Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

The Rick Perry Indictment Conundrum

Earlier today, I was asked for my opinion on the Rick Perry indictment. Texas Governor Rick Perry was indicted for abusing official capacity and coercing a public servant. Is there anything to the charges?

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2 Years of Blogging

Once a year, I permit myself to write a self-indulgent piece about the state of the blog near the date that marks the anniversary of my first post. I began this project on August 4, 2012, so that time has arrived. To date, I have maintained my promise to only do this once annually. I have no intention of regularly subjecting my readers to my banal self-reflections. Read the rest of this entry »

Demilitarization of the Police Requires Demilitarization of Civilians

The recent clashes between demonstrators and police forces in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police forces has many calling into question the slow, steady rate at which police forces in the United States have become militarized. If we want to stop and potentially reverse this trend, we need to understand its underlying cause–the simultaneous militarization of the civilian population.

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Misconceptions: If the West Doesn’t Intervene in Country X, it’s “Being Complicit”

Iraq. Boko Haram. Israel/Palestine. Syria. Ukraine. Libya. Kony 2012. In every one of these cases, interventionists make the argument that if we do not offer material support to their faction of choice, we are “being complicit” in whatever violent awfulness happens in these places. This is claimed as if it were self-evident. It’s not. Read the rest of this entry »

Leave Iraq to Its Fate

So, once again, the United States has decided to intervene militarily in Iraq. Ostensibly, the Obama administration is intervening for humanitarian reasons–to help a number of Yazidis escape from ISIS, the radical Sunni organization that has seized territory in Syria and Iraq. Yet Obama has also signaled that this intervention will be long-term, which means the goals go far beyond getting these Yazidis out of their immediate jam. The real long-term goal is likely the same goal the United States had in Iraq 10 years ago–a stable, democratic, US-friendly government. Ultimately, this intervention rests on the same fundamental misunderstanding of Iraq with which the Bush administration entered in 2003.

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