Reading Links


Here are few reading links possibly worth checking out.  Nothing breaking or cutting edge, but they're all fairly brief.

How does Trump end? (Politico)
Watching the primary cycle from a distance, it seems that Trump is doing a surprisingly good job of getting and maintaining attention.  I am absolutely dismayed that he's actually leading in the polls, but that doesn't seem sustainable.  I'll be interested to follow the debate coverage.
The best snippet from this article on how the saga plays out: "Who the hell knows what the final episode of the Trump telenovela will be. You are better off asking that question of a psychiatrist, not a political analyst."

College Is Weakening America's Military (Forbes)
Former Marine officer argues that the expansion of higher ed and lowering standards in that regard of created lower quality military officers.  Not sure how I feel about this one.  The expansion of higher ed has had a lot of consequences, but I don't think it deserves the blame for poor officers as much as other factors.  They point to sentiment at elite schools as one factor.  The military is just not seen as a viable career choice for top students.  I think this is true.  I also think that that it is hard to claim that today's officers are objectively worse than those in earlier periods.  Standards change, the equipment changes, the environment changes.  I had some great officers, men I would have followed anywhere, while I was in and some truly awful ones.  I think their quality had fairly little to do with their SAT score.  It would be interesting if someone actually did the research on this and could pull hard data.  Maybe it's already out there and I just haven't looked.

Bin Laden on Climate Change (Mother Jones)
Bin Laden discusses the significant consequences of climate change.  I can't really argue that in the long run, climate change is our greatest threat.  However, the point that was actually of interest to me had to do with humanitarian relief.  Bin Laden was responding to the 2010 flooding in Pakistan.  He claims that the West did nothing to provide relief and instead spending large sums on their military.  This is bullshit.  I know because I spent two and a half long months off the coast of Pakistan on the USS Peleliu.  American helicopters flew back and forth constantly delivering aid and assisting people.  The American military did more than just about any organization outside of Pakistan for the people of Pakistan during the flooding.  Certainly more than al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

The Ballad of Mullah Omar (New Yorker)
Mullah Omar is dead.  He has been dead for some time now.  Clearly the Taliban was enough about this news to conceal it for two years.  It's going to be interesting to see how this develops.  Signs already point to a fragmenting Taliban.  Mullah Omar was an enigmatic guy.  The one photo you see of him in any article is the only photo of him out there.  He led a depraved government in Afghanistan that destroyed culture and repressed just about anything that could bring a person joy.