevented the Communists from winning. I believe there would have been a Civil War irregardless of the intervention of outside powers.

This is from an article written by Nikos Zachariadis in which he expressed the KKE's strategy after the envisioned victory of the Democratic Army of Greece regarding what was then known as the "Macedonian Issue": "The Macedonian people will acquire an independent, united state with a coequal position within the family of free peoples’ republics within the Balkans, within the family of Peoples’ Republics to which the Greek people will belong. The Macedonian people of Aegean Macedonia is today fighting for this independent united state with a coequal position and is helping the DSE with all its soul ...". The policy of self-determination for Macedonia within a People's Republic was reiterated during the 5th KKE Central Committee meeting held in January 1949, which declared that the Macedonian people participating in the liberation struggle would find their full national re-establishment as they want giving their blood for this acquisition ... Macedonian Communists should pay great attentions to foreign chauvinist and counteractive elements that want to break the unity between the Greek and Macedonian (Slavomacedonian) people. This will only serve the monarcho-fascists and British imperialism ...”

Marx and Engels were political philosophers. Their utopian philosophy when implemented by "real" people like Stalin resulted in the death of millions of people. Actually members of my family have lived under Communist rule and unlike your experience with fish they got a taste of it and they despise it.

Many heroic Greeks who were not Communists, unfortunately, were tainted by the Communist label. That is one of the tragedies of the Civil War just like the tragedy of the execution of Nick Gage's mother because she refused to allow her children to be taken from her. I'll try to read Glezos' book if you read Gage's book. Maybe we can both learn something.

Regarding my remark about "fighting for our lives" I am referring to the worldwide struggle against Islamic Jihad, a struggle that Greece was always in the forefront of but now seems to have taken a back seat.

I have major issues with the way my country is dealing with that threat in some places like the Balkans however, we seem to at least recognize that one exists.

As for capitalism, it is a less than perfect system. That said, let's admit that it is compatible with a high degree of freedom. Greeks excel when they are given a high degree of freedom, too bad they are saddled with a nanny state that they have become way too dependent on for their own good. I agree with you that Greeks are not helpless, they are always better off when they are self-sufficient and don't have to lean on outside powers or intrusive governments.

Lefteris

Diogenes.
Thats what you may think abt #6.
1. top secret 4398 Washington DC 0416222
2. top secret 6374 Washington DC 041842
these two telegrams bearing Kissinger's name.
where did you heard that there was a real communism in Europe?? because i would like to see it too. if you mean x-USSR & the so called iron block, After Lenin's death in 1924 there was no real communism. Andropof tried to do something in begining of the 80's but he lasted only for a year and a half.
now abt intellectuality, They put the first artificial satelite into orbit
Sputnick 1957, they launched the first man into space 1961
the made the first space station Salyut 1 in 1971. and many more. are all these ppl living cretins??


Stavro.
I'm glad of your last part of the message.
first let me tell you that i never say that i know all. Abt Gatzoyannis i said that he should say "personal memory's" in his book. one's personal memory's does not reflect the whole situation. attrocities were done by both but he fails to expose the other part.
you talk abt communism & Stalin. Stalin was no communist in philosophy, he followed the path a dictator would.
Abt the revolt i'm talking abt the second demonstration & there Brits started.
But again for the sake of converstation i will agree the whole blame must be thrown to EAMites, i dont remeber anyone calling the Brits to bring back the goverment of Georgios papandreou & not the king. besides in the unclusified documents of the foreign office there is the letter that Churchill send to Gen Scobie it states clearly, not to leave the situation to get out of control.
quoting "Early on the morning of December 5th, Churchill sent stem instructions to Scobie and General Wilson in Italy to "hold and dominate Athens," with bloodshed if necessary. The fighting in the city grew desperate, but the diversion of another British division in late December turned the tide against the rebels."end of quote this part is taken from the Churchill center in Washington DC.
http://www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=91

Abt Zachariadis. You know this guy was very
controversial. He himself sended in the firing squad ppl of his party by denying a letter sent to the "court" of the time. so Nikos Belogianis & his companions where executed. Also he declared Aris Velouhiotis a traitor of the country yet Aris was the leader of EAM the bigest guerrilla group during WWII.

Abt the Jihad.
back in '91 you invaded Iraq on the basis the they invaded Kuwait. Just for remembering, Kuwait was once iraq's province. given independence in 1899 by the british empire.Ok sadam was bad & you punished him. 2001 you inveded Afganistan because of bin ladden's training camps. I dont know what happened to this guy.
2004 you invaded Iraq again on the basis of biological and weapons of mass destruction.
You brought Sadam to the rope. Where are those weapons?.
Ok forget abt the last comment, what abt nuclear power? why lately you have a harsh against Iran. Who is to judge who will have nuclear power? Why Israel a country of 7.2 million can have & a country of 70 plus million canot. is it because they are Muslim fundamentalists?? well Pakistan also is Muslim country ruled by a dictator yet they have not only nuclear power but nuclear weapons as well. I think the magic word is one !!!OIL!!!. we are living in a world of "my death your life & vice versa". Maybe its time to stop thinking like that all of us.

& one last Greece always fought for the right of a man to leave free, never a jihad or how you call it nowadays. Also i will remind you that during your war against the British empire (which was a just cause if you ask me) do you recall how the Brits then called you? or do you remember how Gen Santa Anna called the defenders of Alamo?
Terrorists, were they terrorists? i think Not. Sometimes we see right and wrong they way it suits us, and that defeats the cause.

ending i think that the talk here has grown very dark, if you want me to leave & post no more please say it & i will do it. Else i will continue to post.

