Broadening the Coalition

by Jon Mandle on October 18, 2004

In describing his approach to Iraq, John Kerry has stressed that he would involve other countries to a greater extent than the present administration. Critics have been quick to doubt his ability to generate support from other countries. Indeed, some European representatives have been decidedly skeptical about his ability to widen the coalition. And not unreasonably, it has seemed to me.

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Education Week on Bush and Kerry

by Harry on October 18, 2004

Here, via Laura, is Education Week’s take on the education policies of Bush and Kerry. Not exactly Tweedledum and Tweedledee. But not far off it.

With God on Our Side

by Henry Farrell on October 18, 2004

Anyone who gets the Sundance Channel should check out the Documentary “With God on Our Side,” showing at 7pm ET this evening. I haven’t seen it yet (nor do I get Sundance) – but I feel confident in recommending it, as it’s produced by David Van Taylor, who was responsible for “A Perfect Candidate”:, the best documentary on American politics that I’ve ever seen.

Conservative Cultural Engineering

by Henry Farrell on October 18, 2004

“Lexington” of the _Economist_ can sometimes be pretty weird, but his most recent column is more than weird – it’s somewhere out there in the “Gamma Quadrant”:

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Global warming bombshell?

by John Holbo on October 18, 2004

UPDATE: Apparently it’s a dud. In fact, John Quiggin defused it last month. Well, that’s a bit silly not to read my very own weblog. (I knew it was a bit suspicious, what with it being good news and all. What a world, what a world.)

I’ll tuck what now looks to be nonsense under the fold, for the curious. Comments are quite interesting below. And Tim Lambert has an interesting post up in response to the general question. Turns out this is a newer model than Quiggin discussed before.

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Eating Your Seed Corn

by Belle Waring on October 18, 2004

An interesting, if disturbing, post from Phil Carter of Intel Dump; the Army is deploying the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment to Iraq. This regiment usually serves as the opposition force in training exercises intended to toughen new soldiers. He links to this LA Times article, but comments:

The article misses the most important point: deploying the OPFOR is like eating your seed corn. This unit is responsible for training other units and raising their level of expertise and combat readiness. The 11th ACR is being replaced by a National Guard unit. That’s like replacing the Dodgers with a high school baseball team. Sure, they can both play baseball and wear the uniform — but one is a whole lot more proficient and experienced at its job. The OPFOR has a reputation as a tough enemy, and that’s a good thing because it forces units training at the NTC to become better themselves. By replacing this unit with National Guard troops, the Army has hurt its ability to produce good units for Iraq in the future. Suffice to say, National Guard and active units that go through Fort Irwin aren’t going to get the same tough experience they would have with the Blackhorse regiment as OPFOR — and that means they’ll be less ready for combat when they get to Iraq. This is a desperation measure, and I think the Army will come to regret it.

Remind me again about how the best way to ensure we don’t have a draft is to vote for Bush?

Ignatieff on Hersh

by Chris Bertram on October 18, 2004

Former (?) liberal hawk Michael Ignatieff “reviews”: Sy Hersh’s _Chain of Command_ in the New York Times:

bq. The war on terror began as a defense of international law, giving America allies and friends. It soon became a war in defiance of law. In a secret order dated Feb. 7, 2002, President Bush declared, as Hersh puts it, that ”when it came to Al Qaeda the Geneva Conventions were applicable only at his discretion.” Based on memorandums from the Defense and Justice Departments and the White House legal office that, in Anthony Lewis’s apt words, ”read like the advice of a mob lawyer to a mafia don on how to . . . stay out of prison,” Bush unilaterally withdrew the war on terror from the international legal regime that sets the standards for treatment and interrogation of prisoners. Abu Ghraib was not the work of a few bad apples, but the direct consequence, Hersh says, of ”the reliance of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld on secret operations and the use of coercion — and eye-for-an-eye retribution — in fighting terrorism.”

Pursuing the Truth

by Kieran Healy on October 18, 2004

David Bernstein “in lofty principle”:

bq. Maybe I’m a little old-fashioned, but aren’t universities supposed to stand for the pursuit of truth, “even unto its innermost parts” (Brandeis’s motto). Will a faculty member who pursues such truth get hired to teach Women’s Studies? Will a student who pursues such truth get a good grade?

David Bernstein “in empirical practice”:, one paragraph earlier:

bq. EVER HEAR OF “REVEALED PREFERENCES”? An article in my alma mater’s (Brandeis University) newspaper, _The Justice_ explains that two Brandeis Women’s Studies professors argue that (surprise!) what most of us think of as gender (or, some would say, “sex”) differences are actually mere stereotypes. Maybe it’s unfair for me to comment without reading the professors’ entire book, not to mention the numerous studies on which they claim to rely.

Maybe I’m a little old-fashioned, but would it really be too much effort to do a bit of reading beyond the alumni magazine before blandly dismissing something as lefty claptrap just because it contradicts “revealed preferences that seem blatantly obvious” to you? Especially when one believes in, you know, pursuing the truth unto its innermost wotsits? The preferences revealed in this case suggest the answer is “Yes.”