Obama allows U.S. airstrikes in Iraq

As Islamic State routed tough Kurdish forces (the largest pro-American group in Iraq), drawing near to Americans still in Erbil, President Obama has given the go-ahead for airstrikes “if necessary.”  He also said we would drop food and water to the sectarian Muslims that Islamic State is starving out on a mountaintop.

UPDATE:  The bombing has begun.

[Read more...]

Todd exposes the war photo from space

The internet, newspapers, and television news have been showing this photograph of Israel and Gaza from outer space, purporting to show the explosions from the war in that region:

View image on Twitter

You know tODD, a super-commenter on this blog who specializes in throwing cold water on over-hyped and misinterpreted claims (including those I make in some of my posts, which I actually appreciate!).  He did some sleuthing and found that the photograph is showing nothing more than ordinary city lights!  He sent his findings to Mollie Hemingway, “the scourge of lazy journalists,” who then exposed the mistake, though I’m not seeing any retractions. [Read more...]

Putting “ethical governors” on killer robots

Drone warfare makes some people squirm for the ethical issues it raises, but right now drones are still controlled by human beings.  The upcoming technology, though, would make them autonomous, allowing them to make their own “decisions” about whether or not to kill.  To meet the moral objections in giving machines the option to kill human beings, some techies are proposing tacking on separate software they are calling  “ethical governors” that could automatically run the decisions through international law protocols before going lethal.

What do you think about this?  Can there be “artificial morality’” just as there is “artificial intelligence”?  (After the jump, a defense of killer robots that goes into these issues.) [Read more...]

Civilian airliner shot down over Ukraine

A Malaysia Airline Boeing 777 was shot down over the Ukraine, killing 298 passengers and crew.  Most were Dutch and Australian.  As many as 23 may have been Americans.  [UPDATE:  Only one American has been identified.] The plane was reportedly brought down by a Russian anti-aircraft missile, and pro-Russian separatists are being blamed. [Read more...]

Israel invades Gaza

With Hamas refusing a ceasefire after its rocket attacks on Israel were met by air attacks, Israeli ground forces have launched an invasion of Gaza. [Read more...]

“Up to now, I’ve given nothing for what I have taken”

Peter Wehner shares a letter written by his wife’s uncle, Frank Keaton, shortly before landing on Omaha Beach.  It makes very good reading for Independence Day. [Read more...]


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