FM newswire for July 23, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis.   If you find this useful, please pass it to friends and colleagues.

  • Costs of Major U.S. Wars“, Stephen Daggett, Congressional Research Service, 29 June 2010 — Fortunately America’s infrastructure is in good shape and the national debt paid off!  Otherwise we might need that money.
  • Kilcullen turning against the Af-Pak War?  “Afghanistan Exit Strategy Watch“, Michael Cohen, Democracy Arsenal, 22 July 2010 — Kilcullen is a weather vane, so this could be evidence the political winds are changing.
  • What happens if Republicans win control of the House in November? Congresswoman Bachmann (R-MN) says that “All We Should Do Is Issue Subpoenas“, TPM, 22 July 2010
  • Mental illness costing military soldiers“, USA Today, 23 July 2010
  • Recommended:   harsh truths, too harsh for most American to contemplate — “Psychopathy Legitimized“, Fred Reed (perhaps America’s only remaining guru)

Today’s feature video (the punch line is at the end)

The moral highground can be decisive in war, as it was in our Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  So our military spends billions on info ops in the Middle East.  But too-often our military’s words and deeds work to the benefit of our enemies, providing a stream of fiery recruiting material for jihadists.  As we’ve seen, from the Abu Ghraib photos to this little video (on the Washington Post website), staring USMC General James Mattis (now in charge of Central Command)  speaking in February 2005:

“Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot.  It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling. … You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil.  You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”

Did you notice the corporate logo on the screen?  The logo of Al Jazeera.  Google shows copies of this on thousands of websites.  It’s very professional; better written and executed than the choppy and boring NBC and CNN stories.  Too bad AJ’s on the other side.

AJ and al Qaeda should have sent the General a thank you note in 2005.  This month they probably opened a few bottles of alcohol-free Champaign to celebrate his promotion.

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