The Best Defense

Pungent footnote of the week, plus a bizarre footnote that I just can't figure out

I saw this on page 389 of Jean Edward Smith's new biography of Eisenhower: "Army Group B had three wartime commanders: Rommel, von Kluge, and Model. All three committed suicide." (In the photo, that's von Kluge with Vichy France troops in Russia.) That's quite a track record.

But on page 568, though, Smith has a footnote I just don't understand. He writes that "President Obama initially chose Marine Corps general James L. Jones [as national security adviser], the first nonacademic to hold the post since the Eisenhower years." What? How could the following people be considered "academics"? Brent Scowcroft, Richard Allen, William Clark, Robert McFarlane, John Poindexter, Frank Carlucci, Colin Powell, Sandy Berger, and Stephen Hadley. In fact, by my count, the majority of national security advisors have not been academics. 

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The Best Defense

Aid to Obama? Another Israeli security official speaks out against attacking Iran

This time it was the former head of the Shin Bet, the internal security agency. Apparently it was the first time Yuval Diskin has spoken in public about the Iran issue.

These statements are more significant than they may seem, because they provide support to skeptics of the official Israeli position that Iran must be attacked soon. And so I think this eases election-year pressure on President Obama: All he has to say to hawkish critics is, What do you think you know that the chief of the Israeli defense forces and the former head of Shin Bet don't know?

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