Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Dubya of Arabia
(UPDATE #2 - December 2, 11:00 AM)
President Bush's Iraq National Strategy for Victory in Iraq "outlines" eight strategic objectives or "pillars."
Lawrence of Arabia wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom but Dubya of Arabia one-ups him with eight.
But instead of emulating T.E. Lawrence's terminology a better strategy would be to take from his wisdom.
Shame was a key ingredient in Seven Pillars. Shame for leading his men under false pretenses with false promises. Shame for deceiving. Shame for over-inflating.
There is no shame for Dubya of Arabia.
From Book 7, Chapter 100 of T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom:
"Yet I cannot put down my acquiescence in the Arab fraud to weakness of character or native hypocrisy: though of course I must have had some tendency, some aptitude, for deceit, or I would not have deceived men so well, and persisted two years in bringing to success a deceit which others had framed and set afoot. I had had no concern with the Arab Revolt in the beginning. In the end I was responsible for its being an embarrassment to the inventors. Where exactly in the interim my guilt passed from accessory to principal, upon what headings I should be condemned, were not for me to say. Suffice it that since the march to Akaba I bitterly repented my entanglement in the movement, with a bitterness sufficient to corrode my inactive hours, but insufficient to make me cut myself clear of it. Hence the wobbling of my will, and endless, vapid complainings."
First off, a shout-out to my buddy (and one-time Talon News assistant researcher), Ryan, at Liberal Avenger for linking to this post.
And I got an email from the farmer (ex-Corrente blogger extroadinaire) who cites the differences in the - at least - three different versions of Seven Pillars that Lawrence had published:
Just a quick note here on your TE Lawrence post.... and the link to the E-Book therein. The quote you've posted -- "Yet I cannot put down my acquiescence in the Arab fraud to weakness of character or native hypocrisy...." - and so forth....is sourced to Book 7, Chapter 100 in you post (via the e-book cited).
I have a copy of the first "public" edition of Seven Pillars: pub. 1935 (sitting right here in may lap as i write this) and the quote you cited appears in Book Nine "Maneuvring [sic] For a Final Stroke" Chapter 100 "Atonement, redemption, dint of consequence" (page 550) -- It (the quote you cite) is the last paragraph to that chapter.
Just sayin. It also appears that other chapters and Books have been left out of the E-Book you link to. As well, the chapters and Books are titled differently than my 1935 edition.
Which was published by Doubleday, Doran & Company in Garden City, NY. (The copy i have is the first "first published for general circulation" edition after the limited privately published edition (750 copies printed in 1926 by the same publisher).
Ha. I once called the farmer the William Faulkner of the blogosphere but he's also the David Foster Wallace.
Pierre Tristam, an editorial writer and columnist at the Daytona Beach News-Journal in Florida and who has a new blog called Candide's Notebooks, also picked up on the "Pillars" thing.
The thirty-eight page "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" is a pamphlet of hallucinations so crammed with in-your-face Biblical allusions and colonially Freudian slips that one wonders if the administration has abandon all pretenses of objective goals in favor of hopes and prayers hewing to the base. Embrace the inner cause: This is God’s duty for America. This is the president’s crusade: The appendix to "The National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" is called—and this is, unfortunately, no joke, and no laughing matter—"The Eight Pillars." Whoever wrote this wanted to one-up both the Book of Proverbs and T.E. Lawrence: In the Book of Proverbs (9:1) you read the lines, "Wisdom has built herself a house/she has erected her seven pillars." And of course T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, called his autobiography "Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph."
Make sure you read the rest of Tristam's article...speaking of erudite and excellent...I love political writers with strong literature backgrounds - and a peek at Tristam's published essays shows that he draws on it quite a bit. But then...that comes from a former English Lit major who only took a couple journalism courses back at Syracuse U.