Posted by: quiscus | September 6, 2010

September 6, 2010

1.  “Top 10 reasons why wars last too long

3. The “sunk cost fallacy.” Once a country has invested significant amounts of blood and treasure in war, decisionmakers may erroneously believe that cutting losses would be “wasteful” and that it is necessary to fight on in order to redeem those earlier sacrifices. This reasoning is faulty: it only makes sense to continue a war if doing so is likely to lead to a better outcome at an acceptable cost. But politicians may not see it that way, especially if there are domestic constituencies that will remind them of the price that has already been paid and accuse them of squandering earlier sacrifices.
9. Exaggerated concern for “credibility.” Great powers often stay in losing wars not because the stakes in a particular conflict are so large, but because they fear that withdrawal will have profound effects on their reputation and far-reaching repercussions elsewhere. The scholarly literature on this issue suggests that these concerns are usually exaggerated, but that doesn’t stop pundits from making this claim and doesn’t stop politicians from listening to it. This was a common refrain during the Vietnam War, of course, and we hear loud echoes of it now. If we get out of Afghanistan, we are told, al Qaeda will be emboldened, its recruitment will soar, and our allies around the world will conclude we are wimps and abandon us. Of course, getting out of Vietnam didn’t have any of these effects (the United States won the Cold War, remember?) and it is just as likely that getting out of Afghanistan would undercut jihadi narratives about Western imperialism and allow the United States to focus its military efforts on places that really matter. Indeed, U.S. credibility may suffer far more if it keeps squandering its power on costly but unnecessary conflicts.”

2.  “The Humanitarian Invasion of Afghanistan: Occupation by NGO

They’re called NGOs — non-governmental organizations — but the description is misleading at best, or an outright lie generated by intelligence agencies at worst.”

3.  “My current book documents the two-tiered system of law and justice that has emerged in America.  The most powerful political and financial elites are virtually immunized from the rule of law, empowered to violate those laws with full-scale impunity and to act without any constraints, while the politically powerless are imprisoned with far greater ease and in far greater numbers than any other country on the planet.  Even the most egregious elite transgressions — the pilfering and plundering that led to the 2008 financial crisis; the illegal surveillance, war and torture regime of the last decade; corporate crimes in virtually every realm — are shielded from accountability with demands for immunity and leniency, while ordinary Americans have the full weight of the criminal justice system mercilessly crashing down upon them for even petty offenses which are rarely punished in most of the civilized world.  The book examines the implications for this development (what happens when two different sets of rules apply for the powerful and the powerless?), documents why the current system is fundamentally different than even the serious, well-known violations of “equality under the law” which have plagued American history, and describes how “law” and the justice system are used to entrench and bolster inequality rather than subvert it.
( By Glenn Greenwald)”


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