Archive for October, 2011

Ego-Boosting Anti-Semitism

Posted in Random on 20111021 by Avenging Sword

A recent David Samuels interview with Edward Luttwak (HT Tyler Cowen) includes this hilarious excerpt:

[Samuels:]  There have been many different explanations given over the past 10 years for the strength of the American-Israeli relationship, ranging from the idea that Israel has the best and most immediately deployable army in the Middle East, to the idea that a small cabal of wealthy and influential Jews has hijacked American foreign policy.

[Luttwak:] You mean the Z.O.G.? The Zionist Occupied Government?


Personally, from an emotional point of view, myself, as me, I prefer the Z.O.G. explanation above all others. I love the idea that the Zionists have sufficient power to actually occupy America, and through America to basically run the world. I love the idea of being a member of a secretive and powerful cabal. If you put my name Luttwak together with Perle and Wolfowitz and you search the Internet, you will get this little list of people who run the American government and the world, and I’m on it. I love that.

Anytime you need an added jolt of ego gratification, you open your laptop and confirm the fact that you rule the world.

In Pakistan, there are millions of people who go to schools where they are taught that I am the ruler of the universe. So, emotionally speaking, I would explain everything that happens by referring to the Z.O.G., the Zionist Occupied Government, which is run by a small cabal of people, and that I am one of them.[1]

This reminded me of a line by Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy’s “Clear and Present Danger”:

Some old guy on the shtetl in Czarist Russia . . . was reading the hate rag of the antisemites – you know, the Jews are doing this, the Jews are doing that.  So a neighbor asked him why he got it, and the old guy answered that it was nice to see how powerful he was.[2]

I’m not sure if the latter story is actually true, but I find it funny nevertheless.

[1] Luttwak’s more serious explanation for the US-Israel relationship is a “solid mass of foreign-aware Americans, who also happen to be Bible-believers—we’re talking 50 million people—to [whom], the only foreign policy that counts is America’s support for Israel. Period.”  I find this response significantly less entertaining.

[2] Tom Clancy, Clear and Present Danger, in Three Complete Novels 371, 672 (1994)


Al-Awlaki Killing Links

Posted in Law, Mil on 20111002 by Avenging Sword

As Steve recently noted, Anwar Al-Awlaki was killed via US drone strike in Yemen a few days ago.  Out of the commentary provoked by this action, here are a few pieces that caught my eye:

  • In the NYT, Jack Goldsmith defends the legality of the killing.
  • Kenneth Anderson at VC gives some cogent thoughts on the matter.
  • Robert Chesney comments re. Al-Awlaki’s role as an operational leader, and the inaccessibility of his location.
  • Michael Lewis comments re. the laws of war & neutrality law.
  • Benjamin Wittes addresses the issue of due process.
  • Michael Ramsey offers an originalist perspective regarding the killing.
  • Marty Lederman makes a very educated guess about the contents of the Obama administration’s legal justification for killing Osama bin Laden.  (Somewhat apropos, since both killings implicate many of the same legal issues.)
  • A more critical perspective comes from Ta-Nehishi Coates (who rounds up the views of other like-minded individuals); and from Mary Ellen O’Connell.  (Of note:  the latter scholar was only able to square OBL’s killing with her view of the law by – unpersuasively, IMHO – characterizing the Abbottabad raid as having “followed law enforcement standards.”)

Also worth noting is this article by Robert Chesney, which explains why the Al-Awlaki killing was consistent with international law.  I find his argument persuasive.

In my (tentative) view, the Al-Awlaki killing was permissible under U.S. statutory & constitutional law.  More on that at a later date (hopefully).