News Brief, Offline P.K. Edition

Cross-posted at The Conjecturer.

Defense & The War

  • Yet another former interrogator and counterterrorism expert comes out against waterboarding. Meanwhile, Jacob Sullum notes that the Congressional debate over this is obfuscating a larger question of why the President should be allowed to violate our liberties to defend our security as he sees fit.
  • John Nagl, one of the media darlings that has grown up around Army FM 3-24, posts his response to nattering-nabob-slash-anthropologist David Price.
  • Buried lede on the fighting in Arghandab: NATO eschewed air strikes, and the villagers thanked them for it. Because an over-reliance on air power is a serious liability in Afghanistan. The locals thank and respect us when we use only troops; they hate us and support the Taliban when we drop bombs. Shouldn’t that tell us something? Shouldn’t that have told us something, I don’t know, five years ago?

Around the World

  • Over at, I take a look at Uzbekistan’s decrepit cotton industry, and how Craig Murray’s book on Uzbekistan has helped him run afoul of Britain’s restrictive speech codes.
  • Almost 100,000 people have fled Mogadishu once again. This is, of course, because the Somalis prefer anarchy to stable government, and not because the anarchy of clan warfare scares the bejeebus out of them.
  • Bosnia, which Thomas Barnett thinks is a sterling example of his new world order (Stability! Connectedness! U.S.-led decapitation maneuvers against countries we don’t understand!), is about to fly apart again, precisely because we don’t know how to reliably break apart and reorder societies. Rather, we do know how, but we don’t like learning from our own mistakes and successes.
  • Gee, ya think?
  • While the news of Russian troops raiding a vacation camp in Georgia and beating bloody several policemen is indeed worrying, it is the presence of Chechens among the “peacekeepers” that is deeply worrying—Chechens developed the same reputation for brutality in the 1992-1993 fighting in Abkhazia they developed in both wars with Russia proper, and now that the thug Ramzan Kadyrov is running the province their presence cannot be considered benign.
  • Swat is the future of Pakistan. If the Musharraf government cannot muster the resources to address the extremism that has violently taken hold in what was once a settled, and relatively liberal, province, then Pakistan is in serious trouble. And Benazir Bhutto is not helping, especially if it is counterproductive to be seen as a western puppet.
  • Quote of the day goes to my buddy, “MG,” who is currently teaching at a university in China, relayed the following story: “My Israeli friend almost got in a fight with six Kazakhs tonight after i told him how to say to a Kazakh girl that he had a giant dick in Russian. It was priceless. I didn’t think he was stupid/drunk enough to follow through. And the back up we had with us was just enough to deter aggression if necessary: two Americans, two Canadians, a British, an Irish, and a German of varying sizes and shapes can make an impression on Asiatics.” And so the West stands firm again.

Back at Home

  • Let’s think thrice about oil.
  • Yawn, we twenty-somethings are so shortsighted and profligate and ignorant of class struggle. Does anyone else think older people whining about those damned kids is one of the most tedious, boring things ever?
  • Meanwhile, the GOP hates immigrants so much, it wants to prevent highly skilled immigrants from ever working here, spending their high salaries in our economy, and rearing Americanized children. For the jobs, or something.
  • Someone named “Chad Dandylion” (do I know him?) offers some potentially life saving advice on Jezebel. Just… be warned, it’s not PG.
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