William M. Arkin has a thought-provoking article today about the role of the Trident submarine (and also attack submarines) in the post-Cold-War world. Have a look at More Subs, Fewer Boots on the Ground.
I'm sure that if Trident were free it would be of some positive value to national security. But it's far from free, and I don't know enough about military strategy to have a confident view as to whether Trident is worth what we spend on it. (If I had to guess, I'd be tempted to suggest that we keep Trident and instead ramp down the land-based ICBMS and especially the potentially destabilizing bunker-busters.) I do know enough about politics to know that there is of course zero chance of anyone actually advocating abolishing an entire branch of one of the services — stopping a single weapon system is hard enough, even if tests demonstrate that it is useless — so it may be a waste of time to even think about Trident. Look at how long horse cavalry survived into the age of the machine gun and the tank.
It's interesting, though, to imagine some zero-based thinking about our armed forces. If we were starting with a blank slate, where would we put the resources?
In reality, of course, you never start with a blank slate, and it is very hard to walk away from sunk costs, especially when it would take so long to rebuild the program from scratch were it ever to be determined that closing down the program was a mistake. Trident has been a part of the national security blanket for a generation. Losing it would be too scary for anyone in power to even contemplate.
RIAA's second biggest mistake was to sue Tanya Andersen, an innocent single mother, for copyright infringement. Their biggest mistake was to harass her and try to depose her 10-year-old daughter. (And even, allegedly, to call the girl's school posing as her grandmother!)
RIIA was forced to dismiss its case against Ms. Andersen with prejudice, although the counter-claims remain to be heard. And now those counter-claims are being bulked up with a new complaint, which basically charges BMG and two other record companies, the Recording Industry of America (RIAA), and two of their lawsuit minions, Media Sentry and the “Settlement Support Center” of basically running a rip-off operation, with formal counts including negligence, fraud, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, libel and slander, deceptive business practices, misuse of copyright laws, trespass to chattels (!), violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and of course state and federal RICO claims.
The best part will surely be the depositions in which various record company execs and RIAA honchos and goons are asked whether they understood the nature of the fishing expedition cum intimidation racket they had cranked up. And being smart, some of them must surely have known. (The others will be mere knaves.) If they could sell seats, this could be the hottest ticket in town.
As it is, we'll have to make do with the transcripts.
(spotted via Groklaw)
I can tell that Glenn Greenwald's new book, A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, is good without even opening it.
First, it has his name on the cover, and his blog is great.
Second, it has a big blurb from my brother on the back: “Glenn Greenwald has emerged as one of the nation’s most incisive and articulate exponents of the critique of the Bush Administration. In admirably clear prose and with the ferocity of a former litigator, he is day in and day out building a powerful case against an undeniably consequential and radical presidency.”
But if you must look inside, there's a an excerpt online.
I'm back, I'm almost over jet lag, and almost caught up with the news, but not with all the things that piled up while I was away. Fortunately, Patrick has agreed to do a few more guest posts as and when the Supreme Court issues its final decisions of the regular term.
It appears that nothing changed while I was away. Notably:
- The war continues, and the Congress continues to enable it.
- Alberto Gonzales is still Attorney General… although most of the senior people working for him are quitting either in disgust or (in the case of henchpeople) in fear.
- There are near-daily revelations about US misdeeds regarding legal or physical treatment of prisoners in Iraq, or in Guantanamo or in secret CIA prisons, or regarding the coverup of same.
- The Republican primary field appears as hapless as ever.
Or did I miss something?
US House votes to deny all aid to Saudi Arabia (AFP)
We give aid to Saudi Arabia???? A tiny nation awash with petrodollars?
While oil-rich Saudi Arabia has never been a large recipient of US aid, the Bush administration channeled a total of more than 2.5 million dollars to the kingdom in fiscal 2005 and 2006 as part of their partnership in the war on terror, congressional officials said.
Oh. OK. It's walking around money.
I'm Sorry I Read It: James Grimmelmann reads Chambermaid — the supposed roman à clef by a former law clerk to Third Circuit Judge Dolores Sloviter — so you don't have to.