Quote IconThe idea that Americans have traditionally been a war-loving people is false. In fact, over the past two centuries, large numbers of citizens sought to stop presidents from initiating nearly every major and minor conflict and then protested most of those interventions once they began.

Americans Were War-Weary Long Before Iraq

By Michael Kazin

"But I do not come, like some others, to speak prophetically to my people. My own bitterness at certain trends in Israeli politics, and at the Israeli government’s refusal to press relentlessly and imaginatively for an answer to the most difficult question—Netanyahu’s supporters exult in his success at driving the Palestinian question from the agenda: an achievement!—my own bitterness is not all that I need to know. More precisely, it is not occasioned only by Israel’s part in the thwarting of peace. Intellectual honesty always requires that one be unhappy for many reasons. Mahmoud Abbas, too, is leading his own people nowhere, and using Benjamin Netanyahu as his excuse. His immobility, and his search for every remedy but a negotiated one, will perpetuate Palestinian statelessness and hasten an explosion. I hear that there is a new conversation taking place within Hamas, but it is somewhat vitiated by the rain of rockets from Gaza."

- Leon Wieseltier, The Lost Art

Photo courtesy of Emily L. Hauser - In My Head

What do you think of Gunter Grass’s controversial new poem?

"The idea, put forward by Grass, that there is a taboo in German intellectual and political life about criticizing Israel and its policies has been a favorite theme of Israel’s critics since the 1960s. But the taboo does not exist. There has been no silence in Germany, especially in such places as Der Spiegel or the Süddeutsche Zeitung, not to mention among intellectual and political forces to their left, for many decades. On the contrary, hostility to both Israel and the United States, and the view that these two countries are the major threat to world peace, became embedded in the German left-wing and left-liberal mainstream many decades ago. In this sense, Grass’s diatribe is part of a long established conventional wisdom. It takes neither courage nor intelligence to run with the mob. Grass’s poem seeks to make the mob yell even louder.”

- Jeffrey Herf, The Odious Musings of Gunter Grass

Photo courtesy of The Leader Post

Would deterrence work against Iran?

"Thirty years ago I wrote a tiny book in defense of nuclear deterrence. Against the nuclear freezers and the nuclear war-fighters, deterrence was not hard to defend: my argument was drearily sensible. But I was nervously aware that I was urging good sense about a strategic situation that was senseless, because it was premised upon the credibility of a threat of holocaust."

- Leon Wieseltier, The Confidence Game

Photo courtesy of the blaze

"As a former active duty Army psychologist who spent 27 months in Iraq taking care of soldiers, I can attest that the oldest tropes about warfare are true: Combat is destructive; deployment in a warzone is enormously stressful. For the men and women serving in war, these aren’t simply clichés—they are harsh realities that the rest of us have yet to fully reckon with."

— Bret A. Moore, A Former Military Psychologist On The Afghanistan Massacre

Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

Why hasn’t Turkey intervened in Syria?

"Turkey’s boldest response to the crisis in Syria came last week, when Prime Minister Erdogan called for the establishment of humanitarian aid corridors to help civilians there. But those hoping that Ankara’s aggressive rhetoric will soon be matched by equally assertive action will be sorely disappointed."

- Soner Cagaptay, Why Turkey Hasn’t Intervened in Syria

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

Can Israel count on Obama’s support if it launches a strike?

"When the President of the United States repeatedly says he’s got your back, and in precisely those words, what more can you ask for?

Yet as I read Obama’s interview with Jeff Goldberg in The Atlantic, then his speech to the AIPAC convention, and finally reports of his meeting with Netanyahu, I felt increasingly uneasy”

-Yossi Klein Halevi, Why Israel Still Can’t Trust That Obama Has Its Back