Stavros

I am not quite sure what you mean by "dark." I have had this discussion before with relatives and friends in Greece. I didn't stop talking to them, why should I stop talking to you?

I think you misunderstood Diogenes' comment about intellectualism without substance. At the risk of speaking for him, I believe he was referring to the tendency for Europeans to think of Leftist ideologies such as Communism intellectually instead of pragmatically. It's quite fashionable for students at the Sorbonne or in Greece to man the barricades, shout slogans, discuss Marx but God forbid they might actually face the reality wrought by their utopian fairy tales of the "revolution." Che is romanticized, never mind about his methods.

It seems that the Communists lost the Civil War but are winning the peace. The Left in Greece is indoctrinating the young in the very schools they attend and one only has to see the results of the last teacher's strike and the actions of the anarchists in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to understand what that means.

The Greek mainstream media like the MSM in the United States is basically dominated by the Left and has most Greeks, including you Lefteris (with respect), spouting the typical arguments about the warlike Americans who threaten the peace-loving Iranian and North Korean people just because they want to build a few nuclear tipped missiles. Of course, it all about the oil.

In the "new" Greek world view Lenin was a hero, let's ignore that he had to wipe out a quarter of a million people during the Red Terror in 1918.

In the new Greek world view Aris Velouhiotis is a hero of the Resistance instead of a bloody sadist who killed more Greeks than Germans.

In the new Greek world view people who fly civilian airliners into buildings are "freedom fighters" and Americans deserve what they get.

If I offend I apologize. My remarks are not aimed only at you. I don't think that I will change your mind or that you will change mine. If we accomplish anything with this discussion it will be to highlight how differently each of us views the world we live in. Lefteri, I respect your willingness to carry on this dialogue, especially when it is in a language other than your native Greek. We share much in common so I can't get mad at you anymore than I can get mad at my cousins who say similar things.

I said this once and I will say it again. You are always welcome at MGO.

Ehe gia patrida.

Lefteris

Stavro.
Dark i meant that it may have gone out of bounds.
You can call me left, right, Center. But that does not change the fact that iam disgusted by all of them.
When 9/11 struck i was in the Army & i felt very sorry (believe or not)& i knew from that moment that the world we knew will change rapidly. I have clearly stated that i have not any sign of respect towards the U.S foreign policy, But 9/11 was not abt policy, it was abt human lives.i would cheer up & felt very happy if the US foreign policy had felt a defeat on the political level.

Velouhiotis was no saint. But you canot say that he killed more Greeks than Germans thats not true.
Greek mainstream media are not left motivated if they were, they wouldn't show 24/7 Papandreou's poster for the last 2 mths. Greece is more than Papandreou & Karamanlis. Maybe our understanding of Left & right is not the same.

Abt Lenin. Yes he killed a lot during the revolution (not himself he was too old for that <-this is a joke), But what abt the Last last Tzar Nikolai which nowadays he is very popular in US with many books writen on his account saying that he was murdered unjust. The killing of a man is always unjust but to what condition he had brought the Russian ppl with his his warmongering. I'm not a pro communist but truth must be told. Of course Lenin was doing his Job of course lenin was financed from Germany. Enough of him.
abt Freedom fighters.
Yes i dont agree that mass murdering is an advocate to solve what ever situation you are. But i will remind you 2 pictures shown in the American Mainstream channels during the second invasion of Irak.
1. At the moment of the missile launch from a US ship (that was at the very first moment of the begining of the bombardment) I saw American soldiers with digital cameras & photocameras capturing the moment of the launch while cheering & laughing. knowing that this missile will hit upon man & children
Fox news.
2. was when a BBC jurnalist interviewed a soldier (tank driver) in Irak, he asked him how to you feel that you actually kill ppl with the thing that you drive, his answer was very arrogant, he started singing a song "burn burn, burn the moth....ker burn"
BBC.
I suppose you dont call either insident as freedom fighters.

Abt Che.
you talk abt Che's methods, Lenins Methods, Stalins methods (with respect Stavro)i would add Mao's methods, Zervas methods Hitler's methods . but yet i havent heard a think abt lets say Mc Namara's methods, or Kissinger's methods, Trumans methods, Clinton's methods. i suppose the earlier are the devils & the later the saints.
I could also sit back and say
"Greece is always right never wrong" this is not democracy we have to learn from our mistakes.

Stavro no offense taken, at least from you.
but it makes me sad the last comment of yours "ehe gia patrida".
We will always look at you as ppl who left the homeland for one or another reason to get a better luck. We will always be proud of what you do & how you achieved prosperity for you & your family's. Patrida is open for anyone Left or Right. Patrida is a lot biger than maybe some fullish comments by Lefteris.

Kosta

There are a number of items I'd like to address here as a number of issues are getting oversimplified.

Which I likely do as well.

The main thing to remember regarding an Iran with nuclear weapons, is who provides security over them? It would be the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the ones who have direct contact with Hezbollah for example. While the mullahs might be contained by mutually assured destruction, I'm not so sure the IRG would. I personally don't want to risk it. However, the way the current administration is going at it, probably isn't helpful.

Isolate Iran since 1979 has been a bad idea (can anyone provide an example where sanctions have ever worked? Cuba? Nicaragua? Iraq? Iran? Others?). One must also remember what happened in Iran in 1953 and why. Americans cry endlessly about the hostage crisis in 1979, but they have no recollection or awareness the fact that the CIA overthrew a democratically elected government back in 1953, all because the prime minister, Mossadegh wanted to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (known as BP today). Sometimes you start a fire and cannot control the flames.

It does not appear that the United States has learned its lesson.

