Nota Bene #56

Hot links from recent days: A space rock 100′ wide came within a few miles of hitting Earth … The Beach Boys + Ray Charles = Awesomeness … US immigration policies bring global shame on us, argues Roberto Lovato … Harlem’s legendary Apollo turns 75 this year … Barbara O’Brien discusses gimmicks and the GOP at Mahablog … Sonia Dong profiles the amazing Moken people at Environmental Graffiti … Ari Melber on how insiders failed Obama … Inside the new science of neuroengineering: a report by Quinn Norton at WiredRev. Billy of the Church of Life After Shopping is challenging Bloomberg for NYC mayor … Lars Ulrich: I downloaded music illegally … Michael Steele, fugitive slave … German biz mag declares the age of national economic policies in Europe over … The sad past but hopeful future of a feral little girl, Dani LierowOnion: The CIA’s been using black highlighters all this time … Andy Worthington’s “definitive list” of Gitmo’s prisoners … Parenting’s a big waste of time, didn’t you know? … Guess which prominent US senator says Obama’s war plans are too costly, too vague, and possibly too dangerous? … Mark Pagel’s handy guide to Stone Age small talk … A Republican lawmaker says he might be a “closet Democrat” … News from a local editor: there’s very little real news on “the blogs” … The Economist says it knows how to stop the drug wars … David Corn wonders if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be debated honestly … Tensions in Tibet continue to rise; China speaks of another Great Wall … Tom Engelhardt’s dictionary of American Empire-speak … Rush Limbaugh is the least of the Republican’s problems, claims Nate Silver … And finally, gag headline from S&R friend Lee Camp: Virginia joins the Green Revolution by attempting the first wind-powered execution. ∞

Enduring blunder

by Jeff Huber

President Obama has committed 17,000 additional troops to Operation Enduring Freedom, our misadventure in Afghanistan.His generals don’t know what to do with those troops when they get there; they’re not even sure what troops to send.Someone on Obama’s sprawling national security team should have told him it’s a bad, bad idea to send troops into a combat zone without a well-defined task and purpose.Ronald Reagan’s 1983 end zone fumble in Beirut should serve as a shining example of that maxim, but today’s defense hierarchy isn’t keen on learning from the past.Neocon luminary Fred Kagan, chief architect of the surge strategy, taught military history at West Point for a decade, which shows you how little regard the Army has for the subject.

The Keystone Kollege of Armed Konflict Knowledge that all our generals seem to have attended doesn’t place much importance on coherent strategy making, either. Continue reading