Sanctimony, Hypocrisy, Nuclear Weapons, and Drones

A couple of days ago, on this blog, I wrote a post attempting to refute the charge of ‘selective outrage’ that is often leveled against critics of Israeli policies in the current conflict in Gaza. In it, I pointed out how the accusation of hypocrisy made against the proponent of a claim does not affectContinue reading “Sanctimony, Hypocrisy, Nuclear Weapons, and Drones”

The Asymmetric Fallout of Operation Protective Edge

‘Collateral damage‘ and ‘friendly fire‘ seem to be two euphemisms with which we–as a civilization–are doomed to be persistently reacquainted. Especially if war continues to retain its popularity as an instrument of foreign policy or even law and order maintenance. Which brings me, of course, to Israel, Gaza, and Hamas. Cycle of violence narratives areContinue reading “The Asymmetric Fallout of Operation Protective Edge”

Iraq and the Pottery Barn Rule: Don’t Break It Any More Please

As turban-wearing hordes ride down on their stallions from the hills, their sharpened scimitars gleaming in the bright Mesopotamian sunshine, threatening to add to the steadily growing mound of heads separated from their now-twitching bodies, should the United States saddle up, lock and load, and ride out to meet them? Should  it crush its enemies, see them drivenContinue reading “Iraq and the Pottery Barn Rule: Don’t Break It Any More Please”

‘Prohibited’ and ‘Acceptable’ Weapons and Targets in War

In my last two posts on Syria on these pages–here and here–I’ve tried to express my discomfort at the threat made by the US to launch cruise missile strikes in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. In them, I was trying to make a distinction which I did notContinue reading “‘Prohibited’ and ‘Acceptable’ Weapons and Targets in War”

A Norm-Preserving Bombing

War waged to prevent the gratuitous, deliberately caused, cruel, inhuman loss of innocent life; a moral intervention, a just war. War waged to preserve an international norm, a collective sensibility of outrage and revulsion at the use of a weapon of mass destruction: a similarly moral intervention, a similarly just war? These questions, obviously, areContinue reading “A Norm-Preserving Bombing”

Chemical Weapons and the ‘Unnecessary Roughness’ Rule

Fans of the NFL will be familiar with the unnecessary roughness rule; it’s one of those features of America’s most popular game that  sometimes causes bemusement, even to those who consider themselves long-time devotees. In a game memorably described as ‘young men running around risking spinal injury’ or ‘an endless series of head-on collisions’, thereContinue reading “Chemical Weapons and the ‘Unnecessary Roughness’ Rule”

Ten Years After: War Criminals Still Walk Free

You call someone a ‘mass-murdering war criminal’, you best not miss.  And so, when I use that term to describe the unholy troika of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld–as I have in the past–I should have very good reasons for doing so. Fortunately, that isn’t hard to do: a pretty systematic caseContinue reading “Ten Years After: War Criminals Still Walk Free”

Respecting the President and ‘The Ideology of Kingship’

In reporting on the second presidential debate, Charles Blow writes: There is a fine line between feistiness and testiness. Romney has never negotiated that line well in debates and last night he fell over it again. At one point he scolded the president — the president of the United States! — “you’ll get your chance in aContinue reading “Respecting the President and ‘The Ideology of Kingship’”