FM newswire for March 4, articles for your morning reading

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis, collected from around the Internet.  If you find this useful, pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. Today’s top recommendation:  “Eisenhower’s Nightmare Arrives“, Franklin C. Spinney, Counterpunch, 3 March 2010 — “The Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex Moves to Hose the Taxpayer One More Time”
  2. Probably wrong; he buries the key assumption for his theory:  “Tomorrow’s Wars“, Victor Davis Hanson, City Journal, Winter 2010 — “Enormous, massively destructive engagements may again be on the horizon. … Should a few reckless states feel that nuclear war in an age of antiballistic missiles might be winnable, or that the consequences of mass death might be offset by perpetuity spent in a glorious collective paradise, then even the seemingly unimaginable — nuclear showdown — becomes imaginable.”
  3. Surprise!  Large corporations want negative tax rates and more government spending on infrastructure:  “A Word From the Wise“, Thomas L Friedman, op-ed in the New York Times, 2 March 2010
  4. Vital news about Mexico:  “Meddling Where We Oughtn’t – Yet Again“, Fred Reed, 2 March 2010
  5. Romney’s ‘No Apology’ Outlines Foreign Policy for Fantasy World“, Spencer Ackerman, Washington Independent, 2 March 2010 — “Mitt Romney’s new book No Apology: The Case For American Greatness is a bid to bolster the ex-governor’s nonexistent national-security and foreign policy portfolio ahead of a possible 2012 presidential run. But a glance through it’s remarkable conflation of conservative shibboleths, paranoid global fantasies and deterministic myopia {suggests that he} might have been better off saying nothing at all.”
  6. Some humor, rightly mocking another scientist making ludicrous statements about global warming:  “A question to the USGS and NPR“, Anthony Watts, Watts Up with That, 3 March 2010
  7. The Fed exists to protect banks; they’ll never protect us:  “Consumer Agency Within Fed Seen as Victory for Banks“, Bloomberg, 3 March 2010
  8. More experts feel emboldened to denounce the fake concensus:  “Bias in IPCC WGIII?, Part I“, Richard Tol (Prof, Economics of Climate Change at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam), 3 March 2010
  9. Important, but news only to folks not paying attention:  “RNC document mocks donors, plays on fear“, Politico, 3 March 2010
  10. What is causing deformities in Fallujah’s children?“, blog of the New Scientist, 4 March 2010

Question for the day

US public support for the Vietnam War collapsed in part as a result from pictures and TV broadcasts of the war. The Iraq and Af-Pak wars have recieved far less coverage in the US media.  Unless one watches al-Jazerra, our deeds in the Middle East remain invisible.  Print reporting has less emotional impact.

Quote of the day — please read this and pass it on to others

Courting Fear“, Slate, Matthew Alexander, Slate, 3 March 2010 — “A former military interrogator unpacks the errors and fear-mongering in Marc Thiessen’s Courting Disaster.”  For references to studies about torture see section 3 of this post.  Excerpt:

But if you’re not an expert on a subject, shouldn’t you interview experts before expressing an opinion? Instead, Thiessen relies solely on the opinions of the CIA interrogators who used torture and abuse and are thus most vulnerable to prosecution for war crimes. That makes his book less a serious discussion of interrogation policy than a literary defense of war criminals. Nowhere in this book will you find the opinions of experienced military interrogators who successfully interrogated Islamic extremists. Not once does he cite Army Doctrine—which warns of the negative consequences of torture and abuse. Courting Disaster is nothing more than the defense’s opening statement in a war crimes trial.

While many of Thiessen’s opinions are appalling from a moral perspective (he justifies torture and abuse through the religious writings of St. Thomas Aquinas), the book is comprised of errors, omissions, and a whopping dose of fear-mongering. I’ll concentrate here on his worst misstatements and why his conclusions ultimately make us less safe. ….

About the author

The author publishes under a psuedonym for security reasons, and is a former senior military interrogator and author of How To Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, To Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq. He is currently a Fellow for the Open Society Institute.

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