Dear Mr. Spencer:

I am tardy in responding to your interesting comments about the historical role of Gurkha units in the British Indian Army.

In referring to the Gurkha as “mercenaries”, I most assuredly did not intend to impugn their honor or integrity in the slightest — or, in particular, the steadfast loyalty that they consistently displayed toward their British comrades-in-arms.  I cannot recall that there has ever been a similar relationship historically that earned and deserved more lasting credit … [more]

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Barbarians at the gate?

 According to today’s Washington Post, Baghdad’s Shiites are increasingly using explosively formed projectiles, averaging the size of a coffee can.

 “The growing use of the projectiles is a major concern for American commanders because the weapons are powerful enough to punch through the heaviest U.S. armored vehicles, including the Abrams tank.”

I’ve always wondered what would happen to our overwhelming military superiority when the “best” technologies get trumped by far less expensive ones.  Wonder what that coffee-can sized bomb costs … [more]

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Reflections from Palestine

 Ed is the son of medical missionaries to Yemen and Gaza during the 50s, 60s, and 70s (I think).  He went to school in Alexandria, then back here in the USA, and finally at the American International School near Tel Aviv — I think you’ll find a familiar perspective borne of his years “over there.”  With his permission, here is a glimpse of life in Gaza and beyond that you may not find elsewhere.

—–Original Message—–
From: Ed
Sent: Tuesday, … [more]

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Woolsey disgraces himself again

 Dear Friends:

Former CIA Director James Woolsey gave a talk at Princeton University last week.  I decided not to attend, fearing that I might be unable to restrain myself from causing an ugly scene.  But I am extremely pleased and proud to forward to you a letter written to the campus newspaper the next morning by a young Princeton sophmore (a girl, presumabnly 18 or 19 years old) protesting Mr. Woolsey’s speech in very strong and eloquent language.  I have … [more]

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War games

 Fisk on the death of journalism: or or

And here’s one on how surgingly swell things are for the British in Basra: or or

 And, if you can find it, the farewell telegram from Sir Ivor Roberts as he left his job as Rome ambassador is quite interesting.  Sir Ivor got in trouble back in 2004 for calling Bush “al-Qaeda’s best recruiting sergeant.”  On September 24, The Observer’s Pendennis column reported that following his … [more]

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The real meaning of “surge”

 I have noted from several recent newspaper and TV accounts covering the “surge” in Iraq that a significant percentage of the “Iraqi Army” soldiers engaged in joint operations with the US Army are actually members of Kurdish units — presumably peshmerga militia forces assigned temporarily to Baghdad and the surrounding area as part of the surge campaign.

I believe we can reasonably assume that these Kurdish units are administratively and operationally separate from Arab units of the regular “Iraqi Army” … [more]

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Full-court press

 Today’s Washington Post features a defense of the war by Michael Chertoff, secretary of homeland security, that begins with “As the rubble of the Twin Towers smoldered in 2001…”  Talk about connecting the dots…  He attacks Brzezinski for being critical of the “war on terror,” then dredges up the Ayatollah’s “revolutionary fanaticism” of the 1970s, and even has the gall to mention “weapons of mass destruction.”

Also online:  the full transcript of Richard Perle’s defense of the neocon vision of … [more]

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