The Mystique Of Air Power
January 17, 2007
The chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Dan Halutz, the ramatkal, has resigned in advance of the report of the special commission studying why the Lebanon war ended so ... well, let's be generous ... ambiguously. Doubtless, other heads will fall. This is a time of testing for the IDF, and a time of clarification. The brass in the Israeli military had become haughty, leaving the mid-level officer class resentful and justifiably so. In any case, this Spine is not about developments in Israel.
January 17, 2007
The United States helped found the World Bank in 1945. It was designed initially to aid in postwar reconstruction, but it has developed a focus on alleviating extreme poverty and encouraging development in the world's poorest countries. American officials did not conceive of the bank as a vehicle for carrying out a particular administration's foreign policy objectives. When Robert Macnamara left the Pentagon to become World Bank president in 1968, for instance, he did not use his tenure to advance the American war effort in Vietnam.
Department Of Pots & Kettles
January 12, 2007
A brief, off-topic post for DC-area residents: This morning I suffered what I imagine is a widespread annoyance. Driving into work, I was hectored by a large public-safety ad that jeered, "Hey Slick, email the office later.
Joe Liberman's Neverending Quest To Hit Rock Bottom
January 11, 2007
"We need to cut through the confusion. Bringing security to Baghdad--the essential precondition for political compromise, national reconciliation and economic development--is possible only with a surge of at least 30,000 combat troops lasting 18 months or so.
What Is Brownback Up To?
January 11, 2007
Probably the most interesting surge-related development on the right comes courtesy of Sam Brownback. Brownback, you'll recall, is the evangelical-cum-Catholic angling to become the conservative alternative to John McCain. Up until the last few months, he was a pretty reliable supporter of the war in Iraq. But he's since concluded that the war has taken a disastrous turn, and he's become more and more willing to call the administration on it. This all culminated with this week's statement that, "I do not believe that sending more troops to Iraq is the answer. ...
Saddam, In His Own Words
January 09, 2007
John Burns has a remarkable, chillingly good piece in today's Times. Tapes made years ago reveal Saddam Hussein discussing the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish Iraqis. Some excerpts: Mr. Hussein sounds matter of fact as he describes what chemical weapons will do. "They will prevent people eating and drinking the local water, and they won't be able to sleep in their beds," he says. "They will force people to leave their homes and make them uninhabitable until they have been decontaminated."[Snip]But it was Mr.
What Made Saddam Tick?
January 07, 2007
Well, here is a true and honorable reason to have been against the hanging of Saddam Hussein. Not just the "undignified" hanging but the hanging itself. The argument comes from Richard Dawkins (about whom Thomas Nagel, James Wood and Simon Blackburn have written more or less recently for TNR).
January 04, 2007
by Jacob T. Levy The New Year and new semester bustle seems to mean that two pieces of sad news haven't yet been widely circulated; no press releases from the home institutions yet, for example. Two of the most distinctive, iconoclastic, and influential voices in the American academy have been lost in the past few days: George Mason sociologist/political scientist
Their Hands May Be Good, But They Ain't Clean
January 03, 2007
One of the most outrageous developments surrounding tonight's Sugar Bowl in New Orleans--that is, other than the massively over-hyped Notre Dame's appearance in the game--is the event's corporate sponsor: Allstate. A report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune says Allstate will be airing a series of gauzy commercials welcoming people back to the city and claiming credit for its role in that effort. Which is interesting. Because if you talk to people in New Orleans, you don't get the impression that Allstate has been a huge help.
The Ford Funeral
December 30, 2006
Over at The Atlantic's website, Robert D. Kaplan has a short piece arguing that, in his words, "Ford has been our greatest contemporary ex-president." More Kaplan: The fact that Ford embargoed, until after his death, an interview he gave Washington Post writer Bob Woodward in 2004 is further proof of his estimable reticence. While his displeasure at President George W. Bush's Iraqi policy was real, he seems to have had mixed feelings about publicly airing them.