James Webb On The Fighting Abilities Of The Viet Cong And NVA

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Veterans of the Vietnam War have strong opinions of the fighting qualities of their adversaries. Some of them are open in their admiration for the enemy; other less so, even to the point of contempt.  Some veterans consider them to be masters of deception, discipline, and skill; others scorn such talk as propaganda fueled by a hostile press and an ignorant public.  The truth may be somewhere between these extremes.  The VC and NVA may not have been the supermen legend made them out to be, but it cannot be denied that they won the war.  Clearly they must have been doing something right.

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Giving And Receiving

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The minister Al Rabi’ Ibn Yunus (الربيع بن يونس) lived from about A.D. 730 to 785 and served the Abbasid caliphs Al Mansur and his successor Al Mahdi.  Amusing and instructive anecdotes have come down to us from the medieval Arabic historians about the interactions of the minister with his sovereigns.  We will relate two of them here, acknowledging our debt to Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary (وفيات الأعيان وأنباء أبناء الزمان).  The stories illustrate the importance of honoring one’s word as well as the power of Fate.

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How The Establishment De-Legitimizes Dissenting Views

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US State Department spokesman John Kirby recently got himself embroiled in a revealing exchange with a news correspondent from RT (Russia Today).  As Kirby was performing his usual crocodile-tears act in front of the cameras about civilian casualties that his government is ultimately responsible for due to its military support of a brutal insurgency, he was challenged by the RT correspondent.  The correspondent asked him to provide specific details to back up his allegations.

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An Epitaph For Fidel Castro: The Failure Of Self-Mastery

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He was from youth a strong-willed and charismatic man, certain of the correctness of his ideas and the importance of his mission. It is probably true that in the beginning he genuinely wanted the best for his country, and he was possessed of a burning desire to right the wrongs he saw all around him. Cuba under his predecessors was little more than a huge plantation, exploited at will by corrupt elites and foreign powers.  His certitude gave him a charisma which the credulity of the commons mistook for leadership.

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An Unexpected Consequence Of The Crusades

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On the subject of the results of the Crusades, much has been written.  The effects were profound and stimulating, practically too numerous to be mentioned here.  At that time, Europe was behind the East in arts, knowledge, and refinement.  Edward Gibbon tells us:

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The Three Things That Deflect Us From Love

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Several days ago I received a warm email from a young guy in Brooklyn who had read one of my recent articles here.  The story, told in the form of a fable, underscored the importance of taking the initiative in matters of love.  His questions were these:  How do I know when to take the initiative?  How can I develop my “initiative-taking” spirit?

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