Saturday, December 30, 2006

Jack Weatherford: Great Law of Genghis Khan in Iraq

Los Angeles Times, 2006 December 29

“In his final televised speech to the Iraqi people in 2003, Saddam Hussein denounced the invading Americans as ‘the Mongols of this age,’ a reference to the last time infidels had conquered his country, in 1258. But the comparison isn't very apt — unlike the Mongols, the Americans don't have the organizational genius of Genghis Khan...

“The legal justification for the Mongol invasion of Iraq derived from the reluctance of the caliph of Baghdad to control the Shiite Cult of the Assassins, whom the Mongols accused of attempting to kill their khan.

“The Assassins operated from a series of fortified mountain camps spread from contemporary Afghanistan to Iraq, and the Baghdad invasion did not begin until the Mongols had eradicated the threat from the Assassins and destroyed their fortresses...

“The Mongols took no prisoners and allowed no torture, but they executed swiftly and efficiently, including the soldiers of the defeated army who, they believed, would be a constant source of future problems if allowed to live. The first several months of a Mongol invasion were bloody, but once the takeover ended, the bloodshed ended.

“By contrast, the American military campaign was quick, with comparatively few Iraqi (or coalition) casualties, but the bloodshed has continued for years...

“And while the violence continues, the U.S. can't come close to establishing a government that rivals what the Mongols achieved...

“They fiercely enforced religious freedom, which created an essentially secular state... They lowered taxes for merchants and eliminated them for religious, medical and educational professionals. They educated women along with men...

“Fundamentalist Muslims look back at Mongol secularism as a scourge. But, although U.S. rule in Iraq has produced a constant flow of refugees, particularly religious minorities, out of the country, under Mongol rule Christian, Muslim, Jewish and even Buddhist immigrants poured into the newly conquered Iraq to live under the Great Law of Genghis Khan...

“By the time of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the political achievements of the Mongols had been forgotten, and only the destructive fury of their wars was remembered.”

-Jack Weatherford

Who's your daddy?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ulemj’s birthday

This post has moved to Adventuria - Travels of Radigan Neuhalfen.

Zaya’s dance thing

On Sunday, went to Zaya’s holiday production at her tsetserleg (an abridgement of “khuukhdiin tsetserleg,” which is literally: “child garden”; used as “kindergarten,” which is literally: “child garden”).

Poor little kids, being forced to sing and dance for old people’s amusement.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Holiday Greetings from Tsetsegee

"I wish to everyone a Merry Christmas and a new 2007 year.

"Also, I wish you all success, good health, luck in coming new year!"


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holiday Greetings from Luvsan

"May your New Year of 2007 be filled with Joy and Happiness. Hope you succeed in everything you do throughout the new year."


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

See Sunny Afghanistan

Advice for travelling in Afghanistan from a U.S. soldier.

Seriously, advice for travelling in Afghanistan from U.S. soldier Jonathan Miller, who "has a passion for travel." 21 years old.

"If nothing else, you must come see this country for its amazing terrain features...

"Since there are no beaches, you won’t have to pack your bathing suit...

"Stay away from the Afghanistan and Pakistan border on the East side of the country or you might find yourself in the middle of a firefight...

"Pack light and don’t bring too many valuable belongings...

"Before you come you should also do some research on suicide bombers (what they wear, how they act, etc)."

The Travel Junkie - Untamed Travel for the Young and the Restless

Mongolia, China, and Chinggis Khaan in *The Economist*

"Battle for Mongolia's soul

"On the 800th anniversary of his empire's birth, China and Mongolia both claim Genghis Khan as their own"

The Economist, Dec 19th 2006

"The Mongolian government has already suffered the downsides of economic nationalism. By law, all gold output is supposed to be sold to the Bank of Mongolia, the central bank. This year the amount sold has fallen by half even though production has continued to rise, says the central bank's former governor, Ochirbat Chuluunbat. He blames a windfall tax that has encouraged small producers to sell gold on the black market rather than to the bank. Most black-market gold is smuggled across the 4,677km border with China...

"For all Mongolia's nationalism, the government remains acutely aware of the dangers of upsetting its powerful southern neighbour. Officials studiously avoid criticism of China, which provides vital port facilities for Mongolia's exports...

"In order to avoid falling under the sway of either Russia or, particularly, China, Mongolia pursues what it calls a 'third neighbour' policy. This involves remaining on good terms with its giant neighbours but also reaching out to countries such as America and Japan (Mongolia's biggest aid donor). America has been delighted by Mongolia's support for its military operations in Iraq, including the dispatch of some 200 support troops. This is the first time Mongolian troops have been stationed in Iraq since Genghis's grandson, Hulagu, conquered Baghdad...

