Readbook: Knowing Afghanistan, Bombing Iran, Blaming Israel, & the Sharia Heart of the US Constitution
WELCOME TO THE READBOOK, our daily trawl of content noteworthy, tl;dr, and below-the-fold. Posted early and updated throughout the day. Track updates via Twitter @EditorsCI. Get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In-house. Adam Weinstein takes exception to US military efforts to recruit young hackers, arguing that there's a fundamental cultural divide between their respective worlds - their mutual incomprehensibility, essentially, will trump such efforts. The bottom line for DoD? "Unless you're ready for a real revolution in thought," he writes, "you'll go to cyberwar with the hackers you have, not the ones you want." Meanwhile, Eric Randolph continues to report on the Commonwealth Games, writing as The National's foreign correspondent in New Delhi. Read his article on workers' rights and the living conditions they have to contend with while working on venues for the Games.
Still bombing Iran. Marc Lynch offers a robust set of counterarguments to Jeffrey Goldberg's Atlantic article on bombing Iran. Elliot Abrams responds with the charge that Lynch strays into "blame Israel for everything" territory. The substance of both is beyond my competence to comment intelligently - except to suggest that Lynch's rhetorical questions may not translate to the answers he assumes to be self-evident, and don't really get into the psychology of leadership and decision-making that I think the discussion needs most. Abrams' riposte is the weaker of the two pieces. Whether or not you believe Lynch is blaming Israel, the sad fact is that PR is almost always stacked against Israel, regardless of whether or not its actions are justified (yes, sometimes that's also because Israel isn't much good at PR, but that's not the point).
Sociology of knowledge. P.J. O'Rourke's riotous mockery and relativizing adds a worthy note of earthy realism to what we think we know about Afghanistan (or anywhere else, really). He writes: "If you spend 72 hours in a place you’ve never been, talking to people whose language you don’t speak about social, political, and economic complexities you don’t understand, and you come back as the world’s biggest know-it-all, you’re a reporter. Either that or you’re President Obama." A healthy grain of salt to go with all those reports and studies about Afghanistan's tribal make-up.
The ideas of Imam Rauf are shockingly Islamic - so much so that in his past writings, he found America's structures of government and its constitution to be entirely consistent with the teachings of the Koran, and something for Muslims to aspire to. Quick, someone get that news out to the protesters in Manhattan. There's a piece of special paper they'll need to add to their Koran-burning sessions.
Unlocking peer review. This looks promising. Open, web-based peer review isn't quite as new an approach as the New York Times describes it, but still. The nub: "... no would-be professor wants to be the academic canary in the coal mine."