WHAT STAFF WRITER ALEC MACGILLIS IS READING TODAY »
Ending the War in GazaInternational Crisis Group | ICG has posted its lengthy assessment of the latest crisis in Gaza, which finds little reason for hope of a quick resolution: "Both inexorably will see more benefit in persevering with violent confrontation than in appearing to give in," the report states.
Worse Outcomes Than A Strengthened HamasThink Progress: The Wonk Room | Matt Duss argues that Israel's assault into Gaza runs a risk even worse than potentially strengthening Hamas in the eyes of Palestinians: weakening Hamas while strengthening more extreme, Al Qaeda-style Salafist elements in Gaza, who, as Duss puts it, "consider Hamas a bunch of timid, half-stepping sellouts."
Just War and Modern WarfareThe Atlantic | Ross Douthat takes up whether Israel’s case for the “justness” of its attacks is undermined by the inevitable civilian casualties that result from military action in urban areas. In characteristically thoughtful form, Douthat concludes that this is just the problem with evaluating military aggression by a “just war theory” – but then concludes that the theory may serve some purpose after all.
How Far Should Obama Go for GOP support?Salon | Joan Walsh adds to the chorus of voices on the left raising questions about Obama’s inclusion of hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts to his stimulus package to mollify Republicans, writing: “He's setting himself up for failure, and unnecessarily irritating his liberal base with more futile pandering to people who will never likely support him."
What Precipitated the Stock Market Crash of 2008?New Yorker: The Balance Sheet | James Surowiecki scrutinizes what is emerging as conventional wisdom about the financial meltdown: that it was the Lehman bankruptcy that really sent the stock market reeling. He argues that the numbers actually suggest that it was Congress’ unexpected failure to pass the first bailout bill that delivered the blow from which the markets have never really recovered.