Mr. Netanyahu goes to Washington

Image (above): Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther, oil painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1660. Netanyahu drew on the story of Esther, the Jewish queen of Persia, in his speech to the U.S. Congress. The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, addressed a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. This time, he […]

Yearning for the next civil war

He was stuck with the duty and he would fight. And he had no doubt he would die and that would be a good thing.

He looked around the battlefield that had been his home, and carefully raised himself out of the recliner. It wouldn’t do to fall and break a hip now. Company was coming, and he had to be ready to greet them. He hoped it would be today.

— From Absolved, a novel by Mike Vanderboegh

Combat veterans bear deep scars of memory. At the same time, they often feel nostalgia for their time of service. This is fitting. Nostalgia always mixes love with pain.

What should we call a similar yearning for a war to come? For a future civil war between Americans?

Some of my neighbors think such a war is inevitable. They may attend tea party rallies, or they may not; if they do, they indignantly deny that they were lured there by media celebrities like Glenn Beck.

They’ll tell you they’ve known for a long time that America has lost its way, and the halls of power are controlled by a conspiracy against freedom. Those who don’t surrender their firearms, control of their property, and their rights to the mega-state will be hunted down, one by one. Neighbor will betray neighbor in a dark, cruel, deceitful America ruled by brutal thugs. We’re already more than halfway there.

This belief isn’t really susceptible to argument. Continue reading “Yearning for the next civil war”

Getting out of Afghanistan

Lego terrorist
America’s enemy: a sophisticated view, grounded in the latest counterinsurgency theory. (Detail from title image of Andrew Exum’s blog Abu Muqawama.)

Why does the United States have soldiers, marines, airmen, and spies in Afghanistan?

Why have they been there for eight years?

Neither of these questions has a satisfactory answer. Americans often bypass them by insisting that, however we got there, we have no choice but to remain, at least for now.

Why do we have no choice? Continue reading “Getting out of Afghanistan”

A few dots on politics

NASCAR and Congress: I’ve seen yet another approving mention of the idea of dressing politicians in NASCAR-style uniforms bearing the logos of their corporate sponsors. So when is someone going to Photoshop these outfits for us, using data from, say, I’d do it myself if I had the time and skills. Health care: Liberals […]

Why We Fight

One of Birmingham’s best writers, Kyle Whitmire, is leaving the Birmingham Weekly where for several years he’s provided the most astute and most readable commentary on city and county affairs. (Hat tip to Wade Kwon.) Rosalind Fournier’s profile of Whitmire at b-metro reveals how Kyle’s column got its name, which is “War on Dumb.” Seems […]