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  • A Gwen Ifill Interview with Juan Cole on Iraq & US Withdrawal: In Memoriam
  • What if US & UN Sanctioned Israel over its Nukes as they did Iran over Enrichment?
    • No so far off. At least for the first half of the scenario.

      About twenty years ago there was a brief initiative to declare a Mideast Nuclear Free Zone, where all of the states would pledge not to develop nuclear weapons, or permit their basing or transit. Israel was the notable nonparticipant. Of course, the initiative was largely a political and public opinion ploy, but it was highly instructive.

      Israel is able to do as they do mainly because of the political, military and financial support they receive from the US. That, and lingering guilt of western nations that fomented, and refused to give the slightest attention to, the Holocaust. But Israel now uses it's moral position and history more as a blackmailer, than as a friend. Consequently, they have few genuine champions. And they now treat the Palestinians much as Jews were once treated in Europe. Consequently, once staunch allies are now looking for polite means to distance themselves.

      Israel, and other nuclear nations, should pause and take notice of the reality that nuclear weapons have very limited viability. They do seem effective in deterring existential conflict. But they do not deter other forms of conventional and nonconventional warfare. And the nation that next uses a nuclear weapon will become a pariah, and lose its sovereign viability. Such a nation would be compelled to dismiss its government, and likely become a ward of the UN for generations.

  • On D-Day: Remembering the Muslim Troops who Fought the Axis
    • I happened to notice some graves by a church in a small town in Alsace. They were from one of the closing battles of WWII. Some graves had crosses carved on the tombstones, some had crescents, and others Stars of David. These men lay together in death as they had fought together in battle.

  • The Great Benghazi Conspiracy and Republican Forgeries
    • What is the actual criminal charge you believe needs investigating? I think that film was despicable behavior, but falls well within the First Amendment.

  • Top Ten Likely Consequences of Muslim anti-US Embassy Riots
    • You don't think this may prove dangerous to Egyptian Copts? An emigre Copt seems to have made the film, and Copts have previously been exposed to episodic violence by islamists. I would think that the Copts are in very delicate circumstances right now.

  • Japan Nuclear Threat, Libya Oil Crisis, Highlight Need for Renewable Energy
    • Good points. But also fair to mention that Japan does have a substantial orientation and investment in solar energy. Sharp, Sanyo and Mitsubishi are innovators in Photovoltaics. And IRRC, there is a very large portion of residential hot water that is produced by solar power. Japan is also a highly energy efficient country, both for personal use, transport and industry.

  • Bachmann Harms US Economy, Security with Scurrilous Charges about Obama in India
    • What should be a concern, but is unstated, in coverage of the trip, India is India's focus on greatly increasing its nuclear power and weapons industry, without adopting the Nonproliferation Treaty. Trade and investment is the hammer to drive the issue.

  • Republican Iott a Reenactor of SS Panzer Div. Wiking
    • The interesting thing in that comment is that he has implicitly included the Soviet Union in "the combined effort of the free world". I suppose democracy had no truer friend than that kindly Uncle Joe Stalin?

  • War is Theft: Pentagon cannot account for $8.6 Billion of Iraq's Reconstruction Funds
    • I was told that the US would be fully repaid for the costs of the war from the proceeds of Iraqi oil. I'd say that a lot of people's pockets have been picked.

  • Mystery of Iranian Nuclear Scientist and the Duelling YouTube Videos
  • Karzai Defeats Obama 2-1
    • If Afghanistan is not to be governed by Karzai, then by whom and how will that be an improvement? Others involved in the government don't seem to be paragons of Enlightenment values, able administrators, or honest. Reversion to a warlord/Taliban standoff seems to be the likeliest result, which might well provide sanctuary to al Qaeda once more.

      Obama seems to be qualitatively better at managing the war than Bush, but it remains a mess. One of the largest problems seems to be the continual shifting of focus, tactics, objectives and investment by the US. Winding the war down to a peace which is not simply a transfer back to the Taliban will be long, difficult, expensive and undoubtedly cost many more lives. This may be preferable to other outcomes. But it must be based on no longer alienating the populace, and the establishment of safe, self governing areas with sufficient local economies to be able to resist the Taliban.

      Bush could have delayed the invasion by a few weeks and permitted the Taliban to hand over al Qeada, but he couldn't be bothered. He also decided to expand the war to Iraq before US forces could mop them up. And we will continue to pay a heavy price for those mistakes for a very long time, regardless of what Obama may or may not do.

  • I want My Country back from Big Oil
    • All too true.

      A better global warming comparison was the debate over clorofluorocarbons (Freon refrigerants and spray can propellants) and depletion of the ozone layer and its impact. Industry fought it tooth and nail. Now there is no debate about the reality of ozone depletion and its linkage to skin cancers; the hole is tracked and relatively well understood, and we can see changes and improvements tracking well with scientific models.

      If we moved more of our freight by water and rail, and limited truck and air shipment we would be doing ourselves an enormous favor. I've seen studies that place the roadway damage produced by one semitruck fully loaded as equal to that
      of one thousand cars. While trucks pay more in taxes, licenses registrations and other fees than cars, it is nowhere near that - closer to 10x than even 100x the average car. Increasing aviation fuel, gasoline and diesel sales taxes would be the simplest and most rapid way to rationalize our transportation system, but politicians run scared of the voter and industry backlash they think it would provoke.

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