U.S. renders forensic opinion on Abu Akleh shooting

What would be a better answer.

As an Independence Day treat, the U.S. State Department on Monday announced its conclusions on the shooting of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin in May 2022.

It was reported earlier this weekend that the Palestinian Authority turned over to the U.S. a bullet the PA has said it recovered from Abu Akleh’s body after her death.  Israeli media said afterward that the bullet was then turned over to Israeli authorities for analysis, with U.S. personnel present throughout the process.

Other reporting contradicted that assertion, Continue reading “U.S. renders forensic opinion on Abu Akleh shooting”

TOC Ready Room 24 June 2022: Flawed court ruling overturned; Escalation in Russia-NATO confrontation; Gates ag-buy pushback

What’s wrong and right with the world.

Until the Supreme Court ruled Friday morning on Dobbs v. Jackson, this edition of Ready Room was going to lead with the “Russia-NATO escalation” segment.  But such a momentous ruling, which basically overturned Roe v. Wade, obviously merits comment, however brief.

The Dobbs ruling is good law, unlike Roe (and some other landmark rulings including Obergefell, the same-sex marriage case).  It’s good law because it recognizes that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t confer a “right” to abortion on which states cannot impose limits.

It’s good law because it doesn’t overturn any state laws, like those of New York and California, that are as consistent with the Constitution as any state law that puts limits on the conditions in which abortion is permissible.  Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 24 June 2022: Flawed court ruling overturned; Escalation in Russia-NATO confrontation; Gates ag-buy pushback”

China-Taiwan: Notes on a war game

NBC’s Meet the Press Reports published a new online episode this past week in which the network sponsored a war game for a China-Taiwan scenario developing in 2027.  The episode, entitled “War Games: Battle for Taiwan,” and hosted by Chuck Todd, can be accessed here.

These are just a few notes on a topic that needs a much more in-depth treatment.  But it’s worth registering some top-level comments as this subject garners more and more attention in the coming days.

I would say at the outset that criticism here isn’t intended in any way to mock the effort made to hold the war game and put it together for presentation.  It’s a tough proposition for anyone, and summarizing the results is invariably a matter of choosing and framing priorities, regardless of who’s doing it. Continue reading “China-Taiwan: Notes on a war game”

TOC Ready Room 28 April 2022: How do you solve a problem like the Navy? (and other naval musings)

What’s wrong and right, afloat.

Modern naval problems, it turns out, look pretty much like naval problems from any time.  The parameters are resources, logistics, geography, and technology.

This will be a tweet-enriched lightning round.  The big punch comes at the end.  It’s a doozy (and yes, I know:  if I were tediously pedantic I’d spell it Duesy.  Life is short).

A number of negative things are happening in a concentrated burst.  One is that the Navy brass – “Big Navy” – has just proposed to whack out a big chunk of the fleet for the foreseeable future.  With a target over the last half-decade of 355 ships, the Navy would decline from its current 296 ships to 280 in Fiscal Year 2027 (FY27).  In the best case among three options proposed by the Navy, the fleet would recover to 299 by FY32, 10 years from now. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 28 April 2022: How do you solve a problem like the Navy? (and other naval musings)”

TOC Ready Room 9 April 2022: Russia-Ukraine, Adieu mon status quo; Echoes of info ops dance in our heads

What’s wrong and right with the world.

The first order of business in the Ready Room is the state of the status quo six-odd weeks into the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Per our RR convention, this won’t be an in-depth look.  But it’s important to point out that the status quo has already changed, in ways that are likely to be irreversible, and that have been flying under the radar up to now.

I think a lot of people realize this is happening, even if they can’t readily think what the specific details are.  Only one border has been breached so far, after all.  NATO hasn’t been drawn into “World War III.”  How bad can it be?

We’ve looked at one detail already:  the immediate failure of NATO’s missile defense linchpin. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 9 April 2022: Russia-Ukraine, Adieu mon status quo; Echoes of info ops dance in our heads”