Now we have brought up the concept that there is this massive Islamic Jihad against the West. I'm not so sure. Jihad is a complex concept, of which I am not an expert. It is my understanding that there are two main external types of jihad, offensive and defensive. Only the Caliphate may issue offensive jihad's, but that was abolished back in 1924 by the British.

Bin Laden is calling for a defensive jihad, as he argues that the United States is waging a war against Islam and thereby is calling up Muslims around the world to rise up and fight against the United States and its allies or at least help fund it. The latter being extremely unsuccessful. The former is quite successful in Iraq.

But then again, if someone overthrew your government that you hated, yet occupied your nation, would you become an insurgent? And would you do so because some guy on a dialysis machine told you or because you didn't want to see the occupation of your country continue?

I know if I was an Iraqi, I'd be trying to kill Americans too. I know that is offensive to many Americans, but the United States has absolutely no business being there.

I've shocked one American saying this. He said, "I have a friend, Stuart, who is over there." I said: "If I was in Iraqi, I'd try to kill Stuart because he is occupying my country and he has no business there."

The sooner all foreign troops are withdrawn from Iraq the better. Recently, British troops have withdrawn from Basra, and the level of violence has plummeted. It is still there, but not to the same degree. Now neo-cons will point out the success in Anbar, a largely Sunni province. I'd like to point out that there has been a signficant amount of ethnic cleansing, and those who fought against the US military are now being paid by the US.

The longer we stay, the more money these collect, the more weapons they stockpile, and more capable are they to wipe out the Shiites once we leave. I just remember seeing this program where a US soldier responsible for distributing funds called these guys "freedom fighters", even though he acknowledged that they used to fight against them, when they were called "terrorists." Does anyone else see a problem there?

Would I have preferred Saddam (who the CIA helped put in power TWICE) being in power? Well, he was largely contained in the north and south, and if the United States had never invaded, there would be a lot more innocent Iraqi people alive.

I would like to pose this question. Would the average American who supports the occupation of Iraq, support it if instead for every innocent Iraqi civilian death, there would be an American death?

If that were the case and you blinked, you'd miss the withdrawal of US troops.

According the Michael Scheuer, author of "Imperial Hubris" and former head of the bin Laden team for the CIA states that bin Laden makes the following cases in which the US is waging war against Islam, including:

1. the unbridled support of Israel and Israel's oppression of the Palestine people
2. support of Russia, India, and China that oppress Muslim minorities (Chechnya, Kashmir, and Xinhua, respectively)
3. presence of US military in the Arabian Peninsula, containing Islam's holiest city
4. support of apostate regimes in the Middle East

There were two others, but I do not remember them. I have Scheuer's book, but I loaned it to a former marine / Gulf War vet friend of mind, so I cannot look them up.

I do not say that I agree with the arguments, I'm just listing them as something to think about. Remember that Bush said there were WMD's in Iraq. Bin Laden predicted that the United States would invade an oil rich nation. Who was right? Who has greater credibility in the Muslim world? In many parts of the world? While bin Laden is definitely a sociopath, he's far more intelligent than the president of the United States.

But I digress....

I am a firm believer of knowing everything about your enemy that you can; simple advise from Sun Tzu. There are two aspects of this effort.

First, is to kill the enemy.

And no, not the insurgents in Iraq, get out and they'll stop trying to kill US and British soldiers - like the recent peace in Basra indicates, though I imagine with all the innocent civilians, we have created a number of understandably extremely vengeance minded individuals.

Second is to address the recruitment.

The latter lacks any sort of positive progress.

I do believe that the US should go after bin Laden and the like, but they need to do this with surgical precision. That takes time, intelligence, and effort. It also takes repentance in terms of foreign policies. Continuing to do what they are doing is not earning the United States more friends.

I reject the notion that Muslims overall wish to take over the world. There is an element within Islam that do, but that is not representitive of all Muslims. After all, there are "Christians" in the US that want to see a white America.

If the United States made each argument used by bin Laden invalid, how many Muslims would pay attention to him? I would guess that most would focus on their daily lives and ignore bin Laden's call for jihad.

If people believe that all the terrorist attacks were because they "hate our freedom" ... well, I just don't know where to start. I'd say read Scheuer's book and then let's talk.

I think Pat Buchanan said it so succinctly right before a break during a presidential debate in 2004. He said, "They are over here because we are over there." I was amazed by the response: "We have to take a short break and when we return, we will discuss why Pat Buchanan hates America."

I found that response to be overly simplistic, completely uninformed, completely ignorant, completely lacking in any sort of analytical thought. I doubt its rarity.

This so called war on terror is not simple. While I did support the US overthrowing the Taleban, I do not support how the diversion of that effort for Iraq, nor the complete lack of rebuilding of that nation. One of the reasons why the Taleban is able to win the hearts and minds of the various tribes in Afghanistan is because they hand out the money that the West had promised, but never delivered (ironically, through the cultivation of opium poppies, something the Taleban had previously outlawed). But even if the US hadn't diverted its focus, even if the West had come through with its promise for rebuilding, there is still the issue of the fact that in a large part of Pakistan of which Musharref has no control (Waziristan), the tribes there are ethnically linked to the Taleban. Would the US have to invade those parts of Pakistan as well? Musharref has been trying to control the Islamic extremists in that country, and it doesn't appear to be that easy.

What a complex world we live in, no?

Lefteris

i forgot to comment the incident of the Unknown soldier. Communism & Anarchism are 2 completely different thinks. the ones who did that in syntagma they (i believe) have no intellectual & no moral background. I personally do not legitimize ppl behind a hood.

Unohoo

I'd like to see Greeks under a Chinese Planetarxei. Would they be whining about China also? Or would China just silence them in a strong and sudden way as they do THEIR OWN PEOPLE.

