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One says, “Lean forward.”

The other may be saying, “Push back.”

* * *

Perhaps the two boys are playing an old game with old cards and broken chips.

“I see you lost some states there,” says one.

“The cause lost some states, but, you know, people don’t change much.  They’re still ours, and I see there’s more like them on the table.”

* * *

It’s an evil old game cooked by one party with crude assumptions: the other cannot walk away; the other cannot win; the other is there for beating and controlling; the stakes will be useful, pleasing, but of themselves are not important.

* * *

For one player, Syria may seem to afford payback for Afghanistan, February 15, 1989 and for an evening at the Kremlin, December 25, 1991.

It’s personal.

And why not?

Others fight old battles over and over, and the origins or their legends and myths are even farther back in time.

Banners, causes, flags: shields.

Methods, outlooks, visions: those are more to the point.

* * *

Winning empathetically, ethically, rightly: satisfying.

Winning by force of will alone: delicious!


Iran: U.S. will ‘definitely suffer’ if it leads strike on Syria – CNN.com (9/6/2013):

Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday the United States — which, in addition to being one of his country’s chief adversaries, has led the push to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government over chemical weapons — has no right to make “humanitarian claims (given) their track record” in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Obama, Putin in battle over purported Syria chemical weapons evidence at G-20 summit in Russia – CBS News (9/6/2013):

Putin said this week that any one-sided action would be rash. But he said he doesn’t exclude supporting U.N. action if it’s proven that the Syrian government used poison gas on its own people.

Putin Fights War of Images and Propaganda with Russia Today Channel – SPIEGEL ONLINE (8/13/2013):

Russia releases key findings on chemical attack near Aleppo indicating similarity with rebel-made weapons — RT News (9/4/2013)

Rumsfeld’s War – Newsweek and The Daily Beast (9/15/2002):

“Leaning forward” is one of Donald Rumsfeld’s favorite expressions. An old cold-war term, familiar to soldiers and spies, it means the willingness to be aggressive, to take risks. “I want every one of you to know how forward-leaning we are,” the secretary of Defense told a room full of Marine generals and Navy admirals at the North Island Naval Air Station, near San Diego, last month.

Syria crisis: War of words between Russia, U.S. heats up – CNN.com (9/6/2013):

The Cold War is over, though given the increasingly heated exchanges of late, it’s hard to tell.

What’s the evidence of Syrian chemical weapons attack? – CNN.com (9/4/2013)

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