Stop promoting democracy

Promoting democracy abroad has become a cornerstone of American foreign policy — or at least of American foreign policy rhetoric. This is a mistake. Democracy is, of course, a Good Thing. I am eager to see it spread to the billions of people around the world who do not enjoy it today. But democracy is [Read More...]

Falling Down

The 1993 movie Falling Down doesn't quite add up. Ebbe Roe Smith's screenplay wants to explore some interesting ideas about the relationship between violence and impotence, but director Joel Schumacher — the hack who made Batman and Robin — is much more interested in revelling in that violence than in understanding it. Still, no movie [Read More...]

Faith and works

Sen. John McCain said several things last night on CNN's Larry King Live that bear repeating: … if we, somehow, excuse this behavior on the grounds that they were bad people, they killed Americans, all that kind of stuff, then we put ourselves on the same moral … plane that they are. We cannot do [Read More...]

No planning = unjust war

Like the pope, I opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq because, among other reasons, I found it impossible to defend according to the jus ad bellum criteria of the just war tradition. Specifically, I was far from convinced that we had reached the necessity of last resort; I believe that “preventive” or “pre-emptive” wars require [Read More...]


Matthew Yglesias finds himself lately thinking about the following bit of dialogue from Apocalypse Now: Kurtz: "What did they tell you?" Willard: "They told me that you had gone totally insane, and that your methods were unsound." Kurtz: "Are my methods unsound?" Willard: "I don't see any method, at all, sir." The passage that echoes [Read More...]

The L Word

Officials at the Defense Department are also said to be "livid," and well aware of the damage that has been done by the incident, according to NBC News' Pentagon reporter Jim Miklaszewski. Speaking on the Imus in the Morning radio/MSNBC program Tuesday , Mr. Miklaszewski said he asked a Pentagon contact about the soldiers alleged [Read More...]

Primal Scream

Timothy Burke, just up the road at Swarthmore, lets loose a primal scream. (You could hear the echoes hear in Media, but I got the link via Brad DeLong.) It's worth quoting at length: "Stop with the hindsight," says one writer. "Be patient," says another. Oh, no, let's not stop with the hindsight. Not when [Read More...]

House of Horrors

Last April, American troops helped Iraqis topple a statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad. That statue was only a symbol, but it was an important symbol. Its fall — an image broadcast around the world — signified the fall of Saddam's tyrannical reign. Other statues were soon torn down and American troops were busied [Read More...]