Arrogant peoples of the world: Enjoy AMERICA while you still can, because China will not be so charitable.

Unohoo

Greeks are so brave when they protest at the safe American Embassy.

I'd like to see how brave they'd be at the Chinese Embassy or the Turkish Embassy.

Hermes

Who are Slavophone Macedonians or Slavomacedonians? I have never heard of these people?

Stavros, with all due respect (and I mean that because you seem like a very decent bloke) your ideas reflect those of the neo cons, New York Times liberals and AIPAC all rolled into one. There are some Americans who think differently and are horrified by hypocritical American foreign policy. To understand the United States and the mindset of some Americans I suggest people read Thucydides and how he describes how a city that prided itself on its liberality, democracy and creativity was corrupted by hubris and its blind belief that its freedom was the only one. Also, I suggest people read Homo Americanus by Tomislav Sunic:

http://www.amazon.com/Homo-americanus-Child-Postmodern-Age/dp/1419659847

"Sunic gives the proper reasons that Europeans should despise us, namely, because we are hostile to European national identities, because we have contributed to bringing to Central Europe Frankfurt School brain-laundering and last but not least, because we try to substitute for concrete historical traditions such notions as propositional nationhood and the ideology of human rights"

"It is what American religious culture became by the beginning of the last century which concerns him, as does the obvious contradiction between a territorially defined Europe of nations and a righteous global empire seeking to implement its conception of rights everywhere"

"Sunic believes that Americans fall into a similar pattern. As the creations of a self-proclaimed political experiment, whose subjects generally frown on the European past, Americans, and especially the younger generation, show a depressing sameness. But they mask this defect as individual self-discovery. They confuse the dreary recitation of politically correct gibberish with sensitivity that they think they have arrived at through their own value-clarification. A combination of materialism, superficiality and misplaced moral concern is the American gestalt that Sunic keeps coming back to. And he seems bothered by the fact that Europeans have begun to imitate this gestalt even while bewailing American influence"

Europeans are rapdly falling down the slippery slope where the Tragedy of the Greeks, Schiller, Hegel etc is replaced with a strange brew of Protestant-Hebraic materialism, positivism, atomisation and legalism. And if Americans think this is a Leftist critique then they should read more history. The original anti-Americanism came from the European Right from people like Tocqueville, Spengler, Maurras, Pareto, Heidegger and Schmidt. The Left in Europe was originally very pro-American because it represented the land of the ordinary man. Even today some of the most powerful critique of Americanism comes from the Right.

Contemporary political discourse in the United States is dominated by a Left-Right consensus which differ only as to how much the State should intervene in the running of the economy. Apart from that there is no real difference. They both believe in universalism, an eschatological conception of time, technocratic scientism etc However, beyond this spectrum are other ideas which have laid dormant for a long time in the American political imagination and are quickly disappearing from the European one. However, I predict the next one hundred we will see these ideas revised. New fissures in the political spectrum will open up which will see Left and Right elements converge against other Left and Right elements in a local-global framework as we come to understand the limits of the world Hayek and Mercuse imagined.

Lefteris

"Unohoo"
I'd like to see Greeks under a Chinese Planetarxei. You talk abt a πλανητάρχη so you admit that one exist allready & we are all under him. Well be 100% sure that we will protest against him as well.

I'd like to see how brave they'd be at the Chinese Embassy or the Turkish Embassy.

With Chinesse at the moment we have no problems. abt the turkish embassy there is an insident & if you can read greek
http://www.hri.org/E/1996/96-08-19.dir/keimena/politiko/pol6.htm check this out.

dont rush to speak out big words like bravery. & dont look at us as inferior because we are NOT.

Unohoo

Lefteris, I didn't say you (Greeks) were inferior, merely that some Greeks have an inferiority complex when dealing with Americans. I take people at face value, but when they start with anti-American rhetoric, I usually find that some inferiority complex is at work. Why else would someone bring up anti-American politics--when in Greece there are so many wonderful things to talk about (beautiful sea, women, food, etc)... Of course not all Greeks bring up politics and talk of anti-American topics, so this was ONLY directed at those I've encountered who do so. Again, it's all about having a life. Greeks who are happy with their lives have no need to point fingers at Americans because their lives are fulfilled.

To be inferior is only one's perception because we are all equal under God. I walk around Athens with my head high and if anyone thinks less of me as an American because of my country, that's their problem, not mine. If I was to do otherwise, that would be an inferiority complex at work as well.

Lefteris

Unohoo
Nice to see your clarification abt inferiority. But your post abt bravery sounded like that. Since when oposite opinions are anti-american? "either with us or against us"??
if you think my posts anti-american because it happens in certain things to have another point of view, check above my statements abt Greece's pollitics ami anti-Greek as well??.

"when in Greece there are so many wonderful things to talk about (beautiful sea, women, food, etc)... Of course not all Greeks bring up politics and talk of anti-American topics, so this was ONLY directed at those I've encountered who do so. Again, it's all about having a life. "
read the topic. is about sea, food, or women??


Kosta

Unohoo/Scruffy,

The age of the Chinese superpower is already upon us. Who finances the US occupation of Iraq? Who could at a moment's notice, tank the American dollar.

Let me explain how. The Chinese print Yuan to keep their currency low, and surprisingly enough, it has not resulted in inflation, as is typical. And they peg the Yuan against the dollar, so as their Yuan drops, so does the US dollar. And with the US's massive deficit spending, it drops further.

Do you remember back in 58, what happened when the British, French, and Israelis invaded Egypt to get back the Suez Canal from Nasser? Remember how the US was bankrolling the British in the Second World War? To make the British withdraw (and the French and Israelis followed) Eisenhower blocked more IMF funds to the British and started dumping British Sterling, bring the buying power of the Sterling to nothing. With their economy still recovering (rationing ending in 1952), they relied heavily on imports.

