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from one masterpiece; to another

By Mike Cunningham On June 18th, 2014

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

Whilst in contemplative mood, I would ask ATW readers if, in their opinion, Shelley’s masterpiece has its own echo in this Telegraph article about the Iraqi city once described by an American President as a place where he could  “see the outlines of the Iraq we’ve been fighting for”.

I would only comment that if this resembles what all those American lives, as well as the vast amounts of treasure spent upon this ill-conceived and poorly-executed shambles produced, maybe we should have left Saddam Hussein in place, and, once the Taliban were driven from power, left Afghanistan as well.

 

30 Responses to “from one masterpiece; to another”

  1. One gets the feeling that Ozymandias was in his day a ruler of cold intelligence, authority and vision. The neo-cons that miscalculated all over the world were by comparison comic-book characters.

    Part of their major miscalculation was that we live in a multi-polar world, where their gung-ho wars with massive firepower and technology – simple methods for simple minds – just don’t work any more. They thought overwhelming military power could still do what it could do back in the 1940s.

    The world is now a very different place. Instead economies, media, and public opinion also have to be part of the mix, as well as the intricate interaction of culture, commerce and tribal loyalties.
    This was of course all way above the heads of the simpletons in the Bush government. They were ultimately defeated on the ground, in public opinion and in elections and will, hopefully, not recover for a long time. Nevertheless they played midwife to the likes of ISIS and we have to live with the results of their ignorance even as they themselves fade away.

    How does the world tackle such a tiny movement (ISIS has apparently no more than 7000 fighters) before which well-armed and trained armies seem to melt away?
    I see the Islamists have recently conquered two special places: Falluja and Abu Ghraib.
    Nothing to better illustrate the vanity and stupidity of the warmongers in Washington and London, of course, but the sane people of Iraq, and they still make up the majority, still need to be protected and the people to do the protection will have to be the people who got them into this mess in the first place.

  2. Nice comparison Mike.

    More simply put it might read – “How are the mighty fallen?”. – or even – “Pride comes before a fall!”.

    Both phrases, and your quote, pertaining to those who may well have had the very best of intentions when conceived, and yet still succumb to the twin evils of arrogance and greed.

    Of course there are many more quotes, one I feel most appropriate is “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread!” (see link – ‘Bush, Blair, Haigh, Obama’)

  3. Noel,

    Your comment is also most appropriate…

  4. the ignorance of thought and lack of reality in both the comments and this post are quite amusing.

    thanks for the laugh

  5. The American people were – understandably enough – traumatised by the events of 9-11 and allowed themselves to be tied to the tail of a mad Texan jackass.

    Fortunately, they now realise the mistake they made; realise it a bit too much, perhaps, as it means they now completely reject not only warmongers, but also any foreign military intervention, even when it is considered and makes good political and moral sense.
    It’s only the hopelessly brainless among them, like Troll, who still think the invasion of Iraq was a good idea.

  6. I recall well from the days when the invasion was being organized, hearing a French govt guy saying something along the lines that the Americans had no idea at all of what they were getting into, how deep the hatreds/vendettas go back in that part of the world, etc, how hard it will ever be to put the demons back in the cage once they are set free.

    Maybe we should have listened to the French a little bit.

  7. Wasn’t it French misinformation that led, in part, to all that ‘weapons of mass destruction’ nonsense?

    At the time it seemed that the French may have been attempting to manoeuvre the US into invading Iraq.

  8. Many intelligence agencies thought that those weapons existed.

    The French protested the invasion very loudly – they weren’t trying to have us invade – quite the opposite.

  9. Dr David Kelly knew there were no WMD

    And look what happened to him.

  10. British intelligence knew Iraq did not have any WMD, Blair simply ignored them.

  11. To be a bit legalistic

    No one ” knew ” it – you can’t prove such a negative.

    You could know that they existed ( if they did ) , and you could only say that ” you haven’t proven that they exist ” if didn’t believe that they did exist.

    It still hasn’t been proven that they never existed. It’s fairly impossible.

  12. harri

    The chemical weapons used at Halabja – in your opinion were these WMD?

  13. Phantom, on June 18th, 2014 at 6:19 PM Said:

    harri

    The chemical weapons used at Halabja – in your opinion were these WMD?

    They were devastating weapons of course, but as Blix and Dr Kelly tried to tell our governments there were no WMD.

  14. And those non-existent WMD could reach mainland UK in 45 minutes apparently 😉

  15. Up to 5000 were killed at Halabja.

    That’s not WMD?

    What’s the threshold?

  16. Ozymandias was Ramesses II.

    I read once that in the 1970s his mummy was found to be deteriorating, so it was flown to Paris for tests. It was issued with a real passport gave the occupation as “King (deceased)”.

    Nothing is too absurd for the bureaucratic mind.

  17. Phantom, on June 18th, 2014 at 6:49 PM Said:

    Up to 5000 were killed at Halabja.

    That’s not WMD?

    What’s the threshold?

    I dunno, how many ‘Chemical shells’ were fired . one, two, twenty, 200? how many Phantom, you know everything apparently, you tell me.

    If you fire enough conventional shells it could do the same if not worse damage to loss of life, but you already know that don’t you.

  18. How many tens of thousnads were kkilled using Amerucan Cruise missilies during the invasion of Iraq, are they weapons of mass destruction?

  19. Harri, on June 18th, 2014 at 7:27 PM Said:

    How many tens of thousands were killed using American Cruise missiles during the invasion of Iraq, are they weapons of mass destruction?

  20. We are aware that America Russia and other countries have WMD. That’s not disputed.

    You said that there were no WMD in Iraq

    How could you possibly know such a thing?

  21. You said that there were no WMD in Iraq

    How could you possibly know such a thing?

    They never found any.

  22. That is true.

    There are many lost or hidden things that have not been found. That doesn’t mean that they never existed.

    I’m not trying to bust your cojones, but I’m very careful about saying that they never existed. In a country where it was documented that they buried their own warplanes so as to hide them.

  23. There are many lost or hidden things that have not been found. That doesn’t mean that they never existed.

    I’m not trying to bust your cojones, but I’m very careful about saying that they never existed. In a country where it was documented that they buried their own warplanes so as to hide them.

    And I have no wish to bust your’s either Phantom, but are we ld to beleive that after all these years, not one single Iraqi left alive after the invasion had no idea where the supposed WMD were buried/hidden?

    Not even David Copperfield could have achieved that 😉

  24. Harri/Phantom

    Everyone knows the WMDs were smuggled out of Iraq by a certain American arms fanatic who is currently hiding them in his back garden and just waiting for the day when he loses his temper sufficiently enough to take them out and take his opponents out.

    I can’t say who that is but clever guys like you two should work it out 😉

  25. Perhaps, they might be in the same kinda cave that the invisible man Bin Laden lived in 😉

    It worked for him.

  26. Colm

    Troll would have needed one hell of a set of suitcases to get past customs 😉

  27. He hid them in his moustache 🙂

  28. And he is not American .. he is a Belgian 🙂

    His words, not mine.

  29. Chemical weapons are protected by the Second Amendment you know.

    How can you protect yourself if you don’t have it about the place?

  30. I find that Shelley’s wife composed a story that serves as a better analogy to Iraq – Frankenstein.