5 Best Wednesday Columns

Who the heck is WikiLeaks? Rallying against the "Anti-Tax Monster" and more

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  • Steven Pearlstein on the 'Anti-Tax Monster'  The President's success on health care and financial reforms have bolstered the White House leading up to the November primaries, but Obama has one more formidable and urgent challenge to face: "driving a stake through the heart of the anti-tax monster that has cast a menacing shadow over American politics for the past 30 years." The Washington Post columnist bluntly describes the need for the President to fight back on the GOP's pervasive myths, or else it will be the economy and many Americans who will suffer. "The only choice is between political courage and cowardice," he concludes.
  • Tim Rutten on WikiLeaks' Lack of Transparency  While the news cycle has been dominated by revelations (or lack thereof) spurred by WikiLeaks' 92,000-document data deluge, The Los Angeles Times columnist asks a simpler question, "Who the heck is WikiLeaks?" Shouldn't an organization that's handling and distributing such sensitive data be a little more transparent? While Rutten notes that The New York Times went through "great lengths" to cross-check the data itself, that shouldn't supplant the lingering questions many have about the "shadowy" group. The writer warns: "If ever there was an organization tailor-made to launder disinformation for some intelligence agency's black ops, this is it."
  • Noah Shachtman on What He Saw at Moba Khan  The Wall Street Journal contributor cautions anyone looking for, as he puts it, "the capital-T truth" about the Afghan war via the WikiLeaks war logs. Shachtman has been in Afghanistan as a reporter, and he argues the true toll of the war—for both Afghans and American forces alike—rests around the margins. The war logs don't account for the constant close calls and near misses that typify life in a war zone, like the one Shachtman witnessed last August with a sniper team at Moba Khan. What WikiLeaks does show, however, is a fundamental flaw in the way the military discusses war. "The military has a problem in how it talks to itself," writes Shachtman. "These reports--ultra-compressed and focused solely on the bombs-and-bullets part of the war--are a symptom of that shaky reporting system."
  • David Ignatius on Pakistan's Role In Afghanistan  Like it or not, writes the Washington Post columnist, the U.S. is going to have to rely on Pakistan if it hopes to win in Afghanistan. Ignatius calls it the "Pakistan conundrum"--how does one resolve an ally allowing "the Taliban's havens" to remain open? The answer is you don't, not really. Instead, you work with Pakistan on shutting them down. "It's a measure of America's strategic difficulty," writes Ignatius, "that this uncertain option with a reluctant partner may now offer the best possibility for reaching the 'acceptable end state.'"
  • Gaby Hinsliff on the New Rules of Revenge  The Guardian columnist highlights an interesting trend in romantic betrayals: "less weeping into the pillow, more recovery of assets." While some of the cases she points to were high-profile extra-marital affairs, she notes that "love has been formalised by contract for centuries" and it seems to make sense that there is now more legal wrangling over love than ever before. "Marriage evolved as a legal framework for preserving assets, and arguably for buying sofas, until we muddled it all up with the messiness of love and desire," writes Hunsliff. "Perhaps we're just going back to our roots."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.