ITW Morning Edition (1/6): Europe

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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35 Responses

  1. Kolohe says:

    My understanding was that all weapons in military museums in the US are inerted. Maybe that was just the heavy weapons.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kolohe says:

      Cannon usually have a plug of concrete in the barrel, and firearms tend to have key internal bits removed or spot welded together, so returning them to service would require the skills of a weapon smith at the very least.Report

  2. Oscar Gordon says:

    So Australian prisoners love of epic fantasy is a conspiracy from Chernobyl?Report

  3. Damon says:


    “She said the new policy “follows from current rules that an asylum seeker, who brings sufficient means to take care of him- or herself, should not also receive support from the Immigration Service”

    On point. Denmark shouldn’t have to give you support if you have the resources to support yourself.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    Over the Christmas break, one of my dear friends visited here in town from Boston. She’s fairly liberal, as these things go, a lot more emphasis on “feminism” than “multiculturalism”. You know how chicks are.

    Anyway, she complained to us when we went out to dinner that feminism and multiculturalism were in tension and she worried that, when given the choice, the multicultural folks would throw women under the bus.

    I told her that she was being hysterical.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Jaybird says:

      Did you ask her if it was that time of the month?Report

      • The New York Times article on the recent unpleasantness in Germany has one interesting paragraph.

        The assaults initially were not highlighted by the police and were largely ignored by the German news media in the days afterward.

        This strikes me as a bad leading indicator.

        Another bad indicator is not in the article at all but, instead, in the comments to the article. The NYT picks for comments contain balanced views between outrage and people explaining that we seriously need to keep in mind that not all migrants are like this. The Readers’ Picks are shockingly intemperate. (Like 19-1 in favor of intemperance.)

        That strikes me as a bad indicator too.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    The Chernobyl link is about A Song of Fire and Ice in Australian prisons.

    I’m not the hugest Corbyn fan but this is a basic long-standing lefty critique against so-called “liberal media.” While the right-wing complains of the media’s “liberal bias”, people on the left see the media as being more about keeping their upper-middle class status. So social liberalism is okay but not to the extent that it would raise takes on the upper-middle class or let the real rebels take power. There is a long-standing lefty dislike of the New York Times Sunday style and real estate sections for focusing on stuff that is only affordable for the well-to-do.Report

    • Chernobyl link should be fixed.

      I think the hard left has some legitimate beefs regarding the media. That the media is to the right of them, however, doesn’t make them to the right generally. (Though with more partisan media on both sides, it’s a little more complicated over there.)Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’ve said it before. The media on a nation level is center-left to left on social issues depending on the issues (there’s still lots of “abortion is OK, but only for these three or four reasons” in even supposedly liberal newspapers, but yeah, everybody is on board for gay marriage) and centrist to center-right on economics (see the slatering praise for any ‘tough talkers’ on entitlements because of course, journalists with cushy jobs and six figure salaries will never have to worry about the actual effects of Social Security cuts and seem to not understand that being 70 after spending 40 years in an office is different than spending 40 years in a service or manufacturing industry job.)Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          To be somewhat fare, I don’t think most journalists earn six figures and more and more are freelancers. But they still probably see themselves as part of the professional class.

          On the other hand, I think hate reads of the Sunday Styles section are kind of silly. I don’t understand the amount of blood pressure that gets raised by the Style Section.Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            That’s why I noted specifically on the national level. The editors in charge of the Washington Post or Politico, who are showing up on Morning Joe to give a figurative handjob to the head of the latest group that wants to cut Social Security, not the beat writer for the local city council in Omaha.Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      It’s also worth noting, his statements re: nukes, which are the focus of the bulk of the article, are a minor item in the grand list of political fouls Corbyn has been accused of. I’m not surprised the author focused on his nuke-stance, since it’s a lot more defensible than his mismanagement of the shadow cabinet, refusal to sing the national anthem, abrogation of question-time duties to the internet, and so forth.Report

  6. DavidTC says:

    I hope the election of Corbyn starts us seriously talking about the morality of nuclear weapons again.

    Because possessing nuclear weapons, at least non-tactical weapons, is still, in fact, a war crime. They are weapons that almost solely would kill civilians, and are intended to be shot *at* civilian targets. (Even if they are technically no longer ‘aimed’ there.)