The United States has a massive trade deficit. The Chinese could smash the buying power of the US dollar at any time.

Good thing you live in Greece then, isn't it?

You say: "Or would China just silence them in a strong and sudden way as they do THEIR OWN PEOPLE."

The Chinese government doesn't really care what anyone externally says about them. As long as we keep buying Chinese made goods, why do they care? It's all about economics. As far as internel dissent, they smash anything that is a threat to their power. A bunch of anyone protesting at their embassy is not.

Lefteris

couldn't agree more with your post.
Your simple economic analysis is very informative & very true.
as of the last comment, again correct.

Stavros

Kosta,

Why would the Chinese destroy their number one trading partner? Americans could live without Chinese products but how do the Chinese replace their American customers?

I do not profess to be an expert on economics, merely asking a question. BTW, your analyses are excellent.

Hermes & Lefteris,

I will respond as soon as I find some spare time to do so adequately. Slavophone Macedonians is not my term, it is Communist doublespeak used by Zahariadis.

Kosta

Stavros,

You are correct. If the Chinese tank the US dollar by selling off treasury bills like there is no tomorrow, it will adversely affect their economy.

Something that they are not eager to do.

However, as a demonstration of force, as a bargaining chip, they may do so to demonstrate who is the real superpower, just as the United States did to Great Britain in 58. That was a short lived action. The British withdrew from Egypt (as did France and Israel), and Eisenhower stopped the dumping of British Sterling and unblocked IMF loans.

As time goes on, and the percentage of income derived from trade with the United States diminishes due to the growth of other markets (example: India), then the cost of such action also diminishes for China.

I'm not saying that China will do this, I'm just saying they can. If push comes to shove, this is their "nuke".

In warfare, one must be ready to sacrifice some soldiers, correct?

You say that the United States could live without Chinese products. With a tanked dollar, the United States would have to live without imported products from virtually all nations. American manufacturing would return, but that is not something that happens quickly. If the Chinese were to tank the US dollar, I would expect that it would be temporary as to get the effect desired, but not so long to allow the United States to respond in terms of infrastructure.

Let's just imagine a scenario. The Chinese tank the US dollar for just one month. The price of all goods, gas, etc., shoot through the roof. Inflation of at least 100% (my speculation), probably more. At the end of the month, China stops dumping US treasury bills and buys back some, restoring the previous value of the dollar. What would likely happen? No new factories could possibly be brought up (just look how long it takes American car manufacturers to retool existing factories when they go from one model year to the next), but life in the United States would be disrupted greatly.

That is, how Americans put it, having someone by the balls.

Scruffy

Interesting theories by all regarding China. But, I wonder what America's response would be. If you back a animal into a corner do they NOT bite? Would the Chinese or anyone else be willing to receive that bite. If America started a war for oil as many believe, do you NOT think that they would start a war for defensive purposes as well?

Just curious what the minds of Phylax say?

Stavros

Scruffy,

I really don't think either side wants a war; unlike the Iranians and North Koreans, the Chinese are rational, although they can be bellicose at times.

Kosta,

Although it is never wise to underestimate a competitor your assessment of China seems to me to be a bit over optimistic. China has some exploitable weaknesses of its own:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2005/08/chinas_hidden_weaknesses.html

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20040701faessay83405/george-j-gilboy/the-myth-behind-china-s-miracle.html

Hermes

The problem for the United States is not only China but the steady rise of another 3-4 centres. This does not mean the United States will become a bit player but just they will not be able to determine the agenda as they have. They will be at a worse negotiating position. The Chinese are not stupid and they will not do anything rash. They will eventually take back Taiwan (and rightly so) and when that time comes the United States will not be able to do anything. Gradually, American influence will wane. Like the 19th century where they were one voice amongst many.

More importantly, Hellas has to develop deep relationships with the Chinese and Indians. We already have good relations with Russia. We are small but that can be an advantage as they will need intercolutors. For example, acting as a bridge or defender of interests in Europe like we do with Russia. There are many ways to understand and use power.

For Greek Americans I suggest they look to get a Greek/EU passport. Do not become too attached to this entity. It owes you nothing and you owe it nothing. For some of the brighter ones they will see better opportunities elsewhere and they will leave the American vessel behind.

Stavros

Kosta,

On Iran:

Agreed. We are not dealing with rational actors and traditional deterrence may or may not be effective. The window for action is short. Iran has a record of using terrorism to achieve political goals. The threat is significant. Let's hope that the Iranian people deal with the Mullah's before it is too late.

On Iraq/Afghanistan:

Containment is a failed policy. Doing nothing is not an option. The roots of terrorism require transforming the current paradigm.

The causes of Islamic Terrorism boil down to two:

1) Muslim elites scapegoating the West to explain their own failures

2) The threat of modernity on traditional Islamic society

The only way to address these problems is to transform authoritarian regimes by encouraging the growth of democratic institutions in Iraq/Afghanistan
thereby focusing on the region's center of gravity. A center of gravity is the one element (authoritarianism) within a combatant's entire structure or system that has the necessary centripetal force to hold that structure together. This is why Clausewitz wrote that a blow directed against a center of gravity will have the greatest effect.This effort is costly and requires long-term commitment. The other option is to withdraw, do nothing and wait for the next blow. Seems like we already tried that in the past with tragic results.