"A Mongolian general, given warning by an American counterpart of the dangers of operating in Baghdad, is said to have quipped: 'I know. We've been here before.'"

Widely Misunderstood

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
Once you spend half your life just covering up

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man said, "Son, if it was up to me"
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said, "Son, don't you understand?"

I had a brother at Khe Sahn
Fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, but he's all gone

He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down this road
Ain't got nowhere to run, ain't got nowhere to go

Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.
I'm a long gone daddy in the U.S.A.

-Bruce Springsteen, "Born in the U.S.A."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Declaration against the War

"I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that this War, on which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purpose for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them, and that, had this been done, the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation. I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed. On behalf of those who are suffering now I make this protest against the deception which is being practised on them; also I believe that I may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the contrivance of agonies which they do not, and which they have not sufficient imagination to realize.

"Siegfried L. Sassoon...July 1917"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

War on Terror: The Boardgame

"Wage War on the Most Dangerous Abstract Noun Known to Man"

"The actual War on Terror is offensive. This is just a board game."

Just released last month; already banned at several toy fairs.

Clearly designed lovingly by people who enjoy critical thinking, this thing looks smart (stylish) and smart (intelligent). Check out a couple "Empire Cards" from the Card Appendix:

"Weapons Inspector - You need to make sure they haven't got anything that might trouble your liberating forces."

"Terrorist Upsurge - Seems like not everyone wants to be liberated. Ungrateful swines."

As a cartophile and sometime fan of Risk and Axis and Allies, I can't help but pore over the gameboard: New Zealand and the Philippines are apparently planned for the "Southeast Corner of the Map" expansion pack, Alaska is exhibiting symptoms of palsy, and - betraying the game's British origins - the Falklands are way prominent. (Only British folk could design a game of world domination in which the Falklands receive the high-profile treatment. Maybe also Argentinians.) More than offsetting this, however, is the inclusion of Antarctica, which is crazy cool. Antarctica is labeled as "Nowhere."

And Mongolia is on there! It has powdered off to the west and borders Afghanistan, but it's still nice to see it. Kazakhstan didn't make the cut.

Our friend Lajos commented on the game at
"Ooooh, I can't wait to read more about this game (preferably the rules). The theme is absolutely brilliant and so are some of the card texts. How can anyone with at least some sense of humour be offended by this?"

For more info from BoardGameGeek, here's a shining review and a play session.

In closing, from the creators:
"The dialogue has effectively been closed. If you think terrorism is a symptom of a wider problem, rather than an inexplicable phenomenon, then you must be a terrorist. We hope this boardgame might play its humble part in opening up that dialogue."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Murder in Malaysia

"Setting the stage for a lurid courtroom drama that is sure to grip a country that officially sees itself as upright and puritanical, one of Malaysia’s most prominent political analysts has been charged with the gruesome slaying of a Mongolian 'free lance' fashion model who claimed that he was her lover and the father of her infant child.

"The skeletal remains of the 28-year old woman, described as 'stunning' in press reports, shot twice and torn apart by explosives, were found by police on November 6 in a jungle hilltop near Kuala Lumpur after she had been reported missing. She was later identified through DNA testing."

-Asia Sentinel

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Miss Mongolia 2005

Mongolian flags

Baron Ungern

The God of War as artistic inspiration:

Neue Operative Radikale Kunst

A Movie


Life Goes On

"Tibet is lost. You have your freedom."

-Dalai Lama, in Mongolia, 2006 August

Face of Arrogance

"But we will still tell our children stories of Chang'e and the rabbit that lived for thousands of years in the moon, and mooncakes that carried the message of the uprising against the Mongolians, who now have become one of the Chinese minorities. Life goes on."

-China Daily

Face of the Future

"Mongolia is the latest country to be sucked into the centrifugal force of China's rapid economic growth, yesterday signing a series of economic agreements with its prosperous neighbour. . .

"The biggest coal mine in Mongolia is sending train-loads south to China, whose energy hunger is voracious, at a tonnage price well below the global market price."

-The Australian

Friday, December 01, 2006

"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Kubla Khan, or a Vision in a Dream. A Fragment.
first published in 1816
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English, 1772-1834

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !
A savage place ! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover !
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced :
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail :
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean :
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war !

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.

It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice !

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw :
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,

That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome ! those caves of ice !
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !
His flashing eyes, his floating hair !
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.