The Great Debate

from Compass:

To build a coalition against Islamic State, U.S. must try a little humility

By Nader Mousavizadeh
September 25, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama chairs the U.N. Security Council summit in New York

When President Barack Obama assumed the presidency of the United Nations Security Council Wednesday, he summoned the full weight of U.S. power to a cause with seeming universal appeal: defeating the barbarism of Islamic State -- or, as Obama calls the militant group, Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL).

from Jack Shafer:

War without end: The U.S. may still be fighting in Syria in 2024, 2034, 2044 . . .

By Jack Shafer
September 24, 2014

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This must be what perpetual war looks like.

In a Pentagon briefing yesterday, Army Lieutenant General Bill Mayville called the cruise missiles and bombs flung at targets in Syria "the beginning of a credible and sustainable persistent campaign." How long will the campaign last? "I would think of it in terms of years," Mayville responded.

Air strikes won’t disrupt Islamic State’s real safe haven: social media

By Rita Katz
September 24, 2014
jihad tweet President Barack Obama has pledged to destroy Islamic State and ensure fighters “find no safe haven.” But even as U.S.-led airstrikes are underway in Iraq and Syria, it is clear that bombs alone will not do the job. For Islamic State hides out in the most perfect haven: the World Wide Web.

In June 2014, the militant group that Obama refers to as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, grabbed the world’s attention after it took over much of northern Iraq in roughly four days. Islamic State accomplished this by building a massive, sophisticated virtual network of fighters in addition to those on the ground. Indeed, its expansion online has been as swift as its territorial gains. It is this virtual power grab that will be most difficult to combat.

When U.S. natural gas is shipped overseas, it will cost the 99 percent

By Charles R. Morris
September 24, 2014

Pier at Dominion's Cove Point LNG plant is seen at Maryland's Chesapeake Bay

The Department of Energy appears to be following a “Nigerian strategy” with respect to the nation’s recent windfall of natural gas.

from Breakingviews:

Is “stranded costs” a euphemism for fat?

September 23, 2014

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

‘The Boss’ is now a senior citizen. His music’s stayed young.

By David R. Shumway
September 23, 2014

Bruce Springsteen performs with drummer Max Weinberg of E Street Band during the "12-12-12" benefit concert for victims of Superstorm Sandy at Madison Square Garden in New York

On Sept. 23, 2014, Bruce Springsteen turned 65. 

It should no longer be shocking to learn that a rock star has hit retirement age. Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger are all over 70, still performing and, at least in Dylan’s case, releasing albums that seem to matter. It is worth recalling, however, that in the 1960s and 1970s, when these artists first made their marks, it was widely assumed that no one would remember them just a few years later. A 1975 Newsweek cover story, for example, asserted that Springsteen was a product of “hype,” suggesting he would likely be forgotten once the next big thing came along.

You never know who you’re going to meet on Turkey’s ‘jihadi highway’

By Yuko Narushima
September 23, 2014

Smugglers carrying blue jerry cans on horses ride back to Syria along the wire fences after ferrying fuel smuggled into Turkey from over the border in Syria, in Hatay province

Turkey’s border with Syria, like all borders, allows passage both ways – at least for the right price.

from Stories I’d like to see:

Just why does the NFL have tax-exempt status?

By Steven Brill
September 23, 2014

NFL Commissioner Goodell speaks during a news conference ahead of the Super Bowl, in New York

1. Checking the NFL’s numbers:

In the wake of the fallout over National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of his players’ domestic violence arrests, there have been multiple reports by journalists, who read the league’s filing of form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service, that Goodell was paid $44 million in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.

Like her or not, Hillary Clinton may be a cure for political apathy

By Chloe Angyal
September 23, 2014

Former U.S. Secretary of State Clinton speaks during the Clinton Global Citizens awards ceremony for the 2014 CGI in New York

Like her or not, Hillary Clinton may be a cure for political apathy

America is often described as an increasingly divided nation, and when it comes to Hillary Rodham Clinton, that couldn’t be truer. A recent poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News found her negative rating to be just two points less than her positive rating, at 41 and 43 percent respectively.

Humans don’t do ‘future’ well, and that could doom us if we’re not careful

By Richard Schiffman
September 23, 2014

A protester carries a sign during the "People's Climate March" in the Manhattan borough of New York

There has been some rare good news about the environment recently. One was hard to miss. On Sunday, roughly 300,000 people swelled the streets of midtown Manhattan in the People’s Climate March. It was not just the largest climate protest in history; it was the biggest U.S. political demonstration of any kind in more than a decade.