Keep It Together

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I've been relying on my chain-smoking monkey servants a lot lately, but they do good work, even when they don't give me what I want. So here are some interesting links we've come across recently:
  • Chicago Boyz's Lexington Green points out a pair of columns written by artist Steve Mumford, who has been keeping a Baghdad Journal of his artistic endeavors in Iraq. My favorite line, when Mumford explains to Col. Scott Rutter that he's wants to accompany his soldiers and make drawings. "He was perched atop his command Bradley, engines roaring. Make art? Terrific! That's great, just great! Jump on! Hoo-ah!" Heh. Seriously, Mumford's writings are good reading. As Lex notes: "Mumford does not downplay the dangers, but it is obvious that the situation in Iraq is much better than the mainstream media would have you believe."
  • Conversation with Walter Russell Mead : Mead originated the term Jacksonian in his book Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World and there are a good deal of people out there who would benefit from a good understanding of this country's Jacksonian base. This is a good interview... [thanks again to Chicago Boyz]
  • Are suicide attacks the 'ultimate weapon'? : An excellent Belmont Club piece challenging the conventional wisdom prevalent in the media that suicide attacks are the ultimate asymmetric weapon ("cost-effective both financially and in terms of the number of terrorist lives ultimately put at risk," the kind of tactics that advertise themselves).
    But the logic is wrong. Suicide bombing is warfare's least cost effective weapon because it puts any consideration of a negotiated settlement between the combatants out of the question. In economic terms, it destroys the Pareto optimal frontier and reduces conflict to a zero-sum game.
    The natural outcome of the kamikazes was the atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Nothing else would do. The natural reaction of the passengers on Flight 93 was to fight on at all costs. Nothing else would do. And the eventual reaction of nuclear-armed Israel, Russia and India to the unlimited slaughter of their populations does not bear thinking upon. And it will not be surrender, but rather something else. That is the cost effectiveness of suicide bombing.
    Well said. Read the whole thing.
  • The New American Way of War by Max Boot : I haven't finished this one yet, and I can't say as though I agree with everything I read, but it makes for some interesting reading at least.
  • The Werewolf Principle : Well, whatdoyaknow? My simian friends finally came through on providing some info on post-war German resistence. Seriously, this is a good roundup of info on the Werewolves, a group of German irregulars I mentioned briefly a while back. Someday, I hope to go into more detail here on postwar Germany (and Japan) and how things there relate to the current occupation of Iraq. Of course, neither situation applies directly, but there are some interesting parallels...
That's all for now. Hopefully more later in the week...