Some morning readings
In Vanity Fair, Sebastian Junger reports from the front lines, in Afghanistan:
A strategic passage wanted by the Taliban and al-Qaeda, Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley is among the deadliest pieces of terrain in the world for U.S. forces. One platoon is considered the tip of the American spear. Its men spend their days in a surreal combination of backbreaking labor—building outposts on rocky ridges—and deadly firefights, while they try to avoid the mistakes the Russians made. Sebastian Junger and photographer Tim Hetherington join the platoon’s painfully slow advance, as its soldiers laugh, swear, and run for cover, never knowing which of them won’t make it home.
The Washington Post editorial board do something unusual- they get it right:
Where Mr. Romney most fell short, though, was in his failure to recognize that America is composed of citizens not only of different faiths but of no faith at all and that the genius of America is to treat them all with equal dignity. "Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom," Mr. Romney said. But societies can be both secular and free. The magnificent cathedrals of Europe may be empty, as Mr. Romney said, but the democracies of Europe are thriving.
"Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government," Mr. Romney said. But not all Americans acknowledge that, and those who do not may be no less committed to the liberty that is the American ideal.
At Balkinization, Marty Lederman excoriates Sen. Jay Rockefeller, for not having earlier spoken out about the C.I.A.'s having destroyed tapes of interrogations of terror suspects:
Except that one thing should be emphasized: According to Hayden, "the leaders of our oversight committees in Congress were informed of the videos years ago [they didn't ask to see them?!] and of the Agency's intention to dispose of the material. In a news release that he put out this evening, Jay Rockefeller claims that the Intel Committees were not "consulted" on the use of the tapes "nor the decision to destroy the tapes." But he does not deny that he was informed of the agency's intent to dispose of the tapes, and he acknowledges that he learned of the destruction one year ago, in November 2006. And this is the first time he has said anything about it. Jay Rockefeller is constantly learning of legally dubious (at best) CIA intelligence activities, and then saying nothing about them publicly until they are leaked to the press, at which point he expresses outrage and incredulity -- but reveals nothing. Really, isn't it about time the Democrats select an effective Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, one who will treat this scandal with the seriousness it deserves, and who will shed much-needed light on the CIA program of torture, cruel treatment and obstruction of evidence?
IOZ succinctly summarizes the quality of the Republican presidential candidates (go read the whole short post):
It is the single most preposterous collection of human beings ever to share a stage in the entire history of the human race, a catalogue of human failure, the ultimate proof of the folly of our species and all its works in this world. They are not the worst people the world has ever produced, nor individually the most ridiculous, but together they achieve a surpassing silliness.