    Nuclear weapons of that size almost cannot be legally in a war used in any way(see next paragraph), and thus, like biological weapons, aren’t even legal to possess under the laws of war, or at least not legal to put on ICBMs. We could conduct *research* with them, to try to defend against them, but unless our research consists of actually launching nuclear missiles at targets and stopping them from blowing it up(?!), we can’t justify having warheads on missiles.

    Well, other country sometimes do have places like the Groom Lake Facility, a *giant* area of land that is solely, or almost solely, for military purposes, and thus it is legal, in a war, to shoot a nuclear missile at *those*. But generally, our nuclear missiles are much too big to just take out military targets without absurd, and illegal, levels of civilian casualties…and we don’t even pretend that’s what we’re going to shoot….we instead talk about nuking entire (civilian) cities.

    So if someone wants to argue we should have one or two dozen ICBMs that we can launch at *specific large and isolated facilities*, okay, yes, we can. And that’s it. (Why we can’t bomb them our frickin stealth bomber I do not know.)

    And, of course, there are a bunch of smallish ‘tactical nuclear weapons’ that can *conceivable* be used against just military targets, although frankly they’re a stunt. And there are theoretical civilian uses of ‘tactical nuclear weapons’, like blowing up mountains and whatnot, although we don’t actually use them like that because, duh, radioactivity. (Le’ts keep those and make sure we can drop *them* from our stealth bomber.)

    Of course, if this country has taught me anything, it’s that war crimes are okay when *we* do them, no matter how harshly we have judged those crimes in the past.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:


      No, you don’t understand, we HAVE To keep those warheads on missiles in case we need to knock an asteroid off course & save the world!

      (No, I don’t actually expect you to respond to that, unless you are bored and really want to take it apart for fun)Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Ah, but blowing up an asteroid with a nuclear weapon is *also* illegal, under under the Outer Space Treaty. 😉

        Actually, wait. You can’t place weapons of mass destruction on things or put them in orbit or station them in outer space in ‘any matter’, but I don’t think just firing one at something counts as ‘stationing’ it.

        Although, arguably, what they did in Armageddon was ‘placing a nuclear weapon on an asteroid’, even they ‘placed’ it there just to leave and blow it up.

        So, the nuclear missile is legal, and the tactical nuke you have to set in place…isn’t? Maybe?

        In reality, I don’t think our nuclear missiles can reach far enough out to deflect an asteroid in time. And that’s ignoring the fact we can’t possibly do that without sending some sort of probe first (Which we do not have ready), because asteroid are almost completely random in shape and composition and there’s no way we could figure out what to do just by seeing it in a telescope. (Something movies tend to completely ignore.)

        …assuming we see it, of course.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

          In reality, I don’t think our nuclear missiles can reach far enough out to deflect an asteroid in time.

          What the general population understands about rocket science is (understandably) very, very little.

          No, an ICBM can not achieve a stable orbit (says so right in the name, it’s ballistic, not orbital, it just has a very high ballistic arc), much less have the fuel to reach out and smack an asteroid. And even if it did, all our ICBMs are fitted with MIRVs, which (IIRC) are aerodynamically guided, so even if an ICBM could get close enough to pop the warhead, the MIRVs would have no terminal guidance capability, and we’d have a good chance of missing the rock completely.

          Smacking a rock with a nuke would require a very custom built warhead, perhaps fitted atop a standard rocket (I don’t think our current rocket inventory has anything that can even reach the moon, although there are one or two under development, I’d have to check on the progress).

          So yeah, I was being very facetious.

          And don’t even get me started on “Armageddon”. Let’s just say that watching “The Martian” was very refreshing (despite a bit of silliness that I can forgive).Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            And don’t even get me started on “Armageddon”. Let’s just say that watching “The Martian” was very refreshing (despite a bit of silliness that I can forgive).

            You know what always disappointed me about ‘asteroid hit the planet’ movies?

            That they didn’t show the ‘divert the asteroid’ mission that fails right at the start of ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’. Not even on TV, we just hear about it on the radio.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

              Clearly “Seeking..” was the second act of a story.

