Nota Bene #53

nboctoberLinks of the Week (as opposed to the Weakest Link)

Bill Simmons,, the Sports Guy, on the airliner guided to a crash-landing in the Hudson River:

And was anyone else on a “what will be the New York Post headline?” e-mail chain Thursday? My pick was “FLY-TANIC!!!”

Gideon Levy, Haaretz:

No pilot or soldier went to war to kill children. Not one among them intended to kill children, but it also seems neither did they intend not to kill them. They went to war after the IDF had already killed 952 Palestinian children and adolescents since May 2000.

Paul Woodward, War in Context, Wars against ideas always fail:

However, the difference between Israel and Hamas is that Hamas does not fear its annihilation. That has nothing to do with glorifying “martyrdom”; it’s because the movement is much more durable than its constituent parts.

Christopher Dickey, Newsweek, The Crying Game:

The Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, has charged Hamas with using kids as human shields. But, really, they are just part of the terrain.

Chris McGeal, the Guardian, Why Israel’s war is driven by fear, quoting the mother of an Israeli soldier:

“If you do open your heart to the fact that 40 completely innocent people in a United Nations school were killed you have a very hard time. It’s difficult to open your heart to that place and also hold on to wanting the soldiers to succeed. It’s a very hard split in personality. I think it’s necessary but it’s a difficult thing to do.”

I think that’s called cognitive dissonance.

Lionel Beehner, Huffington Post, What Ukraine’s Gas Crisis Has In Common With Gaza:

What confuses most people is the way in which Russia and Israel conduct their foreign policies — with nary a thought of how they are perceived by their peers. It’s not enough for Russians to explore and lay claim to a ridge beneath the North Pole — they have to brazenly plant a Russian flag there. It’s not enough for Israel to negotiate the release of its soldiers taken hostage by Hezbollah — it has to invade and rain cluster bombs over southern Lebanon.

Former member of the Israeli army Professor Avi Shlaim, the Guardian:

[When Israel was founded in 1948] British officials bitterly resented American partisanship on behalf of the infant state. On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”. I used to think that this judgment was too harsh but Israel’s vicious assault on the people of Gaza, and the Bush administration’s complicity in this assault, have reopened the question.

Ulrike Putz, Der Spiegel, interviewing an Islamist extremist in Gaza:

So far, Hamas has done what it can to keep the Salafis under control. They know the ultra-radicals are just waiting to take over Hamas’ position of leadership. “They are traitors,” [Islamist extremist] Abu Mustafa says of Hamas. “Compared to us, they are Islamism lite.”

Wallace Shawn, the Nation, Israel in Gaza: Irrationality:

After the war, the world felt it owed the Jews something — but then showed its lack of true regard for the tormented group by “giving” them a piece of land populated and surrounded by another people — an act of European imperialism carried out exactly at the moment when non-European peoples all over the world were finally concluding that European imperialism was completely unacceptable and had to be resisted.

Der Spiegel, Interview with Israel author Meir Shalev:

I certainly don’t consider Hamas to be friendly people, but Israel’s attitude is absurd. We behave as though it were our hobby to find new groups with whom we refuse to speak — only to do so later. Twenty years ago, the PLO was the archenemy; today, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as its leader, the group is our best friend. In five years’ time, we will also be speaking with Hamas.

Michael Scheuer,, Bringing the Arab-Israeli War Home:

Once the Arab-Israeli religious war has been brought into the United States and is producing blood in America’s streets, the Israel-firsters will claim the carnage proves that secular America and theocratic Israel are in the same boat and facing the same enemies. Flogging this plausible but palpable lie, AIPAC-owned American leaders will consign this country to an unending war against Islam, the same catastrophe that is Israel’s lot.

Ted Rall, Smirking Chimp, New Year’s Revolutions: There’s Plenty of Money Around. Let’s Take It:

When I was young, I assumed that revolutions resulted from ideology, because idealists wanted a fairer world. Now, as we stare down the barrel of economic apocalypse, I realize that they’re carried out by desperate people who have nothing to lose, in Marx’s words, and everything to gain. They take stuff from the rich and write the ideological tracts after the fact.

Michael Rosenfeld, the Washington Post, Madoff Exposed Investors’ Weak Spots:

One of the many mysteries of Bernie Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme is why so many people broke a cardinal rule of investing by over-allocating money in one position. … A chart of Madoff’s purported returns shows a line going steadily up, month after month, 1 or 2 percent. Those kinds of gains are intoxicating. [Psychiatrist] Richard Peterson said we actually fall in love with them.

Vanity Fair, An Oral History of the Bush White House, Alberto Mora, general Navy counsel:

. . .there are general-rank officers who’ve had senior responsibility within the Joint Staff or counterterrorism operations who believe that the number-one and number-two leading causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq have been, number one, Abu Ghraib, number two, Guantánamo, because of the effectiveness of these symbols in helping recruit jihadists into the field and combat against American soldiers.

Bing West, National Journal’s National Security blog:

We’re fighting irregular wars that most of the books and articles treat academically as a branch of sociology; to wit, combine a dollop of economic aid with a pinch of rule of law, stir in good governance, listen sympathetically to local complaints and withdraw gracefully.


Kerry Byrne, Cold Hard Facts Football:

Sure. . . we all know that turnovers cost teams. [But] throwing INTs — or, more specifically, not throwing INTs — is actually more important than throwing touchdowns in the playoffs.
• Teams that toss more touchdowns than their opponents are 207-62 (.770).
• Teams that toss fewer interceptions than their opponents are 258-56 (.822).

Brian Costello, the New York Post:

There’s no questioning his Xs and Os acumen, but head coaches in the NFL have become administrators as much as game planners. “I was talking to a head coach the other day who said, sometimes you have to pick out things like paint, things that don’t even involve football,” Giant great Carl Banks said.

Costello again, Mangini Pal Atlas Takes Jabs at Favre:

[Boxing manager Teddy] Atlas said Johnson saw Favre as a salesman for his controversial personal seat licenses in the team’s new stadium. “You’re paying a guy ($13) million. . . you’ve got a new facility, you’ve got money all over the place,” Atlas said, “You bring this guy in and in your mind, you’re looking at Mick Jagger.”

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