Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Recommended Reading: On Politics

1. Wars of Aggression are Wrong, and Other Facts We've Forgotten

I'm not a big fan of Huffington Post -- not against it, per se, just a bit turned off by the whole celebrity atmosphere of it -- so I almost never surf over there just to see what's being written. But I do follow links there and, via A Tiny Revolution, I've found that Larry Beinhart (author of the novel Wag the Dog, on which the film was based) has been posting up a righteous storm. His full of simple fury, and hasn't forgotten things that people like to forget, such as the fact that Al Gore really, truly won the 2000 election. But best of all he remembers this, from the genuine trial of the 20th Century:

War is essentially an evil thing ... To initiate a war of aggression, therefore .... is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

This was one of the chief accusations at the Nuremburg trials: that Germany made aggressive war. (It was the basis of two of the four counts of the indictment.) And Beinhart makes the point, the basic, indisputable point (hardly original, but made with simplicity and angry grace), that the U.S. War on Iraq was an act of aggression. It was not necessary for our self defense -- and that this would have been true even if Iraq had had WMDs (which of course it didn't) and that this is not changed by the fact that Saddam was a murderous tyrant (which of course he was). So go read. And then, while you're there, read Beinhart's other posts too.

2. Off-Centered Ideas

Over at TPM Cafe, Jacob Hacker & Paul Pierson are discussing their recent book Off Center, which everyone seems to agree is the best political analysis yet of our situation here in the Land of the Increasingly Less Free. While it definitely makes me want to read their book, I can attest that the conversation is valuable even for those who haven't. Start with their initial post which will give you a sense of where they're coming from, and then go on to read the whole thread. The one warning here is that theirs is not, ultimately, an optimistic reading of our current situation.

3. Quick Hits: State of the Union

Speaking of our current situation, we now live in a country where...

- Someone can be threatened with jail for maintaining his Catholicism and not converting to Pentecostal Christianity; (via via)
- Our CIA arrests a man on foreign soil, tortures him and holds him for five months before realizing he's innocent (his name was similar to someone else's (via)
- We hire mercenaries who kill Iraqi civilians without consequence (also via)

... And what's sad is how long this list could be continued. But those will do for today.

4. Arthur Silber has a new blog

I saw this some time ago, and added it to the blog roll, but haven't gotten around to mentioning it. My bad. He's one of the most interesting bloggers out there, so check out Once Upon a Time... (which, despite its title, is still mostly about politics, just as his former blog, Light of Reason, was.)

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