the occidental orientalist

arabist.
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. 

Recent legislation has made legal the president’s right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations or “associated forces,” a broad, vague power that can be abused without meaningful oversight from the courts or Congress (the law is currently being blocked by a federal judge). This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration.

—Jimmy Carter’s brilliant op-ed yesterday in the NYT.

I’m an editor, and here’s an example why the NYT is terrible.

From the After Hours section, which features my alma mater prominently:

IN recent years, the Middle East has become an increasingly popular spot for American college students on study-abroad programs, choosing Arab over French or German and the dusty capitals of Damascus and Cairo over Berlin or Madrid.

- Error 1: dangling gerund phrase, “choosing.” Who is choosing? The Middle East? ‘Cause that’s how this reads.

- Error 2: “Arab.” It’s Arabic, you dolt.


Why the NYT sucks at Middle East Coverage -- and nicely put.

When my team tried to give away fruit tree seedlings to replant ruined orchards, a farmer spat on the ground and said, “You killed my son and now you are giving me a tree?”

Peter van Buren in NYT, on tomorrow’s official change of command in Iraq: the US mission will be handed over from the US military to the State Department.

Kristof interviews Ahmadinejad