Tag: Terrorism

On Bergdahl, Obama Made the Least Bad Choice

 

ObamaBerghdalPresident Obama has come under enormous criticism for his handling of the repatriation of Sgt Bergdahl. As always, he couldn’t help but do it in the most grandstanding way possible. The central decision, though, was the best of a bad set of choices. I’m not convinced by any of the arguments that I’ve seen here or elsewhere on the web that he could have done this much differently.

Here then, are the complaints:

We Negotiated With Terrorists

Dog Tags Vs. Hash Tags

 

Unknown-2A chilling picture has been making the rounds lately. It shows our First Lady with a sad face, holding up a hand drawn placard with #Bringbackourgirls written on it, a response to the abduction of more than 250 Nigerian schoolgirls by the islamist group Boko Haram. Though Mrs. Obama’s feelings are no doubt sincere, her actions will not bring one child back.

I’m glad neither my father nor my grandfather is alive to have seen this photo. They never had to teach us German or Japanese due to the fact that they were willing to don dog tags.  I’m sure they would have preferred hashtags, had they been the rage back then.

I realize that’s not politically correct to say today, but those men understood the code. It goes back to before Herodotus and was memorialized in The Song of Roland in the mid-12th century. Call it chivalry, call it the “Knightly code of honor,” call it what you will: it is the bedrock of Western Civilization.

NSA Surveillance: What We Should All Agree On

 

I’ve received several requests to respond to Tom Meyer’s very thoughtful post about how national security hawks should respond to criticisms of the NSA surveillance program. The piece is mostly about political argument and the art of rhetoric — I’m not quite sure from the post what Tom himself thinks is the best policy — so I’ll have to respond broadly.

What makes this issue difficult is that the war is covert, against a network of non-state fighters who disguise their communications and movements as innocent, but have great destructive power aimed at civilians. We are pursuing the wartime goal of stopping enemy attacks before they happen.

Some Friendly Advice For National Security Hawks

 

Since Edward Snowden’s leaks and subsequent defection, there’s been a raging debate on the Right about the proper role of our nation’s intelligence services. Those who favor broader powers and a more active role for these services have been on the defensive.

nrol-39-nothing-beyond-our-reachWhile I count myself as among the critics of such programs – as much because I believe they’re ineffective as that they’re dangerous – I share the hawks’ concern for my fellow citizens’s safety: I don’t want my loved ones or countrymen blown up by Islamic fanatics any more than the next guy.* Keeping us safe and in peace requires a lot of work, including some degree of surveillance. As national security is one of the core responsibilities of the Federal Government, our intelligence services bear an incredible burden.

Member Post

 

Alternate-Side Parking is a semi-regular, once or twice a week, podcast. Each episode lasts approximately as long as it takes for me to find a new alternate-side parking space in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, plus however long I feel like sitting in the driver’s seat. In today’s episode, I talk about how unhappy […]

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