Report

Yes, the 300-page report on Bridgegate was a whitewash. But there were some interesting tidbits in it nonetheless.

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In his annual Sidney Awards, New York Times columnist David Brooks recognizes the best magazine essays. As he writes, "In an age of zipless, electronic media, the idea is to celebrate (and provide online links to) long-form articles that have narrative drive and social impact." Among those recognized was Moshe Halbertal's "The Goldstone Illusion," which we published in November. Here's what Brooks had to say about it:  Here’s a typical problem: Hamas fires rockets from apartment buildings. Israel calls the residents of the buildings to warn them a counterattack is coming.

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Not many Ph.D. students expect their research to generate outrage among Washington pundits decades later, but, as it turns out, that's exactly what happened to Stephen Schneider. Back in 1971, Schneider was studying plasma physics at Columbia and moonlighting as a research assistant at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

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I. In 2000, I was asked by the Israel Defense Forces to join a group of philosophers, lawyers, and generals for the purpose of drafting the army’s ethics code. Since then, I have been deeply involved in the analysis of the moral issues that Israel faces in its war on terrorism. I have spent many hours in discussions with soldiers and officers in order to better grasp the dilemmas that they tackle in the field, and in an attempt to help facilitate the internalization of the code of ethics in war.

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The ‘Civilian Surge’ Myth: Stop Pretending That the U.S. Can Actually Nation-Build, by Steven Metz A Geek Grows in Brooklyn: Jonathan Lethem and the Disappearing Line Between High and Low Art, by William Deresiewicz From Supreme Allied Commander to … Ethanol Lobbyist? The Strange Journey of Wesley Clark. by Lydia DePillis Scheiber: Was Wall Street Safer in the Hands of Stodgy WASPs? Cohn: Tearing Apart the Latest Misleading Report on Health Care Hey Conan, Here’s the Real Reason Why You Don’t Want to Live in Newark, by Jonathan Rothwell Why Won’t Baseball Adopt Instant Replay Already?

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My Term at Afghanistan’s Graduate School of War, by Ganesh Sitaraman Washington Diarist: The Trend in Dying, by Leon Wieseltier The Biggest Loser in the EU’s Report on the Russia-Georgia War Is … Europe. by Ronald D. Asmus Why Are Companies Fleeing the Chamber Of Commerce?, by Bradford Plumer How to Stimulate the Economy Without Passing Another Stimulus, by E.J. Dionne Jr. One Issue Where Obama Really Is Winning, by Barron YoungSmith Peretz: Neither Patraeus nor McChrystal Can Be Compared to MacArthur, by Marty Peretz What Are Dems Willing to Compromise to Pass a Climate Bill?

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Deep Denial

Toughened by their frontier ethos, steeled by serial wars, Israelis are not prone to flattery. Most, in fact, eschew using the closest equivalent to the Hebrew word for flattery--chanupa--in favor of the derisive Yiddish-derivative, firgun. An Israeli joke holds that the word, slashed by a red diagonal line, graces the exit from Ben-Gurion Airport, together with the warning, "You are now entering a Firgun Free Zone." Not surprisingly, then, several Israeli commentators reacted unflatteringly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent speech to the U.N. General Assembly.

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  No, my intention is not to embarrass our brave men and women fighting in Afghanistan and in armed flight over Afghanistan. Or even to question them. They are battling against enemies of civilization and of civilized life. And they richly merit our moral support. Yes, the U.S. air force, responding to endangered German ground troops under standing and perfectly reasonable NATO procedures, brought death to literally dozens of Afghanis. Estimates range from 50 to 90. Now, the issue is whether these dead were Taliban or civilians.

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Low Clearance

In January 2006, a court in Northern Virginia will hear a case in which, for the first time, the federal government has charged two private citizens with leaking state secrets. CBS News first reported the highly classified investigation that led to this prosecution on the eve of the Republican National Convention. On August 27, 2004, Lesley Stahl told her viewers that, in a "full-fledged espionage investigation," the FBI would soon "roll up" a "suspected mole" who had funneled Pentagon policy deliberations concerning Iran to Israel.

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