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Showing posts from September 19, 2004
Bollettino The Hobby war When war broke out in Europe in 1914, the German army at once took the offensive. According to its doctrine, all acts in battle were to be governed by one thought: forward against the enemy at any cost.8 Since Germany’s strategy was tied to the ‘short war’ concept, the German high command under Helmuth von Moltke the younger gave little thought to the state of public opinion, although it was ready to ‘energetically suppress all attempts to undermine the political truce’. In mid-August 1914 the chief of the general staff of the field army was satisfied with the ‘popular unanimity of enthusiasm’ and ‘the united attitude of the parties and the press towards war’.9 The so-called spirit of 1914 thus entered German war mythology.10 – “Ludendorff and Hitler in Perspective: The Battle for the German Soldier’s Mind, 1917–1944” by Jürgen Förster One of the mysteries of the war in Iraq is that the war’s most ardent supporters are also the most ardent support
Bollettino LI was part of a research project the other day. A graduate student invited us and about four other bloggers to talk with her in a chat room about what we did. It was a pretty enjoyable scene, and we learned some new, fine acronyms – like MSM for main stream media. At one point LI suggested that bloggers don’t report the facts – we aren’t journalists – but frame them. We were surprised that this was generally disputed. Well, perhaps LI is deluded on this one, but we still think most blog reporting consists of playing Google roulette. In the spirit of which… The Washington Post published a White House pr release about Iraq in the implausible shape of a news article yesterday , suggesting that, as John Negroponte says in it, "When it comes to calling the plays on the field, especially on sensitive military operations, there's only one quarterback, and his name is Allawi." Negroponte’s metaphor, referring to a game that isn’t played in Iraq, is more tr
Bollettino Since LI has been slamming Kerry, fair play (as well as Pavlovian psychology) suggests that we praise him for good moves. So let's get it up for the speech on Iraq yesterday. Sure, he should have made it two months ago. Sure, the delay was inexplicably self-subverting… But the speech was firm, just, and outlined what Bush did badly and what Kerry will do to fix those mistakes. We now actually have two candidates with two positions. It is like having ... a democracy. Our only complaint is that he should connect, as clearly as possible, what William Saletan, in a rather smarmy summary of Kerry's speech in Slate, calls "opportunity cost." We call it the failure to confront reality. We are talking about the subordination of the war on terrorism part of the war on terrorism to a sideshow. Kerry should learn to say Osama bin Laden's name. And then he should say it a lot. He should take a hint from this column by Joe Conason in the NY OBS commemorat
Bollettino One of our favorite stories about predictions concerns a bet made in the seventies between Paul Ehrlich, a famous biologist and environmentalist, and Jules Simon, a libertarian economist. Ehrlich, who believed that population would push the use of natural resources to the breaking point, took a bet on a basket of metals in 1980. The bet was about the price of the metals in 1990. If Ehrlich’s thesis was right, the price of the metals would obviously go up. Simon bet they wouldn’t. Simon won. This is often interpreted, by libertarians, as proof that environmentalism is all hooey. LI thinks that interpretation is all hooey. Actually, the alarmism of Ehrlich, on one end, and the regulatory momentum that was set in place during the Nixon years, worked to make industry greener – both in the U.S. and abroad. In other words, prediction doesn’t happen in a neutral environment: that a prediction is made in a certain context can have an effect on the outcome. Environmental alarm