Serendipity. I just stumbled across this post on En Verite, a blog on cointerinsurgency in Iraq. It's put together by a scholar and French reserve officer, Stéphane Taillat, who's also a member of the Insurgency Research Group at King's College London. I'm pasting it in here in full, because of its relevance to CTLab and because it makes some excellent points.
"A war born in spin," observes Steve Coll, "has now reached its Lewis Carroll period." His comment, in this week's New Yorker, takes a swipe at White House treatment of free-speaking senior military officers. He cites the impending retirement of U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff William Cody as context, following his brief last week to the Senate Armed Services Committee, in which he suggested that the health of US forces is less than vibrant. Cody, who at the end of his career may have felt freer than most to provide an honest assessment, quoted by Coll:
The April 2008 issue of Prospect has an intriguing story of Hugh Miles' (best personal website I've ever seen) voluntary conversion to Islam. "I moved to Cairo and fell in love with a beautiful Egyptian doctor," he writes. "We decided…
The recent 26 March 08 RUSI conference, "Countering Asymmetric Taliban Strategies in Afghanistan", covered some interesting ground. Normally it wouldn't take me so long to generate a post-event write-up, but events, as always, conspire. I'd also usually do a much more thorough job of it, but in this case, I spent more time listening than taking notes, and I missed the last session of the day. The speakers were all interesting, but I thought the briefs given by Antonio Giustozzi, Dave Sloggett, Ian Tunnicliffe, and Laura Winter were especially fascinating.
Tropes of torture afloat in the 24 March 2008 issue of the New Yorker. An opening essay by George Saunders, who teaches English at Syracuse University, starts off dark, becomes flip and cruel in the best neo-con tradition, remains generally tongue-in-cheek, and then signs off with a hard right hook. On the artistic merits of washboarding: