required reading

I haven’t posted in a while, what with the kid and finding a job and such. However, I still read, and I’ve selected for you, dear reader(s?), a couple of essays that are required reading for the politically aware. They are as follows:

Mad About You,” by Jonathan Chait. Chait is a brilliant and insightful journalist — his articles on homeland security are also required reading — and here he takes on the tiresome subject of “Bush hatred.” The right wing — incapable of shame — has lately been lecturing the left that they “hate” Bush too much, and that they need to be a little calmer and nicer and more “civil.” It’s as though they slept through the 90s, during which their side rose to heights of spittle-spewing, conspiracy-generating hatred that dwarfs anything on the landscape today. Another relevant difference is that the Bush haters tend to be on the periphery of the left, while the Clinton haters were at the highest levels of the gov’t and wasted _millions_ of taxpayer dollars pursuing fruitless investigations. Anyway, Chait basically argues that hatred of Bush is a perfectly reasonable and appropriate response to the man and his policies. He writes about it more reasonably than I do, so go read him.

The Stovepipe,” by Seymour M. Hersh. Hersh is another of the best journalists working today. This article is his attempt to get to the bottom of the intelligence failures and exaggerations that preceded Gulf War II. The story it tells is unsettling but vital to understand. Please read it.

Some day I’ll start posting again. I promise.


While I’m at it, let me also mention this extraordinary speech by Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor during the Carter administration. At the time he was disliked for being too hawkish; there was a time not long ago when his views on foreign policy were closer to conservative than progressive. However, as Fred Kaplan says in his cogent discussion of the speech, “current U.S. political rhetoric has been so corrupted�especially when it comes to foreign policy�that an eloquent presentation of ideas dating back to Metternich, if not Thucydides, comes off as refreshing and modern.” These days foreign policy is not conservative or progressive, Kaplan fairly sighs, “but, rather, callow, smug, and reckless.” Anyway, you really should read the speech.