nickfranklin's Articles, Page 1 of 1
I’ve lived in Germany for four years now, and one of the more striking differences—besides the ostensibly straight dudes in way-too-tight pants, the utter and total lack of green vegetables, and the magnificent booze—is an almost complete inversion of American attitudes.
Back home in the states, violence (against other people, on the TV, by people who hunt animals, etc) is far more socially accepted than it is here. (With, perhaps, the sole exception of soccer games. It’s even crazier other places in Europe—in Italy, there was recently a soccer game where the fans killed a cop by throwing a bomb at him, and another one where the game had to stop because the tear gas the cops were using on the fans drifted onto the field.)
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced Wednesday that Army tours in Iraq and Afghanistan will normally run to fifteen months long, a ninety day increase over the previous "baseline" of 365 days. The change does not apply to Marine units, or Army units which have already been extended in theater. The Pentagon’s intent is to allow troops a minimum of a year off between deployments, a goal increasingly not attainable with the size of today’s Army and the force levels required in the War on Terror.
The Spring issue of American Scholar includes A New Theory of the Universe, by Robert Lanza, in which Dr. Lanza strives to poke holes in the idea of objective reality. Starting with the idea that "modern science cannot explain why the laws of physics are exactly balanced for animal life to exist" (a thought occasionally echoed by some of the Creationists in OmniNerd’s forums) and referring to recent experiments in wave-particle duality, Dr. Lanza argues (as quoted in a Wired interview) that above all, "Space and time are forms of animal sense perception." In short, Dr. Lanza is backing Bohr and Heisenberg Copenhagen interpretation.
As the US continues to rattle its saber—or at least rattle some sanctions Iran, the UN Security Council is staged to once again be predictably deadlocked, with Russia and China likely to vote against a resolution that the US, Great Britain, and France would support. (Links to more articles on the latest developments.)
In the eyes of some observers, the Security Council is fundamentally "crippled ":http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20030501faessay11217/michael-j-glennon/why-the-security-council-failed.html by its structure, ‘victim to geopolitical forces too strong for a legalist institution to withstand.’ There is also the issue of the Council’s composition, largely a product of WWII and the Cold War. Certainly, the situation is more complicated than it would have been fifty years ago—while Great Britain and France would support the US in the Council, the EU has consistently taken a softer tack than the US.
West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center recently published a paper, Harmony and Disharmony: Exploiting al-Qa’ida’s Organizational Vulnerabilities, which—drawing heavily on organization theory and a mass of captured al-Qa’ida internal documents—offers a new approach to fighting terrorism. The paper starts descriptively, attempting to ‘predict where we should expect terrorist groups to face their greatest challenges in conducting operations’, and ends prescriptively, ‘[providing] several tools for identifying and exacerbating existing fissures as well as locating new insertion points for counterterrorism operations.’ One prominent member of the martial intelligentsia, William Lind, describes it as ‘one of the most thoughtful and potentially most useful papers anyone has written on the so-called ’War on Terrorism.’’