Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reaction to Belgrade

When the news of the attack on the American Embassy in Belgrade broke I almost instantly got a phone call from an old comrade. He remembered that back in '72 I had sent him a telegram from Beruit regarding an operation in the then Yugoslavia that was in the works. Here is the text of the telegram. Remember, this was sent from Beruit.


BEAR:

YOU GO TO SLAVIA STOP
I STAY HERE BT*

SNAKE

* old school telegram speak for break transmission signifying the end of the message.

He said he still laughs at the thought of someone who would rather stay in Beruit. Then he remembers what went down with his team in Belgrade and Skopje and realizes that I was the one with good sense on that subject. At least I was able to get decent cups of coffee and great hash in Beruit. That and the French reporter. . .

3B's

8 Comments:

Anonymous oddjob said...

Generally speaking I think when we mess around in the parts of the world with multi-century histories of intense tribal strife we usually mostly just get burned for doing so. I think this country's mentality is singularly ill-suited for doing anything much that's very helpful in those places. We always want a short, simple story about good guys and bad guys, especially if it's one where the good guys are at a disadvantage and we can come in like shining knights to save the day.

Once in an extremely rare while it more or less works like that, which then blinds us all the more to the reality that usually it doesn't work like that, that the world is full of grays and we just suck at understanding that.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous tata said...

My high school friend Daniel Drennan moved to Beirut from New York after 9/11. You don't have to imagine that journey. He's written all about it.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

i think because we have such a short history(us meaning people that came here for various reasons)
we just don't understand.

we also have a ton of arrogance. that doesn't help.even when we have good intentions it is often coupled with a condesending attitude.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous oddjob said...

Exactly, Sherry!

I could be wrong, but I suspect that's a huge part of what's driving McCain's fantasyland interpretations of how things are in Iraq. If he thinks Americans are going to sit around for a century of occupation of a non-country as messed up as that one is he's smoking some seriously good stuff. I don't understand how you get nominated for president, run on a campaign of seasoned experience, and be that clueless!

(Word verification is "xfabsott". I'm not touching that one with a ten foot pole.)

3:35 PM  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Oddjob,

Saw this re. McCain: "Hanoi couldn't break him, but Washington did."

MB,

"French reporter". . .?

--Lisa

9:57 PM  
Anonymous oddjob said...

"Hanoi couldn't break him, but Washington did."

DC offers him something Hanoi could not.

Power's a hugely seductive drug to some, you know?

10:07 PM  
Blogger American Goy said...

"I think this country's mentality is singularly ill-suited for doing anything much that's very helpful in those places. We always want a short, simple story about good guys and bad guys(...)"

Just...bravo.

Spot on!

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:44 PM  

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