Weekend Reading: Halloween Edition

November 1, 2013

Happy Friday, happy November, and happy All Hallows’ Day from War on the Rocks, where we’re more frightened about this than anything we saw on Halloween.

Here’s what we’re reading this weekend. Remember, if you want to be included in our weekly roundup, tweet us your articl esuggestions @WarOnTheRocks.

From all of us at WOTR, have a great weekend. We’ll see you on Monday.

The big bad AIPAC? On Worldviews, Max Fisher takes a hard look at the conventional wisdom about the powerful groups that supposedly run U.S. foreign policy. Making a comparison between AIPAC and Invisible Children, Fisher suggests that the big lobbyists usually assumed to be behind running the show may not be as powerful as we think.

(Want more? Talk about a throwback: check out this longread from Rajiv Chandrasekaran on the ramped-up efforts to capture Joseph Kony).

Man behind the machine:  At GQ, Matthew Power tells the riveting story of Brandon Bryant, one of the “sensors” tasked with remotely operating Predator drone flights. It’s an up-close-and-personal look at someone who served as “an experimental test subject in an utterly new form of warfare.”

Justin Amash, Internet obsessive? The National Interest has a profile of Justin Amash, the libertarian Congressman who has made his anti-NSA crusade a personal brand. From Amash’ meticulous attention to his online persona to his channeling of Captain Kirk, there’s a lot to learn about a lawmaker with one of Capitol Hill’s most rapidly growing profiles.

ASB debate: AirSea Battle has been a hot topic on WOTR and elsewhere lately. In the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings blog this week, Sam LaGrone and Dave Majumdar discuss the AirSea Battle Office (ASBO), a sort of “help desk” for the ongoing development of A2AD capabilities.

Assessment assessment: Peter Singer weighed in this week on why closing the Office of Net Assessments would be a huge strategic blunder. Here’s another take from Lazarus of Information Dissemination on the role of the Pentagon’s in-house think tank.

“In the end, it was our own guys who got us:” In addition to the sleek layout, we thought this feature from The Verge was a riveting look into a strange underside of the Iraq war. Katie Drummond investigates “open-air burn pits,” the giant incineration pits whose aftereffects are causing major health issues for American soldiers.

War of the Worlds at 70: 70 years ago this week, Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast led to one of history’s most famous freakouts. But how true is the legend we’ve all heard? According to this piece from Gizmodo, the mass panic caused by the broadcast has been inflated over the years, thanks to tricks that our collective psychologies can play on us. As analyst Michael Socolow points out in the piece, “Memory and the media have an incredibly complex relationship.”

“I warned you!” As Mikhail Saakashvili prepares to leave office, BuzzFeed takes a look at the Georgian president’s tenure, what he hoped to achieve, and what he didn’t. During the Bush years, the young Western-educated leader became a poster child for a new era – but quite a lot has changed since then.

Have a little patience: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki took to the pages of the New York Times this week. In advance of his visit to the U.S., he made the case in an op-ed for American support of counterterrorism in his country.

(Want more? Get the background on Maliki’s visit from Doug Ollivant, right here on WOTR.)

Just for fun: Here comes the sun, for this small Scandinavian town. The Norwegian town of Rjukan, which played an infamous role in thwarting Hitler’s quest for nuclear weapons, saw winter sunlight for the first time this week. Three giant mirrors on a mountain lit up the central square of the town, giving its residents a fleeting dose of Vitamin D.

WOTR roundup: We had a lot of great coverage on WOTR this week. If you missed some of it, be sure to check out: