What to Read on the Bin Laden Assassination

The Cost of Bin Laden: $3 Trillion Over 15 Years — Tim Fernholz & Jim Tankersley

What do we have to show for that tab? Two wars that continue to occupy 150,000 troops and tie up a quarter of our defense budget; a bloated homeland-security apparatus that has at times pushed the bounds of civil liberty; soaring oil prices partially attributable to the global war on bin Laden’s terrorist network; and a chunk of our mounting national debt, which threatens to hobble the economy unless lawmakers compromise on an unprecedented deficit-reduction deal.
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All of that has not given us, at least not yet, anything close to the social or economic advancements produced by the battles against America’s costliest past enemies.

What If Bin Laden Had Stood Trial? — Robert Lambert

[The] war on terror lost moral authority and became a gift to al-Qaida propagandists. The fact that the most effective counterterrorism is always closely focused on the prosecution of terrorist conspirators appeared to be of no concern in the Pentagon or Whitehall.

The Osama bin Laden Exception — Glenn Greenwald

The Allied powers could easily have taken every Nazi war criminal they found and summarily executed them without many people caring. But they didn’t do that, and the reason they didn’t is because how the Nazis were punished would determine not only the character of the punishing nations, but more importantly, would set the standards for how future punishment would be doled out.

Surveillance, Not Waterboarding, Led to Bin Laden — Spencer Ackerman

[Waterboarding] and other abusive techniques failed to get the name out of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Abu Faraj al-Libbi. A New York Times account has both men claiming not to know even the courier’s nom de guerre, which actually may have counted as a kind of confirmation by omission in this case. That says something about the limits of brute force in interrogation.

Torture May Have Slowed Hunt for Bin Laden, Not Hastened It — Dan Froomkin

It now appears likely that several detainees had information about a key al Qaeda courier — information that might have led authorities directly to bin Laden years ago. But subjected to physical and psychological brutality, “they gave us the bare minimum amount of information they could get away with to get the pain to stop, or to mislead us…”

Best of the Week: April 4-10, 2010

10. Why More Immigrants Are an Answer to the Coming Boomer Entitlement Mess — Robert B. Reich and Across the Border, Over the Line — Linda Greenhouse
9. The “Kennedy Court,” Only More So — Lyle Denniston and Justice Stevens and the Benefits of a Boring Court — Evan Thomas & Stuart Taylor, Jr.
8. Just Like Ike (on Deterrence) — Campbell Craig, All Options, Still, on the Table — Tad Daley, Obama’s New Nuclear Plan Leaves Missiles on Hair Triggers — Dan Froomkin, Getting the Iran-Palestine Connection Wrong — Flynt Leverett & Hillary Mann Leverettand Pros and Cons in the Nuclear Posture Review — Stephen M. Walt
7. The Hush on Abortion — Shell Fischer and A Question of Values: The Real Abortion Debate — June Carbone & Naomi Cahn
6. Why All of Us Should Want the President to Break His Promise on Taxes — Diane Lim Rogers
5. Why China’s Exchange Rate Is a Red Herring — Avinash Persaud and No Time for a Trade War — Joseph E. Stiglitz
4. The Magnetar Trade: How One Hedge Fund Helped Keep the Bubble Going — Jesse Eisinger & Jake Bernstein and Making Financial Reform Fool-Resistant — Paul Krugman
3. Pakistan: A Nation Under Attack — Robert Fisk
2. When Did the Senate Become Such a Lonely, Cynical Place? — Jennifer Senior
1. Sex, Drugs, and HIV: Let’s Get Rational — Elizabeth Pisani and The Pay-Any-Price Principle — David Sirota
BONUS: Take It to the Limit — Steven Strogatz

Best of the Week: March 21-27, 2010

We’re experimenting with a “Top 15” instead of a “Top 10” list for our “Best of the Week” series. Email me or post your comment below to let us know whether this version is better or worse. We hope the longer list will deliver something for everyone, but we don’t want to overwhelm you! — AWO

15. The Gold Bubble — Rick Bookstaber
14. Think Really Different — Daniel Lyons
13. The Criminal Flaw in Obama’s Immigration Vision — Seth Wessler
12. Iraq’s Moment of Truth — Marc Lynch, How Much Do They Hate Maliki? — Michael Wahid Hanna, and Iraq: National Unity Government or Return to Sectarianism? — Juan Cole
11. Drone Wars, Without Any Rules — Dan Froomkin and How Inclusion Cools Islamist Hotheads — Saif Shahin
10. The Curious Triumph of RomneyCare — J. Bradford DeLong2017 — Matthew Yglesias, A Long View on Health Insurance — Catherine New, and The Individual Health Insurance Mandate and Taxes — Howard Gleckman
9. Obama’s “New” Trade Policy: What Happened to Multilateralism? — Kevin Gallagher
8. Bagram Prison in Afghanistan May Become the New Guantánamo — Michael Evans and Washington Keeps a Lock on Detainees — Gareth Porter
7. New England, Mid-Atlantic States Show How Pollution Pricing Works — Sean Pool
6. Science Can Answer Moral Questions — Sam Harris and Sam Harris on Science and Morality — Russell Blackford
5. What Happens When Congress Fails to Do Its Job? — Ezra Klein
4. Civil War Certain as “Afghan National Army” Now Over 60% Tajik — Craig Murray and Listen to the Arabs — Parag Khanna
3. Taking Sides — John Mearsheimer and Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem Does Not Belong to Jewish-Israelis — Juan Cole
2. Cultural Change Is Key to Bank Reform — Justin Fox, Greeks, Romans, and Financial Reform — Paul Krugman, and The Source of Global Trade Imbalances — Johanna Mollerstrom
1. “The Evil Scourge of Terrorism”: Reality, Construction, Remedy — Noam Chomsky and A Curious History of the C.I.A. — Jane Mayer
BONUS: Think Globally — Steven Strogatz