The situation in Iraq is vastly improved otherwise guys like Murtha would not be scurrying for political cover by saying so.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has been defeated and Osama knows it. Recruitment in light of its significant losses there is down and when you lose experienced men they are much harder to replace. More importantly their methods have earned the enmity of Sunni and Shia alike.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if we still lose because the Taliban and Al Quaeda still have the MSM in the US and in Greece as well on their side. They may still win the public relations war even after they lose on the battlefield. Now Osama is appealing to the Europeans.

Yes, the world is complex and dangerous. There will be no Pax Americana. The paleocons long for the bankrupt isolationist policies of the 1930s when they hunkered down while fascist dictators rearmed. We paid the price in World War II. Perhaps appeasement may buys us some time as it did in Chamberlains time but we are only postponing the inevitable clash. As the father of sons I fear the worst.


Scruffy

Considering that America is still the number one destination in the world for immigrants wanting a better life, I'd say we still must have pretty good value in the world. So, all the brinkmanship and other nonsense means nothing compared to the actual statistics.

Stavros

Hermes,

When I realized that Sunic is admired by the likes of David Duke that set off the alarm bells. Seems he also thinks that America was way too tough on Nazi Germany. Given the fact that he is a Croat, the people who gave us the Ustashi, his sympathies are understandable.

Lefteris,

Sorry I don't buy your remarks about American soldiers. These guys are with few exceptions disciplined and have exercised incredible restraint in a very difficult environment. They have liberated millions of people. Americans unlike the enemy they are fighting do not deliberately target civilians. We shoot at military targets and yes sometimes we are enthusiastic about it.

As for McNamara and Kissinger, despite how serious you may consider their sins to be, some how I don't think they equate with those of Lenin or Stalin.

What's the problem with Thio Truman and why keep blowing up his statue in Athens? He helped feed Greeks and saved them from becoming good little Communists.

As for Clinton, never liked the guy, (I didn't vote for him) especially after he bombed Serbia. I promise not to vote for his wife.

BTW, this is the longest thread I have ever had on MGO. Many thanks.

Stavros

Scruffy,

Do you always get up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday??

Thanos

Stavros,

This is a very interesting thread. I would need of course a separate BLOG to address all the questions raised by the readers who have commented here. I will thus limit myself to a few words on the Lalas issue, which it has attracted inside-page attention here in Greece.

I agree with you that whether we like it or not, Lalas betrayed the trust of and oath of loyalty to his birth country. I do not believe in convoluted psychological explanations... I am perhaps too "one-sided" to consider that you will be so dishonorable as to join your own country's armed forces in order to betray that country. While Lalas is of Greek descent, he remains a born American. I don't know where he got his wires crossed and decided spying for Greece was the right thing to do, but he apparently believes deep in his heart that this was the way. Who am I to disagree? I do not, however, approve or condone such an action.

I saw Lalas the other day on TV speaking to a local reporter, who asked him if he had any idea who actually traced him and led to his arrest. "I don't know," Lalas said, "I just hope he gets it from God" [as to vrei apo ton Theo]. Although I understand the emotions involved, I just don't see how Lalas expected a fellow US officer or other US agent to IGNORE the discovery that he, Lalas, was stealing documents from the embassy. Would Lalas expect a GREEK officer ignoring a fellow Greek caught, for example, providing help to the Turks? I'm sure we would all be screaming bloody murder at that Greek officer. Those who followed up in the Lalas case did what they were supposed to do: they stopped a spy from furthering his purposes. That simple. So, they shouldn't be getting in line to receive their just punishment from God.

I followed Phylax Blog myself. One Greek friend who seems to know who Ted is said recently that Ted suffered a major personal tragedy and hasn't been himself for a while. I just hope he's OK.

BTW, Stavros MGO has developed into a fine blog. I am a regular.

Kalo Mina paidia!

Lefteris

Stavro.
You may not buy the argument abt the American soldiers.
Mc Mamara, Kissinger. well thats up to you to judge as an American. we are talking here abt their effect in world politics. & Kissingers role is very very dark.

As of Thio Truman, if you recal he poured money in just to devaluate the influence of Britain in Greece. After that the notorius Truman dogma came in & destroyed the life's of thousands of ppl no only in Greece (i'm not blaming Truman himself but mostly our puppet officials who followed that path). While talking abt money
the Ussr also pured money (a lot) in Greece to help support the communist movement or better help do their job against the American & British.

After the WWII world gathered & formed the UN in 1945, which was about to prevent another bloodshed of this scale. I fail to recall when in 2003 the US got a unanimous vote leading a coalition. Instead i remember "we could not wait until the threat from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein become imminent". G.W.Bush 2003.
what abt

quote"
States that nothing in this title shall be: (1) construed as superseding the Uniform Code of Military Justice or operating to effect the surrender of U.S. officials or members of the armed forces to a foreign country or international tribunal, including the International Criminal Court, for prosecutions arising from peacekeeping operations or other similar U.N. activity; and (2) interpreted in a manner inconsistent with the American Servicemembers' Protection Act of 2002."
end of quote
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?tab=summary&bill=h109-2601
section 1254.

I saw the other day an economic review & among other thing i saw that war in iraq cost the American tax payer abt 5 billion US$ a month. if that review is true then the ppl in the south who were struck ferociously by Catrina must be very unhappy with the help they get from the state.

Thanos.
Yes you are quite right on your post i will only add that when Lalas said "as to 'vrei ap' ton theo" i think he meant the Greek official (if any) that betrayed him. I also believe that he didnt expect an American agent to just let him go.

Epishs, Kalo mhna to all.

Stavros

Thano & Lefteris,

Appreciate very much your valuable insights. I amvery sorry to hear the news about Ted I will be praying for him. My remarks are limited because I am leaving shortly to go to a retreat with my younger son and some other folks from our church. I'll be back Sunday evening. Best wishes to all, Kalo mas mina.

