As of today, there is a big ruckus in the international media over supposed use of chemical weapons by American troops on Iraqi civilians. The chemical in question is white phosphorous. If white phosphorous is a chemical weapon, then so is gunpowder. White phosphorous is a non-issue. The targeting of civilians in a war zone, whether intentional or accidental, is. Continue reading “A Note on War”
Foreign policy is not theology…A foreign policy that might have been wise crumbles if the cost becomes prohibitive.
— Journalist Fareed Zakaria
We are now committed to a favorable outcome in Iraq, but it must be understood that this will require long-term assistance or our efforts will be in vain.
— Former Congressman and Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird
Iraq is a horrible conundrum. We are losing the war we wage there. The period when the final results of our efforts in the Persian Gulf were in question is long past. Yet, it also seems clear, we could win in Iraq. Our own history shows again and again that circumstances of a high order of magnitude rarely present themselves that we do not have the ability to overcome. In this circumstance, we are our own worst enemy. Continue reading “Over the Horizon”
There’s blood in the water, and the sharks in the Democratic Party have begun circling. Unfortunately, they have no teeth.
Eleven years ago, the seething machine the Republican Party constructed to oust the Democrats from power was a wonder to behold. It blustered, blew, and tapped into a growing frustration in the American public that the Democrats had little idea existed. Continue reading “The Right, and the Left’s Confusion, Part 2”
It’s been a bad year for the Republican Party thus far. The war in Iraq is out of hand and unwinnable. Even the optimists, the “stay the course” Bush supporters, have switched from tall-tales of outright victory lying just around the corner to the tragic rhetoric of Iraqization and “peace with honor.” Continue reading “The Right, and the Left’s Confusion”
It was heartening the other day to hear news that North Korea had agreed to end its nuclear weapons programs in exchange for economic concessions. On its face, the accord was quite an accomplishment. Leaders in the Bush administration were cautious in touting its success. Understandable for a number of reasons, most notably North Korea’s reputation for being a nation that backs out of agreements. The main reason for such reticence on the part of the Bush administration and the State Department, however, had less to do with North Korea’s unpredictability, than it had to do with the accord’s unique ability to be interpreted in two manners. Continue reading “Almost Got It”
There is a strong undercurrent among the citizens of this country. A monster, really, lurking just below the surface, waiting for the right blow to the veneer of respectability, law, order, and routine that Americans have built around them to shatter our precious sense of security. I don’t think that we are unique in the world. But it must be truly frightening at times for the rest of the world to know that the citizens of the most rich and powerful country on the planet are being held together by a very thin coalition of local, state, and federal government that at times seems blindly unaware of threats to its own stability. America’s power unleashed is intimidating enough, but when large numbers of its individuals are seen struggling in a life or death free-for-all, the animalistic nature of such an event can seem like the unleashing of a marauding beast that our society works very hard to hide. Continue reading “Political Disaster”
One of the more low-key fronts in the ideological war that has divided the citizens of this country is the fate of Plan B, the morning after pill.
Barr Laboratories has applied to the Food and Drug Administration to sell the emergency contraception over the counter. It was first approved as a prescription treatment in 1999. It has been mired in the approvals process far longer than is necessary, for one reason only: the aforementioned war of ideologies. Continue reading “Plan B”
In his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 18, Kenneth Pollack, a Senior Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, said that he was, “heartened to hear Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld acknowledge that success in Iraq would likely require over a decade.” Mr. Pollack went on later in his testimony to say, “We simply do not have the troops on hand — American, allied, or fully-capable Iraqi — to handle the number and extent of the tasks at hand.” Continue reading “In the Tunnel”
The sky was bright on September 29th, 2004. Azure. Crystalline. Through the lenses of the television cameras down on the ground, it had a flavor of indigo. High up in the air, Mike Melvill was ready to do it again. The countdown had begun. Here he was, strapped into the tiniest, oddest-looking hunk of hardware to ever boom its way to a hundred kilometers straight up. SpaceShipOne. A polished white football with a couple of thick wings slapped on, designed by the legendary Burt Rutan. He was strapped in like all the crazy test pilots back at Edwards, back when some tub would haul you and your badass rocket up to 20,000 or 30,000, cut you loose, and then you would hit the switch. Continue reading “Flameout”
The most disturbing imagery I’ve seen over the last couple of weeks is not that of mangled subway cars and a bus’s roof peeled back, but imagery that is a direct result of the UK’s and America’s recent reactions to terrorism. Continue reading “Knocked Senseless”