Rosa Brooks on the state secrets doctrine and the al-Masri case.
I’ve had my disagreements with Shadi Hamid, but he sure is right about this.
Looks like George W. Bush was against the Armenian genocide before he became a denialist. It’s too bad this sensitivity to Turkish sentiments wasn’t on display back when Paul Wolfowitz was running around urging the Turkish military to overrule the parliament and insist that Turkey back the invasion of Iraq.
No doubt the need to start offering bonuses of up to $35,000 to retain young officers merely reflects the booming economy in the civilian sector. All those lieutenants are passing up their chance of promotion to become hedge fund managers or real estate speculators. Or something:
Army officials said that lengthy and repeated war-zone tours — the top reason younger officers leave the service — plus the need for thousands of new officers as the Army moves forward with expansion plans have contributed to a projected shortfall of about 3,000 captains and majors for every year through 2013.
Now, obviously, the “lengthy and repeated war-zone tours” are a hardship, but not more of a hardship than what was endured during the world wars or the Civil War or what have you. What you’re seeing with these shortfalls, however, is officers responding to the fact that unlike in those previous grand conflicts the political class in the United States clearly doesn’t actually regard the war in Iraq as a key battlefield in an existential conflict for the ScaryIslamoBoogieFascists. There’s no mobilization on the home front that remotely suggests that George W. Bush or Michael O’Hanlon or anyone else really sees this mission as worth giving up anything for. So officers are responding in the same way.
And, of course, they’re right — the more soberminded advocates of endless war don’t really think we can accomplish much of anything in Iraq, they basically just want us to hang on indefinitely and vaguely hope for the best. Which seems like an okay option, I suppose, if you’re not personally supposed to be doing the hanging on and the vaguely hoping. But it’s easy to see why someone might not want to volunteer for that mission.
It doesn’t speak directly to the UNCLOS issue but the September 2003 issue of The Atlantic contained a William Langewiesche article called “Anarchy at Sea” that, for some reason or other, just doesn’t exist on the magazine’s website. Not for subscribers, not for employees, not for anyone. But the whole text is available here.
The New America Foundation, the International Crisis Group, and the U.S./Middle East Project, Inc. got an impressive group of bipartisan “wise men” (some of whom are women) together to issue this letter on the upcoming Middle East peace conference in Annapolis. They make a variety of points about what needs to be done for the conference to succeed, and also try to underline the very high costs of failure.
Unfortunately, my sense, much like this account from the Russian ambassador, is that almost nothing has been done on the US side to seriously prepare for this. In this country, at least, no real groundwork has been prepared. Indeed, nobody’s quite sure what the Bush administration is even hoping to achieve here. One holds out hope that the preparations and agenda are happening, but in some kind of double super-secret lockdown that nobody I talk to can penetrate, but it seems unlikely.
One of the commenters to an idiotic Winds of Change post about me raises a good question about the disaster of Iraq:
If it was all so foreseeable, why didn’t Yglesias foresee it? The truth is, he was pro-war when that was fashionable, and now he’s antiwar when that is fashionable.
I plead not guilty to the charge of fashionability since you’ll see I turned against the war before it was fashionable to do so. I could give a long answer detailing my naiveté about the war, but the truth of the matter is that in an irresponsible-but-probably-typical manner I just took my cues from the fact that almost all of the leading Democrats seemed to be backing Bush on this and so I did, too. It was only after the invasion that I bothered to read Charles Tripp’s A History of Iraq and begin to get any information about Iraq that wasn’t specifically designed as a polemic about the war.
Well, my heart sunk like a stone. Between reading that book and once I bothered to notice that the nuclear weapons intelligence was all wrong (I’m always baffled by how few hawks changed their mind after this, seeing as it was the centerpiece of the argument for war and all), it looked pretty clear that I’d gotten this wrong. In retrospect, I think it was all foreseeable enough, but like a lot of people I said a lot about this issue without knowing anything about it and it’s hard to make forecasts from a perspective of total ignorance.
But that goes back to the point I was making about Weber (Justin Logan busts out a similar point against Michael Gerson) and Roger Cohen — you need to take responsibility for these things. Glancing around and noticing that Saddam Hussein is bad and spreading liberty is good are easy. But there’s nothing moral about carelessly supporting careless endeavors that, though draped in good intentions and lofty statements of purpose, in fact turn out to be bloody disasters.
I can tell I’m out of touch with mainstream sentiments, because this ad against the Law of the Sea Treaty makes it seem like a good idea to me:
I mean, what’s not to like? — you’ve got the UN, Jimmy Carter, higher taxes, and making Ronald Reagan’s ghost mad. I like all of those things. Unfortunately, I don’t have any other information about the Treaty, so my support will need to remain somewhat provisional.