Margaret

I'm very sorry to hear about Ted too. I do hope that somehow he knows that we are still thinking of him and that - for me at least - his writing on Phylax and the exchanges there were not (always :)) meaningless filling in of time, but often thought provoking oppurtunities for us to develop our thoughts and our selves.

Hermes

Stavros, that is a straw man argument.

Most of the Fascist regimes in Europe were essentially harmless and provided resistance to Bolshevism. And the United States helped finance many of the regimes. Yes, the Germans committed some excesses in the Balkans and on the Eastern Front; particularly, against the Greeks, Poles, Serbs and Russians. I am sure the version you get on the eastern seaboard of the US is that all Fascist or Fascist like regimes were evil but that is not true. If it were not for Germany, Fascism would have survived today and many European governments would have Fascist parties in power. Even Sweden's supposed benign Social Democratic party was fascist lite in the early days after WWII.

Thanos

"the Germans committed some excesses in the Balkans and on the Eastern Front" ????

"Some excesses"?
Excesses in Greece:

-- 300,000 dead from the famine of the first terrible winter of the occupation;
-- nearly 60,000 Greek Jews destroyed in the concentration camps;
-- another 100,000 Greeks killed during anti-guerrilla ops, general terror measures, and wanton massacres for the pleasure of the killers;
-- complete collapse of the Greek economy, ruination of whatever productive capacity the country had, brutal robbing of all of the country's economic assets (we had to feed the occupation troops, pay for their general upkeep, and send foodstuffs to Germany, too).

These "some excesses" were never really repaired. A pittance paid in war reparations was enough for the subservient Karamanlis the elder to sign on the dotted line and absolve the killers of all future liability. Karamanlis could not even try Dr Max Merten, the civilian Nazi administrator of Thessaloniki, successfully for his role in the liquidation of the Greek Jews.

That Greek postwar governments have crawled on all fours in the presence of (West) Germany does not mean that the Nazi heinous crimes against Hellas were never committed.

And, Hermes, you've shown (again) your true colors.

Margaret,
I have pointed my friend who seems to know Ted to this blog and asked him to convey to Ted all the kind thoughts expressed here.

Hermes

Thanos, I did say there were excesses against Greeks. I am not sure what you are on about. However, I have seen some comparable numbers on the number of Iraqis killed since the American invasion by American forces directly and indirectly. I see no calls for Nuremberg Trials. Some people actually believe what the Americans are doing are fighting for freedom.

The issue was about Fascism. Most Fascist regimes did not follow the Nazi model and it is wrong to group them all together. It is like comparing the Singaporean democracy with the Italian. They are both democracies but are materially different.

Diogenes

It makes me laugh that people claim the communism seen in Russia and China is not the "real" communism that would have benefited mankind.

Now, another equally absurd claim about fascism and Nazi Germany.

Yes, people, if it weren't for Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, we could appreciate the glorious systems of fascism and communism for the wonders they are.

Ridiculous.

Hermes

Diogenes, rather than getting hysterical, have you actually studied these systems via primary sources or events of the time or are you repeating the words of contemporary commentators with an interest in discrediting these systems for political purposes? Have you really read about Italian Fascism or Spanish Falange or Romanian Legionaires or Action Francaise? Do you know that in many places Fascism was a bourgeoisie reaction to the spectre of proletarian revolution? And some conservative Christian groups in the United States are neofascist in character despite denouncing Fascism itself? Admittedly, the ideas of some of the before mentioned are repulsive but they are not all bad. Likewise, Marx, Engels, Proudhon and their offspring like Gramsci do get some things right. Actually, the parallels between early Christianity in power and Fascism/Communism are very strong i.e. strong focus on the purity of doctrine and dogma, manipulating collective consciousness, discrediting enemies via physical means and language, implementing cultural revolutions, rules governing the totality of life and so on.

Your namesake would not have blindly accepted dogma, but he would have questioned it.

Personally, I like to study everything from the primary sources as much as possible. And independently question the assumptions these ideas are built upon and then analyze the implementation of these ideas. Also, I am careful to recognize the way language is used. I do not accept what is given to me by Harper’s Bazaar or the Council of Foreign Relations.

Diogenes

If you care about primary sources, read my comment at the start of this thread.

Stavros

The track record of Fascism and Communism, both bankrupt ideologies hoisted on the world by European intellectuals, speaks for itself. No amount of intellectual gymnastics can overcome the historical record that they have amassed. That is why historical revisionism is so rampant.

If the parallels between Communism and Christianity are so strong why did Communist regimes expend so much effort trying to destroy every aspect of Christianity??

Fascism's roots are pagan not Christian and this is reflected in the Nazi emphasis on paganism. Fascists thought they could utilize Christianity for their own purposes but put absolutely no stock in a religion that was anathema to everything they stood for.

"The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death. A slow death has something comforting about it. The dogma of Christianity gets worn away before the advance of science. Religion will have to make more and more concessions. Gradually the myths crumble. All that's left is to prove that in nature there's no frontier between the organic and the inorganic. When understanding of the universe has become widespread, when the majority of men know that the stars are not sources of light but worlds - perhaps inhabited worlds like ours - then the Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity."

BTW, the author of these words was not Hermes, it was Adolf Hitler.

Hermes

Stavros, didn't Christianity play a strong role on Spanish and Romanian or even Greek Fascism?

Stavros

Hermes,

You are absolutely right to point out that Fascism has allied itself at times with Christian Churches in order to accomplish it's goals, especially in countries where the Church is clearly identified with national identity. Example, the Metaxas Regime.

Keep in mind too that the Roman Catholic Church for example, was much more afraid of Bolshevism and that it saw the Fascists as nationalist bulwarks against the greater threat.

