Weekend reading recommendations

In the holiday rush I did not post these interesting and valuable articles.  So we have a backlog of great material.  An excerpt is provided only for #7.

General Media articles

  1. American Murder Mystery“, Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic, July/August 2008 — One of the most important articles of the year about American domestic policy.  Vital to read, as the Obama Administration will enact similar social science experiments on the American people (aka “long white rats”).
  2. Downturn Drives Military Rolls Up“, Washington Post, 29 November 2008
  3. Restoring the Balance – A Middle East Strategy for the Next President“, Council on Foreign Relations, December 2008 — Some brilliant work in here.  I hope somebody pays attention, as our current policies are irrational.
  4. Beauty and the Best“, Theodore Dalrymple, New English Review, January 2009 — A powerful follow-up to Losing touch with our past weakens us (15 December 2008)
  5. Death by SWAT“, Radley Balko, Reason, January 2009 — Another in a long list of deaths from our increasingly para-military and out-of-control police SWAT teams.
  6. Prelude to an Inaugural“, Tom Engelhardt, 13 January 2009 — “Prelude to an inaugural; how to turn over a new leaf.”  A great essay illustrating how America has changed, by the always-interesting Engelhardt.
  7. Future Shock at the Army Science Conference“, Nick Turse, posted at TomDispatch, 15 January 2009 — “Eco-Explosives, a Bleeding BEAR, and the Armani-Clad Super Soldier”  Brief excerpt below.

Change we should not have believed in – articles by Robert Dreyfuss

  1. Obama’s Foreign Policy Team“, The Nation, 23 November 2008 — “I hate to say I told you so, but here goes.”
  2. Still Preparing to Attack Iran“, posted at TomDispatch, 3 December 2008 — “The neoconservatives in the Obama era.”  Imperial dreams die slowly, as they live in the hearts of both Democrats and Republicans.

Excerpt

(7)  Future Shock at the Army Science Conference“, Nick Turse, posted at TomDispatch, 15 January 2009 — “Eco-Explosives, a Bleeding BEAR, and the Armani-Clad Super Soldier” — Excerpt: 

But as one panel discussion drew to a close, one of the top-ranking enlisted men in the Army, a highly decorated veteran of the Global War on Terror, made a startling admission. He was discussing the typical pack-laden, weapons-toting, up-armored U.S. soldier “goin’ up and down the mountains of Afghanistan right now.” As he pointed out, that grunt could not haul one more piece of gear. “Nor is there a soldier,” he continued in a burst of candor, “that, currently configured, can keep up with al-Qaeda because we’re chasing guys that are armed with AK-47s and tennis shoes.”

I asked him later whether it made sense to spend close to $20,000, the average price today to kit up (as the British might say) a soldier who can’t keep up with the insurgents he is meant to track down. Has anyone considered, I asked, going back to the $1,900 it cost to outfit a less encumbered grunt of the Vietnam War era who could, assuredly, have kept better pace with today’s guerillas.

As I learned at this conference, however, questions like these go nowhere in a big hurry.

Afterword

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