Quoth the Palin:

“It’s kind of like getting out there on a playground, a bunch of kids, getting ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, ‘Go ahead, punch me in the face and I’m not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want to with me,'”

And Obama’s response:

“I would say to them is that if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff are comfortable with it, I’m probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin,”

It’s hard to argue with Obama’s logic. (Although I have heard that the Secretary of Defense is against certain parts of the policy.)

My assumption is that there is all sorts of behind-the-scenes gamesmanship, and that the information which goes out to us private citizens (which Palin is, let it not be forgotten) is not even half of the story. Nuclear strategy involves lots of game theory, and I figure the information that governments put out is probably designed to influence the behavior of other “players”, rather than accurately describe its own behavior.

Good news. I love successful covert operations.

UPDATE: For some reason, this reminded me: I remember I once heard somebody say that the “Spy” fiction genre just wasn’t the same after the Soviet Union collapsed, because real-world covert operations stuff was no longer as important.

I’ve always assumed that it was because our spies and secret agents can work better when no one’s writing movies or books about them.

Anyway, it’s good to hear about things like this.

So, some dude says that high-ranking U.S. officials, potentially including President Obama, could face war crimes charges for using drones to hunt terrorists. He says: “Now, maybe the answer is: This is really terrible and illegal and anybody that does it should go off to the Hague. But if that’s the case, then we should not be having the president saying that this is the greatest thing since whatever.”

This is ridiculous. Using aircraft to eliminate enemy combatants? It’s war. This is how war works. Far worse things have been done by people who walked free.

Karl Rove has been defending it lately, so I thought I’d throw in my opinion on this.

It’s torture. There is no way around it.

I just thought it was time to clear that up. No more “harsh interrogation techniques”, folks. It is what it is.

Now, you might still say it was justified. It may well be that it was used to save American lives. Still, we have to be clear about what it is we’re talking about. I would have much more respect for guys like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney if they’d just come out and say: “Yes, it was torture. I don’t care, because it was the right thing to do to save innocent lives.”

This article describes Mullah Baradar being “regarded as brilliant and charismatic.” (Emphasis mine.)

It’s true people sometimes throw that word around without really knowing what it means, but if he really is charismatic, it supports the idea that charisma is a quality that is independent of character or morality. And if charisma is as powerful as it seems to be, that’s scary.