              We actually have some pretty good doable ideas for deflecting an incoming asteroid, but they all very much depend on it not being on top of us when we see it coming. And by “not on top of us”, I mean we get a few years of warning.Report

          • North in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            I found The Martian highly enjoyable, but I confess that a large part of it was the silliness. The LOTR reference throwing in the his level NASA meeting with the PR gal’s confused exasperation had me rolling in the aisles.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

              Oh, not that silliness, that’s just good clean fun.

              I meant the bit about Iron Manning it to the Hermes.

              And I’m not entirely certain his plastic & foil tape pressure bulkhead would hold as well as it did in the movie.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to DavidTC says:

      My guess is that if we’re at a point where we’re considering using strategic nuclear weapons against cities, we’ll be long past the point where we’re worrying about the legalities of war. And if we consider using them before we’re that desperate, we’re complete monsters.Report

      • If there is no enforcement mechanism, and there is no redress, then there is no law.Report

        • Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman says:

          That’s partially my point. War is what happens when law breaks down, at least to some degree. War can be “politics by other means” but it can also be a fight for survival. We forget that partially because we’re constantly engaged in optional wars to push our agenda, and we don’t have any wars in recent memory where the costs of losing were the US being conquered by an outside enemy. We generally don’t play the role of pre-WWII Poland or China, but that’s a real role that countries sometimes play, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that we may face an existential threat somewhere in the future.

          The “rules of war” are a moral nicety that it’s good to follow if the option is there, but all bets are off when you’re fighting for your life. If you’re an unjust aggressor and your enemy is fighting for survival, complaining about violations of the rules of war is like a rapist complaining that your victim kicked you in the balls instead of fighting fair.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        My guess is that if we’re at a point where we’re considering using strategic nuclear weapons against cities, we’ll be long past the point where we’re worrying about the legalities of war.

        …my point wasn’t that using nuclear weapons would be illegal. It obviously would be.

        My point is that *currently possessing them* is illegal. Right now.

        The thing is, the laws of war do not really operate like people think they operate. The laws don’t just bar things from happening in a war, because, as you point out, people would merely care about the laws until they didn’t care.

        The laws also bar countries from preparing things they can’t legally use. You can’t equip troops with chemical weapons and then tell them ‘Never use these’…because ‘never’ does not mean never. Likewise, you cannot stand there and threaten to kill civilians unless the enemy surrenders, even if you don’t actually kill anyone.

        The laws of war are tricky little things, because wars very rarely state by some country clearly doing wrong. They start because countries provoke each other into war, with a million little things, and later, everyone claims to be in the right. And they provoke each other with tiny amounts of civilian killing, and then retaliate, and retaliate, etc.

        So the laws of war just say ‘Nope. Can’t have those. Can’t plan for that. There is no fuzzy line that you later will have some perfectly good excuse to have crossed. You weren’t allowed to have those *in the first place*, so you were breaking the law well before you came up with this justification of how you ‘needed’ to use them.’

        The problem is, while we *explicitly* wrote this line with biological and chemical weapons, nuclear weapons had not been invented yet. (1) So were not explicitly banned.

        However, it is also illegal to possess any weapons that cannot be used legally, and nuclear weapons…can’t. At least not the kind and sort we have.

        1) Although,fun question: Why aren’t nuclear weapons considered chemical weapons? Legally, chemical weapons are ‘any toxic chemical or its precursor that can cause death, injury, temporary incapacitation or sensory irritation through its chemical action’. Nuclear weapons, while they mostly kill by blast, will also cause radiation sickness. Now, radiation itself is not a ‘chemical action’, but it kills by screwing up people’s DNA…and DNA operates via a chemical reaction. I.e., radioactive materials alter a chemical action in the body, which then kills people.

        Q.E.D., they are *precursors* to chemical weapons.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to DavidTC says:

          If nuclear weapons are precursors to chemical weapons, isn’t DNA itself logically the chemical weapon, which we would also be forbidden to possess?Report

          • DavidTC in reply to dragonfrog says:

            Altered DNA would be the chemical weapon, yes, and it would be forbidden to possess it *as a tool of war*.

            Although that would already be counted under biological weapons anyway.Report

  7. LeeEsq says:

    The Norway article is interesting. One thing that I like is that Norwegian government is actually paying attention that many of its immigrants are coming from more traditional cultures whose social beliefs and mores are considerably different from Norwegian ones. I’m not sure if the classes will change a person’s ideas but it might convince them to conform their actions to the law as much as possible.Report