Troops out, slowly

by Henry on November 1, 2006

Via “Marc Lynch”:http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/abuaardvark/2006/11/brookings_iraqi.html, some “Congressional testimony”:http://www.stanford.edu/group/ir_workshop/fearon%20testimony.pdf (PDF) by Jim Fearon applying lessons from other civil wars to the Iraq conflict. Fearon suggests that the prospects for Iraq are pretty dreadful – civil wars tend to go on for a long time, and are usually resolved when one side or another gains a decisive military victory (less than one in six ends in a power-sharing arrangement). The reasons for this are rooted in the strategic situation that actors find themselves in – both sides in a civil war are organized so as to fear that the other side will try to grab power, and both are likely to be tempted to try to grab power for themselves. Given this, the least-worst strategy for the US to follow is to withdraw troops gradually, seeking to prevent major massacres of civilians while it does this, but recognizing that a Lebanon-type civil war is highly likely to break out when it does withdraw completely. This is a pretty bleak assessment, but I’m not seeing very many countervailing reasons for optimism.

Sheri Berman seminar PDF

by Henry on November 1, 2006

I’ve put together a PDF of the Sheri Berman seminar, for those who prefer to read it as a paper document. I’ve also corrected some minor spelling errors etc along the way, so it’s a slightly better text than the blogposts themselves. Those who want to download it will find it “here”:http://www.henryfarrell.net/berman.pdf . Please let me know about any remaining errors or glitches …

Irony Deathwatch, Corner Edition

by Belle Waring on November 1, 2006

Michael Ledeen blew my mind today:

More on Media Coverage [of the Kerry flap–Belle] [Michael Ledeen]
Nothing at all on the front page of the WSJ, quite disgraceful. In case you wondered about the WSJ newsroom, the main political story is an allegation of graft against a Republican congressman.

A story that should have been delayed until after the election. Talk about journalistic ethics! Get a new editor for the news section.

Is this supposed to be satirical in some way? I think not, but then again surely he doesn’t think…that is…I

Moving on, John Derbyshire continues to stoke my guilty admiration:

Yes, But [John Derbyshire]
John Kerry is awful, and anything we can do further to degrade his political prospects is worth doing. But really, I saw a clip of him making the much-deplored remark, and it was obvious that the dimwit in Iraq that he referred to was George W. Bush, not the American soldier. It was a dumb joke badly delivered, but his meaning was plain. My pleasure in watching JK squirm is just as great as any other conservative’s, but something is owed to honesty. There’s a lot of fake outrage going round here.

Is this why Derbyshire always posts from home, so as to avoid uncomfortable moments around the NR watercooler? Do they have tenure at the National Review? This blithe insouciance, these outright accusations of bad faith against one’s colleagues, seem to me rightly to belong to the tenured. Perhaps William F. Buckley has given him an endowed chair in Disarmingly Frank Racial Prejudice/Old-fashioned Tory Studies.

Motorhead puppets

by Chris Bertram on November 1, 2006

Awesome …..

(hat tip JD)

Kindred spirits

by Eszter Hargittai on November 1, 2006

In honor of Halloween, the staff at the Center gave each fellow a list of previous office occupants. (As a reminder, I’m spending the year at CASBS thanks to a grant from the Annenberg Foundation to bring communication scholars here.) Below is my list of ghosts from the past.

[click to continue…]