war

Lying about Libya

My latest op-ed, “Lying about Libya,” appeared today in Mises Daily, a publication of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.  You can read the article here. In it, I write: “What was sold to the American public as a humanitarian intervention morphed almost immediately into unreserved support of one side in Libya’s civil war and a commitment to overthrowing Libya’s existing government. … To decide whether a military action undertaken in our name is prudent and just, we must adopt a skeptical stance toward politicians’ stories and rationalizations.

Use of Predators Sets Dangerous Precedent

My op-ed “Use of Predators Sets Dangerous Precedent” appeared today on Antiwar.com. In it, I criticize President Obama’s decision to authorize drone warfare in Libya. I write: “The expediency of drones makes it all-too-tempting for governments to use them frequently and carelessly, brushing aside the ethical questions they raise and ignoring the long-term security consequences their use could entail.” Click here to read the full article. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Discussing the Libya War on 'Russia Today'

I appeared on Russia Today (RT) yesterday to discuss the U.S./NATO intervention in Libya as well as the situation in Syria - feel free to check it out if you are interested: My related article, “Rolling the Dice in Libya,” appeared on Antiwar.com yesterday. Another, unrelated op-ed of mine appeared yesterday as well in the Michigan Education Report: “National standards will stifle innovation.” In it, I argue that “strict standards risk forcing students and teachers alike into a curricular straitjacket, alienating creative teachers and sapping the motivation of students.

Rolling the dice in Libya

My latest op-ed, “Rolling the dice in Libya,” appeared today on Antiwar.com. You can find the op-ed here as well as pasted below. If you enjoy it, please consider sharing it on your Facebook wall, mentioning it on Twitter, or emailing it to a friend. Thanks, as always, for reading. Rolling the dice in Libya Ryan McCarl President Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination in 2008 partly by reminding the party’s base of his early, prescient criticisms of the ill-fated decision to invade Iraq.

Two cents about COIN

My latest op-ed, “Two cents about COIN,” appeared today on Antiwar.com. It discusses the the growing faith of U.S. political and military leaders in the military doctrine of COIN, or manpower-intensive counterinsurgency warfare. You can find the op-ed here as well as pasted below; if you enjoy it, please consider sharing it on your Facebook wall, mentioning it on Twitter, or linking to it on your blog. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Excerpts from Jonathan Glover's 'Humanity'

Jonathan Glover’s Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century is one of the best and most important books I have ever read. Excerpts below: An extimate for the period from 1900 until 1989 is that war killed 86 million people. Eighty-six million is a small proportion of all those alive during the ninety years, and is a small number compared to those who have died from hunger and preventable diseases.

Out of Range: The ethics of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan

My latest op-ed, “Out of Range,” appeared in this morning’s edition of Antiwar.com. In it, I explore the ethical dilemma of the U.S.’s ongoing campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan. This is shaping up to be one of the hottest contemporary debates in foreign policy circles. I write: “Technology and wealth have made it possible for the U.S. to exercise decisive military power anywhere in the world. But our technology and our wealth often outrun our wisdom, our prudence, and our moral sensibilities.

Readings from Camus and Melville

I once said that, after the experiences of the last two years, I could no longer hold to any truth which might oblige me, directly or indirectly, to demand a man's life. Certain friends whom I respected retorted that I was living in Utopia, that there was no political truth which could not one day reduce us to such an extremity, and that we must therefore either run the risk of this extremity or else simply put up with the world as it is.

Edna St. Vincent Millay's 'Conscientious Objector'

I discovered one of the best poems on war I’ve ever read the other day while reading David P. Barash’s Approaches to Peace, an excellent edited volume on peace and conflict studies: Conscientious ObjectorEdna St. Vincent MillayI shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death. I hear him leading his horse out of the stall; I hear the clatter on the barn-floor. He is in haste; he has business in Cuba, business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.