The point I was trying to make, perhaps poorly, is that Fascism has much more in common dogmatically with paganism than Christianity. It just a much better fit.

BTW, I was not trying to infer that you and Hitler are alike, just that your views are uncannily similar.

Hermes

Stavros, I suspect you have done some background reading after your last comments and after these ones I believe you should do some more. Some Christian apologists have made the accusation that paganism (usually the northern European strand) is akin to various forms of Fascism and its offshoots like Falangism or cousins like National Syndicalism or Integralism or Corporatism. However, although it’s is extremely difficult to define paganism because there was no doctrine set in stone, paganism or Hellenism’s characteristics can be defined as critical enquiry, undogmatic, openness to new ideas, traditional and community based. Does this sound like Fascism to you?

Stavros

Hermes,

That's why I keep you around, you make me do my homework.

The Vikings were pagans although I think critical inquiry was not as high on their list of things to do as rape,plunder and murder. They also enjoyed drinking more than their share of ale.

OK now I'll try to be serious. I'll begin by conceding that their are different forms of fascism. Nazism was a racially oriented fascism while Italy for example was oriented on the supremacy of the state above all else.

There can be no doubt that the Nazis tried to deconstruct Christianity and turned to paganism as a way to accomplish this. The Nazis used the notion of paganism to legitimize their supposed roots in a pre-Christian past. Their worship of godliness in the human being through his or her direct connection to nature, culture, and race are all clearly indicative of paganism. Some "Christians" even collaborated in this effort.

The neo-pagans within and without the church of pre-Nazi and Nazi Germany saw fit to discard Christianity's moral conscience, at great human cost.

Hermes

If the National Socialists used paganism for their crazy ends it is not the fault of paganism or Hellenism. Just as it is not the fault of Christ that David Koresh decided to blow up 80 people or that Pizarro slaughtered thousands of Inca. The logic of your arguments is incredibly flawed. Your argument reminds me of the arguments used by the Frankfurt School. Are you sure you are not are New Left Marxist or its it just the watered down version that is pushed onto people from the New York times?

Stavros

Touche, I yield.

Hermes

Good article on Neohori. I visited this village. Very pleasant.

Stavros

I'm glad you like it. My Uncle who grew up in Neohori sent me a copy of the poem. Unfortunately I could not find an English translation of it for those readers that don't read Greek and I didn't think I could do justice to it by translating it myself. My Uncle Elias has some great stories about his life there which I will get around to relating eventually to my readers.

Dimitri

I am a Greek American. I was born in the US, but my family moved back to Greece when I was a few weeks old, and I remained there until I was eight. Then, back to America and I have been here ever since.

I can assure some of the commentators on this blog that Greek Americans, at least most of us, suffer from no divided loyalties. We are Americans first and foremost. We may look to Greece for our heritage, but all it takes for us to remove any delusions in our minds about who we truly are is a visit to Greece. There, we quickly realize that our blood may be Greek, but we THINK and ACT like Americans. Because that is what we are.

I have spent my entire life listening to my family in Greece talk to me about my identity, my loyalties, etc etc. Greeks in Greece do not understand, and never will understand, what it means to be an immigrant, and to confront issues like assimilation, acculturation and identity politics.

I am a son of Greece, nothing and no one can take that away from me or define that for me. Greeks in Greece are not arbiters of my heritage, they are just cousins.

But your loyalties always ALWAYS go to the country that raised you and provided you with opportunities.

Lalas reminds me of some confused Greek-American cousins of mine who go back to Greece and try to tell the locals that they are really Greeks and not Americans. The Greeks are amused, but they roll their eyes because they can see what my relatives cannot.

Those Greeks who would say that I am not really Greek sometimes forget that the common thread throughout the narrative of our people has always been migration, so in that sense I understand what it means to be Greek better than they do.

Yiasas,
Dimitri

Kosta

Scruffy,

About America's response to the Chinese tanking the dollar. What could they do?

Nuclear strike? We have mutually assured destruction there.

Conventional strike? The Chinese have anti-satellite technology that we know of (possibly superior to what the US has), a signficant navy, and an extremely large army. In terms of their anti-aircraft capabilities, I have no idea. But I'm guessing that conventional warfare is not an option as they are a much more formidable opponent.

In contrast, the United States had easily defeated Iraq back in 1991. The second time around, the biggest problem was weather (sandstorms specifically).

Why do you believe the United States invaded Iraq?

The first reason we were given was WMD's. When it was proven that the case was extremely flimsy (I can go on about this if you like), the Bush administration changed to their Al Qaeda connection (which consists of the letter "Q" as far as I can tell). That was disregarded. Then the Bush administration said to spread democracy. And that is simply garbage.

Do you not remember Wolfowitz's testimony. He was almost gleeful in talking how Iraq's oil revenues would pay for reconstruction of Iraq. Remember, he was also the one who called for taking out Saddam after the Gulf War.

If it wasn't about oil, what was it?

And remember, China is likely a much more formidable adversary on the battlefield than Iraq.

So again, I ask you. What would the US do? What could they do?

And then you say "America is still the number one destination in the world for immigrants wanting a better life, I'd say we still must have pretty good value in the world."

And what in the Hell does that have to with anything? That statement is a non sequitor. Yes, the United States is a destination for many people that are seeking a better life. It is a land of opportunity. However, that does not translate into a benevolent nation.

Survival is a very strong instinct.

Do you think the Guatemalans who come to the US searching for work even think about the fact that the CIA overthrew Arbenz back in 1954 and that led to 36 year civil war in that country? Of course not. They are poor. They are not able to feed their families, so they go where they can work and send money home or possibly take their families with them.

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  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy

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