EdCone.com : Word Up
Updated: 4/7/2003; 11:07:58 AM.


Far Away
North Carolina
Guilford County

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Wednesday, March 26, 2003

An Obit That Made Me Go "Wow"

Len Wright died last week at 92. I knew him as a retired professor at UNC-Greensboro who built a great collection of Japanese prints and gave it to the Weatherspoon Museum, a modest and gentle man who loved art and was always a pleasure to visit with at openings and meetings. But I guess I didn't know Lenoir Chambers Wright that well--here's some of the stuff I learned from his obit: He was a high-level tennis player who played in the 1931 US Open; he got a law degree from Harvard, practiced a couple of years before becoming a Navy officer in WWII, then decided he wanted to teach and got a doctorate in history at Columbia; he taught in Iraq and India on Fulbright grants, and published a book on US policy toward Egypt from 1830-1914. Wow. Rest in peace, Len.

Why Are The Iraqis Coming Out?

The news that a big Iraqi force is heading toward our troops seems like a bad move on their part.  Don't we have complete control of the air and enough firepower to destroy them if they aren't hiding in cities? Why are they doing this, not just in Basra, where they are under direct attack, but in Baghdad, too?

5:56:12 PM    
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Iraqis, Tribalism, and the Confederacy 

If an Iraqi division was rolling up I-85 through Greensboro on its way to overthrow some hypothetical despot in Washington, Iíd like to think Iíd have the wherewithal to pick a couple of the bastards off along the way.

I was thinking about the Pentagonís surprise at the level of Iraqi resistance and the emergence of the Fedayeen as the Viet Cong of an urban-jungle war, and I wondered what I would do if another country invaded the United States to remove a US government I despised.

Most likely, Iíd hope to take up arms against the invaders. Not to sound vainglorious--Iím a middle-aged dad and desk-jockey, not a survivalist or a militiaman, Quaker-educated, not a warrior. But it's happened here before--itís what folks in my part of North Carolina did during the Civil War. Guilford County, like much of the South (including Robert E. Lee), didnít want to secede. Few people here owned slaves, and the planter class was viewed with some suspicion. But soldiers from here fought bravely when the shooting started. Itís possible that certain demographic groups in this county are more pro-Confederacy now than their ancestors were in early 1861.

I know itís not an exact comparison, and obviously if Iíd been a Jew in Nazi Germany, or for that matter a Kurd in Iraq, I would make a different choice. The Shias, though, have not flipped as we expected, at least not yet. Arab culture, famously tribal, gave us this saying: ďMe and my brother against our cousin, me and my brother and our cousin against a stranger.Ē

Surprise! It turns out they meant it.

11:41:01 AM    
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