The Best Defense

Marine generals to Cheney: Knock it off, mac

Former Marine commandant Charles Krulak and former Marine general Joseph Hoar, who succeeded Schwarzkopf at Central Command, dress down former VP Cheney on the issue of torture. Good for them.

... we never imagined that we would feel duty-bound to publicly denounce a vice president of the United States, a man who has served our country for many years. In light of the irresponsible statements recently made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, we feel we must repudiate his dangerous ideas -- and his scare tactics.

This is an issue, they remind us, of both leadership and law and order. They might have added self-discipline, a characteristic that I think Dick "Fuck you, Leahy" Cheney seems to lack.

What leaders say matters. So when it comes to light, as it did recently, that U.S. interrogators staged mock executions and held a whirling electric drill close to the body of a naked, hooded detainee, and the former vice president winks and nods, it matters.

The Bush administration had already degraded the rules of war by authorizing techniques that violated the Geneva Conventions and shocked the conscience of the world. Now Cheney has publicly condoned the abuse that went beyond even those weakened standards, leading us down a slippery slope of lawlessness.

Doing the right thing, Krulak and Hoar conclude, "makes us all safer." This was the best article I read on the eighth anniversary of 9/11.

(Hat tip to

The Best Defense

Answering one of Professor Walt's puzzlers

One quiet summer day, FP blogger, Stephen Walt posed a series of questions about things he doesn't understand, like why we need so many nuclear weapons. I can't answer most of them, but I can address his No. 6, which was this:

I certainly don't get the business model that informs the content of the Wall Street Journal's op-ed page. The rest of the newspaper is an excellent news source, with reportage that is often of very high quality. The editorial page, by contrast, is often a parody of right-wing lunacy: the last refuge of discredited neoconservatives, supply-siders, and other extremists. Do the Journal's editors really think democracy is best served by offering the public such a one-sided diet of opinion?

Here is the answer! Having toiled at the low pay but high morale WSJ for 17 years in my well-spent youth, I can say that the view we held on the news-gathering side of the organization was that the newspaper's business formula was brilliant -- the news side told American business what it needed to hear, while the edit page told American business what it wanted to hear.