James Dubik on the U.S. in Libya "Washington must stop pretending that we've passed the leadership for the Libyan operation onto NATO," argues retired Army lieutenant general James Dubik at The New York Times, reminding readers of similar missions in Bosnia and Kosovo that proved unsuccessful with simple airpower and without American guidance. "Like it or not, America’s leadership has been crucial to most of NATO's successes." Dubik points out that the short-term air strikes have not protected civilians, ousted Qaddafi, or kept tribal fighters at bay, as planned. Putting "military advisers and combat air controllers on the ground ... would help bolster the weak rebel army's organization and capabilities while ground controllers could mark targets, identify the forward movement of rebel forces and distinguish civilians from fighters more effectively than pilots can from their cockpits."
Richard Cohen on Robert E. Lee The Washington Post's Richard Cohen addresses the Robert E. Lee cult in the South that persists to this day. Lincoln sought Lee's military genius for the Union troops, Lee spurning the offer to dedicate himself to cause of the South and slavery. "Lee, in this regard, is an American Rommel, the German general who fought brilliantly, but for Hitler," Cohen notes. "There were plenty of [Southern] people who recognized the evil of slavery or, if nothing else, the folly of secession. Lee was not one of them. He deserves no honor--no college, no highway, no high school," he declares. "It's time for Virginia and the South to honor the ones who were right."
Gideon Rachman on Liberals in Egypt Financial Times' Gideon Rachman notes that the chance for Egypt's liberals to run the country's new government are slim, as the Muslim Brotherhood is far more organized. Instead of unifying the party, "much of the energy of liberal Egypt seems to be focused on pursuing the old regime rather than preparing for the future." In the mean time, "the risks of political and economic chaos are rising"--tourism is sinking, while inflation and food prices are skyrocketing. The liberals, Rachman argues, need to get their act together soon if they're to have a chance of winning the next election. "As for the west, it cannot afford to let the dramas in Libya, Syria and Yemen lead to the neglect of Egypt. For the fate of the Arab Spring still hangs most of all on what happens in the most populous and culturally powerful country in the Arab world."
Michael Lind on 'Good Jobs' Asking "What is a good job?" in the wake of the much-publicized McDonald's hiring spree leaves Salon's Michael Lind with several more questions about the security of unions; whether the government or employers should bare the responsibility of offering benefits; and whether either a family or an individual should be able to survive on the minimum wage. The answers to these questions have changed drastically in the course of America's development and vary still based on one's beliefs. "A tentative conclusion is that particular industries do not spontaneously generate good or bad jobs. There can be bad jobs in manufacturing and good jobs in personal services. We can also agree that wages and benefits should be adequate." Identifying the 21st century's good and bad jobs, though, requires more information.
Michael Kinsley on Whether Our Debt Matters Standard & Poors's recent doubts about U.S. debt have been dismissed by many, but Michael Kinsley suggests this we should take the warning more seriously. He notes that S&P received a lot of backlash for "failing to warn investors about the home mortgage debacle. So they say that these bonds are a bit less safe than they appear, and people start to suspect they're overcompensating." The rationale that more money can be printed is not unrealistic, but he predicts the positives of inflation--the chance to "reduce one of our most serious economic problems, which is growing income and wealth inequality," and reduce our national debt, will soon be promoted by S&P's detractors. But Kinsley doubts our rising inflation level is "healthy" and asks: "if the deficit doesn't matter, why have any taxes at all? And if there is some point at which the deficit does start to matter, and become dangerous, when is that point if $1.6 trillion isn't it?"