Howard Zinn on World War II

I’ve intended to read Howard Zinn’s revisionist history of the United States - A People’s History of the United States - for years, and I finally buckled down and started it this week. It is an excellent and eye-opening book, to say the least, and I found myself becoming absorbed in and largely agreeing with the narrative of the first few chapters - his interpretation of the “discovery” and colonization of America.

The Nuclear Peace and its Consequences for China's Rise

I just put the finishing touches on my M.A. thesis, bringing one of the most stressful months of my life to a satisfying close. 10,181 words, 45 pages, three entirely different drafts, and an ungodly amount of writing and revision. I am happy with the finished product and will turn it in tomorrow morning, then post a link to it online. My faculty advisor was John Mearsheimer, the best professor I’ve had at the U of C and one of the most influential international relations scholars in America.

Quotes from Jim Harrison's 'True North'

The main feature of the Kingston Plains was the thousands of acres of white pine stumps, some of them very large, which had been cut at waist or chest height probably during the winter when it was easier to skid the trees out on snow-covered trails which they dampened to form ice so that the draft horse-drawn log sleighs could be more easily pulled. …I swiveled around until I had completed a 360-degree view, suppressing any anger I felt over the idea that they might have left a few trees for those in the future to look at.

Poems & fragments by William Meredith

From Ten-Day Leave Oh, identity is a traveling-piece with some, But here is what calls me, here what I call home. A Major Work Poems are hard to read Pictures are hard to see Music is hard to hear And people are hard to love. But whether from brute need Or divine energy At last mind eye and ear And the great sloth heart will move. From June: Dutch Harbor It is hard to keep your mind on war, with all that green.

Quotes from Randall Jarrell and Knut Hamsun

“I lie in my own bed,” He whispers, “dreaming”; and he thinks to wake. The old mistake. –From Randall Jarrell, “A Field Hospital” We read our mail and counted up our missions- In bombers named for girls, we burned The cities we had learned about in school- Till our lives wore out; our bodies lay among The people we had killed and never seen. When we lasted long enough they gave us medals; When we died they said, “Our casualties were low.

Mortimer J. Adler on war and peace

“Our view of war, then, must be broadened to include both armed conflict and battles of diplomacy, economic aid, and propaganda. War is war, whether it is “hot” or “cold.” The struggle for power and prestige among the nations goes on all the time. Only the means vary, and whether these be armed force or diplomatic pressure or other nonviolent means depends on the occasion. It follows, then, that peace is not merely a negative thing - the absence of armed conflict.

Quotes from the week's reading, part 2

As we would expect, during most wars consumer spending is deliberately held back by heavy taxes to make room for swelling military expenditure. During World War II, for example, consumption was squeezed back by heavy taxes to barely more than half of GDP. …During the Vietnam War military expenses for that conflict were not compensated by taxes to roll back consumption and the excess demand for goods and services ignited a subsequent inflation.

Quotes from John Steinbeck's 'Travels with Charley'

A dog, particularly an exotic like Charley, is a bond between strangers. Many conversations en route began with “What degree of a dog is that?” … The dairy man had a Ph.D. in mathematics, and he must have had some training in philosophy. He liked what he was doing and he didn’t want to be somewhere else - one of the very few contented people I met in my whole journey.

Four quotes from recent reading

“Tell me one last thing,” said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?” … “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Secular nationalism of the sort Fatah stood for is coming to look like the weak force and radical Islam like the strong force.

Poems and fragments from Thomas Hardy

I’m working extremely hard and learning a lot by day, and running, reading, and spending time with my friends in the evening - it’s a great program, and I have a lot to be grateful for. Lately I’ve been reading the poems of Thomas Hardy, and he has become one of my favorites. Here are a few of the poems and lines that I’ve especially liked so far: From The Self-Unseeing

Quotes from Steinbeck's 'East of Eden'

I’m 180 pages into East of Eden; here are a few of the passages that have caught my attention thus far: And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way. … To Adam who was an instrument, who saw not the future farms but only the torn bellies of fine humans, it was revolting and useless.