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Casus Contendentes (Now With Update)

Burt Likko wonders whether, despite the unmitigated human rights awfulness that is the nascent would-be state forming in northern Iraq, swallowing our idealism and adopting a strategy of economic containment wouldn’t be a more practical alternative to making war against ISIS.

UPDATE: Reaction to President Obama’s address of September 10.

A Vast Silence

The New York Times ran a story that took Burt Likko’s breath away in outrage when he read it last night. But apparently, he’s pretty much the only one.

Sketching a National Security State Saner Than Today

As my isolation from the chattering classes continues, I’m inclined to go into hypotheticals and counter-factuals. One such hypothetical I returned to over the past few days is the following: What would a saner (but necessarily flawed) national security state look like? A handful of disclaimers before I provide my ruminations. First, this exercise is…

There Was No Civil Liberties Mandate

Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic has a widely read explanation of why he cannot, on moral grounds, do as he did in 2008 and vote for Barack Obama. It’s a long piece and it’s not structured as an essay so much as a series of interrelated but independent criticisms; in general, Friedersdorf is outraged by…

The Morally Degenerate Sociopath’s Defense of Counter-Terrorism….

Fellow League blogger Ethan’s post about the Obama foreign policy dredges up perhaps the biggest tension point regarding Obama’s foreign policy: Counter-Terrorism policy. Somewhat coincidentally Administration Counter-Terrorism Adviser John Brennan gave a speech on Monday further clarifying the Administration’s CT policy. As noted by Bush Administration legal adviser Jack Goldsmith, this comes as an additional…

Profiling, Political Correctness, and Airport Security

I must take issue with Erik’s recent post on airport security in which he argued for abolishing the TSA, replacing it with privatized airport security, and adopting an Israeli “profiling” approach to airport security.  With regards to Erik’s points regarding privatization, I must say that I largely agree with mistermix’s response at Balloon Juice.  Erik…

The Real Miscarriage of Justice

Below, Ned rightly derides Rep. Peter King for calling the verdict in the Ghailani trial a “total miscarriage of justice.”  Ned correctly notes that the miscarriage of justice here was not the verdict itself, but rather the Bush Administration’s use of torture to obtain the evidence that otherwise would have convicted Ghailani on the counts…

In Which NJ Leads the Way on Freedoms

It’s a rare day indeed that I get to say this, but today I’m quite proud of my state’s elected representatives in the State House: State senators Michael J. Doherty (R- Hunterdon) and  James Beach (D- Camden) announced today that they will present resolutions to the Senate and Assembly calling on the U.S. Congress to end…

The Irresponsible Media Who Ruin Lives and the Unnamed “Senior Officials” Who Enable Them

[UPDATED BELOW THE FOLD] The Big Story yesterday and, to a lesser extent, today was the arrest of two legal Yemeni immigrants on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack.  The pair, one of whom now resides in Birmingham, Alabama after previously living in Detroit, and the other of whom presumably resides in the Chicago area,…

Words and Deeds

Faced with the unassailable fact that Obama’s much-ballyhooed foreign and counter-terror policies differ very little from the Bush Administration’s, Victor Davis Hanson is left spluttering: So when Obama and his team were dreaming up euphemisms like “overseas contingency operations” and “man-caused disasters,” and loudly disowning terms like “radical Islam,” “Islamic extremism,” and “jihad,” and magnifying…

Pornography & Liberty

After several detours of bad logic around the most unmissable facts, Bret Stephens reaches this conclusion: If America wants to tilt the balance of Muslim sentiment in its favor, it needs to stand up for its principles, its liberties and its friends—Israel, Playboy and Lady Gaga included. Well, if Bret thinks his comfort with pornography…

Compare and Contrast

From TNR’s excellent review of The Killer Trail, a history of  one murderous French expedition into the heart of 19th century Africa (emphasis mine): The Europeans, Taithe notes, never recognized African kingdoms as states, and never interpreted the Geneva Convention as applying to these colonial wars. “Against the uncivilized,” the historian writes, “‘no need to…

Hoodwinked

Rod Dreher: On the other hand, it is also wrong to pretend that the Muslim religion had nothing to do with this massacre, that it is mere happenstance that this mass murderer’s crime was incidental to his Islamic faith. The US is in a war against Islamist terrorism. What Hasan did yesterday, on the evidence,…

Arguments we should retire from the public discourse

Here’s an interesting back-and-forth on surveillance reform in the Los Angeles Times. I found the arguments against modifying the PATRIOT Act frustrating, not least because they don’t seem all that responsive to the civil libertarian case for additional safeguards. But this throwaway line from the Heritage Foundation analyst defending the PATRIOT Act really got my…