Month: December 2008

Getting Nervous About Afghanistan

Fred Kaplan, writing at Slate: “It’s time to start getting nervous about Afghanistan.” He sums up the issues thus:

The problem of Afghanistan is the easiest—or at least the easiest to calculate—in the sense that it’s to some extent susceptible to military power. But, as Gates and Petraeus have said several times, it’s not entirely a military problem; there can be no “victory” in the standard meaning of the word. A good ending, if there is one, will involve a negotiated settlement in which “reconcilable” Taliban—those who joined the insurgency for nonideological reasons—are lured over to the Afghan government’s side.

Slow News Day

With Israeli strikes on Gaza raising temperatures over the weekend, you’d think major outlets would have their hands full of real material to fill the pages. Not the New York Times, which published a piece by Dan Bilefsky entitled “Islamic Revival Tests Bosnia’s Secular Cast” (sic). I’d like to think the spelling of “cast” this way was deliberate, but that would be a stronger attribution of talent than I’m qualified to comment

Take the Blue Pill

Waltz With Bashir, an animated movie about memory and Israel’s 1982 war in Lebanon, looks compelling, and reviews have been positive.  Andrew O’Hehir, in his Beyond the Multiplex blog at Salon, writes that the movie’s depiction of “war as a bad acid trip” is, “stunning”, “…the year’s most singular visionary experience available at the movies, and catapults Folman from the obscurity of Israeli TV onto the world stage.” The New York Times’ reviewer A.O. Scott notes that it’s “by no means the world’s only animated documentary… But