the occidental orientalist

in the west.

what the District's think tank crowd is reading about the MENA
The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

—Eisenhower, as quoted in "The Permanent Militarization of America," by Prof. and Marine Aaron B. O’Connell in one of the most thoughtful op-eds I’ve read this week. 


In Focus: Syria in Ruins

While much recent media attention has been focused on Hurricane Sandy and America’s presidential election, Syria’s horrific civil war continues. In some places, it has worsened. Aerial bombardment of civilian neighborhoods, deadly sniper fire, brutal street fighting, assassinations, and summary executions have become the norm in Syria. Cease-fire agreements have collapsed, rebel forces remain disorganized, foreign intervention is still hamstrung, and no path to peace appears to be forming yet. Britain is now reportedly looking for options to circumvent an arms embargo in order to supply rebels with weaponry. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains defiant, stating in an interview with Russia Today that he planned “live and die in Syria,” adding, “I am tougher than Gaddafi.” Collected here are images of this bloody conflict from just the past few weeks.

See more. [Images: AP, Reuters, Getty]

Toughen up and don’t think twice about your medieval dysentery. You need it to build up your immune system. When you’re in Egypt just drink lots of lemon juice and mint tea. They cure all diseases. Them and tea and coffee.

—Sage wisdom, this, and so true: I have always been thoroughly convinced that it’s best just to get the sickness out of the way. 

What do you think constitutional law professor Barack Obama would make of this…?

"Does the administration see at all that the president asserting that he has the right to kill an American citizen without due process—and that he’s not even going to explain why he thinks he has that right— that that’s troublesome to some people?” - Jake Tapper



In Focus: Destruction Comes to Aleppo

Warfare and chaos have come to the ancient streets of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Rebel groups battling Syrian government forces moved into the metropolis in recent weeks, in an effort to liberate it from the control of Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. Fierce street battles and air attacks followed, leaving behind a shattered city, strewn with charred rubble and bodies in many places. An estimated 30,000 Syrians have already been killed in the past 18 months of civil war, and as many as 700,000 will have fled the country by the end of 2012, according to the United Nations. 

See more. [Images: AP, Reuters]