Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fodder for Thought

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

After engaging an upstanding fellow in a debate over the conclusion of the Iraq adventure and the current problems in Afghanistan over at TAH, I dug up one of the many files in my digital library for anyone else who may be a foreign policy nerd.

The Last Veterans

Very engaging read, if you love history and honor Veterans.


The American Politics of Terrorism

Lego Zombie Awesomeness

Go see the rest....

Loyalty Oaths?

Though a registered Libertarian, I can vote in Virginia's open primary. After seeing the news that the Virginia GOP will require voters to sign a "Loyalty Oath" to cast a vote in the primary.
Less than a week after announcing that only two GOP presidential candidates qualified to appear on their ballot, the Republican Party of Virginia has adopted a new measure that may leave voters in the state scratching their heads: a loyalty oath.
On Wednesday the Virginia State Board of Elections approved a request from the Virginia GOP that will require voters to sign a loyalty oath in order to participate in the state’s presidential primary on March 6. A spokesman for the state’s election board tells ABC News that although some details are still in the works, voters wishing to cast a ballot must take the pledge.
ABC News

I do believe that if I'm able to, I will be voting in this cycle's primary. I have to see this for myself.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Snickers Bar Theory of the Afghanistan War

An awesomely simple and truthful dissection of OEF-A, from Spencer Ackerman:

Ask yourself this: if there was no such thing as al-Qaida, would we ever fight the Taliban? If your answer is no, you understand where Biden’s coming from. But if your answer is yes, then let us visit the land of delicious candy.

Imagine a Snickers bar. The Taliban are the chocolate. al-Qaida is the precious gooey nougat inside. We care about the nougat. Nothing must get in the way of our pursuit of the nougat. The chocolate is in our way. So much worse for the chocolate.

The trouble with the Afghanistan war is that right now we care too much about the chocolate. You could make an argument that it’s worth caring about the chocolate because it’s better for us if the nougat goes uncovered. I found that compelling for a while, and to a degree still do. But we’re eating too much chocolate in southern Afghanistan; it’s hurting us in eastern Afghanistan; and it pulls us too deeply into the machinations of Afghan governance, which is like eating the wrapper.

Plus we’re finding out something significant in the drone war. We can eat a lot of nougat without eating any chocolate. The problem there (and also in Afghanistan) is that we also destroy innocent peanuts, with which the Taliban and al-Qaida deliberately intermingle. But we have a viable model for a nougat-centric strategy with minimal chocolate distraction. Biden, you’ll recall, pushed that model from the start.

There’s also a diplomatic reason for Biden to say the Taliban aren’t the U.S. enemy. Apparently, secret Taliban peace talks are at a critical juncture. Even if you don’t buy the Snickers Bar Theory of the Afghanistan War — and hey, look: I had to do this before Tom Friedman did — perhaps you’ll agree that we have an interest in ending the war through a peace deal, and if so, then Biden’s comment is useful to that effort. If you don’t agree that we actually do have an interest in a peace deal, then I’m afraid you’re advocating a chocolate-based diet that will lead to clogged American arteries.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Roses Baby!