March 08, 2009

And now, your Sunday reading...

1. Pentagon's Unwanted Projects in Earmarks (Washington Post)

Guess who is funding the infernal F-22 over the objections of the Pentagon's senior leadership? The evil Republicans! Oh, wait... No, as it turns out, it's mostly Barack Obama's own party which is to blame.

2. Experts Warn of Troops' Loss of Logistical Support (Washington Post)

Logistics, Logistics, Logistics. And not just in Afghanistan. The number of helicopters needed in Afghanistan is going to leave Our Brave Boys (and Girls) in Iraq stretched as well. I would link to the testimony delivered by Roger Carstens (CNAS alum) this past week but found the House Armed Service Committee website most unhelpful. The simple Senate Armed Services Committee website, by contrast, rocks.

3. An Absurd Kerfluffle at the American University of Beirut

My friend Sean Lee, an instructor of English at my alma mater, had the crazy notion that maybe -- just maybe -- Lebanon's ban on films and books deemed "sympathetic to Jews" or filled with "Jew content" might be a tad bit anti-semetic. Angry Arab jumps into the fray, telling Sean he has no right as the "White Man" to speak up. This whole thing is ridiculous. Lebanon's censorship is a serious issue, and an instructor at AUB has every right to ask why he can't assign his students The Diary of Anne Frank. That other scholars would criticize Sean in this way is, frankly, shocking. (Note: AUB is subject to the laws of Lebanon. If The Life of Brian is banned by the authorities, the university has to follow this ban. So don't start writing angry letters to your congressman asking him to cut off funding to AUB.) If anything, these bans re-enforce sectarian identities -- all works deemed "offensive" to Christians and Muslims, like The Da Vinci Code, are also banned -- and explain how AUB can produce highly-intelligent and learned yet anti-Semitic Holocaust-deniers.

4. Two Soldiers Killed in Northern Ireland (Guardian)

This is, incredibly, the first time British troops have been killed in Norn Ireland since 1997. Splinter groups are believed to be at their strongest in years, and all (Protestant) eyes will be on Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin to see how they respond to this. Remember, just 20 months ago the British Army more or less declared victory in Northern Ireland.